Friday, May 31, 2013

Consortium of Chaos superhero romance novel character bio #6: Poacher

Let’s do another long-time supporting character, Poacher.

Sydney Bestiarius Voldar AKA “The Poacher” is head of the Consortium’s Animals and Monsters Department.  It’s his job to oversee (and presumably train) the large number of mutated and no doubt evil creatures which any organization dedicated to destroying the world is likely to accumulate.  Since the Consortium’s switch to being Capes, he mainly seems to concern himself with complaining about receiving calls from the citizenry about rats and other vermin, a fact which he feels is an insult to his department’s honor.

I don’t think his height has ever been mentioned, but I’d put him somewhere around Kasos’ height, but below Hazard, and built like a bear.  6’5” or so I should think.  He has black hair and green eyes.  He is covered in scars, including a large one on his stomach, which Marian hypothesizes, is the result of a shotgun blast.  He wears the stereotypical garb of a big game hunter: kakis, boots and a pith (safari) helmet.  Emily contends like he dresses like one of the skippers on Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise ride.  He carries an antique elephant gun, a machete and an Australian stock whip.
In addition to enhanced strength and senses, Poacher has the ability to assume the powers and abilities of any animal whose skin, fur or blood he is in contact with.  The power appears to work on people as well, and he can take on the capabilities of any super-person whose blood he touches.  The ability only works for as long as he remains in contact with it though, and if he loses the fur/skin/feather/blood, he loses the abilities.  Although it’s never really been dealt with in the series, I assume that he can only use one power at a time, and there’s probably some kind of rule about how many times he can use it on the same object before he needs to find a replacement.  I’m honestly not sure, as he doesn’t really use the power a great deal, instead relying on his elephant gun in fights, which is loaded with a variety of different kinds of shells made for him by the Weapons Department of the C of C.

Poacher is the result of deliberately setting out to write the worst human being possible.  I’ve done that a few times now, and every time I do it, I end up coming up with someone different.  The other occasions that I can think of off the top of my head were Tyrant and Cynic, and it’s hard to think of three more different characters.  …They’re all still pretty terrible though, I don’t know why I like them so much. 

I remember going for a Blaine (Jesse Ventura) from “Predator” mixed with Johner from “Alien Resurrection” and Muldoon from “Jurassic Park” sort of vibe originally, but he’s gone off and done his own thing over the course of the books.  He describes himself as not being “a thinker,” and Stacy describes him as a “junkyard dog.”  If I had to describe him, I would say that if someone was mean to you on the playground, and you were friends with Poacher, he would be the guy who would kick the bully’s door down and beat up the kid’s dad in front of him/her to send the kid a message not to mess with you anymore.  He has a tendency to take things to unhealthy extremes, but I think he’s softer than he lets on.

I’ve always gotten the sense that Poacher’s blinders about the work he does have been taken off.  Like, he’s lived a much harder life than some of the other villains, and that he’s under no delusions about what they do.  He used to be a mercenary for hire, and I think he sort of fell into super-villainy, rather than making it a calling from childhood like the others, and as such, I think he’s probably seen a different side of the world.  I don’t know how much he lets this bother him (he doesn’t seem to be too bothered, saying simply that all jobs have their downsides), but I definitely think he’s done worse things than most of the other people in the Consortium. 

Of course, he’s actually arguably the most devoted to the group though, so I’d imagine that these two things are related.  I think he did a lot of bad things and is happy to have found a place to call home, where he doesn’t have to worry about not being accepted.  He also has his own distorted and strange rules and sense of honor though.  He prides himself on his loyalty, and his willingness to risk his life for the other members borders on death wish.  He seems to view himself as a protector of sorts, always willing to lend them a hand.  Stacy contends that his function is to be the first man through the door in a fight, serving as a counterpoint to Miles, whose function is to make sure that no one kicks down the Consortium’s door.

Random facts about him:
- His favorite book is Little Women, and his favorite character is Beth.
- His favorite music is Connie Francis
- He collects Hummel-like figurines.
- He seems to reference Dr. Seuss a lot
- His favorite My Little Pony is Flutter Shy.
- His personal motto is: “Kill lest you be killed.”
- He claims to have once been buried alive.
- He has his own fanclub, the “Poacher Pals,” although he only achieved this feat by appropriating the membership of The Honey Badger’s club.
- He excels at football, and is very popular on the GSU campus.

