Things That Go Bump in the Night

Things that Go Bump in the Night:

Why do we love things that should terrify us?

by Becca Dale

It seems the literary world, especially the romance genre, is full of things that go bump in the night. However, these creatures are no longer the big, bad scary beasts that I grew up with, and the things bumping are extremely hot.
Suddenly, werewolves are sexy young men with dark eyes and brooding natures, and vampires are nearly effeminate in their understanding of the female mind. They are also huge—get your mind out of the gutter boys and girls—in the world of gay literature.

So how did this come about? Do we have a fascination with things that have long generated fear because we no longer believe in them? Have they become the controllable bad guys? If vampires have souls and shifters are just the cute guy next door then they lose their power to frighten us. In a world of terrorists, war that isn’t called war, economic decline, job loss, and often worldwide political confusion, a bad guy we can identify, control, and even love becomes the ultimate sex symbol. 

Human beings adore being frightened, but when fear enters every aspect of our lives to some extent, we seek a break from it in the form of pure entertainment. What this means is even the dark and scary types—the true undead or nonhuman—can still be sexy.  Whether we run to the movies for blood and gore, or curl up with our e-readers for romantic, erotic vampires, we seek distraction from the things we have no power over.  Thus the fascination with things we tell ourselves we can handle because they are not real.

For me the paranormal and science fiction worlds have long been a source of interest. Maybe because the first guy I ever crushed on (after elementary school anyway) was an avid reader of both. Or maybe because I find the strength of the female characters in modern paranormals empowering. 

The second piece I ever published wandered into the world of the fantastic. Through Adarkan’s Salvation I gained an understanding of what I am capable of and a sense of power through the strong heroine. Although I write primarily contemporary romance these days, my fascination with the paranormal continues.  
The latest example of this is Kya’s King. Kya discovers a sense of herself as an individual but also a deeper understanding of the power of family and love-both modern and traditional. For me, the scariest character in the entire story is the enemy in human form. Perhaps this stems from the fact that he could really exist. He represents those who live for power and control no matter the cost. He is the rapist in the dark, the corrupt politician, and the gorgeous man who lies and hides his evil behind a smile. Those things, my friends, scare the crap out of me.

So what draws you to the world of the paranormal? Is it lovers with superhuman capabilities? Yeah, that’s a plus. Or do you adore the idea that the one you love is a bad guy by nature and controls all that evil power just for you? Mmm, that’s a nice thought. I would love to know what you think. While you’re thinking, here is a peek at Kya’s King. I hope you adore Ja and Kya as much as I do.  Thanks for stopping by.

Blurb for Kya’s King

Tender-hearted and lonely, Kya yearns for heritage and home. The staff and animals at the sanctuary where she works have become almost family, but it is not enough. She craves the stability and acceptance she hears in the voice of her dream lover and sees in the eyes of a wounded wildcat.
Chosen to guard the royal heir, Ja claims his lost charge in a desperate attempt to save her from enemies she can not imagine or comprehend. At every turn desire and obligation clash as Kya tests his loyalty to the clan and his will to walk away. Touching her breaks the rules that he has pledged his life to uphold, but fulfilling his duty might destroy everything worth fighting for.
Both must face the roles they were born to play. Hers to lead. His to protect. Can Hannah blindly accept her responsibility as queen or will she turn her back on the extended family she longs for in order to keep the one who destroys her loneliness? Does she even have a choice?

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October 22, 2010 at 11:33 PM

Fun blog, as usual! Love the cover of your book! ROWR!

October 23, 2010 at 8:35 AM

Becca let me just the blog and love the cover (I second Val's emotion :)

October 23, 2010 at 9:46 AM

I'm not a huge paranormal fan (except when it's all I want to read), but when I do read it, I find I like the paranormal elements to have an edge that even their lovies don't quite tame. It bums me out when love makes werewolves lapdogs and vampires card carrying blood donors.
On the other edge, I can't have a hero who is a total nutcase lunatic the fussiness is probably why I am a wee bit critical of paranormal and am so super thankful when I find a good one.

Great post Becca!!!!

October 23, 2010 at 2:57 PM

I am a huge paranormal fan, and it's my main genre choice when I have time to just pick a book and read it. For now anyway. I like things beyond the norm. Possibilites and realities...think how the original Dracula got to people. Kya sounds great btw!

October 23, 2010 at 7:05 PM

Thanks ladies. I have been away from my computer all day so I am sorry it took me so long to comment. I love to read paranormal but like Steph said it is hard to keep the edge on. I hope Ja does not lose all his rough edges. I doubt he could ever be anyone's pussycat. ;-)

October 23, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Love the blog! And you posted one of my all time FAVORITE vampires. I love Angel! :-) *sigh* Going to daydream some now.

October 23, 2010 at 8:07 PM

I think it's a little different for my readers, Young Adult. Someone a lot smarter than me articulated it better, but I can't remember who she was or her exact words.

In essence, teenage girls are fascinated by vampires and werewolves and such because they represent something they've newly become aware of and are learning about, boys. The opposite sex becomes an electrifying fascination sometime during junior high, but it still takes a while to figure them out. They're gorgeous and terrifying. They can hurt us horribly, but will they? The traditional vampire *uses* people, just like the selfish jerk tells a girl he loves her just so she'll have sex with him and then he dumps her. The romantic vampire denies or delays his own selfish urges because he loves the girl. He could hurt her, but he won't. Because love means placing the well-being of the one you love first.

October 23, 2010 at 9:00 PM

Good points, Becca! Thanks for the interesting reading.

October 23, 2010 at 9:34 PM

I like paranormal elements, but not vamps and wolves and stuff. Too far out for me. I grew up with Bella Lagosi for heavens sake. However, the elements of paranormal can vary so much that it doesn't have to be something scary, but something unexplainable. And I love Jimmy on that cover. He's a fantastic model.

October 23, 2010 at 10:45 PM

I love all things paranormal! The desperation, the idea that there is only one fated to be a mate, the seemingly insurmountable odds the couple must face to be together, all weave a compelling story. Mix in immortality and hunkalicious men, be they shape-shifter or vampire and I'm sunk! Although, I am partial to angels these days. LOL Who wouldn't want to spend eternity with an immortal who looks like Jimmy?
Becca awesome cover, and your story IS compelling. :)

October 24, 2010 at 2:10 PM

I used to like vampire erotica until I realized that would mean dating someone older than my grandfather! EW! What could we possibly have in common after the sex was done? Besides, I get mad at the gyne when the speculum is too cold! Having sex with a cold, dead guy? Not something I'd like to imagine!
Weres? I'm okay with the whole idea, but when the sex is with the guy in his animal guise, that screams bestiality to me, and that's also not something I've ever fantasized about.
Maybe it's an age thing. As I get older I'm more interested in men who can cross the line and relate to women as equals, not as conquests. So contemporary is what I'm writing and reading these days.

October 24, 2010 at 9:23 PM

Wow, some great comments. Thanks all. I agree vamps have never really done it for me either - however, I must say the lonely little vamp in Kimber's Sugar Rush melts my heart but more as a mother than as a woman - probably because his is forever a kid. Most publishers, unless they handle straight erotica, do not allow authors to write sex between humans and shifters in animal form for the very reason you point out, Fiona. I agree that is not hot.

Thanks for visiting everyone.

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