The Shapeshifting Author

October 6, 2008 at 1:42 am (General)

I feel a bit like a shapeshifter lately. Not so much a physical changing creature that twists and cringes and coils into herself as she takes on fur, fangs and whathaveyou. But mentally I’ve been doing some gyrations.

As a writer in more than one genre I possess the ability to ‘shift’ brains, so to speak, depending on what kind of story I’m working on. My Nocturnes see me focused on all things paranormal. Dark, broody men live in my brain while I’m working on those stories. The heroines are smart, tough and eager to explore the paranormal. Information about vampires, werewolves, familiars, faeries, moon phases, bites and blood loss and the pros and cons of immortality fill my thoughts.

The way I work, I don’t start a story and work through to the end until I have a finished product. I usually have two or even three projects going at one time. I’ll draft a story out, then set it aside and pick up another, which may be in draft stage or edit stage or that very necessary stage: the desuckification process. (Hey, what can I say? They can always use a little desuckifying.)

Anyway, sometimes I’ll set aside the paranormal story and pick up something else. I also write action/adventure for the Rogue Angel series from Gold Eagle. No vampires in those stories. I’ve got to shift my brain over to archaeology and the quest for mythological treasures and villains wielding AK-47s and okay, so the heroine does have a magical sword that appears in hand whenever she needs it. But it’s far from paranormal.

I also write historicals, which are about as far from paranormal and action/adventure as you can get. And yet, I add elements of each into those historical stories.

There are days the current work in progress just doesn’t want to work with me. I can’t see my way to the end of a chapter, can’t figure what the heck I was thinking when I put that hero in the story, or even just ‘what do they want?’. So I pick up something else to work on. I make the shift! It helps me tremendously to put aside a work that’s driving me nuts and put my thoughts to something different. Completely different. A shapeshift of the brain, if you will.

So if you’re a writer, do you practice brain/thought/story shapeshifting? And if you’re a reader, you might shapeshift too. Ever read a whole string of paranormal stories then feel the urge for a mystery or chick lit? How do your reading habits shapeshift?

Speaking of Rogue Angels…. I just got copies of SWORDSMAN’S LEGACY, a story I wrote under the pseudonym Alex Archer for the bimonthly series (a new story every two months). I’d love to send out a copy to one lucky commenter! I’ll post a winner’s name on Tuesday.




  1. *lizzie starr said,

    Oh yeah, I have mulitple brains 🙂 when it comes to writing! ANd like you, if one tale isn’t working, there’s always another in some form to switch to. And while I might not use fantasy or paranormal in a conteoporary, sometimes one of my favorite characters sneaks in.

    Reading’s the same way–my TBR shelves are overflowing with a wide variety…a good book is a good book! And, one never knows when that odd idea may grow from something totally unrelated that you’ve read. I’m lovin’ that! 😉

  2. Natasha Armstrong said,

    I very often get sick of a genre because I have over read it. Like right now, I am getting a bit sick of the vampire paranormals. I will need to switch to something else for a bit and then come back to them :). I also sometimes get sick of reading *gasp*. I read so much that sometimes I just can’t do anymore, so I will go through lulls where I just won’t read for a couple of weeks.

  3. Deborah Cooke said,

    I am in awe of any author who can work simultaneously in two “worlds” – whether they’re paranormal, historical or contemporary. The language is different, the pacing is different, the scope is different — I have to focus on writing one book at a time. Of course, publishing doesn’t always allow that luxury, so I create fixed days to move out of my current mindset and do what needs doing “in the other world” then move back on the next day.

    I’ve tried a number of times but just can’t work on two books at once. Hats off to you!

    btw, I love that ROGUE ANGEL cover. Congrats!


  4. Laura said,

    My reading habits are moody. I like to read several books by the same author, or in the same genre, then I start to loose interest and shift to another author/genre. It doesn’t help that I read really fast and tend to run out of books. Lately I have started rereading older books in my favorite series to prepare for the newest book in the series.

  5. Lori Devoti said,

    OMG, you totally stole my headline! 😀 I swear I was going to blog on this same topic Wednesday. Good thing I have a back up plan. LOL

  6. Colleen said,

    As a reader, I enjoy many different genres… I look at what I have available to read, and then see which book jumps out at me! As to what it is or how I feel about the genre… I do not know… when a book jumps out at me I read it! 😀

  7. Beth C. said,

    I try to stick to one story at a time because I would never finish anything if I didn’t. But there are times I get stuck on a scene or the story isn’t flowing that day and I will have two or three backup stories to work on. Once a story gets finished then I pick a new main project and select the two backups. Eventually I rotate through all my stories. Good thing I constantly have new ideas popping up.

  8. Michele Hauf said,

    Great comments! I love to hear how others work and read.
    Sorry about the headline, Lori! Backup plans are always good. 🙂

  9. Heather Brewer said,

    I love your nocturne series. I have the Rogue angel series on my TBR list but didn’t know they were by you, I’ll have to pick them up.

    I mostly read paranormal but i switch between vamps, shifters, urban fantasy, etc. I like to read books in a series together if I can. I am a collector of books and will wait until I have the whole series to start reading them.

    thanks for Sharing.

  10. Gayle O said,

    Do you ever get confused when you switch from story to story? How hard is it to keep all the details straight?

  11. Michele Hauf said,

    Heather, the ROgue Angel series is written by various authors. All men, so far. I’m the first woman to write for the line. Very cool. Check the copyright page and it’ll tell you who wrote which Rogue Angel story.

    COnfused switching from story to story? NOpe. I keep a file for each story with notes. And I have a picture file of the characters. I always have the pictures opened on my computer desktop so I know who I’m writing about. Writing more than one book in a series is almost easier when you work on one or two at a time. You’ve got the ‘world’ in your head, and it makes going from one story to the other easy. But going from one ‘world’ to another can get a little tricky. That’s why I usually keep my vampires the same from world to world. Werewolves too. I have basic ideas of how these creatures would be, in any world, and I like to stick with those basics. Makes it easier on my brain. 🙂

  12. Cathy M said,

    My reading habits definitely depend on my mood. I will read paranormal stories for weeks, then be ready for a thriller or historical romance story to mix things up a bit. I am one of those who turns the dial on the radio all day too, lol.

  13. Rae L said,

    I’m adding you guys to my blog reads cause I’m officially hooked now!

    I know what you mean about shifting your brain. I’ve been on a paranormal writing kick lately so most of what I’m writing is in the paranormal vein. I stopped with the vampire romances for a bit to shift to shapeshifter romances (probably why I’m here now lol) and have started picking up more works to read in this vein. I’ll probably swing back around to vamps later on but I do find that I have to change my thought process when moving from one genre to another. It’s refreshing after you get used to one!

  14. Terra Kent said,

    You know I’ve never thought of it that way, either as a reader or a writer. I usually read one to three books at a time and each one is different just like when writing.

  15. Savanna Kougar said,

    Always fascinating. I prefer having several stories going on at once. Ideas are always popping up, so if I decide I want to work on a certain type of paranormal genre, I can switch or shapeshift my mind into that world. Much more fun that way.

  16. Ilona said,

    I go through phases where I will want to read just paranormal romance then suddenly switch to contemporary romance, Sci-fi or westerns. It all depends on what kind of escapism from RL I am after.

  17. TAMI blackroze37 said,

    i didnt know you wrote the rogue angels books too
    i love them!!!1 plus i love your other books, wow, thats so cool. that i been reading both your series

  18. TAMI blackroze37 said,

    actually quite more
    your noctrune
    bombshell, boy i wished they hadnt stopped that series]

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