Sunday, November 16, 2008

Guest Blogger: Carrie Vaughn

The winner of Carrie's book is: BoxingKing! Congrats to you. Send me your snail mail info and I'll pass it along. Thanks to everyone who participated.

The Everyday Paranormal

First off, thanks to Lynda for letting me blather at you today. Second, my next two books, Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand and Kitty Raises Hell, will be out in February and March 2009. But I’m going to spend today talking about ideas.

Vampires, lycanthropes, psychics, mages, necromancers – no one will argue that these are the stars of paranormal fiction. But I have a confession: I’m always looking for something new and different. Off the beaten paranormal path. A) I like writing different, and B) I think readers, while remaining loyal to the genre’s stars, are also looking for new and different takes on the topic.

The cool thing? As I writer, I don’t have to look very far to find interesting examples of magic and monsters. The world’s full of ideas. I’m not even talking about obscure and interesting folklore, like Navajo skinwalkers, which according to the stories aren’t were-beasts at all but magicians who have the power to take on the shape of any animal by wearing the skin of that animal. How cool is that?

But I’m talking about paranormal ideas right here in our modern technological life:

Modern ritual. A couple of years ago I served on the jury for a DUI trial. At the start, the judge swore us in, and I felt the power of that vow. The courtroom became a sacred space in that moment, and those of us on the jury understood our power. Now, what if that power was literal and not just symbolic? What if there really were spells that could make every witness tell the truth, and give the jury supernatural wisdom and sound judgment? What would that do to the legal system?

Gremlins. These are a relatively recent invention. They became the scapegoat for when things went wrong on aircraft, especially during World War II. They’ve made their way into lots of technology since then – anyone who’s had a computer crash for no apparent reason has probably wondered if there wasn’t something supernatural going on.

Early in the twentieth century, Harry Houdini made it his mission to debunk fake mediums and psychics. At the same time, when he encountered psychics who really believed they were using otherworldly powers to help people, rather than using stage tricks to bilk people, he left them alone. Because he wanted to believe. What if he was right? The first modern paranormal detective, maybe?

Even astronauts aren’t immune to mysterious phenomena. On his 1962 Mercury space flight, John Glenn reported seeing “fireflies,” tiny lights streaming past the window of his capsule. Later Mercury missions concluded that this was caused by ice crystals breaking loose from the capsule. But some hopefuls still point to this as possible evidence of mysterious extraterrestrial influence. Personally, I quite like the idea of fairies in space.

Fiction has the amazing ability to make these ideas real, to make some of these metaphors explicit. That’s the great “what if?” What if all this were real? That’s where paranormal fiction starts. Fortunately for the fans, the answers to that question are just about endless.

Answer Carrie's question: What if all this were real? and one person will be randomly selected to win a copy of her first book, Kitty and the Midnight Hour. Winner posted Tuesday evening.


Blogger Caffey said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:23 AM  
Blogger Caffey said...

Sorry about the first error!!

Hi Carrie! I love the covers of the two upcoming books! Thrilled there will be two books out in a row.

Its true, I love reading 'totally unique, not what I was expecting' reads! And too, I've gotten so deep into them, that they become real for me, there's no looking back. I get into the story and I'm either like a fly on the wall watching it all unfold or I'm one of them in the book (usually good one, not the villain) and it plays beyond reading the books. I can think about the, where they are and what may happen next while I'm waiting for the next book. So they become real for me and stay real.

There has been few situations that I had created an answer, using something paranormal to explain it, sometimes as a joke, sometimes not. My hubby and I recently started calling my cat 'vampire moo' (um, she's a heavy cat and my hubby calls her moo as a cow). But she's been mean and hissing because we have to limit what food we give her and she's having a fit, sitting my her food dish and showing her teeth and by golly she looks like she has fangs! I don't know if its because I'm thinking I see it that way or its that way. I can't hear her, but my hubby can and I'd be walking by and seeing her do that hissing with her teeth and my hubby would be sick of hearing her and we both gave in and just give her what she wants. I said 'thats not a vamp like those in my romance books, thats a bad vamp'. Now I know some of its in teasing, but she really twisted my mind not being sure what to believe because of the way she behaved!

Not sure if this was what you meant for your question but yet, I wanted to fill you in. I do have your first book tho, but I think its a really worn copy. I must check! Great post!

