Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Books for my daughter

Posted by: Sonya Clark
My daughter turned a year old earlier this month. Watching her personality form is amazing, seeing what she has in common with me and with her father, and how she's different. One of the things she has in common with us is a love of books. Few things get her as excited as pulling a book off the shelf and sitting down to read to her. Of course, her one-year-old's attention span doesn't always allow for finishing the book the way an adult would. We wind up skipping some pages and going back over others several times. She's not ready to handle anything with paper pages yet but she loves her board books. She loves them so much, sometimes she'll lean over and smooch the pictures! It's the cutest thing.

Even before she was born, I started to think about what books I wanted to share with her over the years. I don't know much about books for small children so we're learning about those books together. Eventually she'll be ready for the books I do know and I hope that she'll be willing to give some of them a try.

Thanks to the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling, I already have my little girl's eleventh birthday planned out. Growing up with a writer for a mom, she may pick up things like "world building" and "characterization" and other craft terms and ideas. But with the Harry Potter series, inadvertent lessons will give way to shameless fangirling. The joy and fun of falling into a completely different world, full of magic, creatures both wondrous and terrifying, the bonds of friendship and family, and the power of love - that's what I hope she would take away from those books. And a sense of compassion for both the Neville Longbottoms and the Severus Snapes of the world, because you never know what a person will become or what is truly in their heart.

When I was a pre-teen and teen I read a ton of Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and Anne Rice. If my daughter ever asks me, what book made you want to be a writer, I'll give her my battered copy of Bradbury's DEATH IS A LONELY BUSINESS. If she ever asks me, why do you take a flamethrower to every clown you see, I'll let her read IT. And when the day comes that she says to me, seriously, mom, what is the deal with vampires, I'll give her THE VAMPIRE LESTAT. (Louis was such a wet blanket I almost didn't read further in Rice's Vampire Chronicles.)

Marion Zimmer Bradley's THE MISTS OF AVALON is high on the list as well. The retelling of the King Arthur legend from the perspective of the women in the tale, particularly Morgaine, is a favorite of mine. Reimaging Morgan le Fay, evil sorceress with no purpose other than pure destruction, into Morgaine, a priestess of the Goddess struggling to forge her own path in the world as best she could, spoke to me in a way that's hard to encapsulate in a sentence or two. The ongoing themes of reconciliation in the book - between religions, genders, the past and the future - also made an impact. I won't force her to read any particular book, even if it is dear to my heart, but I feel pretty sure she'll at least be curious about this one. Except for my private Facebook profile, I don't reveal my daughter's name online, but I will tell you it was inspired by this book.

What genre books are near and dear to your heart that you would love to share with a child/teen? And if you've got recs for books for really small kiddos, please share those titles in the comments as well! I'm always on the lookout to add to the library of my little personal assistant (as I like to call her on my blog).



Sonya Clark writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with the help of her book-smooching personal assistant who insists on dance breaks as well as snack breaks. Learn more at www.sonyaclark.net

Monday, July 29, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Our New Releases This Week


Herman Edward Heckley knows all about drywall, concrete, and nail guns. So what's he doing fighting off taffeta in a bridal salon? He's maid of honor for his best friend, Caroline Oakenfeld, in her wedding to a pencil-necked geek. But the closer he gets to the ceremony, the more he wonders if he's been missing out all this time. Caroline has been missing out, and she knows it. Shes been in love with Heck forever, but frittering her life away until Heck wises up isn't part of her life plan. She's agreed to marry her boyfriend so she can move on with her life. But the closer she gets to the ceremony, the more she realizes she has to resolve her feelings for Heck. For better or for worse.

Buy


Links of Interest

Love this video! Nothing To Prove - Geek Girls & The Doubleclicks

The new Catching Fire trailer

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special to be broadcast around the world simultaneously: "The episode, which will unite Matt Smith’s Doctor with David Tennant's tenth, has reportedly been sold to 200 countries and is expected to reach more than 100 million viewers, making it the biggest global drama simulcast in history."

Read Steven Moffat's audition scripts for Doctor Who‘s Twelfth Doctor

What Made 'The Wolverine' Such a Disappointment?

Here Be Magic Group Announcements

Cover Reveal: WARRIOR OF THE NILE from Veronica Scott, coming on September 16th from Carina Press. Available for preorder at Amazon now. Paranormal romance set in Ancient Egypt. Second book in her  “Gods of Egypt” Series!







Cover Reveal: Book 3 of R. L. Naquin's Monster Haven Stories, FAIRIES IN MY FIREPLACE, is out Sept 2 and is available for pre-order.










Sunday, July 28, 2013

On authors and readers reviewing other people's books

Posted by: Angela Korra'ti
If you hang around me for more than five minutes, you'll figure out a few things about me very fast. One, I'm prone to explode with fangirly joy about Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music, since I not only like to listen to it, I like to play it too. (And I'll often sneak references to it into posts that have nothing to do with music. Like this one!)

But two, I'll also prattle on at the drop of a hat about the latest thing I've read--because I do love me some books. My father used to tell me that I won a bet for him when I was four, reading an article in the newspaper out loud without any prompting at all. I've been a voracious reader all my life. And moreover, I've been passionate about talking about my opinions on books with others. When I discovered Goodreads, I was overjoyed. A site where I can keep track of my vast collection of books, you say? Where I can post reviews and read the reviews of others, and use those to decide what I'm going to read next, you say? Sign me the hell up.

Now, though, I'm an author myself. And this presents a set of unique challenges when it comes to talking about books online.

Reviewing a book in general online can open up entire shelves of cans of worms these days. The ease with which authors and readers can interact, and with which authors can find out what fans are saying about their work, means that it's very, very easy for an author to find reviews of their work. Sometimes they don't even have to go looking, since if an author is well known, their readers will come find them and let them know in no uncertain terms what they thought of their latest release.

And we've all heard the Authors Behaving Badly stories--people who blow up at getting bad reviews on Amazon, or on Goodreads for that matter. People who rally their fan base to go and blast the hapless reviewer, regardless of how politely the review was or was not written.

If you're a reader, yeah, you have to be careful about how you phrase your reviews. But if you're an author, all the more so. Those authors you're reading are now not just people whose books you're reading. They're your peers, members of the greater writing community you've now joined. And the last thing you want to do is alienate your peers.

So what do you do?

A lot of authors I know refuse to review another author's work at all. Others won't review in their own genre, while still others maintain separate accounts for their author and reviewer online presences. And some won't post reviews unless they're specifically positive ones.

And some authors will still review--but keep in mind that they'll need to exercise greater diplomacy when expressing opinions on books that they didn't write.

