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Corrina Lawson: Writer, Mom, Geek & Superhero » 1

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Wonder Woman shoes, journeys

I want these!!
But I already have these:

journeys, Wonder Woman hi-tops

image via Journeys

And these:

journeys, DC comics shoes

image via journeys.com

So…overkill?

Nah! :)

On the holidays, I have an upcoming release!

Already up on Amazon for pre-order. It’s my vision of Christmas in a Gotham-like city. So there’s a bit of murder but also more than a bit of sex.

Unfortunately, there’s precious little sex in the television show Gotham so far. Instead, the show earns its mature style with over-the-top deaths, like being floated into the sky via balloon or crushed by ATM or death via insane ritual.

Also about sex, from a more serious standpoint, is my recap of the Sex Scenes From the Female Gaze panel at GeekGirlCon last month.

A sample:

When I put together this panel for GeekGirlCon 2014, I had two goals. One was to have a good time. The other was to shine a light on how our society tends to view sex and sexuality from only one perspective.

To those who attended the panel, I hope you had fun. It was awesome to see a packed house. I’d no idea we’d draw that many people to our panel. I laughed when reading the “Pool Boy” letter in preparation for the panel and I thought it illustrated our point well: this is how the stereotypical male gaze views women. (God forbid one should be over 40 and not have a bikini wax.)

But the second goal was more serious. I need to thank the questioner who asked why call it “sex scenes from the female gaze?” because that brings in all sorts of gender assumptions that may or may not be true.

I could lie and say I thought “The Smut Panel” wouldn’t be accepted by the GeekGirlcon organizers but the truth is that when I named the panel, I thought less of how individual men and women view sex and more about how our pop culture, which is predominantly male-dominated, views sex, especially sex for women. Whatever gender we happen to be, we get a steady diet of what female and non-straight-white male sex looks like through the straight white male gaze.

The rest at the link!

And speaking of the real Gotham, I’ve been recapping every episode over at CriminalElement.com

Here are some highlights. Click on the links for the full recaps.

Premier: Episode 1:

The first episode of the series nails Jim Gordon’s essential morality. There’s a line he won’t cross and shortcuts he won’t take. At least so far, because the first hour of Gotham promises some serious challenges to his worldview. It also provides Gordon an excellent counterpoint in cynical, slovenly and yet smart Detective Harvey Bullock. If Ben McKenzie doesn’t watch out, Donal Logue’s Bullock is going to steal the show from his Gordon. Watching the two of them this season together promises to be a lot of fun, especially if they can continue to exchange the wryly funny looks like the ones they gave each other while upside down on meathooks.

So what did we learn about the future of this show in the pilot?

“Selina Kyle,” Episode 2

Instead, from Falcone’s public beating of Fish’s lover, to the too on-the-nose dialogue about being “with the program” from Capt. Essen, and Bullock’s repeated badgerings of Jim Gordon to stop acting all high and mighty, Episode 2, “Selina Kyle” became, at times, almost as silly as its Monday night companion, Sleepy Hollow but not nearly as fun as Sleepy Hollow, which embraces its ridiculousness. (Look, everyone, studly naked torso!)

“The Balloonman,” Episode 3:

The show’s writers know that handcuffing corrupt officials to weather balloons and sending them up in the sky is a comic book murder concept. They use that ridiculousness to their advantage, even having one of the dead bodies fall back to earth, squishing an old lady in a scene that reminded me of the old woman with the dogs in A Fish Called Wanda.

“Arkham,” Episode 4:

Gotham should be subtitled “Rise of the Penguin,” as it’s clear by this fourth episode that this season is all about Oswald Cobblepot’s bid for power.

Focusing on the villain is a tradition in Batman screen adaptations, all the way back to Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman. And Oswald is perfectly cast to fill this need. Robin Lord Taylor has on-screen charisma to burn, enough so that while he’s a cheerfully unrepentant murderer, I find myself rooting for him. Oswald took a big step forward with this week’s orchestration of a robbery and then dispatching his hired help via poisoned cannoli. (He takes the gun, the cannoli, and the money.)

