Monday, August 22, 2011

Guest - Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Good morning all! Today's guest is Linda Thomas-Sundstrom is an author with books and novellas out from Kensington Brava, Dorchester, and Harlequin Nocturne. Her current series for Nocturne, under the heading of "Vampire Moons" consists of Vampire Lover, Golden Vampire, and the newest novella  Night Born.

She's offering a giveaway of one of her books so read to the Lynda Again section to see how to win. Enjoy!

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Kiss Them or Kill Them?
Paranormal Romance vs Urban Fantasy, with Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Hello Star Crossed Romance readers. I'm Linda, a die-hard paranormal fan with SF/F/P in my genes. So, I feel right at home here.

Today's chat is about a subject I get asked about all the time at conferences where I'm asked to speak. This is the question:

What is the difference between paranormal romance and urban fantasy?

Well, actually, they don't even ponder the question until I bring it up. Ha.

Thus far, I've discussed the subject at the Romance Writers of America conferences, Romantic Times Booklovers conferences, Comic-con International (twice), CondorCon, Conjecture, and several Southern California Writers conferences . . . in hopes of getting that question out in the open.

Why? Because there are differences between paranormal romance and urban fantasy that put the books on different shelves in a store, but there also are many similarities that readers of both genres don't know about, and therefore might be missing a lot of great reading experiences.

I'm on the trail to open hard-core urban fantasy folks up to a book spine that says "paranormal romance."

Briefly, here's my take.

*Paranormal romance can utilize the same urban, dark city feel as urban fantasy.
*Paranormal romance can be urban fantasy with a happy/satisfying ending.
*Paranormal romance focuses on one relationship, and follows it through to that satisfying end. One couple, one book. If there is a series, it has to detail the same challenges for another couple.
*Paranormal romance cover art usually deviates from the darker urban fantasy covers because publishers know that by putting a male and a female on the cover of romances, that type of cover will attract their readers.

I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Nocturne imprint. Dark, sexy paranormals that have the same, sometimes gritty, storylines about werewolves, hunters, vampires, immortals, etc, but must, by definition, focus on the development of one relationship at a time. In my series for Nocturne, I have used a lot of the same characters in second and third books, but only as secondary characters to the plot and relationship development of another couple.

And at big venues like Comic-con, where my panel this year with Patricia Briggs, Nancy Holder, and Christine Cody saw 2,500 attendees, and my fellow presenters mostly had dark blue or grey urban fantasy covers showing kick-ass women holding swords and axes, with bare midriffs covered with intricate tattoos (the current and easily identifiable sign of an urban fantasy story),  my current Vampire Moons series for Nocturne was just as easily identifiable with a sexy male and female holding each other.

Still, the stories beneath those covers, for the most part, had very similar characteristics.

*Urban fantasy doesn't have to contain romance at all, though a lot of readers like it when they do.
*Urban fantasy, in not requiring a satisfying relationship conclusion in a single book, can stick with a main character over and over in a series. Or the main character can kill off his/her partner, or watch him/her die by another's hand.
*Urban fantasy can be exactly like a paranormal romance in all instances.

In other words, there are two shelves to be hit for dark, sexy tales of intrigue, magic, the supernatural, and romance. And though publishers make it somewhat easy to quickly identify their style for readers with current cover art, the old saying is true that you can't always tell a book by its cover.

The immortals in my Vampire Moons series for Nocturne have long, complicated histories. In this year's Golden Vampire, the main character, found in the present time, is actually a Blood Knight, who, along with six other Blood Knights once sat at the famous Round Table. These Knights were unearthly beautiful and undefeated in battle because they were unearthly. The book is dense and expressive on my characters' behalf. Dark, sexy, meaty stuff that could just as easily have had a sexy female with tattoos on the cover, and been on the UF shelf.

So. That's a very brief listing of the things my Kiss Them or Kill Them discussions are about.

And what fun it is to get feedback and questions from readers on the subject. What fun it is to chat with like-minded people who, as I do, just plain enjoy the supernatural world that writers can create, and always, always come back for more.

Love comments. Please say hi.
You can also find me at http://www.lindathomas-sundstrom.com

Linda

Night Born

Love and hate, vampire and slayer—opposites too closely connected for their own good?

After her mother is nearly killed, slayer-in-waiting Danika Douglas vows to destroy the vampire she believes is responsible—Alexander Kent. An experienced vampire older than sin itself, Alexander possesses dark good looks and a strong sensual allure.

Danika knows a slayer and her target are chained together by fate, compelled to find each other. Yet she never expected them to share such a powerful attraction, leaving Danika torn between revenge and desire….

  
Excerpt from Night Born:

"I've found you, you son of a bitch." Danika Douglas hadn't stopped to think about whether touching a priceless painting might be committing museum sacrilege, or a crime. She'd been too immersed in the moment to care.  
Here he was again. The same face she'd found in a Baroque period painting two days before. Exactly the same face.         
Same wide brow and prominent, aristocratic features. Same penetrating blue eyes beneath the tangle of dark hair — here, seen only in profile, and in dashes of color and shadings, but the likeness was exact, give or take the hair style and clothes. She had just won the bloodsucker lottery. A telltale tingle of excitement flushed her cheeks and neck with heat. Shivers of apprehension chilled her back. It was always the same dichotomy of heat and cold clashing when her assumptions were correct. She might not yet have inherited her mother's ability to track the vampire in this painting with a Slayer's DNA-based, biologically built-in GPS system, but those powers were agonizingly inching toward her.          
She felt him now, as if she had found him for real, and in person. Her gut reaction to his image was strong. His presence in the Renoir was like an icy breath on the back of her neck. She could almost smell him, beyond the aged oils of the artwork and the polished marble museum floors.
       
