Saturday, February 28, 2009

Too Stupid to live?

Hi all!

Do you remember the old movies? the monster/villain is fighting the hero while the heroine shrieks in a corner, arm dramatically poised across her face? I was watching an old "grade B" when it occured to me it took 100 years of women's sufferage for the heroine to figure out the fight would end quicker if she busted the villain over the head with a vase rather than shriek the hero's name while he is fighting for his life.

Why is it the same heroine will flee the bad guy and trip over...well, nothing; long enough for the evil doer to catch her?

This is the TSTL heroine: Too Stupid To Live.

If you remember the old Superman cartoons it was Lois Lane who fell into peril after doing something no woman with an IQ above 70 would try. She has stowed away inside a killer robot, invaded Lex Luthor's lair (try saying that three times fast), and in an earlier episode even confronted Japanese spies. (remember the cartoon came out in 1941).

Lois Lane is the queen of the dumb heroines. Her motivation is good, at least in her mind, as a journalist she has to get the story, What better way to get the story than to put yourself in harm's way! After all, Superman will save the day.

Call me a crab, but I wish he would find another girl friend. Honestly, doesn't he have enough to do without dropping it all to save someone who should know better in the first place?

Then there is the horror movie. TSTL is a must in this genre. Let's face it, a disembodied voice tells you "get out" when you walk into the house and you're going to spend the weekend? If this wasn't enough, one would think the blood pouring down the walls would be a good clue. Give me a break, what does a demented spirit from the other side have to do to get it through your head.

Go Away!

Looking for vampires at night is TSTL. I shake my head in wonder when the heroes decide to stake a vamp at midnight. If they know where the vampires sleep, why don't they bull doze the building at noon, then open up the coffin lids and stake them? I can understand werewolves. you don't know who they are until after the full moon, but looking for vampires at night is dumb.

In all fairness, if everyone was smart enough to flee the crazy man in the leather mask wielding the chain saw, there would be no horror genre. If you want to survive a horror movie, keep your clothes on and never say "this must be what paradise is like." The minute those words are said, the characters are screwed. Enter the TSTL. They have to walk in the door, use the cursed item, ignore the nice gypsy telling them death is imminent, or there will be no story.

I don't want to slam other genres, I do like the classics. As often as people put down romances, at least our heroines know to turn on the lights before searching a dark room, I find myself getting defensive.

To avoid the dreaded TSTL we need to be sure our characters have a clear goal and a logical plan for achieving said goal.
Buffy did hunt vampires at night but what kept her from being TSTL is a good plan, the right tools and good source of information on the best way to deal with the enemy.
She was motivated by the fact she was the chosen one and honed her skills as best she could. It helped to have friends she could trust.
Ultimately she chose to sacrifice herself to save her sister. She was never TSTL, the choice to die was hers.

TSTL, unless your writing satire, isn't a good thing. Keep them real and give them something resembling intelligence.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Characters: bad guys

It’s often said that characters know what kind of book/film they’re in from how they behave. Try to avoid over-obvious character stereotyping in your writing but be aware of the kind of work you’re producing and the genre you’re working in, if only to subvert it a little and push the creative envelope.

Making Bad Characters - really bad characters.

First impressions. You might not introduce a villain too early, but have other characters talk about him or her first, to add to tension, delay entrance. This is what Thomas Harris does with Hannibal Lecter in ‘Silence of the Lambs’. First impressions may be wrong, and the devil may have a charming face - or he can be instantly up-front nasty or eerie.

Attitudes. Especially villains' attitudes to and lack of empathy with others. Do they lie and cheat and consider it clever? Are they manipulative? Snobby? Racist? Sexist? Cruel? Do they have real relationships with others, or do they see letting down their guard as a sign of weakness?

Actions. Show their nature by repulsive actions. Also let their victims be tragic, pathetic.

The impression they make. Other baddies might admire them, others never. They show a meanness of spirit, or a 'black hole' of a personality which the reader never truly penetrates.

Their reactions to situations. Always selfish in some way. However complex their response to a situation, the ultimate aim is to look after number one.

Their needs. Let your bad characters have wants instead of aims, ambitions centred ultimately on their own interest alone.

But villains can be attractive!

Give them plenty of charisma, wit, brains. Villains can charm the reader with their courage and ability to do things the reader may long to do but can't. Bad guys can be winners.

They can get back at society - particularly effective when aimed at faceless organisations. They’re rebels, and other characters around them can be even worse and ripe for comeuppance.

