A superhero mashup from the talented minds of Cosby, Dodds, and Champion containing all your favorite characters from the authors own respected series. These three well-accomplished authors team up to produce an ambitious novel. At times this story works well and seamlessly provides a world where these superheroes can come together and fight yet falls short to bridge the gap between each story line and harness a collective voice among the numerous characters.
Infinity 7 begins with the rise of a dark power. As the growing threat draws closer to earth the Capes, Majesties and Solar Warriors band together to solve the mystery of their fearsome foe and hold their own against the escalating violence around them.
Those who have read Dodds, Champion, or Cosby’s previous novels will appreciate the crossover character interactions, powerups, fight scenes and the familiar personalities of main characters. I don’t discourage those who have not read all prior books about the Majesties, Capes and Solar Warriors. In fact, I’ve only read Cosby’s novels featuring the Capes but became increasingly curious about the origin story of Solar Warrior and the Majesties. Menzou, in particular, was a standout character in the latter half of the story.
It is safe to say when three separately established narratives come together an overload of characters is bound to happen. Trying to fit every character from every book into one story gave way after only a brief introduction for the main players. And then to add new characters made for an even muddier predicament. The portal jumper Tenan was one of my favorite superheroes, not so much for his abilities (that spot is held by Blurr), but for his evolution as a character. The concept of his being and power capabilities were truly fascinating and a new twist on the typical portal hopping powers. Tenan’s narrative stood out among the others for the creativity and consistency and I applaud the authors for integrating such an engaging plot within an already chaotic universe.
I love a good superhero, sci-fi, adventure series and this book has all the makings to be a good one. My wavering stance is for the lack of world building and character development which had me scratching my head in confusion more than once. Still, I imagine readers who read all former books from the authors’ will greatly enjoy the journey. And semi-new readers such as myself will soon be putting the adventures of the Majesties, Capes and Solar Warriors on their future reading list.
Pages: 421 | ASIN: B07MJ928B8
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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.
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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A Memory of Solstice follows Lincoln, an attorney with incredible powers that wants to live a normal life, but is unexpectedly thrown into a raging conflict involving two worlds. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
I’ve always loved the idea of superpowers and unnatural gifts. Control over water was my favorite ability which I grew fond of after watching The Last Airbender. Sadly, I saw the movie before the show. I started to come up with my own adventure revolving around the idea of humans with these gifts and it kept changing as I matured. Somewhere between the years, a new planet was added when I wanted to feature a larger universe.
Lincoln is an interesting character that continued to develop as the story progressed. What were some themes you wanted to capture with his character?
I really wanted Lincoln to come off strong as a natural leader. He was the one who the others saw as someone relatable and trustworthy. However, he also needed to come with his own conflicts. Though he has powers, to him, they are almost a burden that keeps him from understanding the way the world works. Through the story, I wanted to portray his story of curiosity as he begins to learn that there is more than what is seen in black and white.
Lincoln collects a team of people that have extraordinary powers based on the elements. How did you balance their power to make it believable?
The powers the six have are pretty ridiculous, in a sense of what they can do. This book only previewed their strength. However, because they have been isolated and scared to really show them on Earth, none have had a lot of experience so they are still in a young stage of their gifts. And like all great heroes, they need villains equal or greater in power to preserve the balance.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book is the second title in the series which is called, Theory of an Origin. I would like it to be available around the time of the new year, but then again, I am not so good with personal deadlines.
Before Earth, there was Solstice, a world where humans were not the only intelligent life. None on Earth remember their old home, but there are those on Solstice who have not forgotten the new planet to which humanity had fled.
For Lincoln, an attorney in Washington, he wishes for nothing more than an ordinary life, but fate can rarely be chosen. Lincoln has possessed incredible powers that he has kept a secret ever since he was a child. When a stranger comes to town, Lincoln learns that he is not the only one with extraordinary gifts. Five others also possess the abilities of the six elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Life, and Mind. With the help of the corporation Xelix, the six began to learn to control their powers so that they can stop hiding in the shadows. At Xelix, however, there is more transpiring than what it seems…
Over the course of their training, Lincoln and the others find themselves asking what is Solstice? And what does it have to do with their powers? As they are thrown into the middle of a raging conflict, the fate of two worlds falls to them, with Earth serving as the final battlefield. However, before any of them can protect the universe, they must fight the greatest battle of all, learning who they are and what it means to be human.
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In The Bug Boys Alex and Ian accidentally ingest tiny nanobots created by an alien race called the Secti. This lets them transform their bodies into human-insect hybrids with superpowers. This seems to be my exact dream as a kid. How did this idea come to you and develop into a novel?
I originally thought I’d go the ‘exposure to radiation’ route to superpowers. It was going to be a radioactive peanut butter sandwich, and only one hero. But, as I started organising the novel, I hated that I wasn’t pushing for something more interesting, so I decided to switch from nuclear to coal, and from radiation to atom sized robots! This opened up new opportunities and ultimately enabled me to create something fresh and new.
I felt that the characters were intriguing and well developed. What were some of the trials that you felt were important to highlight the character’s development?
