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Monday, August 20, 2012

Guest Post + Giveaway: The Beach by Jaye Frances

 I would love to welcome back author Jaye Frances to Kelsey's Book Corner! Today she is talking about her newest release, The Beach and where she got her idea to write it.
Thank you, Kelsey, for hosting me today on Kelsey’s Corner with my new sci-fi release, TheBeach.

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is how I come up with the ideas for my stories. While The Beach was inspired by walking the shoreline in the aftermath of a spectacular thunderstorm, one of the story elements in particular is far more personal—the granite outcropping from which Alan, the main character, surveys his sandy kingdom. The underlying symbolism of his rocky throne is especially meaningful—and horrifying.

Its real-life counterpart is a five-foot high granite obelisk residing in the middle of a garden courtyard in central Arizona, the beautiful setting in stark contrast to the abominable words inscribed on the west face of the stone. While some are touched by its profound simplicity, most who see it are left stunned at the significance of what the sculptor so aptly conveys.

What dark message does the stone reveal? Rather than disclose the vile omen etched deep into the rock, I’d rather give you the gift of personal discovery, including the opportunity to find its implications as profound as I did when I first saw it.

In the following excerpt, Alan surveys the empty beach while he converses with the sea. He has just started to enjoy the solitude when he notices the formation of dark thunderheads on the horizon. Hoping to outrun the storm, he begins to jog along the shore, heading for home. But the wind and rain quickly unleash their fury, and without another source of shelter, he returns to the limited protection of his rocky monolith to wait it out.

Here’s an excerpt:

Alan looked out over the water. “So, what will we discuss today? What secrets will you share with me?” The ocean settled his thoughts and he often talked to it like an old friend, his irrational personification of the sea a telling symptom of intentional self-exile. Since his retirement, he had deliberately distanced himself from personal acquaintances, colleagues, and former business associates, favoring his own company—and voice—to that of others.

Although he seldom had to wait for the waves to answer, today his confidante seemed restless and unsettled. Instead of welcoming him with the relaxing rhythm of a gentle surf, the water was agitated, churning with cross-currents and rip-tides. In the distance, burgeoning thunderheads were rising from the edge of the sea, and unlike the usual white blankets that spent the day playing hide-and-seek with the sky until finally resting on the sun-struck horizon like giant puffs of cotton candy, these intruders were different—threatening harbingers, an assault force from an angered Poseidon.

“Don’t worry,” he assured his anxious friend. “I’m sure they’ll keep their distance.”

His thoughts were well-intentioned, but in the scheme of the universe they were nothing more than idle chatter, and within minutes a dark rumbling umbrella extinguished the sun.

Bright flashes began to light the interior of the boiling cloudbank. In a threatening display of power, jagged razors of blue fire dropped from the sky, blistering the surface of the water.

“Sh*t. I probably won't make it back in time to beat the storm.”

His bungalow was nearly a half-mile away, and as he hurriedly jogged along the shoreline, he regretted not being able to enjoy the pleasant, even roll of the surf, its normally soothing turquoise-trimmed waves now a chaotic frenzy of foaming white caps.

The wind arrived with the rain, the fierce gale driving the downpour sideways. As the drops stung his face he cursed his bad luck, slinging insults against the storm—and anyone else who might presume to ruin his day. “I’ll give you a minute or two, that’s all. Then you will move on, leave my beach.”

As if mocking Alan’s pretentious attempt to challenge its dominion, the tempest howled in defiance, stripping sea grape trees of their leaves and wrapping shredded fronds around the sodden trunks of swaying palms.

He looked around for the nearest shelter. There was only his familiar granite megalith some one hundred fifty yards behind him. Although it wouldn’t keep him dry, he could sit out the deluge with his back against the stone, on the side opposite the wind and waves.

As he hunkered in close to the rock he felt the latent warmth of the sun, absorbed from an earlier cloudless sky. Irritated by the sheeting rain streaming down his cheeks, he formed finger tunnels around his eyes and peered through the curtain of water. He recognized the green blur of a plastic chair as it tumbled across the sand.

“Damn storm. It’s crapping all over my beach. It’s got to stop soon, before the trees snap.”

If Alan had ever enjoyed the slightest preference from nature, this torrent confirmed his loss of favor. Unrelenting, the blowing wall of water strengthened in intensity, the whirling gusts clotting the air with saturated grit.

As the swells pushed the storm surge even higher, the huge projection of bedrock could no longer shield him from the reach of the sea. Wet and cold from the breakers that washed up high enough to touch him, he barely felt the bump of something solid against his leg. At first glance he thought it was a small Thermos. But as the receding surf moved it slightly outside his reach, he could see the cylinder-shaped object was covered with unusual markings—quite different from the bright patterns and bold graphics that typically decorated an insulated beverage bottle. He leaned into the wind, grabbing the oddity just before the retreating swells could return it to the ocean.

Even through the rain, Alan was impressed with his catch, the color alone making the object interesting enough to reward him for the reach. As the forces of nature jousted for dominance, Alan imagined how the piece would look on the front porch railing, or among his collection of shells lining the pea-gravel driveway next to his house.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

Alan loves the beach. More than a weekend respite, it is his home, his refuge, his sanctuary. And for most of the year, he strolls the sand in blissful solitude, letting nature—and no one else—touch him. But spring has given way to summer, and soon, the annual invasion of vacationers and tourists will subdivide the beach with blankets, umbrellas, and chairs, depriving Alan of his privacy and seclusion—the fundamental touchstones of his life.

Resigned to endure another seasonal onslaught of beach-goers, Alan believes there is nothing he can do but prepare for the worst. 

But fate has other plans.

Delivered to him on the crest of a rogue wave, the strange object appears to have no purpose, no practical use—until Alan accidentally discovers what waits inside. Now he must attempt to unravel an ageless mystery, unaware that the final outcome will change his life, and the beach, forever.

In the companion novella Short Time, you’ll meet a respectable but bored middle-class executive, who exchanges his future for six months of excess and extravagance, only to find out the price he must pay for his hedonistic indulgence is beyond anything he could have imagined.

Author Bio:  Jaye Frances is the author of The Kure, a paranormal-occult romance novel, The Possibilities of Amy, a coming-of-age romance, The Cruise-All That Glitters, a humorous adult satire about looking for love at sea, and The Beach, a sci-fi fantasy about a man who is given the opportunity to receive his ultimate wish and lives to regret it. She is also a featured columnist for the NUSA SUN magazine. Born in the Midwest, Jaye readily admits that her life’s destination has been the result of an open mind and a curiosity about all things irreverent. When she’s not consumed by her writing, Jaye enjoys cooking, traveling to all places tropical and “beachy” and taking pictures—lots of pictures—many of which find their way to her website. Jaye lives on the central gulf coast of Florida, sharing her home with one husband, six computers, four cameras, and several hundred pairs of shoes. For more information, visit Jaye’s website at, or Jaye’s Blog at

The Beach is available now in kindle eBook on Amazon at a special Introductory Release Price of $0.99 until September 15, 2012 

Jaye has so graciously offered to give one (1) Kindle version of The Beach to a lucky reader of my blog!  Open internationally and ends September 3rd. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway