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  • Writer's pictureIan Cadena

My Inspiration for The HARD BOYS series!

I answered the knock at my dorm room in the late night, pulling open the spring-loaded door. There in an empty hallway stood Andy with his blond hair buzzed tight on the sides and spiked on top. He wore soft flannel pajama bottoms and a loose t-shirt, well, as loose as it could drape on his athletic build. 

“Andy?” I said confused by the late hour and knowing he resided on the floor above. 

He stepped in directly, forcing me back as the door shut behind him. He never laid a hand on me. Never touched me. He just continued to step into my space until I was up against a wall and his face mere inches from mine. 

“Is everything alright?” There was definitely something wrong. 

His pale blue eyes blinked at me with a purpose. He stood his ground. Our eyes locked. He nudged his face at mine stopping short as our noses grazed. 

I gulped. He didn’t speak. He didn’t move. “What’s wrong?” I nervously stroked the spikes of his hair. I didn’t know why. Actually, I did. His hair was soft. I liked it. I had curly and frizzed hair and I envied his was straight and could spike. And how could it be spiked and soft at the same time? So jealous. It wasn’t the first time I touched his hair like that. I had done it before while we hung out, realizing it only too late and how gay that came off. But Andy never said anything and he never pulled away. Just like now. He let me stroke it. He still hadn’t spoken. Didn’t answer any of my questions. He just penetrated me with those baby blues. My heart zigged and zagged. I was completely confused. Then it hit me. The only thing that made sense. I concluded the only reason an attractive guy came to my room in the night in his sleepwear on the weekend my roommate was out of town. I took a sidestep to regain my space and focus. “Are you sleepwalking?” 

He shifted those fierce blues to me and kept them drilling me for a while longer. Then they flushed with exasperation. He turned and left without ever uttering a word or touching me. 


This scene seems like gold for a romance or erotic novel. Yet, this was the angst and confusion that marred my adolescence and college years. This was a true event in my life. I believe it was the first, but it was definitely not the last, although they all ended the same—me missing a sex session with a hot guy! All of the scenes practically presented like those cheesy situations you see in scripted porn and say, “That would never happen in real life.” 


How could I be so oblivious? Especially, since I had watched plenty of porn. I had shifted from watching straight porn, to bi, to gay. But the difference between the scenarios that unfolded on video and in real life was that the incidents on screen happened between two (or more) hot guys. I never thought of myself as attractive so how could a guy be hitting on me. You see, I was so naive I didn’t even figure out I was gay until after college. All the clues had been there even when I was a kid. I was a comic book fanatic growing up and loved pretty male heroes in skintight costumes.


I also have been a paranormal fanatic since I was a kid. Every show or movie I watched required a monster, alien, or something supernatural. Every Saturday I’d go to the Library (what are those?) and check out books about unexplained mysteries that included: UFO encounters, ghosts, psychic phenomena, bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and a slew of other cryptids. Since then, my fascination into the unexplained has not altered or wavered.  All of this contributed to my self-image of a geek. And this was before being a nerd was considered hot or sexy. I had low self-esteem and confidence so it wasn’t too shocking really that a guy flirting eluded me completely.

When I decided to write seriously, of course, I chose to write about the supernatural, monsters, and sci-fi! I did write several sex scenes into my stories but cut them later because I felt they were too graphic for the general public. But I really wanted to keep them in the story, but ultimately went with the cut and in the end felt I betrayed myself, my characters, and my story.

I had heard of romance and erotic novels but writing that was just as taboo as watching or starring in porn. I knew it was looked down upon. Despite that taboo and negativity with the genre it still itched at my brain for years. Then with the advent of the internet it became easier to track trends, and whether the romance/erotica genre gained in popularity or merely continued its reign, it was definitely easier to see now. For the first time, I entertained there could very well be an audience for my stories with sex included.

Apprehension still gripped me of course. First, really pulling the trigger on putting out an erotic novel knowing that it still isn’t openly well received. Second, doing so in the gay genre. I only really knew of M/F stories. As I explored I did find M/M romance stories that included all the angst I was too familiar with. Albeit, not exactly for the same reasons. But I found myself craving something more. I yearned to combine my two favorite subjects: Porn & Paranormal! And then I discovered the M/M Paranormal Genre filled with shifters: Vampires, Werewolves, Demons & Dragons.

Eureka! Yet, as fast as I discovered this genre I was struck with another obstacle. I write my stories because I believe I have something new or a unique twist to offer a subject or genre. Most of what I was reading was already done so well by a bunch of fantastic authors. I honestly didn’t think there was anything I could offer better in this shifter arena. There were plenty of amazing dark supernatural sex stories. I put my dilemma on the backburner of my brain and just indulged in these sexy dark stories filled with creatures of the night. The more I read, the more the dark, tortuous elements became more pronounced to me. All filled with shifters. And that’s when it hit me. Something new I could offer the M/M Paranormal Genre. FUN! These stories are excellent, don’t get me wrong. But I missed some of the humor mixed in from shows like Kolchak: The Night Stalker. The relationship and banter between Carl Kolchak and Tony Vincenzo were priceless. Also, I saw an opportunity to present the paranormal to readers that didn’t have to be focused around a vampire or werewolf. And what better way to do it than a group of paranormal investigators that get laid during the quest for answers to unexplained mysteries.

Thus, The Hard Boys were born. They go on rip-roaring adventures on cases much like the mysteries I grew up reading about in books and in a TV episodic format. I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to revisit the frustrations of my past and repaint them how things could and most likely should have been. As writers, we not only get to relive history but every now and then we get a chance to rewrite it with an opportunity to turn those DAMNs in our life into a HOT DAMN!!!!

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