Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reinventing Long-Loved Fantasy Elements

I'm a gay romance author and I recently broke an unwritten golden rule of fantasy I wasn’t aware existed. I wrote a gay romance novel called Water Waltz and gave angels hollow bones for flight. Angels are referred to as weak because of their bones, but they do have rejuvenating blood so it evens out in their favor. And while they are weaker than the others in the world of Water Waltz, they are not pushovers. I’ve received a review or two and a few emails about how readers disagree with my take on angels.

There’s no actual rule in fantasy. That’s what makes the fantasy genre evolve and gives it that special something that brings readers back. (All my personal opinion, of course.) I “reinvented” demons, angels, devils, and faeries for the world in Water Waltz and removed biblical ties. My angels are not angels of old. I might as well have just borrowed the term for a man with wings. I took liberties with the term devil and demon as well, making it separate races with different strengths and weaknesses.

Changing classic creatures is a not new practice. Vampires tend to evolve with each new adaptation. I do remember a backlash about sparkling vampires so maybe certain aspects really are untouchable...

I enjoy taking fantasy elements and changing them to fit my imagination. I also enjoy reading fantasy with a new take on classic ideas—especially with gay romance tied into it since that seems to be all I’m reading lately. Fantasy creatures don’t come with strict guidelines. That freedom makes fantasy fun and only bound by one’s imagination. Do you have a favorite fantasy novel that "broke the mold" of its time?

Water Waltz is available now from Dreamspinner Press:

In a land where humans are enslaved as sexual toys, angels and demons are in constant conflict with their playthings. The demon Varun works with STAR, an organization devoted to human liberty, and it’s a never-ending battle.

Two years ago, the angel Triste broke Varun’s heart by choosing to be his butler instead of his beloved, giving Varun no explanation and no hope. However, that doesn’t mean that Triste will simply sit back and watch as Varun takes the human Elden under his protection, and Triste’s secret investigation will unearth terrible secrets, including the kernels of a pernicious plot.

Despite appearances, Triste and Varun are still in love, and Varun may well risk everything to protect Triste and discover why the angel left him heartbroken. But a still worse danger hangs over them as they seek to calm the threat of a catastrophic war.


  1. My favorite novel that broke the mold was Anne McCaffrey's "Dragonrider." It combined romance and science-fiction, but it also re-imagined dragons in a way that made them less scary and more like... pets. :D I wanted one!

    My favorite personal fantasy moment was a beta reader who took exception to the white horses in one of my novels. "They aren't white," she insisted, "they're really gray and you should call them gray." And she's right about that, technically. But I had to tell her, no... they're really white, white from birth. They're *fantasy* horses. They're not from here. My world, my rules. Not all readers appreciate that, though.

  2. Dragons as pets! And see all the novels I've read the dragons are more like pets than scary monsters so Anne McCaffrey hit the mark and set the path for dragon pets.

    Oh my, what an argument to have with a beta. I guess you're right that not all readers appreciate the "my world, my rules" aspect to fantasy. It feels like they think fantasy has rules set by books they've read before, but that's not always the case.

    thank you for the comment!


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