Book Spotlight and Blog Tour – Naval Maneuvers – Military Erotic Romance

Military Erotic Romance—Naval Maneuvers by Dee S. Knight (@DeeSKnight) #military #romance #eroticromance


Long Blurb:

Men and women of the armed forces experience desire and love pretty much like everyone else. Except, well, there is that uniform. And the hard-to-resist attraction of “duty, honor, service” as a man might apply them to a woman’s pleasure. All things considered, romance among the military is a pretty sexy, compelling force for which you’d better be armed, whether weighing anchor and moving forward into desire, dropping anchor and staying put for passion, or setting a course for renewed love with anchor home.

Individual blurbs: (the book is in three parts)

Weighing Anchor (allowing a ship to move forward by retrieving the anchor): A professional woman sworn to avoiding all things military finds herself in love with a lieutenant commander in the Navy. Love won’t conquer all if she allows her childhood memories to eclipse future happiness.

Dropping Anchor (securing movement by dropping the anchor): Two people find (surprisingly) that they are both in the Navy and love their chosen professions—until one turns out to be an officer but not a gentleman and the other is a gentleman but not an officer.

Anchor Home (safe, smooth sailing): When two former lovers find each other after more than a decade, will a long-hidden secret threaten the course of a rekindled romance or be the cause of it?

Buy Links (Get $2 off until March 9)


Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble


Black Velvet Seductions:




“And what is your name, pretty?” Mel Crandall addressed the dinosaur bones in an undertone, bending nearly to face level. The skeleton displayed an open mouth and rows of fierce, sharp teeth.

“Roger,” a man standing next to her said in a low voice. Startled, she looked up. Up being the operative word. She stood a decent five feet ten inches, and he beat her by a good half foot. She studied him. He ignored her.

The guy had a solid profile, strong chin, chiseled cheekbones, and a straight back with muscular shoulders. Short brown hair. He wore glasses and stared straight ahead, but glasses couldn’t disguise the laugh lines that radiated from the corners of his eyes. His posture was near perfect and he was not overweight, as evidenced by the trim fit of his jeans and red polo shirt that clung enough to give evidence of a low body/mass index number.

As a doctor, she immediately noticed body characteristics before actual looks. But with this guy, examination in lieu of admiration was hard. Men were often put off by the fact that she paid attention to whether they looked sallow or flushed, or if their hands were cold or warm before she “saw” them. She noticed if a man’s eyes were dilated or glittered with fever before she registered eye color. Dates started with mini examinations before she relaxed enough to enjoy personalities, but that’s just the way she was. Men had to take it or leave it. Sadly, most left it. Which was why she talked to dinosaurs at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History all on her own.

Mel moved on to the next exhibit, a shorter built specimen but still tall and with a nasty spiked tail. “I wonder what you looked like,” she murmured. “What color were you, what did you eat, and what’s your name?” She bent to read the exhibit information.

“Gray. Grass.” That same guy had followed her. Rather than having a strong profile, she was beginning to think he was a weirdo. “Annnd, roger.”

Quickly, Mel moved to the next exhibit. “And you are–”


He stood beside her again! Mel started to look for a museum guard but saw none. Great. Planting her hands on her hips, she turned to him. “Stop following me,” she said loudly enough that people in the general area turned to see what was happening.

The guy said, “Hold it.”

Hold it? Hold it, as in “Wait a minute, little lady?” She opened her mouth to lay into him when he turned and removed his glasses, showing her the richest, most chocolatey brown eyes she’d ever seen. The words stuck in her mouth.

“I’m sorry, what?”

In a lower voice she said, “You’re following me from exhibit to exhibit and talking to me. I want you to stop.”

“I didn’t realize…” He wiggled the glasses at her. “I’m working here and I’m afraid I didn’t notice you.”

Well. What was worse, that he was a pervert following her place to place, or that he wasn’t a perv and hadn’t even noticed her?

His brow furrowed while he studied her. “Yes. Yes.” Then he shook his head. “Roger.”

Again with that Roger.

“Gotta go. Later.” Then he smiled at her. “Just a minute, okay?” He folded the glasses and put them first in a protective case. Squatting, he placed a briefcase on the floor and opened it. He stored the glass case inside a pocket. Then he removed something from his right ear—an earbud?—protected it and also put it in the case.

Mel watched all of this with curiosity. He expected her to wait for him? What arrogance. And yet, wait she did. When he stood, holding the case in his left hand and smiled once more, her heart stuttered. The guy was drop dead gorgeous—at least to her understanding of the word. Normally, she appreciated the male form, mostly from a medical viewpoint. This man she enjoyed with pure pleasure.

And Good God. He hadn’t been talking to her, he’d been talking to whoever was on the other end of that earbud. Embarrassment flooded her.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I thought you were…” She slid her hand between the two of them and then to the exhibits.

“No,” he said. “I apologize. I shouldn’t be testing this stuff around people. The last time I did it a kid thought I was calling him Roger.” His voice had a soft drawl to it. Western Virginia or North Carolina, maybe? Somewhere in the mountains. It felt like a cool stream as it ran over a body hot and tired from hiking: refreshing and invigorating, at the same time soothing and relaxing. She wanted him to talk more.

Stop that! She laughed. “I thought you were naming each dinosaur.” He smiled and dimples indented his cheeks. His eyes crinkled and Mel’s breath caught. This guy should come with a warning label. Approach with caution. Could bring on lustful intentions and ultimately, broken hearts. Take only in small doses and in public places.

He held out his hand. “David Stimson.”

She took it gingerly, half expecting lightning to bolt between them. Nope. Nothing. So much for romance novels. He had a nice hand, large and warm with healthy pink nails, and she grasped it firmly. “Melissa Crandall.”

“Nice to meet you. Do you mind if I wander along with you?” Grasping the briefcase with his left hand, he deftly, he moved to the left of her.

“No, please. It’s a free country.” She walked to the next dinosaur re-creation. “And this one is…” She half waited for his pronouncement.

“Not Roger,” he said, stopping her heart with that killer smile again. He leaned over to read the information. “Torosaurus latus. It says here that these bones were dug up in North Dakota, but that the Torosaurus roamed from Canada to Texas, and that he had the biggest head of any land mammal.”

“Well, I guess that’s something to be proud of,” Mel responded. David laughed and she found herself smiling back. When she moved to the next exhibit, he strolled along with her, hands behind his back.

He pointed to the next specimen. “Poor guy. Starved to death.”

“Oh, yeah? How do you know?”

