Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’
Cat Marsters—The Original Sinner: Striker
When I first wrote Striker he was going to be a villain, plain and simple. He had one function: to tempt my heroine, Chalia, away from the man she loved. Striker had varous magical powers and he wasn’t above using them to get what he wanted. When he got angry he’d explode things. Like buildings. People. Cities.
I kinda liked him.
And that was the problem. I wanted him to be the bad guy. I even tried to kill him off. But I couldn’t do it. Well, I did, but no one stays dead for long in my books. At the last count, Striker had been declared legally dead three times. He’s still walking around.
But herein lies the rub. I can’t make him a romantic hero. He kills people for fun. He once cut someone in half, vertically, with a sword made out of fire. Got angry and flattened an entire city. He explodes pickpockets. Kills people for looking at him a bit funny. He’s a psychopath. A proper unhinged nutter. He’s a villain. So why do I like him? Why does everyone else?
Well, he’s hot for one thing. A giant walking pheromone. But we’re not that shallow, are we? He’s funny, for sure—he has a very nice line in sarcasm. He can do anything. I mean quite literally, anything. Travel through time (what, like it’s hard?). Kill immortal beings. Being people back to life. Make it snow, just because Chalia says she likes it.
Is that it? Do we like him because he loves his woman? He’ll quite literally do anything for her, up to and including mass homicide (she’s never asked, but he’s waiting for the opportunity). Making it snow is nothing: when she died he brought her back to life. When she decided she wanted a baby, despite the gods attempting to keep him from procreating by making it physically impossible for the only woman he loved to carry a child (okay, so he can’t do everything—cut the guy a break, he’s a homicidal maniac, not a fertility expert) he travelled in time to change the course of history and befuddled the gods out of noticing until the baby was born.
Or do we feel sympathy for the devil? Striker was, after all, once an ordinary person. A very good-looking, smart, rich, and mischeivous person, but with no more inclination to mass murder than you or me. And then a random accident got him stranded in an alien world for twelve years, all alone and with just a few magical powers lent to him in order to survive. Telling himself every day he’d get back to the woman he’d left behind. Thinking of the one and only night they spent together. Pickling in his own madness. By the time he returned he was lean and hard and strange and cold, and he might still have turned into something resembling a human being were it not for the fact that his One True Love had buggered off and got engaged to someone else, and told him in no uncertain terms that she wanted him out of her life.
So he flattened a city. As you do.
The thing is, he does love Chalia, but that’s about his only redeeming feature. And it’s not much of one. He loves her selfishly, like a child loves. He doesn’t want to share her. It’s kind of hard to figure out whether he really loves his daughter or not—even I’m not entirely sure if he does, or if he just takes care of her because Chalia wants him to. I wrote about Striker’s relationship with his daughter, Chance, in my first Ellora’s Cave book, Almost Human. She doesn’t know what to make of it, and neither does he.
She knows her father is the most evil man in history. That’s going to give a girl quite a complex.
Excerpt from Mad, Bad & Dangerous, available now ffrom Ellora’s Cave.
Was this how Striker had become so terrible, so powerful and so dangerous? Was this why he’d rampaged through Euskara twenty years ago, murdering Magi and stealing their power, flattening cities, roasting people alive—just to mirror his own pain?
What the hell could have hurt such an inhuman man so badly?
He found himself on the ground, back in his human body, staring at the scryer in his palm. It glowed red then the face resolved into Striker’s visage.
“Who the fuck are you?” he asked.
The same shock of fear and disgust ran through Bael, but far less powerfully than it had before. “Why did you do it?” he asked.
“Do what? Who are you?”
“Kett’s— I’m…a friend of Kett’s,” Bael said through the bad taste in his mouth.
“Oh yeah.” Striker’s mouth twisted cruelly. “You ran away.”
“You murdered hundreds of my people.”
Striker shrugged, as if he couldn’t see what the two things had to do with each other.
