Why I’m Now Writing Contemporary Fantasy

I’ve been a Science Fiction author for over twenty years and a reader since childhood. Sure, I’ve dabbled in poetry and nonfiction but, at my core, I’m a Sci-Fi author and reader. I’ve read Fantasy, lots of it TBH, but it’s never been my thing to write…

Fantasy and I are suddenly back on speaking terms. I’m not only reading it, I’m writing it too, and it’s coming easily, naturally, and… oh, hell, just let me show you what I’m doing these days but first, let’s define Contemporary Fantasy as a subgenre.

Contemporary Fantasy is simply modern fantasy, fantasy set in the modern world… in the world we know. It’s commonly mixed up with Urban Fantasy, but IMO, it shouldn’t be. Urban Fantasy takes place in inner-city or densely populated areas by its own wordage, but Contemporary Fantasy is only defined by its time period – contemporary, meaning current, now. It can take place anywhere… rural, city, on or in the water, on an island, in Antarctica. The setting in Contemporary Fantasy doesn’t matter, but the time does.

So why did I have such a problem figuring out where to place my new series inside the Fantasy genre? I’ve mainly read and burned out on traditional fantasy… knights, elves, dwarves… Tolkienian type of stuff. That was the fantasy I grew up with. I read enough of traditional fantasy in my younger years to last me a lifetime, so I haven’t paid much, if any, attention to it over the last two decades.

But I’m paying attention now and rediscovering just how much I enjoy it.

Here’s why Cleaning House, my first journey into Fantasy, fits into the Contemporary Fantasy subgenre:

– Era/World – contemporary setting (2017, U.S., Tennessee)

– Fantastic elements

  • Elementals – Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Death
  • Magic – mixed traditions
  • Fae – two types created specifically for the series

– Unusual world elements

  • Appalachian traditions to include superstitions and mannerisms
  • Mixed faiths and religions – Paganism, Christianity of various denominations

– Familiar elements

  • Local businesses – Pal’s, Willow Tree Coffee House and Music Room, Earth Fare
  • Locations – Jonesborough, Johnson City, Greeneville, Erwin, Knoxville, Embreeville
  • Geography – Appalachian Mountain chain, Embreeville Mountain, Nolichucky River

But all this still doesn’t answer the question of why, more specifically, why now? The answer is fairly easy. I opened my eyes… opened them to the magic, to the history, to the ancient voices that are here, and I want to share the stories they’re whispering to me every night. To this, I added a good dose of author creative license to create the world in the Appalachian Elementals series.

If I’m going to write Fantasy, I’m going to stay close to home with it, a complete reversal of the far-future, deep space Sci-Fi I’ve been writing for the last two decades. The Appalachian Elementals series is like being home. It’s what I know, and it’s where I’m going to stay… at least for now.

Release Date: 8/1/18

Centenary Rhodes is an old soul with a well-traveled name, but she doesn’t know this yet.

Growing up in southern Appalachia wasn’t easy, so Cent left home as soon as she could, but the post-collegiate happiness she’d expected has never occurred. She can’t find a decent date, much less find that special someone and, after losing her job in a corporate downsize, she’s struggling to meet her most basic needs. Her car has been repossessed, her bills are piling up, and her questionable North Chicago neighborhood is dangerous to navigate.

Returning home to Hare Creek, Tennessee, never crosses Cent’s mind until her Great Aunt Tess contacts her with an offer she can’t refuse. The family’s southern Appalachian homestead must be sold, and Aunt Tess needs someone to clean it up. Cent will have access to Aunt Tess’ garden and truck and can live on the homestead rent-free for as long as it takes. A part-time job is waiting for her as well.

It’s a chance to solve some of Cent’s financial woes, but will her return be enough when evil sets its sights on Embreeville Mountain and the homestead?

 Cleaning House is a carefully woven Appalachian tapestry of granny magic, haints, elementals, and the fantastic diversity of the human condition – served with a delicious side of fries and a generous quart of peach moonshine.


Want to read more about Cleaning House? Check out my #WIPpet Wednesdays and #Rainbowsnippets posts.

Read the Cleaning House Meet The Characters Posts HERE.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.