Taking the floor today is the amazing J.S. Wayne.
I’ve always believed that, as a writer, it’s important to experiment and break yourself out of your comfort zone. If you know you can write this and that and do them well, why not throw something unexpected into the mix?
When I first started out, I steered well clear of any genre that had even the faintest taint of “girly stuff.” If my writing had an erotic bent, that was fine. But romance, fluff, and faeries were strictly off limits. Romance, I thought, was the exclusive dominion of spinsters with far too many cats for their own good. Fluff was for people with no imagination. And faeries? All I could think of was trying to make Tinkerbell a badass. (Yes, I know, she’s a pixie. And she kind of did a number on Captain Hook, too.) Faeries always struck me as a one-trick pony. Dancing in mushroom rings and playing dirty tricks on big, stupid humans didn’t seem to offer a whole lot of room to roam.
And I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong about all of the above.
When I first started writing romance, I did so with something of a chip on my shoulder. Knowing that I was coming into a genre that has traditionally been the province of women, I felt a lot of pressure to prove that I could do it just as well as the ladies could. (Notice that I don’t and will NEVER say “better,” simply because the readers judge that. Some think yes, some say no; for my part, I just want to tell a good story that will hold its own with my female peers.)
Immediately, to my great surprise, I found myself being accepted by my fellow romance authors, an overwhelming percentage of which are women. During H.C.’s brainchild, the April Noble Authors’ Blog Tour, I had the opportunity to become fairly intimate with an amazing group of eight women. Each one of these ladies accepted my presence without question, and our correspondence was surprisingly free of the various stigmas and prejudices I had anticipated. Being the only guy on the tour made me a little nervous, and I bit off more than I probably should have in a bid to prove that I could be valuable and bring something amazing to the table.
H.C. was probably the most surprising to me. She was the one who made the now-legendary comment, while giving “Espiritu Sancti” its first round of edits for the Red Roses and Shattered Glass Anthology. I had never seen a picture of her, and didn’t know much more about her than what was on her author bio and her blog. Namely, that she was from Australia, the oldest of the group, judged cats in competition for a hobby, and wrote gay and ménage romance. So I had built something of a mental image of her; in some ways I was close. In others, I missed by the distance between galaxies.
When I was reading the redlines and comments she had made for “Espiritu Sancti,” she was grumbling a little about the tortuous contortions I put the English language through trying not to use the vulgar expressions for the various parts of the female anatomy. The result was flowery, purple, and, to be fair . . . just a little boring. Finally, this caught my eye:
“It’s okay. You can say ‘pussy ;)’”
I laughed out loud, more of a startled laugh than one of genuine amusement. Whatever I had expected, that certainly wasn’t it! But the more I read it, the funnier it became to me; kind of like the punchline to that joke that you can’t believe your brother told in public . . . but the one you make a note to pass along to your less easily-offended friends at the first opportunity.
I went through and carved out most of the purple, leaving glistening pink behind. The result seemed to be much more satisfactory, and H.C. and I stayed in fairly close contact after the tour was over.
Because of her and the other ladies on the blog tour, I became more daring and varied in my writing. These women taught me that it’s okay to think outside your comfort zone, and that expanding your horizons isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes, you learn something new about yourself that you never realized.
Although I’ve branched out, I still come back to my roots, and the stories that started this whirlwind ride that my first year as a published author has become. It all started with “Angels Would Fall;” now, it continues with Angels Cry, my first full-length novel for Noble Romance Publishing. I can honestly say that if it hadn’t been for me stepping up and saying, “I’d like to get in on the blog tour,” my writing career might have gone down some very different paths than it has.
Expanding your horizons is great. Just don’t forget where you came from.
I’d like to thank H.C. and all you wonderful readers out there for coming by to hang out with me. Before I leave, I’d like to give y’all an excerpt from Angels Cry, which is coming out Monday. I hope you folks enjoy it!
Moradiel, the Soulbearer, and his human consort, Ariel, are barely managing to stay ahead of the wrath of the Angel of Death. Azrael is growing more impatient by the moment; he wants Moradiel punished and Ariel dead once and for all, and is not particular about how it comes about. Moradiel’s fellow angels will offer him only limited aid, if they don’t try to kill him outright. In desperation, the fugitives seek refuge in the last place in Creation any sane being would look for an angel: Sin City. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Maddened by Moradiel’s defection from the heavenly Host, Azrael isn’t sane. When he arrives in Sin City to exact vengeance on Moradiel, he leaves Moradiel with a chilling warning: He intends to use Ariel for his own twisted pleasure before consigning her soul to Infernos.
Now, an unlikely band of humans and angels must come together to reunite Ariel’s body and soul. But even darker news awaits them: Because Ariel did not die at the ordained time, Moradiel has started the entire universe on an inexorable countdown to oblivion.
A countdown that began with the first breath Ariel ever drew on Earth. . . .
