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Dark Ambitions – New Release

10 Feb

Dark Ambitions 333x500

 

Blood moon, super moon, blue moon – and Chago’s debut. Co-incidence? I think not.

Sometimes a story emerges from a single image: two shadows moving over tiled rooftops against a star-lit sky backdrop. One was chasing the other. Catching the criminal became an important goal. And I asked myself, who are these people?

One of them turned out to be Arrio’s older brother Chago. A casual mention of him in Inner Demons became the start of his life story. He’s a young man whose mind is filled with morals and ethics, having a hard time implementing them in the chaos of his life.

On the quest of researching details, I fell in love with the Spanish countryside, the little owls, the cave paintings, art and architecture and history and dance and… I could go on for days about the treasures I discovered.

And along the way, I discovered Chago, too.

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/now-available-in-ebook/dark-ambitions-detail

 

 

 

If you’d like to read the book that started the Shadow People series, Inner Demons is on sale right now.

Inner Demons 300dpi

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016E6YCOS
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1048330078
https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/inner-demons-11
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/inner-demons-j-d-waye/1122783974?ean=2940152694314

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Synchronicity Release – February 21, 2017

20 Feb

Synchronicity Cover

 

Every book release is a special event, but this one is particularly so.

This novel started as a screenplay, written in the early 90’s. Predating CGI-based special effects, I’d been told the movie would be too expensive to produce. So I filed it away, in my box of Lost Hopes and Dreams.

Time passed. Lots of time. Years and years. The urge to write resurfaced, never truly defeated by life or work or circumstance (or child birthing). I found the original notes in the basement, packed away in a bankers’ box, the manila file folder titled Vampires in Space. It was a solid outline, complete with the design of the space station.

I’d been meaning to re-write that screenplay into a novel…but the script felt worn, redundant; tired. So I wrote Inner Demons instead, and gave it to my niece to test-read. She devoured it, asking for another book in the series based around Nigel.

Naturally, I thought of Vampires in Space.

First hatched in Inner Demons where Nigel had a supporting role, his was a character I particularly enjoyed. The Inner Demons concept breathed new life into the story. I kept the framework, re-wrote the details, hammered away at the craft of story-telling…and thus Synchronicity was re-born.

Physics hasn’t changed much in the last several decades – you still stick to the same side of a rotating wheel, and yes, I fact-checked that detail with a physicist friend (one of the weird topics we discussed during break). Certain scenes – like the ones featuring the observation tower – felt like coming home. A blend of everything I enjoy: vampires, sci-fi, coffee, and scotch.

This post makes it all seem easy – but it wasn’t. Nothing worthwhile ever is. It took years before its final shape emerged. But the journey was amazing.

 

Here are some of the novel’s influences: monsters spawned from the wellspring of 70’s sci-fi and shaped by the 80’s craze for vampires.

(hey, I said they were influences, I didn’t say they were awesome examples)

Books:

John Wyndham: The Day of the Triffids, The Chrysalids

Ray Bradbury: The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451

Movies:

Outland (1981) (the one with Sean Connery – cowboys in space)

Blade Runner (1982) (androids in non-space)

The Hunger (1983) (vampires not in space)

Lifeforce (1985) (naked vampires in space)

 

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Doctor Varma – look him up.

Interview with Steve McHugh – What’s New

4 Dec

 

promise-of-wrath

 

Steve has a true passion for what’s he’s doing – and it shows. He’s come a long way from his debut release of April 28, 2012 when he self-published his first book, Crimes Against Magic, selling 28 copies opening day. Now he’s got the whole Hellequin Chronicles under his belt with book 6 Promise of Wrath released September 13, 2016. He’s working on book 7 Scorched Shadows right now, but took time from his busy schedule to answer some more questions.

 

You left your full-time job in December 2015, to have more time to write. At what point did you decide that you could give up your day job? Was leaving that security net scary?

Through most of 2015 it became apparent that there was no chance I was going to be able to write books quickly enough for the amount of stories in my head. At least not if I worked full-time too. I was doing maybe 1 ½ a year while working. So far this year, since leaving my job, I’m finished 2 and started a 3rd.

