This Book is Dedicated to Bret Michaels…

Last year I sat heartbroken and terrified, along with half of the known world, having heard of Bret’s health problems.  I feared for his life, and for mine, for I owe this man my sanity, and in some small way, my life.

I will not harp on the details in this post.  Anyone wanting to get a rough idea of what Bret has done for me and what he means to me need only to surf to the top of this blog and click on the page titled “Why Bret Michaels is My Mentor.”

I held my breath as May 28, 2010 got closer and closer, waiting to hear that the concert that I had tickets to was being cancelled or rescheduled.  I had been through a lot that year; in all honesty I had been through a lot in the past several years.  This new development was just another ordeal in a long line of ups and downs for me.  During that time, I had relied on the sound of Bret’s voice and my ethereal-like bond with him to get me through another rough patch in an endless road of trials and triumphs that was my life.

May 28th rolled around, and I discovered myself on the Gulf Coast of my home state, standing one row back from the stage, feeling as if I was going to jump clean out of my skin.  I honestly kept waiting for someone to come on stage and tell us that Bret had some sort of set back and had been carted off to the hospital once again.  I kept praying silently to whatever Higher Force there may be that Bret would be okay.  And as promised, at 8 pm Bret took center stage to a sold out crowd of 1400 screaming, thankful fans.  I was just another face in the ocean of smiling, loving faces tilted up to see a man who is both mortal and immortal, an icon, a man among mice….and my hero.

It has always been one of my dreams to meet Bret Michaels.  However, I have a confession to make.  I have always had this gnawing suspicion that if I were to ever meet him, something would happen to him.  I know that sounds nuts, but I really, truly fear that if we were to ever come in contact with each other, it would mean something tragic for him.  I guess I have always considered myself a nobody, nothing special, nobody worth meeting or mentioning.  Yes, I think I’m a pretty decent writer, an author, but as a person….well, I guess I still have the same self-worth of the scared twelve-year girl who had it beat into her every single day that she was nothing and would always be nothing.

I suppose that I know that if, by some miracle, I were to ever meet the man who I deem my own personal savior, I would not make any type of impression on him.  Just another fan in an ongoing parade of fans, another face in the crowd, just one more person who is screaming, “I love you, Bret!  I’m your biggest fan!” 

I know that others feel just as strong of an attachment to Bret as I do.  I guess there may even be some people out there who have similar stories as mine.  I guess what depresses me the most, what I simply do not want to happen, is for Bret to never know that there was a small girl out there in the world, a small girl who grew into a woman, whose life he touched in such an astounding way that she stopped her suicide attempts cold turkey because she didn’t want to leave this earth without first shaking his hand.  A little girl, who still to this day, follows his career, is thankful every day that the Higher Force, whatever it may be, placed him in her life. 

I was so excited to learn that Bret will be back at the Hardrock on May 28th of this year as well.  Unfortunately, it is looking like I will not be able to make the concert this year.  I am once again heartbroken and depressed, although when put into context with what was going on this time last year, I’m once again thankful that I will not make the concert due to personal issues rather than Bret’s health.  Still, I can barely stomach the thought that Bret will be a mere 100 miles away from me.  In the context of the cosmos, that’s practically touching distance.  So close, yet so very far away.  The whole thing makes me want to weep in frustration.

I had so hoped to have finished The Red Fang by May and would somehow be able to get the book to Bret.  Yeah, I know, big dreams there.  But last year there were people putting gifts up on the edge of the stage through the whole show.  I figured that I could always do that, and maybe, just maybe, he might someday read the dedication page.  Because even if I were never to meet him in person, I could at least rest in the knowledge that he knows he has a fan who appreciates him so much that she dedicated her latest novel to him.  I guess, to put it simply, I just want Bret to know that I exist, because if Bret Michaels knows my name, even if it is a pseudonym, then that would somehow make me worth something.

In honor of Bret’s continued good health and his upcoming concert on May 28th at the Hardrock Casino in my birth city, I would like to share with my readers the dedication page that will be included in the novel The Red Fang.  This book is not just dedicated to Bret Michaels, rock star, but Bret Michael Sychak the man for just being the wonderful, talented person that he is:

This book is dedicated to Bret Michael Sychak, a.k.a Bret Michaels.  You have been the shining light in my life, my inspiration, my mentor, my hero.  Seeing you tread fearlessly into the spotlight doing not only what you love, but doing so in the face of tremendous odds, has given me the courage to let loose upon this unsuspecting world a barrage of utter crap the likes of which the world has never known before.  I can’t write for shit, but that shouldn’t stop me from doing it, or others from reading it.  Rock on!