“Viper,” Episode 5:

Oswald doesn’t kill anyone this episode. That’s a first. Still, I need to give the writers full credit for finding another fun but gruseome way for Gotham denizens to die: crushed by ATM.

“Spirit of the Goat,” Episode 6:

What’s next?

Likely Barbara will stand by her now-proved innocent man. In any other show, I’d be worried that Barbara would be killed to add some more angst but, hopefully, Barbara’s future role as the mother of Batgirl prevents that.

Oswald will have fun manipulating everyone and trying to “help” his good, true friend Jim. It’s amusing that both Barbara and Oswald look to Jim as a paragon of virtue.

Bullock might keep on doing real work? I hope that means he’s redeemable.

And this show went a whole episode again without Oswald killing anyone. Pretty sure that’s not going to last.

“Penguin’s Umbrella,” Episode 7:

And, yet, it was also full of what’s becoming Gotham’s trademark humor: from Penguin being overly formal, apologetic and making honking noises, to villain Victor Zsasz’s Funkytown ringtone and to Harvey’s taste in bedroom companions. But the funniest sequence had to be Falcone’s idea of kidnapping nuns and chaining them together to block Maroni’s trucks from leaving the city.

What do I think of the show so far? Entertaining, a bit shallow but growing progressively better each episode.

This is a look at our heroine, Marian Doyle, doing what she does for the family firm. She enjoys using her ability but not this part of it.

Ghost Phoenix available for pre-order at AmazonSamhain Publishing, and B&N. It releases on October 7th.

*************

The wheels of the plane touched down on the runway at LaGuardia. A day in the air after taking off from Athens, and now it was almost done, almost time to deliver the item. Deliver. That’s what her grandfather called it. Everyone else, including the legal authorities, called it smuggling.

Marian preferred smuggling. Call it what it was instead of pretending.

When Marian had first started working for the family firm, she’d stupidly thought it was fun. The adventure of evading authorities, the rush when she used her phantom ability, and the praise of her grandfather and father made it all worthwhile.
But in the last few years, there had been too many close calls, too many hours of uncertainty that set her nerves on edge. Now, all she wanted was for the jobs to be over.

The best part was coming home, like now.

The plane taxied to the gate. Most of those around her pulled out their phones to contact those waiting at the other end of this flight. For her, that had to wait. Only after she successfully snuck the little ivory elephant carving past customs could she consider her work over.

All she had to do was duck into a bathroom before customs, go phantom, phase through the walls and hand off Tantor—it was too cute to not give a nickname—to whomever her grandfather sent to wait on the other side of the customs gate.

She hoped it would be Dad. That would be perfect. He’d pamper her with dinner, and pampering was desperately needed after this marathon trip. She’d spent weeks looking for Tantor for their client, traipsing around the hills and dirt-encrusted ruins of Greece.

Worth it, however. Little Tantor would bring in a cool million. Grandfather was probably salivating over the money already.
Once Tantor was delivered to the other side, she’d phase back through the walls to the bathroom before anyone knew she was even gone and navigate customs perfectly legally, like any other passenger. Aside from the over-long and complicated forms and the risk of death by boredom, that was the easy part.

Marian waited over fifteen minutes for the plane to clear out enough to grab her carry- on from the overhead bin. Grandfather was a damn cheapskate. She smuggled for him, and he made her fly coach back to New York every time. She could have used the extra pillows.

Marian tapped her front pocket to reassure herself Tantor was still there. She hoped most people would assume she was checking for her phone. She shuffled behind the other passengers disembarking and wiped moisture from her palm on her jacket sleeve. Sweat already drenched her back.

I hate this.

But she couldn’t quit. It was the family business. Everyone, extended cousins and all, depended on her to keep the family firm flush with money. She was the only one in the current generation of Doyles to have the phantom ability that had supported the family for over two centuries.

Quit and she’d let everyone down. Maybe she’d even be exiled or shunned. It might be worth it. They took no risks. She was the one who sweated out all the trips through customs, terrified that this would be the time she would be caught, or worse, have her phantom ability exposed.

“Miss Doyle!”