“Can’t you tell? He’s all bones.”


Author Bio:

A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. Writing was so much fun Dee decided to keep at it. That’s how she spends her days. Her nights? Well, she’s lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret. Dee loves writing erotic romance and sharing her stories with you. She hopes you enjoy!





Release blitz organized by Writer Marketing Services.

Dirty Dozen – Warrior Bundle – Linda Maye Adams – Military

Author name: Linda Maye Adams

Remembering Warriors is a commemorative Bundle – Why is it important to you to support these causes? The women veterans of wars are often entirely left out of the story.  Worse, they don’t speak up.  I was in a call for veteran’s stories (Red, White & True), and was shocked that I was one of only two women veterans in the entire book.  We need our voices to be heard.


Do you have anyone you remember who was wounded or fought in war (either past or present)? I was one of the 40,000 women who served in the first Persian Gulf War, Desert Storm.  But I had one friend who didn’t come home whole from there.  It was hard afterward, watching as she self-destructed bit-by-bit.  The Army taught us how to go to war, but not how to transition back to normal.

*Please tell us about your publications. I’m indie published.  Since the bundle is military-themed, these are some of my publications that focus on the military.

GALCOM Universe series

  • Crying Planet
  • Lonely Planet
  • Watcher Ghost (short story)

Fantasy Novels

  • Rogue God

Speculative Fiction Short Stories

  • Devil Winds
  • Monkey River
  • New Robot Smell
  • Rejected by Aliens
  • Theater Ship

Writing Craft

  • Writer’s Guide to Military Culture


  • Red, White & True
  • Women at War: Stories and Poems – these include poetry written during Desert Storm.

crying planet - cover

What first prompted you to publish your work? I’ve written stories as long as I can remember.  My uncle, Ernie Rydberg, was a writer during the pulp era, and into the 1970s.  I would visit his house in San Diego and see The Writer on his coffee table.  I loved writing stories and having the adventures in the stories, and I always wanted to publish them.  Indie’s a wonderful opportunity to publish stories that the traditional publishers deem as too different.

 What have you found the most challenging part of the process? For Soldier, Storyteller, it was figuring out how to tell this story in a way that was interesting to readers and not doing military babble or “exorcising demons.”  I knew when I came back from Desert Storm that I had a story, but it took 25 years for me to figure out not only how to tell it, but what to tell.  It wasn’t the story I thought 25 years ago, but answering a question that people always asked me: What was it like?

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? I’m a pantser.  I’ve had people crossing their eyes when I describe my writing process. I don’t use beats or plan anything at all out.  I don’t even know how the story will end beyond a vague “Good guys win” or “Blow up something.”  I just get an idea and start writing, discovering the story much like a reader discovers the story when they turn the page. It’s a lot of fun following a rabbit hole and finding some really cool that makes the story.

What are your views on authors offering free books? Do you believe, as some do, that it demeans an author and his or her work? Free is too low of a standard, and writers are too eager for validation and accept a low standard.  Years and years ago, I sent stories out to the non-paying markets.  They were easier to get into,  but at a cost.  I did not realize I was subconsciously telling myself I wasn’t good enough to get paid for my writing.  The result was that I never had the incentive to push my craft skills.  Once I started thinking about getting paid professionally, my skills made huge leaps.  I could see what a disservice I did to myself with free when I was invited to write for a non-paying military call from a literary magazine.  They didn’t pay, of course. I had a look a sample story they had posted and immediately passed.  I was already writing above what they were publishing.  My time is important. Free doesn’t respect my time.

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Technically perfect

This depends on the genre.  If it’s science fiction or fantasy, the awesome world building is at the top of the list because that’s what the readers read for.  If it’s a mystery, great characters come first.  Technically perfect?  Nowhere on my list.  That might please an English teacher, but it doesn’t make for very interesting stories.

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? For Soldier, Storyteller, I had to research to fill in gaps.  It was hard being a soldier during Desert Storm because we were cut off from the rest of the world!  I did an event timeline of the war and looked up articles in the Tacoma Morning News Tribune about the day my unit left.  I hadn’t remembered it had rained when I left until I saw an article about a storm.  Probably the most shocking thing I found in my research was how close I was to the front line.  We were always told 70 kilometers.  In my head, I translated that was 70 miles.  Nope.  It was 43 miles.  Oh, boy…  I was very glad I didn’t know that at the time.  It made me queasy 25 years later!


What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?Outlining.  I was a natural pantser; it was how I started writing.  But I was trying to learn how to be a better writer, and I did not realize that most writing advice assumes outlining.  I picked up so much outlining advice that I broke my writing.

In 2007, I was ready to give up writing novels because they came out so horribly broken that I didn’t even want to show them to other writers for help.  The more broken my writing got, the more advice I read to try to fix what was happening, and the worse the problem got.  I even tried outlining, and the problem got worse.  Other writers were telling me I wasn’t outlining correctly.  I despaired that I would ever be able to write novels.  But I’d been a soldier and it was accomplish the mission.

So I tried writing classes that were popping up everywhere.  I asked, “Are you pantser friendly?” and was told “Yes, we teach both outliners and pantsers.”  Then I’d go to the class and the instructor wouldn’t know what to do with me and often treated me like I was stupid because I wasn’t getting with the program.  Then I ran across Dean Wesley Smith’s site, and his workshops.  I asked him if the workshops were pantser friendly, and he said that was how he wrote.

Whoa!  Someone who wrote like me.

 Tell us about your latest piece? After going to war, I’ve realized I like my adventures safely tucked into a work of fiction, not in real life.  And I write like what I want to read, women having adventures. I currently am writing the third book in a science fiction series that uses my military background but puts a civilian in as the main character.  She travels to different worlds to fix problems with ghosts.  The character is still mystified about how the military works and why no one uses their first names. The book is called Cursed Planet.

 What’s your next writing adventure? You mean I have to pick?  I haven’t decided yet.  I’m from Los Angeles and regularly saw brush fires every year, so I thought that might be a good fit for my ghost science fiction series.  Or I could do an attack on a spaceship and play with how technology both works in unexpected ways and sometimes screws things up.  I’m also thinking about a series set in Hollywood in the 1940s, with Jack Reacher as a woman character.  So many fun ideas, so little time.

Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline? I think that the bookstores are going to have to fundamentally change how they sell books.  Retail has not responded well to all the changes, judging from the number of big companies closing stories, like Macy’s and Sears.  Their default was to expand in either more stores or more diverse products.  Barnes and Noble sells gifts.  Who makes a specific trip to B&N to buy Moleskines or puzzles?  Retail needs to identify what experience they can offer that Amazon can’t, but everyone is still focusing on selling products and not an experience.


lonely planet - cover.jpg


Linda Maye Adams was probably the least likely person to be in the Army—even the Army thought so!  She was an enlisted soldier and served for twelve years and was one of the women who deployed to Desert Storm.  But she’d much prefer her adventures to be in books.  She is the author of the military-based GALCOM Universe series, including the novels Crying Planet and Lonely Planet.  She’s also received three honorable mentions in the Writers of the Future contest and an honorable mention in Alfred Hitchcock Magazine’s contest.  Linda is a native of Los Angeles, California, and currently lives in Northern Virginia.  Find out more about Linda Maye Adams on her website at

Learn about Remembering Warriors here

Author Interview 125 – Christian Warren Freed – military fantasy #Authorinterview #milfantasy

Welcome to Christian Warren Freed

Where are you from and where do you live now? I am originally from New York but a 20-year career in the US Army sent me all over the world and dumped me in North Carolina.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example, genre, title, etc. I write military fantasy. With an MA degree in military history as well as multiple years of combat experience I am able to take personal experiences, ancient battles, and combine them in a fantasy setting. Since retiring I have had 21 novels published. Hammers in the Wind: Book I of the Northern Crusade has been the overall #1 free book on Amazon 5 times in the past two years.

Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere. I remember walking by a light post at night and an idea struck. One of my longer stories: Beyond the Edge of Dawn came from a series of ideas that came to me while I was running around the bombed out palace where we had Saddam Hussein awaiting trial back in 2005. Inspiration can come from anyone and any situation.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Yes! I can honestly say I have killed the same person in almost every one of my novels. Except for my memoirs from Iraq and Afghanistan of course. It is a liberating feeling. After all, how can I get in trouble for having a certain person devoured by a dragon??

Sort these into the order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) You have to have a solid plot. Otherwise, the characters will just stumble through situations that aren’t engaging or interesting. There have to be memorable characters- ones the readers will love and others they will despise. Creating emotion from the reader is extremely important. I have found that the world develops around my stories and continues to evolve as I explore deeper. Technically perfect, well, that’s what editors are for….

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? All of my books are in both E-book and print formats. At some point, I plan on verging into audio.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Of course, they are viewed differently. Let’s face it, anyone with internet access can ‘publish’ a book without going through the steps of finding an agent or and editor and then on to the big publishing house. That doesn’t mean it is quality or even that it should be published. I’ve read tons of bad self-published books. I think that if people put more time in their craft they would produce better products. Often times the issue isn’t in the writing, it’s the lack of editing, formatting, etc. Still, there are some self-published books that are just as good as traditionally published works- too bad they don’t get the same shot at fame.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?  Reviews are a tricky subject, at least in my opinion. We all want them, though some are willing to compromise integrity to get them. For me personally, I see the reviews as a way of spreading word about my books. Good or bad, word spreads. Amazon has their system in place that occasionally helps authors. At the end of the day, the reviews don’t make or break my books. I sell thousands of copies every year and some don’t have any reviews. At some point, it is about creating a name for yourself, a marketable brand.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst? Do everything, even if it seems silly, but do it within your budget. The only way to fail at marketing is by not trying. Build an email list. Join groups. The worst thing you could do is wait until AFTER you are published to begin marketing.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I just discovered Django Wexler and his Shadow Campaign series. The Thousand Names was a fast read filled with good characters and good action.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? I would have to say, at this point in time- and I am not a man with very many favorite anythings- that my favorite author(s) is Steven Erickson and his cohort Ian Esslemont. Together they crafted the world of the Malazan Empire. Erickson has his sweeping epic the Malazan Book of the Fallen while Esslemont fills in the story gaps with his Malazan Empire books. Absolutely awesome books unlike most of the fantasy out there in the way they use different races, gods, and magic.

Book links, website/blog and author links:


Review IX – Andrew Weston – Sci-fi/Military/Time Travel/Historical

IX by Andrew Weston

Historical/Military/science fiction/fantasy/time travel.

5 stars.


Soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds, including the IX Legion of Rome, are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing, and transported to the far side of the galaxy. Thinking they have been granted a reprieve, their relief turns to horror when they discover they face a stark ultimatum: Fight or die.

Romans, Native Americans, fierce Celtic warriors, Special Ops, American Civil War fighters – not a huge amount in common one would think. Wrong. Death is what they expect – but not necessarily what they get – at least not where and when they think. From differing backgrounds they are thrown into a war and a world far removed from Earth. The Horde have decimated the galaxy and the Ardenese for decades and now all that remains is myth and the hidden remnants of a once mighty civilisation. The 9th intake is the last best hope for the salvation of Arden, if they can put aside their differences. Technology far beyond ours brought expansion, then it brought war.

Action takes the fore in this adventure which encompasses military, historical, science fiction and fantasy. The characters are varied, at once both complex and simplistic, and often surprising. Death stalks the pages, but his companions are loyalty, courage and dignity.  Well written with twists and turns, and a rather unexpected ending.

Great for fans of sci-fi, time travel fiction and historical.

Character Interview Number Twenty Six – Lex Fox – Sci-fi/historical

Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s)

Lexington Fox – but everyone calls me Lex.


Please tell us a little about yourself.

I was a first lieutenant with 1st Platoon, 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Rifles Cavalry, under the command of Captain James Houston. Originally from Boston in Massachusetts, I enlisted on my twentieth birthday, July 3rd 1855.

I must admit, I enjoyed serving as an army officer, and the only thing that blighted my life were the circumstances leading up to my death in 1860…on earth, anyways.

Our unit was selected to complete a special mission on behalf of Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln. Little did we know at the time that our commanding officer’s cousin–Governor Sam Houston of Texas–had arranged the entire thing to support his conspiracy among a number other southern state governors to form their own breakaway confederacy.

Anyway, our supposed task was to escort Princess Inuck-Shen, daughter of Chief Blooded Chin of the Blackfoot tribe, into the Bitterroot Mountain range in Kalispell, Montana. Once there, we were to hand her into the safe custody of her husband-to-be, Snow Blizzard, self-styled Chief of all Cree nations.

It was doomed to failure, for if the wedding went ahead and peace between the plains peoples was forged, it would have strengthened Lincoln’s position in the House, especially against those dissidents who didn’t like the way the war of attrition with the native American peoples was developing.

