Character Evolution: Vincent Corinthos

Warning: May contain minor spoilers! If  you haven’t read IMPERIUM yet, go do that now, then come back here.

Vincent Corinthos wasn’t always god of the Urisk. In the initial drafts of what would become IMPERIUM, Vincent was a different character. I thought it might be fun to talk about how Vincent evolved into the character he is today.

Originally, Vincent was a god-for-hire. The idea was that supernatural creatures could employ him as an enforcer or guardian, depending on their needs. Vincent would gain all their powers for the duration of their worship and then move on. I scrapped that idea because I wanted a more stable relationship with his followers. Also, I questioned just how much faith his “worshippers” would have in him in scenarios like this.

Vincent’s original dedicated worshippers weren’t Urisk. I had Vincent set up as a god of vampires, who would possess all the vampiric strengths we know and love, but none of their weaknesses. I ditched that because I found I was essentially writing a Blade knock-off, and wanted to do something different.

When I came upon a sketch of the Dover Demon and saw how much it looked like a Gray alien, I thought, “That’s it, I’ll have him be worshipped by aliens!” I created an entire alien race that existed in another dimension and could enter our universe by tearing holes in reality. These aliens were physically weak, but possessed an innate ability to negate gravity. This let them lift heavy objects with ease, and run very quickly by negating their own weight. While this provided me with a ton of really cool special effects, it made Vincent way too powerful. When I put him in fight scenes, I found he’d just negate gravity around all his adversaries and send them 40,000 feet up into the stratosphere. When you find yourself constantly trying to come up with ways around your character’s abilities, chances are you’ve overpowered them.

And then, after a ton of frustrated Google searches, I came across a drawing of an Urisk. It looked enough like the Dover Demon that I could still include that in Vincent’s backstory, and the Urisk possessed a host of psychic powers. Those powers weren’t listed anywhere, which let me pick and choose from all the ones I could think of. I decided on telekinesis for its utility, pyrokinesis for its combat potential, and limited telepathy for reconnaissance purposes. To avoid overpowering Vincent, I made it so his telepathy wouldn’t work on humans, so he couldn’t just read a person’s mind to know everything about them.

Finally, because all the Greek and Roman gods I’d read about possessed some powers all their own, I had Vincent inherit a few traits from his father, Janus. Vincent’s Glimpse and Opening powers are utilitarian in nature, and while useful, they don’t let him roll over every bad guy he comes across.

So that’s where Vincent came from. I’ve got a few more evolutions planned for him along the way, and you’ll learn more about one of those in the next book. In the meantime, if you haven’t picked IMPERIUM up yet, you can read the first chapter here, and you can buy it from Amazon and Smashwords.

BLB Book Tour

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve got a book tour starting in September. There will be giveaways, guest posts & excerpts from IMPERIUM. The schedule is below. Enjoy!
9/1 – review @ Books Glorious Books
9/8 – review @ Fameless Ramblings
9/8 – giveaway @ Books Glorious Books
9/12 – guest post @ Jagged Edge Reviews
9/13 – review @ Owl Tell You About It
9/13 – review @ Jagged Edge Reviews
9/14 – giveaway @ Owl Tell You About It
9/15 – review @ Keeping Up With The Rheinlanders
9/17 – review @ The Phantom Paragrapher
9/18 – guest post @ The Phantom Paragrapher
9/19 – review @ It’s All About Books
9/20 – excerpt @ Keeping Up With The Rheinlanders
9/21 – guest post @ It’s All About Books
9/25 – review @ Aobibliosphere
9/28 – giveaway @ Aobibliosphere
9/28 – review @ Sara Is Reading What?
9/30 – excerpt @ Sara Is Reading What?

 

 

 

New Caulborn Story & Giveaway

It’s Erika’s birthday over at Badass Book Reviews, and to celebrate she’s hosting a bunch of guest posts & giveaways from writers such as Ilona Andrews, Moira Rogers, and more. And I’m in there too! Instead of a guest post, though, I wrote a short Caulborn story for Erika’s birthday. It’s called Party Crasher – head on over and check it out. You can also enter to win a copy of IMPERIUM!

Happy Birthday, Erika!

IMPERIUM Now Just 99 Cents!

Now you can buy IMPERIUM for the low, low price of just 99 cents from both Amazon and Smashwords. But act now, because at this price, they won’t last long!

Oh, wait. There are infinite copies of e-books, aren’t there. Huh. Well, Badass Book Reviews said that “IMPERIUM was the best 2.99 that you could spend at Amazon” so at 99 cents it must be even better! 🙂

Gearstripper’s Origin

Imperium’s been out for a few weeks now and it’s received some great reviews. One thing all the reviews have in common is how much people love Gearstripper, the Caulborn’s resident technical expert. I thought I’d talk a bit about what inspired Gears.