I think it’s important to let characters grow in a story. Alex and Ian learn not to judge a book by its cover, and that having superpowers isn’t all comic book heroics and fame.
I thought the alien Secti race was well crafted. What themes did you want to incorporate into this race?
I asked myself. What if insects were left alone to evolve on a planet of their own? The result was the Secti. A perfect society, and perfectly boring! So they tweak their social order to shake things up a bit, and employ special Secti called Instigation Officers to travel the planet and cause trouble.
Please tell me that you’re writing a second book?
Book 2 is nearly done! Title: The Bug Boys vs Professor Blake Blackhart
This will probably be available sometime August, 2017. The story catches up with The Bug Boys one month after the events in the first book. In the sequel, they have to tackle an evil professor and his cyborg kitten called, Willoughby!
“Who would have thought that eating a peanut butter sandwich and an apple would change your life? Let alone get you mixed up with an old alien research project, and transform you into the superheroes your village never needed.
For two young South Yorkshire lads, Alex Adams and Ian Harris, it was a geeky comic book dream come true, but it wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be in the real world. They discover there are many layers between good and evil, and with great power, comes an embarrassing amount of gas!”
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Zeus’s Daughter. 100 years of punishment. Gardenia didn’t ask for it. Yet the Fates brewed their plans ever since before she was born. On the day of gaining knowledge about what humanity truly is, Gardenia decides to do something stupid… create a galaxy without permission. Out of that childish choice, something breaks inside of her and she decides to spend her 100 years with dragons. After searching the stars, Gardenia finds her first teacher and then the next and the next. However, what does one do when one falls in love with your family’s adversary? When one falls in love with a dragon? And what if the Fates are ready to make their move? Imaginative, amusing, and adventurous, the Goddess Training Trilogy Book 1 is a tale that will possess you to want to travel the stars.
Deity’s Soulmate tells the story of Gardenia, a young goddess on her rite of passage. She must create a world of her own with living beings that worship her as a god. The use of Greek mythology and detailed accounts of the stars demonstrate author Angelina Kerner’s vast knowledge on the subject. I enjoyed the budding cross-species romance between Gardenia and one of her teachers, which grows naturally and includes a twist that left me wondering what will happen next.
Pages: 250 | ISBN: 1518780466
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The Smart Kid is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a political thriller, science fiction, and a mystery as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
The only concept I had in mind, when I started the novel, was “a sci-fi story with a human core.” It turned out to be less sci-fi and more human. I have the first drafts done for the remaining four books in the series, and they are all that way. Each novel focuses on a real person who gets caught up in the plot by Chrysalis Chronology. But more sci-fi is added in each novel. Although The Smart Kid might not be considered sci-fi by some, the entire series definitely is.
Matt is a smart kid and he uses his intelligence to help the other kids in his school. Do you think that his intelligence can be interpreted as a super power?
Matt’s intelligence could seem like a super power to his peers at school. But remember that Clark Kent had super powers because he lived out of his element on earth. On his home planet he wasn’t any more super than anyone else. It’s the same with Matthew Janson. That’s why the name of the novel is ironic. Matthew only seems smart until you know his secret.
One of the things I enjoyed most about The Smart Kid was your ability to constantly keep the tension high. How did you balance the action scenes with the story elements and still keep a fast pace in the story?
I wanted to have lots of action in the novel, but I also realized that action without meaning is boring. I’ve seen plenty of movies that are stuffed with action that left me asking, “So what?” So the slower parts of the novel, the parts that deal with relationships, trust, love, and loss, add the meaning. Understanding the character makes the reader care when he’s running for his life. But it was a purposeful decision to have plenty of scenes where Matthew is barely escaping. I think that I had a number in mind like “I want to have 5 action scenes in this part of the novel.” Then the in-between scenes are designed to build up to those high points.
I enjoyed that this was a mystery driven action story. What was the hardest part about writing a mystery story; where you constantly have to give just enough to keep the mystery alive until the big reveal?
Parsing out information is certainly one of the main challenges. In the novel, one of the main characters refers to her search for information as finding puzzle pieces. I wanted the reader to put the puzzle together on their own without me building it for them. As I’m writing, I had to continually ask myself, “What does the reader already know at this point in the story?” Then I had to drop the next clue somewhere to keep it interesting.
Michael Shale looks like a sixth grader. On the outside. Inside, he holds a biological secret, that could change the world. Senator John Perkins, the head of a committee on military development, covets the genetic secret that Michael hides and will not stop pursuing until he’s captured— again. Charleen Therry, the school counselor, befriends the mysterious sixth-grader and uncovers a history of lies, false identities, and a relentless pursuit by a shadowy government organization that covers a thousand miles and the colorful decades of the sixties and seventies. If the Senator captures Michael again, a god-like power may be granted to greedy men who would only abuse it. And Michael would rather die than let that happen. When he’s discovered, Charleen and a special person from his past convince Michael to stop running and to start fighting. If they fail, Michael just may get his death wish. The Smart Kid is a mystery/thriller with the heart of a son who just wants to find his way back home.
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Stealing the Sun begins in a traditional way, but then takes a turn that defies traditional fantasy story telling. What was your approach to writing this story?