On top of that I started to earn enough that it just didn’t make sense to keep working full-time and write. My writing had become my major earner, and it made financial sense to run with that.

It was nerve-wracking to leave and move away from a job I’d done for over a decade, but I’d pretty much done everything I could do while I was there and was essentially coasting because it was easy. I needed the shake up of doing something new.

You tried the traditional route first, looking for an agent, then decided to self-publish. How did you feel when a publisher approached you later? And then you were contacted by an agent. Why did you decide to sign?

Self-publishing was never really my first thought when I was trying to get an agent. I did it because I had friends who had been very successful doing it, and I wanted to give it a try and see how things went. As it turned out, it went well, but when 47N asked if I’d like to work with them, the idea of having a publisher do marketing and the like, allowing me to concentrate on the actual writing side, was something I thought would help me in the long run.

After book 3 came out, I started looking for an agent. I contacted maybe 7 or 8 and explained my situation, but got rejections. Paul, my current agent, and I got on really well from the start and having someone go to bat for me in negotiations meant was great.

You’ve hinted at a new project in the works, a departure from Nate’s adventures. What will that story be about?

I’ve just finished a book that will be out next year. It’s called Divided and it takes place in the Hellequin universe, but isn’t a Nate book. It’s about a young woman by the name of Layla, who through circumstances of someone else’s making, ends up with these incredible powers, throwing her into a world she didn’t know existed.

It was a lot of fun to write, and Layla is a big departure from Nate who was already well established by the time the first book came around. Layla gets sort of dropped in the deep end and told to survive.

What advice would your old self give to a new writer? (Throw yourself back in time about six years to answer that question.) How about now?

I don’t know. I’d probably tell him to just keep writing and not worry about reviews or rankings. I’d probably tell him that he gets to do his dream job and that all of those days when I had to go to a job I didn’t care about were worth it in the long run.

On a non-writer related topic, how’s the puppy?

Unfortunately, our youngest daughter and the puppy didn’t really get along. Harley was far too skittish around the dog, and the dog was constantly trying to show her dominance over our daughter. So, we returned the puppy to the breeder. We’ll try again with an older dog in a few years when Harley is a bit older. It was sad, but it was a learning experience.

https://www.amazon.com/Steve-McHugh/e/B007YYWVHA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1480881232&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/Steve-McHugh/e/B007YYWVHA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1480881232&sr=8-1

New Release Coming Soon…

20 Nov
synchronicity

Synchronicity Cover

 

 

 

A snowstorm continues raging outside, the first one of the season. Two days ago it was warm and sunny, fall leaves scattering on green lawns. And this should make me sad…but it doesn’t. Why? Three reasons:

  1. I don’t have to drive anywhere today in this crappy weather. No shovelling. Yay.
  2. Still full from last night’s BBQ grilled steak. Yummy.
  3. This cover. Wow.

Yup. This cover. It’s new and exciting. The initial buzz still hasn’t worn off yet. Another fledging about to fly into the world. I thought I would get used to this feeling. Nope. And that makes me happy.

Hat Trick

29 May

THE HARVESTERS-medium

 

While listing all of my published work for a new contract, I released how much that list has grown in the past few years. Perhaps my list is shorter than other authors’ lists, but it is significantly longer than the one I had three years ago.

This will be my third novel released – all of them dear to me, in different ways. This one stands alone, not part of a series, nothing to fall back on. Just pure sci-fi, no ghosts or bats or gothic themes. A true product of the ‘80’s influence: different in tone and theme and voice.

A Hat Trick is when you score three goals on the same game – and that’s what this release date feels like: the culmination of a lot of hard work, a significant event, something that should be celebrated.

 

The Harvesters will be released on May 31: my personal hat trick.

 

Where Do Story Ideas Come From?

23 Apr

Where did the idea for the story come from?

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

 

The idea for The Harvesters came from a dream – actually a terrifying nightmare – that just wouldn’t fade once daylight invaded. Farmers’ fields being torn up by a giant machine, abandoning a home, frantic escape by car, making sure my loved ones were all accounted for…the struggle, the mad dash, the anguish of leaving things behind…

A compelling idea. Story-worthy.

