Sunday, January 06, 2008

Alien Romance -- and a question of sub-genre

Do labels help or muddy the waters?
Do labels matter?

To some authors, labels, subgenres and categories matter very much, especially at this time of year with so many contests and polls taking place.

Should aliens, faeries, genie and dragonslayers (or dragon lovers) be split off from the demons, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters and other denizens of the paranormal?

Where should the psychics be? Did it make more sense when the genre was FFandP for everyone? Or, should we have newer, narrower labels.. for instance to keep the fairies out of the space ships? I'm not suggesting, just asking.

Labels don't fit my idea of what I write! Judging by the vigorous discussion taking place on the paranormalromance yahoo group --which I did not start-- a number of writers feel strongly that they don't fit in.

I thought it was interesting enough to blog about.

Linnea's zombies are alien, aren't they? Cool. Margaret's vampires are of alien origin. My aliens have extra senses, and they use the Tarot (and runes, and playing cards) and they think about sex a lot.

Some of us stretch our legs, metaphorically speaking, as we straddle genres.

Sometimes, within a series, different books veer over different imaginary lines of demarcation, at least, I think mine do.

With Insufficient Mating Material, the space ships aren't very important (IMHO) but they are there. The survival skills that Djetth (Jeth) and Princess Marsh need when they are shot down and marooned on a desert island are the same techniques that "Survivorman" Les Stroud might use. In fact, Survivorman was my consultant for the facts in the book... and he gave me the cover quote!

So, I'm quite contented for Insufficient Mating Material to be called almost anything. I'm even comfortable with "Fantasy" though the only "dragon" is a title, and the Djinncraft is supposed to be almost as explicable as any of the physics in Star Trek. It is a sexy book... but IMHO it's not Erotica because the hero and heroine (stuck on their desert island) are entirely monogamous once they get around to it, and there is a happy ending.

As long as a label seems helpful to the person recommending a book to someone else, I no longer fret about it. I'm not so cool when a critic denounces my book for being Erotica, when it isn't ... but my feelings are only slightly hurt with it being called Space Porn.

Best wishes

Rowena Cherry
Chess-inspired ("mating") titles. Gods from outer space. Sexy SFR. Poking fun, (pun intended). Shameless word-play.

"Racy, wildly entertaining futuristic romance,"~ Writers Write

LASR Award nominee

CAPA Award nominee

Mating Net in Trailer Awards

First Chapter Sampler (Susan Grant, Nina Bangs, Joy Nash, Rowena Cherry, Deborah Macgillivray, Jade Lee, Colby Hodge, Catherine Spangler, Kathleen Nance, Robin T Popp)

1 comment:

  1. Not that my opinion matters, but I'd like to see the Fantasy and Science Fiction flavored Romance split off of 'Paranormal' into 'Speculative Fiction.' Other labels don't seem to matter, except when it comes to reviewing books.

    Readers hate buying one thing, only to get it home and find out it's something else entirely. They feel cheated. Heat Level is a big issue among the readers I know and the main reason I started Enduring Romance. Some readers can handle anything while other readers are sick of having to skip over the graphic nookie scenes they can't stand. This latter group is often hesitant to buy new, which means their voice tends to go unheard in sales' numbers. They would buy new if there was something for them to buy. Of course, there are books for them to buy new, but they have a hard time finding them by just going into the store.

    Personally, I think it would help if the Romance genre adopted a rating system so a reader could see 'PG' on the cover and know what she's getting. She wouldn't have to wait around for reviewers like me to let her know. She would be more likely to buy new off the shelf, I think.