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The Ghost Host
I had a heck of a time finding a redhead on stock photos sties, but I’m lucky enough to have a fabulous photographer for a sister and she got the lovely Kate Bordeaux to pose as Echo Simmons for the front cover and I think it turned out awesome!!
Pre-Order the book right now!
Kassondra Sturtevant with Mystereah Photography (Facebook)
I’ve been making plans recently about what to do with Memory’s Edge, whether to publish part one in the near future or hold back until part two is ready as well, whether to stop part one on a cliffhanger to keep the word count lower or to let it be longer and stick with a more resolute ending point.
I’m still working it out, but my talented sister, photographer and owner of Mystereah Photography is getting me moving by helping me get some unique character photos for the cover art and promo materials and I wanted to give you a sneak peek.
Release part one and two close together?
Cliffhanger or resolution at the end of part one?
Find out more about the series HERE.
Enter to WIN ebook copies of all 3 books in the series HERE.
Since deciding to begin the process of selling a house, buying a new one, and all the craziness that goes on in between those two things and immediately after, I really haven’t done much writing since January. My focus was on keeping the house clean and packing.
This past week I missed my usual Monday blog post (sorry about that) but I’ve actually been getting some writing done. Hooray! I was getting ready for Apryl Baker’s 2015 Romance Blogfest and wanted to revisit the Date Shark series to prepare a good post and ended up getting sucked back in to the third book which has been languishing in the realm of “in progress” for way too long. Over the past week I’ve written somewhere in the realm of 20,000 words and just finished the last chapter of Date Shark 3, which I think will be titled “The Only Shark in the Sea.”
If you’d care to meet the stars, Vance Sullivan and Natalie Price, I just so happen to be able to make that happen!
I will admit that this story kind of veered off from what I initially intended it to be, and that took me places I wasn’t expecting, which leaves me a little hesitant to send it off to my beta readers because I honestly don’t know what their responses will be to certain aspects of the story. It probably holds some of the most controversial topics I’ve ever discussed in one of my books and doesn’t fade to black on one intimate seen, though I kept the prose focused on the thoughts and emotions rather than vivid descriptions.
“You asked me before,” Vance said slowly, “if I saw you differently after hearing your story.” He shifted, bringing himself the tiniest bit closer to her. “Now I’ve heard your whole story, and it does change the way I see you, but only in the best ways.”
Natalie shook her head, knowing he wasn’t being completely honest, but he spoke over her silent objections.
“It’s not about how I see you, though. I know you’re determined to help me, but I can’t let you do that without returning the favor.” His mouth curved up in a warm smile that caused a strange tightening in Natalie’s chest. “I won’t be satisfied until you see yourself how you really are. Strong, brave, beautiful…amazing.”
Natalie used to believe she was the first two, the last she wasn’t so sure about at all, but… “Beautiful?” she whispered.
“Beautiful,” Vance echoed.
The feeling of her chest constricting was all too familiar, but the absence of panic to induce the feeling was startling. The warmth she felt touching him the night before fluttered back into her mind like a temptation. It was one thing to make accidental contact when he was asleep. Touching him, or letting him touch her, she couldn’t bring herself to do it no matter how much she wanted to feel that feeling again in that moment.
He wanted it too, she realized. It was a frightening realization, and she almost pulled back from instinctual fear. Vance had admitted it in a way a few minutes earlier, but he had been talking about comforting her. Calling her beautiful…she didn’t know if that changed his reason for wanting to touch her. It was right there in his eyes, though. All it would take was her making the first move, telling him it was okay. Desperation to feel his skin against hers almost literally took her breath away, she wanted it so badly, but she couldn’t. She hated herself for her weakness, but there was no way around it as she lay face to face with him, the gap of less than a foot of space between them an uncrossable distance.
DATE SHARK (#1) – FREE
SHARK OUT OF WATER (#2)
THE ONLY SHARK IN THE SEA (#3)
Off to beta readers!
