Urban Fantasy vs Paranormal Romance

When I first started writing this book I had one heck of a hard time trying to figure out what genre it belongs in. At first I was sure that it was paranormal romance, you know: Kick ass girl meets hard nosed guy and they become attracted and then, oh look, it’s Dashing-Man! Bring on the love triangle! Smelled like a paranormal romance to me. But the more I wrote the more the story began to evolve in ways I never saw coming and that still continue to surprise me.

“Blood and Hunger” is becoming a much heavier story than I ever anticipated. Pain, loss, violence, fear, it’s all there. The one thing that I truly believe is that just because something is “fantasy fiction” it doen’t mean that it can’t be “real”.

I recognized that this story was truly urban fantasy when I realized that the story isn’t about the main charaters’ romantic relationship. “But Vanessa’s a succubus!” you cry, “Isn’t the story all about sex?”

Well no actually, it’s not.

Is there sex in it? Yes. Is there a love interest? Yes. But if you take out the story line of “boy meets girl” the rest of the book can stand on it’s own. And that’s why this book is not a paranormal romance.  Because this book isn’t just about THEM, it’s about EVERYTHING. It’s bigger than them. There is much more  important things going on in their world than if these people end up happily ever after.

Now don’t get me wrong, of course that’s a wonderful part of it. That’s pretty much my favorite part of ANY book. I’m the first one to start screaming “Just kiss her already!” at anything I read. But it’s also nice to know that if I happen to pull a Joss Whedon one night and kill off a beloved main character just because I can the show will go on.

And that’s what makes urban fantasy so exciting. The fact that literally ANYTHING can happen.

Writer Radio: Paramore – Misery Business

Ahhhh music, it’s amazing the way it sets the mood. There are some songs that I listen to when I write that really help to facilitate the process and the scene, spuring me on and allowing the words to pour out of me. And then there are those songs that I listen to when I write because they are super high energy and I expect them to really get me going, unfortunately I barely get a bloody word down because I’m too busy singing along and using my hands to do kick ass air drum solos instead of, oh you know, actually writing. So here you have: Paramore – “Misery Business” Cue rockin’ air drum solo! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCyGvGEtOwc

Book Cover Design

The thing that I love most about being a writer is the absolute freedom  of creativity that it allows me. There I am banging away at my keyboard day in and day out when *WHAM* I get smacked upside the head with the unexpected awesomeness that is cover art! I never gave much thought to it before now nor realized just how much fun I would have when it came time to start puting a concept together. Oh how blind I was.

I have become completely addicted to designing my book covers.

There is no feeling like that first rush when you come across a model that looks exactly like how you see your main character in your head. I’ve always heard about how rarely that happens so I’m glad to have lucked out. Months of writing and then *BAM* there she is.

I have finally narrowed down the cover concept that will span the entire Vanessa Kensley series and I can’t wait for them to be put together and share them with you.

Writer Radio: Cibo Matto – Sugar Water

The other night I was at home writing out a scene taking place in a dance club. As I wrote, Cibo Matto’s “Sugar Water” played on a continuous loop in my head. I’ve loved this song ever since I first heard it on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer years ago. I love how slow and sultry it is. So here it is for you to enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN9auBn6Jys

Succubus 101 – The Most Famous Succubus

While every culture around the world seems to have a legend or two about their very own soul sucking she-demon, the most famous succubus of the Western world would have to be Lilith. In extra-biblical Jewish legends Lilith was said to have been the original wife of Adam, made not only at the same time as him but also completely equal to him.

According to the Alphabet of Ben Sira, Adam wanted  a wife that was sexually subservient but Lilith refused, wanting a turn in the dominant sexual position. When they couldn’t find a way to agree Lilith decided to pack her bags and go, invoking God’s name and flying away. God then sent three angels after her demanding that they bring her back to her husband by force if necessary, but when they found her by the Red Sea she dug in her heels and they were unable to get her to bend to their wishes even when they threatened to drown her in the sea and murder her children if she refused.

Of course she wouldn’t want to go back. Why would she when apperantly she had been having a grand time at the beach having crazy sex with demons and giving birth day after day to hundreds of demonic babies? She had no plans to give up her new carefree lifestyle and told the angels that it was her new mission in life to harm newborn children. Then quite randomly the legend says that Lilith promised to not harm any babies if they are protected by an amulet bearing the names of the three angels. This seems to be Ben Sira’s way of tieing the creation story of the “first Eve” in Genisis into the Sumerian myths about female vampires named “Lillu” or Mesopotamian myths about female nights demons called “lilin”, which is also the name given to Lilith’s demon offspring.  Even though Lilith is mentioned four times in the Babylonian Talmud it is not until Ben Sira’s Alphabet that Lilith is associated with the first creation story sometime around 800-900 CE.

So now what we have is a story about an assertive wife that refuses to bow down to the whims of men and for her actions is replaced by another more pliable woman and is demonized as a savage baby killer in Jewish folklore.

I feel like I watched a movie with this premis a little while ago, now what was it called… The First Wives’ Club?

Succubus 101 – What is a Succubus?

Everyone loves a vampire, but what the heck is a succubus?

In medieval lore a succubus was a female demon that came to men in their dreams in the shape of a human woman desiring to have sex with them, drawing on the man’s energy in order to sustain themselves. From the Latin word ‘succubare’ meaning “to lie under”, these creatures were often the scapegoats for monks needing a reason to explain away the phenomenon of wet dreams and sleep paralysis.

In some legends the succubus was a shape shifter, able to transform into her male counterpart the incubus so as to transfer the stolen male seed into an unknowing human woman. Children born with deformities and defects were said to be the result of these unnatural pairings as an explanation for their abnormalities.

Over time the legend of the succubus evolved to include powers such as hypnotism and mind control, as well as allowing them to take physical human form to seduce men while they were awake. They were able to convince men to commit unholy and unnatural acts, leaving them with cravings for what were seen as all kinds of deviant sexual behaviors.

“It’s not me, the succubus made me do it!”

Because of her need for sexual energy in order to survive the succubus can be likened to a sexual vampire, which is why I have made the succubus trait in the Vanessa Kensley books to be a type of lesser known cousin to the more common sanguineous (blood drinking) vampire, upposed to a dream walking demon.