Supernatural Love – A Guest Blog by Michelle Irwin

I always like reading posts by other writers. Cross-pollination of ideas and inspiration is always beneficial. And today I’ve secured a great article from writer Michelle Irwin. Readers of my work may have noticed there’s not a lot of romance in my stories. To get all stereotypical, as a guy I find it hard to write romance. But that doesn’t mean there’s no place for it in tales of the supernatural and the paranormal. Michelle presents her views, and it makes great reading.

Michelle writes:

The things that go bump in the night—werewolves, vampires, shape shifters, and a whole slew of other creepy characters—are often represented in movies, TV shows, and books as the stuff of nightmares. The reason for this is obvious. In these stories, these creatures are driven by bloodlust, hunger, or just plain evil natures to seek out and destroy humanity and sometimes even each other.

However, in recent years there’s been a trend toward romanticizing these beasts. Vampires and werewolves in particular have become the subject of romance novels. Why? Who knows, maybe it’s the fact that all that neck-sucking can be a little erotic, or that most women like the bad boy and what guy could be worse than one who turns into a wild animal. Perhaps it all started when the ever loveable Michael J Fox played a werewolf that the boys wanted to be and the girls want to be with (or wanted to be). Regardless of why it started, personally, I’m really glad it did. Why? Because I write paranormal romance/urban fantasy and I love it.

I guess the question people who haven’t read a lot of paranormal romance might ask after, “Why?”, is “How?” After all, these creatures often aren’t all that loveable in their horror form. With the fangs and claws, slobber and jaws, they should make us run screaming not swoon into their willing embrace. How do you turn something so inherently evil into something that is worthy of a romance? For me, the first step is finding the thing that makes them inherently human.

In every intelligent creature you can imagine, be it a mermaid or an alien from out of space, there is a spark of something which makes them relatable to us humans. It’s a matter of finding that something and then asking the same questions of the paranormal creatures which you would ask of any human character. What do they want deep in their heart? Do they want to kill, maim, destroy (some might) or is it simply to be accepted? To find someone willing to look beyond their flaws, or their fangs, and find out what is important to them? To be loved? Once you know that core of who they are as a person, it’s just a matter of finding out what they are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve that goal.

As I said, the questions to probe a paranormal creature with are similar to those a writer might ask any human character, especially in a romance, but they’re also different. You can’t just learn that a vampire needs to forgo human blood to be with his sweetheart, you also need to learn what will happen if he does, and whether it’s even possible. This can be the fun part. It offers a chance to learn about the lore of different paranormal creatures and develop new ways to torture the hero and heroine before their happily ever after (or not as the case may be). Honestly, the only real rule when it comes to any sort of paranormal or fantasy story, whether it has a romance theme or not, is to be consistent within the rules created for the world.

In my Son of Rain series, my main character, Clay Jacobs, isn’t a monster—he hunts them. His job is to wash the world clean of all paranormal creatures because the organization he works for believes that all others are inherently evil. That each one deserves to die long before it can be given a chance to take a life. When he meets Evie Meyers, one such creature, he finds himself forced to answer questions about her. Why is she regarded as a monster just because of the way she was born? Does her lineage determine her character or can she choose her own fate? Should he kill her as he’s been trained to do or should he look beyond what she is to see who she is? Being able to examine a unique paranormal creature through the eyes of someone who believes they are all inherently evil has given me a chance to review all the above questions and more. It’s a classic Romeo and Juliet style love, just with a paranormal twist.

You can find out more about Michelle Irwin and her books on the following: Website, Facebook, Blog, Goodreads, and on Amazon.

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Why Nothing Works

I’m going out on a limb here. I’m going to say something totally radical and see who tells me I’m a complete moron. I’m also going to see who agrees with me and who says ‘Yes, you have a point, but…’

Because all of those points of view are valid.

So this is what I’m going to say: No one is right.

That’s right. No one is right. Right?

As we grow up, various people tell us what is right and what is wrong. Most of the time, at least during our early years, these people are relations. Parents, uncles and aunts, well-meaning (and sometimes not so well-meaning) brothers and sisters and cousins unto the fourth and fifth generations. Later on, these people are teachers, and friends, and then celebrities and even later on, they are our own children and then grand-children and basically the rest of society telling us do it this way or get out of town.

But in the end, the only person you should listen to is yourself.

And here’s the rider on that last statement that completely throws caution to the wind: not even you are right.

You’re wrong, ok? And so am I. And so is my mother, and your mother, and Kanye West and your favourite teacher in primary school and that man up on the pulpit telling you what you have to believe, and your favourite song and that inspirational meme you found on Facebook this morning.

