ALIEN LOVER: WHAT DO I CALL THEE?

One of the challenges I’ve had writing interspecies relationships has been how to refer to the object of one’s desire.

To be honest, the challenge is irrespective of genre.

It didn’t help that the following were no go’s:

  • Partner

It’s too sterile.  When I hear the word partner I think of business, not “business.” 

  • Boyfriend

I once dated a guy who told me he wasn’t comfortable being referred to as a boyfriend since he wasn’t a boy.  

He was in his thirties.

When I sat down to write Port In a Storm, I considered that  rock musician Clint Malek had seen a lot of life.  Though he hadn’t lost his sense of fun or adventure he was too mature to be called a boy.  

It was while writing Metatron’s Army I realized I needed a term I could live with.

  • Lover

Christine refers to the partners she’s had intimate relations with as lovers.  I like this term.  It’s edgy enough to reflect she enjoys the physical aspects of sex as well as the fact the scenes are explicit.

As time went on I found myself challenged by more than terminology.

How do you deal with a teen romance when one of the characters is 719 years old?

I needed to be creative.

From Shadow of the Gods

I had a lot of fun with Cayden and Mica, being sure to give perspective from each.

Cayden:

When he saw the very plain white bra that screamed virgin, he groaned.  He was going to kill Jake McLachlan, hunt him down in his next life, and kill him again.

Mica:

“Hello, Mica.  Okay if I come in?”

“Yeah, sure.”

He stopped after two steps.  “You okay?”

“Yeah, fine.”  Just feeling a little awkward.  How did one act after baring their breasts to -?   Well, he wasn’t a perfect stranger anymore, was he?

Age and species difference weren’t the only challenges I had with in the Dragon Core Series.  Due to a unique set of circumstances Lage, Lucus, and Clare have an interesting love triangle.

This is fully detailed in Cauldron of the Gods.

Terminology wasn’t the only challenge with Metatron’s Army either.  Try writing sex when a character is of a species that will die if they experience high emotion. 

Such as love or lust.

There are a variety of interesting relationships thanks to the number of species and complexity of plot.

Not to mention Cirhce was born in one universe, grew up in another only to later return to her home universe.

I did take time to highlight concerns of characters crossing dimensions and sexual cultures.

There are more than just human-Vetrian relationships in the series.

And there are times I  need to set terminology aside and simply write around the challenge.

From Dragon Core

“Cayden,” she said softly stepping close, “it makes sense you’re nervous.  This is your home, your place of business.  It’s you.  Or at least it’s a side of you I haven’t seen and – it’s different with me, right?  I’m your -.”  She frowned.  “What am I?”

God, he loved her for understanding.  “You’re mine,” he replied then kissed her.

From Metatron’s Army

From Adjudication, this is one of two simultaneous intimacy scenes I had going.

The other is in Promotion, Book 11 in the series.

“Well,” he drawled, drawing a finger over the tattoo, smiling when she shivered.  “I think the waiting is over because after this?  Telling you?  I don’t feel conflicted.”

“Because I understand?”

“Because you know you’re mine.”

“And you don’t share,” she replied, her serious tone belying her amusement.

“Damn straight,” he said then kissed her.  Passionately, the bulge in his pants letting her know he was about to drive the point home.

This article is cross posted on metatronsarmy.com.

COLONY UPDATE: ADRIFT

I’m happy to announce that Adrift, first Sequence in the Colony Series is in the hands of the beta reader.

Though there is plenty of work still to be done I anticipate a late March 2021 release.

I was pleasantly surprised but very happy with how this complex story launching the series came together. 

Though I had a general idea of where it was going, for the first several weeks I had only one plot line and three characters to work with.

The story unfolded itself to me as I went along.

As with all my work I focused on the characters that make up this story.

Though the setting is sci-fi the characters face many of the challenges faced by humans throughout history.

I enjoyed getting to know my characters as I wrote the story.

  • Who are they?
  • What motivated them to be part of a deep space terra forming effort?

What kind of person sets out on a trip that isn’t just one-way but may not even succeed?

In this series I work with characters who are one step beyond passionate.

What some might call obsessed.

  • How do they handle adversity?
  • What do they consider when doing a cost benefits analysis?
  • How do they live with the consequences of their actions?

I will be releasing additional information about the Colony Series in the near future.

I am on track to release Lessons From the Edge: An Author’s Guide to Metatron’s Army Spring 2021.

