SLAVE is now a full time reviewer for Guys Like Romance, Too!

Please note that SLAVE's Erotic Review is on hiatus to catch up on reviews.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Does dead really mean dead?

Louise is having a bad day: studying for exams, play rehearsals under a director she can't stand, and ill-fitting shoes. Surely, there's a limit to what a girl has to put up with! But her day improves when she meets the pretty, new stagehand, Angie. An instant attraction leads to a sexy sojourn in Louise's dressing room. The rest of her day seems almost tolerable, until the director barges in on their interlude and collapses—before reviving to attack Louise. Angie fights him off, and the girls flee to the safety of the quad. Soon they learn their fallen assailant is only the first wave of a terrifying outbreak.

Their best hope to stay alive is to stay together. As they explore each other's bodies and learn the deepest secrets of their hearts, Louise and Angie discover that each has found something in the other's arms they never knew they wanted. But they have to survive first. There oughta be a law: dead means dead . . . .

Noble Romance  Amazon

Creating romance that guys will want to read just as much as women is a daunting task at best. Men and women are biologically, fundamentally different. Men are more visual and left-brain oriented. Women tend to be more emotional. A lot of this is a simple matter of biochemistry. The chemical reactions in the male brain give different results than the same reactions in the female brain. This is glaringly apparent in nearly every facet of any circumstance or situation in which the two genders meet.

Now of course there are exceptions to every rule. We all know at least one guy who’s not as macho as cultural archetypes suggest he should be. Conversely, there are women who are as calculating, controlled, and, well, horny, as any man. None of this is intended or should be taken as a slight on either sex or an attempt to paint in broad strokes what men and women are to themselves or one another, but as “baseline” readings from which we can extrapolate.

When it comes to romance written by men, I’ve stumbled right into a certain amount of (not wholly unjustified) sexism. Many men can’t seem to get closer to romance than mere erotica, the idea of taking the sexual act and placing it in the context of a larger plot. For this reason, many women view romance written by men with a healthy dose of skepticism. At the same time, how often have you seen a man overtly reading a romance written by a woman? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess the answer is “Not often.” And when you did, what was your first thought? Come on, you know perfectly good and well what you thought.

Walking that line between romance geared almost exclusively toward women and a story that men can read without embarrassment is a very delicate matter, and it has been that line I’ve tried to walk ever since I first decided to try my hand at erotic romance. I enjoy the idea that the feelings are genuine enough to please the women; there’s enough action and even occasional gore to keep the men entertained; and the plot and the sexual elements of the story are both real enough for both genders to respond to. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed by what I write; far from it. I think that in this day and age, the idea that people refuse to acknowledge the idea that men might have tender feelings or that women might be just as randy as their male counterparts is a great deal of what’s wrong with our society.

Now that I’ve given you the idea I’m walking around with a chip the size of Texas on my shoulder, let me disabuse you of that notion. I don’t think people need permission to fantasize or to entertain sexual desire. I think people need to see other people who genuinely believe it’s okay. For this reason, I’ve considered all possible pairings of two people in my work to date. It would be nothing short of rank hypocrisy for me to do otherwise.

When Ruby Green first asked me what I thought about the concept of Lesbians Vs. Zombies: The Musical Revue, it gave me pause. How do you properly incorporate music into a book and make it believable? After all, you can’t see or hear the music and the characters’ reactions, as you could in a movie. How do you arrange things so that the titular lovers wind up face to face with something out of a nightmare? And, perhaps most daunting of all, how do you ensure that genuine romance and real feeling have a chance to blossom and grow in the middle of an apocalypse?

My first attempt was less than convincing. I had a woman in a car right out of Mad Max wielding a shotgun and blaring Metallica as she drove up to a scourge of zombies (I’m not sure if that’s the right word for a group of that particular flavor of undead, so forgive me if it’s wrong) just in time to save my main characters’ lovely asses. (Hey, you weren’t in my head. Trust me, the view I had was delectable!)

I grimaced, frowned, walked away, smoked a cigarette, jumped up and down a few times, went back, and repeated the cycle all over again. It didn’t take long for me to say, “No, this blows” and delete it permanently. This put me back to square one. Maybe a day later one of the elements fell into place by accident, when my ex-wife bouncing around singing “The Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to get my goat. I fought with all my might to keep my disgust off my face, as I don’t much care for the movie and loathe that song. Then inspiration struck: Why not use that disdain to fuel the first part of the story?

Then there were the zombies, who only seem to come in two flavors: Caribbean Voudoun and biological disaster. I freely admit I don’t know enough about Voudoun to go down that road, and I didn’t see myself having time to learn enough for that to be practical. So I went with the biological disaster. Hey, I already had a human Petri dish, so why not?

And so Louise, my main character, became an actress instead of a stalwart fighter against the undead, at least to begin with. Angie was already pretty well fleshed out, and it was just a matter of getting the two of them together. The overweight director, David, with his insatiable passion for ladies of the evening, became the perfect foil to force the two women together. Now I had a beginning I felt good about using.

Then the delicate part began. Any writer can tell you that if you’re not feeling it, your readers will know. So I had to infuse every moment of the story with some form of emotion, even if it was nothing more than confusion. At the same time, spend too much time on the emotions and you risk losing the male readers. I think of myself as a sensitive guy, but even I can get too much of a good thing. So I had to dial up the sexual tension and the birthing horror as my characters realize just how deep in the shit they really are. And lo, “Dead Means Dead” was born.

The overarching goal was not and never has been to write “romance” a la Barbara Sheridan. Label it what you will, put it on whatever shelf you like, but the ultimate idea has always been simply to tell a good story that will appeal to both men and women equally. Personally, I think I did a pretty solid job. But I’ll let the readers judge.

Until next time,

J.S. Wayne

SLAVE's review

I am an avid reader of horror and zombie type books, thus I looked forward to reading this book to see how the author would incorporate lesbian sex into it. It was my first Lesbian vs Zombie read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. JS Wayne's zombies were believable and the characters realistic. The sex was hot and the story left you wanting more, but satisfied with what you got.

This book gets 5 of 5 pens from me. Great job, JS!


  1. Loved the interview and fun take on thoughts of men reading romance.

    Seems so taboo, yet most who claim not to read it, I bet would love it.



  2. I read at least a little romance every day.
    Did I say that out loud?
    Great job, JS!

  3. Nice one, JS! Keep 'em coming, love!

  4. My apologies for the hugely belated response. I had no idea this had been posted yet! *fights urge to slink away*
    Slave, thank you very much for your kind words. I'm very pleased you enjoyed "Dead Means Dead" so much! David, Ruby, Ren, you guys!
    *Urge to slink wins*

  5. *runs back*
    And...I missed Dana! ((((Dana))))
    *scuttles away*

  6. "I don’t think people need permission to fantasize or to entertain sexual desire. I think people need to see other people who genuinely believe it’s okay." Well said!