Love, Poison, and Bret Michaels always,


*Please feel free to link back to this article, Tweet it, post on Facebook, Myspace, etc.  My hopes are that if enough people get the word out about this article, Bret might at least have heard of the erotic fantasy writer known as Nicola Chey Matthews.

Plagiarism Update #3: Victory to the Original Authors!

I am pleased to announce that thanks to the hard work and dedication of Alex Severin, Master Vyle, and numerous other authors who were plagiarized by “Mistress” Ana Phylaxis, all of her stolen works have been taken down from Amazon.  I just hope that this woman understands that just because a story is published online, it is STILL protected under the same copyright as it would be if it had been published in print, and therefore is punishable by law.  Unfortunately, it would appear that this woman has managed to brain-wash a large portion of people who call themselves “fans” of hers and is calling out Alex Severin’s claims that she is the original author of her own work.

Are you serious?  Which is more likely, that 44 people got together and decided to rip off ONE PERSON’S work by picking and choosing stories from her, posting them online (some of the stories have been out in cyberspace for more than a decade) and allowing readers to access them FOR FREE….or that Rebekah Geissler searched the internet for these stories, copied and pasted them into a Word document, slapped them together through LuLu and then SOLD them to the masses.  Hmmm, 44 people looking to not make a single cent off of ‘her’ work or her looking to make a few quick bucks off the hard work of 44 other authors?  Yeah, it doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.  And to add insult to injury, she thinks everyone is too stupid (and apparently her ‘fans’ are) to realize that all these different stories have different writing styles and use of the English language.  Yep, that’s not a tell tell sign now, is it?

Using Big Words Does Not Make You Sound Smarter…

Instead, it makes you sound more like an idiot than those ill-informed morons that you are trying to show up.  In other words, it makes you look neither smart nor witty, but instead makes you sound like cyberspace’s version of a smart-assed bully.

I am not a dumb person by any stretch of the imagination.  I graduated top of my class with highest honors in high school, did even better in college, am very well versed in many subjects, and have a very considerable vocabulary.  I learned, many many years ago, that those who are of ‘average’ intelligence do not mind being around those who are smarter than they are, provided that the smarter person in question does not try to rub the other person’s face in the fact that he/she is smarter.  To put it bluntly, even though you may have an IQ to rival that of Einstein and a vocabulary to rival that of Merriam and Webster, no one likes being constantly reminded that they are not as smart as you.  They do not appreciate smarter people rubbing their faces in their ‘dumbness.’  They certainly do not like being around anyone who is constantly ‘talking down’ to them by using big words that not even doctors and lawyers use in everyday conversations.  If you insist upon constantly using large words as a way to always remind others that they are not as smart as you, then you are going to discover yourself being an unwanted outcast who other people avoid at all costs.

What good does it do to use big words that 99.99% of the population neither uses nor understands the definition of?  What is the point other than to remind people constantly that you are smarter than they are?  And why, if you are so smart, are you so insecure that you think that you just have to constantly remind people that you are smarter and have a larger vocabulary?   The only purpose it serves is to stroke your already over-inflated ego which is apparently so fragile that you seem to think that the only way to solidify your intellectual superiority over others is to use big words in all the wrong places.

Critiques? Don’t Make Me Laugh!

If you have ever posted your written works on forums or websites that allowed comments/reviews, then you have probably come across such stellar critiques as:  ‘Great!  I loved it!’  ‘Really good!  I enjoyed this!’ You may even be familiar with such opinions as ‘That sucked!’  ‘This was a piece of total crap!’  ‘I hated this!  You call yourself a writer?’

We have all been there.  You come across such comments as these on your written pieces and you think, ‘Well, that’s great.  I’m glad you liked it, but exactly what did you like about it?  Why did you hate it?  Why did you think it sucked?  Why do you seem to think that I cannot write?’

As writers, our readers are our life’s blood.  We like to know what it is that we are doing that they are getting so much enjoyment out of.  Likewise, we like to know what parts they are not taking a liking to.  For the most part, writers with any amount of time and experience under their belts will take the opinions of readers with a grain of salt.  However, for some reason, writers of all experiences seem to pay too much attention to the ‘critiques’ that other writers give.

