Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New vampire kindle romance novel!

Cassandra Gannon's new book "Vampire Charming" is now available for purchase on Amazon:
Not Another Vampire Book was only the beginning of the story…

Slade, King of the Vampires: For a thousand years, Slade lived a rarified existence on an enchanted island. Now, he’s stuck in modern day Chicago and he hates it. His destined mate has divorced him, his people have abandoned him, and no one in the backwards human world makes any sense. He needs a new kingdom to rule. A better kingdom. Somewhere he can regain his glorious crown, defeat nefarious villains, and save a damsel in distress. Somewhere he can prove that he’s a still hero. Luckily, he knows a Witch who can transport him into a very interesting screenplay.

Jane Squire: A pragmatist and a loner, Jane doesn’t believe in fairytales. She’s got her sensible life under control, working the nightshift at a grocery store and taking acting jobs on the side. Then, the self-proclaimed “King of the Vampires” arrives to turn her peaceful world upside-down. Slade’s sure that he needs Jane to sidekick on his epic quest. Not only does the arrogant lunatic get her fired, but she’s somehow transported into the worse fantasy movie imaginable.

The Kingdom of Infinia: With script pages full of stolen dialogue, random musical numbers, a whole cast of supernatural weirdoes, there’s no denying that Jane and Slade are stuck in a swords-and-sorcery film. The egotistical (and annoyingly gorgeous) Vampire loves his new realm. Determined to overthrow Infinia’s Werewolf despot, Slade is happily battling dragons and gathering an army of Merry Men. And making Jane feel like she’s part of something for the first time in her solitary life. In fact, despite the Hollywood bad guys trying to kidnap her and the lack of hot water heaters… Jane is starting to think maybe she’s found her Prince Charming.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Superhero fiction short story

A new short story of mine (Elizabeth Gannon) has been published in an anthology of super-hero romance stories.  Mine is sort of a prequel kinda thing for my Consortium series, but is designed to stand on its own.

It's a loose adaptation of Jane Austen's "Emma."  Only with super-villains.  I call it: "No More Mr. Bad Guy."

