Monday, July 4, 2011

When Different Isn't Different

I'm a fan of urban fantasy. I was an adult before I discovered the genre in the form of the first Underworld movie. I'm still fond of that one—it's an urban fantasy action movie with a plot that actually makes sense—an actual blend of genres.

That genre-mixing a complaint I've heard about several movies Kate Beckinsale has starred in, actually.

A particular friend introduced me to Underworld. When Moni realized how much I liked the movie, she pointed me to the few urban fantasy authors that she knew.

From there, it didn't take long for me to realize that urban fantasy often… sounded the same. Characters would curse and often have sex on-screen. Heroines had smart mouths and kicked others' butts. Even "devout" characters wouldn't have their lives affected by their faith at all—never attended church, or thought about the theological implications of what they did beyond the occasional "Woe is me—I'm damned" character. Really old (vampire) guys would romantically interested much younger human women for no apparent reason.

Then there's young adult "urban fantasy", which is mostly all paranormal romance and has similar tropes. That really old supernatural guy will fall in love with the young narrator. Oh, and the love triangle? The "nice" guy will be the odd one out.

It's… boring.

It got old years ago.

But I keep reading urban fantasy. I enjoy the various reinterpretations of myth and lore. I like seeing effective uses of "fade to black." I want to find the devout ancient beings plagued by "Thou shalt not bear false witness" and "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." (Those are Biblical quotes, by the way: Exodus 20:16, 20:13, and 22:18.) I know other fans of the genre who like the same thing I do.

I like discovering stories that don't feel like they're following someone else's mould. But I still haven't found a series that's exactly what I want to read. I've spoken to others who feel the same way.

We discuss those clich├ęs, those things we keep seeing in book after book after book…

I'm kinda tired of those debates, too.

I finally sat down and wrote a book that's young adult, that's urban fantasy, and that isn't "different" the same way as everyone else.

Destiny's Kiss is the politics, magic, and culture of your standard urban fantasy novel, with the teenage worries of the average young adult paranormal… and a bad boy you don't want to win.

All the early readers have told me that they love it. More than one beta has called it "unique" and said that they've "never read anything like it".

Does that mean I've succeeded in making something truly "different"? I hope so. What tropes are you tired of seeing in YA paranormal and adult "chicks in leather"?

Destiny's Kiss is currently available for $2.99 US—but it won't be at that price forever. Buy it now or try the sample before you buy it: Amazon.com, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, or XinXii. (Are you outside the US? I recommend using Smashwords or XinXii.)

—Misti


Destiny Walker is an exceptional student despite her youth, sullenness, and the werewolf baby she left on a stranger's doorstep. Across the Atlantic, Kismet Baros was a rare mutt of a Magik—essentially immune to magic but nonetheless able to magically modify scents and heal herself—who was under the protection of the vampire court. Only Destiny and the judge who emancipated her know why Kismet no longer exists.

When powerful Magiks from Kismet's past come into town to celebrate a classmate's coming of age, Destiny must face her demons. She must decide what she is—person or property—and if she'll sacrifice the few friends she has to save the many. If she doesn't, she'll be the next face to launch a thousand ships.

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