Posts tagged with: paranormal

Poltergeist Anyone?

Hello everyone! I write light paranormal romance, both historical and YA contemporary. I love the idea of magic in the world, especially the kind that exists right under our noses where everyday people, too wrapped up in their idea of reality, miss it. I am a relatively average mom of three, ovarian cancer ass-kicker, creative wife (wink, wink), author of romance, and lover of chai lattes. I also totally believe in ghosts, mostly because I lived in a haunted house for five years.

Yes, really!

I’m an only child and my parents divorced when I was nine. My dad moved to Virginia. He loved, and still loves, “fixer uppers” which is why he bought an abandoned house. I first came to see “the mansion” when I was twelve years old. The grass around the two-story, slate-roof house stood to my waist. A sloping wrap-around porch had turned completely gray and loose boards along it could swallow your foot if you weren’t careful. The clapboard paint was peeling but looked like it had once been white. A huge barn sat, its middle sinking like a swayback horse, in the yard. We didn’t go in that first evening because the paperwork hadn’t been signed yet, so I stared at the vacant, dark windows that reminded me of assessing eyes. Yeah, I was spooked, but Dad was so excited about the house and its history that I agreed it was beautiful. 


The house had been built in three parts, the oldest being up front, sitting just a few steps from the narrow dirt road winding before it. This part of the house was built before the Civil War. It was the manor house of a small plantation, and unlike many others in the area, it hadn’t been burned to the ground because it was used for a short while as a hospital for the soldiers. My dad gleefully showed me several regimental-looking buttons that he’d unearthed in the basement.

The first time I stepped into the house I stood stunned, staring at the terrible graffiti that had been painted across the walls by vagrants who’d used the empty house for who knows what. Swastikas and profanity yelled back at me from warped, horse-hair plaster walls. While Dad mowed the foot-tall grass with a hand mower, I was supposed to sweep the floor and wash down the walls so we could paint them. The electricity had yet to be turned on in the house. I pushed the broom around in that silent room while the sun set outside. All I could hear was the whir of Dad’s mower as it choked through the grass and the broom bristles scratching the wood floor.haunted_0002

I stilled like a panicked bird as cold enveloped the room. Goosebumps prickled up all over my arms and I felt…anger. No ghostly howls came from the staircase in the hall, no chains shook, no television turned fuzzy (maybe it would have had there been one). But I had the overwhelming feeling that someone or something wanted me to “Get out!”

So I got out, running straight off the porch to my dad and refusing to go back in until he had electricity. Luckily by the time I turned fourteen and moved in with my dad and stepmother, he had electricity and running water and even a room for me. Guess where my bedroom was? In the oldest part of the house of course. We seemed to attract stray dogs, so we had five. One small Benji-looking dog was mine. Since I was an only child, and my dad and stepmother left at 5:30 AM and returned home at 7:00 PM, I was alone most of the time. Just me and my dogs and…

It became pretty apparent that something was going on in the house. All of us would hear footsteps going up the worn wooden stairs that led to the hall just outside my room. We’d hear the unplugged vacuum cleaners rolling on the wood floor at night and find it on the other end of the hall in the morning. The dogs would stare together at a single corner, tipping their heads in unison and whining.

“What? What is it!?” I’d yell, but they never told me. Once I woke up for no apparent reason to see my little dog whining at something in the shadowed corner of my room. Then she jumped up on my bed and dove under the covers. I joined her there until morning.

I had a friend sleep over. I didn’t tell her about the weird sounds in the house because I didn’t want to scare her off. We started hearing the rattling downstairs hours after my parents had gone to bed. I told her to stay put. I walked down the dark stairs into the dining room (yes, also in the oldest part of the house). Silence sat with the moon beams coming through the naked windows, as if waiting for me. Then suddenly all the china in the glass hutch began to vibrate in their little stands. Nothing else moved in the room, but all the china quivered, making a ringing noise. I was literally petrified, couldn’t move until it stopped and I ran back upstairs. Throughout the night I kept hearing it, but never again after that night.

