Maps and world building

(Stands up, taps microphone, and says “Hi, I’m Crane Hana, and I’m addicted to world building.” Nine or ten other frazzled patients respond, “Hi, Crane.”)

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here’s why I am addicted.

First off, maps. Maps are wicked cool. They’ve had a bad rap in fantasy publishing recently, because they’ve been associated with interminable high-fantasy epics. They can even seem to be a publisher’s marketing band-aid, skirting wooden prose and banal plots with ‘Hey, look at our really amazing and detailed map! Come play in our world!’

But for writers, maps can be essential. They show us climate zones, realistic travel distances, and geopolitical boundaries. They give a sense of place and order to sprawling stories with thousands or millions of characters. (WarCrack, I’m raising a tankard to ya.)

And they’re fun to make, even if one is not a trained cartographer. There’s a little bit of love for pirate treasure maps in most of us. Go here to the Hand Drawn Map Association to see how some creative folks are using maps to tell stories and make art: http://www.handmaps.org/

In 1983 I doodled a map for a D&D campaign. I liked the map above more than the campaign, and gradually a universe coalesced around it. That part of my little universe looks almost nothing like it, anymore.

Map of Lonhra 2011

Making maps feeds into the human tendency to find meaning and order. Our oldest myths and newest scientific hypotheses all attempt to explain fundamental principles behind the chaos of perceived reality. When a writer either stumbles into a new imaginary setting – or deliberately sets out to create one – they’re doing nothing less than creating a new universe. Within the narrow margins of a writer’s words, it can seem very real. No wonder many religious faiths have been suspicious of fictional worlds!

World building can be a hobby without any need for outside influence or validation. J.R. R. Tolkien is only one example familiar to many readers. Islandia is a classic utopian novel by legal scholar Austin Tappan Wright, who worked on a 2300-page manuscript and supporting material up to his early death in 1931. His family published an edited form eleven years later. Henry Darger was a reclusive janitor whose creativity was channeled into In the Realms of the Unreal, his bizarrely illustrated, sexually-charged 15,145 page fantasy chronicle of a family of heroic young girls who fight evil. The volumes of Realms were unknown until they were discovered after his death, and are cited as some of the most important ‘Outsider Art’ of the 20th Century.

Like a Mandelbrot set of fractal patterns, universe-building can fold in upon itself with ever-increasing detail, often without completing anything like a coherent, traditional story. Other addicts liken it to real-world historic research or journalism: the need to fill gaps, to explain cause and effect, to explore an essentially unknowable Terra Incognita.

But what comes first, the map or the story? How do each change in response to the other? Deeply imagined world building can take an absurd amount of time, often years, a good chunk of that million words of crap that most writers are supposed to hammer out before they are ‘discovered’. And world building is never really complete, even from the most-detailed of wonks. Today, many genre writers have strict publishing schedules, plus the financial imperative to ‘build a backlist and build it NOW’. They’re not interested in the ancient history of their imaginary setting, only how bits of it interact with a well-told, fast-paced story. Too much world building can be a deterrent to readers, who might just skip all that backstory if it gets in the way. It can be abused, and often is by newer writers; editors and agents beg for great world building, not info-dumps.

The ease of digital self-publishing may also be part of the change. With the difficulty of getting past literary agents and publishers, writers once gave themselves the luxury of isolated development and revision before they submitted anything. Now, it seems like books are being rushed to publication long before they’re ready, before their creators have really thought out the interactions of setting and character.

Finally, there is the ghost of doubt that must have haunted Tolkien, Wright, Darger, and so many others: ‘What if no one likes this but me?’ As a member of several very large online writers’ forums, I see posts from people who are so terrified of criticism that they’re afraid to submit their work anywhere. While their map and their universe belongs only to them, it can be their secret treasure. It will never be mocked, dissected, or dismissed in the public sphere.

But it may never strike a spark of interest or recognition in another human being. I’m happy sharing my silly old map. It is the bedrock of 29 real-time years, 120,000 years of imagined history, a cosmology, two published short stories, and one published novel. It has ensured that I have far more than a million words of crap to spin into gold, if my skill can ever match my imagination.

 

soundtracks

Once upon a time, music was a crutch I needed before I could write at all. Like good chocolate and tea, or the perfect writing environment, the right music was part of many little rituals to activate my reluctant muses. I don’t write to music very much these days. The muses and I have reached some compromises. Writing time is too precious to be frittered away in foreplay. My mood alters so much between scene to scene, that most music can’t keep up.