This time the heroes or good guys can find something to admire in your baddies. Let them be a contrast to others in the story. Let them stand tall when those around creep. Allow the reader to understand them and the forces that have made them by showing aspects of their past and nature and letting the reader get inside their heads with more sympathetic thoughts. Allow them to share with another, to have a relationship with another. Loners might appear attractive, but not if they remain so throughout.

Next time: the good guys!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Marketing Versus Promotion

Being new to the publishing industry can be quite confusing. I recall having a million question marks hovering over my head but having no idea how to formulate the words to ask what I needed to know. I'm certainly not the 'queen of facts' but perhaps I can share a little information that helps clarify two terms that confused the heck out of me.

If you consider you have a product to sell, the first thing you want to do is PROMOTE it. Promotion is about getting people interested in your work...sharing excerpts, posting teasers, garnering book reviews. These things all speak for you and allow people to acquaint themselves with said 'product.' It's sometimes hard for some of us to sell ourselves. I know I have a hard time praising my own work, so if I can garner good reviews, the words of others can be shared to my benefit. Most promotion costs nothing but time and energy.

Once people know about you, then you need to find ways to sell your product. MARKETING is often more expensive than promoting because it can entail paid advertising and mass mailings. Beware...before you spend a ton, expect that you might not get a great return on your investment. The first year I marketed myself, I spent three times more than I made. I've backed off since then, purely for financial reasons. For example. When I published my first book, I took out an ad with some other authors in The Romantic Times Magazine. The cost was prohibitive to doing it frequently, but I felt it would get my name out, and connected with the review done on my historical novel, it was money well spent.

I've consistently ordered postcards featuring my book covers from Vista print, and I have exchanged them with other authors to create a packet of different promotional items. This way, more than one of us is marketing the works of several. We mention them on loops and mail them to whomever requests them. I do the same with bookmarks. Vista print always has quite affordable sales...sometimes free items with paid shipping and handling. There isn't a big demand for these items, but they are also pieces you can leave in doctor/dental Offices, banks, restaurants, anywhere there's a counter. I also carry pens with my name and website on them and usually leave one with each waitress or waiter I meet when I dine out. You know how people love to steal pens. *smile*

I know several authors who have done mass-mailings to libraries and press releases to local newspapers. These are two more ways to market your work. Another innovative friend held Book Parties, similar to Tupperware, where the hostess earns gifts for hosting and more for sales. Just put on your thinking cap and see what ideas you can concoct.

Participation in local street fairs, craft shows, car shows, any place where people gather can be a great marketing experience. It's often fairly cheap to purchase a table or booth where you can set yourself up to display your books. For those who do only ebooks, then purchase downloads and put them on CD for sale. You just want to make sure you don't infringe on your contract in any way. I've not done many personal appearances, but I have compiled a notebook that holds categorized copies of all my reviews, interviews, and any sort of testimonial to my work. I'm prepared when I do attend an affair. Like I said...I have a difficult time tooting my own horn, so I prefer to let my notebook do my bragging for me. :)

I hope this was helpful to some of you. If you can think of other things to share, please leave them in the comments. I'm always happy to learn new things.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Let's Talk Spooky and Sexy with Kristin!

Hey everybody!

Eternal Press Kristin Battestella stopping by for a bit of naughty romance and chit chat. I'm going to post mainly interview bits and pertinent links to provide some food for thought on paranormal romance, erotica, and of course, the Chosen Craft, writing!

Here's a blurb from my 2008 Eternal Press release The Vampire Family. Just so you get a feel for my kind of style:

Sadistic? Check. Domination? Check. Happiness? Not for all. Antonio Welshire accepts the mysterious Mestiphles' offer for vampiric power, but fails to consider that not all in his family desires evil. Daughter Victoria revels in the debauchery, but eldest daughter Samantha loathes the darkness. Enemies are in no short supply when the family turns to darkness. Charismatic rebel Gaston turns up to rival for Antonio's power; the vampire lover Jean can destroy them once and for all, and henchwoman Lilith seeks to supplant Antonio as Mestiphles' favorite. Who will be declared the victor? And in the end, though they've survived coven wars and persecutions since the 12th century, can The Vampire Family survive each other? Killing his abusive parents isn't enough for Antonio Welshire. Rape and death follow him through his youth in the 12th Century-until a stranger named Mestiphles give Antonio unimaginable vampire powers. Fearful yet captivated by his allure, Antonio's adopted sisters Ann and Elizabeth share this gift with him and their children-Victoria, James, Samantha, and Stephen. Antonio is a cruel ruler , and after his defeat of the young rebel Gaston, Antonio struggles with Lilith-another magical pet also created by Mestiphles. Antonio's vampire family grows over the centuries, each vampire loving and losing vampire fledglings over time. Wars, persecutions come and go, but the family's troubles always stem from within. Elizabeth may be his wife, but Ann supplants her as Antonio's mistress. By the 20th century, Elizabeth has found love again-unfortunately her fledgling Jean share's Samantha's disdain for the vampire life. Will The Vampire Family self destruct before the 21st Century?