As it turns out, Snow Blizzard was in on the plot too, and together with a number of other tribes–AND Captain Houston and his ever present lapdogs–he set about hunting us down in an attempt to wipe us out. Of course, the blame would have been put squarely on those tribes sympathetic to Lincoln’s agenda.

It looks like Houston got his way, and I often wonder if our great nation ever split as he intended.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less.

A cross between Brad Pitt and Jude Law.
Would you die for those you love?

I didn’t get much choice. Although I died doing the job I loved. My father was a colonel in the 2nd Company 1st Mounted Rifles, and like him, I have a strong sense of duty. Dying for what you believe in is the greatest way you can honor those you serve with, and the great nation we strive to protect. In my case, I’ve been given a chance to do that all over again on Arden.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strength lies in the fact that I have a strong sense of honor and duty. Give me a task to accomplish, and I’ll always strive to complete it to the best of my ability.
As to my weaknesses? Perhaps, it’s trusting others to have the same high standards I do. My presence here on Arden proves there are too many dishonorable backstabbers hiding behind a uniform…and that’s not right.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why

Hey, I’m only twenty-five and I’m in the saddle for most of the time. But now we’re on Arden? Who knows, there are a surprising number of women here. They’re tough. Strong. That’s because they’ve had to learn to adapt and survive. I can’t think of a better kind of person to settle down with. So we’ll see… J

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you?

Yes I can. I was nine at the time, and my own father was on leave from the army. We went to visit his brother, Uncle George, out at Fort Smith in Arkansas. While we were there, a huge group of Plains Indians came into town to trade. It was the first time I’d ever seen any of the Native American people up close, and I found them fascinating, and much friendlier than I was led to believe they’d be.
As a treat, my family went to watch them hunt horses. I saw some of their braves chase after a colt on foot. They kept running and running. It was incredible. I thought, one day, I’ll get to work with people like this and hopefully learn something of their traditions. They were so free, and in harmony with their surroundings, it made me appreciate how much we could learn from them.

Do you have any phobias?

Men without honor. I won’t have them in my company.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I can bend my thumb back until it touches my wrist. An absolutely useless skill if ever there was one. Oh, and I can lasso a fly at twenty paces.

Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

As I’m sure some of the other guys have already said, Arden is a beautiful. It’s like earth in many respects. Vast sweeping grasslands. Mountain ranges. Forests. But the colors…how can I say this. They’re off. Just when you start to relax, this place reminds you it’s not really home, especially when some of the critters jump out to say hello. They’re not used to humans, so they’re not afraid of us.
Only last week, my patrol were taking a break and enjoying a coffee, when this woodpecker type bird swooped down, perched on the rim of my cup, gave me a “who do you think you’re staring at?” look, and then proceeded to wash himself in my beverage!
I couldn’t believe it. Even when I tried to shake him off, he just kept at it until he was good and ready. Then he jumped down, took his good time preening his feathers, and flew away without even saying thank you. That’s Arden! Shame the Horde spoil it!

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?

As you can imagine, travel is difficult because of the Horde. Thankfully, we’ve got a large supply of bullets to keep them at bay. I love riding out into the Sengennon plains. It reminds me so much of Oklahoma

Name and describe a food from your world.

This is probably getting quite boring for you, as I know you asked some of the other guys this question. But, everyone – and I mean everyone – loves the rhobexi. God, what a taste. However, I also enjoy provat. It looks very similar to our sheep, and tastes like pork mixed with beef.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.)

There’s no real politics here. We’re all survivors, and most of us are from one form of military service or another. That’s spilled over into our everyday way of life. It’s strange really…there’s a disciplined aspect to the way things are done, but, everyone is entrusted with the responsibility to fulfill their respective duty. So in one regard, everything is quite relaxed. I like it. If it wasn’t for that idiot, Houston, I think everybody would be happy.

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without?

I come from the nineteenth century. From what I’m told, I lived at a time leading up to a technological explosion on earth…but I guess I’ll never know now. Anyhow, as you can imagine, coming here is like living in a dream. We stick to our own group and methods, especially when we’re out on patrol, but once were back in Arden, wow! It’s like the best of both worlds…My particular favorites are the food dispensers that can serve multiple meals all at the same time, and the sickbay. Life in the saddle can be quite hard, and it’s a refreshing change to be able to heal the niggling injuries we pick up in a matter of minutes. Awesome in fact. J

Anyway, thanks for asking me about my life. You must come and visit once we’ve got the Horde under control. Things will be much more relaxed then and perhaps I can show you around?


Bye for now,



Author notes:


Book(s) in which this character appears plus links


The IX


Author name:

Andrew P. Weston

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.


Amazon Author Page:


Fantasy, Sci-fi and Literary Heroes in Our Society- Guest Post – Andrew Weston

Today I am pleased to welcome back Andrew Weston, science fiction author, for a guest post on my feature for 2015.  Here are his views on fantasy, sci fi and literary heroes in society, and its influences.

Name: Andrew P. Weston

Location (as I am wondering if it is regional)? Kos – Greek Islands.

How pervasive do you think fantasy/sci-fi is in our society today? I think both genres are extremely pervasive, and you can see that from the focus the entertainment industry devotes them. As an experiment, I researched the internet, using a variety of sites, regarding the top 10 films of 2014 – guess what? Science fiction and fantasy dominated every list I looked at. It’s the same story when you peep ahead into 2015. Why is this? Quite simply, because the entertainment industry isn’t stupid. They cater to the obvious demand, and the public would appear to have an increasingly voracious appetite for entertainment that stretches the imagination.

Are these genres seen in a more acceptable light than they used to be?Certainly, because the science fact of today, was very often the science fiction of yester-year. You only have to think of the long running series “Star Trek” to see this aspect in an everyday setting. When it first came out, I can remember everyone talking about the handheld communication devices they used to speak with each other around the planet. Doors that swish open when you walk toward them. Hypo sprays, etc. Such things are now common, and people are much more accepting when new and innovative ideas are presented in a factual way. That’s why well written Science Fiction and Fantasy can contribute so well to keeping things fresh.

If you could pick a couple of characters from literature as ‘heroes’ who would it be and why? My first choice would be the character of Thomas Covenant from Stephen R. Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane series.

