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Interview with Leonidas from Cyborg Legacy and the Fallen Empire series

| Posted in Cut Scenes and Fun Extras |

19

If you’ve read any of my Fallen Empire series, you’ve already met the cyborg soldier Leonidas, and you’ll known he wasn’t a point-of-view character in the books. That changes in my new adventure, Cyborg Legacy. It introduces a new hero, another cyborg ex-soldier named Jasim, but it also brings back Leonidas as a secondary character, and we get to spend some time in his head. We also get to see how family life is treating him four years after the events in End Game.

You can check out the novel on Amazon if you want to learn more about that adventure, but for now, I’ve arranged an exclusive interview with Leonidas right here. Thank you to those on Facebook who chimed in with questions!

Note: There are naturally some spoilers for the Fallen Empire series in here. If you haven’t finished reading those books yet, and you care about spoilers, you may want to skip this.

Interview with Leonidas

Cyborg Legacy Cover

Cyborg Legacy Cover

Hello, Leonidas. Thank you for agreeing to sit down with me. Well, you’re not exactly sitting, I see, but standing. Vigorously. Is that some form of exercise? You’re listening, right? 

Leonidas: I have to train when I can now that my family keeps me busy. A man needs to be fit when pirates come knocking on your hatch. Also, he needs to be able to fit into his combat armor. Did you know that Beck is still using me to taste-test his recipes?

That doesn’t sound too bad of a life. We’ll start with a light question first. Kantami asks: if you have any say on what stickers get put on your armor to make you look less fierce, what kind of stickers will you choose?

Leonidas: I have no say. Sometimes I can wrangle the children into choosing smaller stickers over larger ones. I also try to steer them away from stickers that smell or can play music. If I had a choice in the matter, there would be no stickers. Stickers featuring weapons or combat armor wouldn’t be that bad… But the girls never choose such things. I seem destined to wear kittens for the rest of my life.

All right, next question. Michael says: Judging by how much fun you had using a rocket launcher… would you consider taking on some more t-rexs for an upgrade… I could see a shoulder mounted rocket launcher serving you well… even if it had to have FIVE kitten stickers on it.

Leonidas: What kind of question is this? Of course. Does this mean we’re going back to the moon with the genetically engineered dinosaurs soon?

Ah, we’ll see. I don’t think Alisa is a big fan of Cleon Moon, due to the fact that Solstice still lives there. Here are a couple more serious questions. Bob asks: 1) Would you do it again, knowing what you know now? and 2) Is it a path you would allow your son to take?

Leonidas: Would I partake in the adventure with Alisa? Or would I join the imperial army and undergo the cyborg surgery? I don’t have any regrets now about joining Alisa (now that I’ve survived knowing her). As for the surgery, I wouldn’t say I don’t have any regrets, but I would do it again, for the same reasons I did it back then. I would have tried harder not to alienate my little brothers in the process though. The military itself suited me fine. It was a tough and violent time, especially those last five years, but since the war ended and I’ve been retired, in a manner of speaking, I’ve found myself missing the challenges and the action. I like fatherhood and being a husband, but I can’t look back without some nostalgia for the importance of the work we did, the built-in adventure and high stakes, and the bonds I had with my fellow officers.

I don’t know if sons are in the stars, but I wouldn’t object to them joining the military, but it would be hard for me to stomach it if it was the Alliance military. Maybe it’s futile at this point, but there’s still a part of me that hopes something else will come along…

Stacey asks: Why do you love cookies and chocolate so much?

Leonidas: I have a fast metabolism. Sweets break down quickly and give me energy.

So no addiction problems, eh? 

Leonidas: Of course not.

No days where you wake up craving Beck’s brownies? No twitches if you don’t get your fix? All right, sorry I asked. Put down that–what is that? Some kind of dumbbell? It looks heavy. Hey, maybe I’ll see if I can get Beck to bake you something after we complete this interview.

Leonidas: *flat stare* It’s not over yet?

Not quite. Your fans have a few more questions. Maria asks: What were your first thoughts when you first met Alisa/when you first saw her in her combat armor?

Leonidas: When I first met her? I was contemplating shooting her. She was impertinent, mouthy, and wearing that damned Alliance flight jacket. I had to remind myself that the war was over and that there were laws about shooting civilians. At least, there had been before the fall of the empire. I suppose on Dustor, nobody would have cared. But I’ve always tried to do the honorable thing, regardless of local policies.

