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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A Few More Days to Go!

This was the last full week of camp and it was a slog.  Keep in mind that I had just gotten over pneumonia, so the cough and fatigue were lingering.  Last Sunday, I could function for about 40 minutes before I needed to sit down.  Yet, I was at work on Monday and ready to do what had to be done.  My boss understood and let me take breaks when I could as long as someone was watching my area.  Still, the schedule was as follows:

  1. Monday was the big Shindig and I was in charge of the carnival popcorn popper.  This was outside, but under a tent.  I was able to go inside every now and then to check out my regular areas.  Kept the ready popcorn amounts high, so I was in constant motion even though I was running on fumes.  Still, I made it to the end and got to sit down in silence for a few minutes afterwards.
  2. Tuesday was the trip to see ‘Toy Story 4’.  This was for the whole camp and it was more tiring than I expected.  Have to admit that I wasn’t that impressed with the movie.  It felt unnecessary when you look at how ‘Toy Story 3’ ended.
  3. Wednesday through Friday was the Color Wars and I was a judge.  The first two days were in the gym, which isn’t air conditioned.  I thought that would be the same for the last day, but I ended up being outside.  Unfortunately, I didn’t bring a hat, water, or sunscreen.  So, I got drained and burned in a few places.  Not the best way to end the week, but I made it to the weekend.

There really isn’t much else to talk about.  Had an encounter that I wish I could talk about in public, but that would cause ripples.  All I can say is that some people need more empathy and shouldn’t start barking orders in a situation that they know nothing about.  I was really annoyed by this along with other things that happened.  Kind of want to have some form of a summer break, but that doesn’t look like it will happen.  Means I enter the school year as tired as I left it, which is a lesson for next summer.  I will either be taking courses, taking tests, or writing in 2020.  People ask me about money, but I’m just going to live frugal during that time.  Maybe I’ll be lucky and something will be moving with the books.

I’m hoping to get more active on WordPress and finally change my pinned Tweet once camp is done.  It might take a little longer since my son and I are going on a trip for a few days.  We haven’t been able to spend a lot of time together beyond a handful of weekends, which had plans.  The ex-wife argued that me working at the camp that he goes to counted, but I rarely saw him.  So, this trip is a much needed ‘father/son’ time that doesn’t happen very often.  I tend to be saddled with the errands like school supplies or parenting work like homework.  Not that I mind, but it does wear on me when I feel like I’m designated as the ‘boring’ parent.  I’m hoping to do a trip like this once or twice a year, but it really boils down to schedule.  It’s hard to do this when you have to contend with camp during the summer and holidays during the breaks.  Can’t go traveling when Passover and Easter are in the middle of your time.

Part of me wants to start in on the editing of War of Nytefall: Eradication before camp ends.  It’s 15 chapters, which means I need 5 clear days.  After the trip, my son goes to his mother and that gives me 6 days.  One of those will be taken by a work orientation and I always have other things going on.  With editing, I can’t take long breaks between sessions because I need to work on the flow.  My goal is to release it during Christmas and I haven’t done a lot.  No blurbs or contacting my cover artist, which I’ll be doing once camp is done.  Maybe I’ll work on the blurbs or do some editing on the trip once the little guy goes to bed.  Some people have suggested quitting the writing until I’m retired and have more time, but that just makes me cry.  Seriously, it’s more of a reminder that my entire life has fallen apart over the last 2 years.

Not much else to say.  I feel boring ever since I stopped being a full-time author.  Lost and depressed too, but that’s well established every week.  Just a few more days and I get more free time, which is good.

Goals of the week:

  1. Finish camp job.
  2. Start editing War of Nytefall: Eradication
  3. Pack for trip.
  4. Go on trip.
  5. Tinker with outline for War of Nytefall: Ravenous
  6. Work on blog posts for November.  (Can’t do October until the September posts go up asking for input.)
  7. Do more work on the fantasy tip book.  I tried at camp, but things happened.
  8. Weekend events like block party and arcade outing.
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A Heaven for Toasters: Chapter 6

Nicholas C. Rossis

A Heaven for Toasters | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book After relaunching A Heaven for Toasters, complete with new cover, I promised to publish it here in installments. 

Note: You can find a link to all published chapters at the end of this post or read more parts on Wattpad.

A Heaven for Toasters

What if your perfect man was a robot?

Detective Mika Pensive has a new partner. He’s hot. Smart. Funny. And an android.

Set in the near future, A Heaven for Toasters is more than a sci-fi crime adventure with plenty of romance and wit. It’s the book that will make you look at your toaster in a whole new way.

CHAPTER 6: Island

3:27 p.m.

I tapped my temple to connect with Mary.

“Mika, so good to hear from you,” she exclaimed. “Are you two having fun?”

Sure, if you enjoy things like chewing on nails and getting accused of murder. I didn’t even…

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Dawn Fang Summer

Summer has to be a rough season for vampires.  You have the heat and longer days, which makes less hunting time.  At least for those that can’t go into the sun.  Then you have the temptation all over the place.  Those tasty mortals in their shorts and t-shirts.  Juicy limbs exposed and beckoning to every fang in the area.  So, what is the cast of War of Nytefall doing this summer?

Bob–  I’m cultivating a breed of seahorse that can jump out of the water and spit stun juice.  I don’t know what I would use it for, but it helps pass the time.

Titus Winthrop–  I’m enjoying the beach since I don’t have to worry about the sun any more.  I still have to stay away from the mortals.  Seems all the scars on my body make people uncomfortable.

Chastity Sullivan–  This blog doesn’t have a high enough rating for me to explain what I’m doing.  Come back to me later.

Stephanie Talon–  Lounging in the sun and purring.

Kenneth Decker–  Since I’m not a Dawn Fang, I don’t treat summer any differently than the other seasons.  I wait until nightfall and do what’s needed to assist my maker.  If I have the time off, I brew ales and meads.

Archillious–  Plot the destruction of reality and lure mortals into my grasp through my amazing displays.  I’m not allowed to eat them any more, but I can get some extra spending money during this time of year.

Nadia Sylvan–  Romantic walks and dinners with my love.  Perhaps reading a book on the balcony.  I have never been much of a summer person.

Xavier Tempest–  Play music while enjoying the company of my wife.  Do mortals really care so much about this time of year?  Why is that?

Gregorio Roman–  I stay inside.  My eyes don’t like the brightness of the summer, so I stay in my lair.

Lost–  Not to mention he had me put scrying crystals in certain areas, so he can do something call people watch.  My mom says it’s something that lechers do and she thought Grandpa Roman was above such things.

Gregorio–  Where did you put those crystals?

Lost–  In the lower floors of the Scrumptious Siren.  You said that you wanted to see interesting people, which I thought was code for spying on people having-

Gregorio– That’s not what I meant.  Please bring them back.

Lost–  Okay . . . I’m trying to stay out of trouble this summer.  I don’t think I’m having much luck.  Bunny is trying to fly around the world.

Luther Grathan–  I enjoy finding a peaceful part of nature and enjoying the near silence. If that is not possible then I play chess outside with one of my many contacts.

Chastity Sullivan– My summer will be busy once I open my new ice cream stand.  That’s clean enough to talk about here.

Lou–  I guard Lady Sylvan.  That’s all.

Kai Stavros–  There is no vacation for a spymaster.  I continue to watch people and gather information for our side.

Mab–  Steal things at festivals since those are all over the place during the summer.  Don’t act like my answer surprises you.  Uh . . . Where’s Clyde?

*everyone shrugs*

Mab–  Did you sneak out again?

*Note appears on wall: Taking a nap in a hammock.  Leave me alone.  I’m on a summer break.*

Titus Winthrop–  This is what happens when the author can’t get to his stories.  We all get lazy.

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Derailing Bedlam: A Taste of Tenay Part 1 #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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Continue reading

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