Me, I've had less time in recent years to write reviews now that I'm actively working on my own work. But when I've reviewed in the past, I've always tried to be objective and fair, and if I don't particularly care for a book I'll try to find at least a few things I liked about it along with the ones I didn't. These days I haven't had time to do more than drop ratings on things I read, with periodic non-review-y posts about books I simply have to explode with that aforementioned fangirly joy about (like, say, Alex Bledsoe's The Hum and the Shiver, or Robin Maxwell's Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan).

That passionate discussion we've had on the Carina loop, though, has given me a lot of food for thought as to how to move forward with any future reviews. One thing though stands out for me, and I think it's vital to keep this in mind whether you're an author reviewing other people's work, or simply a passionate lover of books--or when you're posting on the Internet in general.

And that is, don't say something online that you wouldn't say to somebody's face.

We're all thinking, feeling people at these keyboards, part of a world-spanning community of readers and writers, and every so often it'll do us all good, I think, if we take a step back and remember that.

Fellow readers, let's remember that even if we didn't happen to like a book, it may have hundreds if not thousands of people who did. And those other people's thoughts and feelings on the work are every bit as valid and real as our own.

Fellow writers, let's remember that while we'd all love to have each and every one of our reviews have five stars, not every reader is going to love what we write. That's okay. And for the love of all that's holy, let's not attack someone's negative reviews of our stuff. People remember which authors behave badly. Let's aspire instead to be the authors who own their less-than-stellar reviews with grace and comedy.

And if I ever have a suitably scathing one-star review of my work come across my radar, I'll set that puppy to music.

Angela Highland is the author of the epic fantasy Valor of the Healer for Carina Press, and (as Angela Korra'ti) the urban fantasy Faerie Blood. Come say hi to her at angelahighland.com. But if you come bearing bad reviews, bring an accordion, bagpipes, or a kazoo.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Social Media dos and don'ts

Posted by: Kathleen Collins
I know some of you are going to read that title and think "Seriously? Haven't we been over and over this topic?" While typically I'd be in agreement some of the things I've seen lately have led me to believe that perhaps these things aren't as widely known as I thought they were.

The first, and perhaps most important, rule is: Put the emphasis on the Social not the MEdia. In other words, don't make it all about you. Why are you on facebook and twitter and whatever else if you aren't there to connect with others? That's why it's called SOCIAL media. Talk to people, even if you don't know them. Engage others in conversation. Don't just talk about what's going on in your life, your career, etc.

Don't spam. Twitter and Goodreads seem to be where this happens most often. Don't set up your account to auto message new followers with 'Buy my book' or 'Like my page' or 'subscribe to my blog.' And don't recommend your own book to people. No matter how much you're sure they'll like it, just don't.

Do reach out to others, offer them support, congratulate them. Comment on the cute pictures of their kids. Be friendly.

Do remember that if you wouldn't be willing to say something to someone's face, don't say it online. Be respectful of other's feelings.

And finally, for this blog post anyway, have fun. Find your niche and enjoy it.

*Kathleen Collins is anxiously awaiting the release of her first book, Realm Walker, on October 28, 2013. You can find her online at kathleencollins.net and on twitter at @kathy_collins

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sexism, Sexual Predators and the Speculative Fiction Community

Posted by: Angela Campbell
 Today's post was written by Here Be Magic contributor Shawna Reppert.

(Author’s note: Yes, this blog is somewhat controversial. But after writing recently in my own blog about the importance of writing about those Things Left Unsaid (Writer’s Block, Part 2), I decided that it would be hypocritical to scrap it and write something else. As a woman who has been stalked at two separate points in her life, I can’t be silent on this issue. Consider it an opinion piece)

There’s been a lot of buzz in the speculative fiction community lately about issues of sexism, sexual harassment and assault, from the hysterically funny pictures of men attempting the outrageously unlikely poses that artists give to the ‘bimbos on the cover of the book’ to the divisive flame war started by some sexist comments made by SFWA members to the somber allegations of sexual harassment made against a well-known editor of a prominent publishing house specializing in speculative fiction. Do I think these things are more prevalent in our community than in the general public? Absolutely not! To the contrary, I feel safer and more respected among ‘our people’ than I do just about anywhere else. Which is why I find sexism and its darker cousins more of a shock when I find it in the SF&F world. Frankly, geeks, I expect better of us. We are the dreamers of the future and the re-visioners of the past, the creators of worlds. We gave birth to women with laser guns and kindled TV’s first interracial kiss.

This isn’t just a woman’s issue. Any man with a mother, wife, daughter, female friends or colleagues is also affected. I have witnessed a tough male martial arts instructor fight back tears as he explained why he would continue to teach women-only self-defense classes at a steampunk convention, despite a male con-goer screaming discrimination. (It should be mentioned that the con had a whole martial arts track, and only one class was closed to men.) He had had friends and students who had been victims of sexual assault, and understood that women needed a safe place to talk about their experiences and learn to protect themselves.

You may wonder why I’m lumping sexism in with sexual assault. No, I don’t think every teenage boy with a pin-up of an anatomically unlikely female in a chainmail bikini is necessarily a rapist (though if I was his mom we’d be having a Serious Talk), nor do I think that every male writer that talks about his female counterparts as if they are dancing bears would necessarily arrange a casting room couch for the next anthology he edits. But when you create a climate where roughly half the community is ‘othered’, considered lesser, not fully human, an object without brains or feelings to be pursued as a prize, you create a climate in which predators feel they have the social approval to do as they will.

So what is our responsibility as writers and as fans? First, we need to acknowledge that words have power. Before anyone starts gathering wood for a bonfire at my feet, I’m absolutely not saying that novels should read like after-school specials. A) that’s bad craft and B) no one would read them anyway. (Put out that torch, if you please. Thank you.) Nor am I advocating censorship. (I hope you’re carrying that gas can because your car stalled.) Books with nothing but unicorns and rainbows and fluffy bunnies would be devoid of conflict and therefore boring. Villains need to be bad, and even protagonists sometimes behave badly. It’s what makes them real. The question is not what behavior you are portraying but in what light it is cast. Are you eroticizing rape, romanticizing stalking, promoting the idea that a woman is nothing but an object to be pursued, or that a female protagonist does/should live only for the goal of winning her man?

