Today I welcome Mike Arsuaga writing as M.J. Segar to the gym! All right Time to let out your inner gymnast – if you could, what is the one gymnastics trick you’ve always wanted to learn?
The floor exercises to help with coordination in the long jump.
Have you ever performed gymnastics before? As a kid what kinds of sports did you participate in?
I was terribly clumsy and small as a kid, but I was fast. Track became my sport. In 1962 I set a Louisiana state record in the long jump. It paid my way through college at Tulane.
Excellent! In gymnastics we have to keep in top physical condition. Writing is such a sedentary job. What do you do to keep in shape when you’re not typing out your next story?
I work out on a treadmill and do yard work.
When you decided to write to be published?
As early as the fifth grade I dreamed of getting published. Several times in the intervening forty odd years I started and stopped. After I fully retired in September 2007, I found the fall TV season to be a disappointment. With an unexpected surfeit of time on my hands I took up writing. My first acceptance arrived on July 3, 2010 – my 66th birthday.
That’s great! Care to take a swing on the bars?
I prefer to keep my feet on the ground.
To be good at gymnastics it takes perseverance and determination not unlike that of being a writer. Tell me how you get through those times when you feel like giving up.
As a young naval officer, I survived being left on the bridge of a submerging submarine. The experience put into perspective what’s important. In the case of writing, I know it’s in my blood and will emerge in its own good time. I wait out the slumps by doing other things. The Muse, she eventually returns.
Exactly. Time to test your tumbling skills. What should we start with – a cartwheel or a roll?
A roll. Stay close to the ground, remember?
Fantastic! Let’s take a break – time to tell us about your newest book release.
JENNY-LEIGH 8 is a sci-fi romantic adventure. I wrote it under the pen name M.J. Segar
Jenny Leigh 8 represents the gold standard of the recreational android line. During a national crisis, the diminutive automaton shows she’s more than just another pretty face.
Reston Turner works for a top secret black ops outfit called The Agency. A head injury turns his wife, Stephy, into little more than a walking coma, and his life spins out of control. Not even the android rebellion can get his head back in the game.
After a disastrous beginning to a reconnaissance mission, Reston escapes with the help of Jenny Leigh 8. Mysteriously, she’s immune to the cyber-virus turning the other androids into dispassionate killers. Reston’s father-in-law, the General, orders him to secure her aid by whatever means possible which includes becoming her love master. Guilt arises when he’s torn between the flawless beauty of Leigh, the Eight, and loyalty to his beloved Stephy.
As the conflict widens, Reston and Leigh are sent to broker a truce with the rogue androids while the search for the secret of her immunity continues at The Agency. Behind enemy lines, Reston develops a grudging admiration for Experimental Six, the leader of the revolt and at the same time finds the strength to rebuff his companion’s sexual advances. When a chance to return home emerges, Leigh insists Reston leave while she stays. “Our relationship has changed,” she curtly explains.
Will Leigh remain loyal to the human cause? Is there hope for Stephy? And what to make of the growing android rights movement? These questions collide at the speed of light in a romantic adventure of love, war, and loyalty based on a futuristic retelling of the Spartacus slave revolt.
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Here’s a short excerpt:
Senior Agent Reston Turner was called off leave because a large robotics assembly plant inexplicably dropped off line.
The scene unfolds:
Andy led me to a conference room. The General acknowledged my arrival. The hair stood out against a freshly acquired deep suntan.
I tried small talk. “Up from the Bahamas?”
“No. Stateside. The Florida Keys. And Jocelyn sends regards.”
I thought of my mother-in-law, stopping the recollection short of the recent painful parts shared among the three of us regarding Stephy their daughter.
The General continued. “Sorry to pull you off leave but there’s good reason.”
“What do you mean?”
He fiddled with a remote built into his chair handle. A map of Florida appeared on the wall screen. After another touch, the display zoomed in on an area midway between Orlando and Ocala. “This is the Quintana installation of Simetrics Robotics. They make the best recreational androids in the world.”
Andy interrupted. “Porndroids is the popular term.”
With a flicker of irritation at the interruption, the General resumed. “The Jenny-Leigh line is the industry’s gold standard.”
“The male counterpart is the Scotty,” Andy said.
“Enough, Andy.” I followed that with the shutdown command.
The automaton immediately sat. Bending its head forward, the life-like glitter in the eyes faded to the barest of sustaining glow. The face assumed the standard expression of quiet optimism or, as some saw it, of vague regret.
An image of the most expensive, complex sex toy in the world came to mind. The factory customized each to the owner’s preferences. They came in a wide variety of physical types, often duplicates of celebrities past or present, all drop dead gorgeous, well beyond the means of a mid-grade government agent. The mass market made do with the three variations of Donnas or Johnnies, none of which you’d be embarrassed to be caught out in public with.
“I can’t imagine what business we’d have with a manufacturer of cybernetic pussy.”
A brief smile crossed the face of my otherwise straight-laced boss. “Quintana’s been working on some sensitive projects for the government.”
“Like what?” I couldn’t see a connection.
“They’ve adapted a Jenny-Leigh for military uses.”
I thought about the most logical possibility. “We’re not talking about servicing the troops are we?”
Sounds like an interesting read! Gymnastics was my first passion. Then I found writing. What are your passions other than writing?
My family, yard work, volunteer work at my granddaughter’s school.
Since our time in the gym is almost up – what is one thing you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet?
Set foot on Mars, but that’ll have to be vicariously through my characters.
Thanks for visiting the gym! All the best with your books
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