Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hero Types

 "Everyone's a hero in their own way."
Joss Whedon, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog


I was doing a bit of research on cyber crimes when I came across this link to this article about heroes: 7 Types of Heroes by J.S. Morin.  Naturally I followed it.

The article didn't exactly contain groundbreaking information, but it did illustrate the different types of heroes and the types of stories they work best in. I only had one problem really: almost no women were used as examples.

The one woman named (as far as I know since some of the names I didn't recognize) was a good one, mind you. I'll forgive a lot from a person who uses Granny Weatherwax, the senior witch of Discworld, as an example. Even so I was driven by this shortage of women (and my own need to procrastinate) to balance the examples.

Hero Type Morin's Example My Supplement
The Paragon Superman Wonder Woman
The Misfit Harry Potter Hermione Granger
The Grizzled Old-timer Gandalf, Dumbledore, Granny Weatherwax General Leia Organa
The Every-man Arthur Dent (great choice) Lt Uhura
The Anti-hero Han Solo Catwoman
The Prodigy Anakin or Luke Skywalker Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Un-hero Rincewind (Discworld) Dorothy (Wizard of Oz)

 “Nobody is a villain in their own story. We're all the heroes of our own stories.”
George R. R. Martin
 As a mental exercise, I tried to fit the heroes of Game of Thrones into the table. It doesn't work well because George R.R. Martin deliberately made it so. I lean that way too when I'm writing... though you won't find Pru Hartley or Kate Garrett turning themselves into assassins or killing family members in the bathroom.

Then I got to thinking about the examples that Morin and I came up with and realized there's a lot of grey area there too.

Superman and Wonder Woman are paragons, but they are also misfits. Harry and Hermione are misfits, but because they grew up in Muggle society, they are also our every-man when it comes to the magical world. The line between anti-hero and paragon can be one decision, or a matter of good or bad public relations. Prodigies and anti-heroes turn into wise old-timer (if they don't become villains and they survive that long).

“Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate — and quickly.”
Robert A. Heinlein

George R.R. Martin, Robert A. Heinlein and Joss (no middle initial) Whedon all have said, in one way or another, that everyone is a hero in their own story... or at least not a villain. I think we're all a bit of both, but mostly we're just people doing what what we think is best at the time.
“We are all ordinary. We are all boring. We are all spectacular. We are all shy. We are all bold. We are all heroes. We are all helpless. It just depends on the day.”
Brad Meltzer


Thursday, July 14, 2016

What are you reading this summer?

I melt in the heat and neither my laptop nor I function well when it's humid. I don't have air conditioning. I can't afford to spend every day in a coffee shop. So, I'm a fan of fans. And, in the hottest parts of the day, I'm a fan of sitting in front of a fan with an ice tea and good book. This makes summer an ideal time an ideal time to catch up with books I've been meaning to read.

I just finished Plague by C.C. Humphreys, in preparation for reading Fire, the second in the series, which was a gift. This is a Historical Mystery/Suspense in the vein of Paul Doherty (an author I need to catch up with). Like Doherty, Humphreys gives the reader an eye level view of history.

In his author's note at the end, he mentions growing up in London and how the scars from the plague still haunt the metropolis. My mother was a Londoner before she emigrated to Canada. She returned with our family when I was ten. She took us to the usual tourist spots: the Tower, the British Museum,  Trafalgar Square, Oxford Circus... But the first thing she showed us was were the plague pits. Not all of them, of course (we were only in London for a couple of days) just the ones she walked over everyday when she worked in the City. I don't remember everything about that trip, but I remember that. It gave me chills then and now.

For something completely different, my summer reading so far also includes DC: The New Frontier.

In fact, it isn't as different as it seems. Like Plague, it's all about the history. In this case, the era is post WWII United States.

"In the 1950s, Cold War paranoia has resulted in the mystery men of the Golden Age being outlaws." Or, what the period between the Golden Age of comics and the Silver Age would have been if written from the perspective of hindsight and no fear of being persecuted for criticizing the politics of the time.

