Paranormal Trends Defined

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Confused? Perhaps we can clear things up!

Romance has a TON of sub-genres, and those sub-genres divide in sub-sub-genres…but paranormal romance has – by far – the most!

We (AJ & Arial) have fallen in love with three of those sub-genres that are a little less about romance and more about mystery and mayhem, so those are the sub-genres we’re going to chat about in this article. And some mistake them for Paranormal Romance (PNR) or even Urban Fantasy (UF).

The sub-genres we’re writing together as a team are…

Psychic Mystery Romance (PMR), Paranormal Women’s Fiction (PWF), and Para-Cozy Mysteries (para-cozies).

But first, let’s touch upon…

Paranormal Romance

This is the sub-genre most readers are familiar with. Put simply, they are romance stories set in a known or unknown paranormal world. And the “paranormal” can be anywhere from ghosts, ghouls and witches, to vampires, were-creatures and zombies.

The main characters (MCs) – whether it’s the hero, heroine or both – are usually a paranormal creature of some kind or they have supernatural powers. Romance is always the main storyline, but the paranormal elements are integral to the story.

The sex in these books are usually steamy, erotic romance or hard-core erotica. Several have branched off into the BDSM and Master/slave themes.

Psychic Mystery Romance (PMR)

This is a close second to PNR, but the supernatural in these books tend to lean more toward Magical Realism. The MCs are usually psychic and stories revolve more around solving a mystery or have a romantic suspense feel to the plot.

While there can be paranormal elements, like witches, vampires and shifters, they’re more subtle. At least that’s what we’ve discovered, and one of the reasons we fell in love with these books, ergo…why we enjoy writing them.

These stories, however, are a bit more toned down in the bedroom, ranging from steamy to clean. The intimate moments with the H/h are not quite as detailed, but they can still get you a bit hot under the collar when they’re included in the novel.

Our Woodward Hill Mystery Romance series falls into this sub-genre. These novels feature at least one of the “Woodweirds” – as the townfolk call the members of the founding family – and they have at least one psychic ability.

For example: Inara Woodward is the heroine of Psychic Whispers, the first book in our series. She is a veterinarian, but also a pet whisperer or pet psychic. She can telepathically communicate with animals, which definitely helps with being a vet! But the hero is a non-psychic and has a dog kennel in town. Nik comes to Inara, asking her to “chat” with his new stray, who dug up a human bone, so they can determine where the rest of the remains are and clear his family name. CLICK HERE to get Psychic Whispers on Kindle Unlimited.

Paranormal Women’s Fiction (PWF)

This is a genre that was actually created by a bunch of paranormal romance and urban fantasy authors, who call themselves the “Fab 13” and they all did a same-day launch of their first books in this new genre, cross promoting each other, which definitely helped make the introduction to the genre a success.

These women are (in alpha order): K.F. Breene, Deanna Chase, Jana DeLeon, Christine Gael, Elizabeth Hunter, Darynda Jones, Eve Langlais, Shannon Mayer, Kristen Painter, Robyn Peterman, Michelle M. Pillow, Mandy M. Roth, and Denise Grover Swank. (full disclosure – affiliate links)

This genre features women going through a midlife crisis – death, desertion, divorce of a spouse, empty nest, marital problems, and especially menopause – and then magic is thrown into the mix.

They either inherit the power with the coming of the change or just the timing in their lives, already have magic and are now coping with midlife, and/or stumble upon their powers by finding an artifact or relic. Powers range all over: witches, fae, grim reapers, psychics and more.

These novels are typically in a small-town setting. So far, from what we’ve read, there is little-to-no sex in these stories and if there is, it’s usually behind closed doors. Like most women’s fiction stories, these plots focus more on a woman going through a life change and a new man is frequently part of the events, but not the main focus.

We love humor, and these books are packed with old lady jokes and hilarious situations with midlife awkwardness of starting over, so we are shamelessly jumping on the bandwagon to write in this fun genre! As women in our {cough-hrmm-ahem}’s, we can totally relate to these characters.

Our first book in PWF is The Ghost is Clear in A Series of Midlife Curses. Our heroine, Brooke Durand, finds herself with an empty next and dumped by her husband after 20+ years of marriage. She returns to her home town of Eerie, Indiana, to start over and solve the mystery of why her brother committed suicide. This uncovers abilities she never knew she had. CLICK HERE to preorder The Ghost is Clear while it’s at the low price of 99 cents. The price goes up on April 11, 2021.

Paranormal Cozy Mysteries (Para-Cozies)

Imagine a cozy mystery novel with magic, supernatural, or paranormal elements thrown in. Agatha Christie or Murder She Wrote stories, but the characters are witches, werewolves, vampires and other paranormal creatures.

They are always clean and may not even feature romance at all, although some do have a love interest of some kind. And the characters are very colorful and somewhat zany in some cases.

We haven’t yet started drafting our outlines for this genre, but we do have a premise. Once we have it locked in, we’ll be sharing.

We hope that helps in clearing up the differences in these sub-genres and we hope it helped you find a new book to read!

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