Hi, I’m Heidi Belleau! I’m here to talk about my upcoming short story “Cruce de Caminos” an erotic horror being published as a part of Riptide’s Rentboys line. As with most of my published work, I share writing credits with my good friend Violetta Vane. Our particular co-writing relationship is pretty much a 50/50 split in all respects, so we share equal responsibility in creating characters and following through on that characterization. (IE, our stories aren’t like roleplaying, where one person is responsible for one character and control of the narrative is handed back and forth on that basis.) To keep things consistent, we write detailed character bios during the planning stages on every single thing we write so that we have something to refer to.
As a bit of a behind-the-scenes treat, I thought I’d give you a taste of that process by showing you the initial character sketch we came up with when we first dreamed up Sean O’Hara way back in the spring of 2011, when we were planning “The Druid Stone”, a longer novel featuring Sean. I’ve left it unedited, other than cutting a few spoiler-y things. You might even catch the first seeds of the backstory that would eventually become “Cruce de Caminos”!
Prominent bone structure on long oval face, angular jaw, strong, straight nose. Full lips. Hazel eyes. Eyebrows form sharp, dramatic line. Thick, full, wavy dark brown (almost black) hair, grown out and slightly messy from cheap cut. Undefined muscles, fit but with a bit of padding, swimmers build. Photo inspiration: Michael Cardelle.
Defining Personality Traits:
Brash, tends to overcome nervousness by throwing himself into the middle of new situations. Can seem impulsive, but actually thinks through situations pretty carefully, unless exhausted. Due to unpredictable life, rarely takes things for granted, and is prepared to act quickly/decisively when necessary. Has a hard time trusting new people.
Mannerisms / Style of Dress:
Expressive speaker, smiles easily, charming laugh. Tendency to be loud and crass. Laid back mannerisms. Generally wears jeans and (nice) t-shirts, especially gaudy A|X prints. A bit of a peacock in his styling.
Important Interpersonal Relationships:
His mother, who died when he was 10, painkiller overdose - good relationship and memories of his mother, although he subconsciously blames her for not protecting him from his father. Father, abusive and dismissive, completely estranged. Aunt (Marisa), difficult relationship at first because she challenged him a lot, now fairly close. Cold relationships with Boston O’Hara family as they obviously do not accept him as one of them, and he’s not interested in trying to make them. Has decent relationship with cousin (Martha), though not as close as with his aunt.
Dropped out of high school when he ran away.
Defining Life Events:
Death of mother. Decision to leave home - father moves his 20yr old girlfriend into house who is obviously a drug addict. Rough encounters on the road, ended up in jail a couple times, a fight over money ends up with him in the hospital with a concussion (tire iron to the side of the head, has scar but covered with hair so not visible).
Sexuality / Sexual Self-Perception:
At present, flexible. Fairly average for a (straight) teenager his age, until he became a runaway and got exposed to transactional sex, prostitution.
Estranged from his father, a blue-collar worker with a string of short-term jobs, and his father’s family who don’t accept that he is mixed-race. Mother died; is close to her sister and her sister’s daughter, but never close “enough”. Not because they aren’t welcoming, but because he generally has a sense of never belonging with them.
Now of course, this document is meant to represent an older Sean, so it might not be a perfect match for the character you’ll meet in “Cruce de Caminos”, but see if you can spot the ways he’s changed!
Want to win some “Cruce de Caminos” swag, as well as a few other surprise New Orleans goodies? Leave us a comment on this or any of our other Riptide Rentboys blog tour posts with your email (or other contact info), and we’ll enter you into our week-long draw!
How about a copy of “The Druid Stone”, which picks up Sean’s story five years later? Click here to try your hand at our Cruce de Caminos quiz!
About Heidi and Violetta:
Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane are two unlikely friends and co-writers from different sides of the same continent. Heidi, from Northern Canada, is a history geek with a soft spot for Highlanders and Victorian pornography. Violetta is a Yank (and a Southerner, and a Japanese-American) with a cinematic imagination and a faintly checkered past. Together, they write strange and soulful interracial and multicultural m/m with a global sensibility and the occasional paranormal twist.
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About “Cruce de Caminos”, out now from Riptide Publishing:
Addiction drives Sean O'Hara to a critical crossroads. Will he make the right decision, or will the floodwaters bound for New Orleans sweep him away?
Street kid Sean O’Hara never had it easy, but New Orleans has driven him to his knees. His girlfriend’s broken up with him for a sugar daddy, a gun-toting pimp has robbed him of everything but the clothes on his back, and he’s down to his last two OxyContin. Sean’s no seasoned streetwalker, but he’s not above it either, not when he’s already itching for his next fix.
A familiar-seeming stranger named Ángel may be his ticket to some quick cash, but only if Sean’s willing to help him indulge a high-class john’s weird fetish for the night. As Ángel tells him, in this city and this business, you have to get a little weird to survive.
When night falls on the French Quarter, Sean realizes Ángel and the john want more from him than he was expecting to give. What once seemed merely strange soon crosses the line into supernatural and sinister. And Ángel, the man Sean had viewed as a partner and protector, might also be his otherworldly judge and executioner.