History, politics, superheroes... It's like it was made to order for me. After graduating with an honours degree in History and Philosophy, I managed a comic book store for five years. I have a Wonder Woman poster signed by George Perez and the Perez Wonder Woman comics in pristine condition in my basement (along with 2000+ other books).

So, what are you reading this summer?




Thursday, July 7, 2016

Summer Sizzles - Debra Purdy Kong

School's out for summer. Time to stock up on summer reading material. Imajin Books is celebrating with the Summer Sizzles eBook Sale. I'm celebrating by featuring some of my fellow "Imajineers" during the sale.

Debra Purdy Kong

DEAD MAN FLOATING

One wrong decision…
Security guard Evan Dunstan didn’t expect to find a body floating in a campus stream. An empty vodka bottle nearby suggests that the highly despised George Krenn, head of the plumbing department, had drunkenly fallen in. Refusing to let the death of a vile man ruin his romantic plans, Evan decides to leave the body for the next shift to find.

One friend in trouble…
When it’s discovered that Krenn was murdered, Evan has a lot of explaining to do. So does his friend Sully, Krenn’s least favourite student. Evan uses his hacking skills and campus knowledge to keep them both out of jail, but the investigation forces him to question Sully’s innocence.

One mystery to solve…
Uncovering the truth proves to be more than challenging. It may cost Evan his job, his friendship, and his woman. Will Evan find the killer, or will the killer find him first?
Meet Evan Dunstan

Not the greatest great crime-solver, but at least he tries.
“Everything okay?” the football player asked Evan

“I’ll know in a second.”

“They found a teacher in this stream the other day.”

Evan kept his gaze on the water. “I heard.”

As the object floated nearer, the player said, “What the hell is that?”

Something round and light protruded from the bag.

“Not again!” Nausea roiled in Evan’s stomach.

While more of the players came forward, Evan couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing. An inflated pink balloon was attached to the top of the bag. Round eyes, bushy eyebrows, and a gaping mouth had been drawn on the balloon with a thick black marker. Inflated latex gloves protruded from each side of the bulky bag. Police tape was wound around the bag with a sign that said, HELP! I CAN’T SWIM!

“For shit’s sake,” Evan muttered, his face growing warm.

The team burst out laughing.


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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Summer Sizzles - Kristina Stanley

School's out for summer. Time to stock up on summer reading material. Imajin Books is celebrating with the Summer Sizzles eBook Sale. I'm celebrating by featuring some of my fellow "Imajineers" during the sale.

Kristina Stanley

DESCENT

When Kalin Thompson is promoted to Director of Security at Stone Mountain Resort, she soon becomes entangled in the high-profile murder investigation of an up-and-coming Olympic-caliber skier. There are more suspects with motives than there are gates on the super-G course, and danger mounts with every turn.

Kalin’s boss orders her to investigate. Her boyfriend wants her to stay safe and let the cops do their job. Torn between loyalty to friends and professional duty, Kalin must look within her isolated community to unearth the killer’s identity.


Meet Nora Cummings

A girl in trouble.
Nora picked up a scraper. At the tuning station beside her, melted wax hit the floor, and the pungent odor made Nora nauseous.

“What’s up?” Donny asked. “You’re all pale.”

“Nothing.” Every time Nora worked with Donny tuning skis, he in his wheelchair and she standing, she knew she’d been lucky only her knee got busted.

“Excuse me,” she said to no one in particular and ran. She flung open a bathroom stall door and vomited. Morning sickness really sucks. How was she supposed to hide her pregnancy if she kept running for the toilet? She rinsed her mouth and returned to the tuning room.

Donny gave her a questioning look, and she shook her head.

“What’s with you?” Charlie asked.

“Nothing. I must have the flu.”

Charlie frowned.

“What?”

“I didn’t expect this from you.”

“Expect what?”

“Coming to work hung-over.”

More by Kristina Stanley


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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Summer Sizzles - Donna Galanti

School's out for summer. Time to stock up on summer reading material. Imajin Books is celebrating with the Summer Sizzles eBook Sale. I'm celebrating by featuring some of my fellow "Imajineers" during the sale.


 Donna Galanti

A HIDDEN ELEMENT

Evil comes in many forms…

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.

Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a madman, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together.

Meet X-10

“A life with no name.”
X-10 slept and dreamt of the girl. He chased her as he always did, toying with her before he shredded her throat. But this time she stopped running and turned back toward him. He stopped in his tracks, amazed she would do that when she knew he would kill her. 
“Charlie, come with me. I know what you are. We are the same.” 
He shook his head, wanting to hate her. How did she know he wanted to be called Charlie? 
His mission had been to kill her. It had always been so. If it changed now what would he do? 
What would he become?  
“Don’t give into hate.” 
“What do you know about hate?”  
“I know hate. And it’s short lived. Love lives forever." She held out her hand. “Come.” 
“No!" He rushed towards her but she disappeared and he was left alone, as he had always been.

More by Donna Galanti



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Monday, July 4, 2016

Summer Sizzles - Alison Bruce

School's out for summer. Time to stock up on summer reading material. Imajin Books is celebrating with the Summer Sizzles eBook Sale. I'm celebrating by featuring some of my fellow "Imajineers" during the sale. Can't forget myself, can I?

Alison Bruce

DEADLY SEASON

Last month Kate was a Police Detective. 
Now she’s a Pet P.I.?
 
Kate Garrett recently inherited half her father’s private investigation company and a partner who is as irritating as he is attractive. Kate has been avoiding Jake Carmedy for years, but now her life might depend on him.

Kate and Jake are on the hunt for a serial cat killer who has mysterious connections to her father’s last police case. Kate’s father had been forced to retire when he was shot investigating a domestic disturbance. Is the shooter back for revenge? And is Kate or Jake next?


Meet Kate Garrett

Private investigator or police detective? 
Either way, she's a daughter first. 
 An old-style memory card slid out of the envelope with a neatly bound file folder. I felt a shiver of anticipation ripple down my neck, making my shoulders twitch. The card was the kind my father used in his audio recorder. In addition to official recordings and reports, he found it useful to keep a more conversational record of his thoughts on a case.
I set aside the plastic-cased card for later. Instead, I thumbed through the report copies and yellowed newspaper clippings, trying to get a sense of what the case was about and why my father would keep the file. 
One headline on one tear sheet answered my questions—Local detective shot defending domestic abuse victim.
This was my father’s last case as a police officer.

More by Alison Bruce


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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Summer Sizzles - Luke Murphy

School's out for summer. Time to stock up on summer reading material. Imajin Books is celebrating with the Summer Sizzles eBook Sale. I'm celebrating by featuring some of my fellow "Imajineers" during the sale.

Luke Murphy

KISS & TELL

With the death of her father…

Officer Charlene Taylor has received her dream promotion—working Homicide with the LAPD. Her first case is the high-profile murder of Ken Anderson, a playboy UCLA professor with a haunted past. A mafia kingpin, billionaire tycoon, cheated wife and jaded lover are only a few on a long list of suspects, all with motive and opportunity.

…all hope of reconciliation is lost.

Not only does she feel the pressure from media and her boss to solve her first case, but Charlene must also deal with her father’s murderer, the “Celebrity Slayer,” a serial killer who enjoys baiting her with his knowledge of her life and routines.

Can a rookie detective work two high-profile cases and still keep her sanity?

Meet Charlene Taylor

The screw-up daughter who defies her dad, and surprises everyone by following in his footsteps.

Charlene stood with her family, but she felt alone. An awkward moment of silence passed. Jane squeezed her hand, and her mother hugged her.

“You were always his girl,” her mother mouthed, barely audible.

Charlene didn’t respond. She didn’t know what to say. What could she say about an absentee father? She searched for answers. There were no family vacations, no memories. Martin Taylor had been all about the job.

Charlene felt a deep connection with her father, but only through police work. Those were the only things she remembered—time at the station, reviewing crime scene photos, following procedures. She couldn’t remember a conversation they’d had that didn’t involve cop talk.

Tears of anger rolled down her cheeks. Rage pounded in her chest as she thought about the things she had never said to him, and now never would. Now, with her father gone, she’d lost any chance to make it right with him.

 More from Luke Murphy


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