Archive for the ‘paranormal in pop culture’ Category

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Author Jane Porter’s Twilight Madness

November 19, 2008

It seems like everyone has got Twilight fever, including Harlequin Presents author Jane Porter! With the movie coming out this weekend, Jane joins us to discuss what’s so appealing about Stephenie Meyer‘s vampire series…

by Jane Porter, author of King of the Desert, Captive Bride and Flirting with Forty

I’m on a fast, furious deadline due to health interfering with my writing—must write a chapter a day until book is finished Dec 3rd—which often means writing late into the night to make sure each chapter isn’t just down, but perfect. But this coming Friday night I’m taking a break from writing. You see, Twilight madness has hit me, too, and I’m joining a dozen girlfriends at the local theatre for the 7:20 pm showing of the movie based on Stephenie Meyer‘s book.

I’ve read all four of Stephenie Meyer’s books in the series and I’m not the only one in Twilight’s thrall. A week ago I attended a book club in Woodinville, Washington and every woman there but one had read one or more of the Twilight series. I was so impressed! These weren’t teenage readers, either, but women between 40 and 60, all neighbors and friends, many with teenage kids who turned their moms onto the series. Author Megan Crane was the one who turned me onto the books and I’m so glad she did. Last week I had more fun discussing Stephenie’s books than my own which made me think that I should do a fun contest to celebrate the movie Twilight with a Twilight contest.

I held the contest last week, the prize being a copy of Twilight, which is the first book in the series, a small box of yummy See’s chocolates (I have a thing for See’s, especially those Bordeaux), and Jane Porter goodies and the response was huge. Of the fifty posters, most had read the series, although some hadn’t but wanted to. Only one reader hadn’t liked the books at all.

At the book club in Woodinville we talked about the popularity and appeal of the books. These are vampire stories. And shapeshifter stories. We’re talking paranormal here with some mild violence but no love scenes, at least not until book four and even then it’s not explicit. So what’s the charm?

For me, the charm is in the wonderful characterization, and Stephenie’s skill in making me believe this could happen, or want it to happen. I loved her very small town setting of Forks, Washington and her family dynamics of a teenage daughter living with her loving, but a little crusty, father. It’s storytelling at its best, which transcends genres and just becomes great reading, appealing reading, reading that tugs on your heart and captures your imagination.

I’ve bought my ticket for Friday’s movie. I can’t wait to have a girls night out. Are you going to see the movie? Have you read the books? And if so, who turned you on to Twilight in the first place?

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Who’s Your Favorite Vampire?

November 14, 2008

To help celebrate Lori Devoti’s 30 Days of Vampires, Harlequin employees are guest posting about our favorite vampires from books, TV, and movies. Some of the responses:

  • Dr. Carrie Ames from Jennifer Amrintrout’s Blood Ties series
  • Angel and Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel
  • Selene (played by Kate Beckinsale) in the Underworld movies
  • Count Saint-Germain in the novels by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
  • Louis (played by Brad Pitt) in Interview with the Vampire
  • Betsy, Queen of the Vampires, in Mary Janice Davidson’s “Undead” series

Tell us why this vampire is your fave and any other vampires you love in the comments!

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Paranormal Popularity – Why is Paranormal Romance So Hot Right Now?

March 6, 2008

by Laura, Digital Production Coordinator

Paranormal is hot right now–in books, movies, and TV. But why now? What is it about this moment in history that makes paranormal such a popular genre?

  • A story in the Australian newspaper the Courier-Mail notes that “The genre has grown at the expense of military romance, which she says no longer offers the escapism it once did. ‘With Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s a lot more real now,'” according to a store owner.The last upsurge in paranormal romance came in the 1970s, around the release of Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire, when Americans were dealing with the aftermath of the Vietnam War. And the first English gothic novels such as Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho soared in popularity in the early 19th century as Napoleon advanced across Europe. (It should be noted, however, that this is purely anecdotal evidence. It would be possible to find a potentially relevant military conflict for almost any period in history.)
  • In an interview at ParanormalRomance.org, author Kim Harrison says, “I feel much of the recent popularity is coming from the greater acceptance for Wicca and alternative religions in general.” Certainly, many paranormal elements come from the mythos and culture of pagan religions. Could the popularity of paranormal be related to the rediscovery these religions in the mainstream?
  • Is spirituality in general on the rise? In a time of uncertainty, people may be seeking answers outside of what can be explained by science. An increased interest in paranormal may be one form of expressing the belief that there must be more to the world than we know.

Are you more interested in the genre than you used to be? Is it just because of the availability, or do you think there’s something about this particular time–in the world, or in your life–that led you to paranormal?

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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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Have a romantic paranormal Halloween!

October 31, 2007

By Jenny B 

It’s All Hallows’ Eve!  There isn’t a better occasion to celebrate all that is paranormal!

Tonight, after giving out goodies to the neighborhood kiddies, I plan to fire up my TV and watch Pushing Daisies and Reaper, then run a hot bath to ward off the chill and soak in a good, scary read while I soak in the tub!  On tap for tonight: The Beast Within by Lisa Renee Jones, from Silhouette Nocturne, about an immortal demon fighter; and after I’ve inhaled that novel I’m going to dive into Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy, from LUNA, about a gargoyle who comes to life!

After all that I’ll probably need to sleep with the lights on. 

What’s your favorite paranormal read to get you in the mood for Halloween?

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Paranormal Romance Books, Movies, TV shows…

October 17, 2007

By Jenny B

Wherever you look, paranormal is HOT in popular culture right now. TV shows like Pushing Daisies, Reaper, and Moonlight; movies like 30 Days of Night and I am Legend; and of course, in books. Nowhere is paranormal hotter than in print! From YA to erotica to mystery, fictional characters everywhere are dealing with vampires, werewolves, aliens, immortals, shapeshifters, and more, either in battle or in the bedroom (and sometimes both!).

In fact it seems like you can’t walk through a bookstore or read a bestseller list lately without coming across paranormal books by Gena Showalter, Susan Grant, Susan Krinard, Brenda Joyce, J.R. Ward, Stephenie Meyer, Sherrilyn Kenyon — the list goes on and on.

Which is why we started this blog: as a place for authors, editors, readers, and fans of paranormal and specifically those who like their paranormal with a heaping side of romance and perhaps a dash of otherworldly sex.

In the coming weeks and months we’ll be posting links to authors and to other paranormal sites and blogs, and hopefully sparking discussions on all kinds of topics related to the genre.

For now though, we’ll leave you with this: why is paranormal so popular right now? What is it about Western culture that makes us so eager to embrace the idea that there are beings out there that exist on the fringes of “normal”?

Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!