New York Comic Con is once again descending on Manhattan (Oct 10th-13th), making me thinking of all the conventions I get to attend as America’s Favorite Lower Midlist Urban Fantasy Author™.
I’ve found myself a welcome guest of honor/speaker at a wide variety of conventions, which sort of came as a surprise, given that my genre is urban fantasy. My knee jerk thought was that I was really only going to be welcome at fantasy conventions, but I pleasantly found that was not the case.
Being invited to so many different flavors of conventions made me wonder: what genre do I really write in?
With the first book of my first four book series, Dead to Me, I introduced the world to Simon Canderous, a paranormal detective both gifted and cursed by the power of psychometry. Dude is definitely a detective… so I guess I really write Mystery.
But then in my newer series the Spellmason Chronicles, I introduced readers of book one, Alchemystic, to a narrative told in dueling first person perspectives: Alexandra Belarus, the last of a long line of alchemical sculptors who can bring stone to life, and Stanis, a gargoyle built centuries ago to watch over her family. So I do magic and monsters… so I guess I really write Fantasy. And since it takes place in modern day Manhattan, URBAN Fantasy, at that.
Now in the just released second book of the series, Stonecast, I concentrate the tale a bit more heavily on the growing relationship and feelings between Lexi and Stanis… so I guess I write Romance.
The truth? Urban fantasy really allows me to write them all those genres in one big ball of awesome, yet despite them all falling under that one umbrella, the types of conventions I’ invited to certainly have their own distinct flavors to them.
My beloved comic cons are where I feel most at home. I can make ANY kind of geek reference on a panel and 95% of the room gets it. People dress up, get their cosplay on to release their fantasy selves, and overall celebrate everything geek culture. Over the top is probably an understatement, but these are my people through and through. They get me.
Comparatively, mystery conventions seem tame in comparison… on the surface. Much like the cloak and dagger of the genre, mystery cons have a subtlety and intrigue to them. There’s a fair amount of dress up but it leans more to the styles of a particular mystery era or distinct character more than anything… and oh, the drinking! Plenty of reasons to love those conventions.
Then we have the romance cons, which to me bring their own kind of flirty fun to them that can be over the top in its own hypersexualized fashion. Not in the bad way, mind you. And there’s much dressing up at these events, too, although there seem to be more feather boas, choker collars, fishnets and fur lined handcuffs that at Comic Con. Not to mention that the romance crowd seems to be intent on seeing how hard they can make me blush since they actually have a deeper interest in the deeper relationships that the genre focuses on… but of course they write about the sexay times, too. It’s all in good fun with men being more of a rarity there on the author side, garnering me more looks. And while my fantasy author physique is intimidated by the cover models I see there, there is always a fun and flirty bacchanal quality to a romance con that makes me smile… and blush.
It took a while to get used to idea that I’m a fantasy, mystery, and romance writer, but now it seems a no-brain that that’s definitely who I am. And you know what? I’m proud to be embraced at all these conventions by people who love what I do in oh-so-many different ways. I love the people at all these cons because of their love of books, and I’m always excited to meet them, as I hope to at the upcoming New York Comic Con.
But if I’m going to even think of calling myself a romance writer, I really need to learn how to control my blush response…