Click on the image for more information.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

The reason I asked you on Friday about what you'd like to read was because the other day, I mentioned to Greg that I needed to come up with a new story idea. I have a couple in the bank. One is contemporary suspense with paranormal elements and the other is post-apocalyptic, but I wanted one that was strictly historical.

While I'm fond of historicals set in the 17th and 18th century, I prefer to write about a road less traveled. Something further back.

One of my minors at university was in ancient art so I have a good background in Greece, Rome or Egypt, BC. That might be a good place for me to start prospecting.

Greg suggested writing a story on Atlantis.

I sighed.

I would LOVE to do a story set around Atlantis, but a year ago or so, a blogging agent (I can't remember which one) blasted anything based on Atlantis.

She was sick and tired of Atlantis and as I remember, she sounded quite hostile about it.

As I look on shelves, virtual and otherwise, I shrug. "Huh?" How many Atlantis stories are there? I certainly don't see many. Were the ones pitched to her all bad or did she not have any success in placing such stories?

I know I can't judge the tastes of an entire army of agents based on one, but it does make you a little gun shy when it's blasted with such vehemence.

It's important to write about things you love--things that excite you.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other legends to mine. Myths and conspiracy theories titillate me. I get all goosey-bumped when I read about secret societies and cover ups.
And mystical societies--oh boy! I could read about them all day and never get bored.

They're my guilty pleasures. These are the books I turn to when I want to escape.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Contest winner: Randomizer selected Charlie as the winner of a book.
And she won Kitchen Matches by Marianne Arkins.

Charlie, if you'll send me your email address to mariazannini AT gmail DOT com, I'll buy you a copy of this book.

Congrats to Charlie and Marianne!


Ted Cross said...

I don't know about Atlantis, because I haven't seen any books about it either, but I feel the same way when all the agents and publishers (and writers online) keep ragging on Tolkienesque books as if thousands have been published. I've seen Sword of Shannara and the Iron Tower trilogy, and that's it! I could have missed one, perhaps, but I don't know how, since that is exactly the type of book I keep looking for.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Personally, I love stories about lost worlds and it's been decades since I've read one about Atlantis. I think you should write one!

Dru said...

I'm not a fan of historicals, but if you write one, I'll read it.

Maria Zannini said...

Ted: I'd understand if agents/editors rolled their eyes at vampires and boy wizards, but really if there isn't much of the other stuff, why pan it?

Is it passé? Old fashioned?

Do they think the whole world only reads boy wizards and teen vampires?

I'm game for something different.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: Atlantis is still in the percolating pot.

Setting is one thing, but I have to come up with a workable plot for it too.

Then of course, I have to convince the gatekeepers it'll make money. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: You are just too precious. I'm keeping you. :o)


Lia Bal said...

Atlantis sounds interesting. I would read about it. I like novels that I could learn from. If the author takes the time to research something historical and write about it with interesting fictional characters, I’ll definitely read it. Ancient Egypt intrigues me a lot. I also love secret societies, cults, and conspiracies. I love it when I read a fictional novel about a cult or something, and then look it up online and find out that it was a real cult, just the characters and plot of the book are fictional.

As for guilty pleasures, I love a good murder. I stay up all night reading a “who-done-it”. I love serial killers. I love it when the author writes a scene from the killer’s perspective. You get inside of that evil mind and try to find out what made them that evil. I love a good twist. I like being surprised. I hate seeing it coming that ruins the book for me. I love secrets. I love flashbacks. I love going back into the character’s past and learning more about them.

Vegetarian Cannibal said...


In the anime world, Atlantis has been overplayed. But I'm not so sure about books. I don't think I've heard of a book about Atlantis.

Could be cool if you put a different spin on it. Good luck!

Sherri said...

Guilty pleasures...hmm...any moment of quiet I can carve out of my crazy, loud life *g*

How sad is it that the first thought that went through my mind when I saw Atlantis was Stargate Atlantis? LOL

"If the author takes the time to research something historical and write about it with interesting fictional characters, I’ll definitely read it." -- yeah what Lia said.

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: I like novels that I could learn from.

Lia, I am the same way. Teach me something I didn't know before and I am glued to the book. --but only if the author can do it without being overt.

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: anime
Now that's good to know. I wonder if that's why the agent felt flooded with Atlantis pitches. Is that where she saw it all?

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: I forgot about Stargate: Atlantis.

Surprisingly, I never could get into the Stargate incarnations.

Ref: research
I think that could be said about all historical novels.

And then there's presentation of that research. I've read some thoroughly researched novels that are as dull as dishwater.

I want the author to enlighten me without relying on his encyclopedic knowledge on the subject.

