I just got another rejection on Alien Blue from an editor; it was the best rejection I’ve ever received, because it was both true and flattering.
The editor said she liked the book–but there was no market for it now. THEN she said I should think about writing something with series potential in the urban fantasy realm, which I’m going to take as, “If you should just so happen to write such a thing, send it to me and remind me I suggested it in the first place.” Not quite a request, but a sly whistle. That’s how I’m taking it, anyway.
As it so happens, I just finished the first draft of A Chance Damnation yesterday. I have a mystery game to write, a chapter book for Ray to write, a WFH book to write…and then I’m not sure. Those things might take me through to December; none of them are very long and will be about 70K altogether. So I’ve been kind of noodling around for the next thing to write and/or polish up (that is, from my stack of NaNoWriMo drafts, all but one of which were written before I had a clue how to plot and thus need major work).
I have a YA urban girly fantasy set in Japan, a rural fantasy set in 1890 South Dakota, and a historical-steampunk-rural-fantasy set in post-WWII Iowa. Not to mention Chance, which is 1960 South Dakota rural fantasy (no relation).
I’m probably going to send her a proposal for one of the above and try to start a new trend. I’m thinking the Iowa book; there are mechs, and I never finished that one (although I wrote 58K on it). The one that got away.
So I was in the shower thinking about it, and I had an ah-hah moment about the nature of urban fantasy.
My Iowa book doesn’t contain any sex with the natives. Clearly, it won’t work as an urban fantasy unless I change that–or at least create the potential (and attraction) for this to occur.
Here’s the basic template for an urban fantasy, at least as it seems to me: Person in an ordinary setting meets a person of a mythical species and is EXTREMELY attracted to them. The relationship causes we-do-it-this-way/No-we-do-it-THIS-way issues, is considered at least somewhat disturbing/kinky by straights, and promises that any progeny will be a pain in the ass to raise, even if they’re raised as either all-human or all-other, not being informed of the mixed heritage.
So, as I see it, urban fantasy is the mythicalization of mixed-race relationships. Even more than that (and this is what made me laugh in the shower), it’s the mythicalization of Western civilization integrating with other cultures. You cannot be treating another culture with respect if you can’t imagine them as sex partners.
It isn’t necessarily a sublimation of racism/antiracism; I’ve felt for a long time that racism has very little to do with the color of your skin (other than as a marker of your probably culture and mores). I have a friend (hi, Julia!) who is writing a book about a liberal human and conservative vampire, for example (that I can’t wait to read; the snippets are painfully funny).
So now I’m trying to rethink the Iowa book in terms of making the other culture something…sexy.
Sexy, sexy, sexy.
They’re asexual gremlins right now, that mate kind of like amoebas, mixing genes here and there, but mostly via the whole squish in half thing.
I keep breaking down in giggles trying to think of a way to make those guys sexy. The current love interests in the book are a paraplegic Val Kilmer (who gets the world’s best mech; two of them, rather) and a sky pirate modeled on my husband. No gremlins, though.
So, if you have any suggestion on how to make gremlins sexy, let me know; I’ll totally give you credits in the acknowledgement section and name a character after you if you want one.