Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Interview with Author JS Wayne...the man behind the story.

Born in Texas, J. S. Wayne has lived, worked, or traveled in approximately two thirds of the United States, and has amassed a resume that could kindly be described as “eclectic.” He currently resides in the Texas Panhandle with his wife, a vicious attack cat, and a puppy who thinks that socks are a threat to national security. In his spare time, he enjoys strategy games, scary movies, reading, an collecting obsolete weapons. He loves receiving fan mail of all kinds.
J.S is a contributor to numerous writing websites, including writing.com and writerscafe.org. Additionally, he has written articles for Suite101.com and ezinearticles.com. Recently, he was featured as the Spotlight Artist for the week of January 3, 2011 on www.gettingdiscovered.net.
His short stories have won numerous prizes and awards on writing.com, and his first
novel, Shadowphoenix: Requiem. is currently available on www.lulu.com. He just
completed his second novel, Wail, and is currently hard at work on multiple writing projects, including a nascent graphic novel.


Risqué Review would like to welcome JS Wayne...the man behind the story.


Why do you think that straight males don't read erotic romances? Or
do you think there may be some "closet" readers out there?

I blame cultural repression. There are things that are fundamentally acceptable
and unacceptable for each gender as viewed through a societal lens. People who
dare to buck those roles or expectations often find themselves being asked all
kinds of rude and deeply personal questions and feeling that they need to defend
their choices.


With that said, I know a great many straight males who both read AND write romance,
erotic and otherwise; I happen to be one of them! And, yes, I suspect more than
a few of my readers are of the, shall we say, male persuasion. Ultimately, I
hope that by being open about myself and unashamed of the fact that I write
romance, I'll encourage more men to see that romance doesn't HAVE to be the sole
province and domain of women, and that romance can be just as entertaining,
stimulating, and satisfying to a man as a woman.

Is there a genre that you don’t ever see yourself writing?

Sweet romance! *Laughs*I was actually approached by Astraea Press some time ago about creating a Halloween story. After nearly three months of trying, I was forced to conclude that romance, completely devoid of violence, “pink parts,” or four-letter words was thoroughly beyond my capabilities at the time. This was made all the more galling by the fact that I had to email the editor-in-chief of Astraea and tell her. (Stephanie Taylor was very gracious about the whole thing, but still . . .) Although, with time, who knows what might develop? I've said “Won't happen, not no way, not no how” before, only to turn around and surprise the hell out of
myself AND my readers! Dancing On Flames was an example of this: the very idea of trying to write m/m erotic romance scared me to death, but it's become my bestselling work to date
by MILES!



Do your stories always go in the direction you intended them too? Hah! The next time that happens will be the FIRST time! My characters always seem to
surprise me, because I give them a world and a goal and say, “Get there.” And these people always choose the screwiest and most tortuous routes to get from A to B to C! Drives me just a little crazy (He said with a laugh, knowing that professional writers are varying degrees of insane by definition!), but the journey is always fun. I just hope my readers enjoy the trip as much as I do!

What other goals have you set for yourself?

My only goal at this point is to make fiction writing my full-time career. I don't care about being rich or particularly famous; if the readers remember “Moradiel and Ariel” or“Russell and Ion” and talk about them long after they forgot who wrote the story, I'm good with that. Simply making a reasonable living with a small amount of discretionary income where I don't have to worry about what's going to happen to my family if something happens to me is really all I ask
for.

(Just for the tally books, though, I wouldn't turn down the kind of money that would let me buy a really, really nice car! ;) )


Once I get that sorted out, then I'll worry about other goals. (More on this in the next question.)

If you only had 6 months to live, what would you do first?

I've always dreamed of going to Ireland, even more so since I sat down and wrote Wail, so that would top my list. Just to go and see the wild country, the mist on the moors, the old
fieldstone walls, and hear the echoes of pipes and drums, the clash of steel meeting steel, and the cries of men locked in combat drifting faintly on the wind, would be a great send-off for a guy like me!

What makes you laugh?

There are so MANY things. My puppy, Munchkin, when she's doing something absurdly
cute, which is all the time; great reviews of my work or emails from readers asking when the next one's coming out; or spending time with good friends and having fun are all sure to make me laugh with joy.