I’ve recently had a great idea for a fourth book featuring Sabine and a character you meet in book 3 🙂
Over the weekend we got a crazy amount of snow for our area. It was gone two days later, but still. For Northern New Mexico, snow is a big deal, and when there’s a lot of it, the roads can get pretty dicey. Why do I bring this up? Well, it reminded me of the opening chapter of one of my Romance projects that will be out later this year, TORINO DREAMS.
I thought you all might like an excerpt…
1: An Offer
Snow in the desert could only lead to one thing, sliding down a sheet of black ice, right at another car. Kate tried everything to get her truck to turn, spin, jump up onto the sidewalk, anything to keep it from hitting the Beamer at the bottom of the hill. Knuckles white as the snow blowing through town, she yanked against the steering wheel in one more desperate attempt to avoid crashing. It lurched wildly to the left and for a split second Kate thought she had done it. Until she realized she had just spun herself in a circle and was still heading straight for the other car. Kate closed her eyes and groaned right before the sound of metal on metal tore through the air.
Pain blossomed across her forehead. The rebound of her head from the steering wheel to the back of the seat hurt almost as bad. Blood ran down her cheek, but her hand refused to move and wipe it away. Her entire body was numb and useless. The most she could do was roll her eyes open, blinking slowly until her vision cleared enough to actually see something. White. That was all Kate could see. It was snowing harder every minute. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before forcing her fingers to unbuckle the seatbelt. Getting the door to move seemed ten times harder than usual, but she shoved it open and stumbled out of her truck.
The other driver was out of his car already, staring at the crumpled rear end of his BMW 740Li in disbelief. A string of furious words burst out of his mouth at the sight of it. Kate cringed when she saw the bumper dangling off one side, the crushed corner of the trunk, flat tire, and misshapen wheel well. It was such a nice car, too. A top safety pick, even. The driver noticed Kate, finally, and turned his glare on her. Snow had already covered his stylishly cut black hair almost completely. Kate was surprised the heat of his anger hadn’t melted the icy flecks by now.
“Are…are you okay?” Kate asked him shakily.
“What were you doing? Didn’t you see me sitting here?” he demanded, his basso voice loud in the snowy silence. It was the kind of sound that burrowed under your skin and warmed you up no matter the temperature, but his blatant accusation annoyed Kate instantly.
“I slid on the ice! I couldn’t do anything to stop. I tried hitting my brakes, but it didn’t do any good.” What a prick! Kate thought. It wasn’t like she tried to hit him on purpose.
He stared at her like she was a total idiot. “You hit your brakes? Don’t you know anything about driving in snow?”
Was he kidding? “It snows here maybe twice a year and it never sticks and freezes like this. So, no, I don’t know what to do when my truck starts sliding down a hill! I live in the desert. I’m not supposed to have to know how to drive in snow.”
Yelling at him made Kate’s head hurt worse, but she wasn’t about let that jerk treat her like she was stupid. He looked like he was about to say something infuriating again. Kate’s body tensed, expecting another nasty comment from Mr. I Know How to Drive in Snow and You Don’t. The angry tension filling him seemed to soften, very slightly, as he stared at her. Instead of yelling again, he just huffed in irritation and yanked his phone out of his pocket. Kate’s eyes flew wide.
“What are you doing?”
“What do you think I’m doing? I’m calling the police to report this,” he said. His fingers started dialing and Kate panicked. Lunging for his hand nearly pitched her into the snow when she tripped over a piece of the wreckage, but Kate grabbed his hand and stopped him from making the call. He ripped his hands away from her, glaring once again. “What is wrong with you?”
“Please don’t call the cops,” Kate begged him.
Keeping his finger perched to complete the call, his expression changed so slightly it was almost imperceptible. Kate couldn’t tell if he was curious or just a little bit scared. Her breath froze in her chest. Either one would work for her at that point. Whatever it was, it was keeping him from dialing. Too bad it didn’t last.
“I’m calling,” he finally said.
“Please, you can’t call.” Kate was desperate, begging a complete stranger for help. One she had just hit. “I only have two points left on my license. If they give me a ticket I might lose it.” There were other reasons she didn’t want the police involved, but Kate was not about to bring those up.
