Category: angst

Office politics from the seclusion of my desk chair

angst, HWA, personal, publishing, World Horror, writing life April 19, 2016

Who knew that one would have to deal with office politics even when one works alone?

I didn’t.

Okay, I mean, I know I don’t live in a vacuum, and do still deal with people, so it couldn’t go away completely, but I did hope that the DRAAAAAHMA would be minimal. It trickles in. Last week was more of a deluge. And it was a thousand times worse for some of my friends and fellow writers.

Once I started seriously writing, it didn’t take long for me to realize what a huge place the writing world really is. I decided to join a couple writers’ organizations. At the time, the Mystery Writers’ of America and the Romance Writers’ of America were my two choices (my graduate thesis was a mystery with a bit of romance). I ended up writing horror and mystery, so here I am now… a member of MWA since 2010, Horror Writers’ Association since 2011 (I still have my welcome email from then-president Rocky Wood), and International Thriller Writers since 2014.

I consider the HWA my “home” organization.

I am not going to pretend that I have been around in these organizations as long as many other writers. I started writing later(ish) in life than many writers. There are folks who have been involved for a lot of years. I tip the hat of respect to those who have weathered some of what has come before me.

I’m not sure what I expected when I joined the HWA. There have been some really wonderful opportunities– pitch sessions at HWA-sponsored events, panels and seminars, classes, other programs I have not taken advantage of. However, I see a few things that make me go hmmm.

Two of these hmmmm things share space: exclusivity/non-transparency and conflict of interest. To a lesser degree, availability and dissemination of information is another problem, mostly because the website is such a pain to navigate.

Please don’t accuse me of being merely a hanger-on. I volunteered during one of our conferences. It was not a good experience, which speaks to the exclusivity problem the HWA is facing. I was not made to feel as if I was a part of the organization. I didn’t go into volunteering even expecting a pat on the back (from other volunteering I do, I know that doesn’t happen), but it would have been nice to have questions answered when I asked them.

Before I go any further, I would like to recognize and show appreciation for current HWA president, Lisa Morton. She removed her work from Stoker consideration while she serves. Given the rumors that abound (and as far as I personally know, JUST rumors) regarding nominees and winners relationship with the board, she did the right, if painful, thing.

Many of the processes the HWA uses are not transparent. There was recently a problem with a juror for the Stoker awards. Chaos ensued after this juror himself made public his position. If the jurors were listed on the website, those concerned enough with who makes up those juries could check and then communicate with the board directly and potentially avoid the public flap we just saw. We (“we” in the grand sense of “we”) would have nothing to complain about if we don’t catch it. I understand that the identities of the jurors are kept on the down low  in order to help prevent people from harassing them, but I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the organization.

I’m also talking about people in positions of power who could possibly damage, or at least put up some roadblocks to, careers. Being put in infuriating situations that I can do absolutely nothing about without potentially being blacklisted. In the last week, I’ve watched that happen and I’ve watched some of the fallout. It’s not easy being a writer not firmly established in a genre. There’s no room for mistakes or perceived insults. It’s terrifying. And when someone in that position of power takes advantage of their clout… well, it’s a game changer.

More transparency and fewer influential people at levels of authority would go a long way in making the HWA more useful to authors in general.

I know these things are very difficult, given the scarcity of volunteers. Finding new ways to attract volunteers is another issue. I’m not talking about money-oriented things. Something like a pre-registration gathering for volunteers interested in one would be great. It would be a way to get questions answered and familiarize everyone with faces. When I volunteered, I didn’t even know who I could turn to with questions.

HWA is an organization poised to be able to do a lot of good for writers. I think the org needs to decide what the top priority really is and make that clear.

Because I, for one, really hate the office politics.



Derailment and getting personal

angst, avoidance, intellectual property, personal, publishing, writing life, writing peeves, writing process February 17, 2016
train derailment

Oh no!

This is a tough blog post to write. There’s nothing inherently negative… nothing catastrophic has happened in my life to change things irrevocably… but I’m not good at personal. I tend to be fairly private, especially where emotions are concerned. They make me… uncomfortable. But no anxiety, friends, I have no terrible, life-altering news.

This is also tough to write because I have so much to say and so many ways I could approach it. And some things that are at the heart of my problems I can’t say much about. I’m surprised and grateful that I’ve had a few people approach me about resuming blogging (mostly the reviews… who knew?), some of whom I don’t know at all.

