GUEST BLOGGER JULIE LYNN HAYES
Today’s blog post showcases guest blogger Julie Lynn Hayes. She is the author of three series; To the Max, Captivations and Forbidden As well as being an editor at Muse It Up Publishing. You can preview her impressive list of titles on Goodreads or buy your very own copy. See below for the links.
Thanks for having me, Chad, it’s been fun! From Julie.
This feature contains a snippet about the author, her web links, book publishers, an intriguing essay on worldbuilding and concludes with a novel excerpt.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie Lynn Hayes was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream. She blames her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing in ways she'd never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men finding true love and happiness in one another's arms and is a great believer in the happily ever after. She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and two cats, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler someday. While working a temporary day job, she continues to write her books and stories and reviews, which she posts in various places on the internet. Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn't mind. Marching to the beat of one's own drummer is a good thing, after all. Her published works can be found at, Dreamspinner Press, Silver Publishing and MuseitUp Publishing.
My blog: http://julielynnhayes.blogspot.com
My facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527332074
Romance First Publishing: http://romancefirst publishing.blogspot.com/
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_222
THE BUILDING OF A WORLD - FORBIDDEN
My experience in the realm of sci fi has thus far been very limited. I once started a short story that was in the sci fi genre when I was still in high school, and another one as an adult, but never finished either one, although I do enjoy reading a good science fiction book. But then I decided to write a story that has some grounding in Sci fi, even if technically, it doesn’t exactly qualify. But it’s set in the future, and that alone is generally a qualification, so let’s go with that, shall we?
At any rate, I wanted to do something different, and yet one with a basis in reality that readers could identify with. So I set it in the believable future, and set it up by saying that in 2012 the world didn’t end, but that in 2036 an Armageddon of sorts did occur which changed the world in many ways. Now it’s 2056, and here is where my story starts.
My original idea was to have a priest as my hero. Or one of my heroes, anyway. Since this is a m/m romance novel, you expect to see two, right? Of course. Gotta have two men for a m/m book, that’s a no brainer. So I had to build a world to set my story against.
As I said, in 2012 all was well, but that didn’t last, and after the Armageddon came—which could have been worse, far worse, as in total annihilation worse—things changed, naturally. The United States is no more, replaced by the Alliance of States, which includes Canada. And the church and state are so close they’d have to be surgically removed, if you know what I mean. The childbirth rate is down, and infant mortality is high. As a result, the church has relaxed its stance on priests marrying and procreating—yes, things are that dire—but homosexuality is not allowed, being viewed as counterproductive. And pedophilia is punishable by harshest measures. The prisons are horrible places, far worse than ever, and there are rumors, but no one knows the true state of affairs, so that threat of incarceration is a big deterrent to most people. Except for the ones who’d do it anyway, just because they’re stupid that way.
My series is called Forbidden, because of the forbidden nature of the relationship between the two protagonists—Father Sergio de Basco and Jerico James. Sergio runs Sanctum, which is one of the government facilities which is meant to help people get back on their feet and start their lives again. It includes not only housing, but a hospital and schooling for the young ones.
Jerico James is young, handsome, spoiled and rich. His father, Corinthian James, is a close adviser to President Boothe. Jerico and his friends are irreverent and like to push limits. They take especial pride in fucking with priests, because they know it’s not allowed; they like to refer to the church’s rules against sodomy as the “thou shalt not suck cock banns”. But Jerico has finally pushed his luck and only his father’s influence saves him from being sent to prison. Instead, he is to spend five years at Sanctum.
For Forbidden, I had to think ahead, and extrapolate facts and pose theories and set up this hypothetical world. Take what I know, and speculate on how things might work. I needed a reason for the church to relax its stance on marriage for its priests, and it seemed reasonable that a drastic rise in infant mortality would trigger fears of the human race dying out. Also, I have no problem seeing a future in which church and state are very closely allied.
Considering the current state of energy and oil, I further extrapolated that gas engines would be far and few between, and that not everyone would have cars, like now. Mankind is more segregated, travels less, and is more concerned with rebuilding than visiting. Although the internet is still there, and cell phones.
It’s fun to think ahead like that, and build a world which may never come to pass except in the pages of a novel. The story starts with Jerico getting ready to take the bus to Sanctum, bidding his pregnant twin sister Jerusha good-bye. Of course he’s not happy about developments, but she reminds him that it’s his fault he’s doing this. He can’t even run off, because they’ve implanted a chip in his wrist and if he would pass by one of the government-hidden sensors, he would be immediately found out. So he goes. And when Father Sergio picks him up at the bus station, Jerico thinks maybe Sanctum won’t be so bad.
I’m telling Forbidden as an ongoing serial. A new chapter is released on the first day of each month. Of Sin and Grace just came out August 1st, from Romance First Publishing. See if Jerico can get what he wants, and what is forbidden…
Taken from Forbidden, Of Sin and Grace, Part Eight.
As Jerico settles into the new routine of life at Sanctum, Sergio finds the status quo has become unbalanced.
Ironically, as Sergio has to fight for equilibrium, is his influence on Jerico producing unexpected results? Jerico's nearness is testing Sergio's dedication to his faith.
Where does sin end and grace begin?
Valencia had a point, whether he’d admit it or not—he couldn’t very well spend the next five years on that couch. His back would never take it. At some point, he had to face his demons. That was a good part of why he’d called his mentor last night. Besides the respect and friendship he held for the older man, he simply needed to hear his voice, to reconnect with that spiritual part of himself that seemed rapidly becoming lost in the shuffle, caught up in the upheaval triggered by the arrival of one Jerico James.
Dear God, he could not go down that path again. He just couldn’t. It wouldn’t be fair… to anyone. He’d worked so hard to walk the straight and narrow, suppressing his true nature in the best interests of Sanctum, as well as for the benefit of the Church. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it was what he had to do. His life plan had no allowances for someone such as Jerico.
By mid-morning, he was joined in the field by other workers from among the families, and his inner monologue was mercifully interrupted by their presence, forced to be put on hold by the cheerful camaraderie that bounced back and forth between them. He continued to work tirelessly, side-by-side with his parishioners, until about noon, when they all headed inside for lunch. Sergio, however, made his excuses and retreated to his room.
After ascertaining that Jerico was nowhere about, he stripped and headed into the shared bathroom that separated the two bedrooms, stepping into the shower. The hot water was a blessing as it cascaded down his back. He luxuriated in the penetrating warmth that seeped into his aching muscles, eyes closed, head tilted back.
Unbidden, images of Jerico filled his mind’s eye. The way he looked at him, the cocky insolence that overlay a more vulnerable Jerico—the one he hid from the world. Jerico made no bones about wanting him, whatever his motives. Sergio couldn’t lie to himself, no matter how much he lied to Valencia. He wanted Jerico just as badly, and for all the wrong reasons.
He could just imagine him now, walking through the bathroom door without bothering to pretend it was an accident or that he didn’t know Sergio was there; brazen and brassy, and full of fire, the kind that could scorch a man’s soul.
“I see someone’s started without me,” imaginary Jerico comments as he proceeds to strip without hesitation or compunction, tossing his clothes carelessly onto the floor. He watches with intense concentration as every glorious inch of Jerico’s bare skin is revealed. Around his neck, he wears a silver cross which he never removes. Other than that, he is completely naked, and utterly beautiful.