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Carolyn Crane Guest blog and GIVEAWAY!

Submitted by on October 13, 2010 – 5:00 am52 Comments
Mind Games: an urban fantasy version of Hogan’s Heroes?
By: Carolyn Crane
In interviews sometimes, people ask what books and comics that influenced my urban fantasy/romance trilogy. Of course, like all writers, I grew up reading just about everything, but when I really think about it, TV had a HUGE influence.

In fact, my school-age years in the 1970’s and 1980’s were drenched in classic TV, which had a major effect on my books.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one here who would come home from school for an unsupervised few hours filled with large amounts of junk food and old TV reruns. As kids, we were restricted on watching TV, but that’s only when the parents were home. Here is one of my favorite recipes from then:

Recipe: Carolyn Crane’s after-school naughty YUM:
1. Spread peanut butter on a plate
2. Add a layer of chocolate chips on top
3. Pop into the microwave on low for 10-30 seconds.
4. Swirl together with a butter knife
5. Dip in pretzels, or, preferred method: dip in finger.

So, that would be the sort of thing I ate as I watched massive amounts of TV. When I look at the trilogy, I see those TV shows in there:

Hogan’s Heroes
Hogan’s Heroes was this silly comedy about a super-smooth American POW in a German prison camp, controlling the area beyond his prison walls via a band of misfits with different specialties. He had extreme intelligence and psychological insight and lots of brilliant plans, not to mention being super hot and sexy. His nemesis: a hat-wearing member of the police/military. Sound familiar?

OMG. I didn’t realize how much of Hogan’s Heroes ended up in Mind Games until I started thinking about this post. Packard, imprisoned for eternity, running a psychological hit squad. Super hot and brilliant. His nemesis…

I loved watching this show, and I LOVED Hogan! He was so smart and resourceful, always with a plan. Hogan’s Heroes was voted one of the worst shows of all time recently. Whatever! Also, I can also do a really excellent imitation of Colonel Klink. This is the only imitations I am successful at.

Six Million Dollar Man
In this show, in case you don’t know, Lee Majors is this pilot who crashes his plane. He’s totally messed up, but all these scientists are like, we can rebuild him. We can make him better. Stronger. Faster. Dum-dum-dee-dum!! And they give him robot legs that let him run 60 mph, and a super eye that sees really far, and I think one new arm—a strong one, biotches!

The idea of somebody who is really screwed up and messed up getting tweaked to be a crime fighter was always really fascinating to me. After all, anybody could get in an accident and be given bionic parts and turn into a crime fighter.

I loved how the bad guys wouldn’t know who they were dealing with, and try to mess with Steve, and then he’d pull out his bionic running or bend some bars. Later, there was Jamie Sommers, the Bionic Woman, with new limbs and special hearing.

Get Smart and Batman
If there is one thing my TV-addled youth taught me, it’s that no villain worth his or her salt has a normal name, like John Gordon. The best villains have special names: The Penguin. Joker. Siegfried. The Claw. Groovy Guru.
When I wrote the trilogy, there was never any question about the villains having names that were classic villain names. Like the Silver Widow, or the Station Master. Granted, my villains have real names, too. But, so did Batman villains, but usually they were stupid ones. Like Oswald.
Also from these shows came the idea of shadow organizations. On Get Smart, there was “Chaos” (bad) and “Control” (good). I love shadow organizations and secret societies. That’s what the Disillusionists are: supposedly crime fighting vigilantes, and nobody is sure they exist.

A lot of us working in urban fantasy and paranormal romance today owe a ton to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of the things I really consciously pulled from Buffy is the idea of the heroine needing to be this moral center, this beacon of shining good – even when she has lost her way, there is this trust about her moral core.

Also from Buffy, the way characters change—good to bad, bad to good. It’s something I have always loved about that show. When you look back at all Buffy’s boyfriends, they mostly have flopped from good to bad, bad to good, good to bad to good, etc. There is also a strong moral center to the universe itself; characters can be bad, and then atone, and get redeemed. But they do have to suffer for the bad they do. I could go on and on about Buffy.

Wonder Woman, Bionic Woman & Star Trek Next Generation
What was important about these shows was that you had these strong heroine with powers, involved in righteous struggles of different kinds, but there were also romantic storylines woven in, often with the same hero. If you look at other classic shows above, especially Batman and Hogan’s Heroes, or the old Star Trek, the heroes’ love interests were interchangeable. Often a new one with every show. (I’m looking at YOU Captain Kirk! But also, Hogan!)

