I want to give a big welcome to SA Garcia (who gave me a big hug in Albuquerque last week)! She’s here today to talk about her latest published novel, Cupid Knows Best released a few days ago from Dreamspinner Press. But first, she wants to talk about characters, especially a few from her other books, as you’ll see below.
**Click on the covers for links to the where you can buy them!**
On another note: Sandy has offered up a choice from her backlist to one commenter, so leave your thoughts and responses. More info about the giveaway at the bottom of the post!
Now, over to Sandy.
What would writers do without willful characters and their demanding ways?
I often ask myself that question. Hell, without complex, willful characters, we would not have stories. Let me revise that; we wouldn’t have wonderful stories. Nothing ruins a story more than a lazy writer who grabs a box of Cliché Lead Character Flakes, adds water, but leaves out spices, scars, wit or warts.
The Cliché Character Attack Squad needs to charge forward and eradicated cookie-cutter characters from books. It is a tragedy, a crime punishable by, well—insert your favorite punishment—to rob a character of their personality, of their spontaneity. A character lacking spontaneity is robbed of being hit in the head with a skateboard, like my character Hindy. Granted Hindy didn’t appreciate the injury, but too bad, his attitude and decision to insult a skate punk provoked the attack. I didn’t argue with his action even when the attack forced me to learn about concussions. What the hell, learning is good.
Talking about characters makes an author sound like a lunatic. Forget the Three Faces of Eve. We’re talking the Fifty Personalities of S.A. Garcia. Of course there’s a huge difference. Happily I don’t walk around possessed by a character. I don’t eat dinner and think, “urgh, XXXX would hate this meal because he refuses to eat eggplant.”
Although I do write in first person point of view, I never let my character take over to the point of silliness. Letting an incubus who can’t drive take over my mind when I’m not writing is a little dangerous. Instead I slip in and out of their minds. As much as I don’t like writing shape shifting stories, crafting characters is like mental shape shifting.
That’s why during my writing, willful characters often pop into existence. They want their time alongside the main character parade.
In one novel, a third-ranking character became so powerful he almost knocked another main character into obscurity. Hail to Petros. Rolfe, Nels and Aindrias are the main trio in “Love in the Shadows”, my recently accepted Silver novel, but Petros— the big, bold Greek professor— started to steal every scene he entered. Poor Rolfe battled to hold his own POV scenes. Petros is such a character he might show up as the lead character in a short story.
Believe it or not, Fabion, my main character from “An Elf for All Centuries”, fell from the sky. His dramatic entrance into my writing world is fitting considering his drama queen status. He fell from the sky during a strange dream, landed splat in a mud puddle, started cursing, and needed a home. The silly word mansion I constructed for his diva personality pleased him.
Other characters entered my life in less dramatic scenarios. Amando from “Temptation of the Incubus” always seemed to exist for me. Many moons ago, I read horror magazines like Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella. Anyone remember Vampirella, she of the skimpy red outfit and flowing black hair? I certainly do. Okay, enough drooling. When I was a kid, I had subscriptions to these magazines. Bless my parents. I remember reading a story about a succubus giving up her life to save her dying human lover. The story stuck with me until years later I decided to use the story as part of a far larger story based around a male incubus and his human lover. Enter Amando and Mads into my world.
Amando and Fabion have too much in common. They are both full of self-worth, sexy and own no problem in accepting their sexiness. Someday I want to lock them in a room and see what happens. Aw, come on, they will have sex. That’s a no-brainer.
Prince Linden and Alasdaire from “Canes and Scales” are another pair who has always been with me. In fact, they have been in many people’s minds. They are the fairy tale pair, the star-crossed noble and slave who fight past restraints and torment to love. They are an eternal pair descended from a common love of romance and the happy ever after ending, well, happy until something wicked comes along to screw up their romance. In their sequel, evil plots and terrors attack them from every direction. Poor souls.
Speaking of souls, my characters Tristan and Marius from “To Save a Shining Soul” are another good example of the fairy tale pairing. A demon and a misplaced divinity student in Hell fall in love. They are definitely an archetypical pairing, geesh, probably something found in cave paintings. Good and evil hooking up. Tristan and Marius are as simple and as complex as that concept.
In “Cupid Knows Best”, my characters Carl and Marcelino are a variation on an archetypical pairing, the older man chasing the younger man trope. Here we have the laid-back, unlucky in love, pot-smoking college professor trying to woo the sexy student, especially since Carl the professor is, in certain ways, less grounded than the younger Marcelino.
I have been thinking about how different Carl and Marcelino are from my usual characters.
One huge difference is they live in the real world. This might sound silly, but writing characters who never fret over magical attacks or supernatural weirdness or insane nuclear-generated super storms gave me a challenge.
Their story gave me the challenge of creating human monsters, like Carl’s ex-lover Martin, the “Antichrist in Armani” who used to beat up Carl. Keeping Martin from turning into a one-note cliché also offered me a challenge.
My characters always have a thread of obsession running through the thoughts. They worry too much. Carl and Marcelino share this trait with my other characters.
There is a real challenge for me; writing a character who never worries or obsesses!
