Guest Post with Myke Cole

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I’ve gotta admit, I’ve been looking forward to this guy’s book for a while.  It comes out next week and damn it, I wants it.

After I read the guest blog he wrote for me?  WANT IT EVEN MORE.

Say hi to Myke Cole

Here’s the info about his book, which I think you all should read.

SHADOW OPS: CONTROL POINT

Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer.

Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the dead, and set everything they touch ablaze.
Army officer Oscar Britton sees the worst of it. A lieutenant attached to the military’s Supernatural Operations Corps, his mission is to bring order to a world gone mad. Then he abruptly manifests a rare and prohibited magical power, transforming him overnight from government agent to public enemy number one.

The SOC knows how to handle this kind of situation: hunt him down–and take him out. Driven into an underground shadow world, Britton is about to learn that magic has changed all the rules he’s ever known, and that his life isn’t the only thing he’s fighting for.

And onto the guest post…

from Myke

If there’s one thing that bugs me about being a genre fanatic, it’s when you run into folks who have already made their minds up about how your genre functions and why they’re not interested.

Like most haters, these people have inevitably never read anything in your particular genre, or if they have, it’s just the major classics, most of them totally not representative of where things stand today.

Fantasy? That’s magic and elves, right? Harry Potter? Kids stuff. Comic books? That’s for kids. Science fiction? You mean like Star Trek? I watched a few episodes when I was a kid. There’s more serious stuff on TV now.

Argh. Must. Control. Impulse. To. Strangle.

Instead, I try to interest folks in genre by recommending books or comics that I think have broad enough appeal to hook non-speculative fiction readers and bring them into the fold. I’ve had some success with this (using George R. R. Martin and Peter V. Brett for novels and Bill Willingham’s Fables for comics), and I’m really proud of the nerds I’ve helped create.

So when I went pro and began looking more widely at my writing career, I refused to stigmatize any genre. I want to be a writer, not just a genre writer. I want to have the option (and the skill) to throw my pen in any arena that strikes my fancy. I’ve done a lot of non-fiction writing, mostly on counterterrorism/military theory, but it’s a sector I enjoy and would be happy to get back into. Ditto for military public affairs writing (an entirely different style). I’d love to write for comic books, or video games.

So, yeah. Romance.

I’d been raised with all the misconceptions and stereotypes that everyone has about the genre: parodies of category titles, Fabio lounging shirtless on the cover, some heaving-chested damsel swooning in his arms. I knew that was over-simplistic, foolish. I knew that romance writers put every bit as much blood and sweat into their work as I did.

And then one day I went to meet my friend Cassie Alexander at RWA in Times Square. I got on the escalator and was checking twitter on my iPhone when it finally deposited me on the convention floor and I looked up.

There were no men.

No, seriously. Not one.

I’ve since been informed that there were some men there, but I just didn’t see them, but everyone has admitted to me that they were few and far between.

And through my whole lunch with Cassie, I couldn’t stop thinking “There’s a man on the cover of most of these books. Why aren’t there any at this convention? Don’t men write these books?”

As it turns out, not usually. And when they do, they assume female pseudonyms.

Now, I remember getting mighty pissed when I first found out that Andre Norton was a pen name deliberately adopted to make her work more marketable. Ditto for Robin Hobb. The thought that a woman couldn’t just be a woman writing fantasy and science fiction seriously burned me.

So the more people told me that men (writing as men) couldn’t write romance, the more I became determined to do it.

You know, in my copious spare time.

I met up with my friend Laura Anne Gilman (no stranger to the genre herself) and told her that I wasn’t real happy with folks telling me what I can and can’t do. She told me to calm down, take a deep breath, and first learn what the hell I was talking about. She gave me a long talk about the history of the genre, explained the range of styles from single titles to erotic to category (sternly warned me never to use the term “bodice-ripper”) and left me with an old trade paperback of Nora Roberts’ Night Tales.

A little Internet research reminded me of just how vast this genre was, how much history had already existed before I even started paying attention. As I realized how much I had to learn, my desire to write in the genre waned (daunting hard work’ll do that to you).

In a development that surprises exactly nobody, Roberts didn’t disappoint.

So, I moved on to Lora Leigh. Nauti Nights made me blush, and I spend much of my time working with sailors.

And it was fun. Romance and romantic relationships are every bit as interesting to men as they are to women. Sit a bunch of guys down, give them alcohol, and leave them alone for an hour. If the conversation hasn’t turned to sex after fifteen minutes, check their collective pulse.

Jessica Scott tweets a lot that her books are being read not only by men, but hard-bitten army operators (a special-forces Command-Sergeant-Major was her latest convert). So, clearly the trend is changing, but not fast enough in my opinion.

If just my brief sampling of the field is any indicator, the romance genre is a pack of outstanding writers who are simply focusing on a different subject. That’s no reason for a gender divide. Men marry, men screw, men fall in love. Men spend a lot of time thinking about those things. It preoccupies our minds every bit as much as it does women.