Of course, by the time I helped her find some combat armor, I’d learned to appreciate her mouthy… mouth more. At the least, I didn’t mind it as much. And she’d used it to come to my defense a few times since we first met. I was quite surprised when she didn’t try to turn me over to the Alliance back when we were escaping Perun. That’s when I started to see her as a friend and an ally, and I wanted her to stay alive, so I was pleased to see her in her armor.

It wasn’t until later, after certain events, that I noticed that women’s combat armor isn’t entirely unflattering, since there are a few curves on the outside to accommodate the, ah, curves within.

Does it take a cyborg soldier to find women’s combat armor sexy? Hm. No, don’t answer that. We have another question from a reader. Joy asks: Does he still really want the Empire back in power now?

Leonidas: I do miss the safety and security that the empire provided for its subjects throughout the system. The Alliance is proving to be rather selective in who gets protection. I can understand them not wanting to overextend themselves, but they seem content to leave the border worlds to fend for themselves. I will admit that the empire was not without flaws, but I still believe it was a superior system. I wish those who felt the need to rebel had worked to change the system from within instead of destroying centuries’ worth of infrastructure and stability.

 

For the next question, Sarah asks: How do you feel about Abelardus’s continued presence on the Nomad?

Leonidas: He and Young-hee have finally moved on. I don’t think I was ever so pleased to see another man get married, though I find it amazing that Young-hee could put up with his many, many character flaws… She seems to be able to keep him in line however. The only perk to having him onboard was that I had a living, breathing sparring partner with whom I rarely had to hold back on my punches. Not holding back was quite pleasant. For many reasons.

Navs asks: 1) Any plans of having kids in the near future? And how many would you want?

Leonidas: As I answer these questions, Alisa and I have been married for more than three years, and we’ve had twin girls. I had originally imagined we might have more children, and a son would have been appealing, but the girls are quite, ah, vigorous. They seem to have a hive mind and know how to work together to reach their goals, however forbidden those goals are. I never realized how difficult it would be to childproof a spaceship.

Yes, I hear old freighters don’t always come with all the perks you’d hope. Okay, next question! Heli asks: 1) Are you going to contact your brothers one day and explain to them why you chose the path you did, or has that ship sailed for good for you? 2) if you could have surgery to go back to a “mainstream” human would you do it, and if you did are there any cyborg features you would like to keep?

Leonidas: I’ve talked to my brothers a couple times since my wedding. One of them even came to the ceremony, the one who joined the Alliance… I think he was pleased that — as he assumed — Alisa was converting me. He seemed a little smug about it. No, I haven’t spoken to them about my decisions when they were younger. It seems like it would be self-serving, or at least serve no purpose now.

I don’t think I’d choose to give up the cyborg implants now. They’ve been a part of me for too long. I like being able to defend my family. Fiercely and imposingly, as Alisa would say.

Chanel asks: Do you now have moments where you regret leaving Prince Thorian, especially since you never got the full story on what happened in that box and even though you found love and a family?

Leonidas: I do regret leaving him. I know he’s in capable hands with Dr. Dominguez, but I also believe Alisa may be right, and that perhaps he should have a family rather than tutors and a mission. At the least, he shouldn’t have just those things. I would have gladly taken him with us to become a part of the family, but I also understand his commitment to his duty. It was his choice in the end. I hope he doesn’t regret it. We’re here if he changes his mind.

Dena asks: Although you wanted children, how does it feel to suddenly be a step-parent?

It was odd in the beginning, and I didn’t know how much authority I should attempt to exude over Jelena, especially since she feared me early on. We’re gradually working things out though, and she’s even been an advisor at times, in regard to her mother and the twins. Not always a reliable advisor, mind you, but an advisor nevertheless.

Nicole asks: What would you have done if you actually weren’t attracted to Alisa after your operation? (I would’ve been devastated, I love their love! 😂)

Leonidas: There wasn’t much chance of that being a problem. I shouldn’t admit this (Alisa won’t be reading this, right?), but I was attracted to everything after that operation. I even had some lurid dreams about–oh, this interview is going to be publicly available? I should leave it at that then.

Heike asks: When will you make this beautiful needlepoint battlefield with flowers? 😉

Leonidas: It’s up in our cabin now! Jelena informed me that chocolate wasn’t a grand enough wedding present (I beg to differ), so I set to work on it in secret as we traveled, and I presented it to Alisa on the day of our wedding. I must confess that the flowers are quite small. Alisa claims they look like blood droplets. It’s just that I couldn’t imagine say purple flowers on a battlefield. Red flowers seemed appropriate.