But I still plot to music.

As I sort out plot lines for both MORO’S SHIELD and MORO’S CROWN, I’m going back to the tunes I listened to while writing/revising the first book. Are some of these songs really obscure? Downright quaint? Yep, and I shamelessly cop to it. These are the things that worked for this particular story arc, for me. If you want something more contemporary, I suggest checking out Amanda Downum’s playlists for her spectacular novels. They truly rock, and she is an incredible writer:  http://stillsostrange.livejournal.com/

Right now, during this session, here is my playlist: ‘Better Now’ by Collective Soul. ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘Learning to Fly’ from Pink Floyd. Peter Gabriel’s ‘Solsbury Hill’ and ‘Don’t Give Up’. The entire ‘Tron: Legacy’ soundtrack from Daft Punk. Enigma’s ‘The Screen Behind the Mirror’. Queensrÿche’s ‘Silent Lucidity’. ‘Lunatic Fringe’ from Red Rider. ‘Into Dust’ by Mazzy Star. Mark Dwane’s ‘Angels, Aliens, and Archetypes’. Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells II’. Patrick O’Hearn’s ‘Indigo’, ‘Metaphor’, and ‘Between Two Worlds’. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s ‘Lend Your Love to Me Tonight’ and ‘Closer to Believing’. ‘Rhythm of Love’ by Yes. Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’. ‘Bravado’ from Rush. Tangerine Dream’s ‘Horizon/Warsaw Gate’, ‘Three Bikes in the Sky’, most of ‘Booster’, and ‘Tyranny of Beauty’ (and many more).

They provided me with excellent scene prompts before. I’ll see if they help again.

October 4 updates

‘Maestro’ complete at 2800 words.

Revisions on ‘The Black Wave’.

Refined first two chapters of MORO’S SHIELD, sent rough synopsis to editor.

Research Russian resort cities for COLD COMFORT.

Epiphany on BLOODSHADOW: a way to cut another 5K off this 122K behemoth, and start the story faster.

Character and plot outlines for an untitled fantasy romance set in central Arizona and northern New Mexico.

Review links

Some review links for MORO’S PRICE:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/381595991

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-moro039sprice-891333-145.html

http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/moros-price-by-mc-hana-2/

http://www.loose-id.com/moro-s-price.html#product_tabs_reviews

As I said earlier, a good mix of different ranks with some very clear positive and negative comments.

In other news, I’ll be featuring my original character sketch for MP (done back in summer 2011), in late October. I’ll be part of a blog hop celebrating authors who can’t get to this year’s GayRomLit retreat in Albuquerque, NM.

So in the meantime, here’s the cover the fiendishly talented Fiona Jayde designed for Loose Id.

September 27 updates

Works in Progress:

‘Maestro’: contemporary erotica short story for a charity anthology: 700 words, researching subways and violins.

MORO’S SHIELD: m/m/f erotic romance sci fi, 9K first draft out of projected 70K.

MORO’S CROWN: m/m/f erotic romance sci fi, plotting series closure.

BLOODSHADOW: high fantasy, in revision, 118K.

LEOPARD’S LEAP: plotted, outlined, waiting on Mixed Martial Arts research.

MASK OF FALLING STARS: still plotting, changing from m/m to m/f romance sci fi.

‘The Black Wave’: in revision, 3500 words, fantasy short story for upcoming magazine call-for-submissions.

Linked group of fantasy erotica stories to go along with ‘Saints and Heroes’ as possible self-pub anthology.

(In other words, time to kick the plotbunnies out of the way, make strong coffee, and get to work!)

 

 

When a bad review is good

There’s been a lot of heated discussion on other online forums about reviews. I’m new to being reviewed, so I find the process fascinating. Yes, the negative reviews sting a bit. But I went into publishing knowing I wasn’t going to reach every single reader, just as my art isn’t for every viewer.

When I visit review sites and see nothing but glowing 5-star reviews of other writers, I get a little suspicious. Are these sock-puppet reviews by the author? His or her doting family and friends? Reviews rounded up by the publisher themselves? Paid reviews?

A mix of reviews, with clearly-written critiques backing up the ratings, seems much more honest.

