Thursday, July 24, 2008

Guest Blogger: Mario Acevedo

She drops all the names into the porta-coffin, selects one -- and it's Silke! Congratulations. I'll pass your name along to Mario and if you'd send me your snail mail address, that would be excellent. Thanks so much to everyone who commented! I appreciate you. Stay tuned.

Do I Write Paranormal?

My books feature vampires and other weird things and because of that I’m often corralled into the world of the paranormal. So what is paranormal? How is that different from supernatural?

I’ve given that last question a lot of thought. Here’s my answer:

I don’t know.

But I did dig into the genres clustered around paranormal and supernatural and now offer this handy-dandy guide to most things beyond the pale of normal.

Once upon a time, anything involving the weird and fantastic was labeled horror, pure and simple. I suppose back then, monsters, flying machines, and things that go bump in the night were horrific. Alas, we’ve been jaded by modern living. Monsters? Hey, call special effects. Flying machines mean taking our shoes off to go through airport security. Things that go bump in the night is probably the government snooping on us.

To me horror has one sure definition: Creep Me Out. Make the hairs rise on my arms and have me check the door locks. Too bad the only horror writing I read these days is my gas bill.

The term paranormal got pulled into literature when romance writers felt regular guys no longer made the cut. Their lusty protagonists began sending personal ads to vampires, werewolves, and wizards. Think of Paranormal Romance as the fantasy twist of the traditional tale: Girl meets boy. Girl loses boy. Girl wins boy. Girl discovers boy is lord of the zombie underworld. Girl decapitates boy. Girl does brunch with her gal pals and gay boyfriends.

What about Urban Fantasy? Urban, meaning gritty and contemporary. Not at all like the village cottages painted by Thomas Kincaid. (Unless Dexter paid a visit. Imagine the pretty blood spatter on the inside of the candle lit windows.) Fantasy, implying elements of the fantastic: magic, psychic abilities, demons. (But not honest politicians. No one would believe that.) In Urban Fantasy we have a supernatural world with hot elf barristas, werewolf computer hackers, and vampire tango dancers.

Science Fiction, not exactly Paranormal but close enough. Among the inside crowd, known also as Sci-Fi (pronounced sci-fi). We have the oxymoron, Science -- which is to know geeky technological stuff, and Fiction, which is make-believe -- the opposite of science. So from the start, the Sci-Fi community is bipolar and divided into two bickering camps, the Hard Science people and the Fantasy leather underwear people.

Hard Science looks at the what-if and extrapolates trends. These braniacs eschew fantasy -- magic, psychics, vampires, anything fun that brings in busty babes in slinky outfits -- so Hard Science is mainly the literature of people with cheap haircuts and sensible shoes. Boring. Until we introduce interesting stuff like crime and war. All the ills hard science is supposed to have cured.

Fantasy people like to blend science with fantasy (what else?) -- which is literary code for any excuse to introduce the babes in slinky outfits. (A running theme in paranormal/supernatural. Quick, think of one fantasy character known for appearing in baggy sweats.) Many fantasy readers are women who like men with swords. Big swords. What about a guy who’s really good with a switchblade?

Sorry, it has to be a sword. Size does matter.

You’d think then that women would admire a guy with a big gun, because a gun beats a sword almost every time. But no. Carry a big sword and you’re hot. Carry a big gun and you’re compensating.

Which brings us to Mystery Fantasy. The KING of all paranormal/supernatural genres, where the men don’t need to compensate, they’re so damn macho. Which is the genre I happen to write. (A coincidence? I think not.) These stories combine hard-boiled noir elements with truly awesome supernatural characters. What’s not to love?

I close this essay with an altar call. Find salvation in the world of the paranormal. Put aside your category romance, your straight mystery, your political thriller and come amongst your sisters and brothers in the land of fantasy. Lay your burdens on my shoulders while I cast aside your fears and anxieties with my tales of the supernatural. If you ask, I’ll even bring a big sword.

Mario Acevedo channels the voices of the undead for his mystery fantasy novels featuring vampire-detective Felix Gomez. Mario lives in a state of denial but he writes and pays the rent in Denver, CO. His latest novel, The Undead Kama Sutra, is out now. Coming March 2009, Jailbait Zombie.
Mario is giving away a copy of The Undead Kama Sutra, plus other schwag for prizes to include, the coveted Devil Duck! Just leave a comment here, answering this question: On the subject of swords and guns, what's your favorite exotic weapon used in paranormal/supernatural stories? (Winner will be posted on Friday night.)