On a somewhat less kind note, I also have to admit that I do get a kick out of watching people do egregiously stupid things. Not “America's Funniest Home Videos” stupid, but more like politician-level stupid. It appeals to my snarky sense of irony. :)



Who was your hero as a child?My hero was, and is, my father. I watched him work two and three jobs at a time
throughout most of my childhood, augmenting his pay as a professional musician with jobs that didn't pay him nearly what his talents or intellectual capacity dictated he should have gotten. He taught me what it should mean to be “a man” and showed me the value of discipline when it comes to pursuing creative endeavors.

Who do you count on when feeling down?

My wife and friends are always around to help out when I start to wonder whether I'm doing the right things. They're great about reminding me of how far I've already come, rather than looking at how far I still see myself having to go. I lean on them a lot more than I think they realize, and I appreciate and love them more than I can say.

...I love stories about the miss understood struggles of the “fallen” angel. Angels Would Fall and Angel of the Morning both got great reviews.


What drew you to start writing about fallen angels?
*Laughs* That started as an accident! The last thing I ever intended to be was a romance writer; horror and urban fantasy, sure, but if you'd told me in November of 2010 I'd be here now, I'd have laughed politely and tried to quell the urge to inquire about any medications you were on. I submitted what was supposed to be a one-off story for a contest on Writing.com, just to kill some time. Angels Would Fall was originally written to shock the reader and walk the bleedingedge of taboo; it certainly wasn't intended as a romance in the fuller sense of
the phrase! It split first prize with a story about a mermaid, and my wife gently nagged me (with the aid of a baseball bat) to submit it for publication.Noble Romance came back with a congratulatory email on January 7th, 2011. I signed the contract on February 1st, and I haven't looked back!


Do you believe in heaven and hell? To a degree, yes. I believe there is something beyond this world, and the human mind being the mystery it is, we actually have the ability to create our own afterlife. Whether it's Heaven or Hell depends on the person and their own beliefs. Some people who don't believe in anything beyond our world or are afraid to let go of life are the reason for ghosts, I believe. For myself, I
don't plan to leave this world for a very long time, but when I do, I'll walk through that doorway without any fear of what's waiting for me on the other side.
What motivates you?


My readers are the greatest motivator in the world. I live in fear that I may disappoint them or deliver a story that's not up to what they've come to regard as “my” standards. And that kind of pressure drives me to be better than I often believe I can. As to whether it works or not: You'd have to ask my readers about that! *grins*


Do you believe a good life is attainable? Or is it something that is out of our control i.e. subject to luck etc.
Certainly, I think there's an element of fate or chance in our lives, but I also think you can rise above your circumstances and become something more than what your
beginnings,environment, or upbringing conspired to make you. The glorious thing about being a human is that we have a choice. We can either accept that we will be only what the world tried to make us, or we can rise above it and do something amazing.

Me? I'd rather be amazing, thanks. Even if I fail, at least I can say at the end that I tried to make the world something more than what was given to me.



What sort of character would you play in a comic book (hero, humorous sidekick, villain, that abrasive newspaper guy, etc.)

I'd be a villain, no question! Anyone who's read my work will probably read that and
go, “Yeah, I can see that!” I love putting my characters through seven shades of Hell before I finally let them have their happy ending . . . and some of my characters NEVER get one. I'm kind of like the Dark Knight version of the Joker without the green hair!


If you were one word, what would it be?

Mercurial! *Laughs* I tend to shift moods very quickly depending on what's going on around
me. A song, the wrong question at the wrong time, or an email can lift me to Heaven or send me crashing into the abyss. (Needless to say, it's something I've been working on for some time!)

What can we find on your bookshelf?

*Purses lips in thought* Right now on my bookshelf, you'd find Dean Koontz, Jim Butcher,
Terry Goodkind, H.C. Brown, Margie Church, K.B. Cutter, KevaD, Bianca Sommerland, J.R. Ward, and Lilith Saintcrow. I read a wide range of fiction and very seldom pick up nonfiction unless I'm looking for something very specific. I enjoy strong characters with confounding and complicated problems, particularly when there's a savor of high fantasy about the story. All of these authors, to one degree or another, bring that slightly ethereal quality to their work, from
the far-flung past to the distant future. The beauty part about being a voracious reader is that I'm forever discovering new authors to get excited about!