But with these women, there was always an important man, even if something prevented their union. Like, Deanna Troi and Number One, Jamie Sommers and Lee Majors, Diana Prince and Steve Trevor, who I always wanted together. (An exception: Agent 99 and Maxwell Smart together. I was glad they were together.) Of course, being a romance fan, I like to see my hero and heroine together in the end.

Win the prize!!
Does everybody know these shows? Am I dating myself? Of course I am. But who cares, because there is a PRIZE! That’s right, I’m giving away a gift pack that includes:
• Choice of Mind Games or Double Cross
• This really cute bird note card set that I picked out especially for this post today
• A deluxe Scharffenberger gourmet chocolate bar!
CHOCOLATE….YUM! What do you have to do? Leave a comment here and let me know a TV show that was formative for you in some way, or a favorite after-school chow down recipe! 
This Contest will run through October 22nd and is open to US and Canada. You are not obligated to follow PBD to enter (though it is appreciated) and I’d love your help in spreading the word about the contest whether on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace…you get the point. Woo Hoo!   

Paperback Dolls wish to thank Caroyn Crane for stopping by to visit with us and offering a fun giveaway! She is amazingly awesome, and we adore her & her books! 

Links of interest:    
Images and Sourcing

Day is a dreamer who has never met a stranger. She is fearless and will talk to anyone and read anything! She taught music and dance and was a singer/actress for years, performing on stages both nationally and overseas. Now married with children, she spends less time singing on stage and more time writing songs at home. But, family life has not completely slowed this chick down. She still loves an adventure and learning new things. She resides in Texas with her family, Great Dane (Sophie), Labradoodles (George & Cosmo) and Chihuahua (Juan Carlos).
Doll Day
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Days website


  • I remember the days of watching the Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman and also for me, The Bionic Woman. I went through a Classic Star Trek phase, gushed over Beauty and Beast (with Linda Hamilton), obsessed over The X-Files and became enthralled with Buffy the Vampire Hunter. Ah, those were the days… :)

    Great post and thanks for the yummy snack idea!


    Reply to this comment »
  • Sharon S. says:

    where do I even start! I watched all those shows you mentioned. I was in love with Bob Crane . I also watched Gilligan's Island, it came on right before Hogan's Heroes. Don't forget the Beverly Hillbillies. And don't get me started on Saturday morning cartoons. Remember when watching Sat. cartoons was such a big deal? Now you can watch them 24/7 .
    After school snacks, well I learned how to make Toll House cookies at about 6 years old so I would make up a tiny batch and eat the raw dough (with raw egg!!) I figured out how to divide the recipe into 1/8 of the original(For the egg I would crack one in a cup, mix and pour out about 1/8 )
    Thanks for the stroll down memory lane. Really looking forward to reading your book!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Day says:

    I watched all of the above as well as Gilligan's Island, Facts of Life and Silver Spoon!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE nostalgia!

    I too was a peanut butter and chocolate chip microwave melter…only I think I may have just used a spoon. We also made what we called Eskimo cookies.

    Eskimo Cookies:
    1 stick butter
    3 c quaker oats
    3 tbsp cocoa
    1 cup sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 cup powder sugar

    Mix together roll into little ping pong size balls then dust with more powder sugar! place in freezer for 10 minutes. SO yummy and quick and easy!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Elizabeth says:

    I'm to young to know what those shows even are I was born in 1992. But I do love me Foodnetwork!! Ace of cakes, Paula, 30 minute meals, Guys big bite,Bare foot contessa etc One of my all time favorite recipe was Paula's Lemon bars. OMG they are to die for

    2 cups of all-purpose flour
    1 cup of confectioner sugar
    2 sticks of butter

    4 eggs
    2 cups of sugar
    6 TBS all-purpose flour
    6 TBS of lemon juice

    Reply to this comment »
  • theladya says:

    I was born in the mid 80s so I don't remember actually watching any of these shows, although I have heard of them. I did watch Buffy some though.

    I remember coming home from school and watching Full House like every single day. I loved how the family was always so close and did everything together and I always hoped for that with my own family. I don't remember a particular snack I liked to eat though.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Tore says:

    I remember watching alot of those show. I loved watching Beauty and the Beast with Linda Hamilton. I always thought Vincent was so romantic. I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was disappointed when Angel left the show because I always through Buffy and him belonged together. Star Trek the Next Generation was my favorite Star Trek. Please enter me in contest.

