by Thea Landen
Erotic Fantasy/Futuristic Romance
Publisher: Carnal Desires/Double Dragon Publishing
Release Date: January 28, 2013
Heat Level: Sizzling
Word Count: 53,000
Double Dragon Publishing: http://double-dragon-publishing.com/single.php?ISBN=1-77115-060-2
Dutiful soldier Callum Renwick wakes up in the underground laboratory of a mercenary organization. He learns he was the sole survivor of an attack that destroyed his unit, his hometown, and his family. In addition to the loss of his loved ones, he discovers that due to his injuries, half his body has been supplanted by artificial skin and cybernetic parts. Once he has recovered, he is assigned to the care of Ro Bernard, who leads the effort to turn him into a powerful assassin. She is outspoken, yet secretive, and uses unconventional means to mold him into a depraved killer. Mind games and rough sex are in her repertoire of training tactics, and Callum is both infuriated and fascinated by her. As he comes to terms with his grief and his new role, many of his biological body parts fail and must be replaced. Will he adapt to survive in Ro’s world and exact vengeance on the woman who ordered the attack that changed his life?
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains explicit sex scenes and/or situations and adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
“Where…where am I?” Callum’s throat was dry, and he could manage little more than a choked whisper. “Who are you? What happened?”
“One inquiry at a time. You’ve been through a lot, after all.” The man adjusted the collar of his pristine white coat. “I am Dr. Zedek. You’re in my laboratory, which is part of a larger underground facility.”
He swallowed and was able to muster a louder volume. “How did you know my name?”
Zedek tapped his wrist, below the restraints. “As soon as we saw you were a member of the Tektani military, we located and scanned your chip.”
“Military….” Memories wafted through his mind like a cold breeze. “There was an attack…at the border.”
“Indeed there was.”
Callum furrowed his brow as he recalled the images of the grotesque weapons that had hit his tank. “Where are the others?”
The doctor’s smile disappeared. “Unfortunately, you were the only member of your unit we found alive.”
He closed his eyes. Grief and panic formed a nauseating pit in his stomach. There were so many questions, but his top priority remained unchanged. “Meyta…I need to get out of here. I need to get home to my family.” He struggled to sit up and couldn’t. “Let me go.”
“We can’t. Not yet.”
“I need to go home. I have to get back to Serne.”
He cringed, not wanting to hear what he was certain the next words were going to be.
“Serne is gone. Everything within thirty miles of Tektan’s border was decimated.”
“No.” He fought against the restraints. “They were supposed to be safe there. Everyone moved far enough away.”
“No!” The cuffs held him in place, and he thrashed against them. His exertion was futile.
“Doctor, his heart rate’s all over the place,” spoke a second man behind Callum.
Zedek leaned forward. “Callum, listen to me. I know you’ve had quite the shock, and there was no good way to break the news to you. But we went through an awful lot trying to save your life, and you may not be out of the woods yet. You need to calm down.”
He attempted to relax and slow his breathing. “Okay…I’m okay.” He swiveled his head to the opposite side to see who the second person was. Before he could get a good look at the man, he caught sight of the other side of his body.
His arm was a pure black hue, and gave off a glossy shine. When he twisted his wrist to see the underside of his palm, he saw the mechanical joints of his fingers. Lifting his head, he saw the smooth material extending down the line of his torso. His leg looked utterly inhuman and unnatural. It responded to his commands, and he rotated his ankle without difficulty, but it was a poor match for the tanned flesh on the opposite side.
He trembled, and the sickening feeling increased. “What did you do to me?”
“We saved your life. You were badly injured, and—”
“What did you do to me?” he screamed. He put all his strength into breaking free of his bindings. Though he didn’t know where he was, he needed to escape. He was trapped in the worst nightmare his imagination could conjure, and he was desperate for any way out.
Zedek stood up. “Sedate him.”
Callum wanted to beg him for answers, to choke an explanation out of him. His limbs grew heavy, and he was unable to speak. Through the haze of the drugs that coursed through his system, he thought he saw a woman appear at the side of the table. He didn’t have time to examine her closely before he was thrust back into unconsciousness.
Let’s start with a basic question. Are you a full time writer or do you have a “day job”?
I am not a full time writer, nor do I think I’d ever want to be! I need to be able to pay my bills, and I think I’d be putting waaaaaay too much pressure on myself if I was relying solely on writing to do that (and the quality of my writing would take a turn for the worse).
Decidedly vague on the day job. Interesting. I’m a school teacher and I do hope to be a full time writer one day. But if you love what you do, then expressing yourself in multiple ways makes sense. So do you have other talents? Or is there a talent you don’t have that you wish you did?
I have a bachelor’s degree in music, and I also knit like a madwoman. Despite the music degree, I always wished I had a better singing voice, the kind where I could break out in song wherever I went, and people would weep openly at its beauty.
At least you can hold a note and no one stopped you from following your creative talents. I had to go against alot of life lessons to put pen to paper. What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I consider myself an erotica author first and a sci-fi/fantasy writer second. (Action/adventure is probably in there somewhere as well, though I don’t think I’m very good at writing those scenes!) I write erotica because it’s fun, and I love the creative freedom and limitless possibilities of sci-fi/fantasy.