The third reason it’s so painful is that I feel like I’ve failed. I’m not good at admitting this. I’m also not good at compartmentalizing. When I feel anxiety, it bleeds into much of the rest of my life. The recent stressors in my life made feeling joy in creating a little difficult.

But I have to start somewhere, right?

Here’s my biggest problem: I haven’t been writing as much as I need to. I am still working on Theo’s next story, and I have had a few new ideas pop up, but I’ve allowed discouragement and distraction to really get in the way. It’s not exactly writers’ block, I don’t think, it’s more like writers’ avoidance. And using the excuse of being incredibly busy and not commanding my writing time.

Busy-ness first. Two years ago my husband and I started talking about making Pittsburgh our permanent home. We’d always imagined living somewhere on the coast after the sprogs leave home, but the longer we stay here, the more we love it. If we were going to commit to da ‘Burgh, we needed different living arrangements. And if we were going to commit to new living arrangements, we wanted to move closer to the sprogs’ school and build a house. We bought 30 acres north of Pittsburgh and began the process of designing our house. After working with our first builder for almost a year, we fired them. This summer we found a new architect and builder. The new builder folded in December. So we’re on our third build team and still barely have a foundation for our beautiful home. This is a full-time job. I have never experienced anything so frustrating. I don’t know if it’s just that I’ve finally given up on trying to control the build process or somehow I sense that the third time is a charm, but I feel like I can allow this build team to take some of this off my hands. It’s still a lot of work, and a HUGE source of stress, but I can’t go on as preoccupied as I was with the project. Building a house is a temporary endeavor… writing is for the rest of my life.

And the icing on this shit cake… is something I can’t really discuss. Let me just paint this picture… Imagine you’ve created something you are very attached to. You kind of love this thing you created and you are a smidge protective of it. Then someone comes along, changes one tiny detail of this thing you love, claims to base it on something it really has nothing in common with, slaps a different name on it, and sells it. Somethingsomething intellectual property. I believe this is the biggest source of my avoidance. Why create when it can be taken from you?

There are some colleagues who know the details of this situation. The hardest thing to hear was that I have to get over it, stop being so sensitive, suck it up, etc. That stung (partially correct, yes, but not helpful in the least). A bit of my support system shattered that day and I’ve struggled to rebuild it. It became abundantly clear to me that although writing is my dearest love, the business of publishing and protecting one’s property is something I despise with the ferocity of a thousand thousand suns.

Let me be very clear on something: this is in NO WAY reflective of Blood Bound Books. They have been supportive throughout, and I am still grateful to work with them. (Hi, Marc and Joe!)

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m aiming at updating this blog twice a week. One review, and one update on what I’m doing or writing-related discussion. I’m also reinstating my daily word count goal on any project. My priority is Theo, but if I can’t summon him, I’ll work on anything.

If you have advice for me, leave it in the comments. I welcome it. If you’ve gotten this far, you have my gratitude.

Working with an editor, part 1

angst, editors, genre fiction, Habeas Corpses, marketing, writing life February 14, 2013

Last spring I pitched my book, Habeas Corpses, to the editor of a large(r) house that will remain unnamed. I met with this editor in person at a convention, pitched HC, and Said Editor (SE) expressed interest. A week or so later, I sent the manuscript to SE.

I have yet to hear back from SE. No acceptance or rejection.

To be fair, I should have contacted SE and ascertained that SE received my manuscript, but I didn’t. That’s my fault, and I take responsibility for it.

In the meantime, another large house contacted me about Habeas Corpses after reading an excerpt (I think it was the first chapter) on a website they run. That’s right… contacted me. I may have mentioned this before. This Other Editor (OT) requested the first hundred pages, and naturally I sent them. It didn’t take long for OT to send an email outlining some changes I’d have to make in order for my manuscript to be acceptable. These changes basically consisted of removing all traces of gore and graphic material from my novel because OT felt the gore would turn off readers.

Mind you, this manuscript is a zombie novel. Zombie fans turned off by gore? Has anyone at Large Publishing House bothered watching The Walking Dead? Rant over.

I pitched it again to another small(er) publishing house and was told they liked the characters, but the novel didn’t fit their line. Fair enough, and it was a pleasant pitch and rejection.

