My second Task Force Iota novel, Turning Tricks, released yesterday. TT features James and Matt, a couple that got together in the first book in the Task Force Iota world, 18% Gray. I had intended to write the story of another couple of main characters as the next volume in the Iota series, but I’d left too many loose threads at the end of the first book—threads I originally planned to clean up piecemeal as the series progressed.
Turns out, people who write by the seat of their pants have some unique difficulties when it comes to writing sci-fi. Like, the plot is subject to change without warning. At any rate, Turning Tricks is the result of all that non-plotting, so it’s a happy accident.
(In the words of George Thoroughgood: that’s my story and I’m sticking to it—someone said it before him? None so well, I’m sure.)
In the Task Force Iota world—a century into the future—the United States has split into the Red and the Blue, and within the Blue, LGBT citizens are like any others, with all the same rights. In the Red, LGBT citizens are imprisoned and “reeducated.”
In 18% Gray, James was a Blue soldier from Oregon captured in battle by Red Idaho and later discovered to be queer. During the course of the book, his high school enemy/crush, Matt, is sent to rescue or “extract” him. But I went a little against grain—instead of Matt being the more dominant character, he’s the less dominant one. In his job, he usually has to take the lead, but in the extraction of James he eventually lets James take point. And of course they fall in love, which leads to some smexin’ where James also takes point. So to speak.
What I had created were characters where one (Matt) was less mature, more irresponsible, less reliable. The other character (James) takes care of Matt. It works for them.
But James is the one with the pressing issues. He’s the one with an illegally implanted chip in his brain that’s slowly taking control of him. Now we run into the first of those major non-plotting issues. That whole implant in James’s head? I didn’t plan that. Seriously: I was writing along, and suddenly the dude had a thing in his head.
So then I had to stop and do a bunch of research . . .
James’s implanted chip changed everything—the whole series. I finished 18% more or less where I planned, carrying along this unforeseen chip the whole way like a parasite I’d contracted—except I didn’t want to get rid of the parasite.
So I put the parasite to work for me. I gave it to James (it’s amazing how cruel a goddess I am, now that I’ve created my own universe—that’s normal, right?).
Which brings us back to Turning Tricks. In TT, James is discovered to have a parasite—the Trick—cuddling up alongside his implant. It throws a huge wrench in the works—creating situations where Matt has to take care of James, has to be the responsible one. It makes James dependent. Overall, I’d say it really helped their growth as a couple. I hope it’s not too much of a spoiler to tell you that by the end of the book, James and Matt are tighter than ever.
And I swear on my mother’s grave, the next book will be about Laslo and Logan.
(No one is allowed to tell my mother she’s dead.) (Well, not really dead. Just buried.)
Have I piqued your interest? How about a blurb?
James Ayala thought life would be smooth sailing once he escaped from a Red Idaho reeducation camp and returned to Blue Oregon. He was supposed to get answers about the biocybernetic chip that made him empathic, face the man who implanted it, and then ride off into the sunset with his new boyfriend, Matt Tennimore. Life, however, has other plans: the bad guy dies without giving them any answers, they left their horse in Idaho, and Gramma Anais finds a parasite on James’s implant—one that forces James into isolation.
Matt just got James back to Oregon where he wanted him, and extraneous brain hardware or not, he has no intention of letting him go. But James hesitates to move in with him. Despite his hurt, Matt has to man up and do his job, leaving James behind, while the rest of the team struggles to find the real mastermind behind the implant and the parasitic “Trick”—before it takes over James’s brain. But will it be too little, too late to save him?
And, of course, the ever-present Buy Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2959
Raised on a steady media diet of Monty Python, classical music and the visual arts, Anne Tenino rocked the mental health world when she was the first patient diagnosed with Compulsive Romantic Disorder. Since that day, Anne has taken on conquering the M/M world through therapeutic writing. Finding out who those guys having sex in her head are and what to do with them has been extremely liberating.
Anne’s husband finds it liberating as well, although in a somewhat different way. Her two daughters are mildly confused by Anne’s need to twist Ken dolls into odd positions. They were raised to be open-minded children, however, and other than occasionally stealing Ken1′s strap-on, they let Mom do her thing without interference.
Wondering what Anne does in her spare time? Mostly she lies on the couch, eats bonbons and shirks housework.
Check out what Anne’s up to now by visiting her site. http://annetenino.com