H is for…Genre? Hmmm


Maybe I should have talked about genre yesterday, but featuring my cozy mystery, Her Cousin, Much Removed (which is free today) got me thinking about the topic, a day late for G. It’s all going haywire over here.

Anyway, my natural genre is humorous, offbeat science fiction. It’s how my brain works, it’s how I see the world and our relationship to technology. But then I got this opening line in my head, and suddenly I had to write it down. And then the next part.

I’m not a planner by any means, but suddenly I found myself surrounded by charts and notes, details about characters and their motivations, suspicious of everyone. And then I got to the point of the book where I had to figure out who did it.

It was staring at me, right there, from the notes. And I’ll tell you, it wasn’t the person I set out to pin it on. People surprise you, even when they’re fictional.

After I wrote the cozy, as I affectionately called it, I wrote a sequel to Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) which I’m currently editing. Going from a genre that wasn’t natural for me to one that was was like training with weights on my typing fingers. I took them off and ran faster than I had before.

Now I’m stretching in a different direction, with fantasy and young adult. It really sends your brain to new places, makes you willing to try a new approach, see things, while writing, a totally different way.

Have you tried a different genre? How did it go?

Download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities. It’s also free! It’s a free bonanza!

Have a heartbeat? It’s not too late to sign up for my newsletter (note: zombies also welcome).


Fantasy and Sci-Fi, the Peanut Butter and Jelly of Books


Fantasy and science-fiction always seem to be joined at the hip, lumped together like some kind of science-experiment-gone-wrong with-wizarding powers. I’ve even done it here, shame on me, under “categories” even though the two genres are, often, utterly distinct.

But the thing is, they aren’t always. It’s those blurry cases, those non-bright line cases, that have them nestled together in every bookshop. I’m currently working on a young adult novel, one I’d planned to keep pretty solidly over the fantasy line. But the thing is that, no matter what I do, it feels as though the science wants to keep creeping in.

Maybe it’s because it’s my aesthetic. Maybe it’s because it’s where the story wants to go, needs to go. And maybe it’s because that line is really difficult to draw firmly.

Though the elements of science-fiction and fantasy have different origins–magical versus concrete–they both like to go into the same impossible places. They’re like really good friends who get each other. And like good friends, sometimes they visit one another’s homes.

In this mushy, genre-busting world, maybe bright lines are another thing likely to go. Maybe they’ve never really been there at all. Or maybe it doesn’t really matter, and we can sit back and enjoy the ride, whether we’re traveling by spaceship or dragon or a little of both.

Download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities. It’s free! 

Fulfill my fantasy and  sign up for my newsletter.