Derailing Bedlam: A Taste of Tenay Part 2 #fiction #adventure

As usual, here is your warning that this story has cursing, sex (not graphic), innuendo, and violence.  It’s my Rated-R action adventure called Derailing Bedlam.  This is the fourth outing (third official) for Cassidy and Lloyd, so feel free to click on one of the two covers to see how it started.  Each one is 99 cents!

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

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Transforming Objects With or Without Permission

Fullmetal Alchemist

Changing a living thing comes with a lot of ethical questions even if it’s being done to oneself.  At least, there should be since I do remember one movie had kids turning rodents into cups without any hesitation.  There’s not that much of an issue when your transforming inanimate objects unless you’re shooting for ‘lead into gold’.  It can be a clear ethical problem if the change is being done to harm others, but mostly this is done to achieve a goal.

Now, I was going to categorize this topic like on Monday, but it all comes into the same vein.  Instead, I’m going to give a few tips if you plan on using this power, spell, or whatever in fiction.

  1. Try to keep the materials in the same school or give a reason why it will become something entirely different.  You might see I’m pulling a lot from ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ in these tips, but the show does it really well.  You can’t change a wooden log into a metal sculpture.  There needs to be a connection in order to place limits on the power.  Otherwise, the character can turn whatever is around into anything, which means they’re never lacking a solution for a problem.  Don’t have a key?  Turn a rock into it.  Lacking a weapon?  Turn your shoe into a high-powered laser with two beverage holders.  It really takes the suspense out of situations.
  2. Amount of material should be equal or at least close to what you end up with.  If you take a regular piece of paper and turn it into a full-sized blimp then you will need to have some explanation.  Maybe the spell combines with a growth enhancement and there’s no reversing it.  It could have a weaker molecular structure, so it will break apart at some point.  Again, you’re trying to create some limitations here and avoiding having a power that unbalances the story.
  3. The character does need to have an understanding when it comes to transforming an object into something complicated.  If they don’t know how a radio works then the chance of them turning a box of parts into one is nearly impossible.  You can have it be that the magic simply knows how to do it, but then you have to explain why that is the case.  It could be a spell specifically to build a radio, which is oddly niche and restricts the system.  You can’t have a variety of items changed and created by one spell, but then there is this one for radios.  It isn’t too difficult to avoid this because you only have to make the character a reader.
  4. Think twice before having a character turn useless stuff into money.  Gold and possibly gemstones will work, but cash is a big problem.  The reason is because they have serial numbers.  This means the character would have to make each bill one at a time to avoid duplicate numbers.  Other issues is picking a serial number that is already in circulation, one that is too big, or one that is too small.  Will a cashier notice this?  No, but this is something a reader might point out.  You also have various anti-counterfeit additions that the character might not know about.  Just avoid this issue and have them make things to sell on eBay.

Those cover a lot of ground here.  It really comes down to being careful, especially if you make transformations a big staple of a series.  Doing it once or twice might not bring in any attention, but having it be a consistent activity requires a system of some kind.  It can be abused by characters and authors alike since you could feasibly solve any problem with it.  We’re talking almost god-like powers of creation here with the only difference being the mortal needing something to change.  Removing that last limit would make the story horribly broken too.  So, proceed with caution.

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We are the #Uniqueauthors

Library of Erana

I got chatting via a blog post to a lovely author (who will be featured soon) about the extra challenges disabled authors and artists have. Publishing and producing work is a steep learning curve – it’s not just the actual story-telling – and many writers have physical or social difficulties which make the world, and the craft of creation even more tricky. To an extent, writing is a great equaliser. If I read a story I know little about that particular author – except what I can find out from the internet or publicity. I would probably not be aware that an author was, for example, blind, or suffered from disabling social anxiety. Writing is freedom. Writing is a veil and a fort. Reading and writing give one the chance to experience – at least in the imagination – the most amazing experiences.

There are some of us – the…

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Teaser Tuesday: It Started With a Cat #fantasy #shortstories

Cover Art by Circecorp

Here’s another one from The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks.  I’m finding it difficult to locate the older teasers, so they might all be new.  This is a part from Ichabod Brooks & the Phantom Archer.  The adventure is him judging an archery tournament, which couldn’t possibly go askew.  I mean, it isn’t like he’s recognized a pattern of odd events in his life.  Enjoy!

