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Contemporary, or Not? (Updated)

April 6, 2009

Updated 10 April 09: Thanks for all the input. I never thought I would read so many romances that I would actually have to split them up into more accurate sub-genres.


Recently, I was perusing my category tags, both on-line and off.  Since I label even contemporary-set paranormals and urban fantasy as “contemporary”, it looks like I’ve read more contemporary books than historical.

My original thought behind labeling them as such was to distinguish them from historical-set fantasy and paranormal, on the off chance I read one — Mary Jo Putney’s “The Marriage Spell” — and futuristics — most of  Colby Hodge’s “Twist” is set in the future.

I’m beginning to think that this is misleading.   Readers looking for straight contemporaries might be unhappy to learn that the main female character in “Ace is Wild” is a psychic — though nowhere near the level of Feehan’s GhostWalkers or Singh’s Psy.  Fans of those series might take exception to “Ace is Wild” being labeled as paranormal.

So my question is, is it misleading?

On a slightly related note. . .

In Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy set in an alternate-reality Atlanta), we learn one of the characters is a big fan of paranormal romances (not Kate — her favorite book is “The Princess Bride”).  Later, we learn that several books (or all of them) by the character’s favorite author features. . .pirates.

This got me thinking.  In Kate’s world there are shape-shifters, vampires, magic.  What would these characters consider “paranormal”?  Your average Harlequin Superromance? Chick-lit? Ye Olde  Bodice-rippers of the 80’s?

And would a comtemporary be a story about a hunk of a werehyhena romantically pursuing a heavily armed Knight of the Order?

Anyone else pondered this?

There’s a poll in my sidebar regarding the labeling .  Please take a moment to vote.  Thanks.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2009 8:01 am

    Aliens don’t appear in paranormals so maybe the paranormal characters read a lot of sci fi?

    • misscz permalink
      April 7, 2009 10:58 am

      Oh, that’s a good one. In the case of the Kate Daniel’s series, I could see that. Tech doesn’t work during magic waves, so technological advances are probably very slow in coming. Things like spaceships and robots would be fantasy. I can’t imagine NASA, for instance, still existing in her world.

      Thanks, Katiebabs!

  2. April 7, 2009 8:46 am

    I don’t know if this will be helpful or not…but on my list at home…I have a place for Genre then a subgenre. So I list my paranormals as Paranormal in the Genre column and then list whether it is a vampire/werewolf/etc. If there is a couple of different subgenres in one book – I try to list it under the most prevalent one. I do not differentiate between paranormal – historical/contemporary.

    I do the same thing on Shelfari. I don’t use contemporary category for any of my paranormal reads.

    • misscz permalink
      April 7, 2009 11:10 am

      That’s something else I plan to fix: categorizing vampire, shape-shifters, etc. I don’t do that now, but I know that is something that would be more helpful to other readers.

      Thanks for stoping by, Kara! 🙂

  3. April 7, 2009 11:16 am

    It’s funny, cause I’ve had to deal with a similar issue. I have both Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy (where I put the Kate Daniels series) sections. I’ve recently had to add a Historical Urban Fantasy sub genre, since that is a genre I’ve come across lately.

    In the Romance section, I have historical, fantasy, and contemporary as sub genres (among some others.)

    I’m in the middle of Magic Strikes right now, and haven’t gotten to the part where the paranormals come up again. I like that pirates are paranormal in her world.

    BTW, I loved the Austen Heroine quiz, and borrowed it for my post, today. Thanks! 🙂

    • misscz permalink
      April 7, 2009 9:55 pm

      I lump all fantasy and paranormal under one category, “Fantasy”, so that doesn’t help the situation any. Since my motivation for asking this question is to improve my blog for visitors, I’m looking for a happy medium between major overhaul and business as usual. The recent update to WordPress dashboard should make updating things much easier (Quick Edit and Bulk), no matter what I finally decide to do.

      You’ve made me think that I should also tweak the Romance category, too — add sub-categories. Plenty of food for thought.

      Magic Strikes, I think, is the BEST of the three! I think you’ll really love it!

      I can’t take credit for the Austen Quiz. I did stop by to see you’re results. 🙂

      Thanks, Renee, for stopping by!!

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