I’m sure many of you are familiar with author Jamie Hawke – he’s an indie author who is adept at crocheting light science fiction stories with unique superhero characters and racy erotic content via his Supers: Ex franchise. He’s also got some clout for his portal world Rift Wars series, in which a science experiment goes wrong turns a video game meant to help the living come to terms with the deceased opens up gateways to other words and dimensions. But not a lot of people know the truth behind this dynamic author – that it’s he’s actually capable of writing good stories that don’t have sex in them, but he doesn’t want people to know that, so he uses the pen name Justin Sloan for these novels!
I can only imagine how this came to be. No, literally, I’ve never bothered asking. I know he was in the military, and I know he’s a family man now, so I can only assume it happened something like this:
There was a battle field. Bodies everywhere. I haven’t paid attention to the political climate but based off of what I see on Twitter I’m assuming The Marines were being fielded against agents of author JK Rowling, who said something some people took in a bad light. Buildings are burning. An infant cries in the distance, but his cries for his mother can’t be heard over the heavy artillery. Gunnery Sergeant Jamie Hawke is holding one of his close friends and allies, PO3 Alvin Atwater. Atwater’s in the Navy in this story, so I’m assuming he’s bleeding profusely from a paper cut because the idiot brought an actual book on the field as opposed to using an e-book.
“Hawke,” Atwater says in a way that tells us we know he’s going to die soon. You can hear the morphine coming through his mouth. “You gotta promise me. You gotta promise me you’ll continue to write good books.”
Hawke could only nod. He was too in the moment to cry, all he could do was comfort his fallen comrade.
“But also,” Atwater added, “you gotta make sure all of them have like, big breasted women in them. Like, tits for days. Also some thigh.”
Hawke could tell the drugs were getting to the man.
“I’m so thirsty, bro… throw in like, some animal girls too. But not too animal. None of that… furry… shit…”
And then Atwater succumbed to his paper cut, and passed out. The respawn timer said he could only return to the map in 45 seconds. Hawke grabbed his Gauss rifle and angrily stormed into battle. The Blue Checkmarks Army tried a full frontal assault…
Some days, late at night, as he’s taking care of his children, Hawke remembers that promise. But he also knows that sometimes he likes to write stories where sex isn’t a major theme. Also he knows this entire story is bullshit because he started writing under the Justin Sloan name first, and in a real war you don’t get to respawn until the next map.
Justin Sloan and Jamie Hawke are both pretty established names, and I’d argue most people who are familiar with one are familiar with the other. But if you’ve never heard of the guy before, you’re in for a treat. You might also be confused where to start, however! So below I’ve included a sampling of different stories and franchises he’s worked on under his two pen names, in hopes you might give him a try.
Disclosure: the following blurbs all contain Amazon affiliate links. Purchasing a book from these links means the blog may receive a commission.
In the distant future, when mankind has extended its reach to the farthest of galaxies, it discovers alien powers that will stop at nothing to eradicate humanity at its core. One of the elite military forces fielded to fight for Earth’s interests is the Shadow Corps, consisting of individuals with unique power trained to eliminate any threat necessary. This is an action-heavy franchise that follows the leader of the Shadow Corps, Sam, through (as of this writing) four different novels across multiple galaxies and against a multitude of foes. I’d argue the first book isn’t perfect – it’s a little forced that a 17 year old kid pretty much trips, falls, and lands in charge of an elite special ops unit – but the character herself is well written, the cast feels dynamic, and the pacing is pretty damn solid. Even the threats that might sound like standard light sci-fi fare, like space pirates and space dragons, come off as both entertaining and hefty; fights feel like they matter because they do.
The Star Forged: Ascension Gate is less a sequel and more a predecessor to Sloan’s Biotech Wars series. The first book does a great job of putting all the pieces in their places: Space Marines off to explore the unknown and bite off more than they can chew. So, of course, they just start swallowing the action whole! The first book has a narrative style that focuses on Gunnery Sergeant Trent Helms as he attempts to keep his men alive in these strange worlds they find themselves, and an “Intel Agent” named Shrina who is so desperate to find her sister she’s made herself part cyborg. Meanwhile, Corporal Espinoza is desperate to keep his men alive as they are separated from the main expedition force, and finds himself making drastic decisions as the odds becoming increasingly against his favor. There’s a very high action, cyberpunk meets military vibe to this story that shows off Sloan’s style of space romp rather expertly.