3:29 AM  
Blogger Brooke Reviews said...

This entry made me think of Freddy Krueger lol. The bad coming to people in their dreams/nightmares. I was always scared of that as a little kid. I was also scared of a monster under my bed, but I KNEW that if he couldn't see any piece of my skin that I was safe from. So, I would sleep under my covers, head and everything, to keep away from him. ha

I love the idea of fairies in space! :) If there are no aliens, I can only hope for fairies. lol

8:05 AM  
Blogger Ruth Schaller said...

I certainly think that the world would be a strange place if all of the fiction stuff was true. I think all ofthe books that would be written would be about the world without all that stuff...LOL. How strange would that be?

I believe... I believe...

9:30 AM  
Blogger Asylumgirl said...

If all this were real, we would live in an infinitely more interesting world than the one we live in now. Life would be more exciting and more dangerous at the same time. Just imagine if people possessed the talent to do true magic, you would have to be really careful not to tick off the wrong people. There would be less sickness and fewer financial problems, but what the heck would authors write about? LOL


9:48 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

See, I think the idea for vampires may have come (partly, among many other things) from seeing _something_ with fangs like that. Maybe someone thinking, "What if people had fangs like that?" And I have known cats with a taste for human blood...

9:49 AM  
Blogger flip said...

First, Carrie, I love your books.

Sadly, I think that it would be easier and unifying for the human race if there were really things that go bump in the night. Evil would be more easily identifiable. Would the world be a scarier place? Not necessarily.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Beth Caudill said...

Edgar Allen Poe wrote a short story about being Buried Alive. It was an image of the medical condition that caused people to seemingly be without a heart beat, be declared dead, and buried only to revive sometime later.

I always think of vampires when I think of this the 'dead' rising from the grave/coffin could have been interpreted in earlier times.

That and I would much rather be cremated than buried. No way to I want to wake up trapped in a coffin.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie..first of all Im sorry to say I havent read any of your books yet but sure plan to. I love the paranormal and whos to say...all this stuff doesnt exist? I think about that quite often myself. Thanks for the interesting blog...Kim

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if it all really existed? Well then things may start to make a little more sense. Those dark shadows or movements out of the corner of your eyes may not be tricks. And Faith may become more like science or a funky mixture of both.

Magic could become a little more 'every day'. I'm sure people would find a way to mess it all up, just ask the house elves.

12:30 PM  
Blogger The Fierce said...

The presumption is in the idea that the world *isn't* like that. It's the little voices, the little wishes and the little prayers of superstition: "My team won because I was wearing the Purple," "Please let me have enough gas to coast to the gas station," credit scores (based partially on numbers-as-fact, and partially on a leap of faith in, "Is this person likely to run away with my [organization's] money?"), and of course, "I love you," which retains a certain kind of magic despite its repetition. The only question is when the magic fails, is it the act of something sinister, or not being practiced enough? Is it true that where there is magic, there is intrigue? How many demons do we slay with cutting our sandwiches in triangles, washing our elbows and behind our ears, and how many fairies are born when babies laugh and how many wizards are there working in Social Security because if we can't do flashy magic, at least we can help *someone*?

2:01 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It's amazing to think how much of our lives is based on faith: faith that the food in the store is safe, that your mechanic is honest, that the gas you put in your car is the grade you're paying for, etc. Same kind of thing as superstition. Because it's the kind of thing you have no way of knowing until it goes wrong.

3:10 PM  
Blogger donnas said...

If it was all real, the world would most definately be a more interesting place. It would also be more dangerous but more fun as well. Really though in our dreams dont we wish at least some of it would turn out to be real.

Cant wait for the next 2 books the covers look great!

4:36 PM  
Blogger Carmen R said...

If all of it was real well that would at least make me feel not so weird. I doubt people would still call me weird or strange if those type of things were known to be happening. So I say bring it on I will welcome the what ifs with open arms.

6:42 PM  
Blogger BoxingKing said...

Geez, the world would be so different if all the supernatural were real. Yet, at the same time, it really wouldn't be different. We would all probably own more guns, religion would be way more popular with way more variants, and I think as a people we would be harder. But we would still have the same (or really, really similar problems). We would have mortgages, maybe to the local vampire, but the same idea. We would have jobs at KMart, we would alcoholics, famine, etc. I don't see so much being different. Evil might be more easily identifiable, but we would still have the stuff in the background. And we would now be lobbying for mutant rights. :) I expect, however, that fantasy writing would turn into "what the world would be like if it were 'normal', with no vampires." That would probably be super interesting, looking at the switch in fiction and fantasy. Hehe.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Jim Van Pelt said...

