To talk about my inspiration for Janus and for Phoenix Rising as a whole series, I have to first talk about my inspiration for The Phoenix Rebellion, it's predecessor.
The greatest inspiration for this series came from the question "What if..."
What if we had first contact with a superior alien race in the early 21st Century? What if those aliens looked like us, spoke like us, and told us they were our ancestors? What if they promises us health, prosperity and technology under the pretense of simply wanting to help their brethren?
What if it all was a lie?
The Phoenix Rebellion answers those questions, right down to what happens when the lies are revealed. What do we do?
Phoenix Rising is the aftermath of all the answers. It has been just a year since humanity rose up and fought back, and reclaimed our world. We are a fraction of the people, the population, we had once been. Our world is beaten, but not broken. Our people weak, but still strong at heart. But, in all that, we still have enemies.
Book One: Janus speaks of duplicity, of masks we wear, of lies we tell -- not always for the purpose of deceit, sometimes just as protection.
It's been a year since Humanity rose up against their alien oppressors and took back Earth from the Sorracchi. The war left Earth devastated, crippled, but not beaten. Under the leadership of President Nick Tanner and in collaboration with their new Areth and Umani allies, the Earth seeks stable ground again.
John Smith of the Areth was a soldier before his queen asked him to serve as ambassador to Earth, and he is out of his element. Restricted in his position from carrying a weapon, he has no way of defensing himself or his adopted son when the Xenos -- a group of Humans wishing to purge the Earth of all alien influence -- decide they want him dead.
Jenifer is a soldier for hire, and answers to no one but her own common sense. She first refused the "job" of serving as John's bodyguard, but a glimpse at the heart of the man convinces her to accept the responsibility.
John has two faces: a soldier and an ambassador of peace. Jenifer has two faces: the steel-skinned warrior and the forgotten person she once was. Too many people hide behind masks, and it's those hiding who want John dead.
If you would like to read The Phoenix Rebellion before reading Janus, you can purchase it now at Desert Breeze Publishing as a 4-Book pack. Save nearly 30% off buying the books individually!
If anyone would like to read a free prequel novella to the Phoenix series, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'd be happy to send you a pdf copy.
I'd like to share an excerpt from Janus, available 21 May 2012.
"I think Jackie might be able to help us out with your security detail while Connor is recovering." Nick motioned toward the couch where John had previously been sitting. "She knows all about the attacks and the threats against your life."
John sat and leaned forward on the couch, his hands linked and his elbows resting on his legs, focused on Jacqueline. "What do you think?"
"I think if you want to stop an assassin, you hire an assassin."
Nick paused in his descent into his chair, quirking an eyebrow before he finished sitting. "Who?"
"You probably don't know her. But, I guarantee you, if you want the ambassador's ass protected -- no offense, Ambassador -- she's the one that'll do it for you."
"Am I to assume this person isn't exactly official?" He grinned, because very few things since the Humans fought back and retook their planet could really be termed as official.
"Assume anything you want, Ambassador." Jacqueline sat on the edge of Nick's desk, obviously comfortable and at ease in the presidential office. But, John noted the way her gaze slid to the family photos on the desk -- specifically one of her with Michael and their daughter Nicole -- and just as quickly, she looked away. "All I'm saying is she's the best there is if you want someone dead, or if you want to keep them alive."
"Is she Phoenix?" Nick asked. Which really meant: Was she part of the resistance before the war?
John had garnered through his time with Nick Tanner the right answer to the question held a lot of weight for him when it came to determining loyalties. With the major threat of Sorracchi oppression gone, most of the world population had started to come together to rebuild. But, volunteering after the winner is chosen was a very different thing to Nick than being part of the fight.
"Officially?" Jacqueline flipped her long, black hair behind her shoulder and moved from the desk to perch on the arm of the couch. She was a stunning woman, John would readily admit, lean and strong, with rich latte skin and dark eyes to match her dark hair. He knew little about her except she'd practically been raised by Phoenix, and she was raising a little girl with Michael, Nick's son. And right now she was harboring a whole lot of pain she wasn't about to let anyone see. "We've collaborated."
Nick made a small sound in the back of his throat, and rocked in the chair, the aged mechanisms creaking slightly. For several moments, the chair squeaked under his habitual rocking as he rubbed his fingers across his lips.
"She was with me when I found Jace Quinn."
Jacqueline's statement immediately stopped the rocking, and John carefully watched the unsaid communication between the two of them. It was no more than a meeting of the eyes, and a slight nod from Nick.
"I trust Jackie with everything precious to me. And if she says this woman -- whoever she is -- can be trusted to protect you, then I think you should seriously consider it, John." Only then, when he said John's name did he look away from Jacqueline.
"Good enough for me."