Friday, November 14, 2008
Awe and Wonder by Lisabet Sarai
Most of my published work falls into the category of contemporary erotic romance. Lately, though, I’ve begun to experiment with the paranormal genre. My first attempt in this realm was my Halloween short, Rendezvous, in which a young woman stranded in a seedy motel room on Halloween discovers that it’s haunted by a very virile and seductive ghost.
“Vampires, Limited”, in the Black Lace collection Lust at First Bite, features a hard-headed business woman trying to make a killing on the vampire fad, and nearly losing herself to the handsome, wholesome blood-drinker who comes to her for a job.
On December 8th, Total-E-Bound will release my M/M paranormal novella, Tomorrow’s Gifts, as part of their Christmas Spirits series. Tomorrow’s Gifts offers a twist on Dicken’s classic Ghost of Christmas Future. Michael loves his burly, powerful partner Neil, but he's too embarrassed to share his secret fantasies of submission and surrender. Then, on Christmas Eve, Michael receives a visit from a sexy Dom who claims to be his lover from the future, and shows Michael scenes from the wild life of sexual excess they'll share if he breaks up with Neil.
Meanwhile, I just completed the first draft of Serpent’s Kiss, a paranormal shape-shifter romance set in Guatemala and based on Mayan mythology. I had a fabulous time working on this. It’s full of prophetic dreams, talismans of power, and apocalyptic battles between supernatural beings. No publisher yet ― it’s not ready to be seen by anyone but my critique partner!
I’ll admit that I decided to try writing paranormal partly because it is so popular. I also wanted to challenge myself, to see if I could do something new and different in the genre. I didn’t want to pen something predictable. Although vampires seem to have eternal appeal, I wanted to ring some changes on the familiar lore. I wanted to create human-animal composite that would be surprising, even a bit shocking.
I’ve come to understand, however, that paranormal is a difficult genre, precisely because it is so popular. It’s not enough to create a world and populate it with magical or supernatural beings. Readers have become blasé. In order to succeed in the paranormal realm, you have to be able to evoke a sense of wonder. Your world needs to be truly marvelous and truly terrible. You have to make your readers believe in the unbelievable, while at the same time recognizing how incredible it is ― to accept your magic, and yet be overcome with awe.
Needless to say, this is a tall order. I don’t know if I’ve been 100% successful. I’m still learning, and enjoying every magical moment.
What do you think? Leave me a comment with your email address, and I'll enter you in a drawing for a free copy of Rendezvous.
== Excerpt from Rendezvous === (Rated PG)
Gradually the hurricane died away. The spasms faded. I found myself crumpled on the carpet, buried among the satin layers of my skirts. My thighs were sticky. My nipples felt rigid and sore. Dazed, I tried to remember. I had been drinking. I had imagined things, disembodied voices, invisible hands. I must have passed out.
I struggled to stand. My legs were wobbly. Then I saw my shoulder, the scarlet tooth marks that were still there. It was no dream, no drunken hallucination.
“Hello?” My voice was a timid squeak. I peered around the room, looking for other evidence of my invisible but definitely substantial visitor. “Are you here? Hello!”
Silence. The silence of the grave. I didn't know whether I was relieved or disappointed.
Gingerly, I removed the costume and hung it up again. It was somewhat the worse for wear, but I thought it would be acceptable by candlelight. Anyway, what did it matter? Something magical had happened, something dark and seductive and inexplicable. The most thrillingly transgressive Halloween party seemed tame by comparison.
I slumped down on the bed, my heart still beating faster than normal. What, exactly, had happened? I remembered the unseen hands, so skilled and confident. I remembered the rich, persuasive voice. I recalled the thrill of being taken, not exactly against my will, but with a strength that had seemed to make escape impossible. All at once I was horny again.
=== Unedited Excerpt from Serpent’s Kiss == (Rated G)
The feather woke her, trembling between her breasts like some trapped wild animal. Her eyes fluttered open. A virid radiance flooded the cave from outside, as if the sun had risen green instead of golden. The wind had risen, too, twining her hair around her face as she sat up and gazed around.
“Jorge?” Her voice sounded tentative. Gusts of air swirled around her, tearing at her clothing.
The cave was clearly still empty. But something was happening outside. Elena crept to the edge of the porch and gazed out at the night.
It was, in fact, still night. The sky was ebony velvet. The glow emanated from nearer the earth. Down in the field of maize, the stalks were whipped into a frenzy by the wind. And amid the stalks, or perhaps on top of them, something―someone―danced.
Hovering in a pool of emerald light, the figure was taller than a man. However, it was not shaped like a man. From above, Elena could barely make out the outline of the creature that swirled and coiled in that core of brilliance. She had a sense of limbs that folded at impossible angles, glittering sparks of red and gold, and plumes of extravagant feathers.
The pinion hung around her neck vibrated with joy.
Elena found that she was humming some wordless tune that she could not place. The creature below seemed to be dancing in time. She slipped on her sandals and headed down the slope, drawn irresistibly to the flashing, leaping form below.