Claudia said...

Hi Maria,
Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I did answer your question. ;)

jackie b central texas said...

The only 2 authors that I have seen write about Atlantis that are well spoken of are Alyssa Day and Gena Showalter. If you look up just the one word Atlantis however there are truly a staggering number of books written by many authors including Clive Cussler, Stephen King and Marion Zimmer Bradley so maybe it has been a bit overdone...

If with the resurgence these days in all things to do with Mythology in not only the historical romance genres and the paranormal genres it might be something that an agent would consider overdone as well....

Book fads come and go but well written books are timeless. Take us someplace you enjoy writing about Maria, research the heck out of it if you want but as long as the passion you put into the writing shines through your fans will read it and spread the word...

jackie ^_^

My guilty pleasures vary from book to book, some days all I want to do is kick back and read a light contemporary romance and some days the darkest of the dark and depressing vampire stories. Mostly though I want to read books that can capture my imagination and keep me in my chair reading till the end and long after time to go to bed. Those books for me are generally the ones that are written by either Nora Roberts, Carla Cassidy, James Patterson, Jasmine Cresswell, Sandra Brown, Lilith St. Crow and Rachel Vincent to name a few of my current faves....

MaryC said...

So funny you should say this, Maria. I had an idea for a MG book that was set in modern day and Atlantis. I haven't figured out the entire plot so it molds away on a shelf.

Did you read any of the posts from WriteonCon last week? One of the agents said she would love to see a Greek or Egyptian set book. I *think* it was Natalie Fischer.

Mike Keyton said...

My guilty pleasures vary from year to year but at present they include British pulp fiction of the interwar years eg Edgar Wallace, and Peter Cheyney. They're badly written, the characters are cardboard, the heroes are misogynist and racist BUT, and this is the strength of much pulp fiction, they give you a flavour of a particular time and place, the subconscious fears and social aspirations of those who read them in that time and place, and gradually they suck you in, in a way more academic works don't - the gut Vs brain thing.

On to Atlantis, you coud google Jane Gaskell who wrote an interesting trilogy set very loosely in Atlantis - or you could do a Julian May and have your heroes or an entire subculture travel back to a prehistoric age and have them interacting with the myths of prehistoric India or indeed Australia via the aboriginal dream-time. If you don't want Atlantis you could always go pacific and explore lemuria or Mu

MaryC said...

One more thing - there are a bunch of Atlantis books/series (Gena Showalter, Alyssa Day, a new thriller out this month called The Atlantis Code).

But certainly nothing like the number of vampires or shapeshifters. Maybe just one agent's pet peeve.

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie: You are right, of course. It's not the vehicle, but the way it's written.

Maria Zannini said...

Mary: I think that agent scared me with all the drool and fist pumping. LOL!

I will check out WriteonCon. I didn't have time last week, but fortunately they kept the posts up.

Thanks for letting me know.

Ref: MG book
You've piqued my curiosity. Let me know if you ever decide to pursue it.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: While I can't speak to British pulp, American pulp still has a large following. Campy, yes. But the voice of those books are just plain entertaining even when you're not an aficionado.

Ref: Atlantis
Thank you! You've got my percolating again.

This is why I keep you. LOL

Thanks, Mike.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maria!

I love Atlantis and have an unsold Atlantis manuscript sitting on my hard drive. There aren’t all that many published romances that have Atlantis front and center, but there are a few. In addition to Day and Showalter, already mentioned, Catherine Spangler also had an Atlantis series recently. Many more use it in a remote way. For example, in Sherrillyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series Acheron was an Atlantean. The new Joss Ware post apocalyptic series references Atlantis as somehow being tied to the Apocalypse that changes the world. But I don’t think you can let one Agent’s perception scar you away from a story you truly want to writer.

For guilty pleasures I’d have to say I go back and reread my old favorites: Amanda Quick, Christine Feehan, Linda Howard, Sandra Brown. Why are these ‘guilty’ pleasures? Because I always feel like I should be reading something new from my TBR stack.


Maria Zannini said...

Charlie: I forgot about Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter. That was an excellent twist.

Ref: guilty pleasures
Ahh, you go for comfort food. :)

Congratulations again on your win!

Marianne Arkins said...

I've only read Ayssa Day's Atlantis series (fabulous, IMHO), but seriously -- there are no original plots, only original ways to tackle them. Don't let one agent's rabid hatred get you down.

And, re: historicals... ancient Greece was rife with conflict AND you could always pull a few of the gods in there to play. *G*

Thanks to Charlie for choosing "Kitchen Matches"! I hope she loves it. I'm working on the sequel now. :-)

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: You guys have given me so many angles to develop.

Thank you!