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Design Challenge: Pleasure Planet

The single greatestENEMY MINE challenge to designing a pleasure planet is deciding which of one of two things you want yours to be: all things to all species, or specialized to a narrow range of life form types. The whole pleasure planet concept assumes a far-flung future and a star-going population. Possibly any number of populations. Humanoids. Insectoids. Reptilians. And maybe jellyfishians? I suspect we can adopt the design truism that one person’s paradise is another person’s hell. In my scifi ‘Enemy’ series (Enemy Within, Enemy Games, and the enovella Enemy Mine) I did create a pleasure planet. Or at least, I mentioned it in passing in the first novel. NEVER intending to actually have to tell anyone about it.

Then the erotica, Enemy Mine, ended up being set ON the danged planet I’d mentioned in passing. Oops. It was time to get specific. The premise of the planet went down like this:

1. The pleasure planet is 100% neutral territory – security is top notch and best of all, unobtrusive. Clearly, in order to my novella to have a plot, the security couldn’t be foolproof – but this is a war-torn civilization. Having a place to leave the conflict in orbit? Priceless.

2. Oxygen breathers only – this was necessary to keep the planet from falling into the ‘all things to all species’ trap. The ‘Enemy’ universe encompasses far too many species to allow for one planet to serve them all. Besides. It’s reasonable to assume that the humanoid notion of paradise differs strongly from that of a Carozziel slime-bat.

With those two points established, the world then had to establish a few ground rules.

  • No uniforms – part of the luxury of the pleasure planet is leaving your regular life behind, including rank.
  • Everyone is equal on the pleasure planet – you’ll still be treated like a king or queen – but no one is treated any better than anyone else. Now. If your pleasure is being treated a particular way – it will be arranged precisely to your liking.
  • No weapons, no technology, no devices – if your pleasure is total immersion computer gaming, the pleasure planet will set you up with a state of the art, full meal, mind blowing experience. But making sure nothing has been tampered with requires excluding all external tech.
  • Anything goes – adventure? Can do. Silence and solitude in the heart of nature? Absolutely. Flashing, action-packed casino? Step right up. If you can imagine it, we can provide. However, this brings us to the last bullet point.
  • Nothing illegal.

That last one presented me with a pretty big problem. We all know that some people’s pleasure includes illicit drugs, or sexual acts that our society deems immoral. It seems fair to assume that someone’s always going to want to victimize someone else. My pleasure planet takes a very dim view of that sort of thing. BUT. It means that elsewhere, (Silver City – a massive, cobbled together space station) there’s a raging black market in victim trafficking. I can’t say human trafficking, because in these stories, victims come in all shapes and sizes.

For Enemy Mine, I had to imagine what luxury would be for someone native to the pleasure planet. If you lived there and had every possible adventure or luxury available, what would represent true privilege? I decided it had to be privacy – the ability to retreat to a subset of self-defined paradise. Translation: You get to design and build your own house. Access is by invitation only (excepting emergency crews, of course). Private and secluded enough for a hero to lure his heroine to him for a round of sexy interrogation without any interference. Except for that pesky assassin the heroine insists is en route to murder him.

Hey. No pleasure planet is perfect, right?

Space is Dark. Right?

Someone forgot to check my references. It’s my only excuse for how a science fiction romance writer ended up keeping such excellent company as the authors you’re meeting here on Darker Temptations. I’m Marcella Burnard. I do write SFR for Berkley Sensation. I’m told it’s grim scifi, which perplexes me. Sure there’s blood and violence and sex (not all in the same scene – truly). I thought it was all in good fun. Rollicking adventure. Apparently, I should increase my medication dosages. Kidding.

The thing is – I don’t like pulling my punches. I love strong, capable heroines with brains and courage. I want them to have heroes who can give them a run for their money. The problem is that such a stellar pairing requires some pretty horrific odds to overcome if the couple is going to earn a happily ever after. How many of us, in real life, willingly change unless the pain of NOT changing overcomes our resistence? Right. In fiction, I just get to make that ‘pain’ = bloodthirsty aliens with a sinister agenda.

In my real life, I live aboard a sailboat with my husband and our felines. At the moment, I’m sitting aboard someone else’s boat while mine awaits a trip to dry land so I can spend a week scraping the marine life off the bottom. Yeah. That’s right. I live with a man and four cats in about 300 square feet. One the water. Except when that 300 square feet of living space isn’t in the water – it’s blocked up on dry land. No wonder I write about space ships, hostile environments and alien life forms. No wonder my editor says it’s all a little dark. She’s never had to sand barnacles off of fiberglass before.

Don’t think that won’t show up in a future book somewhere. Something must grow on spaceship hulls.

Scavenger Hunt

Hello everyone!! Before we get started with the party I just want to give a huge thank you to all the wonderful authors who have decided to participate in this blog. Today and Saturday you all will have the chance to win lots of terrific prizes. How you ask? Well simple, just scroll down and look over the list of questions and websites to visit. Comment with the answers and you will be entered to win digital books, ARCs and many other prizes. The Scavenger Hunt will run Friday- Sunday night at midnight pacific time. Monday the answers will be posted along with the winners! So lets get started, remember to read the question and then click on the websites to hunt down that answer! Please leave your answers here in the comments. Thanks.

  1. What was the career path that Danica Avet shot down?
  2. In Rebecca Zanetti’s CLAIMED, what is the heroine Emma Paulsen’s profession?
  3. Which author on this blog was once a rodeo queen?
  4. In DESTINED MATE, Katie Reus’s upcoming release, what is the heroine’s name?
  5. What is the name of Kristin Miller’s favorite pizza place in Arcata?
  6. What is the name of the hero in Cynthia Eden’s upcoming novel, ANGEL OF DARKNESS?
  7. In Erin Kellison’s September release, SHADOWMAN, what does the hero build?
  8. In Marcella Burnard’s ENEMY GAMES, who’s missing?

HERE are the PRIZES:

  • From Sayde Grace – two digital copies of her books
  • From Cynthia Eden – an ARC of Angel of Darkness or a digital copy of Never Cry Wolf
  • From Danica Avet – digital copy of any one of the Veil series and a set of Romance Trading Cards
  • From Rebecca Zanetti – signed copy of Fated
  • From Kristin Miller – digital copy of Intervamption
  • From Marcella Burnard – signed copy of Enemy Gates
  • From Katie Reus – digital (or audio) copy of Deadly Obsession and a digital copy of Destined Mate when it comes out in October
  • From Erin Kellison – signed copy of your choice from the Shadow series

HINTS (Though these are super easy, y’all don’t need no stinking hints!):

 All right everyone, go forth, scavenge and have fun!!!

 Thanks all


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