I’m not suggesting self-censorship here. Just self-awareness. Far from restricting your writing, such awareness can enhance it, break you out of old tropes to create characters that are new, fresh, real. It can even be fun. While working on my urban fantasy Ravensblood, I attended a two-day workshop on character development offered by two writers, one a method actor and one a psychologist. I had a long discussion after class with the psychologist regarding Raven’s relationship with Cassandra. Was I romanticizing the old trope of the woman who forgives her man all, setting up Cassandra for misery with a man incapable of feeling? We both decided that Cass had grown enough from their earlier, disastrous relationship to stand up to Raven wherever necessary and that Raven had not only decided to change his ways but evidenced that he had, and that if the two of them remained committed to their new paths that they could build a healthy relationship (provided they survived their current adventure). We both basked for a moment in the glow of the knowledge that these two people that we had come to care about were going to be all right. . .and then we remembered that we were talking about fictional characters. At that moment, I knew I could make the book work.

If you as a writer decided to stick to the old, unhealthy tropes, well, you’re the one who has to live with you. But at least have the courage to acknowledge what you are doing and don’t justify it by saying ’it’s only a story.’ Yes, I’m talking about a comment made by a particular best-selling author of YA vampire books that glorify stalking and encourage young girls to think their lives begin and end with their relationship to a boy. I’m not sure what scares me more, the influence these books have over young girls or the fact that boys, watching all the girls in the class swoon, are actually reading these books to learn what girls like.

Readers, you’re not off the hook. How aware are you of what you are reading, and how it is informing your behavior and your attitudes?

Stories have power, folks. Why else would writers write? There’s surely an easier way to make a buck. Let’s use our Jedi powers for good. (And readers, please support those who do.)

(Author’s postscript: There is, of course, much more beyond our writing that we can/do to promote safety and equality. But that’s outside the scope of this blog. Just going to say: Women, stay safe, stay alert. Yes, you shouldn’t have to be more careful than men. But we don’t live in that perfect world. Consider speaking truth to power. When one brave woman brought the editor’s behavior to the attention of the publisher, it was addressed. And stories came out, going back years, from women who hadn’t spoken out before for fear of being blackballed.

Men, if a woman asks you to escort her out of a party because she’s afraid some creepy guy there will follow her if she leaves alone, or if she asks you to walk her to her car because it’s a dark night and a questionable neighborhood or she’s parked in a lonely place, for gods’ sake, do so. This is your chance to be a knight in shining armor, a Jedi, an upstanding Starfleet officer (insert your favorite heroic fantasy here).


Shawna Reppert is the author of The Stolen Luck (Carina Press, May, 2013) and is about to begin a Kickstarter campaign to fund the indie release of Ravensblood, the first of an urban fantasy series set in an alternate version of the Pacific Northwest. Read her other blog ramblings and get links to all her published work at www.Shawna-Reppert.com

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Brinner

Posted by: Joshua Roots

I love brinner.

Seriously, whoever invented serving breakfast for dinner deserves to be knighted. Any time I eat at a place that offers breakfast all day, I’m choosing the breakfast menu.

Steak? Nope.

Waffles? Game on.

Same goes for a good series. Not that I’m opposed to reading single titles, mind you. I’ve enjoyed plenty of amazing one-of-one books, but given the option between those or an enthralling series, I’m all over the latter like hotcakes at dinnertime.

Part of that is because I love watching characters grow. Few things compare to finishing the first book and knowing that Books 2 through 65 are just waiting to be cracked open. It’s a journey where you get a deeper appreciation for not only the characters, but also the world that they’re living in. It’s certainly one of the many reasons why I’m so drawn to Fantasy and Sci-Fi.

The danger, at least for me, is that I never want a series to end. Much like brinner, I want to just keep filling myself with all the syrupy goodness of the story arcs until I explode. That said, when a series ends well, it’s one of the most satisfying feelings on the planet. Having ridden the roller coaster with the characters, experiencing all the ups and downs along with them, you get the happy (or at least fitting) ending you hoped for. And you walk away knowing that if you’re ever hungry for that kind of meal again, it’s waiting for you. 24/7. All you have to do is open up Book 1 and dig in.



And now I want pancakes.


-Josh

Monday, July 22, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Our new releases this week

Hannah Dawson has a big problem: she’s just become the unexpected owner of a snarky cat, a lovable but not-so-bright dog … and their $10 million fortune!

Which would be awesome if it hadn’t made her the target of every wacko in the metro Atlanta area. Now Hannah and her famous pets need protecting. And there’s only one man who can help them…

Enter Zachary Collins: ex-TV star of ‘The Psychic Detective’ and street-wise private investigator — all 6-foot, blue-eyed gorgeousness!

Only Zach’s got secrets of his own… not least that he finds Hannah, his client, irresistibly hot. The more time he spends keeping her out of harm’s way, the more he’s tempted to give in to the attraction and break all his own rules.

Book one in an exciting new trilogy. Available from HarperImpulse July 25.

Buy link: http://www.harperimpulseromance.com/books/on-the-scent

Cover Reveal:
Amazon SF Adventure Best Selling Author Veronica Scott shares the cover of her new Science Fiction Romance ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE, to be released in late August. Visit her blog page for the story blurb!

Links of Interest

(Via Jeffe) An interesting post on the lack of female SFF authors from a female editor at TOR UK: SEXISM IN GENRE PUBLISHING: A PUBLISHER’S PERSPECTIVE

Firefly Online Game Announcement at SDCC 2013

In case you missed the first one... Sharknado 2 Gets the Greenlight From Syfy! This one in New York.

London Law Firm Indirectly Leaked J.K. Rowling's Pseudonym Because it's not like they're used to dealing with confidential information or anything.

Here Be Magic Group Announcements

Eleri Stone: I'm excited to announce a new contract with Carina Press for STONE COLD DESIRE, second in my fantasy romance series Spellcraft. Woo hoo!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Inspiration or Genius

Posted by: Susan Edwards
As a writer, I’m often asked where I get my ideas.  When I wrote my White series, the characters themselves decided the plots and their own story lines as the continuing theme centered on family.  This is one wonderful aspect of writing a series, as the series often determines where you go next. 

Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere.  I collect images that move me.  For a new, contemporary series I’m eager to start, I’ve collected several storm images that I’m very excited to put into words (and hopefully terrify my readers, or at least the villains).
 
Other writers are spurred by conversations, stories in newspapers, online, news.  Or maybe settings they’ve visited, or photos of homes, plantations, etc.  The world is filled with inspiration and ideas for the creative mind to latch onto.

By time I wrote book eleven I  was looking to start a new series and didn’t have any idea what, who, where, etc.  I knew it had to remain historical and Native American.  I also wanted to do more paranormal. The White books had a lot of mythology, and mystic-type elements and gifts and I was edging very close to actual paranormal.

