What I’ll need for the Apocalypse

As paranormal writers, we cannot help but think about some rather crazy things, including an impending apocalypse (zombie, solar flare, EMP, whatever flavor you like). Believe it or not, this topic is quite common among Fantasy writers, partly for inspiration, partly for research for a book idea and partly for fun (yeah, fun, we’re weird like that). But once you start talking about something regularly you can’t help but think, “Well, what if it DID happen?” Going along with that train of thought I started to think about what survival things I would want to have if worst came to worst.

The Top Five Things I Want To Have In Case of An Apocalypse

1. Self-Cocking Crossbow Pistol – I’m not big on guns (I can shoot ’em, I just don’t dig ’em) but you have to have something to protect yourself from a distance and this really fits the bill. I know most people would think about a full-sized crossbow, and that’s a good thing to have, but I like the idea of having something compact yet effective and even the ammo for this would take less room as you go.

2. A Machete – Now, my husband is a personal trainer and a self-defense instructor and a life-time martial artist so believe me, we have A LOT of weapons in our house. And I’m not even joking when I tell you we have six different machetes. But these are incredibly versital weapons. They’re longer than your average knife so you dont have to let someone get as close to you as a you would with a pocket knife to defend yourself. You can use it to clear a path in overgrowth and to fell material to build shelters. And it’s handy for decapitating zombies.

3. Water Purifying Tablets – we’re gonna run out of fresh water, it’s a fact, so you’re gonna want to have something to help with that.

4. An RV Van – yep, the bug-out-mobile. If you have to leave home you’ll want to have shelter and protection, and tents are gonna get old. Obviously you’re only going to be able to drive for so long and only so far, so the goal would be to get to somewhere safe that offers a food source, like a lake. But the beauty of an RV van is that it offers the shelter and protection (when you finally run out of any and all gas, wherever you end up, your shelter is already built! Voila!) but it’s also smaller than your average RV camper so it’s easier to maneuver and faster! Look at those interiors!

5. A Guide to Edible and Medicinal Plants – pills expire but injuries and sickness will continue on so you’ll need something to help guide you in treating these things.

We Are the Bad Guys

We are the bad guys—the kidnappers, the marauders, the homewreckers. We take children away from their schoolwork, mothers away from their children, husbands away from their wives. We snatch people from their lives and thrust them headlong into new worlds where everything is frightening and magical.

I’m referring to fantasy writers, of course.

Earlier this week, I got to thinking about the first true urban fantasy I read, Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking. About five years ago, my then-boyfriend (now fiance) told me about the second book in the series, The Good, The Bad, and the Undead. He kept talking about this witch with a foul-mouthed pixie for a sidekick, and how the witch accidentally made her boyfriend her familiar.


I was intrigued. I requested the book the from the library, and when it came in, I was swept off my feet and into a world where witches, vampires, werewolves, elves, pixies, fairies, and who-knows-what-else roamed the streets of Cincinnati, that most mundane of Midwestern cities. I’d never read anything like it.

My whole real world changed. My interest in being a novelist revived and I wrote to Kim Harrison to ask her advice—I still have her email response, because it inspired me to really think about my own fiction again.

It’s quite a responsibility. Not only do we create worlds and carry people off into them, we can permanently change their outlook on their own world.

What books have captivated you, taken you to another realm, and then altered the fabric of your own world?

When You See It, You Will …

Well, I don’t know what you’ll do, but I know I nearly fainted. This picture reminded me of those recent internet memes that have people posing in weird places in pictures.

This photograph is actually from a 1970s wedding. The photographer was apparently taking pictures of the party, and when one of the pictures was developed, they noticed something unusual right behind the man’s leg. But that’s not the worst part. Look to the left of the picture, by his right upper thigh. Yes, that’s a freaking face.

Click for bigger version

As you can see, the sense of proportion is all wrong. That is a man’s leg and foot, but the face is at the wrong height. I wonder what the story behind this one is. Was it just one ghost, or two? A child and a man, maybe? Where was the wedding held? This photograph was observed by police, and declared to be completely genuine.

I love creepy pictures. Do you have links to share? I’d love to see them! Here’s the link where I found the above picture. The writer has a lot more to share, some of which will probably keep you up late at night. You’ve been warned! 😀

The Paranormal Genre

As a reader, I usually classify books into simple categories: mystery, young adult, paranormal, and horror. In some cases, there’d be a crossover, but for the most part, these are the genres I generally read. If it’s a famous author, I generally just refer to the author’s name in lieu of genre. For example, if I say “I’m reading John Grisham,” it’s safe to assume I’m reading a legal thriller.

Then I decided to publish a series of YA books, which opened a whole new world of sub-genres. I’ve begun to realize there are a myriad of genres and classifications that aren’t as simple to classify: paranormal young adult, paranormal romance, paranormal romance young adult, paranormal mystery, etc. Okay, you get the idea.

It never occurred to me to consider the complexities of choosing the right genre, until it was time to classify my own books, as well as the consideration readers place when choosing a book to read.

Take my Travelers Series. Is it paranormal, sci-fi, or a mixture of both? Some readers say it isn’t paranormal because it doesn’t feature werewolves, vampires, or witches. This tells me that perhaps my books aren’t what some readers expect out of a YA paranormal. But in my mind, werewolves and vampires are supernatural, not paranormal. Is that an entirely different category? My main character possesses the power of telekinesis and astral projection. Isn’t that considered paranormal? Well, I’ve found it depends on who you ask. And sci-fi? Some may say it doesn’t meet the sci-fi standard…there aren’t any spaceships or aliens, so why classify it as such? But my series deals with the concept of alternate universes. So, for time being, I have it categorized as sci-fi and  time-travel romance as there isn’t a ‘paranormal sci-fi’ category yet.

Now, let’s look at Charlaine Harris and her Southern Vampire Series. Is it a mystery, paranormal romance, or urban fantasy? I’ve seen her books described as all of the above. You have vampires, romance (Sookie always seems to have a different beau every other book it seems), and she’s always trying to solve some sort of mystery/crime, whether it be in the supernatural vampire world, or the human one she’s a part of. As for urban fantasy, well, there are vamps, shifters, werewolves, witches, demons, etc. and while it’s not technically set in a city (I’m not sure the fictional small town of Bon Temps counts), readers are lenient when it comes to classifying it as urban fantasy.

It’s a puzzling conundrum and writers, as well as readers, should take a moment to consider how a particular book is categorized. It could hurt the writer if a reader expects something other than what’s presented. Then again, readers could be pleasantly surprised to read a book they weren’t expecting.

What do you think about genre/sub-genres? Are there books that you think are miscategorized?