Monday, April 27, 2015

Sex, feelings, and the great chicken-egg debate

Let's talk about sex (baby!).  And feelings.  And the combination of the two.

Usually, feelings come between two people, and they express those feelings through the physical act of sex.  Other times, sex comes first as a physical result of desire.  Sometimes, emotional feelings come of the encounter; sometimes they don't.  Sometimes, things get complicated and relationships are formed without feelings because of a baby.

When I write about sex, I try to be both realistic and romantic.  Some of my heroines are virgins.  Some of them are not.

Devyn, in Battlefield, is a virgin.  Gerard, her breeding partner, is not.  Technically, copulation is against the rules unless controlled by the International Genealogy Laboratory.  When Gerard has sex, he may or may not develop those warm fuzzy feelings, but it certainly doesn't inspire commitment in him.  Devon, on the other hand, refuses to have sex until she gets some sort of commitment.  This is usually the basis of my stories.


I think it's important to point out that relationships can stem from sex.  Women want to have sex to have sex while men want to wait until they're in love.  I try to portray this difference through Hugh and Rachel's relationship.  They slept together before they even knew they liked each other - which is what breeding partners are won't to do.  Now, though, they're crazy about each other.

Tradition is changing.  I think we, as writers, needs to change with it.  I, for one, am looking forward to non-traditional type stories.  And it doesn't need to be a lot, either.

A little's enough.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Alpha males

Alpha males are the only heroes I write in my stories. As a writer, they're fun to write. As a reader, they're fun to read. Why do we love them so much?

First, let's define what an alpha male is: tall, dark, strong, protective, a teensy bit jealous, physically capable, and attractive in a rough around the edges sort of way. There's also a vulnerable side to him he's kept hidden from the world until he meets that special girl...

I'm not going to discuss the psychology of the alpha male or why we females are biologically attracted to them. I'm going to discuss it from a writer's point of view.

Alpha males, like I said, are my only type of hero. My job as a writer is to ensure my hero doesn't turn into a cliche or sound exactly like my other hero in story b.

The other issue I have to worry about that gets swept under the rug: I need to worry about the line that comes with the alpha male territory - the one that divides healthy and unhealthy relationship.

There's a difference between dominating and controlling.
There's a difference between rough and abusive.
There's a difference between being blunt and being mean.

And a lot of times, these differences get swept under the rug. There needs to be a distinction between being an alpha and being abusive, and it's my job to make that clear.

Noir from my Dark Paradise trilogy is clearly abusive, and Keirah knows it. There's really know masking it. He doesn't say sorry or justify his actions. With him, it's black and white.

There are alphas in literature and movies that walk that line, and some even cross it. The issue is, are these men being regarded as sex symbols, as romantic symbols? If so, I have an issue with that. I don't want my readers to look at Noir and see a man worth falling in love with or a relationship to aspire to. His relationship with Keirah is completely unhealthy.

I want people to look up to Jack or Ollo. Those are the alpha I wouldn't mind being dominated by. 😉 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Name Changes

Last Wednesday, I changed my last name.

Well, I legally changed it in January but Wednesday I went in to update my license.  I've officially been a Cardona for a good few months now.

Changing my name doesn't feel any different.  But it means a lot more.  I have the same last name as his two boys - their mom doesn't even share that - and I have the same last name as my daughter.  We are a family.  A unit.

To my husband, it means I've accepted who he is and, not only that, want to be united to that.  He's never been married before and to him, it's an honor for him to bestow upon me - that I'm allowed to be part of his family.

The rings mean a lot - but the name... I'm Heather Cardona.  Wife.  Mother.  Author.

And I'm proud to be his wife.  I throw around the Mrs. title around a lot - and I can't wait to change my name on my accounts and at work.

I refuse to change the last name on my college diploma, however.  Just because I'm Heather Cardona now doesn't mean I always was.  I worked hard as Heather Myers and she's going to get all the credit for it.

It's why I won't change my name with my books.

But in life, in reality, I'm Heather Cardona.  I'm still Heather Myers, I've just united myself with someone who makes me a better me.

...and I really like the sound of that.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ideas, or my personal Imagionationland

When I was running my writer's workshop last summer, I got a lot of questions asking where I get my ideas from.  A reasonable question, especially to a writer.

And the honest, 100% completely true answer?  I get them from everywhere.

For me, character usually comes first.  Plot tends to be either one of two things: a) what I wish would happen - a pirate suddenly falling into my bedroom, for example or b) a combination of books and/or movies and/or tv shows but done in the way I want to see it.

No.  I'm not lying.  I take similar concepts, combine them, and write them.  I wouldn't say I'm copying storylines, but I'll definitely admit to borrowing them.  With my own little twist.

Take, for example, one of my popular stories, Battlefield.  

I cannot count how many times a reviewer asked if I based the concept on The Hunger Games.  (This was way before they were huge and turned into movies.)  I can honestly say that no, I wasn't inspired by The Hunger Games at all.  Had never even heard of them.  In fact, the only reason I started reading them in the first place was because my reviewers recommended them to me.

What did I base it on, you might ask?  I took the concept of Gamer and the television series Dark Angel and merged them together.  And I'm proud of the result.

So if you're a writer and you're looking for ideas, don't force it.  Go read a good book or some fan fiction.  Watch TV.  Go to a movie.  Listen to music.  Daydream.  That's how I get my ideas.  And it may be where you get yours.

As always, good luck!

By the way, Battlefield has an official release date.  April 30.  Below is the official summary.

Devyn was not born; she was created, and for a very important purpose: she was born to die. 


If she made it out of the Battlefield alive with her Unit composed of eight people just like her, she's promised the freedom she had only previously dreamed of.  But in order to do so, she must kill members of other rival Units fighting for the same thing. When you're raised to be a weapon, fighting - killing - is the only thing you know.  At least, that's what Gerard, her breeding partner, constantly tells her.  Just because they were, quite literally, made for each other didn't mean they had to like each other, but they definitely had to trust each other if they wanted to survive.

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