Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Moment with LJ Garland

1-Tell the readers a little about yourself.
Well, to start…L.J. Garland isn’t just one person! It’s two! Laura & Jeff – We’re a husband-wife writing team. We met in college over 20 years ago and have been driving each other nuts ever since. Hey, after that long, ya gotta have a since of humor for sure! We have tons of hobbies and interests—but we have two that top our list. 
First, we’re both licensed helicopter pilots with hundreds of hours of flight time. On our 10th wedding anniversary, we flew from the east coast to west and celebrated our special day in the honeymoon suite in Palm Springs. Course, we were so exhausted, we passed out. I’m still chewing nails over not getting to check out that humongous Jacuzzi tub! *sigh* Anyway…books. Chances are good you’ll see one type of flying machine or another in our stories…and the landings won’t always be pretty. But hey, any you walk away from are good, right? lol

The second thing that tops our list is we practice with a variety of weaponry from long bows to high-powered combat rifles. This, along with years of military experience, gives our books a heightened sense of reality. So, fire, fireworks, guns, pretty much anything that goes Boom!…yeah, it’s all good. You’ll see that in our stories as well. High-action adventure and romance…and a happy-ever-after.

On the home front, we enjoy a life in a house filled with love, laughter, and tenuously restrained chaos. We have three cats, one whistling guinea pig, and three boisterous sons—who conspire to ensure there’s never a dull moment. It’s awesome!
2-As an author, do you take time to read? If so, what do you like to read and who is/are your favorite author/s?
Jeff and I both love to read! And there are so many wonderful authors out there, it’s hard to choose just one or two. But here are some of our favs:
Anne McCaffrey – her stories are so creative, yet easy to visualize. Her detailed worlds and series are inspirational, not to mention fun to read!
Henry Beam Piper – his Little Fuzzy series is creative and memorable for sure!
Orson Scott Card – Ender’s Game and all that came after was amazing. And he also did a nice twist on ‘What you think is true, might not be.’
Stephen King – because he didn’t write horror just for the sake of writing horror, there was a deep, psychological aspect that caused the blood to run cold.

Dean Koontz – because his style of writing drew me. The way he wove his earlier stories was unusual, never in a straight line, which left me wondering how these diverse characters would ever collide.

Suzanne Brockmann – for her high-action stories and her hero’s perspective.

Robert Jordan – for his epic stories.

Thomas Harris – psychologically terrifying.
And last but not least, Stephen Hawking – because for the man who defined the universe as we know it, he presents his theories in a down-to-earth fashion and with wonderful analogies that are easy to follow. As brilliant as the guy is, he could’ve written it highbrow, but chose not to. And since it is about our universe, that’s kinda cool. lol
3-How do you stay motivated when the Muse is uncooperative?
An uncooperative muse? Beat her into submission. She doesn’t do her job, we take out our frustrations with threats of making her experience what our characters endure—bombs, crashing helicopters, being shot at, explosions, etc. While she stews over that…Jeff and I usually go have a nice long soak in a bubble bath and brainstorm plot and character issues. That usually does the trick! 
4-If you could go anywhere in the world on a romantic getaway, what would you do and where would you go?
Wow…that’s a tough question too. Hmmm. It would be a toss up between Fiji with its gorgeous water and secluded rentals, and the Australian Rainforest with its cabins in the trees and its zipline through the treetops. Yeah, it’s on our Bucket List. 
5-What is the hardest thing for you to write?
Probably that opening line. It has to grab the reader and sometimes that’s tough. We’ve rewritten openings, deleted whole chapters, and even changed opening characters from the hero to the heroine. If you can’t get the reader hooked at the start, well…..
6-If you could live the life of one of your characters who would you be?
That’s a tough question, but probably Carter and CC from Cadence Interrupted. We love flying helicopters, and Carter and CC get to fly over the African Savannah! Getting to fly over and see all those glorious animals roaming that gorgeous terrain? Yeah…awesome! Going to Africa is on our Bucket List, too.
7-The tag line on my blog is ‘Indulge Your Inner Romantic.’ What do you do to indulge?
Once a month, Jeff and I get a sitter and have a date night. After more than twenty years together, we still love to spend time together.  We’ll make a reservation at a ‘grown-up’ restaurant, dress up, and dine by candlelight. On one anniversary, we went to Macaroni Grill…and the waitress left behind the crayon she’d used to write her name with on the table. We spent the rest of the evening eating, laughing, and making a list of all the adventures and goals we’d accomplished together over the years. It was a special night for sure. And yes…being published authors made the list! lol 