I wanted that freedom to create my own world within the familiar world my readers came to expect.  Then one day, I was looking at photos online and I came across this picture of an eye unlike any I’d seen before.  The eye was blue, with a yellow webbing over it.  The eye condition is called Heterochromia.  My writer’s mind immediately saw the possibilities.  

From this photo, I created a race of humans with eyes called SpiritWalkers whose eyes are a mixture of all colors of the earth—mixed shades with this webbing. The first SpiritWalker book, Summer of the Eagle, my heroine has blue eyes, blazing shades of blue with yellow webbing.  In Autumn Dreams, the heroine’s eyes are a mixture of “mother earth”: blue, green,  brown and yellow.  My race of humans are children of the gods and are one with the earth and world in which they live.  It’s fitting that their eyes reflect who and what they are.

Summer of the Eagle originally came out in 2007.  Recently, I got the rights to this book back and decided to release it in digital format.  I also decided to pick up where I left off and continue this series.   Autumn Dreams, book two, will be released in digital, or ebook format in Nov 2013.  Both books are part of the Seasons of Love mini-series.  

The SpiritWalker world has grown and will expanded into a contemporary paranormal series that is actually four different worlds (5 including historicals) , yet they are one world.  This aspect comes directly from the Native American beginnings of four gods yet they are as one.  I can’t wait to introduce my readers to this world.

It just amazes me that all this began with one image that inspired a new character, that demanded her own series that then became the  inspiration of an entire world that (breathe) will give birth to not just one new series but at least five!  Five series that include historicals and contemporaries.  Five worlds that are really just one, and that one world came from a picture of one beautiful eye.   

How’s that for ideas circling around.  Is this inspiration or creative genius?  I believe that creative people somehow tap into the ordinary and we "see" or "feel" more than non-creative types.  We see not just what is there but what could be there or should be there.

So how about you?  If you are a writer, where do you get your ideas?  What inspires you when the idea factory has closed for the day?  

If you are not a writer, tell me what inspires you and why?  What do you do with ideas that float around in your mind.

 
To celebrate the re-release of Summer of the Eagle, I am doing three things the rest of this month and part of August.  (Contest info is being updated this weekend and Monday on my website)
1              I am giving away a free screen saver of my book covers to everyone who signs up for my private mailing list.  If you are on my mailing list, send an email to susan@susanedwards.com to be entered.
2              This is also my contest on my website:  sign up  and your name goes into a drawing with an additional prize of a homemade wolf print book cover.  Check it out (should be up by Monday at the latest.
3              Also, leave a comment and I will draw one name for a free copy of Summer of the Eagle here.  If there are more than 10, I will draw two names.

Available now at smashword.com. Amazon & Barnes & Noble  by Tue July 23rd

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I am pleased to announce...

Posted by: Sheryl Nantus
... that I was lucky enough to win 3rd place in the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter's yearly Prism Awards for "Blood of the Pride"!


The finalists were:
Light Paranormal   
Blood of the PrideSheryl NantusAlissa DavisCarina Press
CynfulDana Marie BellTera KleinfelterSamhain Publishing
Immortally YoursAngie FoxMonique PattersonSt. Martin's Press

It goes without saying that I was thrilled to be in the final three and happy as all get-out to win 3rd place! I can't think of better company to be in!

This isn't my first tilt at the Prism Awards, to be honest - in 2011 "Blaze of Glory" and "Wild Cards and Iron Horses" both finaled as well but I'm still looking for that elusive glass pyramid for my cabinet - maybe next year...

 

My thanks to everyone at FF&P, RWA and those who took on the job of judging so many great entries and making the contest work - and for those of you looking for some fantastic reading, please check out all of the fine authors and their works!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Got Ghosts?

Posted by: Jax Garren
My little sister is in town, which means new story ideas are sure to come. A couple years ago we drank too much vodka and watched 80s television--a fortunate event that resulted in The Tales of the Underlight's first hero, burn-scarred warrior Wesley Haukon. But my sister is not only my '80s TV pal, she's also the only one of my close friends who will watch horror movies with me. I'm not so big on slasher films; if there's a serial killer in it you can count me out. But I love a good paranormal horror--particularly if ghosts are involved. And I've heard great things about today's release The Conjuring. I'm particularly excited because it looks like a throwback style to the old 70s horror flicks with their slow build terror. My favorite kind!

Anyone else planning to see The Conjuring? I did a little behind the scenes research. Like a lot of horror movies, this one claims to be "based on real life events." But, uh, so is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a movie based on a guy who wasn't in Texas and didn't use a chainsaw. So I took the claim with a grain of salt. But when I heard the protagonists of the show were real life paranormal investigating duo Ed and Lorraine Warren (most famous for having investigated the Amityville Horror) I decided to take a deeper look. This movie, depicting the Perron family's horrifying encounter with an evil presence haunting a farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island, sounds like it might somewhat match up with "true" events--or at least the events as claimed by the Perrons and Warrens, depending on your take on ghosts.

Personally, I don't know what I think about ghosts. I love Ouija boards and can consistently get them to work. Once, to my panic, after I asked the board who we were talking to, it answered, "You know." Eek! I have one non-Ouija ghost encounter to share. It's easy to explain away, I think, but I still remember it with a happy chill.

St. Louis Cathedral by Gary Dee.
You can see the alley to the right where this happened!
Back in college I went to New Orleans with my university choir for Jazz Festival. It was just after 2 a.m. and several friends and I were leaving Bourbon Street on foot to head back to our hotel. Earlier in the evening one friend and I had gone on a Haunted History Ghost Tour --which was a lot of fun, if you're ever in NOLA and looking for something spooky to do!

Our path to the hotel took us past Jackson Square, with St. Louis Cathedral presiding in its eerie, Spanish-Colonial splendor. The alley beside the cathedral had been one of the stops on our ghost tour, so my fellow "ghost hunter" and I hauled everyone down it to tell them about the spirit of the priest haunting the site. We prefaced the story as our tour guides had by explaining, "A ghost encounter usually has three elements. Most people are familiar with two: the drop in temperature (cold spots) and sounds that have no source or cause (like rattling chains). With this ghost, the bells of the cathedral can sometimes be heard even when they're still. What most people don't know is that before the sounds and cold spots, the first sign of a ghost is usually--" At this point, a friend wrinkled her nose and announced, "Does anyone else smell incense?" My fellow ghost tour member and I exchanged glances, and he continued, "As we were saying, ghosts have scents and this one's is incense. You can smell it right before he show up." I started to smell the incense, too, coming from the sacristy door. At two in the morning. We all ran screaming from the alley!