Writers make the worst critics.  In all honesty, they really have no business dishing out advice to other writers.  I know what you are thinking:  “But they write!  Who better to give advice on something other than a professional that has done this?”

Were you asking for medical advice from another medical professional, I would say that you were correct.  But writing is, for all intents and purposes, an art form.  Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a good story is in the mind’s eye of the reader.  Writers are already extremely critical of their own work, so one can only imagine how hard they are on other writers.  They also have egos to rival that of any rock star.  We already think that we are the best writers ever.  So how can anyone who is never satisfied with their own work and who already thinks they are the know it all and end all of writing possibly give out unbiased judgment of another artist’s work?  In short, they can’t.

Writing is a very personal and very expressive form of art.  Writers can spend years cultivating ideas, putting their blood, sweat, heart, and soul into a piece of work.  No one, no matter how many published novels they have, how great of a writer they think that they are, no matter how many years of experience they have, can look at a piece of written literature and not inject some of their own style into it.  In other words, we are set in our ways.  We have our own style of writing, our own likes and dislikes, and our own opinions of what makes a good piece of literature great in our eyes.  They are nothing but opinions, and as such, they have no place in the critique of other writers.  Just because we think a piece would sound better if it was written in our own personal style does not mean that others share this view-point, nor does it mean that the piece of literature would, in fact, be an overall better piece of work if it were changed.  Not everyone wants to read poetry that goes by strict rules of rhythm and rhyme.  Not everyone wants to read a murder mystery that has all the loose ends tied up.  Not everyone wants their vampire novels filled with spontaneously combusting walking corpses that uses mind tricks to make their victims fall in love with them.  If everyone wrote like everyone else, then the literature shelved in libraries across the world would have no meaning.  So what if you have a published novel.  I have four.  So what if you have been writing for fifteen years.  I have been writing for twenty-eight.  And what I have learned in all that time that the only person who can make my writing better, is me.

In other words, critiques by other writers are pretty much useless.  There is only one thing that will ever make a writer any better at their craft.  And that is lots.  And lots.  And lots.  Of practice.  Think of it this way.  You can have the recipe for baking a cake memorized down to the letter.  You can have other bakers give you ideas and opinions all day long about what will make the cake turn out better.  You can read books and articles until your eyes are sore, but until you actually practice making that cake, all the opinions and critiques in the world are not going to do you one bit of good.  What matters at the end of the day is that you have put forth your best effort into what you have created.  Always remember that what you write in ten years is going to be different, and possibly better, than what you write today, because as a human, you will grow not only as a person but as a writer as well.  Don’t be afraid to try new things, and never be afraid of failure.  After all, even the world’s bestselling authors have been known to produce the occasional piece of crap.

The Fine Art of Bull Shit

I have several favorite authors such as Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlene Harris, Robin Cook, and Michael Crichton, just to name a few.  Even though I really love their style of writing and their storylines, I admit that I have skipped my way through some of their novels.  And not just a page here or there, but sometimes as much as 10 pages at one whack.  With Stephen King, I have skipped over entire chapters.  With the last 3 books of the Twilight Saga, I skipped over entire chunks (especially when she started going from Bella’s viewpoint to Edward’s to Jacob’s and back again.  Bad move, Meyer).   

Last year I was forced into taking a Public Speaking class as part of my core requisites for my degree.  Our very first speech was to discuss three things about ourselves.  A woman about a year younger than me said she was an avid reader.  This, of course, immediately grabbed my attention.  But then she told everyone that she was a speed reader.  Not only was she a speed reader, but she had finished the last Harry Potter book in under 6 hours, a book that would keep the average reader busy for a good six months. 

As a reader, I was disheartened.  As a writer, I was absolutely livid.  It got me to thinking.  Now I will admit that I do not know much about speed reading and have no desire to learn.  I did an internet research and came up with basically this when it comes to speed reading:  you pick out only the essential, or important parts, of the work at hand and focus on just those few words.  And I do mean “few” words.  Apparently if you get really good at it you will be down to picking out only the subject and verbs of sentences.  Well, I decided to pick a passage at random from my in-progress novel, The Red Fang, and try my hand at only picking out the subject and verbs.  I wanted to get an idea of exactly what a speed reader would get out of a book when they Speedy Gonzales’ed their way through it.   By doing this, I thought I might also get some insight into what people are getting out of, and essentially missing, when they skim and skip their way through a novel.   Here is a random passage from my own personal novel, The Red Fang,  with only simple subjects and verbs picked out (yes, it’s been a while since I did this, so bear with me). 

