Monday, July 9, 2012

Interview & Giveaway: Aleksandr Voinov with Incursion

W00T! Aleksandr Voinov is back for a visit to chat about his latest book, Incursion. Fab one that, yes indeedy. 


Be sure to check out the giveaway he brought with him and give a big howdy. 


Let's get to it, shall we?


Doooo lets. 





Hi Aleks! Welcome back. :D

Hi Amara, thanks for inviting me over. :)

So... *peers over* ...whatch'u got there Aleks? Did you come with... a goodie bag? 

I did! 

Comment on this post (feel free to ask questions!) and win a price! I’m giving away three swag bags to a commenter on any of the blog stops, with the first winner receiving a $25 AMZ gift certificate and a swag bag with assorted magnets, wrist bands and other goodies. Two more will receive just the bag. I ship internationally and will draw the winners from all commenters after the tour is over. Please leave your email address so that I can contact you. 

Good luck!


Niiiiice. So, you have another fabulous book. This one is sooooo good. I loved it. Shocking, I know. *grins*  But, I /really/ REALLY did. You hit me on a number of levels with this one. Love how you manage to do that. Um… I’m gushing. This is supposed to be an interview, not a gush fest. *shrugs* can’t help it. Not sorry.

I’m glad you enjoyed it. This was one of the stories that just kind of showed up and demanded to be written, so I wrote this while cheating on my WWII novel.


Cheater. :p So, Anyhoo, do tell. Give everyone a little overview. What’s this jewel about?

My partner summed this up as “disabled bountyhunter hunts shape-changing morph on a space ship”. So, the blurb does a pretty good job of summarizing the basic idea, So I’ll repeat it:

Fighting with your back to the wall is all well and good—as long as you’ve chosen the right wall.
When the local authorities ask Kyle Juenger to hunt a shape-shifting Glyrinny spy, he can’t refuse. After all, he can use the reward to replace his paralyzed legs with cyberware, and maybe even to return to his home planet. Besides, he hates the morphs—those invasive, brain-eating monstrosities whose weapons cost him his legs.


Kyle’s best lead is the Scorpion, a mercenary ship armed to the teeth. Grimm, the Scorpion’s pilot and captain, fascinates Kyle. He’s everything Kyle lost with his legs, and he’s from the same home world. He’s also of the warrior caste—half priest, half savior. But Grimm’s been twisted by life as a merc, and Kyle’s stuck undercover as a criminal on the run.


That doesn’t stop Grimm from coming on to Kyle, or from insisting he’s more than the sum of his past and his useless legs. But Kyle has other concerns—like tracking a dangerous morph who could be wearing anyone’s face. And as if things weren’t complicated enough, Kyle can’t tell if Grimm is part of the solution . . . or part of the problem.


Ok, what I wanted to know most from you this time around is…inspiration. You have some great characters in Incursion. You’ve got your main character Kyle, whose legs are paralyzed. Why? Was there something specific that inspired that? Or is that just… how he came to you?

I have a weird tendency to mess with the legs of my main characters. Kendras in Scorpion gets his foot smashed, Richard in my WWII novel gets his knee shot out, and Sergei in Dark Edge of Honor gets a leg (and an arm) amputated, so Kyle is not the first one to have trouble with his legs. I’m always interested in how people deal with challenges, and since we’re literally captives of our bodies, physical challenges are probably the only ones we can’t run away from. It’s something we always have to face head-on. So for everything we’re achieving as a race and as people, the meat we inhabit is a very real restriction.

But probably one of the main inspirations for Kyle was feedback from a reader who is in a wheelchair and was asking a friend of mine when I would be writing a story “for her”. At which point I started building a character on the idea of a big physical challenge. Granted, Kyle is mobile—he has a somewhat crude apparatus that allows him to walk, but he considers the bottom half of his body as “dead meat”, and he’s resentful of it. Even worse that the damage was caused by an alien weapon, and nobody really knows how to fix it. There’s also a theme of connection/disconnection in the story – Kyle is disconnected from people, his own tribe, his homeland, his profession, his self-image, so the disconnect between the upper spinal cord and the lower spinal cord is, in some ways, the least of his problems.

