View Full Version : Day 5, Savor All The Flavors of Romance: Dark Fantasy and Horror Elements

May 16th, 2012, 09:22 PM
I am not a fan of horror, but I do dabble in the "dark arts." The Journey has a bite to it. Andrew and I met over a horror novel. To this day, he knows to warn me away from certain chapters. Even in the Doe and The Dragon, which is a delightful romance, there were chapters I skipped.

A lot of paranormal fiction is edgy and has horror elements. And I know Alice has been brainstorming a novel that contains some very dark content. Some folks consider certain types of erotica dark--BDSM in particular--and I even strayed into that territory with The Journey.

What is it that readers like--or don't like about horror and dark fantasy elements in romance fiction? Do we avoid it because romance is supposed to be escapist? Or do we read it because it embraces the dark side we all have?

Remember, there are daily prizes and Days 1, 3, and 4 are open for the winning by just leaving a comment or question.:1eye:

Stay tuned for excerpts tomorrow.

Jess W.
May 16th, 2012, 10:02 PM
I do like romance for the escape, but I will escape to the "dark side" sometimes. It is good to have a little change every once and a while.

Andrew Richardson
May 17th, 2012, 12:00 PM
Horror! Wow! Although historical fantasy has always been my first love, I’ve always edged toward the darker myths and legends. The first novels I wrote were all firmly horror, even if they had a cross of history or fantasy. I read a lot of horror when I was in my teens– James Herbert, Stephen King, and more latterly my hero, Richard Laymon. I guess that gave me an idea of how horror novels work so it was logical that I became a horror writer, even if my subjectmatter has become a bit more ‘gentle’ recently.

My first novel was ‘Andraste’s Blade’ (Dark Realm Press),set partly in the modern day and partly around the first century British revolt against the Romans. It’s a story of ancient evil returning in the twenty-first century. Here’s the preface:

I am not evil.

I have felt the pains of birth. I am no more malevolent than the tormenting pangs of labour. Is the cold of winter that takes the lives of the weak and the young, evil? Is the spear that rips through flesh sated with evil? Is the plague, which takes the people at random, young and old, king or bondsman, evil? No, these are mere instruments of destruction, unable to avoid the anguish they cause. Like me, they are judged on the all consuming suffering which follows them, a suffering over which they have no control.

I feast upon mortal bodies and souls because of the way I was created, not because I have been granted a choice. Am I evil because I take what is essential for my survival? Maybe I should starve myself of what I need, and experience a slow lingering death as I become weakand emancipated. That would save many lives.

But do not condemn me because I lack the courage to die.

And power?

Who does not yearn for power? Throughout history countless usurpers have taken kingship forthemselves. Given noble birth and a keen warband would you not stake a claim for leadership? I want nothing that any mortal would not grasp with both hands.

I wish only to satisfy my needs and desires.

No. I am not evil.

Andrew Richardson
May 17th, 2012, 04:50 PM
…And here’s the opening of my other horror, ‘The Wood’. Wood is a sort of sequel to the erotic short ‘The Shoot’ that got mentioned in another thread. This is a story where my modern characters find themselves in a mysterious wood and have to fight off Celtic beasts.

The wood did not welcome visitors.

The ancient pines awoke and stretched their limbs, sendinga ripple through the trees as they sensed the presence of others.

Beneath the thick boughs animals stirred, woken by the creaking of ageless branches. The creatures raised their noses, finding a scent in the shadows as they anticipated the coming of visitors.

In the thickest parts of the forest, where the shadows were darkest, lived things that even the ancient trees dared not seek to understand.

While they awaited the arrival of the newcomers, the beasts looked skyward, between the great boughs, and saw that the great yellow orb was passing its zenith.

The day prepared to give way to dusk.

With a low groan that the unwary might mistake for a spring breeze touchingt he branches, the trees settled and waited for the intruders.

No. The wood did not welcome visitors.

http://andrewjrichardson.blogspot.co.uk/ (http://andrewjrichardson.blogspot.co.uk/)

May 18th, 2012, 06:14 AM
:po:The Journey is dark and includes scenes of menage and BDSM, which declared themselves necessary to maintain the tone. There is magick and voodoo, consistent with the Afro-Caribbean themes. Here is a teaser:

The full moon still hung in the sky, but the stars were now extinguished as dawn approached. There would be a sabbat this month after all, and there was little time to spare.
She raked burrows in the sand with her bare hands, collected the carved totems and buried them face down. She found a basket of sulfur and flint powder in Mamou's hut and sprinkled some on the structures. There could be no sign of any settlement.
Milena placed candles at five points to cast a circle and lit them by rubbing together flint stones dipped in the powder. She meditated into the flames, prayed and drew power from the goddesses.
She touched the candles to dried vegetation at the base of the huts. Flames exploded high into the sky, fueled by the accelerant. Milena stripped off her dress and stood naked in the center of her circle, clutching her pentacle in one hand and the basket of Mamou's powder in the other.
Soot fell from the sky like rain. Snakes and lizards writhed through the brush, fleeing the heat. The strength and fury of the goddess Yemaya burned within her. By the time the white men arrived the huts would be blackened heaps.
Milena was ready for them.

If you'd like to see more, a PDF of The Journey is one of the prizes (still open on the other threads).

Andrew Richardson
May 20th, 2012, 02:23 AM
I do like romance for the escape, but I will escape to the "dark side" sometimes. It is good to have a little change every once and a while.

Hello Jess

I understand from Gianna that you're a winner (well done!! :orange:). If you'd like one of my books (I can offer horror or GLBT erotica) let me know on andrew.richardson503 AT ntlworld.com.