Writing Wednesday – Locked Out

Well, that wasn’t the morning I had planned.

My schedule sticks pretty much to the same routine every week day. Part of that is due to my blood sugar, and most of the rest of the reason is the dog. Every morning, at about 7:20a, I take the dog for his first of three walks. It’s just a loop – around a large block that takes about twenty minutes or so.

I just got back into my house at 9:30a.

See, somehow, between locking the door and going on the loop and coming back, I lost the key. It’s a single key. It’s bright blue. It’s on a silver keychain. You’d think it would be easy to spot said key wherever it was I lost it on my walked loop, but after three extra loops, I could not find it. No problem, right? I have a cell phone, a husband with a key and car, and – failing that – a wallet with which to pay a locksmith, right?

Yeah. I’d gone walking the dog without wallet or cell phone. Luckily, a neighbour offered to let me use her cell (she was walking with her daughter) and…

My cell phone is smart. I am not. I didn’t actually know my husband’s work number. Also, his company isn’t listed in 411.

Happily, another neighbour was running by with her dog and she let me borrow her computer and sit in her house and wait while my husband came back. Because e-mailing my husband was the method that actually worked.

Good lord, I feel dumb.

Now, normally, on Wednesdays I talk about writing progress and stuff, and I’ll still do that, but I thought this might also be a good time to chat about genre a wee bit, because I see a metaphor here, and why not make fun of myself a bit more?

With Light, I locked myself out of a genre. Or a sub-genre. Or both? When I pitched the book, and wrote the book, and when Bold Strokes Books did all the amazing things publishers do, I talked about the telepathy and the telekinesis and the kinda-sorta mystery of what was happening, and knew I’d written a science fiction book (albeit a light, contemporary, more spec-fic than sci-fi kind of science fiction).

And at no point did I think to mention the romantic B-plot of my main character and the hunky leather man other than in the blurb as one of the many things the hero is trying to juggle while he’s saving the day.

It wasn’t until the awesome Ruth Sternglantz called me out on it that I realized what I’d done. I’d completely missed the opportunity to talk to romance readers who like their romance to have a big dash of science fiction mixed in, because in my head it was a science fiction book I’d written, that just happened to have a smaller sub-plot involving a romance.

Keep in mind, I worked in a bookstore for decades and I knew full well how important it is to walk people from one part of the store (say, Mystery) to another part of the store (say, Romance) and point out that the lines blur in a lot of books (say, Romantic Suspense) and that there’s likely books in sections they didn’t peruse that would be pretty fun for them to read.

So, yeah. Duh. When you write, take a second to really think about all the various categories your story touches. If there’s a romantic sub-plot, mention it. There are a lot of readers out there who love romance (it’s the best selling genre for a reason) and even if what you’ve written isn’t solely a romance, if there is indeed a romantic narrative included (a meet, a clash/breaking point, a coming-together/declaration, a resolution) then it might very well be you’ve got an audience among the romance readers.

In fact, quite a few reviews of Light said as much. I even had one review saying it was one of the more unique romance novels they’d read in a long time – which is awesome! I thought I was writing a science fiction book (and I was) but I was also writing a romance, and it turned out the chocolate and peanut butter effect is a good thing.

Anyway. Lesson learned.

Now back to my regularly scheduled update.

Writing Wednesday – where I hold myself to some public accountability on the whole writing thing (and also to share some Open Calls for Submission love).

The Novel:

Triad Blood continues to move along – I didn’t increase the word count a great deal since I’ve come back from Saints and Sinners, but that’s because I came back with a few dozen ideas about polishing some of the bits I’d already written. I don’t have a new word-count to post, but I’m going to guess I ended up somewhere stable as things came and went from what I’d already done and am still sitting around the 70%-draft mark. That said, I’m feel much better about the remaining 30% now.

Also, speaking of the whole genre thing, I’m trying to figure out exactly what genre this book will be. Because it’s not just urban fantasy, and I need to be conscious of that. The three guys are definitely in a relationship together, it’s definitely more smutty than Light was, so I’m going to have to really ponder whether or not I can call this erotica, too.

Short Stuff:

Awesome news! My Letter-to-my-16-year-old-self was accepted to go alongside the Glitterwolf Magazine issue on Identity. I’m very, very chuffed. Given that I also squeaked that in under the March deadline, it’s even better news. As for a short piece to submit for April, I’m aware I’m already one week into the month, and I’ve not done one yet.

Open Calls I Know About:

  • Fireside Magazine – Flash Fiction; deadline April 11th, 2015
  • Clockwork Canada Anthology – Steampunk Canadian anthology; deadline April 30th, 2015.
  • There – Short Gay Fiction, Chelsea Station; deadline May 1st, 2015.
  • Ink Stained Succubus – quite a few different calls, including M/f, F/m, M/M, and lots of different genre calls; earliest deadline is May 15th, 2015.
  • The Biggest Lover – Big-Boned Men’s Erotica for Chubs and Chasers; first draft June 1st, 2015; deadline July 1st, 2015.
  • Bi Guys – Firsthand Fiction for Bisexual Men and their Admirers; synopsis September 1st, 2015; deadline October 1st, 2015.
  • Other places to always check include the Lambda Literary Calls of Submission page.

    Heard of any good calls lately? Pop ’em in the comments.

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