Friday, April 19, 2013

Romance Genre is Mixed Soup

Welcome guest author, V.S. Nelson. She's talking about soup today... well, not really soup. It's more like romance soup... 

These days I tend to write what is more commonly known as cross genre, or, what I dub as mixed soup.

My series, Sekhmet’s Guardians is just that -- a mixed soup with flavors ranging from paranormal romance, urban fantasy, sci-fi, suspense, drama, horror and mystery.

The series anchors itself in paranormal romance but I find it fascinating and almost impossible not to blend these other genres into the mix. You could compare it to your evening meal. While there’s nothing wrong with eating broccoli soup by itself, day after day you might find it a bit tastier to add a little something to the table or to the mix.

Therefore, I’ve add a little spice to the soup and to the table; Broccoli (paranormal romance), cheese (mystery), milk (sci fi), onion (urban fantasy), chicken broth (drama), butter (suspense), Garlic powder (sex or erotic elements). To make things just a tiny more tasty lets serve your soup with some fresh bread (horror) and a nice glass of wine (hunky heroes).

To compare Sekhmet’s Guardians to our evening meal lets take a look at the components within the series. 
  • The Wine & our Hunky Heroes: Seven stepped forward on that day so long ago. 
  • The Milk & Sci Fi: They came to Earth to protect her inhabitants. 
  • The Onion & Urban Fantasy: Today they operate Guardians Inc, a world renowned protection agency based in modern day Chicago. 
  • Broccoli & Paranormal Romance: Each book centers on a different Ancient and his quest for true love. 
  • Cheese & Mystery: Questions rise in book one, who and what is Jennifer? In book two, where is Jessica? (and so on) 
  • Butter & Suspense: The war between the Guardians and Set’s Legions escalates… 
  • Chicken Broth & Drama: Women and children are disappearing around the world. 
  • Fresh Bread and Horror: What Sets men do to them is unthinkable. 
  • Garlic Powder and Sex: It never hurts to heat up the romantic encounters between couples. Behind closed doors sex went out a long time ago for this author. 
And there you have it; my recipe for Broccoli Soup and my series.

I’m sure you have read great stories by others that brought some if not all of these ingredients. I know I have. Sadly, they usually get classified as one category for sales purposes. Maybe someday a new multiple-genre tag will be born. After all, paranormal romance is still a fairly young genre and is ever growing.

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about I have included a snippet from my soon to be released, Eternal Nights, Sekhmet’s Guardians – Book two.
He decided he could scrounge up something for Raphael and him to eat. After all, how hard could it be? He would wait until after the meal was prepared to wake Raphael and surprise him.  
Standing in the spotlessly cleaned kitchen, he looked around and took everything in.  
Ok, that’s the refrigerator and that’s the pantry. He stepped into the pantry and began studying
the contents that filled the shelves on the walls. The various can goods and other items were neatly organized by content. His eyes narrowed in on the boxes of what he thought were prepared meals.

This looks good. He picked up a box labeled Betty Crocker Complete Meals, Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo. Oh even better, I like Alfredo. Surely, he could handle making a simple chicken boxed meal. He turned the box over and started reading the directions on the back.

Heat oven as directed. With box in hand, he walked back into the kitchen and looked at what he thought was the oven. It was the microwave. He read everything on the front panel but it didn’t seem to correspond with what was on the box. Oh well, he would just prepare the meal like the box instructed, then stick it in there and push buttons till it cooked itself; after all, pre-heating wasn’t necessary. At least I don’t think it is.

He opened the box and took out the ingredients and placed them on the long counter.

Pour the creamy sauce into an ungreased pan. Looking at the picture he went on the adventure of finding the right sized pan. Where does Jennifer keep the pans? He started opening cabinets looking for the proper pan. Although he didn’t find a pan that resembled the one in the picture, he did manage to find a set of shiny bowls. Perhaps he could use one of those. He reached in and grabbed hold of one of the larger stainless steel bowls and took it back to the counter.

He looked at the can labeled creamy sauce with chicken and was thankful he didn’t have to try and find a can opener. Sweet, it has a pull top. He popped the lid and poured the contents into the bowl.

Next step: stir in packet of seasoning mix. He ripped open the package and poured the contents in the bowl. Stir well. He looked around for a spoon. Oh well, no one will know. He stuck his finger into the bowl and whipped it around a couple of times.

Step three; stir in 1 ½ cups of hot water, ½ cup of milk, and uncooked pasta. Cup? He looked around and found his 16 ounce coffee mug. Perfect. He filled it, poured it in the bowl and returned to sink and filled it one forth of the way to the top then poured it in with the other contents... He grabbed the carton of milk from the refrigerator and brought it and his coffee mug back over to the bowl. He poured the milk into the coffee mug. Oops, over filled. Oh well, it will just make it a little more creamy.