He smirked. “That’s your problem, not mine.” His finger moved to complete the call.
“I’ll fix your car!” Kate blurted out without thinking.
It was enough to make him pause. The way he scoffed at her offer made Kate want to smack him. “You? You are going to fix my car?”
“Yes. Please, just don’t call the police.”
He laughed outright, and not hitting him got even harder. “Why would I let you fix my car when I could just file a claim and have an actual professional fix my car?”
“I am a professional!” Kate snapped at him. Was he always so irritating?
“A professional what?” he asked, ignoring her attitude completely.
Oh, that was it. Kate’s freezing hands balled into fists. “A professional mechanic,” she said through her teeth.
Maybe he realized that Kate was about to add to his reason to call the police by punching him in the face, because he tamped down his obvious disbelief and mellowed his tone considerably when he spoke. “Even if that’s true, I don’t know you or have any reason to trust you. Why would I risk you taking off without fixing my car rather than just getting it fixed through your insurance?”
“Uh… it’d have to be your insurance. I don’t have any at the moment,” Kate said. Embarrassment settled on her shoulders like a diesel engine.
“Of course,” he said derisively. “I guess the about to lose your license excuse should have prepared me for that. But it doesn’t matter. I’ll just go through my insurance then. I’m still going to want this on a police report.”
“I’ll fix it for free,” Kate said. Her stomach dropped out at the very idea of it, but she had to say it. “If you make a claim on your insurance you’ll have to pay a deductible, and you’ll have to go to court, too, because I’ll definitely fight it if the cops try to give me a ticket. I can’t afford to pay a reckless driving citation right now.”
He lowered his phone, but he didn’t look like he was planning on giving in. “How are you going to fix my car for free if you can’t afford to pay a ticket? Do you have any idea how much parts cost for a BMW?”
“Of course I do. The 7 series is an expensive line to work on. Your Beamer isn’t the first one I’ve ever fixed up.” Not that Kate got the chance to work on luxury cars very often any more, but she definitely remembered back when she did. That used to be the only kind of cars she worked on. “I have some friends that owe me some favors. I’ll get the parts and do the work myself. It will be like this never happened when I finish. I promise.”
“And what am I supposed to do for a car while you’re fixing this one? Are you going to get me a rental?” He just used Kate’s lack of funds as a reason she couldn’t afford to fix his car. He knew good and well she couldn’t pay for a rental for him while she got his car fixed. It might take her a couple of weeks to round everything up. Kate swallowed every last bit of bitter pride and made him an offer.
“I’ll loan you my car until I get yours fixed.”
His face screwed up in disgust. “I am not driving around your beat up old truck. That thing looks like it’s about to fall apart if I so much as look at it.”
Kate glanced back at her twenty year old Dodge pickup. It was one of those massive, solid trucks that could survive anything. In fact, under the snow, you couldn’t even tell it was just in a wreck. There were a few new scratches on the bumper, and it may be a little more lopsided than it was before, but otherwise it looked great. To her, at least. It was rusted and dented and the paint had seen better days. That guy definitely would never drive her monster. But that wasn’t what she meant, anyway.
“No,” Kate said, “I’ll lend you my other car. This is my work truck. I have a Ford Torino GT fastback at home. You can borrow that.”
His eyes lit up at the offer. Kate suddenly felt like she was going to throw up.
“You have a Torino? Is it restored? What year is it?” he asked.
“It’s a ’70, and yes it’s fully restored. It’s gorgeous.” Misery puddled around her. She couldn’t believe she was even offering her baby to him. If anything were to happen to it… she had to force those kinds of thoughts out of her head before her lunch ended up painting the snow.
“Still,” he said, “it’s a safer bet just going through my insurance.”
His phone came back up. Kate flinched at the sight, but what good was arguing really going to do? This guy was standing in the quickly piling snow in a great looking jacket and an even better looking suit. Kate didn’t know much about clothes, but his looked expensive. He didn’t care about her problems. She closed her eyes and sulked as the falling snow slowly soaked through her sweatshirt.
