Smut, World-building, and Moving Characters from Erotica to Urban Paranormal

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“Three” is available for free all month from Bold Strokes Books with the purchase of any e-book.

I’m just back from Romancing the Capital 2016 (which was awesome, and there’ll be another post about that soon, promise!), and one thing that came up a lot with readers during the “Author Speed Dating” event was the question: “Is Triad Blood erotica, too?”

When I wrote “Three,” I didn’t know it was starting a series of short fiction, and I sure didn’t know I’d write a novel with those characters, either. It was written for Blood Sacraments, an anthology of gay vampire erotica, so mostly I was thinking, I want to write a hot gay vampire story.

From a world-building point of view, “Three” came from a single idea: what if, in a version of our world where the paranormal is there, hidden in the background, there was a requirement of three?

When I write erotica—and for the record, I love writing erotica—the vast majority of my stories still contain some facet of the psychic or the magic to it, and that means having rules, systems, and some world-building to work with. “Three” was no exception: in a world where all the supernatural beings only had safety and autonomy in groups of three or more, I was telling the story of a lone vampire, and how he struggled to “get by” without two other vampires to work with.

Into that story I added demons, and wizardry, and a bit of world-building about some of the mechanics of how those groups of three (or more) worked: they had to renew their bonds on a monthly basis, during the three nights of the full moon. Why then? Well, it occurred to me that it would be fun if the reputation for how things got crazy on the nights of the full moon was, in this version of the world, because the movers and shakers of the supernatural world were busy renewing their bonds, and those solo folk knew that, and took the opportunity to try and get everything they needed on those three nights.

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“Intercession” appears in Wings, and was the second time the triad guys appeared.

Luc the vampire was the first glimpse into this world, and when I revisited that world with a second story, “Intercession,” (this time told from Anders the demon’s point of view), I already had that foundation of world-building and I went further, delving more into the demon side of things. I figured out how demons made more demons, flushed out their powers, and—because it still co-starred Luc and Curtis to some degree—also drew in a few more details about magic and all things vampire.

But “Intercession” was still an erotic short story in the erotica anthology Wings, and as such, as much about the smut as the narrative details.

Same with “Possession,” where Curtis the wizard got his turn as the narrator. Written for Erotica Exotica (a collection of paranormal gay erotica), I really started to figure out the limits and range of his magic at this point, as well as who the Families were and what they wanted (the wizards who pull the strings of the city from behind the scenes). Curtis ends up having a sexy bubble-bath, a hot first-date with another wizard, and is the first to point out he’s a healthy young gay man with healthy young gay man desires. He still manages to solve a mystery between the sexy bits, but the sexy bits are front and centre. Again, it’s erotica.

Anders gets another shot at being the narrator with “Necessary Evils,” and once more it’s a short erotic piece in an erotica collection about demons, Raising Hell. Building on the other four stories was fun, and by the end of that fourth story, I was ready to keep going.

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Triad Blood is an urban paranormal (with some steam) born from the four erotica shorts that came before.

Now, I’ve mentioned before that Triad Blood evolved into a novel when ideas struck me that wouldn’t fit in a short story—and frankly would have had no place to work in an erotica short story, for sure.

Writing Triad Blood let me explore the world I’d crafted, this place of groups of supernatural beings, of covens of wizards and coteries of vampires and packs of demons, without having to consider the tale through an erotica lens first and foremost.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some smutty bits (and I hope those smutty bits sizzle for you in all the right ways), but I had the room to tell what I hoped was a far more involved story, with a greater depth of exploration about the world around Luc, Anders, and Curtis. Triad Blood is very much a mystery as well as an urban paranormal adventure about three guys who are bound to each other and learning a lot more about what their decision to do so means.

Luc, Anders, and Curtis broke (okay, bent) rules and traditions to forge their own group, and Triad Blood is very much about the consequences of breaking tradition and what happens when people step outside the paths everyone wants and expects them to follow.

In other words? It’s not a gay erotica novel, no. But it’s definitely a queer story.

Just, y’know, there’s vampires, and demons, and magic, too.

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