Hi everyone! So today we have J.S. Wayne visiting with us… and I believe he has the distinction of being the first male guest blogger here. However – beyond that and possibly more importantly, I think we’ve found the first guest blog that made me go “O_o” after I finished reading it. (What an intro, right?) I’m very curious as to what you all think!
What Can I Say?
There’s an old saying: “There’s nothing new under the sun.” As an author, I am painfully aware of this. Unless I suffer severe head trauma or a psychotic episode and start writing down the feverish visions that visit me, I’m stuck trying to create a new and different angle on tales that have already been told. Writing a blog is no different: you’re still trying to tell a story and make the reader want to know more, but how do you tell the same story in a way that makes the subject matter new and fresh to the reader?
To a great degree, I believe I succeed in this. I’ve taken on angels, banshees, vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts, faeries, and even zombies. At every turn, I’ve tried to inform the creatures who form the core of my stories with something new and different that only I could. Being a folklore sponge and science geek from an early age certainly facilitated this ability, and my readers seem to enjoy the results.
A unique challenge was presented to me some months ago by Amber Green, a fellow author in my crit group, Erotic Romance Authors. She was musing about the possibility of creating a line of stories revolving around lesbians, zombies, and featuring a musical angle for Noble Romance Publishing.
I’m not one to back down from challenges, even if they ultimately come to naught, and this particular gauntlet intrigued me. All the more because, until now, I hadn’t even considered zombies as figuring in my pantheon. One-trick ponies never appealed to me much, but I started wondering what I could do to put a J.S. Wayne slant on this flavor of the undead. I started scribbling almost immediately.
One of the most obvious challenges was translating a musical angle into print. If I was writing a screenplay, this would be simple. Trying to convey the throbbing beat and screaming notes of techno music to the reader on a page was much more difficult, but I finally managed to craft a logical, cohesive reason for the connection between techno music and zombies.
The next challenge was: What makes a zombie?
Certainly, there are documented ways to get the job done. So-called “black” magic and a cookbook knowledge of pharmacology figure heavily in the zombies we’re most familiar with, the ones that hail from Haiti. To this day, it is a capital offense in Haiti to create a zombie. With the advent of modern medicine, of course, we understand that these people were never truly dead to begin with. But in its own way, that makes the Haitian variety of zombie even more terrifying (at least to my mind) than the George A.
The idea of zombies created from an infectious disease is nothing new, either. Can anyone say Resident Evil? But I wanted to create something a little different to put together the backdrop world against which my heroines would have to move . . . and fight. So I came up with an insidious delivery system for the initial infection that is genuinely diabolical, to my mind.
And, of course, there was the obvious problem of how to create a story that tied together lesbians, zombies, and music and still make it a “happily ever after,” or at least “happily for now.” After you’ve killed six or seven people you’re at least on a nodding acquaintance with because they tried to turn you into a Happy Meal, how do you cope with the new and horrifying reality you’ve been thrust into? This was probably the thorniest question I confronted. Luckily for me, the human mind and heart are amazingly resilient. People can adapt to nearly anything, given time.
A couple of weeks later, I had created “Dead Means Dead” and sent it off for consideration.
That line, which started with a “What if?” in our private chat room, is Lesbians vs. Zombies: The Musical Revue. Since the middle of August, this seemingly simple concept has spawned a number of stories, including offerings by KevaD (The Zombie With Flowers In Her Hair), Amber Green (Dead Kitties Don’t Purr), K.B. Cutter (Undead Reflections In A Jaundiced Eye), and myself (Dead Means Dead).
Dead Means Dead debuts on February 13th, and I’m really excited and curious to see how it does. After the success of “Dancing On Flames,” the inaugural tale in my m/m series, The Wildsworn, I have high hopes that readers will enjoy my take on zombies and women who love women.
I’d love to be able to give you an excerpt, but as I write this, I’m awaiting final edits on DMD. But what I can give you is this link to the prequel, written specifically for the LvZ blog. I hope y’all enjoy it, and keep watching the LvZ blog for more updates, fun facts, spine-tingling stories, and the latest news on this fun and exciting new line!
Before I drop the blurb and vanish back into my corner, I want to thank Limecello for having me here today, and all you wonderful readers for stopping by! I’ve had a lot of fun, and hope you have too!
Dead Means Dead
Louise is having a bad day: a near-fatal overdose of nicotine while cramming for exams, rehearsal under a director she can’t stand, and ill-fitting shoes. Surely there has to be a limit to what a girl has to put up with! But then she meets the pretty new stagehand, Angie. Instant attraction leads to a sexy sojourn in the dressing room.
The day’s looking up, until the director barges in on their interlude and falls no-pulse dead on the floor– only to recover and attack Louise. Angie savagely defends Louise and they flee to the safety of the quad, where the girls discover that their fallen assailant is only the first wave of a horrific outbreak and that their campus is cut off from the outside world.
Their best hope to stay alive is to stay together. Exploring one another’s bodies and learning the deepest secrets of their hearts in the enforced closeness, each finds in the other’s arms something she never knew she wanted. But before they can fully explore their new passion, they must learn to survive in a terrifying new world.
There oughta be a law: Dead means dead!
(I’m actually sure there is something in some code somewhere that defines “dead”… but I’ll leave the research to you guys. ;)) Mr. Wayne is also offering up a “signed swag pack” – so I’m sure that’ll be quite exciting if not surprising as well.