Speaking of an obsessive character, a particularly pushy little bugger named Patrice wants to enter my character parade. I referenced this bold character, who also introduced himself via a dream, in another post. Patrice works at a leather bar/cafe, likes red leather pants paired with stiletto boots and seldom wears a shirt. Hard belly pinches against his soft belly turn him on. He is swarthy, black-haired, green-eyed, and handy with a switchblade. He hides a special tattoo for his special boys.
When Patrice first harassed my dreams, he strutted across the dimly-lit bar carrying a menu to a man sitting at a back table. So far, Patrice struts but never arrives at the table.
I have great news for Patrice. He will meet the man at the table. Romance is about to enter his life.
Remember Hindy, my skateboard injury man? Hindy is a gallery owner I created while writing “Cupid Knows Best”. He sprang into life to supply comic relief, but his wonderful character evolved to the point where he is special enough to deserve a spin off story in the companion book to “Cupid Knows Best,” currently known as “Cupid Knows Best 2.” Titles always give me a pain in my ass. The title will reveal itself when necessary.
But wait, I’m giving away secrets. Let’s see if anyone remembers them a year from now. In “CKB2”, Cupid dazzles Patrice and Hindy into a crazy relationship. What a romantic hoot! The rough leather-clad waiter with mondo attitude hooks up with the regal drama queen gallery owner who shudders at using cheap toothpaste.
I haven’t started writing their relationship. I sense it plans to be a wild ride. Knowing my character’s tendencies, I’ll add obsession to their romance.
This seems like a good place to include an excerpt from “Cupid Knows Best.”
When it comes to his professional life, photographer Carl Conrad is at the top of his game. He molds impressionable minds at university by day and jets off to Paris for gallery showings on long weekends. Unfortunately, he pays for it with his disastrous personal life: Carl kicked his boyfriend to the curb after one too many punches, so now it’s just him and his hamsters, one of which he suspects may be a space alien.
Then Cupid takes pity on Carl and hits him where it hurts. It takes Carl all of three seconds to fall head over heels in lust with set design student Marcelino Moya, despite the man’s questionable—okay, deplorable—fashion sense. Convincing Marcelino to give him a chance is the hard part, but Carl is up for the challenge, pun definitely intended.
Marcelino plays hard to get, but he isn’t immune to Carl’s charms. Carl talks him around to dinner, dating, and eventually moving in. There’s just one tiny word standing between Carl and perfect happiness. Why won’t Marcelino say it?
“Hello, everyone, sorry to be late. As you know, I’m Professor Carl Conrad. Wow, is everyone here for this class?” Their enthusiastic nods told me yes. Groan. “Really? Wow again. Well, let’s see what’s going on here.”
Someone had neglected to study the student list before arriving in class. The document had resided in my e-mail in-box for weeks, but as I planned my escape from Martin, reading the names lurked low on my priority list. Usually I enjoyed examining the names and trying to imagine what a student looked like ahead of time. To my surprise, my random guesses often rang true.
Had I brought the list with me? Whoops. I fumbled through my notes and papers. Amused little smiles aimed at me. I smiled back and took the time to examine faces. A lame joke about setting a bad example by being late almost emerged when the most amazing sensation hit me.
Great googly moogly on hot buttered cinnamon raisin toast, this wild feeling felt nothing like Martin’s hard fist hitting my cheek. Damn, I shouldn’t have skipped lunch.
I mentally aimed my inner camera lens and focused directly on achingly delicious subject matter. My lens zoomed in and ignored everyone else in the room. Buzz, click, frame, and drool. The wild scene lasted for a split second. Everything moved in slow motion. Fascinating how the world transformed into a weird fantasy.
Yes, I had been hit in the head too many times.
Today the new lust of my messed-up life sat before me in masculine perfection.
Okay, aside from his outrageous outfit, complete with magenta socks and orange Keds, the vision embraced masculine perfection.
Boom, done. My heart’s quick decision made sense to me. My cock and brain deliberated for a few seconds until they signed off on the magical contract. Master Lust stepped forward and turned Heart, Brain, and Cock into a strange version of the Supremes backing the divine Diana. They crooned in romantic urgency.
Did the manly subject matter at the other end of my lusting mental lens accept my desire? Falling in lust never seemed hard, but convincing the unaware victim he needed me as much as I desired him would provide the true challenge.
I located the wrinkled list. My waking brain operated on autopilot. My mouth opened and closed while I spoke to the students. The advanced class’s basic concepts filled the air. The new students learned what I expected from their creativity over the upcoming semester.
In the background, oozing lust kept shrieking in joy while turning cartwheels in my mind. Damn, lust needed to cut its jagged toenails.
The time came to scare certain students into dropping the class before they found themselves in serious trouble. Nothing upset me more than a heartbroken student wailing in distress when I smacked a dreaded “incomplete” on them. Well, lately Martin had upset me more, but—
Lust kicked and stomped me into focus. It controlled my primitive urges. The panting ooze admired the tasty man sitting a mere five feet away from my twitching right hand. Ooo-la-la, two simple steps would allow my happy fingers to caress his tea-hued cheek. Touching his tempting flesh might be worth dismissal.