Kate missed the first part of his phone conversation, but her eyes popped back open when he said, “Yeah, I’m going to need my car towed…No you don’t need to contact the police. I just need it towed to my mechanic’s… Yes, thank you.”
He slipped the phone back into his pocket and folded his arms over his chest. Kate’s words tumbled out in a rush. “You’re going to let me fix it?”
“I’ll undoubtedly regret it,” he said with a hint of a smile, “but I’m willing to let you try. I can always file a claim with my insurance later if I need to.”
He said it like he was doing it for her benefit, just to be nice, but she saw the excitement in his eyes when she had offered up her prized possession to him. This wasn’t about being Kate’s knight in shining armor. It was all about the car. Kate’s knees threatened to buckle at the idea of anyone else touching her Torino, but she couldn’t stomach the other option, either. She pasted on a wilted smile.
“How long is this going to take, anyway?” he asked.
“It’ll just depend on how fast I can get the parts. The actual work won’t take that long. Hopefully I can get you taken care of in a couple of weeks,” Kate said, praying he didn’t change his mind because of the length of time.
He just nodded his head and checked his watch. “AAA should be here in ten minutes.”
The mention of time jogged Kate’s memory of why she was rushing to get home in the first place. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and checked the time. 3:05. He would be getting home any minute. Anxious energy wriggled through her body, making her fingers begin to tap on the phone.
“Ten minutes?” Kate asked. Can’t they get here any sooner? We’re right in the middle of town.
“Do you need to be somewhere?”
“I just need to get home soon.” Kate should have been home already.
He frowned and studied Kate for a moment. A snowflake landed on his nose and melted immediately, forcing him to wipe the bead of water away with his gloved hand. “Why do you need to get home?”
“I just do.” It was bad enough she had to give him her Torino. He was not getting anything else from her. The less personal information he knew about Kate, the better. He shrugged and looked away.
The deepening snow around Kate’s feet had soaked through her tennis shoes. Her toes were hovering on the verge of pain from the cold and going completely numb. Kate’s fingers, at least, were tucked inside her sweatshirt, safe from the icy wind and snow. She was freezing, but she did her best not to shiver. Despite the snow dusting his hair, the other driver looked perfectly comfortable leaning against his Beamer as he waited. Next to him, Kate probably looked like a drowned rat in her beat up work jeans and sweatshirt, with no coat, no gloves, not even a beanie to keep her ears from freezing off. Kate shrank in on herself a little more in a rare bout of self-consciousness. Usually, she couldn’t care less what she looked like to other people, but for some reason, it was different in that moment.
Grease-covered hands, ratty jeans with a rag sticking out of her back pocket, that was how she felt comfortable. If her baggy sweatshirts and old baseball caps kept customers from staring at her, all the better. Who was this guy to make her feel like she wasn’t good enough to be standing with him in the middle of a freak blizzard? Even if he was rather attractive, and from the look of his shoulders, well built, that didn’t make him better. He glanced over at Kate just as a stream of melted snow slid down her cheek. She brushed her sweater-covered hand across her face to avoid his gaze and stared at it in surprise when it came away covered in blood. She had completely forgotten that she’d cut her head bashing it into the steering wheel. Great, this was my favorite sweatshirt, Kate thought.
“Are you okay?” he asked, suddenly right next to Kate.
She shoved her hand down and looked up at him. “Yeah, fine. Don’t worry about it.”
“You’re bleeding. Do you need to go to the hospital?” he asked. Actual concern colored his voice. It was almost as surprising as him reaching up and touching Kate’s face.
Heat rushed through her face and she turned away. Her hair fell over her cheek. She was happy to leave it there. “I’m fine,” Kate repeated.
“That cut looks pretty deep.”
Kate stepped away from him. “I’ve had worse.”
