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.

UPDATE AND EXCERPT

Enjoying the sun and working on Adrift, first in the Colony Series.

First draft completed, I went and finished the second draft of Lessons from the Edge: An Author’s Guide to Metatron’s Army.

Setting the first draft of any project aside for a period of days to weeks is amazingly helpful as it allows the mind to rest.

Once my mind is focused on something else I’m able to consider what I might have done differently.  I can then go back and edit those inspirations in.

The beauty of working on the two manuscripts in parallel is that focusing on one gives me rest  from the other.  Since the projects are never far from my thoughts I am able to spend the time writing down notes that I look at when I next pick up the manuscript in question.

I have three scenes for Adrift I will be adding in in the next day or two.

I’ve also come up with an additional Port Gallatan story though it will be a bit before I get to it.

I have the next one in that series ready to go when I have time in the schedule.

I have a number of other projects on the horizon and novels for a number of the series.

Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I am sharing the opening scene from Adrift.

Enjoy!

CHAPTER ONE

SEQUENCE 1:  KYLE

2240

Mars Trojan region

Command Lab, MNS Vernier

Kyle Steven Decker, Commander of the multinational research vessel Vernier and ruiner of lives stared unseeing at the screen, unseeing because though his eyes were trained on the document, his focus was elsewhere.  

If only.

If only he’d seen.  The signs had been there.  If only he’d listened.  To do that however, he’d have to tune out the voice he enjoyed listening to most, his own.  Which circled back to the truth staring him in the face, the only if only that mattered.  If only he hadn’t been so arrogant.  So goddamn arrogant.  

And damned he was and more than willing to accept his punishment but to have dragged innocent people into the nightmare of his making -.

A chime announced the arrival of one of the souls sharing his self-created hell.  Which of the two, he wondered, as they’d been in and out of his lab like a revolving door for the past seventy-two hours.  Ever since he saw the message that damned him.

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.