I think my favoriteEST in the book is Grimm. I fell in love with him almost on sight. Oh. And Winter. Oh. And… *sigh*… ok, maybe all of them. But Grimm most, I think. Give me the scoop on him. What inspired this hunk of nommness? :D

Grimm in some ways mirrors Kyle (you’ll have to read the story to see just how ironic that is)—they are from the same homeworld, even the same continent and have the same mindset overall, but Grimm is from the warrior caste, which in that society makes him some kind of holy warrior, with a healthy dose of shaman/priest. Basically, if you have any issues, troubles or pains, you go to a warrior, and they’ll sort you out. However, Grimm’s been corrupted by life as a mercenary, but Kyle can’t quite shed the conditioning of his past. To him, Grimm should be the answer to his various problems—and then things gets really twisty and turny. Visually, he looks a lot like a Maori border guard I stared at while navigating the customs queue in Auckland, when I travelled to New Zealand five or six years ago. He was huge and utterly gorgeous. (I should possibly note that Kyle and Grimm are not “white”).

Ok, what I /really/ want to talk to you about is… Aleks, OMG, your shifters! I always knew Voinov shifters would rock mah socks if you ever did any, but once again I failed to give you enough credit. Far be it for you to do shifters like everyone else always does. I think to “inside the box” and expected wereshifters from you. *whispers* still write that tho, ‘k? K. *winks* 

I promise, one day I’ll do werewolves. I have a long history as a roleplaying gamemaster, and one of my favourite things to run was Werewolf: The Apocalypse, published by White Wolf. So, I’m tuned into wolves and werewolves and all that, but I want to give it my own spin when I do this. It’s on the list. :)

SahWEET. Can't wait. Aaaand I rambled. My point is… your shifters rocked mah socks. So…how’d this come about? Did you start off wanting to write a shifter story? Did it morph into one? How’d you come up with this idea? Have you always wanted to write them, like with Silvio? Or… or… *deep breathe* Ok, I’m spazzing out. Sorry. *mumbles* calm down Amara.

*tries to regain composure*

Um…*laughs*… How’s that for rapid fire questions :D :D Hopefully you get my gist. You know… tell me… EVVVVVerything. I’ll try to stop bouncing while you do. *tries real hard and smiles*

Hah. That’s fine, not to worry. I’ve always been fascinated by tricksters (starting with my
own power animal being Raccoon, who is one of the trickster totems, along with Coyote and Crow). Tricksters challenge the gods and tradition, do new stuff, and sometimes impart painful lessons of growth (I’ve been told that Raccoon is the most “human-like” of the trickster totems – he has hands, after all). Tricksters break the rules, think outside the box, and they usually do it to create growth and insight. Prometheus stole fire from the gods and got punished, but thanks to him, the Old Greeks believe, we have fire and cook our meals and weave and build stuff. One of the things many tricksters do is to change shape—they are rarely what they seem, or change roles and appearances at will. We see Loki in Norse Mythology, and while he sometimes ends up in a tight spot (like changing into a mare to distract a magical stallion—and ending up impregnated with Sleipnir, Odin’s horse), he is also the one who is duplicitous and clever. To me, shifters are tricksters, tricksters are usually shifters. The ability to change shape throws one of our habits out of whack. We can’t trust what we see. They are a challenge to look at the true nature of things and judge its quality and impact.

Of course, these are themes I’ve explored before—there’s usually at least one trickster/shifter in anything I write, and Silvio is one of them, though he’s also a guide to the underworld (quite literally, as a killer). And Silvio changes shape, too, or at least moves from man to woman rather easily.

When I came up with Incursion, I needed a suitably scary, or at least unsettling alien race, so they have some abilities that make them super-human. They have a natural aptitude with computers (basically, they can read energy currents) and they morph. They can be whoever they want. This alone is scary. Topped off with that nobody knows their agenda, and they seem technologically pretty advanced (and a way to tell them from normal humans is still in prototype stage), they make good enemies to a human race hung up on outward appearances.

Okey dokey. To end with, you know that I LOVE to stalk you and wait for you to drop writing music so I can steal them and make my lists; however…I have been lax in this area. So, tell me, got a theme song for this jewel?

I don’t really think I do, but I’m awful at remembering what music I listened to five months ago. :)  It was probably Industrial and metal. I promise to keep better track of this for the next interview!

Or maybe I'll just get back to my endless stalking and snatch them up like I used to. :) 


Hm. What else... *ponders*...Oh! What’s Grimm’s favorite song? Does he have one? :D

That’s a good question, but I’m drawing a blank on that, sorry. :) Somehow, I don’t see him listening to music at all.

No favorite song? Hmm. Alright. Aaaaaand… now I’ll stop rapid firing the questions at you. For the time being at least. *winks*

Thanks for coming back to visit Aleks. Always such a pleasure!