    Reply to this comment »
  • oh my gosh watched all those shows too. But I remember the ABC after school specials for all those special shows. Loved wonder woman, and 6 million dollar man too.

    aprilmom00 at gmail dot com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Kristin says:

    Love this post! I know I'm not the only one to watch Brady Bunch and Jeopardy after school!

    I always made instant pudding;)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Noa says:

    Carolyn, thank you so much for sharing – what a fabulous post!

    As for tv shows….everything you mentioned, every show Day mentioned….Hawai 5-0 was fun (I'm enjoying the remake as well)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Bwyatt says:

    I watched Buffy and Angel. I had every season on DVD too! Those shows are what opened me up to reading about the real world with a supernatural twist. I owe my crazy, insane, and somewhat (or my husband would say completely) obsessive reading habits to both of them!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Romance Girl says:

    Thank you for offering the give away. Oh my goodness. All the shows are good but I have to say My Three Sons, Mr. ED, My Favorite Martian and I Love Lucy.

    Reply to this comment »
  • mountie9 says:

    I laughed at your shows because I watched them all too. I think my first crush was Hogan. I used to also love MASH and WKRP in Cincinnati. They were wonderful shows that helped develop my dry sense of humour and creative imagination. Thanks for bringing back my memories of those shows — think I will be hitting you tube today

    My go to snack was always going over to my German neighbors after school and making a sandwich with rye bread, real butter (MY mom was into that icky margerine) and salami.

    contestmom AT hotmail DOT com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Gina C says:

    Hi Dana!
    I know for a fact that she(Day) watched He-Man, She-ra and GI-Joe cartoons after school in 1984-85 because I sometimes watched them with her. Can't forget Little House on the Prarie. I remember watching that at her house when we lived in Illinois and making pop-corn balls for trick or treaters.

    This is a fun site, and this author seems awesome. I will order a copy of the first book!

    Reply to this comment »
  • .Ambur. says:

    Well I had some cartoons that were a big part of my childhood, like Arthur, and Rugrats, I miss those shows actually. And I had Buffy, and Gilligan Island reruns. I also have a vivid memory of watching the Inspector Gadget cartoon tv show when I had the chicken pox in second grade. lol

    Thanks for the chacne to win some goodies :)

    Reply to this comment »
  • E says:

    I love this series! Thanks for sharing.

    Fave after school snack? That has to be nutella on rice crackers. Super easy and tasty.

    As far as inspiring shows, I would have to say Veronica Mars. Not an urban fantasy, but full of rich characters and compelling stories. You had to watch the entire season to find out whodunit!

    Reply to this comment »
  • It's so fun seeing everybody's after school snacks and viewing. Now I'm remembering other shows I loved from these comments. I might have to hit youtube today, too!

    Reply to this comment »
  • floating says:

    I loved Beverly Hillbillies. I also love and miss the shows you mentioned.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Sara says:

    I remember all of those shows, Carolyn! My favorite of all, though, was Bewitched. I still wish I could wiggle my nose and magically fix or change things! :)

    As for naughty snacks, I would go with spoonfuls of peanut butter or treacle, big chunks of cream cheese or huge bowls of ice-cream…all before dinner and all without gaining an ounce!

    Thanks for the giveaway, I would LOVE to win one of your books…they sound amazing.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Christine says:

    What a great post, Carolyn!

    I LOVED the ABC After school specials. I also watched too much of The Brady Bunch… also Batman, some classic Star Trek and good old fashioned ZOOM!

    I loved making Toll House chocolate chip cookies or Rice Krispie treats for after school snack.

    As a mom, I make my kids eat healthy stuff like cheese and wheat crackers, apples, grapes, popcorn, tortilla chips and salsa… I feel kinda mean not offering them melted peanut butter and chocolate chips on a plate… LOL!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Christine says:

    Saved by the Bell and Gilmore Girls were very important to my youth. Zach Morris's life lessons helped me through junior high and high school, while Rory & Lorelai's blazin' fast wit shaped my mind.

    And I really want Mind Games!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Teawench says:

    We would watch Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures. I still have my VHS copy of the Tiny Toons What I Did on Vacation movie.