Now, onto more juicy bits! Here's part of an interview I did with new erotica author Leigh Wood. For the complete talk, visit The Kristin Battestella Livejournal.

An Interview With Leigh Wood

By Kristin Battestella

-What is your real name?

Grr. Ashleigh Laura Wood. I hate it. How can something be so earthy and yet so puck bunny? Everyone calls me Leigh, but I suspect I might have to use the Ashleigh bemoan for publication. It means Ash Tree Meadow Laurel. That’s a lot of ticks. I tweak a bit with Old English. I think Leah means wood anyway. So it’s a bit redundant even. Dang hippie parents.

-What are you working on now?

Everything and nothing. I am a stickler for edits even when I’m probably beyond the point of needing edits. I’m at that point with the end of On The Way to New Isosceles. I handwrote Horns of Myleness during lunch hours at my day job, so my next dive will be to type that whole shebang. There’s always random writing bits, too, you know. Poetry, nonfic. I’d rather write about something than talk about it. My short memoir Cracked is in limbo. It could probably use another editing run through. It was accepted with Stone Garden Publishing, but a few red flags in their contract forced me to withdraw. A Contract isn’t worth my intellectually dignity.

-On The Way and Myleness, these two works are both erotica? How did you handle questions from coworkers?

I wrote On The Way at home and the handwritten Horns of Myleness was without the erotic bits. If I was still inspired by time I got home, I typed some kinky material. So I’ve got half of Myleness handwritten with no sex-and its quite good without it, honestly. On the other hand, I’ve got some serious kink on my laptop. I think it would be an intriguing concept to do a ‘nice version’ pure fantasy romancey, but also issue a naughty version with the sex scenes. It’s not a question of if the erotica is necessary or gratuitous, I like to think some readers of romance would rather speculate on the fade to black moments themselves. Others love the chuckle because they know what happens under the sheets. To each his own I say. My coworkers would probably die of shock.

-Where can we read your work?

I’ve got excerpts of On The Way To New Isosceles on the website-graciously sponsored at and I’ve got a free chance to read Cracked from my blog and the Kristin Battestella Yahoo group. I’ve also reposted some excerpts on blogspot. Currently that’s it. As I said I’m a stickler, and I’m not sure anything is really in publishing form right now. I’d be too touchy putting up imperfect as I type editions of Horns of Myleness. I’m hoping to submit On The Way in January. It’s topped 70k. With edits I don’t think it will reach 80, 75 and change most likey. It was only supposed to be a short story and here we are with a full length novel that beyond its genre, would be perfect for a big print house.

-Do you recall your first encounter with erotica?

Hmm….I remember reading Arabian Nights for the first time and being really shocked yet glad the whole story isn’t in the abridged kids version. That would be really wrong. Orgies and incest, my God! Who looked at this and decided that if that was all cut out, it was okay for kids? A bit twisted somehow. I also really love Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It’s not about the sex, really! I’ve written a few commentaries on Chatterley. They’re posted at the blog.

-You are quite a Christian woman. How do you deal with the at odds nature of Religion and sex?

I don’t want to say they don’t conflict, because they do. I can see how it would offend some people. I just don’t personally perceive things that way. I didn’t think about writing sexual material until I first got involved with my husband. As a writer I had to get that emotional and, well yes, physical awakening on paper. Previously I found my romantic material too superficial and cliché. On The Way To New Isosceles is about two people who come to see the closure they can find in each other. The joy and companionship people should experience when they are free and attracted to each other-despite what other circumstances such as space factions and war may say. God’s best gift is said to be the love between a man and a woman. Erotic literature isn’t anything he doesn’t know about. It can’t compare to the real thing but when done with love, intimacy, and discretion, I don’t see erotica as anything more than food for thought. Reading erotica is an experience just like any other emotional book. Porn is just weird and purely for gratification. That’s kind of sick, to waste one’s time on gratification instead of intellect.