Anyone else looking forward to The Conjuring? And do you have any personal ghost stories to share? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Are Middle Books in Fantasy Trilogies Always Bridges?

Posted by: Jeffe Kennedy
That's me in the mirror at Pappadeaux in the Houston airport yesterday. I flew to Atlanta for the Romance Writers of America (RWA) National Convention.

This is probably my favorite convention, because it's really just other writers. Other people who are absolutely my tribe, lovers of stories and romance. But it's not all floral chiffon and Harlequin covers. There are a significant number of people here who write various forms of speculative fiction - from paranormal romance to fantasy romance to science fiction romance. For many, the amount of romance in their books varies considerably. Still, because the some of the perspectives on science fiction and fantasy tend to veer away from anything "too girly," a lot of those writers have found their tribe amongst the romance writers.

For a really interesting article on women sci fi authors by a "hard" sci fi editor, go here. It's worth reading all the comments. I agree with what commenter Erin Lale says, the women authors have gone to romance.

However, this does not mean we traded in our geek cards for boxes of bon bons. So, last night I found myself sitting in the bar (shocking, I know), talking with Amber Lin and Sarah Frantz. Because I knew Sarah would understand, I told her what's been preying on my mind - that I'm afraid I'm writing The Two Towers. Amber patted my arm and said, "That's okay. Lots of people say The Empire Strikes Back is their favorite movie."

This kind of conversation is what happens when you truly find your tribe. They're the people who truly get you.

For those of you who didn't follow this shorthand, The Two Towers is the second book in the famed Lord of the Rings trilogy (LOTR to its friends). The second book is so widely regarded as a "bridge" - a book that really serves only to connect the first and third books - that I was able to Google "the two towers book review bridge" and up popped numerous hits. In this one, they say:

This build-up of momentum, from the smaller-scale events of The Fellowship of the Ring to the huge face-offs in The Return of the King, only becomes possible with The Two Towers to act as a bridge between the other two parts of the trilogy. But because The Two Towers is a bridge, it doesn't truly stand on its own. If you want to find out more about how Tolkien saw this book fitting into his The Lord of the Rings project, check out our learning guide for The Fellowship of the Ring, where you'll find a full discussion.
 Some people even hate The Two Towers, for this very reason.

Amber's example of The Empire Strikes Back is, of course, the second movie in the original Star Wars trilogy. (Which were actually numbers 4, 5 and 6 in the overall series of 9 projected films.) Arguably The Empire Strikes Back is not a stand-alone movie. It really doesn't make sense unless you've seen Star Wars and the ending is a far-from-satisfying series of cliffhangers that are only resolved in Return of the Jedi.

But, is this bad?

Right now I'm writing the second book in my Twelve Kingdoms trilogy and I'm acutely aware of continuing the arc started in book one and of setting up the final conflicts that will occur in book three. This is only my second trilogy and I just finished the whole editorial process on book two of Covenant of Thorns, where I had many of the same problems, so I'm still learning how to do this. Maybe the middle books in trilogies are inevitably like this?

What do you all think? Are there examples of really strong middle books in trilogies that you know of? I'd love to know!

Meanwhile, I'll console myself that Amber is right. LOTS of people liked The Empire Strikes Back the best.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Meankitty's Advice for Authors: Social Media

Posted by: Jody W. and Meankitty
We (almost) all have to deal with it. An author human can't hunker down behind a typewriter and simply pound away in 2013, refusing all interviews, public appearances, and book tours. No longer can writers afford to be the mysterious, possibly hypothetical deep thinker behind the books. And if an author tries, the author (such as JK Rowling) is likely to be outed by somebody and forced to step up.

Well, technically an author CAN avoid some of these things, since authors should have cats and the cats don't want the authors to leave the house, but a contemporary author does have to make him or herself somewhat available online, starting with an informative website that has a fan mail page and increasing in pitch and frequency until an author has a presence on pretty much every social media platform there is.

Meankitty, a long-time veteran of the internet (since 1999/2000, depending on how you count!), has taken it upon herself to offer up these bits of social media savvy for authors in 2013.

Q) What are the most important social media venues for authors to maintain?

A) Whichever ones don't interfere with the author's lap, as well as the author's ability to get me treats or let me in and out and in and out and in and out the door when necessary.

Q) Should an author make his or her passionate interests known, about such things as politics, religion and diet?

A) That depends. How does the author like hate mail? I personally love hate mail. I like to post it on my site, edit it so it contains a lot of references to ferrets, and invite fans to mock it with me. So if the human in question thinks that sounds like fun -- especially considering she's going to get hate mail about making fun of hate mail -- go for it. But then, the writer's name is probably NOT Meanauthor, so...

Q) If an author doesn't want hate mail, should an author's online presence be as friction-free as possible?

A) Sure, if you want to have all the personality of an old, beige dog.

Q) Ok, then what SHOULD an author complain -- or have colorful things to say -- about?

A) Not reviews, that's for sure.

Q) How can an author HAVE a personality online, then? What is safe?

A) Have you tried pictures of cats?

Q) How many pictures should I post of cats?

A) More than you post of dogs, other animals, children or your book covers. Or whatever you're having for lunch, unless it's a photo of how much your cat is enjoying your lunch.

So, authors, there you have it. Social Media by Meankitty. You're welcome.


Jody Wallace
Author, Cat Person, Amigurumist
http://www.jodywallace.com  * http://www.meankitty.com 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Our new releases this week

When tragedy leaves his family nears destitution, farm boy Cadmon—named after the famed saint and poet—has no choice but to accept a position with Lord Vance, the so-called Mad Lord of Whitby, posing for paintings...nude.
After contracting an illness during his travels, Lord Vance was left both impotent and prey to fits of madness, and now lives vicariously through painting handsome subjects. Cadmon is shy at first, but his affection for his lordship quickly grows and he regales his master with tales of erotic, recurring dreams.

Lord Vance’s servant Tamar, a handsome Batavian slave gifted in the healing arts, attempts to hide the enormity of his master’s affliction until the night Cadmon stumbles onto the truth linking his dreams and Lord Vance’s madness. Passion flares between the three of them but is shattered when Cadmon discovers he was hired under false pretenses.

Heartbroken, Cadmon seeks refuge in the ruins of Whitby Abbey. There, haunted by the memories of both saints and madmen, he must find the strength to offer his body and risk his sanity to save the men he loves.



Sunday, July 14, 2013

Knight of Darkness (and a New Audio Book!)