I am also working on new material for the Dragon Core Series.

I’ve missed working on this series but made good use of my time away from it as I solidified plot elements and dealt with changes in the character line up.

I anticipate the next Dragon Core story to be available Late Summer/Early Autumn 2021.

Stay Tuned.

Interspecies Relationships

Relationships in paranormal fiction take on a whole new meaning when you step away from a world where interpersonal and romantic relationships within your sphere of awareness are single species.

In Metatron’s Army and now in the Dragon Core series I’ve had the opportunity to explore just what that means.

It’s really a lot of fun.  It isn’t just the interspecies interactions it’s the almost endless viewpoints from which to explore them.

It’s more than just sex.  Not all interspecies relationships are intimate.  Friendships between species play an integral role in my fiction, perhaps more so because it’s character driven more often than not.

I do have plenty of action driving the stories.  I just think it’s important to show how characters change and grow through experience.  It goes to my desire to write characters readers can relate to, even if and when they are of a different walk of life (i.e. different species).

In Metatron’s Army, non-intimate relationships include friendships and alliances.

Because Christine was raised on Earth her responses to and interactions with other species are different than the other characters’ most of whom were born and raised on a variety of planets in another star system altogether (Vetria).  Her role demands that she embrace the challenges – not of accepting these differences herself – but getting other species to accept each other, something that evolves as the series progresses.  To that end I spent a lot of effort considering where she – as well as those of the different species – were coming from at any point throughout the series.  

Relatability is big for me.

In Metatron’s Legacy, we have the friendships and alliances that are important to the story along with the addition of chance interactions with other species.

In one scene, Corinna’s experience with a local from a planet she is visiting becomes confrontational in a manner that underscores she is not just another species but one that is not understood by the locals.

Stranger in a strange land.

In Dragon Core, each story deals with interspecies relationships from a different vantage point. 

I take the time to really consider what it would be like to learn someone you knew was a shape shifter, how that would affect your life.

Each book in the series takes into account the shifter species, the age of the characters (which can be centuries), their occupations, cultural background and upbringing, and of course, whether they are male or female.

Though I wrote Cauldron of the Gods with this in mind, with Shadow of the Gods, I took it a step further and explored what it was like to be a shifter not from an objective point of view (what they are trying to accomplish) but what it’s like to be them, what they go through because they are living among a different species.

Sometimes it IS sex.  In both the Metatron’s Army and Dragon Core series I needed to consider the social norms of an alien species when it came to sex and intimacy.  Just as with different cultures on Earth, not every species will view intimate relationships the same way.

What is taboo to one culture or species will not be in another.

This was occasionally tricky since I wanted to be considerate of readers and – to a degree – where they fall on that spectrum.  Since I cannot account for everyone’s cultural backgrounds and any social influences, I fell back on my belief that writing characters readers can relate to is key.

In other words, I felt if I provided enough detail to explain/illustrate where they are coming from, how they feel, etc a reader could say, “I can imagine…”

In the Metatron’s Army series I explored sexual intimacy between differing species in pretty explicit detail.

I wrote from multiple species’ point of view and was pretty detailed in that I considered what each character might be concerned about (or not).

In the Dragon Core series I step back and examine the same concepts from multiple points of view.

Some from shapeshifters, some from humans.  I focused more on age and gender and what human sexuality is typically like through those filters and relative to what it is I’m trying to accomplish.

No Really, It’s About Sex.  At the end of the day it’s about equalizing.  Sex and reproduction through sex is more or less a universal concept.

Even if science and technology have had an impact.

Depending on where you are in your life, whether you are male or female, your occupation, your goals, any number of factors will dictate how you view and experience sexual intimacy.  I wove all of this into the stories and used these nuances to enhance character development as well as use it as an opportunity for a character to tell part of the story.

I had a blast with this during a wedding event in Shadow of the Gods as one “new” adult talks to an adolescent.  It was really fun.

Not all my stories allow the freedom to explore from this unique vantage point but the challenges of intimacy in a paranormal world are always addressed.

This really comes up with Clint in Soothsayer when he has to “fish or cut bait” when it comes to accepting what it means to be in an intimate relationship touched by the paranormal.

I look forward to more adventures with inter-species relationships as I continue to branch out in paranormal fiction.

Stay tuned.

Cauldron of the Gods is due for an end of February 2020 release.