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The Mystery of the Murder

Braxton Cosby Author Interview

Braxton Cosby Author Interview

The Cape: Overdrive sees The Capes coming together to protect the world from a destructive asteroid. What was the inspiration for the setup to this installment in your Dark Spore series?

The Cape Overdrive was written on a whim of sorts. The Dark Spores Series is a compilation of 6 books (currently) from three different authors and is part of the Cosby Media Productions Dedicated Superhero Universe. It was envisioned to be along the same lines as as say a Marvel or DC universe in which all the superheroes have separate tales which have some overlap in story lines and then all the heroes come together for a similar cause, obstacle or enemy. I had already completed The Cape (book 1) and was looking for a new story arc that moved the overall scope of the Dark Spores forward, while providing fans and readers with a new wrinkle to keep them interested.

To that end, I was having a conversation with another author and thought, man, it would be cool to have The Capes fight encounter something other than a villain in this book. My wife had read an article about the value of a “Quintillion” which is the number one with 16 zeros after it. I thought, hmm, what if an asteroid was made up of precious stones and carried a value of a Quintillion dollars was hurtling towards Earth. What would happen if all the super power countries of the world wanted to obtain it? How would that play out in my Cape Universe? The outline began right there.

There are so many fascinating characters in this book with their own unique powers. What was your favorite character to write for?

I love The Blurr. She is actually my most powerful character and she is actually modeled after my wife. But more than that, The Cape represents superheroes that were once regular people; complete with flaws and all. They just happened to gain powers in book 1 after being caught in a storm. The city of Chicago then became an experimental pitri dish for producing special people separating Normals from Super-Normals.

Blurr’s character arc from a call girl to the evil Super-Normal Cheetah-Girl in book 1, who lacks confidence and self esteem, and then eventually converts to The Blurr at the end, joining Paladin and his team, was both challenging and rewarding to write. I think she reflects the best attributes of the human spirit and is and can inspire all of us to fight through those low moments of our lives and ultimately walk in a bright future.

If you read closely you’ll also see a larger character arc looming in the future that will play a major part in the CMPDSU going forward when all the Phase 1 heroes get together in INFINITY 7 (the collaborative effort of all three authors: Chayil Champion, Keshawn Dodds and myself). Phase 2 has other authors and heroes coming as well that can be read about on our website.

Thief and Blurr are a dynamic duo. What were some obstacles you felt were important in developing their characters?

Their past relationship for one. Sebastian (Paladin) knew Karla (Blurr) a long time ago and always had a crush on her but was too afraid to express it; fearful that it would kill their friendship if it didn’t work out. When Paladin seeks to solve the mystery of the murder in book 1, he discovers who Cheetah-Girl really is and desires to convert her over to the good side, without letting her know his true identity.

The other obstacle is Karla’s past catching up with her. She has a dark history that has held her down for years and kept her in a place where she feels undeserving of a good man like Sebastian and now she must face and overcome those demons in order to walk in the light and receive what he has to offer – love without judgment. This allows their relationship to blossom and they become a modern day Cyclops and Jean Grey. Paladin sort of becomes her redeemer and that character trait creates this “Perfect Guy” persona for her which I think makes him very likable as a character. Amongst the triad of Paladin, Blurr and Thief, he is definitely the shining star and symbol of honestly and is the glue that keeps the squad grounded.

Lastly, the larger looming obstacles with be the baddies: Dark Phase in book 1 and the new villains, along with the entire world vying for a piece of the asteroid.

The challenge, I think, with superhero novels is making the danger feel real, which I think you accomplished. How did you balance the danger and their powers to make things feel legitimately life threatening?

The answer was simple: man versus the unknown. In that sense, I used war as the catalyst. As I said earlier, all the powerful nations of the world would be converging on the crash site to secure the asteroid and only The Capes would be able to stop them. Imagine if you gave a quintillion dollars to say Russia, Germany or North Korea. What would they do with such resources? It would definitely tip the scales of power to some degree and it’s unimaginable what the impact would be. Would we be looking at World War 3 or the end of the world itself?

Then there’s the basic theme of good versus evil. Not to give the story away any further, but I added some powerful, new Super-Normal villains in the sequel that really challenge The Capes; along with a nice twist to keep it fresh. Seat of your pants action never hurts a story and I think I have a lot of that mixed in.

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Super Heroes Wage War Once Again When the world is thrown into a panic from the imminent threat of a gigantic asteroid worth a Quintilian dollars, The Capes are asked to protect the planet from certain doom. But it’s not just the destructive force of the impact that everyone fears; it’s greed. Multiple nations gather to collect on the bounty for the precious meteorite while evil Super-Normals threaten to salvage the precious stone for their own deeds. Even the position of military power hangs in the balance as the most poorest of countries will catapult to the top of the totem pole with just an ounce of the spoil. Once again Paladin, Thief and Blurr must stand together and utilize every bit of their super powers – shifting into Overdrive – as the fate of the entire galaxy will ultimately hinge on the emergence of a new enemy from deep space.

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Not Really Heroes

Grant T. Reed

Grant T. Reed Author Interview

Welcome to Deep Cove is an energetic fantasy adventure tale with some intriguing characters. Garrett is a private investigator with a small dragon for a partner. How did you set about writing for this dynamic duo?

The groundwork for the Vellian Mysteries was laid out in the prequel books – the Vellian Heroes series. My twin Gary and I set out to write some fantasy adventure novels for teens, and the protagonists were Garrett and his training partner Azilda who were around the age of twelve in the first two books. The Vellian Heroes series tells the story of how Garrett and Azilda were trained by their ancient masters- Yarl and Fonn, to become future protectors of the realm. Like the Vellian Mysteries, the ‘Heroes‘ series also maintains a humorous tone, where we wanted to keep the story fast paced and as entertaining as possible. The Cassadian Chalice (Vellian Heroes Book 2) Essentially tells the tale of how Garrett met Merle and P.C.