Occasionally doors would open on their own, reminding me that we were sharing our home, but there were no more angry feelings. In fact I began to feel like the ghosts (as we felt there were more than one, not sure why) were looking out for me. Perhaps once they realized we weren’t there to harm the house further, they accepted us.

They certainly didn’t accept one of my boyfriends. Poor Mark. One night we had a fight. I remember him saying “fine, then I’m leaving.” I didn’t want him to go and perhaps the ghosts could see it in my face. As Mark strode to the door of the room (old houses seem to have doors on every room, no open floor plans), the door, which was standing open about three feet, slammed in his face. Well, now!

After that Mark wouldn’t leave my side when he visited. When I had to use the bathroom, he’d stay just outside the door. LOL! One night as he was leaving, very late after my folks were asleep, I stood on the front porch waving. He stopped his car, stared at me with huge eyes and then peeled out of the driveway, his tires spitting gravel. The next day I asked him what the hell he’d been doing as he’d woken my dad.

“Was your dad wearing white and standing on a chair right behind you when I was leaving?”

“Uh, no.”

“That’s why I left. The ghost was watching me leave.”

“And you just left me there?!”

“They like you!” was his defense.

Well, yes, that was true. They did like me. They looked out for me, perhaps even growing attached to me. When I was packing up to go away to college, they were quite unhappy. I had a music box with a porcelain doll holding a miniature bird cage on top of it. For two nights before I left for the University of Maine, starting around 2AM, I would wake up to my music box singing and the doll’s coiffed head tipping and tilting on its gears. Yes, every hour on the hour, those pranksters wound up my music box and I’d have to listen to it until it wound down. I had already learned to sleep with my head under the pillows from years of freaky night noises. Perfect preparation for dorm life.

Similar doll but mine was larger and had a peach dress.

Similar doll but mine was larger and had a peach dress.

The first time I came home from college, the electricity just happened to be off only in MY room. I had been away, living with real people with no ghosts around, for months. When I walked into my totally black room, I felt what I can only call a presence or pressure, like someone was in the corner.

“I’m not used to you anymore. I’m sorry, but you’re scaring me,” I said. “I think you should move on or whatever you need to do to leave this house. I’m going back downstairs and when I come back in five minutes, I’d really like it if you were gone.” I threw in a “in the name of Jesus Christ” just in case and left. When I came back up, the pressure seemed to be gone. The next day my dad found the wire that had mysteriously come undone in the wall. After that Dad said he didn’t really hear anything from our ghosts. The footsteps up the stairs to my room had faded away.

Maybe I should hire myself out for exorcisms or something. Since then my dad has sold the house and a lovely family lives there. They have not heard nor seen anything unusual. I’m glad that the ghosts, perhaps of those soldiers (although I sensed a female at times, I mean what guy would bother to vacuum?), moved on to wherever their spirits were supposed to go. I will certainly always remember them. They have influenced me in so many ways, in my writing, my ability to consider the unusual, and my conviction that there are magical things in this world if we are willing to open our eyes and “see” them.

Have you ever experienced something you can’t explain? Do tell : )

For more info about Heather and her books, please visit her web site at She can also be found here:




A picture of the house as it looks today is at the beginning of my book trailer for my YA paranormal romance, SIREN’S SONG: Siren’s Song Book Trailer



BEFORE SHE WAKES release and giveaway!

Today I’m very pleased to be celebrating my fourth release since my Ruby Golden Heart final for GHOST PLANET back in 2009. In some ways this book represents a change for me—it’s my first release of aBeforeSheWakesCovern erotica title. But BEFORE SHE WAKES is full of romance, fantasy, and sci-fi (in other words, plenty of geeky bits), which have all been part of my author brand since the beginning. Also, while my other titles were published by Tor Books, this one comes from the Penguin Random House romance e-print, Loveswept.

