Sunday, August 17, 2014

Where has all the paranormal romance gone?

Posted by: Eleri Stone

I’ve been having trouble finding new paranormal romance lately. A lot of the books still being published in the genre are from longstanding series I’ve abandoned for one reason or another. I’m not a big fan of long series. Short attention span. Limited reading time. *shrugs*

A lot of PNR authors have moved on to other genres and many of the paranormal blogs I used to follow have changed their focus too. So, yeah, all signs of a once-hot trend that’s run its course, which is fine…it’s all cyclical, the nature of publishing, etc. But it leaves me in a quandary. I still really like reading PNR. I especially like new, groundbreaking PNR, and I haven’t been able to find much of it so I’m hoping you can help me out.

What am I looking for?

I prefer stories that would be labeled contemporary fantasy if not for the female protagonist and romantic storyline. I’m okay if the romance is subplot so long as it’s a strong one, preferably resolved within a single book. I’m okay with the romance being central so long as the underlying worldbuilding is solid. I like UF/PNR crosses especially well. I still like werewolves and vampires, but it’s gotta be a new take. I’m okay with insta-lust so long as it’s done well. By that, I mean so long as the lust isn’t the only foundation for the romance and there are real obstacles preventing the mains from acting on their inconvenient urges. I like historical PNR too, but I’ve read a lot of it.

PNR that falls more to the fantasy side is the real sweet spot for me. As a child of the eighties, I have a soft spot for portal fantasies and psychic storylines that I’ll never be able to shake. (Don’t want to.) I would love, love, love to find someone writing psychic/magic type PNR like the old teen novels that Lois Duncan used to write. I would also love to find some good PNR/horror mixes, especially something with a New Age-y kind of flavor. I know that one’s specific. I read this horror story about a New Age cult once that was really awful but the premise was so good (that magic was real and the forces they’d tapped into were evil and out to get them) that I’ve wanted to read another like it ever since…only better, you know?

So, do you have any suggestions for me? Read anything lately that you just love?

**

Eleri Stone is a RITA-nominated author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She was born in New Jersey, but now lives in Iowa with her husband and their three children. All of her stories have some element of speculative fiction in them and they all end with a happily-ever-after.


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15 comments:

  1. Nobody really bought my paranormal, so now I'm writing SFR that nobody will buy, heheheh.

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    1. ((hugs)) I thought SFR was on the upswing, no?

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  2. I've been having much of the same woe Eleri and earlier this summer was shocked when I was in a conversation with an author and her editor (I was suggesting the author should write PNR) and they kind of laughed at me and basically told me it's a dead genre. Which stumped me at the time because I still hadn't noticed that all of the PNR blogs are starting to focus on New Adult and Erotic romances. Then slowly as the summer has progressed I've noticed less new titles and fewer bloggers reading it.

    I feel like an island to be honest as anything paranormal (romance and non-romance) is my favorite. I was thinking I was pretty alone in giving a damn about the sudden dearth until I saw this post.

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    1. Nope. Definitely not alone! I keep thinking maybe it's a good thing...that maybe all of the really derivative stuff will go away leaving room for more innovative stories. It's just gotten hard to find new stories at all.

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    2. I think that's the case, Eleri. The derivative stuff needs to go! http://thebookpushers.com/ review a lot of fantasy/sci fi that has good romantic elements - particularly E and Has. I get a lot of my recs there. :-)

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    3. I do too. Love their site, esp. for the fantasy stuff:)

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  3. I still love PNR, too! I am still reading many long-running series (J.R. Ward, Nalini Singh, Thea Harrison, etc)

    Have you tried Leigh Evans? Her Mystwalker series is a UF/PNR cross. I'm also quite looking forward to Ilona Andrews Burn for Me, which is supposed to be PNR but doesn't come out until end of Oct.

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    1. I haven't! I'll check it out. Thanks for the rec!

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  4. I hear you, Eleri! Trends come and go, but I find little new paranormal romance that intrigues me the way series did five or ten years ago. Part of that may be the "requirement" of certain tropes that make even unique worldbuilding feel that it's boiled down to the same old story.

    I do love Kristen Callihan's Darkest London series. While it's historical, it has the feel of the paranormal romance that I love, which modern sensibilities. The first book is a bit rough. The ones that follow are wonderful. The cross-genre setting and style and the risks the author takes in ignoring the usual suspect tropes are wonderful.

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    1. I LOVE the Darkest London series. I really like Bec McMaster's London Steampunk, too Trope fatigue is definitely a part of it, but it's weird because a lot of the same tropes that were sooo popular in pnr...alpha and ingenue, etc, are the same ones that are popular in the genres that are currently hot.

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  5. I hope you forgive me for recommending my own stuff, but from what you've written, it sounds like it would be up your alley.

    I write modern-day fantasy which sort of straddles the line between PNR/UF. The first book is entitled Stone Guardian and features a gargoyle hero and a school teacher heroine.

    Hope you find lots of new stuff to try!

    Dani

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    1. That's so funny! Someone else just recommended you to me. I'm willing to give a gargoyle hero a go:)

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    2. Yay other person so I don't sound like a stalker type! :) And gargoyles are the best ;)

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  6. I love the PNR/UF qualities you've mentioned here. And I agree that they're hard to find. Have you read Jenn Bennett's BITTER SPIRITS? PNR about a ghost medium, set in 1920s San Francisco. It's fresh and sexy, and the writing is great.

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    1. I have that one on my reader right now but haven't started it yet! Next up:)

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