Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

Today, I have author Nina R. Schluntz in the interview chair.  We’re discussing her latest series release Slaves of an Alien Game, a sci-fi romance.  Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.


1. If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

Nina: If I could, I would apologize to some of my childhood friends. I spent a lot of time reading and writing when I was a kid, and not enough time socializing with people who wanted to be around me. I’m pretty sure I made them read a lot of my story drafts that weren’t very good, but they were troopers about it and read them anyway.

2. If you could keep a mythical/paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?

Nina: In theme with the book we are promoting, I’d have to go with phoenix. Sure, it would catch stuff on fire a lot, but I’d save a ton on vet bills. A creature that can reincarnate would never need to see one.

3. How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write this particular genre?

Nina: I dabble in a lot of different genres, but one thing that I keep consistent is that my characters have flaws. They are usually an anti-hero. In someone else’s story, they would be the bad guy, but in my tale I find a way to either make them a person the reader roots for, or at least have the adventure keep you invested, even if you don’t like the person. Good or bad, everyone deserves a chance at happiness and that’s what I strive for in my books.

4. What are the best and worse pieces of writing advice you ever received?

Nina: One of the editors I hired to do a full revision of my books, told me that I needed to focus on a book series. She said the way to make it in the publishing industry is to publish as many books as possible and that books in a series do best. She basically said to saturate the market, terrible advice because then your quality will go down. She even said traditional publishers won’t be interested in a book unless you have three or more books planned for the series. Fifteen years of experience in this industry has taught me that stand alone books actually do the best. If you do a series, everyone will read the first book, maybe half of those will stick around for a second book and it’s just downhill after that. When it comes to book 6 in a series, no one is going to read it.

The best advice I received is to network with other writers. I’ve yet to encounter an unfriendly author. We are a friendly bunch who look out for each other.

5. Are the experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Nina: “Slaves of an Alien Game” is based on an alien abduction. I can’t say I know anyone who has been abducted or been forced to battle to the death. The book does touch on sensitive topics I think many of us can relate to, regarding slavery and freedom, but there’s no specific events in the story that are based in reality. I did add in the Old English because of a college class I took, so real life did influence that part of the book!


Game Wardens rule most of the galaxy by a fierce empire built on enslavement and brokered deals. The only means to earn one’s freedom is by playing in the Alien Games. Two slaves go in the arena, the survivor, if there is one, is given their freedom and crowned a king, earning them a small country to rule and slaves of their own.

To make the battle more fun for spectators, genetically enhanced monsters, sahalias, are given to the combatants, but they must found in a scavenger hunt. Five orbs, each hatching into a lizard that will bond with their keeper, are hidden on a random planet. If the competitor finds all five, they have a great imbalance of power over the other, who will have none. The sahalias are created with one purpose, to battle to the death and destroy the other competitor.


Title: Slaves of an Alien Game Book One
Series: Slaves of an Alien Game, Book One
Author: Nina $. Schluntz
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
Release Date: January 31, 2023

Caden works at an all night diner in a small town near the interstate. When a man comes in late at night, asking for access to the roof, Caden knows the man is a bit off. But his ruffian nature and a small bribe makes Caden decide to let him go up.

“It’s a scavenger hunt,” the man says. Caden thinks he’s being helpful when he finds the item, a black orb, but when he touches it, he unknowingly becomes a competitor in an intergalactic competition that ends in a battle to the death. Manipulated and lied to, drugged by the alien Incubus, Raghib, whom he is now allied with, he must train his lizard battle creatures to fight for him on an unknown planet with rules he barely understands.

He has little chance to survive and although he wants to trust, Raghib, who will earn his freedom if Caden wins the battle, he worries he is simply being used. A bit of truth is revealed when one of the Game Wardens takes a liking to Caden, but his alien species is known to eat humans, so Caden isn’t sure if the desire is that of hunger or true romance.

Either way, Caden is nothing but a slave to their alien games.

Goodreads | Amazon

or try Kindle Vella (serialized version of the series, available in the USA only)

He stood there in the headlights of my car, not answering me. I wondered if he was going to shift into a more alien body and go, “You got me!”

“Are you an alien from another planet?” I repeated the question slowly as if that might help prompt an answer from him.

“Yes.” He offered nothing more. We both waited, for what I wasn’t sure. Maybe he was considering if he needed to dose me again.

The standoff ended with him turning to enter the junkyard. He angled his flashlight around, looking for his next orb, while I stood there unable to move or speak.

What the hell was a person supposed to do in this situation? Text their mom and say, “Hey. So, I got pulled into this alien scavenger hunt, and I’m gonna be gone for a while. Let’s hope I don’t get probed.” Include a few laughing-face emojis, maybe an alien-face emoji too.