Raven is on a suicide mission. Jex is a biomech on a mission to save humanity. They discover their mutual passion to destroy the enemy isn’t their only desire.
A war against the Darch has raged for years, and humanity is on the verge of extinction. Scientists have created biomechs to supplement as warriors, but it’s just a temporary fix on what appears an insurmountable problem. One desperate scientist injects JXS241, a biomech warrior, with what he hopes is the solution for mankind’s survival. But the biomech is captured by the enemy.
Raven Nirvanni survives on the fringes of a shattered culture. While on a self-imposed suicide mission to annihilate an enemy destroyer, she encounters the imprisoned biomech. Deciding the fate of humanity far outweighs the destruction of a single ship, she recues him and decides to ensure he reaches his destination.
With the enemy anticipating their every move, Raven is completely taken aback when she realizes she’s falling for JXS241. But can she really love a machine? And if so, can he reciprocate?
L.J. Garland is a husband-wife writing team who has thrived within their own romance for over 20 years. One of their favorite things to do is get into a hot bubble bath and brainstorm story ideas. Amid their long list of hobbies and interests, two activities stand above the rest. They are both licensed helicopter pilots with hundreds of hours of flight time, and they practice with a variety of weaponry from long bows to high-powered combat rifles. This, along with years of military experience, gives their books a heightened sense of reality. They enjoy their life together in a house filled with love, laughter, and adventure along with their three cats, whistling guinea pig, and three boisterous sons—who conspire to ensure there’s never a dull moment. They love hearing from readers who’ve enjoyed their stories at mail@lj-garland.com.
The needle slid between the third and fourth vertebrae in his neck. A flash of heat shot through him. More pressure was exerted to penetrate the synthetic cartilage of his neurospine. Accessing his internal response center, he raised the pain threshold, but not so high he couldn’t monitor the procedure. Immobile, he waited for it to be finished.
“Done.” The doctor stepped back. “JXS241, system check?”
“No change,” he said, and reset his pain threshold. “As you said, Doctor Mechins. Just a pinch.”
“Good.” The doctor made a note on his techpad. “There are three biomechs just outside the lab, waiting to escort you and the information I implanted into your neurospine to the planet Altaiga.”
“Give me a ship, doctor. I’ll get myself to Altaiga.” Taking three biomechs away from the war to act as escort was a waste of resources.
“The information you carry is critical to the war effort.” Dr. Mechins tapped the techpad. “You’ll take the escort.”
JXS241 rose from his chair. The decision was illogical, but sometimes humans determined situations based on feelings rather than sound military strategy. He yanked a black shirt over his head and shrugged into his military-issue jacket.
The science lab shook, equipment toppled, and assorted paraphernalia crashed to the floor. Alarms barked to life, an alert that the base was under attack. Dr. Mechins’ reserved manner morphed to terror. His gaze rolled toward the ceiling.
“They’ve discovered us.” He grabbed JXS241’s arm, dragged him to the lab door. “You’ve got to get out of here. Take the other biomechs, commandeer a ship, and get to Altaiga. The fate of humanity may very well depend on you.”
JXS241 stepped through the doorway. Three heavily armed escorts awaited him. One shoved a pulse rifle into his hands. He grasped the familiar weapon, glanced at it, and toggled the setting to kill.   
“Wait.” The doctor clutched his shoulder. “You may notice some changes—”
The lab exploded. Hot twisted metal and glass missiled through the air, spiking everything in its path. A rush of heat shoved Dr. Mechins against JXS241, and they tumbled into the outer hallway.
Hands grabbed the biomech, lifted him to his feet, and propelled him away from the lab. On the floor lay the doctor, ripped metal and shards of glass jutting from his back, blood pooling beneath him.
“Medic required at lab, level seven,” the tallest biomech said into his com-band. His gaze shifted from the doctor to JXS241. “In line, soldier. Primary objective is to obtain a ship and fly out.”
JXS241 moved behind the other biomechs, and they hastened to the hangar where pilots scrambled to their fighters. 
Scattered throughout the bay, sparks of light appeared and stretched into beings. Six-and-a-half to seven-foot men and women materialized. Graced with flaxen hair, and beatific smiles, immense gossamer wings protruded from their backs. With a serene facade they surveyed the hangar.
The enemy had arrived.

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