Friday, May 9, 2014

There's no young adult fiction like having no young adult fiction in the 90s

When I was kid, back in the1990s, the Young Adult section of our local library comprised exactly two shelves.  By the summer I was thirteen, I had read most of the hundred or so titles available and switched (much to my mother’s horror) to romance novels.  Mom especially disliked the Zebra historical romances, with the extravagant, bodice-ripping covers.  Wincing, but not wanting to forbid me to read, she asked me why I was couldn’t read more books meant for teenagers.  The answer was simple:  There weren’t any more.  This was before Twilight and Hunger Games and Harry Potter created an industry.  Before Amazon and blogs.  This was before anyone I knew even had access to the internet.  I was a veracious reader and my world of Young Adult fiction was only two shelves wide.
Mom eventually came around to my romance reading.  Probably, she was just relieved that my one teenage rebellion involved a library.  Still, I’m glad that thirteen year old readers today have so many more options available to them than I did.  I loved Young Adult books and the ones I did read stayed with me.  l especially liked romantic suspense and supernatural/horror genres that seemed to populate YA shelves back in the 90s.  Twenty years later, I still remember my favorites and I thought I’d talk about them here.
BEWARE: I’m about to spoil plot points.
The Hart and Soul series by Jahnna N. Malcolm   If you could travel back to 1992 and sit next to me in the lunchroom, I would be dressed in stirrup-pants, with a scrunchie in my hair, and a Heart and Soul book in my hand.  This was THE SERIES, my friends.  The pinnacle of literature.  Ace high school reporter Amanda Hart bust drug dealers, breaks up shoplifting rings, and stop a presidential assassination, all while looking fabulous.  Her (kinda/sorts/maybe) boyfriend and partner in crime-solving is street smart Mickey Soul, who runs a bicycle delivery service and keeps getting dragged into Mandy’s cases.  No matter where their (oddly dangerous for a high school paper) investigations take them, he seamlessly fits in undercover, often leaving practical Mandy incredulous at his antics.  Think: Remington Steele goes YA.
At its heart, this series is eight simple teen mysteries.  But, the characters made it so much more for me.  As a kid, the books were the perfect mix of Mandy’s empowered assertiveness and Mick’s effortless cool.  They had romance and action and --if they’re maybe a little cheesy now-- that’s okay!  These were the books I begged my mom to order from the bookstore and which I still have copies of on my shelves.  FYI:  My favorite book of the series is Too Hot to Handle, where Mick and Mandy have to investigate arson at teen clubs.  Mick goes undercover as a DJ and then screws up the music, so Mandy can’t dance with the Cute-Possible-Bad-Guy.  I’ll admit it.  Even rereading it now, I get swoony.
Fatal Secrets- Richie Tankersley Cusick-  I like everything by this author.  Most of the time, her books have a plucky teenage heroine embroiled in some mystery and a couple of cute, yet enigmatic, guys helping her solve it.  Of course, one of them was ALWAYS the vampire/killer/villain.  And, of course, he was almost ALWAYS the guy I liked best, so I ended each story with a sad sigh and the growing knowledge that I had terrible taste in boys.  But, not so with Fatal Secrets.  On the surface, it revolves around a girl named Ryan, who is trying to solve her sister’s murder.  The mystery is good and has a surprise ending, but it’s not the real plot.
Seen through my sixth grade eyes (and adult eyes, because I reread it and haven’t changed my opinion) Fatal Secrets is REALLY about Jinx, the brother of Ryan’s best friend.  Jinx is a year younger than Ryan and is completely awesome.  He’s adorably smartass-y, and handsome, and grumbles every time Ryan needs a favor in her sleuthing, but he still always helps her.  When he’s not on the page, I’m flipping ahead to see when he comes back.  He’s so in love with her.  I KNOW he’s in love with her.  WHY CAN’T HE JUST SAY HE’S IN LOVE WITH HER?!? 
Then it happens.  Kind of.  Two-thirds of the way through the book, he gets into a fight with his sister and his sister reveals his crush to Ryan.  She reads lines from a love letter that he’s secretly written to Ryan, telling her how he feels.  Ryan is shocked.  Jinx is denying everything, except everyone knows he’s lying.  (Awww!)  Embarrassed, Jinx spends a couple chapters trying to avoid her.  (No!)  Ryan gets kidnapped and Jinx has to save her.  (Yay!)  At the end, the bad guys get caught (Whatever) and Ryan asks Jinx to the dance, because she’s finally noticing his complete awesomeness.   (FREAKING OUT with joy!).  For real, I’ve read countlessly adult romances where I wasn’t half as invested in the relationship.
The Heartbreak Café series by Janet Quin-Harkin.  This six book series was one of my favorites as a kid.  In fact, I liked them so much that they inspired me to start write my own stories, so I owe the author a big “Thank You.”  (Thanks, Janet!)  The Heartbreak Cafe series revolves a formerly wealthy teenager named Debbie.  After her parents’ divorce, she’s forced to get a job at a hamburger stand in order to make her BMW payments.  Day-to-day, the restaurant is run by Joe, grandson of the owner, who rides a motorcycle and is typically bad boy gorgeous.  The cast of characters are the regulars at the café, Debbie’s country club boyfriend, Grant, her often-immature parents, and her best friend, Pam.  The plot is simple:  Debbie and Joe can’t stand each other, fight all the time, and fall in love.  Then they fight some more and break up.  Joe saves Debbie from Grant’s attempted rape.  Debbie saves Joe from a hurricane.  Then, they’re back together.  The end.
Seems kind of vanilla, right?  So why did twelve year old me like it so much, when I rolled my eyes at most teen romances?  Joe, of the leather jacket and smoldering eyes, is the obvious guess.  (I am an unapologetic disciple of Johnny Castle.)  Rereading the series, I think it was Debbie that kept me interested, though.  The girl is a screw-up and a kind of a snob… But, unlike a lot of teen (and, in retrospect, adult) romances of the time, she wasn’t a wimp.  She wants to help people and prove herself.  As the books progress, she becomes more sure of who she is and less willing to accept crap from the men in her life.  I like that she snarks at Joe, and dumps Grant, and wants to earn her own living.  Considering these books were written in the 1980s, Debbie has a surprisingly modern character arc.  Even as a preteen, I needed the female characters to have an equal role in the romance and these books seemed far more balanced than most.
Remember Me- Christopher Pike-  Let me set the stage for you:  Shari, the heroine, of this book dies early on and spends the rest of the story as a ghost, trying to figure out who killed her.  Mind of eleven year old me?  Officially BLOWN.  Shari has to invisibly investigate her friends and family, learning more about them than she maybe wants to know.  Being a girl who liked my teen boy characters to ride motorcycles, I recall being especially fond of Shari’s friend Peter.  He’s dead, too, and shows up at her funeral to help her adjust to being a ghost.  More than any specific aspect of the plot, the part of the book that sticks with me is his conversation with Shari about his death.  He killed himself and now he’s stuck as a ghost because he’s afraid to move on.  He’s sure he won’t be welcomed in heaven.  Shari has to reassure him, which adds some reciprocity to their relationship, as they help each other.
Christopher Pike’s books remind me of Twilight Zone episodes:  Horror/supernatural morality tales, but they don’t beat you over the head with the “morality” part.  Yeah, he did the 90s YA standard “drunk teens secretly rundown a guy and now they’re being targeted one-by-one” books.  (Chain Letter, which wasn’t bad, either.)   But he usually delivers his message is a more subtle way.  For that reason, his books always seemed a little more “adult” to me, with discussions on suicide and abortion and sex, but always delivered within in some horror plot.  Oh and in his books, characters actually died.  A lot of teen horror books, pulled a “Surprise, it was all a hoax!” Scooby-do thing, but not him.  I liked that part as a kid, because I was equal parts romantic and morbid.
I could go on with this list with authors like Lois Duncan and RL Stein.  I enjoyed them, too.  These were just the stories that stuck with me the longest.  My sister Elizabeth just bought me the Heartbreak Café series as a birthday gift, so I’m in a nostalgic mood and on the lookout for more books of my childhood.  (Next, I plan to reread Duncan’s Stranger With my Face, which I haven’t read since I was in fifth grade.  What I most remember about it?  Her love interest with the antisocial personality and scarred face from a motorcycle accident.  I was a girl of predictable tastes.) If you have any favorites to suggest, feel free to discuss them in the comments.  I’m always on the lookout for new books to devour.
- Cassandra Gannon