~

That’s it for the interview! Please check out Cyborg Legacy if you want to learn a little more about what Leonidas has been up to since End Game. Here are the links for the main Amazon stores:

Amazon.com
Amazon UK
Amazon AUS
Amazon CA

For now my science fiction adventures are exclusive with Amazon, but I’ll have more fantasy coming out on all of the sites this year. Thanks for reading!

Interview with the Dragon Who Thinks He’s a God (Bhrava Saruth)

| Posted in Cut Scenes and Fun Extras |

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For a holiday treat, I decided to bring back my tradition of posting character interviews (with questions submitted by you).

First up, in celebration of my new Beginnings boxed set (with a new adventure featuring the dragon who thinks he’s a god, Bhrava Saruth), I’ll be interviewing the dragon himself. My thanks to all who submitted questions on Facebook (if you’re not already following me there, you can click here to do so).

Oh, and for those who aren’t familiar with Bhrava Saruth, he appears late (far too late for his tastes) in my Dragon Blood series. The first book, Balanced on the Blade’s Edge, is free everywhere. Also, for those interested in checking out the new Bhrava Saruth adventure when it comes out, I’ve got all the links to the boxed set at the end of the interview. Thanks for reading! 

Interview with Bhrava Saruth

Greetings, good dragon. Thank you for deigning to speak to a lowly human such as myself.

I always have time to speak with my worshippers. You didn’t by chance bring me anything, did you?

Of course. I wouldn’t come to your lair without an appropriate offering. Mango tarts are one of your favorites, aren’t they?

They are most excellent. I enjoy eating them while receiving belly rubs. *pointed look*

Uh, I have ink on my hands. Maybe we can do the belly rubs after the interview? And after you shape-shift into something less… large and scaly?

Do you not find my true form magnificent? *narrowing of eyes*

Yes, yes, very much so. Uhm, here, more tarts?

Indeed.

You’re a very busy dragon, so I’ll get right to the questions.

God.

Pardon?

I am a busy dragon god. Will this interview be published all across Iskandia? So that more humans will learn of my existence and flock to worship me?

Oh, I’m certain there will be flocking. Okay, here goes. First question! 

Carole asks: Bhrava, I know you love your belly rubs, any Lady Dragon in your future to rub your belly???

Lady dragon? Female dragons do not rub bellies. They are only interested in intimacy during their mating cycles, which are many years apart. And their idea of intimacy involves clawing and biting. I have heard of fellow male dragons losing limbs during the process. At the least, you can be certain there will be much bloodshed and loss of scales. I usually only visit with female dragons when biological urges require it.

For bonding and belly rubs, I do prefer humans. You have such excellent hands (and your fingers are entirely devoid of sharp claws). Of course, I am always willing to offer a godly blessing in exchange for attention from my worshippers. 

Deanna asks: Bhrava, Other than your dragon form, what is your favorite shape?

My dragon form is most impressive, is it not? But humans sometimes fear it. I don’t know why when it is clearly majestic and beautiful. I have found, though, that humans adore and never fear small, furry animals. They also like to stroke them! This is why I often take such forms when I do not wish to alarm my newer worshippers. And also when I wish to have my belly rubbed. When a small, furry creature rolls onto its back, humans seem to instinctively know what to do. There is no need for mental coercion. 

I like cats and puppies, but the ferret form may be my favorite because it’s easy to ride along on a human’s shoulder or squirm down into a satchel or grocery bag if it’s necessary to hide from non-believers. Also, there are sometimes tasty foodstuffs in those bags.

Kantami asks: Bhrava, when you’re not looking for worshipers what do you do for fun or relaxation?

Flying is the most wondrous thing! You must try it if you haven’t already. I like to soar high over mountains and then plunge down into valley lakes or into the sea. Also, it startles the tarts out of the sea life.

Kim asks: I seek the great god Bhrava Saruth’s wisdom on the best flavor of ice cream.

Anchovy, of course. I do wish one could find more meat-flavored ice creams. Lamb is so delicious. How could lamb ice cream not be wonderful?

Jennifer asks: Bhrava Saruth, what is your goal in life? How do you see yourself fitting in with the human race? What do you want to accomplish?

My goal? To be known to all of the world and have many followers, of course. Also a grand temple would be nice. I’m working on Ridgewalker now to build me a temple. It is a great honor for him.

As far as fitting in, why would a god wish to fit in? A god must change the world so that it fits him!

Richard asks: Bhrava when did you come to realize that you were a god?