Paragraph 1:  man gaveStealth knewwas  heartbeatsmell goneone did not. Vampire.

Paragraph  2:  Ethereal lookedIt would beshe didn’tNikkolas wasJoshua hadn’tThey were.

As you can see from reading this, you don’t know a whole lot about what is really going on in this story.  Sure, you get a basic idea.   A man gave something to Stealth (we don’t know what or in what context).  About the only thing we can decipher from the remainder of that passage is that someone is a vampire.  But who is Stealth?  Who is a vampire?  What is a vampire?  The smell is gone out of what?

In the second passage we know that Ethereal looked.  The rest of that is utter jibberish that leaves us with more questions than answers.  She didn’t what?  And who is she, exactly?  Nikkolas was what?  Joshua hadn’t what?  They were what?  Who is “they” exactly? 

Now let’s sit and think about this for a minute.  There are people out there who will actually speed read their way through a book.  But most people won’t.  What they will do, however, is flip through pages, possibly even whole chapters, and sometimes even whole chunks of a novel to get back to something that they deem “interesting.”  So where does that leave us as a writer?

The fine art of Bull-Shit.  Now I know that everyone has their own opinion in regards to who is a good writer.  For me, that opinion lies in Anne Rice.  This woman knows the fine art of Bull-Shit.  Even though I really enjoy reading other writers’ works, I have rarely skipped through any of Rice’s work.  And the reason behind that is because, again, she knows the fine art of Bull-Shit.

What am I talking about?  Have you ever read a book where you get to some point in the story where it kind of starts rambling off about something that really has nothing to do with the storyline?  Or you will periodically notice that the writer’s use of adverbs and adjectives get excessive in some parts of their work while appearing nonexistent in other parts? 

In a word, what I am talking about is “filler.”  Some writers are so bad at the art of BSing their way through their own storyline that you know when they are adding “filler” to their own story to get the word count up.  But some writers, such as Anne Rice, are so damn good at the fine art of Bull-Shit that you will read practically every single word that they write because the “filler” that they are using is so well written that you don’t even realize that it is “filler” for the story.  In other words, it is not just ‘being wordy’ but is eloquently written.

So how does one learn the fine art of BSing their way through a story?  Practice.  Lots.  And lots.  Of practice.  It is something that comes with time.  And not everyone will be any good at it or even want to use “filler” in their stories.  If you are the type who likes to get to the point and just be done with it, then the fine art of BS will not only elude you, but will probably work against you in the long run.  The fine art of BS is not for everyone.  If you can learn to use it effectively, then it can be a very valuable tool.  And, of course, not everyone will use the little tricks of the trade the same way.  Others will make up their own little rules and tricks for adding filler.  That’s okay too.  If it’s working for you, don’t try to fix what isn’t broken.

A little trick that I like to do with my work is write little spin-off stories from the primary novel and then work them into the storyline somewhere.  Now some of these stories are just little snippets that really have very little, if anything, to do with the story.  If taken out, it really would not have any bearing on the overall plotline.  But if used correctly, taking little side trips with your audience can work in your favor. 

Use this little trick cautiously though.  Not all readers will want to take a side trip.  That story in itself will have to be interesting or else your readers are going to be skipping over it as well.  Timing is everything when using this trick.  If you have the same few characters doing the same thing for 100 pages, then people are going to get bored really quickly.  Work in a little side trip, like a flashback or a recantation of a story in an effort to take your reader’s mind off the fact that your characters have been doing nothing but talking for the last 30 pages.  It peaks the reader’s interest since you now have new content, and once the little side trip is over, your readers will be more open to the idea of going back into the original story because it will seem fresh again.  It’s kinda like eating salty chips.  You keep eating them and soon your taste buds get bored.  Give yourself a little something sweet and suddenly when you go back to the salty chips they are not nearly as boring as they were a few minutes before.

