Paranormal horror is a genre whose story lines revolve around the paranormal. This can include paranormal romance, supernatural romance, and psychics.
One of my books, In the Belly of the Beast, is a paranormal romance/horror book. It revolves around a psychic stranger with supernatural forces. It is urban fiction with a splash of horror. The main character is a prostitute who was once beautiful and seductive. Now, she is living a nightmare. Old and abused, she’s given up all hope of happiness.
Then, a supernatural stranger knocks on her door. She lets the stranger in, and it marks the beginning of a bizarre romance. Unknown to her, the stranger is a psychic, and immediately strange things start to happen in the house.
So, what exactly is s paranormal romance?
Paranormal Romance is a subgenre of Romance. When writing romance novels, it’s imperative to remember that there is a love story with an emotionally satisfying ending.
According to a survey from the Romance Writers of America 1
- Women buy the most romance books
- 30 – 54 age
- Southern women are a large portion of the folks who buy romance books
Source: Nielsen Books and Consumer Tracker
- 64% read a romance novel more than once monthly
- 35% buy one more than once monthly
These readers have been reading romance for years. Readers enjoy both printed and ebook formats.
Top 10 Themes in Romance:
1. Friends to lovers
2. Soul mate
3. Second chance at love
4. Secret lover
5. First love
6. Strong hero or heroine
7. Lovers reunion
8. Love triangle
9. Sexy mega-rich lover
10. Sassy heroine
Readers of romance also enjoy reading other genres like mystery, fiction, and books on cooking/food. Older readers usually purchase mysteries, while younger ones purchase erotic and young adult fiction.
Novels can be found online and in stores, but the most important factor that determines whether or not someone buys a romance novel is the story.
Paranormal romance is a flexible genre. Lines can be successfully blurred, emphasizing the relationship or the setting and the plot.
Belief in the Paranormal
When something happens that can’t be explained scientifically, it’s said to be paranormal. Ghosts, aliens, UFOs, psychic and extrasensory perception are just some of the things that go under the heading of paranormal.
Scientist say such things do not exist.
Why do we believe?
Curiosity – we seek answers to deep, unanswerable questions.
Word of mouth – others have spread stories of strange phenomena – the power of suggestion.
Fear – the senses kick into overdrive and a creak in the house may be interpreted as ghostly footsteps.
Physical responses – when afraid, the body moves blood to a person’s core, readying for a fight/flight response. A person can feel cold.
More women than men believe in paranormal phenomena. One theory to explain this suggests that while males are steered toward science, females are socialized more in religion. 4
More men believe in aliens, while women believe in fortune tellers. 5
So much media exist about the paranormal – movies, books, and television programs. 6
Edgar Cayce 7
March 18, 1877 – January 3, 1945
Gave psychic readings while in an unconscious state
As a boy, he slept on top of his books, thereby memorizing them
Laid down on a couch and meditated and was able to connect with ‘the universal consciousness’
His readings emphasize holistic health
Sylvia Browne 8
October 19, 1936 – November 20, 2013
Psychic who was often criticized for making wrong predictions
Predicted she would live until 88, but she died at 77
In spite of negative criticism, she enjoyed a large following, charging hundreds of dollars for a half-hour phone conversation.
Appeared on many television and radio programs.
Was investigated during the late 1980s by the FBI on charges of investment fraud and grand theft. Pleaded no contest and received probation and community service.
James Randi 9
August 7, 1928
Magician and skeptic
Known as ‘The Amazing Randi’
Many think dreams and the supernatural are real. Randi has spent many years showing how many so-called psychics operate.
Fortune tellers use cards, crystal balls, and palms to give readings to customers about what the future holds. Communicating with the dead, telling the future, etc. is a multi-million dollar industry. Randi’s crusade exposes psychics as frauds or fakes.
James Randi became well known when he challenged psychic Uri Geller in the early 1970s.
A popular psychic during the 1970s
Mind reader – has a person draw something & then he draws the image he ‘gets’
Randi duplicated Geller’s psychic stage acts using magic tricks.
- Hidden drawings – the psychic turns his back and covers his eyes while someone draws an image. Randi shows a small mirror hidden in the palm and as he covers his eyes, he peeks at the drawing the person is doing.
- Bending metal spoons – Randi says the spoon has been bent repeatedly before doing the trick. This stresses the metal, causing it to crack. It takes only slight rubbing to start this spoon’s bending.
James Randi describes an astrologist as an actor who portrays himself as a magician who lets people deceive their own selves.
He has conducted experiments where the same horoscope is passed out to a room of students. Most people report the reading as very accurate. Randi’s take on this is that the personality descriptions given in horoscopes are purposely vague and can be generally true for anyone. He reasons that humans want to believe in these types of things because astrology offers an easy formula that lets people think they are gaining power over their lives. 10
James Randi is a self-described atheist.
In his own words:
“I’ve said it before: there are two sorts of atheists. One sort claims that there is no deity, the other claims that there is no evidence that proves the existence of a deity; I belong to the latter group, because if I were to claim that no god exists, I would have to produce evidence to establish that claim, and I cannot.” 11