She blinked and raised her head. Damn, she’d spent too much time staring at the floor, or she would have noticed people in front of her before this. She focused on the person wearing a uniform, calling her name. Flight crew? No, it was a TSA agent.

Oh, hell.

“Yes?” Swallow the fear, swallow the panic. She could do this. There had to be a way out.

“Please follow me, ma’am. The customs officers need to speak to you.”

“I don’t understand. Speak to me about what?” Maybe if she stared at him long enough, he would vanish as if he were a figment of her imagination. Two other uniformed officers came up to her from behind. Not figments.

“Follow us, ma’am,” said the first one.

She did, wishing she could go phantom and disappear through the floor. Better yet, float up and out through the ceiling and ride the air until she landed near the cabs that would take her home.

And then what? They knew her name, probably her address and her place of work. Unless she wanted to be a fugitive, she had no choice but to go with them. To say nothing of what would happen if she went ghost on them. Never let anyone see her do it, that was the family rule, and the airport had to be full of cameras.

It was Tantor that needed to disappear, not her, and before they searched her. “Just what is the problem?” she asked again. “Do you need to see my papers? I know there are some items in my luggage that need documentation. I have everything in order.”

“That will be up to customs, ma’am,” the officer said. “We are ordered to deliver you to
them.” “I don’t understand.” “I’m sure they’ll explain it, ma’am.” Somehow all the ma’ams made it much worse. “Can I use the bathroom first? It was along flight and I really need to stop there.”

“Orders are to take you directly to their office,” he said. “Sorry.”

They kept hustling her along, one person ahead and one person behind her. Customs knew something. Someone must have tipped them off about what she was carrying. It was the only explanation that made sense. Maybe the tip came from someone who also wanted the carving? No, they would want it to get through customs, not to be confiscated. Unless someone paid off one of the agents. Bribing agents was the usual way to smuggle antiquities into the States. Doyle Antiquities never did that.

They had her.

**************

Releases 10/7/2014

Tentatively titled The Crystal Tower, the work on the Next Big Thing has begun. I’m using a notebook for the rough draft and so far, I’ve filled over 30 pages and that includes the ending.

It’s first person, urban fantasy.
First line: “In the Crystal Tower, I was born and died.”
Last line: “In the Crystal Tower, I died and was born.”

The youngest son and I took a walk in the local nature preserve, daring the expected thunderstorms to come out.

They never materialized and we had a great hike.

Releases 10/7/2014 Now available for pre-order. Click on cover.

The cure they desperately need just rose from the ashes of evil…

Ghost Phoenix: The Phoenix Institute, Book 3

Richard Plantagenet, self-exiled prince of an immortal court, is content living the uncomplicated life of a California surfer. Until his brother’s sudden death and his Queen’s wasting illness wrest him from his ocean-side solitude for one last quest.

The Queen needs a cure. To get it, Richard needs assistance from someone with a singular—and slightly illegal—talent.

As the latest of a long line of ghost-walkers, Marian Doyle can, literally, walk through walls—bringing objects with her. Her gift comes in handy for her family’s shady antiquities business, but Marian’s had it with breaking the law. She wants a life of her own choosing.

Instead, she gets Richard.

Their mission seems simple: Find the body of Gregori Rasputin and procure a small sample of his DNA. But when they discover the Mad Monk of Russia is very much alive, the prince and the phantom must form a bond to battle a man who desires to remake the world in fire.

It’s almost here! Over the next month, I’ll be sharing some snippets from the book and perhaps even give away a copy or two. In the meantime, it’s up for pre-order on Amazon, B&N, and my publisher, Samhain Publishing.

And it would be a huge help if anyone interested clicks “want to read” on Goodreads. Thanks!

Looking forward to this one coming it. It’s full of all the kinds of stuff I love: immortals, superpowers, hot sex, ninja monks, tunnels, travel and one really hot surfer dude.


I’m doing one of those fun blog hop things where you can read cool posts by other romance authors. We’re all answering the following questions. You can find the full list over at the lovely Dee Egan’s post at Slip Into Something Victorian. (Very cool post, go read!)

