Once Upon a Time

Last night I finally watched the season finale of ABC’s Once Upon a Time. In case you don’t know, Once Upon a Time is a television show about fairy tale characters including Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, the various Princes Charming (you know, all the biggies) who are cursed by a wicked queen to live ordinary lives in the small town of Story Brooke, Maine. They wander around, doing regular things without any idea that they were once a princess or a wolf or a conscientious cricket. Only we know who they really are.

In spite of the occasional touch of cheesiness, a certain little boy I could do without, and the town’s constantly smirking mayor, Once Upon a Time has become one of my favorite shows. In part, it’s because I’m a sucker for stories about the struggle between good and evil, light and dark, and the complications that come from trying to figure out which is which, but there’s something else I really like about this show. Last night I finally figured out what it is.  All the girls kick ass. Little Red Riding Hood is the wolf, not his victim. Emma Swan, the show’s heroine, slays dragons and fearlessly takes on the evil queen. Snow White saves Prince Charming at least as often as he saves her. And she’s not a dope who’s tricked into eating the apple that renders her lifeless, she’s a hero who eats it willingly to save someone she loves. I think the world needs more of this – more stories about girls who slay dragons and are as capable of rescuing as they are of being rescued.

That’s part of the reason I love reading urban fantasy. Heroines who aren’t afraid to get a little dirty (take that however you like) are at the center of the genre – whether it’s Sookie Stackhouse or Mackayla Lane or Georgina Kincaid. What attracts you to the genre? Who’s your favorite UF heroine? Tell me all about it in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Disappointment to the Animal Kingdom

Today I received an email that contained the following images:

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more motivated to write.

(These pictures are from a collection called 33 Animals Who Are Extremely Disappointed in You. The original captions are by Jack Shepard over at buzzfeed.com. Mine have been personalized.)

 

Loud & Proud: My Romanceaholic Guest Post

Sure, it’s easy for me to admit I’m a romance reader now, but in the not so distant past I would have sworn on my mother’s grave (even though she’s not dead) that I thought they were silly. I’m over at romanceaholic.com today talking about how my Kindle helped pushed me out of the romance readers closet once and for all. Do you find yourself reading more romance novels now that ebooks have become so popular? (Apparently, it’s an international phenomenon.)

Stop by at The Romanceaholic and tell us all about it.

 

 

Tater Tots & Sex on the Desk: Is that Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance?

A Tale of Fried Foods, Definitions & the Improper Use of Office Furniture

“So what is urban fantasy anyway?” Bill asked before popping a tater tot into his mouth. “And what’s paranormal romance? Are they the same thing?”

“Um…no,” I replied hesitantly. “Not exactly.”“Well what’s the difference?”

That’s a really good question. And I have to admit / hate to admit that even though I’ve written an urban fantasy novel, I have no idea how to explain the difference. Urban fantasy, the kind I write and the kind I read, seems to have an awful lot in common with paranormal romance.

If you ask the experts, by which I mean wikipedia.com, they’ll tell you: “Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements.”

Wikipedia describes paranormal romance as “a type of speculative fiction, paranormal romance focuses on romance and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the genres of traditional fantasy, science fiction, or horror.”

Does that clear things up for you? No? Yeah, not for me either.

Carrie Vaughn, an author who writes (among other things) a series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty, has written a great article about urban fantasy, its characteristics, and its origins. I fully recommend you read the entire article but I’ll tell you that for Carrie, urban fantasy must have a kick-ass heroine. She says, “We also have a generation who grew up after first and second wave feminism, who watched the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman and Lindsay Wagner in The Bionic Woman and Charlie’s Angels at young, impressionable ages.  Who also grew up with Ellen Ripley and Sarah Conner.  Who took it entirely for granted that women could be heroes and kick a lot of ass while doing so.”

For UF author Tracy Cooper-Posey the genre is defined by wordiness. She says, “Urban Fantasy is mostly about the back story. The history. While the romance reader wants to know about the romance, dammit.”

Tab Bennett and the Inbetween has a kick-ass heroine and as the series goes on, Tab is going to get tougher and tougher – mostly because she has no choice. It also has a complicated back story full of intrigue and curses and prophecies and murder plots and a war between Light and Dark. So it seems Tab and I meet the basic criteria for urban fantasy anyway. (Huge relief. Huge.)

Which brings me back to Bill. He wanted to know the difference between the two and he was quickly running out of tater tots. So I took a sip of my Diet Coke and said, “Urban fantasy is the combination of fantastic elements, like elves or fairies, and realistic settings, like elves or fairies who live in New York City and work at the New York Times. If it’s a paranormal romance, they have sex on the desk.”

Now it’s time for you to educate me, readers. What’s your take on Urban Fantasy? What’s the separation line for you? Do you love UF but hate PNR? Stop by and tell me all about it in the comments.

 

 

A Pony of Thanks

Bluebell says thank you.

If you’re looking for me, I’m at shewolfreads.com
today talking about five books that inspire me with
Lee, aka She-Wolf, and her readers. Come on over
and join the conversation. Read about the five books
that inspire me, tell me about five books that inspire
you, and enter to win a free copy of Tab Bennett
and the Inbetween
.

I really want to thank Lee for inviting me over
today to take part in the 5 by 5 series. Lee has
had some great urban fantasy authors – including
Jenn Bennett, Carolyn Crane, and Delilah S. Dawson.
I am thrilled to be part of such a talented group.

Where I come from, when someone does you a favor, it’s customary to give them a pony of thanks. That’s Bluebell over there. He’s for Lee. I sure hope she has some sugar cubes on hand.