It was many centuries ago when an early rider pointed out my fine attributes and how unusually magnificent of a dragon I was. I had not realized it! After a great battle, in which I drove away many enemies, this rider’s people also saw my great worth. Some of them began to worship me as a god. I realized I must be a god. I was destined to protect humans and bless them and be worshipped by them. It is strange that I had not realized it earlier. 

Georgette asks: Bhrava Saruth, I am one of your devoted followers. I have excellent hands and would love to attend your needs. Rubbing your belly, of course. May I ask as to why you chose Sardelle to be your High Priestess?

Sardelle is an excellent high priestess! She doesn’t yet know how good she will be, but she is quite diplomatic and rarely offends anyone. This is an excellent value in a representative, especially when one’s size and long fangs can be a touch intimidating to some. Dragons can be so misunderstood! 

Sardelle’s lippy sword is taking some getting used to, but I believe I shall also sway Jaxi to my side one day. After all, everyone knows how useful dragons can be. And we’re quite handsome, as well! Between you and me, Jaxi has been known to fantasize about dragons in a most… libidinous way. 

If you wish to apply for the position of assistant priestess, I would be happy to have more loyal helpers. In fact, that will be crucial once the temple opens. We’ll be flooded with curious and interested humans. Potential worshippers! 

Jo asks: Bhrava, what do you have to say to your worshippers from another dimension who read of your exploits and worship you from afar?

I am most pleased to accept worshippers from all dimensions and all worlds. It is a pity, however, that you cannot come for a proper blessing. Perhaps I will have my biographer write down my wisdom in a text so that it may touch everyone, everywhere. Yes, a god should have a religious text, shouldn’t he? This is a magnificent idea. Thank you. Also, can you send baked goods to my dimension? 

~

If you would like to read the story of how Bhrava Saruth became a god (in his eyes), please check out Dragon Rider in the Beginnings boxed set. It will be 99 cents throughout the pre-order and then pop up to $2.99.

Kobo | Barnes & NobleApple

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUS

beginnings-2d-web

Free Chains of Honor Prequel Story: A Question of Honor

| Posted in Cut Scenes and Fun Extras |

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To celebrate the release of Snake Heart, the second novel in my Chains of Honor series, I’m sharing the first of the prequel novellas, A Question of Honor, on my site for free. If you’ve already read Warrior Mage and were wondering how Yanko and Dak first met, then you’ll want to check out this adventure.

ChainsOfHonorPrequelsWeb

A Question of Honor

Part I

The bamboo cage rattled as it descended into the depths of the earth, the cool stale air laced with the scent of old sweat. Pressed into the corner by far too many bodies for such a small space, Yanko struggled to keep his breathing slow and even, to loosen the tightness clutching his chest.

Dragon Blood Bonus Scene #4: A Fowl Proposal

| Posted in Cut Scenes and Fun Extras |

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The final bonus scene in the series is here! Also, for those who were wondering if Soulblade would be the last Dragon Blood, I’m almost positive that I’m going to write one more with all of the main characters before letting them retire. Also, look for Shattered Past, a side novel with Therrik and a new heroine, which will be out after January 22nd.

Read first:

Dragon Blood Bonus Scene #4: A Fowl Proposal

General Ridgewalker Zirkander did not usually pilot his flier over the capital and land in the street in front of his house, but this was a special occasion. He made sure his picnic basket was still secure, then hopped out of the craft, pleased that a couple hours of daylight remained. Once on the ground, he touched his breast pocket–again. The bulge nestled inside reassured him. He had left work early to visit Azerta’s Fine Jewelry and pick up the custom-made promise necklace for Sardelle.

Dragon Blood Bonus Scene #3: Fowl Revelations

| Posted in Cut Scenes and Fun Extras |

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This is the third in the series of Dragon Blood bonus scenes set between Soulblade and Shattered Past. You can read the first one here and the second one here.

Dragon Blood Bonus Scene #3: Fowl Revelations

General Ridgewalker Zirkander flopped down in his comfortable-if-hideous chair in the duck blind, groaning as he draped a leg over the armrest and settled in. He had been working non-stop for the last two weeks, and it hadn’t been the enjoyable kind of work, such as patrolling the shoreline, hunting down and shooting enemy aircraft. No, he had been lecturing at the academy, choosing graduating officers for the squadrons, training everyone on the new models of fliers that were rolling out, and traveling all over Iskandia for inspections. He’d hated inspections when he had been the one being inspected, and he found the rigmarole even more tedious as a general. Instead of enduring one inspection, he had to endure one at every base he visited.

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