“Why did you do it? You flattened the city of Vaticano twenty years ago. You stole power and tortured innocent people. Why did you do it?”
Striker shrugged again. “What are you, a groupie? I did it ’cos I wanted to, kid. I enjoyed it. I’d do it again—”
“No, you bloody wouldn’t,” came a female voice, the voice of the brunette at Nuala’s house. Chalia. Chance’s mother…
Understanding stabbed Bael in the heart.
“You did it for her,” he said slowly. “Because she hurt you.” With every word he became more certain, the knowledge creeping into him like fog.
Striker’s face turned to granite.
“Because she did something to you,” Bael went on. “Because she hurt you so badly it screamed inside you, and all you wanted to do was make everyone else feel as much pain as you. To hurt and maim and burn and slash and kill, because that’s what she did to you. And she never stopped you. She stops you now but she didn’t then. And you went on sucking power out of people so you could destroy more and more, bigger and bigger, until you’d destroyed a city and killed thousands—”
A jolt of power suddenly surged through the scryer, like the shock from ungrounded metal, making Bael flinch and lose his thread.
The view on his scryer tilted, as if someone else had taken hold of the device, and Chalia’s face appeared, pale and shocked.
“It was you,” Bael said, and her lovely dark eyes swam with fear and guilt and pain.
“What did you do?” Bael asked her.
Her hand went to her throat, lovely and unlined even twenty years after Striker had burned and destroyed cities in her name.
“I got engaged to someone else,” she said distantly. “Who are you?”
“Baelvar.” The world had narrowed to the scryer in his hand and the anger pulsing through him.
Chalia regarded him through the scryer. “You’re Kett’s mate, yes? The Nasc. With power.”
Bael clenched his fist and looked away.
Striker laughed softly. “What did she do?”
“Someone else,” Bael said.
Cat Marsters lives in Essex and belongs to a pride of adored cats. On occasion she can be persuaded to admit ownership of a demon puppy (but not if you suspect your flowers have been trampled). She enjoys watching TV and films that showcase the looks and talents of Richard Armitage, David Tennant and Hugh Jackman, reading books that make her laugh, dyeing her hair, and talking about herself in the third person.
Cat has been writing all her life, but in order to keep herself rich in shoes and chocolate, she’s also worked as an airline check-in agent, video rental clerk, stationery shop assistant, and laboratory technician. She’s still aiming for the fairytale cottage of her childhood dreams, and asks all potential Prince Charmings to apply in writing with pictures of themselves and their Aston Martins.
Buy link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8185-mad-bad-dangerous.aspx
Heroes and Villains
Sometimes there is a very fine line between the two. Call it the bad-boy syndrome or the anti-hero, but many story “heroes” often flirt with both sides. It can make for a nice dynamic, particularly if the heroine isn’t entirely sure what to make of it. And of course, she’s most likely going to be attracted to him, just for that reason. If he’s truly bad, can he be redeemed? And will she be the one to do it?
For myself, I don’t mind it if my heroes straddle the line, because people generally tend to exist in shades of grey, and that’s exactly how I like my characters. I enjoy watching a hero’s layers slowly peeling back as we discover what makes him tick and what those inner motivations are. Often we find certain actions that may have appeared villainous or untoward at first become much more heroic once we know *why* he did them.
Not that those reasons necessarily excuse them from being an asshat, but it lends a certain amount of sympathy to their plight and it can be much easier for a reader to connect with that character. We can make allowances as to why he very well *should* end up with the heroine.
In my debut, A Brush of Darkness, Brystion the incubus has a certain element of the anti-hero in him. He’s motivated by the need to rescue his sister, but my heroine Abby has very little incentive to trust him, particularly when she has her own set of missing people to deal with. Of course, they end up having to join forces in the end…but things aren’t always what they seem. As much as Abby is attracted to him, she’s also very much aware that Brystion is an actual daemon, and one known for his overly seductive traits. Although she does give in to him (partially due to attraction and partially due to a deal they worked out), there is always a niggling of uncertainty in the back of her mind. Will he love her? Or betray her?