He’s an everyday guy who suffers the indignity of contracting leprosy and losing two of the fingers from his right hand. His wife divorces him and takes their son away. Neighbours shun him, and he becomes a lonely hermit of an individual, cut off from society. To compensate, he becomes overly rigid in his approach to life. (Lepers have to exercise extreme caution so that they don’t pick up new infections that can spread their disease further and cause terrible disfigurement). His illness becomes manageable, and he manages to lead a balanced – if somewhat lonely – life. Imagine his horror, then, when he is miraculously snatched away from reality, and transported to ‘The Land’ – a place of magic and wonder where the very air brings healing and relief. Although healed, his disfigurement identifies him as a prophesised hero, come to save the land, from the cruel taint of the Creators arch-enemy, Lord Foul.

Mind blowing!

And yet, despite all the wonders he sees and experiences, Covenant doesn’t want anything to do with it – and determinedly slogs through every hurdle put in his way, whilst stubbornly clinging to the notion that everything around him is false. He doesn’t want rewards, accolades or special treatment. He just wants to go home. An antitypical hero if ever there was one, because at the end, he ends up saving the Land from destruction. A great character.

My second choice would be an ‘old fashioned’ kind of hero, John Carter, (of Edgar Rice Burrows, “A Princess of Mars fame”, in what became known as the Barsoom Series).

He’s an old style ‘man’s man’. An army veteran snatched from home to fight someone else’s war. It had high action in an old-world setting. Sword fights, damsels in distress, daring feats in the face of certain death, and a ‘never give up’ attitude. What I liked about his character, is that when he’s originally snatched away, he falls in with a crowd of ‘typical aliens’. Green skinned, multi-armed Tharks. They are a warlike race, and because of his superior strength and agility (Due to Barsoom’s lower gravity), Carter soon rises to fame among them. However, Barsoom also has a red-skinned humanoid race, and he soon becomes embroiled in their politics and attempts to bring peace to their troubled world. A great story, and trend-setter of its time.

It has been argued fantasy is full of ‘tropes’ – what are your views on this? I’m realistic about it. Cliché’s will often recur because of the very nature of the genres involved. Look at early science fiction. Popular stories were full of tales about robots, space travel, settling on distant planets. Fantasy novels were often set on ‘alternative’ worlds where elves, dwarves, and humans co-existed in an uneasy alliance forged around the use of magic. Sound familiar? Of course it is. Its bread and butter stuff. It’s what you ‘DO’ with it that matters.

Here’s an example. Think about what’s popular in TV/Films lately? Vampires, witches, aliens, artificial intelligence. But look at the difference – say, between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Twilight from the Underworld franchise. The new Battlestar Galactica v something like Edge of Tomorrow. Transcendence v the Anomaly. Like I say, you’re taking similar settings, but it’s what you do with it that matters.

How important are ‘facts’ in fantasy/science fiction – does something need to be plausible to be believable? ‘Facts’ are the foundation of a good story. If it’s believable, people will be able to relate to what they’re reading. If they relate to it, you capture their imagination. You suck them into your imaginary world and get them involving themselves. That’s exactly what you want. Yes, by all means – stretch the imagination – make it outlandishly fantasmagorical if you want to. But ensure to base it in well researched ‘reality’. Remember, even if your characters live in a world of magic and wonder, unless you’ve done your homework, and established that magical system upon well founded ‘laws and precepts’ – ‘strengths and limitations’, it’s going to sound false and turn people off. You have to consider such things nowadays…or suffer the consequences.

What science fiction/fantasy has influenced you most?  Who would you say are the most influential writers/film-makers? Influenced me the most? I grew up with Gerry Anderson. What a mind. Some of his concepts were incredible. Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet, UFO, Space 1999. I also loved Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Lost in Space. Land of the Giants. Those influences stuck with me all my life and led to a vivid imagination.

Today, I’d say some of our best film makers are Peter Jackson, JJ Abrams, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas. Of course, the advancing nature of special effects have helped immensely. Nonetheless, films by these guys are guaranteed to draw the crowds and are of high quality. I’d be delighted if any of them decided to take of the IX?
(Perhaps you could give them a call?).


Andrew P. Weston is a Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is a contracted writer of fiction and poetry. Creator of “The IX” – and the “Guardians” and “Cambion Journals” series, has also has the privilege of being a member of the British Science Fiction Association, and British Fantasy Society.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA in one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for and Amazing Stories.

Amazon Author Page:

Author Website:


Andrew’s latest book is a fine military science fiction – which I featured recently.  Check it out, you won’t regret it!

IX coverlarge

Meet some of Andrew’s characters: (not from IX)

And Andrew:

The IX



Character Interview Number Twenty- Five – Marcus Brutus

Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s) Marcus Brutus

Age: Thirty-three.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I was the Triari, – Prime Centurion of the First Cohort of the Ninth Legion of Rome (Hispana), until death took me in the bleak Highlands of Caledonia. As the highest ranking officer to survive, I received a field promotion to General, something I would have preferred to earn by merit. However, by Pluto’s grace, I appear to have impressed those in power, here on Arden, for I was promoted onto their council with the rank of Sub-Commander.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. I am not concerned by appearances. However those from the centuries ahead of me, tell me I look like a cross between Javier Bardem and Antonio Banderas, whoever they are? Hopefully they were warriors of high repute?

Would you die for those you love? Of course. My love for Rome and for my brothers is without peer, and rightly so, for the life I led did not leave room for a family. Now we are here and building new ties, we must begin again. Life is precious, and so are those we fight to protect.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? My strength lies in the fact that I never give up, no matter the hurdles I might encounter. Only the strong survive, and I am determined to outlive any who would endanger our safety.

As to my weaknesses? Perhaps it is also my resolve never to give up? I must learn to come to terms with the fact that much now rests on my shoulders. I have more to consider than just personal pride and resolve. My decisions affect others, and the future of an entire new race. Inevitably, this will mean I have to learn to walk away, and come back to fight another day.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why Besides the Legion, my best friend, Flavius Tacitus, is the closest thing I now have to a true brother. He was Decurio of the Legion – what you would call the cavalry officer – until his transference here. Now he serves as my second-in-command.

Unbelievably, I also find I am developing closer ties to some among our former enemies of the Iceni tribes. Cathal MacNoimhin and Searc Calhoun in particular. They are fierce warriors, who, despite their uncivilized ways, have a strong – if somewhat strange – sense of honor. I was astonished to discover how skilled  they were in battle, and the fact that they would fight to the death, rather than let a man die alone. Remarkable!

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? I’m from a long line of warriors. As a boy, I was brought up on honor and tradition. One of the first things that made a strong impression was how people treated the former soldiers of the First Legion Germanica following their disbandment for cowardice during the Batavi revolt. They became pariahs within our communities, outcasts who were shunned and forced to live as outcasts in the wilds.