Now the fine art of BS is not just about adding filler, but about keeping your audience interested enough in your work that they are not skipping over whole pieces.  After all, if I am going to sit down and take the time to hammer out this plotline and commit it to paper, the least a reader can do is have the courtesy to read the damn thing in its entirety, right?  Unfortunately, that’s just not the way our minds work.  It gets bored, it’s ready to go on to more interesting things.  A good writer recognizes this and does everything he can think of to throw kinks into the storyline to keep the reader interested.  However, if you use this little trick to make a normal 100,000 word novel into a 1 million word novel, you stopped being eloquent and tumbled head-over-heels into ‘wordiness’ land.  That, my friends, is  a place that readers will also avoid like the plague.  If you have doubts about whether or not you are being wordy or adding in too much, then stop.  If you have to wonder if the storyline is getting too long, then the answer is always going to be ‘yes’ if you ask a reader.  Remember the law of word of mouth advertising:   one person praises it, one or two people will go out and read it.  One person trashes it, you’ll have dozens who will avoid it like the plague.  It’s simple human nature.  We forget to tell people about good things, but we climb the highest tower and shout our distaste for something to the rooftops…and anyone who will sit still long enough to listen to us.

How to keep the story interesting ?  The answer to this question is as varied as the writers who use them.  Side trips, introduce new characters, have a flashback…the list goes on and on.  And a lot of the tricks that can be used depends upon what is going on in the storyline.  Characters sitting still for 40 pages doing nothing but talking is going to get boring.  Throw some action into the midst.  If you cannot change things around and you must have a long interval of the same characters doing the same thing, then close out the chapter and start a new one with different characters in a different setting.  You can always come back to those characters and pick up where you left off.  If that’s not possible, then try tossing in a new character.  If nothing else, have the dog steal food off the table and send everyone chasing after the thing.  ANYTHING to break the monotony of a storyline gone stale.

Okay, so you get the picture.  The fine art of Bull-Shit can really help some writers.  But as I mentioned, it takes lots of practice.  And even then some writers will not ever be able to use this fine art form, or even want to use it for that matter.  However you decide to keep your writers interested, just try to make certain that you do.  As I said, if you are going to take the time to sit down and commit the storyline to paper, you will want to do everything you can to ensure that your reader takes the time to consume the work in its entirety.  After all, if they are only reading this:

man gaveStealth knewwas  heartbeatsmell goneone did not. Vampire.

 Ethereal lookedIt would beshe didn’tNikkolas wasJoshua hadn’tThey were.

Then they are missing out on all of this:

The man gave Stealth an evil grin.  But Stealth already knew what he was.  There was no heartbeat, no movement of breath in his body.  The smell of human flesh was already gone from his dead form.  Only this one did not smell of human blood; he smelled of the blood of the undead.  Vampire.

Ethereal looked around her at the concrete.  It would be more difficult to call forth, would require more energy.  But right now she didn’t have much choice.  Nikkolas was on the ground, his body so riddled with bullets that he could no longer stand.  Joshua still hadn’t made it to Tatum and the others.  They were losing, and to lose here would mean lives lost.

N. C. Matthews

Blurring the Lines of Genres – Part II

When it comes to categorizing the written word, the sky’s the limit.  As I have already stated in Part I of Blurring the Lines, there can be some discrepancies between different sources’ views on exactly what encompasses a specific genre, making an already difficult task even more daunting.  However, there are some general basics that will hold true no matter how many sources you may find on the subject.  It is these basic truths that you will need to stick with when it comes to picking out the correct categories and tagged themes for your storylines.

Let’s take a look at fantasy fiction.  Fiction, of course, is a storyline that is not true.  But what, exactly, constitutes ‘fantasy’? describes the genre ‘fantasy’ to be any storyline that contains anything that is not real (such as talking animals, shape shifting,  vampires, sprites, elves, trolls, monsters, ghosts, goblins, witches etc.), is often characterized by unrealistic settings, magic, or some other type of supernatural element either in its characters, setting, or plotline.  In other words, a fantasy story usually describes something that could never happen in real life.  An element of magic is almost always used in the story in some way whether it be in the setting or the plot, and could also be practiced by the characters themselves. 

Science fiction and fantasy are very different categories, but often times the line between them is extremely thin, as I have already pointed out in Part I of Blurring the Lines.  As I said, a novel can easily fit into 2 or 3 or more categories.  Since the lines between science fiction and fantasy fiction often overlap each other, these two genres are sometimes shelved together because of both the readers’ tendencies to like stories that overlap the two genres and the writers’ tendencies to create stories with plotlines that overlap the genres as well.