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Schools of Body Transformations: From Cyborgs to Werewolves

Disney’s Aladdin

One of the most commonly used powers/augmentations in fiction is the physical transformation.  It can range from a cybernetic finger to changing into a towering monster that eats planets.  Some are natural while others are magical and still more are created by science.  The thing they all have in common is that an organism’s physical structure is changed to some extent.  With that being said, there is a wide variety of categories, which I’m going to try to cover as best as I can.

Cybernetics

I’m going to get this one out of the way because it’s fairly straightforward.  This is the merging of living flesh with machines.  It’s entirely different than a robot (all machine with no flesh) and an android (robot designed to look and act human).  You can have only part augmented or give the character a full body that holds their brain like in Ghost in the Shell.  Power source is always an issue, but you can invent a fake system for your world that will work as long as it’s sensible.  For example, they can be powered by the human brain since it produces a lot of energy.

There is a spiritual side to this category too.  How much technology can be added to a person before they are no longer human?  Do the machines begin to undermine the soul or humanity of the person?  If they’re only a brain in a robotic body then can they be sure they truly existed to begin with?

Magical on Purpose

Another broad category, which might be what I stick to here.  This is different than the curses that I’ll touch on below.  Here is where you would find wizards and magical creatures that cast spells of transformation.  They could have an artifact that bestows such power or went through years of training.  Many times this takes on an animal or elemental theme.  One of the advantages to this category is that it isn’t as restrictive as cybernetics and curses.  It can be the most versatile one since the characters can change themselves into anything.  There could be a spell for humanoid transformations and another for animal while a third turns them into plants.  You can have them be specialists and create a long list of spells that have varying degrees of niche.

Magical by Accident

Mostly curses here, but you also have magical explosions that leave a victim with transformation powers.  It doesn’t always have to be bad like werewolves that can’t control themselves.  One example here is from ‘One Piece’ where characters who eat the Devil Fruit are cursed with a power, but can never swim again.  They find very unique ways to utilize even the strangest of powers and many of them possess a transformation component.  This deals much more with the origin and if it was intentional, which you can see it was not.

With this category, you can run the story towards a few different directions.  There’s the classic push for a cure or gaining control if they can’t change at will.  Other characters might see it as a way to make money.  Another path is bitterness and rage, which leads to a villain who seeks to spread his or her own misery.  A key component here is to determine how the character handles such an accident.

Natural Shape-Shifter

There is no technology or magic behind these characters.  They have been born with the ability to transform like Mystique.  Beast Boy might fall into this category too, but he got his powers when he was given a serum to cure a rare diseases and the side-effect was animal transformation.  Maybe it’s better to say that the characters here gained their abilities either through birth or a natural, non-magical method.  Still, they tend to have the easiest time.  There is no casting of spells, relics that they can lose, a curse that they can’t control, or metal parts that require a power source.  Instead, they can concentrate on a form and become it within seconds.  Unless they are given a specific category restriction, they can change to anything.

A tough part with this character is that they are only as strong as the author’s creativity.  I can put limitations on my shape-shifters to help me focus such as humanoid only or perhaps they can only change their arms.  Yet, I can also skip that and let them become whatever they need to be.  One has to be careful here because you can create such a powerful character that the audience loses their interest.  So, you have to use this category (and the others) with caution.

Any other categories that you can think of?  Have you ever tried to write a shape-shifter or have a favorite one?

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Mondays are Murder: H.H. Holmes

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! Today’s murder spotlight is on H.H. Holmes. Is the name familiar to you? It should be.

If not, maybe you’ve heard of the Murder Castle.

H.H. Holmes was a con man and serial killer. Born Herman Webster Mudgett, he changed his name to Henry Howard Holmes in an effort to avoid arrest for a slew of crimes (including grifting and insurance fraud). Holmes moved to Chicago before they hosted the World’s Fair in 1893, and he bought and remodeled a building—three stories tall and a block long—which he named the World’s Fair Hotel.

The public knew it as a new lodging facility for fair attendees. Holmes knew it as a playground for his sadistic proclivities.

Renovations were done by several different construction crews. Holmes claimed he was dissatisfied with the quality of work, so he kept hiring and firing contractors. In reality, he couldn’t have anyone see the…

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Been A While: Author Quotes!

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