Poacher springs from a fairly common character type in comic books and popular culture, the “Big Game Hunter.”  Traditionally, this kind of character loves to hunt down the hero as a display of his/her animal prowess and uses “primitive” weapons to accomplish this goal.  I’ve personally never liked the idea of spears and blow darts though, so I gave him an elephant gun instead.  To me, it better fit the type of character I was trying to create.  I also replaced the traditional character type’s personality (honorable and concerned only with the challenge of the hunt) with a more primal and sort of savage nature.  He’s very in touch with his desires, much to the chagrin of those around him.
His name comes from the fact that I tried to find the least macho and “uncoolest” name I could think of (no offense to the male Sydneys of the world), preferably something that was unisex, and settled on “Sydney.”  I seem to recall almost naming him “Eugene,” but thought it was a little too “Tangled.”  “Bestiarius” is the name for the Roman gladiators who fought wild animals.  “Voldar” comes from the movie “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.”  There’s no story there, I’m afraid.  He has no deeper connection to Holly or her father, the movie just happened to be on while I was writing his introductory chapter (which ended up being deleted anyway) and I thought it was a cool name.  Incidentally, it happens to be the name of the movie’s bad guy though, so I guess you could argue that both characters serve as foils for the more pleasant people in the story.

Poacher’s one of those guys that I just have a hard time getting to take things seriously.  If the chapter is told from his point of view, half the time it’s random profane complaints about the world around him, and the other half it’s a quasi-philosophical poetic treatise on the nature of life.  It’s hard for me to imagine when or how he’d focus enough to try for his HEA, but I’m sure he will eventually.  He seems dedicated to the idea that he’s going to “die bloody” though, so I guess we’ll have to see which of us is right in the end.  Personally, I’m hoping it’s me.  I find him funny in an aggravating sort of way, but he means well.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

New fairytale romance novel: "The Snow Queen" now available on Amazon

Elizabeth Gannon's newest book, The Snow Queen is now available on Amazon!

The Snow Queen

Beauty: Kai is not the most popular man in the village. He can’t fish and he doesn’t want to be a warrior. Instead, he wants to excavate the area for traces of the village’s past, whether it happens to be underneath the main street in town or beneath someone’s flower garden. He is content to live a quiet life and dream of something more. Truth be told, Kai is a mystery to most of the people in town… which is why they choose to send him across the frozen tundra to die.

The Beast: The Snow Queen is not the most popular person in the kingdom, despite the fact that she rules it. Not that she cares what others think. She’s content to sit in her magical ice palace, brooding about all the things she’s lost and striking fear into the hearts of the idiot villagers. But, when her most treasured possession is destroyed by those morons, she comes looking for someone to fix it. Or for some swift, icy vengeance. Instead, she gets Kai. The annoying human is offered to her by the village like a sacrifice. The deal is quite simple: he’ll use his skills to fix her treasure or she’ll destroy everyone. Rather than be terrified of the threat though, the man appears only too happy to assist her in piecing the history of her family back together. What does he want from her? Why hasn’t she simply killed him? And why does his smile melt her cold heart?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Zombie Romance novel: "Love in the Time of Zombies" is now for sale!

Cassandra Gannon's newest novel, "Love in the Time of Zombies" is now for sale on Amazon!

Love in the Time of Zombies

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sneak peek at the cover to "The Snow Queen," a new fairy tale romance

A sneak peek at the cover to Elizabeth Gannon's next book, The Snow Queen.  It should be out this week.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sneak peek at the cover to "Love in the Time of Zombies," a new zombie paranormal romance novel

Here's a look at the cover to Cassandra Gannon's new book "Love in the Time of Zombies," which should be out later this week.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Stacy's thoughts on the Supernatural finale

In honor of the season finale of Supernatural which aired tonight, I thought I’d hand the blog over to Stacy from the Consortium of Chaos series (and star of "Electrical Hazard"), and let her give her thoughts on it. As readers may recall, it is her favorite series on TV:

Thoughts on the Supernatural season finale by Stacy Bell

Okay, so as I’m SURE everyone out there knows, the season finale of Supernatural just aired a couple hours ago. So, I thought I’d write down a few of my thoughts on the show in general.

I’ve watched the show since season 2, and it’s the best thing on television. …Possibly in the history of the world, although antibiotics and stuff are important too, I guess. In any event, I feel like the show has lost its way over the past couple seasons. STILL the best show on TV (EVER!) but even the best of us need some help from time to time, and show, here are my suggestions to your writers. If they are reading this, they can feel free to use any of them (…now I’m thinking about how TOTALLY awesome it would be to appear in the Supernatural credits…).

1. Dean is the best hunter. PERIOD. I don’t care how many guest stars we throw in there, or how many times we show some monster tossing him around. It’s been shown time and time again that Dean is the only hunter with the mind, body (WOW), and MOST importantly HEART to protect the world from evil. I AM a superhero, and I know what they look like, and Dean is one. Look at the man! All he needs is the Cape! The show periodically seems to lose this point though, and as it’s been the heart of the show since its inception, that means that the show feels different now than it ever has before.

