Friday, November 25, 2011

The Fun of Cross Genre Writing--All Things Dark and Dastardly

Please welcome guest blogger MARY ANN LOESCH. Mary Ann is an award winning fiction writer whose novel Nephilim was published by Lyrical Press Inc. You can learn more about her at or visit her blog, Loesch’s Muse.

The Fun of Cross Genre Writing—All Things Dark and Dastardly

I love reading mysteries or watching true crime shows on television. I admit to a horrible addiction to Dateline and 48 Hours Mysteries. My husband calls me an armchair detective, and when I notice myself analyzing the latest crime stories on the news, I have to agree with him.  I’m crazy for the mystery!

But I don’t write in the mystery genre. I’m an urban fantasy, horror, speculative fiction writer all the way. If it goes bump in the night, it’s because of a werewolf, vampire, or psychotic angel (yeah, they’re out there!) It’s never because of some husband cashing in on insurance fraud or vengeance from an angry wife. Of course, I think there is often an element of mystery in urban fantasy, horror, or even science fiction. It’s only the characters and the supernatural elements that make it a different genre.

When my writing group, All Things Writing, decided it was time to put together an anthology of our short stories, we weren’t sure how well that would work. Comprised of Steve Metze, Kaye George, and myself, All Things Writing is a mix of eclectic people with a strong love of the written word. The challenge was that none of us write in the same genre! The only thing we could see that linked our writing was the need to write short stories that had dark elements. Very dark. Sometimes even dastardly….

Viola! From that darkness came our anthology, All Things Dark and Dastardly. A collection of thirteen short stories edited by the delightful Ramona DeFelice Long, this book is a fun walk down a very twisted path of prose. With titles like Finger in My Soup, Aliens vs. Fat Bastard, and Balls, the All Things Dark and Dastardly book provides the reader with a cross mix of genres that we hope will intrigue and cause a page turning frenzy. Each story is a little taste of urban fantasy, horror, mystery and even science fiction with a common link of unsettling darkness.

The process of putting together an anthology can either make or break a writing group. After all, you have to commit your time and energy into editing, meeting deadlines, and agreeing on the promotion plan. Luckily, I can walk away from the experience feeling like I’ve grown as a person and as a writer. Because of our desire to write in the differing genres, I’ve had the opportunity to study my fellow writers' genres of choice a bit closer. I think that is something many authors could benefit from! Observing Kaye and Steve’s work taught me how to edit manuscripts other than my own, provided invaluable writing techniques, and made me think about tweaking some of my processes. I’m not ready to sit down and write a mystery novel yet, but I can see it in my future.

Hmmm…but then again, it might need to be enhanced with a witch or two. Maybe a banshee. They never get enough play in stories these days…

You can purchase your copy of All Things Dark and Dastardly at Amazon or by visiting our website All Things Writing.


Kaye George said...

I think it's a mistake to stick to one genre only, too, Mary Ann. Most of my work is mystery, but other elements seep in, even in one of the stories in this volume. I read everything--eventually I'll probably write lots of different genres. And I had fun learning about your writing and Steve's too, putting this together! Many thanks to Ramona for strengthening my work!

Patg said...

Cross Genre has always been interesting for me. I write it and read it.

Ramona said...

It's a fun collection...well, except for the scary parts.

It was my pleasure to work with these daring writers.