To say I’m a Cardeno fan is a little bit of an understatement. But there’s more to it – I’m not only a fan of Cardeno stories, I’m a fan of Cardeno the person, and Cardeno the author. Is there a difference? Yes. A person can write a great story, but still be a jerk. A writer can produce a great novel, but be really silly at managing their career as an author. I’m happy to say that Cardeno ticks all the boxes with me.
So without further ado, please welcome Cardeno C. to my blog!
Cardeno: I am sitting here smiling like mad and deeply honoured. You already know I’m a huge fan of your work so compliments about my writing coming from you are extra special to me. And as important as writing is to me (and it’s very important!) the personal compliments mean even more so truly, thank you. <3 Okay, I’m calling an end to today’s Mutual Admiration Society meeting so we can talk books! Here we go. **grin**
Renae: Today Cardeno is here to talk to us about a new release, Jumping In, which came out on the 6th of February.
Blurb: An ARe Alphas Release!
When love’s on the line, the brave jump in with both feet…
Small town cop Clint Rivera can’t catch a break. His ex of two weeks is suddenly getting married, his dogs tore up his furniture, he’s getting evicted, and he’s out of beer. When he decides to solve his alcohol shortage by going to his ex’s engagement party, Clint winds up too drunk to drive himself home.
Enter gorgeous deputy mayor Hawk Black, the man who constantly shows up unexpectedly and sends Clint’s body and mind into a tailspin with nothing but his whiskey voice and blue eyes. After months of patience, Hawk can finally seduce the man he’s been craving.
Clint’s day might not have started out well, but Hawk’s going to make sure it ends with a bang, preferably in bed. He’ll show Clint some rewards are worth the risk. With love on the line, Clint will need to decide if he can open his heart, tear down his shields, and jump in with both feet.
Renae: Where can people purchase the story?
Cardeno: All Romance ebooks is the publisher for this book so at this very second, readers can buy it there. Eventually, though, the book will be available at Amazon and other retailers. I think the best way to know where the book is available at any given time is to check my website because I’ll keep it updated with all retailer links here.
Renae: Tell me, just what is the Alpha Series about, and why ARe?
Cardeno: Great question! ARe is a romance book retailer. I buy lots of books from them because they have great personalized customer service and a “buy 10 get 1 free” deal, which makes my budget and my library happy. Occasionally, ARe publishes novellas surrounding a specific theme and when they were putting together their Alpha theme, they approached me to ask if I wanted to submit a story. I loved the idea of participating in something with them so I ran the theme idea by readers in my FB group (where I go to for reader advice on all sorts of things book publishing related) and my group brainstormed ideas with me. From that, Jumping In was born.
Cardeno: More good questions, exactly the types of questions I needed help with from my FB group, in fact. What I found in researching this theme is that everyone has a different idea of what Alpha means. The part of me that leans toward being literal has an easier time thinking of a strict Alpha concept in shifter books because it feels very much like an animal idea. But I wanted to write a contemporary so my readers shared a lot of other Alpha type ideas with me and the one thing that I saw as consistent across all opinions and ideas was the idea that an Alpha is strong, confident, and in charge.
Running with that idea, I wrote about two strong, confident men who are in charge in various aspects of their lives but also have softness inside for each other. We have Hawk, the deputy mayor with a big bank account and even bigger connections, and Clint, the former military, current small city cop who loves his dogs more than people. In and out of the bedroom, they’re on an equal plane, a sizzling, sparking, super sexy plane.
Renae: Does being strong refer to physical and/or mental strength? Can an alpha be physically smaller?
Cardeno: If you’re asking my personal opinion, I absolutely believe strength is not limited to one’s body. There is mental strength, as you mentioned, emotional strength, and the one I consider most critical – strength of self. I try to write books about different men with different dynamics so my readers feel like they’re reading something new with each of my stories and so there are different characters for readers to connect to, meaning no one couple/book will be everyone’s favourite.
With that said, if I had to pick one characteristic that I see woven through almost all of my characters, it’s a strong sense of self. That personality trait is one I value greatly and because I have to know and like my characters to write them, I inevitably create men who share it.
One notable exception, at least at the beginning of his book, is my character Ben Forman from Just What the Truth Is. Ben’s story is one I stewed over for a long time because I wanted to get it right, I wanted to get Ben right. He’s a nice guy, a smart guy, a handsome guy, but the Ben we meet isn’t a particularly strong guy deep inside. That’s the journey he needs to take and of anything I’ve written, it’s the one that was both the hardest and most rewarding.
I think I got off track there, ehm, sorry. Back to *your* question. Can an Alpha be physically smaller? I’m not Alpha expert but it seems to me he surely can. Strong and in charge isn’t measured by inches (or centimeters).
Renae: **eyes widen at the dirty (but brilliant) pun**
**Cough** Right… Um…
Renae: Do you think that alphas are born, or made?
Cardeno: Well, in that whole “take the term literally” approach with a shifter Alpha story, they’re born. That’s part of the fun of shifter books – predetermined roles and how people react within them. But in real life or in a contemporary world, I think that question is a nurture versus nature one and I’ll answer it the same way I’d answer for almost any other personality trait – I think it’s probably a combination of both.
Renae: I noticed that Clint is a cop. Ni-ice. **Renae drools some** What is it about strong men that attracts us?
Cardeno: Yes, Clint is in law enforcement – one of the Alpha categories my FB group readers seemed to like. I think we’re attracted to strength because we equate it with safety. If we’re with someone strong, we’ll be cared for and protected. That’s a comforting feeling.
Renae: Reading the first chapter, we find that Clint is in the closet, while living in a small town. That has to be hard for him?
Cardeno: What’s funny is that Clint doesn’t think of himself as in the closet. He thinks of himself as out. But you’re right, he sure isn’t acting that way. And that’s something he recognizes through his relationship with Hawk.
Renae: Is Hawk also in the closet?
Cardeno: Hawk isn’t a man to hide from anything or anyone, least of all himself.
Cardeno: Yes, Clint’s ex is highly focused on his professional ambitions and his image and he has no qualms about living a double life in order to get what he wants. In response to your bigger question, I do see a future where people will no longer have to hide that aspect of themselves. What’s amazing is that I feel like I’m living in part of the future already.
I’ve done work for many years with a gay rights organization and I remember fundraising and lobbying for things like ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, hoping for a good future for military people, and now I see pictures of naval officers kissing. I feel like it was just yesterday that the idea of marriage equality was being considered (in a case from Hawaii) and it seemed so impossible in a world where courts were letting people literally into bedrooms to make arrests. But not only is it possible, in many states it’s now real. In some ways I’m already living in the future so many of us have worked hard to obtain and I believe we will eventually get all the way there.
Renae: What do you love most about this story?
Cardeno: Jumping In is a light, sexy, short contemporary. As a reader, there are many days I don’t have a lot of book time but I want to escape for a little while into something happy and warm. I think this story fits that bill.
Renae: Where can people contact you?
Blog: (Shared Blog) http://caferisque.blogspot.com/
FB Profile: http://www.facebook.com/CardenoC
FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CardenoC/
Renae: Thanks for visiting. I know I asked some difficult questions. Thanks for explaining, now take my goddamn money so I can read this book!
Cardeno: Thanks for having me, Renae. You’re an awesome interviewer (and friend). **grin**