Posted by: Linda Mooney

KNIGHT OF DARKNESS
A Sensuously Erotic Sci-Fi Romance
by Linda Mooney

Sorrow Knight knew that at any time the U'Nar would attack Earth, but he needed a few more days to come out of chrystasis before he could fight the deadly enemy. With his soul sword, Rall, he and the handful of other Surge Knights would gather wherever the enemy landed, and drive them off this world. A world with so many wonderful sights and surprises. A world that contained a woman named Rachel, who had captured his heart and his imagination, but who was forbidden to him by his laws.

Rachel Grohl often wondered about the skinny, dishwater-blond young man living in the apartment across the breezeway from her. His shyness, as well as his clean but well-worn clothes, tugged at her heart. They'd barely spoken a dozen words to each other since he moved in a few weeks ago, but she had to thank him for helping her the other day. Maybe asking him over to dinner would work.

They shared one dinner, one touch, and one kiss that would lead to one night of love. A love which could ultimately avert the total eradication of the human race.


Warning: Contains tiny men skirts, lasagna, human metamorphosis, glass table tops, IOUs, bomb shelters, comrades-in-arms, and an invading alien force that will haunt everyone's nightmares.

For an excerpt:  http://lindamooney.com

************** I N   A D D I T I O N  **************************
The Battle Lord’s Lady, Book 1 of the Battle Lord Saga, is Now Available as an Audio Book!
Listen to the incomparable Kate Udall as she reads and narrates!
http://lindamooney.com/audiobooks.htm
Three hundred years in the future, mankind still is trying to survive the Great Collision that changed the earth forever. People live in pockets of civilization called compounds, battling the elements and the mutations which have developed over the centuries, trying to live and survive day by day.

Yulen D'Jacques is the Battle Lord of Alta Novis. His duty is to keep his compound and his people safe, which means yearly sweeps of the area to remove any mutated men and animals from encroaching.

Atrilan Ferran is Mutah, a mutant warrior and huntress trained to protect and defend her home from Cleaners, the “normals” who invade the forests to slaughter everything and everyone who gets in their way.

They never anticipated the day when their hearts would collide, challenging and changing everything they thought was the truth. Leading them to the day they would have to prove their love for each other to man and mutant alike.

Warning:  Contains intense cruelty, an avaricious mother-in-law, unbelievable hunting abilities, mutant animals, silken tents, dungeons, denial, and a love that would spawn a dynasty.

Buy Links:
Amazon:
Audible .com
and on iTunes

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Paranormal Week: Old myth/new life

Posted by: Shona Husk
One of the things I love about paranormal romance is that it can take old myths and breathe new life into them. It could be something as simple as vampires, looking at what the common law is but adding a new spin. Or it could be taking whole legends and reimagining them, Juliet Marillier is very good at this in a fantasy setting.

While Beauty and the Beast gets used a lot in romance, in paranormal romance the hero can truly be a hideous beast…or goblin.

I was able to blend my love of Roman Britain with goblin lore and a classic tale of not judging a person based on appearance to create The Goblin King.

For the Annwyn series I looked at the old fairy lore, the stories from when they were gods and Gwyn ap Nudd ruled the underworld, and then imagine a kind where are they now scenario? What has happened to the fairies over the last couple of thousand years?

Other writers draw on Greek myth or Egyptian. But in each case the old gods and creatures get a chance at being reborn for a modern audience.

Before stories were written down they were handed down orally. Each teller adding their own variation. There are so many variations of King Arthur and Robin Hood. And these are just the ones we know about, the ones that were recorded, and they are far more recent that ancient myth. Imagine how many variations and tales of the gods we have lost over the centuries. 

Some was deliberately destroyed when early books were destroyed by Christian monks wanting to stamp out the worship of old gods. Other stories would have simply been lost because no one was telling the stories anymore after they were forced to convert. 

The only way to keep myth and legend alive is for it to be talked about, for people to know it exists. 


I love that TV shows are looking at the old stories and bringing them back. Supernatural uses plenty of paranormal creatures; ever googled the wendigo? Or the woman in white? 

Seen the trailer for Sleepy Hollow or Dracula? Go one take a look, I’ll wait ;)

Even Once Upon a Time give the fairy tales a fresh spin.

Paranormal romance lets authors take an old tale out of the crypt, revive it and give it a makeover. Some will closely resemble their source (like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast) but others will spawn a new story that on the surface looks nothing like its parents.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Paranormal Week: Gothic Roots

Posted by: Evey Brett
Since I have a Gothic e-book out on Sunday, it seemed appropriate to point out that Paranormal Romance has Gothic roots. There's a nifty infographic here about the history of Paranormal Romance and how it started way back in the 1700's with Horace Walpole. Gothic novels usually combined elements of horror (such as a monster or a family curse) and romance (cue moody, secretive hero and vulnerable heroine.) Dracula is probably the most well-known, though of course there is Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera and others.

And then women started taking over the genre, and we had books like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Rebecca, with the interesting turn that all three explore how women are trapped in the home and subjected to male patriarchy, themes that are popular today with all the kick-ass, take-no-prisoners female heroes

Though lately, paranormal romance has lost much of the horror element--i.e., vampires aren't scary any more--and taken on fantasy creatures like elves and fairies and those with supernatural powers from magical to psychic abilities. Monsters aren't the enemy, they're the love interest and/or the protagonist.

As for me, I rather like the darker elements. I don't have a monster in my book--it leans more toward the occult, but it does have the requisite moody lord, an innocent heroine (well, hero in my case) and a mysterious servant who is more than he seems. It's set in 1780's Whitby, England, home of the famous Whitby Abbey and St. Mary's church, which features prominently in Dracula.

So, hooray for Gothic Roots! And now I'm going to go home and watch this boxed set of 100 classic horror movies, which includes a number of Gothic tales. It's research, you know. Even Attack of the Giant Gila Monster. Though, really, I just had to watch that one since we found one at work the other night. Normal, not giant. :>)

What's your favorite Gothic book and/or movie?


Coming Sunday, 7/14...Saints and Madmen from Amber Allure!

 
When tragedy leaves his family nears destitution, farm boy Cadmon—named after the famed saint and poet—has no choice but to accept a position with Lord Vance, the so-called Mad Lord of Whitby, posing for paintings…nude.

After contracting an illness during his travels, Lord Vance was left both impotent and prey to fits of madness and now lives vicariously through painting handsome subjects. Cadmon is shy at first, but his affection for his lordship quickly grows and he regales his master with tales of erotic, recurring dreams.

Lord Vance’s servant Tamar, a handsome Batavian slave gifted in the healing arts, attempts to hide the enormity of his master’s affliction until the night Cadmon stumbles onto the truth linking his dreams and Lord Vance’s madness. Passion flares between the three of them but is shattered when Cadmon discovers he was hired under false pretenses.

