Two Genres Collide: Romance and Fantasy

I’m not a picky reader. I love books for their little papery selves, mostly irrespective of genre. Romance, horror (my first love <3), thriller, sci-fi, erotica, crime, historical, mystery, general fic… I’ll read ’em all.

Well, I’ll read them all if I live to 983 which is the age at which, according to my calculations, I’ll finish my TBR pile. Assuming it stops growing now. Which it won’t, because after I write this I’m going onto Goodreads to answer a PM and will leave with 233 new books on my list.

The one genre I do avoid, as a rule, is fantasy. There are some fantasy novels I love–mostly ones I read in childhood that left a lingering nostalgic comfort, like Harry Potter, and His Dark Materials–but I don’t seek out new fantasies to read. Especially a certain type of fantasy with sword-waving elves that say things like, “My destiny awaits!… after a tankard of mead, good Barkeep.”

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Why are you closing the book, Anna? I’m dressed appropriately for battle and it’s totally feasible that I can destroy a phalanx of evil orcs with my magical sword before flying off on my dragon to make merry with twelve saucy wenches in a bath of mead… using my other magical sword ifyouknowwhatImean wink wink.

I am, however, friends with many fantasy authors including A.S. Akkalon who I talk about in my blog all the time but I’M NOT OBSESSED, OKAY? That restraining order is a pack of damn lies.

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Back in the heady days of April we agreed on a swap: I would read a fantasy of her choice if she read a horror of my choice.

I chose for her The Rats by James Herbert, in which a mischief of mutated, man-eating rats, well… eat men. Click to read her post, 15 things a fantasy author learned reading horror. I chose THE RATS because:

  • It’s on the short side at 65k words.
  • She refuses to swear on her blog and I wanted to see how she’d review a book in which dozens of people are eaten alive and a woman inserts a bottle someplace no bottle should ever go (she sidestepped it like the evil, clean-mouthed genius she is, dammit).
  • The author is not only a bestseller but also dead, so she can be as honest as she likes about it.

She chose me a book that shall remain nameless because I can’t even pretend I enjoyed it and I’m not gonna be mean about another author’s work. Unless they’re the people who write Will and Grace who, frankly, deserve to be taught a good lesson by Vlad the Impaler.

All I’ll say is that it’s a special book. Special like that kid in school who spent every playtime setting fire to ants and growled if you came near him.

What did I learn from this experience? Romance and fantasy have a lot in common.

1. Semen can be its own character.

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Why I Believe the Earth is Flat

I decided last month to believe the earth is flat. Two reasons:

  1. Fewer people will want to talk to me.
  2. If anybody does insist on talking to me, I have something to talk about.

I’m hoping #2 will be a rare occasion because ew, human interaction, but I thought I ought to practice my arguments and make sure they’re compelling. I mean, I don’t want to look stupid.

So I’m going to practise my arguments on you, lovely blog readers. I’m confident you won’t find any flaws in my  logic but if you do, please let me know.

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Sunshine Blogger Award

Okay, okay, this is the blogging equivalent of a chain letter. But the only letters I get these days are bills, and reminders that a man dressed in white plastic would like to scrape a sharp metal thing against my teeth until I resemble Hannibal Lecter when an orderly has pissed him off, so screw it.

My friend and fantasy author A.S. Akkalon (who you’ve probably read about in her guest blog about how to get her to love you long time and who has her own blog where you can love her long time) nominated me for this on the grounds that I’m:

a) not important;

b) not serious; and

c) desperate enough to accept the blogging equivalent of a chain letter.

She was right on all counts and I can’t resist that kind of flattery, you guys. I’m only human.

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I’m not surprised at this nomination because I do bring sunshine to your lives. Like explaining why I don’t trust you. And introducing gay dinosaur/human erotica into your lives. Or assuring you that you have several types of cancer.

I have to answer my nominator’s 11 questions, choose 11 bloggers (11 apparently means three – these rule setters would not cope with my improved darts rules) and set them 11 questions. Which means 11 that time, so I’m going to do 12 because I’m a brat.

So, my answers to Ms A S “Dragon Mistress” Akkalon’s questions:

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My Manifesto as new Minister of Sports and Games

Like most of us, ever since I was a little girl I’ve dreamed of world domination.

But, also since I was a little girl, I’ve followed the teachings of the great philosopher and thinker Homer Simpson, particularly: “If something’s hard to do, it’s not worth doing.” [Simpson, 1992] World domination sounds pretty hard. Much harder than convincing a cat that my ribs are not the best place to stand to survey a room, and I haven’t yet mastered that skill.

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Unwilling to give up my childhood dream, I arrived at a compromise. I’ve sought allegiances with others who may one day take over the world. Sharing is caring and we split the risk, responsibility, and reward.

