Saturday, March 10, 2018

That Old Black Magic: Paranormal Suspense Panel at Left Coast Crim

By Sandy Wright


I’m excited to announce that I will be moderating a panel at the Left Coast Crime conference in Reno, NV this month. It’s titled “That Old Black Magic: Paranormal Suspense.


My panelists are:

Alice Henderson (Voracious, Shattered Roads)

Alice has an interesting background in science and paleo-climatology, and she has traveled to wild places around the globe, so I’m sure she will have much to say about the accurate portrayal of “place” in fiction.

I’d also like to find out how she landed her sweet gig of writing books for Star Wars, Buffy and Supernatural!


Eileen Magill (House of Homicide)

Eileen actually lived in a house that was haunted by a serial killer, so the ghost questions will be directed to her first.


Interestingly, when the house was put up for sale, there was a bidding war and it sold for $111,000 over the asking price!



Margaret C. Morse (Murder Casts a Spell, Murder Lifts the Spirits)

Margaret was a lawyer in her previous life, so we’ll delve into writing witchcraft as a lawyer. That should be interesting!






Danna began writing after a car accident left her faced with the challenge of relearning basic skills due to cognitive impairment. That interests me since I have resumed writing after suffering a stroke two years ago.

Danna says she began her TV show to improve her speaking skills, and now she has two popular segments airing in Sacramento and has won awards for a dozen short films, as well as publishing a three-novel series.  



Since the audience will consist of writers and readers of suspense and crime fiction, I think I’ll begin by asking, “What do you think is the main thing that distinguishes paranormal suspense from other suspense and crime genres? And what do readers demand from paranormal suspense books?”

Please help me prepare for the panel by telling me: what questions would YOU like to ask a paranormal suspense panel?  

The conference is next weekend, so I’ll report back here shortly and let you know how it went.
Thank you in advance for your comments!

Good reading.

I’m Sandy Wright. I live in Arizona with my husband, a super-smart Border Collie/Aussie mix named Teak, and two huge black panther cats, Salem and Shadow Moon. Their daddy, Magick, was even bigger! He's featured in my debut novel, Song of the Ancients, the first book in my paranormal suspense series, Ancient Magic.

They say write what you know, so my debut novel involves witchcraft and Native American medicine magic. It's set in the energy-laden town of Sedona, Arizona.  It was interesting to introduce the concept of witchcraft through the eyes of an ordinary, non-magical woman, and go through her reactions and disbelief along with her. While I did a lot of research for this book, most of the magical stuff I drew from my own Wiccan background and practice.

Sedona is but one earth "power site" in the world. The Ancient Magic series will take Samantha to Nicholas to adventures at other sacred sites, known and obscure. Book 2, tentatively titled Stones of the Ancients, will take us to ancient standing stones—and a true-life excavation-- in Scotland. I also researched my Campbell clan heritage while visiting the Scottish Isles last summer. The books then move to Hawaii to learn about Pele, the Goddess of fire and volcanos. The series concludes somewhere along the icy Neolithic bridge of the First People, maybe Alaska or Siberia.

Book One – Song of the Ancients is available now on Amazon, in both print and ebook.And please look for my upcoming Arizona suspense, Crescent Moon Crossing, releasing fall 2018! 


6 comments:

Diane Burton said...

This sounds like a fascinating panel discussion, Sandy. Wish I lived closer. Your initial question--what makes paranormal suspense different from other suspense & crime--is a great question. Is it the incorporation of ghosts or other paranormal phenomenon? What other paranormal elements? I hope you enjoy the conference. I'm curious to hear how your workshop went.

Sorchia DuBois said...

What a wonderful experience this will be--for you and everyone who attends. In addition to your questions, I'd be interested in knowing what panelists consider weaknesses in the genre--what tends to turn readers off or make them hesitate to grab a paranormal book? What do your panelists' find overused or negative in the genre and what remedies they suggest. And, of course, what marketing tips specifically for the genre have they found effective. I'm looking forward to hearing about the discussion and wish I could be there! Thanks so much for your post!

Maureen said...

Wow that sounds like such a fun experience and awesome panelists. I have to admit I never hear it referred to much as paranormal suspense- but I absolutely love that! I'd also love to hear best marketing for the genre as some of my books would fit in this category.

Sandy Wright said...

Sorchia --
Great questions, thank you! I'll add them to my list.

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

Sounds like an interesting panel.

Sandy Wright said...

To answer your questions above -
1. Readers said they stayed away from paranormal in which the author doesn't seem to be "invested" in their paranormal elements. They want paranormal to be believable, ie, magic comes at a steep price, it doesn't just happen. And they want the rules of the world to be strictly followed, no easy work-arounds to get your character out of a jam.