Tasmanian Special Forces Group:
Welcome to Hell
by C.R. Daems Genre: SciFi Military Action
Jolie was three when she found she was ugly and deformed.
She was five when she found she was a sub-human and an outcast.
She was seven when five boys and two girls dragged her out of the orphanage and beat her unconscious, leaving her lying bleeding and broken in the street.
She was content to lie there and die, tired of being hated and abused. But a frail old man with wispy white hair and a long beard wasn't content to let her die. He not only saved her, but he adopted her and passed on his unique martial art to her.
She was twenty when she headed to Delphi, the center of the United Systems of Perileos (USP) and the planet of her birth-father to find her place in his society.
Based on her unique upbringing, she decides to join the USP military, requesting to be assigned to the Tasmanians SFG, an elite all male unit. The military brass is reluctant to deny her request and admit their enlistment contract permits bait-and-switch assignments. Instead, they agree to let her enter the school, thinking she couldn't possibly succeed–a Chihuahua competing against Rottweilers–and plan to make an example of her when she fails.
Although Jolie is small, she is not what she appears. But can her adopted father's art enable her to survive the treachery of the military brass, the grueling of the school, the prejudices of the instructors, and the testosterone of an all-male class?
And if she succeeds, can she thrive in the high-octane and all male environment of the Tasmanians?
“At ease, gentlemen and Miss Luan. I am Colonel Zimmermann, the head of the Tasmanian Qualification School. You are about to embark on the most grueling exercise of your lives. We would like to qualify you all because we can use triple the number of Tasmanian-trained men. But the reality is that few are fit to undertake the demands of a typical Tasmanian mission. The function of this school is to weed out those who cannot meet the Tasmanian’s rigorous standards. Typically, less than ten men out of each class qualify. Each of you will be given a tracking device which will not only monitor your location but also your vital signs. If at any time you wish to drop out you need merely turn off your unit and return to this building for processing. You will be asked to leave if at any time you fail to follow instructions or fail an exercise.” He paused as his eyes roamed the crowded room until they settled on me. “Miss Luan, I’ve been told to tell you the school has no facilities for women.” A slight twitch of his lip said he thought it funny.
“That’s appropriate, sir. I doubt the jungles we’ll be crawling around in do either,” I said to a variety of snorts as all eyes darted between the colonel and me.
“A woman in a barracks might provoke…” His voice trailed off.
“Yes, sir. The third way a candidate could leave the program…dead by misadventure,” I said. He glared at me but said nothing more, sensing his efforts to intimidate me weren’t working.
“The barracks is through that door. Claim a bunk and get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow will be busy.” He smiled, the reason becoming obvious when I followed the last of the men through the door—there were only about thirty bunks and several fights were in progress. I stood surveying the madness.
Clem Daems is a native of Chicago, Illinois and a graduate of the University of Arizona. He served twenty-two years in the US Air Force. Since then, he has worked as a software engineer, course developer, and adjunct professor, teaching mathematics and Computer Science.
He has always been an avid reader of Science Fiction/Fantasy but never had an interest in writing or being an author. So, it was surprising when he began his first novel, several years after his retirement, at age seventy. His first novel, co-authored with Jeanne Tomlin, "The Talon of the Raptor Clan"--recently reissued as the "Talon of the Unnamed Goddess"--was a 2010 EPPIE finalist in Fiction/Fantasy.
Clem is an award winning author and an active member of the Science Fiction Writers of America.
His hobby--a life-long one--has been Kung Fu and Tai Chi. Clem is currently retired and living in Tucson, Arizona.
He would enjoy hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org on any topic: his books, the characters, writing with a co-author, Kung Fu, his website (http://clemd.home.comcast.net/~clemd/JC/Index.html), life after retirement, or...
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
By happenchance. If you read most authors bio, they will tell you how they always wanted to be an author, how at an early age they already had the fever to write. Not me. I never had any interest in writing a book, a newspaper article, or a poem. I even hated to write status reports for projects I was working on.