Inspiration1

None of them (us). Because none of them (us) has the slightest idea what they’re (we’re) talking about. And they (we) never have.

You see, life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Every single one of the 108 billion people who have ever lived has had to wing it. That isn’t to say we haven’t looked for guidance, or embraced life lessons with a fervour that has often led to misunderstanding. Religion has brought comfort to billions of those billions, and yet has also caused divisiveness on a global and catastrophic scale. Worldly wisdom is both comforting and self-contradictory. Science strives to give us answers and yet produces more questions. Even your mother (sorry to bring her up, but she is important) has changed her mind about how best to raise you. But none of them, I venture to say, has the slightest idea what they’re talking about.

And this is perfectly natural. Because every one of those 108 billion people has been an individual. Unique. As a teacher, I try to instil the art of critical thinking in my students. ‘Question everything!’ I demand. ‘Even what I’m saying to you now!’ The ability to ask questions is the single greatest ability of the human mind, which is the single greatest and most complex organ in the known universe. ‘The worst reason for believing something,’ I continue, foam often frothing in the corners of my mouth, ‘is that someone told you it was so!’

I have no idea if any of my students have ever done what I have implored. It may well be a good thing if they haven’t. Because knowing that life is basically a make-it-up-as-you-go scenario and nothing anyone has ever said actually means squat is not the most comforting way to live one’s life.

Let me give you an example. Maybe more than one.

I’m a writer. I’ve had books and short stories published. This makes me feel good. I enjoy knowing that people are reading what I’ve written. I have so far made a bit of money from my writing. Not much, but making money isn’t why I write.  If I was slaving over a hot computer in order to make money I’d be in the IT industry or something to do with computers that actually made money. That’s my conscious decision and I’m fine with that. But I’ve read a lot about how to write books, and how to promote what I’ve written and how to make sales and I’ve also read a lot about how what I read about promotion actually doesn’t work and even the Big Five publishers have no idea what they’re doing and if I listened to both sides of the argument my head would explode. So nobody knows what they’re doing.

Take elections. Any elections. Nothing divides people more completely than politics. Except maybe religion. Both politics and religion have been responsible for an immense amount of human suffering, possibly to the same degree. But let’s take politics, because if you started me on religion my head would explode, and it’s already done that once so far since you started reading this. It doesn’t actually matter what politics a particular candidate wants to follow. Because all politicians are united in one way: a politician is utterly useless unless he or she is in power. So a politician’s whole agenda is geared towards getting into power, by whatever means possible. Once in power, he or she has the sole agenda of staying in power as long as possible, because otherwise they have no meaning. So politics is pointless, because ultimately nothing they do makes any point, because their whole agenda is self-centred.

Take science. I love science. Science has put people on the Moon and created this computer I’m typing on now and even saved my life when I was nine years old and was very, very sick. I have nothing against science personally. But it really does make life difficult. It’s got hard mathematics and big words and forces people to think and let’s face it, most people don’t want to think. They want answers, and all science does is provide ones they don’t want to know about. Global warming? Way inconvenient! Vaccines are safe? But that means the ‘research’ I did on the internet about how it causes autism is wrong! Evolution? But that means God may not actually exist! Excuse me, but I’m not sure I want to know that! And then you get scientists who don’t agree with each other. Where is that going?

Take human relations. I’m divorced. I got married and it lasted less than a year before my wife and I separated. I’m not casting blame here; it was the fault of both of us. We applied for a joint dissolution of marriage and were quite amicable about it. I even remember that after the divorce we both went to lunch together to celebrate. Human relations (love, romance, sex) are so unbelievably difficult that people like me just have no idea what is going on. There are a million how-to books and websites on obtaining a mate, and dating services and copious amounts of advice from friends and relations. And in the end we end up (or don’t) with someone. They may be the person of our dreams, Most often they aren’t. But most of us end up pretty much more or less happy. Usually. Or not. Because in the end, no one has the slightest idea about how to go about finding the right person to wake up next to forever.

Take diets. No, actually, don’t. Literally.

Look, I could go on. But basically, the point I’m making is that in every field of human endeavour there is a large number of people who spout all sorts of wisdom and how-to suggestions and tell us what it’s all about and what works and what doesn’t and what we must do in order to succeed or at least not fail or avoid fiery pits of eternity and in the end none of them actually have something that necessarily applies to us. We are all individuals.

What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for you. Or me. Or anyone else. In the end, we’re all just making it up as we go.

I’m sorry if that’s depressing. But there’s nothing I – or you – can do about it.

Just do your best. That’s all anyone can ask of you.

 

Russell Proctor http://www.russellproctor.com