Sunday, February 2, 2014

New Kindle supernatural / superhero romance novel!

Elizabeth Gannon's new book "The Only Fish in the Sea" is now available for purchase on Amazon:

Julian: Julian comes from the Golden Age of super-villainy. The son of Neptune and a mortal woman, he’s spent millennia as an outcast of both worlds. As king of the ocean, all Julian wants to do is protect the denizens deep and drown the humans for their crimes against sea creatures. He doesn’t care about the Consortium of Chaos’s new jobs as “heroes.” He still hates everyone, which is kinda unfortunate since he’s just become the one person responsible for keeping the world safe. He’d probably just ignore the human’s plight and go for a swim, except the beautiful woman he’s been searching for for years has shown up to help fix his “image problems.” Which means Julian might have to actually pretend to be a hero, after all.

Bridget: Bridget is a public relations specialist. Kind of. She’s not exactly at the top of her field, but she’s giving it her best shot. The curvy, average, dateless human is going to help Julian and his bizarre group of semi-insane, super-powered friends reach their full potential as heroes. And not JUST because he’s the handsomest man she’s ever seen. Years ago, Julian saved her life. In an age where good guys and bad guys seem way too much alike, Julian is the only person she’s ever seen act heroically. He can do anything. He just needs to believe that. …And stop telling all the humans that he’s going to conquer the planet. …And maybe not worry so much about seafood restaurants murdering his underwater subjects. …And actually pay attention to all the people trying to take over the city.

New enemies are rising and nearly everyone else in the Consortium is MIA. Now, it’s up to Julian and the Consortium members who are too old, weird, evil, or headless to be invited on the REAL missions to save the city. Except they suck at it. Humans are whining about the death-toll, the Consortiums screw-ups are all over the news, and their evil garage sale isn’t helping to pay the bills. Bridget’s going to fix all that. She’s determined to make the world see them for the heroes they are. Julian’s certainly willing to go along with her ideas, no matter how many public appearances he has to make at elementary schools and shopping malls. He knows he’s a villain and he couldn’t care less about what the rest of humanity thinks, but he sure loves the idea of being a hero to Bridget.

Friday, January 17, 2014

New Kindle paranormal / supernatural romance novel!

The latest book in Cassandra Gannon's Elemental Phases Kindle romance series "Magic of the Wood House" is now available on