Blogger Terra57 said...

Hi Mario,
Thanks for the great post. I loved the part about the gas bill. I still can't stop chuckling. You sound like a real hoot and bet you are the life of the party.
As for the weapon, hmm.....hard decision. Guns, nah too easy. Swords, okay and sexy yes but something smaller is more engaging. I like the switchblade idea as that shows true character and guts to use that against a larger weapon. Brass knuckles I would say the same to. I guess I would really have to say variety as it is the spice of life.
However, I do love broad swords but I equally love rapiers. So I'm sure you can see my problem with weapons.
Overall, I would have to say if there is one weapon to choose it would be pure male strength. Nothing oozes more sexual sparks than a man that can take care of himself with the bare basics.

Oh and your book looks fablous and the title of your next looks hilarious.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Mario: Thanks so much for being here today. You are so funny! When can we expect to hear about your new sideline as a stand-up comedian? (Mario is multi-talented: he's an artist, too!) Have a great day!

8:47 AM  
Blogger Kimberly B. said...

What a hilarious post! I guess I've never really thought much about weapons in fantasy, with the possible exception of Excalibur and Sting. However, I'm reading Angie Fox's The Accidental Demon Slayer right now, and there's a pretty cool weapon in it called a switch star. It's like a frisbee with five glowing blades. Sounds cool, though I've yet to get to the part where I see it in action. I'm also really partial to Buffy's stake, Mr. Pointy.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Jax Bubis said...

So glad to finally know how to pronounce Sci-fi. Whew. As to favorite weapons in fantasy, since I only answered the altar call minutes ago, I haven't done much mystery fantasy reading. I do repent. I did write a Paranormal Romance (Promise to Believe) but, alas there were no weapons. The hero, was a firefighter though and did have a big hose. Does that count? I bow to your greater knowledge of these things.....


9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mario, thank you for that wonderful humorous blog! I giggled when I read your comment about the gas bill being the only horror you've read lately.
I love humor in paranormal romance, or any reading material for that matter, and your wittyness (is that a word?) is even better! Thanks for taking the time to share.
Now which do I prefer; sword or gun? I'd have to say gun. I love Anita Blake, and she totes a gun and can hide it in the most interesting places.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

What a great post!

I have read Mario's first book and have the other 2 sitting on my tbr pile but I just haven't got around to them.

My favourite exotic weapon? The one Buffy has at the end of series 7. I can't remember what it was called now but it looked really cool! She could really swing that thing!

9:47 AM  
Blogger Mario Acevedo said...

Terra and Kimberly: thanks for the posts.

Jax: A firefighter with a big nose? What's sexy about that?

Ariel: I would've mentioned my credit card statements but that's too gruesome.

Amberkatze: reading my entire series will cure all your ills. Better than a free seminar with Tony Robbins.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg, Mario, your post was freaking hilarious, lol... just for that I will definitely need to read one of your books *bg* As for favorite exotic weapon in a story... I believe I read one with a Katana sword :)

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dexter using one of Kincaid's rainbow-colored houses.... That image is going to make me smile all day.

Thanks for the great post. I had never been to this site before, and a post on a listserv brought me here to read your posting. This blog's a keeper. Gotta add it to my Live Journal feeds.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post.
Still grinning here. :)

Favorite weapon?
My guys use ritual daggers, blessed ones, cursed ones - whatever works.
However, the real weapon tends to be their body. They fight dirty, really dirty.
But then, I just had one of my heroes nail the villain with an old crossbow, and another took out a demon with a scattergun. Loaded with rocksalt.
I like the idea of a weapon you don't expect. I like it when an author is inventive and applies something differently.
Maybe the next one of mine uses a garotte lol. :)
As I said... whatever works!

2:54 PM  
Blogger Carmen R said...

Big swords are sexy as long as the man knows how to use it ;) And if not a sword the just go with fangs , I guess then he could really be taking a bite out of crime lol. Yeah i know it's cheesy but hey I'm bored.

3:38 PM  
Blogger LadyVampire2u said...

I simply loved your post!
Okay, favorite weapon. That would be the sword. A sword takes more practice and skill to use in my opinion. It's a weapon that makes close proximity to the enemy a must to dispatch them so the swordsman has to be alert and wary. It's also a weapon that can be as leathal as you want it to be, causing only a painful cut or running through an enemy fatally.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Mario Acevedo said...

So many of you preferred swords. See what I meant about women and swords. But no one has yet mentioned the ultimate bad ass anti-monster weapon: the flamethrower.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Raonaid Luckwell said...