Here’s the review range I’m getting at the moment with my book, across many different platforms: some 3 and 4-star ratings, a scattering of 1 and 2-star slings, and a few interesting 5-star notes with great things to say about my world building, plots, and characters. I’m not hitting it out of the park with every reader, but enough of them seem to understand my book and like it. Those are the folks who worry me while I’m writing the sequel, because I really, really want to earn their continued trust.

But of all of them, I cherish a 1-star review most. Why? Because it’s unintentionally hilarious. It shows no proofreading attempts, a limited command of written English, and the reader broadcasts a shallowness of reading experience that is nearly breathtaking. This review is the literary equivalent of that regrettable ‘Monkey Jesus’ restoration job in a Spanish church. I go back to this review and draw comfort from it.

Because I would not want to have written a book that this particular reader would enjoy and understand.

 

aw, you shouldn’t have

A knock-off clothing shill just gave me a wonderful piece of random-generated text. I can’t release it, due to my listed guidelines for this blog. Though I fully intend to adapt it, typeset it, print it out on lovely paper or fabric, and turn it into a piece of art. Which I will then sell.

Honestly, y’all are a goldmine. You do realize I’m never going post random comments intended solely to draw traffic to bogus websites? However, I will be making a fair amount of money off your provided copy. I’ll just change it around enough to follow legal precedent for copyright. So keep those cards and letters coming, hucksters. Every time you post something really juicy, I hear a cash register going off.

In contrast, I promise never to make such profits from genuine comments to this blog. You know who you are, and that I’m incredibly grateful for your input.

In the meantime, I’m back to writing my own fiction.

 

Heartfelt advice on posting

A hint, O Wise and Beloved Readers: while I love comments, I’m hoping to see cogent ones. Patchwork comments with no clear relevance will not be posted, no matter how entertainingly insulting. Likewise, if your email addy leads me to believe you’re pitching knockoff fashion items.

If you cannot pass a college-level Turing test, your post will not be seen on this site.

Added note: If you’re just doing SEO tricks to drive traffic to your commercial site, you will send vague messages with content lifted from online sources. When you use content lifted from online sources, and your email sig comes from ANY kind of obviously commercial site, my spambots will probably squash your message without me ever seeing them. Don’t let your real messages be squashed. Be coherent, be literate, be appropriate to the topics at hand. Convince me and my bots you’re a human.

Vera Nazarian’s COBWEB BRIDE Kickstarter

I honestly don’t know if this post will get noticed by anyone but spammers, but why not try?

A friend of mine is rounding up support for self-publishing a great new book. Most of the time, when I get news like this I either yawn or cringe. Let’s face it, self-publishing is a quagmire of mediocrity in which rare gems are hard to find. And while exceptions abound, I have noticed a definite inverse ratio of writing quality to stridency-of-promotion.

In this case, Vera Nazarian has the chops to do it right.

One: she’s been published, for real, by real publishers – and her work has had some great reviews.

Two: she’s the owner/editor of Norilana Books, one of the most elegant small-press publishers I’ve seen in years. Her self-published Jane Austen pastiches have been garnering glowing comments as a mix of deft, literate writing and outright comedic farce.

Three: she’s a fellow fan of British writer Tanith Lee. See Norilana for some reissues of Lee’s out of print fantasy novels, and you’ll see why I gush. If you know anything about Lee, you’ll know why serious fans sit up and take notice when Norilana plans to publish the never-before-seen continuations of the ‘Flat Earth’ series. Yep. That’s right. The books that DAW wouldn’t publish will eventually be in our hot little hands. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll get the answer to Atmeh’s cryptic observation about her father: ‘If the sun can be a darkness, cannot darkness be a sun?’

Which is why I think it’s important enough to pitch COBWEB BRIDE in the meantime. Because editors – and their cats – need to eat.

What is COBWEB BRIDE? Think ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’ meets the Persephone myth meets a dark and gorgeous alternate-history Renaissance romance.

Go here to see more :

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2027984632/cobweb-bride

But hurry, because the project ends soon.

October 16, 2012 UPDATE: I’m thrilled to announce Vera’s Kickstarter project succeeded on October 13. She met her goal and then some, so COBWEB BRIDE will grow up to be a real book sometime next summer. My thanks to everyone who read, followed the links, and maybe donated.

Anthology contributor’s copies

THRONES OF DESIRE is loosely inspired by George R. R. Martin’s ‘Game of Thrones’ novels, but consisting of 14 original stories by various erotica authors. The e-book version went live on the 11th, and the trade paperback will be available on the 18th.