These are just two series in a whole list of books this author has written under this name (Goodreads states he’s written no fewer than 117 books under this name alone!) But as discussed above, this is just one of his pen names…
What separates the Jamie Hawke brand from the Justin Sloan name? I probably wouldn’t let my young teenager read Jamie Hawke. It’s a lot of the same content you’d expect from the author, but with a lot more sex.
Supers: Ex series.
This is actually two intertwined series: Supers: EX Heroes and Supers: EX Gods. Supers: EX Heroes opens with this bit of warning:
a hot fox-like chick, breasts galore, heads exploding, and ample blood.
You might cringe, you will laugh, and hell, you might even cry. All of
that is on purpose, I assure you.
AND BOY HE AIN’T LYING. S:EX Heroes follows the antics of an MC named Chad, who is found guilty of a murder that his brother committed. But *things happen* and suddenly he finds himself the leading man in a crackpot crew of female superheroes in a near-distant future doing their best to fight a corrupt system that might actually encompass the very organizations that train superheroes itself. Chad gets his super powers by having sexy times. He’s also really violent, often unnecessarily so.
I’d argue the first book struggles to find the tone the author is looking for. It’s a little more dark than fun, and there’s less focus on exploring the female harem Chad finds himself with as there is explaining why they are ultimately willing to have a working relationship with him that involves intimacy. That said, these rough edges definitely get sanded out in the future books, creating a franchise that plays a lot with the expectations of the superhero genre and focusing less on Good versus Evil as it does the old adage “Be careful hunting monsters, lest you become one yourself.” Chad knows how to rise to the occasion (in more way than one) but needs to learn how to work with others and trust them. Many of the women he teams up with clearly are meant to fill in certain fetish tropes, but still grow into their own solid characters. The franchise’s arguable mascot, Charm, is a Multi-tailed kitsune lady who is really popular, and has her own prequel book that has been very well received. (If you check this out, grab the Audiobook by Tess Irondale, it’s absolutely solid.)
Supers: EX Gods focuses on Drew, the brother of S:EX Heroes’ Chad. In this arc, he’s a marine charged with fulfilling a prophecy to sire a child that will be essentially either the next Christ or the next Antichrist. Admittedly as a reader I’m less familiar with this series, so I’m uncertain how it fares in later books, but there’s a real effort in the first one to set Drew up as a competent professional soldier type who is a little less clever but every ounce as competent. The premise is absolutely over the top, but the ride is certainly a fun one. There’s some interesting tie-ins to various mythology that keeps things going and reminded me personally of a White Wolf Publishing franchise called Scion: Demigods.
One part Disney’s Gargoyle’s, three parts Time Travelling Silver Ravenwolf sexytime adventures with demons, the Stone Cold Mage franchise follows a young adult named Jay who quickly discovers he’s the Harry Potter of sexing demons and commanding gargoyles. The tone is a lot less “near future superhero” and a lot more “modern fantasy” and frankly I’m all for it. There’s a supernatural war going on, and the main character quickly finds him on the Witch side of things. There’s a surprising GameLit focus here which is nothing new for Hawke yet works wonderfully here given the genre. I would specifically recommend this series of books to people who are curious what Jamie Hawke’s style is all about that might not normally consider the superhero genre. They’re fast moving, fun, and also well polished.
The Rift Wars universe has a very interesting premise: in the near future, a company called LivreCorp offers a simulation of sorts to allow the bereaved to “meet” their loved ones one last time. Slight spoilers, it’s not actually a simulation, it’s tapped into the actual underworld, and the whole “game” ends up creating multiple rifts and gates across multiple dimensions allowing others to explore them… and more importantly and concerning, the denizens of these other worlds to interact with each other and explore humanity.
These books have four short stories by the author himself, each focusing on a different world and what happens when they are “changed” by this intrusion. Angels learn to lust and disobey. Magic users Earthside find themselves being targeted by the supernatural with increasing odds and decide to investigate. A man discovers a way into the world of the fae, which is being actively targetted. A demon questions why he must continually throw his life away and discovers some things are worth protecting.
This is also the shared world that Brandon Varnell’s Swordsman of the Rift takes place. All of these books take some myth about death or an otherworld and pervert it in some way, making for an interest story about what happens when an outside force intervenes.