Barnes and Noble has announced that it is reorganizing its teen section, given the rise in popularity of the genre, they are now going to be organizing it into two sections, paranormal/fanstasy and regular teen fiction.
Amazon has announced that later this year you will be able to loan your Kindle books to other Kindle users, depending upon the publisher or the rights holder.
Ever wondered what the difference between a romance novel and erotica? Author Dee Tenorio has posted a great article about the difference at The Good, The Bad and the Unread.
Nicholas St. John, is a hunted man, after being named London’s Lord to Land by the highly read Pearl’s and Pelisses magazine. In Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean, Nicholas is thrilled when he is approached by his friend the Duke to track down his missing sister and is able to leave London. When the trial runs cold, Nicolas is surprised to be invited to appraise a marble collection by Lady Isabel Townsend but he quickly starts to realize that not everything at the house is as it appears.
Lady Isabel Townsend so the daughter of the man known as “Wastearl”, her father has mortgaged the estate and sold off everything of value and then died, leaving her in charge of her 10 year-old brother, who is now the new Earl and the estate. To further complicate her life, Isabel has been hiding women for years from abusive fathers and husbands. With the death of her father, the only way Isabel can feed her staff is by selling of her precious marbles and to do that she has to invite Lord St. John, the noted marble expert, to appraise them. As Nicholas starts to appraise the marbles, Isabel fears he will discover all her secrets but as they start to get closer she starts to fear losing her heart more.
In a time when women had no rights to themselves, regardless of the treatment they received, reading a story that protects these women against the law was fabulous. MacLean’s treatment of the law and the fear that Isabel has of getting caught was understandable. Isabel’s strengths and those strengths being a weakness in some ways was brilliant and believable. One of my favorite scenes is where Nicholas starts to realize that all the male servants in the house have the wrong body shape and had me giggling. Nicholas’ struggle to settle down after being a spy in the war and his depth of concern over the treatment of women was endearing. Being a list person myself, I love the way MacLean’s novels revolve around a numbered list. I enjoyed Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah Maclean very much and highly recommend it.
Bernita Harris worked as a short-order cook, a library assistant and a less-than-serious actress before winning a university fellowship and earning a master’s degree in English literature. Subsequently, she worked in public affairs and later as a forensic consultant in occult-related material, events, practices and beliefs.
A Libra and left-handed, she is drawn naturally to the sinister side of justice. She has grown four splendid children and now lives in an old house in the Thousand Islands with a German shepherd, a “mostly” corgi and ten thousand books. A Canadian who hates the cold and thrives on spring, she spends her time writing, tending her herb and flower gardens and negotiating with the dead.
Previous to Dark and Disorderly, her first novel, she has published occasional pieces of nonfiction, poetry and several short stories. You are invited to visit her blog at www.bernitaharris.blogspot.com/ or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Researching the Paranormal
A story may start with an idea, an ideal, a theme, but research is the foundation that supports and carries the world a writer wants to construct. Dark and Disorderly is based on a premise arising from the classic “what if?” What if the paranormal became almost “normal?” Become real and relevant? What types of ghosts? What types of problems would they produce? How would ancient spirits adapt to our modern world? What sort of other creatures from myth and legend closely allied to spirits and specters might fit the framework? Certainly, creatures like death messengers, forewarnings of disaster and death, such as the Dullahan, a headless horseman. would fit such a story. My research indicated that the dullahan’s horse was eventually replaced by a coach and four and reported as a Black Coach apparition. Obviously, the legend evolved along with methods of transportation. I wouldn’t have realized that without research. So it did not seem incongruous to me in Dark and Disorderly to provide him with a black SUV.
The banshee (bean sidhe in the Celtic) are fey house spirits who attached themselves to various Irish families and who wailed and mourned at an approaching death, seen as more a curse than ablessing. But, early accounts credit them with a warning and protective function. When one drills down, one finds that paranormal entities are complex, many faced and many named; and who may be, in some of their aspects, benevolent to human kind. The banshee is also called the Woman of the Fords, one seen washing by the river the bloody clothes of those about to die. Perhaps today she might use the laundromat where Lillie meets her. A more modern, non-conspicuous place to conduct her business.–and easier on her hands.
Many readers have expressed a fondness for Dumbarton, the spectral dog who acts as Lillie’s watchdog.–when he’s not chasing spectral squirrels and ghostly groundhogs.Legends usually portray the Black Dog as a ferocious, fearsome, slavering away from danger in the dark night; and that knowledge allowed me to portray Dumbarton as more dog than phantom. The supernatural never has a single face. Research opens up all sorts of exciting possibilities for adaptation of myths and legends, for new and fresh approaches, and the avoidance of same-old, same-old cliches.
Thank you Bernita for telling us about researching the paranormal and the melding of the old world beliefs with contemporary fiction. You can read my review of her book Dark and Disorderlyhere.
Lillie St. Claire is just starting to recover from the mess her husband’s death has left her life in, not that it was any better when he was alive, when his zombified body appears in her bathroom as she is about to slip into a bath. Dark & Disorderly by Bernita Harris is about Lillie St. Claire, a Talent who can permanently dispatch the spirits of the dead and is in great demand as the spirits on earth are getting more restless. With the appearance of her husband’s zombified body, Lillie finds herself a suspect in his murder and finds herself having to deal with psi-crime detective John Thresher. Lillie can’t understand why anyone would think she would want to reanimate her husband when he thought she was a Freak and made her life a nightmare.
As if things weren’t bad enough, Lillie finds herself the target of a series of accidents and Thresher decides to stick close to her side as things get more deadly. Lillie finds herself attracted Thresher but is hesitant to let anyone close physically or emotionally after the abuse she suffered from her husband.
Lillie’s talent isn’t an easy one, most of the time she is called upon to get rid of ghosts who like to relive their horrific death or crimes they committed, like getting rid of pedophile ghosts who linger around children’s playgrounds making children uncomfortable. Most members of society are both nervous of Lillie’s talent and super demanding of her powers to get rid of the apparitions. I really enjoyed this novel. Lillie was a sympathetic character with all that she has gone through without being weak, always a fine line for an author to tread. In many of the urban fantasy novels I have read, the main character has flaws and problems that come about because of selfish choices, I didn’t feel like that was the case here, Lillie pushed herself to the edge of her powers both physically and emotionally because she feels strongly that the ghosts lingering behind to terrorize the living need to be dispatched as soon as possible. One of my favorite characters is Lillie’s ghost dog Dumbarton, not only does he scare away intruders, he also spends time chasing the ghost squirrels that reside in the cemetery next door. Thresher’s history is left wide open and I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series. Dark and Disorderly was a great mix of mystery, paranormal and mythology and I recommend it.