Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Celebrating Paranormal Fiction...Still Going Strong!

Though its imminent death has been proclaimed on a continual basis over the last several years (mostly by purveyors of other types of literature), paranormal romance fiction is still going strong. The current crop may lean more toward light paranormal than the yummy, dark, steaminess of the recent past, but millions of paranormal fans are showing no inclination to give it up any time soon. Because, let's face it, paranormal is pure, unadulterated fun! What better way to escape from real world woes than immersing yourself in a world that is wholly fantastical, where nothing is impossible and, although the characters’ problems might be much bigger than ours, they always find some magical and interesting way to deal with them. It’s pure fun without guilt to watch the hero and heroine deal with saving the world and beating back evil while trying to conquer their own self-doubts and personal challenges in the midst of it all.

Especially in the current climate, where escapism is more than fun…it’s almost an imperative…readers need to feel as if something larger than life can be controlled. We need to believe that, though the odds seem stacked against us, good and justice will eventually win out over evil. In fantasy fiction, problems can often be solved with a flip of a magic-infused hand, or the blink of a power saturated gaze. Bad guys can be obliterated without a crisis of conscience...good guys almost always beat back evil...and cultural gray areas only make for more interest in the reading. When you add in a sexy, darkly brooding or breathtakingly competent hero, and a heroine we can all identify with, it’s enough to make a romance reader swoon with delight!

Let's face it, good versus evil carries an age-old fascination for mankind. The pages of our history only come alive when a classic story bends along the lines of this type of battle...and good wins out over all. So it's no surprise our reading fare trends in this direction. Nothing brings good versus evil to life like a good paranormal. The idea of magic isn’t new to our time in history, but our treatment of it in the pages of popular fiction is unique. And whatever happens to our sexy, brooding vampires and muscular, sensuous, werewolves, I know one thing…they’ve more than earned their place in history, and they’ll be around for a long, long time!


Hey everybody! I wanted to share a taste of my newest paranormal with you. I hope you enjoy it!


Astra Q. Phelps is turning twenty-five in a few months and she’s starting to feel the effects of her Settling, the time when a half angel, half devil Tweener decides whether to embrace her dark nature or her light.

The delectable Dialle, king of the Royal devils, really needs Astra’s help in Hell to deal with an insurrection. But Astra’s Settling pretty much has her thinking of only one thing—S.E.X.!

Sex with Dialle, sex with her yummy partner Emo, sex with a molten-hot dragon slayer she meets along the way, and sex with assorted other randy Royals cavorting among the fires of Hell. It’s a constant struggle just to keep her mind and body pure so she can concentrate on the business at hand, but Astra Q Phelps is definitely up for the challenge. And Good versus Evil has never been this much fun!


I was lost. Toasted. Sucker punched by my hormone-crazed body. My slut monkey side had beaten my weakened conscience into tattered, bleeding submission. I would have consumed him then and there, right on the floor of the throne room of the Royal Devil Court, but our skin sparked and it startled me.

I pulled away.

We never used to spark. Only my daemon hickey used to spark, and that, only when we communicated from a distance, or another male came too close.

But lately we’d been creating literal sparks whenever we touched in a sensual way. It was a bit disconcerting to say the least.

I pulled away and licked my lips. His taste lingered on the swollen flesh and my body clenched with desire. “I’m going to have to buy fireproof clothes if that keeps up.”

Dialle’s grin was wicked. “Or you could just go naked all the time.”

“Har! In your dreams, bud.”

“Actually, yes, that has been a central theme in my dreams on many occasions.”

I couldn’t help sharing his smile. Then I remembered the conversation I’d been trying to have before he kissed me. I crossed the room and sat down. When he made a move to join me I held up a hand, palm out, to stop him. “You stay over there. So I can breathe.”

His black eyes sparked with mischief but, for once, he did as I asked.

“Now tell me about this crowning ceremony.”

He inclined his head and dropped his perfect, well rounded ass onto the arm of a nearby chair. “Since my father has been recalled to Hades I must serve as king until he returns.”