“Caden!” His deep voice, which now sounded extremely alien to me—as if I could hear extra tones in it that I hadn’t noticed before—pulled me out of my reverie. Well, the third time he shouted my name, it did. The first two, I was too busy thinking about how weird his voice was.

I walked over to where he stood, his flashlight aimed at the orb on the ground.

“You must now decide,” he said. “Will you collect the orbs and be my ally?”

“You promise I’ll be safe?” I asked. “I’m not going to die doing this? I will be completely intact, my arm and everything. And this—these things will all be removed from my body?”

“If we are the victors of the game, you can have whatever you wish. I promise you that.”

“And if we lose?” The fact he’d worded his response the way he did made me wonder if the losers were killed or something.

He kept the flashlight aimed at the orb, and with his other hand, he cupped my chin.

“If you are my ally and do as I say, we will win. I assure you of this,” he said.

I waited, expecting that surge of magical opioids from his hand, but none came. Maybe he was decent enough to want me to make the decision sober. “And you’ll return me back here, to Earth?”

“Yes, with a settlement of the prize. Cash if you like,” he said.

Well… I mean, I needed his help getting this thing off anyway. And he wasn’t being a jerk. He seemed nice enough for an alien. He could clobber me with brute force and make me help him, except maybe the rules kept him from doing that or something. Would the rules keep me safe after we left Earth? Good gravy, what was I saying? I was acting as if this was a normal problem people faced.

“Fine, we’ll be an alliance,” I said.

“Wonderful. Pick up the orb.” His face truly looked pleased, and this time the tingle that went through my body was a burst of chemicals of my body’s own making.


Title: Slaves of an Alien Game Book Two
Series: Slaves of an Alien Game, Book Two
Author: Nina R. Schluntz
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
Release Date: February 21, 2023

Caden is free. He won his battle and got what he wanted. Sent back to Earth with his won kingdom given to the slave, Raghib. However, life on Earth, back at the diner isn’t the same after living on an alien planet. He still suffers from withdrawals from the Incubus influence and drugs Raghib forced on him, and nightmares from the horrible battle to the death.

When a woman arrives, the latest competitor in the alien games, she offers him a chance to visit Raghib. All he has to do is be her slave during the games and help her find the orbs. He agrees and finds she is a higher level competitor than Raghib was, the hunt is on a deadlier planet, one covered in darkness and monsters.

Caden is eventually reunited with Raghib and gets to see the kingdom he won. Raghib is more broken from the battle and haunted by the brutality of it than Caden. He has a new lover and is driving his country to poverty so he can buy drugs to forget the pain. Caden turns to the Game Wardens for help, offering to go back in the arena again, with the woman he helped in the scavenger hunt. He is a fan favorite and knows their ratings will improve if he goes in again.

He arranged to go in as her pretend slave, in a role that will have safety features turned on so he will be in no real danger. He thinks its his idea to go back in. Confident he’s messing with the structures in place and trying to leverage the Game Wardens to change the deadly games into a nonlethal form.

However, it was their plan for him to go back in from the start. Caden is still nothing but a slave to their alien games.

Goodreads | Amazon

or try Kindle Vella (serialized version of the series, available in the USA only)

“You were the victor in the arena. You. And you would have made a great leader.” Her face twisted with even more contempt. “But you gave your nobility away to Raghib. You, of all people, should have known better.”

“I don’t understand.”

I saw the flash of rage glimmer in her eyes, then my vision was flooded by the water below us as she thrust me under it. The shock had me inhaling the fluid, which panicked me more than anything. I thrashed and flailed. She pulled me back as I coughed, only vaguely aware that the water had stung my lungs less than water on Earth did.

“I’m from that kingdom you abandoned,” she said. “My people are from there.” She turned my head so I was forced to look at her. “Your Raghib sold our natural resources. Drained our water. Drilled our soil. Left us with nothing but barren land. Not even enough for us to live on, let alone afford the taxes he demanded. We had lush swamps, like this.” She gestured with her free hand while the other still held me, just barely high enough to keep my face from being submerged. “But now, it is a desert. My family sold me, sold their child, to pay Raghib’s tax and buy enough food to keep from starving. So I am here to win my own kingdom so my people can live in a better place. A place not ruled by a drug addict who cares nothing for his people.”

She dunked me again, before I could even consider mustering the air to respond or comprehend what she was telling me. I flailed, swung wildly, and probably hurt myself far more than I did her. She pulled me up again, and I vomited out the water as she tossed me away.

“You don’t even know whose side you are on. Kralasee is a puppet of the Game Wardens. She trains fighters. She is employed by the Game Wardens and works to prepare competitors in the months before they go on their scavenger hunt. And now, they have allowed this, you, their favorite competitor to return. How am I to win?’

“Not killing me would definitely be a good step in the right direction,” I managed to say between coughs.

“Does it matter if I am killed for murdering you rather than murdered in the arena in six days? Death is death.”