I have a story in this one: ‘Saints and Heroes’, about a runaway husband, an altruistic seduction, and the cost of thwarting destiny. It is set in the secondary-world fantasy universe I’ve been developing for a ridiculously long time.

Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Thrones-Desire-Erotic-Tales-Swords/dp/157344815X

Here’s a shot about three minutes after I opened the envelope:

Antique desk! Contrib copies! The giant jade, bone, and horsehair sumi-e brush that partly inspired my story!

Why I wrote fanfic, an explanation in verse

Say not that I have stolen them.
No more honor has a jeweler for a gem,
Than I for these lovely gentlemen.
Yet like gems prized from battered crown
Or corroded ring and set again, more –
Or less – tinselly glittering,
They beg new voices to frame or refine
Such traits their true authors might decline
To set free in exploration: whole treasuries
Of joy, glory, grief, desire –
Some years I’ve spent inside created minds
While my own tale-spinning, lax, unwinds.
Is this obsession or apprenticeship?
They have stolen me,
These earthbound angels, these spirits of fire.

 

A version of this poem was originally published here:

http://fanlore.org/wiki/Rose_Vines_and_Wire_Ropes

Fun with spam

In my other life I am an artist working in a relatively unknown medium, but I’ve still managed to gain a following among collectors. In that other life, I get to use my writing skills in another way, by creating text-based art from original prose, poetry, out-of-copyright material, and ‘found’ material.

One of my greatest victories was finding a way to create art out of some reprinted and collected spam emails, along with the absolutely amazing names the perps came up with. What can you not do with ‘Bumpkin T. Paraphernalia’ and his cousins?

And I make money off this stuff, to date more than my published writing has made. Not Jeff Koons-levels of moolah, but more than craft-mall levels, I assure you. More than the spammers are making off of me.

So I’m a little disappointed with the quality of the bot-derived email comments I’m getting with this blog. Most of them fail the Turing Test just from their email addresses, to say nothing of the ‘message’.  I am saving most of them, with the express purpose of creating art with them someday. But I won’t respond directly, engage the senders, or let this blog become a forum for their business efforts.

Please. Be a reader, a writer, a real person with something to say that actually ties into my feverish ramblings. Even if it’s uncomplimentary, if it’s interesting I might just leave it up.

At least be a little more creative with your spam. There’s an artist here who would like to profit from it.

September 2 updates

COLD COMFORT: still researching the Tam Lin legend and its variants for my story rebuild. Watching ‘Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex’ for inspiration/ world building in the late 21st Century. Listening to Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ and Duran Duran’s ‘Lonely In Your Nightmare’, as I did when I wrote the initial fanfic.

MASK OF FALLING STARS: awaiting interlibrary loan so I can re-read Joan Vinge’s THE SNOW QUEEN, since that world and plot are my inspiration for this mms.

LEOPARD’S LEAP: 2500 words. Two side characters in MORO’S PRICE work out their own issues against the backdrop of Cedar-Saba’s possible annihilation.

MORO’S SHIELD: three chapters, total 8K. I’ve outlined what I can of the rest, but I’m sure the story will surprise me along the way.

Sometime around mid-September, my erotic fantasy story ‘Saints and Heroes’ will be published in the Cleis Press anthology THRONES OF DESIRE, inspired by the ‘Game of Thrones’ books by George R.R. Martin. Here are some teaser pages from my story. WARNING: not work-safe, and very much adult. If m/m sex squicks you don’t go read. I won’t mind, honest.

Summary: A runaway husband and reluctant dom confronts the cost of avoiding destiny.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Fu8hxx_OwB0C&pg=PA134&lpg=PA134&dq=Saints+and+Heroes,+M.H.+Crane&source=bl&ots=pKMKHePmJv&sig=eLzkKSsNj27bgvztxa6PAhy4HZg&hl=en#v=onepage&q=Saints%20and%20Heroes%2C%20M.H.%2

Sampled Fiction, Serial Numbers, and how I might have just mortgaged what was left of my soul.

Does our entertainment culture value sampled products over original works? Is this creative sloth, or a calculated shot at maximizing profit via audience familiarity with tried-and-true stories?

When done by professional writers via publisher license, the trend gives us dozens of ‘Star Wars’ novels, John Scalzi’s affectionate and awesome H. Beam Piper reboot FUZZY NATION, and movies like BATTLESHIP or  J.J. Abrams’ ‘Star Trek’ remixes.