I vowed that when I grew up, I would never shame my family in the same way. Death before dishonour! Strange, how I ended up keeping to those tenets, only to discover death was only the beginning of my adventure.

Do you have any phobias? Cowards. I hate them with a passion…along with those who refuse to carry their own burden.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I’m a rather good cook…even if I do say so myself. Years in the field help you make the most of limited ingredients, and it’s true to say, an army marches on its stomach. If you don’t learn to make even the blandest of foods appetizing, well, you won’t last very long. You ought to see what I can do with worms, garlic and eggs!

Apart from that? I love gardening. It must be something to do with enjoying the peace and quiet of watching what you’ve planted grow before your eyes. (A most welcome distraction from endless conflict).


Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

As I’m sure you’re already aware, Arden is a world situated a long, long way from Earth. On the far side of our galaxy in fact. (I have learned of such things after I arrived here).
A strange place, for it reminds me in many respects of Gaul in high summer. Endless plains, sprawling forests, and rich wildlife just begging for the hunt.

My dream was to retire to Gaul one day and start a family.

It looks like I might still get to do that, although many millions of leagues away from my original choice.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? Travel is difficult because of the demon Horde. Nevertheless, I seize whatever opportunities I can to take Starblaze, my horse, for a run. He’s a fine stallion of impressive Arabian stock. Black as midnight, with a white sigil upon his forehead. Trained for battle and as surefooted as they come.

I know some among our colony like their hover crafts and other futuristic devices, but I prefer the feeling of being connected to my mount as I journey out into the plains surrounding Rhomane. It reminds me I’m alive.

Name and describe a food from your world. Everyone loves the rhobexi here, a fine and robust animal with a taste that reminds me of venison. My personal favourite, however, is yithan. Its appearance resembles that of a gazelle, or particular varieties of mountain goat back on Earth. Tastes the same too, and is particularly fine when roasted over an open fire.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) The form of government here is currently what you’d find in many military regiments, although much more relaxed. A necessity as we face an everyday battle for survival. But in the past, it appears the Ardenese people had a system much like we used to find at home.

From the viewing devices I have witnessed, they had a Senatum, magisters and prefects. Even their main cities posses a similar ring. My men have often wondered if the Ardenese people ever used their vast flying machines to swim the stars to seed distant worlds with the concept of culture and politics. Earth among them, perhaps?

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? I come from the first century, so everything here stretches the imagination. For example, I am only able to converse with you now, due to the presence of tiny mechanical devices in my blood. I have been told such things are called, “Nano-bots”. They saturate my system, and allow me to learn at a vastly increased rate, and enhance my ability to communicate in different languages – Ardenese and English included.

It seems like magic, to me? Things I cannot see, or feel, working away inside me to produce tangible differences. But there you go. I suppose we must accustom ourselves to such changes, for there is no going back.

Now we are here, the one thing I can’t do without is Starblaze. He reminds me of who I am, and where I yearn to be.
Thank you for asking me about my life. I’d love to assist you further, but must be away to oversee the Legion as they go through their drills. Modern or not, this society needs warriors who can fight. Men with spirits of steel. And now we’re here, I must ensure the Ninth remains the backbone of their new, emerging army.


Good day.


Author notes:


Book(s) in which this character appears plus links


The IX


Author name:

Andrew P. Weston

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.


Amazon Author Page:

Returning Author Andrea Downing and her New Release

I’d like to welcome back author Andrea Downing.                                      Thanks so much, Alex, for having me back; I’m delighted to be here once again.


1)  Please recap briefly about your books:   My first three books were all historical western romances—Loveland and the two novellas, Lawless Love and Dearest Darling.  Now, on February 4th, I have a contemporary women’s fiction, albeit with strong elements of romance, coming out:  Dances of the Heart.  Quite a departure for me.  It does take place predominantly in Texas so I haven’t left the west, but it’s very different from anything I’ve written before, especially as it also has military themes.

2)  What has changed since you last visited? Tell us your news!  Well, both Loveland and Lawless Love were finalists in the RONE Contest so that was quite exciting; it’s a bit early for Dearest Darling to have garnered anything as that only came out Oct. 10, 2014, but I remain hopeful!  Lawless Love also placed in the International Digital Awards.  Dances took quite a long time to get to publication for various reasons, and I even had to postpone the publication date once, so I’m very excited it’s finally making an appearance.  I guess moving away very slightly from traditional romance is the biggest change; the book I’m working on at the moment is also not an historical western though, have no fear, there are plots in the back of my mind so I will return to that genre.

3)  Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…)  I’m reviewing in my mind some books I’ve read recently and think I’m for solid plot, great characters, great world-building and technically perfect.  First of all, I’ve read some books where the characters were believable but there was no real plot, no complexity or sub-plot or conflict and so, for me, the book just died.  So that is my Numero Uno.  But pretty much hand-in-hand goes great characters; if your characters are flat or one-dimensional, the book will die.  They must have inner conflicts to keep the plot moving along.  The importance of world-building, to me, depends on the plot and the genre.  Even with a contemporary it can be very important if you’re creating a situation dependent on the world—say, a child goes missing at a summer camp in the Adirondacks.  But the importance, I think, varies with the book.  And technically perfect I put last because if it’s a great story and you love it, you’ll probably overlook just about anything technical I believe.  That’s not to say it doesn’t have to be perfect technically, just that it’s the easiest thing in my humble opinion to overlook.

4)  Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?  I don’t self-edit, unless you include rewriting and so on, but those are the normal things an author does.  I do believe you need a professional editor because as good as an editor as you may be yourself, nothing compares to having that set of professional eyes scan over the project.  If you’ve created something and it’s your baby, it’s difficult to let go even when you know you should be changing, deleting or whatever.  Your editor is the voice in the back of your mind that you MUST  listen to.

5)  Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be?  I think some years ago that was the case but I do believe it’s totally changed now and they’re considered the same as any author.  When self-publishing first came out, it was viewed as a type of vanity publishing, which had a very bad reputation:  if you had enough money, you could get yourself published.  Now we know that, while there is a lot of dross out there, there is also a load of excellent stuff.  Many authors just feel that the rewards are great enough to compensate for the hassles of self-publishing.  For me, I need the validation that being published by someone else brings—if they liked my work enough to publish it, readers might like it too.

