Sunday, July 15, 2007

Alien Romance and More (Craft and Inspiration)

Alien Romance and sexuality encompasses a vast array of possibilities. The first things you need to do is decide your alien's home planet, cultural matrix and general physical characteristics. I generally create a "notes" file for each of my stories where I brainstorm and research as much information as I can before I even start writing the first chapter.

In the "notes" file, I list all the character names, alien and human, personalities, ages and general physical characteristics of the alien. If the story location is in a different city, time period, planet, space station or star system, I also research as much information as I can about that location so I can build upon it to create a plausible background reality for the story and for my aliens.

Our own animal kingdom is a good place to find information and ideas for aliens. For example, when I wrote The Huntress, I wanted to write about a vampire legend that was non-European. Mama Zuca told me about the Hispanic legends about chupacabras or "goatsuckers" which are said to be killing farm animals by draining their bodies of blood.

So, I did an internet search on chupacabras and learned that the first sightings were back in 1952 along with the UFO sightings. Of course, because SF is my first love, I did a "what if" using a more factual and science-based premise. I said, "What if the chupacabras are the feral descendants of vampiric alien pets left behind by UFO tourists." Picture a pack of pit bulls left behind on an alien planet and the ecological repercussions of their feral descendants terrorizing the local inhabitants eighty years later. The next logical step was to postulate an alien bureaucracy. What if there's an Interstellar Humane Society?

Every bureaucracy has tons of paperwork and records. I know. I worked for 29 & 1/2 years as a bilingual social worker for the Pennsylvania Welfare Office. Blech. Talk about a high stress and mind-numbing job.

On Earth, we're mammals and the majority of our pets are mammals. The chupacabras are supposed to be an combination of reptiles and mammals. Extrapolating from that, I decided that the alien owners of the chupacabras were also a combination of reptilies and mammals. Plus, I already knew from my college anthropology courses that per evolutionary theory, millions of years ago, mammals and reptiles were one species that divided into two separate species. From that bit of knowledge it didn't take a very large jump to decide that the aliens for The Huntress never evolved into two separate species of reptiles and mammals but continued as a combination of both species.

From there I researched reptilian reproduction and learned that reptiles are a scent-based species who use their tongues to taste odors. I learned that iguanas are able to smell when their zookeepers are in their fertile time and these iguanas will then behavior courteously towards those zookeepers.  I also learned that many reptilian species have a hemepene. Wow! Needless to say, from these bits of factual information, I was able to develop a unique story idea and alien species for The Huntress.

Where do I find story ideas? Many of my story ideas I find by perusing SF art work.

For one of my Erotic SF stories, this one published by Loose Id Books, On The Edge of Time, I created a different type of alien reptilian shapeshifters. The initial idea for this story came from a Boris Vallejo image showing a man's torso with a living snake tattoo on his arm.

I decided that the type of space travel in On The Edge of Time would be through wrymhole space and that in wyrmhole space, this species of aliens had their full shape-shifting abilities but outside of wyrmhole space, they needed a host body to survive as a living tattoo on that host body. I also decided to add another twist to the story. Reptiles lay eggs. They don't have live births. I decided that my alien species in this story lays their eggs inside the male host body. I had tons of fun getting the hero pregnant in that story. LOL.


One fertile area for research for alien story ideas is to look at folklore and apply a factual answer for the magic of those folklore stories instead of fantasy answer like I did with the chupacabra legends for The Huntress. For my Sidhe series, Covenants, Down Came a Blackbird and Out of the Dark, I looked at the Celtic legends about the Elves and applied a SF rather than a Fantasy explanation. I decided that the Sidhe were an extraterrestrial species whose home planet became the asteroid belt in our solar system and whose foremothers migrated to Earth when this happened. Of course, their advanced technology was mistaken by humans for "magic". I then applied science based explanations for their magic. For the selkieskins, I decided the selkieskins were bioengineered symbiotes used by the Sidhe as spacesuits and/or deep sea diving suits. Nuada of the Silver Hand is another Celtic legend. In that tale, after his hand was cut off in battle, the Sidhe smith crafted a silver hand for him that acted like a real hand. Sounds like our modern day prosthesis, doesn't it?

Here's a website with links to folklore from every country on Earth at

SF images are another great place to find inspiration for your stories. Here are a few websites I recommend.

Boris Vallejo's artwork at
Luis Rojo's artwork at, click on the links for the different "rooms" to see his artwork there.