His curious expression made Kate bite her tongue. No personal stuff, she reminded herself. I just want to fix this guy’s car and forget this day ever happened, Kate thought. The dull flash of yellow lights approaching rescued her from having to say anything else. Kate pointed down the road, and said, “Looks like AAA’s here.”
He looked behind him and nodded approvingly. “That was fast. Looks like you’ll get home soon, after all.”
“Great.” Let’s get the Beamer loaded up and get out of the snow, Kate thought. Her fingers tapped anxiously against her folded arms as she watched the tow truck attempt to position itself.
“I’m Sam Dalton, by the way,” he said.
He reached out for her hand and she shook it quickly, tucking her cold fingers back under her arm right after. For a moment he looked like he was going to say something else, but the tow truck driver called him over. He walked away and Kate climbed back into her truck ready to lead the way. She counted the minutes it took to load Sam’s Beamer onto the truck’s bed. Seventeen. Both of her feet and every one of her fingers were tapping anxiously by the time the driver waved for her to pull ahead and show him where to go. Kate wanted to speed away, but given what just happened, and the thickening snow, she forced herself to drive slowly. When she finally pulled up to her house, she dashed out of her truck and ran for her front door.
The bundled up ball of laughter that was throwing snowballs in the front yard saw her before she could get to him. He turned to greet her with a grin. Kate scooped him into her arms and hugged him fiercely. “I’m so sorry I was late getting home, Lincoln. What are you doing outside? Why didn’t you use your key and go inside to get warm after you got of the school bus?”
“I was having fun out here,” Lincoln’s happy little voice answered.
“Lincoln, you can’t be out here alone. You know that.”
Worry wrinkled his little face as he considered that. “Sorry, Kate.”
“It’s okay, buddy. Just remember for next time. Go inside as soon as you get home.”
He nodded. All traces of his childish glee disappeared when he pulled back and saw the gash on the side of Kate’s head. She couldn’t stop his eyes from traveling down to the tow truck that pulled up behind her. The Beamer was already being unloaded and Sam was walking up the drive to them. Lincoln took it all in and looked back at Kate with all the seriousness a five-year-old could muster. “Another accident, Kate?”
“I know, buddy, I know. Go inside and get warmed up. I’ll be in in a minute, okay?”
He nodded and let himself into the house, forgetting to take his boots off, as usual. Kate couldn’t get herself to be upset with him, though. Not today. She stood back up feeling much better than she did a minute earlier, now that she knew Lincoln was safely inside. Kate turned around to find Sam standing right behind her.
“That your son?” he asked, motioning toward the door Lincoln just went through.
He looked like he’s expecting more, but he wasn’t going to get it. Kate didn’t discuss Lincoln with anyone.
“Charlotte, I regret that I must say goodbye.”
She looked over at him, startled. “Has it been that long already? I hadn’t realized.” She shook her head. “I’m sorry if I kept you longer than I should have.”
“Please do not say you are sorry. I would stay much longer if I could, but I will have more than one person cross at me if I do not arrive on time. I enjoyed speaking with you very much.” He hesitated, not sure why he suddenly felt so insecure. He feared pushing this any further, but he also feared leaving his next interaction with Charlotte up to chance. “Could we do this again?” he asked finally.
Her fingers paused in their stirring of her lemonade. She did not look up at him right away. Even when she did, there was indecision in her eyes. That same strange pain blossomed in his chest again. Did she really not believe what she had said about him, that he was not the cavalier and arrogant version of himself he portrayed?
“I… I would like that,” Charlotte said. She met his eyes squarely, showing him her fear, but also her anticipation.
“You would?” He could not keep the surprise from his voice.
Charlotte laughed. “Yes, why wouldn’t I?” She said it casually, but it was clear from her expression that there were definitely reasons she would not. Guy did not know what they were, but something was pushing her to turn him away.
Before she could change her mind, Guy pushed his mobile phone across the table to her. He kept his hand on the phone, ready to pull it back if needed. “Would it be too brash of me to ask for your number?”
Charlotte tapped her fingers on her own phone. After a moment’s hesitation, she pushed it toward him. “Not if you give me yours as well.”
