Wednesday, January 24, 2024

From the Backlist: Never Give Up! Never surrender!

It's time again to explore the awesome backlist at the Supernatural Underground! 

Today we are sharing a post made on January 25, 2011 by the spectacular writer Kerrelyn Sparks. It's relevant to us now as she asks how we are all going with our New Year resolutions. Good Question?

Kerrelyn also shares how she didn't give up, back in the day, an attitude that shot her to the New York Times Best Sellers list.

It's inspirational!

... I believe in second chances. I'm on my second marriage (going strong after 22 years, yay!) And I'm on my second writing career. The first time around, I was a historical romance writer. I'd only been writing two years when I was offered my first contract, so I thought everything was buzzing along swimmingly. But then, my editor quit.


She was the only romance editor in this multi-genre publishing house, and I was the only historical romance author. With my editor gone, none of the other editors (all guys) wanted to touch a manuscript titled Insatiable and Saucy. They didn't want any more books from me. My agent broke off with me. After two years, the contracted book limped into bookstores with a new title For Love or Country. A bittersweet debut, for I was thrilled to see my book on the shelves, but devastated that my career was already over.

For two more years, I tried to acquire a new agent and sell another historical romance. I racked up more rejections as a published author than I had as an unpublished one. I found a wonderful agent who really believes in me, but even she couldn't sell an American-set historical when the publishers want them set in the British Isles. And that is when I realized I had to reinvent myself. A new beginning. A new subgenre. I wrote the first three chapters of How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire, sent it to my agent, and within a week, we had three offers...

To read the full post and the comments, click here

To find out more of what Kerrelyn is up to now and her latest releases, visit her website, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook where she hosts monthly giveaways.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Romance in Fantasy Fiction

Epic Quests Manga Wallpaper @wallpapers

We all know there are certain tropes, certain themes in genre fiction. It's basically how we categorize them as well as what we come to expect as readers. One fairly new expectation is that of strong romance themes in Fantasy Fiction. After all, the gold standard for a long time has been Tolkien and he never overplayed the intimacy side, no matter how the films were portrayed.

For a fantastic recap on this topic, see Helen Lowe's posts in 2019 - her Year of Romance in Fantasy Fiction.

Since I was raised on Tolkien's books, the romance in my early series, even Urban Fantasy which is notoriously sexy, the romantic themes stay in the background of the adventures. But that habit all came to a crashing halt when I started writing Young Adult Fiction, novels for the 12 - 18+ year olds. 

I was told straight up by my editors to go deeper into the romantic side.

And they didn't mean just more stolen looks and kisses. The romance had to bring more meaning to the plot, more relevance to character growth arcs and more fulfilment, or devastation, in the end. Basically, more emotions. And, these characters are not love-sick fools, at least, not for long... 

Young Adult fantasy romance books often feature strong female protagonists like Victoria Aveyard's Mare Barrow from the Red Queen series. Or, Sarah J. Maas's huntress Feyre in A Court of Thorns and Roses.

I've explored why reading Fantasy Romance is actually good for you - enhancing emotional engagement, empathy, excitement, fulfilment, and increasing the happy brain messengers... I've found, over the years, that writing it is good for authors for the same reasons. 

It's a road to discovering more about character development, goals and motivations, and ultimately more about ourselves. Right now, I am in the thick of this reminder as I await notes from my editor on Book #3 in the Amassia Series. There are some romantic you might not expect and I hope they bring true delight.

What are some of your favorite Fantasy Romance novels? I'd love to see if I have read them too.

Let me know in the comments.

xxKim (aka AK Wilder)


About Kim Falconer

Kim Falconer, currently writing as AK Wilder, has released Crown of Bones, a YA Epic Fantasy with Curse of Shadows as book 2 in the series. Currently, she is working on the third book, out in 2024.

Kim can be found on  AKWilder TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Throw the bones, read your horoscopes or Raise Your Phantom on the site


Wednesday, January 10, 2024

From The Backlist: "Stealing From the Ancients: Weaving Mythology into Your Fiction"

Here on Supernatural Underground blog we have an awesome backlist, so one of our 2024 resolutions is to share more of it with you.