BOOKS for research on aliens.
SF books are my first choice for getting ideas about aliens. Why? Because most SF books have already researched their aliens properly. Of course, they also have a tendency to skim over the sex part in their books. No problem. I can still use these books for basic background information and add sex later. LOL.

C. J. Cherryh is an anthropologist who write excellent aliens and alien cultures.
I recommend her Chanur and Foreigner Series.
If anyone is interested in reading the Chanur or Foreigner Series, I can lend you those books. All you have to do is mail them back to me when you're finished reading them.

For Space Opera type SF and aliens, I recommend Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Liaden Universe books. Sharon and Steve are a husband and wife team who have crafted a remarkable series of SF Romance stories. (Not enough sex for me, of course, but the Romances are fabulous and give me ideas to build my own stories.) If you scroll down toward the middle of the website, you can find links to sample chapters online for their books. You have to scroll down past the bibliography to find the links to the sample chapters like this link to The Tomorrow Log.

Again, I have copies of their books that I can loan out to anyone who's interested in reading them. All I ask is that you mail them back to me after you've finished reading them.

If you want to write Space War/Space Station type stories, I recommend Elizabeth Moon's Vatta's War and Serrano legacy books. Elizabeth Moon is ex-military and applies her knowledge to her stories.

Of course, I recommend my books at too. Why? Because in addition to creating plausible SF for my books, I also include the kind of Explicit Sex that you won't find in the mainstream SF books that I'm recommending. That's one of the main reasons why I started writing Erotic SF, I got tired of wonderful SF alien stories where they skimmed over the sex parts. I wanted it ALL. I wanted great SF action adventure and sex in the same story. What's with mainstream SF where they will boldly go where no one has gone before but they can't go into the bedroom?

Mind you, mainstream fiction is willing to go into the bedroom when it comes to Fantasy type creatures like werewolves and vampires. Look at Angela Knight, Mary Janice Davidson, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison and all the other authors in this field.

BUT, for some strange reason, mainstream publishers seem to have this mistaken assumption that women don't READ SF, that only men read SF and men don't want to see all that mushy love and sex in their SF stories. Cut me a break. Women read SF too. Hell. Go to SF conventions and notice all the female fans running around at the conventions and buying books.

More authors I recommend who write Erotic SF and SF/Romance are follows:

Linnea Sinclair
Camille Anthony
Kayelle Allen
Rowena Cherry
Judy Mays
Susan Grant
Kaitlyn O' Connor

Whew! That’s all for today’s overview of Alien Romance. During the next weeks, I'll be going into more depth and specific detail about worldbuilding, creating aliens, their cultures, SF Forensics, SF physics & space travel, writing about injuries during fight scenes and of course, the care and design of alien sexual characteristics, physical, mental and cultural.

I'm open to questions and discussion about today's topic and any other topics that you might want to explore.

Thank you.

Barbara Karmazin


  1. Anonymous9:33 AM EDT

    'BUT, for some strange reason, mainstream publishers seem to have this mistaken assumption that women don't READ SF, that only men read SF and men don't want to see all that mushy love and sex in their SF stories. Cut me a break. Women read SF too. Hell. Go to SF conventions and notice all the female fans running around at the conventions and buying books.
    And we WANT SEX in our SF too.'

    I don't think the publishers have made the assumption that women don't like SF. Instead, they've noticed that there is a significant amount of women who read SF the way it is. They may or may not have noticed many of these same women do NOT read SFR or Erotic SF. These same women love romance and sex as much as the next red-blooded human female too.

    The prize for figuring out this seeming contradiction is a new set of readers.

  2. This is true.

    I'm making my guess as to what publishers think based on the fact that they'll publish Erotic Fantasy Romances more often than Erotic SF Romances.

    For example, Erotic Fantasy with werewolves and vampires is very popular but Erotic SF Action Adventures aren't published as often.

    The logic to me seems to be that Fantasy is for women readers and SF is for men readers. Go figure.

  3. "Erotic SF Action Adventures aren't published as often. The logic to me seems to be that Fantasy is for women readers and SF is for men readers. Go figure."

    Barbara, this is fascinating, and I do hope that things are changing.

    At the Romantic Times convention --where it was lovely to see you!-- a passionate cadre of authors and booksellers set out to convince the powerful marketing people at Dorchester that SFR is popular with bookloving ladies, and some brave guys, too.

    When I think of Erotic SF action, two recent reads come to mind. ROGUES by the talented Janet Miller, and LOOKING FORWARD by Mary Wine.