By now, most folks in the writing business have heard of E.L. James’ racy BDSM romance series starting with FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, soon to be made into a motion picture. FSoG began life as ‘Twilight’ fanfiction. Some people probably also know Cassandra Clare’s ‘Mortal Instruments’ YA series (the first book of which is also going to be made into a movie) started as a legendary and controversial series of Harry Potter fanfics, beginning with a novel-length piece called DRACO DORMIENS.

This is nothing new. In fanlore, many sf&f writers have published amazing and well-received books that started off as fanfiction in another person’s or corporation’s copyrighted setting. They made the transition with grace, discretion, and skill.

The equation has changed because the large commercial publishers (and many literary agents) have seen the potential goldmine in re-purposed fanfiction, and are now actively courting it. I’ve even read a couple of recent blog posts about ComicCon, where publishers’ reps apparently asked attending writers about fanfic possibilities. And they’re not demanding the kind of effort Scalzi put into writing a completely new tale written in an old universe. Now whole sections, if not whole chapters, seem to be merely lifted from fanfiction, run through Find/Replace, and sent to an editor.

One can make the argument that such projects help bankroll the publication of lesser-known original fiction, providing a cushion of relatively easy profit for the publisher. In a younger reading culture that has grown up with sampled music and digital art, ‘fan fiction’ no longer has the unsavory connotations it had even 20 years ago.

Someone in the business asked me recently if I had any ‘Twilight’ or ‘Harry Potter’ fanfic I’d be willing to recycle. I may be one of the few people in America who has neither read nor watched anything ‘Twilight’-related (except for some hilarious South Park and Robot Chicken parodies.) While I have played in the Potter universe, those efforts are not long enough or interesting enough to justify filing off the serial numbers.

Plus, I like J.K. Rowling. She achieved something remarkable and introduced millions of readers to really long and complicated books. She doesn’t know it, but she is personally responsible for a bit of creative vengeance that still makes me feel warm-and-fuzzy just thinking about it. So I’m not stepping on her toes for profit.

But that got me thinking. I did write extensively in a rather obscure fandom years ago, more as a way of play-testing characterization and romance scenes without investing lots of world building. A few of those stories have been popular enough that I still get happy, weepy fanmail about them. One could be a brilliant gut-punch of a short novel, if I can engineer the necessary changes to the characters and the ending.

I admire and respect that author, too. She made her mark on her chosen genre, in a time and culture where she was considered at once a rebel and a clown. I owe it to her to be as careful as I can with what was, in the first place, a bootleg version of her universe.

So between contracted projects, I’m going to rewrite the thing as an experiment. I will strip out as much of the original universe as I can, and attempt to build an effective novel out of the remaining bones. Unlike James and Clare, I’m not courting a massive fan base. I might have 20 fangirls scattered around the world – I love ‘em all, but they don’t constitute a significant market block. But I think it will be fun.

The working title is COLD COMFORT. Stay tuned for developments.

August 11 update

My signed and countersigned contract for MORO’S SHIELD arrived yesterday from Loose Id.

Somehow, having a contract for the sequel makes MORO’S PRICE more real. The story I started writing on 03-05-2011 as a fun experiment is now a job, no less enjoyable but infinitely more terrifying. I have the dreaded Second Novel Syndrome to thwart. The next book has to be better than the first – and shorter, since I’m held to a 70K limit. Between eating some really good dark chocolate and breathing into a paper bag, I’ve reminded myself: “Self, you do fine under deadlines and creative constraints in commercial art. This is no different.”

Except that it is. My commercial art and fine art pieces may be based off 35 years of experience, but they’re not rooted as deep as the universe I began making up way back in 1987. Any bad reviews I get about my art, I can balance with a look at the museums, universities, and private clients who love my artwork and collect it. I’ve only sold two short stories set in my writing universe, neither of them anywhere near the locations and time periods found in the Moro books. Some readers have liked the immense backstory and worldbuilding I showed within the first novel. Others have just been confused, and for that I offer my apologies.

You see, I cheated. When it came time for my m/m space opera experiment, I balked at making up a completely new setting. I already had 120,000 in-story years of historical notes, several empires, and lots of races and cultures to play with. So Moro’s tale fits within that larger universe, but it can stand alone.