“Yes, but one of those options is a guarantee, the other is not.” I regained enough composure to look at her. “I can help you. I will…help you.”

I noticed she didn’t have any of the bands on her arm. She hadn’t found any orbs.

“It doesn’t matter to me which of you wins. I have no intention of going into the arena. So how about I help you find the remaining orbs?’

She did that smiling sneer, and for a moment, I thought it meant she was accepting my offer. She gripped my shoulder and pulled me from the water, pushing my back against a trunk. At least, I hoped it was a tree trunk.

“The more orbs that bitch finds, the better, so don’t offer me your pity.” She gave me a final push, then stepped out of my light, vanishing and leaving me, once again, alone. Only this time, I didn’t have any hope of finding Kralasee’s tracker.


Title: Slaves of an Alien Game Book Three
Series: Slaves of an Alien Game, Book Three
Author: Nina R. Schluntz
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
Release Date: February 21, 2023

Caden’s long-term girlfriend on Earth is pregnant, and Caden is missing. Jenny worries he has been kidnapped and drugged again. A strange woman arrives, saying she knows Caden and where he is. She offers to take Jenny to him, if she helps her… they just need to find some orbs in a scavenger hunt. Jenny agrees, but is careful to not touch the objects. She doesn’t trust this woman.

They find four orbs and encounter the other competitor. The fifth orb is there, and Jenny is forced to pick it up. The other competitor forfeits and Jenny finds herself now in the games, the woman she’d been helping now announced as her deadly competitor.

She is taken to an alien planet and united with a distraught Caden. He confesses that he has a relationship with a man, an alien man, an Incubus named Raghib, and the woman Jenny must fight is Raghib’s daughter.

Caden is in an impossible situation, either his lover’s daughter dies or his childhood sweetheart dies, but there is a rule in the games, a protection for slaves and their offspring, who are viewed as profitable future slaves. A pregnant woman may not enter the arena, instead the sire must.

Caden is again forced to play in the games, but this time he has no sahalias to battle on his behalf, and safety features are not allowed. If Caden is to survive, he must find a way to not be a slave in their alien games.

Goodreads | Amazon

or try Kindle Vella (serialized version of the series, available in the USA only)


His words were unintelligible over the phone. It made me regret having ever given him my number. I held the device away from my ear because Caden’s frantic screaming had no volume control. I stared at the heat lamps above my bed while I waited for him to say something I could decipher.

“Vicr…he…that…” The sobbing continued, and more words the translator didn’t know. “You have to do something. He did…horrible. Raghib is… Oh my God…he…” Caden digressed into pure nonsense now.

“Is there someone else there you can put on the phone?” I asked.

More inhuman wails erupted, then a different speaker uttered a greeting, seeming a bit puzzled.

“This is Game Warden Vicr,” I said. “Can you tell me what’s wrong with Caden?”

“Oh, Caden is fine. This is Melody from Hospital T-9. We’ve been dealing with the burn victims from District Four-Nine. Victor Raghib is here, and his emergency contact was Caden, who called you. Victor Raghib is injured. Moderate burns and smoke inhalation. Additionally, something maimed him. He has injuries to his hands. If—”

“Someone attacked Raghib?” I turned on the news, the wall in front of my bed illuminating into various videos of the event. Fires, so many fires. And on one feed that wasn’t censored by the empire, I saw a Pyre Sepentin rise from the flames, his body on fire like a lizard phoenix as he crashed into a building.

“Yes, in District Four-Nine.” A clear statement telling me that we could not retaliate. What happened in that district could not be controlled by the law.

“Give Caden a sedative and send him home,” I said. I hung up and checked the messages from the Game Wardens. We had a secure group chat where we posted news to each other. Everyone was wondering where the hell Ivard was. Two hours ago, he’d entered the chat, made a few comments, and vanished again.

His comments were simple.

“Beezels killed Brentley.”

“Ricardo. Try harder next time.”

And then he logged out of the chat, leaving the questions the other Game Wardens had asked unanswered. Ricardo said nothing, his silence speaking volumes.


Nina Schluntz is a native to rural Nebraska. In her youth, she often wrote short stories to entertain her friends. Those ideas evolved into the novels she creates today.

Her husband continues to ensure her stories maintain a touch of realism as she delves into the science fiction and fantasy realm. Their three cats are always willing to stay up late to provide inspiration, whether it is a howl from the stray born in the backyard or an encouraging bite from the so called “calming kitten.”

Follow Nina:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodreadsQueer Romance Ink


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4 thoughts on “Nina R. Schluntz – Slaves of an Alien Game

  1. Piroska B says:

    The book sounds interesting. Great cover!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Audrey Stewart says:

    I really enjoy the book series “Gods of Earth” by Nina R. Schluntz.

    Liked by 1 person

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