Flamethrowing eh? I'm sitting here grinning up a storm at the implication of that thought.

I have to agree, I like with authors get inventive with weapons, turning mundane, boring things into something exciting, something cool, something you wouldn't mind having yourself.

I'm not much of a gun person. Too much work. I do like my pointy things like swords and daggers. I do like the idea of an enspelled sword or blade or one with a demon embedded.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Mario, thanks for the great blog!!

My favorite weapon has to be a nice Glock. There is just something about a heroine who knows how to use a gun.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Tez Miller said...

Dude, I just found that Harper Oz published Undead in June, but "didn't do any publicity for it" (their words), so they never had review copies. What the fudge???

Anyway, having just read Vicki Pettersson's The Scent of Shadows, I'm rather partial to Joanna Archer's bow-and-arrow-which-may-also-be-some-kind-of-gun-I-don't-know-must've-tuned-out-unintentionally.

Have a lovely day! :-)

6:31 PM  
Blogger DeAnna said...

I would like to state my least favorite blade in supernatural fiction: the blade in Fray, by Joss Whedon (about a future vampire slayer). The most unbalanced-looking axe-stake ever. I can't even imagine why it sounded like a good idea.

"Hey! It's an axe! Get it?" [Brief Bill and Ted's air-guitar moment.]

...And he normally does so well...

7:37 PM  
Blogger Ellory said...

Hmm.. my favorite paranormal weapon. I'd have to go with swords. :) I loved your essay.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Night critter said...

Hey Mario,

A great post, had in fits.
As for the weapon, I'm with you, the flamethrower is an excellent choice, very cool weapon. Not much skill required to wield it and it does alot of damage.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Lori T said...

Hi Mario~

Great post...and I am shifting my pile because if your books are written with same humor...I am going to love them!

I think that my favorite weapon would have to be the man himself...or woman herself. To able to protect yourself with just your body...very sexy. Then I would have to go with sword as I think that it takes a bit more skill...although let's be honest, I have no real knowledge of either.

What a great post!!

10:22 PM  
Blogger Mario Acevedo said...

Great comments everyone. Long pointy objects seem to hold sway. I think Glocks are mentioned because of X-Files.

How about poisoned darts? Or a chainsaw? Unwieldy, I know and makes it hard to sneak up on someone.

Here's a new question: what about a back-up weapon? A boot knife? Dagger hidden in a lady's bustier?

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mario, in answer to your droll question:
My favorite exotic weapon used in paranormal/supernatural stories is the obsidian-tipped macquahuitl. While you may never have owned or heard of this "Aztec" club-sword, the Spanish conquistador Cortez was very familiar with it, as he often found it lodged in the necks and torsos of his less agile, syphilitic soldiers.

It's lethalness (able to sever a horse's head with one blow?), its bite (ever been nicked by a sacrificial knife last time you were atop a Mesoamerican pyramid?) and "greenness" (constructed of wood and UNcultured natural stone), makes it both an effective and environmentally sound choice.

Plus it came in shiny black, a favorite paranormal/supernatural color of zombie and vampire storywriters.

While the macquahuitl also achieved fame in Gary Jennings' "Aztec", its use by one of the lamest cultural appropriators should not exclude it from consideration. Finally, I used it in my fantasy story "Memorabilia", to be eventually published by Drollerie Press, which also explains why it's a favorite.


9:06 AM  
Blogger Carmen R said...

My back up weapon would be a hand grenade. I figure if I can't win with the first weapon just blow them up and get it over with.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Angie-la said...

I have got to stop blog-hopping, because every time I do I discover more new books to buy. *sigh*
Oh well, its only money and I'd just waste it on food and gas anyway...

Weapon of choice, huh? Well, I recall two scenes right off both involving your garden variety household-type items; a sharp edged shovel and the very sharp, pointy end of an umbrella.
Ouch. Exotic for their very mundane-ness (mundanity?)

2:56 PM  
Blogger Enchanted by Books said...

My favorite paranormal weapon would have to be anything unique that the bad guy wouldn't suspect. Jennifer Rardin uses quite a few cool weapons her books. As for swords versus guns, I like swords best.

Mario your books sound great! I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of them yet but I hope to soon!

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MEMMEMEMEMEMEME ppleaseeeeeeeee pick me, ive been wanting that book way bedfore it came out

tasha t

7:13 PM  
Blogger Lori T said...

Congrats Silke!

5:06 PM  

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