Now, tell us about what can we expect from ‘The Terrifying New Novel From J.S. Wayne’ "Wail" offers an update of the original banshee legend...with a terrifying new twist! Keep watching for release date updates, excerpts, and related blog entries from the devious mind of J.S. Wayne! (http://jswayne.webs.com/comingsoon.htm)

*Laughs* My goodness, you've certainly done your homework!

Wail began life as a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novel in November of
2010. I never thought I'd see the day when being fired from a job could honestly be called serendipitous, but in this case, it was! I sat down at midnight on November 1st and by the end of November had ground out ninety-four thousand words. It's currently in aggressive
(re)editing prior to submission, but I have very high hopes that Wail will truly be my breakout novel.


As with so many of my stories, I started out looking for something I didn't see on the shelves. For some reason, people seemed to steer well clear of the banshee mythos. When they did touch on it, they stuck to a very “typical” folkloric version. In fact, when I sat down to write Wail, the only person I knew of who had done anything slightly“outside the lines” with banshees was Kim Harrison! So I wanted to go back to historical fact and lore and explore the possibilities of
a bean'sidhe, not simply as a harbinger of death, but as a very real and recurring force in the lives of generations of women hailing from Ireland.


The result, in my opinion, is some of my best work ever, ranging from sixteenth-century Cionn Mhalanna, Ireland to modern-day suburban Boston and Malin Head, Ireland. It's a very dark tale, full of conflicted emotions, longings for things which can never be, and one of the most mysterious and frightening villains I've ever created. But for all its darkness, Wail is also
an exploration of the best and worst of humanity and the idea that even in the darkest times, there is still a ray of hope . . . IF we are strong enough to see it.


 Oh my, it certainly sounds deviously dark and intriguing! Please tell me it’s deviously dark and intriguing…Come on dearly can’t you give us just a little something more to help wet our whistle…pretty please!

Hmm. I think that can be arranged. J Please bear in mind that for now, this is only an ARC version, and there may be substantial changes in the final.
In this scene, Heather’s baby shower is about to take an unexpected and chilling turn. I hope you enjoy it!

By the time she got there, Erin had laid out four candles on the kitchen table. In the center of the circle they formed, she’d placed a long board, about the size of a large cake pan, but flat. Letters and numbers were inscribed on it, along with the words YES and NO. Elaborate scrollwork and various arcane symbols that meant nothing to Heather adorned the edges. In the exact center of the board sat a triangular piece of polished hardwood with a small window cut in the middle. 
Erin lit the candles and said, “Lights.”
Ellen flicked the switch, and the kitchen was plunged into a golden, guttering twilight. Shadows swelled long and black on the walls as the women milled around. Erin sat down and offered the chair across from her to Heather.
“And now, the piece de resistance,” she intoned, making her voice as faux-mystical and otherworldly as possible. “We’re going to have a good, old-fashioned, spooky séance!”
Heather gave a faint shiver. She’d never done this before, and suddenly felt a deep sense of dread.
“I don’t know—“ She said weakly.
“Oh, relax. It’s perfectly harmless,” Erin assured her. “The worst that could happen is that we don’t get anything.” When Heather showed signs of resisting, Erin stood up and took her hand. “Trust me?” she asked softly.
“I do. But . . . .”
“No buts. If you trust me, let’s do this. Who knows? You may even like it!” Erin pressed.
Sighing, Heather allowed herself to be pulled into the chair. “Can I please take off the hat now?” she whined, pointing to her head, where the hideous turkey still roosted. Funny, but she’d all but forgotten about it until just now.
“Yes, yes, you can take it off,” Erin said absently. She was moving her hands in seemingly random patterns, muttering just under her breath. Without any fanfare, Heather took off the offending headgear and sat, her hands suddenly a little shaky.
“Dammit,” Erin said suddenly. 
“What?” Heather demanded.
“We need a notepad and pen.”
“Here.” Lydia rifled through her purse and produced the requested items.
“Perfect,” Erin said approvingly. Slanting a glance at Heather, she asked, “Are you ready?”
Heather considered for a second. “I . . . guess so,” she concurred hesitantly.
“Then let’s get started,” Erin commanded.
Taking Heather’s hands, Erin’s posture changed. She drew herself up straight in her chair and began to chant. “We call upon those spirits here present to come forth and speak with us, doing harm to none in your passing, your presence, or your departing.  If you would speak, we call you to come forth and be heard.” Her lips moved for a moment, but no audible words came out.
“We wait upon you,” she finished.