-Now, I recall you telling me Horns of Myleness is about a love triangle. How is that about love and intimacy if there is an odd person out?

Horns of Myleness is a cautionary erotica tale I think. It is dark, conflicting. I hope it really tears readers in two! There names may change yet, but should the Queen choose her King, who is really a beefy Arthurian warrior, or shall she run off with the darling misunderstood younger brother? Of course, wars and fantasy and unicorns-yes unicorns-will interfere along with emotions and betrayal and such. During my writing, there were times I hated the Queen for choosing one way or the other, ney then I loved her for following her heart. Unfortunately her choice is tied to the fate of Myleness. You want all to be happy, but you know it can’t be so. I hope readers will enjoy dividing over the boys, ala ‘Team Aniston’ and ‘Team Jolie’. I did. Where On The Way is about opening up, awakening, giving in to reasonable joys and desires, Horns of Myleness is in a way the opposite. Affairs usually turn out for the worst. It’s what can go wrong when caution is put on the wind.

-Which genre do you prefer? Favorite authors and books?

The genre of the moment. I like a lot of historicals and fantasies. SF. I like Dune, Darkover, Gormenghast. I was really disappointed with Mists of Avalon, though. I think I’ve grown out of MZB. I love King Arthur and similar stuff, but Mists kind of put me off it for awhile. I read a lot of religious material as well. I’m all for embracing polarity, what can I say?

Please note, Leigh's On The Way To New Isosceles is currently editing at Eternal Press! Congratulations!

For a list of interviews starring yours truly, check out The Vampire Family Blog! I may just be back to traumatize you further! Wooohaaa!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Coventions and Conferences.

There are lot of questions and not many answers when it comes to going, such as:

How much do thses really help you as an Author?
Is it worth all the expense?
What kind of promotion oppurtunities will there be?
And for a newbie (yes that would be me) who doesn't know many other authors will it feel awkward?

Questions pushed back into the folder in my mind labeled "You'll never know unless you do it" I've made the decision to go to the RT Convention this year in Orlando. It will be my first, in many ways. I've never flown, which I have to do to get there. I've never been to Florida, even though I did live in Georgia for a while. And it will be the first time my daughter and I have gone on vacation alone.

Anybody else going?

As for RWA the national conference is in DC this year, which is doable distance wise I could drive without to much hassle. Then there's the cost of the conference itself and the hotel. I was thinking maybe I'd do the NECRWA chapters conference at the end of March in Framingham MA. It closer, cheaper, and I have family in the area. I'd love to meet some of the Romance Divas that are going to in attendence. It'll give me a taste of what to expect so I think it would be a good experience.

I haven't joined RWA yet. Two things are holding me back from doing it.

One: The local chapter is MaineRWA and they meet a good four to six hours away from where I live. I know there are online chapters, but if I already belong to some really great online groups so I'd want something where I met people face to face.
Two: I have a feeling it's geared more towards writers and I really think to promote more I should interact with readers.

Maybe after attending I'll be able to decide whether or not RWA is for me? Maybe I'll be so overwhelmed I'll just come back and hide in the wilds of Extreme Northern Maine.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Fine Romance

I have a confession to make.

I once disliked romance novels.

Not because I didn’t think they were good enough books, but I just felt the plots weren’t the kind to get me on the edge of my seat. Or the stories that made me bite my nails wondering what was going to happen next.

So, when I was growing up mystery was my genre. I’d sit for hours reading Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton novels. I wanted to be like the sleuths within the pages, finding the bad guys, solving the mystery and making the world safe again. I along with Miss Marple and The Secret Five would figure out who committed the crime. These plots kept me spellbound and entertained for hours.

I’ll be fair, I’d never read a romance book but I’d seen the covers read and the blurbs on the Mills and Boon books my grandmother would consume by the dozen.

I remember picking one up, paging through it, and asking her how could waste her time reading a romance when there were so many great mysteries to out there. Her reply was always the same, ‘they keep you on the edge of your seat. You’re on tender hooks wondering how these two people are going to work out their conflict.’

Did she say ‘conflict’ and ‘keep you on the edge of your seat’? Was she getting here genres mixed up?

I was never willing to find out what she was talking about until one day I picked up a book by Mary Stewart. I saw the word suspense written on and thought it was a mystery. I soon found out, yes, it was a mystery and a whole lot more. It was suspenseful, who were the bad guys, was the heroine going to be safe? But what was just as intriguing to me was the hero. This really nice guy was perfect for the heroine, but was he really in love with her, or was he going to kill her? I finally figured out what my grandmother had been talking about.

And so I found a subgenre called romantic suspense and I was slowly drawn into the world of romance novels. At first I insisted they had the word ‘suspense’ stamped on them or I wouldn’t touch them. However, I slowly I began to see what my grandmother had seen all those years in her Mills and Boon novels. You began the book knowing the hero and heroine were perfect for one another. You wanted them to be together, you knew they were going to end up together. However, the suspense, the mystery if you like, was how they could arrive there. After all, he’d supposedly killed her father, and she slept with his best friend. He’d stolen the plans for her new invention. He’s a tortured soul and she never wants to see another man again as long as she lives.

I’m still a huge mystery fan, and yes, I wrote both mysteries and romances. But I now I realize that a fine romance, one written well, often has some of the best conflicts you’ll ever find in the pages of a book. So this being February… and even if you’re a mystery fan, pick up a romance novel and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Goal, Motivation, Conflict

When dissecting the elements of a story these three ingredients are vital: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. Every character in the story has thier own agenda, their own story. This is a big part of the plot, the set up for the climax, and how the story gets resolved.

Goal is what the character wants. This is the foundation of the story.

Little Red Riding Hoods'goal was to bring goodies to grandma. Everything that follows stems from this goal. The why brings us to motivation. Her motivation was to visit granny as she was sick. Red wanted to make her feel better.

Goal and motivation often go hand in hand. The conflict takes the form of the wolf. Wofie's goal was an easy meal, his motivation came after his first visit with Red. She told him granny was sick and she was bringing goodies to her. He likes goodies. Conflict is what keeps the character from reaching her goal. (eating granny will not make her well.)

Wolfie's conflict comes in the form of a hunter. He is a secondary character, but an important one. We aren't sure what his goal was initially, but in the end, it became the rescue of our heroines.

Conflict often comes in threes. The first obstacle: The wolf stops Red in the woods.

The climax: the height of the action-the most pressing event. Wolf has replaced granny and passes himself off as granny to fool Red.

The black moment: the point where all seems lost. Red realizes the wolf has done away with granny. (What big teeth you have. She ain't the brightest sconce on the wall.)

The third trial: the wolf now goes after Red. (The better to eat you!)

Knowing the GMC of your characters helps you create conflict and subplots.

Perhaps granny and the wolf ageed to trap red with a ruse of her illness. The hunter, suspicous after several girls disappeared, track the wolf and saved Red.

Granny studies a rogue pack of wolves from her hidden post in the forest. Red discovers a werewolf pack infiltrating the other wolves. Maybe granny is a werewolf herself and the wolf threatens Red so granny will give him control of the pack.

In a plot twist, you discover Red is the villain. Offing granny and her animal sanctuary will allow Red to gain her lands and build a condo. ( We assume the wolf hid granny to keep her safe rather than eat her.)

The resolution occurs when the hunter rescues Red. (depending on the version), cuts open the wolf and frees granny. All the story questions are answered.

Happy ending!

(Unless you're the wolf.)

After Valentine's Day

Some people forget life does go on. Gifts are wonderful, dinners are great (especially if you have kids), but life does go on. Romance every day is what we have to remember. Telling your significant other, you love them every day. It's great to feel special!

But dinners out cannot happen every day, flowers do die, and you get sick of the candy.

But romance can be found in the little things. Hugs from the kids telling them, they love you mommy. Hubby helping get the kids to bed. Or maybe even if you are not married, your significant other being thoughtful enough and making dinner or ordering it. Just some help so you don't have to cook. Doing their part in cleaning and maybe just holding you when you have to cry.

Being comforted and feeling cherished can even be better than a bouquet of flowers. Or even them surprising you with a gift that doesn't feel obligated. A gift that they want to get you, just because. Those are the best and mean more cause they thought of you and figured you might need a little pick me up. Every day is a gift, and we should cherish it. Oh, you hear that over and over but when it hits you in the face, you realize how precious life can be.

There's no better way to show a loved one that you do love them, then telling them using those three words! Remember love is to be cherished every day!

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Recently, I had a friend take me on a walk down memory lane.
“The 'good old days',” my girlfriend of nearly twenty five years said. “Ah, weren't they something? Times were simpler, more down to earth, more....”