BEFORE SHE WAKES has a fun history, in that I wrote the first scene of the first story, The Garden Rules, as an experiment (when I was supposed to be working on one of my other books, ahem). I had no idea whether I’d be any good at erotica. A couple of beta readers liked it and encouraged me, and I even got a manuscript request from Kindle Singles, but still it was more than a year before I worked up the nerve to finish it. When I did, my agent was so enthusiastic that I decide to write and indie publish a series. 

So with the help of my agency, I published two shorts. But I quickly found I did not have enough time to put into promotion to make the stories a success. I also wasn’t sure about the market for short stories sold individually. So we decided to pitch the collection to a couple of digital-first lines. I was very pleased (and frankly, stunned) that we quickly got back two offers. And everything moved pretty quickly from there. 

The best thing about this collection (that ended up being six stories) is it’s the most fun I’ve ever had on a writing project. I didn’t start it with the intention of seeking a traditional publisher, so I sent my internal critic on extended leave and I wrote whatever I wanted to. Every time I’d think of a scene or plot twist and that critic crept back to whisper in my ear, “That’s TOO much, TOO weird, tone it down,” I very deliberately went right ahead with whatever it was. (So if you read the book and come to a scene with a purple fairy and think “whoa!”,  you’ll know exactly what happened.) And as I expected, what you’ll see in reviews are a number of comments such as:

For those readers with a sense of adventure who are looking for a change of pace and aren’t afraid to go thereBefore She Wakes is a wonderful, sexy, titillating trip to the other side of speculative fiction, that side you’ve been curious about but until now, haven’t been brave enough to try. Be bold. Take the plunge. And have some fun.  (Books, Bones & Buffy book blog)

If your curiosity is piqued by all this, name your favorite fairy tale in the comments for a chance to win one of two e-copies. (Leave contact info, or plan to come back and check comments to see if you won.) Also you can check out a story for free (The Dragonfly Prince) on Instafreebie. 

And now I’m off to mix the cocktail I’ve chosen in honor of the day, The Green Fairy.




Meet 2013 Golden Heart Finalist AE Jones

Today we’re welcoming the third of our guest bloggers from the Lucky 13s–the Golden Heart Finalists of 2013.  AE Jones is a finalist in the Paranormal category with her manuscript MIND SWEEPER.

Here’s a blurb:

Born with the ability to erase memories, Kyle McKinley is summoned to cover up a supernatural smack down between a sword-wielding angel and a demon. When the police step in, she is partnered with Joe Dalton, a by-the-book human cop with the sexiest turquoise eyes. Together they protect humans from becoming pawns in an apocalyptic showdown by unraveling the events that forced an angel to pick up a sword.

Doesn’t that sound like an incredibly fun read? I’m not surprised to learn that AE has been hooked on strong narrative since she was a kid: growing up as a self-confessed “TV junkie,” she often rewrote endings of episodes in her head when she didn’t like the outcome. (Raise hands, folks–how many of us did that?? Yup, me, too.) She immersed herself in sci-fi and soap operas. But when Buffy hit the little screen (don’t talk to her about the movie, it still gives her nightmares) she knew her true love was paranormal. Now she spends her nights weaving stories about all variation of supernatural – both their angst and their humor. “After all,” she says, “life is about both…whether you sport fangs or not.”


Today she’s going to talk with us about another story she strongly identifies with–and it may not be what you’re expecting.


Take it away, AE!


 get-attachment.aspxWhy the movie A Christmas Story should also be called A Writer’s Life

The day after I received ‘the call’ letting me know that I was a Golden Heart ®Finalist, a line from A Christmas Story, one of my favorite movies of all time, jumped into my head.  Let me describe the scene for you. The Father (and we never do know his actual name) receives a telegram and he starts dancing a jig and announces in a sing-song voice “I’ve won a major award.”  And that line has been running through my head ever since. That’s when I realized that not just the scene, but the entire movie, was a great metaphor for a writer’s journey.