Adan suddenly jerked erect, her hair flipping back out of her face. Her eyes were wide and stared at nothing. Before anyone could ask what had happened, she snatched up the paper in front of her as if rescuing it from a flame.
“Be still!” she snapped. “It begins.”
Bending all her will toward the characters on the paper, she set to work communicating the message, while the women around her stood in a frozen, hopeful, terrified tableau. Glances were exchanged, but no one dared to speak; they knew exactly what price failure in this enterprise would mean.
All of them had already paid it.
The silence was absolute; in the window, the view of the ocean faded to a foggy gray.  Even the fire seemed to hold its breath. Had anyone else been there to see, they might have thought they were looking at a picture. The flames on the hearth twitched and froze in mid-crackle.
The entire world became the paper in Adan’s hand.

Both women had their fingers pressed lightly to the planchette on the Ouija board. The small indicator described sideways figures of eight while they waited. And then . . .
The planchette moved to the letter M. Heather looked a question at Erin. Erin gave a tiny shake of her head and a shrug, to say, It wasn’t me.
Then it moved to the letter B. Then E. The planchette began moving more rapidly, pointing out letters with frantic speed. Lydia had appointed herself recorder, and was dutifully copying down the results as they appeared. In short order, she had this:             MBEANISEANMBEANAMATACAITEAGUSDOTODHCHAITABHAIRAIRENACHBHFUILSICHOMHMAITHGOMBEIDHDOCHINNIUNINT.
Finally, the planchette stopped moving. Erin and Heather were left describing the same figure eights they had begun with. Erin was shaking; Heather was just confused. Erin said, “I think it’s done.”
The women removed their hands from the board. 

Adan was trembling with effort. A light sheen of sweat had broken out on her face.
Finally, Rowan asked, “Did it work?”
Adan slumped, exhausted, and took a long drink of her tea. “I believe so. Only time will tell now.”
     Rowan glanced out the window at the mist beyond, and her eyes went distant for a moment.  In an eye blink, the haze was gone, and the view restored. 
“If only all our problems were so easily dismissed,” she said ruefully.






...Well that certainly got my attention!



It’s been a long week of writing, editing and coming up with new ideas.
Now the weekend is here and you can actually relax, how would you spend the next 24 hours? One restriction, it can’t have anything to be with writing, editing or books whatsoever...GO!

*Laughs hysterically* I can't remember the last time I took twenty-four hours and didn't read, write, check email, or deal with any of the business end of writing. But if I was going to, I'd sleep late, get up, load up the car with my wife, food, and guns, and go to the local
shooting range for a few hours. Then I'd head back to town, get changed, and we'd go out to a nice dinner and maybe karaoke or over to the east side of Las Vegas to watch the sun go down. Then back to the house for a movie and some “quality time!” Just a nice, low-key day where there's no rushing around, no checking on fifteen things at any given time, and no demands or other pressures on my time, although you'll notice I pointedly don't describe it as
“quiet!”

*Snort*... Duly noted.


That brings us to the end of our interview with JS Wayne. Thank you JS for taking to time to join us here at Risqué Reviews. I hope you enjoyed yourself I certainly enjoyed our time with you!


Thanks so much for having me here today, Barb! I've had a lot of fun, and hopefully so
have the readers!


To learn more about JS Wayne you can go to his website at

http://wix.com/jswaynesite/herebemonsters
or his blog
at
http://jswayne.wordpress.com.

And to find out more about the books mentioned just click on the covers.




January 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Is the Spirit Lost?


The past few years the holidays seem to be especially hard. They literally leave me feeling emotionally and physically spent. The holidays seem to be so hard, because  I expelled so much energy trying to keep out this growing sense of doom and negativity that just bombards me during the “holidays”, I’m exhausted by the time their over. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but to be honest after Thanksgiving I wish we could just skip the “Holiday Season”.  I’ll tell you what I do think “the Holy Spirit” may just be lost.






There’s something missing.  Do you feel it? A sullenness that’s creeping in and I don’t think it’s just missing at the holidays, only that I can feel it more then.  As time went it got stronger or I got weaker, I’m not exactly sure. Like a crack opened somewhere and darkness is leaking through. I can’t put my finger on it, but something’s off and it’s growing.