I choose to answer the questions about my work in progress, Ghost Phoenix, the third Phoenix Institute full-length novel. Well, it’s not there yet. Working on it. But I have the big climatic action scene in mind. And I know where the sex happens. So there’s that.

The younger of these lost princes grew to be the hero in my next book. And if you know this painting already, well, then you may be my ideal reader. :)

What is the working title of your book?

Ghost Phoenix.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is the third story in my superhero romance series, the Phoenix Institute, from Samhain Publishing. So I have the basic plot idea of “superheroes fight bad guy, fall in love,” but each book has to be a little bit different. The first book, Phoenix Rising, inspired by the X-Men, had a fire starter and a telepath.

The second story, Luminous, inspired by my love of Gotham City, had a cop and a woman who was invisible, and the latest book, Phoenix Legacy, has a hero who can heal practically any injury on the warpath against those who are misusing his genetic material.  That was more inspired by my love of black ops/spies.

For Ghost Phoenix, my hero is an immortal English prince and the heroine can walk through walls. Naming the ultimate antagonist is a bit of a spoiler, so I’ll hold off on that.

Basically, I threw what I loved about English history and superheroes in a mixing bowl and pressed ‘stir.’

What genre does your book fall under?

Paranormal romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Richard, the hero, is tall, imperious and charismatic. I’m thinking maybe the 30-year-old Lawrence of Arabia era Peter O’Toole. As for the heroine, she’s straight-laced and careful, so maybe Stana Katic of Castle.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

He’s an immortal prince without a country, she’s trying to live up to the family phantom gift. Together, they fight someone who wants to drown the world in fire. (Oops. Two sentences.)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Repped by an agent.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

First draft took two months, the polished draft took about four months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I tend to write out of the box stuff so I don’t have a good comparison other than maybe something like Marvel’s The Avengers. But I hear Suze Brockmann is doing a series about a special group of psy ops heroes. Similar premise to my Phoenix Institute, though a much different execution.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

The whole series is informed with my love of superhero comics with a dash of Thomas Costain’s The Plantagenet Saga and I admit I gained some inspiration from Jayne Anne Krentz Arcane Society series. Plus, X-Men.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

My stories tend to happen over the course of a single week or two, so the pacing is very fast. And, of course, I will find creative uses for the superpowers while fighting the bad guys and maybe even during sex. :)

 

And I have the photographic evidence to prove it. Heh. :)

 

I’ve been playing this game based on the Apprentice television show over at the Brian M. Bendis forum on Jinxworld. (For non-comic readers, Bendis is likely Marvel’s more prolific writer. Avengers and all that.)

I’ve never watched the show but the game I’m playing basically consists of writing prompts. Coming up with story arcs, coming up with alternate takes on heroes, plotting out an entire Marvel line reboot and even plotting an entire year of an animated series.

It’s been great for generating ideas and characters, especially with all the plot bunnies. But it also is giving me a taste of what it would be like to write these characters, which is absolutely a blast.

Our last big assignment as a team was to come up with a #1,000 anniversary issue. Either Spider-Man or Action Comics (Superman) or Detective Comics (Batman.)

Naturally, I insisted on Batman. And then I got stuck for what I thought might be a big game changer. After all, sidekicks have all been killed before, Batman’s been defeated before, he’s even been considered dead fairly recently. Can’t really marry him off, he’s Batman and it wouldn’t stick. So then I looked at the villains and thought, well, the #1,000 issue demands the most iconic Bat villain.

The Joker.

So here’s our take on Detective #1,000, which might occur ten years down the line, if DC goes back to the regular number system. (They swapped all numbers back to #1 with the reboot.) This is not solely my own creation, I had the help of Kedd & Gary Sloan from the Bendis board. :)

I’ll give you a hint. Something very bad happens to the Joker. Second hint: Batman doesn’t do it to him.

Third hint? Look to the image.

Also, a certain redhead who’s been missing from the Gothamverse for a while makes a re-appearance.