Heartbroken, Cadmon seeks refuge in the ruins of Whitby Abbey. There, haunted by the memories of both saints and madmen, he must find the strength to offer his body and risk his sanity to save the men he loves.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What I want in Paranormal Romance

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Yesterday, Angela invited a group of authors, editors and bloggers to share what they love about the paranormal. If you haven’t read her post, you should! It’s great. You can find it right here.

I grew up reading fantasy and horror—David Eddings, Raymond Feist, Anne McCaffrey, Stephen King and, really, anything I could get my hands on. I didn’t pick up my first romance novel until I was an adult but was instantly hooked. For me, paranormal romance is the perfect combination of all my favorite genres. That's why I read it, why I write it.

As much as I love paranormal romance, I think there's always room for experimentation. Here's my list for what I hope to see more of in the future:

More horror, please

I’m reading Written in Red by Anne Bishop right now and at one point, a wolf shifter thinks:

“Most of the terra indigene didn’t want to love humans; they wanted to eat them. Why did humans have such a hard time understanding that?”

It made me laugh, but it’s very true. We’ve lost our fear of the monsters because we’ve read enough vampire and shifter books to know where all those hungry looks are really leading.

I’d also like to see more contemporary-set Gothic-style romances with strong supernatural elements. Something like The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens but with a stronger romantic storyline.

Mythology

How about a Marillier-esque romance? She’s amazing at incorporating mythology into her fantasy novels and I think that could translate well into historical or contemporary paranormal romance. Less Urban Fantasy-style, more Fantasy-style.

It would also be nice to see more stories based on mythologies other than Celtic or Greco-Roman. You know, like maybe Norse mythology;)

ESP, too. Yep, you read that right

My formative reading years were the late 80’s and early 90’s so bear with me. I like stories about otherwise normal humans who possess supernatural talents that complicate their lives in some way. Blame this on Stephen King and Lois Duncan. Stephen King for his monster-within stories like Carrie, Firestarter, and The Dead Zone. Lois Duncan for all of those paranormal, not-quite-romance books she wrote in the 80’s – The Third Eye, A Gift of Magic, Stranger With My Face. Stranger With My Face is about an astral projecting evil twin who steals her sister’s body.

And I ask my fellow paranormal romance authors—why aren’t there any astral projecting evil twin stories in paranormal romance? Why?!??

So that's my wish list but I’d love to hear your thoughts. What would you like to see in paranormal romance?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Special guests answer: “Why I love paranormal”

Posted by: Angela Campbell

When writing my post for Paranormal Week, I thought long and hard about all of the topics I could explore. I knew my fellow contributors here were already posting some discussion-worthy reads. After a lot of thought, my journalism background kicked in and I decided to simply reach out and explore why people love this genre so much and…well, invite others to help me pay tribute to all things paranormal. I’m thrilled by the responses I got from the authors, editors, agents and book bloggers who all responded to my request to know, “Why do you love the paranormal genre?” Seriously, I'm still fangirling over some of them (I mean, Maggie Shayne, Nalini Singh AND Christine Feehan!!!).

But, eh hmm, since this is my post, I’ll start.

Why do I love the paranormal genre so much? On “The X-Files,” Fox Mulder always had a poster in his office that said “I want to believe.” I loved that poster. I actually have a replica of that poster somewhere in storage. Like Mulder, I want to believe because I love the possibilities of the unknown. The unknown can be mysterious, sexy, awe-inspiring, and sometimes, romantic. Paranormal books and movies take me out of the known and into the unknown, allowing me to believe, even for only a short while. And that's a magical thing.

I could go on and on about my love for this genre, but that’s it, in a nutshell. Besides, I love the responses I got so much, I don’t want to take any more time away from them!

Many thanks to those who contributed! I also have give a special hug and thank you to fellow HBM contributor Eleri Stone, who helped me gather a couple of these. Without further ado, here they are:

 ***

Gina Bernal, freelance editor for Carina Press

"What I love most about paranormal romance—especially editing it—is how limitless the genre feels. For every ‘oh, another same-old fill-in-a-supernatural-creature story’ submission there's also the ‘wow, this new world is amazing’ manuscript. I am always impressed by paranormal writers' imaginations."

 ***

Kerri Buckley, full-time editor for Carina Press:

"For me as a reader, summer is the season for paranormal. I’ve traced this back and decided it stems from school breaks spent lounging lakeside with my summer sisters, tearing through Diana Gabaldon paperbacks and munching on potato chips as we moved from sun to shade and back again. The afternoons are much shorter now (and there are babies everywhere, meaning we stick to the shade), but we still do this, calling out must-read titles and smudging screens as we pass around digi sample chapters. And though it’s never been laid down as law, our choices still tend toward the fantastic—it’s how I was introduced to Karen Marie Moning, Nalini Singh, Gena Showalter. It’s the most organic, most delicious book club I’ve ever been a part of.

As an editor, the genre as a whole continues to surprise and impress me. It’s the ultimate in writerly acrobatics! I’m constantly in awe of authors who begin not just from the zero of a blank page but from what’s essentially negative fifty, mentally hammering out millions of tiny world-building details before they can even begin. Any guesses which titles I’ll be recommending this summer? :P"

 ***
“I love everything about the paranormal world. I love the amazing imaginations of all the various writers and screenwriters. I love to immerse myself in those worlds and I always find myself marveling at what the human mind can come up with. I think, for me, reading is going on a fantastic adventure. I grew up reading fantasy and sci-fi and loved them. I love the action-thriller books and movies as well. Paranormal encompasses all of those things. If you add in a romance, even a small one, I'm very happy and satisfied.

There is so much scope in paranormal. You don't have to worry about being politically correct, you can simply allow your imagination to soar. You can take on any subject and make it work within the realms you've created. I always read with an open mind, willing to go on the adventure the author has for me. I want to be in their world and wrap myself in it. I want to be scared and happy and see new things. For me, paranormal will always be my first love!”

 ***
"Paranormal fiction (written and on-screen) can swing from the goriest of horror, to the the subtlest insinuation of a ghostly presence. It taps into legends and myths that have kept us quivering in fear of the unknown for hundreds of years, many times putting a deliciously modern twist on these stories. At its core, though, paranormal fiction is a tremendously human genre. Which sounds absurd, seeing as it's chock full of demons, vampires, ghosts, and let's not forget, hunters (hello, Winchesters!). However, if written correctly, the monster isn't the beating heart of the story - it's the otherworldly manifestation (symbolic or literal), or trigger of the fears and desires of a hero that somehow bears a close emotional resemblance to some part of ourselves. So much so, that we can't help but be forced to face that monster along with him. (Or her, as is the case.) Sometimes this is an uncomfortable journey to take. Most times, though, it can be both enlightening, and invigorating.