Since the fantasy genre can encompass so many different elements, the genre has become divided into many different sub-genres.  Some of those subgenres are:

contemporary fantasy (sometimes called real world fantasy) – A fantasy storyline set in the modern world.  My novel, The Red Fang, would fit nicely into this category.  Another example of this would be Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga, as well as some of Anne Rice’s novels in several of her different series, and let’s not forget Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, just to name a few. 

dark fantasy – a fantasy storyline with horror elements to it.  Again, The Red Fang would fit into this subgenre as well.  The difference between dark fantasy and regular horror is that the frightening elements are usually imaginary rather than real.  What this means is that zombies attacking humans is very scary in the storyline, but it would not happen in real life.  Contrary to a serial killer killing off people, which would be just plain ole horror.

science fantasy – a fantasy storyline that has elements of science fiction in it.  The Red Fang also fits into this subcategory.

heroic fantasy – a fantasy story that involves heroes in mythical lands.  It is sometimes called adventure fantasy.  The basic storyline is based around a main character or characters and his/her/their adventures.  The difference between heroic and high fantasy is that in high fantasy the hero(s) usually has a motive behind their adventures, such as the whole good vs evil thing.  Heroic fantasy or adventure fantasy focuses more on the action and adventure of the storyline itself rather than the underlying reason behind the adventure.  The Red Fang borders this genre as well.  While the storyline has a few details on what is driving the war between SHiELD and the supernaturals, the focus of the story is more about the action and less about the technical details.

young adult fantasy – a fantasy storyline that usually features teenaged characters that often have to deal with coming-of-age issues.  These novels are marketed towards the teenaged population.  Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga fits beautifully into this subgenre, but it also fits into other subgenres as well.

mystery fantasy – a fantasy storyline that has elements of mystery in them

These, of course, are just a few of the many different subgenres in the fantasy category.  Likewise, the same can be said for the science fiction genre.  Some of the subcategories in science fiction are:

cyberpunk – science fiction storyline that is dominated by the feeling that man is dwarfed by machine in an extremely technological world.  Remember the Terminator series?  Classic cyberpunk, as was The Matrix.

hard science fiction – fiction storyline that has a lot of technical details in the hard sciences such as biology, chemistry, and physics.  Author Robin Cook is a great example of hard science fiction.

time travel – fiction storyline dealing with the elements of time travel.  A storyline that explains a lot of the technicality of time travel could easily fit into the hard science fiction subgenre as well.

young adult science fiction – as with young adult fantasy fiction, the characters are usually teenaged and deal with some type of coming of age issue

apocalyptic science fiction – storylines featuring the end of the world or a world after “the end” has occurred

first contact science fiction – storylines that deals with the initial contact between the human race and an extraterrestrial species

military science fiction – often features storylines that deal with some type of battle conflict against a range of opponents (aliens, cyborgs, humans)  set in a futuristic world.  Again, The Red Fang borders this genre as well, although the reader is never really told what year it is, one gets the sense that the story is set in a future world rather than futuristic one full of technology and lots of change.

near future science fiction – storylines that are set in the modern world or near-modern world but has futuristic elements to them, often with the new technology in current development.  Yet another subgenre that The Red Fang would fit nicely into.

These subgenres are far from being all-inclusive.  The overlapping of the genres and subgenres can make categorizing a written piece harder for some and easier for others.  Categorizing your stories as accurately as possible will put your work into the hands of readers who are looking for those specific storylines.  A good rule of thumb is to look for the largest element in the storyline and use that one as the main category, and then add additional subgenres as needed.

With that in mind, I attempted to categorize the novel I am currently working on, The Red Fang.  Overall, this storyline deals with fantasy since it is about vampires, werewolves, and half-breeds.  It also has some science fantasy elements to it as well.  While it also deals with some very technical explanations with the biology of the vampire and werewolf, it could also fit into the hard science fiction category, although I would not use that subgenre because it is dealing with the biology of a being that does not actually exist.  It also has erotic themes to it so it could be considered erotic fantasy fiction as well.  It also has a few elements of the near future science fiction and military science fiction.  I would break down my categorization of this novel as:

erotic fantasy, subgenres of science fantasy with near future science fiction and military science fiction elements.

While categorizing a written work can feel overwhelming, taking the main themes out and categorizing those is often easier than trying to pick out subgenres for each and every element in the storyline.  Stick with your main themes; the rest is just icing on the proverbial literary cake.

