Sunday, May 29, 2005

Paranormal Chick/Hen Lit Books

I started thinking about what paranormal chick/hen lit books I'd recommend to someone and I realized that I didn't have a simple answer. I don't consider time travels and futuristics to be paranormal unless they add actual paranormal aspects. I'm going to ramble to myself for a bit and try to sort it out. I'm working with the definition that paranormal romance has one heroine/one hero and a HEA. The heroine might do lots of different things and paranormal elements are important, but the focus is on the relationship/romance. In paranormal chick/hen lit, the focus is on the unfolding journey of the heroine. The paranormal aspects are the backdrop, and she might have romances, sex, career issues, body image issues, etc., but it's all about her body/mind/spirit evolution. Often, heroines in chick/hen lit don't end up with the guy. Or maybe she ends up with two guys (like my book!). But she's transformed in some way. So, with that expanded definition, many of my favorite books fall into the category of paranormal chick lit:

Paranormal Chick/Hen Lit

Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books. These are usually categorized as mystery, horror or fantasy, but they also feature the journey of the heroine as she learns, grows and experiences during the 12 or so books in the series. She has romances, career issues, sometimes talks about her lack of fashion sense, personal growth issues. Standard chick lit fare. She even has the in-your-face, sassy dialog.

Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire books, featuring the ever-experiencing, ever-learning Sookie, a southern mind reader with an appealing nature. She's been with a couple of undead so far, with a werewolf in the wings.

Mary Janice Davidson's Undead books are the lighter side of paranormal chick lit. The ones I read were vampire, but she has others.

Shanna Swendson calls her sweet "Enchanted, Inc." a magical chick lit.

Kim Harrison's urban fantasy books, "Dead Witch Walking," "The Good, the Bad, and the Undead," and "Every Which Way But Dead," feature street-wise, sassy witch Rachel Morgan and her exploits.

CE Murphy's Urban Shaman. I haven't read this yet, but stay tuned, it sounds like another "journey of the heroine" story.

Time Travel Chick Lit:

Marianne Mancusi's "A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court."

Ok, help me out here. There must be lots more, I know I'm forgetting some obvious ones. I'll add them as you clue me in.
People usually mention Katie MacAlister's vampire books, but they're paranormal romance with a chick lit vibe.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Fool For Love Contest Finalist!

Well, ya never know. Just when I swore off contests I went and became a finalist again. I can absolutely admit that it was cool to get the call. The reason I entered this particular contest was because Anne Sowards of ACE is the final judge. When I sent in my entry I didn't know I'd be sending a query to Anne on my own and that she'd request the full. So, I don't pretend to understand the synchronicity of all this, but I'm smiling a very big smile.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Sometimes You're The Windshield, Sometimes You're The Bug

I'm feeling very "buggish" right now. Just the normal experience of most first-time fiction writers, I guess. Especially when I don't fit into any particular slot. I'm definitely paranormal, definitely "with romance elements," definitely write in first person with a chick-lit-ish vibe, am a fan of dialog, introspection and an on-going story (all my favorite books are series), and the sex in my books is grown-up but not erotica. And, oh yeah, it's about vampires. Why am I talking about not fitting in again? I'll tell you. I got back another set of scores from a contest (one of the last ones I entered before I decided not to participate in any more), and it's the same deal: 95, 96 and 64. I don't know if a high 3rd score would have put me in the finals, but it's possible. I don't think I'm any different from any other creative person in that encouragement feels much better than the opposite. In fact, my writing friends keep asking me if I've started something new (answer: sorta), and I really haven't jumped in that boat because I'm temporarily lacking confidence. I know. Pitiful to need outside validation. Actually, what I'm wanting is a reality check. I think my book is good and I wonder if anybody else thinks so. I also got back a rejection from an agent I queried. The rejection was just a 1/4 page blue sheet with a generic message. After listening to the agents on the panel I moderated talk about how often an office person opens the queries and looks for target words, etc., I might assume my query never made it past the front desk. Well, that's OK. I have no illusions about how many rejections I'll gather. It would be great to get some good news, though.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Colorado Writers Conference, New Friends, Cool Books and Ramblings

My local RWA chapter, Colorado Romance Writers, put one one helluva conference this past Friday and Saturday here in Denver. As you know from reading my other posts about conventions/conferences, etc., I'm not much of a joiner, and I usually find myself hiding out in various corners (literal or metaphorical). (Just as an aside: I can't count the number of times during the conference that one writer/agent/editor or another described herself as "an introvert, who hates these kinds of things.") So, I'm not alone in my inability to cope with powerful, chaotic energies. (Although, the aforementioned introverts rarely understand -- consciously, anyway -- the effect of cumulative energy/vibrational patterns, etc. Doncha just love quantum physics? Mostly the introverted tendencies are seen as personal weaknesses.) The members of CRW should be proud! We did good!

It was especially great to meet an email writing friend -- Sharie Kohler, the author of historicals and paranormals (one of her paranormals, "Once Bitten, Never Shy" kicked buttocks on the contest circuit over the last few months) -- in person. She's even more delightful, warm and endearing in the flesh. She brought one of her awesome crit partners with her to the conference -- Tera Lynn Childs, who writes chick lit and romance -- and I'm now pleased to count her among my writing buddies. In fact, it was thanks to the two of them (in addition to the always-present warmth of the members of CRW) that made this conference such a positive experience for me.

I also have to say that my evolution as a moving-toward-being-published paranormal author continues. Even though I know better, and as a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist I continually teach this stuff, Lynda Sandoval reminded me at her workshop that writers must set clear intentions, take risks and be unwilling to blindly stumble down well-worn paths simply because they're well-worn. Or because those paths worked for someone else. Thank you for the kick in the butt, Lynda! I'll follow the "rules" if they work for me. If they don't work, I'll make my own rules. I also got reminded that as tempting as it is to give away all my power to those in publishing authority positions, I'm the driver of my bus. I have to feel good about whatever professionals (editor, agent, etc.) I affiliate with and not be so worried about whether or not I'm OK for those folks!! They have to convince me that they're good for me as much as the other way around. Funny how we have to re-experience things until we finally get them!!

Just got the new Charlaine Harris book ("Dead as a Doornail") and loved it, as usual. I slammed through it very quickly and wished it was longer. Also got the new Jim Butcher book, "Dead Beat." Love him. His writing style makes me smile so wide my cheeks hurt. (Facial cheeks, that is. HA!) I love clever writing and multi-layered characters. I hope I get the chance to chat with him at the Writers Weekend coming up next month.

Monday, May 02, 2005

More Recommended Paranormal Books

I've added a few more entries to the list of recommended paranormal books, which can be found here in the November, 2004 archives. You can also get there by going to my website ( and clicking on the "recommended books: fiction" area. A couple of the books I'm adding are historical paranormals. I have to admit that, because I don't gravitate toward historicals in general, I threw the baby out with the bath water. I haven't ever read an historical paranormal that I can recall. I think the repressive and antiquated notions about women present in some/most historical books are just too unpleasant for me to read. (That reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw: "I'll call myself a post-feminist when I live in a post-patriarchy.") Anyway, at the RT convention I was given complimentary advance copies of two paranormal historicals: "The Companion," by Susan Squires and "After Midnight" by Teresa Medeiros. I enjoyed both of them, but I can't say enough good stuff about "The Companion." Very well-written, compelling, and clever. If you enjoy paranormals -- of any kind -- run right out and get this book. Thank heavens it's going to be a series! I'll say a bit more about it in the listing under "recommended books" noted above.