I know, I know - plenty of other genres can take you through the same mental and emotional shakedown without the blood and rock salt. What I love about paranormal, though, is that it takes me outside of 'reality' just enough that I suspend belief far faster than when I read/watch other genres, allowing my emotional walls drop just a little more than they usually do, which in turn kick starts my creative juices. And did I mention the Winchesters? It's a win-win, any way you look at it."

 ***

Laurie from the book blog Bitten by Paranormal Romance

“Paranormal Romance is one of the fastest growing romance sub-genres out there for a reason. These stories take you out of your real-life problems and suck you into a story that is not only hot but a story with fantastic world-built plots.With thousands of authors publishing in this sub-genre since the 1990’s, I don’t see it slowing down one bit in the near future.

I have always loved vampires and things that go bump in the night. So, you know I was happy with the arrival of PNR during the 1990’s. When I founded my blog in 2009 I couldn't think of a better tribute than to name it Bitten by Paranormal Romance.”

 ***

Lori from the book blog Romancing the Dark Side

"I’m addicted to paranormal romances, so much that I rarely venture out of this genre (but I do enjoy a good Urban Fantasy in between my PNR!). Coming up with just five reasons for my love of PNR was tough but I think I covered the important stuff! So, without further ado, here they are, in no particular order:
  • Alpha Heroes: From vampire to demon, the PNR hero is a strong and brooding swoon-worthy male.
  • HEAs: A happy ending is usually in store for the main couple, even if it takes a couple of books!
  • Sexual Tension: Always makes for an interesting romance between the couple(s).
  • Forbidden Romances: Vampire and Werewolf, Demon and Angel…I love when two paranormals fall for their “enemy.”
  • The World: Anything goes in a supernatural world, creating tons of action and twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat while reading!"
 ***

Literary Agent Sara Megibow

 "Paranormal romance, to me, is like a sexy hot pink and black lace dress. Or like chocolate ice cream laced with peanut butter, dark fudge and pretzels. Or, like a rainbow shining out of a tornado. To me it's monsters and romance. I love monsters and I love romance, so the more you mix 'em, the more I'll read 'em."

 ***

Author Sheryl Nantus

“I love the paranormal because it makes everything in the mundane world possess the possibility of being magical and wonderful. From the stranger sitting beside you on the bus to the dark tunnel you travel through every day to work to the odd neighbor who insists you keep dropping in for a cuppa tea - these could all lead to the paranormal in the blink of an eye! That stranger could be a shape shifter looking for a mate, the tunnel a secret opening to a hidden world under your sleepy town and that neighbor - what if she's the guardian of a secret artifact, too powerful to be left unguarded and she's looking for a replacement? That's why I love the paranormal. The ability to make everything just that bit more strange..”

***

Best-selling author Maggie Shayne: 

“I’ve loved stories of supernatural things since I was a tiny little thing. I remember back in the good old days of my early childhood, when step-dad would bring home boxes of comic books he’d bought somewhere. My two sisters and brother and I would go through them, staking our claims. I always chose the horror comics. Creature from the Black Lagoon. Dracula. Everything “paranormal” went into my pile. The younger kids could have all the Archie and Super-Hero comics they wanted. But the monsters belonged to me.

Later I would relish Monster Movie Matinee on our local TV station every Sunday afternoon. They’d show a campy old classic from days gone by, and I devoured every one of them. The show had the best intro, creepy music and fog shrouding a miniature replica haunted house, then it would cut to a creepy vampire and his sidekick, introducing the movie. I found a clip of that intro on youtube. You have to love this!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ItzNNZkE4o

In all the horror flicks I adored from age 2 until today, I had one big issue. The monster never got the girl. Dracula lost his Mina to wimpy Jonathon Harker. What woman in her right mind would have traded the dark, mysterious, cloaked vampire for an ordinary mortal? And the mummy, came back from the dead for his love, only to have her torn from his arms in the end. The wolfman was cursed to destroy his own love. And on and on. King Kong was a love story. So was The Gill Monster.

All my life I longed to right those wrongs. To re-write those stories and end them the way they should be ended: I wanted the monster to get the girl.

That’s what I do in paranormal romance. That’s why I read the genre, why I write it, and why I love it, and always will."

Maggie wants to give 2 lucky commenters a free copy of book one of The Portal Series, MARK OF THE WITCH, in print or ebook form. Leave a comment below to enter to win!

***

Best-selling author Nalini Singh:  

"As a writer, I love the paranormal genre because it gives me such a broad canvas to play on. As long as I stay true to the rules of my world(s), I can go wherever my imagination takes me - whether that's a New York where angels fly above the streets, or a world where telepaths are real. There is such wild freedom in it.

As a reader, I love the paranormal genre for the same reason - it takes me to incredible, wonderful worlds and places, each new book an adventure."

 ***

Stephanie from the book blog Paranormal Haven

"Paranormal is my genre of choice for a couple reasons. First, it allows me to escape my normal, everyday life. I understand the appeal of contemporary books but I need some fur, fang, and 'wholly crap, is that a weredolphin pirate?!?' with my romance. Second, I'm never quite sure what I'm going to get. Yea, the it might be another vampire or shapeshifter book but each author puts their own twist on things and unless I've read that author before, I don't know what that twist is going to be. The possibilities are endless and I'm doing my best to discover as many as possible :-) "

 ***

Author Regan Summers

“By nature, readers are an inquisitive bunch. An author presents a “what if” scenario and the reader grabs on and settles in for the ride. Authors are what-iffers too, but we have the added benefit and challenge of creating the scenarios. I’ve always been a lover of speculative fiction. Humans in space. Creatures that used to be human or sometimes are. Characters who want to alter the future of humankind or fight to keep it on course.

Paranormal fiction – whether romance or not – challenges me on all sorts of levels, as a writer. But the marriage of the familiar with the new and unknown is always delightful. My Night Runner series started after reading hundreds of contemporary fantasy stories. Why would vampires not spend the majority of their time near the poles in winter where they’d have more security from the sun and freedom of movement? And, being in Alaska, I wondered why the stories that were set here rarely felt like it. What if, I wondered…”

***
Thank you again to everyone who offered a comment! So, tell us in the comments below—why do YOU love paranormal? Plus, Maggie Shayne will give 2 lucky commenters a free copy of book one of her The Portal Series, MARK OF THE WITCH, in print or ebook form. Leave a comment below to enter to win!
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