WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?

Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the many Art Genres. I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various other internet sources who defined writing genres. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an enormous amount of information about book genres. I limited myself to fiction. I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was there. Please feel free to share or add to it

MYSTERY

Mystery fiction is a genre usually involving a mysterious death or a crime to be solved. In a closed circle of suspects, each suspect must have a credible motive and a reasonable opportunity for committing the crime.

Noir/Hard Boiled: Noir fiction is a literary genre closely related to the hard-boiled detective genre except that the lead character is not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator. Other common characteristics include the self-destructive qualities of the lead character A typical protagonist of noir fiction is dealing with the legal, political or other system that is no less corrupt than the perpetrator by whom the protagonist is either victimized and/or must victimize others daily, leading to lose-lose situation.

Cozy Mystery: Cozy mysteries, also referred to as "cozies", are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are played down or treated with humor and the crime and detection takes place in a small, socially intimate community. The term was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers attempted to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

General Mystery: Mystery fiction is a genre of fiction commonly involving a mysterious death or a crime to be solved. The central character must be a police or amateur detective who eventually solves the mystery by logical deduction from facts fairly presented to the reader. Sometimes mystery books are nonfictional. "Mystery fiction" can be detective stories in which the emphasis is on the puzzle or suspense element and its logical solution such as a whodunit. Mystery fiction can be contrasted with hard-boiled detective stories, which focus on action and gritty realism. Mystery fiction may involve a supernatural mystery where the solution does not have to be logical, and even no crime involved. This was common in the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s, where titles such as Dime Mystery, Thrilling Mystery and Spicy Mystery offered what at the time were described as "weird menace" stories—supernatural horror in the vein of Grand Guignol. This contrasted with parallel titles of the same names which contained conventional hard-boiled crime fiction. The first use of "mystery" in this sense was by Dime Mystery, which started out as an ordinary crime fiction magazine but switched to "weird menace" during the latter part of 1933.

Police Procedural: The police procedural, or police crime drama, is a subgenre of detective fiction that attempts to depict the activities of a police force as they investigate crimes.  Traditional detective novels usually concentrate on a single crime.  Police procedurals frequently describe investigations into several unrelated crimes in a single story. Traditional mysteries usually adhere to the convention of having the criminal's identity concealed until the climax (the so-called whodunit); in police procedurals, the perpetrator's identity is often known to the audience from the outset (this is referred to as the inverted detective story). Police procedurals describe several police-related topics such as forensics, autopsies, the gathering of evidence, the use of search warrants, and interrogation.

Hobby Mystery: See Cozy Mystery. This is merely a specialized sub genre of Cozy mysteries. The story usually centers around the main character's hobby, such as quilting or animals.

Historical Mystery: The historical mystery or historical whodunit is a subgenre of two other genres, historical fiction and mystery fiction. These works are set in a time usually before 1960 and the central plot involves the solving of a mystery or crime (usually murder). Though works combining these genres have existed since at least the early 20th century, many credit Ellis Peters's Cadfael Chronicles (1977-1994) for making popular what would become known as the historical mystery. The increasing prevalence of this kind of fiction in succeeding decades spawned a distinct subgenre. 

Paranormal Mystery:  Sometimes the things in a mystery just can't be explained. That's where the paranormal mystery comes into play. These books have an element of supernatural in them, that can include magic, witches, skeletons or ghosts, and it can include werewolves, vampires, and other creatures. The difference between paranormal and fantasy is Paranormal concerns events or experiences not subject to scientific explanation or outside the ability of science to measure or explain. ESP, ghosts and other phenomenon fit this definition. Fantasy is a genre using magic or other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of the plot or setting. (Think Harry Potter or Harry Dresdin).

ROMANCE

When classifying a Romance Novel for publishing, the writer is often also required to define the Heat Level in the Novel. Heat Level refers to the intensity of the romantic scenes in the novel and can be applied to all romance genres. These Heat Definitions were borrowed from the RomCon Romance Heat Scale: 

None: Sensuality is not the focus of the book. There may be profanity or mild violence. (e.g., Young Adult, Family Sagas)

Sweet: The romance deals with the emotional aspects of love rather than the physical. No sex or scenes of physical intimacy except kissing. No profanity. No graphic violence. (e.g., Christian Fiction, Sweet Romance, Young Adult Romance.)

Mild: There may be mildly described scenes of intimacy. There may be mild profanity or violence

Medium: Sometimes described as "Blush level", it is a little more than halfway between sweet and hot with more descriptive loves scenes and profanity than mild. There may be sex scenes or the preliminary action related to it. Scenes are usually not graphic and may contain euphemisms for sexual parts of the body are common. The emphasis is very much on feeling.

Hot: There usually are detailed sex scenes, profanity and/or graphic violence.  Authors who often write at this level of sensuality include Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, Rebecca York, Judith Arnold, Mary Balogh, Edith Layton, and Candace Camp.

Wild Ride/Erotica: There will be graphic sex scenes, including multiple partners and or alternate lifestyles. There may be explicit adult language and/or graphic violence. (e.g., Erotic Romance, High Fantasy, Thrillers...) Within RomCon®'s website, this is referred to as Erotic Romance. Be careful here; certain subject matters are still taboo (sex with children among others) and you will need to be specific in the reasons for your rating.

Blood Thirsty: Sensuality is not the focus of the book, but there will be graphic violence, bloody scenes, or horrific scenes with frightening or intense content. (e.g., Horror, Thrillers, some High Fantasy...), here again you need to be specific for the reason you gave the rating. 

Paranormal Romanceis a subgenre of both romantic fiction and speculative fiction. Paranormal romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending themes from the speculative fiction genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Paranormal romance can range from traditional category romances with a paranormal setting to stories where the main attention is on a science fiction or fantasy-based plot with a romantic subplot included. Common devices are romantic relationships between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly nature. Beyond more common themes concern vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, or time travel; paranormal romances can also include characters with psychic abilities, like telekinesis or telepathy. Paranormal romance has its roots in Gothic fiction, and are one of the fastest growing in the romance genre.

Contemporary Romance: is a subgenre of romance novels generally set after 1960. Contemporary is the largest of the romance novel subgenres, These novels are set in the time when they were written, and reflect the ideas and customs of their time. Heroines in contemporary romances written prior to 1970 usually quit working when they married or had children, while those written after 1970 have and keep a career. As contemporary romance novels have grown to contain more complex plotting and more realistic characters, the line between this subgenre and the genre of women's fiction or Chick Lit has blurred. Most contemporary romance novels contain elements that date the books, so eventually the story lines become inappropriate to more modern readers and go out of print. Some do make the transition into Historical fiction, but not many.

Historical Romance:  is a broad category of fiction where the story takes place in a setting located in the past. Settings in this category will run the gamut from 1960 back into caveman times. Walter Scott helped popularize this genre in the early 19th-century, with works such as Rob Roy and Ivanhoe.  More recently author Jean Aeul's Caveman series have been on the best seller list. Historical romances continue to be published, and notable recent examples are Conqueror by Georgette Heyer, or the Roselynde Chronicles by Roberta Gellis.

Western Romance: These books are set in America or Australia or in a contemporary or historical western setting (western United States, Canadian prairies or Australian outback), with a female lead. Readers expect the story to include horses, cowboys and a simpler way of life (but not a simpler plot). Think Joanna Lindsay or Willa Cather. For more traditional male centered westerns consider Louis L'Amour and Luke Short. The traditional male centered westerns have more in common with straight adventure fiction than romance. Women are usually secondary characters and have little or no part of the main action. Westerns are most noted for their clear lines of good and evil.

Gothic Romance: Combines romance and horror and may involve a mystery of some type. It has a long tradition, going back to the Regency/Victorian era.   Made popular by Jane Austin and others, Gothic fiction, which is widely known by the subgenre of Gothic horror, is a genre that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance. Its origin is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled (in its second edition) "A Gothic Story". Gothic fiction creates a pleasing sense of terror; Romantic literary pleasures that were relatively new at the time of Walpole's novel. It originated in England in the second half of the 18th century and had much success in the 19th as witnessed by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Another well known novel in this genre, dating from the late Victorian era, is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 

Regency Romance: Regency romances are a distinct genre with their own plot and stylistic conventions. These derive from the 19th-century contemporary works of Georgette Heyer, who still dominates the genre. She wrote over two dozen novels set in the Regency starting in 1935 until her death in 1974. The more traditional Regencies feature a great deal of intelligent, fast-paced dialog between the leads and very little explicit sex or discussion of sex. The plot contrivances that can be found range from Marriages of convenience and false engagements to mistaken identities. Class differences are clearly defined and create barriers. (The son of the house never marries the maid for instance).

Romantic Suspense: The most plot driven of the romance genres. It generally has a strong woman as lead who is involved in dangerous situations. The male hero usually starts out looking like the bad guy but turns out to be good. The setting for these books can be anywhen from deep in the past to contemporary. Think Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt or Barbara Michaels.

THRILLERS

Thriller is a broad genre having numerous subgenres. Thrillers are characterized and defined by the mood of fear and suspense they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of excitement, surprise and anxiety. A thriller generally has a more villain driven plot than adventure. This list is my no means all inclusive.

Eco Thriller: Eco thrillers are normally set around a threat (natural or man-made) to the environment, and combine action, adventure with maybe a touch of mystery. They are fast-paced and usually laced with science. The lead character must find a way to negate the threat.

Supernatural Thriller: Supernatural fiction or supernaturalist fiction involves plot devices or themes that contradict Ideas and assumptions commonplace in the natural world. It is very closely aligned with Horror though usually in a more inhibited fashion. This genre brings in an otherworldly element, Often the hero and/or villain has (or at least claims) some psychic ability.

Historical Thriller: This genre differs from other thrillers in that is set in the past, usually prior to 1960. It may also contain elements of espionage, military or other genres but should not be confused with political/conspiracy thrillers which occur in a more contemporary setting.

Medical/Psychological Thrillers: I have lumped these to together because they draw from similar backgrounds. In Medical Thrillers, a doctor's life is often threatened (because they helped a certain patient), or a mysterious (usually artificial) disease has broken out. Robin Cook and Tess Gerritsen are leaders in this subgenre. Sandra Wilkenson's novel Death On Call is an early example. (sometimes the authors are doctors themselves.) Psychological subgenre tales build up slowly, with ever-increasing doubt and tension, until some explicit action/violence takes place, usually at the finale.

Political/Conspiracy Thriller: This genre is very similar in some ways to the Environmental Thriller. Usually the hero or heroine confronts a large, well organized company, government dept., or group. The threat posed by this group is only perceived by the protagonist. A great deal of the plot revolves around a single individual defeating the above groups while encountering disbelief from everyone around him/her. Perplexing forces pull strings in the life of the lead character -- if not throughout the world. Usually the hero becomes a threat to the conspirators, and must escape their wrath. Often these stories depict the aberrations caused by secrecy, and the corrupting influence of power. 

Espionage or Spy Thriller: As a genre, spy fiction is thematically related to the adventure novel and involves espionage as an important background or plot device. It emerged in the early twentieth century, inspired by rivalries and intrigues between the major powers, and the establishment of modern intelligence agencies. The genre was given new impetus by the increase of fascism and communism in the lead-up to World War II. It continued to develop during the Cold War, and received a fresh impetus from the emergence of rogue states like ISIS, international criminal organizations, global terrorist networks, maritime piracy and technological sabotage as convincing threats to Western societies.

Techno Thriller: A techno-thriller is a hybrid genre drawing plot elements from science fiction, thrillers, spy fiction, action, and war novels. They include a lopsided amount of technical details on their subject matter; only hard science fiction tends towards a comparable level of supporting detail on the technical side. The inner workings of technology and the mechanics of various practices (espionage, martial arts, politics) are thoroughly explored, and the plot often turns on the of that exploration.

Military Thriller: the focus of this genre is on the development of the crisis, and the detailing of the military action. an aggressive move by the Bad Guys forces the Good to wage large-scale combat to stop them. This can also be found on a smaller scale with many novels set in WWII or prior. However, these are cross genre novels coinciding with Historical thrillers.

Legal Thriller: the plot usually is centered around courtroom action, with a lawyer as the protagonist. This is not to be confused with a Courtroom Drama. In a courtroom drama, the reader often doesn't know who the villain is until the climax of the story. In a legal thriller, the reader generally knows who the bad guy is from the beginning and the action focuses on whether justice is served.

SCIENCE FICTION

Science fiction or speculative fiction (often shortened to SF, sci-fi or scifi) is a genre dealing with notions such as futuristic science, technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations, and has been referred a "literature of ideas," or future casting. It usually avoids the supernatural, and unlike the related genre of fantasy, science fiction stories were intended to have a grounding in science-based facts or theories prevalent at the time the story was created; a description now limited to hard science fiction.

Dystopian / Utopian: utopia and its derivative, dystopia, are genres exploring social and political structures. Utopian fiction shows a setting agreeing with the author's ideology, and has attributes of different reality to appeal to readers. Dystopian (or dystopic) fiction (sometimes combined with, but distinct from apocalyptic literature) is the opposite. It shows a setting that completely disagrees with the author's ideology. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take, depending on its choices. Both utopias and dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction genres and arguably are a type of speculative fiction. Apocalyptic Science Fiction is a sub-genre of Dystopian Science Fiction covering the end of civilization, through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten or mythologized. Post apocalyptic stories often take place in an agrarian, non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of technology remain.

Space Opera: is a subgenre of science fiction emphasizing space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, risk-taking, and chivalric romance. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it frequently involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology. The term has no relation to music but was coined during the 1930s to indicate clichéd and formulaic stories in several genres. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and they continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, and video games. The most notable was probably produced by E.E. "Doc" Smith.

Cyberpunk: Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction taking place in a future setting. It tends to focus on society as "high tech low life" showcasing advanced technological and scientific accomplishments, such as information technology and cybernetics, creating a breakdown or radical change in the social order. Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporation's in a near-future Earth. The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but feature extraordinary cultural turmoil and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors. Much of the genre's atmosphere echoes film noir writers and often uses modus operandi from this genre of detective fiction.

Military Science Fiction: is a subgenre of science fiction that uses science fiction technology, mainly weapons, for military purposes. Its principal characters are generally members of a military organization involved in military activity. The action sometimes takes place in outer space or on a different planet or planets. It is found in literature, comics, film, and video games. A detailed description of the conflict, the tactics and weapons used, and the role of a military service and the individual members of that military organization generally forms the basis for a work of military science fiction. The stories often use events of actual past or current Earth conflicts, with countries being replaced by planets or galaxies of similar characteristics, battleships replaced by space battleships and certain events changed so that the author can induce what might have occurred differently.

Hard/Soft Science Fiction: is a category of science fiction marked by an emphasis on scientific accuracy. The terms were first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell, Jr.'s "Islands of Space" in Astounding Science Fiction. The complementary term Soft Science Fiction, formed by comparison to hard science fiction, first appeared in the late 1970s. It was created to emphasize the distinction between the "hard" (natural) and "soft" (social) sciences. Science fiction critic Gary Westfahl thinks that both terms are ways of describing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful.

Alternate History: or alternative history (British English), sometimes abbreviated as AH, is a genre of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently than as history recorded them. These stories are set in a world in which history has deviated from history as it is generally known; more simply put, alternate history asks the question, "What if history had developed differently?" Most works in this genre are set in real historical contexts, yet feature social, geopolitical or industrial settings that developed differently or at a different pace from our own. This subgenre comprises fiction in which a change or point of divergence happens that causes history to diverge from our own.

Steampunk:  is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that refers to works set in an era where steam power is still widely used;19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West, where steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that employs steam power in the same way. Although its literary origins are sometimes identified with the cyberpunk genre, it has marked differences. Inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne are often included. Steampunk encompasses alternate history-style elements of past technology like dirigibles or mechanical computers combined with futuristic technology like multi-function goggles, giant robots and ray guns. Steampunk may be described as neo-Victorian. It most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era's perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.

Romantic Science Fiction: This genre seems to be written almost exclusively for and by women. In most cases, it is simply a love story set in the future or a distant planet, although it can be set in the past or an alternate world as well. It centers more on relationships than on science, and any futuristic or fantasy elements take second place to the relationships. Usually there is no attempt to explain why the technology works; only its actions are described. A flying car or spaceship is simply said to go places, time travel simply happens without any attempt to describe the scientific method by which this might work. Probably the two most recognizable writers of romantic science fiction are Jayne Castle's (AKA Krenz) books on Harmony and Diana Gabaldon's Highlander series (now a TV series). Romantic Sci-Fi includes the sub-genre of Romantic Fantasy (virtually the same except magic is used rather than technology). A fuller description of this sub genre can be found in the Romance category.

FANTASY

Fantasy is a fiction genre set in an imaginary universe, most often without any locations, events, or people from the real world. Most fantasy uses magic or other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme, or setting. Magic and magical creatures are common in many of these imaginary worlds. Fantasy is generally distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the expectation that it will steer clear of scientific and macabre themes, though there is a great deal of overlap among the three, all of which are subgenres of speculative fiction.

Urban Fantasy:   is a subgenre of fantasy defined by place; it is a fantastic narrative with an urban setting. Urban fantasy exists on one side of a spectrum opposite high fantasy, which is set in an entirely fictitious world. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times with supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.

Contemporary Fantasy:  is generally distinguished from horror fiction—which also has contemporary settings and fantastic elements—by the overall tone; emphasizing joy or wonder rather than fear or dread. These are stories set in the accepted real world in contemporary times; magic and magical creatures exist but are not commonly seen or understood; either living in the crevices of our world or leaking over from alternate worlds. It has much in common with and sometimes overlaps with secret history. A work of fantasy where the magic does not remain secret, or does not have any known relationship to known history, would not fit into this subgenre.

Traditional Fantasy:

Please see the definition of Fantasy above.

Horror: is a genre of fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle their readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon has defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length... which shocks or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing". It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural though it can be non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.

Historical Fantasy: This is a category of fantasy and a sub genre of historical fiction that combines fantastic elements (such as magic) into the story. There is much crossover with other subgenres of fantasy; books classed as Arthurian, Celtic, or Dark Ages could just as easily be placed in Historical Fantasy. Stories fitting this classification generally take place prior to the 20th century.

Weird Fiction: is a subgenre of speculative fiction starting in the late 19th and early 20th century. It can include ghost stories and other tales of the macabre. Weird fiction is distinguished from horror and fantasy in its blending of supernatural, mythical, and even scientific elements. British authors who have embraced this style have published their work in mainstream literary magazines. American weird fiction writers included Edgar Allan Poe, William Hope Hodgson, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen M. R. James, and Clark Ashton Smith.

Comic Fantasy:  is a subgenre of fantasy that is primarily humorous in intent and tone. Usually set in imaginary worlds, comic fantasy can spoof and parody other works of fantasy, detective fiction or other genres. It is sometimes known as Low Fantasy in contrast to High Fantasy, which is primarily serious in intent and tone. The term "low fantasy" is used to represent other types of fantasy, however, so while comic fantasies may also correctly be classified as low fantasy, many examples of low fantasy are not comic in nature. Two of the most famous examples in this genre would be the Myth Series which successfully spoofed Fantasy and the Garrett P.I. series which did a parody of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe detective series. Other writers of comic fantasy are emerging; notably Dakota Cassidy with her werewolf/witch spoofs and Amanda M. Lee's Wicked Witches of the Midwest series.

Slipstream: Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses the traditional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. Slipstream falls between speculative fiction and mainstream fiction. While some slipstream novels employ elements of science fiction or fantasy, not all do. The common unifying factor of these books is some degree of the surreal, the not-entirely real, or the markedly anti-real.

Epic / High Fantasy: High Fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy, and is defined by its setting in a fictional universe or by the epic stature of its characters, themes, and plot. The term "high fantasy" was coined by Lloyd Alexander in a 1971 essay, "High Fantasy and Heroic Romance" (originally given at the New England Round Table of Children's Librarians in October 1969). Epic Fantasy has been described as containing three elements: it must be a trilogy or longer, its time-span must encompass years or more, and it must contain a large back-story or universe setting in which the story takes place.

ADVENTURE

Adventure fiction refers to fiction that puts the lead characters in danger, or gives the reader a sense of excitemen

Traditional Western: Western fiction is a genre set in the American Old West frontier from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century. Well-known writers of Western fiction include Zane Grey from the early 20th century and Louis L'Amour and John McCord from the mid-20th century. A traditional western includes cowboys, Native Americans, covered wagons, and women in aprons with shotguns. The genre peaked around the early 1960s, largely due to the popularity of televised Westerns such as Bonanza. Readership began to drop off in the mid- to late 1970s and has reached a new low in the 2000s. Most bookstores, carry few Western fiction books. Nevertheless, several Western fiction series are published monthly, such as The Trailsman, Slocum, Longarm and The Gunsmith. The genre has seen the rumblings of a revival with the advent of romances in western settings by authors such as Linda Lael Miller and Joanna Lindsey.

Treasure Hunting: treasure hunting fiction has a great deal in common with both detective fiction and straight adventure fiction. The hunter must solve a series of clues to find the treasure A good treasure hunting novel delivers thrills and a rising excitement as clues are worked out and uncovered.  There is also opposition from rivals as well. And of course, the hunt has a successful conclusion, or an adequate reason is given why it does not.

MISCELLANEOUS GENRES

General: like Children's and Youth Fiction, General Fiction can span all decades and genres. These are books that fall into the general fiction genre are often ones that straddle so many genres it’s hard to place them in any specific genre. The books in the general fiction genre can be a combination of any three or more genres of fiction that cause them to be outside the limits and rules of those specific genres. Examples of this: a science fiction, fantasy, romance that has strong elements of comedy and action and adventure. The Kite Runner, Water for Elephants, Life of Pi, The Great Gatsby, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and the Poisonwood Bible. General Fiction is that strange catch-all genre where titles no one knows how to classify end up. This section generally takes up about half a bookstore’s inventory. But even though it’s a vague term, there are some types fiction that are guaranteed to be found in this section of bookstores or libraries. Classic Literature: Stories that are representative of the time in which they were written, but because they have a universal appeal, the books lasted in print and popularity.  Drama: A novel centered on the conflict or contrast of characters. Humor:  A humorous novel has one goal:  to provide amusement and make the reader laugh.  Satire: This is category closely related to humor, but it has a more malicious edge. Its main elements are irony, sarcasm and parody. Unlike straight humor, satire is created to draw attention to social problems through wit. Satire always have a message of some kind. Realistic Fiction: All realistic fiction has these three elements 1) a setting that can be found in the real world 2) the characters will be lifelike and fully formed 3) a conflict or problem that centers on everyday issues or personal relationships that could exist in real life. Tragedy: A tragedy takes a reader through events leading to the self-destruction or catastrophe for the lead characters or those around them. It is sometimes referred to as a tear-jerker. A tragicomedy is a combination of tragedy and comedy. To qualify as this type of fiction there must be an equal mixture of both tragedy and comedy. Chick Lit or Women's Fiction: This is fiction aimed at women and addresses a variety of subjects, i.e. from shopping to relationships. Think Sex and the City. Inspirational Fiction: this type of novel has the goal of inspiring the reader. Its lead characters overcome obstacles and it can be set in the past, present or the future provided that the setting could occur in real life. Most Christian fiction will fall under this category. Historical Fiction: we covered Historical fiction in the various genres, but there are some novels who simply don't fit into them. The main idea would be to showcase the past in an accurate manner while making the characters and interesting. If it involves real events, they must be reported accurately and without change. The most successful historical fiction sometimes tells the story of ordinary people and how they are affected by historical events.

Youth Fiction (YA): I made this a separate category because the plots of these novels span all the genres. Young adult fiction or young adult literature (YA) is fiction for readers from 12 to 18. However, authors and readers of "young teen novels" often define it as works written for age 15 to the early 20s. The terms young adult novel, juvenile novel, teenage fiction, young adult book, etc., all refer to the works in this category.  The subject and story lines of young adult literature must be consistent with the age and experience of the main character, but this literature spans the spectrum of fiction genres. Stories that focus on the specific challenges of youth or teens are sometimes referred to as coming-of-age novels. 

Children's Fiction: is a genre all to itself. This is children's books written especially for children from 0 to 12 years old. Like YA fiction, it includes a broad spectrum of the genres, with certain differences from YA and Adult fiction. Picture Books: Children's books that provide a "visual experience" - tell a story with pictures. There may or may not be text with the book. The content of the book can be explained with the illustrated pictures. Picture Story Books are Children's books that have pictures or illustrations to complement the story and usually are aimed for a trifle older audience depending on their reading ability. These are often done on a collaborative basis with the author employing an illustrator, or vice versa. Both the text and the illustrations are important to the development of the story. The pictures are the "eye-candy" that get children's attention, but the text is needed to complete the story. Traditional Literature, includes stories passed down from generation to generation. In many ways, the fact that they do change over time is what makes them so fascinating because of the link they provide to the past. To remain meaningful in different eras, the stories while keeping much of their original flavor and content,  must evolve in subtle ways to be acceptable to current mores and culture. These are folktales, fairy tales, fables, legends and myths. Children's Historical Fiction is stories that are written to illustrate or convey information about a specific time or historical event. Authors use historical fiction to create drama and interest based on real events in people's lives. Children's Modern Fantasy is probably easier to define by example or by what it isn't. The stories are contemporary or nondescript as to time periods. They are imaginative tales requiring readers to accept story lines that clearly cannot be true. They may be based on animals that talk, facets of science fiction, supernatural or horror, or combinations of these elements. "Charlottes Web," "Winnie the Pooh," "Alice in Wonderland", "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," and "The Wizard of Oz" are all examples of modern fantasy written for young readers up to 12 years old. Children's Realistic Fiction has main characters of roughly the age (or slightly older than) the book's intended audience. The books offer a "real-world" problem or challenge and show how a young person solves that problem.

Gail Daley's Fine Art

Posted 25 weeks ago
Posted 25 weeks ago
<p><b><i>WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?</i></b></p><p>Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the
many Art Genres. I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the
internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various
other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a
comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a
publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an
enormous amount of information about book genres. I limited myself to fiction.
I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the
chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was
there. Please feel free to share or add to it.</p><p>MYSTERY</p><p>Mystery fiction is
a genre usually involving a mysterious death or a crime to be solved.
In a closed circle of suspects, each suspect must have a credible motive and a
reasonable opportunity for committing the crime.</p><p><b>Noir/Hard Boiled:</b> Noir fiction is
a literary genre closely related to
the hard-boiled detective genre except that the lead character
is not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator.
Other common characteristics include the self-destructive qualities of the lead
character A typical protagonist of noir fiction is dealing with the legal,
political or other system that is no less
corrupt than the perpetrator by whom the protagonist is either victimized
and/or must victimize others daily, leading to lose-lose situation.</p><p><b>Cozy Mystery:</b> Cozy mysteries, also referred to as “cozies”,
are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are
played down or treated with humor and the crime and detection takes place
in a small, socially intimate community. The term was first coined in the late
20th century when various writers attempted to re-create the Golden Age of
Detective Fiction.</p><p><b>General Mystery</b>: Mystery fiction is
a genre of fiction commonly involving a mysterious death or a crime
to be solved. The central character must be a police or amateur detective who eventually
solves the mystery by logical deduction from facts fairly presented to the
reader. Sometimes mystery books are nonfictional. “Mystery
fiction” can be detective stories in which the emphasis is on the puzzle
or suspense element and its logical solution such as a whodunit. Mystery fiction
can be contrasted with hard-boiled detective stories, which focus on
action and gritty realism.</p><p>Mystery fiction may involve
a supernatural mystery where the solution does not have to be logical,
and even no crime involved. This was common in the pulp magazines of
the 1930s and 1940s, where titles such as Dime Mystery, Thrilling
Mystery and Spicy Mystery offered what at the time were
described as “weird menace” stories—supernatural horror in the vein
of Grand Guignol. This contrasted with parallel titles of the same names
which contained conventional hard-boiled crime fiction. The first use of
“mystery” in this sense was by Dime Mystery, which started out
as an ordinary crime fiction magazine but switched to “weird menace”
during the latter part of 1933.</p><p><b>Police Procedural:</b> The police
procedural, or police crime drama, is a subgenre of detective
fiction that attempts to depict the activities of a police
force as they investigate crimes.  Traditional detective novels usually
concentrate on a single crime.  Police procedurals frequently
describe investigations into several unrelated crimes in a single story.
Traditional mysteries usually adhere to the convention of having the criminal’s
identity concealed until the climax (the so-called whodunit); in
police procedurals, the perpetrator’s identity is often known to the audience
from the outset (this is referred to as the inverted detective story).
Police procedurals describe several police-related topics such as forensics, autopsies,
the gathering of evidence, the use of search warrants, and interrogation.</p><p><b>Hobby Mystery:</b> See Cozy
Mystery. This is merely a specialized sub genre of Cozy mysteries. The
story usually centers around the main character’s hobby, such as quilting or
animals.</p><p><b>Historical Mystery:</b> The historical
mystery or historical whodunit is a subgenre of two other
genres, historical fiction and mystery fiction. These works are
set in a time usually before 1960 and the central plot involves the solving of
a mystery or crime (usually murder). Though works combining these genres have
existed since at least the early 20th century, many credit Ellis Peters

Paranormal Mystery:  Sometimes the things in a mystery just can’t be explained. That’s where the paranormal mystery comes into play. These books have an element of supernatural in them, that can include magic, witches, skeletons or ghosts, and it can include werewolves, vampires, and other creatures. The difference between paranormal and fantasy is Paranormal concerns events or experiences not subject to scientific explanation or outside the ability of science to measure or explain. ESP, ghosts and other phenomenon fit this definition. Fantasy is a genre using magic or other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of the plot or setting. (Think Harry Potter or Harry Dresdin).

ROMANCE

When classifying a Romance Novel for publishing, the writer is often also required to define the Heat Level in the Novel. Heat Level refers to the intensity of the romantic scenes in the novel and can be applied to all romance genres. These Heat Definitions were borrowed from the RomCon Romance Heat Scale: 

None: Sensuality is not the focus of the book. There may be profanity or mild violence. (e.g., Young Adult, Family Sagas)

Sweet: The romance deals with the emotional aspects of love rather than the physical. No sex or scenes of physical intimacy except kissing. No profanity. No graphic violence. (e.g., Christian Fiction, Sweet Romance, Young Adult Romance.)

Mild: There may be mildly described scenes of intimacy. There may be mild profanity or violence, 

Medium: Sometimes described as “Blush level”, it is a little more than halfway between sweet and hot with more descriptive loves scenes and profanity than mild. There may be sex scenes or the preliminary action related to it. Scenes are usually not graphic and may contain euphemisms for sexual parts of the body are common. The emphasis is very much on feeling.

Hot: There usually are detailed sex scenes, profanity and/or graphic violence.  Authors who often write at this level of sensuality include Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, Rebecca York, Judith Arnold, Mary Balogh, Edith Layton, and Candace Camp.

Wild Ride/Erotica: There will be graphic sex scenes, including multiple partners and or alternate lifestyles. There may be explicit adult language and/or graphic violence. (e.g., Erotic Romance, High Fantasy, Thrillers…) Within RomCon®’s website, this is referred to as Erotic Romance. Be careful here; certain subject matters are still taboo (sex with children among others) and you will need to be specific in the reasons for your rating. 

Blood Thirsty: Sensuality is not the focus of the book, but there will be graphic violence, bloody scenes, or horrific scenes with frightening or intense content. (e.g., Horror, Thrillers, some High Fantasy…), here again you need to be specific for the reason you gave the rating. 

Paranormal Romance: is a subgenre of both romantic fiction and speculative fiction. Paranormal romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending themes from the speculative fiction genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Paranormal romance can range from traditional category romances with a paranormal setting to stories where the main attention is on a science fiction or fantasy-based plot with a romantic subplot included. Common devices are romantic relationships between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly nature. Beyond more common themes concern vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, or time travel; paranormal romances can also include characters with psychic abilities, like telekinesis or telepathy. Paranormal romance has its roots in Gothic fiction, and are one of the fastest growing in the romance genre.

Contemporary Romance: is a subgenre of romance novels generally set after 1960. Contemporary is the largest of the romance novel subgenres, These novels are set in the time when they were written, and reflect the ideas and customs of their time. Heroines in contemporary romances written prior to 1970 usually quit working when they married or had children, while those written after 1970 have and keep a career. As contemporary romance novels have grown to contain more complex plotting and more realistic characters, the line between this subgenre and the genre of women’s fiction or Chick Lit has blurred. Most contemporary romance novels contain elements that date the books, so eventually the story lines become inappropriate to more modern readers and go out of print. Some do make the transition into Historical fiction, but not many.

Historical Romance:  is a broad category of fiction where the story takes place in a setting located in the past. Settings in this category will run the gamut from 1960 back into caveman times. Walter Scott helped popularize this genre in the early 19th-century, with works such as Rob Roy and Ivanhoe.  More recently author Jean Aeul’s Caveman series have been on the best seller list. Historical romances continue to be published, and notable recent examples are Conqueror by Georgette Heyer, or the Roselynde Chronicles by Roberta Gellis.