The more I researched the genre, the more comments and articles I came across telling me my project wouldn’t work. Sci-fi wasn’t targeted for “women over 30”. The main character was a mom, trying to save everyone. Not daunted by those parameters, I plunged ahead anyways and wrote a few scenes.

When I tried to mold that dream into a story, it just wouldn’t work. It was dark, it was deadly, and it didn’t have a moment of victory. So I discarded the outline, quit working on the chapters I had written, and moved on.

A few years later (and a few books later), I was attending one of Brian Henry’s writing workshops intending to polish up my kids’ chapter book (The Persnickety Princess, released April 12 2016). I had an eureka moment! The Harvesters might work if I changed the point of view to the oldest sibling’s – a teenager. Armed with this new concept, I tackled the old outline and much to my surprise had a whole novel a few months later.

The book is all about things I know – the setting, the sports, the power struggles, injected with a hefty dash of sci-fi. The sunset at the lake, the wind turbines, the clash of sweaty kids on a football field, the dusty bookstore. Secrets and lies and the struggle to survive – all very human concepts. The realism grounds the fantasy.

And it all started with a nightmare.

 

The Harvester will be released on May 31 2016 by MuseItUp Publishing.

Hoarfrost: Episode 6

20 Jan

HOARFROST

This is Episode Six of the Garden of Hell series of science-fiction short stories, following after Tiger Lilies, Two Moons, Crow’s Flight, Impasse, and Winner Takes All.

Copyright J. Dianne Waye January 2015

Contains mature subject matter and violence.

“Perez. Wake up. We’re here.” Crow shook me. I opened my eyes to see his grinning face, his bald head glistening.

I blinked, rubbing my eyes, swallowing in my parched throat. My skin was itchy from the dry cabin air and weeks of short water rations. Most of that time we’d drifted in space, using gravity to tug the ship forward. Every time we used the engines we had to deal with the constant threat of fighter ships finding our contrail signature, blasting us to smithereens. And every time Crow fell asleep, I tried to figure out how to override his destination co-ordinates. All of those useless adrenaline spikes left me tired and wired, out of focus.

“We made it. We’ll both be dead of old age before Mothership tracks us here.”

I wiped the cockpit window, disturbing a patch of hoarfrost obscuring the view. Tiny crystals surrendered to the heat of my touch, drifting into the weightlessness of the cabin. Outside was a beautiful sight, swirling white clouds over blue seas, brown and green swatches of colour making continents, making life.

“I get it,” he said. “You’re still mad at me. But I’m not the one that infected you, and I’m not the one that killed Andy. He was my son. Don’t ever forget that.”

How could I forget? Andrew’s death burned deep inside, a pain that didn’t go away, didn’t lessen with time.

Crow banked the craft. I buckled the seatbelt harness for a rough atmosphere entry that shook the ship. We flew over forest canopies, sweeping planes, deep ravines filled with rushing water. Birds took flight, big ones with white wings and pink underbellies. Animals grazed flatlands, disturbed into stampeding at our approach. Plenty of places to hide on this planet, with no crazy vengeful plants trying to murder us. And from its deserted look, it had been rejected for colonization.

Or had it?

Off in the distance, beyond a crescent ridge, symmetrical shapes emerged, dirt-coloured but distinctly unnatural. We drew closer. Barbed-wire fences surrounded a compound, multi-storied levels with windows lined up in a row—a view to nowhere.

“850 is the code for a colonized planet,” I said, anger making the words snap. “We can’t land here.” And we couldn’t go home. We would infect our world, wipe out millions of lives before they found a cure.

“Ah, she speaks at last.” Crow circled the ship and landed, maintaining radio silence, sending a bustling beehive of heavily-armed men marching onto the flat compound, guns and cannons raised in salute to our arrival.

“What is this place?” I hissed.

“Halcyon Colony. The prison planet. Now you have a reason to be mad.” He popped open the door, raising his arms over his head, clasping them together in the signal for surrender.

“Get out,” he said to me, nodding. “Slowly. Slowly, Perez.”

“Screw you, Crow.” I followed him outside. There was no other choice.

A bullhorn shouted instructions. “Citizen Crow—on the ground. And you, Private 4930, drop.”