    After school snack…ummm, I'm not sure I remember having any. But a recipe I learned in high school home ec that I still make today is potato nachos. Wash a potato, remove ends, slice into about a quarter of an inch thick slices and place on a lightly greased plate. Microwave for a couple of minutes or until tender. Top with salsa & cheese and microwave until the cheese has melted.
    teawench at gmail dot com

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  • says:

    This is opposite to what you asked for, but when I was really little (like 5 years old) my mom would wake my sisters and I up a couple hours before we had to go to school so we could watch Joise and the Pussy Cat Dolls (because that's the only time it would ever come on TV). I don't really remember what we watched after school.


    Reply to this comment »
  • Cassay says:

    My Favorite to watch was when Family Channel use to have Aladdin, Little Mermaid and the Timon and Pumba shows back to back after school :) Oh how I love you Disney!

    Cassandra C
    cassandra dot crouser at yahoo dot ca

    Reply to this comment »
  • Dolls,

    Well i must say that my favourite snack to have while watching my favourite show (Criminal Minds) has to be a big bowl of popcorn with spicy salsa dip. Guys it may sound disgusting but don't knock it till ya try it.

    + I'd love to win this prize,


    Reply to this comment »
  • Stephanie says:

    When I got home from school, I always watched Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Inspector Gadget.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Stephanie says:

    When I got home from school, I always watched Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Inspector Gadget.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Scoot says:

    I do know the shows, but mostly because of re-runs! I used to watch a lot of Sailor Moon cartoons as a kid. Oh, and I loved Fresh Prince of Belair, Saved By The Bell, etc! haha. Classic old school kid shows.


    Reply to this comment »
  • elaing8 says:

    I loved Get Smart and I wanted to be Wonder
    I didn't watch alot of tv after school but I did go home for lunch until grade 6 and I used to watch the Flintsones all the time.



    Reply to this comment »
  • Pamk says:

    wonder woman and the bionic woman was very important to my formative years. Love that they had strong smart but still feminine women. Can't remember anyone after school snack. It was just whatever I could find lol.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Troi via Star Trek! Also Kalaar (sp?) Anyway any that felt different or stuck inbetween worlds. I loved that.
    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  • Bethany C. says:

    Looking back, my mom let me watch way too much TV as a kid. I definitely enjoyed both Batmans- the Adam West version and the animated series. And I don't know the recipe for Doritos, sorry.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Cathy M says:

    I can remember racing home to watch Dark Shadows with my best friend, and I've been hooked on paranormal stories, especially romances, ever since. Way back when, I used to love eating sliced dill pickles and Lay's potato chips, sorry, know that sounds weird, lol.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Edna says:

    When I was little I used love watching Power Rangers, Tiny Toons, Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry lol. As I grew older I was very much into TGIF on Friday nights. Boy Meets World, Full House, Family Matters, etc. There was also Saved By the Bell which I adored. :) Then my tastes went to the WB with Buffy and Dawson's.

    Reply to this comment »
  • April X says:

    Thanks for this giveaway :D I am kinda lacking in my tv show knowledge… I watched A LOT of pokemon. And I haven't been around that long. Watched a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh too.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Robin K says:

    The Dukes of Hazard for me! Oh, and Grizzly Adams. Love a man with a beard to this day *g*.

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Vicki says:

    I'm probably showing my lack of age here, but I'd have to put Nickelodeon's Doug as my formative TV show growing up. I sure as hell wish it was on now instead of Spongebob =P


    Reply to this comment »
  • JenM says:

    I can't believe Hogan's Heroes was voted one of the worst TV shows ever. It was absolutely my favorite show when I was a kid. Aside from that I loved The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island, MASH, Star Trek, Bewitched and many others. However, the one show that had a big effect on me was Dark Shadows. I'll never forget Barnabas and it spawned a lifelong fascination with vampires.

    jen at delux dot com

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  • Jen says:

    Shows that had a huge impact on me growing up: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Highlander, Beauty and the Beast. Shows I found later on that have had an impact: Buffy, Firefly, West Wing. This shows all encouraged me to actually think, not just react. They gave me new ways of looking at the world, and they sometimes gave me a place to hide for a while.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Italia Marie says:

    I remember making chocolate cake batter and eating it out of the mixing bowl with friends while watching MTV. Seems really disgusting now, but at the time it was wonderful!

