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Horror in Romance at the 2017 RT Booklovers Convention

Horror in Romance at the 2017 RT Booklovers Convention

A few months ago, fellow author Rebekah R. Ganiere put out the call to a chapter of the Romance Writers of America searching for authors to participate in a Horror in Romance panel at the upcoming RT Booklovers Convention taking place 2-7 May 2017 in Atlanta.

I jumped at the opportunity. Several of my published stories, and a few planned ones, can be classified as both Horror and Romance. The obvious ones, of course, are those within The Vampyr Series: The Vampire's Pet, The Vampire's Favorite, The New Vampire, and the final installment, The Master Vampire. While I've categorized them as Paranormal Romance at online retailers (so the target audience can find them), they're technically Erotic Dark Fantasy, or Horror with supernatural elements and a satisfying romance over the four-book story arc.

Later (planned) stories in the Sunshine Walkingstick Series could also be classified as Dark Fantasy, although the earlier ones, while containing an ever increasing amount of monsters, are very well placed in the Contemporary Fantasy and Urban Fantasy categories. The strong romantic subplot between Sunny and Riley qualifies it as a Romance in many folks' minds (not always by the Romance Writers of America, ironically enough, since it requires a central love story and a Happy Ever After or Happy For Now in a single book), especially when the romance is viewed over the entire series.

And then there are the stories planned for Isobel Fletcher, my newest pen name, some of which will most definitely combine the two genres into Romantic Horror. Or should it be called Horrific Romance? Either way, stories falling under this subgenre are bound to thrill and delight.

All in all, I'm super excited to be on the Horror in Romance panel at #RT17, and I'm ecstatic about being able to hear other authors discuss their experiences successfully merging the two genres. I'm not sure what questions or topics Rebekah has planned, but I hope we cover lots of ground, like defining Horror and Dark Fantasy, and incorporating elements of the macabre, scary, and downright gross into a strong Romance.

The panel is scheduled for the afternoon of March 3rd. If you're planning on attending the con, drop by and listen in. And if you're not, attendance information is available online at RT Booklovers Convention 2017. See you there!

 

Review: The Gunslinger (Dark Tower, Book 1) by Stephen King

Review: The Gunslinger (Dark Tower, Book 1) by Stephen King

Stephen King was an oft-read author during my teen years, primarily because he’s one of my father’s favorite authors and his books were in our home library. King’s dark imagery has the infinite power to draw the reader in, like a spider luring a fly, and snare the imagination in the vividly drawn worlds he creates.

The Gunslinger in its revised and updated version is no different. While King readily admits in prefatory comments to updating the language of this, one of his earlier works, the story itself, at its core, remains the same.

Roland, the titular character and the primary narrator, is a gunslinger whose attitude and manner echoes the bygone era of the Old West. He is the last of his kind, a remnant of a higher culture, forced by fate and circumstance only partially explained in The Gunslinger to journey alone in search of the Man in Black and the Dark Tower.

The Man in Black is a sorcerer who assumes many forms during the drawn out chase. In flashbacks, he is the man cuckolding Roland’s father and the same’s murderer. In the story’s luridly described present, the Man in Black is a setter of traps and the servant of the entity ruling the Dark Tower.

Roland and the Man in Black are by and large the most well crafted and, therefore, most easily understood characters populating The Gunslinger. Other characters fare almost as well, like Alice, the owner of a saloon-esque establishment who becomes Roland’s lover for a time. In Alice, King captures the futile desperation of life for a woman living in a remote settlement, cut off from the society of decent folk and men.

Other characters are shortchanged. Jake, an orphaned child yanked out of time and place by the Man in Black, is by turns loved and hated by Roland. His past is teased out through hypnosis and his emotions are evident, but he is only a tool within the plot rather than a fully drawn character.

And that tool to the plot feeling lingers in other important characters: Roland’s parents, high society hobnobs who deliberately and otherwise distance themselves from their only child by having him trained as a gunslinger, in a manner similar to the Spartans; Roland’s early ka-tet, his training group with whom he should have the most in common, but from whom he remains separate; and other characters whose roles seem to be in spurring Roland toward his ultimate destiny rather than having any internal or external motivation of their own.

In spite of this and the often overblown descriptions, The Gunslinger is a wonderful introduction to a story world that is by turns surreally antithetical (in its reversion to an almost feudalistic treatment of individuals) and eerily similar to our own. Recommended to all readers of Fantasy and fans of Stephen King. (Paperback, Kindle)