Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Guest Blogger: Combining Elements of The Staff of Rahgorra by Mark Oetjens

Our special guest today is Mark Oetjens, author of the science-fiction novel, The Staff of Rahgorra.

Another time, another galaxy. The mysterious crime lord Thrull has aspirations beyond controlling the underworld in a single corner of the galaxy.  Thrull wants to bring the galaxy under one rule and build a legitimate Galactic Empire.  For years he has been training an army of his followers and building his own private Armada.  But he knows he must also find the Staff of Rahgorra, a weapon of mythic power. To keep Thrull from finding the Staff the Galactic Security Bureau, peacekeepers of the galaxy, has pressed back into service a banished agent.  Chameleon Del Rey was expelled from the GSB for avenging the death of a friend and for practicing the forbidden art of Jai Kin.  Now he must train a young apprentice to use Jai Kin and find the Staff of Rahgorra before Thrull does in order to avoid a war that will stretch across the galaxy.

Combing Elements of The Staff of Rahgorra by Mark Oetjens

I've been asked to write a guest post about how I combined the different elements in The Staff of Rahgorra, organized crime, galactic empires, mythical weaponry and an ancient art form, smoothly to create the world in which my characters exist. I've lived in that world, or galaxy, for so long that at first I did not understand the question. And to a certain extent, I still don't, but I'll give it a try.

I guess the only way to "explain" how I combined all these elements is to compare them to real world examples and how they relate to one another. Now, I don't think I can do this without revealing more about The Staff of Rahgorra than I care to. So let me just warn you right now, SPOILER ALERTS!!!

Organized crime exists throughout the world, and throughout the galaxy I created. Thrull and Toranga's organizations can be compared to any number of real criminal groups, only on a much larger scale.

Now, the idea that Thrull wants to build a legitimate galactic empire might be pushing it a little, except for two things. First, a galactic empire is part of the galaxy's history. Second, (SPOILER ALERT) Thrull used to command the flagship of the Galactic Security Bureau. He was a high ranking military man. He knows a galactic empire is a real possibility, especially if he finds the Staff of Rahgorra.

The Staff of Rahgorra, the mythical weapon, is seen as the scepter of power throughout the galaxy, comparable to the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant. And the Staff is known to exist.
Finally, sprinkled over all this is the art of Jai Kin. Jai Kin is based on Chi Gung, a concept taught by many of the martial arts. Of course, I ramp up the power some in the novel for literary effect. (SPOILER ALERT) The fact that both Cam and Thrull are Jai Kin Masters only adds to the conflict, especially when they are both searching for a mythical weapon.
That's how I smoothly combined the different elements of the story to create the galaxy of The Staff of Rahgorra.

Mark Oetjens was born in 1971. He grew up in suburban Chicago. As a child he was diagnosed with Dystonia, a debilitating neuromuscular disorder. Though there is no cure for Dystonia, surgeries and rehabilitation allowed him to walk with only a slight limp by the time he started high school. He received a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Anthropology, both from Northern Illinois University. As an adult a brain tumor, completely unrelated to his Dystonia, threatened to disable him a second time. Thanks to radiation therapy the tumor has disappeared. Mark currently lives in Phoenix, AZ.

Mark’s latest book is the science fiction novel, The Staff of Rahgorra.

You can visit his website at

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