Shenophiel was beginning to worry. La'Kwai had been unconscious for so long, the night had faded into a bright morning and then a golden afternoon. His pulse had remained steady and strong, which was the only reason she hadn't panicked and transported him to the nearest hospital.
The healing had gone well. La'Kwai had been extremely fortunate the bullet had passed cleanly through his shoulder. He'd lost a fair amount of blood, but the bullet had also managed to miss major blood vessels. Shenophiel had spent nearly an hour healing the damage, an unprecedented amount of time for her.
Trouble was, she'd been forced to endure pain as if it were her own, pain that shock had allowed him to sleep through. It was such an alien and unpleasant feeling she nearly gave up several times. As it was, he would sport a tiny dimple in the flesh of his upper left arm for the rest of his life. In less technologically sophisticated but no less violent times, he would've been hailed as a hero for possessing such a scar. Now, he would probably wear long-sleeved shirts for years to avoid the reminder.
He lay in a stream of sunlight. Dust motes danced and shimmered in the beams that shined through the large floor-to-ceiling windows. The golden light mellowed the darkness of his skin, giving it the warmth of mahogany. After ministering to his wound, Shenophiel stripped off his blood-soaked clothing, leaving him clean, naked, and magnificent on the bed. Only then had she noticed the state of her own attire; with a disgusted grimace, she waved her hand and sublimated her own gory clothing.
She understood the basic function of a washer and dryer, but had never needed to operate one. So she settled for laying down a plastic garbage bag and setting the bloody cloth on top of it. She then sat down on the bed beside him carefully so as not to disturb him, and watched him as he slept his way through the trauma the bullet had inflicted.
Shen's eyes roved over his face and torso; his mere size would be enough to intimidate most people. While the gangsters had not been deterred, it spoke only to the fact they'd been overconfident in their numbers and weapons. They hadn't counted on meeting her. It was telling, though, that La'Kwai had turned to run rather than standing and fighting. His gentle nature prohibited such direct action unless he truly had no choice, as she knew well.
His hands were the first things she truly noticed. For such a large man, they were long and delicate, perfectly suited to his preferred task of bending guitar strings. She picked one hand up and studied it minutely, as though the fact that he had five fingers was a miracle. The nails were immaculate and well trimmed, and although the pads of his fingers were rough with calluses, Shenophiel didn't find that a deterrent at all. In fact, she found to her surprise that she quite enjoyed the contrast in texture between his palm and fingertips when she experimentally drew one of her fingers in a line between the two points.
Setting the hand down gently, she allowed her gaze to travel up his uninjured arm to his face. It struck her as odd that although he'd been shot, he wore a small grin while he slept. The carefully groomed whiskers of his goatee didn't detract one iota from his handsome appearance; if anything, the facial hair enhanced his strong chin. He had the hint of a five o'clock shadow, but that was to be expected. Above that, his eyelids twitched occasionally, but his forehead was smooth beneath his close-cropped, hair.
She ran her eyes down to his chest, which rose and fell with a slow, even rhythm. Nipples, small and dark, peeked out from a hedge of hair. Curious, she reached out and ran her hand over the springy mass. The curls proved much more yielding than they looked, and she smiled at the feeling as they brushed her palm. Her gaze traveled lower.
From his chest over his flat stomach, the thick hair arrowed down as if pointing the way to just above his limp cock. Despite that he was flaccid, he was very well-endowed. Below his slumbering manhood, his scrotum rested against his legs loose and full. A groomed pubic thatch framed the enticing picture.
She let her eyes travel down thickly muscled legs covered with the lightest sprinkling of peach fuzz all the way to his toes. His feet were proportionate to the rest of him, and she wondered if she could think his feet were in any way erotic. Then again, they looked as soft and well cared for as any other part of his body. Tentatively, she reached out and touched the top of his foot, finding to her delight, his skin was, indeed, as soft as it appeared. Laying her hand atop the arch of his foot, she began to stroke her way up his leg lightly. As she went, she noted and delighted in the different textures and sensations she encountered. Finally, her hand lay, ever so gently, at the top of his thigh, so close she could feel the warmth from his groin.
I've already come this far. Why not find out how that feels, too? Hesitantly, she bridged the last inch between his cock and her fingertips with a feathery touch.
To her delight, away from the coarse frame of hair, his cock felt like warm satin against her skin. It twitched as she grazed her fingers over the crown, learning every inch of him. She closed her hand softly around the shaft, and she closed her eyes to better assimilate the new stimulus. At once, he stirred and his cock pulsed faintly in the cup of her palm. She moved her hand down him until it rested on his balls, forming around them, enjoying the forbidden feeling of touching mortal flesh so intimately.
So this is what Moradiel meant. There really is nothing like it.
Angel's Cry is available on Monday from Noble Romance Publishing
You can find J.S. Wayne here: http://jswayne.wordpress.com/
H.C. Thanks for dropping by J.S. I must say here that J.S was the calm head in that first blog tour. He worked his butt off and we all made a great friend in the process. J.S my friends, is so way out there he is on the way back. :-)