Thursday, March 24, 2011

Half of this, Half of That

Today I have the privilege of having Maureen O. Betita as my guest speaker.

Thank you so much Maureen for taking time from you busy schedule to tell us about your world.

I love to build worlds. I can’t say I’m an expert at it, but I love to play the great creator and dally with this or that. I’m not big on rules but since the majority of my world building starts in a dream, I tend to let the rules settle in as I meander.

For example, the world of the Kraken’s Caribbean, the setting of The Kraken’s Mirror, is partly the result of chatting at a blog I’m part of, The Romance Writers Revenge and partly came from my back to back to back to back reading of every Nightside novel by Simon R. Green. That is a man who knows how to spin a tale and create convoluted worlds that dance on the head of a pin - or pen, if you would.

The Revenge blog models itself as the writer’s version of Pirates of the Caribbean and the crew are all writers. After numerous discussions regarding historical accuracy in writing, flying by the seat of your pants, a list of why I shouldn’t do this or that and can’t do something else…I had to fire back. And sat down to write a story set in a Caribbean with a different set of rules, totally turning my back on historical accuracy of any sort.

Blending in the total everything and the kitchen sink, shower, tub and outdoor faucets technique from Nightside I came up with the Kraken’s Caribbean. He’s in charge, he’s the guardian…he may not be a he, I haven’t decided yet…and tossed in a modern woman who is convinced she’d gone insane when she lands in this world. Include a pirate cursed with good luck, a kraken who likes to play cupid, an evil sorceress, ipods, blenders, microwaves…and we’re off on a rollicking romantic adventure with pirates in - loosely - 1690!

It’s the first of what I see as three books, all set in this world. I did come up with a few fairly iron-clad rules. Inhabitants born to the Krakens Caribbean can’t travel to other worlds or times. Though technology can travel through the portals, weapons of mass destruction can’t. (No machine guns, ray guns, explosives – though I do make one exception eventually.)

So, how did I build this world? Flying blind and wielding a determination to have fun. I needed a way for Emily to arrive, so I gave the world portals. I needed a reason for the technology to work so I answer all of that in the second book. I needed a rational for why the place hadn’t been overrun by machine gun hauling travelers, or space aliens with ray guns…so I made the Kraken the guardian of the portals and of the Caribbean in general and he says no advanced weapons. He/she is also a romantic.

The Kraken’s Caribbean, from Decadent Publishing. It’s wild, it’s romantic, it’s a blast.

For me, this is the norm. I decide what I want to include and then establish the rules as I go. Or decide to have no rules.

With my two scifi erotic novellas I wanted something a little different. I stripped technology from the human colonies and left it in the hands of aliens who saw themselves as caretakers of the human colonies they’d found.

And they want to see the humans grow, intellectually, socially, sexually… They teach them, take them under their wings and educate them to assist each other. They are commerce minded, the Etwa, but also extremely aware of how commerce and technology can be turned to nefarious purpose. So they moderate, act as a sort of overseer. They don’t actually punish or set laws, but they are there on every human colony and it only through their ships that trade and commerce between these colonies exist.

I really liked this idea. So, I had to come up with some reason for the colonies to be out there, on the fringes of space and gone so long that earth is just a faint memory. Why did the technology that transported them fail? How did they lose their space travel abilities? And why are they so different?

Yes, some of the colonies are more advanced than others. Some are very patriarchal, some matriarchal, some have more interaction with the Etwan, some have almost none. Some are religious, some are logical.

For me, the building of this universe comes about through a series of questions I have to answer. I seldom answer all of the most important questions in the first story. Or the next. But eventually I put it all together.

The Ship’s Mistress and The Sister’s Story/Sari’s Search are novellas. And the words limited how much I could show regarding the Etwan Confederacy. But! This leaves me room to expand and release more stories about the colonies, the Etwa, including one I’m working on right now that is a prequel, which sets it all up.

One thing I really enjoyed about creating this world is the sensual aspects. To consider how human sexuality might evolve, how aliens might influence this. (And they are humanoid aliens, so it isn’t too kinky!) I also enjoy dickering with words and concepts, consider how they could change. Words evolve as much as anything else. What is a common word becomes a curse word becomes a word denoting value.

The Ship’s Mistress, available now from Decadent publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Smashwords and other outlets. The Sister’s Story/Sari’s Search, out March 25th.

I’m Maureen O. Betita and I write adventure for the experienced individual. Seasoning everything I write with life and pushing it to the edge. I can be contacted through my website, or my blog, I also blog regularly at www.romancewritersrevenge as 2nd Chance and I’m often at A Daily Dose of Decadence

Thank you, Evelyn, for allowing me to guest on your blog!

Questions, anyone?

Coming Soon

 Tuesday's Guest Speaker will be Judi Phillips.

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