Friday, June 10, 2016

The Amazing, Ever-Expanding Spectrum of Genres by Rolynn Anderson

I thought I was a limber writer, moving among the suspense, mystery and thriller genres, usually setting my novels in modern times.   Some of my stories come with a touch of paranormal, so pedestrian and not far-fetched, I call them ‘normal paranormal.’   I always thought I was an eclectic reader as well…until I read the list of plots Carina Press was looking for.  Wow!  I’m amazed at what the readers are craving…and how inept I’d be at writing most of the following ‘types’ of books! 

So I ask you, which of the following genres (quoted directly from Carina Press) would you read, and how many could/would you write?

“Although we (Carina Press) remain open to all submissions that meet our guidelines, we’re looking to acquire full- and novella-length manuscripts in these 6 subgenres in particular. This call is open-ended; there’s no closing date or submission deadline:
1.       Paranormals and urban fantasy: Other publishers are saying no to paranormals—not us! While we’ll consider manuscripts across the genre, here are some things we’re seeking in particular: great sexual tension, high heat levels, male/male protagonists, series featuring shifters, unique twist on old paranormal tropes and elements, band of brother/alpha heroes, paranormal with suspense elements, and stories that delve into clan politics.
2.       Male/male romance: Though we acquire across LGBTQ, we have the most success with male/male. Right now we’re especially interested in paranormal, sexy contemporary/erotic, stepbrother romance, romances that tackle unlikely pairings or more “taboo” subjects, suspense/mystery, and scifi/fantasy series.
3.       Sexy sci fi romance: We’re looking for the fun, the unusual, the sexy, the silly, and even the over-the-top. Maybe the hero or heroine is an alien—a true alien. Or maybe it’s set on different worlds, has a Firefly-esque space opera feel, or features space pirates or space cowboys.
4.       Erotic romance: We’d like to sign someone who can write a series that’s extremely erotic (maybe even filthy). We’d love to see ménage or more, BDSM that’s not set in a club, darker erotic romance and…there’s that word taboo again.
5.       Capers, heists, jewel thieves, etc. Books, characters and setups that are sexy and possibly cross-genre. You could have an anti-hero (or heroine), or maybe hero/heroine are on opposite sides, or maybe they’re both thieves, moving from friends to lovers. Give us fast-paced adventure and a fun duo facing off or teaming up!
6.       Cowboys and contemporary westerns. We’re looking to add to our list! There are so many possibilities here— give it a unique twist, make it a foreign locale. Or it can be high tension, high stakes American-set contemporary cowboy romance.”
As you ponder what you’d read and/or write from the list above, here’s my latest novel, FEAR LAND, a romantic suspense, slightly paranormal ;-)...and finalist for a Rone Award.  Yippee!  

“Rolynn Anderson’s writing is tight and stays on point, always following the plot through
to the nail-biting climax.” –Melissa Snark

Tally hates to hear rants from people’s brains.  What does she do when those mind-screams threaten the man she loves?
Tally Rosella, an acclaimed psychiatrist who helps children fraught with anxiety, avoids adults because their brains rant at her.  But the chance to start a second child study and connect her findings to PTSD, sets her squarely among devious colleagues at a big California university.

Army Major Cole Messer, Tally’s new neighbor, won’t admit that trauma from combat tours in Afghanistan, destroyed his marriage and hampered his ability to lead.  As a teacher of college ROTC and single parent, he’s focused on enrolling his highly anxious son in Tally’s study and getting back to active duty.

Someone is dead set against Tally’s presence at the university, and blowback from her battles with co-workers put Cole and his son in jeopardy.  Watch what happens when people struggling with shades of anxiety collide with corrupt, revengeful foes.


Margo Hoornstra said...

Wow! That's a pretty comprehensive list. Don't think I'm a 'limber' enough writer to tackle much of it. Guess the takeaway is anything goes these days. So long as you write a quality book, the sky's the limit. Along with the subjects, heat level, tropes, protagonists, locations....and so on and so on. Best of luck with Fear Land and congratulations on being a Rone Award finalist. Yippee! Indeed!

Jannine Gallant said...

I've written cowboys, so I could handle #6. Possibly #5. I don't do paranormal or erotic. My thought--good thing I don't write for Carina Press. 2nd thought--is this what readers ask for or what the pub hopes will sell?

Brenda Whiteside said...

I could only write 5 or 6 and truthfully read only those. If I have no interest in reading, I have no interest in writing.