Thank God she loves me, I had to tell her to shut it.

They weren't such good old days. Granted, we didn't have to choose between a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas. When I look back and consider things, but I wouldn't change anything. Let me give you a few examples:

We have big screens now, luscious 50” dreams with glorious High Def resolution on 150 channels. Back then, a 21' inch console (with 5 channels) was the highlight of your life. Well, only when Dad didn't tell you to get up to change the channel or move the ears.

We have SUVS, the luxurious demons of the road with DVD players and adjustable seats. I remember the family station wagon. We had our parents telling us to 'look out the window, you might miss something' or 'count highway markers'. There was the ever infamous 'he's touching me!' yelled by every kid in the back seat.

Microwaves? If your parents could afford one, it was the size of a 21” television set.

For authors that are under the age of 35, writing in the 1970's and 80's was a true test in fortitude.

Computers were the size of your standard household refrigerator. PC's didn't exist. If you wrote, you used something called a typewriter. (Go to your local antique store---they have lots of them!) Nope, I can do without the good old days.

An original manuscript was handwritten. You would have various notebooks scattered about, filled with scenes. You lived at the local library, for research purposes. Your typewriter had to have paper and ribbon and be well tended, oiled and lubed. A key jam wasn't something you could afford.

Manuscript completed, you had to find the “golden book”. This book would reveal the addresses of the thousands of publishing companies. There, if there hadn't been a major change over within the past year, was a contact name.

Time to submit a query letter with a self addressed stamped envelope and wait six to twelve weeks for a response. If your query was accepted, the real work would begin, the typing. Envision endless hours hunched over a typewriter, surrounded by bottles of white out, with aching fingers and chipped nails.

Typing completed, its off to the post office (again). The manuscript goes certified return receipt with a SASE. Now, the waiting games.

Six months later, if not more, there's another response. If accepted, it's time for the dreaded editing.

Yes, I hate editing. I hate it with a passion that makes my eyes burn and my head ache. I'm a weakling...

In the good old days, take your 300+ pages and look them over. There's enough red ink on each sheet to send your former high school English teacher into a faint. Rearrange, check spelling, pull out the thesaurus, delete, rewrite. Everything had to be RETYPED and sent back to the publisher for the grand finale. There goes another three to six months of your life.....

Ah, my precious PC, glowing lights and high speed internet. My precious...

Yes, that is said with me rubbing my hands together with glee. Oh, I forgot about that wildly maniacal look that just lit up my eyes.

Oops, just backspaced a little to far, hit undo....

Tamela Quijas - Author

Angel' Fire, Demon's Blood--- available at
Dante's Lady---available at ,
I Can't Cook Because I'm A White Girl---available at
Visit me!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Branching Out

I recently dipped my toe in the paranormal genre. I write historicals and contemporaries mostly but I thought I'd give paranormal's a shot, and what's more it's a futuristic paranormal of all things. I mean, is that even a genre?? But I digress.

I'm not one to pander to trends and I resisted going the paranormal route for a long time simply because it wasn't something I felt I could write since it wasn't something I really read. Still don't know if I can write it well, I'll leave it to my publisher and the readers to decide if it gets picked up.

I have two paranormal genre's I stick to in my reading: time travel and fallen angel/demon types but since becoming a published author (the thrill of that never gets old really) I've come in contact with other writers and their work through networking and chatting and such. I've checked out new work from author's I've built friendship's with and that has sort of broadened my horizon's a bit.

A lot of the romance out there is paranormal and a lot of my friends write paranormals so it's kind of hard to escape.

Like with all things, once you come in contact with a genre, it starts giving you ideas of your own and gradually I started to wonder if I should give it a go in the paranormal world.

So I picked out an idea I had and fleshed it out. It's on a very small scale, just a sort of test for myself. I'll let you know if anything comes of it and then I can discuss it more but I think it's important that we writers test ourselves often.

I still write contemporaries and historicals and always will. That's where my strengths are and where my ideas are really set in.

I've never had writer's block. Ever. Now this doesn't mean I've never been stuck on a scene but I've never been short of ideas. In fact, dipping my toe in the paranormal genre and futuristic genre I already have an idea for a full length futuristic novel that I shall file away for someday. That wouldn't have happened if I didn't come in contact with these writers who write different genres than I do.

So I say if you feel like your suffering from writer's block, don't be afraid to branch out and try a new genre. You'll be surprise at the deluge of ideas that come your way.

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