Contemporary romance is the hot thing right now. Historical Romance is not so hot right now. Paranormal is still hot, but not if it’s about vampires—vampires are really cold (excuse the pun). Witches, angels and demons are hot. Shape-Shifters are still hot, but only if the hero or heroine shifts into something odd like a dragon or a dinosaur; or some towering hairy beast. How about a hero with fish gills, who when in the throes of passion sprouts octopus-type tentacles shaped like penises and can do multiple women at a time? Not your cup of tea? Mine neither.
Recently I attended a romance writer’s conference with the hopes of being inspired to continue on my quest to switch genres from Historical Romance to Paranormal Contemporary Romance. Instead, as I listened to some of the authors on the panels and in the workshops I came away feeling discouraged and out of touch with what is popular in the romance market at this time. Besides cowboy and Native American heroes, I love vampires. I’ve always read books and watched movies about vampires, so that is what I wrote about when I decided to try something different from my previous eleven Western Romances. Switching genres and finding my contemporary voice was not easy for me. It took me over two years to write this new vampire book and I think I might have missed the boat, so to speak, by a year or two. One agent and one editor have already told me that they weren’t looking at any new manuscripts about vampires and the talk at the conference confirmed this trend. It appears vampires are way too tame for the new paranormal market and I am not sure I want to write about half-reptilian heroes or demons that grow horns and tails when turned on. A debonair warlock, maybe. But, a mysterious dangerously sexy vampire who thirsts for the blood of his one true love will always be my first choice when it comes to paranormal heroes.
I could write another Historical and give up on my desire to write a series of romance novels about vampires, but my heart isn’t into writing another historical at this time, and after attending a panel on Historical Romance at the conference it was apparent traditional publishers aren’t buying many books in that genre right now either. Still, I have no doubt that someday I will write about the Old West again. What I did hear time and time again at the conference was that hot—very hot, very erotic—contemporaries are the types of books everyone wants to read right now. Alpha males and strong heroines, such as cops, firefighters and secret agent-types are the hot commodities in the romance market at this time, and the sex should be scorching—no holds barred and preferably in public places.
So, what does an old-fashioned type writer do in this new market? I’m just going to keep writing because it’s been far too long since I’ve had a new book released, and I won’t give up on my hot vampire hero, because I think his story is just too good not to find a literary home someday. I’m going to start working on another manuscript about one Hell of a hot alpha male and a hot heroine who is as much of an alpha as my hero. There will be lots of hot—very hot, very erotic love scenes in very public places, and yes, my hero is going to be a vampire. So even though I left the conference feeling a bit defeated and confused, after having time to think about what I learned from attending, I realized that I did gain a new enthusiasm for my writing even if I don’t want to write about what is considered hot right now. In my world ‘bite me’ and ‘I want to suck your blood’ are still quite hot.