Love Bytes welcomes to their blog author M Crane Hana talking about new release “Moro’s Price”.
Title: Moro’s Price
Author: M. Crane Hana
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: June 26
Pairing: Male/Female, Male/Male
Genre: Science Fiction, sci-fi, aliens, abuse, captivity, abduction, dark, slave
Crown Prince, techno-geek, and secret sadomasochist Valier has lusted for years after the gorgeous gladiator called “The Diamond.” Meeting the escaped slave on a rooftop, Valier discovers Moro Dalgleish wants suicide before his former masters can reclaim him.
Infected with a deadly symbiont, Valier proposes empty sex to satisfy his urges and grant Moro’s release from a horrible life. Neither man plans for Moro to survive, or how the morning after will shake three empires to their foundations.
Reading and Researching
On three separate online writing forums, I’ve been treated to the same unfortunate spectacle: writers (often very young ones, but not always) who know very little about classic or even current science fiction, fantasy, or romance, and who want to write in those genres.
They don’t read it, or they may not read much at all. They may come to SFF from movie tie-ins, fanfiction, or Dr. Who (and about 75% of those seem to have only seen post-reboot Who from the last twelve years). They may come from anime and manga, with the mistaken idea that anime is only about crazy hair, superpowers, and explosions, and struggle to tell similarly vivid stories in text form. (When someone comes to me with a bad case of Dragon Ball Z, I usually prescribe Cowboy BeBop or Ghost in the Shell. Or at least Trigun. Since Vash has Hair and Backstory.) They may come from Mainstream Romance to Fantasy, and want to reinvent the first genre without knowing anything about Paranormal Romance.
This is like announcing that, although you are overweight and out of shape, you will be entering a triathlon next week. Are you likely to win, or even place? Nope. Are you likely to hurt yourself? Possibly, if you even get to the physical stage. At the very least, you might derail your progress by setting unrealistic goals.
The simple, brutal solution for the triathlon? Hit the gym and actually train. For writing?
If you don’t read, you are probably not going to be able to write readable stories. You can happily wank around with bad fanfiction and self-published shorts on Amazon, but the odds are not good on you winning a Nebula or Hugo Award. Or earning J.K. Rowling or E.L. James-levels of moolah. Who knows? You might. But the lottery’s probably a better long shot.
One example was particularly salient: a person loftily asked whether the fantasy-reading world was ready for a mainstream fantasy book with an openly gay M/M relationship.
Within a couple of hours, other writers had offered links to several hundred mainstream recent and older SFF books with LGBTQ characters and relationships, and more discussion as to why it’s no longer even a point of contention for many SFF and erotic romance publishers. Part of the discussion veered off into a snide rant about ‘Pink SFF’ being forced upon readers, and how manly men were hoping to reclaim spec fiction for the survival of the species (which was hilarious to read.) The original poster was a bit stunned, but now has a reading list. And hopefully new inspiration.
All too often, when more seasoned writers gently point out that 1) the genre community has been having deep, wide-ranging dialogs for over a century, and that 2) the Shiny Young Thing’s shiny new world-changing idea is likely to be a familiar old trope…there is much gnashing of newbie teeth. Much flouncing and declamation of ‘I am New! I am Shiny!’ Or there is a disheartened and demoralized newbie creeping away, certain that nothing they create will amount to much, so why even try?
The best battle-plan falls somewhere in between. Ideas, after all, are ridiculously common. Most writers and artists have more ideas for projects than they can ever fulfill.
What we do with ideas is more important: how we frame them, dress them up in philosophy or action, and make them uniquely ours. I joke that N.K. Jemisin and I stole the same trope from Tanith Lee, but filed off different serial numbers…but that’s not far from how older ideas really do spark newer ones.
If the problem is simple unfamiliarity, the new writer can read. Read respected award winners, Best-of lists, and the best four or five-starred books on Amazon or Goodreads. Brush up on the critical skill of Google-Fu, and learn how to use Wikipedia, TV Tropes, and various compiled booklists to narrow down your focus. Take the books that spark your interest, and try to analyze them for what made them work. Not even the strongest speed-reader can hope to absorb a 100+ years of speculative fiction quickly, so it’s wiser to take it slow, in easy portions. From there, you can go into writing exercises, revision tricks, how to research the publishing industry itself…
But it all starts with reading a book.
M. Crane Hana © 2017
All Rights Reserved
A thousand spectators watched Jason Kee-DaSilva, the Leopard of Saba, ruin his career two minutes after his comeback victory.
