Friday, April 29, 2011

Welcome to Belinda McBride

Please welcome today's Friday Friend, Belinda McBride. Belinda writes erotic romance in multiple genres and themes, including LGBT, M/F, SciFi, Paranormal and BDSM. Her publishers include Loose Id, Changeling Press, Passion in Print and Dreamspinner Press. She lives with her family in Northern California. When she’s not writing, she’s usually playing with her Siberian Huskies.

Where in the World…

So you’ve decided to write a science fiction romance. Or a fantasy…or paranormal. Whatever the case,you’re about to step into a world where the rules are about to change. More importantly, you’re about to make the rules. All by yourself…

World building can be a daunting undertaking, but there are a few simple tricks you can try to simplify the process. Whether you’re writing about a pod of vampires in New Hampshire or a reptilian alien society in outer space, you need to outline the basic rules of existence, not only of the culture and characters, but of the basic environment in which they live.

Some writers start with a map. They look at the big picture, creating continents, islands, sites and streets. From there, they move to culture and personality. While this sounds like overkill, environment can affect the personality and physical characteristics of a society. What do the people look like? Do they have physical features that differ from that of humans? What caused them to develop that way? That same question relates to the environment. If the sky is rainbow colored or flowers are true black, be prepared with an explanation. How does their world and environment affect their personalities as a species?

In the Belle Starr science fiction universe, I developed several alien species that were featured in minor roles in the story. Each species is the product of their society and world and a lot went into their creation. For example, the Somians are a sensual twin species. They are born in same sex pairs, grow up together, and in adulthood, mate another twin pair. Every twin pair is essentially one person split into two bodies. Somians are frequently sex workers and take pride in that profession. Their planet is lush and fragrant; they love beautiful colors, fabrics and delicious food. Since their culture is all about happiness, they have advanced studies in mental health beyond any other known species.

The Valorans are their polar opposite. The Valoran species comes from a dry, less tropical environment. The entire species are intersexed, but have fallen into a natural division of those who consider themselves male, and those who consider themselves female. They are prudish, not given to emotional display and specialize in sciences based in mathematics. There is a minority of the population who consider themselves gender neutral, and they suffer some discrimination from other Valorans.

Somians think that Valorans are in denial of their innate sensual and dual nature. Valorans think Somians are frivolous and foolish. When a Somian and a Valoran come together romantically…the results are intriguing!

As you can see, a lot of work went into developing two alien cultures that really don’t take center stage in the stories they appear in. But since they’re so well developed, they enhance any story they appear in.

Back to rules. Be careful if you decide to outline a set of rules for your culture. A popular author created a species that by nature could not produce homosexuality. She put those rules into writing in a glossary and locked herself in. Imagine how interesting it was when homoerotic elements began to emerge in her stories! So know your rules, and know how to break them.

It’s a big job, wrangling an entire universe. I generally keep a page open on my computer to take notes as I write. I jot down names, places, even sounds. All this gets transferred into a ‘bible’ for that universe. Since the Belle Starr and the Uncommon Whore series share a universe, they also share a bible. I make sure to note what character originated where, as some do cross over. There are also software programs that you can use to take notes and collect photos, music and videos that influence you in the creation of your world. You can also use an external method, such as white boards (which I use) and sticky notes.

So, are you ready? Or are you lost? Best of luck on your journey, and Happy Tails!

Coming May 2011 from Loose Id Publishing….
Three women. One night. Four Doms to rope them up, ride them hard, and brand their hearts. It's Western Night at Dark Haven.

Doms of Dark Haven: Western Night.
Authors: Belinda McBride, Cherise Sinclair & Sierra Cartwright

Holly ran; Tex and Hunter let her go. She left the safety of the mountains and the support of the pack. She left two men she was in love with. Now Holly has found herself and the men have found her…working as a Domme in San Francisco’s notorious Dark Haven. Before the night is over, someone’s going to submit.

Welcome to Dark Haven, and may all your darkest wishes come true.


She took to the shadows, searching for men who were taller, more beautiful, and more fundamentally alive than the others in the club.


She sensed that Kurt and Ethan were gone, but a tall, golden man sauntered into the room. Her eyes were drawn to Tex Texiera as though he were the sun. His walk was loose and confident, yet he was alert, scanning the crowd. He wore the sort of clothing that she’d frequently seen him in at home: boots and jeans and a cowboy hat. A battered leather vest was worn over his shirt, and a lariat hung from his hip. He carried a leather bag that looked suspiciously like hers. Tex looked comfortable in his skin. Comfortable in this environment.

She swallowed. Tex fit right in here at Dark Haven. She’d never suspected that he might be kinked. She chewed her lip, contemplating Tex topping a sub. In her imagination, the sub looked an awful lot like her. She shivered and continued to study her friend.

She knew his eyes were as blue as the sky against his sun-browned skin. She knew that when he smiled, a deep line would cut into the smooth skin of his cheek, and his smile would sparkle like the sun on water. She knew exactly how he smelled and even how he tasted. Her belly gripped, and for a moment, she gave herself to the arousal that washed through her.

A moment later, the second man entered and prowled toward the other side of the room. Hunter moved like a panther, smooth and sleek, not a motion wasted. Smiles were foreign to his face, though when they were young, he’d always had a smile just for her. Hunter was compassion and courage and justice all rolled into one single beautiful package. He was tragic and magnificent and heroic. He was as dark as Tex was bright, and when she saw the feral intensity on his face, she swallowed. He was hunting.

He’d caught her scent.

Holly went still, knowing that if she moved -- if she breathed -- he’d be on to her. As the men wove between tables and through the crowd, she moved in counterpoint, working her way toward the lobby. It wouldn’t be much longer before Hunter sorted her scent from the tangle of bodies and perfumes, particularly if he went downstairs, where she’d been running her scene. It seemed to take forever, but soon enough, she was able to slip into the darkness of the evening. She kicked off her secondhand boots and hid them and her bag behind a Dumpster in the back alley.

She paused, scenting the faint trail that Ethan and Kurt had taken as they left the club. There was a third scent with theirs, but she didn’t take time to identify it.

Holly jogged down the sidewalk and ducked into another alley, then peered around the corner to see if the men had managed to track her outside the club.

And then she leaned against the brick wall, threw her head back, and laughed in delight.

They’d finally come.

Many thanks for being with us today, Belinda.
You can meet Belinda at her website and blog:


  1. Thanks for being a Friday Friend, Belinda! I'm writing a timetravel and a crit partner reported I'd done significant world building. I didn't think to create a 'bible.' That is a fantastic idea.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Belinda. I've always been afraid to try world-building, because it sounded so impossible. It still does, but now I understand how to do it. Great technique. And your excerpt sounds compelling!

  3. Thanks for having me here today, and I hope you enjoy the blog!
    Ana, a bible is absolutely a necessity, otherwise, you will get something wrong at some point. It also beats re-reading all your books just to find the proper spelling of U'shma! LOL!

    Jennifer, its a little scary, but so very rewarding!

  4. Hi Belinda! Welcome to Heroines with Hearts. Thanks for joining us today.

    Creating a world sounds like a daunting, but fun task. A fellow writer who once wrote a fantasy said she had notes about everything, even the currency of her world, even though it would never appear on the page.