For starters, Gears is a gremlin. A good chunk of the inspiration for Gears came from the novel adaptation of Stephen Spielberg’s movie Gremlins, which I read when I was a kid. Yes, I saw the movie too, but there are things in the book that weren’t in the film. One scene in particular shows one of the town’s residents having a flashback to World War II, when a gremlin sabotaged his plane. He saw the current gremlin infestation as a chance to get back at the gremlins he dealt with during the war. For some reason, that scene stuck with me. When I got older, I saw an old Looney Tunes episode where Bugs Bunny stops a gremlin from crashing Allied planes. This cemented a fact in my mind – gremlins were extremely active in WWII.

As I got older, I researched gremlins a little more. With all the fables, folklore and fairy tales I read, I expected to find gremlins somewhere else. I didn’t. The first time gremlins show up is during WWII. And even then, only Allied pilots saw them. I didn’t find any instances of German or Japanese pilots being plagued by the little buggers. So that got me thinking about why that was, where the gremlins might have come from, and what their true origin might be.

One thing that always bothered me about the way Spielberg portrayed gremlins was how mindlessly chaotic they were. If you’re going to sabotage an airplane, you need cunning, but more importantly, you need smarts. You need to know what wires to cut and when to cut them. Stripe and his crew were plenty cunning, but they were pretty dumb. I wanted my gremlins to be smarter, which is why Gears can invent things that technology companies can’t.

The final piece of Gears came when I was on a bit of a sugar rush from a king-sized Snickers bar, and thought, “Hey, what if this little guy was always eating junk food and living on a perpetual sugar high?”

I rolled all those things together and Gearstripper was the end result. If you’d like to learn more about Gears and my take on the origin of gremlins, check out Imperium, available from Amazon and Smashwords. You can also read the first chapter here.

Local Legend: The Dover Demon

When people think about the supernatural in New England, the Salem Witch trials and haunted houses are usually on the top of their list. (Those, and Stephen King.)  But there are a ton of other legends and oddities in New England that aren’t related to witchcraft. One of those is the Dover Demon.

The story goes that on the night of April 21, 1977, three teen boys were driving along when one of them saw a something sitting on a stone wall. When the car’s headlights hit the creature’s eyes, they glowed bright orange. At first, the driver thought the creature was a cat or a dog, but then it turned toward him. He saw that the creature had an egg-shaped head, and long, spindly arms and fingers. It had no hair, and no nose, mouth or ears from what the driver could see.

Around midnight that same evening, the creature was seen by another pair of boys walking home. Their description matches that of the boys in the car, and they said that the creature ran on two legs and fled into the nearby woods. They followed the creature, and found it standing with its fingers wrapped around a tree and its toes curled around a rock. One of the witnesses said that the creature stared at him with faintly glowing eyes and he had the impression that it was thinking to itself, or perhaps preparing to spring. They fled the woods in a panic.

The next night, the creature was seen by a teen boy and girl who were driving home. The girl claims she saw a creature like the one the boys described, perched on the side of the road. The only discrepancy here is that the girl claims the creature had glowing green eyes, not orange.

After that third sighting, the creature was never seen again.

All of the teens who saw the creature were asked to draw a picture of what they’d seen. Here’s what one of them came up with:

Dover Demon, courtesy of Wikipedia

Some people say that the teens were playing a prank, and that the Dover Demon is nothing but a hoax. Others say that the teens actually saw a young moose. Experts say that the Dover Demon bears a resemblance to gray aliens or other Native American mythological creatures, but they can’t do more than speculate. The police who took the teens’ statements say that we’ll probably never know what the Dover Demon really was.

But Vincent Corinthos and the Caulborn know. Check out IMPERIUM if you’d like to learn more.

Intro to the Caulborn

UPDATE: IMPERIUM is available from Amazon and Smashwords now!

 

If all goes well, IMPERIUM will be released later this week and I wanted to give some insight into the world that my main character, Vincent Corinthos, lives in.

Among other things, Vincent is a Caulborn operative. The Caulborn are a sort of supernatural CIA who keep the peace between paranormals and regular people. The primary requirement to becoming a Caulborn agent is that you need to have been born with a caul. From a biological perspective, this means that a child was born with the amniotic sac wrapped around its head like a veil. Many cultures around the world have legends about these children. Some say that the child will be beautiful, successful, wealthy and lucky. Others say the child can’t drown, or possesses psychic powers. Still others say that the child will rise as a sort of vampire after they die.
Caulborn Insignia
The requirement for a caul comes from this – many paranormal creatures have mental domination capabilities – for example, vampires can  hypnotize people, psychically inclined fae can compel humans into doing their bidding, etc. In Vincent’s world, a caul grants protection against that mental domination, thus enabling a Caulborn to think and act freely even when surrounded by hostile supernatural creatures.

Only 1 in 1,000 children is born with a caul, so agency staffing shortages are a common occurrence. To help with that, the agency also employs normal humans and friendly paranormals in administrative and support roles. In the Boston office where Vincent works, the medical staff are regular people, and the resident computer hacker is a gremlin.

The insignia on the cover of IMPERIUM symbolizes the protection granted by a caul. The Greek character psi represents the mind, and it’s emblazoned on a shield, thus giving you a mind shield. This insignia serves as the Caulborn’s official seal, and can be found on certain documents and artifacts.

If you’d like to learn more about what the Caulborn do in my version of Boston, check out IMPERIUM.