Archive for December, 2007

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December 31, 2007
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The Paranormal Timeline!

December 27, 2007

By Laura

I hope everyone’s holiday was full of delicious paranormal books and movies.

Where did the paranormal romance genre come from? Let’s take some time to pay homage to the works which have helped shape the genre over the years. Here are some of my favorite predecessors to modern paranormal romance.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The hit movie and television show of the mid-90s shaped and crystallized a good deal of vampire and demon lore for popular audiences, and arguably created the niche in paranormal hourlongs in primetime TV, paving the way for such shows as Supernatural and Reaper. Buffy’s ensemble included a vampire slayer, a witch, a werewolf, and several vampires, who were paired in various combinations in relationship storylines.

X-Files – Just before Buffy (re)popularized vampires, X-Files was the quintessential paranormal paranoia show, blending elements of police procedural, paranormal, and sci-fi. During its ten-year run, X-Files touched on just about every paranormal element, from ghosts to psychic powers of all kinds to various mythical creatures.

Anne Rice – The bestselling Vampire Chronicles, starting with Interview with a Vampire in 1976 (and further popularized by the 1994 movie) painted and alluring and seductive portrait of immortal, intelligent, and passionate vampires.

Bewitched – The sitcom about a suburban witch was one of several otherworldly new shows of the mid-60s, including The Addams Family, I Dream of Jeannie and The Twilight Zone. The popularity and seven-year run of Bewitched demonstrated how magical and real world situations could be effectively melded to appeal to a widespread audience.

Dracula – Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel is the source for most of the vampire “facts” we know today. Stoker gathered his lore from local folk legends. While not the first vampire book, Stoker’s is probably the earliest well-known source; many modern authors draw their conception of vampires at least in part from the mysterious and aristocratic character of Count Dracula.

Frankenstein – First published in 1818, Mary Shelley’s story of the scientist who creates a living monster from dead flesh is another enduring classic of the genre which has influenced and inspired so many works since that it is impossible to gauge the size of its effect. Shelley wrote the tale for a scary story contest with friends. Inspiring!

Gothic novels – Extremely popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, the genre of gothic fiction combined paranormal elements—ghosts and beyond-the-grave communication being a particular favorite—with stories of romantic, upper-class figures and mysterious, exotic settings. Ann Radcliff’s late-18th century novels (The Mysteries of Udolpho among others) were especially popular and have influenced such diverse figures as Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Anne Rice.

Fairy tales/folklore – Paranormal stories take their basic inspiration from long-told tales—from the traditional village storytellers to campfire stories to modern-day urban legends. The concepts of ghosts, vampires, and special mental powers, among other paranormal classics, have cropped up in the oral traditions of so many cultures that there must be something basic and fundamental about them—which accounts for their enduring popularity.

What are your favorite classics of paranormal?

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Christmas for Vampire Lovers Part Two!

December 21, 2007

By Maureen Child

When I was a kid, my Irish grandmother told me stories about Banshees, Pookas, the Little People and Fairy Rings. The “other side” was as real as the ordinary world and to me, a lot more interesting! My southern grandmother told me stories too, of family members who came back from the dead to reassure those left behind. Of what it felt like to be in the bayou at midnight, how the veil between this world and the next seemed fragile enough for the unwary to step through.

Not surprising then, that I grew up to love everything paranormal. Ghost stories, witches, demons, and sure, vampires. (Who didn’t fall in love with Angel and Spike, for example?)

Writing for Silhouette Nocturne is a real treat for me. I get to indulge my love in things otherworldly and I’m given opportunities to do some really exciting stuff — such as being in the Christmas Vampire duet with Caridad Piniero.

HOLIDAY WITH A VAMPIRE was my first step into the land of fangs. And since this was a Christmas story to boot, I decided to go with the idea of a vampire unhappy with his existence and give him a little miracle.

Grayson Stone goes home at Christmas. To the place where he died. Only to find the abandoned farmhouse is now owned by Theresa Franklin, a woman who, just like Gray, is trying to hide from the life she hates.

Together, these two unlikely lovers, find a Christmas miracle that neither of them had dared hope for.

Here’s wishing all you readers and lovers of paranormal romance your own Christmas miracle this holiday season!

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Christmas for Vampire Lovers!

December 18, 2007

Christmas comes early for the vampire lovers here at the paranormal romance blog, as both Caridad Pineiro and Maureen Child offer us their insights on how they came up with the concepts for Holiday With a Vampire! First up is Caridad Pineiro…

By Caridad Pineiro 

There are two things I would never have thought to put together – Christmas and a vampire. So how did it happen?

This past year I was lucky enough to do an online novella for Harlequin – DESIRE CALLS. I loved the changes that the shorter length created in the story, namely a faster pace and instant intensity. I loved it so much that I talked to my editor about possibly doing another novella in an anthology and shortly after that discussion my editor called and said, “How about a vampire holiday anthology?”

A vampire holiday anthology? I immediately wondered how to put two such disparate ideas together. Vampires are dark and tortured, and crosses cause all kinds of problems. For me Christmas is all about lights, happiness and the birth of Christ. How could I meld the two?

My brain started considering how many holidays a vampire must have survived and what had happened during those holidays. Had they been happy? Had the vampire ever had any joy? Had there even been a Christmas at the time when the person became a vampire? That was when the whole concept for the novella came to me! I realized that the vampire had to be someone who had been turned before December 25th became Christmas. Then I began to wonder whether that day had been some other special holiday for the vampire?

