Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Writing Out of My Wheelhouse...Again. Good Idea or Bad? by Tena Stetler

First thing that comes to mind is will my readers accept the new genre or new twist to your books. Magic, the paranormal, and the unexplained have always been my wheelhouse. Even as far back as grade school, I wrote vampire tales for my friends. When I took the opportunity to write full-time, I polished one of my paranormal romances and submitted it. Lo and behold, I received a contract offer. Yippee! This was 2015, eighteen books, and eight years later, I still write paranormal romance/mystery novels. But 2021, I first strayed from my comfort zone and wrote An Angel’s Wylder Assignment for The Wild Rose Press multi-author Wylder West Series. While still paranormal the book is also historical, western, time-travel, and a mystery. To my surprise, my readers embraced the book without reservation. Whew, I was relieved and vowed to return to my roots and stay put. Well…

I write Paranormal Romance/Mystery, so most of my books have an element of mystery to them. This year, 2023, I dug up my roots, so to speak, and relocated them. My new release Security Force of Two is more mystery with a sprinkling of romance. Magic is still prevalent, but not always a constant. 

I am a seat-of-the-pants writer (panster), and my characters drive the story. They took off on a chosen path, including murder, espionage, and mayhem. There was no looking back regardless of what research into writing a mystery was required. What a challenge! But also fun!

Because paranormal is anything I can imagine and have an overactive imagination, I can write anything I want and make it work. I love magic. So it was quite a change to have to do research. Figure out who really did it, send the reader on at least one wild goose chase, and why. What a learning curve.

Would I do it again? Well, this is the second time I’ve tested my readers and my abilities, I hope they’ll enjoy this one as much as they did my Wylder book.

I learned a lot and grew as an author writing this book. Stopping to research while I was writing was trying at times. I had a lot of fun discovering how to craft a mystery, the elements different than a Paramormal Romance/ Mystery. I recommend every author try writing out of your comfort zone, at least once! My current writing endeavors are still paranormal, cozy mystery, and a sequel to Mystic Maples set in an Irish castle.  But… you knew that was coming didn’t you? Since Security Force of Two is the first book in the Mountain Town Mystery Series, I guess book two will be more mystery than romance again.  I hope my readers don’t mine.  Only time will tell.  

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Now let’s see what my new release,  Security Force of Two is all about.

Miacoh Zane, a Special Forces veteran, returns to Aspen Ridge.  A small town nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, to settle his beloved grandmother’s estate. But the town holds painful memories and family secrets he wants to leave behind for good.

 Candle Bearclaw, a gifted computer analyst/programmer with talents she’s buried when recruited out of college by the CIA. After fifteen years, she abruptly resigns her position with the agency. She returns to her sleepy hometown only to discover her childhood crush has also returned and a violent crime has been committed.

 Due to their covert operations experience, Candle and Miacoh are thrown together to assist Homeland Security, FBI, and her father, former chief of police, with a murder investigation. As they search for the perpetrators, will their secrets be revealed as the investigation takes an unusual twist that could blow the case wide open.

How about a sneak peek between the pages of SECURITY FORCE OF TWO?

When she drove up the circle driveway, a chill shot up her spine, then a strange feeling came over her, almost like someone was watching. Reaching under the seat of her SUV, she pulled out her handgun, checked the weapon to make sure it was loaded, chambered a round, and tucked it in the back waistband of her jeans, covering it with her shirt and jacket. She backed out then drove the entire driveway more slowly, checking the perimeter. Nothing. The cell phone hadn't chirped to alert her of a breach, but she checked her outside surveillance cameras, then the ones inside her home anyway. Again nothing. She shrugged off the feeling and stepped out of her SUV. Gun drawn, she flicked off the safety and turned on the laser. It didn't hurt to be safe rather than sorry.          

Peeking in the window, she saw the alarm keypad was still set and secure. Then she walked around the house, entered through the back door, closed and relocked it, deactivated the alarm. Nothing was out of place. Part of her wished she'd brought Terrabyte along. Though still young, the pups tracking ability was well-developed. Terra would know if someone were in or around the cabin since they left. Back to the wall, she moved carefully through each room, nothing. When she was sure the house was clear, she sat down at the computer, laying the gun next to it. Warning windows were popped up everywhere on the screen. Someone had tried to hack into her system but hadn't gotten very far. Closing out the windows one at a time until she found a message planted just under the first layer of security. That is what must have set off the warnings. Her throat went dry as she read the message. “Poking around where you don't belong is dangerous business. Carl's death was unfortunate but an accident. Leave it be or pay the consequences.”

Fingers poised over the keyboard. She started to X out of the message but stopped. If this was a disintegrating message, she would have no proof it ever existed. Taking out her cell phone, she took a picture of the screen. The handle on the front door jiggled. She grabbed her gun and jumped up, making her way to the front bay window.

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Until next month, stay safe, try coloring outside the lines once in a while, and don't forget to stop and smell the roses! 


Nancy Gideon said...

I used to be a rigid outline-based writer (back when I was working fulltime and had kids at home!) but I've have learned to relax and explore where the story takes me - within limits. I see my books the way I'd view a mini-series-visual as action-oriented and character focused and these days, always with the intention of doing MORE with the characters. If I had more hours in the day every minor character would have their own book!

Tena Stetler said...

I've only tried an outline based story once. It lasted all of 5 minutes until the characters took off in all directions.LOL Being a panster has its own rewards as you listed. Thanks for stopping by Nancy! Have a great week!

Maureen said...

It's hard for me to stay in my own lane, lol. But I love to read almost anything paranormal, so hope readers do as well. Also a panster here! Outlines, OYI!

Jessica E. Subject said...

I used to be a pantser, but I got stuck more often than not. Now, I have so many ideas for my story before I even begin to write it. So, I have to write it all down so I don't forget. I'm not rigid about my outline though. If I think of something better as I'm writing, I will make the changes.

As for writing another genre, I've always wanted to try mystery. Some day...

Congratulations on your new release!

Tena Stetler said...

Thanks for stopping in Jessica and Maureen. Happy to hear your comments!

Anastasia Abboud said...

I smiled through this whole post! Congratulations, Tena, on your new release and on venturing outside of your comfort zone/wheelhouse! Security Force of Two looks great!