6) Do you read work by self-published authors?  A few years ago I bought a book on Amazon without noticing it was self-published. It was terrible; it was so bad, in fact, I was going to use it as a text for a creative-writing course in what not to do.  It was literally the worst book I’d ever read, and I bought it because the storyline seemed interesting to me, an historical novel.  I swore then I would always check to see if a book was self-published and not buy it if it was.  Well, times have changed.  I’ve read some really excellent self-published books and I now believe that it is as much a toss-up as to whether you enjoy a book whether it is self-published or published by the Big Six.  There are no guarantees…

7)  When buying a book do you read the reviews? Yes, I do read some of the reviews but that doesn’t necessarily mean they sway me one way or the other.   If it’s for an author I’ve previously read and I like the storyline, I’ll probably read the book whatever the reviews say.  For instance, I recently finished Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch; I’ve read her previous two books and loved them, so, although the readers’ reviews were mixed, nothing was going to stop me from taking on this behemoth work. If it’s for an author I’ve never read, then the reviews hold far more sway no matter what the plot line is.  I feel, why waste my time?  And if it’s for an author I’m slightly iffy about, then I consider the reviews and weigh it against how much the blurb appeals to me.

8)  How have you progressed as a writer since you started?  Gracious, I certainly hope I’ve progressed!  I’d love to re-write my first book, Loveland, although a lot of people told me they loved that book but I do think I could do better with it now.  I’m actually afraid to say much more because Dances of the Heart, which is just coming out, was written before Dearest Darling and it’s contemporary, which I am tackling for the first time, so who knows what readers will think.  But to ask me specifically “how” I think I’ve progressed is difficult to answer; I guess I’d just say my writing has matured!

9)  Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?  I’m just finishing up Imperial Woman: The Story of the Last Empress of China by Pearl S. Buck.  I guess just about everyone has read Buck’s Pulitzer Prize winner, The Good Earth; I certainly did, in school. So when this came up as a deal on Amazon, I decided to give it a try, but I have to say it isn’t exactly a page-turner, though, as an historical novel, it’s quite interesting.  I’m looking forward to balancing this by reading a load of romance next.

10)  Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?  It’s difficult to name my favourite traditionally published author, there are so many of them in so many different genres.  For literary fiction, I’d count in Isabel Allende, Donna Tartt, and British author Maggie O’Farrell.  For historical novels, I loved the Poldark novels of Winston Graham and the Sharpe novels of Bernard Cornwell.  And, finally, for romance I love Nora Roberts, of course, and Julie Garwood, but Maggie Osborne wins the prize.  My favourite self-published author is Karen Casey Fitzjerrell; she writes literary books that take place in Texas and has won several awards for her work.  I recommend them highly.

11)  What are your views on authors offering free books?  I just wrote to someone in an email about this.  My editor-in-chief is, apparently, against this and I begin to see why.  I’ve given away a number of free books and I don’t think a single one has resulted in a review.  The purpose of the giveaway is to try to get a larger audience by giving away a book that may then be recommended to others.  Well, in my view, the best way to recommend a book is to review it, but even fellow authors who have won my books have not reviewed them.  I understand we are all terribly busy and have very little time, but a couple of sentences is all it takes to put a review on Amazon.  Even those who have promised to review have not done so; maybe they don’t like them and don’t want to review them for that reason, but if they then return to the next giveaway, it doesn’t seem so.  So, to answer your question and stop griping, I don’t think giveaways do very much more than bring in more comments to blog posts—everyone wants something for free.

12)  Give us a bit of information about your primary character(s).    Dances of the Heart is a four-hander; that is, there are basically 2 couples in this story, the parents and their twenty-something offspring.  Carrie Bennett is a highly successful romance writer; think Nora Roberts but more on the social scene of NYC and the Hamptons.  She’s a workaholic who doesn’t face up to the fact she’s been unable to have a lasting relationship with a man since her divorce many years ago.  On top of that, she has a daughter Paige who tragically lost her fiancé to leukaemia while they were at law school and now can’t seem to get herself back on track.  While on a research trip down in Texas, these two come across the Ryders.  Ray, the father, is a heavy drinker who finds it difficult to deal with the loss of his older son in Afghanistan, though his sense of humour eases him over the rough spots with the help of booze. His younger son, Jake, returns to the family ranch from his stint in Iraq knowing several secrets about his older brother.  So that’s the basic background to the primary characters, Alex, and I’ll leave it at that with my sincere thanks for having me here today.  It’s been a great interview for me; many thanks again!


AuthorAndrea Downing

Genre:  contemporary women’s fiction/romance

Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press

Blurb:  Successful, workaholic author Carrie Bennett lives through her writing, but can’t succeed at writing a man into her life. Furthermore, her equally successful but cynical daughter, Paige, proves inconsolable after the death of her fiancé.

Hard-drinking rancher Ray Ryder can find humor in just about anything—except the loss of his oldest son. His younger son, Jake, recently returned from Iraq, now keeps a secret that could shatter his deceased brother’s good name.

On one sultry night in Texas, relationships blossom when the four meet, starting a series of events that move from the dancehalls of Hill Country to the beach parties of East Hampton, and from the penthouses of New York to the backstreets of a Mexican border town. But the hurts of the past are hard to leave behind, especially when old adversaries threaten the fragile ties that bind family to family…and lover to lover.


Excerpt: “You know how to Texas Two-Step?” he asked.

“No,” she said, laughter just below the surface.

“Well, sweetheart, you have come to the right place. Or at least got yourself the right man. By the time I finish with you, you’ll be the best dang stepper on the floor.”

Carrie looked around. “There isn’t anyone else on the floor at the moment, Ray.”

“Well, heck, I know that. That’s perfect for learning.”

As soon as his hand closed around hers, the leather of his palm a strange glove over her own fingers, a sudden frisson of connection ran through her she hadn’t known in a very long while. He moved her to face him squarely on, a small smile tipping the edges of his mouth, the dark, impenetrable eyes shining with his captured prize.

“Just follow me,” he said as his right hand went to her back. A cover of a Vince Gill ballad started, the mournful tune setting a moderate tempo. “Perfect.” He held her right hand high and applied slight pressure to move her backwards. “Fast fast slow slow, fast fast slow slow.”

Carrie felt a light bulb go on. She got it. It was good. It was fun. And she relaxed in his embrace. He was an excellent teacher, a fabulous leader on the dance floor. Would wonders never cease?

“You’re doing well. You’re doing fine,” he assured her. “We’re gonna try a little promenade now, and then a twirl, so get ready.”