In this story some dock workers are missing and Garrett must investigate. What was your inspiration for the mystery he must unravel?

I wanted to show that Garrett and his partner Merle, were just average Joes trying to make a living. They’re not really heroes in the truest sense of the word, but when their mettle is tested, they become a formidable pair. Having to work dock duty to pay off back rent they owed to their landlord was almost a parallel to my own life at the time, where I seemed to go from one menial job to the next in a bid to pay the bills. Of course, if some of those dock workers happen to turn up missing, I thought this might be a way to ease into a much deeper mystery, which really has very little to do with the actual disappearance of one of Kline’s hired muscle, but more to do with how far a man would go to avenge the loss of his family and to right the wrongs perpetrated on him and his loved ones. After all what would you do to protect your family? I know I would do almost anything- even if it took me years to get my revenge. So as you can see, one small aspect of the story really feeds a much bigger idea.

Garrett and other characters come from another of your book series, Vellian Heroes. How has character development changed for you through the series for the main characters?

As I mentioned, the Vellian Heroes take place when Garrett and Azilda are twelve years old. After writing those books for a couple of years and then taking a couple years off, I came back ready to write when I was 31 years old (I’m 40 now) and at the time I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be interesting to see how these characters turned out twenty years after the stories told in the first two books. Did they become great heroes and protectors of the realm or was their a more realistic arc to the expectations that had been thrust upon the youngsters? Even I didn’t know, but I thought it might be fun to investigate. Advancing the story by twenty years, I was able to write Garrett’s perspective from that of a man’s. Of course, as kids they had their own personalities and inconsistencies, and I tried to keep these intact for Garrett and Azilda, but with the added factor they had now experienced twenty years, since they were trained by the masters.

Welcome to Deep Cove is the first book in the Vellian Mystery series. Where does the next book in the series, Something Stinks in Deep Cove, take the characters?

Book 2 – Something Stinks in Deep Cove, reunites Garrett with his sister Azilda. There are also several other characters brought back from the Heroe’s series as well, and you might even have to think back to figure out where some of them come into play. For those that have read the first two books, I think it will be quite fun to see how  these characters turned out (especially Uncle Willie who plays a key role in Something Stinks in Deep Cove). At first glance, the mystery itself seems pretty cut and dry. P.C, Garrett and Merle’s automaton, is seen attacking a Deep Cove businessman in front of dozens of witnesses. The old man has a heart attack, and now Merle and P.C must stand trial for murder. How the heck is Merle going to get out of this one? I thought it would be fun to dissect a case like this and take something that seemed black and white and break it down through the eyes of Merle who must use all of his sleuthing skills to get to the bottom of what really happened to Mr. Potty.

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Welcome to Deep Cove (Vellian Mysteries, # 1)At thirty-one, Garrett Willigins has finally earned his private investigator’s badge. Unfortunately the bills haven’t stopped coming and building a solid reputation won’t happen overnight. Forced to take employment wherever they can, Garrett and his miniature dragon partner, Merle, must dirty their hands any way possible to make a buck. Shoveling manure, chasing cats, and dock duty seem to be the order of the day. Working off back rent for a notorious gangster isn’t the safest of jobs on a good day, but when the other dock workers begin disappearing, Garrett finds himself elbow deep in a mystery that might spell a quick end to his short P.I. career.

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Review: Pestilence Rising

Pestilence Rising 3star

Pestilence Rising is a chaotic journey filled with thrilling possibilities. Hunter is a ravager, someone that can spread disease to those around him, and struggles to keep his powers in check. His brother, Michael, is a healer. As kids Micheal tested the limits of his powers by killing animals and brining them back to life, and even drowning Hunter at one point so he can see if he can bring him back to life. But Hunter is still the black sheep of the family. He killed his mother when he was born, his brother can heal people while Hunter can only kill people, so there is no wondering who the favorite child was. Eventually Hunter grows up and keeps his distance from his family and to support himself he works for a government agency called The Center that locates and quarantines anomalies such as Hunter and Michael. The book opens with Hunter searching the internet for anomalies to report to The Center when an angel climbs into his window and immediately lays a life changing decision on him. He must turn away from The Center and the life he built for himself and go in search of his estranged brother. Reluctantly, and with a shove from the angel, Celeste, he begins his run from The Center and towards Michael to save him from an unknown fate. While on the run, Hunter learns about a looming threat to all anomalies that is bigger than The Center. It’s a threat that has the potential to destroy all life on the planet. There are people with other powers than just ravagers and healers, some people can see into the future and there are still others that have been left unexplained, but they all essentially have super powers that they are struggling to cope with. The story starts to take on the feel of the TV show Heroes where these are characters with special powers that are on the run from a government agency, they must use their powers to escape and overcome the challenges ahead, but they must also find the human element in their non human powers and decide what kind of a future people like them will have. The story, overall, is well developed, but there are finer points that have connections that are missing. A few examples: The reason why the anomalies have super powers is because of two deities that lived long ago that had the same power of healing and ravaging and their powers were dispersed among a few people, but then, why are there some people that have powers other than healing and ravaging? Why was Michaels girlfriend not more concerned with Michael’s disappearance? At one point Hunter was shot, suffering from withdrawal from his medication and was just in a terrible car accident, but he gets fixed with a night of sleep and some over the counter vitamins and pain killers. The story could have been fast paced if a lot of the fluff was edited out as there is an overabundance of character placement and contextual detail. I enjoyed the story overall and the authors passion for the story really shines through. The story ends with a slight possibility for a sequel where, I hope, the adventure continues.

Look for this book coming out September 2013.

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