Today's guest author is Stuart Jaffe, author of The Way of the Black Beast. Take it away, Stuart!
Let's start with a big round of applause for our host! Thanks for letting me and all my writing brethren into your blog home. Now to the post:
I have a confession to make. For a long time, I couldn't stand the fantasy genre. Don't get me wrong. I love fantasy. SF, too. Horror, dark fantasy, gothic, you name it. I love it all. The problem was that since the 1980s, the fantasy genre had become bland and predictable. The Big 6 played everything safe and so produced nothing but medieval epics with a slight twist -- the hero is a heroine, it's a comedy, dragons are the heroes, etc.
Today, thankfully, things have become far more interesting. The Urban Fantasy movement brought classic monsters into a modern light. Authors like China Mieville introduced a successful blend of horrific and grotesque elements with classic fantasy and science-fiction tropes. Then he lit a fuse to it all and watched what happened.
But the really exciting work is being done by the indie-movement where challenging, fun, and experimental fantasy is growing. David Dalglish, to name one, has produced three excellent fantasy series that blend old fantasy tropes with fresh characters, clean writing, and a big, heaping pile of horrific gore. John Hartness, to name another, takes the typical UF vampire story and spins it around with the easiest twist of a writer's hand. Instead of vampires all being incredibly seductive creatures, John figures once a geek, always a geek. His nerdy vamps are now nerdy for eternity. And then, of course, I have to mention myself. My novel, The Way of the Black Beast, blends many of my favorite elements into one. Post-apocalyptic world, bushido, sword fighting, blues music, parallel universes, bizarre creatures, tattoos, magic, and a lot more can be found in these pages.
These books, and many like them, revel in the great freedom of the indie-movement -- that the only people who can tell the writer something won't work are the readers. And, because of this, the readers are being exposed to all kinds of fantasy they never had the chance to read before.
It's been said in the last several months that it is a great time to be a writer. This is certainly true. But it's an even better time to be a reader. So, go out there and be an adventurous reader. Try an indie book.