Cover pan with foil. Gabriel wasn’t sure where the foil was kept but something told him it might be in the pantry. He searched the pantry until he found the Reynolds Wrap. Pulled off a big sheet and went back to his bowl but before he covered the bowl he changed his mind. Maybe it is too milky. He returned to the pantry where he remembered seeing some packaged spaghetti. He picked up the package and brought it back to the bowl then opened the bag and dumped the contents into the bowl--gave it another stir with his finger. He covered the bowl and headed back over to the oven.

Bake 35-40 minutes. He slapped the covered bowl into the oven and starting pushing buttons until it came on. Knowing he had to wait for thirty minutes he thought he would go ahead and make a couple of sandwiches to go with the Alfredo. After all, this cooking stuff was pretty easy.

He searched around the kitchen trying to find the bread. After opening at least twenty cabinets he eyeballed a wooden box on the counter. Ah-ha, found it! I’m going to have to talk to Jennifer about her organizational skills. Bread should be left on the counter not hidden in some box.

He placed the loaf of bread on the kitchen isle in the center of the room. Next stop refrigerator for the lunchmeat and the other things he would need. He opened the doors in the large side by side stainless refrigerator until he heard a large bang and smelled smoke.

He leaned around the refrigerator door. Holy shit! The oven blew up! Those damn builders must have installed a faulty oven. He would have to talk to them soon. Good thing he was planning on making sandwiches anyway.

He went back to digging in the refrigerator for the lunchmeat, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and cheese. He turned around and headed back over to the counter, with his arms full, not watching where he was walking. He slid across the floor catching him self on the counter top right before he fell onto the floor. Crap, how did the Alfredo get on the floor?

He looked around the kitchen and realized when the oven went kaput, the door was blown off it hinges and his Alfredo shot out all over the floor and cabinets. Oh well, I’ll clean it later, after I finish making the sandwiches.

After regaining his balance, he took an inventory of everything he gathered to make the sandwiches. Dang, forgot the mayo and the mustard. He turned around and started back to the refrigerator. He stepped down in his stocking feet on the milk which had obviously poured out of the bowl when the Alfredo went flying across the room. He slid across the room, landing on his ass in a mess of soggy wet noodles. Damn, maybe I should have cleaned it up first.

Not losing his composure and still determined to make his sandwiches, he grabbed hold of the nearest cabinet door to steady himself. Unfortunately, Gabriel’s weight was far too much for the door which pulled loose from the hinges when he tried to stand up. It gave way and he landed back down in a batch of soggy noodles. Shit, I’m really going to have to talk to those builders.

Eventually, he managed to make his way back over to the refrigerator to get his mayo and mustard, now with a wet ass in addition to his soggy socks.

He had everything on the counter he needed to make the sandwiches when he realized he didn’t have a knife to spread the mayo or mustard. I never knew making a simple sandwich could be so damn complicated.

Ok knife, if I was a knife where would I be? He remembered watching Jennifer load the dishwasher. He could get one out of there. He waded over to the dishwasher.

God, why do they make everything so complicated? How does this sucker open? He pushed a button--the dishwater started. He continued to push other buttons till it turned off. He grabbed hold the little under-hang lip and pulled. It didn’t budge. Ok, when all else fells, use brute strength. Using a bit more force, he pulled again. The door not only popped open, he broke it off one of its hinges and water started to pour out onto the already wet floor.

Damn those builders! Just how many faulty appliances did they install in my new house?

He couldn’t leave the door like it was. Trying to straighten it, he ended up breaking the door free from both hinges then finally leaned it against another cabinet.

When he finally looked inside the dishwasher he discovered it was empty except for the water. So much for the best laid plans.

Back to his original quest, finding a knife, he began opening the various drawers in the kitchen. He found just about everything that could be stored in a kitchen and then some, but still no silverware.

Maybe he should try the china hutch.

Frustrated, he grabbed hold of the first drawer in the china hutch. The knob came off in his hand. He tried to screw the handle back into place while balancing the already half pulled drawer out with his other hand. The drawer slipped and everything in it scattered across the floor.

Now he was pissed!

He didn’t realize it until it was too late. He squeezed the round handle in his hand so hard it pulverized into dust. Crap!

He kicked the drawer that lay on the floor with such force, it broke into several pieces. One of the larger pieces flipped up in the air and broke one of the kitchen windows.

He was just as about to give up the hunt for the knife when Jennifer called.

“Honey, where have you hidden the knives?” he asked with a touch of panic and frustration in his voice.

“Gabe, what are you doing?”

“I’m trying to find a damn knife in this kitchen!
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