If you haven’t seen the movie and are looking for an excuse to laugh for 2 hours, then I highly recommend it. The movie was filmed in the 1980’s but takes place in the 1940’s in Cleveland, Ohio. Since I am a North East Ohio native, this holds a special place in my heart.  The main character is little Ralphie Parker. The audience spends the entire movie in Ralphie’s head (or actually we hear the narrator’s voice who is the adult version of Ralphie reminiscing). Right there should tell you that this movie is a writer’s life. Let’s face it; we are probably the only professional group who doesn’t flinch when we tell each other we hear voices in our heads!

So how does this quirky little movie equate to a writer? Let me elaborate (you knew I was going to, right?).

Ruby Release: CAPTURED HEART by Heather McCollum

Hosted by Liz Talley

Finally, I get to host a Ruby Release with Heather McCollum, which is a very good thing, indeed. When Heather’s first book was released, I was slated to be her host, but that debut fell during a really rough time for Heather (see last week’s post regarding ovarian cancer) when she was dealing with things way more important than a celebration. So I’m extremely thrilled to celebrate Heather today, with her debut release with Entangled Publishing. So let’s get this party started!
1. First up, let’s talk about the book. I read the description and it sounds fascinating. I love stories of healers. Tell us about the idea for Captured Heart and why you chose a healer as the heroine.
Thanks so much, Liz, for having me on the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog! I’m thrilled to be here on CAPTURED HEART’s release day. The idea for the book started over thirteen years ago. In fact, this was my first born book. My mother still has the original in her attic. Of course when I wrote it the first time it had 40,000 extra words, different character names, and every strange scene I’d ever imagined all stuck into one hefty tome.
Meg, though named Emma at the time, was always a healer. The art or “magic” of healing has always fascinated me. So much of what we know today about medicine would have been magic back in the 16th century. Although Meg does possess a supernatural power to heal, she doesn’t know how to use it and until she meets her aunt, it is more of a curse than a gift.
There is also a fine line, which I’ve learned first-hand this year as I fought cancer, between healing someone to life and healing someone to death. A lot of our miracle medicines are poisons. Doctors need to know how much and when to dose a patient or the cure becomes lethal. Meg experiences this as she learns to use her magic blue light (and yes, I imagine it a teal blue) to heal.
2. And since we’ve talked heroine, tell us about the hero. How does Caden embody the perfect hero?