Smiling with relief, Guy abandoned his own phone and picked up hers. He heard her let out a breath as he worked on saving his number into her contacts. By the time he had finished, she was holding his phone out to him. They traded phones once again and Guy felt great relief as he slid it into the pocket of his suit coat. “Merci beaucoup, Charlotte. For talking with me, and for your number. I am looking forward to doing this again.”
“So I am,” Charlotte said, and Guy was almost sure she meant it.
He forced himself to stand after leaving enough cash on the table for both their drinks. Charlotte followed, and Guy hoped he was not imagining her regret at having to end their time together. Neither one spoke as they exited the restaurant. It was not until they reached the sidewalk and were faced with the prospect of going their separate ways that they both attempted to speak at the same time.
Charlotte laughed and allowed Guy to speak first. He had meant to say a simple goodbye, but instead, he said, “You know, you can call me if you need to talk about anything, yes? You have been so kind to listen to me the last few times we have met. I would be happy to exchange the favor.”
“Return the favor,” Charlotte corrected with a smile that seemed to tremble at the corners. “Thank you, Guy. I really appreciate that.”
Reluctantly, he extended his hand toward her. She took it and they shook slowly, neither one eager to part. “Aren’t you supposed to be kissing me or something?” Charlotte asked, her playful smile returning.
“Excuse me?” Guy asked, surprised, yet not at all reluctant to answer her question.
“I thought the French were always kissing each other on the cheek when they said hello or goodbye. Perhaps you’ve been too Americanized for that, though,” Charlotte said.
Guy stepped closer, and this time he was not teasing. “Not at all,” he said as his free hand slipped to the back of her neck. He heard her breath catch, felt her body go completely still. Yet he did not pull back. His lips pressed gently first to one cheek, and then the other, lingering a fraction of a second too long.
He pulled back slowly. Charlotte’s breathing came haltingly, but his had stalled altogether. For too long, neither one could do anything but stare at the other. It was Charlotte who finally broke the silence. “Well,” she said shakily, “that answers that question.”
“When it comes to choosing between obsession and passion, some lines should be crossed.”
“The one woman capable of capturing his attention, may be the only one who can truly break him…”
Okay, I couldn’t resist the title, but it’s kind of true. All three male MCs in the Date Shark series books are psychiatrists. That’s how they all met, actually. These three became fast friends during their undergraduate classes, and then built their relationship to something pretty close to brothers during medical school and residency. They are there for each other no matter what, and in this series, they definitely need it.
The Date Shark concept was originally Eli’s baby. Okay, his obsession, really. It started out innocently enough with a few friends in college asking him for dating advice. That turned into a side business as a dating coach in between classes and exams, but it quickly became much more.
The smothering and harmful influence of Eli’s mother drives his desire to help the often unstable women who seek out his advice. Meeting Leila opens his eyes to the possibility of something more, but it means letting go of the Date Shark business.
While Guy isn’t a big player in this first book, Vance is the voice of reason behind Eli’s developing attraction to Leila. Not the Eli listens to him most of the time, but he’s there all the same.
The last thing Guy wants to do is take over Eli’s business, but he’s not one to let down a friend who needs his help. A woman, though? Well, that’s another story entirely.
It isn’t commitment issues or a troubled past that keeps Guy’s relationships with women trivial. He bails as soon as things even hint at serious, not because he’s a jerk, but because he’d rather not lead a woman on when he has no intention of sticking around. He knows he’s hurt the women he dates, but until meeting Charlotte, he’s always rationalized away his behavior.
Charlotte needs his help, whether she’s ready to admit it or not, and even though his dating track record leaves something to be desired, Guy will never let a friend down. Vance and Eli are there to help and support their friend, but only Guy can decide whether Charlotte is worth the sacrifices staying with her will require.
He’s been there for his friends when they’ve faced difficult decisions and emotional upheaval. That’s the role Vance is comfortable in. His work with patients who have experienced traumatic events role right into being the strongest leg of their mutual support system. When the tables are turned and suddenly Vance is the one in need of support, accepting it isn’t easy. In fact, it’s the last thing he wants to admit he needs. He’s the strong one, the one who’s life was supposed to be settled and perfect.