Yeah, so anyway, at this point I was completely convinced I was marketing this monster the wrong way. But since I was so close to the story, I wasn’t sure I could objectively call it one thing or another. I tried marketing it as urban fantasy, as horror, as a mystery. I had one really awful critique from a contest (more on contests and why I’ll never enter another one in a different post) that claimed it was utter shit and not worth the paper it was printed on. I entered it as an urban fantasy, and I really think that was part of the problem. I needed some help.

A few of my writing colleagues mentioned talking to a professional editor. I know a few editors from my days at SHU, but no one in the horror genre, so it was clear I was going to have to step outside my inner circle.

I started doing some research and one name popped up in a couple of different places from trusted friends. After some procrastinating on my part (because no one could know my novel as well I do, right?) I contacted The Editorial Department for someone to take a look at it and tell me where Habeas Corpses fit in which genre.

My novel was assigned to RJ Cavender. Fast forward by a couple of months and I’d received RJ’s critique of Habeas Corpses. A few weeks later, my mentor and colleague Scott talked me out from under my bed where I was sobbing and dribbling. He smacked some sense into me and I reread RJ’s critique, after which I signed on to work further with RJ.

RJ’s critique was honest (something which I value very much, but always take some time to digest, hence the sobbing and dribbling) and easily the most helpful assessment of a manuscript I’ve ever had. My first read-through of any critique only allows me to read the negatives, so I missed all the complimentary things he had to say until I came back out from under the bed. He accurately pinpointed my strengths (dialogue) and weaknesses (plot holes), and gave solid advice on how to fix the weaknesses.

He also told me my novel should be marketed as horror. And then he helped me market it.

…to be continued


A few updates

angst, publishing, writing life November 19, 2012

Hey there! It’s been a little while since I last posted, so I thought I’d give everyone a quick update.

I’m currently working on the second book in the Corpse series, tentatively titled Edas Corpse. This story will pick up where Habeas Corpse leaves off and give us a glimpse into the zombie underground in Pittsburgh. It’s a lot of fun to torture our poor zombie Theo as he fights an inner battle about the morality of dealing in human flesh.

I received word from the editor of the upcoming Dark Moon Books anthology, Mistresses of the Macabre, that it is projected to be released early next year, perhaps to coincide with Women in Horror Month. So for those of you waiting for Black Bird, it won’t be much longer!



I also want to let you know that sometime very soon I will have a really, really fantastic announcement. I’m nearly ripping my own hair out to share this news, but hair pulling is painful, so I’m trying to resist. This news will be featured very prominently here as soon as I can reveal it. Hold onto your hats, it’s going to be a great ride!


angst, voices in my head, writing life, writing peeves February 6, 2012

After having worked my through several novels now, I realize where my weaknesses lie. Some people struggle with the right place to start a novel. Some of us dread the muddy middles.

I love starting a new novel– it’s like making new friends with all the lightheaded happiness of a new relationship. I’m just getting to know my characters, just finding their flaws and strengths, listening to them reveal themselves. It’s my favorite part.

The middle can be overwhelming, particularly if I haven’t planned my plot carefully enough or if something has happened to alter the course of my original plan. But I usually still have confidence in my characters in the middle, and we can plod through the swamp together, no matter how thick it is.

Writing the end of a novel is torture.

A novel should end with a bang, not whisper, it should leave the reader saying “Wow! That was a great read!” I’m perpetually afraid I’m selling my endings short. I’m very, very close to the end of my zombie novel and reaching not only the climax of the novel, but a scene that should be prove challenging to write based on the physical disabilities I’ve given my characters. There are questions to be answered before I can write the ending, and because this novel began as a short story and grew, unexpectedly, into a novel, some of the details are still a little hazy. I’m finding myself forging on, knowing I’m going to rewrite a lot, but also knowing that getting out what I can will give me the basis to finish.

One of my New Years’ resolutions was to get my work out of my computer more. As a result, I’ve entered two contests so far this year and set up my pitching session at World Horror Convention. I wrote a synopsis for one of the contests, so I know how this novel ends. I just have to get behind it and push.

Excuse me, sir, but I based a character on you…

angst, research January 25, 2012

I have been looking forward to today for weeks. I need everyone’s positive thoughts so that I don’t make a complete idiot in front of someone I’m very much looking forward to meeting.

