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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July!

I'm not feeling too energetic this morning. I did want to go to Ikea, but I know I'm not going to make it. I just want to veg out. I might see about doing that out on my deck. It's a fabulous day here with a nice breeze. The only issue is I have a piece of metal screwed into the runner of the patio door so that no one would inadvertently wander out when there wasn't a deck there. My dad hasn't taken that down yet. I'll have to ask him about that. How great would it be to nap on the deck? :-) If I didn't get sunburned.

I'm probably going to ramble now--thinking out loud kind of stuff--so be warned. Okay, rambling worse than usual. ;-) It really hit home for me with the reviews I've been getting for Eternal Nights. Over and over again reviewers refer to me and/or my stories as "unique," mention how they don't "fit the mold," and have said my stories are "different." My editor for EN said something along the lines of how there was nothing else like it out there. I got similar comments about how unique my first three books were too.

The thing that's so weird is that I never think anything I write is that different. I used to be a voracious romance reader--before I dedicated myself to writing, I used to read a book a day--and I never felt like I was wandering that far off the beaten path.

Yet 95% of the rejections I had on one of my proposals all had editors citing one of the paranormal elements and saying they couldn't wrap their mind around it. That left me confused because while it's different, it's not that different. Or least I didn't think so. Yeah, the beginning of this book really straddles the genres of fantasy and romance (urban fantasy? I'm not familiar enough with the different kinds of fantasy out there to label it with accuracy), but it was necessary to introduce the hero later in order to do the world building and set up the premise.

BTW, you'll be able to judge whether or not this story is so different yourself in 2007. This is the book I just turned in last week.

Before I was asked to be part of the Crimson City series, I had this really cool idea for a story about two half demons. I talked about it with my agent at the RWA conference in Dallas and she said it would be a really hard sell as a romance, but it would go as fantasy. But romance is such a vital part of my stories, that I don't think I could write straight fantasy. You see, my favorite part about writing isn't creating the worlds. Yes, I'm interested in how the world impacts my characters and their development, but my primary interest in writing is watching my hero and heroine grow to a point that they can have a forever relationship with each other. That's why I write.

And when I talked to my editor for the Crimson series, he originally had a different story in mind for me, one with a mech hero and/or heroine. That seemed pretty cool too, but it ended up that story was taken and I had to come up with something else. I pitched my two half demons. I really wanted to write that story. :-)

The response has been interesting to say the least. I lost count of how many people told me Mika was "one of the best heroines they've ever read." There were other readers who didn't like her, though, they never said exactly why.

So when I hear over and over and over again about how different my stories are from person after person, I have to wonder if I'm wrong and my stories really are that far outside the norm. Now granted, I don't want to sound/be like everyone else. Unique is good and I'm not going to pull my punches to fit into some mold. (Oh, boy, am I not pulling my punches in the book I just turned it. I'm half afraid to hear my new editor's reaction and my agent's reaction as well.) But how can I perceive my work so differently than others?

I thought The Power of Two was totally a romance and heard comments about how it wasn't a romance from some readers and about how far I straddled the genres from others. I thought Through a Crimson Veil was less of a romance than TPOT despite all the hot sex/almost sex scenes and I hear comments about how it's mostly a romance. On EN, I'm hearing from reviewers about how it would be Military SF if I didn't have the reincarnation plot line. I've never read Military SF.

Now I know I'm not the best judge of how my stories turn out, but I'd think that I could at least judge what kind of ratio I have between romance and action, yes? Or that I would know when I've colored really, really far outside the lines. I'm still grappling with this, trying to reconcile what I keep hearing with how I define my work. So far, the dissonance is startling. With one or two books, I could chalk it up as a fluke, but it's all four of my books, plus a couple of proposals. Definite pattern here.

Anyway, I think I'm going to logoff here and mull this over while I'm enjoying the sun. I hope everyone has a great day!