2. Why is Dean sidelined this season? It seems like every other character on the show has had some real storyline, and grand drama to showcase them. Even CHARLIE for God’s sake, and who even cares about her? Answer: NO ONE. Dean is a deeply nuanced character, ably played by a fantastic actor. He’s like a sexy onion, and each layer you peel off of him just reveals more and more awesome. But instead of watching those layers get peeled off (and while I’m dreaming, hopefully clothes as well) we are forced to watch him bringing soup to the other characters like something out of Downton Abby. It’s like having Rambo in the car, and going in to face the bad guys alone, or benching your best player in the last inning of the big game.

3. Why is the show standing in the way of Cas and Dean being together? They have a profound bond. PERIOD. Dean + Cas = EPIC! Imagine how pretty their babies would be!

4. Why does the show try to make Sam into Dean? Sam is Sam and he has an important place on the show, but it’s NOT in front of Dead. The show is supposed to be about the brothers as they travel the back roads of America and fight evil. It is NOT supposed to be about the brothers staying in the same place, while SAM tries to fight the forces of evil, and Dean makes him soup. It is also not about watching Sam sit around all summer and tinker with broken air conditioners while Dean suffers alone. (Thankfully, Cas was there and was able to help him. At least SOMEONE cares about him.) Sam made less of an effort to help Dean than I’ve made to conquer interstellar flight. Now, I don’t blame Sam for this. I know a lot of people (rightly) do, but I place the blame on the writers’ doorstep. The Sam I know from previous seasons would have moved Heaven, Hell AND Purgatory to get Dean back, no matter how many cheap motel trollops try to distract him. That is the WRITER’S fault, and they had better fix it. Sam deserves better. And Dean DEFINITELY deserves better, both from the writers and his brother.

Now some thoughts on the finale (SPOILERS!)

5. So, let me see if I understand this, show: Dean has to apologize for not trusting Sam, despite the fact that the series has showed us time and time again that his distrust was entirely rational, justified and not NEARLY extreme enough! Maybe Dean would have trusted Sam is Sam had… I don’t know… DONE SOMETHING!

6. Did we learn nothing about leaving uber-powerful demon people tied up, and then leaving them completely unattended? Didn’t our prisoner escape the last time we did that? Last week? Am I the only one who remembers that? I mean, are Dean and Sam giving super-villain clichés a shot, and just leaving the prisoner alone instead of watching them?

7. So, all that time we spent following Amelia and her war hero husband around was, what? Just filler? Was she like the director’s daughter who wanted to be on daddy’s show? Why did the show think we needed to see all that?

8. Why are we suddenly afraid of Sam dying? The Winchesters die like twice a season, why would this one be any different? I’m a super-hero too, so I understand the idea that death is a temporary inconvenience, and nothing more.

So, in the end, Supernatural has an exciting opportunity to fix the many MANY problems which uncaring writing have created, but amazingly talented actors and a loving fanbase can solve. Now, I’m not saying I have all the answers here… No, wait. That’s EXACTLY what I’m saying, isn’t it?


FIX IT WRITERS! I just want to watch Dean continue his livelong career of awesome, and never have to watch him waiting on someone again! 

-Stacy Bell

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Superhero novel: "Electrical Hazard" is now available!

The next chapter in the Consortium of Chaos superhero novel romance series, Electrical Hazard is now for sale on Amazon!


The Consortium of Chaos: The super-villain organization semi-unwillingly thrust into the field of heroics. They’re not nice people, but now they do nice things. …Occasionally. If it’s during office hours and there’s nothing good on TV, anyway.

The Consortium of Chaos goes back to school!

Stacy: Stacy’s awesome. Just ask her. Her powers let her control electricity, she’s collected every Pokemon card, and she’s almost sure she isn’t going to flunk of college this semester. Being Stacy has never been so amazing! Honestly, she’s positive could be running the entire C of C, whipping the villains-turned-heroes into shape, except she’s got bigger ideas percolating in her cheerfully evil brain. Stacy’s determined to fulfill the next step of her master plan to claim her man. She’s been in love with Hazard since she was a little girl. Now that she’s all grown-up, it’s the time to teach the eight foot giant on who he really belongs to. What better place to begin his education than at Garden State University?

Hazard: Hazard’s alone and he likes it that way. For two hundred years, he lived in unrelenting pain and darkness. Then, he met a certain chipper blonde with criminal ideas and a shiny smile who gave him a reason to live. For some reason he can’t fathom, Stacy has followed him around for years, chattering about TV shows and book clubs. Stacy means everything to Hazard. And he’s not about to risk losing her by revealing that he’s hopelessly, desperately in love with the little weirdo. No matter how… adult she suddenly seems. Which is why he can’t explain how he let himself get dragged off GSU to help her graduate.

In fact, half the Consortium is on campus to support Stacy. The “reformed” super-villains are going out for the football team, redesigning the curriculum and taking over a fraternity house for themselves. It’s going to be the best semester ever… So long as Stacy can keep Hazard from falling into the clutches of the most nefarious, gold medal winning, swimsuit model, super heroine to ever crawl out of mean girl hell… Bekki.

Oh, and there are also some monsters.