Elementals:  Water, Earth, Fire and Air are only the beginning.  Elementals support everything from Darkness to Time, secretly maintaining the processes of nature.  Only now the Elementals are nearly extinct.  Two years ago, the Air House released a plague that killed ninety percent of them.  With their society in chaos and so many of their kind dead, they can’t find their Phase-Matches; the other halves of themselves.  Without Matches they can’t have any more children and without the Elementals, the world will end.  Again.
Sullivan:  Sullivan Pryce is human.  Mostly.  Big, scarred and suspicious of everyone, he has no idea that his grandfather was one of the most respected Elementals who ever lived.  The surly Police Chief’s unique DNA means women are pouring out of the cosmos to try and court him.  Most of them wind up in Sullivan’s jail, awaiting psych evaluations and bail hearings.  All he wants for Christmas is to get rid of this “Cult” of insane stalkers.  Except, he can’t stop thinking about one of them:  Teja, the most beautiful weirdo he’s ever seen.  No matter how crazy she is, Sullivan can’t get Teja out of his mind.  And not just because her gangster family has kidnapped him.
Teja:  Notorious for their wild ideas on romance and mafia movie lifestyle, the Fire House is feared throughout the Elemental realm.  But, tossing the universe’s most eligible bachelor into a dungeon is crazy even for them.  Teja, of the Fire and Cold Houses is horrified by her zany relatives’ actions.  She knows that Sullivan is her Match and that’s the last thing she wants.  For two years, Teja has been frozen inside.  Having Sullivan in such close proximity threatens to melt the protective layer of ice inside her heart.
Being around Sullivan soon has Teja feeling far too much.  For instance, anger that he isn’t beheading the parade of home wrecking women trying to seduce him away.  And desire when she gazes at his warrior’s face.  And confusion that Sullivan seems to have far more powers than a mostly-human guy should possess.  …And fear, because someone is targeting the Fire Phases.  Her family is being framed for a terrible crime.  As the rest of the Elementals turn on the Fire House, Sullivan and Teja are about to be caught right in the middle of the fight.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sneak peek at new paranormal / supernatural Kindle romance novel covers!

So, we have two new books which should be hitting the shelves very soon.  I thought it might be nice to give a sneak peek at the covers before they go on sale.  Enjoy!

"Magic of the Wood House" should be out within the next few days.

"The Only Fish in the Sea" should be out within the next couple of weeks.  It's 95% done.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Superhero Romance Character Bio #14: Julian

It’s been a long time since I did one of these as I’ve been busy with other things.  Namely, writing (I'm about 3/4 of the way done the next book now.)  I thought I’d finally do a new character bio though, and who better than the star of the book I’m working on, “The Only Fish in the Sea,” Julian! 

Julian Thalassic Sargassum AKA “Lord Sargassum” is “Ruler of the Seas” and head of the Consortium’s ‘Undersea Operations Department.’  He oversees their underwater base, is in charge of all aquatic crimes and takes his job very seriously.  He has a team of ex-criminals/current heroes who live in the underwater base with him, but they are usually absent from the Consortium’s activities.
Julian is a demi-god, and claims to be the son of Neptune and a human woman.  Oddly, he spends no time amongst the other Eternal people though, and instead seems to hang out on land with the “mortal surface-dwellers” he hates.  His reasons for this have never been explained.
The only thing we know about his past is that he claim to be responsible for “sinking the Titanic” because it “got in his way” and that he claims diplomatic immunity for his 254 counts of international piracy and crimes on the high seas.

He has the ability to breathe underwater indefinitely, and can talk to all aquatic creatures.  In the past he has also apparently claimed to be able to control seaweed, but has never been shown using this power.  He carries around his father’s golden trident, which he mostly seems to use to add drama to his everyday conversations by sweeping it around emphatically, and occasionally uses it to pick his fingernails when he’s feeling especially bored.  If he has any other powers or abilities, he hasn’t mentioned them to anyone yet.  

Julian is about 6’3” and has shiny black hair and turquoise eyes.  His age has never been given, but one can assume that at the very least he is more than a century old, since he was on the Titanic.  At the moment, he is sporting a beard befitting an ancient god and is very tanned.  He is usually described as being physically fit, and as wearing black fish scale armor pants and either manica (which are like armored sleeves) or a long cape made of material which looks like black seaweed.  Sometimes he wears boots, sometimes he goes barefoot.  Much to the chagrin of many of the male members of the team though, he never wears a shirt.  I seriously doubt this has anything to do with his powers, I think he just doesn’t like them.  Mortals wear shirts; god-kings do not.

His personality is marked by haughty pride and callous indifference.  Julian believes that the undersea world is superior to the world above, and has no qualms about telling people that.  Repeatedly.  To their faces.  He hates the surface world because he says it is destroying his kingdom, and he is on a mission to wipe the Earth clean of terrestrial life.  Every Consortium meeting, he makes a motion to create and oversee an army of “mutant fish-people” who will destroy the mortals for him.  His plan is always voted down though, and he blames Marian for standing in the way of his dreams by not approving his requested budget for the project.

To be perfectly honest, I’m never quite sure if Julian actually means a lot of the things he says.  He seems to alternate between feeling useless because the world considers him powerless, and taking his egocentrism to great heights while claiming to be the most powerful man in the world.  His sense of self-worth is either very good or very bad, and I don’t think even he knows which.  In either case, I think it hurts his feelings when people doubt him.