Barbara Edwards said...

I wish I had time write a cowboy story.I barely have time for my suspense and parNORMl strories.
You book sounds great. Looking forward to reading it.

Ashantay said...

Not interested in reading anything on this list, much less writing it. Well, except for # 5, or maybe #6. Congrats on your RONE final! Hoping you win!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Margo, I used to think I was 'limber' until I read this list. This list puts this baby in a corner as a writer and a reader. Cowboy stories okay, but the rest, NO. I've read some genres outside my comfort zone that were well-written, but I still didn't like them, I have to say.

Jannine, I always wonder if I'm in front or in back the the trend (probably in the back). I think the publishers have a glimmer of what might sell and then ask for it, hoping they're right.

Brenda, I'm with you, generally. For instance, I like reading well-written women's fiction where the mystery is in the people/relationships, no added suspense in plot/action. But I can't write these books. I have to add the suspense/mystery in the plot.

Barbara, you raise a good point. I'm lucky to get done what I'm working on right now!

Ashantay, I have to agree that this list gave me the willies, except for #5 and a stretch with #6. But I really enjoyed seeing what readers might want next.

Vonnie Davis said...

I read it all so I know what's selling, hoping I can stay current. Writing it, though, is another story. My "older" style still peeks through. I can't write step-brothers or step-siblings. My inner guide just won't go there. I don't care for the alien stories when I read them, so I'm not wasting my time writing them. Actually, I'm beginning to think more and more my stories are rather boring. Too blasé for the modern reader. No wonder they don't sell the way the publisher hopes. I'm off the wall with humor, but not with least not off the wall enough for the younger set who crave it. CRAVE it the optimum word here.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Ahhh, Vonnie, you're (we're all) too hard on ourselves. Any writer who can make me laugh out loud like you can has my vote! The word CRAVE is an interesting choice. I'm not sure I understand that reader, so it would be hard for me to write for her. What I mean is, some readers are so obsessed with devouring certain kinds of books instead of living real lives to their fullest. I'm not even the type of writer with stories buzzing in her head like you are Von, so maybe that's why I have trouble with the CRAVE factor in a reader-so I certainly would have a tough time meeting her needs.

Alison Henderson said...

#5 and #6 would be the only possibilities for me. The market is what it is, but I don't read (and couldn't write) something I have no interest in. Many days I think that without the option of self-publishing I would be writing only for my own entertainment.

Anonymous said...

OK, well, this is interesting. As you know, I write No. 6--and, for me, have just done a real departure--a western historical ghost story with a tinge of time travel/reincarnation. Now---that's about as far as I'm willing to go on the paranormal scale. I won't touch Gay (not because I disapprove but because I know nothing about it and haven't experienced it), and I sure as hell walk out on werewolves/vampires/shape shifters/sci fi/steampunk. And what the blazes is urban fantasy please?
There are ghost towns in the west. that's my excuse. Otherwise...

Rolynn Anderson said...

Alison, you have hit a brilliant point. Thank God for self-publishing. We'd be chewing our nails if we didn't have that outlet!

Andi, I was waiting for you to see #6! You are in the trend, baby! Oh, wait. Ghosts. Time travel. YOU'RE THE LIMBER WRITER! You win! You can say you're going to walk out on the werewolves, etc and the urban fantasy, but you're ready to submit to Carina Press, I'd say...on #6. No?

Diane Burton said...

Wow. My sci-fi books are kind of sexy. Okay, R-rated. I don't think I could write erotica. Just not my cup of tea. Never had a desire to write urban fantasy or cowboys. Guess I'm not limber enough.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Diane, based on this list I'm a two by four. Stiff and unyielding. I was gobsmacked by the list. Who knew?

Leah St. James said...

Hmmm... I've touched on three or four of those genres, but my "paranormal" is more like your "normal paranormal." My "erotic" is more "erotic-ish." Most of my books have some element of suspense, but I've never tried "capers." I'm about done trying to figure out what genres will sell, to be honest. I think anything will sell if you get enough people to (1) read it, (2) like it and (3) tell friends about it.

Alicia Dean said...

Ah, shucks. Love this post and I'm late commenting! I could do #1, though not anything too sexy or freaky. And #5 sounds like lots of fun. The rest, no way. I mean, #6 would be fun to try, but I don't know enough about cowboy stories to write one. Funny how specific they are. I agree with others, you can't predict what genre will sell, so just write the best story you can, in a genre you love, and hope for the best.