In high school, all my studies were focused on the sciences. I wrote, indeed I wrote well enough to win contests (including one that I went to Penn State University to accept) and was requested to write a poem for my graduating class’s baccalaureate program. But I wanted my future to be in the sciences. I took honors biology courses and advanced placement tests, went to college for marine and then microbiology. I worked in the genetic therapy field for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center before I had my sons.

I love science.

I also love writing and I have a slightly morbid interest in all things forensic. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out I’m a horror writer, but my favorite blend of horror and forensics makes me very happy.

Pittsburgh is the hometown of one of the country’s most prominent forensic scientists, Dr. Cyril Wecht. For those that don’t know, Dr. Wecht worked with the Allegheny County coroner’s office for 15 years. He earned a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1952, an M.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1956, an LLB from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1962, and a J.D. degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. He’s been involved in investigating the deaths or cases of Robert F. Kennedy, Sharon Tate, The Symbionese Liberation Army shootout, John F. Kennedy, The Legionnaires’ Disease panic, Elvis Presley, JonBenét Ramsey, Dr. Herman Tarnower (the Scarsdale diet guru), Danielle van Dam, Sunny von Bülow, the Branch Davidian incident, Vincent Foster, Laci Peterson and Anna Nicole Smith. During his career, Wecht performed more than 14,000 autopsies. He is a clinical professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and an adjunct professor of law at Duquesne University. (source: Wikipedia)

My kids go to an excellent school here in Pittsburgh that attracts many prominent people, and parents are encouraged to be a part of everything. Today I will go listen to a private talk given by Dr. Wecht and then have lunch with him.

Please cross your fingers I don’t trip in front of him.

NaNoWriMo Woes and Word Counts

angst, writing life, writing peeves November 7, 2011

I always get discouraged during the month of November. I’ve been a chronic NaNo loser. I always feel a tremendous amount of angst about this, as if finishing those 50K words in one month somehow determined my proficiency as a writer.

Recently, someone I know said something like this: “I don’t know why everyone bitches about NaNo. We’re writers. It’s what we do. We should be cranking out at least 50,000 words in a month, every month, or the writing is pointless. You can’t be a successful writer without NaNo output every month.”

Can I have one of these, please?

This statement has haunted me since.

I do not put out 50,000 words in a month. My average goal is 30,000-35,000 GOOD words in a month, along with revisions, which sometimes means my output is less because I delete more words than I write in any given day. Sometimes I drop below that number, depending on the month, but rarely ever go above it. I usually write 1000 words each weekday, sometimes more. I usually do not have the opportunity to write on weekends, because of family obligations. I also have to find time for planning my plot, outlining, research, blogging, and reading.

In the month of November, not including weekends, I would have a potential 23 days to write. This could equate to, if I bust my behind, 34,5000 words. My children are off school a total of four days, which changes my potential number of days to 19. I will have guests in my house twice this month, so that will subtract another, let’s estimate three days from that tally, bringing it down to 16, which is 24,000 words if I can keep up my pace. I would estimate I could get more written because I will be able to write on the days my kids are off school, at least for a little while, and my husband is really good about helping me find time if I’m struggling. Given this, let’s estimate 30,000 words for November, which is just over half of what’s required to “win” NaoNoWri Mo. And this is pretty much if I do nothing but write during the time set aside for me to work.

This is all assuming, of course, that I don’t have any kind of writer’s block or need to rip out a significant portion of my manuscript (which has only happened to me once, and that completed novel is sitting under my desk awaiting a full rewrite). I’m also assuming that my kids don’t get sick, that the dogs stay healthy and I can avoid any and all forms of housework or other responsibilities except those I’ve mentioned here.

December will be worse.

What am I getting at ?

I do not have NaNo output every month. Does this mean I cannot be a successful writer? I hope not. I may never write more than one book per year. Does that mean I should stop writing? I don’t think so.

Book review: World War Z by Max Brooks and a small rant about technology

angst, book review, writing and technology, writing life August 17, 2011

I have this program on my computer called MacJournal. I like it very much. I use it for basic journaling and for things like book reviews or idea management. It’s a handy little program. I also used it exclusively to keep a record of all my board posts in graduate school. We were required to post responses to various prompts or other assigned material several times per week, and I just copied and pasted all my posts– three years of work– into the MacJournal program.

