Tag Archives: fiction

All Depends on How You Look At It (Marc Vun Kannon)

This is my last blog tour stop before my latest novel, St. Martin’s Moon, becomes officially available, and I will be in South Carolina at their Book Festival in Columbia (May 14 – 15, 2011) on that happy day (Sunday, if you must know). And I hope you must, since I’d really like for you guys to be there to help me celebrate the official release of the world’s first Gothic SF novel. I invented the category, so I oughtta know. There are other SF novels written in the Gothic style, but they go the usual route of assimilating all the Gothic stuff into the SF trope of the day (it’s amazing what you can blame on biotech and some nanobots in a low-gravity environment). St. Martin’s Moon isn’t one of them.

I’ve spent literally years trying to figure out how to describe this book. I could do one-liners, what they call taglines. I could do two-liners, the sort of short description you’d find in a TV guide, what they call a logline, but don’t ask me why ‘cause I don’t know. I even came up with a good back-cover description. But anytime I get closer to the plot than that I get tangled in all the strings.

The reason for the confusion, I decided, was in the genre I was using to categorize the damn thing. Why would a mere genre category do that, you ask? How could it? Well, genres are a sort of shorthand, a kind of box we put stories into so that someone looking for a story of a particular type can find one easily. The problem comes when a story doesn’t really fit into any particular type. Then the shorthand becomes something of a straitjacket. One would think a novel with werewolves and ghosts in it would fit neatly into the heading of a paranormal. Since it took place on a lunar colony it clearly was futuristic, right?

Yeah, me too.

While the story does have werewolves in it the story really isn’t about them, it’s about the people who become them. How do they live with the curse? Where does the curse even come from? Why does the Moon matter, and a full Moon, at that? These are all questions that the main character, Joseph Marquand, Earth’s greatest werewolf hunter, would like to know the answers to, because he hates his job. Killing the wolf means killing the man, usually an innocent man. When his latest case involves a werewolf attack on the Moon itself, it drives these questions from his mind in favor of something more immediate, but not far, not far at all.

In short, the story is more futuristic than paranormal, and more SF than merely futuristic. SF looks for answers, takes for granted that there are answers, which gives it something in common with the mystery novel St. Martin’s Moon was originally conceived as. Except that SF doesn’t allow for ghosts. It could handle werewolves, I think, since they have a trigger and are stoppable. Ghosts somehow don’t seem to fit into the same bucket. There’s a reason for this, I think, and I don’t think science will ultimately be able to account for ghosts any more than they’ll make a truly AI computer. So SF is fair game, in my opinion, to have a few genuine ghosts appear in its otherwise unhaunted halls. If I could have worked in a dark and stormy night I would have, but hey, it’s a lunar colony we’re talking about here. A haunted one.

Like many writers, I started when a story came along and decided that I should write it. Don’t ask me why. Others followed, until now I’m afraid to go out of the house with a recorder or notebook in my hand. But I show them, I refuse to write the same story twice!

You can also check out his really cool Blog

Other things to read by Marc Vun Kannon:

Unbinding the Stone
A Warrior Made
Ex Libris
Steampunk Santa
Bite Deep
Chasing his own Tale

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The Wrong Guy (Guest Blog: Claudia Whitsitt)

On a sunny afternoon about four years ago, I plopped myself on a sandy beach in La Jolla, California and played what if. What if I wrote a book about a turning point? What if I added mystery and suspense? What if I connected it to an event in my own life that I could access in the blink of an eye?

Many years ago, I attended Eastern Michigan University on the heels of the arrest of John Norman Collins, the chief suspect of The Michigan Murders. He was accused of murdering seven college co-eds at my university. Life was scary enough for a college freshman then—the Detroit Riots had shocked my neighborhood two years previous, the Vietnam War loomed in the background, and I was a frightened, naïve Catholic girl. Though the memories of these events, and the creative joy of fiction, The Wrong Guy was born.

The main character, Katie Hayes, is a lot like me, except prettier, and taller. She heads off to school armed with her rosary and her Nancy Drew mysteries. Her best friend, Janie, is the carbon copy of my college roommate—wild and crazy. Enter crisis and mystery. One girl is assaulted, another kidnapped. Even though the cops have the likely suspect behind bars, no one can help but wonder if they haven’t apprehended The Wrong Guy.

I had a ton of fun writing this coming of age mystery. I hope you have a ton of fun reading it.

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Claudia Whitsitt, a seasoned special education teacher and the mother of five grown children, is a Michigan native and lover of both reading and writing. As a young girl, she was inspired by Nancy Drew mysteries. Her passion for mystery spurred the penning of her own mystery, The Wrong Guy, loosely based on her college years and the Michigan Murders. Claudia began her writing career five years ago. During that time, she has written two additional novels, Identity Issues, and Two of Me. Claudia was honored to have won the 2010 Hummingbird Review/Southern California Writer’s Conference contest with her essay, One Last Pearl. The essay appeared in the Summer/Fall edition of the Hummingbird Review. Claudia can be reached through her website, www.claudiawhitsitt.com.

Characters Across Genres

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Often I am asked, “What’s your favorite genre to write?”

And often I reply, “Um. All of them!”

It’s a completely honest answer. My first published novel, released this past summer, is of the spy genre. The next book, slated for June, is a dystopian. Fantasy was the genre of the first long story I ever completed (writing with my sister, good memories). An Oregon Trail journal turned into a seventy-page piece in sixth grade. In my writing thus far I’ve also dabbled in ghost, school, contemporary, perhaps gritty (I say perhaps because I’m still not sure what that means, Google refuses to clear it up for me—perhaps I should try Bing?), murder mystery, and sibling stories.

While I know some authors prefer to stick to one or a few related genres, I enjoyed different aspects of all of them and had equal fun while writing. Therefore, the first time someone asked me about genres—a reporter for my school newspaper—led me to spend about an hour and a half in deep contemplation. (The alternative was math homework, so it worked out.) I came to the conclusion I placed more value in the characters of a story than the genre, or even the plot. The plot, to me, is a device to portray characters. My characters are the personalities I slip into or interact with (fictionally), and I work a plot around them, creating believable and changed people by “The End.” Plus, the characters supply dialogue, description, action…the plot wouldn’t happen without them!

Because the plot is a tool my characters use to propel themselves to the last page, the genre is also a secondary matter. If my characters fit best into a ghost story because one feels guilty over the death of another, then a ghost story it is. If another set of characters need disguises and secrets to best be themselves, I formulate a spy story. If the characters in my mind are best suited for overcoming severe societal challenges and barriers not yet in existence, we create a dystopia.

So, in essence, I’m not sure which genre is my favorite—or maybe all of them are, because until my next character shows up in my mind calling out, “Idea! Idea! I have an idea!!!” I don’t even know what my next genre will be.

Kieryn

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