Romance and Horror

Last year, I was invited to submit a story featuring the Scarlet Order vampires to an anthology of Lovecraftian horror. Before that, I’d never really considered my vampires as characters that fit into Lovecraft’s famous mythos, but the editor had read Vampires of the Scarlet Order and thought they were a good fit. After all, the Scarlet Order Vampires contend with cosmic forces in Vampires of the Scarlet Order and those cosmic forces are not so different from some of Lovecraft’s creations.

Unfortunately that particular story wasn’t picked up for the anthology, but it was picked up by Hungur Magazine and will be appearing later this year. Also, although my story wasn’t picked up for the anthology, the editors encouraged me to submit a story for a second Cthulhu Mythos anthology they were doing. This time around, instead of focusing on my vampires, I sent members of my Clockwork Legion series up against a Lovecraftian menace.

After I finished the story’s first draft, I realized I hadn’t given the story’s villain a real motivation for what he was doing. The villain is a scientist and I realized that he was motivated by his passion for exploring the unknown, which brings me to the topic of today’s post.

Horror and paranormal/gothic romance have clear and common roots in such novels as Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. On reflection, it seems natural to me that horror and romance should go together. What makes horror fascinating is not the shocks or the grotesque, but the motivations of the person or creature who commits the horrible acts. Often that motivation is tied up in passion. It might be passion for another person, or it could be passion for an idea. Either way, that passion tends to be expressed in romantic language.

In recent years, it seems that horror and paranormal romance have diverged. I think that’s unfortunate simply because horror is diminished if you don’t understand the motivation behind the horrific acts and romance, even in the best of circumstances, has consequences—albeit sometimes desired consequences.

Whether you’re writing horror or paranormal romance, I encourage you to think about them in terms of motivations and consequences. Your fiction will be better as a result. In the meantime, wish me luck on this most recent story.

If you care to check out Vampires of the Scarlet Order to see whether you agree it has Lovecraftian overtones, or just to see how successfully I navigated the issue of motivations and consequences, it’s available as:


2 thoughts on “Romance and Horror

  1. SO COOL!!! Can’t wait to read!!! Thanks, Emily

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