Thank you again for having me! :)

Don't forget everyone, leave Aleks a comment to be entered in his fantabulous giveaway! 


That's all for now.


Later taters!

61 comments:

  1. I already gushed to Aleks and managed to make Amara scare the bejebus out of a cat with my enthusiastic take on this read >.<

    LOVED it! I would like to ask for Grimm to be packaged up nice and safe and sent to southern Indiana for me ;)

    Kassandra
    sionedkla@gmail.com

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    1. Lol. I'm still chuckling about your blog comment. :)

      Thanks for coming by darlin' Hope the day is good to you!

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  2. Aleks writing a werewolf story? Yes, please! I quite enjoy them, but haven't found anything good lately, so it would be verra interesting to see what Aleks will come up with! :)

    P.S. One q - how can you tell which one is your power animal? I want to know which one is mine, too! :D

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    1. Aleks & werewolves. Would be cool wouldn't it? I'm actually not a big werewolf fan, vamp grrl here, but a Voinov werewolf? Oh hellz yeah. :D

      I did the vision quest myself too, like Aleks talks about in his comment, in /my/ irresponsible .... not youth. lol was a couple years ago. Tiger here. :)

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    2. Hah, after Twilight I got to read about sooooo many vampires, I got really sick of them. XD Now I'll read about them only if I know the author. Oh! And btw, the concept of werewolves in Twilight was quite cool (I think it was both my first vamp and were book).
      And now you won't talk to me. XD

      Tigers are soooo cool! Love the big cats. Rawr! :D

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    3. I don't actually know enough about the Twilight take on werewolves. What was cool about them?

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    4. @Aleks: They didn't sparkle...?

      Sorry, couldn't help myself. ;)

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    5. Now that you ask..... I can't really say. :D Maybe the feel of them? Changed to wolf form at will, hunted vampires and hated their sickly sweet stench and were fun to be around? Ah, and non-stop telepathic communication within the pack, tho I'm still undecided if I liked that or not. They were far from perfect, but the best ones I've encountered in fiction. Well, maybe apart from the Harry Potter classic ones. :D

      (God, the literature I was reading! XD )

      @Amara: No, they didn't. :P

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  3. Kassandra - he doesn't even require careful packaging - he regenerates pretty much all damage (but don't tell that to Rachel, she'll grab him and hurt him bad. :) ).

    Aija - I've read somewerewolf romances and kept thinking that the wolf part was usually not as well researched as I'd have wanted. Since then, I've been actively avoiding to read them.

    The power animal can be found via vision quests. You might either grab somebody who can guide you on that, or get a book and experiment yourself. (That's how I did it in my irresponsible youth...)

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    1. *nods* I completely agree, hence I'm not reading them anymore, tho I'm still curious. But at that time it was all so new and shiny, I just grabbed anything I could lay my hands on. :D Now you and your gang have ruined me for all the crappy books! So a story from you would be a just compensation. ;P

      Why both you and Amara say "irresponsible"? It's not a thing you should do alone?

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    2. I was just stealing Aleks' explanation, with an added Amara twist, since I did it by reading and experimenting too. :)

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    3. I've heard you *should* have somebody with you, but I was never so far gone that I needed any intervention from outside. I dunno.

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    4. As if I would share with Rachel ;)

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  4. (No swag for me, thanks. I'm just here to say hi.) Great interview, Amara. I hadn't ever thought about favorite music/songs for characters. And Aleks, I'm fascinated that so much inspiration for your character came from that reader's feedback!

    Also I'd be interested in that werewolf story, too.

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    1. Thanks Val! Glad you enjoyed it. I don't usually think of the songs on an individual character level myself. But for the books I do. I started saving the songs Aleks shared while he was writing back when he was writing Scorpion. Made a huge 'sound track' with it. 39 songs long. It's over there on the side bar. I still listen to that thing. Fabulous playlist.

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    2. Hi Val - thanks for stopping by. And, yep, this is probably the story that was the most influenced by external sources, but my Muse took all that stuff and ran with it. Sometimes, that stuff bubbles up from the inside mostly, but this is a very external story, somehow. Or at least my response to external stuff going on.

      Amara - I'll try to be better about gathering these, but I seem to remember I was writing this mostly with my "old" writing music rather than new things I found.

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    3. Hi Val - This was aweird one, because a great deal came from the outside, whereas normally it's a more mixed picture (obviously, there's still an alchemistical process going on where things sink in deep and then bubble back up, but the core stimuli were from the outside and other people. Some positive, some negative.) The slight sense of horror (specifically the operation theatre scene) is owed to my partner, who helped me carve out the plot arch ("so, you're saying this is a bountyhunter-on-a-haunted-spaceship-type-plot?", and he was right, so I went with a different ending than he suggested - he wanted me to end with the capture scene).

      And the whole "what kind of creature is man" angle is largely due to the m/m reviewer who defines a man as one who's born with a penis.

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    4. Looks like my "lost" comments decided to show up in the end... sorry about the double post...

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    5. @Aleks: lol yeah. Not sure what's going on with the darn comments. Sometimes they seem to work, sometimes they are holding you hostage somewhere. Darn hinky blog anyway.

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  5. Great, now my 'vision quest' is producing images of Silvio, Loki and Grimm intertwined into some sort of power energy that...yeah, never mind.

    I hope everyone will read Incursion. I found it a very important story. Exceptional.

    Aleks, have you considered expanding on this world?

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    1. Lolol. I often get visions of them too. ;)

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  6. Lisa - Thanks for commenting. "People" are rare as power animals, but from a shamanistic viewpoint, they are all thought forms and spirits that can be used and negotiated with. Gods know that, back in the days when I was doing a fair amount of experimenting, I used some of my characters to do "magic" (which is a huge topic, but essentially comes down to communicating to your subconsciousness in a way it understands, and mine works great with my own characters and symbols - so keeping Silvio as a bodyguard or channeling people that don't exist to your own ends absolutely works). Power animals are more primal though, they seem to go deeper.

    Expanding? Yes. It's in the same universe as "Dark Edge of Honor" (though the two storylines never cross), and I think it could be fun for the Glyrinny tyo investigate (and "hack") the Doctrine. Thats' how I build worlds and settings - one story at a time. And it could be fun to write more about Kyle. Learning how to become could be a really cool challenge in terms of writing.

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    1. Aleks, you've obviously tackled "human-hacking" well. To see you Doctrine-hack could be a master work.

      I think everyone would agree that watching Kyle become, is a very seductive idea, indeed.

      Silvio seems to be beyond human, to me, an exquisite beauty.

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    2. I'll let it germinate. Gods know what the Muse is coming up with in that universe. :)

      There's definitely something supernatural/mythical about Silvio. There were several moments in Dark Soul where I got the sense that this was just a hair's breadth away from turning into a paranormal.

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  7. Love the interview, and yeh I still want that swag ^_^

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    1. Hiya darlin'. Thanks, glad you enjoyed it :D

      ps: Swag rocks!

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Darien, and I'm putting you on the list for the draw. :)

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  8. I actually haven't read any shifter stories yet, if you can believe it. This sounds like a great place to start! (and Amara, I'd love a hint at some of the stuff on the Scorpion "soundtrack" playlist...)

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. It lives on the side bar. But the link is... http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=B8780C4BB43E8357

      They've deleted some vids, darn it. Booooo. But is still an awesome list. I went all out on that badboy. Even have a spreadsheet somewhere that ties what passage goes with what song. lol I was rather into watching him write that book. I blame Aleks tho. I'd never seen an author share like that, so it kinda rocked mah socks. Stealing the music he listens to while writing kinda became my thing.

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    2. Anon - No shifters? Wow. I thought for a while at least 50% of all books in our genre were shifter-related. For a time, you couldn't take a step without stepping on a werewolf. (Or vampire.) Now, there's an image. :)

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  9. I thought the interview was terrific. The enemy alien race was fascinating, such a deadly foe to contend with in the story. I would be in a near constant state of suspicion and semi-paranoia in their situation.

    Jess1
    strive4bst at yahoo dot com

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    1. Forgot to add: I was surprised and unaware about Loki and his horse baby. (What?! when I read it) Of course, I had to look it up on the web. ;)

      Jess1
      strive4bst at yahoo dot com

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    2. Hi Jess. Glad you enjoyed the interview. Always fun when Aleks comes to visit. :)

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    3. Hi Jess - thanks for commenting. Yes, I have to admit, I'd be pretty freaked out if somebody took my shape and I walked into them. As much as I like the Glyrinny, I totally get their freak-out factor, too. :)

      And the Loki story is one of my favourites - I can just see the old rough-and-tumble Vikings have a good laugh at his expense there.

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  10. Excellent interview! Love how you find your inspiration. It's always interesting one of your characters have a physical flaw. It affects the mental also and makes for some great character growth.