Woah. So different. I never heard of erotica until I joined RWA. Then when you go to Nationals, there are free books. I gave my never see a PG movie Grandmother erotica novels without even knowing the difference. I learned fast, but I tend to want to write to the middle. Erotica can be too ridiculously dirty and Inspirational can be too preachy and squeeky clean. I prefer balance and finding the middle. It’s how I roll, but I have no issue with people who go to either side of the spectrum. Peace, love and independance are all respectable. How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
I have three books out now, as well as a self-published set of three short stories that serve as prequels to Disintegration. (And they’re FREE! And steamy! You can find them at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/279206.) I also have two more books in-progress at the current time. I know I’m still coming off the high of the most recent release, but as of right now, Disintegration is my most favorite thing I’ve ever written.
Interesting. I’m intrigued, mostly because I’m a science fiction girl in my heart. Tell us about your current series/WIP.
Right now, I’m writing a sequel to my first book, Searching the Skies. The series is about a ménage relationship, with some side plots involving space exploration and dangerous military missions. I try to keep this series lighthearted and fun!
When I wrote The Zoastra Affair, coming out in 2013, I blended universes and made my own. The world-building alone took forever, but I’m so happy with that story. What inspired your latest book?
Actually, it was going to be a fanfic for one of my favorite video game series. The idea was purely speculative and had no basis in the game itself; it was going to take place mostly before the events of the game and just use a couple characters and plot points. Since the story was largely comprised of my original ideas anyway, I decided to turn it into my own book.
Funny interview, not mentioning the day job, not mentioning the video game. We’ll drop it as this sounds political. Do you have critique partners?
I have a couple friends who will read things over for me if I ask them to. (And I’m willing to return the favor, of course!) In the past, they practically read entire books before I submitted them, but these days, I only run things by them if I’m not sure a certain section is as good as it can be. The insights they offer are invaluable, and I’d much rather have them tell me something’s not working than hear it in a poor review!
Advice is invaluable. My friends and I critique the work of each other regularly these days. We had this conversation. Some writers tend to write how they would have addressed the situation which tend to be the more extreme introverted. (We’re all introverted, but there is a spectrum.) Others, like myself, envision a fantasy world where the real world never interferes. So how likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?
Likely. Even if I’m not basing a character’s personality off of someone I know, I’ll sometimes let my friends choose names for minor characters if I don’t have anything in mind. (Sometimes they name the characters after themselves!) In Disintegration, the characters of Zedek, Vlad, Tanith, and Nael are all named for friends, as well as the random mercenaries that pop up every now and then. Oh, and fair warning – if you’ve wronged me in the past, I might just name a weak, sniveling, whiny character after you! 😉
Huh, well let’s change topics and get back to writing. Was your road to publication difficult or a walk in the park?
I was very very lucky and was accepted by the second publisher I submitted to. Part of my luck came because my editor at Carnal Desires/Double Dragon was willing to take a chance on me and help me clean up my writing. She didn’t have to do it and she could have sent me right to the reject pile. I’ve learned so much from her and I’ll always be grateful!
Sounds awesome. I recently sold two novels to two different publishers, so I’m all excited about the future. I’m looking up incorporation documents, pen names, legal names to operate businesses under. Do you write under a pen name? Why or why not? How did you choose it?
I do write under a pen name. Firstly, my real name (first and last) is incredibly popular and boring, and I wanted to be easily Google-able. My maiden name is more distinctive, but I used to be a teacher. Although I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the classroom at this point, I figured it wouldn’t be wise to write naughty things under the same name that was once on my teaching license. I always liked the name Thea (though not enough to bestow it on a child), and Landen is a place in a video game that has a character named Thea.
Video gaming is essential to your past it seems. I tended to play strategy or RPG with my brother to spend time with him, but it’s not what I do with my time off. I’d rather figure out what did JR do before he died. I’m loving Dallas and I’m a huge John Ross/ Pamela fan girl. No good sci fi space adventure show has started in a while. Anyhow let’s get back to the interview. What do you have planned for the future?
I half-joke that I don’t think I’ll live long enough to write stories based on all the ideas floating around my head! The sequel I’m working on now is ¾ of the way done, and I also have a few chapters written of my first attempt at lesbian fiction. I want to write at least one more book for the Searching the Skies series, and I have some ideas for one Disintegration sequel. I am also vaguely toying with the idea of going in a totally different direction and writing a YA book somewhere down the line.
So you plan on more books, but don’t think real life will get in the way. You must be very lucky indeed. Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?
Keep writing, don’t be afraid of trying new things, and don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there. Writing is a subjective art for, and someone eventually is going to despise something you’ve written and tell you to your face. If there are some bits of constructive criticism in there, you can take them into consideration, but otherwise, don’t let it discourage you! We’ve all been there!
About the Author
Thea Landen lives in New York with her husband and a variety of houseplants. A former educator, she strives to encourage creativity and passion in all those around her, and uses writing to help inspire. Though she reads and writes in nearly all genres, she has a special fondness for science fiction and fantasy and anything that pushes the imagination beyond its usual limits. When she’s not writing, or thinking about writing, her hands and mind are occupied by either yarn crafts or role-playing games.
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Prize is 5 eBooks copies of any title from author’s back list (winner’s choice; 1 each to 5 winners) PLUS swag pack (bookmarks/magnets). Contest is tour-wide, open internationally and ends Apr 13. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.