So what happened you may ask? I have always been an avid reader of Science Fiction and fantasy. One morning, well after I had retired, I woke up with what I thought was a unique S/F concept and told my wife "I can write a book."
I didn't realize how wrong I was. Writing is a profession, and like any other profession requires you to learn the craft to be successful. Anyone can publish a book today, but without readers does that make you an author? Those that want to be writers from an early age acquire that skill through study and practice as they mature. I on the other hand was seventy when I made my pronouncement. Only luck saved me. I met a woman author online, and with her help I managed to produce my first book, "The Talon of the Unnamed Goddess," which by the way was not my original idea. That was the Riss series and took several years longer to see the light of day. And for all you aspiring authors who haven't started writing, I will tell you my twenty-eight novels, over two and a quarter million words, all started with a single word.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
Probably, I would imagine that most writers begin either with an outline of the novel, detailing each chapter, or a very least a comprehensive set of notes. I begin with a concept, and a heroine. For example, a medieval country, a group of women who are spies and assassins for hire, and a child who is unwanted because she is a girl-child. This story starts with her father beating his starving daughter for taking some of the chicken's food to eat. Afterward, she goes off to a secluded spot to be alone but she is found and subsequently bought by one of the women assassins. From then on, the story is driven by the girl's decisions as various actions impact her life. Frequently, i feel more like a scribe writing down what she does! It's the reason I write in the first person. I feel it puts me in the mind of my heroine. A strange way to write a story, probably, but more fun than following an outline. And I'm usually as surprised by some of the twists and turns as the person who buys the book.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That's a tricky question. I guess when some online company agrees to publish your novel and pays you a commission, you can consider yourself an author. The "Talon of the Raptor Clan" was the first (now sold as "The Talon of the Unnamed Goddess"). Oh, I was excited but would have been reluctant to call myself an author. That book was a 2010 EPPIE finalist in Fiction/Fantasy, which made me an award-winning author technically. I was happy but not convinced. My novels are easy to read, action packed, and different but with little fluff–what the good authors have plenty of and the reviewers like. Fluff is my term for describing in elaborate detail every person, room, or place encountered. Somewhere around book twenty, I realized I had acquired thousands of fans who liked my less than traditional way of writing and I was finally willing to consider myself an author. It was also the time when a personal dream of mine was realized, and I became a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America. But between you and me, I still consider myself a simple Storyteller.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
In my dreams, all of them. In the light of day, all of them. I actually had some interest expressed in
"The Red Angel, Book I, Smugglers." The concept is different and maybe somewhat unique. A small child is unexplainably adopted by a venomous snake, a red-headed krait. The krait's poison keeps her deadly virus dormant but isn't a cure, so the snake is her 24/7 companion. The krait is a snake and yet somehow more…the only way to account for her becoming a prodigy, able to feel others emotions, and being warned of pending danger. A very popular series and a good candidate for a movie, if anyone is listening.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A hawk. They are beautiful creatures. A stylized one is the symbol for Talon Novels which is the company name I publish under and the name of one of my two websites. When I was younger, in my fifties, I worked for a computer company in Massachusetts and took up skiing in New Hampshire and Vermont. I could never get over the feeling I got at the top of the mountain early in the morning after a snow fall. The trees covered with snow glistening in the early morning sun, the church-like quiet, and the feeling of deep peace. Much like I would imagine the serenity of being a hawk gliding on the wind high above the mountains.
What inspired you to write this book?
My lack of discipline. Many of my fans wanted another book in the Black Guard series. And I dutifully began Book III. The trouble with the series is that it follows one heroine as she is sent with her team ton assignments. As a consequence, it's more difficult to write as each new assignment is like a short story. So about twenty thousand words into the story, Jolie, a girl in an orphanage popped into my mind;
"I was three when I found out I was ugly and deformed.
"I was four when I found out I was an outcast.
"I was five when I found out the reason—I was sub-human."
And since Jolie haunted my mind, I just had to discover her story. "Tasmanina SFG, Welcome to Hell," is that story.
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