    Reply to this comment »
  • So many great shows, and I am finding a lot of us are making batter-like concoctions! LOL. Suddenly I'm thinking about "making cookies…"

    Reply to this comment »
  • Jennifer says:

    This post was the best!! So many great shows….I don't know how many I watched afterschool…I really like Brady Bunch and Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Fair share of cartoons. I also enjoyed Star Trek…orignal..even though Captain Kirk is a total gigolo. I watched Days of Our Lives, Dynasty, Dallas, Falcon Crest..Beauty and the Beast…Highlander…more recent…X-Files, Supernatural, Buffy and Angel..

    Here is a recipe for "Puppy Chow" perfect blend of PB and Chocolate…


    1/2 cup peanut butter
    1/4 cup butter
    1 cup chocolate chips
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    9 cups Crispix cereal (any flavor)
    1-1/2 cups powdered sugar


    1. Combine peanut butter, butter and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.

    2. Microwave for one minute then stir to blend all ingredients thoroughly. Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Stir well.

    3. Place the 9 cups of Crispix cereal in a very large bowl.

    4. Pour the peanut butter-chocolate mixture over the cereal and toss evenly, making sure all the cereal gets a good covering.

    5. Coat with powdered sugar, sprinkling evenly over the cereal and tossing as you sprinkle to cover each piece well.

    Thanks so much! :)


    Reply to this comment »
  • I remember all of these and I wasn't that young when they were on. So does that date me?

    jellybelly82158 at gmail dot com

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  • I watched Are You Afraid of the Dark? all the time. I also watched Goosebumps, Buffy, The X-Files, The Munsters, The Addams Family, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, The Outer Limits and Fear Factor. I used to watch a lot of tv. lol

    Reply to this comment »
  • Barbara E. says:

    I loved all those shows, but I watched them when they were first run, so now who's old? My favorite thing to watch after school though was the old movies, like Abbott and Costello that they showed in the afternoon. My favorite snack was my mother's molasses cookies, they were hard and crunchy so they lasted longer. I also loved peanut butter spread on a piece of bread.

    Reply to this comment »
  • veetopia says:

    Favourite after school snack: Epic Hot Chocolate. It's the easiest thing to make, and so delicious. Make a normal cup of hot chocolate – powder, syrup, whatever – but make sure to use whole milk. It works with lower fat milk too, but is just not the same! Then, add marshmallows and a packet of instant coffee. Presto – caffeine fix and chocolate fix all in one. You can even add a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg to taste.

    Also much like most people on here, my favourite show to watch while drinking in this decadence was Buffy.

    Reply to this comment »
  • les121 says:

    In elementary school I would watch X-Files reruns every day. I'm not even sure why my parents let me watch it because it's kind of a disturbing show and definitely not geared for ten year olds. But I loved the mystery and the monsters and the awesome characters. Looking back, I think my X-Files obsession is a major reason why I now love speculative fiction.

    Reply to this comment »
  • I love cartoons so pretty much whatever was on at the time you would definitely find me watching it!

    spettolij AT gmail DOT com

    Reply to this comment »
  • I use to watch the shows too minus wonderwoman, never saw that but my mom always referred to herself as wonderwoman :) I use to spend summers at my dad's and my stepbrother was always there and loved to watch the A team, naturally he got me hooked as well and this is where my huge crush on Mr. T came from. I was sure I would grow up to marry that man LOL After school snacks, let's see. I grew up on a lot of cheese tortillas, cheezitz with cottage cheese, cheerios with yogurt and once in a while cream cheese and salsa dip with chips. Melt some cream cheese in the microwave till soft and pour in some salsa, pace is best and mix. Really yummy dip. I also use to take a tortilla and spread with cream cheese and Grey poupon over that and line with thin ham slices and grated cheese and roll

    Reply to this comment »
  • Jane says:

    I love this site! Everyplace I look there is a new book to discover!

    I used to boil eggs in the morning and eat one after school as a snackemjane @ gmail dot com .

    Reply to this comment »
  • I was more mid 80s so I didn't see most of these. I just started to watch Buffy on netflix.

    Reply to this comment »
  • I didn't watch much tv when I was younger, but recently I love Leverage. I was raised on stories of Robin Hood so the story really appeals to me.

    As for snacks…brie cheese with fresh strawberries. Yum. Or homemade lemon popsicles. :)

    Thank you for the chance!


    Reply to this comment »
  • I would come home from basketball practice every weekday after school, make a bowl of spaghetti-Os and watch the Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was also big into watching Friends!

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

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