Western Romance: These books are set in America or Australia or in a contemporary or historical western setting (western United States, Canadian prairies or Australian outback), with a female lead. Readers expect the story to include horses, cowboys and a simpler way of life (but not a simpler plot). Think Joanna Lindsay or Willa Cather. For more traditional male centered westerns consider Louis L'Amour and Luke Short. The traditional male centered westerns have more in common with straight adventure fiction than romance. Women are usually secondary characters and have little or no part of the main action. Westerns are most noted for their clear lines of good and evil.

Gothic Romance: Combines romance and horror and may involve a mystery of some type. It has a long tradition, going back to the Regency/Victorian era.   Made popular by Jane Austin and others, Gothic fiction, which is widely known by the subgenre of Gothic horror, is a genre that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance. Its origin is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled (in its second edition) “A Gothic Story”. Gothic fiction creates a pleasing sense of terror; Romantic literary pleasures that were relatively new at the time of Walpole’s novel. It originated in England in the second half of the 18th century and had much success in the 19th as witnessed by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Another well known novel in this genre, dating from the late Victorian era, is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 

Regency Romance: Regency romances are a distinct genre with their own plot and stylistic conventions. These derive from the 19th-century contemporary works of Georgette Heyer, who still dominates the genre. She wrote over two dozen novels set in the Regency starting in 1935 until her death in 1974. The more traditional Regencies feature a great deal of intelligent, fast-paced dialog between the leads and very little explicit sex or discussion of sex. The plot contrivances that can be found range from Marriages of convenience and false engagements to mistaken identities. Class differences are clearly defined and create barriers. (The son of the house never marries the maid for instance).

Romantic Suspense: The most plot driven of the romance genres. It generally has a strong woman as lead who is involved in dangerous situations. The male hero usually starts out looking like the bad guy but turns out to be good. The setting for these books can be anywhen from deep in the past to contemporary. Think Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt or Barbara Michaels.

THRILLERS

Thriller is a broad genre having numerous subgenres. Thrillers are characterized and defined by the mood of fear and suspense they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of excitement, surprise and anxiety. A thriller generally has a more villain driven plot than adventure. This list is my no means all inclusive.

Eco Thriller: Eco thrillers are normally set around a threat (natural or man-made) to the environment, and combine action, adventure with maybe a touch of mystery. They are fast-paced and usually laced with science. The lead character must find a way to negate the threat.

Supernatural Thriller: Supernatural fiction or supernaturalist fiction involves plot devices or themes that contradict Ideas and assumptions commonplace in the natural world. It is very closely aligned with Horror though usually in a more inhibited fashion. This genre brings in an otherworldly element, Often the hero and/or villain has (or at least claims) some psychic ability.

Historical Thriller: This genre differs from other thrillers in that is set in the past, usually prior to 1960. It may also contain elements of espionage, military or other genres but should not be confused with political/conspiracy thrillers which occur in a more contemporary setting.

Medical/Psychological Thrillers: I have lumped these to together because they draw from similar backgrounds. In Medical Thrillers, a doctor’s life is often threatened (because they helped a certain patient), or a mysterious (usually artificial) disease has broken out. Robin Cook and Tess Gerritsen are leaders in this subgenre. Sandra Wilkenson’s novel Death On Call is an early example. (sometimes the authors are doctors themselves.) Psychological subgenre tales build up slowly, with ever-increasing doubt and tension, until some explicit action/violence takes place, usually at the finale.

Political/Conspiracy Thriller: This genre is very similar in some ways to the Environmental Thriller. Usually the hero or heroine confronts a large, well organized company, government dept., or group. The threat posed by this group is only perceived by the protagonist. A great deal of the plot revolves around a single individual defeating the above groups while encountering disbelief from everyone around him/her. Perplexing forces pull strings in the life of the lead character – if not throughout the world. Usually the hero becomes a threat to the conspirators, and must escape their wrath. Often these stories depict the aberrations caused by secrecy, and the corrupting influence of power. 

Espionage or Spy Thriller: As a genre, spy fiction is thematically related to the adventure novel and involves espionage as an important background or plot device. It emerged in the early twentieth century, inspired by rivalries and intrigues between the major powers, and the establishment of modern intelligence agencies. The genre was given new impetus by the increase of fascism and communism in the lead-up to World War II. It continued to develop during the Cold War, and received a fresh impetus from the emergence of rogue states like ISIS, international criminal organizations, global terrorist networks, maritime piracy and technological sabotage as convincing threats to Western societies.

Techno Thriller: A techno-thriller is a hybrid genre drawing plot elements from science fiction, thrillers, spy fiction, action, and war novels. They include a lopsided amount of technical details on their subject matter; only hard science fiction tends towards a comparable level of supporting detail on the technical side. The inner workings of technology and the mechanics of various practices (espionage, martial arts, politics) are thoroughly explored, and the plot often turns on the of that exploration.

Military Thriller: the focus of this genre is on the development of the crisis, and the detailing of the military action. an aggressive move by the Bad Guys forces the Good to wage large-scale combat to stop them. This can also be found on a smaller scale with many novels set in WWII or prior. However, these are cross genre novels coinciding with Historical thrillers.

Legal Thriller: the plot usually is centered around courtroom action, with a lawyer as the protagonist. This is not to be confused with a Courtroom Drama. In a courtroom drama, the reader often doesn’t know who the villain is until the climax of the story. In a legal thriller, the reader generally knows who the bad guy is from the beginning and the action focuses on whether justice is served.

SCIENCE FICTION

Science fiction or speculative fiction (often shortened to SF, sci-fi or scifi) is a genre dealing with notions such as futuristic science, technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations, and has been referred a “literature of ideas,” or future casting. It usually avoids the supernatural, and unlike the related genre of fantasy, science fiction stories were intended to have a grounding in science-based facts or theories prevalent at the time the story was created; a description now limited to hard science fiction.

Dystopian / Utopian: utopia and its derivative, dystopia, are genres exploring social and political structures. Utopian fiction shows a setting agreeing with the author’s ideology, and has attributes of different reality to appeal to readers. Dystopian (or dystopic) fiction (sometimes combined with, but distinct from apocalyptic literature) is the opposite. It shows a setting that completely disagrees with the author’s ideology. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take, depending on its choices. Both utopias and dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction genres and arguably are a type of speculative fiction. Apocalyptic Science Fiction is a sub-genre of Dystopian Science Fiction covering the end of civilization, through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten or mythologized. Post apocalyptic stories often take place in an agrarian, non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of technology remain.

Space Opera: is a subgenre of science fiction emphasizing space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, risk-taking, and chivalric romance. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it frequently involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology. The term has no relation to music but was coined during the 1930s to indicate clichéd and formulaic stories in several genres. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and they continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, and video games. The most notable was probably produced by E.E. “Doc” Smith.

Cyberpunk: Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction taking place in a future setting. It tends to focus on society as “high tech low life" showcasing advanced technological and scientific accomplishments, such as information technology and cybernetics, creating a breakdown or radical change in the social order. Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporation’s in a near-future Earth. The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but feature extraordinary cultural turmoil and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors. Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir writers and often uses modus operandi from this genre of detective fiction.

Military Science Fiction: is a subgenre of science fiction that uses science fiction technology, mainly weapons, for military purposes. Its principal characters are generally members of a military organization involved in military activity. The action sometimes takes place in outer space or on a different planet or planets. It is found in literature, comics, film, and video games. A detailed description of the conflict, the tactics and weapons used, and the role of a military service and the individual members of that military organization generally forms the basis for a work of military science fiction. The stories often use events of actual past or current Earth conflicts, with countries being replaced by planets or galaxies of similar characteristics, battleships replaced by space battleships and certain events changed so that the author can induce what might have occurred differently.

Hard/Soft Science Fiction: is a category of science fiction marked by an emphasis on scientific accuracy. The terms were first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell, Jr.‘s "Islands of Space" in Astounding Science Fiction. The complementary term Soft Science Fiction, formed by comparison to hard science fiction, first appeared in the late 1970s. It was created to emphasize the distinction between the "hard” (natural) and “soft” (social) sciences. Science fiction critic Gary Westfahl thinks that both terms are ways of describing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful.

Alternate History: or alternative history (British English), sometimes abbreviated as AH, is a genre of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently than as history recorded them. These stories are set in a world in which history has deviated from history as it is generally known; more simply put, alternate history asks the question, “What if history had developed differently?” Most works in this genre are set in real historical contexts, yet feature social, geopolitical or industrial settings that developed differently or at a different pace from our own. This subgenre comprises fiction in which a change or point of divergence happens that causes history to diverge from our own.

Steampunk:  is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that refers to works set in an era where steam power is still widely used;19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West, where steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that employs steam power in the same way. Although its literary origins are sometimes identified with the cyberpunk genre, it has marked differences. Inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne are often included. Steampunk encompasses alternate history-style elements of past technology like dirigibles or mechanical computers combined with futuristic technology like multi-function goggles, giant robots and ray guns. Steampunk may be described as neo-Victorian. It most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.

Romantic Science Fiction: This genre seems to be written almost exclusively for and by women. In most cases, it is simply a love story set in the future or a distant planet, although it can be set in the past or an alternate world as well. It centers more on relationships than on science, and any futuristic or fantasy elements take second place to the relationships. Usually there is no attempt to explain why the technology works; only its actions are described. A flying car or spaceship is simply said to go places, time travel simply happens without any attempt to describe the scientific method by which this might work. Probably the two most recognizable writers of romantic science fiction are Jayne Castle’s (AKA Krenz) books on Harmony and Diana Gabaldon’s Highlander series (now a TV series). Romantic Sci-Fi includes the sub-genre of Romantic Fantasy (virtually the same except magic is used rather than technology). A fuller description of this sub genre can be found in the Romance category.

FANTASY

Fantasy is a fiction genre set in an imaginary universe, most often without any locations, events, or people from the real world. Most fantasy uses magic or other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme, or setting. Magic and magical creatures are common in many of these imaginary worlds. Fantasy is generally distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the expectation that it will steer clear of scientific and macabre themes, though there is a great deal of overlap among the three, all of which are subgenres of speculative fiction.

Urban Fantasy:   is a subgenre of fantasy defined by place; it is a fantastic narrative with an urban setting. Urban fantasy exists on one side of a spectrum opposite high fantasy, which is set in an entirely fictitious world. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times with supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.

Contemporary Fantasy:  is generally distinguished from horror fiction—which also has contemporary settings and fantastic elements—by the overall tone; emphasizing joy or wonder rather than fear or dread. These are stories set in the accepted real world in contemporary times; magic and magical creatures exist but are not commonly seen or understood; either living in the crevices of our world or leaking over from alternate worlds. It has much in common with and sometimes overlaps with secret history. A work of fantasy where the magic does not remain secret, or does not have any known relationship to known history, would not fit into this subgenre.

Traditional Fantasy:

Please see the definition of Fantasy above.

Horror: is a genre of fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle their readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon has defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length… which shocks or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing”. It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural though it can be non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.

Historical Fantasy: This is a category of fantasy and a sub genre of historical fiction that combines fantastic elements (such as magic) into the story. There is much crossover with other subgenres of fantasy; books classed as Arthurian, Celtic, or Dark Ages could just as easily be placed in Historical Fantasy. Stories fitting this classification generally take place prior to the 20th century. 

Weird Fiction: is a subgenre of speculative fiction starting in the late 19th and early 20th century. It can include ghost stories and other tales of the macabre. Weird fiction is distinguished from horror and fantasy in its blending of supernatural, mythical, and even scientific elements. British authors who have embraced this style have published their work in mainstream literary magazines. American weird fiction writers included Edgar Allan Poe, William Hope Hodgson, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen M. R. James, and Clark Ashton Smith.

Comic Fantasy:  is a subgenre of fantasy that is primarily humorous in intent and tone. Usually set in imaginary worlds, comic fantasy can spoof and parody other works of fantasy, detective fiction or other genres. It is sometimes known as Low Fantasy in contrast to High Fantasy, which is primarily serious in intent and tone. The term “low fantasy” is used to represent other types of fantasy, however, so while comic fantasies may also correctly be classified as low fantasy, many examples of low fantasy are not comic in nature. Two of the most famous examples in this genre would be the Myth Series which successfully spoofed Fantasy and the Garrett P.I. series which did a parody of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe detective series. Other writers of comic fantasy are emerging; notably Dakota Cassidy with her werewolf/witch spoofs and Amanda M. Lee’s Wicked Witches of the Midwest series.

Slipstream: Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses the traditional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. Slipstream falls between speculative fiction and mainstream fiction. While some slipstream novels employ elements of science fiction or fantasy, not all do. The common unifying factor of these books is some degree of the surreal, the not-entirely real, or the markedly anti-real.

Epic / High Fantasy: High Fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy, and is defined by its setting in a fictional universe or by the epic stature of its characters, themes, and plot. The term “high fantasy” was coined by Lloyd Alexander in a 1971 essay, “High Fantasy and Heroic Romance” (originally given at the New England Round Table of Children’s Librarians in October 1969). Epic Fantasy has been described as containing three elements: it must be a trilogy or longer, its time-span must encompass years or more, and it must contain a large back-story or universe setting in which the story takes place.

ADVENTURE

Adventure fiction refers to fiction that puts the lead characters in danger, or gives the reader a sense of excitement

Traditional Western: Western fiction is a genre set in the American Old West frontier from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century. Well-known writers of Western fiction include Zane Grey from the early 20th century and Louis L'Amour and John McCord from the mid-20th century. A traditional western includes cowboys, Native Americans, covered wagons, and women in aprons with shotguns. The genre peaked around the early 1960s, largely due to the popularity of televised Westerns such as Bonanza. Readership began to drop off in the mid- to late 1970s and has reached a new low in the 2000s. Most bookstores, carry few Western fiction books. Nevertheless, several Western fiction series are published monthly, such as The Trailsman, Slocum, Longarm and The Gunsmith. The genre has seen the rumblings of a revival with the advent of romances in western settings by authors such as Linda Lael Miller and Joanna Lindsey.

Treasure Hunting: treasure hunting fiction has a great deal in common with both detective fiction and straight adventure fiction. The hunter must solve a series of clues to find the treasure A good treasure hunting novel delivers thrills and a rising excitement as clues are worked out and uncovered.  There is also opposition from rivals as well. And of course, the hunt has a successful conclusion, or an adequate reason is given why it does not.

MISCELLANEOUS GENRES

General: like Children’s and Youth Fiction, General Fiction can span all decades and genres. These are books that fall into the general fiction genre are often ones that straddle so many genres it’s hard to place them in any specific genre. The books in the general fiction genre can be a combination of any three or more genres of fiction that cause them to be outside the limits and rules of those specific genres. Examples of this: a science fiction, fantasy, romance that has strong elements of comedy and action and adventure. The Kite Runner, Water for Elephants, Life of Pi, The Great Gatsby, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and the Poisonwood Bible. General Fiction is that strange catch-all genre where titles no one knows how to classify end up. This section generally takes up about half a bookstore’s inventory. But even though it’s a vague term, there are some types fiction that are guaranteed to be found in this section of bookstores or libraries. Classic Literature: Stories that are representative of the time in which they were written, but because they have a universal appeal, the books lasted in print and popularity.  Drama: A novel centered on the conflict or contrast of characters. Humor:  A humorous novel has one goal:  to provide amusement and make the reader laugh.  Satire: This is category closely related to humor, but it has a more malicious edge. Its main elements are irony, sarcasm and parody. Unlike straight humor, satire is created to draw attention to social problems through wit. Satire always have a message of some kind. Realistic Fiction: All realistic fiction has these three elements 1) a setting that can be found in the real world 2) the characters will be lifelike and fully formed 3) a conflict or problem that centers on everyday issues or personal relationships that could exist in real life. Tragedy: A tragedy takes a reader through events leading to the self-destruction or catastrophe for the lead characters or those around them. It is sometimes referred to as a tear-jerker. A tragicomedy is a combination of tragedy and comedy. To qualify as this type of fiction there must be an equal mixture of both tragedy and comedy. Chick Lit or Women’s Fiction: This is fiction aimed at women and addresses a variety of subjects, i.e. from shopping to relationships. Think Sex and the City. Inspirational Fiction: this type of novel has the goal of inspiring the reader. Its lead characters overcome obstacles and it can be set in the past, present or the future provided that the setting could occur in real life. Most Christian fiction will fall under this category. Historical Fiction: we covered Historical fiction in the various genres, but there are some novels who simply don’t fit into them. The main idea would be to showcase the past in an accurate manner while making the characters and interesting. If it involves real events, they must be reported accurately and without change. The most successful historical fiction sometimes tells the story of ordinary people and how they are affected by historical events.

Youth Fiction (YA): I made this a separate category because the plots of these novels span all the genres. Young adult fiction or young adult literature (YA) is fiction for readers from 12 to 18. However, authors and readers of “young teen novels” often define it as works written for age 15 to the early 20s. The terms young adult novel, juvenile novel, teenage fiction, young adult book, etc., all refer to the works in this category.  The subject and story lines of young adult literature must be consistent with the age and experience of the main character, but this literature spans the spectrum of fiction genres. Stories that focus on the specific challenges of youth or teens are sometimes referred to as coming-of-age novels. 

Children’s Fiction: is a genre all to itself. This is children’s books written especially for children from 0 to 12 years old. Like YA fiction, it includes a broad spectrum of the genres, with certain differences from YA and Adult fiction. Picture Books: Children’s books that provide a “visual experience” - tell a story with pictures. There may or may not be text with the book. The content of the book can be explained with the illustrated pictures. Picture Story Books are Children’s books that have pictures or illustrations to complement the story and usually are aimed for a trifle older audience depending on their reading ability. These are often done on a collaborative basis with the author employing an illustrator, or vice versa. Both the text and the illustrations are important to the development of the story. The pictures are the “eye-candy” that get children’s attention, but the text is needed to complete the story. Traditional Literature, includes stories passed down from generation to generation. In many ways, the fact that they do change over time is what makes them so fascinating because of the link they provide to the past. To remain meaningful in different eras, the stories while keeping much of their original flavor and content,  must evolve in subtle ways to be acceptable to current mores and culture. These are folktales, fairy tales, fables, legends and myths. Children’s Historical Fiction is stories that are written to illustrate or convey information about a specific time or historical event. Authors use historical fiction to create drama and interest based on real events in people’s lives. Children’s Modern Fantasy is probably easier to define by example or by what it isn’t. The stories are contemporary or nondescript as to time periods. They are imaginative tales requiring readers to accept story lines that clearly cannot be true. They may be based on animals that talk, facets of science fiction, supernatural or horror, or combinations of these elements. “Charlottes Web,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Alice in Wonderland”, “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” and “The Wizard of Oz” are all examples of modern fantasy written for young readers up to 12 years old. Children’s Realistic Fiction has main characters of roughly the age (or slightly older than) the book’s intended audience. The books offer a “real-world” problem or challenge and show how a young person solves that problem.

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WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?

Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the many Art Genres. I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an enormous amount of information about book genres. I limited myself to fiction. I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was there. Please feel free to share or add to it.

MYSTERY

Mystery fiction is a genre usually involving a mysterious death or a crime to be solved. In a closed circle of suspects, each suspect must have a credible motive and a reasonable opportunity for committing the crime.

Noir/Hard Boiled: Noir fiction is a literary genre closely related to the hard-boiled detective genre except that the lead character is not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator. Other common characteristics include the self-destructive qualities of the lead character A typical protagonist of noir fiction is dealing with the legal, political or other system that is no less corrupt than the perpetrator by whom the protagonist is either victimized and/or must victimize others daily, leading to lose-lose situation.

Cozy Mystery: Cozy mysteries, also referred to as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are played down or treated with humor and the crime and detection takes place in a small, socially intimate community. The term was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers attempted to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

General Mystery: Mystery fiction is a genre of fiction commonly involving a mysterious death or a crime to be solved. The central character must be a police or amateur detective who eventually solves the mystery by logical deduction from facts fairly presented to the reader. Sometimes mystery books are nonfictional. “Mystery fiction” can be detective stories in which the emphasis is on the puzzle or suspense element and its logical solution such as a whodunit. Mystery fiction can be contrasted with hard-boiled detective stories, which focus on action and gritty realism.

Mystery fiction may involve a supernatural mystery where the solution does not have to be logical, and even no crime involved. This was common in the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s, where titles such as Dime Mystery, Thrilling Mystery and Spicy Mystery offered what at the time were described as “weird menace” stories—supernatural horror in the vein of Grand Guignol. This contrasted with parallel titles of the same names which contained conventional hard-boiled crime fiction. The first use of “mystery” in this sense was by Dime Mystery, which started out as an ordinary crime fiction magazine but switched to “weird menace” during the latter part of 1933.

Police Procedural: The police procedural, or police crime drama, is a subgenre of detective fiction that attempts to depict the activities of a police force as they investigate crimes.  Traditional detective novels usually concentrate on a single crime.  Police procedurals frequently describe investigations into several unrelated crimes in a single story. Traditional mysteries usually adhere to the convention of having the criminal’s identity concealed until the climax (the so-called whodunit); in police procedurals, the perpetrator’s identity is often known to the audience from the outset (this is referred to as the inverted detective story). Police procedurals describe several police-related topics such as forensics, autopsies, the gathering of evidence, the use of search warrants, and interrogation.

Hobby Mystery: See Cozy Mystery. This is merely a specialized sub genre of Cozy mysteries. The story usually centers around the main character’s hobby, such as quilting or animals.

Historical Mystery: The historical mystery or historical whodunit is a subgenre of two other genres, historical fiction and mystery fiction. These works are set in a time usually before 1960 and the central plot involves the solving of a mystery or crime (usually murder). Though works combining these genres have existed since at least the early 20th century, many credit Ellis Peters's Cadfael Chronicles (1977-1994) for making popular what would become known as the historical mystery. The increasing prevalence of this kind of fiction in succeeding decades spawned a distinct subgenre. 

Paranormal Mystery:  Sometimes the things in a mystery just can’t be explained. That’s where the paranormal mystery comes into play. These books have an element of supernatural in them, that can include magic, witches, skeletons or ghosts, and it can include werewolves, vampires, and other creatures. The difference between paranormal and fantasy is Paranormal concerns events or experiences not subject to scientific explanation or outside the ability of science to measure or explain. ESP, ghosts and other phenomenon fit this definition. Fantasy is a genre using magic or other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of the plot or setting. (Think Harry Potter or Harry Dresdin).

ROMANCE

When classifying a Romance Novel for publishing, the writer is often also required to define the Heat Level in the Novel. Heat Level refers to the intensity of the romantic scenes in the novel and can be applied to all romance genres. These Heat Definitions were borrowed from the RomCon Romance Heat Scale: 

None: Sensuality is not the focus of the book. There may be profanity or mild violence. (e.g., Young Adult, Family Sagas)

Sweet: The romance deals with the emotional aspects of love rather than the physical. No sex or scenes of physical intimacy except kissing. No profanity. No graphic violence. (e.g., Christian Fiction, Sweet Romance, Young Adult Romance.)

Mild: There may be mildly described scenes of intimacy. There may be mild profanity or violence, 

Medium: Sometimes described as “Blush level”, it is a little more than halfway between sweet and hot with more descriptive loves scenes and profanity than mild. There may be sex scenes or the preliminary action related to it. Scenes are usually not graphic and may contain euphemisms for sexual parts of the body are common. The emphasis is very much on feeling.

Hot: There usually are detailed sex scenes, profanity and/or graphic violence.  Authors who often write at this level of sensuality include Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, Rebecca York, Judith Arnold, Mary Balogh, Edith Layton, and Candace Camp.

Wild Ride/Erotica: There will be graphic sex scenes, including multiple partners and or alternate lifestyles. There may be explicit adult language and/or graphic violence. (e.g., Erotic Romance, High Fantasy, Thrillers…) Within RomCon®’s website, this is referred to as Erotic Romance. Be careful here; certain subject matters are still taboo (sex with children among others) and you will need to be specific in the reasons for your rating. 

Blood Thirsty: Sensuality is not the focus of the book, but there will be graphic violence, bloody scenes, or horrific scenes with frightening or intense content. (e.g., Horror, Thrillers, some High Fantasy…), here again you need to be specific for the reason you gave the rating. 

Paranormal Romance: is a subgenre of both romantic fiction and speculative fiction. Paranormal romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending themes from the speculative fiction genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Paranormal romance can range from traditional category romances with a paranormal setting to stories where the main attention is on a science fiction or fantasy-based plot with a romantic subplot included. Common devices are romantic relationships between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly nature. Beyond more common themes concern vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, or time travel; paranormal romances can also include characters with psychic abilities, like telekinesis or telepathy. Paranormal romance has its roots in Gothic fiction, and are one of the fastest growing in the romance genre.

Contemporary Romance: is a subgenre of romance novels generally set after 1960. Contemporary is the largest of the romance novel subgenres, These novels are set in the time when they were written, and reflect the ideas and customs of their time. Heroines in contemporary romances written prior to 1970 usually quit working when they married or had children, while those written after 1970 have and keep a career. As contemporary romance novels have grown to contain more complex plotting and more realistic characters, the line between this subgenre and the genre of women’s fiction or Chick Lit has blurred. Most contemporary romance novels contain elements that date the books, so eventually the story lines become inappropriate to more modern readers and go out of print. Some do make the transition into Historical fiction, but not many.

Historical Romance:  is a broad category of fiction where the story takes place in a setting located in the past. Settings in this category will run the gamut from 1960 back into caveman times. Walter Scott helped popularize this genre in the early 19th-century, with works such as Rob Roy and Ivanhoe.  More recently author Jean Aeul’s Caveman series have been on the best seller list. Historical romances continue to be published, and notable recent examples are Conqueror by Georgette Heyer, or the Roselynde Chronicles by Roberta Gellis.

Western Romance: These books are set in America or Australia or in a contemporary or historical western setting (western United States, Canadian prairies or Australian outback), with a female lead. Readers expect the story to include horses, cowboys and a simpler way of life (but not a simpler plot). Think Joanna Lindsay or Willa Cather. For more traditional male centered westerns consider Louis L'Amour and Luke Short. The traditional male centered westerns have more in common with straight adventure fiction than romance. Women are usually secondary characters and have little or no part of the main action. Westerns are most noted for their clear lines of good and evil.

Gothic Romance: Combines romance and horror and may involve a mystery of some type. It has a long tradition, going back to the Regency/Victorian era.   Made popular by Jane Austin and others, Gothic fiction, which is widely known by the subgenre of Gothic horror, is a genre that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance. Its origin is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled (in its second edition) “A Gothic Story”. Gothic fiction creates a pleasing sense of terror; Romantic literary pleasures that were relatively new at the time of Walpole’s novel. It originated in England in the second half of the 18th century and had much success in the 19th as witnessed by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Another well known novel in this genre, dating from the late Victorian era, is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 

Regency Romance: Regency romances are a distinct genre with their own plot and stylistic conventions. These derive from the 19th-century contemporary works of Georgette Heyer, who still dominates the genre. She wrote over two dozen novels set in the Regency starting in 1935 until her death in 1974. The more traditional Regencies feature a great deal of intelligent, fast-paced dialog between the leads and very little explicit sex or discussion of sex. The plot contrivances that can be found range from Marriages of convenience and false engagements to mistaken identities. Class differences are clearly defined and create barriers. (The son of the house never marries the maid for instance).

Romantic Suspense: The most plot driven of the romance genres. It generally has a strong woman as lead who is involved in dangerous situations. The male hero usually starts out looking like the bad guy but turns out to be good. The setting for these books can be anywhen from deep in the past to contemporary. Think Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt or Barbara Michaels.

THRILLERS

Thriller is a broad genre having numerous subgenres. Thrillers are characterized and defined by the mood of fear and suspense they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of excitement, surprise and anxiety. A thriller generally has a more villain driven plot than adventure. This list is my no means all inclusive.

Eco Thriller: Eco thrillers are normally set around a threat (natural or man-made) to the environment, and combine action, adventure with maybe a touch of mystery. They are fast-paced and usually laced with science. The lead character must find a way to negate the threat.

Supernatural Thriller: Supernatural fiction or supernaturalist fiction involves plot devices or themes that contradict Ideas and assumptions commonplace in the natural world. It is very closely aligned with Horror though usually in a more inhibited fashion. This genre brings in an otherworldly element, Often the hero and/or villain has (or at least claims) some psychic ability.

Historical Thriller: This genre differs from other thrillers in that is set in the past, usually prior to 1960. It may also contain elements of espionage, military or other genres but should not be confused with political/conspiracy thrillers which occur in a more contemporary setting.

Medical/Psychological Thrillers: I have lumped these to together because they draw from similar backgrounds. In Medical Thrillers, a doctor’s life is often threatened (because they helped a certain patient), or a mysterious (usually artificial) disease has broken out. Robin Cook and Tess Gerritsen are leaders in this subgenre. Sandra Wilkenson’s novel Death On Call is an early example. (sometimes the authors are doctors themselves.) Psychological subgenre tales build up slowly, with ever-increasing doubt and tension, until some explicit action/violence takes place, usually at the finale.

Political/Conspiracy Thriller: This genre is very similar in some ways to the Environmental Thriller. Usually the hero or heroine confronts a large, well organized company, government dept., or group. The threat posed by this group is only perceived by the protagonist. A great deal of the plot revolves around a single individual defeating the above groups while encountering disbelief from everyone around him/her. Perplexing forces pull strings in the life of the lead character – if not throughout the world. Usually the hero becomes a threat to the conspirators, and must escape their wrath. Often these stories depict the aberrations caused by secrecy, and the corrupting influence of power. 

Espionage or Spy Thriller: As a genre, spy fiction is thematically related to the adventure novel and involves espionage as an important background or plot device. It emerged in the early twentieth century, inspired by rivalries and intrigues between the major powers, and the establishment of modern intelligence agencies. The genre was given new impetus by the increase of fascism and communism in the lead-up to World War II. It continued to develop during the Cold War, and received a fresh impetus from the emergence of rogue states like ISIS, international criminal organizations, global terrorist networks, maritime piracy and technological sabotage as convincing threats to Western societies.

Techno Thriller: A techno-thriller is a hybrid genre drawing plot elements from science fiction, thrillers, spy fiction, action, and war novels. They include a lopsided amount of technical details on their subject matter; only hard science fiction tends towards a comparable level of supporting detail on the technical side. The inner workings of technology and the mechanics of various practices (espionage, martial arts, politics) are thoroughly explored, and the plot often turns on the of that exploration.

Military Thriller: the focus of this genre is on the development of the crisis, and the detailing of the military action. an aggressive move by the Bad Guys forces the Good to wage large-scale combat to stop them. This can also be found on a smaller scale with many novels set in WWII or prior. However, these are cross genre novels coinciding with Historical thrillers.

Legal Thriller: the plot usually is centered around courtroom action, with a lawyer as the protagonist. This is not to be confused with a Courtroom Drama. In a courtroom drama, the reader often doesn’t know who the villain is until the climax of the story. In a legal thriller, the reader generally knows who the bad guy is from the beginning and the action focuses on whether justice is served.

SCIENCE FICTION

Science fiction or speculative fiction (often shortened to SF, sci-fi or scifi) is a genre dealing with notions such as futuristic science, technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations, and has been referred a “literature of ideas,” or future casting. It usually avoids the supernatural, and unlike the related genre of fantasy, science fiction stories were intended to have a grounding in science-based facts or theories prevalent at the time the story was created; a description now limited to hard science fiction.

Dystopian / Utopian: utopia and its derivative, dystopia, are genres exploring social and political structures. Utopian fiction shows a setting agreeing with the author’s ideology, and has attributes of different reality to appeal to readers. Dystopian (or dystopic) fiction (sometimes combined with, but distinct from apocalyptic literature) is the opposite. It shows a setting that completely disagrees with the author’s ideology. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take, depending on its choices. Both utopias and dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction genres and arguably are a type of speculative fiction. Apocalyptic Science Fiction is a sub-genre of Dystopian Science Fiction covering the end of civilization, through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten or mythologized. Post apocalyptic stories often take place in an agrarian, non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of technology remain.

Space Opera: is a subgenre of science fiction emphasizing space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, risk-taking, and chivalric romance. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it frequently involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology. The term has no relation to music but was coined during the 1930s to indicate clichéd and formulaic stories in several genres. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and they continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, and video games. The most notable was probably produced by E.E. “Doc” Smith.

Cyberpunk: Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction taking place in a future setting. It tends to focus on society as “high tech low life" showcasing advanced technological and scientific accomplishments, such as information technology and cybernetics, creating a breakdown or radical change in the social order. Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporation’s in a near-future Earth. The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but feature extraordinary cultural turmoil and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors. Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir writers and often uses modus operandi from this genre of detective fiction.