Julian has the distinction of being the only member of the team who has never done anything.  This is a deliberate choice on his part, and on mine.  He goes on every mission, he just always refuses to help in its completion, either because he does not believe in its goals, he is “on strike,” or would simply rather spend that time studying for an exam in college, which he no doubt will excuse himself from taking anyway.  I don’t think he’s lazy, I just think he doesn’t particularly care what happens to the “terrestrial” world.  He assures the team that if the oceans are threatened though, he will of course stop that danger.  Some might argue that he fails to aid the team because he can’t, since the battles in question are taking place on dry land and he's powerless, but I’m not convinced this is the case.  I think he could help if he wanted to, he just sees no reason to be bothered.
If I had to guess, I’d say that Julian probably ranks amongst the loneliest people on the Consortium’s crew.  He says that there are no other aquatic people, and since he seems to have spent most of his life under the sea, I think he likes the novelty of being around people.  He doesn't like being along, and even mortal company is better than nothing.  He is a member of every club the Consortium has, although he refuses to participate in their activities on general principles.  He still joins though, and still attends the Consortium’s parties, he just wants to make sure that everyone knows that he disagrees with their goals and is attending under protest.  There’s something kinda sweet about that.  There’s an innocence to Julian that most of the other characters lack.  He’s the little boy in school who always sits alone at lunch because he’s unpopular and shy, but wants to be part of the group.

Julian is another one of those characters who has just always been there.  Thematically, he’s based on any number of “fish-man” or aquatic characters in popular culture (Aquaman, Namor, Captain Nemo, etc), and their related tropes and issues.  I wanted to create a bad guy for one of those types of characters, while not straying too far from the trope itself, and stick him into a romance novel.  I’ve always really liked the idea of a hero whose only power would be fairly useless in a fight.  I find the dichotomy of being hugely powerful in one way, but utterly superfluous in another very interesting.  Julian has just always been there to remind the Consortium that they are nothing compared to the majesty of the sea though, and that they would all be doomed without him.  In fact, Julian actually predates the creation of the Consortium itself, and was a member of the team in the earlier (and vastly different) version of [book:Yesterday's Heroes|17231951].  Most of the other characters from that draft of the story (which mostly existed only in my head) are long gone or heavily rewritten (for instance, Seth, Monty and Wyatt were all the same character in that version, which is just impossible to even imagine now), but Julian remains, utterly unchanged.
Comic books have what are called ages.  The golden age stretches from the 1930’s to the 1950’s, and it’s home to most of the archetypal characters we think of as the superhero (Superman, Batman, etc).  The golden age has simple plots and clear morals.  There is good and there is evil, and evil never wins.  Storylines last one issue and the heroes are paragons of justice and morality.  Next comes the silver age, stretching from the mid-1950’s to the early 1970’s, and it introduces a lot of the more complex heroes to the scene, (the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Spider-Man, etc).  It is in this era that the heroes lose their ability to always know right from wrong, and the idea that heroes can dislike one another is introduced.  Next comes the bronze age, stretching from the mid-1970’s to the mid-1980’s.  It is in this era that the heroes’ morality gets even murkier and the idea that the bad guy can win is introduced.  Finally, the modern era, stretching from the mid-1980’s onward.  This era is characterized by violent anti-heroes, dispensing justice as they see fit.  Morality is gray and there is little distinction between the heroes and the villains, and they frequently switch sides. 

For his part, Julian is squarely in the Golden Age.  All Julian wants to do is flood the world and create mutant fish people.  He has no deeper political or personal goals other than that, but the world around him has gotten more and more complicated, and I think Julian sometimes feels lost.
Julian is named after Jules Verne, author of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."  At the time, I thought about choosing something more “godly” sounding, but that just wasn’t where his character wanted to go.  Thalassic is a word meaning: “of or relating to the sea” and Sargassum is both a species of fish and of seaweed.  I chose it because of the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 film “Bloodwaters of Dr. Z” and its infamous line: “Sargassum... the weed of deceit.” 

The Weed of Deceit

I’ve always liked the sound of that.  Incidentally, the Sargassum fish is also one of nature’s most accomplished ambush predators.  It lures in its prey by pretending to be what it is not, and is thus able to swallow enemies many times its own size.  In one bite.

Julian is always fun, because he takes offense at everything, and no one ever gives him any respect.  He does nothing, and people don’t expect that to ever change.  At the moment though, Julian is currently in charge of the Consortium and is tasked with protecting the entire world while the others are gone, so it should be interesting to see what he does with his new power within the C of C.