Blurring the Lines of Genres: Part I

Categorizing your written works can be very challenging in today’s market.  Properly tagging, as well as miss-tagging, your works can work for you or against you.  For instance, the adult entertainment forum that I often post to has two very popular tags that get more reads and exposure than all the other themes.  Some writers will ‘tag’ or categorize their story with these specific themes even if their story does not contain these elements for the simple reason that they think it will get them more reads.  While miss-tagging the story may attract more people to it, doing so often has a huge backlash of readers leaving negative comments and ratings because they felt cheated that the story did not actually have any of the elements that the story was tagged with.  It would be like a reader picking up a novel that was categorized as having vampires in it when it actually didn’t.  Imagine how disappointed the reader would be to have invested all this time and energy in a book and read it from cover to cover only to discover after the fact that there were  not actually any vampires in the book at all.  Readers can be very fickle.  Piss them off just once and they can turn on you like rabid dogs.  Okay, maybe not exactly like rabid dogs, but you get the idea. 

So you may be wondering how on earth you are supposed to wade your way through all the different genres and sub-genres to pick out the perfect themes for your works.  Well, if your works are anything like mine, they probably have elements of several different genres in them.  And anyone who has ever looked up genres on the internet also knows that the experts do not exactly agree 100% on what constitutes a specific genre.  Most people are familiar with mystery, crime, fantasy, science fiction, romance, and erotica.  But what if your story consists of a vampire detective agency trying to solve the crime of who stole the aliens’ spaceship?  And what if the two main characters fall in love and there are some really hot sex scenes thrown into the mix.  What, exactly, would you consider that novel?  Mystery?  Crime?  Fantasy?  Science Fiction?  Romance?  Erotica?  The answer is yes…to all of it.  Throw in some gory fight scenes among all the little aliens and you might could even get away with using horror as a genre listing too. 

As you can see, trying to decide exactly which genre your novel fits into can be a very daunting task.  If the company selling the novel allows a work to be placed in multiple genres, then narrowing it down to 3 or 4 isn’t so bad.  But what happens when you can only list one genre?  That, my friends, is where the lines of genres begin to blur.

Remember how I said that using popular tags could work for you or against you?  Here is one of those times when you are going to have to make an educated, and ethical, decision.  The general rule of thumb for trying to pick out a specific genre is to pick the one that has the strongest element.  In the above example of the vampire detective agency, it could easily fit into the fantasy, science fiction, and mystery genres.  So which one should you ultimately pick?  This is one of those personal decisions that writers have to make all the time.  If you are wanting to be known for writing a specific genre, then you would want to choose that one.  If you are looking to boost your reads, then you might want to pick a genre that is relevant to your story but which is more popular with readers.  Right now, vampires are a hot topic.  Tagging your story as a fantasy novel with vampires could mean more readers.  However, with the market being flooded with such storylines, it could also mean that your novel will get lost in a sea of vampire novels.  Tagging it as science fiction with vampires might reach a different audience, but you run the risk of having die-hard readers of that genre ripping it to shreds because they do not like vampires mixed in with their science fiction.

Tagging and categorizing a story can be an extremely personal experience for a writer, of which many things will affect the final outcome.  Sometimes your agent or publishing house will make the job easier and pick the categories for you.  If you are self-publishing, categorizing your novel will be left up to the writer.  Choosing carefully and wisely can mean the difference between getting a lot of positive feedback and getting a lot of really upset readers who were expecting something entirely different.  When deciding on tags, doing some homework on what is popular and what tags are being used on stories similar to yours can go a long way.  Whichever way you decide, being happy with your results is all that really matters.  Okay, so getting a pay-day helps too.

New Stories Released…And Some Old Favorites

As a special thank you to my readers, I have recently released a new full length story called “Now That’s Fucking Hardcore!” that is about a desperate housewife who agrees to do a porno movie, in secret, in order to make some quick cash to keep her family from losing their home.  In case the title failed to give it away, this story is intended for mature audiences who are purposely looking for adult related content.  You can download the eBook for FREE through this link:

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

I am also releasing a few of the old favorite erotic stories from the novel Temptation. I currently have “Master” available as an eBook for only $3.50. “Master” chronicles a few days in the life of a saucy submissive and her ever-loving master. You can purchase “Master” by following the link below.

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

I am also going to be re-releasing a few more choice erotic stories from Temptation.  I currently have plans to release “The Devil’s Slave” as well as “Loving Drake.”  I have been asked to extend “Primal Urge” so there may be a rewrite for that particular erotic story as well and a subsequent re-release.  For details on what’s new with Nicola and what stories and novels are being released, you can visit my personal website or visit my author’s store at LuLu.