I also used to use two user profiles on my computer, one for my everyday stuff and one for all my writing stuff, under the assumption that separating the two lives would lead to greater productivity in each. Imagine my shock when that didn’t work.

So my husband, who just so happens to be a software engineer *cough* geek, merged my user profiles into one. I was reunited with my evil twin! I’m just not saying which is which. Anyway, this morning I went into my MacJournal program to find a book review to post here and lo! It’s all gone.

Note there that I’m actually not panicking. The husband, whom I shall call my Geek God, will be home from work sometime today and he will find it for me. No biggie. I have every faith in his ability to restore what was lost, to find my missing words, to be the techie yin to my creative yang. Or something.

Many of you will have already seen this review, since I’m reduced to using one I posted on another blog for a class, but it merits revisiting. After all, Brad Pitt is currently filming this one somewhere in Europe, I think, judging from the photos we’re being subjected to of Angelina and the brood.

Here’s my review of World War Z by Max Brooks. Keep in mind that because this review was written for a class, an audience that I knew already read it, this contains some basic spoilers. However, in this book, spoilers don’t matter quite so much, since we know the author survived the zombie apocalypse to write the manuscript.

I have to give this book a solid 3 out of 5. Possibly a grudging 4, but that would be pushing it.

World War Z is a tough book to review. From the writers’ point of view, I have incredible respect for Brooks’ ability to make an old subject fresh. The format is new and unusual and I give him props for that, but it’s also what pushed my review of the book down from a 4 or 5. More on that in a bit.

From the readers’ point of view, I like the way he handles the zombies in this book– the mindless creatures can be compared to viruses destroying their hosts simply because it’s what they do to survive. There’s no malice in the zombies, we can’t be angry at what they’re doing anymore than we can be angry at grizzly bears for eating salmon. It just so happens we’re what’s on the menu for the zombies. That makes the zombies a bit scarier– there’s no reasoning with them, no intimidating them (the reason for the defeat at Yonkers), they just don’t care. Hunger is the only drive. This mindlessness, the sense of futility in the behavior of the zombies, makes them more horrific.

The only bit about the zombies that I took issue with was the arms raised, shambling, moaning stereotype. Many things about this book broke with stereotype and felt so new. When I encountered the behavior that also makes zombies so comical I was seriously disappointed. I get that they’re unthinking, unfeeling shells, but make them silent. Silent at least until they find the kill, then maybe some guttural noises. And lose the shambling. I don’t expect a brisk walk, but to describe it in just the way I associate with B-rated movies? Nah.

Isolation plays a huge part in the terror of this story. There are pockets of safety, shown particularly effectively in the interview with Colonel Christina Eliopolis (p. 168-186). The map hanging on the wall of her office shows a smattering of safe zones, “[i]slands in the Sea of Zack” (p. 170). These islands had to be resupplied. Colonel Eliopolis was an airlift pilot and does a good job of explaining the situation with the islands. Her own predicament, after having her aircraft crash in the southern US, is also a fantastic example of what happens to the human mind when isolated in a hopeless situation. Much of our isolation is involuntarily self-imposed, because of our dependency on technology and so forth. I could go on and on about Brooks’ depiction of our society being turned on its head. I loved this about the book.

We never find out what caused the zombie plague. That bothered me more than I thought it would. Brooks is the narrator of this book, which is a compilation of interviews with people who played varying roles in WWZ. The account was written on behalf of the “United Nation’s Postwar Commission Report” (p. 1) but was ultimately heavily edited because of emotional content. In my mind, if there’s a committee about the war and a record is being made, the cause of the war should be examined, not just the reactions. I wanted to see the reactions of the scientists either responsible for or who discovered the reason for the zombie plague. I understand that this is cursorily explained in Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide, but this is a stand-alone story. Some sort of word from the CDC would have been appreciated.

The reason for my lower rating of the book is the format. I know this is something that has been lauded in critical circles, and, like I said, I give the man props, but it just didn’t work for me. When I started reading it my first words to my husband were “this reads like District 9.” I really liked District 9, so this was a good sign. But we never get an intimate relationship with any of the characters like we do with Wikus Van de Merwe. District 9 really got moving for me when I started to relate to Wikus and see the story through his eyes. Unfortunately, because of the once-removed format of World War Z, the story just never gained momentum. I felt like I was watching a Discovery channel documentary and actually got kind of bored by the end of the book. There was no tension for me, nothing keeping me invested in the story. Bummer.