I’m hoping for a day when I see erotic romances on the shelves written by male authors under their own names, and to walk into a future RWA that’s a little more gender-equal. Who knows? Maybe, if the writing gods are good, I’ll be able to make a real go of this and eventually make good on my threat to write a romance some day.

RWA 2015. See you there J.

Myke Cole

www.mykecole.com
www.facebook.com/mykecole
www.twitter.com/MykeCole

Bio…Myke Cole is the author of the SHADOW OPS military fantasy series. The first novel in the series, CONTROL POINT, will be coming from Ace (Penguin) at the end of this month. As a secu­rity con­tractor, gov­ern­ment civilian and mil­i­tary officer, Myke Cole’s career has run the gamut from Coun­tert­er­rorism to Cyber War­fare to Fed­eral Law Enforce­ment. He’s done three tours in Iraq and was recalled to serve during the Deep­water Horizon oil spill. All that con­flict can wear a guy out. Thank good­ness for fan­tasy novels, comic books, late night games of Dun­geons and Dragons and lots of angst fueled writing.

 

And…because I suspect this is going to be an awesome book, I’m doing a giveaway of Myke’s book.  Want a copy? Tell me a genre that you normally don’t read but that you think you might want to try.  I’ll draw one random winner and you’ll get an unsigned copy of Myke’s book.

My standard rules apply, international is fine, don’t post to sweepstakes sites…void where prohibited, odds of winning depend on number of entries, read the disclaimer, etc, etc, etc…

32 comments

  1. Debbie Meredith says:

    Myke, love your outlook on writing and wish more had the same attitude. As a former bookseller I can’t begin to remember all the degrading comments I heard about the romance genre. Considering romance ended up being our best seller, I’m happy to say not all people looked at it that way. I shocked more than one man by telling them their favorite fiction writer was actually a romance writer. The look on their face was priceless.

    Your book sounds extremely interesting and even if I don’t win one, I’d like to get a copy and check it out. Sounds like the start of another auto buy author.

    Best!

  2. Gwen Hayes says:

    Awesome post. And Myke…I would LOVE to read more romance books specifically from the guy’s POV. It’s an underserved angle in the genre and I think having it written by a male would make it even shinier.

  3. azteclady says:

    The blurb sounds good, but (most important to me) the author comes across as an intelligent person, so…

    There are very few genres I actively avoid (horror and inspirational off the top of my head) but I wouldn’t mind reading more fantasy (as opposed to fantasy romance) as long as it’s well written :grin:

    thank you for much for the giveaway, Shiloh!

  4. Zombie Joe says:

    Don’t even get me started on walking into a book store. Back when Borders was still open I had to write a whole blog on the “Sir, you realize this is a romance title?” reaction I got asking for Shiloh’s latest book.

    What you failed to touch on was the awesome side of being one of a handful of men at a romance novel convention. At Romantic Times 2010, I never had to wait to use the restroom. Not once. ;)

    Romance was my “new genre” although I have a few mysteries that are touching on my TBR “wishlist” on Goodreads/B&N. I can’t really call Romance a “not normally read genre” when I have a couple dozen titles on my completed list.

  5. Gail S says:

    Myke, Can’t wait to read your book! I would love to see you or any other male authors write romance. Who better to give a different POV. ;-)

    I read a real variety of books, but I do tend to get rutted from time to time. Last year I tried to read more biographies, this year I hope to read more SF and try another steampunk novel or two. I’m a sucker for romance and a good UF/horror story. :-)

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  6. Gayle Cochrane says:

    I’ve been looking forward to the book as well. I like to read a variety of genres, and I do get frustrated by the negative association that people place on the romance. I like personal relationship development in the stories that I read, and sometimes that relationship is romantic.

    Best of luck with your upcoming debut.

  7. Jenny says:

    I have a guy friend who helped me develop my website. After he’d read a few excerpts, he said he had no idea romance novels were like that, and that he would give them more consideration in the future. I think if more men were like Myke and gave them a shot, they’d be pleasantly surprised. I would dearly love to see romances written by men from a man’s perspective.

  8. Dee G says:

    Myke, I definitely like your outlook on writing whatever feels right at the moment, an trying out differenty genres. I’m an unpublished author at the moment (but I have high hopes). My first three novels are historical romance, but I’ve also written a smattering of contemporaty, and erotica. I’d like to one day try my hand at paranormal. Special Ops is a genre I haven’t read much about, but has recently piqued my interest. Would like to read more. Maybe your books is a good place to start my adventure in that area. Would also like to read a romance from your perspective. Let’s do it!!

  9. Regina says:

    Just love Myke´s determination! Best of luck with your upcoming debut.

    One genre I don´t read, but maybe try some day is Biography.

  10. Cheryl says:

    Awesome! Romance from a guys perspective? Oh yeah! Just let me know when to buy the book. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Gina (Lady D) DeWitt says:

    ok…start with the contest question…I haven’t read Fantasy…Lord of the Rings etc…tends to be my son’s genre tho he’s read the Black Dagger Brotherhood and The Chronicles of Nick so maybe if I can find a Fantasy book that has an interesting premise I’d give it a shot.

    next…Hi Myke! I laughed myself silly reading this blog. if that humor is in your book then I look forward to trying it! and if you do get around to trying to write Romance (it’s harder than it looks hehehe) keep the humor!!

