Posts Tagged With: Genre

An Explanation of Beach Smut


I talk about Beach Smut on the blog sometimes, and it dawns on me that this is a term much like “Space Chicken” – my family uses it and everyone else has no idea at all what we mean.  (Space Chicken, by the way, is a supermarket rotisserie chicken in a plastic dome.  All ready to go into space in its own little ship).  But Beach Smut is an important thing to know about.

To qualify as Beach Smut, a novel can have no redeeming informational value.  It has to be for fun only.  No thoughts or deep meanings required.  Only feels.  If you’d never tell your English teacher about the book, but you’re LOVING it anyway, you’re probably reading Beach Smut.  In short, this is a genre that’s perfect for when you’re sitting and sunning yourself on the beach.  It’s vacation if you’re sunning yourself on the beach.  No high thoughts, morals, or meanings allowed.

I consider Twilight to be the pinnacle of the Beach Smut genre, although there are others just as good.  It’s a quick read, a little salacious, with plenty of Vampire/Werewolf drama.  It’s easy to identify with Bella, and it’s hard to take seriously.  There are four whole books, so you don’t even have to think hard about what you’re reading next.  Perfect.  Dive right in.  Others that qualify are Kiera Cass’ Selection series, any Anne McCaffrey novel, and things labeled “Aunt Dimity.”  I’m sure you can think of a host of others.

We all read them.  And their quality has to be judged differently from that of more serious books, because the aim of the author is different in writing them.  You can’t fault Twilight for not being The Fault In Our Stars.  It isn’t fair to either book, and it isn’t fair to either author.  They’re a totally different thing and they each have a valid place in the world.

So there you have it.  And when I rave of the Beach Smut merits of a particular book, you will know what I mean.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I joined the Clarion Writeathon:


Why did I join the Clarion Writeathon? It’s a valid question, I think.  I have never applied for Clarion.  I don’t have any plans to apply for Clarion.  Still, I drool over the prospect of staying in a dorm with a collection of amazing genre writers.  The thought of Neil Gaiman just stopping by the house, or George R. R. Martin leading a writing exercise, or Ursula K. LeGuin critiquing my story is surreal.  I need a giant towel for all the salivating.  This is too good a thing to actually exist in the world. I can’t wrap my head around it.  Except that I can, because it is happening right now in San Diego.

Clarion is wonderful not just because their teachers are my idols (although that is certainly part of it).  There are so little resources out there for those of us who do write genre that it is a small miracle to find people who teach it.  The fact that Clarion teaches it with aplomb is greater than miraculous.  It is unique, and magical.  Much like the writing of the participants.

I haven’t applied because of work constraints.  I like my paycheck.  Six weeks without one just isn’t possible, even if they did cover tuition for me.  I am one of the few for whom Clarion just isn’t possible.  But there are hundreds of people each year who apply, and tens of people whom get this magical gift of six weeks in Writer-land.

Clarion is a gift, and I want to be the giver of that gift.

So, I am posting a short story per week – six stories in six weeks all together – on the Clarion website.  Like my stuff? Go check it out here: . It’s all new, and very magical (also, hastily edited).  If you like it, consider donating to help someone’s dream come true next year.  All the money raised goes to scholarships for the class of 2015.  As Neil Gaman’s wife, Amanda Palmer, says, “Donating is Loving.”

The gift of writing is the best one ever, especially if you are giving it to someone else.  I promise.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at