Have you seen my cover? Caden definitely em”bodies” the perfect Highland hero! I like to tell people that my husband posed for the cover and watch their eyes pop- LOL!
Caden is the perfect clan chief. He’s been raised as a rugged warrior but has an intellect that makes him question the reasons behind war. He’s built a system of accountability for himself by visiting ten cottages in his village every day to talk with his people. So when he is enraged and wants to react foolishly out of revenge or some other selfish emotion, he recalls the faces of the men, women and children who depend on him to act with honor and in their interests, not his own. It chains him to the right path in a time when many leaders acted recklessly to further their own pursuits.
As a chief to a large clan, Caden is definitely alpha-male. Doesn’t talk much and doesn’t reveal his plans except when he must. He is just as capable of surviving as a lone wolf as he is leading a clan away from the brink of starvation. He can slice an Englishman from stem to stern yet pluck a leaf from Meg’s wild curls. He could have many women but decides that he wants only one. Ah, and there is the conflict. What if the one he wants is the one whose sacrifice will save his clan?
3. This is your first book with Entangled and so many have been fascinated with the wild success they’ve achieved with their books in such a short time. Tell us about selling to Entangled and how it’s been different from previous publishers.
My agent, Kevan Lyon, was very impressed with Entangled Publishing when she proposed my book to them. Until now Entangled has focused on contemporary and YA romance. CAPTURED HEART is their first Scottish Historical romance and is part of Entangled’s Select line.
Owner, Liz Pelletier is amazing! She worked for all of her authors to sign a deal with a large national book distributer and still had time to brain storm with me on my trilogy. Her talents, for running a successful business, and her heart, for doing her absolute best for the authors and editors, are endless.
I was assigned an editor right away as well as two publicists. Libby Murphy kept us on track with edits and is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and dig into making a book perfect. Heather Riccio and Barbara Hightower worked together to line up blog tours and events for my release. They are so supportive and always looking for ways to put CAPTURED HEART in front of the reader.
Between Liz’s fabulous leadership, Libby’s sharp eye and book sense, and Heather and Barbara’s constant efforts to promote, I’m not surprised that Entangled’s books are all over Amazon’s top selling romance list. I’m so fortunate that CAPTURED HEART has found a home with them.
4. You shared with me that your mother actually had a hand in this book. Tell us a bit more about her role in your book.
My mother, Irena Rea, is an artist (among other things), and I’m so proud to have her sketches in my book! Each chapter starts with an excerpt from Meg’s mother’s medicine journal about the curing benefits of a particular herb. My mom sketched the herbs to be included with the chapter headings. They look wonderful! Now she’ll have to read the book despite the spicy parts : )
5. Finally, your dedication in the books is pretty personal to your experience over the past year. How has your journey in fighting ovarian cancer shaded your writing? Do you come at scenes and characters differently than before?
I dedicated CAPTURED HEART to all the women fighting against ovarian cancer, women just like me. I also dedicated it to my teal (ovarian cancer color) army of supporters, because when you’re diagnosed with something like cancer, you can’t fight it alone. You need help, and love and lots of prayers and good karma. You need to believe that winning is not only a possibility but inevitable. My teal army (think Xena warrior princesses in teal leather : ) made me believe that I couldn’t lose, because I couldn’t, not with three kids aged 4, 10 and 12 and a husband who lost his own mom to breast cancer when he was just 9.
When you go through something horrific, it changes you. I had written CH before the diagnosis, but my agent sold it while I was going through chemo (Kevan knew I’d be back, that I’d make it). I was worried that my voice would have changed so much that I wouldn’t like what I’d written before.
What I’m discovering is that my voice in my writings hasn’t changed much, well perhaps I pay more attention to the beauty in my made-up world, but otherwise it has stayed the same. What’s changed though is that I live truer to my written voice. Huh? Well, I used to write about intangibles like discovering the most important things in life and really loving someone. I wrote about them, but did I really understand them?
Just like when we read those refrigerator magnets that tell us to “stop and smell the roses.” We all agree that we should take the time to fill our senses with the beauty around us, but do we really do it? Not unless we happen to be enjoying a tea party in a glorious rose garden or judging a rose competition. So we nod and agree with the magnet, but we don’t really do it.
My writing was the magnet and my life was, well, my life with all its hectic, crazy, too-busy schedule. Fighting against the beast that threatened to take all that away from me, threatened to take me away from my kids and shatter my family – surviving that fight suddenly made all the magnet sayings make sense. I began to live what I wrote. So has my writing changed? Well if it has, it rings with more truth. My characters never took life and love for granted, and now neither do I.
Thanks again, Liz, for interviewing me today. I am so excited about CAPTURED HEART coming out! I used to walk through big book stores and look at the books in the “M” section of romance and imagine my book being next to Judith McNaught. I plan to go to my local Barnes & Noble today and find my book in the shelves. And instead of just smiling and walking by, I’m going to stop and smell them.
Wow, such a fabulous journey you’ve made and all the Rubies are so proud of you (yes, I’m totally speaking for everyone ‘cause I know this great group of women). So Heather has gone through a lot to keep writing and releasing books, what methods have some of you used to get back into the game when writing had needed to take a backseat in your life?

Meet 2012 Golden Heart Finalist A.J. Larrieu

Today we’ve got the fourth of our featured guest bloggers from the Golden Heart class of 2012.

A. J. Larrieu is a finalist in the Paranormal Romance category, with FIGS FROM THISTLES, which I’m just dying to read! She’s also a member of my home chapter, San Francisco Area RWA. And you can find her and like her on Facebook here, because, really, you should.

Take it away, A. J.!!


