I’m often asked how I develop the personalities and attitudes of my characters. And so far, none have been as controversial as Dean, my main man in The Cruise. No doubt many of you have met, or even dated, someone like Dean, then a week later, changed your phone number to save your sanity. While he’s definitely a real piece of work, he’s also a piece of fiction. Well, almost . . .
Several years ago, a girlfriend and I took a cruise to the French West Indies. After planning the trip for nearly a year—enticing each other with the lure of warm breezes, white sandy beaches, and the taste of a foreign tongue—we packed our skimpiest bathing suits and headed for the port of Miami.
Passengers on board the ship were the usual complement of honeymooners, middle-age couples, poorly behaved children, and single stragglers. One guy in particular caught our attention (he was making the effort, after all, so why disappoint?) Strolling the decks with drink in hand, he tried to appear nonchalant while always on his way to nowhere in particular. We watched him with mild curiosity, and when he began to zero in on my friend, she remained disinterested enough to drive him crazy. By the end of the voyage, I had ample inspiration for a boatload of Deans.
In the following excerpt, Dean is being driven to the airport by his older brother, Carl. On the way to his first cruise ship vacation, Dean is bombarded with the kind of brotherly advice that would make most of us consider putting ourselves up for adoption . . .
Here’s an excerpt:
“You never know, maybe I’ll find someone I really like.”
“Don’t count on it,” Carl warned. “You’ll probably wind up meeting an insecure, middle-aged, divorced waitress with three kids and a dog. And that’s if you have any luck at all.”
Carl. My big brother. My only brother. I had planned to take a taxi to the airport, but Carl had insisted on giving me a ride. And now I was pushing stiff-armed against the dash, trying to keep myself upright as he banked his classic ‘67 Chevelle on the off-ramp for short-term parking.
His cigarette twitched up and down in his mouth as he launched into his big-brother-telling-little-brother-to-be-careful-when-you’re-out-of-town speech.
“Remember the last girl you met?”
Even after two years he wouldn’t let me forget.
“At the end of every month,” he continued, “she was twelve bucks short of the rent, her station wagon was permanently in the shop, and she wouldn’t blow ya. Remember? Am I getting through to you, little brother?”
I started to answer, but Carl was twisting the steering wheel, the squeal of burning rubber merging with glassy clinks and pops as a half-dozen empty beer bottles rolled across the back floorboard. He finally hit the brakes, bringing the car to a sliding stop only inches from the bumper of a new Ford. I let out the breath I was holding.
“F**king rental cars,” he said, glaring at fine Detroit chrome.
He shed his sweat-stained baseball cap and tossed it to the back seat before ceremoniously straightening a faded burgundy garter hanging from the rear view mirror. Gently pulling on the aging elastic until it touched his nose, he sniffed at the long-expired fragrance from some never-to-be-forgotten adolescent romance.
“So, are you listening to me?”
“Yeah, I heard you,” I said finally.
He had no business giving me advice. Since his early twenties he had bounced between a dozen women, most of whom had sent him on his way with threats of a restraining order. His longest relationship had been with a pre-operative transsexual who was starting her initial hormone treatments. Halfway through the transition, her voice had dropped an octave, and my brother had asked me if it was considered “gay” to date someone who was looking forward to sharing jock straps.
“By the way,” Carl said as we walked through the terminal doors and toward the gate, “mom still doesn’t know you’re going, right?”
“Like I told you before, I don’t want her to worry.”
“Don’t need to explain it to me, little brother,” Carl snorted. “You did right. You can tell her all about it when you get back. And hell, you know her concern over the flying is only part of it. If she found out you were going on a cruise, she’d be all over you with advice. First thing outta her mouth: ‘Maybe you’ll meet a nice girl, someone to settle down with.’ Sh*t. You know better than that.
Here’s a brief synopsis:
Until he meets Angel.
She is the girl of his dreams, brought to life as a bewitching goddess, ready to engage in every sensual delight. Quickly lured into submission by Angel’s seductive charms, Dean is ready to surrender his heart and soul to this provocative beauty.
Until he meets Marcie . . .
Author Bio: Jaye Frances is the author of The Kure, a paranormal-occult romance novel, The Possibilities of Amy, a New-Adult/Mature YA coming-of-age romance, and The Cruise-All That Glitters, a humorous adult satire about romance aboard a cruise ship. Her upcoming work, scheduled for an August 2012 release, is titled 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 www.jayefrances.com, or Jaye’s Blog at http://blog.jayefrances.com
The Cruise – All That Glitters is available now
in Kindle eBook from Amazon
Jaye is giving away a Kindle eCopy of The Cruise - All That Glitters. Comment below with email address. I will announce the winner Wednesday August 22.