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Guest Author Wednesday’s ♥ Anne Tenino and the Military of the Future

Hello everyone! I’m thrilled to have wonderful Romance Author Anne Tenino with me today. Don’t forget to say hi and leave her a comment or two below.

Anne began writing for her own entertainment in third grade, but life intervened, and she didn’t get around to submitting anything to a publisher until the week of her 40th birthday. While spending most of the last three years recovering from Lyme Disease, Anne started writing for herself again. The Lyme Disease had led to the demise of her “real” job, and the laptop was right there, next to the bed… In the long, rainy, Pacific Northwest winter, writing is sometimes a mood-saver.

Anne’s husband is adorably confused by her love of reading and writing about man lurve, but he’s always been a supportive sort. Just don’t ask him to read it. Her two school-aged daughters think it’s cool Mom’s a writer, but aren’t clear on why they can’t tell Gramma about it.

When not writing, Anne likes to read, travel, cook, and shirk housework.

You can find him at:

  Site    Chicks & Dicks   Twitter  ♥  Facebook    Goodreads   Dreamspinner  

Today Anne has stopped by to discuss the Military of the Future with us and will stop by to answer any comments/questions you leave in the comments. 

The Military of the Future

My father’s aunt died in April, and my mom strong-armed my husband and I into going to the memorial service. My kids had a birthday party to go to, and I really wish I’d been able to claim I had to be there… But that’s not the point. The point is that my cousin was going to be there, and I haven’t seen her or her wife for a couple of years, now. They got married—or rather, had a commitment ceremony—fourteen years ago, right after my husband and I got married (you know, the legal kind).

My cousin (we’ll call her E for convenience. Her wife will be R) was late and “they” started the ceremony without her. Not that big a deal, since she’d probably seen Great-aunt Sally the same time I last had, over twenty years before. I was kind of bummed E wasn’t there yet, but it quickly turned to relief. Because guess what they did? They announced the name of every freaking survivor of my great-aunt and their kids and spouses, except R.

Little things like this remind me of why I created a pretend world where gay marriage is legal and commonplace. This world—set in the United States about a century from now—is where I set my Task Force Iota series.

The military features heavily in this future world, a military that bears a striking resemblance to ours. At the time I began writing the series, DADT was in full effect, and so of course I immediately changed my future military to not only allow LGBTQ people to serve freely, but I made it “normal.”

Most of what I know about the US military I learned through research after I started writing the Task Force Iota novels, 18% Gray and Turning Tricks. I’ve never been in the military, never dated—or you know, married—anyone in the military and I’m not close to anyone who served. Still, like a lot of people, I find the idea of a national armed force fighting to maintain our way of life and evil in general interesting.

I found the idea of a military that fights for the right of LGBTQ citizens fascinating, and that’s the world I created. In the Iota world, the United States has split into the Blue States of America and the Confederated Red States. Much of the function of the Blue military involves liberating queer citizens from the Red states.

The Iota world military structure was something I could take a look at from an outsider’s perspective and mess with without any personal baggage. Sort of the way some people *cough*Dan Brown*cough* can look at the Catholic church from an outsider’s perspective and see it as an institution rich in mystery that can be exploited—while those of us who grew up Catholic have, well, baggage. (Baggage that tends to lead to creating largely reviled characters like Sister Benigna. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.)

In the Iota world I created the Special Operations Unified Force—SOUF in 18% Gray, and SpecForce in Turning Tricks (more about that here)—a new branch of the Blue States of America military. It comprises the former Marines, now Gray Ops, and all the special operations forces that were formerly in the other branches. The reason I did this is because I didn’t want to deal with a bunch of different branches of the military. Can you imagine the logistics involved when the Rangers go in to help out the SEALs? There are hoops to jump through, special operations command units to run it by, different rules and protocols. Meh. The military is confusing enough.

I also created a paramilitary contractor that much of the story arc for the series focuses on—Queer Extraction Services Association (QESA), a private military contractor. The Queer Extraction Services Association is a company that works with the Blue military, and is in the business of liberating people on the queer spectrum from the Red states.

The Split Between the States (yes, creative soul that I am, I generally call it the Split) began in the 2050’s, and land continues to be fought over up to (and after) 2111, when my first novel in the Task Force Iota series begins, 18% Gray. Last month—May—the second novel in this future, Turning Tricks, was released. Both of these novels feature James and Matt as protagonists, although other books in the series—Task Force Iota—will feature other couples.

Our present world changes so fast in some ways—DADT was repealed last year and the Pentagon celebrated Gay Pride this month. It doesn’t make my storyline any less interesting to me, but it gives me hope that that’s all it really is, a story, and my future military is some crazy construct a person with no real military experience created out of the mists of her mind.

18% Gray Blurb:

In a future where the United States has split along party line, Agent Matt Tennimore’s job is to get people out of the Confederated Red States, whether they’re captured special ops agents from his own country or gay CRS citizens who’ve petitioned for asylum. He never expected to have to retrieve his high school crush, aka the guy who ostracized him for being gay.

Rescuing James Ayala isn’t going to be easy: he’s crawling with tracking nanos and has a cybernetic brain implant that’s granted him psychic powers he isn’t sure how to control. That’s the good news. The bad? The implant is compromising James’s mental stability.

So they’re on the run, avoiding surveillance by AI aircraft and hiding from enemy militia. Then James confesses he tormented Matt in high school because James wanted him. Matt can’t resist the temptation James offers, but he wants so much more than sex, assuming they ever make it home alive. Is James really a good bet when he’s got a ticking time bomb in his brain and there’s a question of how much he’s actually changed?

eBook   Paperback

Turning Tricks 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?