View Full Version : Paranormal romance?

07-23-2005, 07:03 PM
What elements make up paranormal romance that make it stand out from regular romance? And what is really hot in pm right now?

Nicholas S.H.J.M Woodhouse
07-23-2005, 07:07 PM
I've seen one where there is a happy couple, one of them dies, and comes back as a ghost. Can't remember what it was called....

07-23-2005, 08:00 PM
Katie Macallister's stuff is listed as Paranormal Romance and it's usually a "Dark One" (Vampire) and some sort of superhuman (telepath, telekenetic, something or other...) What I don't get is what's up with the whole Paranormal category. It's almost like it needs to be it's own genre but nobody really considers it as such. I mean vampires to me aren't really Sci Fi but Laurell Hamilton's stuff is considered sci-fi by some. It's too confusing for my little head.

07-23-2005, 08:40 PM
Paranormal is very hot right now but...by the time you write, edit, get an agent/publisher and the book is in print - it might be something entirely different. I think you should write the kind of books you love and read, and if it's good, it will find a home. Right now the trend it toward erotica, nearly porn. Most of the published romance writers I know are complaining about it and several have stopped submitting because the editors want at least two steamy love scenes per book. The gals are writing the kind of books they always have written and are waiting for the pendulum to swing back - and I'm sure it will. Just my opinion.


Cathy C
07-23-2005, 10:12 PM
Here you go, Rhush. This is from the seminar that I gave last week on romance subgenres. Hope it helps!

Paranormal: The key element of a paranormal is LEGEND. Werewolves are legend, and so are vampires, pixies, fairies, doxies, living mummies, etc. A paranormal is PARA or "resembling or imitating" NORMAL "real life". Most vampire romances fit this category. There is a handed down legend or fable or "this really happened!" account of something outside the ordinary that we don't generally believe but aren't completely convinced COULDN'T happen. While it can be set in the future, the past or the present, the key is that everything ELSE is normal, except for the addition of this one element.

Light Paranormal - Light paranormal deals with creatures that are magical, and that have as their "legend" that they benefit mankind generally. Angels, fairies, Gods/Goddesses, spirits/ghosts, and the like. The storylines are generally that a superior being falls in love with a human or with each other and nobody gets hurt. Think of the movie "Ghost". That's a light paranormal.

Dark Paranormal - These are the creatures of legend that subsist on blood or flesh of humans or other creatures. Vampires, werewolves, doxies, unseelie fey (darker cousins of the fairies), leprechauns, etc. As their legends, they harm people to their own benefit. These storylines deal with the dark creature overcoming their dark nature to fall in love with a human or with each other. Think of the movie "Van Helsing". That's a dark paranormal.

I don't know that anything is really "hot" in paranormal. They all seem to be playing about the same at the different houses. One that hasn't been done very much, though, and I've seen mentions that people would like to see it back are historical "gothics" that are paranormal. The trick is that the reader is demanding more and more attention to detail in the historical aspects, which is why a lot of writers aren't getting published. History buffs are really picky and get a single element out of place and the publisher won't put their name on it. But that's all I really know of.

07-23-2005, 10:15 PM
Ghost are often listed as supernatural, vampires and werewolves etc a paranormal--yet it is a hot now but the vampire market is getting a bit flooded unless you have a new take on it.

07-23-2005, 10:21 PM
Hey Cathy, any idea which houses or agents might be looking for a historical paranormal? Because that's what my co-writer and I have finished and ready to submit.
I describe it as a Regency Romance with vampires and magic. I did the research end of it, and I'm kind of a bug, so it's pretty accurate.
It doesn't have any graphic or steamy sex scenes, but those could be added if necessary (I'm not proud).

07-23-2005, 10:28 PM
Ok, Cathy so what do you do when your novel contains paranormal elements, romantic elements, thriller-murder mystery elements. Paranormal isn't it's own genre yet so you're stuck with the sci fi label. Or are you?

07-23-2005, 10:29 PM
Thanks guys! That is all very helpful. :)

07-23-2005, 11:21 PM
batgirl, St Martins paperback publishes Regency Vampire.

Cathy C
07-24-2005, 12:17 AM
So does Tor's new paranormal romance line (the one I'm in. It's a sister company with St. Martin's, but different editors.) I think that Harlequin is also accepting. They're making some new moves with their category lines, and the Bombshell and Blaze lines both have a few books that are paranormal. You might also try Berkley. They do a lot of historicals and might consider a paranormal.

07-24-2005, 12:20 AM
DAW publishes paranormal fiction as well and excepts over the transom on an exclusive basis.

07-25-2005, 10:54 AM
Great, thank you all! (making notes ... St. Martins ... Daw ...)
Tor's already said no, but Daw and Luna are next on the list. I'll check into the other Harlequin lines, and also check who doesn't require agents (since we don't have one.)
By the way, would it help at all to put in the cover letter that we'd be happy to make the book sexier or more romantic, or bloodier? Or would that just sound desperate and sad?

07-25-2005, 06:06 PM
I wouldn't go beyond saying that your are ammenable to making and changes or refinements as necessary.

I suggested St Martin because they specifically publish vampire/regency combos such as those by Susan Squires.

Cathy C
07-25-2005, 10:54 PM
Tor's already said no, but Daw and Luna are next on the list Luna isn't a romance line, batgirl. Their books are shelved in fantasy, and they specifically DON'T want paranormal (That from the editor's mouth at the last RWA National convention.) They insist on world building and female centric stories. The romance should be less than 50%. Check out their guidelines before you submit to them.

07-26-2005, 02:25 AM
DAW doesn't require an agent. The website has a listing of what they want you to send. DAWBooks.com

07-26-2005, 02:48 AM
Thanks, Cathy - the romance actually isn't a major part of the story, though it's there. That's why I wondered about offering to pump up the romance aspect as well as the blood, if needed.
On the other hand, there are four viewpoint characters, so I have been wondering whether the story would be heroine-centric enough for Luna (have a printout of their requirements).

Thanks veinglory - I've got a Susan Squires somewhere but hadn't realised who was publishing her - duh! I'll go look them up.

08-01-2005, 06:09 PM
Recently, I went to Barnes & Noble and came across something totally different. It was a romance where the hero is a gargoyle. I can't remember the title, but that really intrigued me. Would that be considered paranormal as well?

Some of the paranormal romances are hard for me to wrap my mind around. Such as werewolves. Vampires, yes, since I've written a couple of those and have the plot of another one planned out.

I also wanted to ask about ghosts. I pretty much understand that it falls into the supernatural category. In the story I'm writing, the hero is given his stepfather's family mansion in Charleston, SC. He moves in with his siblings and immediately he's "haunted" by the ghosts of his step-grandparents. The heroine is alive and well--as is the hero--and they remain that way. The ghosts in my story pretty much act as comic relief, but play an intricate role regarding the hero. My question is: is this still a supernatural romance since the hero and heroine aren't ghosts themselves? :Shrug: