Hello, Awesome Readers, and thanks for joining us here at The Novel Approach Reviews for another edition of Genre Talk. Today we have double the fun as we welcome DSP Publications author (or is that authors?) T.A. Venedicktov, here to tell us all about the upcoming Science Fiction release, Chrysalis Corporation. We also have a fab giveaway, so let’s get right to the good stuff!
Together, they can change the rules of the galaxy and the definition of humanity.
When Damion Hawk is offered an opportunity to escape the destitute life of a miner on Mars and become an elite Alpha Fighter pilot, he jumps at the chance. Within the Chrysalis Corporation, Damion must learn to work with his Core—a man with computerized implants, no human emotions—and no rights. But unlike other Fighters, Damion can’t treat Core 47 as a tool. He sees 47 as more than a machine, and he’ll take deadly risks to help 47 find the humanity inside him.
Fighters and Cores are designed to work together and enhance each other’s strengths in defense of their employer. Damion and 47 will need each other’s support as suspicions about the all-powerful Chrysalis Corporation arise. Someone wants Damion and 47 gone, and they need to find out who and why while hiding 47’s growing emotions and the love forming between them. If they can succeed, they might save not only themselves, but all Cores enslaved by the Corporation.
Chrysalis Corporation is available for preorder now from DSP Publications.
Carole: Okay, so let’s get this out of the way first, to make things easier on our Awesome Readers: T.A. Venedicktov is, in actuality, two authors—T.C. Nocte and Ariana Juno. They are the twisted minds behind the soon to be released SF novel, Chrysalis Corporation. They’re two women with varied backgrounds yet share similar goals. They want to give readers new worlds and characters to fall in love with, whether it be sci-fi, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, or really anything Ariana comes up with. Chrysalis Corporation is the first novel in the Chrysalis Corporation series as well as their first novel to be published.
So! Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on to why we’re all here. So, TC and AJ—tell us about your genre.
TC: With the 10 or so different ‘stories’ that Ariana and I have written together over the years, Chrysalis Corporation is the only sci-fi one. All the others are mostly paranormal with a scatter of fantasy. We started writing CCorp about . . . 5 or 6 years ago. I grew up watching Star Trek, Babylon 5, Stargate, and many more, so my definition of sci-fi varies. While Ariana (as usual) created the idea for CCorp, I took on the technology and planet/moon communities and ran with it. Unlike the majority of sci-fi shows, movies, and books, CCorp is kept within our solar system (for now?) while all the others take place in other galaxies. I loved the idea of going outside our own writing galaxy and turning from our typical paranormal ‘stories’ and writing within the sci-fi genre. There are no limits when it comes to sci-fi, whether it takes place within our current timeline or in the far future.
AJ: I would define sci-fi as any story which treads the lines between space exploration and paranormal. The idea of the impossible, although science is catching up to most space stories, we’re still not there yet in our achievements. I found the inspiration in a blending of many ideas, books, and TV shows. I fell in love with the idea of trying something different. I don’t believe I’ve read a book like CCorp out there yet.
TC: That’s so true. I’ve also never read anything like CCorp before. There’s the saying that no idea is original. However, I think Ariana really hit the idea nail on the head and I very much doubt that we’ll be accused of stealing someone else’s idea. Especially since we’ve been working on CCorp for so long.
Carole: Interesting process, and the story definitely sounds unique. So, why M/M?
TC: Umm *laughs* Because it’s something that both Ariana and I are interested in. We actually met *mumbles* years ago on a storyboard site that I joined back in the day of text only internet. The subject of the storyboard was a combo of two things that I loved, the anime Ronin Warriors and the comic, Elfquest. When the storyboard eventually died years later, Ariana and I decided to continue writing together and our first ‘story’ naturally just ended up being M/M. And we haven’t stopped since.
AJ: I have written f/m, f/f, and m/m. This story evolved with a m/m story line. There are heterosexual characters in the novel. The main characters happened to end up being two males. I hope over time the sexual orientation in novels will not have to be segregated. We could have changed the story to a m/f approach but it would no longer be the story we loved.
TC: That is very true. M/F or F/F just wouldn’t work for CCorp. The main characters, Damian and Re-*coughs* 47, have the masculinity that’s needed for this book. It wouldn’t really work with any other gender coupling. For example, if Damian were female instead, I doubt there would be the roughness in the story that 47 needs to get past certain hurdles. Perhaps female Damian would be more emphatic towards 47 and all other Cores plight much sooner, or more so even. ((And yes, there are female Alpha Fighters and Cores. They’re just not really apparent in the first novel because the Corporation keeps them separated))
Getting into why CCorp needs to be M/M for it to work would take much more time. Maybe a long blog post on our website, we’ll see. *laughs*
Carole: We’ll all look forward to that. :) Okay, so now tell us something about Chrysalis Corporation. Something you really want readers to know about this story.