  12. JenM says:

    Awesome post! Welcome Myke, I’m looking forward to reading your book. I put it on my wishlist awhile back because the blurb sounded so interesting. I admit, I’m kind of in a genre rut at the moment. I used to read lots more non-fiction and I’m trying to get back to that this year.

  13. Poppy says:

    Great post!

    I don’t really read westerns but am willing to give them a try. I’ve read a lot of genres over the years though mostly these days I read mostly in the fantasy and romance genres. I’m trying to mix it up a bit more this year. I’m also trying to read more books by men this year. I’ve noticed that the last few years nearly all the books I read are by women and I read a lot.

  14. Bobbie says:

    Great post, and I would read any romance Mike wrote. I do not really read paranormal books but if there aren’t too far “out there” in reality, I try. I have read Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Jayne Castle. I still don’t know if I could read vampires, and werewolves and I really have a hard time with shapeshifters. My concern right now is that the Urban fantasy, paranormals are very popular right now, and I actually feel like there has been a resurgence of historicals. I wish there were more contemporaries that had great story lines. My favorites are military romances (LOVE Jessica Scott’s book) and romantic suspense (Roxanne St. Clair for one). So, Mike, I implore you….write me a good military romance or contemporary romantic suspense and you can put all the sex in it you want……:) Thanks

  15. Jen B. says:

    I am always looking for something new to read. I am constantly trying new things. I really don’t like dry historical texts. Unless I am having sleeping problems! Something new? I am reading health books about celiac disease. I have had the book a couple of months and I have finally decided to read it.

  16. Pamkt thi says:

    I read about this book on another blog and like you I want this book. There is not many genres that I don’t read. Usually Historicals or M/M but i’ve tried them so that being said I don’t think there is a genre or type of book i’ve not read.

  17. Teresa C says:

    I have not read a Historical romance in years. Epic family drama is another genre I don’t care for.

  18. ML says:

    Fabulous post!! Up until last year I thought I was pretty well read across a bunch of genres. Then I found out there were more genres than I’d been used to. I haven’t really branched out into horror or dystopian yet. I just read my very first steampunk this month and it exceeded my expectations-actually blew them away. I’m a little more fearless in my genres now and hope to check out a little bit of everything this year.

  19. Brenda Hyde says:

    Mike– this reminds me of when my husband decided to become an RN. He works in an inner city ER and at first there were hardly any guys but then more came along. There are still people who look at him oddly when they hear he’s a nurse but most think it’s cool.

    I always think of Terry Goodkind– have you read any of his Sword of Truth books? They are considered fantasy but DAMN, they have an amazing romance that runs through them that is one of my favorites.

    I’m rambling… as far as a genre I don’t often read– I really cannot get into Regency Era Historicals.

  20. Barbara Elness says:

    I don’t believe I’ve ever read a military fantasy before, but I’d sure be willing to try one, especially Control Point. I don’t generally read horror either, but I’ve run across a few dystopian/horror stories that I’m looking forward to trying.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  21. Angel Collins says:

    I never thought that pseudonyms are still used nowadays. I got surprised by that. It wouldn’t be so much of an ache to read a romance book written by a man. That, I think, would contain more romance and great storylines. Thanks for sharing this one.

  22. Nat Cleary says:

    Great post. I normally wouldnt read any horror! Im a wuss and its scares me. The book sounds great.

  23. Laura Roberts says:

    You know, while I’m more into erotica than romance, I would definitely be interested in reading a romance written by a man. Since romances are nearly 100% geared towards women, I would be curious to see what a guy could do with that very tightly-controlled genre where a wedding is a requirement. (Personally, I dislike that formula because the wedding is never the end of the story!) I’d love to read Myke’s romance novel, since it holds the promise of something new. I’ve also never read a “military fantasy,” so that’d be a change of pace as well!

  24. Lynn R. says:

    Before joining one of the on-line book groups I’m in, my “I don’t read” list of genres included Westerns (although I still don’t read the ‘hard-core’ ones by L’Amour and his ilk), paranormal, and Special Ops types. That has changed, although admittedly I don’t read them as much as I read other genres.

    Just one thought about the blog, however. What kind of guys are you talking about where it takes 15 minutes for them to start talking about sex?!?!? Most guys I know are there within FIVE!!!

    Later,

    Lynn, wishing you good sales.

  25. Sara M says:

    I’m very picky about what genres I read (and what genres of music I listen to and what movies I watch…). I don’t tend to read anything that doesn’t include something paranormal, so there are plenty of genres I’ll probably never read. The one genre I don’t read, but may in the future, is historical romance. More and more are taking over my bookshelves as my girlfriend picks up more and more. As often as I make her read books that I love, sooner or later I’ll probably give in and try a historical if she pushes it.

  26. Nicole says:

    I don’t normally read horror, but I’d be willing to try some.

    I actually love the idea of military fantasy as I enjoy military SF. I like that it tends to be heavier on the action than some other stuff.

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