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    1. Hi Jadette. So glad you enjoyed the interview. Thanks so much for coming by!

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    2. Jadette - I agree totally. I'm getting quite bored of the poster boys with their ribbed abs as main characters (though Kyle is wide and tall) - which might be one of the reasons why I keep messing up my characters' health. But even more so, I write so much about warriors, and those guys depend even more on their bodies. A civilian can cope much better, for a soldier, their job is tied into it, and "fitting in" and lots of cans of worms. I find that very interesting to explore as a writer.

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  11. Loved the story and the interview; it's always fascinating getting a bit more info on how the story came about :)
    Kind of hoping there'll be more stories in that world now - I do like a bit of good sci-fi :)

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    1. Hi pointycat!

      I hope he does more stories too. That would sure be cool. #WantsmoreGrimm!! :D

      Thnaks for coming by darlin' :)

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    2. Pointycat - I'll look into it (all this can quite easily happen, I'll leave it with the Muse, he'll come up with stuff). There would be a cool potential thing if the Glyrinny work undercover in Doctrine space. I was even considering what would happen if Kyle goes home - maybe for totally sentimental reasons like "saying goodbye".

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  12. Read Incursion and loved it; was totally intrigued with the Glyrinny. So many possibilities for their characters, and a fascinating idea that who you are is more than your appearance.

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    1. Alyssa - If you feel inspired by them, you can run with them any time. :) I'm pretty sure I'll revisit them. I think there are two broad factions, too.

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    2. Hi Alyssa - Thanks for stopping by. I love them. I was really worried they'd come across as gimmicky, but I love them extremely hard (one of my personal favourites is Winter - she definitely takes the third spot).

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    3. Hi Alyssa. Thanks so much for stopping by :)

      "...fascinating idea that who you are is more than your appearance."

      I think that was my favorite thing about this one.

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  13. INCURSION certainly looks like a very interesting read. I loved the interview thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Hi marybelle - thanks! And thanks for commenting!

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    2. Hi marybelle. Thanks so much for stopping by. This one is so very good! I highly recommend it. :)

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  14. Loved the interview, Amara and Aleks. :) I'm afraid if I ever did an interview with an author, it would sound just like this one *fangirls*

    :D

    ashley.vanburen[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Ley - LOL - I've been there. I once interviewed JS Cook for Speak Its Name and I was all "OMG, you're awesome" *flail* I do wonder how some people manage to do interviews with a straight face. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Lol!

      @Ley: You mean as opposed to how I sound with my ... OMGOMGOMGALEKSHASABOOKANDITSSOGREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I decided way back on interview #1... I just am who I am, can't fight it, even if I don't make the most professional type interviews. Lol.

      Glad you liked the interview. Thanks so much for coming by!

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    3. @Aleks: LOL. I know a silly blog grrl who interviews this guy names Aleks that way. "OMG, you're awesome" *flail* with an added "OMG Aleks is here!" *snoopy dance* or... something like that. ;)

      *shrugs* can't help it.

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  15. Loved the interview! And Amara, you keep being you while interviewing Aleks' being *His Awesomeness*

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    1. Hi Emme. So glad you enjoyed the interview. :)

      lol, I know no other way to be. :D

      I've tried to tone it down, but it doesn't work. I've known Aleks for a few yrs now, you'd think I'd be used to this, but... his Authorship of Awesomeness still just makes me flail about. lol can't help it. Dude just continues to rock mah socks.

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    2. Emme & Amara - Now, don't make me blush. :)

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    3. But Aleks... trying to make you blush is half the fun. ;P

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    4. But you can't see the results... :)

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  16. Hey Aleks, can you do me a favor and let your partner know that I love the various nicknames he comes up with for your book. I find them very amusing. Does he have anymore of them? Anyways, thanks for the tour, this book sounds awesome!!

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Emily - I'll do that. I keep forgetting some of the goofier things that are being said. The usual way things go is that I tell him all excitedly about a new idea I have, and then he shuts the idea down with one - very well-aimed - comment or observation. These can be really funny or really incisive, and it often takes me a while to get over my moment of peevedness. In the case of Incursion, he liked the idea a great deal (rare enough - he likes plot over characters, and I can be a bit wobbly on plot, so if I can win him, I know I have a decent plot.)

      Usually, there's a shorthand, like "the whale book" (as yet untitled), "the fighter pilot book" (Skybound), "the Soviet-Afghan soap opera" (Special Forces) and "Punisher porn" (Collateral). He means well, but he can be merciless. :)

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