Carrie couldn’t stop herself from smiling, anticipation bubbling for just a second. And then out of the corner of her eye she caught Ty watching them, beer half-raised in salute and a smirk plastered on his face. A moment’s hesitation and she missed the step.

“What happened there?” asked Ray, oblivious to the effect the on-looker had on her.

Other couples were finally joining them on the dance floor, but despite the company, Carrie’s discomfort increased. “That boy, that Ty,” she told him. “He was watching us. It made me feel…uneasy.”

Ray scanned the sidelines, but Ty had gone, nowhere to be seen. “Oh, don’t pay him any mind. He’s harmless enough.”


Bio:  Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York, where she was born, instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK.   She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit.  Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC.  She now divides her time between the city and the shore, and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming.  Family vacations are often out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to some 20 ranches throughout the west.  Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards.  Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards and placed in the 2014 International Digital Awards Historical Short contest.   Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and came out Oct. 8th, 2014, and Dances of the Heart, her first contemporary novel, comes out in February, 2015.


Links to Social Media:  WEBSITE AND BLOG:


Twitter:  @andidowning





Buy Links:  Amazon:

The Wild Rose Press:

Reviews:  This book has not been released as yet and there are therefore no reviews

Tags:  Andrea Downing, Texas, New York City, East Hampton, Hill Country, writers, ranchers, military, loss


Character Interview Number Twenty-Four – Alan McDonald – Fantasy/Military

Name (s): Alan (Mac) McDonald

Age: Thirty-something.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I was the officer commanding SBS 4 troop, UK Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Wing. My team and I are specialists in everything to do with killing bad guys in inventive and prejudicial ways. Since our transfer to Arden, however, we’ve transferred all that testosterone onto the Horde.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. What James Bond wishes he could look like.

Would you die for those you love? Was that a loaded question? I did die protecting those I love, and was transported to this hell-hole of a planet under attack from soul-hungry mutants. And although there was no one special back home, I must admit, I worry how my parents will take the news of my ‘death’. If only they knew.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? Strengths? I’d say it’s the ability to make the best of any situation. Life has taught me to be flexible, and to adapt to whatever circumstances I find myself in. Just as well really, seeing what happened eh?

As for my weaknesses? Although I try my best to be patient and courteous, I don’t suffer fools gladly.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why Well, my team will always hold a special place in my heart. We’ve seen each other through thick and thin, after all.

But, since I arrived in Rhomane, there’s Jayden. She’s pretty cool for a Tec-head, and has a great In-your-face sense of humour. If I manage not to get myself devoured, I think things could get very serious…if she wants to?

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? I’m 6th generation military. I think that says it all. Both my father and grandfather had a great deal on influence during my early years, and I suppose it was inevitable the course my life…and death would take.

Do you have any phobias? The Horde. Have you met them? Twelve foot high, esoteric concentrations of rabid hunger – with fangs and talons – just itching to shred your soul. Apart from that? Not much fazes me…except for Smurfs. They’re so small and blue…you just can’t trust them.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I know Victoria’s secret. And it makes me feel kinda…naughty? J

Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. Arden is a planet on the far side of our galaxy, along the Scutum-Centaurus Arm (Sounds like a bad chest infection doesn’t it?). She has a red sun, and was once the home world of a civilization that had employed advanced technology for over twelve thousand years on more than thirty planets.

In some ways, it’s much like Earth, although the leaves and grass have a coppery-blue tinge, and the air has a permanent zesty tang to it. (Great for gin and tonic)

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? Travel is pretty much restricted because of the Horde. If we do go out, it’s only in small groups and only then with a heavily armed contingent, (which I so happen to oversee).

We use skimmers, an anti-grav form of hovercraft, and their larger counterpart, a skidder.

However, recently, we discovered an Avenger Class Cruiser in orbit, The Arch of Winter, so who knows what we might end up doing with that. (I know, boys and their toys, but c’mon…her guns are so big and shiny).

Name and describe a food from your world. Lolath is pretty good. It’s very similar in appearance and taste to a cow, although its milk yield is considerably lower. But by far my favourite is rhobexi. It’s what you’d get if you cross a deer with a bull. But how to describe the taste? Very rich, it’s like a blend of venison and lamb, and the more you chew, the more the flavour floods your mouth.

(Nom Nom!) (And I’ve got one of the griddle, right now)

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) From what we can ascertain, the politics of the Ardenese people was senatorial based. Saying that obviously makes us think of the Roman Empire back on Earth, but the Ardenese form of government was quite different, as their society was extremely advanced and enjoyed a level of intellectual and cultural sophistication that simply has to be seen to be believed.

We’ve only been able to witness it from archived holo-clips & digi-crystals. However, the examples we saw blew our minds. All representatives worked for the greater good of the people, and, while everyone was viewed as equal, each had a personal responsibility to fulfil their individual roles within society.

Officers of the Senatum – Magisters – were elected each year from the prefects, normal members of society who had been voted to represent each of the cities. While each prefect served on an annual basis, once selected as a Magister, their responsibilities expanded to encompass an entire district. The presiding officer of the Senatum – the Chief Magister – was a tried and tested politician chosen by his peers to serve as their leader. He remained in office for five years.

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? Like you, I come from the twenty-first century. But I was transported the equivalent of twelve thousand years into the future, so, you can only imagine the level of technology the Ardenese must have employed.

I say – must have – because remember, even the most advanced group brought here by the Architect are only from the earth year 4200.

Think of a comparison:

My grandfather was born in the 1960’s. During his life, he saw the advent of space travel, the digital age, world-spanning communication devices you could keep in your pocket, and micro surgery. And they are but a few examples. His grandfather – just two generations before him – would never have dreamed of such things.

So…just try to imagine that level of advancement, multiplied over six hundred generations. That’s what we ended up inheriting.

The trouble is, we don’t know how to use it. The Architect has assisted us in this regard, with nano-technology that enhances our natural learning curve, but it’s still been a monumental struggle.

Out of all the delightful things we’ve discovered, I love the stealth technology, and the micro-singularity grenade. It’s a Special Forces wet dream come true, as it doesn’t leave any mess behind. No witnesses, no long and troublesome reports.

Look, I’d love to stay, but I’ve got a rhobexi burger on the barbecue. It’s just about done, and if I’m not there when it reaches perfection, some swine will eat the evidence.

Thanks for dropping by and asking a few questions. Any time you feel like swapping places, let me know J

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links

 The IX




Author name:

Andrew P. Weston


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