Now I have to trust myself to regain the half-giddy, half-appalled exhilaration I felt beginning MORO’S PRICE, and dial it up. To keep me focused, I’ll use this blog as a spoiler-free progress report every so often. Word counts will be approximate, since I always revise several times anyway. And specific plot notes may change without notice.

Today’s update:

MORO’S SHIELD, Chapter One, 600 words: Syene Trask has good reasons to distrust Val, even though they’ve never met. Chapter Two, 2000 words: Moro can multitask. Val can’t.

Plot as Foreplay?

I’m a fantasy writer just now wandering into the world of erotic romance. I’ve been reading fantasy since the early 1970s. Hence, my high tolerance for vast paragraphs of worldbuilding, complicated plots and sub-plots, and tiny nuggets of foreshadowing scattered like diamonds on a path. Sex in older fantasy and science fiction novels often faded to black, or was framed in the most diplomatic ways. I’m thrilled to see many modern fantasy novels using sex as a normal, natural part of the narrative.

In the erotic romance genre, some readers want to reach the steamy bits as quickly as possible. I’ve talked with erotic romance readers who simply skip through books to find sex scenes. A few will bypass entire books in a series if the pairing/combination isn’t one they like.

In fanfiction, we called the ultimate expression of that strategy ‘Plot, What Plot?’ It was a happy excuse to write searing sex scenes where emotional content barely uplifted the text from simple porn. I’ve written a few PWP stories myself. They’re great ways to learn the craft of erotica, and they’re fun.

But as a fantasy reader, I’m still trained to accept a writer’s work as it is. I’d worry that if I skipped a chapter or two, I wouldn’t know the backstories and motivations of the characters. I might miss some important clue I could only pick up from context in a paragraph three chapters back. Missing that clue, I’d be completely at sea later when the plot demanded I remember it. Confusion might lead to boredom, and then to me skimming the rest of the book – or throwing it across the room.

Reading a book just for the sex, to me, is as ultimately unsatisfying and unhealthy as skipping the rest of the meal for dessert. If I cater to my craving for only one aspect of a novel, how long before the reading-comprehension equivalent of diabetes sets in? If I don’t use my deep-reading skills, will I lose them?

Besides, passages of carefully written plot or worldbuilding description only enhance the main characters for me. While I’m reading, I’m a tourist in their world. Do I want the fastest, most simplified itinerary, or do I want a leisurely back-roads journey through the place that has shaped and defined these characters?

For me, the plot is another form of foreplay.

Crane Hana Books begins.

I’m a writer and artist living in the American Southwest. I’m lucky enough to work in creative industries as diverse as commercial analog and digital art, art instruction, bookbinding, jewelry-making, and film cell retouching for a major theme park company. My artwork is collected by numerous private clients and university special collections, and has been featured in several magazines and coffee table art books.

I’ve always told stories to amuse myself and friends, but I didn’t start writing with intent-to-publish until 1987. The less said about my first three novels, the better. I sold a few short stories, but my art career ate more and more of my time, and I stopped writing original fiction. In 2009, a suspected bout of the H1N1 virus gave me some amazing dreams and a way to finish a fantasy manuscript stalled a decade earlier.

As M. H. Crane, I’m working on several fantasy projects at the moment, among them a story arc about a race of courtesans created to tame the most terrifying creatures in their universe. The first completed novel in the sequence has been pitched as ‘Jacqueline Carey’s KUSHIEL’S DART meets James Cameron’s AVATAR’. One erotica short story set in that universe will be published in Sept. 2012 in the Cleis Press anthology THRONES OF DESIRE.

As M. C. Hana, I write m/m and m/m/f erotic romance space operas in that same universe, but set thousands of years later when human colonists clash with an ancient, arrogant, and deadly race already claiming the galaxy. MORO’S PRICE, the first book in a planned trilogy, is now available from Loose Id, LLC.

The secondary-world cultures I’ve created over 25 years are comfortable with many different forms of sensual and sexual expression. They are, to paraphrase Jack Harkness of TORCHWOOD, ’52nd Century folks’.

I’ve been inspired by the fiction of Tanith Lee, Storm Constantine, Samuel R. Delany, Jo Clayton, Andre Norton, Diane Duane, and Lynn Flewelling, among many other pioneers who brought alternate sexualities to the mainly heterosexual world of science fiction and fantasy. The recent explosion of e-books and the genres of erotic romance and paranormal romance opened up great new possibilities, away from the previous fade-to-black restrictions of mainstream publishers.

Welcome aboard.