Unfortunately, I think if it were all real how quickly the magic would become mundane.

I see the same principle at work when I ask students to write stories. For most of them, the local is boring and the unknown is exotic, so they want to write about anyplace other than where they are. It surprises them when I tell them that for kids in Paris, or New York, or Tokyo, Fruita, Colorado (where I teach) is exotic.

You'd get the same effect in a magical world, except magic would be the "local" stuff that isn't interesting. In a world of magic, the exotic and interesting would be the world where humans had to solve all problem only by the application of physics, chemistry, mathematics, etc. They'd say, why, the way they fly in this world is by mastering the natural tendency of hot air to rise, or the flow of air over a properly curved surface. Imagine that!

6:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

If it were all real just imagine the potential immortality or near immortality would offer a person. Do you think a 200-300 year old being would make a good president or world leader with all their accumulated knowledge? Would a vampire president need the use of secret service agents aside from possible "crypt duty" during the daylight hours.
Or a scholar or scientist who was able to span generations. Eventually they would figure out what ever they where trying to figure out I guess.
Or maybe things would be much like they are now. There are many people who believe the in the people and events told in the Bible,or Koran. They call their supernatural people and events, angels and miracles.
James in Fargo

9:22 PM  
Blogger Kassie Burns said...

The supernatural isn't real? You could have fooled me. I've seen a ghost and a UFO so I guess I could believe in just about anything.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off I will say that your books rock! I found one at the library and liked it so much I ordered them all from Amazon. I can't wait to read the next 2.
OK, to answer your question with a question( I know I hate that too), but who says it isn't real? I mean who hasn't seen something out of the corner of their eye, they turn and look only to find nothing there? I think it is real. The mom who's child is trapped can pull the strength of 10 men out of nowhere to lift the car and save the life of her child ( sounds magical). Minutes later the strength is gone. I also find it very magical for my kids ,whom I would so love to choke sometimes, to look me in the eye and say I love you mommy. I feel that love literally feel it like it is a tangible object that I can hold in my hand. I also think the tendency to feel something in your gut is magical. What if we're breeding real magic out of our race and this is one of the last things to go. No one can explain why we "feel" certain ways when we wake up and "just know" that today is going to be a really crappy or really grea day.
I will end this by saying I hope it is real. The good with the bad from Fairy to Vampire to shifters and the like. Many of our mundane explanations are very "magical" to people who aren't privy to the scientific process used to figure things out.I believe magic is all around us if we only take the time to stop and " smell the roses" so to speak.

3:23 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

What if it were all real? I would say that the world would be a most interesting place, but like someone mentioned above, I think magic would become common place and we would take it for granted. Then we would be looking for the next "thing" to make things interesting.

Thanks for the guest blog!!

12:25 PM  
Blogger StyleVamp said...

If it was all real the world would be scary and interesting at the same time. We currently live in a duality that is parallel to what this country faces. Famine, Poverty, war, politicians with their own agenda's, hate crime, serial killers etc...this is what society considers the norm? Rather as whole we've become use to, so adding the element of the supernatural, would it really be such an extreme difference..

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i havnt read your books yet, but they sound very interseting and my type of book

please enter me

4:28 PM  
Blogger Terin said...

wouldn't life be more fun if they were real? or at least interesting?

Maybe not... I guess depends on how much more difficult fantasy would make our reality.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Enchanted by Books said...

I've heard so many great things about your books but I haven't had a chance to read them yet. That's awesome that there will be two books out one after another!! I wish all my favorite authors could do that. Gorgeous covers. I would love to win an autographed copy.

7:42 PM  
Blogger ArkieRN said...

If this were real the world would become much more scary more interesting. What is that Chinese curse?...May you live in interesting times. I'm not to sure I'd want to.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm recruiting you for Project Paranormal PLUS. I am the President of All the proceeds and benefits from this project go to charity, the Save the Children Foundation and you can connect with and share your ideas with many other members of the paranormal community. Any questions, just shoot me an email, or you can register and start posting at the link below!

10:21 PM  

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