I was looking for the old manuscript of one of my out of print mysteries the other day—okay, I know, this is a fantasy blog. Bear with me— and I came upon my first fantasy (got there!) attempt. I say attempt because it failed so miserably. I couldn’t get the mix right. Mix, you say? What the hey? Is this recipes? No. It’s worlds and magic. In the general sense, that’s what makes it fantasy, but it’s the mix that makes it addictive. Kingdoms, princes and princesses, a pirate or two, a rogue, a mage or sorcerer, attack by demons and dark forces, maybe some romance tossed in, a witch or seven, or in my case, a seraph or two, give it a good stir in the imagination. That mix, if it works, is what give us that addictive book that we can’t put down. Oh – and it also gives us subgenres. I once heard an agent ask an unpublished fantasy writer, “What’s your subgenre, here?” Manuscript pages turning. “Romantic epic? Erotic standalone?” The writer’s answer was, “Uh….” Which is the way many of us feel when we are starting a new series or new manuscript and are in the phase of world building. IE: trying to figure out what we are writing. Yeah, even after multiple books, sometimes we have that problem, too. Which is why my first attempt at fantasy remained an unfinished effort. My favorite type of fantasy is urban fantasy. Sometimes dark urban fantasy. And I’m not averse to dark urban erotic fantasy. What’s that? It’s a current day, alternate reality universe, where vampires and werewolves and/or other mythical (wink-wink) creatures live among us humans. When you mix into the story some of the current geopolitical reality, a few gritty subtexts, like American cops and American mythos and lore, you get urban fantasy. When you make it violent and dangerous, it becomes dark urban reality. When you add in hot sex, you get the erotic part. Duh. In the failed attempt, I didn’t know what I was writing. Frankly, I still don’t. But the medium-dark urban fantasy I’m writing now is…OMG! I love it! I’ll be posting things about it here off and on. Someday, perhaps fortified with a good cigar and a small tot of brandy, I’ll read my failed attempt. And try to laugh. For now, I’ll just keep trying to write two books a year and make the mix work. And come to think of it, maybe I won’t ruin the cigar and the brandy with reading failed material. Maybe it should stay in the big trunk in the parlor (Yeah. I got a parlor)…hidden away from the world.