Here’s a little excerpt of A Brush of Darkness:
“I wasn’t trying to seduce you. The offer was genuine.” He pushed his hand through his hair. “It’s a little disconcerting to be turned down by a mere mortal.”
“Just a mortal,” I snorted. “Real nice. I’ll see what I can do about soothing your ego, O gracious and tactful one.” I chewed on my lower lip thoughtfully and gave him a sly smile. “Of course, you probably shouldn’t feel too bad. After all, I am wearing a magical amulet now.”
His mouth pursed. “You are?”
“Sure. It’s made of silver and moonbeams and blessed by a flatulent dwarf,” I intoned gravely. “It’s a guaranteed ‘plus four’ against Incubus Seduction.”
“You’re an ass.”
“Kiss, kiss, darling.” I fluttered my eyelashes, puckering my lips in mock affection.
His hand snarled into my hair, fingers twined tightly at the base of my head. “This is a complication I don’t want, Abby.” He growled the words, but there was no mistaking the desire that smoldered behind his now glowing eyes.
“The bulge in your pants says otherwise,” I retorted, perversely nudging my hips against him. A little voice in the back of my mind was going into apoplectic fits at my boldness. As far as I was concerned, the incubus had been acting like some sort of preternatural cocktease since we’d met and I’d had enough.
He let out a stifled groan, his other hand snaking down to grip my ass. “You’ll regret it,” he breathed, releasing his hold on my hair to trace a curious thumb over my jaw. His face drifted closer until his mouth brushed mine. I shuddered at the delicate intrusion. His fingers slid up to the small of my back.
“Probably.” I sighed, my mind happily unable to focus on anything but the way he was nipping at my lower lip. “I regret a lot of things.”
The incubus stared at me, an unnamed emotion flickering across his face, and then his lips were on mine, fierce and possessive. He devoured me utterly. There was only the sweetness of his tongue, probing hot and wet into the velvet contours of my mouth. It swept shallow, lingering to taste the soft edges, and then moved deeper, pulsing and rhythmic to match the rapid beating of my heart. I jerked forward to bury my hands in his hair, my ragged breathing giving way to a low cry of longing.
“How’s that ego?” he purred.
“Rock hard from the feel of it,” I gasped. “Just the way I like it.”
I had a naked incubus in my bedroom. With a frying pan of half-cooked bacon and a hard-on. And a unicorn bite on his ass. Christ, this was turning out to be a weird morning.
Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod, a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer, and a magical marketplace to manage. But despite her growing knowledge of the OtherWorld, Abby isn’t at all prepared for Brystion, the dark, mysterious, and as sexy as sin incubus who shows up searching for his sister—and is convinced Abby has the key to the succubus’s whereabouts. Abby has enough problems without having this seductive shape-shifter literally invading her dreams to get information. But when her Faery boss and some of her friends vanish as well, Abby and Brystion must form an uneasy alliance. As Abby is sucked deeper and deeper into this perilous world of faeries, angels, and daemons, she realizes her life is in as much danger as her heart—and there’s no one she can trust to save her.
A marine biologist in a former life, Allison Pang turned to a life of crime to finance her wild spending habits and need to collect Faberge eggs. A cat thief of notable repute, she spends her days sleeping and nights scaling walls and wooing dancing boys….Well, at least the marine biology part is true. But she was taloned by a hawk once. She also loves Hello Kitty, sparkly shoes, and gorgeous violinists.
She spends her days in Northern Virginia working as a cube grunt and her nights waiting on her kids and cats, punctuated by the occasional husbandly serenade. Sometimes she even manages to write. Mostly she just makes it up as she goes.
Facebook: – http://www.facebook.com/apang
Twitter: – http://www.twitter.com/allison_pang