AJ: I would want people to know the book opens up many, many possibilities. We have rough drafts of several diverging paths this universe can take, and will take, if DSPP will have us as well as any fans of the series we pick up. I want readers to know not to expect a raging love story. Our characters help the story but they’re not magically in love.
TC: There have only been one set of characters where their love life is puppies and rainbows – in the beginning. It’s simple and beautiful – and it ‘ends’ in . . . never mind. Spoilers. We hope to introduce them to you one day.
Carole: Chrysalis Corporation is being published through DSP Publications, Dreamspinner Press‘s imprint for nonromance genre novels. Tell us about the relationship in Chrysalis Corporation and why it doesn’t fit the accepted definition of Romance in the M/M genre.
AJ: The DSP Publications label was a surprise to us, but a happy one. The conflict between Damion and his Core is more than just sexual. There are many layers of challenge for them to dig through. You want Damion to figure his problems out and have him admit his love. The challenge is Damion having to go against everything he knows and throw away everything he’s achieved. He’s a poor boy who has finally become an Alpha Fighter pilot. If Luke Skywalker had just walked away from being a pilot and gone against the Empire for a cute Twi’lek then we would have all been very disappointed.
TC: In all honesty, to be put under the shiny new imprint last year as new authors to the company was a complete and amazing surprise for us. We submitted to DSP and when we heard that we were not only going to be accepted for DSP but for a NEW imprint called DSP Publications – it blew my mind. And made perfect sense once I read back through it (the 1,000th time). Our two main characters – Damion and 47 – have a very slow bubbled ‘romance’. Between 47’s inability to ‘feel’ natural emotions and Damion’s constant ‘I’m straight, what the hell am I doing’ attitude, it’s not an easy or natural thing for them to do. But it was fun figuring it out. :)
Carole: It sounds it! So then tell us about the evolution of this story. What was its earliest incarnation as a concept and when did it begin to take the form of Chrysalis Corporation?
AJ: I had been in a slump of a sorts and reading a lot of novels off of both DSP and Amazon. I hadn’t found anything sci-fi in a while to catch my interest. Plenty of fantasy but sci-fi was not so prevalent. I think it was shortly after my first born came or before but I was flipping through a Game Informer and thought – what if we could plug into computers? It snow balled from there.
TC: *points to AJ* It’s all her fault. *laughs* It’s true. She comes up with all the initial ideas and I just run with it. Since we didn’t have something to work from in the sci-fi world, everything needed to be made to fit our needs. When I was on tour, I racked up so much ink and paper in hotel business lounges for research on all the planets AND all their moons. How did people evolve on each of these planets/moons? What did these places and people look like? How did the first pioneers adapt these ‘inhospitable’ planets into some place to live to thrive? I would spend entire shows (between ques) writing up these notes in my notebook. For every single planet. For every single moon, even ones we may never use – I wanted the info to be there.
Carole: So with all that going on, why did you feel this story needed to be told with the M/M dynamic?
AJ: The main reason we kept the M/M story instead of changing it to a F/M was the characters. Damion, Juni, 108, 47, all of them, plus more, became very vivid over the course of a year. It had no bearing on our own sexual orientations. The characters and their orientations became very set in stone through the progression of the story. It would have been forced and would have ruined the story if we changed it to F/M.
TC: (Over the course of a YEAR, AJ?? Seriously?!) Precisely, the dynamic wouldn’t have worked as well. Damion has to be a bit hard handed with 47 at times because as a Core who doesn’t have any emotions, he can be pretty damn stubborn. As I said before, the relationship for Damion and 47 was slow-burning. It’s a gradual process for Damion, who never really thought of himself as gay, but has an overwhelming pull towards 47 but doesn’t want the Core to think Damion just wants to use 47 like 47’s former Alpha Fighters did. Nor did Damion want to be the kind of Alpha that thought of their Cores as nothing but tools. He can see the humanity within 47 where many others Alpha Fighters use their Core as either a box wrench or a vibrator.
I think it enhances the story because it’s so much in the future that even as we’re making strides in today’s world with equality and equal opportunity for LGBTQ, there still will always be bigots. Even if it’s something that’s been considered ‘normal’ for hundreds of years.
Carole: Too true, alas. So will you write any stories not part of this universe? Or in a different genre?
TC: Will we write any stories not of this universe? *laughs* We have already. Many of them. One or two of them over 900 pgs and still not complete. We started off writing paranormal and stuck with that for a little while. We’ve done fantasy as well. We’ve stolen characters from other stories and made them human because, why not? As for whether or not some of them end up on the publishing block, (if they even can, some are way too in-cohesive [note: 900pg story and going]) it’s a possibility. We have Spook, Riders, Blood Brothers & Trifecta (which will probably be kept in the closet), Ashes, Just for Fun (which is where we write just to write), and many others.
Right now, all of concentration is on CCorp and the stories and characters within the CCorp universe and timeline. AJ has so many ideas for the CCorp Universe outside of the main story/timeline (a few that we’ve already written) that we’ll be busy with our boys and getting them into trouble. There’s SO much to tell.