Military Science Fiction: is a subgenre of science fiction that uses science fiction technology, mainly weapons, for military purposes. Its principal characters are generally members of a military organization involved in military activity. The action sometimes takes place in outer space or on a different planet or planets. It is found in literature, comics, film, and video games. A detailed description of the conflict, the tactics and weapons used, and the role of a military service and the individual members of that military organization generally forms the basis for a work of military science fiction. The stories often use events of actual past or current Earth conflicts, with countries being replaced by planets or galaxies of similar characteristics, battleships replaced by space battleships and certain events changed so that the author can induce what might have occurred differently.

Hard/Soft Science Fiction: is a category of science fiction marked by an emphasis on scientific accuracy. The terms were first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell, Jr.‘s "Islands of Space" in Astounding Science Fiction. The complementary term Soft Science Fiction, formed by comparison to hard science fiction, first appeared in the late 1970s. It was created to emphasize the distinction between the "hard” (natural) and “soft” (social) sciences. Science fiction critic Gary Westfahl thinks that both terms are ways of describing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful.

Alternate History: or alternative history (British English), sometimes abbreviated as AH, is a genre of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently than as history recorded them. These stories are set in a world in which history has deviated from history as it is generally known; more simply put, alternate history asks the question, “What if history had developed differently?” Most works in this genre are set in real historical contexts, yet feature social, geopolitical or industrial settings that developed differently or at a different pace from our own. This subgenre comprises fiction in which a change or point of divergence happens that causes history to diverge from our own.

Steampunk:  is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that refers to works set in an era where steam power is still widely used;19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West, where steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that employs steam power in the same way. Although its literary origins are sometimes identified with the cyberpunk genre, it has marked differences. Inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne are often included. Steampunk encompasses alternate history-style elements of past technology like dirigibles or mechanical computers combined with futuristic technology like multi-function goggles, giant robots and ray guns. Steampunk may be described as neo-Victorian. It most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.

Romantic Science Fiction: This genre seems to be written almost exclusively for and by women. In most cases, it is simply a love story set in the future or a distant planet, although it can be set in the past or an alternate world as well. It centers more on relationships than on science, and any futuristic or fantasy elements take second place to the relationships. Usually there is no attempt to explain why the technology works; only its actions are described. A flying car or spaceship is simply said to go places, time travel simply happens without any attempt to describe the scientific method by which this might work. Probably the two most recognizable writers of romantic science fiction are Jayne Castle’s (AKA Krenz) books on Harmony and Diana Gabaldon’s Highlander series (now a TV series). Romantic Sci-Fi includes the sub-genre of Romantic Fantasy (virtually the same except magic is used rather than technology). A fuller description of this sub genre can be found in the Romance category.

FANTASY

Fantasy is a fiction genre set in an imaginary universe, most often without any locations, events, or people from the real world. Most fantasy uses magic or other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme, or setting. Magic and magical creatures are common in many of these imaginary worlds. Fantasy is generally distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the expectation that it will steer clear of scientific and macabre themes, though there is a great deal of overlap among the three, all of which are subgenres of speculative fiction.

Urban Fantasy:   is a subgenre of fantasy defined by place; it is a fantastic narrative with an urban setting. Urban fantasy exists on one side of a spectrum opposite high fantasy, which is set in an entirely fictitious world. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times with supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.

Contemporary Fantasy:  is generally distinguished from horror fiction—which also has contemporary settings and fantastic elements—by the overall tone; emphasizing joy or wonder rather than fear or dread. These are stories set in the accepted real world in contemporary times; magic and magical creatures exist but are not commonly seen or understood; either living in the crevices of our world or leaking over from alternate worlds. It has much in common with and sometimes overlaps with secret history. A work of fantasy where the magic does not remain secret, or does not have any known relationship to known history, would not fit into this subgenre.

Traditional Fantasy:

Please see the definition of Fantasy above.

Horror: is a genre of fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle their readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon has defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length… which shocks or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing”. It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural though it can be non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.

Historical Fantasy: This is a category of fantasy and a sub genre of historical fiction that combines fantastic elements (such as magic) into the story. There is much crossover with other subgenres of fantasy; books classed as Arthurian, Celtic, or Dark Ages could just as easily be placed in Historical Fantasy. Stories fitting this classification generally take place prior to the 20th century. 

Weird Fiction: is a subgenre of speculative fiction starting in the late 19th and early 20th century. It can include ghost stories and other tales of the macabre. Weird fiction is distinguished from horror and fantasy in its blending of supernatural, mythical, and even scientific elements. British authors who have embraced this style have published their work in mainstream literary magazines. American weird fiction writers included Edgar Allan Poe, William Hope Hodgson, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen M. R. James, and Clark Ashton Smith.

Comic Fantasy:  is a subgenre of fantasy that is primarily humorous in intent and tone. Usually set in imaginary worlds, comic fantasy can spoof and parody other works of fantasy, detective fiction or other genres. It is sometimes known as Low Fantasy in contrast to High Fantasy, which is primarily serious in intent and tone. The term “low fantasy” is used to represent other types of fantasy, however, so while comic fantasies may also correctly be classified as low fantasy, many examples of low fantasy are not comic in nature. Two of the most famous examples in this genre would be the Myth Series which successfully spoofed Fantasy and the Garrett P.I. series which did a parody of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe detective series. Other writers of comic fantasy are emerging; notably Dakota Cassidy with her werewolf/witch spoofs and Amanda M. Lee’s Wicked Witches of the Midwest series.

Slipstream: Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses the traditional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. Slipstream falls between speculative fiction and mainstream fiction. While some slipstream novels employ elements of science fiction or fantasy, not all do. The common unifying factor of these books is some degree of the surreal, the not-entirely real, or the markedly anti-real.

Epic / High Fantasy: High Fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy, and is defined by its setting in a fictional universe or by the epic stature of its characters, themes, and plot. The term “high fantasy” was coined by Lloyd Alexander in a 1971 essay, “High Fantasy and Heroic Romance” (originally given at the New England Round Table of Children’s Librarians in October 1969). Epic Fantasy has been described as containing three elements: it must be a trilogy or longer, its time-span must encompass years or more, and it must contain a large back-story or universe setting in which the story takes place.

ADVENTURE

Adventure fiction refers to fiction that puts the lead characters in danger, or gives the reader a sense of excitement

Traditional Western: Western fiction is a genre set in the American Old West frontier from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century. Well-known writers of Western fiction include Zane Grey from the early 20th century and Louis L'Amour and John McCord from the mid-20th century. A traditional western includes cowboys, Native Americans, covered wagons, and women in aprons with shotguns. The genre peaked around the early 1960s, largely due to the popularity of televised Westerns such as Bonanza. Readership began to drop off in the mid- to late 1970s and has reached a new low in the 2000s. Most bookstores, carry few Western fiction books. Nevertheless, several Western fiction series are published monthly, such as The Trailsman, Slocum, Longarm and The Gunsmith. The genre has seen the rumblings of a revival with the advent of romances in western settings by authors such as Linda Lael Miller and Joanna Lindsey.

Treasure Hunting: treasure hunting fiction has a great deal in common with both detective fiction and straight adventure fiction. The hunter must solve a series of clues to find the treasure A good treasure hunting novel delivers thrills and a rising excitement as clues are worked out and uncovered.  There is also opposition from rivals as well. And of course, the hunt has a successful conclusion, or an adequate reason is given why it does not.

MISCELLANEOUS GENRES

General: like Children’s and Youth Fiction, General Fiction can span all decades and genres. These are books that fall into the general fiction genre are often ones that straddle so many genres it’s hard to place them in any specific genre. The books in the general fiction genre can be a combination of any three or more genres of fiction that cause them to be outside the limits and rules of those specific genres. Examples of this: a science fiction, fantasy, romance that has strong elements of comedy and action and adventure. The Kite Runner, Water for Elephants, Life of Pi, The Great Gatsby, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and the Poisonwood Bible. General Fiction is that strange catch-all genre where titles no one knows how to classify end up. This section generally takes up about half a bookstore’s inventory. But even though it’s a vague term, there are some types fiction that are guaranteed to be found in this section of bookstores or libraries. Classic Literature: Stories that are representative of the time in which they were written, but because they have a universal appeal, the books lasted in print and popularity.  Drama: A novel centered on the conflict or contrast of characters. Humor:  A humorous novel has one goal:  to provide amusement and make the reader laugh.  Satire: This is category closely related to humor, but it has a more malicious edge. Its main elements are irony, sarcasm and parody. Unlike straight humor, satire is created to draw attention to social problems through wit. Satire always have a message of some kind. Realistic Fiction: All realistic fiction has these three elements 1) a setting that can be found in the real world 2) the characters will be lifelike and fully formed 3) a conflict or problem that centers on everyday issues or personal relationships that could exist in real life. Tragedy: A tragedy takes a reader through events leading to the self-destruction or catastrophe for the lead characters or those around them. It is sometimes referred to as a tear-jerker. A tragicomedy is a combination of tragedy and comedy. To qualify as this type of fiction there must be an equal mixture of both tragedy and comedy. Chick Lit or Women’s Fiction: This is fiction aimed at women and addresses a variety of subjects, i.e. from shopping to relationships. Think Sex and the City. Inspirational Fiction: this type of novel has the goal of inspiring the reader. Its lead characters overcome obstacles and it can be set in the past, present or the future provided that the setting could occur in real life. Most Christian fiction will fall under this category. Historical Fiction: we covered Historical fiction in the various genres, but there are some novels who simply don’t fit into them. The main idea would be to showcase the past in an accurate manner while making the characters and interesting. If it involves real events, they must be reported accurately and without change. The most successful historical fiction sometimes tells the story of ordinary people and how they are affected by historical events.

Youth Fiction (YA): I made this a separate category because the plots of these novels span all the genres. Young adult fiction or young adult literature (YA) is fiction for readers from 12 to 18. However, authors and readers of “young teen novels” often define it as works written for age 15 to the early 20s. The terms young adult novel, juvenile novel, teenage fiction, young adult book, etc., all refer to the works in this category.  The subject and story lines of young adult literature must be consistent with the age and experience of the main character, but this literature spans the spectrum of fiction genres. Stories that focus on the specific challenges of youth or teens are sometimes referred to as coming-of-age novels. 

Children’s Fiction: is a genre all to itself. This is children’s books written especially for children from 0 to 12 years old. Like YA fiction, it includes a broad spectrum of the genres, with certain differences from YA and Adult fiction. Picture Books: Children’s books that provide a “visual experience” - tell a story with pictures. There may or may not be text with the book. The content of the book can be explained with the illustrated pictures. Picture Story Books are Children’s books that have pictures or illustrations to complement the story and usually are aimed for a trifle older audience depending on their reading ability. These are often done on a collaborative basis with the author employing an illustrator, or vice versa. Both the text and the illustrations are important to the development of the story. The pictures are the “eye-candy” that get children’s attention, but the text is needed to complete the story. Traditional Literature, includes stories passed down from generation to generation. In many ways, the fact that they do change over time is what makes them so fascinating because of the link they provide to the past. To remain meaningful in different eras, the stories while keeping much of their original flavor and content,  must evolve in subtle ways to be acceptable to current mores and culture. These are folktales, fairy tales, fables, legends and myths. Children’s Historical Fiction is stories that are written to illustrate or convey information about a specific time or historical event. Authors use historical fiction to create drama and interest based on real events in people’s lives. Children’s Modern Fantasy is probably easier to define by example or by what it isn’t. The stories are contemporary or nondescript as to time periods. They are imaginative tales requiring readers to accept story lines that clearly cannot be true. They may be based on animals that talk, facets of science fiction, supernatural or horror, or combinations of these elements. “Charlottes Web,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Alice in Wonderland”, “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” and “The Wizard of Oz” are all examples of modern fantasy written for young readers up to 12 years old. Children’s Realistic Fiction has main characters of roughly the age (or slightly older than) the book’s intended audience. The books offer a “real-world” problem or challenge and show how a young person solves that problem.

Posted 38 weeks ago

All Our Tomorrows

Gail Daley – All Our Tomorrows – Science Fiction Romance https://www.amazon.com/dp/1534698167/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1481926403&sr=8-3&keywords=Gail+Daley

The Handfasting is an epic tale of a family’s struggle to survive on an alien planet. Book 3, All Our Tomorrows - a warrior/priestess teams up with a Bard from another world and genetically created children to defeat a deadly enemy and save their planet from destruction.

 

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

IN E-BOOK AND SOFT COVER

Posted 40 weeks ago
<p><b>In a land where magic
and witchcraft is a death sentence, an amnesiac fighter on the run falls for a
traveling fortuneteller’s granddaughter hiding from the deadly secrets in her
past.</b></p><p>





�Ь[�</p>

In a land where magic and witchcraft is a death sentence, an amnesiac fighter on the run falls for a traveling fortuneteller’s granddaughter hiding from the deadly secrets in her past.

�Ь[�

Posted 53 weeks ago
<p><a href="http://spaceexp.tumblr.com/post/154256621430/spaaaace-travel-by-x-ray-delta-one" class="tumblr_blog">spaceexp</a>:</p><blockquote>
<p>… spaaaace travel!</p> <p><small>by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/40143737@N02/30682482374">x-ray delta one</a></small></p>
</blockquote>

spaceexp:

… spaaaace travel!

by x-ray delta one

Posted 53 weeks ago
<p><b><i>Hard copies available by December 19, 2016.</i></b></p><p><b><i>An Alien Worlds Romance—</i></b> <b><i>a warrior/priestess teams up with a Bard from another world and genetically created
children to defeat a deadly enemy and save their planet from destruction</i></b><b><i> </i></b></p><p><b><i> L</i></b><b><i>ady Drusilla O’Teague,</i></b> born of a powerful line of psychically gifted women; she has been
trained from birth as warrior and Dragon Talker. She learned to distrust her
own feelings as child when she was unable to shield herself from the seesaw
emotions of others.</p><p><b><i>Lucas Lewellyn</i></b> an off-world survivor of the Karamine Wars was bred from a tribe of
Shamans and Bards. He was given the inherent ability to compel with his voice, but
he is untrained in the use of his powers. He knows when he meets Drusilla the
first time that their destinies are linked, but will she admit it?</p><p>Their world of Vensoog is in danger. The
Thieves Guild wants the deposits of Azorite—the mighty crystals used to power
spaceships and found in large numbers on Vensoog. To save their world, Drusilla
and Lucas are going to need the help of the genetically crafted children
created by those threatening Vensoog. Together they must drive off the Guild
and defeat their enemies.</p><p> <b><i>Juliette Jones—</i></b>crafted in the Guild’s genetic Labs to be super smart, ruthless, wily and
conniving–the perfect spy. But the Guild never realized they had also given
her a loving heart.</p><p><b><i>Lucinda Karns—</i></b>the daughter of a Thieves Guild Lieutenant, she was given enhanced
creativity genes to make her the perfect icy thinker and planner; but those
genes sparked a need for balance giving her a moral compass.</p><p><b><i>Violet Ishimara</i></b>— She was designed with a high degree of empathy to be a tool for the
Guild, but her alliance with the Vensoog Sand Dragon <b><i>Jelli</i></b> gave
her the courage to stand up to her masters.</p><p><b><i>Rupert</i></b>, the intuitive chemist and <b><i>Roderick</i></b>, the electronic genius
— Orphaned twins who were seen by the Guild as tools to turn into weapons,
turned out to be a lot tougher than the Guild expected. </p>

Hard copies available by December 19, 2016.

An Alien Worlds Romance— a warrior/priestess teams up with a Bard from another world and genetically created children to defeat a deadly enemy and save their planet from destruction

 Lady Drusilla O’Teague, born of a powerful line of psychically gifted women; she has been trained from birth as warrior and Dragon Talker. She learned to distrust her own feelings as child when she was unable to shield herself from the seesaw emotions of others.

Lucas Lewellyn an off-world survivor of the Karamine Wars was bred from a tribe of Shamans and Bards. He was given the inherent ability to compel with his voice, but he is untrained in the use of his powers. He knows when he meets Drusilla the first time that their destinies are linked, but will she admit it?

Their world of Vensoog is in danger. The Thieves Guild wants the deposits of Azorite—the mighty crystals used to power spaceships and found in large numbers on Vensoog. To save their world, Drusilla and Lucas are going to need the help of the genetically crafted children created by those threatening Vensoog. Together they must drive off the Guild and defeat their enemies.

 Juliette Jones—crafted in the Guild’s genetic Labs to be super smart, ruthless, wily and conniving–the perfect spy. But the Guild never realized they had also given her a loving heart.

Lucinda Karns—the daughter of a Thieves Guild Lieutenant, she was given enhanced creativity genes to make her the perfect icy thinker and planner; but those genes sparked a need for balance giving her a moral compass.

Violet Ishimara— She was designed with a high degree of empathy to be a tool for the Guild, but her alliance with the Vensoog Sand Dragon Jelli gave her the courage to stand up to her masters.

Rupert, the intuitive chemist and Roderick, the electronic genius — Orphaned twins who were seen by the Guild as tools to turn into weapons, turned out to be a lot tougher than the Guild expected.

Posted 53 weeks ago
<p>Estimated publication date April 2017</p><p><b>On a raw, untamed world,
three sisters make different choices to find happiness and love as well as
safety. Bethany marries a mercenary fighter to protect her family, Iris agrees
to an arranged wedding with an old friend, and Jeanne runs off with the son of
her enemy. </b></p><p>When the
technology to locate and open gates to other worlds was discovered on earth in
the late 21<sup>st</sup> century, access to this knowledge was strictly
regulated by the governments and industry hoping to exploit the vast resources
on the unmapped worlds. Once the knowledge of how to locate and open gates to
other worlds was discovered, it wasn’t long before the new technology was
leaked and illegally created Portals began cropping up. Prohibited Settlers slipped
through these Forbidden portals in search of freedom, adventure and escape. There
was no going back and these adventurers had only the technology they could
carry with them to defend themselves against alien plants and animals on
strange new worlds. Adventure meant a one-way ticket to a hardscrabble
existence. Freedom meant no law to run to for protection from each other.</p><p> This is the first book in my
Portal Worlds series. Publishing eta is June 2017. I would appreciate your
feedback.</p><p><a href="https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1206010">https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1206010</a></p>

Estimated publication date April 2017

On a raw, untamed world, three sisters make different choices to find happiness and love as well as safety. Bethany marries a mercenary fighter to protect her family, Iris agrees to an arranged wedding with an old friend, and Jeanne runs off with the son of her enemy.

When the technology to locate and open gates to other worlds was discovered on earth in the late 21st century, access to this knowledge was strictly regulated by the governments and industry hoping to exploit the vast resources on the unmapped worlds. Once the knowledge of how to locate and open gates to other worlds was discovered, it wasn’t long before the new technology was leaked and illegally created Portals began cropping up. Prohibited Settlers slipped through these Forbidden portals in search of freedom, adventure and escape. There was no going back and these adventurers had only the technology they could carry with them to defend themselves against alien plants and animals on strange new worlds. Adventure meant a one-way ticket to a hardscrabble existence. Freedom meant no law to run to for protection from each other.

 This is the first book in my Portal Worlds series. Publishing eta is June 2017. I would appreciate your feedback.

https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1206010

Posted 53 weeks ago
<figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="1201" data-orig-width="1501"><img src="http://78.media.tumblr.com/c9367eeb1a323eaca2aa6cbdd51a58c1/tumblr_inline_ofrysidGsf1tbmkg3_540.jpg" data-orig-height="1201" data-orig-width="1501"/></figure><p>COMFORT
= PRODUCTIVITY </p><p>Why is it important for a writer to have a comfortable space to
write? As a writer, I have to say that if I’m uncomfortable physically, it
makes it much harder to concentrate on being creative. If I am in the creative
zone, I may spend 10 or 12 hours at my terminal with only short breaks for food
or to use the restroom. Fatigue or even repetitive motion injuries from typing
on a regular keyboard or sitting in a poorly designed chair decreases my
abilities and concentration. However, these things can be avoided with a few
inexpensive fixes.</p><p>Several years ago, I was introduced to
‘ergonomic furniture and computer accessories”. What is that you say? Ergonomic
furniture and accessories are designed to reduce physical stress on the person
using them, and help prevent repetitive strain (Carpal tunnel) or
musculoskeletal disorders in those of us who spend a lot of time at a computer
screen. Which is something I badly needed because I do spend a lot of time on a
computer terminal: I write fiction, I’m a blogger, I run two online/print
newsletters, and I am webmaster for several web sites. In between that, I am
also my husband’s office manager in his business. </p><p>This brings up a comparison point: which
system provides more comfort; a PC or an Apple product. I ask this because some
time ago we made the decision to switch from PC products, which is supported by
Microsoft to Apple products because of the increased security from online
malware they offer.  The relative freedom
from Malware attacks does have a drawback. Unfortunately, while Apple is way
out in front in designing products for mobile use, they are far behind the PC
industry when it comes to ergonomic accessories for its users. In fact, they do
not actually offer any ergonomic keyboards or mice in the Apple Store (or is it
mouses when talking tech?). While there are companies who do manufacture
ergonomic accessories that are compatible with Apple products, they don’t
integrate as smoothly with Apple as does Apples own products. Apples products
are usually rechargeable; sadly, the substitute stuff sold by other
manufactures is not.  Keyboards and mice
are either plug in or if they are wireless, they require batteries.</p><p>Is it worth it? Well, that depends on how
much your hands and wrists begin to hurt using a non-ergonomic keyboard for
lengthy periods. The difference in appearance between a standard keyboard and
an ergonomic one is obvious once you have seen or used one. The standard
keyboard is flat and rectangular, whereas an ergonomic keyboard actually looks
quite different. While it is still longer than it is wide, an ergonomic
keyboard is slightly curved, allowing the user’s hands to rest at a more
natural angle when typing. The keys are also slightly larger with a tiny bit
more space between them. As you can see, Ergonomic keyboards also come with a
wrist support.</p><p>I did a run on the internet and three Ergonomic keyboards that
came most highly recommended on the reviews on Amazon are shown here. However, all
the reviews did mention that not all of the keys were functional straight out
of the box, but with the additional purchase of USB Overdrive (free program app)
the keys worked fine. This was an overall view expressed on all of the
keyboards I found.<br/></p><p> This item Perixx PERIBOARD-512II W, Ergonomic Split
Keyboard - White - Natural Ergonomic Design - Wired USB Interface - Recommended
with Repetitive Stress Injuries RSI User. This one retails at about $50.00. 4 ½
stars on Amazon</p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0076KUTKS/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1455230248&sr=8-1&pi=SX200_QL40&keywords=ergonomic+keyboard+for+mac">http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0076KUTKS/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1455230248&sr=8-1&pi=SX200_QL40&keywords=ergonomic+keyboard+for+mac</a></p><p> <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Mk550-Wireless-Keyboard-Mouse/dp/B003VAHYNC/ref=cm_rdp_product">Logitech Mk550 Wave Wireless Keyboard/Mouse
Combo</a> (It got 4 ½ stars on Amazon). This one retails
out at about $50.00 on Amazon.com. Logitech is one of the most trusted computer accessory brands worldwide.</p><p> Adesso Tru-Form Media
Contoured Ergonomic Keyboard (PCK-208B) got 4 stars on Amazon. This was the
least expensive one of the three ($30). It was specifically mentioned however
that this keyboard was not good for gaming.</p><p>





}Y8j٨�</p>

COMFORT = PRODUCTIVITY

Why is it important for a writer to have a comfortable space to write? As a writer, I have to say that if I’m uncomfortable physically, it makes it much harder to concentrate on being creative. If I am in the creative zone, I may spend 10 or 12 hours at my terminal with only short breaks for food or to use the restroom. Fatigue or even repetitive motion injuries from typing on a regular keyboard or sitting in a poorly designed chair decreases my abilities and concentration. However, these things can be avoided with a few inexpensive fixes.

Several years ago, I was introduced to ‘ergonomic furniture and computer accessories”. What is that you say? Ergonomic furniture and accessories are designed to reduce physical stress on the person using them, and help prevent repetitive strain (Carpal tunnel) or musculoskeletal disorders in those of us who spend a lot of time at a computer screen. Which is something I badly needed because I do spend a lot of time on a computer terminal: I write fiction, I’m a blogger, I run two online/print newsletters, and I am webmaster for several web sites. In between that, I am also my husband’s office manager in his business.

This brings up a comparison point: which system provides more comfort; a PC or an Apple product. I ask this because some time ago we made the decision to switch from PC products, which is supported by Microsoft to Apple products because of the increased security from online malware they offer.  The relative freedom from Malware attacks does have a drawback. Unfortunately, while Apple is way out in front in designing products for mobile use, they are far behind the PC industry when it comes to ergonomic accessories for its users. In fact, they do not actually offer any ergonomic keyboards or mice in the Apple Store (or is it mouses when talking tech?). While there are companies who do manufacture ergonomic accessories that are compatible with Apple products, they don’t integrate as smoothly with Apple as does Apples own products. Apples products are usually rechargeable; sadly, the substitute stuff sold by other manufactures is not.  Keyboards and mice are either plug in or if they are wireless, they require batteries.

Is it worth it? Well, that depends on how much your hands and wrists begin to hurt using a non-ergonomic keyboard for lengthy periods. The difference in appearance between a standard keyboard and an ergonomic one is obvious once you have seen or used one. The standard keyboard is flat and rectangular, whereas an ergonomic keyboard actually looks quite different. While it is still longer than it is wide, an ergonomic keyboard is slightly curved, allowing the user’s hands to rest at a more natural angle when typing. The keys are also slightly larger with a tiny bit more space between them. As you can see, Ergonomic keyboards also come with a wrist support.

I did a run on the internet and three Ergonomic keyboards that came most highly recommended on the reviews on Amazon are shown here. However, all the reviews did mention that not all of the keys were functional straight out of the box, but with the additional purchase of USB Overdrive (free program app) the keys worked fine. This was an overall view expressed on all of the keyboards I found.

 This item Perixx PERIBOARD-512II W, Ergonomic Split Keyboard - White - Natural Ergonomic Design - Wired USB Interface - Recommended with Repetitive Stress Injuries RSI User. This one retails at about $50.00. 4 ½ stars on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0076KUTKS/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1455230248&sr=8-1&pi=SX200_QL40&keywords=ergonomic+keyboard+for+mac

 Logitech Mk550 Wave Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo (It got 4 ½ stars on Amazon). This one retails out at about $50.00 on Amazon.com. Logitech is one of the most trusted computer accessory brands worldwide.

 Adesso Tru-Form Media Contoured Ergonomic Keyboard (PCK-208B) got 4 stars on Amazon. This was the least expensive one of the three ($30). It was specifically mentioned however that this keyboard was not good for gaming.

}Y8j٨�

Posted 58 weeks ago
<p><b>REASONS FOR KEEPING GOOD RECORDS</b></p><p><b>By the Practical Artist</b></p><p><a href="http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php">http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php</a><b></b></p><p>How
many times I have heard fellow artists say, “I’m an artist. I don’t want to
bother with stuff like keeping records of what I paint”. Well, if you are a
hobbyist who only paints one or two paintings a year, this idea might have <i>some</i> merit—until it becomes very
important (for whatever reason) to locate a piece of art you created. There is
no reason for an artist to become overwhelmed by the idea of keeping records of
when a piece of art was created and where it’s been shown. Knowing which shows
into which you have previously entered an art piece might even save you some
embarrassment when a show chair complains that you keep entering the same art
in a yearly show! Knowing <i>when</i> you
created a piece of art might become important if someone pirates your work and
sells it because who created the art first often decides who has the copyright.
If you have no record of when an art piece was created, you might even be found
in violation of your own work!</p><p>If
you sell your art, it is considered income and over a certain amount, it must
be reported as such to the IRS on your federal taxes. If you participate in a
booth event, you are usually required to have a seller’s permit, collect sales
tax, and then report and pay that sales tax to the State.</p><p> Art
is a business as well as a creative endeavor. Losing your art can be a
financial loss. Not being aware of losing money because you don’t keep track of
costs can create a huge problem. </p><p><b>WHAT IS NEEDED TO KEEP RECORDS</b></p><p>Hey,
relax; this isn’t as difficult as it sounds! Let’s take this one step at a
time, using one piece of work. Step one: decide in what form you are going to
keep your work log. While
it is very helpful to have this information stored on a computer, artists were
tracking their work using paper files long before computers became popular. I
personally prefer using a computer worksheet, however, all of this stuff can be
put on a sheet of paper and kept in a binder. For the initial record, I
recommend a single sheet or worksheet per art piece. (Please see the Art
Information Sheet in the Sample section)</p><p>ITEM
1—a pictorial image of your work. This can be in the form a printed photograph,
a slide or a digital image. If your work is 3-deminsional, be sure to take
photos of all sides of the work. Since this image is not going to be used to
reproduce the work, a small, low-resolution image will suffice. The image
should be large enough to see details of the work, clear and without blurring.</p><p>ITEM
2—the title of your work, size, style/genre and when it was finished.</p><p>ITEM
3—a brief description of the work (use complete sentences—why will become clear
later). Optional—I also like to keep a kind of diary as to what I wanted to
achieve, why I chose this image, and what was going on in my life when I
created this art piece.</p><p>ITEM
4—Keywords to be used when downloading the photo of your art to your web site
or other internet media.</p><p>ITEM
5—Show and exhibit record is a list of what shows or exhibits were entered,
when they took place and if the art won awards.</p><p>ITEM
6—wholesale and Retail price. This is probably the hardest thing for an artist
to decide on—how much to charge for an artwork! What is the difference between
Wholesale and Retail? Wholesale is always lower than Retail. Your wholesale
price at a minimum should cover the cost of what it cost you to create the art,
plus any gallery commission fees and hopefully with a small profit margin.
Retail price for an art piece should cover all this plus what you as an artist
feel the art is worth. I realize this is very subjective but most of art <i>is</i> subjective.</p><p>ITEM
7—Incidental information such as the date you formally copyrighted the work,
cost of the copyright, etc. More about copyrights later in the Copyright
section.</p><p>ITEM
8—If you had limited editions of a painting or photograph or copies of a
sculpture made, when, how many , how much it cost to make them, how many sold
and how much you made when you did.</p><p>ITEM
9—the date you sold the original art and the name and address of the Buyer.</p><p><b>DON’T LOSE YOUR WORK!</b></p><p>When
I created Art-Tique with fellow artist Lea Adams, one of the purposes of the
organization was to find low-cost places where artists could show and sell
their work. It was then I discovered the pitfalls of having a lot of art in a
lot of different venues! Many times artists would fail to pick up their art at
the designated time because they couldn’t remember which venue they had placed
it in, and when it was due to be retrieved! For my own sanity, I created an Art
Location Sheet (see the example in the Sample section). I prefer to use a
worksheet program for this, although it can also be kept on paper. I prefer the
worksheet format because it can be sorted many times by the location so it is
very easy to see not only where a particular painting is, but also how many
paintings I have at that location, and when they are due to be picked up. It
also provides a quick reference if I have previously entered it in a particular
show. The items listed below should be entered in a single line (one line per
artwork).</p><p>ITEM
1—Art Title</p><p>ITEM
2—(optional) Media</p><p>ITEM
3—(optinal0 Subject</p><p>ITEM
4—Date of receiving for show or exhibit</p><p>ITEM
5—Show name</p><p>ITEM
6—pick up date</p><p>ITEMS
7, 8, 9—past three shows or exhibits</p><p>There,
you see this wasn’t hard at all!</p>

REASONS FOR KEEPING GOOD RECORDS

By the Practical Artist

http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

How many times I have heard fellow artists say, “I’m an artist. I don’t want to bother with stuff like keeping records of what I paint”. Well, if you are a hobbyist who only paints one or two paintings a year, this idea might have some merit—until it becomes very important (for whatever reason) to locate a piece of art you created. There is no reason for an artist to become overwhelmed by the idea of keeping records of when a piece of art was created and where it’s been shown. Knowing which shows into which you have previously entered an art piece might even save you some embarrassment when a show chair complains that you keep entering the same art in a yearly show! Knowing when you created a piece of art might become important if someone pirates your work and sells it because who created the art first often decides who has the copyright. If you have no record of when an art piece was created, you might even be found in violation of your own work!

If you sell your art, it is considered income and over a certain amount, it must be reported as such to the IRS on your federal taxes. If you participate in a booth event, you are usually required to have a seller’s permit, collect sales tax, and then report and pay that sales tax to the State.

 Art is a business as well as a creative endeavor. Losing your art can be a financial loss. Not being aware of losing money because you don’t keep track of costs can create a huge problem.

WHAT IS NEEDED TO KEEP RECORDS

Hey, relax; this isn’t as difficult as it sounds! Let’s take this one step at a time, using one piece of work. Step one: decide in what form you are going to keep your work log. While it is very helpful to have this information stored on a computer, artists were tracking their work using paper files long before computers became popular. I personally prefer using a computer worksheet, however, all of this stuff can be put on a sheet of paper and kept in a binder. For the initial record, I recommend a single sheet or worksheet per art piece. (Please see the Art Information Sheet in the Sample section)

ITEM 1—a pictorial image of your work. This can be in the form a printed photograph, a slide or a digital image. If your work is 3-deminsional, be sure to take photos of all sides of the work. Since this image is not going to be used to reproduce the work, a small, low-resolution image will suffice. The image should be large enough to see details of the work, clear and without blurring.

ITEM 2—the title of your work, size, style/genre and when it was finished.

ITEM 3—a brief description of the work (use complete sentences—why will become clear later). Optional—I also like to keep a kind of diary as to what I wanted to achieve, why I chose this image, and what was going on in my life when I created this art piece.

ITEM 4—Keywords to be used when downloading the photo of your art to your web site or other internet media.

ITEM 5—Show and exhibit record is a list of what shows or exhibits were entered, when they took place and if the art won awards.

ITEM 6—wholesale and Retail price. This is probably the hardest thing for an artist to decide on—how much to charge for an artwork! What is the difference between Wholesale and Retail? Wholesale is always lower than Retail. Your wholesale price at a minimum should cover the cost of what it cost you to create the art, plus any gallery commission fees and hopefully with a small profit margin. Retail price for an art piece should cover all this plus what you as an artist feel the art is worth. I realize this is very subjective but most of art is subjective.

ITEM 7—Incidental information such as the date you formally copyrighted the work, cost of the copyright, etc. More about copyrights later in the Copyright section.

ITEM 8—If you had limited editions of a painting or photograph or copies of a sculpture made, when, how many , how much it cost to make them, how many sold and how much you made when you did.

ITEM 9—the date you sold the original art and the name and address of the Buyer.

DON’T LOSE YOUR WORK!

When I created Art-Tique with fellow artist Lea Adams, one of the purposes of the organization was to find low-cost places where artists could show and sell their work. It was then I discovered the pitfalls of having a lot of art in a lot of different venues! Many times artists would fail to pick up their art at the designated time because they couldn’t remember which venue they had placed it in, and when it was due to be retrieved! For my own sanity, I created an Art Location Sheet (see the example in the Sample section). I prefer to use a worksheet program for this, although it can also be kept on paper. I prefer the worksheet format because it can be sorted many times by the location so it is very easy to see not only where a particular painting is, but also how many paintings I have at that location, and when they are due to be picked up. It also provides a quick reference if I have previously entered it in a particular show. The items listed below should be entered in a single line (one line per artwork).

ITEM 1—Art Title

ITEM 2—(optional) Media

ITEM 3—(optinal0 Subject

ITEM 4—Date of receiving for show or exhibit

ITEM 5—Show name

ITEM 6—pick up date

ITEMS 7, 8, 9—past three shows or exhibits

There, you see this wasn’t hard at all!

Posted 61 weeks ago

GAILS TIPS ON WORKING WITH ACRYLICS

By the Practical Artist

http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

I have always painted in Acrylics. Although over the years, I have attempted to use other mediums but they were a poor fit. Oils stink, are messy and take way too long to dry for me. Watercolors are too unforgiving for a ‘seat of the pants’ painter like myself and I usually ended up with something resembling a kindergartener’s finger painting. I don’t have the patience for colored pencils or graphite pencil. When I attempted charcoal and pastels, I usually ended up looking as if I’d been playing in the coal bin. Sometimes it was a colorful coal bin, but still—But like Goldilocks beds, Acrylics and I fit just right. I really don’t understand why some artists seem to have so much trouble with them. Over the years, the most common complaint I have heard about working in Acrylics is "it dries too fast". No offense intended, but in my experience, this problem is caused by the artist's unfamiliarity with the properties of the medium. There is a little bit of a learning curve and I understand that it’s hard to change your work pattern to adapt to acrylics. If you really want to give them a try and are willing to change your work pattern a little, I think you might be happy with Acrylic paint.

 Some basic facts about Acrylics: 1--Drying times for Acrylics is actually comparable to Watercolors. 2--Acrylics, like watercolors, dry by evaporation. 3--One of the things that affect working with Acrylics has to do with the thickness of the paint an artist applies. The thinner the application of paint, the faster Acrylics will dry. QED. 4-- If the artist applied a thick layer of paint, even though the paint may be dry to the touch on the surface, it may still be soft underneath for several hours. 5--Acrylics will dry darker than when first applied. 6—Mixing Acrylic paints ‘greys’ or darkens them. Acrylics straight out of the tube are always brighter than any color you mix together. This isn't a terrible thing; I consider the difference to be negligible. If it’s important to you to retain that initial tube brightness, I suggest you use thin glazes instead of mixing directly, allowing the color underneath to bleed through. Acrylics master painter Jerome Grimmer uses a medium instead of water to overcome this issue.

Unlike Oil paints, Acrylics won't wait days for you, but there are ways to slow down the drying time. The simplest way is to just refrigerate the painting. Yep, I said put it in the refrigerator for the night. Cold temperatures slow down the drying time of Acrylics. Of course, that probably isn't practicable for most artists. Unless you are painting miniatures, I doubt you will have room for a painting in your refrigerator! If you live where the daily temperature is between 40o and 50oF you could stick it out on your unheated porch overnight.  However, your palette can be sealed and kept in the refrigerator and your paint will stay workable for several days

The next simplest way to slow down the drying time of Acrylics involves using water. I saw this technique demonstrated by TV artist Jerry Yarnell and it works great in the short run. Dip a large brush in your rinse water and brush it over the canvas until the canvas is thoroughly wet. You can smooth out any dripping runs with a damp brush. Using clean or dirty water is irrelevant; you are going to cover this up with paint in a few minutes anyway. This will keep the paint you apply workable longer. Remember a spray water bottle is your best friend when working with Acrylics (they still sell them in the laundry section of department stores--I just bought a new one). Periodically spray down your palette and the portions of your canvas you need to keep wet. If a drip occurs, blot it away with a paper towel.

There are also commercial mediums to slow down drying time. They work, but I personally didn't like them. My paint seemed sticky afterwards, and it was difficult to judge when I could start working over the top of the painting I had used them on. I admit that issue probably has more to do with my own painting techniques than how well the medium worked. You see, I sketch up the painting, paint over the drawing so I can place background shadows and highlights where I want them, and then redraw the foreground objects, people or animals. To do this the paint needs to be dry, and hard enough to stand up to the pressure of my pencil or charcoal. Thickly applied Acrylic paint is soft enough that a hard pressure will leave an imprint even if the work is completely dry, so the "slow-dry" mediums just didn't work for me

While it’s true that not every medium will suit everyone, I suggest if you really want to learn to work with Acrylic paint, you take one of Grimmer’s or Yarnell’s workshops. Yarnell also has video series about painting that can be purchased from his website. http://www.yarnellschool.com/

Jerome has a video on YouTube about working with Acrylics that is free to watch. Jerome Grimmer Mixes Acrylics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaW3Gz5UMks

 

Gail Daley's Fine Art

Posted 25 weeks ago
Posted 25 weeks ago
<p><b><i>WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?</i></b></p><p>Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the
many Art Genres. I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the
internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various
other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a
comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a
publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an
enormous amount of information about book genres. I limited myself to fiction.
I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the
chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was
there. Please feel free to share or add to it.</p><p>MYSTERY</p><p>Mystery fiction is
a genre usually involving a mysterious death or a crime to be solved.
In a closed circle of suspects, each suspect must have a credible motive and a
reasonable opportunity for committing the crime.</p><p><b>Noir/Hard Boiled:</b> Noir fiction is
a literary genre closely related to
the hard-boiled detective genre except that the lead character
is not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator.
Other common characteristics include the self-destructive qualities of the lead
character A typical protagonist of noir fiction is dealing with the legal,
political or other system that is no less
corrupt than the perpetrator by whom the protagonist is either victimized
and/or must victimize others daily, leading to lose-lose situation.</p><p><b>Cozy Mystery:</b> Cozy mysteries, also referred to as “cozies”,
are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are
played down or treated with humor and the crime and detection takes place
in a small, socially intimate community. The term was first coined in the late
20th century when various writers attempted to re-create the Golden Age of
Detective Fiction.</p><p><b>General Mystery</b>: Mystery fiction is
a genre of fiction commonly involving a mysterious death or a crime
to be solved. The central character must be a police or amateur detective who eventually
solves the mystery by logical deduction from facts fairly presented to the
reader. Sometimes mystery books are nonfictional. “Mystery
fiction” can be detective stories in which the emphasis is on the puzzle
or suspense element and its logical solution such as a whodunit. Mystery fiction
can be contrasted with hard-boiled detective stories, which focus on
action and gritty realism.</p><p>Mystery fiction may involve
a supernatural mystery where the solution does not have to be logical,
and even no crime involved. This was common in the pulp magazines of
the 1930s and 1940s, where titles such as Dime Mystery, Thrilling
Mystery and Spicy Mystery offered what at the time were
described as “weird menace” stories—supernatural horror in the vein
of Grand Guignol. This contrasted with parallel titles of the same names
which contained conventional hard-boiled crime fiction. The first use of
“mystery” in this sense was by Dime Mystery, which started out
as an ordinary crime fiction magazine but switched to “weird menace”
during the latter part of 1933.</p><p><b>Police Procedural:</b> The police
procedural, or police crime drama, is a subgenre of detective
fiction that attempts to depict the activities of a police
force as they investigate crimes.  Traditional detective novels usually
concentrate on a single crime.  Police procedurals frequently
describe investigations into several unrelated crimes in a single story.
Traditional mysteries usually adhere to the convention of having the criminal’s
identity concealed until the climax (the so-called whodunit); in
police procedurals, the perpetrator’s identity is often known to the audience
from the outset (this is referred to as the inverted detective story).
Police procedurals describe several police-related topics such as forensics, autopsies,
the gathering of evidence, the use of search warrants, and interrogation.</p><p><b>Hobby Mystery:</b> See Cozy
Mystery. This is merely a specialized sub genre of Cozy mysteries. The
story usually centers around the main character’s hobby, such as quilting or
animals.</p><p><b>Historical Mystery:</b> The historical
mystery or historical whodunit is a subgenre of two other
genres, historical fiction and mystery fiction. These works are
set in a time usually before 1960 and the central plot involves the solving of
a mystery or crime (usually murder). Though works combining these genres have
existed since at least the early 20th century, many credit Ellis Peters

Paranormal Mystery:  Sometimes the things in a mystery just can’t be explained. That’s where the paranormal mystery comes into play. These books have an element of supernatural in them, that can include magic, witches, skeletons or ghosts, and it can include werewolves, vampires, and other creatures. The difference between paranormal and fantasy is Paranormal concerns events or experiences not subject to scientific explanation or outside the ability of science to measure or explain. ESP, ghosts and other phenomenon fit this definition. Fantasy is a genre using magic or other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of the plot or setting. (Think Harry Potter or Harry Dresdin).

ROMANCE

When classifying a Romance Novel for publishing, the writer is often also required to define the Heat Level in the Novel. Heat Level refers to the intensity of the romantic scenes in the novel and can be applied to all romance genres. These Heat Definitions were borrowed from the RomCon Romance Heat Scale: 

None: Sensuality is not the focus of the book. There may be profanity or mild violence. (e.g., Young Adult, Family Sagas)

Sweet: The romance deals with the emotional aspects of love rather than the physical. No sex or scenes of physical intimacy except kissing. No profanity. No graphic violence. (e.g., Christian Fiction, Sweet Romance, Young Adult Romance.)

Mild: There may be mildly described scenes of intimacy. There may be mild profanity or violence, 

Medium: Sometimes described as “Blush level”, it is a little more than halfway between sweet and hot with more descriptive loves scenes and profanity than mild. There may be sex scenes or the preliminary action related to it. Scenes are usually not graphic and may contain euphemisms for sexual parts of the body are common. The emphasis is very much on feeling.

Hot: There usually are detailed sex scenes, profanity and/or graphic violence.  Authors who often write at this level of sensuality include Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, Rebecca York, Judith Arnold, Mary Balogh, Edith Layton, and Candace Camp.

Wild Ride/Erotica: There will be graphic sex scenes, including multiple partners and or alternate lifestyles. There may be explicit adult language and/or graphic violence. (e.g., Erotic Romance, High Fantasy, Thrillers…) Within RomCon®’s website, this is referred to as Erotic Romance. Be careful here; certain subject matters are still taboo (sex with children among others) and you will need to be specific in the reasons for your rating. 

Blood Thirsty: Sensuality is not the focus of the book, but there will be graphic violence, bloody scenes, or horrific scenes with frightening or intense content. (e.g., Horror, Thrillers, some High Fantasy…), here again you need to be specific for the reason you gave the rating. 

Paranormal Romance: is a subgenre of both romantic fiction and speculative fiction. Paranormal romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending themes from the speculative fiction genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Paranormal romance can range from traditional category romances with a paranormal setting to stories where the main attention is on a science fiction or fantasy-based plot with a romantic subplot included. Common devices are romantic relationships between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly nature. Beyond more common themes concern vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, or time travel; paranormal romances can also include characters with psychic abilities, like telekinesis or telepathy. Paranormal romance has its roots in Gothic fiction, and are one of the fastest growing in the romance genre.

Contemporary Romance: is a subgenre of romance novels generally set after 1960. Contemporary is the largest of the romance novel subgenres, These novels are set in the time when they were written, and reflect the ideas and customs of their time. Heroines in contemporary romances written prior to 1970 usually quit working when they married or had children, while those written after 1970 have and keep a career. As contemporary romance novels have grown to contain more complex plotting and more realistic characters, the line between this subgenre and the genre of women’s fiction or Chick Lit has blurred. Most contemporary romance novels contain elements that date the books, so eventually the story lines become inappropriate to more modern readers and go out of print. Some do make the transition into Historical fiction, but not many.

Historical Romance:  is a broad category of fiction where the story takes place in a setting located in the past. Settings in this category will run the gamut from 1960 back into caveman times. Walter Scott helped popularize this genre in the early 19th-century, with works such as Rob Roy and Ivanhoe.  More recently author Jean Aeul’s Caveman series have been on the best seller list. Historical romances continue to be published, and notable recent examples are Conqueror by Georgette Heyer, or the Roselynde Chronicles by Roberta Gellis.

Western Romance: These books are set in America or Australia or in a contemporary or historical western setting (western United States, Canadian prairies or Australian outback), with a female lead. Readers expect the story to include horses, cowboys and a simpler way of life (but not a simpler plot). Think Joanna Lindsay or Willa Cather. For more traditional male centered westerns consider Louis L'Amour and Luke Short. The traditional male centered westerns have more in common with straight adventure fiction than romance. Women are usually secondary characters and have little or no part of the main action. Westerns are most noted for their clear lines of good and evil.

Gothic Romance: Combines romance and horror and may involve a mystery of some type. It has a long tradition, going back to the Regency/Victorian era.   Made popular by Jane Austin and others, Gothic fiction, which is widely known by the subgenre of Gothic horror, is a genre that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance. Its origin is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled (in its second edition) “A Gothic Story”. Gothic fiction creates a pleasing sense of terror; Romantic literary pleasures that were relatively new at the time of Walpole’s novel. It originated in England in the second half of the 18th century and had much success in the 19th as witnessed by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Another well known novel in this genre, dating from the late Victorian era, is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 

Regency Romance: Regency romances are a distinct genre with their own plot and stylistic conventions. These derive from the 19th-century contemporary works of Georgette Heyer, who still dominates the genre. She wrote over two dozen novels set in the Regency starting in 1935 until her death in 1974. The more traditional Regencies feature a great deal of intelligent, fast-paced dialog between the leads and very little explicit sex or discussion of sex. The plot contrivances that can be found range from Marriages of convenience and false engagements to mistaken identities. Class differences are clearly defined and create barriers. (The son of the house never marries the maid for instance).

Romantic Suspense: The most plot driven of the romance genres. It generally has a strong woman as lead who is involved in dangerous situations. The male hero usually starts out looking like the bad guy but turns out to be good. The setting for these books can be anywhen from deep in the past to contemporary. Think Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt or Barbara Michaels.

THRILLERS

Thriller is a broad genre having numerous subgenres. Thrillers are characterized and defined by the mood of fear and suspense they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of excitement, surprise and anxiety. A thriller generally has a more villain driven plot than adventure. This list is my no means all inclusive.

Eco Thriller: Eco thrillers are normally set around a threat (natural or man-made) to the environment, and combine action, adventure with maybe a touch of mystery. They are fast-paced and usually laced with science. The lead character must find a way to negate the threat.

Supernatural Thriller: Supernatural fiction or supernaturalist fiction involves plot devices or themes that contradict Ideas and assumptions commonplace in the natural world. It is very closely aligned with Horror though usually in a more inhibited fashion. This genre brings in an otherworldly element, Often the hero and/or villain has (or at least claims) some psychic ability.

Historical Thriller: This genre differs from other thrillers in that is set in the past, usually prior to 1960. It may also contain elements of espionage, military or other genres but should not be confused with political/conspiracy thrillers which occur in a more contemporary setting.

Medical/Psychological Thrillers: I have lumped these to together because they draw from similar backgrounds. In Medical Thrillers, a doctor’s life is often threatened (because they helped a certain patient), or a mysterious (usually artificial) disease has broken out. Robin Cook and Tess Gerritsen are leaders in this subgenre. Sandra Wilkenson’s novel Death On Call is an early example. (sometimes the authors are doctors themselves.) Psychological subgenre tales build up slowly, with ever-increasing doubt and tension, until some explicit action/violence takes place, usually at the finale.

Political/Conspiracy Thriller: This genre is very similar in some ways to the Environmental Thriller. Usually the hero or heroine confronts a large, well organized company, government dept., or group. The threat posed by this group is only perceived by the protagonist. A great deal of the plot revolves around a single individual defeating the above groups while encountering disbelief from everyone around him/her. Perplexing forces pull strings in the life of the lead character – if not throughout the world. Usually the hero becomes a threat to the conspirators, and must escape their wrath. Often these stories depict the aberrations caused by secrecy, and the corrupting influence of power. 

Espionage or Spy Thriller: As a genre, spy fiction is thematically related to the adventure novel and involves espionage as an important background or plot device. It emerged in the early twentieth century, inspired by rivalries and intrigues between the major powers, and the establishment of modern intelligence agencies. The genre was given new impetus by the increase of fascism and communism in the lead-up to World War II. It continued to develop during the Cold War, and received a fresh impetus from the emergence of rogue states like ISIS, international criminal organizations, global terrorist networks, maritime piracy and technological sabotage as convincing threats to Western societies.

Techno Thriller: A techno-thriller is a hybrid genre drawing plot elements from science fiction, thrillers, spy fiction, action, and war novels. They include a lopsided amount of technical details on their subject matter; only hard science fiction tends towards a comparable level of supporting detail on the technical side. The inner workings of technology and the mechanics of various practices (espionage, martial arts, politics) are thoroughly explored, and the plot often turns on the of that exploration.

Military Thriller: the focus of this genre is on the development of the crisis, and the detailing of the military action. an aggressive move by the Bad Guys forces the Good to wage large-scale combat to stop them. This can also be found on a smaller scale with many novels set in WWII or prior. However, these are cross genre novels coinciding with Historical thrillers.

Legal Thriller: the plot usually is centered around courtroom action, with a lawyer as the protagonist. This is not to be confused with a Courtroom Drama. In a courtroom drama, the reader often doesn’t know who the villain is until the climax of the story. In a legal thriller, the reader generally knows who the bad guy is from the beginning and the action focuses on whether justice is served.

SCIENCE FICTION

Science fiction or speculative fiction (often shortened to SF, sci-fi or scifi) is a genre dealing with notions such as futuristic science, technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations, and has been referred a “literature of ideas,” or future casting. It usually avoids the supernatural, and unlike the related genre of fantasy, science fiction stories were intended to have a grounding in science-based facts or theories prevalent at the time the story was created; a description now limited to hard science fiction.

Dystopian / Utopian: utopia and its derivative, dystopia, are genres exploring social and political structures. Utopian fiction shows a setting agreeing with the author’s ideology, and has attributes of different reality to appeal to readers. Dystopian (or dystopic) fiction (sometimes combined with, but distinct from apocalyptic literature) is the opposite. It shows a setting that completely disagrees with the author’s ideology. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take, depending on its choices. Both utopias and dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction genres and arguably are a type of speculative fiction. Apocalyptic Science Fiction is a sub-genre of Dystopian Science Fiction covering the end of civilization, through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten or mythologized. Post apocalyptic stories often take place in an agrarian, non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of technology remain.

Space Opera: is a subgenre of science fiction emphasizing space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, risk-taking, and chivalric romance. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it frequently involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology. The term has no relation to music but was coined during the 1930s to indicate clichéd and formulaic stories in several genres. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and they continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, and video games. The most notable was probably produced by E.E. “Doc” Smith.

Cyberpunk: Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction taking place in a future setting. It tends to focus on society as “high tech low life" showcasing advanced technological and scientific accomplishments, such as information technology and cybernetics, creating a breakdown or radical change in the social order. Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporation’s in a near-future Earth. The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but feature extraordinary cultural turmoil and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors. Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir writers and often uses modus operandi from this genre of detective fiction.

Military Science Fiction: is a subgenre of science fiction that uses science fiction technology, mainly weapons, for military purposes. Its principal characters are generally members of a military organization involved in military activity. The action sometimes takes place in outer space or on a different planet or planets. It is found in literature, comics, film, and video games. A detailed description of the conflict, the tactics and weapons used, and the role of a military service and the individual members of that military organization generally forms the basis for a work of military science fiction. The stories often use events of actual past or current Earth conflicts, with countries being replaced by planets or galaxies of similar characteristics, battleships replaced by space battleships and certain events changed so that the author can induce what might have occurred differently.

Hard/Soft Science Fiction: is a category of science fiction marked by an emphasis on scientific accuracy. The terms were first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell, Jr.‘s "Islands of Space" in Astounding Science Fiction. The complementary term Soft Science Fiction, formed by comparison to hard science fiction, first appeared in the late 1970s. It was created to emphasize the distinction between the "hard” (natural) and “soft” (social) sciences. Science fiction critic Gary Westfahl thinks that both terms are ways of describing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful.

Alternate History: or alternative history (British English), sometimes abbreviated as AH, is a genre of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently than as history recorded them. These stories are set in a world in which history has deviated from history as it is generally known; more simply put, alternate history asks the question, “What if history had developed differently?” Most works in this genre are set in real historical contexts, yet feature social, geopolitical or industrial settings that developed differently or at a different pace from our own. This subgenre comprises fiction in which a change or point of divergence happens that causes history to diverge from our own.

Steampunk:  is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that refers to works set in an era where steam power is still widely used;19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West, where steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that employs steam power in the same way. Although its literary origins are sometimes identified with the cyberpunk genre, it has marked differences. Inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne are often included. Steampunk encompasses alternate history-style elements of past technology like dirigibles or mechanical computers combined with futuristic technology like multi-function goggles, giant robots and ray guns. Steampunk may be described as neo-Victorian. It most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.

Romantic Science Fiction: This genre seems to be written almost exclusively for and by women. In most cases, it is simply a love story set in the future or a distant planet, although it can be set in the past or an alternate world as well. It centers more on relationships than on science, and any futuristic or fantasy elements take second place to the relationships. Usually there is no attempt to explain why the technology works; only its actions are described. A flying car or spaceship is simply said to go places, time travel simply happens without any attempt to describe the scientific method by which this might work. Probably the two most recognizable writers of romantic science fiction are Jayne Castle’s (AKA Krenz) books on Harmony and Diana Gabaldon’s Highlander series (now a TV series). Romantic Sci-Fi includes the sub-genre of Romantic Fantasy (virtually the same except magic is used rather than technology). A fuller description of this sub genre can be found in the Romance category.

FANTASY

Fantasy is a fiction genre set in an imaginary universe, most often without any locations, events, or people from the real world. Most fantasy uses magic or other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme, or setting. Magic and magical creatures are common in many of these imaginary worlds. Fantasy is generally distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the expectation that it will steer clear of scientific and macabre themes, though there is a great deal of overlap among the three, all of which are subgenres of speculative fiction.

Urban Fantasy:   is a subgenre of fantasy defined by place; it is a fantastic narrative with an urban setting. Urban fantasy exists on one side of a spectrum opposite high fantasy, which is set in an entirely fictitious world. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times with supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.

Contemporary Fantasy:  is generally distinguished from horror fiction—which also has contemporary settings and fantastic elements—by the overall tone; emphasizing joy or wonder rather than fear or dread. These are stories set in the accepted real world in contemporary times; magic and magical creatures exist but are not commonly seen or understood; either living in the crevices of our world or leaking over from alternate worlds. It has much in common with and sometimes overlaps with secret history. A work of fantasy where the magic does not remain secret, or does not have any known relationship to known history, would not fit into this subgenre.

Traditional Fantasy:

Please see the definition of Fantasy above.

Horror: is a genre of fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle their readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon has defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length… which shocks or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing”. It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural though it can be non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.

Historical Fantasy: This is a category of fantasy and a sub genre of historical fiction that combines fantastic elements (such as magic) into the story. There is much crossover with other subgenres of fantasy; books classed as Arthurian, Celtic, or Dark Ages could just as easily be placed in Historical Fantasy. Stories fitting this classification generally take place prior to the 20th century. 

Weird Fiction: is a subgenre of speculative fiction starting in the late 19th and early 20th century. It can include ghost stories and other tales of the macabre. Weird fiction is distinguished from horror and fantasy in its blending of supernatural, mythical, and even scientific elements. British authors who have embraced this style have published their work in mainstream literary magazines. American weird fiction writers included Edgar Allan Poe, William Hope Hodgson, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen M. R. James, and Clark Ashton Smith.

Comic Fantasy:  is a subgenre of fantasy that is primarily humorous in intent and tone. Usually set in imaginary worlds, comic fantasy can spoof and parody other works of fantasy, detective fiction or other genres. It is sometimes known as Low Fantasy in contrast to High Fantasy, which is primarily serious in intent and tone. The term “low fantasy” is used to represent other types of fantasy, however, so while comic fantasies may also correctly be classified as low fantasy, many examples of low fantasy are not comic in nature. Two of the most famous examples in this genre would be the Myth Series which successfully spoofed Fantasy and the Garrett P.I. series which did a parody of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe detective series. Other writers of comic fantasy are emerging; notably Dakota Cassidy with her werewolf/witch spoofs and Amanda M. Lee’s Wicked Witches of the Midwest series.

Slipstream: Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses the traditional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. Slipstream falls between speculative fiction and mainstream fiction. While some slipstream novels employ elements of science fiction or fantasy, not all do. The common unifying factor of these books is some degree of the surreal, the not-entirely real, or the markedly anti-real.

Epic / High Fantasy: High Fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy, and is defined by its setting in a fictional universe or by the epic stature of its characters, themes, and plot. The term “high fantasy” was coined by Lloyd Alexander in a 1971 essay, “High Fantasy and Heroic Romance” (originally given at the New England Round Table of Children’s Librarians in October 1969). Epic Fantasy has been described as containing three elements: it must be a trilogy or longer, its time-span must encompass years or more, and it must contain a large back-story or universe setting in which the story takes place.

ADVENTURE

Adventure fiction refers to fiction that puts the lead characters in danger, or gives the reader a sense of excitement

Traditional Western: Western fiction is a genre set in the American Old West frontier from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century. Well-known writers of Western fiction include Zane Grey from the early 20th century and Louis L'Amour and John McCord from the mid-20th century. A traditional western includes cowboys, Native Americans, covered wagons, and women in aprons with shotguns. The genre peaked around the early 1960s, largely due to the popularity of televised Westerns such as Bonanza. Readership began to drop off in the mid- to late 1970s and has reached a new low in the 2000s. Most bookstores, carry few Western fiction books. Nevertheless, several Western fiction series are published monthly, such as The Trailsman, Slocum, Longarm and The Gunsmith. The genre has seen the rumblings of a revival with the advent of romances in western settings by authors such as Linda Lael Miller and Joanna Lindsey.

Treasure Hunting: treasure hunting fiction has a great deal in common with both detective fiction and straight adventure fiction. The hunter must solve a series of clues to find the treasure A good treasure hunting novel delivers thrills and a rising excitement as clues are worked out and uncovered.  There is also opposition from rivals as well. And of course, the hunt has a successful conclusion, or an adequate reason is given why it does not.

MISCELLANEOUS GENRES

General: like Children’s and Youth Fiction, General Fiction can span all decades and genres. These are books that fall into the general fiction genre are often ones that straddle so many genres it’s hard to place them in any specific genre. The books in the general fiction genre can be a combination of any three or more genres of fiction that cause them to be outside the limits and rules of those specific genres. Examples of this: a science fiction, fantasy, romance that has strong elements of comedy and action and adventure. The Kite Runner, Water for Elephants, Life of Pi, The Great Gatsby, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and the Poisonwood Bible. General Fiction is that strange catch-all genre where titles no one knows how to classify end up. This section generally takes up about half a bookstore’s inventory. But even though it’s a vague term, there are some types fiction that are guaranteed to be found in this section of bookstores or libraries. Classic Literature: Stories that are representative of the time in which they were written, but because they have a universal appeal, the books lasted in print and popularity.  Drama: A novel centered on the conflict or contrast of characters. Humor:  A humorous novel has one goal:  to provide amusement and make the reader laugh.  Satire: This is category closely related to humor, but it has a more malicious edge. Its main elements are irony, sarcasm and parody. Unlike straight humor, satire is created to draw attention to social problems through wit. Satire always have a message of some kind. Realistic Fiction: All realistic fiction has these three elements 1) a setting that can be found in the real world 2) the characters will be lifelike and fully formed 3) a conflict or problem that centers on everyday issues or personal relationships that could exist in real life. Tragedy: A tragedy takes a reader through events leading to the self-destruction or catastrophe for the lead characters or those around them. It is sometimes referred to as a tear-jerker. A tragicomedy is a combination of tragedy and comedy. To qualify as this type of fiction there must be an equal mixture of both tragedy and comedy. Chick Lit or Women’s Fiction: This is fiction aimed at women and addresses a variety of subjects, i.e. from shopping to relationships. Think Sex and the City. Inspirational Fiction: this type of novel has the goal of inspiring the reader. Its lead characters overcome obstacles and it can be set in the past, present or the future provided that the setting could occur in real life. Most Christian fiction will fall under this category. Historical Fiction: we covered Historical fiction in the various genres, but there are some novels who simply don’t fit into them. The main idea would be to showcase the past in an accurate manner while making the characters and interesting. If it involves real events, they must be reported accurately and without change. The most successful historical fiction sometimes tells the story of ordinary people and how they are affected by historical events.

Youth Fiction (YA): I made this a separate category because the plots of these novels span all the genres. Young adult fiction or young adult literature (YA) is fiction for readers from 12 to 18. However, authors and readers of “young teen novels” often define it as works written for age 15 to the early 20s. The terms young adult novel, juvenile novel, teenage fiction, young adult book, etc., all refer to the works in this category.  The subject and story lines of young adult literature must be consistent with the age and experience of the main character, but this literature spans the spectrum of fiction genres. Stories that focus on the specific challenges of youth or teens are sometimes referred to as coming-of-age novels. 

Children’s Fiction: is a genre all to itself. This is children’s books written especially for children from 0 to 12 years old. Like YA fiction, it includes a broad spectrum of the genres, with certain differences from YA and Adult fiction. Picture Books: Children’s books that provide a “visual experience” - tell a story with pictures. There may or may not be text with the book. The content of the book can be explained with the illustrated pictures. Picture Story Books are Children’s books that have pictures or illustrations to complement the story and usually are aimed for a trifle older audience depending on their reading ability. These are often done on a collaborative basis with the author employing an illustrator, or vice versa. Both the text and the illustrations are important to the development of the story. The pictures are the “eye-candy” that get children’s attention, but the text is needed to complete the story. Traditional Literature, includes stories passed down from generation to generation. In many ways, the fact that they do change over time is what makes them so fascinating because of the link they provide to the past. To remain meaningful in different eras, the stories while keeping much of their original flavor and content,  must evolve in subtle ways to be acceptable to current mores and culture. These are folktales, fairy tales, fables, legends and myths. Children’s Historical Fiction is stories that are written to illustrate or convey information about a specific time or historical event. Authors use historical fiction to create drama and interest based on real events in people’s lives. Children’s Modern Fantasy is probably easier to define by example or by what it isn’t. The stories are contemporary or nondescript as to time periods. They are imaginative tales requiring readers to accept story lines that clearly cannot be true. They may be based on animals that talk, facets of science fiction, supernatural or horror, or combinations of these elements. “Charlottes Web,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Alice in Wonderland”, “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” and “The Wizard of Oz” are all examples of modern fantasy written for young readers up to 12 years old. Children’s Realistic Fiction has main characters of roughly the age (or slightly older than) the book’s intended audience. The books offer a “real-world” problem or challenge and show how a young person solves that problem.

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WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?

Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the many Art Genres. I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an enormous amount of information about book genres. I limited myself to fiction. I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was there. Please feel free to share or add to it.

MYSTERY

Mystery fiction is a genre usually involving a mysterious death or a crime to be solved. In a closed circle of suspects, each suspect must have a credible motive and a reasonable opportunity for committing the crime.

Noir/Hard Boiled: Noir fiction is a literary genre closely related to the hard-boiled detective genre except that the lead character is not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator. Other common characteristics include the self-destructive qualities of the lead character A typical protagonist of noir fiction is dealing with the legal, political or other system that is no less corrupt than the perpetrator by whom the protagonist is either victimized and/or must victimize others daily, leading to lose-lose situation.

Cozy Mystery: Cozy mysteries, also referred to as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are played down or treated with humor and the crime and detection takes place in a small, socially intimate community. The term was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers attempted to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

General Mystery: Mystery fiction is a genre of fiction commonly involving a mysterious death or a crime to be solved. The central character must be a police or amateur detective who eventually solves the mystery by logical deduction from facts fairly presented to the reader. Sometimes mystery books are nonfictional. “Mystery fiction” can be detective stories in which the emphasis is on the puzzle or suspense element and its logical solution such as a whodunit. Mystery fiction can be contrasted with hard-boiled detective stories, which focus on action and gritty realism.

Mystery fiction may involve a supernatural mystery where the solution does not have to be logical, and even no crime involved. This was common in the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s, where titles such as Dime Mystery, Thrilling Mystery and Spicy Mystery offered what at the time were described as “weird menace” stories—supernatural horror in the vein of Grand Guignol. This contrasted with parallel titles of the same names which contained conventional hard-boiled crime fiction. The first use of “mystery” in this sense was by Dime Mystery, which started out as an ordinary crime fiction magazine but switched to “weird menace” during the latter part of 1933.

Police Procedural: The police procedural, or police crime drama, is a subgenre of detective fiction that attempts to depict the activities of a police force as they investigate crimes.  Traditional detective novels usually concentrate on a single crime.  Police procedurals frequently describe investigations into several unrelated crimes in a single story. Traditional mysteries usually adhere to the convention of having the criminal’s identity concealed until the climax (the so-called whodunit); in police procedurals, the perpetrator’s identity is often known to the audience from the outset (this is referred to as the inverted detective story). Police procedurals describe several police-related topics such as forensics, autopsies, the gathering of evidence, the use of search warrants, and interrogation.

Hobby Mystery: See Cozy Mystery. This is merely a specialized sub genre of Cozy mysteries. The story usually centers around the main character’s hobby, such as quilting or animals.

Historical Mystery: The historical mystery or historical whodunit is a subgenre of two other genres, historical fiction and mystery fiction. These works are set in a time usually before 1960 and the central plot involves the solving of a mystery or crime (usually murder). Though works combining these genres have existed since at least the early 20th century, many credit Ellis Peters's Cadfael Chronicles (1977-1994) for making popular what would become known as the historical mystery. The increasing prevalence of this kind of fiction in succeeding decades spawned a distinct subgenre. 

Paranormal Mystery:  Sometimes the things in a mystery just can’t be explained. That’s where the paranormal mystery comes into play. These books have an element of supernatural in them, that can include magic, witches, skeletons or ghosts, and it can include werewolves, vampires, and other creatures. The difference between paranormal and fantasy is Paranormal concerns events or experiences not subject to scientific explanation or outside the ability of science to measure or explain. ESP, ghosts and other phenomenon fit this definition. Fantasy is a genre using magic or other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of the plot or setting. (Think Harry Potter or Harry Dresdin).

ROMANCE

When classifying a Romance Novel for publishing, the writer is often also required to define the Heat Level in the Novel. Heat Level refers to the intensity of the romantic scenes in the novel and can be applied to all romance genres. These Heat Definitions were borrowed from the RomCon Romance Heat Scale: 

None: Sensuality is not the focus of the book. There may be profanity or mild violence. (e.g., Young Adult, Family Sagas)

Sweet: The romance deals with the emotional aspects of love rather than the physical. No sex or scenes of physical intimacy except kissing. No profanity. No graphic violence. (e.g., Christian Fiction, Sweet Romance, Young Adult Romance.)

Mild: There may be mildly described scenes of intimacy. There may be mild profanity or violence, 

Medium: Sometimes described as “Blush level”, it is a little more than halfway between sweet and hot with more descriptive loves scenes and profanity than mild. There may be sex scenes or the preliminary action related to it. Scenes are usually not graphic and may contain euphemisms for sexual parts of the body are common. The emphasis is very much on feeling.

Hot: There usually are detailed sex scenes, profanity and/or graphic violence.  Authors who often write at this level of sensuality include Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, Rebecca York, Judith Arnold, Mary Balogh, Edith Layton, and Candace Camp.

Wild Ride/Erotica: There will be graphic sex scenes, including multiple partners and or alternate lifestyles. There may be explicit adult language and/or graphic violence. (e.g., Erotic Romance, High Fantasy, Thrillers…) Within RomCon®’s website, this is referred to as Erotic Romance. Be careful here; certain subject matters are still taboo (sex with children among others) and you will need to be specific in the reasons for your rating. 

Blood Thirsty: Sensuality is not the focus of the book, but there will be graphic violence, bloody scenes, or horrific scenes with frightening or intense content. (e.g., Horror, Thrillers, some High Fantasy…), here again you need to be specific for the reason you gave the rating. 

Paranormal Romance: is a subgenre of both romantic fiction and speculative fiction. Paranormal romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending themes from the speculative fiction genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Paranormal romance can range from traditional category romances with a paranormal setting to stories where the main attention is on a science fiction or fantasy-based plot with a romantic subplot included. Common devices are romantic relationships between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly nature. Beyond more common themes concern vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, or time travel; paranormal romances can also include characters with psychic abilities, like telekinesis or telepathy. Paranormal romance has its roots in Gothic fiction, and are one of the fastest growing in the romance genre.

Contemporary Romance: is a subgenre of romance novels generally set after 1960. Contemporary is the largest of the romance novel subgenres, These novels are set in the time when they were written, and reflect the ideas and customs of their time. Heroines in contemporary romances written prior to 1970 usually quit working when they married or had children, while those written after 1970 have and keep a career. As contemporary romance novels have grown to contain more complex plotting and more realistic characters, the line between this subgenre and the genre of women’s fiction or Chick Lit has blurred. Most contemporary romance novels contain elements that date the books, so eventually the story lines become inappropriate to more modern readers and go out of print. Some do make the transition into Historical fiction, but not many.

Historical Romance:  is a broad category of fiction where the story takes place in a setting located in the past. Settings in this category will run the gamut from 1960 back into caveman times. Walter Scott helped popularize this genre in the early 19th-century, with works such as Rob Roy and Ivanhoe.  More recently author Jean Aeul’s Caveman series have been on the best seller list. Historical romances continue to be published, and notable recent examples are Conqueror by Georgette Heyer, or the Roselynde Chronicles by Roberta Gellis.

Western Romance: These books are set in America or Australia or in a contemporary or historical western setting (western United States, Canadian prairies or Australian outback), with a female lead. Readers expect the story to include horses, cowboys and a simpler way of life (but not a simpler plot). Think Joanna Lindsay or Willa Cather. For more traditional male centered westerns consider Louis L'Amour and Luke Short. The traditional male centered westerns have more in common with straight adventure fiction than romance. Women are usually secondary characters and have little or no part of the main action. Westerns are most noted for their clear lines of good and evil.

Gothic Romance: Combines romance and horror and may involve a mystery of some type. It has a long tradition, going back to the Regency/Victorian era.   Made popular by Jane Austin and others, Gothic fiction, which is widely known by the subgenre of Gothic horror, is a genre that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance. Its origin is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled (in its second edition) “A Gothic Story”. Gothic fiction creates a pleasing sense of terror; Romantic literary pleasures that were relatively new at the time of Walpole’s novel. It originated in England in the second half of the 18th century and had much success in the 19th as witnessed by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Another well known novel in this genre, dating from the late Victorian era, is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 

Regency Romance: Regency romances are a distinct genre with their own plot and stylistic conventions. These derive from the 19th-century contemporary works of Georgette Heyer, who still dominates the genre. She wrote over two dozen novels set in the Regency starting in 1935 until her death in 1974. The more traditional Regencies feature a great deal of intelligent, fast-paced dialog between the leads and very little explicit sex or discussion of sex. The plot contrivances that can be found range from Marriages of convenience and false engagements to mistaken identities. Class differences are clearly defined and create barriers. (The son of the house never marries the maid for instance).

Romantic Suspense: The most plot driven of the romance genres. It generally has a strong woman as lead who is involved in dangerous situations. The male hero usually starts out looking like the bad guy but turns out to be good. The setting for these books can be anywhen from deep in the past to contemporary. Think Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt or Barbara Michaels.

THRILLERS

Thriller is a broad genre having numerous subgenres. Thrillers are characterized and defined by the mood of fear and suspense they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of excitement, surprise and anxiety. A thriller generally has a more villain driven plot than adventure. This list is my no means all inclusive.

Eco Thriller: Eco thrillers are normally set around a threat (natural or man-made) to the environment, and combine action, adventure with maybe a touch of mystery. They are fast-paced and usually laced with science. The lead character must find a way to negate the threat.

Supernatural Thriller: Supernatural fiction or supernaturalist fiction involves plot devices or themes that contradict Ideas and assumptions commonplace in the natural world. It is very closely aligned with Horror though usually in a more inhibited fashion. This genre brings in an otherworldly element, Often the hero and/or villain has (or at least claims) some psychic ability.

Historical Thriller: This genre differs from other thrillers in that is set in the past, usually prior to 1960. It may also contain elements of espionage, military or other genres but should not be confused with political/conspiracy thrillers which occur in a more contemporary setting.

Medical/Psychological Thrillers: I have lumped these to together because they draw from similar backgrounds. In Medical Thrillers, a doctor’s life is often threatened (because they helped a certain patient), or a mysterious (usually artificial) disease has broken out. Robin Cook and Tess Gerritsen are leaders in this subgenre. Sandra Wilkenson’s novel Death On Call is an early example. (sometimes the authors are doctors themselves.) Psychological subgenre tales build up slowly, with ever-increasing doubt and tension, until some explicit action/violence takes place, usually at the finale.

Political/Conspiracy Thriller: This genre is very similar in some ways to the Environmental Thriller. Usually the hero or heroine confronts a large, well organized company, government dept., or group. The threat posed by this group is only perceived by the protagonist. A great deal of the plot revolves around a single individual defeating the above groups while encountering disbelief from everyone around him/her. Perplexing forces pull strings in the life of the lead character – if not throughout the world. Usually the hero becomes a threat to the conspirators, and must escape their wrath. Often these stories depict the aberrations caused by secrecy, and the corrupting influence of power. 

Espionage or Spy Thriller: As a genre, spy fiction is thematically related to the adventure novel and involves espionage as an important background or plot device. It emerged in the early twentieth century, inspired by rivalries and intrigues between the major powers, and the establishment of modern intelligence agencies. The genre was given new impetus by the increase of fascism and communism in the lead-up to World War II. It continued to develop during the Cold War, and received a fresh impetus from the emergence of rogue states like ISIS, international criminal organizations, global terrorist networks, maritime piracy and technological sabotage as convincing threats to Western societies.

Techno Thriller: A techno-thriller is a hybrid genre drawing plot elements from science fiction, thrillers, spy fiction, action, and war novels. They include a lopsided amount of technical details on their subject matter; only hard science fiction tends towards a comparable level of supporting detail on the technical side. The inner workings of technology and the mechanics of various practices (espionage, martial arts, politics) are thoroughly explored, and the plot often turns on the of that exploration.

Military Thriller: the focus of this genre is on the development of the crisis, and the detailing of the military action. an aggressive move by the Bad Guys forces the Good to wage large-scale combat to stop them. This can also be found on a smaller scale with many novels set in WWII or prior. However, these are cross genre novels coinciding with Historical thrillers.

Legal Thriller: the plot usually is centered around courtroom action, with a lawyer as the protagonist. This is not to be confused with a Courtroom Drama. In a courtroom drama, the reader often doesn’t know who the villain is until the climax of the story. In a legal thriller, the reader generally knows who the bad guy is from the beginning and the action focuses on whether justice is served.

SCIENCE FICTION

Science fiction or speculative fiction (often shortened to SF, sci-fi or scifi) is a genre dealing with notions such as futuristic science, technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations, and has been referred a “literature of ideas,” or future casting. It usually avoids the supernatural, and unlike the related genre of fantasy, science fiction stories were intended to have a grounding in science-based facts or theories prevalent at the time the story was created; a description now limited to hard science fiction.

Dystopian / Utopian: utopia and its derivative, dystopia, are genres exploring social and political structures. Utopian fiction shows a setting agreeing with the author’s ideology, and has attributes of different reality to appeal to readers. Dystopian (or dystopic) fiction (sometimes combined with, but distinct from apocalyptic literature) is the opposite. It shows a setting that completely disagrees with the author’s ideology. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take, depending on its choices. Both utopias and dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction genres and arguably are a type of speculative fiction. Apocalyptic Science Fiction is a sub-genre of Dystopian Science Fiction covering the end of civilization, through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten or mythologized. Post apocalyptic stories often take place in an agrarian, non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of technology remain.

Space Opera: is a subgenre of science fiction emphasizing space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, risk-taking, and chivalric romance. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it frequently involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology. The term has no relation to music but was coined during the 1930s to indicate clichéd and formulaic stories in several genres. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and they continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, and video games. The most notable was probably produced by E.E. “Doc” Smith.

Cyberpunk: Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction taking place in a future setting. It tends to focus on society as “high tech low life" showcasing advanced technological and scientific accomplishments, such as information technology and cybernetics, creating a breakdown or radical change in the social order. Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporation’s in a near-future Earth. The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but feature extraordinary cultural turmoil and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors. Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir writers and often uses modus operandi from this genre of detective fiction.

Military Science Fiction: is a subgenre of science fiction that uses science fiction technology, mainly weapons, for military purposes. Its principal characters are generally members of a military organization involved in military activity. The action sometimes takes place in outer space or on a different planet or planets. It is found in literature, comics, film, and video games. A detailed description of the conflict, the tactics and weapons used, and the role of a military service and the individual members of that military organization generally forms the basis for a work of military science fiction. The stories often use events of actual past or current Earth conflicts, with countries being replaced by planets or galaxies of similar characteristics, battleships replaced by space battleships and certain events changed so that the author can induce what might have occurred differently.

Hard/Soft Science Fiction: is a category of science fiction marked by an emphasis on scientific accuracy. The terms were first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell, Jr.‘s "Islands of Space" in Astounding Science Fiction. The complementary term Soft Science Fiction, formed by comparison to hard science fiction, first appeared in the late 1970s. It was created to emphasize the distinction between the "hard” (natural) and “soft” (social) sciences. Science fiction critic Gary Westfahl thinks that both terms are ways of describing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful.

Alternate History: or alternative history (British English), sometimes abbreviated as AH, is a genre of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently than as history recorded them. These stories are set in a world in which history has deviated from history as it is generally known; more simply put, alternate history asks the question, “What if history had developed differently?” Most works in this genre are set in real historical contexts, yet feature social, geopolitical or industrial settings that developed differently or at a different pace from our own. This subgenre comprises fiction in which a change or point of divergence happens that causes history to diverge from our own.

Steampunk:  is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that refers to works set in an era where steam power is still widely used;19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West, where steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that employs steam power in the same way. Although its literary origins are sometimes identified with the cyberpunk genre, it has marked differences. Inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne are often included. Steampunk encompasses alternate history-style elements of past technology like dirigibles or mechanical computers combined with futuristic technology like multi-function goggles, giant robots and ray guns. Steampunk may be described as neo-Victorian. It most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.

Romantic Science Fiction: This genre seems to be written almost exclusively for and by women. In most cases, it is simply a love story set in the future or a distant planet, although it can be set in the past or an alternate world as well. It centers more on relationships than on science, and any futuristic or fantasy elements take second place to the relationships. Usually there is no attempt to explain why the technology works; only its actions are described. A flying car or spaceship is simply said to go places, time travel simply happens without any attempt to describe the scientific method by which this might work. Probably the two most recognizable writers of romantic science fiction are Jayne Castle’s (AKA Krenz) books on Harmony and Diana Gabaldon’s Highlander series (now a TV series). Romantic Sci-Fi includes the sub-genre of Romantic Fantasy (virtually the same except magic is used rather than technology). A fuller description of this sub genre can be found in the Romance category.

FANTASY

Fantasy is a fiction genre set in an imaginary universe, most often without any locations, events, or people from the real world. Most fantasy uses magic or other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme, or setting. Magic and magical creatures are common in many of these imaginary worlds. Fantasy is generally distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the expectation that it will steer clear of scientific and macabre themes, though there is a great deal of overlap among the three, all of which are subgenres of speculative fiction.

Urban Fantasy:   is a subgenre of fantasy defined by place; it is a fantastic narrative with an urban setting. Urban fantasy exists on one side of a spectrum opposite high fantasy, which is set in an entirely fictitious world. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times with supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.

Contemporary Fantasy:  is generally distinguished from horror fiction—which also has contemporary settings and fantastic elements—by the overall tone; emphasizing joy or wonder rather than fear or dread. These are stories set in the accepted real world in contemporary times; magic and magical creatures exist but are not commonly seen or understood; either living in the crevices of our world or leaking over from alternate worlds. It has much in common with and sometimes overlaps with secret history. A work of fantasy where the magic does not remain secret, or does not have any known relationship to known history, would not fit into this subgenre.

Traditional Fantasy:

Please see the definition of Fantasy above.

Horror: is a genre of fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle their readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon has defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length… which shocks or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing”. It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural though it can be non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.

Historical Fantasy: This is a category of fantasy and a sub genre of historical fiction that combines fantastic elements (such as magic) into the story. There is much crossover with other subgenres of fantasy; books classed as Arthurian, Celtic, or Dark Ages could just as easily be placed in Historical Fantasy. Stories fitting this classification generally take place prior to the 20th century. 

Weird Fiction: is a subgenre of speculative fiction starting in the late 19th and early 20th century. It can include ghost stories and other tales of the macabre. Weird fiction is distinguished from horror and fantasy in its blending of supernatural, mythical, and even scientific elements. British authors who have embraced this style have published their work in mainstream literary magazines. American weird fiction writers included Edgar Allan Poe, William Hope Hodgson, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen M. R. James, and Clark Ashton Smith.

Comic Fantasy:  is a subgenre of fantasy that is primarily humorous in intent and tone. Usually set in imaginary worlds, comic fantasy can spoof and parody other works of fantasy, detective fiction or other genres. It is sometimes known as Low Fantasy in contrast to High Fantasy, which is primarily serious in intent and tone. The term “low fantasy” is used to represent other types of fantasy, however, so while comic fantasies may also correctly be classified as low fantasy, many examples of low fantasy are not comic in nature. Two of the most famous examples in this genre would be the Myth Series which successfully spoofed Fantasy and the Garrett P.I. series which did a parody of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe detective series. Other writers of comic fantasy are emerging; notably Dakota Cassidy with her werewolf/witch spoofs and Amanda M. Lee’s Wicked Witches of the Midwest series.

Slipstream: Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses the traditional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. Slipstream falls between speculative fiction and mainstream fiction. While some slipstream novels employ elements of science fiction or fantasy, not all do. The common unifying factor of these books is some degree of the surreal, the not-entirely real, or the markedly anti-real.

Epic / High Fantasy: High Fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy, and is defined by its setting in a fictional universe or by the epic stature of its characters, themes, and plot. The term “high fantasy” was coined by Lloyd Alexander in a 1971 essay, “High Fantasy and Heroic Romance” (originally given at the New England Round Table of Children’s Librarians in October 1969). Epic Fantasy has been described as containing three elements: it must be a trilogy or longer, its time-span must encompass years or more, and it must contain a large back-story or universe setting in which the story takes place.

ADVENTURE

Adventure fiction refers to fiction that puts the lead characters in danger, or gives the reader a sense of excitement

Traditional Western: Western fiction is a genre set in the American Old West frontier from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century. Well-known writers of Western fiction include Zane Grey from the early 20th century and Louis L'Amour and John McCord from the mid-20th century. A traditional western includes cowboys, Native Americans, covered wagons, and women in aprons with shotguns. The genre peaked around the early 1960s, largely due to the popularity of televised Westerns such as Bonanza. Readership began to drop off in the mid- to late 1970s and has reached a new low in the 2000s. Most bookstores, carry few Western fiction books. Nevertheless, several Western fiction series are published monthly, such as The Trailsman, Slocum, Longarm and The Gunsmith. The genre has seen the rumblings of a revival with the advent of romances in western settings by authors such as Linda Lael Miller and Joanna Lindsey.

Treasure Hunting: treasure hunting fiction has a great deal in common with both detective fiction and straight adventure fiction. The hunter must solve a series of clues to find the treasure A good treasure hunting novel delivers thrills and a rising excitement as clues are worked out and uncovered.  There is also opposition from rivals as well. And of course, the hunt has a successful conclusion, or an adequate reason is given why it does not.

MISCELLANEOUS GENRES

General: like Children’s and Youth Fiction, General Fiction can span all decades and genres. These are books that fall into the general fiction genre are often ones that straddle so many genres it’s hard to place them in any specific genre. The books in the general fiction genre can be a combination of any three or more genres of fiction that cause them to be outside the limits and rules of those specific genres. Examples of this: a science fiction, fantasy, romance that has strong elements of comedy and action and adventure. The Kite Runner, Water for Elephants, Life of Pi, The Great Gatsby, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and the Poisonwood Bible. General Fiction is that strange catch-all genre where titles no one knows how to classify end up. This section generally takes up about half a bookstore’s inventory. But even though it’s a vague term, there are some types fiction that are guaranteed to be found in this section of bookstores or libraries. Classic Literature: Stories that are representative of the time in which they were written, but because they have a universal appeal, the books lasted in print and popularity.  Drama: A novel centered on the conflict or contrast of characters. Humor:  A humorous novel has one goal:  to provide amusement and make the reader laugh.  Satire: This is category closely related to humor, but it has a more malicious edge. Its main elements are irony, sarcasm and parody. Unlike straight humor, satire is created to draw attention to social problems through wit. Satire always have a message of some kind. Realistic Fiction: All realistic fiction has these three elements 1) a setting that can be found in the real world 2) the characters will be lifelike and fully formed 3) a conflict or problem that centers on everyday issues or personal relationships that could exist in real life. Tragedy: A tragedy takes a reader through events leading to the self-destruction or catastrophe for the lead characters or those around them. It is sometimes referred to as a tear-jerker. A tragicomedy is a combination of tragedy and comedy. To qualify as this type of fiction there must be an equal mixture of both tragedy and comedy. Chick Lit or Women’s Fiction: This is fiction aimed at women and addresses a variety of subjects, i.e. from shopping to relationships. Think Sex and the City. Inspirational Fiction: this type of novel has the goal of inspiring the reader. Its lead characters overcome obstacles and it can be set in the past, present or the future provided that the setting could occur in real life. Most Christian fiction will fall under this category. Historical Fiction: we covered Historical fiction in the various genres, but there are some novels who simply don’t fit into them. The main idea would be to showcase the past in an accurate manner while making the characters and interesting. If it involves real events, they must be reported accurately and without change. The most successful historical fiction sometimes tells the story of ordinary people and how they are affected by historical events.

Youth Fiction (YA): I made this a separate category because the plots of these novels span all the genres. Young adult fiction or young adult literature (YA) is fiction for readers from 12 to 18. However, authors and readers of “young teen novels” often define it as works written for age 15 to the early 20s. The terms young adult novel, juvenile novel, teenage fiction, young adult book, etc., all refer to the works in this category.  The subject and story lines of young adult literature must be consistent with the age and experience of the main character, but this literature spans the spectrum of fiction genres. Stories that focus on the specific challenges of youth or teens are sometimes referred to as coming-of-age novels. 

Children’s Fiction: is a genre all to itself. This is children’s books written especially for children from 0 to 12 years old. Like YA fiction, it includes a broad spectrum of the genres, with certain differences from YA and Adult fiction. Picture Books: Children’s books that provide a “visual experience” - tell a story with pictures. There may or may not be text with the book. The content of the book can be explained with the illustrated pictures. Picture Story Books are Children’s books that have pictures or illustrations to complement the story and usually are aimed for a trifle older audience depending on their reading ability. These are often done on a collaborative basis with the author employing an illustrator, or vice versa. Both the text and the illustrations are important to the development of the story. The pictures are the “eye-candy” that get children’s attention, but the text is needed to complete the story. Traditional Literature, includes stories passed down from generation to generation. In many ways, the fact that they do change over time is what makes them so fascinating because of the link they provide to the past. To remain meaningful in different eras, the stories while keeping much of their original flavor and content,  must evolve in subtle ways to be acceptable to current mores and culture. These are folktales, fairy tales, fables, legends and myths. Children’s Historical Fiction is stories that are written to illustrate or convey information about a specific time or historical event. Authors use historical fiction to create drama and interest based on real events in people’s lives. Children’s Modern Fantasy is probably easier to define by example or by what it isn’t. The stories are contemporary or nondescript as to time periods. They are imaginative tales requiring readers to accept story lines that clearly cannot be true. They may be based on animals that talk, facets of science fiction, supernatural or horror, or combinations of these elements. “Charlottes Web,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Alice in Wonderland”, “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” and “The Wizard of Oz” are all examples of modern fantasy written for young readers up to 12 years old. Children’s Realistic Fiction has main characters of roughly the age (or slightly older than) the book’s intended audience. The books offer a “real-world” problem or challenge and show how a young person solves that problem.

Posted 38 weeks ago

All Our Tomorrows

Gail Daley – All Our Tomorrows – Science Fiction Romance https://www.amazon.com/dp/1534698167/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1481926403&sr=8-3&keywords=Gail+Daley

The Handfasting is an epic tale of a family’s struggle to survive on an alien planet. Book 3, All Our Tomorrows - a warrior/priestess teams up with a Bard from another world and genetically created children to defeat a deadly enemy and save their planet from destruction.

 

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

IN E-BOOK AND SOFT COVER

Posted 40 weeks ago
<p><b>In a land where magic
and witchcraft is a death sentence, an amnesiac fighter on the run falls for a
traveling fortuneteller’s granddaughter hiding from the deadly secrets in her
past.</b></p><p>





�Ь[�</p>

In a land where magic and witchcraft is a death sentence, an amnesiac fighter on the run falls for a traveling fortuneteller’s granddaughter hiding from the deadly secrets in her past.

�Ь[�

Posted 53 weeks ago
<p><a href="http://spaceexp.tumblr.com/post/154256621430/spaaaace-travel-by-x-ray-delta-one" class="tumblr_blog">spaceexp</a>:</p><blockquote>
<p>… spaaaace travel!</p> <p><small>by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/40143737@N02/30682482374">x-ray delta one</a></small></p>
</blockquote>

spaceexp:

… spaaaace travel!

by x-ray delta one

Posted 53 weeks ago
<p><b><i>Hard copies available by December 19, 2016.</i></b></p><p><b><i>An Alien Worlds Romance—</i></b> <b><i>a warrior/priestess teams up with a Bard from another world and genetically created
children to defeat a deadly enemy and save their planet from destruction</i></b><b><i> </i></b></p><p><b><i> L</i></b><b><i>ady Drusilla O’Teague,</i></b> born of a powerful line of psychically gifted women; she has been
trained from birth as warrior and Dragon Talker. She learned to distrust her
own feelings as child when she was unable to shield herself from the seesaw
emotions of others.</p><p><b><i>Lucas Lewellyn</i></b> an off-world survivor of the Karamine Wars was bred from a tribe of
Shamans and Bards. He was given the inherent ability to compel with his voice, but
he is untrained in the use of his powers. He knows when he meets Drusilla the
first time that their destinies are linked, but will she admit it?</p><p>Their world of Vensoog is in danger. The
Thieves Guild wants the deposits of Azorite—the mighty crystals used to power
spaceships and found in large numbers on Vensoog. To save their world, Drusilla
and Lucas are going to need the help of the genetically crafted children
created by those threatening Vensoog. Together they must drive off the Guild
and defeat their enemies.</p><p> <b><i>Juliette Jones—</i></b>crafted in the Guild’s genetic Labs to be super smart, ruthless, wily and
conniving–the perfect spy. But the Guild never realized they had also given
her a loving heart.</p><p><b><i>Lucinda Karns—</i></b>the daughter of a Thieves Guild Lieutenant, she was given enhanced
creativity genes to make her the perfect icy thinker and planner; but those
genes sparked a need for balance giving her a moral compass.</p><p><b><i>Violet Ishimara</i></b>— She was designed with a high degree of empathy to be a tool for the
Guild, but her alliance with the Vensoog Sand Dragon <b><i>Jelli</i></b> gave
her the courage to stand up to her masters.</p><p><b><i>Rupert</i></b>, the intuitive chemist and <b><i>Roderick</i></b>, the electronic genius
— Orphaned twins who were seen by the Guild as tools to turn into weapons,
turned out to be a lot tougher than the Guild expected. </p>

Hard copies available by December 19, 2016.

An Alien Worlds Romance— a warrior/priestess teams up with a Bard from another world and genetically created children to defeat a deadly enemy and save their planet from destruction

 Lady Drusilla O’Teague, born of a powerful line of psychically gifted women; she has been trained from birth as warrior and Dragon Talker. She learned to distrust her own feelings as child when she was unable to shield herself from the seesaw emotions of others.

Lucas Lewellyn an off-world survivor of the Karamine Wars was bred from a tribe of Shamans and Bards. He was given the inherent ability to compel with his voice, but he is untrained in the use of his powers. He knows when he meets Drusilla the first time that their destinies are linked, but will she admit it?

Their world of Vensoog is in danger. The Thieves Guild wants the deposits of Azorite—the mighty crystals used to power spaceships and found in large numbers on Vensoog. To save their world, Drusilla and Lucas are going to need the help of the genetically crafted children created by those threatening Vensoog. Together they must drive off the Guild and defeat their enemies.

 Juliette Jones—crafted in the Guild’s genetic Labs to be super smart, ruthless, wily and conniving–the perfect spy. But the Guild never realized they had also given her a loving heart.

Lucinda Karns—the daughter of a Thieves Guild Lieutenant, she was given enhanced creativity genes to make her the perfect icy thinker and planner; but those genes sparked a need for balance giving her a moral compass.

Violet Ishimara— She was designed with a high degree of empathy to be a tool for the Guild, but her alliance with the Vensoog Sand Dragon Jelli gave her the courage to stand up to her masters.

Rupert, the intuitive chemist and Roderick, the electronic genius — Orphaned twins who were seen by the Guild as tools to turn into weapons, turned out to be a lot tougher than the Guild expected.

Posted 53 weeks ago
<p>Estimated publication date April 2017</p><p><b>On a raw, untamed world,
three sisters make different choices to find happiness and love as well as
safety. Bethany marries a mercenary fighter to protect her family, Iris agrees
to an arranged wedding with an old friend, and Jeanne runs off with the son of
her enemy. </b></p><p>When the
technology to locate and open gates to other worlds was discovered on earth in
the late 21<sup>st</sup> century, access to this knowledge was strictly
regulated by the governments and industry hoping to exploit the vast resources
on the unmapped worlds. Once the knowledge of how to locate and open gates to
other worlds was discovered, it wasn’t long before the new technology was
leaked and illegally created Portals began cropping up. Prohibited Settlers slipped
through these Forbidden portals in search of freedom, adventure and escape. There
was no going back and these adventurers had only the technology they could
carry with them to defend themselves against alien plants and animals on
strange new worlds. Adventure meant a one-way ticket to a hardscrabble
existence. Freedom meant no law to run to for protection from each other.</p><p> This is the first book in my
Portal Worlds series. Publishing eta is June 2017. I would appreciate your
feedback.</p><p><a href="https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1206010">https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1206010</a></p>

Estimated publication date April 2017

On a raw, untamed world, three sisters make different choices to find happiness and love as well as safety. Bethany marries a mercenary fighter to protect her family, Iris agrees to an arranged wedding with an old friend, and Jeanne runs off with the son of her enemy.

When the technology to locate and open gates to other worlds was discovered on earth in the late 21st century, access to this knowledge was strictly regulated by the governments and industry hoping to exploit the vast resources on the unmapped worlds. Once the knowledge of how to locate and open gates to other worlds was discovered, it wasn’t long before the new technology was leaked and illegally created Portals began cropping up. Prohibited Settlers slipped through these Forbidden portals in search of freedom, adventure and escape. There was no going back and these adventurers had only the technology they could carry with them to defend themselves against alien plants and animals on strange new worlds. Adventure meant a one-way ticket to a hardscrabble existence. Freedom meant no law to run to for protection from each other.

 This is the first book in my Portal Worlds series. Publishing eta is June 2017. I would appreciate your feedback.

https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1206010

Posted 53 weeks ago
<figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="1201" data-orig-width="1501"><img src="http://78.media.tumblr.com/c9367eeb1a323eaca2aa6cbdd51a58c1/tumblr_inline_ofrysidGsf1tbmkg3_540.jpg" data-orig-height="1201" data-orig-width="1501"/></figure><p>COMFORT
= PRODUCTIVITY </p><p>Why is it important for a writer to have a comfortable space to
write? As a writer, I have to say that if I’m uncomfortable physically, it
makes it much harder to concentrate on being creative. If I am in the creative
zone, I may spend 10 or 12 hours at my terminal with only short breaks for food
or to use the restroom. Fatigue or even repetitive motion injuries from typing
on a regular keyboard or sitting in a poorly designed chair decreases my
abilities and concentration. However, these things can be avoided with a few
inexpensive fixes.</p><p>Several years ago, I was introduced to
‘ergonomic furniture and computer accessories”. What is that you say? Ergonomic
furniture and accessories are designed to reduce physical stress on the person
using them, and help prevent repetitive strain (Carpal tunnel) or
musculoskeletal disorders in those of us who spend a lot of time at a computer
screen. Which is something I badly needed because I do spend a lot of time on a
computer terminal: I write fiction, I’m a blogger, I run two online/print
newsletters, and I am webmaster for several web sites. In between that, I am
also my husband’s office manager in his business. </p><p>This brings up a comparison point: which
system provides more comfort; a PC or an Apple product. I ask this because some
time ago we made the decision to switch from PC products, which is supported by
Microsoft to Apple products because of the increased security from online
malware they offer.  The relative freedom
from Malware attacks does have a drawback. Unfortunately, while Apple is way
out in front in designing products for mobile use, they are far behind the PC
industry when it comes to ergonomic accessories for its users. In fact, they do
not actually offer any ergonomic keyboards or mice in the Apple Store (or is it
mouses when talking tech?). While there are companies who do manufacture
ergonomic accessories that are compatible with Apple products, they don’t
integrate as smoothly with Apple as does Apples own products. Apples products
are usually rechargeable; sadly, the substitute stuff sold by other
manufactures is not.  Keyboards and mice
are either plug in or if they are wireless, they require batteries.</p><p>Is it worth it? Well, that depends on how
much your hands and wrists begin to hurt using a non-ergonomic keyboard for
lengthy periods. The difference in appearance between a standard keyboard and
an ergonomic one is obvious once you have seen or used one. The standard
keyboard is flat and rectangular, whereas an ergonomic keyboard actually looks
quite different. While it is still longer than it is wide, an ergonomic
keyboard is slightly curved, allowing the user’s hands to rest at a more
natural angle when typing. The keys are also slightly larger with a tiny bit
more space between them. As you can see, Ergonomic keyboards also come with a
wrist support.</p><p>I did a run on the internet and three Ergonomic keyboards that
came most highly recommended on the reviews on Amazon are shown here. However, all
the reviews did mention that not all of the keys were functional straight out
of the box, but with the additional purchase of USB Overdrive (free program app)
the keys worked fine. This was an overall view expressed on all of the
keyboards I found.<br/></p><p> This item Perixx PERIBOARD-512II W, Ergonomic Split
Keyboard - White - Natural Ergonomic Design - Wired USB Interface - Recommended
with Repetitive Stress Injuries RSI User. This one retails at about $50.00. 4 ½
stars on Amazon</p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0076KUTKS/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1455230248&sr=8-1&pi=SX200_QL40&keywords=ergonomic+keyboard+for+mac">http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0076KUTKS/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1455230248&sr=8-1&pi=SX200_QL40&keywords=ergonomic+keyboard+for+mac</a></p><p> <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Mk550-Wireless-Keyboard-Mouse/dp/B003VAHYNC/ref=cm_rdp_product">Logitech Mk550 Wave Wireless Keyboard/Mouse
Combo</a> (It got 4 ½ stars on Amazon). This one retails
out at about $50.00 on Amazon.com. Logitech is one of the most trusted computer accessory brands worldwide.</p><p> Adesso Tru-Form Media
Contoured Ergonomic Keyboard (PCK-208B) got 4 stars on Amazon. This was the
least expensive one of the three ($30). It was specifically mentioned however
that this keyboard was not good for gaming.</p><p>





}Y8j٨�</p>

COMFORT = PRODUCTIVITY

Why is it important for a writer to have a comfortable space to write? As a writer, I have to say that if I’m uncomfortable physically, it makes it much harder to concentrate on being creative. If I am in the creative zone, I may spend 10 or 12 hours at my terminal with only short breaks for food or to use the restroom. Fatigue or even repetitive motion injuries from typing on a regular keyboard or sitting in a poorly designed chair decreases my abilities and concentration. However, these things can be avoided with a few inexpensive fixes.

Several years ago, I was introduced to ‘ergonomic furniture and computer accessories”. What is that you say? Ergonomic furniture and accessories are designed to reduce physical stress on the person using them, and help prevent repetitive strain (Carpal tunnel) or musculoskeletal disorders in those of us who spend a lot of time at a computer screen. Which is something I badly needed because I do spend a lot of time on a computer terminal: I write fiction, I’m a blogger, I run two online/print newsletters, and I am webmaster for several web sites. In between that, I am also my husband’s office manager in his business.

This brings up a comparison point: which system provides more comfort; a PC or an Apple product. I ask this because some time ago we made the decision to switch from PC products, which is supported by Microsoft to Apple products because of the increased security from online malware they offer.  The relative freedom from Malware attacks does have a drawback. Unfortunately, while Apple is way out in front in designing products for mobile use, they are far behind the PC industry when it comes to ergonomic accessories for its users. In fact, they do not actually offer any ergonomic keyboards or mice in the Apple Store (or is it mouses when talking tech?). While there are companies who do manufacture ergonomic accessories that are compatible with Apple products, they don’t integrate as smoothly with Apple as does Apples own products. Apples products are usually rechargeable; sadly, the substitute stuff sold by other manufactures is not.  Keyboards and mice are either plug in or if they are wireless, they require batteries.

Is it worth it? Well, that depends on how much your hands and wrists begin to hurt using a non-ergonomic keyboard for lengthy periods. The difference in appearance between a standard keyboard and an ergonomic one is obvious once you have seen or used one. The standard keyboard is flat and rectangular, whereas an ergonomic keyboard actually looks quite different. While it is still longer than it is wide, an ergonomic keyboard is slightly curved, allowing the user’s hands to rest at a more natural angle when typing. The keys are also slightly larger with a tiny bit more space between them. As you can see, Ergonomic keyboards also come with a wrist support.

I did a run on the internet and three Ergonomic keyboards that came most highly recommended on the reviews on Amazon are shown here. However, all the reviews did mention that not all of the keys were functional straight out of the box, but with the additional purchase of USB Overdrive (free program app) the keys worked fine. This was an overall view expressed on all of the keyboards I found.

 This item Perixx PERIBOARD-512II W, Ergonomic Split Keyboard - White - Natural Ergonomic Design - Wired USB Interface - Recommended with Repetitive Stress Injuries RSI User. This one retails at about $50.00. 4 ½ stars on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0076KUTKS/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1455230248&sr=8-1&pi=SX200_QL40&keywords=ergonomic+keyboard+for+mac

 Logitech Mk550 Wave Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo (It got 4 ½ stars on Amazon). This one retails out at about $50.00 on Amazon.com. Logitech is one of the most trusted computer accessory brands worldwide.

 Adesso Tru-Form Media Contoured Ergonomic Keyboard (PCK-208B) got 4 stars on Amazon. This was the least expensive one of the three ($30). It was specifically mentioned however that this keyboard was not good for gaming.

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Posted 58 weeks ago
<p><b>REASONS FOR KEEPING GOOD RECORDS</b></p><p><b>By the Practical Artist</b></p><p><a href="http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php">http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php</a><b></b></p><p>How
many times I have heard fellow artists say, “I’m an artist. I don’t want to
bother with stuff like keeping records of what I paint”. Well, if you are a
hobbyist who only paints one or two paintings a year, this idea might have <i>some</i> merit—until it becomes very
important (for whatever reason) to locate a piece of art you created. There is
no reason for an artist to become overwhelmed by the idea of keeping records of
when a piece of art was created and where it’s been shown. Knowing which shows
into which you have previously entered an art piece might even save you some
embarrassment when a show chair complains that you keep entering the same art
in a yearly show! Knowing <i>when</i> you
created a piece of art might become important if someone pirates your work and
sells it because who created the art first often decides who has the copyright.
If you have no record of when an art piece was created, you might even be found
in violation of your own work!</p><p>If
you sell your art, it is considered income and over a certain amount, it must
be reported as such to the IRS on your federal taxes. If you participate in a
booth event, you are usually required to have a seller’s permit, collect sales
tax, and then report and pay that sales tax to the State.</p><p> Art
is a business as well as a creative endeavor. Losing your art can be a
financial loss. Not being aware of losing money because you don’t keep track of
costs can create a huge problem. </p><p><b>WHAT IS NEEDED TO KEEP RECORDS</b></p><p>Hey,
relax; this isn’t as difficult as it sounds! Let’s take this one step at a
time, using one piece of work. Step one: decide in what form you are going to
keep your work log. While
it is very helpful to have this information stored on a computer, artists were
tracking their work using paper files long before computers became popular. I
personally prefer using a computer worksheet, however, all of this stuff can be
put on a sheet of paper and kept in a binder. For the initial record, I
recommend a single sheet or worksheet per art piece. (Please see the Art
Information Sheet in the Sample section)</p><p>ITEM
1—a pictorial image of your work. This can be in the form a printed photograph,
a slide or a digital image. If your work is 3-deminsional, be sure to take
photos of all sides of the work. Since this image is not going to be used to
reproduce the work, a small, low-resolution image will suffice. The image
should be large enough to see details of the work, clear and without blurring.</p><p>ITEM
2—the title of your work, size, style/genre and when it was finished.</p><p>ITEM
3—a brief description of the work (use complete sentences—why will become clear
later). Optional—I also like to keep a kind of diary as to what I wanted to
achieve, why I chose this image, and what was going on in my life when I
created this art piece.</p><p>ITEM
4—Keywords to be used when downloading the photo of your art to your web site
or other internet media.</p><p>ITEM
5—Show and exhibit record is a list of what shows or exhibits were entered,
when they took place and if the art won awards.</p><p>ITEM
6—wholesale and Retail price. This is probably the hardest thing for an artist
to decide on—how much to charge for an artwork! What is the difference between
Wholesale and Retail? Wholesale is always lower than Retail. Your wholesale
price at a minimum should cover the cost of what it cost you to create the art,
plus any gallery commission fees and hopefully with a small profit margin.
Retail price for an art piece should cover all this plus what you as an artist
feel the art is worth. I realize this is very subjective but most of art <i>is</i> subjective.</p><p>ITEM
7—Incidental information such as the date you formally copyrighted the work,
cost of the copyright, etc. More about copyrights later in the Copyright
section.</p><p>ITEM
8—If you had limited editions of a painting or photograph or copies of a
sculpture made, when, how many , how much it cost to make them, how many sold
and how much you made when you did.</p><p>ITEM
9—the date you sold the original art and the name and address of the Buyer.</p><p><b>DON’T LOSE YOUR WORK!</b></p><p>When
I created Art-Tique with fellow artist Lea Adams, one of the purposes of the
organization was to find low-cost places where artists could show and sell
their work. It was then I discovered the pitfalls of having a lot of art in a
lot of different venues! Many times artists would fail to pick up their art at
the designated time because they couldn’t remember which venue they had placed
it in, and when it was due to be retrieved! For my own sanity, I created an Art
Location Sheet (see the example in the Sample section). I prefer to use a
worksheet program for this, although it can also be kept on paper. I prefer the
worksheet format because it can be sorted many times by the location so it is
very easy to see not only where a particular painting is, but also how many
paintings I have at that location, and when they are due to be picked up. It
also provides a quick reference if I have previously entered it in a particular
show. The items listed below should be entered in a single line (one line per
artwork).</p><p>ITEM
1—Art Title</p><p>ITEM
2—(optional) Media</p><p>ITEM
3—(optinal0 Subject</p><p>ITEM
4—Date of receiving for show or exhibit</p><p>ITEM
5—Show name</p><p>ITEM
6—pick up date</p><p>ITEMS
7, 8, 9—past three shows or exhibits</p><p>There,
you see this wasn’t hard at all!</p>

REASONS FOR KEEPING GOOD RECORDS

By the Practical Artist

http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

How many times I have heard fellow artists say, “I’m an artist. I don’t want to bother with stuff like keeping records of what I paint”. Well, if you are a hobbyist who only paints one or two paintings a year, this idea might have some merit—until it becomes very important (for whatever reason) to locate a piece of art you created. There is no reason for an artist to become overwhelmed by the idea of keeping records of when a piece of art was created and where it’s been shown. Knowing which shows into which you have previously entered an art piece might even save you some embarrassment when a show chair complains that you keep entering the same art in a yearly show! Knowing when you created a piece of art might become important if someone pirates your work and sells it because who created the art first often decides who has the copyright. If you have no record of when an art piece was created, you might even be found in violation of your own work!

If you sell your art, it is considered income and over a certain amount, it must be reported as such to the IRS on your federal taxes. If you participate in a booth event, you are usually required to have a seller’s permit, collect sales tax, and then report and pay that sales tax to the State.

 Art is a business as well as a creative endeavor. Losing your art can be a financial loss. Not being aware of losing money because you don’t keep track of costs can create a huge problem.

WHAT IS NEEDED TO KEEP RECORDS

Hey, relax; this isn’t as difficult as it sounds! Let’s take this one step at a time, using one piece of work. Step one: decide in what form you are going to keep your work log. While it is very helpful to have this information stored on a computer, artists were tracking their work using paper files long before computers became popular. I personally prefer using a computer worksheet, however, all of this stuff can be put on a sheet of paper and kept in a binder. For the initial record, I recommend a single sheet or worksheet per art piece. (Please see the Art Information Sheet in the Sample section)

ITEM 1—a pictorial image of your work. This can be in the form a printed photograph, a slide or a digital image. If your work is 3-deminsional, be sure to take photos of all sides of the work. Since this image is not going to be used to reproduce the work, a small, low-resolution image will suffice. The image should be large enough to see details of the work, clear and without blurring.

ITEM 2—the title of your work, size, style/genre and when it was finished.

ITEM 3—a brief description of the work (use complete sentences—why will become clear later). Optional—I also like to keep a kind of diary as to what I wanted to achieve, why I chose this image, and what was going on in my life when I created this art piece.

ITEM 4—Keywords to be used when downloading the photo of your art to your web site or other internet media.

ITEM 5—Show and exhibit record is a list of what shows or exhibits were entered, when they took place and if the art won awards.

ITEM 6—wholesale and Retail price. This is probably the hardest thing for an artist to decide on—how much to charge for an artwork! What is the difference between Wholesale and Retail? Wholesale is always lower than Retail. Your wholesale price at a minimum should cover the cost of what it cost you to create the art, plus any gallery commission fees and hopefully with a small profit margin. Retail price for an art piece should cover all this plus what you as an artist feel the art is worth. I realize this is very subjective but most of art is subjective.

ITEM 7—Incidental information such as the date you formally copyrighted the work, cost of the copyright, etc. More about copyrights later in the Copyright section.

ITEM 8—If you had limited editions of a painting or photograph or copies of a sculpture made, when, how many , how much it cost to make them, how many sold and how much you made when you did.

ITEM 9—the date you sold the original art and the name and address of the Buyer.

DON’T LOSE YOUR WORK!

When I created Art-Tique with fellow artist Lea Adams, one of the purposes of the organization was to find low-cost places where artists could show and sell their work. It was then I discovered the pitfalls of having a lot of art in a lot of different venues! Many times artists would fail to pick up their art at the designated time because they couldn’t remember which venue they had placed it in, and when it was due to be retrieved! For my own sanity, I created an Art Location Sheet (see the example in the Sample section). I prefer to use a worksheet program for this, although it can also be kept on paper. I prefer the worksheet format because it can be sorted many times by the location so it is very easy to see not only where a particular painting is, but also how many paintings I have at that location, and when they are due to be picked up. It also provides a quick reference if I have previously entered it in a particular show. The items listed below should be entered in a single line (one line per artwork).

ITEM 1—Art Title

ITEM 2—(optional) Media

ITEM 3—(optinal0 Subject

ITEM 4—Date of receiving for show or exhibit

ITEM 5—Show name

ITEM 6—pick up date

ITEMS 7, 8, 9—past three shows or exhibits

There, you see this wasn’t hard at all!

Posted 61 weeks ago

8/3/2015

5 REASONS TO PUT ORIGINAL ART IN A PLACE OF BUSINESS

 

Displaying original art by local artists shows community support and responsibility and helps set the tone and culture of a place of work.

Original art plays a central role in indorsing the professional look of a business or corporate organization.

Original art is very impressive to customers when entering a business, school or company.

When a business or workplace creates a sense of visual balance and harmony, it encourages resourcefulness and inspires the best possible output from its visitors and workers.

Carefully placed original art can highlight the natural beauty of a building.

 Now the real question is how do you present these ideas to business owners? Well, the best way in in person and NOT at their busiest time of the day! Call and make an appointment, or simply drop by and ask to leave some information about you and your art. Again, if it is a restaurant, do not do this during their breakfast, lunch or dinner hour! If necessary, do some studying of the business to find out when their busy times are. Eating-places are very popular places to put art, because you don’t have to tailor the art to the type of business. For instance, a flower shop most likely will want florals, a car sales place will want vehicles, a pet store or veterinarians office, most usually cats and dogs, maybe birds, etc.

 What type of information do you leave with the business owner or manager? Keyword here is “Brief”. A trifold double-sided brochure is best with about 7—10 photos of your work. Be sure to mention the five points above in it as well. Be sure your contact information is included.

 Follow up the information in about a week and in that contact, try and set up an appointment with them to discuss, things like hanging, handling sales, etc.

Good Luck!

 

                            GETTING THE MOST OUT OF A CRITIQUE                        7/1/15

For many of us, giving our work over to an individual or a group to be analyzed is scary, but so much can be learned by having someone not intimately connected to you evaluate your work. An unavoidable truth in the art world is that all through your career all kinds of people are going to say all kinds of stuff about your art.  Some of them will even tell you to your face. Others may write about it, post about it or gossip behind your back. An artist not only has to learn how to handle this nonstop blitz of feedback, comments, and criticisms, but also how to gage and respond to what is said, and most importantly, how to not take what is said personally. To get the most out of a critique, it is important to decide Before submitting your work to a critique, what you really hope to gain from it. This is where some honest personal soul-searching can be useful. Most of us always try very hard to create the very best art we can. We put the total sum of our skill into every painting or sculpture. Unfortunately, when we ask, “how do you like it” we do usually hope for an endorsement of our efforts instead of an evaluation of what is technically wrong. Evaluate the person doing the critique. An important determination you have to make about responses to your art is whether a particular comment is based on the individual's personal tastes or is instead based more on their overall knowledge and understanding of the type of art you create.

Decide what you like about your painting before asking for criticism. The better you know what it is you like or dislike before receiving criticism, the better able you will be to evaluate what is being said. Listen to what is said, make sure it applies, and then ask yourself: “would it be better changed, or do I like it just the way it is?” Don’t get defensive! Remember; a critique doesn’t have to become an argument to win the critic over to your side.

Seek the opinions of your peers whenever possible. The more respect you have for the critic, the easier it is to accept the evaluation by the critic. It helps also if you attempt to understand his or her biases. We all have them. Some of us are technical sticklers and others like to see the breaking of rules.

Don’t discredit positive feedback. Because we often feel guilty at accepting praise, It is often easier for us to accept negative criticism than praise.

 

May 2, 2015

HOW TO SLAY A PAINTING IN 3 EASY STEPS

 

DEATH' FROM EXPOSURE: The environment in which a painting hangs can directly impact its life. Ignorant buyers may purchase a piece of fine art from you and subsequently destroy it by hanging it over their fireplace or right in front of a sunlit window. This is not always due to malice; your buyer may not understand the influence that the microclimate of their home or the room temperature can have on a work of art. For instance, a watercolor can be compromised if placed in direct sunlight for any length of time because direct sunlight will cause it to fade. While an acrylic painting won’t fade in direct sunlight, intense heat may cause the surface of the art to soften. If this happens, it is possible to make a dent or other type of impression by pushing on the surface of the painting. The good news is as soon as an acrylic painting is put back into a cool temperature, the surface will harden right up again .Both Oils and Acrylic paintings can be damaged if displayed above a traditional fireplace, The surface of an oil or acrylic painting will end up with a nasty film of soot. Your buyer can further damage the painting by attempting to clean it with a harsh chemical cleaner.

DEATH' BY INADEQUATE HANGING: Your buyer may assume that a large work of art can be hung in the same manner as a small painting or photograph. We all know this is NOT the case. This issue is helped along by all those wonderful stores who sell sawtooth hangers (attached with tiny, tiny finish nails) or thin metal frames with skimpy hangers. A broken frame from falling off the wall is NOT a good start for your art in a new home! Your artwork may end up in a trans can or the local dump because very few art buyers would know how to re-frame it or if the stretcher bars are broken in the fall, how to re-stretch the canvas. Granted, it isn't strictly your obligation to ensure your buyer knows how to hang your work as it should be... but I fancy most of us would love it if our art ended up being passed from generation to generation! Inform your buyers on how to hang the work so it doesn’t fall down and go boom!

 DEATH' BY OVERWATERING: Your buyer may presume that it is okay to use a damp/soapy cloth to remove grime, dust or soot built up on a painting. He or she may think it is appropriate to dip a sculpture in various cleaning chemicals. NO! NO! NO! I wonder how many works of art have been severely spoiled by 'simple' cleaning approaches comprising water or a combination of water and chemicals. Ensure that your buyers appreciate the basics of proper cleaning methods... they may thank you later (your art would if it could).

 

You can help prevent the untimely demise of your art after it leaves the care of your studio by sending along a sheet of cleaning and instructions with the sale. Pastel Artist Carol Santora provides her buyers with a 'Handling Your Artwork with Care' sheet when her pastel paintings are sold. The sheet offers general tips for handling and hanging original artwork out of direct sunlight, etc., and specific handling of soft pastel paintings. It also explains about pastels and includes a note of thanks for their purchase. Since I don’t work in Pastels, I had to write up my own. A “how to care for” sheet helps to impress upon the buyer that they have purchased a valuable commodity, something that should be cared for and treasured. Hopefully, they will pass along your instructions to their children and help to increase art awareness.

CLEANING YOUR OIL OR ACRYLIC PAINTING.

If your art has developed a yellow film or darkened, this may be due to old varnish darkening. This must type of work must be cleaned by a professional or a museum because it takes an expert to remove the darkened varnish without damaging the art underneath.

Otherwise, begin with a feather duster and brush lightly to remove dust. Acrylics can also be touched up with a damp (NOT WET!) cloth.

Do not use soap or other chemicals.

Acrylic paint even when protected by varnish can be quite absorbent. If the frame needs cleaning, don’t use a spray cleaner as it may drift over onto the art. Ideally, the frame should be removed if extensive cleaning is needed.

HANGING YOUR ART

To avoid damaging your painting, do not hang this painting over an active fireplace. This will cause soot to form a film over the canvas, and darken and dim the colors causing permanent damage. To avoid stretching or cracking, Do not hang in direct sunlight and avoid placing in a room where temperatures rise above 85oF or below 60oF. Acrylic paint becomes soft around 60ºC.  The soft film formed by acrylic paint will easily abrade or dent with just fingernail pressure.  This type of damage can ruin the nature of the image so avoid touching the surface of the painting as much as possible.

 Hangers should be strong enough to support the art. Don’t hang your art with sawtooth hangers because they are usually not sturdy enough to hold a painting for any length of time. For one thing, they are usually provided with teeny, tiny finish nails which pull out easily. This can cause the painting to fall, which may damage either the frame or the stretcher bars holding the canvas. If you are framing it yourself as well, the hanging wire should have the ends either taped or be enclosed in plastic sleeves. This will prevent cutting your hands on the wire (Inexpensive tubing can be bought at the hardware store, cut in small lengths, and then slipped over the wire before you twist the wire it to the art.) Fasten the wire with flat, screw in hooks to prevent damage to your wall. Finally, the ideal place for the hooks to be placed is approximately 4” from the top of the frame. This will ensure that the painting doesn’t lean out from the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 April 1, 2015

CAN I DEDUCT MY EXPENSES AS AN ARTIST ON MY TAXES?

  If you are serious about your career as an artist you must realize that Art is a business, and like any business it is necessary to keep track of expenses as well as income. I have been searching for a comprehensive program for my art business for years. Currently I would recommend QuickBooks to track your expenses and income. While there are some all-inclusive programs beginning to be developed, I have usually found some flaw in the program; either they were hard to use, or had an incompatible photo program for thumbnails of my art, etc. There are a couple of new companies with programs designed for artists out on the internet, but as yet I have not tried any of them so if you have information concerning them I am interested to hear from you.

Don’t want to buy another program? You can simply use an excel spreadsheet to track income and expenses but it will be very time consuming. QuickBooks, while a little on the expensive side is pretty user friendly and easily transitions into tax software programs such as Turbo Tax when it comes time to file your income tax.

Yes, Virginia, at the moment I am actually using three programs to track my art: QuickBooks for income and expenses, two excel spreadsheets to tell me where my art is at any given time (Current Location Report) (Painting Information Sheets) to track awards, income from each painting or prints made from it, and a photo file with different sized images of my art for various uses (webpage, large-sized prints, and specific sizes for on-line show entries). For Photo Editing I use Photoshop Elements. It is less pricey than the full Adobe editing program and as a painter I really don’t need the maximum amount of bells and whistles you get with the full Adobe Suite.

I can’t say this often enough; back up your data!

To conduct your career as an artist at a minimum 1ou should keep these types of records:

1.    A photo log with both high- and low- resolution photos of your work, kept separately from your desktop computer. A working copy can be kept on the desktop, but be sure and back up your files each month onto a separate disc or jump drive.

2.    A program that tracks income and expenses.

3.    A record of each piece of art created and its disposition or current location.

4.    Keep back-up copies of these items in a separate place. And up-date your back-ups monthly. Once your records are lost due to computer crashes, natural disaster or any other reason they are gone.

Deducting Business Mileage

The IRS defines Business miles as distances traveled using your vehicle while working on behalf of your employer or miles driven between jobs. For example, if your employer required you to drive from your office to visit clients using your car, that mileage would be deductible. The IRS does not allow you to claim a deduction for miles that you drive from your home to your job. This is considered “Commuting” by the IRS and is not deductible. For example, traveling to a client’s home or business to paint or draw them probably would be considered Commuting.

Question: If I work out of my home as an independent contractor, can I claim mileage to work sites and back home? Can I deduct trips made to the bank and post office? What if I make business-related trips from my home office and also stop to do personal errands? How do I figure the mileage?

Answer: Yes, your mileage to work sites and back are business miles that must be supported by written documentation of where you went and how many business miles you traveled. Trips to the bank and post office also qualify as business mileage if documented. Trips for personal errands are ignored. The end result of your records should be business miles for the year (with a backup written log) and total miles driven for the year. To document your total miles driven, take your odometer reading at the beginning and end of the year. The IRS often looks at the odometer reading on auto repair bills to see if your total miles are reasonable. You will need to check with the IRS for their current mileage rate.

Question: I drove about 8,000 miles last year for my home business. I have some receipts, but I didn't log all the miles. Is an estimate OK? Can I still take the deduction if I don't have all the supporting information?

Answer: No, estimated business miles are not allowed to support your tax deduction. The tax court disallowed the auto expenses in 2009 for the owner of a real estate brokerage firm and her employee in Engle v. Commissioner. The taxpayer admitted that their reported mileage amounts were estimates. In a summary opinion they held that due to lack of substantiation the taxpayers were not entitled to the auto deduction. I personally know of someone who lost their house when they claimed “estimated “mileage on their taxes! It isn’t worth it!

 Mileage log: Most office supply stores sell mileage booklets for you to keep in your car. But you can write the information in a simple notebook and then use an excel sheet on your computer.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is for general information purposes only; it is not intended to be tax or legal advice. Each situation is specific; consult your CPA or attorney to discuss your specific business questions.

 

Ford 2009 mileage

Destination



Year starting mileage

78122.


Year Ending Mileage

91201.

Reason for Travel











DATE


START

END

TOTAL






12/7

Krazans

78122.0

78134.0

12.0





ACA Meeting

12/8

Office Max

78167

78193

26.0





Pick up signs

For art show

12/2

Kingsburg

Art Center

77954

77979

25.0





Enter art in Show





0.0






Dec 6, 2014

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 1—Improve myself and my art by joining one or more of the local art groups

Resolution 2--Take Advantage of the opportunities offered to improve my skills

Resolution 3—Become an active member of each group I join

Resolution 4— Remember that it is time to pay my yearly dues!

 2015 is coming sooner than you think! It is that time of year when many of us take time to look back on the past year and study how we can improve on what we accomplished. Did we accomplish our New Year’s Resolutions? How can we better achieve the goals we set? If you don’t feel you quite made it to your goals, don’t be discouraged. Most of us fall off the wagon many times before we arrive at where we want to be. Start over in 2015. You can still become the artist you want to be in the art community you envision. Why did I choose these particular resolutions? For us to grow as artists, we must have viable, flourishing art communities to nurture our progress. In the Fresno/Clovis area alone we have at least five such art groups, and I can think of at least seven within driving distance of these cities! Sadly, dwindling membership has caused many of these valuable resources to cut back on their activities. Fewer artists are stepping up and maintaining our art community. If you want to stop the drain of this valuable resource, stop sitting on the sidelines and actively look for an art group that meets your needs. When you find that group, look around and see how you can contribute to its healthy growth. If you are already a member of a group, make it one of your New Year’s Resolutions to become a more active member. Joining a local art group can be rewarding both personally and professionally.

Why is it so important to associate with other artists? Well, although you can create art in a vacuum, if your art is never evaluated by your peers, you may simply be stuck repeating the same type of art and art subjects at the same skill level forever. Peer groups challenge us to stretch our skills, reach for new goals and generally provide support when we are feeling down. It is important to seek out those who are Sympatico with our ideals and feelings about our art. Local art groups can be irreplaceable in this area. Let’s face it, while our friends and family members may ooh and ahh over our art, they really can’t provide an informed opinion about it. In addition, most of us may suspect they are praising our art because they love us, and not in actual fact because they truly love our work or are really interested in art.

I discovered that while most of the same local artists also belonged to many of the groups in my area, each group did have a different “feel” to it, depending on the group’s mission statement and who was actually directing the groups focus. In the Fresno/Clovis area alone, there are five or six art groups, all with different standards and goals and there are at least seven within driving distance! One of the associations is simply a painting group that gets together to talk, paint or draw and critique each other’s work twice a month. Another aims its standards for professionals and is very picky about what they accept in their shows. A third group is warm and welcoming to new and beginning artists and seeks to encourage its members to strive to improve their skills. A fourth group is a very loose association that tracks events from all the others and tries to find places for artists to exhibit and show, etc. All of these groups have valuable insights into the local art world, so why not stop sitting around and make it your mission to grow as an artist this year by getting involved? If you want to learn more about these groups, many of them have websites where you can take a first look at them from the comfort of your computer screen. Then, commit yourself to actually attend at least 3 meetings of each group and meet your fellow artists. For myself, I actually belong to several of them because I get something valuable from each group!

 Alliance of California Artists http://www.allianceofcaliforniaartists.com

Art Demonstrations at the general meetings
Workshops
Art Sale in April
Juried Shows throughout the year
Membership Gallery

Clovis Art Guild http://www.clovisartguild.com

Art Demonstrations and mini-workshops at the general meetings
Membership Gallery
Workshops
Fall Art Show (October)
Old West & Rodeo Art Show (April)
Miniature Art Show (July)

 Kingsburg Arts Center http://kingsburgartscenter.com

 New Painting Exhibits by Gallery Members every two months (except May/June)
 Swedish Art Festival Fine Art Show (May)
 Holiday Boutique (December)

 Madera County Arts Council http://www.maderaarts.org

            Celebrate Agriculture With the Artist -     Exhibit and competition
            Circle Art Gallery

 Society of Western Artists (local chapter) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Society-of-Western-Artists-San-Joaquin-Valley-Chapter/223715287698387

            Art Shows
                    Meetings & Demonstrations locally and at the San Francisco chapter

Sierra Art Trails http://www.sierraarttrails.org/

            Exhibits:        
            Pathways
            Sierra Art Trails
            Our Wild Lands
            Water, Source of Life
            Going Deeper, Reaching Out

Yosemite Western Artists http://www.yosemitewesternartists.org

Art Demonstrations at the general meetings
Rotating exhibits at satellite locations
Annual Tri-County Competition and Exhibition
Sierra Art Trails
Plein Air & photography outings

 



                          DOES YOUR COMPUTER HAVE THE FLU?                         11/9/14

Now that you have discovered the ease of internet publicity, internet sales, and computer record keeping, it is time to discuss some of the pitfalls of being a member of the Internet generation. The world wide web is the wild west and your neighborhood sheriffs are rare, so you need to do what first generation settlers did: learn to protect yourself and your computer from the bad guys.

