Monthly Archives: January 2011

What is Paranormal Romance?

by Crymsyn Hart

What is Paranormal Romance besides it being a subgenre of romantic fiction?

Paranormal is considered to be “beyond” the normal world, supernatural and something that science can’t explain. And romance would be a relationship between two or more characters and the feelings that develop between them.  To me, at least, this is what the phrase entails. Now, you throw in a little bit of spice, a vampire or two, or a hunky shifter and to me that is paranormal romance.

While I love a good vampire book that might not have a happy ending, most romance novels end with a happy ever after or a happy for now ending. I write both the HEA and HFN, sometimes, as I reader, I really want to read that horrible ending where everything doesn’t turn out all right and there are a few dangling strings that keep me wondering and on the edge of my seat. But that is my opinion and with five bookcases bursting with books that are mostly vampire novels across all genres, it seems most of the books end with the happy endings, except the horror ones.  Even I am not immune to those novels.

Reading paranormal romance novels are like candy, I read one and then I can’t wait to get my hands on another one. My sub genre of choice within the paranormal realm is vampires. I enjoy the bloodsucking fiends more than any other creature.  The dark immortals who prey on the blood of virgins only to find themselves falling hopelessly in love with one of their victims. Or the lustful seductress who stalks the clerk at her local blood bank only to rescue him from some dark fate that he is being hunted by the local vampire mob boss because he has uncovered some dirty secret.  Together they fall madly in love, embark on a few sexual escapades in between the assassination attempts on their lives, and then end up happily ever after living together until the next disaster comes along and a sequel has to be written.

So besides my explanation of what paranormal romance is, what do you define it as? What draws you into the world of the supernatural? Is it the luscious descriptions of the heroes that makes you delve into the pages? Or is it something more?

If you are like me, then it is more than that. It is the idea that I can put myself into the shoes of the main characters and live through their eyes even if it is for the briefest time of being between the pages. As I said before, books are like candy to me. I open them, get sucked into the sweetness of the story, and then before I know it, time has melted away and the real world has returned because the book is done.

So tell me, what pulls you toward the romance and the paranormal? Hopefully, it’s the sweet taste of the world the author has written and you just want to come back again and again.

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Little Green Notes – Part one

Hi, I’m J. F. Lewis.  The “J” stands for Jeremy and the “F”… well, the “F” stands for something else.  As my bio on the site mentions, I write vampire books: The Void City series for Pocket Books in particular.  But more on that later. Let’s talk about the writing process, the revision process in particular.

Posted to the wall of my office are seven green post-it notes.  I put them there in 2007 while working on the revised draft of Staked (then called Welcome to the Void).  Two of those notes no longer apply: “More Roger” (He’s out of the series now) and… no, never mind the other one became applicable again at the end of Crossed (Void City, Book 3 – which comes out January 25th, 2011 *cough* shameless plug *cough*).  The reason they’re still on the wall is because they all highlight a blind spot in my writing.  Even the Roger one, now that I think about it.  But we’ll get to that later, too.  First though, Little Green Note number one:

1) Let us see Eric “feel” more…

That’s a tough one.  Eric Courtney is the co-tagonist of the Void City books.  He’s fun to write, but writing him has its fair share of challenges.  He’s a remorseless killer, but he also loves his daughter.  He’s a bit of a slut, but that’s only because the woman he loves is still human and in her eighties, so Eric sees any other relationship as doomed to fail.

Anytime a writer is dealing with a protagonist who is as messed up and closed off as Eric is, it’s hard to let real emotions through without the character covering them up or coloring them in a negative light.  In that way, Eric is an unreliable narrator.  That’s established pretty early on when Eric describes himself.  He pictures himself as plain verging on unattractive.  We know he’s actually rather handsome from the way others react to him and the way Tabitha (the other co-tagonist in Staked) describes him in her chapters.

Which leaves me, as the writer, in the role of letting Eric be as self-loathing as he actually is, while simultaneously giving the reader little glimpses into how he actually feels.  Eric even distrusts his own motives for doing good things when he actually does a few, so it’s good fun, but easy to play things too close to the vest and let people miss the (if-not exactly nice then) nicer than he seems guy Eric keeps hidden even from himself.  But that doesn’t just apply to emotions.  If something hurts Eric, instead of having him say it hurts, my little note reminds me to have him describe the pain… Showing instead of telling.  A basic writing rule, but one that can be very easy to forget.

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Welcome to Disquieting Visions—a gateway into paranormal and fantasy realms.  Our regular bloggers include J.F. Lewis (Staked, Revamped) with a focus on urban fantasy; Gail Z. Martin (The Chronicles of the Necromancer series and The Fallen Kings Cycle series) discussing epic fantasy; Tina R. McSwain (Charlotte Area Paranormal Society) putting you in touch with real life ghost hunters, psychics and clairvoyants with a focus on the “other” side; and Crymsyn Hart (The Soul Reaper series), specializing in paranormal romance.