The Golden Cage Arena spanned the top floor of a gaudy casino skyscraper in south Cedar-Saba. At the center of the domed auditorium, a thirty-foot circular steel floor slowly revolved to the right. An airy dome of gold-plated steel filigree mesh arched thirty feet over it. The mesh was stronger than a spaceship’s skin. Two gates led into the Cage. Once a fight began, they’d stay locked until one man lost and yielded to the other.
DaSilva had broken two men already tonight: two in credits, the last in flesh.
The deceptively delicate dome had just lifted from the bloodstained circular steel floor to let a cadre of medics through. Huge holo screens in the dome played highlights from the first rounds of battle or lingered over shots of the Leopard swiftly claiming his last victim. He hadn’t been brutal, merely thorough. The orgasm he’d wrung from the other man had been as much a symbol of victory as the final punch-down.
In better days, DaSilva had been a glorious bronze godling of the Cage, always dressed to show off his sleek muscles, dapple-bleached short hair, and the leopard-spot tattoos covering his shoulders and spine. He’d regained most of the muscle, though it was still pared down from illness. Haunted hollows showed around brown eyes, and his hair was growing out to plebian brown curls. His knee-length kilt was simple grayish-brown poly-silk, without Garibey Shemua colors or concentric teardrop pattern.
Now DaSilva looked up angrily, shrugging off the lackluster attentions of his own single hired attendant and the man’s low-budget medical kit. In place of DaSilva’s legendary anthem, a rights-free generic martial score rumbled in the background from expensive speaker systems.
In the first tier of seats behind the three red-clad referees, a bald man in Garibey Shemua’s purple and silver robes tapped studiously at the keyboard manifesting across his left sleeve. He glanced at DaSilva, as if just now noticing the fighter’s thunderous expression.
DaSilva glared at the Shemua official and then pointed toward the nearest speaker. “I paid, damn you. I wrote my anthem years ago!” he shouted, stepping aside to let the medics work on the other fighter.
“While you were under contract, Sero DaSilva. We’re happy to lease the rights back to you for single-use or month-to-month,” the bald man said with a mild tone, pitched to carry perfectly past the low music. The hovering audio drones made certain his words were broadcast over the whole arena.
“I paid yesterday.”
The Shemua official’s polite, calm expression never wavered. “Which was applied to last month’s fees. Which were in arrears, I’m afraid. It’s a new month. Your employment liaison should have told you to pay today, too.”
“My liaison went on a convenient fishing trip to Lariden Lake last night and couldn’t be reached. What the hell do you people even want?”
The Shemua official lifted a red metal collar from his right sleeve and waggled it in the air. The collar clasp glittered with purple enamel and white diamonds in Shemua’s concentric teardrop emblem. A concerted gasp came from the spectators who knew what it was: the Leopard’s Red-Band bonder’s collar he’d worn while being owned by Garibey Shemua.
“This can all work out for the best, Sero DaSilva, if you’d just see reason and come back.” Until the previous year, the Leopard of Saba had been one of Shemua’s feted, pampered bondslave fighters. Their star.
DaSilva stepped a pace backward.
The crowd moaned as one. Another onlooker began slowly, derisively clapping: a huge old man clad in a brilliant white suit, sprawled a dozen seats down from the referees. The camera drones focused on him, then longer on the silent, nearly naked man kneeling in front of him.
A buzz ran through the crowd.
“The Diamond.” A whisper from a few hundred hushed voices, as everyone was reminded of who else had watched every moment of DaSilva’s three comeback fights. The silent man’s black collar indicated a murderer or traitor under arena sentence. His odd black-and-white coloring marked him as a legend equal to the Leopard. Heavy cosmetics rimmed the man’s eyes, exaggerated his refined cheekbones, and shaped his lips into a courtesan’s scarlet smile.
Flinching at the sight of himself on the giant screens, the painted man lowered his head in a spill of long black curls and huddled against his master’s legs.
Everyone in the vast room saw how long the Leopard looked at the Diamond.
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M. Crane Hana lives in a flat place filled with cactus. She writes romances in all flavors, spends too much time world building her sword & planet fantasies and space operas, and makes museum-grade artifacts from cultures that never existed. Publishing credits: (as Marian Crane) ‘The Blood Orange Tree’, Such A Pretty Face anthology, Meisha-Merlin 2000. ‘Saints and Heroes’, Thrones of Desire anthology, Cleis Press 2012.
6/26 Bonkers about Books
6/28 MM Good Book Reviews
6/29 Love Bytes
6/30 Erotica For All
6/30 Dean Frech