I found myself doing an intense amount of research into the pagan holidays, events and traditions that have shaped the many elements of a modern Christmas. That led to the vampire hero – Hadrian – being turned during the Saturnalia holiday in ancient Rome. Some of the things that we do today for Christmas – hanging ornaments, garlands, giving gifts and wearing special hats – also occurred during this Roman holiday. In fact, the timing of Saturnalia (December 17 to December 23) coincides with Christmas. Another tradition that came from this Roman holiday is the Lord of Misrule which was popular in England during the yuletide season.

Besides being turned during Saturnalia, Hadrian also experienced a number of other tragedies that have led him to be the ultimate Scrooge about Christmas. Hadrian’s family was killed during one holiday season and to avenge them, Hadrian joined up with a legion of vampires fighting for their freedom. The battle occurs during Sol Invictus – also close to Christmas – and results in almost all of the vampires being wiped out. Historians say that rumors abounded that a cross of light had appeared prior to the battle and that an apparition had told the Roman emperor Constantine to place the cross on all his standards. I tweaked the battle to have the crosses also appear on the soldier’s shields and reflect the light of the coming dawn which helps defeat the vampire legion. The twist in the story is that the vampires and humans had been getting along until some sun worshipping extremists began to bully and then cart away the vampires to purify their world.

So what brings light, happiness and the spirit of Christmas to Hadrian? A bell-ringing Santa that is parked across the street from Hadrian’s New York brownstone. Connie Morales is the do-gooder who is trying to solicit donations for a homeless shelter that her law firm has adopted. Connie truly wants to do well to help them and is eager for the Christmas holiday so she can celebrate with her family.

When a grouchy Hadrian asks Connie to stop ringing the bell she refuses and what follows is a test of wills as Hadrian uses his vampire elder power to force Connie into his brownstone to punish her for her defiance. Although Hadrian imprisons Connie by tying her to his bed, he cannot shackle her spirit nor can he frighten her with his threats to drain her. If anything, Hadrian admires her spirit and finds himself attracted to Connie. In exchange for a promise not to make her his dinner, Hadrian tells Connie about the many tragedies that have befallen for him during the holidays. As he relates the tales, Connie feels his pain and realizes that beneath the shell of the demon is a man with great heart and love – if he can only learn to believe in the possibilities again. The possibilities that Christmas brings with it every year.

I very much enjoyed being able to incorporate so much history into the novella as well as exploring what it is that makes Christmas special – love freely given and small acts of kindness. I also enjoyed being able to expand on the mythology in THE CALLING miniseries by having a very special event occur at the end of the story. I won’t say what it is, but I will be adding it to the Vampire Rules that you can check out at www.thecallingvampirenovels.com. I’ll also be using that new bit of the mythology in a future book when THE CALLING series continues in late 2008.

I hope you’ll enjoy exploring the origins of Christmas with me, as well as the uplifting tale about how love changes this Christmas holiday for both Hadrian and Connie.

You can check out this video trailer for FATE CALLS as well!

Happy holidays to everyone!

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Happy Anniversary to Us!

December 18, 2007

By Jenny B

Yesterday — Monday, Dec. 17th — was the 10th anniversary of blogs according to WIRED.  And I didn’t even get you anything!

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Demon’s Kiss trailer

December 11, 2007

By Jenny B

Check out Maggie Shayne’s website for a chilling, thrilling trailer for her newest paranormal romance novel, Demon’s Kiss!  So spooky I’m almost afraid to read the book!  Seriously though, I think this video does a great job of conveying both the paranormal aspects of the book, and the sexual tension between the characters.  In fact it’s just this side of NSFW (not safe for work)!

If anyone has a favorite paranormal romance book video or trailer they’d like to share, please post in the comments!

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Paranormal Inspiration: shapeshifters and hungry ants

December 7, 2007

 By Bonnie Vanak

What would happen if evil beings could shapeshift into any animal or insect form, retain their intelligence and clone themselves into a killing army?

This is what happens in my December Silhouette Nocturne book, The Empath.  In The Empath, army ants attack Nicolas and Maggie, werewolves who are forced to run for their lives. The Morphs, former werewolves who turned evil to gain power, shapeshift into bears, ants, bees, wolves, an alligator with razor-sharp teeth, even a fire-breathing dragon. Morphs need energy from dying victims, feeding off their terror to gain power. Nicolas and Maggie must work together and learn to trust in each other and their powers to defeat the enemy.

In one scene, army ants crawl over Nicolas and begin munching on him as if he were fast food. Of course (spoiler alert!) he survives. The idea for this scene stemmed from my childhood, when I accidentally sat on an ants’ nest while wearing shorts. They were only carpenter ants, but I’ll never forget the sensation of feeling something crawling on my skin and looking down to see a mass of black ants teeming over my bare legs. 

Maggie is a veterinarian who tries to find a cure for the mysterious disease killing her beloved dog. She’s unaware that she’s a werewolf, and the pack’s long-lost empath who can heal injury and disease. Nicolas must convince her of her true origins, and teach her to accept her destiny as a werewolf and the pack’s empath. As they race to cure the pack’s leader of the disease that is slowly killing him, they must continually evade the evil Morphs. At each turn, they wonder what form the enemy will take to try and destroy them.

Writing The Empath made me think about the tremendous power in the animal and insect kingdom. Of course it’s paranormal romance fiction, so all turns out fine in the end for Maggie and Nicolas; but as for me, next time I’ll look twice before sitting in the grass with shorts on.