AJ: I think as long as we’re able to put out quality work to submit to the company then, yes, we would write more. We also need to be able to write, something I’ve been lacking in time for lately, and so I hope we can give the readers more to read for CCorp and other universes sooner than later.
Carole: We’ll all look forward to that. Thanks so much to TC and AJ for joining us here on Genre Talk, and thanks to all you Awesome Readers for tagging along. There’s a giveaway to deal with yet, so don’t go away yet! For now, please enjoy this excerpt from Chrysalis Corporation then scroll down for the Rafflecopter widget and details.
Excerpt: “We will be reporting to Commander Sandrite to have your assignment made official and also to retrieve your room access card and pass for the Zodiac vessel.” The Core announced the orders in a monotone voice. Typical for a Core, or so Damion had heard. This was all completely new to him. His brow furrowed in confusion. He’d been working hard to eventually achieve command of “his own” Zodiac, but he hadn’t expected it to be so soon or to be receiving one in such a manner. All junior pilots had aspirations to be assigned to a Beta ship that they would share with other pilots before finally working their way to Alpha status and a Zodiac-class ship of their own.
Achieving Alpha rank so quickly was unheard of. Until today.
“A bit soon, isn’t it? I haven’t even met any other Cores, and I’ve only become part of the Beta squad.” Only top pilots—the Alphas—were paired with Cores. Ten Alphas were in command of a unit of twenty Betas each, along with working as a unit with ten other Alphas. This brought the Zeus attack fleet to a total number of 210 ships available for deployment. Unless there was a large battle or they had to practice maneuvers as a unit with their Alpha leader, Betas generally stayed on the ship and worked with simulation units, which had proved boring to Damion so far. Although that didn’t mean he was ready to become an Alpha.
“You do not need to,” the Core replied without looking at him. The doors opened, and the Core waited until Damion exited first before doing so himself. “You have already been chosen by a Core. Therefore there is no need for you to meet others. We are the ones who pick our Alpha Fighters. The Fighters do not pick the Core. It is not ‘a bit soon,’ as you say, for one such as yourself.”
The Core began walking down the corridor beside Damion, obviously leading him but not walking in front of him.
“Right, but how can I be chosen if none of the other Cores have met me?”
Damion was starting to feel even more unbalanced than before. He felt as if he were talking to a wall or a computer console, but knew that if he were truly going to be an Alpha, he would have to adjust to the way Cores spoke, no matter the frustration. If the Commander didn’t laugh him out of his office first.
“You were chosen before you arrived on the Zeus,” the Core stated as if it explained everything. He paused at Commander Sandrite’s gray office door.
Damion sighed as he pulled on the edge of his uniform to straighten out any remaining wrinkles. “I hope you’re not being extremely obtuse on purpose.”
The Core finally turned to him, his odd-hued eyes meeting Damion’s through a length of bangs. “What do you need me to explain? I assumed I was being clear.”
“You didn’t answer my question,” Damion replied, glancing at the door. A hint of excitement joined the nausea in his stomach. “There is no way someone can choose me if they haven’t met me. It’s impossible.”
“Nothing is impossible, and anything deemed such should be proven otherwise,” the Core stated matter-of-factly, some essence of almost emotion flashing in his eyes. He turned to the door himself. “As I have just proven.”
Author Bio: T.A. Venedicktov is in reality two people.
A, Ariana Juno, is a full-time working single mother with a love of chai tea lattes and tumblr. When Ariana is not working or raising two amazing children, she is plotting with her co-author. Ariana has been in the medical field for fifteen years and has a love of travel. She lives in the Midwest and has an ice cream habit which calls for an intervention. Ariana daydreams most of the plots of the T.A. novels—daily, hourly, nonstop, which drives TC nuts at times. Even though Ariana’s constant stream of ideas for even more new characters and books may drive TC crazy, TC knows that without Ariana they wouldn’t be where they are today.
T, TC Nocte, is a full-time mom with a vast background in theatre. (No, not as an actor. She wanted to actually make money so became a touring theatrical carpenter.) TC has traveled all over the US as well as outside to multiple countries when she was still touring and strives to visit many more in her future. She’s the main headliner in regards to editing and keeping their writing in order, as well as trying to untangle all of Ariana’s random ideas. TC lives in Florida with her consort and his three human children that she has claimed as well as three cat babies. She’s been battling Primary Sjogren’s Disease (https://www.sjogrens.org/home/about-sjogrens/symptoms) and RA while drinking coffee and kicking ass.
The duo has been writing unprofessionally for over a decade together and hope to share their twisted but lovable characters with the world.
Want to win an e-copy of Chrysalis Corporation? Just give TC and AJ your ebook file format preference in the comments section then click on the Rafflecopter widget and post your entry. (Don’t forget to include your email address!) A winner will be chosen on Chrysalis Corporation release day, November 17th. Good luck to all!