He smelled like . . . leather. Like doom. 
Buy Links:
Amazon:

Barnes and Noble:

All Romance E Books

Vampire Lover (The first in the series)

Kelsie Connor is looking for a big headline to jumpstart her career as a journalist--like proving the existence of vampires and werewolves. She's always felt that Others exist, though she's never met one herself. So on the night of the Blood Moon, Kelsie goes looking for a werewolf...but meets a vampire instead. A vampire who makes her blood run hot and makes her feel things she never imagined a body could feel.

Hayden Flann had been secretly watching Kelsie for some time, drawn to her by a powerful bloodlust and equally strong sexual attraction. But Hayden recognizes that he and Kelsie are connected by more than passion. Little does she know that Hayden is not just her lover--he's also her enemy, born to seduce her before he kills her....



Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Lover-ebook/dp/B0041KLEZA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313942878&sr=8-1




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-- Lynda Again,
Linda is giving away a free download of one of her stories from Amazon to ONE lucky commenter. 

Here's how to enter:
1) The commenter must leave a comment by noon EST Tuesday, Aug 23 and 
2) must include her/his email addy in the comment.

Good luck and have a Blessed Day!

17 comments:

Victoria Roder said...

Very interesting. Thanks for explaining the difference.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the suspense-filled excerpt and pointing out the differences in the genres. I do like when we (the readers) can stick with one character but I do love my romance too! I guess you could I'm just a paranormalist all-around ;)

DragonStar1974)AT(aol.com

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

Good morning. Thanks for tuning in on a great Monday AM.

Linda

Victoria said...

Thank you for this post. I have had one heck of a time with this. I find it so hard to tell people the difference between the two genres.
Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/Jovial_1/status/105670533663825922

vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

Joy Taylor Jaeger said...

So enjoyed your explanation of the differences and similarities between the two, Linda. The blog was great and your stories are awesome. Don't stop.
Best, Joy

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

Joy - Well, thanks! Wow... the comment made my day. Someone like me!! Wheeee..... (insert happy face).
xo

Linda

Lisa Kessler said...

Great blog Linda!!! :)

And I agree about the genres begin SUPER similar... Often the difference is in the happy ending and focus on just one couple...

Otherwise the dark suspenseful story is very similar! I'm a sucker for both genres! LOL

Lisa :)

Marie Andreas said...

Great post! I had a friend ask me the difference recently- I said in UF they don't always have the happy ending. Now I can just forward any questions to this blog! :)

Melissa Jarvis said...

I loved your post--your take on covers is one I explained to my mother, who loves urban fantasy, but didn't know how to figure out the difference between paranormal romance. I pointed out that all the covers had kick ass heroines on them, and romance generally had a male on them. I write in both genres, although only the paranormal romance one is out at the moment. melissa_jarvis at hotmail dot com

Alexis Morgan said...

I think the line is really starting to blur even more. For example, in Jeaniene Frost's series, some of the books are truly UF and focus on an outside threat that Cat and Bones have to fight. On the other hand, she's also done books that focus on the relationship of another couple.

Great discussion!

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

Yea... cover art is truly interesting and goes in trends.

I took my "Red Wolf" Nocturne to Comic-con last year, and everyone else on my panel had blue covers with tattooed women on the cover, carrying some sort of weapon. While I had a blatant and obvious romance cover on my werewolf urban fantasy, with a guy's bare chest and a woman scantily clad. When we detailed the stories behind those different covers . . . the similarities came out.

This really comes to light in series - where every book labeled "paranormal romance" has to have that one main couple's future providing a satisfactory end.

I've had characters that I'd love to progress with to other stories. But since I write paranormal romance, I have to make do with them as secondary characters. It's really fun, though, to use them in that way.

In my Wolf Moon series of 4 books and novellas for Nocturne, my characters from all four projects were interwoven in the books, so that in the final book, all four couples came together to take a criminal Were down.

Still - it's urban fantasy (per se), highlighting one couple's plight.

Thanks for the comments.

Linda

Cori C said...

Great post, Linda! I agree that urban fantasy and paranormal romance can be very similar and I read them both! What book I pick up in a given week is dictated by whether I want a satisfying conclusion to the romance or whether I want to spend time with characters that will still play a major role in the next book. :)

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

Good point, Cori. I do the same thing. I like both, and read both, according to mood.
I write versions of both, and enjoy pressing the limits . . .
(*see me smiling?*)

Thanks for the comments so far, everyone.

Linda

Kari Thomas said...

Hey Linda! Soooooo LOVE your books, and those Covers are great too!

Thanks for that post; I didnt know the subtle differences between the genres and had been asked that question before.

Keep those yummy books coming!

hugs, Kari Thomas, www.authorkari.com

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

HI Kari... another Thomas. Yay. Thanks for stopping by.

Linda
www. lindathomas-sundstrom. com

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

So, okay, the winner of a download from Amazon will be announced real soon. Stay tuned!

Linda

www. lindathomas-sundstrom. com

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

The winner for this week's blog post comments, randomly drawn by troll minion hands out of the Sorting Hat is . . . ta-da (*drull roll*)

VICTORIA !!
vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

Victoria- you have 48 hours to claim your reward by emailing me through my web site "contact me" page, and you'll get a book!

Congrats!

Linda

www.lindathomas-sundstrom (dot)com