The story developed organically. I started with reflections of traditional fantasy tropes (the elven maid falls in love with the mortal hero; the evil dark lord) and went from there. In some cases I deliberately twisted things (the ‘evil dark lord’ character is female and primarily interested, not in dominating the world, but in escaping from it), but in other cases my feelings about the story, my sense that there was another side to be shown, took over. Once the scene was set and a given character did something, others would react, often unwisely, and in that way they all managed to get themselves in a lot of trouble by the end of the book.
I felt that Stealing the Sun delivers the drama so well that it flirts with the grimdark genre. Was it your intention to give the story a darker tone?
If it bleeds, it leads…
In your other book, Tribulation’s War, the magic in that story was minimal and delivered believably (if magic can ever be believable) as it was in this story as well. How did you handle the magic in this story and how did it evolve as you were writing?
Most of the magic in the world of Stealing the Sun isn’t really magic but science (sort of). I wanted to look at elves, at the way that elves are traditionally portrayed (immortal, unsleeping, able to see in the dark and take sustenance from the sun, able to shapechange) and make those qualities make at least quasi-scientific sense. To be ever-young, it seems to me that a creature would need to be able to shapechange, to get rid of old, damaged cells and regenerate them. When Altir visualizes the “moving spirals and the beads of light” before he shape changes, he’s actually consciously manipulating his own DNA, although he doesn’t know that’s what he’s doing. There will be much more on shapestrength in the later books. The rune-magic of the greycloaks, on the other hand, is something I have never figured out scientifically. Basically it’s just magic, or at least psychic ability, with a good dose of nasty herb-lore mixed in.
Stealing the Sun has some interesting people that have their character flaws, but they’re still likable. How do you go about creating characters for your stories?
Characters come to me organically, without much planning involved. They seem to already exist by the time I get to them. I create a world and situations that contain conflict, and out of the conflict comes the sort of characters who fit with that world. Sometimes the characters who seemed like supporting cast end up having the strongest voice – Altir originated as a secondary character in a short story. In the next book, The Dark of the Sun, someone who didn’t get his own point of view in the first book insisted on telling his side of the story. I like characters who have different facets, who have flaws and strengths, who have a past – I’m not particularly interested in innocent coming of age characters, or one-dimensional villains, either to read about or to write.
When is the next book in the Sun Saga series due out?
The Dark of the Sun and A Red Morn Rises, the second and third books, are available now. There may be a fourth book to come.
Disinherited from the throne he believes should belong to his clan, rejected by the woman he loves, estranged from his father and uncertain of his place in a war-torn world, Altir Ilanarion searches for his path. Meanwhile, his kinsmen scheme and plot to overthrow their rival and regain the throne — but all the while, the Liar’s servants lie in wait.
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The Poet Heroic is a tale of two brothers (Vale and Cruelthor) who are destined to lead the world, known as the Dominion, but fall to very different outcomes because of their beliefs. Both brothers, sons of the Lord High Commander, are trained and raised to be leaders in the same household. Both brothers develop mutant abilities (Vale-telepathic and Cruelthor-superhuman strength), but only one becomes the world’s leader after their father dies. Vale doesn’t care about the power, but is worried about keeping Cruelthor in check. Vale’s fear are realized when Cruelthor assumes power. In no time at all, he banishes his nice, but potential threat to the throne, brother and begins hoarding all the power to himself.
Disheartened and with only a bag of possessions, Vale joins a group of rebels fighting the Dominion. With this group, Vale learns the dark secrets of his father deliberately blocked from his telepathic son. With this group, Vale turns from a book-loving student into a freedom fighter. Known as Beathabane, the Tyrant Twin.
The Poet Heroic is pretty entertaining for a fantasy book. It diverges from the well-trodden plot of good brother vs bad brother with an interesting assortment of plot lines that put the characters in conflicting situations. For example, the author introduces the lead character early as a fully-developed hero, Beathabane, but provides indirect clues that show more going on beneath the surface. The author then shows how and why Beathabane develops from a book-loving kid into freedom fighter, ultimately giving him two conflicting goals: find his family and save the world from his ruling family. Each chapter provides small insights into the characters past that impact their present. The drawback to all of this is the loss of depth. It took me a while to get invested in the story and characters because of the quick pace and interconnected plot. The book rather conveniently moves forward to the father’s death (ensuring the rise of the lead villain) and Cruelthor’s quick assumption of power. Readers don’t get to see enough of Cruelthor’s character to prevent him from being a flat character. The opposite is true of Vale. As the book continues, more of Vale’s character giving him a depth I’ve rarely seen in other novels.
The author does a great job at teasing the reader with hints of a back story in the introduction, but these hints don’t become concrete points of reference. For example, after the introduction the book shifts into the past without notice of how far back in time they have gone. Has the Lord High Commander been sick for a long time? Is Vale’s world a tyranny, monarchy, or something else? Why can’t Vale be a leader too? Does this take place in our world or a different time?
That being said, for a short story, The Poet Heroic is a fascinating read. It juggles multiple intersecting plot lines creating a lot of tension that is sure to pull in any fan of fantasy novels.
Pages: 82 | ISBN: 1522826424
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