“Now is that any way to welcome home the prodigal son?” Crow shouted back. “Commander Edding, I brought you a present. Our secret weapon.” He smiled that jack-o-lantern grin of his, and lay down in the dirt.

I copied him and lay prostrate on the ground, stirring up dust that tasted vile in my dry mouth, as swarms of armed men surrounded us.

In the end Crow did betray me, but not at all how I anticipated. He was really good at keeping secrets, just like his son.

#

My cage had a hastily-erected transparent overlay to keep my toxic spittle from melting the guards patrolling outside. Crow was in the cell next to mine, lying on the cot, no plastic shield surrounding his cage. Only bars separated our cells, which was good for him because I wanted to kill him for bringing us here.

A sink stood beside the toilet, both naked and exposed, the ledge holding a toothbrush, toothpaste, a jar of cream. The mirror was polished metal glued firmly to the wall, shatter-proof or I would have already broken it to use the shards as weapons. But someone had already thought of that.

The wavering reflection mocked me. My spore scars had healed, sunburned a different shade than the healthy skin. A fading bruise on my jaw outlined where Faust had hammered me senseless.

But the C carved into my cheek marked me as Crow’s. And hidden above the sleeve of my uniform, a vaccination pock-mark matched the one on his bicep.

Damn him. Damn all of this.

I picked up the jar of regeneration cream intended to repair my face, and threw it at the door. It bounced off the plastic shield and shattered, white goo splattering the clear walls.

Two guards stomped into the outer room, their rigid postures different from the slack spines of the men guarding my cell. Their faces were covered with helmets to keep them safe from my toxins, every inch of skin protected. I couldn’t even see their eyes through their mirrored visors, just my own fear glaring back at me.

They unlocked the cage, needing to use their tasers for me to surrender.

“Where are you taking her?” Crow’s hands fisted through the bars separating our cells. “I asked you a question!”

But he never got an answer. He didn’t have any authority here, now that they had me.

#

The night stick smashed into my face again. My teeth cut my cheek. Blood filled my mouth, enough fluid to spit out at my attacker. Spitting was all I could do to fight back, hands pinned behind my back, feet anchored to the chair. But that’s what they wanted me to do, what the sink and toothbrush and toothpaste was for. So instead I swallowed, because they wanted me to spit.

The interrogator yanked my head back by the hair, roots screaming in pain. If he wanted me dead, he would have killed me by now. The stick smashed into my ribs this time.

“I am Private Perez 4930. I am a hostage. I cannot be broken—”

He jerked my hair, levelling my forehead, exposing my throat. I thought he was going to break my neck, slash my throat. Instead he let me go, my head dropping from exhaustion.

Through unshed tears and blurred vision, I saw the door glide open. The interrogator left me alone in the empty room. No guards, no beatings, nothing but throbbing pain mimicking my heartbeat. There wasn’t even a ticking clock to tell me how much time passed.

Sleep. Precious sleep.

Something smashed my ribs, jolting me back to consciousness. The world narrowed again, so small my wavering universe, what I could witness through swollen eyelids.

Pain. Focus on the pain.

My interrogator wasn’t wearing a bio-hazard suit now, tempting me to attack, no doubt figuring his vaccination would protect him like it had protected Crow. It was a huge gamble; he must want to win really badly. Almost as much as me.

He drew a hand over his chin, stubble grating against his fingertips. I guess he’d been at this a while, for him to need to shave. His once-neat hair was messy, his ironed uniform wrinkled, sweat stains darkening his armpits. The focus in his eyes had been replaced by a crazy sparkle, unhinging in its obscenity.

Three pounds shook the door. It glided open, hinges silent.

Crow entered the interrogation room, handcuffs rattling behind his back. “Commander Edding, nice to see you again. I take it Plan B didn’t work.”

“Which is why you’re here,” Edding said.

“She’s too smart for you. You can’t break her by beating her. You need to hit her weak spot.”

“Which is?”

“Oh, you need my help now?”

“You came back for a reason. What’s the price?”

“My wife. My shuttlecraft fuelled and stocked.”

“And Perez?”

“Do you think I care about Perez? You get what you want, Marcia comes with me. I want your word that you won’t order our deaths, that you’ll tell Mothership we died.”

“Mothership will demand corpses.”

