Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shameless Self-Promotion Part 2

This is what we're calling vampires these days?

I'm not here to Twilight bash (okay a little I am). Let's just say I have written English Lit papers for genuine English Lit classes that deconstructed Twilight as blatant Mormon propaganda, and I did get A's on them. There are books out there, sadly written by women, that try very very very hard to keep women in subservient roles, sexualize what would be considered creepy behavior by guys in real life, and cram traditional gender roles down younger generations' throats with shitty writing. The only way out of this vicious cycle of bad "literature" (sorry, I just can't refer to Twilight as that without the quotations marks) reinforcing harmful stereotypes and behaviors is to STOP FUCKING BUYING IT!

Lesbians, honest to goodness rainbow flag wearing, Melissa Ethridge listening, After-Ellen trending, dykes can be found reading heterosexual vampire romance because...I don't know why. Modern, enlightened, feminist women, same thing, reading Twilight and rambling on about how they know it's bad, but it's just so dreamy/delicious/drain bramaging. My initial reaction to this was to say, "There's good stuff out there! You just need to look a little harder." Then I looked a little harder, and I was, for the most part, completely wrong--I hate being wrong, by the way, it really screws with the image I'm trying to create for myself of always being right. Lesbians especially had two choices, bad "lesbian vampire fiction" written by straight men, or hunting down the few, fairly poorly written indie options actually penned by lesbians, but not actually even up to Twilight quality control standards, if you can believe that. That was, until the indie publisher revolution that is ongoing. Sure, you might have to wade through some bad stuff, but suddenly, the market isn't dictated entirely by old, straight, white men at the Big Four (mentioned in the last shameless self-promotion blog).
Being a little ashamed of what was out there, and feeling like I could do better, I went ahead and put my money where my mouth was and wrote a book of paranormal romance. Demons of Paradise, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, is a collection of eight short stories, my usual amount per collection, all in the paranormal romance genre. I only included one vampire story, but, don't worry, I have a complete collection (of 8 stories again) dedicated entirely to fanged ladies coming out in the not too distant future.

Something I felt was missing in the vast majority of other similar fiction out there, especially the stuff written by straight guys, is the emotional context of sexuality and sexual encounters. Maybe this is just the soft and gushy, pink-n-frilly femme in me, but what's the point of sex if you don't have any emotional context? Twilight may have got this right...sort of...the theory of emotional context was there, but the emotions were shallow, pedantic, unrealistic, and spoken at the level of your average 13-year-old. What Twilight, and a good deal of erotica/romance out there fails to do, is come up with a story worth reading. Take out the romance, take out the sex, take out the weird scene where the vampire "family" plays baseball, and the story is...oh, right, there really isn't one at that point. Stories should be felt, experienced through all five senses (real writers realize things smell and sound like stuff), and follow a plot line FFS! I built my stories, from the ground up, to be stories, and then added sex, romance, and emotional context. Without knowing the basics of creating fiction, writers can really waste your time and money.

The most sexually active organ on the female body is the mind; this is true across nationality, sexual orientation, and age. Tickling the mind works far better than tickling the clit (although you should probably do both just to be safe). In Demons of Paradise, I'm going for my reader's mind, sense of humor, and heart--more or less in that order. I want entertainment value to go hand in hand with wet arousal.

It looks a little like this in my head.

So if writing stories that are actually stories is goal numero uno, and writing stories that appeal to women on the intellectual and emotional level and not just on the arousal level is goal the second, then the third and final goal is to give a bunch of page time to things that don't normally get page time in paranormal romance.

Like I said, I do have a vampire story with the vampire basically being an undead (redundant?) version of Rachel Zoe. I feel like enough people own the book now that I can let that little secret slip. Aside from setting up a continuation story in my all vampire collection, this story was also to show a different side of vampires that didn't involve sparkling in the daylight and chasing after high school girls.

Mummies, werewolves, ghosts, changelings, witches, angels, and demons round out the rest of the cast. There's a certain level of variety lacking in paranormal romance these days. Witches and werewolves often take supporting roles to vampires in a lot of fiction, but this in no way fully fleshes out the genre. I really felt like this was an opportunity a lot of writers were just skipping over. I love ancient Egyptian stuff, and think mummies can be really sexy, so I introduced one that was the star of her own story without any vampires to muddy up the Nile.
See? Isn't this a sexy alternative to vampires?

I get that vampires are the in right now, I really do, and I have a novel in the works that is almost entirely vampire romance and a collection that is entirely dedicated to our fanged friends, but for Demons of Paradise, I wanted the mosaic of paranormal romance to be on display in stories that were stories first and smut second. Be entertained, be aroused, be made to giggle while you read.

1 comment:

web developer said...

That was a good one. Im entertained.