Our guest author today is J. S. Wayne, who is going to share some tidbits about the writing of his book that no one knows--until today.
Born in Amarillo, Texas, J.S. Wayne has lived, worked, and traveled in approximately three quarters of the North American continent, and has amassed a résumé that could kindly be described as “eclectic.” He currently resides in Southern Utah, where he attends Southern Utah University as an undergraduate English major with a creative writing emphasis. He is actively involved with the Kolob Canyon Review, SUU’s literary journal, is an Honors student and member of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honors society, and is the founder and CEO of Writing Out Child Abuse, a charitable initiative to raise funds and awareness for survivors of child abuse worldwide.
J.S. Wayne describes himself as “a male romance writer, without apologies!”
DUSK: TIDES OF ASTAROTH
5 Secrets About DUSK: TIDES OF ASTAROTH
You would not believe how hard I had to rack my noodle to come up with something to say for today. I’d thought I’d already said everything I could say about Dusk, short of reading you the story verbatim! (And with my voice? No. Just…no.) Thankfully the writer’s best friend, eleventh-hour inspiration, kicked in, and I realized there are still a few secrets lurking in the pages of my latest novel that I can divulge. So, here we go! I hope y’all enjoy it…
1. Merrick and Olivia are apparently common romance character names. When I was first thinking up names for the characters in Dusk, I thought Olivia (after Olivia Newton-John—somewhere one of my professors is gnashing their teeth in agony) and Merrick were reasonably uncommon names. Without a second thought I slotted them in and patted myself on the back for my cleverness and working in a nod to old-school Star Trek to boot. Imagine my discomfiture when I was told at a recent book signing in Las Vegas that they are becoming very common in romance, much like “Stone” and “Elizabeth” back in the ‘90s. D’oh!
2. “Raebteews” contains a hidden meaning. (Apologies if you already spotted it…) Everyone likes something little and fuzzy. How do you think teddy bears, puppies, and kittens became so popular? So, I decided I needed something little and fuzzy in Dusk. The problem is, George Lucas already threw out the Ewoks. (Damn you, George Lucas!!!) So I thought a little bit and came up with an unholy cross between Mogwai for cuteness and Wolverine for “We want no part of that!” The result was the Raebteews, whose name is actually “sweet bear” backwards. It works, leaving aside the half-meter-long claws our furry little friends wield. These bad boys can cut through diamonds!
3. Dish alert: My favorite scene! Every writer wants to deny having a “favorite” anything, be it a scene, a character, or a whole story. But…c’mon. You know somehow, somewhere, writers always play favorites, whether they mean to or not. My favorite scene to write in Dusk actually had nothing to do with the main characters and, perhaps shockingly, wasn’t a love scene! It was a snark-off between two of the villains, who were trying to out-bluff each other on an elevator ride down into a diamond mine. The only thing that could have made it better was a third villain of equal sarcasm. Luckily I saw this…and delivered!
4. I missed something. After I finished Dusk, my girlfriend was reading it over. At one point, she looked at me and said, “Was this supposed to be in Earth weeks or Dusk weeks?” I frowned. The page said “41 weeks,” and she pointed out that a Dusk week would be longer than a Terran week. So…what kinds of things happen at 41 Terran weeks, hmm? (For the record, 41 Terran weeks would be roughly 25 Dusk weeks.)
5. Someone didn’t get a happy ending… Okay, that doesn’t really capture the situation. After all, I’m well-known to have an extra-specially violent hard-on toward many of the characters I create. However, one vitally important character in Dusk survived (in fact, they couldn’t have done it without here) but kinda got left out in the cold at the end of the story. But would your favorite spork-wielding maniac leave such a cool character in limbo? Nay, I say, nay! In fact, I’m currently hard at work on the sequel to Dusk, tentatively titled Mindblade. I’m hoping to have it done by the end of next month, assuming various things like, oh, yanno…LIFE…cooperate!
So there you have it. Five things you would never have known about Dusk if I hadn’t opened my big yap! *grin*
Before I leave, here’s a snippet from Dusk: Tides of Astaroth for your reading pleasure!
It began with a single cloud.
The high, thin cirrus cloud wafted over the northern horizon, easily mistaken for a wisp of smoke in the perpetual gloom. Studying the cloud through his binoculars, Pete hummed a snippet of a song that had been popular on Rigel II during his childhood. His eyes roamed over the holos that gave the cloud’s airspeed, direction, and other information.
The skies over Galacia had been perfectly clear since he’d first arrived with the Terran diplomatic embassy. The stars were clearly visible anytime, except over the vast swath of deep purple sky where Astaroth, Dusk’s satellite, blotted them out. Now that lone cloud hung high over the ocean as if in suspended animation, an ethereal harbinger.
