HAPPY 4th of JULY!
Today on Meet An Author Monday is Xakara!
Writing From the Middle: Bi/Pan/Poly
Thank you for having me today, Gabriella.
Being here is a wonderful way to celebrate today’s release of DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT (PsiCorps #2). As the second volume in my PsiCorps Chronicles the new book picks up six months after the end of GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST (PsiCorps #1), a few days before the Fourth of July. It’s centered around U.S. Marshal Mackenzie Matthews and his attachment to the agents in his care. Marshal Matthews and his partner Marshal Kincaid Ides are introduced in GHOST OF CHRISTAMS PAST and there is a direct follow-thru in the seeds of interest sprinkled between Mackenzie and Quintus and those hinted at with Mackenzie and Kincaid.
Rather than focus solely on the new release, I’d like to explore my writing as a whole and how the prevalent themes I work with as a backdrop are utilized in the PsiCorps Chronicles. The shorthand version of what I write would be ménage or in the case of PsiCorps, ménage-a-more. Slightly more informative would be the phrase, “non-traditional romance”. But I think the longer spiel is the best, I write Multicultural Bi/Pan/Poly Erotic Paranormal Romance. I just love the look on someone’s face when I say it. *Smile* Usually, I have them on everything but the term Bi/Pan/Poly and since PsiCorps is a beautiful example of this particular exploration, I’ll break down how it’s explored in both books.
First a few quick definitions. Bi/Pan/Poly is short for Bisexual/Pansexual/Polyamorous. Bisexual has a few definitions, traditionally it’s considered to be the active attraction to both men and women. The prefix of “bi” implies two and over time has come to imply equal attraction, but neither are necessarily true to those who use the term to describe themselves.
Pansexual is broader in scope, it circumvents the implied gender binary of the term bisexual, while also taking gender out of the equation entirely. It conveys a potential attraction to all gender expressions, as well as all interpretations of traditional gender expressions. Femininity, masculinity, the space in between, the spaces outside; it’s all acknowledged as a spectrum and regardless of where someone falls upon that continuum, they are a potential mate based on their individuality, rather than their gender identity, gender expression, or genital configuration.
Polyamory literally translates as “many loves”. It is a form of non-monogamy that acknowledges the ability, and perhaps even necessity, of loving more than one person at a time in an open and mutually consensual agreement. This has countless permutations, in particular I focus on polyfidelity and the creation of poly-households and intimate networks.
All of these things come with societal connotations, but I chose to forgo the angst of these concepts and place the stories in established worlds so that they might shine for the love stories they are, rather than the political commentary that they could be.
In GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST, the idea of psychic triads is introduced as a standard, mainstream convention and polyamory has found its place in society. High psychic ability creates a resonance best balanced between three or more people. And although not every triad, compass (four partners), or circle (five or more), becomes sexual partners, having someone able to feel your thoughts, emotions and passions as their own leads to relationships more often than not. The inevitable family structures that resulted have become a cultural norm and are promoted among Psis, (those with high psychic scores), to optimize their psychic ability. There are clear references to the fact that poly rights as a whole, rather than just an exemption for Psis, were fought for and won sometime in the last twenty years, but the world at the moment we enter it, already stands tall on its new cultural viewpoint.
In DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT, the underlying poly themes are further explored with the idea of intimate networks. Our expanding group is emotionally or sexually intimate, but not in an equal and all-encompassing manner between them. Many of them are metamours, that is, connected through a shared lover, without being lovers themselves. The growth of this intimate network into a family is at the heart of book two and beyond.
The erotic factor is conveyed as much through a pervasive sensuality born from familiarity, compatibility and genuine affection, as through actual love scenes. In both books there are more sensual scenes than sexual scenes, because polyamory is about the relationships and interactions, not solely about the sex. That said, the sex in the PsiCorps stories is a lot of fun to write as I watch the relationships unfold. The still untitled third book has the most scenes so far, but I believe that sex should be treated as a character and this is hir time onstage, so it’s appropriate.
The love scenes in PsiCorps are predominantly male-male because there are more male characters in the series. This is in part intentional and entirely accidental. I chose to write MMF, (or MMMF, MMMF-MMM), to explore male bisexuality which is constantly overlooked. Men in society, and especially in romance, are treated as either gay or straight, ignoring the bisexual population entirely. Ménage, or more acurately polyamory, is a growing subgenre that finally acknowledges that place in between. Being bisexual does not automatically mean being polyamorous, but to show it on the page within the context of a loving relationship requires a poly context. Otherwise, the character is perceived as gay or straight based on the relationship they end up in and it defeats the purpose of having a bisexual character. In my case, I also wanted to do poly-positive and sex-positive stories so there will always be at least three love interest in my work.