“Tell her you burned us. Decontamination protocol.”

“I would never order that,” Edding said.

“Then tell her it was a mistake made by one of your minions. She’ll believe that. I brought you your prize, now give me mine.”

The commander let loose a great exhale, pondering Crow’s demands. “All right. But you promised me two weapons. I only see one.”

“Yeah, well, sorry my son’s death changed your plan.”

My breath quickened at the mention of Andrew. Crow turned around, watching me watch him.

“Oh, that bothers you when I mention Andy.” He drew closer, riveting me with his gaze. So much like Andrew’s, so different the soul. “Uncuff me, Commander. Turn off the camera on your way out.”

Crow waited to be uncuffed, for the door to seal shut behind Edding, for the camera behind him to click off, before he spoke. “I get what you’re trying to accomplish here—the right thing. What you’re trained to do. What Andy wanted you to do. But it’s not going to work. The rules have changed.”

“I’m not interested in your version of how the world works,” I said, the words croaking.

“You should be, because my version affects your future. The way Edding sees it, you don’t need your knees. He can simply blast them away.” He drove his thumb into my ribs where a fresh bruise bloomed, pain spotting my vision. “You think that hurts? Imagine what losing your knees will feel like. First one, then the other.”

He leaned in, resting his hands on mine, his breath pulsing against my face. “I’ve seen him do that to other prisoners. How will you survive the agony?” he whispered.

The pulsing stopped when he pulled away. “Edding will take what he wants, one way or the other. If he can’t break you, then he’ll dissect you, cut out those precious saliva glands. If that doesn’t give him his answer, he’ll order fresh recruits down to that planet, to wait for the tiger lilies to bloom again. Your defiance will be for nothing, forgotten.”

He walked around my chair. “Misplaced loyalty is clouding your view. Mothership abandoned you to die on that planet. Andy abandoned you when he chose to die to save you. Why die here? Andy’s sacrifice would be in vain. You don’t owe anyone anything. You only have loyalty to yourself now, to your own life.”

My job is to keep you alive, Andrew had said to me. Dying would be like betraying him.

Crow circled the chair, letting his message sink in. “Your own life. That’s all you have. Your struggle will be forgotten, a waste. There won’t be anyone left to remember what you fought for.”

I remembered Crow laughing, back on that planet of hostile plants, saying Miller’s been feeding you that crap. I’ll break you Perez. You’ll see. His words penetrated my resolve, breaking me like nothing else could.

He’d been right all along; I just couldn’t see it.

Gasping and shaking, I lowered my head, the fight draining from my body.

He leaned in close again, his warm breath brushing the scar on my cheek. “Escape,” he whispered, so softly I wasn’t even sure he spoke. “You can’t escape without your knees. You need your knees to run.”

Escape. Damn Crow for tempting me with the only thing I wanted.

He continued speaking in a louder voice as if someone was listening, shoving an empty bowl under my chin. “So spit in the bowl, give Edding what he wants, and live whole and complete for another day.”

Crow was the only one who could help me escape, the only one I could rely on to keep me alive. And he was Andrew’s father. That had to count for something. I’d heard him cry over Andrew’s death, no way he could fake that sound.

I let saliva build up in my mouth, not swallowing while I pictured lemon wedges next to salted tequila shots, puckering at the memory. Andrew had toasted our mission with tequila when we got the news, downing the stunted shots like they would be his last.

Crow held the bowl under my mouth while I spit into it. Over and over, until fluid smeared the sides, thick and slimy and slightly yellow.

“That should be enough.”

Crow pounded on the door. Two bio-hazard-suited men entered, releasing my hands from behind my back, holding me upright under the arms, dragging me from the barren chair. My arms hung limply at my sides, full of impotent rage. My legs weren’t much better, bursting with needles when I tried using them.

The commander entered the room, looking neat and tidy again.

Crow held out the half-filled bowl to Edding. “Here’s what you wanted. Now give me what you promised.”

Edding laughed, a cold hard sound. “I promised you wouldn’t die at my orders. I never said you wouldn’t die. Guards, put them both in general population.”

“You lying bastard,” Crow hissed.

“How does it feel to be betrayed?” the commander said to Crow.

Like hoarfrost around my soul.