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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Out of This World

Please welcome guest blogger Nina Pierce

What is it about other worlds that attracts readers? What keeps them turning the pages? For me, it's the fascination of discovering a new setting, a new place and time that was constructed only from the author's imagination. I'm sucked into a place where the unknown confronts the characters at every turn. Without the boundary of a known backdrop anything can happen.

One of my all time favorite world building authors is Anne McCaffrey. (http://www.AnneMcCaffrey.org) Her amazing Pern series and my personal favorite, her Freedom series transport me to fantastic worlds that only exist on the pages of her books. She weaves wonderful tales of mythical creatures that are awe inspiring.

It was her writing that prompted me to try my hand at creating my own new worlds. Healer's Garden (Ellora's Cave January 2010) was my first foray into the world of the future. I stayed with earth and created a setting where global warming released a devastating virus that wiped out a huge portion of the human population. Working within the confines of that catastrophe I imagined what a world devoid of humans would look like one hundred and fifty years down the road. I discovered humans highest priority would be survival of the species and repopulating the earth. Of course having the virus effect the human DNA also left room for me to give the surviving population “gifts”. There is a definite paranormal flair with the powers of telekinesis, prophesying, and healing smattered throughout the female offspring.

With my newest release A Touch of Lilly (Ellora's Cave June 2010), I moved away from earth into deep space. What an adventure I had creating a new universe complete with its own planets, languages (which I touch upon), weapons and many new alien races. My muse had a wonderful time describing new species.

There is one alien with many appendages, whose skin is made of up soft scales and smells like leather. I originally thought he would smell like broccoli, but decided that wasn't a comforting odor and quickly revised that description. Then there's the alien that can take the form of any other species. Because they play a significant role in the plot of the story, I needed a way to distinguish them not only from each other, but from the species they were imitating. I decided a unique facial tattoo, much like a fingerprint, would solve my dilemma. And of course one of my heroes is an alien, but since a human fell in love with him, he had to be very close to human as well with only a few minor adjustments like skin color and body size.

I'm often asked how I name new races. I wish I had a fool proof way I could share with you. Mostly I just throw out some letters (often with blending consonants), combining and recombining until I like the way it sounds. Same goes for new languages. It's just a matter of hearing how I'd like it to sound in my head, guttural or clicks and pops or sing-song, and throwing letters together in a way that creates that tone in a sentence. Not very scientific, but it works for me.

Since A Touch of Lilly is releasing today, I'll leave you with the blurb …

Ex-Chicago detective Lilly D'Angelo is part of a secret alien race living on earth. With a gentle caress she can elevate the sexual energy of any male. Apprehending criminals lost in an erotic fugue is almost too easy--until she uses her gift on the wrong alien. Kidnapped and shipped into deep space, Lilly barely escapes with her life. Now she travels the galaxy alone working as a bounty hunter and hoping to find a soul mate unaffected by her touch.

Agent Dallas Sawyer works for QAL--deep space's version of the FBI. After a disastrous mission that left a president murdered, his team member executed, and Dallas near death, he's determined to take down the assassin targeting government officials. When a sexy human female gets between him and his goal, Dallas and his alien partner find themselves on the receiving end of some wild sex and a proposition that may very well blow up in their faces.

Because in deep space … true love can happen with just a touch.


And you can see the rest of my books on my website http://www.ninapierce.com I also hang out on facebook http://www.facebook.com/ninapierce and twitter http://www.twitter.com/ninapierce and love to talk about all things science fiction.

But today I'm also curious … Do you enjoy reading “off-world” romances and if you do, why? I'm also wondering, if you're a writer, how do you name your races or create a new language?

About Nina Pierce:
I grew up in a house of readers. So falling in love with books was only natural. In my early teens I discovered love stories. My favorite all time book The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, was my introduction to romance and lust.  The forbidden love between Meggie Cleary and the priest she couldn't have, Ralph de Bricassart, will forever be blazed in my memory. And when Richard Chamberlain played the lead in a made for television mini-series … well, that sealed it as my all time favorite love story.

Of course since then, I've branched out to reading all kinds of genres from science fiction to mystery, medical thrillers to historicals and I have too many favorite authors to list. But through it all romance has remained my favorite genre. Now, reading about lovers isn't enough for me (though I still devour books). The characters of my imagination beg to have their stories told. I finally put fingers to keyboard... and a new career was launched.

A native of Maine, I reside in what I affectionately call "the great white North" in potato country with my high school sweetheart and true love of twenty-five years, our three grown children and a menagerie of pets.


lizzie starr said...

I put Pern at the top of my other worlds list, too. These books are a comfort read for me.

In my own writing--hmm. I've done a number of otherworlds, including a place called the world between worlds. Or is it a non-place? :)

I haven't created a whole lot of language, but when I do, it often has a definite Celtic bent. The sounds of the letter combinations do make the word!

Dawn Chartier said...

Great blog today. Thanks.

I don't read too many "off planet" books, but I did write one that came to me out of the blue. It will never be published, but I had to write it. The names came to me as I researched "minerals" and such.

My latest novel, Not An Angel, some terms I used came from googling vampires and the hisotyr behind it. I took words and made them half the size and my vampires became the "Poryria"...I thought it was different.

Now, off to check out your book!

Not An Angel, Out Now!

Nina Pierce said...

Lizzie - Anne McCaffrey is definitely one of the most amazing world builders out there.

And I know a lot of people who base their new languages on a similiar sounding language like Celtic or German.

Nina Pierce said...

Dawn - I love it when the words stem from the research. I thoroughly enjoy vampires and the strength that comes from them. Love the name of the clan. Good luck with that story.