Along with our regular bloggers you’ll see weekly guest blogs from some of their friends, including top names in fantasy and paranormal fiction, real-world psychics and mediums, and the cool people that JF, Gail, Tina and Crymsyn meet.  You’ll also meet the guests of the Ghost in the Machine podcast with audio interviews of authors from the US, UK, Canada and Australia.  On Freebie Fridays, we share the goodies with links to excerpts, interviews and other totally free and totally cool downloads.

About our bloggers:

Crymsyn Hart is the author of a slew of paranormal, romance, erotica books. Her worlds are filled with luscious gods, brooding vampires, shifters who aren’t all that shifty, and a hunky angel of death too. Her experiences as a psychic has given her a lot of material to use in her books. She graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Writing. Her like for the paranormal started when she was child and grew into a full blown obsession when she was teenager.

She currently resides in Charlotte, NC with her husband and her two dogs. Her guilty pleasures are horror movies and peanut M&Ms.

She can be found at or

Tina R. McSwain is Founder & Director of The Charlotte Area Paranormal Society or CAPS.  She also serves as Lead Investigator and Historian of the group. She is a native Charlottean, and has been interested in the paranormal since reading Nancy Roberts’ North and South Carolina ghost books of the 1960’s/1970’s. Watching her favorite TV series of the time, “Dark Shadows” of the 60’s and “The Night Stalker” of the 70’s, only served to fuel her fascination with the supernatural.  Since childhood, she was somehow able to “know” that a future event was about to happen and throughout her adult life, has continued to become sensitive to the world around her.  She has developed this sensitivity into an ability now to aid her in the spirit rescue of the angry, confused or lost souls she encounters today.

Her catalyst for studying the paranormal in depth was her first encounter in 1989 with a full blown apparition of a friend’s grandmother. The lady’s ghost walked toward Tina, smiled, waved, and then turned around, walked away and disappeared.  After the initial shock, Tina realized this was a rare occurrence and one she wanted to repeat.  She began to research her experience in earnest.   Soon after, Tina found and studied with local metaphysical advisors and psychics, and read and studied many volumes on paranormal investigation techniques, equipment, and the science and theory behind it.  After several years of study, she wanted to practice what she had learned.  She sought out and joined a number of North and South Carolina Paranormal and Ghost Hunting groups over the years.  While serving in varying capacities, she gained valuable experience and continued to learn and experiment with and utilize new technology.  Wanting a more professional and scientific research oriented group, Tina formed CAPS with a small group of like-minded colleagues.  Since its formation in 2005, CAPS has assisted over 100 private home and business owners in both the Carolinas and Tennessee who have had concerns of paranormal activity.  When not helping a client, the CAPS team visits reportedly haunted locations, both famous and not-so-famous, in an effort to validate or dismiss these claims.   In addition, CAPS serves as mentors to area high school students choosing ghost hunting as the subject of their “Project Graduation” requirements.  CAPS also runs a Cemetery Clean-up Committee and its members volunteer their time to support their official 2010/2011 charity, The Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.  Tina also speaks at various events to educate the public on the vast world of the paranormal, and has appeared on local radio and television.   Under Tina’s direction and leadership, the Charlotte Area Paranormal Society continues to aid and support our clients; conduct research, investigate, and gather evidence of, and document encounters with, the unknown.

J.F. Lewis lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his patient wife, two adorable sons, and a crazed canine.  He decided that he wanted to be a writer when a supposed creative writing teacher questioned his sanity and suggested therapy. Staked was his first novel (and it also got him excommunicated).  The Void City series continues in ReVamped (out now) and Crossed (released January 25th 2011) .

An avid reader, Jeremy also enjoys sushi, popcorn, lukewarm sodas, and old black and white movies. His two favorite activities are singing lullabies to his kids at bedtime and typing into the wee hours of the morning. Fortunately, like the protagonist of his Void City novels, the author takes very little sleep.  Those looking for more information should track him down on Facebook at:

Gail Z. Martin is a bestselling author, international speaker and entrepreneur.  She owns DreamSpinner Communications and is the “Get Results Resource” for marketing strategies that work.  Gail is the author of The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Launching Your Book (Comfort Publishing) and 30 Days to Social Media Success (Career Press). You can find her online at www.GailMartinMarketing. Gail is also the author of the bestselling Chronicles of the Necromancer fantasy adventure series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, and Dark Lady’s Chosen) published by Solaris Books and distributed by Simon & Schuster.  Her new series, The Fallen Kings Cycle, will be released by Orbit Books in 2011.  Gail blogs every Thursday.

Here’s the schedule (although we hope you’ll subscribe so you don’t miss a day!):

Monday—Guest post and podcast,

Tuesday—JF Lewis,

Wednesday—Crymsyn Hart,

Thursday—Gail Z. Martin,

Friday—Tina McSwain and Freebie Friday!

Welcome and please bring your friends!

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