Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Confession: Genres Really Confuse Me

So will I get my Wannabe Author Card revoked if I admit that genres really confuse me? I mean, sometimes they’re obvious. Goggles and a blimp? Steampunk. Sexy young vampires? YA Paranormal Romance. Horses, swords, and spells? High Fantasy. 

I know what some of you are thinking: Don’t worry about it! Labels are only that--categorical words slapped onto something.

Well, sorry, free-thinkers, but if I’m going to categorize something, I like to know I’m doing it the way the majority accepts and recognizes. And yes, I LIKE categories and labels. They help me orient myself in the world. It’s just the way I am. Don’t judge. 

But back to genres.... 

Fantasy vs Science Fiction
The fantasy and sci-fi genres confuse me the most. Have you ever tried to look up info about the difference between fantasy and sci-fi? You think you know, right? But then you try to define them and it gets... blurry. And if you go out and read what other people have to say, well, have fun falling down that rabbit hole.   

Here’s David Brin's take:

“What is my definition of the separation? I think it is very basic, revolving around the notion of human improvability. .... Do you believe it is possible for children to learn from the mistakes of their parents?”
“For all the courage and heroism shown by fantasy characters across 4000 years of great, compelling dramas — NOTHING EVER CHANGES!”
“Science fiction, in sharp contrast, considers the possibility of learning and change.”

I'd never thought of these genres in those terms. Brin’s take is miles more sophisticated than any of the criteria that ever crossed my mind. But I like it. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes.

So that’s nice. But then when I get into the sub-genres, I lose it again. This article on SF Site lists a few of the sub and spinoff genres. Science Fantasy??? I’d never heard the term before I clicked on that link.

What Genre is PYXIS?
You might have guessed that my worry over genres has everything to do with trying to classify my own books. I latched on to “paranormal” because, well, I’m writing YA and that’s kind of the hot thing right now, if you haven’t noticed. Yep, vampires and other paranormal creatures aplenty out there.

But PYXIS doesn’t have creatures. It’s fantasy-ish, maybe, but set in our modern world. And as to Brin’s definition involving improvability, well, as the PYXIS series progresses, yes, there will be some improvabilizing going on. But no creatures. And ironically--or maybe just confusingly--the series has paranormal elements in the OLD sense of that word: telekinesis, pyrokinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, and a sort of astral projection. Oh, and there will be more and more elements of hard science as the series progresses. Oh, oh, AND there’s also romance.

By the definitions here at Reader's Digest, my book falls squarely within Romance > Paranormal. But there’s another factor I don’t want to forget about: reader expectations. RD may agree my book is YA PR, but is a reader going to expect vampires and/or werewolves and/or fairies and/or mermaids if I give it that label? No idea. And for all I know, maybe readers don’t really care!

So... who wants to help me figure out the genre of my book? :)   

Author K.C. Neal:: Pyxis Series :: YA Paranormal 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Post on StoneHouse Ink blog: Who's on Your Team?

Today I'm blogging about writing and support over on the StoneHouse Ink blog. Please check it out!

People who have known me most of my life probably would be surprised that I’m blogging about support, because to call me independent would be an understatement. I hardly ever ask for help in any form. My writing life has become the exception--the HUGE exception.... read the post >>

Monday, June 6, 2011

Interview with Author Evelyn Lafont

I "met" Evelyn through Facebook and Twitter, and she's one of my favorite invisible online friends. She's smart, irreverent, quirky, and hilarious, and she makes me laugh on a daily basis. Be sure to check out her blog, one of the few I read religiously.

On to the interview....

Tell us about The Vampaire Relationship Guide - what it is, how many will be in the series, the inspiration behind it, or anything else you’d like to say.
Evelyn: It’s a paranormal romance comedy and it is to be a quartlogy…which is my special word for a group of four. The inspiration behind it was a satirical article I wrote about a human breaking up with a vampire. When I wrote the article, I just started thinking about all the practicalities of dating a vampire and these little niggling things worked themselves into a series of novellas that follows one human woman as she goes from being obsessed to having sex with a vampire to dating one, traveling with him and—eventually—maybe even marrying him.
VampLure magazine, which went live a few weeks ago, is a stroke of genius. When I first went to the website, for a minute I thought I was looking at a real magazine. But it’s hilarious! Tell us how it came to be, and what the future holds for VampLure.
Thank you! VampLure was the magazine that would have held my vampire boyfriend break-up article mentioned above. The concept of VampLure actually preceded the books. It’s meant to be like Cosmo in a world where vampires exist and are highly sought after boyfriend material.

I plan to make VampLure a monthly e-zine for the next year or so—possibly longer. The goal is just to give readers something fun to read while they wait for the next book.
Talk a little about what it’s been like to write under a pseudonym.

I struggled a lot with the pseudonym at first. Lafont is a family name, so I sorta feel some personal affinity for it but…it’s still not my name so for a long time I didn’t have any emotional attachment to it. Now that I’ve really built up my presence with this identity, I’m starting to actually have trouble shifting into my real name. Go figure, I’m a monogamous name haver.
What’s your writing routine like? Do you need certain things or conditions to get into the groove?

I could give you a different answer to this question every day. I’m just not one of those people who ever really develops a routine for anything, except kitty feeding time. Sometimes I write with a candle, coffee, and soft music, sometimes I write in silence in the middle of the night, sometimes I write at a coffee shop. It just depends—though most often I’m at home in my office with no noise. I’m not actually sure if that’s a routine or just laziness. You know, when you get gripped by the story too it’s like—you have no clue what’s going on around you. My house could be burning down and I wouldn’t know.

I do like to have coffee or tea to usher me into the process though.
If you could eat only one food and drink only one drink for three days, what would they be?

Water. I love water. Food, I’d just make a big lasagna and feed off of that for a few days with some water. I would actually be really happy doing this.
What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?

I went through so many different positions before I started freelancing full time in 2009, that this is a hard question to answer. I feel like I’ve done everything and hated everything. I’ve been a caregiver to the mentally disabled, worked in a factory, been a door-to-door salesperson, worked retail, sold jewelry, sold fast food, worked in a call center, been a stock trader, worked as an underwriter, ran an insurance and tax planning office…looking back on them all, each and every one lacked the freedoms that freelancing gives me, so I think I would do something completely different—like running errands for people or temping—if I couldn’t write for a living.
Give us the rundown of your upcoming releases and projects, anything and everything you’d like to plug.

The second book in the Vampire Relationship Guide series will be out on August 31st. After that I’ll be working on books 3 and 4, and on the zombie chick lit novella I started (read the first chapter here: Then I have 2 new series to begin. One about weres and one about…vampires. 

More About Evelyn:

Evelyn Lafont is an author and freelance writer with an addiction to Xanax and a predilection for snark. Her debut novella, The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting and Mating is a comedy about dating, sexing, and living with vampires and is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. She has also developed a monthly e-zine to accompany the series, which can be found at