Inversion Point is the fourth book in the series I co-write with my buddy, Jenn Burke. We had a lot of fun writing this book. We got to introduce a new alien species to our galaxy and play with the galactic politics a little—this included poking fun at our series antagonist, the Allied Earth Forces (AEF), and at our governing body, which we call the Central Alliance of Planets and Stations or, as Felix puts it, CAPS if you like stupid acronyms, Central if you don’t.
Inversion Point also sees Zed and Felix happier and healthier. They’ve had six months to just be together—running jobs, visiting with Zed’s family on occasion, and lots of therapy for both of them. One of the cut scenes from the end of Skip Trace was their first joint therapy session. While it might not have added much to the book, I think it was something Jenn and I needed to write in order to move our characters forward. The evidence of Felix’s healing is clear in these two snippets from Inversion Point:
Therapy with the doc Zed had found for them was going…It was going. Maybe well. If pressed, he’d say well. Much as he hated sharing his thoughts with Dr. McMann, he could feel the difference unloading some of his shit had made. His mood had evened out, his sleep was largely undisturbed, and he hadn’t had the urge to further break himself in months. Why would he? He had Zed. (Felix)
Flick’s laugh. He’d been hearing it more and more since they’d started therapy. Not the half-swallowed snicker that sounded more mean than joyful, but the unfettered bark of laughter Zed remembered from the Academy. It hadn’t come out often then, either. Getting Flick to make that noise had become something of a pastime for him when they were kids. (Zed)
How’s Zed doing? He’s Zed. He doesn’t give away as much as Felix, not verbally, anyway. Zed internalizes a lot of his stress and one of the ways he deals with it is by holding himself to impossible standards—and setting himself impossible tasks. That’s what Inversion Point is all about, really. We get to meet the mysterious Species Four and they are, in the words of our editor, way cool. We also finally get to meet the creatures of Felix’s nightmares, the stin.
And Zed is the only person in the galaxy who can communicate with both species.
So we’ve set Zed this near impossible task and, as always, he dedicates every ounce of his being to it. Throw in his obsessive need to be perfect, his packaged guilt, and an ex-boyfriend of Felix’s who could have been Zed, has his life taken a different path, and…well, you have another galactic adventure with a healthy dollop of relationship angst.
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Book four of Chaos Station
Zander and Felix’s relationship has been to the brink and back: the Human-Stin War, imprisonment and death/resurrection. Zander’s death, to be specific, and the experience has left him…changed. The mysterious race known as the Guardians chose to revive him and appointed him as their emissary. A high honor, but he could do without the group of would-be cultists following him around the galaxy.
When a recently discovered species destroys a stin probe, Zander’s new role soon commands all of his time and focus. The human ambassador—Felix’s ex-lover, much to Zander’s annoyance—pulls them into strategy talks aimed at preserving galactic peace. Soon everyone is relying on Zander’s Guardian tech to telepathically communicate with the strange aliens.
Only Felix seems concerned with the strain piling up on Zander, but he has his own resolve tested when the very stin that imprisoned him show up to a summit. Zander and Felix will both have to find a way to face their doubts and preserve their love—while preventing another galaxy-wide war.
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Jenn and Kelly met in 2009 through a mutual infatuation with a man who wasn’t real. After all but crashing the video game’s forums with daily dissection of their obsession, they started writing together, discovered they really liked writing together and began plotting stories in worlds of their own creation.
The CHAOS STATION series aren’t the first books they’ve written together, and they’re pretty sure they won’t be the last. As long as their so-called smartphones keep making autocorrects that trigger brainstorming sessions, they’ll have enough character ideas and plots to keep them writing for years to come.
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