I nodded. “I’m with you up to that point.” Dialle and I had recently intercepted a plot by King Dialle the First to overtake Saint Peter and breech the Pearly Gates. The happy result of that fight was that King Dialle had been reimprisoned in Hell for the foreseeable future, his “get out of Hell free” pass rescinded by the Big Guy.

“I am, of course the most obvious choice to succeed him—”

“Wait a minute. The most obvious choice? Aren’t you the only choice?”

He cocked his well shaped head, the silken, black curtain of his hair drifting to rest against one broad shoulder. The strands curled enticingly where they touched the black silk of his shirt. His smooth, golden pecs showed in the deep vee of the unbuttoned shirt. My eyes glazed a bit and I had to do a metaphorical head shake to get my focus back.

The hormonal consequences of my Settling were…well…unsettling.

“Lovely, Astra, you of all people should understand that things are never that simple in the devil court.”

I lifted my eyebrows and shrugged. “Right. I forgot for a moment that I wasn’t talking about rational beings.”

“Devils are rational, Astra. Just not in the same way you are. We have our own rationality.”

“Whatever. Anyway…”

He slid into the seat of the chair he’d been resting against and crossed one long, slimly muscled leg across the other, ankle to knee, man style. I licked my lips as this new position gave me a prime vantage point to the nicely rounded package at the juncture of his thighs.

I blinked. Why was I fighting having sex with him again? Oh yeah, twelve hundred horned and horny voyeurs. Got it.

“To become king, I must undergo the crowning ceremony. The words of the ceremony create powerful magics that ensure the loyalty of my subjects.”

I nodded. All that made perfect sense to me. The sex in front of strangers part though, not so much.

“Unfortunately for you, the ceremony isn’t complete until I consummate it with my chosen mate.”

“I’m not your mate.”

“Ah, but you are, lovely Tweener. You bear my mark on your neck and you carry my heart in your pocket.”

Glaring at him, I got up to pace. “The mark was given against my will.”

“I would dispute that assessment, my love. But even if it were true it would not diminish its meaning…or its effect.”

I stopped pacing long enough to fix him with an angry frown. “This mark was given to me in a weak moment of passion. I had no idea at the time what it entailed. It wasn’t very nice of you to lock me into all of this without even asking if I was interested.”

He lifted his hands out to the sides and cocked his head. “Devil, Astra.”

I sighed. What could I say? He had a point. When you hung out with devils you kind of had to expect to get screwed.

Fortunately it was usually a frunkin’ fine experience.


Sam Cheever’s published work includes 18 books of romantic suspense and fantasy/paranormal. Her books have won the Dream Realm Award for fantasy, a CAPA award, and eCataromance’s Reviewer’s Choice award. Sam is published with Ellora’s Cave, Red Rose Publishing, and Aspen Mountain Press. Visit her website (www.samcheever.com) to learn about her work, her life, and her upcoming activities.


Kristabel Reed said...

Paranormal is dead? Huh, I know several bookstore shelves that would disagree with you. I wonder why certain rumors persist. I'm all for a sexy (read: molten hot) paranormal, and think I might have to add Astra & Dialle to my pile! Which grows everyday...

Anne said...

I was surpised to read that paranormal, partiocularly dark paranormal, is on the decline. Maybe it's because it's being reclassified as Urban Fantasy or Dark Urban Fantasy which seems to be everywhere. It's my favorite.

Enjoyed the excerpt. I've visited Sam's website, but never knew what Tweener was a reference to.

Kari Thomas said...

ONWARDS Paranormal! So glad to see an article that tells readers that authors are STILL writing the genre despite the obstacles and naysayers, and plan to KEEP writing!

Loved the excerpt!

Hugs, Kari Thomas, www.authorkari.com

Kim said...

You've summed up paranormal romance very well. The good characters are often easy to sympathize with, and the evil characters are just as easy to dislike. Thank you for sharing your insights.
The excerpt was tantalizing!

Sam Cheever said...

Thanks for your wonderful comments ladies! Paranormal is FAR from dead, though many of its best characters certainly are! In a very good way of course. Snort!