One of the really fun things about fitting a sci-fi romance into my already-existing worldbuilding? I have so much backstory to choose from: over 30 years of noodling, note-taking, and scribbling that range from epic fantasy to huge space opera. But tossing a sci-fi romance into such a huge setting can risk confusing and boring my readers.
With my debut novel Moro’s Price, a M/M erotic romance space opera published by Loose Id, LLC in 2012, I needed the title character to have a mysterious past. It wasn’t enough that he was abducted off his little frontier homeworld and thrown into a far-future existence of slavery and despair – nope, he had to have some special reason why people were after him in the first place.
I chose to make Moro half-Sonta, which was so rare and exotic that most true humans wouldn’t even recognize what he was, beyond gorgeous and sexually enticing.
The Sonta are a nomadic race traveling the fringes of our galaxy, rarely coming close to human-held solar systems. Here is my Sonta entry from my Moroverse glossary online:
“Sonta, pronounced ‘SAWN tah’: long-lived humanoid species living and migrating in vast self-contained worldships. The race appears to be various hybrids of three distinct subspecies: tall, brawny humanoid warrior-stock; a shorter, more-delicate and almost elfin group; and furred and tailed sentients called Singers who resemble a cross between Terran lions and velociraptors. Each Sonta tribe has adopted/enslaved a particular Bound Ksala, and their fates are entwined with their star-eaters’ destinies. The Sonta are conjectured to have a written history going back at least 100,000 years, and distant kinship to Terran League and Camalian humans. Before Moro, there were no known Sonta/human hybrids. Sonta sexuality is too fluid to easily fit human terminologies; for all intents and purposes, assume everyone is pansexual.”
The Sonta are exiles from another space-faring civilization, and are tasked with the enslavement of gigantic energy-beings called Ksala, or star-eaters. Though the star-eaters normally devour suns, planets, and anything sentient nearby, the Sonta learned how to trap and train star-eaters to power the worldships and interact more-or-less harmlessly with mortals.
They do this by fusing the star-eaters’ senses with those of chosen mortals, and using sexual and sensual delight to reward the creatures' good behavior.
(Among some Sonta worldship cultures, that manifests as fun-loving, joyous sex and hedonistic pleasures. Among the austere Sonta clan that Moro would have been born into, it can mean ritual sex that transcends both pleasure and agony. His Sonta heritage is why Moro is a sub with a thing for pain; once he moves beyond shame to acceptance, he can begin to heal from his violent past as a gladiatorial and sex slave.)
In return, the star-eaters are gradually calmed and Changed into much less violent, but more powerful creatures called Lifebringers…whose own enslavement is the ultimate nefarious goal of the three mysterious Banner Queens who rule the exiled Sonta from a neighboring galaxy.
They’ve never caught a Lifebringer yet, and many of the captive star-eaters develop a territorial love for their mortal companions – choosing to put off Change as long as possible so they can stay with their people.
In the upcoming sequel Moro's Shield, Moro and his companions are about to cause as much trouble among the Sonta as they have among humans, because Moro doesn’t like to see anything enslaved…
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M.C. Hana is giving away a beautiful necklace along with an ebook of Moro's Price.