Fear, Rage and Death: Why I Write Paranormal Romance

Thanks so much to the Rubies for having me today!  It’s a real honor to guest blog in this community and get to meet so many fellow writers.  Actually, one of my favorite things about being a writer is other writers.  Get a group of us together, and we can’t shut up.  Getting to know all the Golden Heart finalists of 2012 over the Yahoo group has been just what you’d expect from sixty-four strong, smart, talented ladies: funny, sad, and taking over my in-box.  We’ve all been through a lot over the past year, but one thing is clear: this is a group of survivors.  And many of us have talked about writing as a way to make it through the tough times.

I know this is true for me.  Every book I write is my way of dealing with something slippery and intangible, some fear or hope or longing.  I write paranormal fiction because when I’m trying to understand the sometimes ugly and frightening world, it helps to put a face on the fear and make it tame.  It’s hard to fight something you can’t see, so a good paranormal romance or urban fantasy takes that fear, that anger, that taboo desire and gives it a beating (or perhaps unbeating) heart.

Vampires are an obvious example.  Can you think of a better personification of fear?  They’re dead.  They only come out in the dark.  They drink blood—probably your blood—but as long as you stay in your house, they can’t hurt you.  The real danger, of course, is that you’ll invite them in.  A good vampire novel lets you do just that, and turns the monster into an ally.  The things that go bump in the night are on your side now, and in your bed.  Talk about facing your fears.

Tips for Entering the Golden Heart: Paranormal

Almost every paranormal, urban fantasy, urban fantasy romance, time travel, steampunk, sci-fi romance, space opera, fantasy, or vaguely speculative manuscript entered in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest competes in a single, hyper-competitive category: Paranormal.  

Yeah. You might want to read that again.  It’s an understatement to say that the competition is fierce, y’all. And if the competition wasn’t already fierce enough…the romance sub-genre lines continue to blur. Within the last year, I’ve judged some great paranormal contest entries which could just as easily have been entered in the YA or Historical categories. 

So…a great paranormal romance, like any romance, has some big shoes to fill: you have to tell a great story, have an interesting plot, feature a kick-ass yet relatable heroine and a hot, worthy hero (and maybe a hot, worthy villain!), offer intriguing internal and external goals, motivations and conflicts, supply believable characterization and delicious love scenes, offer an unusual setting, use fresh descriptions, provide a judicious dollop of backstory, possess a masterful command of craft and pace, and exhibit an authorial voice that sparks off the page. Finally, after pulling the hero and heroine naked and backwards through fire, thorns, and a refreshing ammonia bath after vanquishing the Big Bad, we need to give our now thoroughly worn-out couple the happily-ever-after ending they so clearly deserve. 

That’s all.  😉   

So how do you make your paranormal Golden Heart entry break away from the pack? (Heh heh. Werewolf joke.)   

In my view, the thing that sets the paranormal sub-genre apart from the others is the world building. Though all fiction writers build worlds to some degree, paranormals exhibit world building on steroids because the world, by the sub-genre’s very definition, isn’t normal. It’s PARAnormal. It’s unusual, unique, extraordinary, and yet it must be rendered in such a way that readers believe it could exist – or at least happily suspend their disbelief long enough for you to take them on a wild ride.  Writing-wise, this can be a very tall order, and I’d have to say that world building is the craft area where most unpublished paranormals I’ve had the opportunity to read or judge fall a bit short. 

Some things to keep in mind about paranormal world building:

  • World building must start on Page One – but subtly. If your book is set in a paranormal world, the reader needs some indication of this very early on. World building cues can be embedded in prose, descriptions, dialogue, setting, internal monologue…in almost any craft element.  (More on this below.)
  • Paranormal elements must be integral to your story. Making your hero a vampire just because vampires are selling right now just won’t cut it.
  • The world building needs to be believable, logical, and consistent within the framework you establish. And once you establish Your Rules, you have to follow them.  A lack of internal consistency is the kiss of death. 
  • Deviations from familiar paranormal mythology or tropes must be accounted for – for example, if your werewolves DON’T shift with the full moon, or your vampires DON’T drink blood or have to avoid the sun, you have to tip the reader off,  the earlier the better. To accomplish this, it’s helpful to know which paranormal tropes exist in the first place. What came before? What’s being published now?  Here’s your excuse to READ!!
  • Building a world means developing a culture people actually live in.  What do family systems and bond relationships look like in your world? The justice and legal system? The belief system(s), if any? Are any particular death rites observed? What are the culture’s prevailing sexual mores, and is there a price to be paid for flouting them? Does your world have its own history? Does it have unique geographic features? Do you need to {{shudder}} develop language? Which shall then be used {{shudder}} very, very sparingly? 