Pete shivered despite the thirty-four-degree wind from the south-southwest. The moist smell of briny water nibbled at his nostrils, borne on the air. Moment by moment the wind gained momentum, going from a playful zephyr to a stiff breeze. If the trend continued, the gusts would become a full-on gale before another hour had passed.
He handed off the binocs to Olivia. “Look.”
She peered through the eyepieces and muttered darkly to herself. The wind carried her words away, but the snarling tone was unmistakable. Then she passed the binocs to Merrick, on her right, and he repeated the process.
“That’s going to be a problem,” he called over the wind. “Looks like the meteorologists were right.”
“Right now we just have wind. I won’t really get concerned until the waves reach thirty meters. Until then, this is just another winter storm.”
Pete raised an eyebrow. “How can you tell it’s winter?”
Olivia smiled. “By the constellations. It’s really an arbitrary designation, but the first settlers assumed it was planetary summer when they arrived and mapped the sky accordingly. We’ve stuck with it because of tradition, not scientific fact.”
Pete looked down as Olivia and Merrick talked back and forth. The balcony was ringed with a sturdy titanium balustrade and supported by gleaming metal plinths on either side. The dizzying drop to the bottom of the Aerie’s smooth sides twinkled with lights in random flickers of red, white, blue, yellow, and even green here and there. Past the jagged teeth of the black spires, he could just make out the beach and the ocean beyond. From up here the waves looked like friendly, lapping breakers, but he mentally adjusted for the elevation of his vantage point and realized the waves must be topping twelve meters.
He swallowed as his stomach writhed uneasily. Despite the intensity of his drop capsule training, he’d never really liked heights very much. Even standing on a three-meter ladder sometimes made his guts twinge. The only time he never really noticed heights was when he was either going into an active combat zone or performing aerial recon. In such situations, his chief interest lay in getting himself and the people under his command home alive.
“Looks like the waves are getting bigger.”
Olivia took back the binocs and peered down. After a long moment, she nodded.
“I’m starting to see fourteen-meter waves coming in at regular intervals. We need to organize the evacuation and the defenses.”
She turned to him, and her violet eyes washed indigo in the uncertain light. The fey feeling she had struck him with on first meeting welled up again. Just like before, his breathing froze at the sight of her beauty. Unlike before, his heart twinged in time with his lungs. He loved this woman and the prickly man standing beside her in different ways, but there was no denying the intensity of the emotion.
He leaned forward and kissed her deeply, wanting to burn his taste onto her tongue and ensure she would not taste anything but him. Even knowing Merrick would do the same only seconds from now, he could not resist the chance to take her entirely for his own. She pulled back, breathless and flushed. Pete smiled at her.
“I need to get down to the mines and see about organizing the refugees. You two are going to be up here, right?”
Merrick wrapped his arm around Olivia’s waist as he nodded affirmation. Without making an issue of it, the placement of his arm claimed her just as effectively as Pete’s kiss did. He smiled to show there were no hard feelings.
“So, when do you want to regroup?”
A flash of something pale and vertical in the ocean drew Pete’s attention. He brought up the binocs again and zeroed in on the anomaly. As the image resolved into painful clarity, he gasped.
He had never seen anything to compare to the monstrous, vaguely horse-headed creature rearing up out of the deep. Its eyes gleamed huge and opalescent over a pronounced snout, much like that of a Terran alligator. Large, frilled gills flared on either side of the base of its skull. It opened its mouth, revealing fangs so huge and jagged that the rock spires ashore appeared positively dull by comparison. Along its underbelly, immense, pale scales reared up in ridges, sparkling with moisture.
“What the hell is that?” Pete demanded.
Olivia had obviously followed the direction of his stare. “We call it a kraken, after the ancient Terran myth. It’s somewhat like a sea serpent, but it has tentacles.”
“What does it eat?”
Olivia shivered. “As far as we’ve been able to determine, anything. It’s extremely rare to see one this close in to shore. They usually prefer deeper water. When they do come in close to shore, we tend to steer clear until we’re certain they’re gone.”
“Uh-huh,” Pete grunted.
Merrick smiled, showing a gratuitous amount of teeth. “Don’t worry, Quick. We’ll keep the big, bad monster from eating you.”
Pete made a friendly suggestion that had more to do with Merrick’s genitals than his digestive apparatus.
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J.S. can be found on Twitter @Author_JSWayne, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/js.wayne.5 and can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He enjoys talking with and hearing from his readers, and he invites you to drop him a line!