I recently made plans with my World Domination Team on TwitterTani Hanes (romance author), Jezz de Silva (romance ninja), Kim M Watt  (YA author), A.S. Akkalon (fantasy author), Sandra Weicht (The Recipe Collector), Sara Dobie Bauer (fabulous author) and Lisa Leoni (romance author).

Our plans involve bananas (the potassium will prevent cramps at crucial junctures and the sugar will aid us in brandishing spears at our enemies), the obliteration of all centipedes (shady fuckers–nobody needs that many legs for legit business), bows and arrows and daggers (and probably dragons because this is A.S. Akkalon we’re talking about), a Big Bad swigging absinthe and wrestling tigers in six inch heels (because this is Sara Dobie Bauer we’re talking about),  the Great Fajita Dilemma, and the Burrito of Destruction.

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Our main weapon – the Loch Ness Banana – developed by weapons manufacturer crusheen on Imgur

My role in taking over the world is Digital Propaganda Manager. Partly because I can do it without getting out of my chair, partly because I can claim my 1,203,201 GB monthly data charges back on expenses, and partly because it allows me to call myself ‘Anna Kaling DPM’ which looks good and may one day convince someone I’m licensed to practice medicine. I carry a scalpel and screwdriver at all times in hopes that day will come.

And when we inevitably achieve world domination, what piece of the pie do I want?

I want to be Minister of Sports and Games.

This may surprise those of you who know me and suspect, correctly, that I haven’t run since 1996 and that was because a goat was chasing me (true story). Those people will also know that I would rather watch Will and Grace than any kinds of sports matchy-thing, and Will and Grace makes me vomit blood as my spleen attempts to crawl up my aesophagus and kill us both to save us from another ‘joke’.

But that’s the whole point. I want to be Minister for Sports and Games so I can improve them. And also so I can make ‘Hunting Will and Grace Fans’ an international competition with massive rewards.

This is my manifesto.

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Give Me Free Stuff

I’ve heard of all these bloggers who get sent free stuff in exchange for reviews. I want a piece of that.

To demonstrate the quality of my reviews, and assure companies that I will bring increased sales, in this blog I will evaluate a selection of products I’ve used in the past week.

By the way, companies, I am not above bribery. If you send me one measly product and a kind note, expect a 3* review. Send me a selection and a Kindle voucher and I’ll give you a six out of five. We won’t tell anybody.

Dead Sea Mud Pac

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Tell Me About Myself

I’ve decided to work on my author brand. I don’t really know what that is, but neither does anybody else who works in marketing, so I’m not letting it bother me. I’ve been in this industry long enough to know all I need is some Blue Sky Thinking and I will be able to grab that Low Hanging Fruit for a Quick Win!

Anyway.

Step one of my author brand is coming up with a brand identity. Again, nobody really knows what that means, so I’ve decided it means two things:

  1. An Anna Kaling look.
  2. An Anna Kaling tag line.

I’ve already got a great look going on personally…

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…so all I need is a digital look across my social media sites (which, FYI, are this blog, @AnnaKaling on Twitter, and my Facebook page).

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Guest Blog: How To Win A Fantasy Writer’s Heart

Today’s post is a guest blog by my critique partner and friend, the fantasy writer A. S. Akkalon.

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where computers outnumber suits of armour more than two-to-one, and by night she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

She blogs bad advice, random silliness, and the occasional short story at www.asakkalon.com, and can often be found grubbing in the leaf litter under the Twitter trees (@AkkalonAS).

She’s currently editing her high fantasy novel, “Rain on Dragon Scales”, which takes itself more seriously than her blog, but not too seriously. It also has dragons.

If life has taught her anything, it’s that the cat is always right.

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You’ll find my corresponding blog, How To Win The Heart Of A Romance Writer, on her blog at http://www.asakkalon.com/romance-writer/

How to win a fantasy writer’s heart

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Problems with International Writing

I apologise when people tread on my foot.

I say, “That’s not bad” when I think something is great, and, “That’s quite good” when I think it’s awful.

I have an opinion on whether you should put the milk in first or last when making tea.

Yes, I’m British.

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I write for all romance lovers, and have readers from the UK, Canada, the US, and Australia among others, but I aim my books at the US market for many reasons – it’s the home of romance, my agent is in the US, it’s a bigger market than the UK, and I get extra brownie points for writing things like, “Bloody hell!”

It has its benefits, but also its drawbacks. In particular:

What the hell do I call women’s underwear?

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The nine main stereotypes of writers – with cats

I’m guilty of three. You?

Milly Schmidt

There are so many writing stereotypes out there. For example, when most people picture a writer they imagine a poor-coffee-loving-intelligent-but-crazy-bohemian-hermit who spends their days dreaming up fantastical worlds and despicable murders. It may shock some people to learn that some writers love the sun, prefer to be outdoors, and actually, NO, they don’t know a single thing about how a computer works, but if you need help with anything Microsoft word related – well you’re in luck! (Another stereotype?? Whoops).

Here are what I think are the nine main stereotypes of writers:

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