 In this very week, way back in 2011 (oh my!) the fabulous Tera Lynn Childs posted on Stealing from the Ancients: Weaving Mythology into Your Fiction.

We think it's just as relevant today as it was then, so for those who missed it the first time, here's an excerpt of the goodness again (with a link to click through and read it all.)

The Pleiades (by Elihu Vedder)

From The Backlist: "Stealing From the Ancients: Weaving Mythology into Your Fiction" by Tera Lynn Childs

"I was at a loss for what to write about today, so I put out a call on Facebook for what people wanted to know more about. Heather Long responded with the fabulous topic of how to weave mythology into fiction. And since I have done this very thing in all five of my completed, accepted, and published/about-to-be-published books, then I feel like I can speak about this with some authority. At least in the method I use to weave myth into my books.

Of course mine aren't the only books out there dealing with mythology, and there are at least three different ways to approach it.

  • use actual, literal gods, goddesses, and other bits of myth in your story (ex/ Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan)
  • write a historical novel from the point of view of a mythological character (ex/ Nobody's Princess and Nobody's Prize by Esther Friesner)
  • create a contemporary fantasy world in which characters are related to/descended from mythological characters (ex/ my books)
Though there are advantages and disadvantages to each, I think the reason I prefer the third method is that it gives me the most creative freedom. The closer you are to the actual myth, the more you have to stay true to it. In my worlds, the myths of ancient Greece date back more than two thousand years. The written myths end... but the mythological word continues. Between then and now I can create whatever history I want.

In the Oh. My. Gods. books, I didn't stray too far. I gave descendants to the virgin goddesses, gave illegitimate children to the goddess of marriage, and made Plato's real life Academy a school for descendants of the gods. The mermaids in the Forgive My Fins books are descended from an ancient ancestor who was granted mer powers by Capheira, one of Poseidon's sea nymphs. But in Medusa girls trilogy, I take my mythology tweaking to the next level. I basically rewrote the truth about Medusa.

The trick to playing around with mythology, with the canon of myths that we as a culture have known and learned for millennia, is to go one step beyond, to blur the line between what was written and what wasn't. I can't say that Hera had half-human children in ancient times, but who knows what's happened in the centuries since then? There is no mythological proof that mermaids owe their powers to Capheira, but there is no proof that they don't either. And with Medusa, while I couldn't just erase her legacy as a hideous, murderous monster, I could create a believable backstory that explains why we only think that is true.

That's the wonderful thing about mythology: it never tells the complete story..."
To read the full post and the comments, click here
To find out more about Tera Lynn Childs and her writing, visit her on Myths, Mermaids, and Magic

Monday, January 1, 2024

Happy New Year: Ushering In 2024


And here we are -- 1 January 2024, with a whole year of possibility stretching before us.

Southern hemisphere daybreak
If best wishes can make it so, then you have all of mine for hoping that 2024 will bring positives in abundance.

In terms of what I've planned for the first of every month, over the past few years I've covered:

  • Romance (2019)
  • Worldbuilding (2020)
  • Magic Systems (2021)
  • Heroes (2022)
  • The Band of Brothers (2023) 

So-o, I'm thinking 2024 just might have to be the Year of the Villain -- in Fantasy fiction, of course, that being the unifying strand for each of the (above) themes.

Sauron: The Lord of the Rings

.Not anti-heroes or lovable rogues, straight-out villains is where I'm heading. 

Voldemort: Harry Potter

 Every protagonist needs an antagonist, after all, and Fantasy has plenty on offer, from Sauron to Voldemort, Littlefinger to Mrs Coulter. 

Littlefinger: Game of Thrones

 .I'm looking forward to checking at least twelve of them out in more detail. :-)

Mrs Coulter: The Golden Compass

 .In the meantime, Happy New Year!


About the Author

Helen Lowe is an award-winning novelist, poet, and lover of story. With four books published to date, she is currently completing the final installment in The Wall Of Night series.

Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog, monthly on the Supernatural Underground, and tweets @helenl0we.