    There must be dozens more. How wonderful it would be if we could gather a list in one place!!!!

  4. If you want to add an excellent Erotic SF Action Adventure story to your list, my books qualify.

    The Huntress (chupacabras and alien hero with double penis) and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (alternate Earth reality with polyamorous group marriages and hermaphrodites including in the family group) both won the Dream Realm Award for Best SF Erotica.

    Then there's On the Edge of Time, where the hero gets pregnant with his symbiote partner's baby.

  5. I write Science Fiction romance and my characters enjoy sex...very much as it happens. I also enjoy reading science fiction romance, including most of the authors already mentioned.

    My Erotic fantasy books have not done as well as my Erotic paranormal and Erotic futuristics though so I'm not so sure that it is true that Erotic SF doesn't sell well. My numbers certainly tell me otherwiese.

  6. Anonymous4:37 AM EDT

    What was the thinking behind the double penis, apart from the marketing genius?

    I once saw a cartoon of a cyclops, with one eye in the center of his forehead, and two identical penes configued in a side-by-side arrangement in the groin.

    Side-by-side didn't seem logical, functional or comfortable... but that wasn't "double".

  7. One of my crit buddies told me - very excitedly - that I'd been mentioned in a blog. How cool to find it was my own mentor's site. :)

    Here's to sex, alien or otherwise, in all its glory.

    My feline Kin lovers purr, use their clawtips and fangs in very unique ways, love to have their furskin stroked, and their sweet little tufted ears pulled (gently).

    Thank you for listing me, BK. I feel like I made the big time. =^_^=

    For those who would like my website, it's

  8. Hi Janet/Cricket;

    My thoughts on the genre involved mainstream print publishers. Epublishers like EC where your books are published don't seem to have the bias against women writing Erotic SF as exists in mainstream publishing.


    I love your books.

  9. The only reason I gave my alien hero a double penis in The Huntress was because when I researched reptilian reproduction I learned that many reptilian species have a double penis.

    Of course, because he was my character, I could design his genitals for maximum pleasure. I designed his genitals with one penis above the other. The upper penis was slightly smaller. This placed the upper penis at the right location to give extra stimulus to the woman's clitoris during intercourse with the lower penis. It also allowed for the classic double penetration mode doggie style with no pain for anal insertion because of the smaller penis for that entry.

    Last but not least, the second penis was for scent marking of the alien's mate. The scent of Rulagh's (my alien) seminal fluid was cinnamon.


  10. Hi Kayelle;

    It's great to see you here too. Of course I mentioned you. Your Kin are wonderful and very sexy aliens.
    Plus, you have a fabulous website where readers can explore the different Kin worlds and learn the Kin language.

  11. Anonymous10:51 AM EDT

    Scent marking!
    What a sexy idea!!!!

    Cinnamon is a brilliant concept. Even my editor would allow me to describe that scent. Natural human smells seem to hit the cutting room floor.

  12. Yes. The scent marking theme worked very well in this novel.

    Here's a short scene from the novel where the heroine finds her first evidence that he's in her house.


    The bathroom door under the staircase stood half-open. Sonia stopped in mid-stride. She didn't remember leaving that door open when she went upstairs a few hours ago. Slowly, she pulled the pepper spray from her pocket, held it out with her thumb on the nozzle and nudged the door open with the tip of her sneaker.

    She turned the light on and wrinkled her nose at the strong cinnamon scent that saturated the air within the cramped bathroom. It must have been a closet at one time. A sink and toilet took up most of the space now.

    A droplet of translucent white cream marred the faucet. Sonia moved closer. She returned the pepper spray to her pocket, rested her hands on the sink, bent down and sniffed at it. This was the source of that strong scent. Why was it in the sink? Was it perfumed hand cream or a special cleanser left behind by one of her father's automated cleaning devices?

    She cleaned the faucet with a piece of tissue. One more odd item for her to look up in the house computer files.

  13. Anonymous2:18 PM EDT

    I learned that male iguanas are able to smell when their human female zookeepers are in their fertile period and these iguanas will then initiate "courtship" behaviors towards those zookeepers.

    Sexy little beasts. Since you're a Dr Tatiana fan.... The Youtube clip in my post yesterday shows her description of male iguanas masturbating before they mount a female.

  14. ROFL.

    I prefer my alien hero, Rulagh, in The Huntress.
    He has a lot more personality.

  15. Anonymous3:12 PM EDT

    And Rulagh smells of cinnamon? I'll have to check him out. Check it out. Er, check the book out.