Of course as soon as I hit ‘send’ on my post, Melissa sent me her stuff, so we have TWO giveaways today…Melissa Schroeder’s here and mine below. Woo Hoo!
Melissa is a lovely lady that I recently met through Samhain (We both are lucky enough to have Laurie Rauch as our editor.) I’m very happy to welcome her here today. Melissa has generously offered to give away one copy of HER MOTHER’S KILLER to one comenter on her post–Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone.
Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone by Melissa Schroeder
As some of my readers know, I have recently started writing a new series that is in a new genre for me. It came about after some hard thinking on what to send to my agent next. Granted, I took her advice on what was looking good in the market—which unfortunately doesn’t include action adventure futuristics which I truly love to write. What was gaining a lot of steam was vampires. Which was odd because a year ago you couldn’t say the word vampire without making an editor run away screaming. The success of True Blood on HBO and the Twilight series, not to mention several things on the horizon, publishers saw a new uptick in interest.
I wanted to write in vampires, but, let’s be honest, there has been a lot done in that realm in the last few years. So, I knew I needed to do something different, something unique. Historical has a few vampires, but I went a completely different direction, melding together what I knew about historicals, vampires and world building and came up with a unique concept. Granted, still not sure if NY is going to take a bite of it, but I am hopeful. What I took away from the experience was a renewed excitement.
When I started planning By Blood, I was at a tough place. I had three proposals out, all of them sort of seemed stalled, and I was having problems writing my contracted work. There were various reasons for that, stress, work issues, family…other writers know what I am talking about. I wasn’t sure I could pull it off because I will be truthful, 2009 has been a tough year for me. Thankfully, not as bad as the dreaded hospital year of 2007, but I kept getting knocked down metaphorically by problems mostly related to my work. So, taking a chance on a different genre, melding two genres together in a way I had never attempted was daunting.
I was pretty lucky thought. Shayla Black, aka Shelley Bradley, and Kris Cook helped me through the concept. Still, when I sat down to write the proposal, I was a little worried. This was going to take a chunk out of my time, where I could be writing things for my publishers now, and it was going to make me take a hit in royalties because my releases would be spread out. I had also been through 9 months of disappointments with projects I sent to NY. Was it worth the risk?
I found out the answer to that was a resounding YES. I loved delving into a world of my own creation. I know some readers will say that I can do that every day I write. But, when you build the world, you can break the rules, and recreate the kind of rules you like. I got my creative juices going, and gave me a renewed optimism about my writing on a whole. Don’t get me wrong, I always have my down days, but for the first time in a long time, I feel a real energy about writing, ideas that just keep coming to me.
I think we can all learn that a comfort zone is just that. Some place warm and cuddly, where we are never challenged, and if we are, we know we can beat that challenge without much effort. A person can get complacent, lazy. You can still succeed there, but for someone like me, I need a challenge. That challenge presented itself in a Victorian vampire world, one that tested not only my writing skills but also my plotting abilities. Rising to confront the new genre has given me a new outlook on my writing and has me looking toward the future again. That is something I could have never had without it.
Melissa Schroeder is the author of over 25 short stories, novellas and novels spanning from historical to futuristic and sensual to erotic. She loves to laugh and always believes that everyone deserves a happy ending. Her most recent release was Turning Paige from Ellora’s Cave. She finally lives with her AF Major husband and two military brats where the bugs die in the winter. She can be reached via her website.