My Brain is a Dangerous Place


I’m glad my fictional characters don’t have to apply for life insurance.  They’d be out of luck.  Being a main character in a fantasy adventure series is the biggest “pre-existing condition” there is.

I can imagine the interview with Blaine McFadden, my hero in Ice Forged, applying for life insurance:

Agent: What’s your occupation?

Blaine: Disgraced lord, convicted murderer, arctic colonist and potentially the only remaining Lord of the Blood.

Agent:  I see.  Do you have any unhealthy habits?

Blaine:  I killed the man who dishonored my sister, got sent to a freezing cold prison colony run by a psychopathic commander and lately, I’ve started to hang around with ancient vampires. Oh, and I might be the only one who can bring back magic, but the last couple of guys who tried it burned up.

Agent:  Uh-huh.  Well.  Do you take precautions when you travel?

Blaine:  I can ride a horse and fight with a sword at the same time, and I’ve survived two trans-oceanic ship crossings in dicey conditions.

Agent:  Yes, well.  Do you have any dangerous hobbies?

Blaine:  I have a knack for attracting assassins, and I have a tendency to get ambushed and have to fight my way clear despite pretty slim odds.  My kingdom got flattened by a war and then magic failed, so there have been some local outbreaks of plague and storms of wild magic that tend to let monsters slip through from some other place.  I’m pretty good at fighting those.  A couple of people keep trying to kill me, but so far, I’ve managed to get away. And there’s a warlord and an ancient vampire who really don’t want me to live long enough to try to fix the magic.

Agent: Do you have group health coverage?

Blaine:  I brought my mates with me back from the prison colony.  We watch each other’s backs.  There’s another convicted murderer, an assassin-spy, a thief and a court-martialed soldier. Everyone’s pretty good in a fight, and that keeps us all healthy.

I suspect that Blaine wouldn’t want to see what his premium would cost, assuming anyone would underwrite his policy.  But those are the risks you take when you’re the hero in a sprawling epic fantasy saga.  Eternal glory and the chance to bring civilization back from the brink of ruin, vs. ungodly high deductibles.  Life is full of trade-offs!

Reign of Ash, book two in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga launches in April, 2014 from Orbit Books.  My new urban fantasy, Deadly Curiosities, comes out in July, 2014 from Solaris Books. I bring out two series of ebook short stories with a new story every month for just .99 on Kindle, Kobo and Nook—check out the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures or the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.

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