When everything comes crashing down around him, the only help he finds himself able to accept comes from the unlikely source of an ex-patient who’s barely holding things together herself. Natalie is desperate to rescue Vance from his grief, but letting her see his scars without causing her more pain than she’s already experienced won’t be an easy task.
All three of my Date Shark guys have their own style of running the business, dealing with life’s problems, and finding out where their strengths truly lie, but all three are will have you looking for your own Date Shark by the end of their stories.
Date Shark and Shark Out Of Water are already available, and the still untitled book three will be out sometime in 2015.
With the holidays approaching, I’ve been seeing loads of posts and promos for Christmas books. I was even a part of one promo for #ChickLit4Xmas, which was lots of fun. I’ve never been particularly into reading Christmas themed stories. I have nothing against them. I’ve simply never been drawn to them.
As I’ve been seeing all the holiday books being promoted, I realized I’ve never even written a single Christmas scene is any of my books. At least I don’t think so. It’s been a while since I’ve reread some of my early books. I’m pretty sure all I have are some birthday parties and a brief mention of Christmas in Shark Out Of Water.
One might start to think I have an aversion to writing holiday scenes. It’s kind of funny actually. I really don’t know why I haven’t written a holiday scene before, but it got me thinking. How do writers choose what genre they’re going to write? Obviously, I can’t speak for all authors, and I didn’t think about this early enough to take a poll, but here’s why I write what I write along with a few tips on how to choose your genre.
I write in several genres and subgenres ranging from YA paranormal/sci-fi/dystopian/urban fantasy, to straight up romance, to new adult (a rather new venture), to some unpublished projects that are just plain YA drama no otherworldly twists and turns at all. So what genre for what story?
Basically, the way I decide how to choose a genre depends on three things.
1: What is the main conflict of the story?
Is it personal or situational? Personal implies a lot more internal struggles while situational may be more event-driven. Figuring out what you want the driving force behind the conflict to be can be a challenge, but this question helps you narrow down whether you’re going to be thinking along the lines of faster paced/question driven writing or deeper emotional trials that won’t need bam-bam-bam events to pull the reader through the story.
2. What type of stumbling blocks will your characters face?
This question in particular helps me chose the age range of my characters. With YA, parents are an issue, as are friends (more so than in other genres usually), limits on what they can and can’t do, firsts (big decisions, relationships, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.), and self-discovery.
With New Adult, some of the YA issues still apply, but you add in facing the grownup world with jobs, bills, being on their own, dealing with consequences without parental backup, failure, and so much more. There’s more freedom for the characters in some ways, but a new set of responsibilities can limit them as well.
With fiction for adults, you’re facing day-to-day life with work and family, dealing with past mistakes, reality of the life they’ve chosen/ended up with, wanting more or something different, having to grow up and actually be an adult, serious relationship issues, etc. Asking yourself these question can help point you in the right direction for ages of your characters, which will help you narrow down your genre choices.
3. To paranormal or not to paranormal?
Maybe this isn’t a question every writer asks, but I do. So far, all of my published YA books have some sort of paranormal/sci-fi/urban fantasy element, but I have other projects, finished and unfinished, that just didn’t work as anything but straight drama. Why? Because the source of their main problems are real problems, not imaginary ones. My adult romance series, Date Shark Series, doesn’t have a single ghost, demon, curse, or magic power anywhere. I wanted to focus on actual relationship problems we’ve all faced at one point or another and I didn’t need anything outside reality to do that.
Figuring out the driving force behind your conflict will help you decide whether or not your story needs something paranormal.
So, these are the questions I ask myself when I start a new project. Sometimes I already have these worked out when the idea hits me, but sometimes I don’t. If you’re uncertain about what direction to take your story, try asking yourself these questions. If you have questions you ask yourself to help you decide, I’d love to hear them!
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