The holiday shopping season is about to pounce on us, and with it, a rash of computer malware and virus invasions. Why are there more of these foul assaults during the holiday seasons? Ever hear of Cyber Monday? The number of Internet users doing their holiday gift shopping is much higher this time of year because it is so much faster and easier to simply order your gifts with the click of a mouse, have it gift wrapped and shipped to your family and friends, than it is to brave the crowded shopping malls and holiday traffic, bring home presents and then gift-wrap them yourself.

Many holiday shoppers are also infrequent users of cyberspace and depend heavily on their internet provider to guard them from Malware or Virus invasions, and a great many of users don’t perform computer Maintence on a regular basis. If you are using one of the Internet Browsers such as Firefox or Explorer they do provide some measure of protection because they use free virus prevention programs to help foil these attacks, so do many of the Internet Providers such as Xfinity, Yahoo, Google, U-verse and such. You can also purchase virus prevention programs in hard copy and load them from a disc. Many times this is simply not enough. Why is it not enough? Because those nasty little gremlins who create these attacks are constantly working to tunnel through whatever protections are on your computer. The war started the second the internet was created, and if you don’t want to become a casualty, you need to protect your computer. Most of these insidious Malware and Virus invasions can be stopped short if they are caught early enough. At our house, we run two types of anti-Malware/anti-virus scans weekly.

What is Malware? According to Wikipedia, “Malware, short for malicious software, is any software used to interrupt computer operation, collect sensitive information, or gain access to your computer. It can appear in the form of executable code, scripts, hidden e-mail attachments, etc. It also shows up when you are careless about what web sites you visit. Malware is a general term used to denote to a variety of forms of hostile or invasive software.”  Malware masquerades under a variety of terms:  computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malevolent names. Home users and organizations to try to safeguard against malware “attacks” by using anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewalls programs many of which can be bought at your local office supply store. They can also be downloaded directly into your computer from the Internet. 

How do you give your computer a flu shot? Well the first step is to make sure your computer security settings on your Control panel are set to make the most of your computer’s built in security. Below are five basic steps you can take. If you are using Windows, 1) turn on your windows firewall.  A Firewall is software that either checks information coming from your network or internet and blocks or allows access to your computer. 2) Set up a list of approved programs and require that you be asked before new programs download. 3) Set up to be notified if the firewall blocks a program. 4) Make sure the programs you use have the latest updates because updates may contain additional protections against Malware that attacks through legit programs. 5) Keep your ant-malware/virus programs updated! To do this make sure your software is set to automatically update new protections. Usually this can be done in the background.

Anti-Malware programs or scans need to be run frequently. I would recommend at least once per month, and during the holidays every week. There are three basic types of scans designed to catch malware: A Quick scan which is fast and superficial, a Full scan which goes through every file on your computer and a Boot Scan. The Boot scan is a very powerful tool because it begins scanning during your computer’s most vulnerable time when it first starts up because until it is fully loaded, your protection software isn’t fully functional.

Even with all these precautions, you might still be successfully invaded by one of these nasty critters. One year we experienced a powerful malware that went through our firewalls like grain through a goose. It locked us out of all our programs. Well if this happens to you, then it is time to call in an expert to scrub and disinfect your computer. Your first step is to turn off your computer and leave it off, Don’t keep turning it back on in the hopes that the problem will have disappeared! Since you probably won’t be able to access the internet from the infected computer, it is a good idea to have the name and contact information of a computer cleaner on tap. If you don’t have time to do this before you are infected, try phoning the store where you purchased your computer or a store that sells them, and ask if they can recommend a company.

There are software programs out there you can buy which are supposed to be able to disinfect your computer, however if you aren’t computer savvy to begin with, you may not be able to use them successfully.

If this sounds overwhelming, it really isn’t. Keeping your computer safe is no more difficult than learning to drive a car. It’s just a new and different technology. And really, do we have a choice?

Good Luck!   Gail

08/2014

CHOOSING A SOFTWARE PROGRAM

Art is a business, and like any business, it is necessary to keep track of expenses as well as income. I have been searching for a comprehensive program for my art business for years. Currently I would recommend QuickBooks to track your expenses and income. While there are some all-inclusive programs beginning to be developed, I have usually found some flaw in the program; either they were hard to use, or had an incompatible photo program for thumbnails of my art, etc. There are a couple of new companies with programs designed for artists out on the internet (see links below).  DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind that I have no practical experience with any of these programs except Working Artist. It is up to you to check them out and decide if you want to use them. Here are some links to potential art software sites along with what information I have on them:

http://www.artlooksoftware.com/Downloads/Introduction.pdf  (Free evaluation copy available) Current pricing is £150.00 (I assume this is British pounds or some type of Euro symbol).

http://www.gyst-ink.com/  Retails for either $59.00 or $129.00 depending on whether you want just the basic system or their Pro program.

http://www.artsystems.com/products/system.htm  this system says it will link to QuickBooks, web manager and has a system for I-Pad. It is also VERY expensive; licensing for this puppy runs anywhere from $5,000 down to $795.00.

http://workingartist.com/   Retails out for between $139 -- $154 with upgrades for $59. This one comes in 4 separate editions 1) a studio edition designed for agents representing several artists, 2) The artist edition, designed the single artist to manager their business. The site also claims to have an edition for Art Fairs and for Galleries, but I wasn’t able to access them by clicking on them. This is the only one of these software programs I have any actual working knowledge of, and it was about 10 years ago that I tried to use this one. At that time, I experienced considerable difficulty in downloading photos of my work into the program, as it would not accept jpeg versions for some reason. I assume they would have corrected this issue in the intervening time.

http://www.masterpiecemanager.com/artistfnb.html  this one says it will manage inventory, contact, point of sale, has art web site templates, e-mail marketing and is available for MAC & PC. This is not that unusual as ALL of the software programs say they have both MAC & PC versions. Pricing for individual artists is $29/month, which works out to about $348 a year. Like Working Artist, this set up also has different programs for Galleries, stores consignment stores, museums, etc.

If you don’t want to purchase an expensive program, you can simply use an excel spreadsheet to track income and expenses but it is very time consuming. For expense tracking, QuickBooks, while a little on the expensive side is pretty user friendly and easily transitions into tax software programs such as Turbo Tax when it comes time to file your income tax. Unfortunately, I have heard rumors that it doesn't mesh as well with Apple products as it does PCs. If you simply want to go the excel program route, you can access copies of my system at http://www.thepracticalartist.com

Yes, Virginia, at the moment I am actually using three programs to track my art. QuickBooks for income and expenses, two excel spreadsheets to tell me where my art is at any given time; (Current Location Report and Painting Information Sheets) to track awards, income from each painting or prints made from it,  and a photo file  with different sized images of my art for various uses (webpage, large-sized prints, and specific sizes for on-line show entries). For Photo Editing I use Photoshop Elements because it is less pricey than the full Adobe editing program and as a painter, I really don’t need the maximum amount of bells and whistles you get with the full Adobe Suite.

I can’t say this often enough; back up your data!

You should keep these types photo records:

A photo log with both high- and low- resolution photos of your work, kept separately from your desktop computer. A working copy can be kept on the desktop, but be sure and back up your files each month onto a separate disc or jump drive.

You will Also Need:

  •  A program that tracks income and expenses.
  • A record of each piece of art created and its disposition or current location.
  • Keep back-up copies of these items in a separate place, And up-date your back-ups monthly. Once your records are lost due to computer crashes, natural disaster or any other reason they are gone. For this, you can purchase separate auxiliary drives that have as much memory as a desktop, or you can back your stuff up into a version of the cloud. There are a LOT of cloud backup systems out there now. Automatic systems such as  I-Cloud, and manual systems like Dropbox. None of these are free and If you can’t keep up the payments I don’t know how recoverable your records might be. Check them out.

 

FRAMING ON A BUDGET: PART 4

Repairing A Plaster Frame


As I stated earlier, I don’t recommend re-fitting ornate Plaster Of Paris frames. However, if it means the difference between repairing an existing frame you are already using and purchasing a new one there is a way to fix chipped or broken edges. First, I want you to notice that on most plaster frames such as this one shown in the photo, there is a repeating pattern on the corners and sides. To do this repair, you will need to make a clay mold of the unbroken matching side of the frame, fill it with plaster and use the new piece to repair the broken side.

What kind of clay should you use to make your mold?

The easiest clay to work with is made by Crayola and it air dries. Soft and pliable, Crayola Air-Dry (brand name) modeling clay allows the formation stable arts and crafts without the need for an oven or kiln. Smoother, finer, and less sticky than traditional clay, Air-Dry Clay softens easily with water and is a quick clean up. It’s ideal for traditional methods. It works just fine for this type of quick project and doesn’t require much more than your kitchen table and sink as a workspace. Most art supply houses carry it, or you can order it from http://www.dickblick.com/products/crayola-air-dry-clay/.

Working with Plaster of Paris

Plaster of Paris is a great material to use for basic sculptures and craft projects because it is easy to prepare and sets in a few minutes. Mixing Plaster of Paris is easy. The powder is very light and fine. to avoid getting the powder to the eyes and nose, wear a dust mask. Never mix Plaster of Paris with your bare hands.

Cover your work area with a plastic mat or with newspapers. Find a mixing container (preferably a disposable one) that will hold the size of the concoction you intend to make up.
The ideal ratio for the mixture is 2 parts Plaster of Paris to 1 part water.

Mixing Steps

Start with the water. Measure out the Plaster of Paris in another container. Break up any lumps of powder with a spoon.

Start adding the Plaster of Paris powder to the water in your mixing container by sprinkling or sifting the powder over the water. Do not add the powder in one clump; instead try to sprinkle the powder over as much area as you can.

Do not mix yet. Instead, tap the side of your mixing container with a spoon to disperse the powder into the water and remove any air bubbles.

Continue adding the Plaster of Paris, patting the sides of the container as you add the powder. Your cue to stop is when you notice that the powder has almost covering the surface and is no longer being as easily absorbed. Gently blend the Plaster of Paris mixture until it reaches a smooth consistency. Do not stir strongly or you may create air bubbles.

*If colored Plaster of Paris mixture is desired, add some poster paint once the mixture is free of lumps and has a smooth consistency. Continue mixing from side to side until the color is uniformly dispersed.

Allow the mixture to stand for a minute before pouring it into your mold. Don’t attempt to wash your left over residue down the drain! It will clog your pipes! Left over mixture should be allowed to harden and then thrown into the garbage can.

Using the Mold

Step 1: find the broken pattern on the side of the frame or corner. Using plaster carving tools try to make the broken edge as flat as possible.

Step 2: make a clay mold of the opposite unbroken side. You can find the instructions for making a simple clay mold on this site: http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Clay-Mold/

Soften the clay and then push it onto the unbroken side of the frame. You should use a large enough piece of clay so that when you turn the mold over, it will fit squarely on a flat surface. If the clay has dried before you pour the plaster, it might be wise to take the precaution of spraying the inside of the mold with cooking spray. If you do this, take a small brush or Q-tip and smooth out any bubbles in the oil before pouring the plaster. Allow the plaster to set.

Step 3: Fill it with Plaster of Paris and let it set hard, peel off the mold and glue the replacement piece to the broken place. Since it is on the opposite side, you will probably need to reverse it in order for it to fit properly.

It will also be necessary to fit the new piece to the broken space by doing some scraping with plaster knives and probably some sanding once it is glued down to make the new piece fit smoothly with the frame. I then recommend re-painting or if you are using gold leaf covering the entire frame for better color matching.

 

REFURBISHING A USED FRAME

1/28/14




Refinishing Frames The first thing you are going to need is an outdoor workspace. Refinishing frames is messy, and the materials used need good ventilation. You may also want to invest in a folding table that can be put up when not in use.

MATERIALS NEEDED

To repair a wooden frame you will need, shop rags, a box knife, painters tape, small can of wood putty, a hammer, screwdriver, small woodscrews, finish nails, glue, wood stripper, paint or stain (probably both), sandpaper (both fine and coarse), a putty knife or plastic scraper, and sponges and brushes for applying the stripper, stain or paint and clear wood varnish. Gloves to protect your hands from the paint stripper and a mask for the fumes are also going to be needed. You may not use all of these; it depends on the type of repairs you are planning to do to the frame.

To repair a metal frame, you will need ), shop rags, sandpaper (both fine and coarse), metal primer, a mask to protect yourself from paint fumes, protective goggles, several cans of spray metal paint (matte finish) and can of clear metal varnish. Gloves to protect your hands from the paint are also going to be needed.

REPAIR & REFURBISHING

Metal Frame: begin by taking the glass or plexi out of the frame and setting it aside in a safe place. You will be re-using it so make sure you put it somewhere it won’t be damaged while you are working. Remove any backing or hanging system attached and examine the frame carefully. Sand out any rust spots using the coarse sandpaper and follow up by smoothing with the fine sandpaper. Depending on the deepness of the scratches you may elect to use either grade of sandpaper to smooth out any scratches. Wipe the frame to remove any excess dust left over from sanding. Lay the frame out flat and spray with primer using a side-to-side motion allow to dry and repeat until completely covered. Do NOT rush this process. Applying too many coats of paint too fast will cause it to run! Allow the primer to dry overnight and repeat process with the metal paint using the same technique on the 2nd day. The next day you may apply the clear varnish. On the fourth day you can replace the glass or plexi into frame and Wallah! You have a ready to use frame!

Wood Frame: begin by removing any canvas, hanging hardware and leftover backing paper from the frame. Do any repair work requiring nails or screws and then cover the linen mat with the painters tape, cutting off any excess tape in the corners with the box knife. Remove any sharp edges on the front of the frame by sanding them smooth. If you plan to re-stain the frame, follow the directions on the wood stripper for removing the varnish. This will cause the wood to swell a little bit. Let it dry overnight and then touch up with the sandpaper. Wipe the frame clean of any sanded residue, fill any cracks or holes with wood putty you have prepped by adding the stain to match the color (if you are going to paint over it, it isn’t necessary to prep the wood putty with color). Wipe off any excess stain and allow it to dry overnight (staining may also cause the wood to swell). The next day smooth over any raised edges left over from the stain before applying the coat of clear varnish.  Allow the varnish to set overnight. If you have painted the frame you can skip this step, although the extra varnish coat will provide some protection, it will also tend to show scratches later. You are now ready to repair the mat.

The Linen Mat: remove the painters tape from the mat and apply new strips of tape to the newly varnished or painted frame. If there is a dark stain, you may want to apply a small mixture of household bleach to the stain before repainting it. Once the stain is gone, rinse off the bleach with a soft sponge and allow the linen to dry. If the mat is torn use a small amount of glue and press it down firmly, making sure there  are no lumps of glue left.

To paint the linen mat I find that Acrylic paints work best. After selecting your color (I prefer either Unbleached Titanium or Parchment) Thin and extend acrylic paint with a textile medium or water. Many artists prefer to a water-soluble medium to produce a smoother finish to the final product. You want the paint to be thin but not runny. Using a small brush, lightly apply several coats of this mixture to the linen mat, allowing to dry between coats. Once you are satisfied with the color remove the painters tape from the wood part of the frame and you are ready to frame your art.

 

HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD USED FRAME                12/1/13

Another way to frame inexpensively is by restoring used frames. Where can you find used frames? A good source for used frames is flea markets, second hand stores and yard sales.

Choosing A Good Used Frame is not as difficult as you may think. Take your tape measure with you because frames and framed art found here may or may not meet the usual size requirements of the standard canvas sizes sold in the art store. The frame probably won’t be in pristine condition eiher so you may have to do some refinishing. I recommend wood or metal frames because they are easiest to clean up and refurbish. Because of the difficulty of repairing the faux carvings, I prefer to stay away from the more ornate frames with raised plaster designs.

Metal Frames: A good used metal frame may have scratches, but it will be square (no warping) without bent edges. Depending on the size of the art you are planning to frame, it should probably be at least ¾” to 1” wide. Make sure the corners fit together well without any danger of coming apart. A little rust or scratches are okay as they can be sanded off and smoothed out. Check the sizing with your tape measure to be sure your art will fit. Metal frames are typically used to frame watercolors or pastels, which are done on paper, and while the art paper may be cut to fit the frame, pastels and watercolors are also usually presented with a mat. Unless you have a mat-cutter, you will be using pre-cut mats, which come in the same standard sizes as canvas so making sure the frame is a standard size will cut down on the amount of work you will need to do when you frame the art. The used mat may also be reusable depending on its condition but if it free from stains this is an easy fix. Scratches on the glass or plexi means it will have to be replaced, although if the glass is scratched very near the edge of the frame it might not be noticed.

Wood Frames: A used wooden frame may or may not come with a canvas painting or print. The good news here is that after you have checked to make sure you won’t be covering up a lost masterpiece, you will also have a blank canvas or board that you can use to paint your masterpiece! (Look for a separate blog on re-using canvas).

Non-fixable issues: Check the frame for warping. Warping can be caused by water damage or just simply damage done to the frame itself. While warping can be corrected it requires wood shop tools like vises and such. Probably not worth your trouble.

Chipped Corners or edges:  Unless you are going to go for a distressed or really rustic look this can’t be fixed. It can be minimized with paint but it will still show up to the eyes.

Fixable Issues: check for loose corners. This is an easy fix, usually requiring some wood putty and finish nails. Scratches and stains are also fixable requiring stripping, re-sanding and either re-staining or painting of the wood part of the frame.

Linen Mat Issues On A Wood Frame: The most common flaw in a used wooden frame is the linen mat is stained or discolored. This is a pretty easy fix; just repaint it with off-white or parchment color. A tear in the mat may or may not be fixable, depending on the size of the damage. Usually a little glue and repainting the mat will suffice.

*For How-To procedures on refinishing old frames, please see the blog Refurbishing A Used Frame (part 3 of this series).

 

FRAMING ON A BUDGET                             11/3/13              

 

 Framing fine art can enhance the overall appeal of a piece of artwork; unfortunately, if you don't frame your art wisely it can ultimately ruin the paintings appeal altogether.   We all want our art to look its best, so artists inexperienced in the art of framing usually begin by using a commercial framer. A commercial framer will give you a nice, professional looking frame for your art. They will also give you sticker shock when quoting the price. Depending on the size of the frame wanted a commercial framer can charge anywhere from $200 to $600 for a simple frame for a painting. Keep in mind that the cost can go much higher if you want an elaborate, ornate frame for your art. Contrary to popular supposition, it is not cheaper using a metal frame (favored by watercolorists and pastel artists). A commercial framer must not only charge you for the materials, but also for the labor it takes to actually frame the painting.

The simplest way to avoid this type of sticker shock is to do your own framing.

Step One: finding an inexpensive frame that looks good. The local art store will have a variety of frames to select from so watch the sales magazines for Coupons from your local art store and use them. Depending on the size of the art you are framing, you may be able to find suitable frames from other sources also.  Dollar and discount stores such as Walmart and Target typically have photo frames available in sizes that can be adapted to paintings. Words of warning here however; make sure that the frames you purchase from this source are made of wood and not plastic or acrylic. Plastic or acrylic frames can’t easily be adapted to the hanging systems required by most art shows and the saw-tooth or eyelet hangers that come with the frames probably won’t be accepted at a professional show. Another difficulty is sizing. Take your tape measure with you; some of the frames sold at these places are not the standard sizes used by artists. Frames that look to be 11 x 14 can turn out to be 10 x 13 or some other odd size that won’t fit canvas or canvas boards sold to painters.

Another good source is On-line catalogs or internet stores. Typically these sites will charge less than your local art store because you are circumventing the middleman’s markup. This is my favorite source when purchasing new frames because the cost is usually 30 to 50% less than that of my local retail store. Of course the shipping does add an extra fee which cuts down on the savings somewhat. I buy frames from these places in bulk once or twice a year because there is an additional discount if you buy at least 3 or 4 frames at the same time and if you sign up for the stores e-mail program you will be notified when they are having a sale. If you can’t afford the initial cost up front, you might consider buying in bulk and sharing the cost with other artists. Some good sources of Catalogs are to name only a few:

ASW (Art Supply Warehouse) http://www.aswexpress.com/,The Frame Place http://www.frameplace.com/xwoodfrm.htm, Frame USA http://www.frameusa.com/wood-frames

Another way to frame inexpensively is finding used frames and refurbishing them. Where can you find used frames? Well the two main sources I have found for used frames are second hand stores and yard sales. Again, take your tape measure with you because framed art found here may or may not meet the size requirements of standard canvas sizes sold in the art store. The frame probably won’t be in pristine condition so you may have to do some refurbishing and refinishing. Look for wooden or metal frames because they are easiest to clean up and refurbish. Part three of this series on inexpensive framing covers ways to refurbish a used frame.

 

TIPS FOR SHIPPING ORIGINAL PAINTINGS OR PHOTOGRAPHS

A Guide To Packing Art For Shipping

Congratulations! You sold some art from your web site! Now you have to figure out how to get it to your buyer. Unless you are hand delivering your work you will need to ship it to the buyer. In order to reach your buyer in a condition that does credit to you as an artist there is a real need to select both your shipping method and your packing container carefully. For packing you are going to need a lot of tape, foam core board, acid-free paper, acid-free plastic bags and foam peanuts. To pack paintings for photographs, first, wrap the art with acid-free paper and tape it together so it doesn’t move. What is acid free paper and why do you need it?  Acid-free paper has a pH factor of seven or above. The pH scale is a standard for measuring the acidity or alkalinity of all kinds of products, including paper.  Before 1860, paper was usually made of rag or cloth stock and high-end expensive stationary is still made this way. After 1860, paper mills began using ground up wood and mixing it with acids and bleach to save costs, all of which have a low pH factor and react with air and water to produce acidic composites. Why use acid free paper? The acidic compounds found in non-acid free paper can migrate to your art and cause decay and damage. In the short time it now takes to ship to your buyer acidic compounds probably won’t cause much damage; however, they may still leave a residue on your work that can cause it to deteriorate over time especially if your buyer doesn’t clean the work immediately after it arrives.

If the art is unframed canvas or sheet paper, you will need to make sure that it isn’t bent or folded by rough handling during shipping.  In 2012, Popular Mechanics conducted an experiment to see how packages were  handled by Fed-Ex, UPS and the Postal Service. According to their published results, the package was dropped around three times and flipped an average of seven times per trip. Putting “Fragile” or “This End Up” did NOT increase the care handling the package got; in fact messages like this seemed to make no difference at all. Not that most of these delivery people will be deliberately be careless, but then there was that internet video of one of them tossing a flat screen TV over a fence when he couldn’t open the gate… How do you avoid this happening to your expensive art? After wrapping your work in the acid-free paper mentioned above, add a tough, lightweight reinforcement to help prevent bending (extra thick cardboard or foam core works) on each side of the art. Then slip artwork in an acid-free plastic bag to help make it water resistant, and wrap the whole thing in bubble wrap and tape so it won’t move. Why do you need to use an acid-free bag when you are already using acid free paper? When the plastic bag touches your acid-free paper, acid migration can still occur. Acid migration is what happens when acid from one object touches another. Acid migration is particularly dangerous to photographs. Chances are the acid-free paper you bought can still be contaminated by non-acid free plastic because the paper doesn’t have a seal. The acid free bag will seal off the art from contamination by the rest of the packing materials and help prevent water damage. Next, make sure you fill the entire packing container with shipping peanuts or bubble wrap so there is no extra space.  

Should You Ship Art With A Frame? Personally, I don’t ship framed art unless it is for a show; and I avoid shipping any art that is under glass, because if the package is damaged during shipping, the frame itself  could survive  unbroken yet your art could be ruined by broken glass sliding around and cutting or scratching it. If you must ship framed art, then protect the corners with edge guards and substitute plexi for glass. If the buyer wants glass, request that they take it to a framer in their area and get it changed. The other solution would be to ship to a local framer in the buyer’s area and arrange for the buyer to pick up the art after it has been framed.

Since the above study by Popular Mechanics didn’t find much difference in handling packages with the three most popular shipping companies, you need to decide to whether use them or employ a company that specializes in shipping art, which could be expensive. However, if you are willing to pay for it, the specialty company may even pack your art for you.

What About Shipping Insurance?  Whatever shipping method you use, I  recommend insuring your package and including shipping confirmation. I highly advocate you ensure your art for the full price in case you have to refund the money to the buyer if it doesn’t arrive intact. A high-value insurance cost does usually ensure that the shipping company will take more care of your work because they don’t want to pay damages.

Speaking for myself, I now include a note on my website that I don’t ship originals out of the U.S. due to the high costs.

Good Luck!

            Gail

 

9/23/13

CHOOSING A GALLERY

Choosing a gallery is NOT a matter of taking the first offer you get from a gallery, or taking a recommendation from your Uncle’s cousin. It is also not about showing trust in humanity. Choosing a Gallery to represent art can be one of the most important decisions an artist can make. This decision will affect who sees the art, and consequently who buys it. An artist is an equal partner with the Gallery: The artist supplies the product sold and the Gallery in turn supplies the selling venue. Neither party can exist without the other. If an artist chooses poorly, it reflects on both the artist and on the art. Art is a business as well as a creative endeavor.  If an artist is pursuing art as a career and not as a hobby, artists need to be aware of legal issues that can affect artists as well. Most artists benefit from showing their art at Commercial Galleries. Unfortunately, not all commercial galleries are created equal. Some are aboveboard and have excellent reputations and ethics. Others do not. Commercial art galleries derive their profit from sales of artwork, and thus take great care to select art and artists that they believe will sell and enhance their gallery's reputation. They spend time and money cultivating collectors. If the artwork sells, the gallery makes a profit and the artist is then paid. It is not unusual for a commercial art gallery to charge a 50% commission on sales. Before entering into partnership with a new gallery, the artist should do what any responsible person would do before entering into a contract: check it out with the local Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. Ask to speak to other artists who are under contract. Do they make sales? Does the gallery pay on time when a sale is made? Does the gallery make sales of an artist’s work and not tell artists about it? What about advertising and publicity, how much does the gallery does and who pays for it? Artists should also attend a few of their receptions or events and see who is attending. If it is mostly other artists under contract, very few sales will be made. A successful commercial gallery will be in a location where there is a high volume of foot traffic and visited by a lot of art fans is ideal. A location such as this may be pricey, but if an audience is already there and primed to visit the gallery with the intent to buy, less can be spent on advertising to drive buyers to see the work.

Surprisingly there are a number of on-line and nuts and bolts alternatives for choosing where you will show your art. The words “on-line art gallery” can mean different things, however; an online art gallery most likely will be a website to display and sell art. For example: 1) An on-line art gallery can be displaying art work from their current, future, or past exhibitions, and be set up to promote the exhibition rather than to sell the work via the website.  2)  An artist presenting his/her own gallery, either on his own website and 3) Multi-Artist Sites or shared websites (ArtId, Fine Art America, Etsy, etc.), representing many artists working in different medias and genres. On a multi-artist site the artist either pays a monthly fee or agrees to a commission paid when the work is sold. These are usually non-exclusive and are a risk free opportunity for the artist to sell art worldwide. Search for them using "original art" or "online art gallery". The advantage of Online Galleries is that while the art buying public is growing, many people are still intimidated by walk-in commercial Art Galleries. If a potential buyer has access to a wide range of art viewed in the comfort and safety of their own home, they may relax and make a purchase. A lot of artists now have an online Gallery as well as a walk-in commercial Gallery which means that an artist can present a lot more art to a lot more people.

Beginning artists can be confused by Vanity Galleries because they are not the only gallery which charges a fee to the artist; a vanity gallery charges artists fees to exhibit their work and makes most of its money from the artists rather than from sales to the public. Some vanity galleries charge a lump sum to arrange an exhibition, while others ask artists to pay regular membership fees and then promise to organize an exhibition with a certain period. Occasionally a vanity gallery will appear to have a selection process because the number of artists on the membership roster cannot exceed the available time slots for shows. Vanity galleries have no incentive to sell art, as they have  already been paid by the artist. They are not selective because they don't have to be. Most Professional critics and reviewers tend to avoid them.

Cooperative galleries (sometimes called artist-run initiatives), are galleries operated by groups of artists who pool their resources to staff the gallery, pay for gallery space, exhibits and publicity. Most cooperative galleries carefully jury their members. Also, most, galleries of this type do require membership fees. Sometimes members must share the overhead cost of operating the gallery.

 8/27/12

DO YOU REALLY NEED A PROFESSIONAL TO SELL YOUR WORK?

I haven’t had a lot of luck using professional agents or web site sponsored promotions to help me sell my art. I am going to avoid mentioning either of the two sites I talk about in this blog by name because I am not really interested in slamming them. I used them only to illustrate the pitfalls of not really knowing much about marketing or how artists’ agents work, and especially not doing your research ahead of time. I freely admit to my ignorance in these matters when I first started attempting to sell my art; I’m not sure now that I really understand it either, but I hope my unsuccessful experiences will keep other beginning artists from making these mistakes.

When I first started out, I was thrilled when a company based in AK called me to ask if I wanted to be a part of their multi-artist web site. For $300, plus a commission on anything sold, they would allow me lifetime privileges, 20 images which I could change (for a fee) periodically. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good site with nice features, but it runs over 1500 artists so it is easy to get lost on it. Lesson 1: For the price I paid, I could have developed my personal website and had money left over. My Personal website might not get as much traffic, but it would have only my stuff so there was no possibility of me getting lost in the shuffle.

I didn’t make many sales with them. After about two years, this web site contacted me with anotherdeal”; for $150, they were going to run an ad in International Artist Magazine and did I want to be a part of it? Well, of course I did. Disappointingly, the ad did not contain a single photo of any artist’s work from their site, or any artist’s names  (even those of us who had paid $150 for the privilege!), only the name of the web site and its contact information appeared in the ad. Lesson 2: if you are going to pay for an ad, make sure it advertises your art or website!

Just like clockwork, two years later, this same website called me with another “deal”. They were going to be a part of a decorator convention in Chicago. Their booth was going to feature a large projection screen to showcase some of their artists’ work; afterwards the participating artists would get a copy of the DVD used at the convention so they could copy it and market to their local decorator market. The cost this time was about $245. Well, of course, I couldn’t travel to Chicago, so I never saw the actual booth, but sadly the DVD was pretty similar to the magazine ad they had suckered me for two years ago; it had a lot of stuff about their website, but none of my paintings were on it. In fact, only about 4 or 5 paintings were present. Again, it was all about them. Apparently, the site didn’t want to take the chance that the artists’ local decorator market might contact the artist directly. Lesson 3: For the same price, I could have paid someone to make a power-point presentation with my stuff that I could have mailed to every Home and Business Decorator in Fresno County, which is where I live!

The 4th time the web site called with a “deal” I told the snake oil salesman “thanks, but no thanks”. However, I was still looking for a “professional” to help me market my art. In the back of Artists Magazine was an ad for art representatives. This one was really costly; for $3,000 (which I foolishly put on a credit card) they made me 1,500 colored brochures on cardstock which were sent out to their contacts at department stores, catalog companies, and book sellers (of course they didn’t share their contact names, so I couldn’t do follow-ups…). It wasn’t a bad looking brochure (I got about 50 of them for personal use). When I never heard from any of these companies, I did some research and found out that a 1% return from a directed mail campaign is considered excellent. 1%? In case you didn’t major in math that is 15 responses out of 1,500!. Ouch! The percentage does increase if you follow up the direct mail campaign with a phone contact. Lesson: 4 I could have made my own brochure and marketed it locally for a lot less money and I would have had the names of the people to whom it was sent so I could follow up with them.

Please understand that neither of these sites lied to me. In fact, they told me the exact truth about what they were going to do. My error if you will, was in assuming there would be more to these promotional items than there actually was. If I had insisted on seeing a copy of the first ad or the DVD, or if I had asked Mr. Snake Oil how he planned to post twenty or thirty photos of art on a single page ad before I shelled out money, I would have realized my name and my art weren’t going to be seen in the ad. If I asked for this information and they refused to give me that information or send me a sample DVD that would have been a warning not to participate. The fiasco with the brochures could have been avoided also if I had done my research ahead of time and found out what was considered a good return on direct mail advertising. The information was out there; it is on me that I didn’t do my research carefully enough.

This doesn’t mean that these types of marketing should always be avoided. However, you must be able to use them to your advantage. As far as getting an agent, or the types of promotion I experienced, I can’t say that I would personally recommend either one. If you are going to use an agent, make sure that agent works on a commission or consignment and doesn’t charge you up front for promotional items. For myself, I now do my own local promoting and advertising. It’s true that I don’t have the clout to reach national markets, but on the other hand, I am on a pay-as-you-go basis with myself and I am not going into debt. I hope you can do the same

 

Good Luck

 

Gail

 

8/11/2013

CREATING AN ART CULTURE IN YOUR COMMUNITY 

Do you live in a community that supports the arts? The sad fact is that art-wise, not all communities are created equal. In California for instance the Bay and Central Coastal areas are a lot more “arty” than the Central Valley. I live in one of these “art challenged” areas of California and for many years I listened to my fellow artists whine (yes, I said whine!) about needing to travel to the coast to find buyers for their work. It is true that there are very few galleries catering to local artists here in Fresno and Clovis. All the galleries here only show art by dead masters or don’t open their doors to local artists (Fresno Art Museum) or they are privately owned by one artist or by co-op groups of artists. These galleries do an excellent job of helping to create a local art culture, but most of them are full.

Since moving to the coast wasn’t an option (my husband’s pool service business is located in Fresno), I decided to become proactive about the situation. I decided I needed another option to show my art.

It seemed to me that the chief issue was the general opinion apparently held by the public that my community didn’t have prominent artists. This is simply not true; while a Thomas Kincade or a Bev Doolittle doesn’t live here, Fresno, Clovis and the surrounding cities in the Central Valley are home to national and internationally known artists. We also have many very talented local artists. The big secret is no one knows it. So how do we as artists raise the social awareness of art in our communities? After some consideration, I realized that the best way to raise art awareness was to put art out in places where John and Mary Public would see it. We do have a monthly art event here called Art Hop, where the public is encouraged to tour as many galleries, restaurants and businesses who show art. This would be a wonderful opportunity to raise art awareness if we could persuade our local schools to participate. Unfortunately, the sad fact is that except for a small percentage of the population John and Mary Pubic are too busy working non-stop or taking their children to sports activities and have very little time to take in local galleries. They will however, take their children to the library. If art is displayed in that library, it gives parents and children the opportunity to recognize and see the local art culture. Historically, libraries have always been centers of the arts and culture for society. Artists who support this by displaying their art in the library are doing a great service to the community. Even though artists might not make many sales displaying art in the libraries, our contributions to the art and culture of the area is immense. When we put our art in the library, we not only remind the public what talented, creative artists live here, but how much we care about the community as a whole. One of the things artists contribute to our community as 8/11/2013is culture. By displaying our stuff in the libraries, we bring art to life for the general public. Although it is not directly about sales, one of the ways that we artists in Fresno and Clovis convince the buying public how wonderful is our art and photography (and indirectly to buy that art) is the development of a reputation for being a center of art and culture. Sometimes we have to give before we can get.

 

TIPS FOR SHIPPING ORIGINAL PAINTINGS OR PHOTOGRAPHS

A Guide To Packing Art For Shipping

Congratulations! You sold some art from your web site! Now you have to figure out how to get it to your buyer. Unless you are hand delivering your work you will need to ship it to the buyer. In order to reach your buyer in a condition that does credit to you as an artist there is a real need to select both your shipping method and your packing container carefully. For packing you are going to need a lot of tape, foam core board, acid-free paper, acid-free plastic bags and foam peanuts. To pack paintings for photographs, first, wrap the art with acid-free paper and tape it together so it doesn’t move. What is acid free paper and why do you need it?  Acid-free paper has a pH factor of seven or above. The pH scale is a standard for measuring the acidity or alkalinity of all kinds of products, including paper.  Before 1860, paper was usually made of rag or cloth stock and high-end expensive stationary is still made this way. After 1860, paper mills began using ground up wood and mixing it with acids and bleach to save costs, all of which have a low pH factor and react with air and water to produce acidic composites. Why use acid free paper? The acidic compounds found in non-acid free paper can migrate to your art and cause decay and damage. In the short time it now takes to ship to your buyer acidic compounds probably won’t cause much damage; however, they may still leave a residue on your work that can cause it to deteriorate over time especially if your buyer doesn’t clean the work immediately after it arrives.

If the art is unframed canvas or sheet paper, you will need to make sure that it isn’t bent or folded by rough handling during shipping.  In 2012, Popular Mechanics conducted an experiment to see how packages were  handled by Fed-Ex, UPS and the Postal Service. According to their published results, the package was dropped around three times and flipped an average of seven times per trip. Putting “Fragile” or “This End Up” did NOT increase the care handling the package got; in fact messages like this seemed to make no difference at all. Not that most of these delivery people will be deliberately be careless, but then there was that internet video of one of them tossing a flat screen TV over a fence when he couldn’t open the gate… How do you avoid this happening to your expensive art? After wrapping your work in the acid-free paper mentioned above, add a tough, lightweight reinforcement to help prevent bending (extra thick cardboard or foam core works) on each side of the art. Then slip artwork in an acid-free plastic bag to help make it water resistant, and wrap the whole thing in bubble wrap and tape so it won’t move. Why do you need to use an acid-free bag when you are already using acid free paper? When the plastic bag touches your acid-free paper, acid migration can still occur. Acid migration is what happens when acid from one object touches another. Acid migration is particularly dangerous to photographs. Chances are the acid-free paper you bought can still be contaminated by non-acid free plastic because the paper doesn’t have a seal. The acid free bag will seal off the art from contamination by the rest of the packing materials and help prevent water damage. Next, make sure you fill the entire packing container with shipping peanuts or bubble wrap so there is no extra space.  

Should You Ship Art With A Frame? Personally, I don’t ship framed art unless it is for a show; and I avoid shipping any art that is under glass, because if the package is damaged during shipping, the frame itself  could survive  unbroken yet your art could be ruined by broken glass sliding around and cutting or scratching it. If you must ship framed art, then protect the corners with edge guards and substitute plexi for glass. If the buyer wants glass, request that they take it to a framer in their area and get it changed. The other solution would be to ship to a local framer in the buyer’s area and arrange for the buyer to pick up the art after it has been framed.

Since the above study by Popular Mechanics didn’t find much difference in handling packages with the three most popular shipping companies, you need to decide to whether use them or employ a company that specializes in shipping art, which could be expensive. However, if you are willing to pay for it, the specialty company may even pack your art for you.

What About Shipping Insurance?  Whatever shipping method you use, I  recommend insuring your package and including shipping confirmation. I highly advocate you ensure your art for the full price in case you have to refund the money to the buyer if it doesn’t arrive intact. A high-value insurance cost does usually ensure that the shipping company will take more care of your work because they don’t want to pay damages.

Tracking The Package. If you are shipping inside the U.S. then you should always get shipping confirmation. Unfortunately, I did discover when I shipped a painting to a buyer in Canada that I could only track it as far as the border, so I don’t recommend paying extra for confirmation if you are shipping out of the U.S. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/301/~/mail---tracking-lost-or-missing-packages, CBP doesn’t have the ability to track packages across the border. Occasionally a border station will hold a package for another government agency but we regular folks are just SOL. That painting I shipped across the border into Canada? The cost of shipping was almost as much as the buyer paid for it!

Speaking for myself, I now include a note on my website that I don’t ship originals out of the U.S. due to the high costs.

Good Luck!

            Gail

 

TIPS ON PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR ART

 

Presentation is everything; especially on the internet where the only impression you can make is what is seen by the viewer. A poor presentation can make the difference between getting a sale or not and being accepted into an on-line show. For the judges to get an accurate idea of your art, the image you send must match the colors in the art and be sharp and clear. For many of us, taking a good photograph of our art is hard. Before sending off the photo of your art your art 1) make sure that the size of the photo agrees with the directions given by the prospectus, 2) make sure the image is sharp, clear and not distorted, 3) check the colors in the photo against the actual art to make sure they are correct. I am not a professional photographer, but I do manage to take credible photos of my work without paying a pro to do it for me. Even if you are only making a record of your work, you will want it to be as close to the original as possible. Here are a few tips that might help those of us who are “photo challenged”:

LIGHTING

 

 

Make sure you are taking the photo in an area that doesn’t cast shadows or cause glares on the

 

work. Personally, I prefer to take my photos outside on a clear day using indirect sunlight. I use the front of my garage and I do it between 11:00 am and 12:00 noon. I don’t use an elaborate set up; I have simply put a nail into the wood at the appropriate height for the camera and then I rest the painting’s stretcher bars on the nails. If you are using paper or canvas sheets, you can attach the sticky stuff teachers use to hang students artwork on the wall to the back of the art (after making sure your art is level).

Make sure the sun isn’t glaring on the work so there are no shinny surfaces to reflect back at the camera lens. If you are working with watercolor or pastel then take the photo before you frame it because glass will reflect back at the camera also. I also take the photo before I varnish acrylics to cut down on the glare caused by the varnish.

If your camera is set up to put a polarizing filter over the lens, it may be worth your while to buy one, especially if you work in Oil paints or other naturally shinny mediums. If your camera won’t take a filter, you can try the “poor man’s sub” and buy a pair of polarizing sun glasses and put them in front of your lens. The only real issue I see with this cheap fix is that the lens on the sunglasses may not be flat and so create a bubble effect on the photo.

DISTORTION

The art should be hung on a flat surface. If the final photo is wider at the bottom than the top or vice versa, your hanging surface may not be flat and you will need to take corrective action in your photo-editing program or find another surface.

Make sure that your camera is aimed squarely at the art. It helps to use a tripod; you can align the front two feet of the tripod squarely with the art so that you aren’t taking the photo at an angle that will cause one side of the art to be larger than the other. If necessary use a tape measure to make sure the feet are an equal distance from the art, and check to make sure the camera isn’t twisted on the tripod. A tripod also helps to prevent blurring is caused by your hand shaking. Most of us don’t think our hand moves when pushing the button, but it does.

Use a small hand level to ensure that the camera is not angled either down or up when taking the photo as this will also cause distortion. A laser pointer (your pets toy is adequate) laid alongside the lens when measuring will also help you to line up your lens on your art.

CAMERAS

You don’t need an expensive camera just to take photos of your art. Canon makes an excellent quality digital camera for under $300 and it is very user friendly. As a plus, the newer models also take video so you can use the video setting to record art shows and then upload to Facebook, U-tube and other social network sites.

However if you are planning to make large-size reproductions of your work then a good SLR camera should be on your list. SLR stands for single-lens reflex. This type of camera allows you take enormous photos, which translate well into prints as large as 48 x 60 without blurring.

CAMERA SETTINGS

When taking the initial (raw) photo of your work, be sure to set your camera to take fine or large files and take at least 3 exposures of each artwork.

.EDITING PHOTOS

The least expensive and easy to use photo-editing program is Adobe Photoshop Elements. It has tutorials and is fairly easy to learn. Before making any additional copies, check for any corrective actions that you need to take; you can then make additional copies at different resolutions.

Check first for distortions. Photoshop makes it fairly easy to correct the distortions caused by not having your camera lined up correctly with the artwork.

Next, check the contrast of the photo against the original if is dull then increase the contrast if necessary.

The next step is to check the actual color and correct if too much blue, green or red shows in the photo.

Your last step should be to crop the photo of your work so that only the work shows. I usually also crop a very tiny piece of the edges as well to keep the curve on the edge of my canvas from appearing as a distortion.

THREE TYPES OF IMAGES

A large resolution image (between 1 and 2 MB between 300 – 600 pixels per inch) to use if you decide to make prints of your work; usually between 38,000 and 60,000 pixels on a side.

A medium/low resolution image to put on your website (between 1 – 2 KB at 72 pixels/inch) will be large enough to allow the viewer to see the art. This size is usually too small to encourage attempts to pirate your image because it probably won’t make prints any larger than a 5 x 7 without blurring, but you can add digital watermarking with Elements or other watermarking programs.

A small image (between 200 and 125 pixels at the widest edge) for thumbnail images and record keeping; for those of you who prefer sizes, the widest edge should be no more than 1.5”.

You should keep photo log with both high- and low- resolution photos of your work separately from your desktop computer; the new flash drives are excellent for this. A working copy can be kept there, but be sure and back up your files each month onto a separate disc or jump drive. Be sure to keep the back-up copies of these items in a separate place and up-date your back-ups monthly. There are also some new cloud features that will enable you to automatically back-up your digital files (for a price). Once your records are lost due to computer crashes, natural disaster or any other reason they are gone. Good Luck!

Gail

Other Links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvR7fCQLQyI is a video tutorial you may also find helpful.

 

Earning Residual Income With Our Art

 

We may as well admit it: all of us secretly want to not only create fabulous art but want the public to appreciate it so much they pay us fabulous prices for it. The wonderful thing about making prints of our work is it a way to earn residual income on our art. If an artist sells a painting for $500 that is a one-time fee; if that same artist also sells 20 prints for $15 each then they have earned a total of $800 on that same painting.
Naturally as an artist, you want any reproductions of your art to reflect the quality of the art itself, which means you want to make the best quality reproductions you can find. I have had several artists ask me where they can get good quality prints made at a reasonable price. It’s a good question. There are two ways to go with this: make the prints yourself or get them made professionally.

If you are planning to make them yourself, besides the printer, you will need a good quality camera that takes high-resolution photos (Canon Rebel is excellent but there are others out there). I don’t recommend a point-and-shoot camera or your cell phone if you intend to make professional looking reproductions; although the smart phone photo quality is improving, I did notice that quality seemed to suffer with larger size prints. I would also recommend a good photo-editing program such as Photoshop Elements. I chose Elements because it will service either Apple or PC computers.

A printer that prints on a variety of paper products is essential if you are making your own prints. What brand of printer makes the best prints? Well, there are a lot of differing opinions on this, all having to do with what kind of ink will give you the truest colors, how easy they are to use, whether to use ink jet or laser printers, etc. Making the prints yourself does mean that you are probably going to be limited to paper and the sizes you can make; most home printers will only take legal or letter size paper. The printer that gave me the very best prints I ever made at home was an inexpensive Kodak printer. Unfortunately it proved too fragile to last long. Epson, Brother and HP all make good machines that will give you nice paper prints. You can even obtain letter size “canvas paper’ for printing on the internet, although I wasn’t really happy with the quality of the prints I made with it on my home printer. If you are going to make prints yourself, you must consider the cost of the ink. Many ink jet printers devour ink pods like a T-Rex. If you make a lot of reproductions, Ink jet refills can be so expensive that you might find it less costly to get your prints made by a print shop. Laser printers also make good quality prints, but a color laser printer and the toner to go with it can also break your budget. You will need to decide if the cost of the printing will allow you to still make sales at a profit.

The next option is to have your prints made by a professional printer. I am speaking here of commercial printers such as Kinkos or CopyMax’s Impress. The photo departments of Costco, Walgreens, Wal-Mart etc. may not give you a professional quality print because their print programs are designed to “flatten or homogenize” color to an “average” standard, however they also will work with you on this issue because they want your return business. Most of them can also do a canvas print mounted on stretcher bars. Again, ask for a proof because if you have vibrant, saturated or delicate shades you may find your print simply doesn’t reflect these qualities.

To use an outside printer you need a high-resolution jpeg or other type of photo of your work. If you are not a photographer, I suggest you arrange to have a professional take the photo in order to ensure that the photo has no distortions and that the color is true to the original art. You can have the photo transferred to either a jump drive or disc. An issue with having your prints made by someone else that doesn’t come up with DIY (Do It Yourself) printing: calibrating their printer to your photos. Calibrating a printer has nothing to do with the printer type; it has to do with communication between the computer and the printer. Even if the photo from your thumb disc looks okay on their computer screen, the print may still come out darker or lighter than your art. Always ask for a proof before accepting the print because it may be necessary for you to take your disc or jump drive home so that you can adjust the lighting or color of the photo in order to make the print “true” to the original when using an outside printer. If you do this, always save the “adjusted” photo as a separate file and leave the original alone. Making these changes is much easier if you are dealing with a local printer.

The other option to having your prints made is to find a local professional who specializes in making art prints. Here in Fresno we have several but Mullins Photography is the one most favored by local artists. If you bring in your art, they make their own scan and reproduce a print that is virtually identical to the original. Ask other local artists in your area where they get their prints made. Be prepared to open your wallet for this option though; because the cost of the initial set up fee will be more expensive than say Kinkos or Impress. On the other hand, it probably will be a one-time fee for that particular piece of art and the quality will be the best.

You can also order prints from the internet; a number of Internet sites do on-line printing. These sites are sometimes referred to as POD (Print On Demand) sites, and most of them do an excellent job. Fine Art America for instance will not only make your prints on a variety of paper, metal, cards and canvas, but also sell matting and framing and ship to your customer. With on-line printers however, you will have the same difficulties with the calibration as with your local outside printer. Since you can’t demand a proof from this type of site, I would suggest you get a small print made for yourself and adjust the photo. Keep notes on what you did so that you can use them when sending in later prints.


To Donate, Or Not To Donate…That Is The Question…

 

The phone rings, and some well-meaning fundraiser on the other end wants you to donate a work of art to their charity auction. Usually this goodhearted fundraiser will promise you a tax deduction, great exposure, enhanced publicity, and public exposure if you agree; sadly, most volunteer fundraisers don’t know what they are talking about as far as the actual benefits to you as an artist. Should you do it? This really depends on several things; how much do you support the cause itself? Are the benefits going to out-weigh the costs?

Well lets deal with the tax deduction benefit first. It’s not great. Generally speaking, you as the artist are allowed to deduct only the cost of creation (materials, etc.) unless you have had an appraisal done by a qualified art expert. This is no problem if you are a big name artist whose art is going to bring in thousands of dollars to the charity because the charity will usually have the art appraised by their expert, which you can then attach to your taxes. However, if you are donating to your child’s school, your church, local hospital, etc. chances are the charity is not going to pay for this appraisal because they can’t afford it. Sometimes the charity is worthwhile (in fact most of the time), but unless they follow my rules for donation, what they are really doing is training whoever comes to their event to devalue my art and disrespect me as an artist. This may sound really harsh but it has been proven to be true.

The next two items typically promoted by fundraisers are “Enhanced publicity and public exposure”  sounds really good, but what exactly are they actually talking about? A line in the auction catalog and announcing your name when they bring up your art? Please. Remember that most of the fundraisers who do telephone contacts are volunteers with no actual experience in the field. In other words they really have no idea what they are talking about. Enhanced publicity should mean your name in the newspaper, on the radio or on the Charity's Facebook page with a link to your website. Public exposure should mean that instead of just pointing to your art and asking for bids, the auctioneer talks about you: what awards you’ve won, how good the art is, etc. to encourage the audience to bid higher. He or she should also mention your web site, and your brochures advertising you as an artist, which the charity should have had available when the bidders were doing the walk-through.

Predictably, at most of these charity events, they practically give away the art because the bidders are not art collectors, they are there to support the charity and looking for two things—something they can afford to bid on to satisfy their tax deduction and support the charity. A lot of them might even be comparing the price of your fine art to canvas prints they can get at a department store! Auctioning your art for much less than you normally sell for, no matter how worthy the charity, undermines the art market in general, and makes it seem as if the artist (you!) didn’t deserve the real selling price. Another negative side effect underselling can have is to encourage your regular collectors and potential buyers to wait for events like this to buy your art cheaper than they could if they purchased it directly from you.

The “public exposure” thing is problematical; unless the auctioneer makes a really big deal about your art business and how valuable your work is, everyone present is likely to still think you have a nice hobby. I was once asked by my church to design a poster/logo for a women’s retreat. When the event coordinators husband saw it he remarked to her that it looked like a “real” artist had done it.

  I find that no matter how good the art I donate to their event is, my circle of acquaintances in my church, my children’s school and my family almost all still believe that my art is a hobby, so I don’t donate unless the charity agrees to the following ground rules:

 ·         I set a minimum price for original art. If it doesn’t sell, I get it back. This is absolutely essential because unless you have an appraisal from a respectable appraiser attached to the art; all that you can take off on your taxes is the cost of material used to create the art. If you don't get your minimum price then you have lost money you can't deduct from your taxes.

·         I also qualify the event by making sure there will be folks there who can actually afford to purchase the art (this means getting actual names of who will be attending or at least who was sent an invitation) and that the event will be well publicized; by this I mean actual ads on TV, Radio and news, hopefully with a mention of the art you are donating.

Once charities learned I stuck to these rules, I found that the requests dropped off dramatically. This doesn’t mean that I am wholly against art donations; I do donate my art to worthwhile charities, but I find that it usually pays better deduction wise to donate a good quality print than the original. Tax wise, you can deduct the entire printing cost, framing and matting which is a much better deal for tax purposes. I always sign prints that I donate, and make sure I tape information about myself, my website and the art to the back of the print.

 
Good Luck

Gail

ART SHOW ECONOMICS 101

 

Unless you are dealing with an endowment fund to produce your show, there are some basic facts you need to face: An art show should pay for itself. This means you will need to cover expenses for the show out of either grants, donations or the entry fees from the show. There are very different considerations for dealing with a small regional show and a national or international one. Since I am assuming that most of my readers will be dealing with small regional shows, I will deal with issues concerning that type of event. If you are going to be dealing with an international or national juried art show, I strongly suggest the first thing you do is hire a professional event planner to assist you.

Whether you are organizing a group show, or having a one-man show or exhibit, don’t be fooled: there is a lot of work connected with an art show. You must decide where and when you are going to hold the show and how much are you going to spend. If it is a group show, you will need to decide if it is going to be judged or if you are simply putting on an exhibit. If you are doing a solo or one-man show for yourself, then all of these decisions are going to be up to you. If you are organizing a group show, there probably will be others who will have a say in these items.

BUDGET: It is best to know ahead of time how much you will need to cover expenses, so setting a budget is necessary. If you have no idea how much some of these things are going to cost, then you need the advice of someone who has experience in organizing a show. A list of items you may need to pay for is below.

LOCATION: Finding a location is your first order of business. You need a site that is large enough to hold the art and will be open during the show hours. Preferably it should be in an area with a lot of walk-in traffic and easily accessible to the public. Questions to ask the property owner: is there a deposit or rental fee? Does the venue require the show to be open during certain hours? How secure will the art be? Does the show require an attendant when it is open? (It is always best to “sit” the show, unless it is not accessible to walk-in traffic. This will prevent theft or damage to the art.) In real estate, the words “location, location, location” are very popular. These are popular words in art shows also. A successful show must be seen by the public. A location where there is a high volume of foot traffic and visited by many art fans is ideal. A location such as this may be pricey, but if an audience is already there and primed to visit the show, you won’t need to spend as much on advertising to drive buyers to see it.

DEPOSIT: Almost all venues you rent are going to require a percentage of the rental fee as a deposit. Find out how much this is up front. It may or may not be refundable if you or the venue changes your mind, so get this in writing as a part of your rental contract.

RENTAL: How much are you willing to spend to rent the space? You will need to weigh the cost of the space against how much you expect to make on sales. (This is true even if you are taking part in an outdoor festival or show where you are renting booth space.)

HOW TO DISPLAY: If the venue has a hanging system already in place, you only need to ensure that any art coming in is compatible with their system. If they don’t have a system, then you will need to find out how they expect you to display the art. Will they let you put up screws or sticky holders on the wall? If whatever you use damages their wall, who does the repair? In addition, what kind of repair will they expect? Unless your art is very heavy (more than 15 lbs.) I actually recommend those removable sticky holders to hang your art on smooth walls rather than screws or nails. Two or three per art piece will spread out the weight of a painting, they have a lip to hang wires, and usually the stickers will come right off and you won’t have to spend a lot of money on spackle and paint to repair the wall.

If you are displaying sculpture, there are other considerations: is the sculpture reachable by the public? Does it have sharp edges? Is it small enough to develop legs and walk out? For larger sculptures, I recommend a system of ropes to keep the public away from the art piece. Check with the venue to see if they have some. If they don’t, you will either have to take your chances with someone getting hurt or damaging the art. DO NOT set up a jury-rigged affair if you want your display to look professional. For the smaller sculptures, I recommend a pedestal with a plexi cover and placing it either against the wall or in an area where it isn’t likely to be bumped.

PARKING: unless your show is located in an area where potential buyers customarily walk to visit art galleries, you will need to make sure that easily accessible, low-cost parking is available to your show. Easy access by the public includes parking (preferably free parking). A venue may offer you a great deal, but if no one comes to see the show than the show can’t be said to be successful.

LIABILITY INSURANCE: insurance questions cannot be answered by anyone other than your insurance carrier. For a one-man show, at a minimum, you probably want some sort of theft and personal liability coverage but I don’t have any knowledge of what California and other states require or recommend. The venue may also have requirements for coverage and they may want a rider from your company naming them as an additional insured for the event. Whatever their requirements are—get it in writing! Art associations usually have an insurance carrier with liability coverage for shows. If you are doing a group show, ask the group treasurer to make sure that the group’s insurance amount meets the venue’s coverage requirements.

DESIGNING THE ART DISPLAY: When doing a group show you will actually know how much art you will need to hang only when all the entries have been received.  In designing your display, you will need to take into account the size of the room, size of the art pieces and the amount of art received. If the room is small and a lot of art is received, then you may need to tell the judge he or she will be required to “cull or jury out” the art and only accept a certain number of pieces. This will probably vary according to the number of art pieces received and their sizes (a lot of art in a small room can still look good if none of the art is oversized). What you need to avoid is the art looking as if it has been crammed into the space. Since rejecting art can be controversial, this is an item than must be agreed upon beforehand at a group show. Some groups prefer to only hang small shows regardless of the quality of the art; others hate to reject any art. To avoid any misunderstandings, only the show coordinator should give instructions about this to the judge. If you requested a large room from the Venue, but don’t receive enough art to fill it, don’t hesitate to ask the Venue for a smaller space.

If you are presenting a one-man show, then you will be able to customize the amount of art you bring in to suit the space.

JUDGES FEE: If this is a juried group show, then most probably the group will already have a judge’s fee schedule in place and will decide as a group who the judge is going to be. If you are the show coordinator and don’t have a list of judges to draw from, and then ask the group if they have one. You can also look around the local art community for art teachers with a highly respected reputation.

When the judge arrives, there are basic instructions to be given: 1) Can best of show be taken from any category regardless of any rules concerning the number of pieces required for a category to be judged? 2) Can Best of Show be chosen before judging any categories? 3) How many pieces of art you are able to hang? 4) How much culling you expect the judge to do? 5) Should the judge offer on-going critiques as he or she judges? If this is the case, you will need a volunteer to take notes. These instructions will need to be agreed upon by the art group in your preliminary show discussions.

If you have multiple judges you need to instruct those judges as to how they come to an agreement if they differ on the rating of an art piece. With multiple judges if you don’t want a lot of negotiating about awarding the prizes among the judges, it is better for them to use silent score sheets with ratings for sections to judge the items. Any differences in rating can then be negotiated among the judges verbally. This will cut down on the amount of time it takes to judge a show. Whether or not to use score sheets with multiple judges is usually a matter for the group to decide.

ADVERTISING/PUBLICITY: How much are you going to spend on this? Sometimes you can promote an event for free: many TV and radio stations offer Community Affairs sites where you can unload information concerning your event, reception, sale, etc… for free. It helps if you are promoting some kind of Charity as well (10% of your sales will go to something like Valley Children’s Hospital, or the SPCA, etc.). These spots will probably run during “public service” times. Prime advertising times in most traditional methods of advertising will require hard cash up front, and you should bear in mind that these media outlets aren’t really interested in an event that has already taken place, so you want to advertise an upcoming reception or award ceremony ahead of time.  Some of the traditional media outlets also have time frame deadlines of several weeks ahead that need to be met in order to get an article printed. If you are doing a group show for an organization, you may be able to turn this portion of the show to the group’s publicity chair.

PROSPECTUS:  A prospectus is a fancy word for an entry form for the show. The more eye-catching and colorful it looks, the more the artists you are trying to attract as entrants will notice it. It should have the following information: location, date and time of receiving for the show; length of the show and the date, time and location to pick up the art after the show; the date of the artist reception; Entry fees and the number of art pieces per artist allowed. It should also contain a section called The Rules of Exhibit carrying  information concerning the categories of the art permitted in the show, what type of items are NOT allowed and hanging requirements. A fill-in section for each art piece is usually included, along with a cut-off portion for an artist receipt to be presented at the close of the show to pick up the art.

If this is an annual show, a copy of the new prospectus should be mailed out to last year’s entrants. The prospectus should be as widely distributed as possible. Once dates and times are locked down, making the prospectus can usually be designated to a member of the group with the graphic skills to make it.

RECEIVING: For receiving you will need: 1) the treasurer there to take entry fees and write receipts. 2) An artist experienced in shows to examine each art piece as it comes in to ensure that it meets the show requirements as to framing and hanging. You may or may not choose to have a repair table for artists whose art doesn’t meet the requirements to make on-the-spot repairs. If you do, you should charge a fee for the materials and advice. 3) Log in Sheets. 4) One person per show category to log in the artwork in each category. 5) I also recommend a secondary log-in system on a laptop to enable whoever is making the catalog to use these logs to create the show catalog. 6) “Runners” to handle the art. Runners receive the art from the artist after it has been logged in and then put it with other art in that category. In this way the art has already been collected and sorted into the proper categories when it comes time to present it to the judge.

VOLUNTEERS: You will also need volunteers to assist in bringing in art for the judge to see and taking it back. It is important that you instruct these volunteers in the conduct expected of them. Yes, even those volunteers who have assisted before. A few simple rules to follow: 1) no talking while the judge is working (judging a category). 2) Don’t offer opinions unless asked and 3) don’t second-guess the judge among yourselves during judging (especially out loud). 4) If anyone has issues with winners chosen by the judge, they should express them privately. Remember these are volunteers so be tactful when giving out these rules!

SHOW CATALOGS: A show catalog serves two purposes 1) it identifies each piece of art and hopefully also shows the price of that art and instructions as to how to buy it. 2) If a prospective buyer takes it home with them, it can also be a resource for them to look back if they decide to buy a piece of art from the show.

Your catalog should look professional. A catalog can be a trifold brochure or a booklet, depending on the amount of information it needs to hold. A price list tacked to the window or wall won’t cut it. If this is a group show, then find out who usually makes their show catalogs and coordinate with that person. 

Exactly what should appear in a show catalog? Each piece of art should be clearly identified by show item number, title of the art, price, artist’s name and media to match the card placed beside each art piece. A nice cover page announcing the duration and hours of the show, information about the judge and a section on how to purchase the art must be included. If the group has sold advertising to help defray the price of printing the catalog, then those items are usually located in the rear of the catalog. If this is a one-man show, then usually a simple color trifold brochure with your contact information will look good. If you have the skills to make it yourself, by all means save money by doing so. You may find when it comes to printing it however, that it is actually cheaper to take the design to a printer like Kinkos or Impress to print rather than spend a lot of money on colored ink to print it yourself. Remember this cost must be included in your budget.

CARDS: Identifying cards for every art piece matching the information on the catalog should be placed next to each art piece and should have the following: show item number, title of the art, price, artist’s name and media. They should be typed or hand printed by someone with VERY good printing skills. Do NOT stick a business card with the price in a corner of the art at a professional show in a pricey venue! It looks amateurish.

RIBBONS & TROPHIES: how much is the group going to spend? Generally speaking, most places that make ribbons and trophies charge more for a small “run” than they do for a large one. If possible use only the group name on each ribbon, and avoid putting the year, or if the group does more than one show per year, a title for the show. In this way leftover ribbons can be used at a later show. The group’s treasurer can tell you whom the group orders ribbons from and place the order. Ribbons are generally given for Best of Show, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and honorable mentions in each category. Sometimes a yellow ribbon is also given for “People’s Choice” (visitors to the show are allowed to vote on their favorite art piece).

AWARDS: Cash awards for Best of Show, 1st, 2nd and 3rd amounts are usually arrived at by using a percentage of the show entries and may vary from show to show. Sponsors may also donate items in kind also as a portion of the show awards. Some shows require that there be a certain number of entries in a category for money to be awarded.

RECEPTION:  Sometimes at a one-man or group show, the venue will decide when to hold the artist reception. If not, then the main issue when scheduling a reception is making sure it is held at a time that the most people will be able to attend.

FOOD FOR THE RECEPTION: keep it simple. The patrons are there to look at the art, not eat. If the group is supplying the food, then coordinate with their food chair as to type and amount of food. Special decorations for the food tables should be left up to him or her if possible, but if items need to be purchased, then this is a budget item. If the reception is catered, then the same rules apply, but more money will probably be needed.

SEATING FOR THE RECEPTION: small groups (no more than 2 or 3) of artistically placed chairs so patrons can sit and study the art is always nice.

DECORATION: Again, keep in mind that while you want the venue to look well-put together, you don’t want any decorations to overshadow the art. A few tablecloths on the tables, flower vases, draping the chairs for seating to look less utilitarian, etc.

INFORMATION TABLE: Always have an information table with information about the group (or about you if you if it is a one-man show), a guest book, and show catalogs available. A show host or hostess to make sure that guests have information and a catalog when they enter is always nice. If you are doing a one-man show try and arrange for someone else to act as host or hostess so that you are free to mingle and make contacts with the guests. While sales may take place at the reception, be sure buyer(s) know that the art needs to stay up for the duration of the show.

BELOW IS AN ESTIMATED PROFIT/LOSS STATEMENT FROM A SHOW. Please note this does NOT include the cost of the venue or catering because these costs may vary a great deal from venue to venue and caterer to caterer.

Expenses



 

Income


No of Entries Needed to break even

Judge

 

$150.00

 

Entry Fees

Entry Fees $20/

69


Awards based on 8 categories


 



Entry fee $15/

92



Best of Show

$150.00

 

 

 

Entry fees $10/

138



1st Places - $50 ea.

$400.00

 



Dollar Amt of Grant



2nd Places - $25 ea.

$200.00

 

Grants






3rd Places - $15 ea.

$120.00

 






Advertising

$200.00

 






Ribbons


$45.00

 






 


$1,265.00

 









 






Printing



 







Prospectus

$65.00

 







show catalog

$25.00