Dive deep. Create a vivid, fully-realized world for your characters to navigate.  

As a reader and a contest judge, nothing makes me bounce up and down in my tennies like a little girl than when world building is oh-so-casually, and oh-so-effectively, embedded in the prose. Here are a few examples: 

For the second time in her life, Kaderin the Coldhearted hesitated to kill a vampire. 

— Kresley Cole, “No Rest for the Wicked” (Immortals After Dark Book Two)

Look at what this sentence accomplishes in a mere fifteen words: it telegraphs, unmistakably, that this is a paranormal world. Is there a kick-ass heroine? Check – and this Valkyrie warrior even has a title – Kaderin the Coldhearted – which supplies characterization.  And…”For the second time in her life…” Might this be…backstory? Sneaky, subtle backstory? For the second time?  Kresley. Dude. What happened to Kaderin the first time? 

Are you as intrigued as I am? FYI, this is the first sentence of Chapter One,  and it’s sheer, bloody genius.  Is it any wonder that Kresley Cole is not only a multiple RITA finalist, but a NYT best-seller?

Another example of very effective early world building comes from Nalini Singh, whose Guild Hunter series features archangels, vampires and humans: 

When Elena told people she was a vampire hunter, their first reaction was an inevitable gasp, followed by, “You go around sticking those sharp stakes in their evil putrid hearts?”

Okay, maybe the actual words varied but the feel was the same. It made her want to track down and exterminate the idiot fifteenth-century storyteller who made up that tale in the first place.

— Nalini Singh, “Angels’ Blood” (Guild Hunters Book One)

What does Nalini accomplish with the first two paragraphs of her book? Paranormal? Check. Kick-ass heroine? Check. A tip-off that the typical vampire tropes don’t necessarily apply? Yup.  And notice her word choice. Readers should take a serious tone cue from the heroine’s use of the words ‘putrid’ and ‘exterminate’.  Singh’s Guild Hunter world is brutal and violent, but rendered using some of the most exquisite sensory language I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. Why this NYT Best selling author hasn’t finaled in the RITA yet, much less won, is a mystery for the ages.

And finally, from our own Darynda Jones, who won the 2009 Paranormal Golden Heart for “First Grave On the Right” which was released to great acclaim (and yes, much tennie bouncing!) by St. Martin’s Press earlier this year: 

Better to see dead than be dead.

— Charlotte Jean Davidson, Grim Reaper

Clever, clever girl! This opening of Chapter One clearly establishes the genre, the book’s humorous, effervescent tone, and also provides essential characterization about the kick-ass heroine: namely, that Charlotte – Charley – is the Grim Reaper.   

So, paranormal readers and writers: what are your tips for breaking away from the paranormal pack? Any pleasures or pet peeves?  Do you have any questions for us? Let ‘er rip.

(Though I may have written the post, I think we can all tell who created the banner. WOW, is that gorgeous. Thanks, D!)  

The Latest Comments

  • Autumn Jordon: Also proof to IRS that this is you’re serious about being a businessand not just a hobby.
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: Oh ugh! Editing is NOT my cake. It’s TORTURE. I love the shiny new words when I can...
  • Heather McCollum: Wonderful tips, Kim! I try to get in 2000 words a day if possible (definitely not when life throws...
  • Rhonda Clark: I love editing, so I guess for writing my tips would be: planning a plot twist, exploring different...
  • Kim Law: lol. Tell us how you really feel about interruptions, LOLOLOLOL! But yes…death glare! I don’t...