Detective #1,000

Batman started fighting crime in a corrupt system back during the Great Depression, a problem that remains today in places like Detroit, New Orleans, and Camden, New Jersey. Batman still stands for the common person who gets back up off the ground and not only survives but vows to make certain that others never again suffer the same kind of pain. He is the guardian of the night whose quest is endless as no one person can eliminate the horrors of life.

Still, Batman will always try.

Over the years, Batman has trained a number of exceptional young men who have suffered similar losses, gained an ally in a thief whose life taught her that the ‘law’ is often a tool for the unjust, and made perhaps his truest friend in a man who, many times, provides his strongest link to the law.

As Batman: Year One was the parallel story of two men searching to serve justice, one outside the law, one inside the law, Detective #1,000 is meant to be a bookend to Year One, the story of the parallel tracks the actions of Batman and JIm Gordon and where those tracks have taken them.

This issue contains the story that allows the Batman mythos to move into the future with a somewhat altered status quo both for the Batman characters and for the city at large. Along with that, the back-up stories will showcase the best of the characters in Gotham and the work of the creators who’ve had such an impact on them.

Gotham’s Last Laugh

The story opens as Commissioner Jim Gordon and Batman meet on the rooftops of the GCPC in the darkness, as the Bat signal is off. Gordon passes on the information that a number of teenage boys are missing from the foster care system. He knows that Batman and his allies are the only ones who can cut through the bureaucratic system fast enough to prevent another disappearance.
Batman contacts his allies. (more…)

 

Mira, Katrina Law, Spartacus: Vengeance, Starz

Is Mira in Spartacus like Dinah in Dinah of Seneca? Well, somewhat...

One of the reasons I love the Spartacus series on Starz is that it contains much of what I love in stories: strong characters, unexpected plot twists, great action scenes and a theme that resonates.

So it’s not surprising that my own book, Dinah of Seneca, has similarities. (My writing predates the show by several years, in case anyone was wondering.:)

1. They feature main characters trapped in situations not of their own making.

Spartacus is a slave who escaped. Dinah is a former slave who escaped her master by fleeing across the Atlantic Ocean.

2. The main characters get pulled reluctantly into a cause.

All Spartacus originally wants is to find his wife and escape with her. He has no cause but his own and is not shy about saying it. It’s not until late in the events of “Blood & Sand” that he burns for the cause of everyone.

Dinah is originally drawn into a war because it threatens her home. It’s not until she accepts her responsibility for her new people that she fights for a cause greater than her own.

3. Sex!

Okay, I can’t claim to have as much sex in my book as in Spartacus. Who could?

But there’s a fertility ritual at the heart of my story that has four participants. And if you want even more erotic content, Freya’s Gift, the prequel to Dinah, is all of that.

4. Action!

There’s a huge action sequence in the current “Vengeance” season set in Capua. My book has something similar, in that it ends with a big action sequence in which stuff is destroyed. (To say more would be providing spoilers.)

Spartacus has the gladiator fights and the Romans versus the escapes slaves. My book opens with one big battle, several smaller ones, and one desperate fight to escape when all seems lost.

5. The stories are LGBT friendly.

Spartacus features several gay couples and a lesbian relationship between Lucretia and her best friend in the “Gods of the Arena.”

My story features a Roman General Tabor, who is gay, along with several other gay supporting characters.

6. There are characters from many different cultures.

While the Roman society is at the forefront of Spartacus, the gladiators are from all over the Western World, from Syria to the African continent to Gaul and Celts from  Britain. It’s the mix of the cultures that causes tension and, ultimately, dedication to one cause in which they can all be free.

My story’s main character is from Roman society as well, albeit one from an alternate  world in which the Romans have colonized North America. Besides the Romans, there are Vikings, Native Americans, and a Roman Legion made up of people from all over the Empire. In the end, the Romans and Vikings must find common cause to survive.

7. The over-riding themes match up.

Spartacus is about people overcoming differences to fight a grave injustice and for freedom.

My book is all about Dinah fighting for freedom not only for herself but, ultimately, her people.

Of course, the big question is whether my book is as good as Spartacus.

I will completely duck that one as I’m a very biased source. I can only hope that people enjoy my story as much as I’m enjoying what the creators of Spartacus have done.

 

 

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