Genre Straddling

In my earlier days as a special effects make-up artist, I was called in to help a local producer to rip the hearts out of the chests of a couple of FBI agents. As I worked on the set I realized that I was in the midst of a kung fu/voodoo/sociopolitical/drug running thriller. Don’t know why that didn’t catapult us all into the Big Time right then.

I worked with the same producer/director on a script which turned out to be a rebellion of psychic/martial artists against an occupying alien army culminating in a cage match between the hero and the alien leader. Things broke down after the initial stages, but if we could have finished the project, it would have been epic!

We can’t forget, no matter how hard we try, my first novel. My never-to-be-published novel, my “Yargo.” Time travelling mercenaries able to move sideways through parallel universes to deal with physical and metaphysical threats and the hero was obsessed with rubber monster movies.

And of course, there was my biggest success previously, a supplement to a RPG depicting the rock and roll vampires and werewolves in the ’90s New York club scene with elements of conspiracy theories and bio-warfare against the undead.

The uptick here is that some authors are not like cats and do not willingly put themselves into little boxes. Gatekeepers of the publishing world like to put books into little metaphorical boxes to make them easier to market, ship and shelf. Those round manuscripts that wouldn’t fit into square marketing plans are what fueled the self-publishing boom of the last few years.

I am still coloring outside the lines with my latest project, Camp Arcanum, my first published novel. Its tagline is: “An occult comedy about sex, magick and power tools.” I usually get a shovel-to-the-face reaction from people at that, If I wish to be less confusing, I simply say “horror/comedy”, though many still don’t get that. They brighten up when thrown a few examples: “Like Ghostbusters or American Werewolf in London. Maybe Sean of the Dead.” The lights of recognition blink on when you can throw your story in a box with a few others.

It would be easier if I could put things in one genre or another, just horror or just comedy or just leg-breaker theater, but that’s not how things come out of my head naturally. It’s a pretty funny/scary place inside my head.

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