That intention aside, I didn’t make the characters predominantly male on purpose. Once I have two, I’m open to whatever comes about. In PsiCorps, it just so happens that they came to mind as men and I went with it because it rang true. Since I’m not confined by gender or gender expression, every story can be told in its own truth, rather than forced to fit a preconceived notion of what romance can be. It’s the freedom of non-traditional romance and since freedom of the mark of this 4th of July holiday, I’m happy to have had the chance to share this glimpse with all of you.
Enjoy the blurbs below and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST or DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT. Please remember to leave an email or other contact information with your comment.
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
U.S. Marshal Mackenzie Matthews has spent the last six months on the most important witness protection assignment of his career—protecting PsiCorps’ own. The four agents under his care in the program have always had his admiration but now, under such close quarters, they’ve earned his affections as well. Bonds formed after a dramatic showdown on Christmas Eve and the concerted efforts in its wake to build a sense of normalcy around his pregnant charge has Mackenzie that happiest he’s been in years and the most frightened.
He dances along the edge of the poly relationship between the agents, soaking in the emotional intimacy and physical affection, but turning a blind eye to something more. He’s been alone in the world since the death of his cousin six years ago and all he has, the most important people in his life, he owes to her. The remnants of an intimate network that once held his cousin close to its heart surrounds him. His Resonance Partner Kincaid, once a part of her Triad. His new found crush Quintus, once her closest college. And his long term fascination Riley—now pregnant and emotionally vulnerable—her best friend for years. He stepped in and took the assignments to honor her, but he knows the ghost of her hides in his smile and haunts the ones she loves. The ones he loves now too.
To push for more not only questions his integrity as the lead marshal on the case, but it threatens the surrogate family that has engulfed him a sense of home. Mackenzie is the only one that can see the danger in every step he takes—so he stands in place. He soon learns that he’s the only one not willing to move forward. In a whirlwind of revelation as the country celebrates the stars and stripes, Mackenzie is faced with what it means to truly be free. He’ll learn that sometimes, no amount of caution can save you from what’s meant to be. Sometimes, no matter how deeply you bury secret desires in the darkness, it takes but a single kiss to reveal it all, by the dawn’s early light.
DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT
Four years after being gunned down by the city’s most infamous crime boss, Empath and PsiCorps Agent Torrin St. James wakes from a coma to find that he’s seemingly lost everything. Entered into the WitSecPsi program, as part of his cover Torrin is believed dead by the members of his psychic Triad, Resonance Partner Riley Valin and Psi Anchor Sky Roarke–his fiancé. Faced with nothing but the cold comfort of justice in testifying against the crime boss, Torrin convinces his Handler Quintus to help him barter his cooperation for a chance to break protocol and see Sky and Riley before the trial.
Two days before Christmas, in a secure safe house hours outside the city, PsiCorps makes arrangements for Torrin to see the two people he loves the most. It’s everything Torrin’s wanted from the moment he opened his eyes, but when the time finally comes he’s left to face a multitude of truths and a symphony of sorrows. After four years the loves of his life have moved on, his Handler Quintus has been keeping secrets, and there’s a high-level leak in the agency he’s given his life to. The entire world has turned upside down and Torrin doesn’t know if he has the right to fix it, but he’s about to find out. Isolated in a safe house, under the worst storm of the season and no way to turn back, he’ll learn if their feelings for each other are still passion incarnate or if he’s just a ghost from Christmas past.
Available Now at LSB
Xakara is a new transplant to beautiful New Mexico. She lives overlooking the Sandia mountains with her long time sweetie and a handful of friends that are like family. Never found anywhere without a book to read or a notebook to write in; she knew she’d be an author at nine years old when someone missed one of the daily installments of the stories she told on the playground and told her to write them down.
Equally splitting her time between the worlds in her head and the world around her, she manages to find her way through life with a smile and zen-vibe that carries her and her heroines through the tough times. She smiles every time she tells someone she knows that she writes erotic urban fantasies and they reply, “I always knew you would”.
Becoming a paranormal romance author was a happy accident when she chose to write a short novella to clear her mind of edits on her first urban fantasy novel. Now she finds she enjoys the focus on the relationships and loves traversing the two genres, and finding new ways to define both.
She always loves to talk to fans and new friends and can be found several places, waiting to catch up.