Eager lust battered my senses into mush. My opening blather concluded. I needed to begin the roll call. The desire to attach a name to the appealing man ruled me.
The alpha-ordered list refused to cooperate. The sixth name jumped out at me. The letters danced, waved, and wiggled their taut asses at me before they calmed down and resumed spelling his name. I sensed the reality. The seductive man looked like his name in a luscious manner far beyond my lust-fried comprehension.
I clapped my hands in decision. Expectant young faces regarded me with varying emotions. “Before I call the roll, time for one last reality check. Is there anyone here who wants to drop the class? If you have any, and I mean any doubt about this class, please make it easy on everyone, especially me, and bail now. Remember this is an advanced class. We’ll mainly focus—hey, a little photo humor there—on learning the digital process, but if anyone is interested, we may play in the darkroom a few times. Don’t let my cuddly reputation fool you; I am a stickler about deadlines. Once a project is a week late, I lop off ten grade points, which means after a month you have an F. Above all, I expect performance, dedication, and drive.” I hoped that the students didn’t expect the same responsible trio from me.
No one screamed, “Please, you wicked, cruel bastard, let me leave now!” I hated turning away eager students, but a seventeen-person class meant mayhem in the critique situation.
Please, mayhem in an empty classroom with a classically muscled dark body pressed close in passion suited me.
Agggh. I needed to cease waffling. Sanity slapped me to move along and finally call the roll. In a minute I’d obtain a name for the exquisite face. Excitement flushed me until I feared my pores might spring lust leaks.
I shrugged and cast my special evil grin over the poor young dears. “Okay, everyone wants to stick around for the torment? You have been warned. Time to establish who belongs before I make my decisions. Jeremy Atkinson?”
A tall slender guy with long red dreads tossed me a friendly wave.
A Goth brunette sporting too much eyeliner and enough piercings to threaten a weather balloon managed a bored nod. There sat a potential attitude problem.
I tried not to grin. “Ralph Digglestaff?”
Not the name I expected to match with the burly, bald dark-skinned dude waving at me. What a great porn star handle.
A man who looked like James Dean’s long-lost love child nodded in lazy regard.
“Hello, Rachel. I guess I didn’t scare you away last time.”
The petite blonde woman snapped her gum and grinned. “Nope, Prof C, I am back for more.”
The moment arrived in grand glory. My heart tightened in anticipation. “Marcelino Moya?”
Bull’s-eye. Hold on, did I hear a faint accent? My desperate-for-more-words lust pushed me. I raised a curious eyebrow toward my new erotic partner. “I guess your parents wanted to give you a memorable name.” The seductive man looked like his name in a luscious manner far beyond my lust-fried comprehension.
Possibly the most sensual grin ever to grace human lips appeared. “It is a memorable name, which is helpful in the performing arts. I can’t wait to see the words ‘set designs by Marcelino Moya’ appear for real on the silver screen.” The way he rolled his name off his tongue threatened my tattered reason. His cock-stiffening grin grew wider and sexier. Now how was such a miracle possible? The man’s generous mouth shape needed a “proceed with caution” warning flashing beneath the succulent skin.
Yum, my dream was a performing arts hunk possessing a subtle Hispanic accent. Deeee-licious. Yippee on high, mark me smitten to the skies. Ha, if I walked back out onto Broadway and let the mad cabbie plow me down, I wouldn’t even feel the pain. Instead I’d float right over the problem held aloft by Cupid’s blessed wings. The blind bow boy’s arrows had pierced my heart. Now I needed to bribe him to aim at luscious Marcelino’s masculine bounty.
Mmm, Marcelino. The rare name tasted fine on my tongue. I wonder what he uses for a nickname? I wonder how his full lips taste?
An alarm rang in my mind. Lust scowled in annoyance. I wondered if he was gay. Yeeeeah, sigh, my heated lust always overlooked the crucial details.
Thanks for reading and many thanks to Cole for hosting me here today.
And thank you Sandy for visiting today! It was wonderful to meet you in Albuquerque
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Who Am I?
Thirty years ago, I started writing m/m romance. My writing remained a secret lest my friends thought me a freak. Writing about men inserting tab A into slot B didn’t seem the norm for a female teenager. Reading Gordon Merrick, John Rechy and Larry Kramer helped me fill in informational gaps. Yes, I read those books only in my bedroom.
As the years progressed and I discovered my sexual path, I still wrote m/m romance, although the stories progressed from lurking in notebooks to hiding on the computer.
Now I am glad I kept the writing faith. Five published novellas and novels later, my life is a fun quandary of too many stories hindered by slow typing skills. I accept the silly challenge.
Facebook: Sandra Ann Garcia
Please leave a comment below to win an ebook copy of your choice from the author’s backlist*. The giveaway will last until Midnight CDT on Tuesday, October 30th. I will choose the winner using Random.org and email the winner who will then have 48 hours from the time of the drawing to reply to my email. I will then forward the winner’s information to Sandy so they can receive their book.
Please enter the email you’d wish me to contact you at in the comment form, or if you prefer, leave it in the message.
*SA Garcia has published with a couple different publishers, so use the links above to see what she’s published, and where
Thank you and good luck!