Let me begin by saying I’m not religious person. I’m more spiritual. I got kicked out of my catechism class more times than I can count. Many because I asked too many questions.*snort*




It wasn’t my belief that changed. I’ve always seen the “Holiday Season” for the marketing enterprise it was, even as a child. But I didn’t care. It wasn’t as important as the joy and excitement that the holiday brought me. It meant so much more than just gifts. It was Christmas time!! My mom and I would take the train downtown just to see Marshall Fields windows come to life. What a treat that was.






Then after lunch, we'd would go to Daley Plaza (back then it was called the Civic Center Plaza) to see the Christmas tree. And yes, contrary to some rumors that some of you may have heard, it’s a Christmas tree!




It wasn’t until much later when I found out the originals of the “Christmas Tree” and what a Yule log actully was. That many of the Christen rituals were “borrowed” from the Pagans winder solace celebrations.




I can tell you I never once read about Christmas trees or that guy in the red suit in catechism classes (one of those questions that got me kicked out of class).  Still what matter most was that “Spirit” Christmas. And it was strong, alive.

Still I didn’t care when the tree became a part of Christmas. Or what was borrowed from who or why it was intergraded in the holiday. I loved everything about it. All of it! Every decoration every twinkling light stung from every eve. When it was time to go get the tree, well that was the moment Christmas, at least for me, really began. I would sometimes just sit and stare at it. The only light was from those on the tree, and dream.



And sure the gifts were great, but for me it was that damn tree.  And OMG, the smell of fresh pine from that tree, could it get any better than that? Not for me.




 We always went to the lot Mr. Goldberg ran for The Boys Club of America (in 1990 they added Girls to the name). I know, how ironic that our Jewish neighbor ran the Christmas tree sales. You want to know what’s even more ironic; no one thought anything of it, because it was for a good cause. The money from those sales went to The Boys Club and that was what mattered. That’s what I mean. The “Spirit” of Christmas held no prejudice. Or was it just a little girl’s heart that didn’t?  



And Christmas was about family. Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner was always at my family house. My mother fed the whole family no one question this, it just was. Someone got married great, just meant another plate got added. Can’t come for dinner, they came for dessert. The point is they came. Somehow everyone ended up at our house one way or another. Neighbors included. The house I grew up in was smaller then what I live in now, and I can’t do that. It must have been the full basement or maybe that we had two full kitchens, one upstairs one downstairs. We ate downstairs in the basement and that table went the whole length of the basement. And there was always more than enough food. Don’t get me wrong. Everyone brought something. But my mom did most of the cooking and man could that women cook. But you see it wasn’t about gifts it was more about family and friends laughing and wine. I mentioned being Italian right?



Being Italian that meant on Christmas Eve it was all fish, no meat (ok so there was still meatballs and sausage, don’t tell the Pope) and Christmas there was always duck and pasta, and yes more sausage and meatballs. Head count never fewer than 50. Yes, you read that right. Maybe not all at once, but you get the point.

So why is it now you only get a Christmas card only if you send one? What the hell happened? Where did THAT “Spirit” go? Is it just me? I have just gotten jaded? Or is something else happening?
Ok so maybe we can’t have the big family dinners like that anymore. Things change, I understand. People move, family structures change, sometimes more than a few times. It’s hard I understand. Things don’t stay the same. But that “Spirit” that sense of something more that shouldn’t have changed. It’s not the same.  I hear it all the time in different ways the murmurs of discord. The numbers of suicides are the highest at the holidays for a reason. 

Maybe I just want to be that little girl who used to dream under the tree again.  Who still believed in fairy tales and unicorns and…nope sorry she’s still there.




So I ponder, what happened that caused this uneasy feeling I have of unsoundness.  A feeling of darkness that is slowing opening up a black hole or a crack that seems to be changing the balance of things. And not just at the holidays, but its then, for me, that it’s felt the strongest. How many are guilty of saying; “I’m glad that’s over”, or “oh god not the holidays again”!!!! I heard one guy say “HO HO HO! PLEASE, JUST KILL ME NOW! Oh yea Merry Christmas”
Gotta admit that one got a chuckled out of me.

The question is the Spirit of Christmas lost or are we?




Ok I don’t want to leave this on a note of gloom and doom.  So how about a New Year chuckle!!

Come on that’s funny!!!