Bottom line, I will recommend with reservations.

Work cited:

Brooks, Max. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. Three Rivers Press: New York. 2006

And now I am off to bang my head against a wall and pray my MacJournal entries are not lost to the ether.

Locked in?

angst, genre fiction, mixed genre, publishing, writing life August 9, 2011

Okay, so I’m not actually locked in to anything. Sometimes I wish someone would give me a time-out in a locked room, but I’ve had no luck with that one yet.

Someone? Anyone? Can I have a time-out?


Anyway, I have a question today for the writers that might be reading, particularly those that have published in more than one genre.

If you publish in one genre, are you locked into that genre?

For example, my thesis novel is a cozy mystery. I know the cozy market is bleeding from its eyes and the chances of me publishing my thesis without some sort of revision (I’m thinking of adding paranormal elements) is slim, but if, by some miracle, I do get it published, how locked into the subgenre is my name?

I know an easy fix to this problem is a pseudonym, but let’s just say I don’t want to use one. How much slack are readers will to give a writer who writes across genre or blends genres? The zombie story I’m working on now is a mystery, in a way, but with horror elements. Would it be in my best interests to use a pseudonym for one or the other?

What’s your experience?

Genre crossing, epiphanies and inspiration

angst, genre fiction, mixed genre, SHU WPF, voices in my head, writing life July 25, 2011

I have long called myself a mystery writer. I wrote a cozy mystery for my graduate thesis project. My favorite authors include Stephanie Bond, Dorothy Gilman, Alexander McCall Smith, Diane Mott Davidson, and Dana Stabenow (to name but a few). I love the puzzle of a good mystery. Always have and always will. I knew what I wanted to work on for my thesis project before I went to my first residency and focused on mystery throughout the program.

And then I met a horror writer. He was moderating a critique session I was required to attend. I truly appreciated the kind of critique he offered– down to earth and honest, but kind. Hmmm, thought I. I might like to work with this guy. So I snooped around a little and found out that we have a few things in common, and although he didn’t write mystery, he could relate to my thesis project and give me feedback on a whole new level. Hmmmm…

So I asked him if he would agree to take me on as a mentee for my last term writing project. Sure, said he. (Mwahahhahahaa….)

And a whole new world opened up to me.

Oh, I read outside my genre. A lot. There was one summer when I worked at a state park that I read every John Saul and Stephen King book I could get my hands on. I’m a huge fantasy fan, and I read all of the George R.R. Martin books WELL before the HBO series came out. I’ve read every Piers Anthony Xanth book and named my oldest son after a character in Katherine Kerr’s Deverry series. Melanie Rawn is on my shit list for not finishing the Exiles series. I love thrillers. My current favorite author is actually the team of Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston for their Agent Pendergast novels. Lurve me some Pendergast. Right now, if I turn on my iPad, Jonathon Maberry’s The King of Plagues will pop onto the screen (I’m nearly done!). Just an aside, I’ve met Mr. Maberry and he’s enthusiastic about talking with fans and a really great speaker. I highly recommend seeking him out if you ever get the chance. Also, on the recommendation of one of my critique partners, I’ve read every book of Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series (and enjoyed them). Nicole Peeler’s Tempest series rocks my socks off.

But, aside from a short story here and there, I’ve never written outside my genre. My mentor inspired me to read outside my genre with a new perspective. Because of my immense respect for him and for his work, I read the first book of his series with a new perspective. It’s a horror, set in Pittsburgh… with elements of a really great mystery. And that’s when I had the epiphany that every good book has a mystery. There are always questions to be answered in a book; it’s what drives the plot. Every writer is a mystery writer to some degree and it’s just the elements surrounding the questions that pigeonhole a book into a genre.

I went back to one of those fantasy short stories and started playing around with it again. I started the sequel to my thesis and somehow it came out a lot… darker. The realization that I could still write my mysteries and also indulge the other half of my creativity led to a very different kind of product… and I found that I enjoyed it so much more when I allowed myself to step outside those weird walls I’d put up and cross genres.

So now I’m working on a zombie novel. It’s got some gross stuff (whee!), a little romance and a lot of a mystery. And I’m having a blast writing it. Don’t ever be afraid to step outside those genre boundaries– sometimes the product is bigger, badder and so much richer.

And my thanks to that mentor.