Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Katie Salidas: Horror and Paranormal

I've heard about this paranormal genre. I don't know a ton about it, except that it sells and horror doesn't. But that can't be the only difference. Katie has a new paranormal novel coming out in her hit Immortalis series, so I figured she'd be the person to educate us. And here she is:

What is Paranormal? Is it Horror? At first you might think so.

When I originally began writing the Immortalis series, I mistakenly thought I was writing a horror series. I assumed that because I was using vampires (and later, adding other supernatural creatures) that this automatically put me into the horror category. But as I researched more into the various genres, I found that there was a definite distinction in how you classify things. Technically speaking, I write Urban Fantasy, a subgenre comprised of Fantasy and Paranormal. 

The creatures in the paranormal realm are the things that “go bump in the night” and scared the crap out of us when we were little. Let’s face it, some of those creatures still scare the crap out of us. Take Zombies for example. Nothing scares me more than a half-dead corpse running around looking for brains to eat. However, on the flipside, I don’t find vampires the least bit scary. Yes, I do have a screw loose, but this is where I feel the distinction comes into play. No, not my mental issues, the fear factor.

Horror is meant to scare us. It’s meant to make us look over our shoulder to see who might be there. It’s meant to get our imagination working and to see creatures lurking in the shadows. It’s also meant to be intensely gory and gruesome. When that zombie comes to attack, you get every last detail down to the taste of the spongy gray matter being mashed in between the zombie’s rotted teeth.

Paranormal, on the other hand, is meant to entertain using the elements of the supernatural world. Sure, there is an element of fear there, and there can be some gory details, but that is not the driving force in a paranormal story.
Urban Fantasy, which is the subgenre that the Immortalis series exist in, uses the paranormal creatures: vampires, werewolves, witches, and yes, there is a zombie too, in a modern-day setting. Originally having some horror roots (remember that was what I originally thought I was writing) It does allow for some of the gory and gruesome details you would come to imagine with drinking blood and killing your prey to survive. However, since my protagonist is the vampire, I get to soften it a bit by giving you the reasons behind the bloodlust and the feelings she has while taking her prey. In a way I have attempted to take the gory and give it some intimacy. At least, that’s what I was going for. But either way you see it, I think the Immortalis series strikes a nice balance between those scary creatures and the mystery of their dark world.

Thanks for reading, and if you want to check out my work, you can find me at

Becoming a vampire is easy. Living with the condition... that's the hard part.

Bleeding to death after brutal mugging, twenty-five year old Alyssa is rescued by the most unlikely hero: the handsome and aloof vampire, Lysander.

His gift of immortal blood initiates Alyssa into a frightening, eternally dark world filled with: bloodlust, religious fanaticism, and thousand-year old vendettas.

With Lysander as her guide, Alyssa will have to learn what it takes to survive in the immortal world. She'll have to find the strength to accept her new reality and carpe noctem; or give in, and submit to final death.

Becoming a vampire saved Alyssa from death, but the price was high: the loss of everything and everyone attached to her mortal life. She’s still learning to cope when a surprise confrontation with Santino Vitale, the Acta Sanctorum’s most fearsome hunter, sends her fleeing back to the world she once knew, and Fallon, the friend she’s missed more than anything.

Alyssa breaks vampire law by revealing her new, true self to her old friend, a fact which causes strong division in the group that should support her most: her clan.

Pandora's Box (Book 3)  Release day - July 12, 2011

After a few months as a vampire, Alyssa thought she’d learned all she needed to know about the supernatural world. But her confidence is shattered by the delivery of a mysterious package – a Pandora’s Box.

Seemingly innocuous, the box is in reality an ancient prison, generated by a magic more powerful than anyone in her clan has ever known. But what manner of evil could need such force to contain it?
When the box is opened, the sinister creature within is released, and only supernatural blood will satiate its thirst. The clan soon learns how it feels when the hunter becomes the hunted.

Powerless against the ancient evil, the clan flees Las Vegas for Boston, with only a slim hope for salvation. Could Lysander’s old journals hold the key? And what if they don’t?

And how welcome will they be in a city run by a whole different kind of supernatural being?

Alan here again. You can win a copy of Pandora's Box! Just leave a comment with your debit card number favorite cookie recipe or your thoughts on the relationship between horror and paranormal fiction and you could win! I'll announce the winner here tomorrow.

Check out the whole one-day blitz at http://www.vbtcafe.com/ . You will find a whole list of other posts and interviews and places running contests so that you can double, triple, quadruple, or even purple your chances of winning!


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me here today! You gave me a wonderful topic to discus to. I would love to hear from the readers as well. How do they classify horror and paranormal.

    Good luck as well to those participating in the giveaway!

    Katie Salidas

  2. Wonderful post Katie. No I'm not talking about your mental issues either lol. Love the fear factor and great way to put it. Thank you Alan for participating as a host today. You ROCK!

    BK Walker

  3. Great post Katie! I really enjoyed how you explained the differences between the horror genre and the paranormal/urban fantasy genres.

  4. Love the articla Katie and I'm gonna pick up the first in your series. Sounds great and if Alan recommends, it's got to be awesome!
    btw: Alan, i can't imagine your novels not selling.

  5. @BK Thanks for reading and not picking on me for my mental issues. =p Though as writers, I think we all have to have a screw loose. It's a rule or something.

    @Tanya Thanks for following right along! Great seeing you at all of my guest stops! Fingers crossed!

    @Novel Opinion Thanks for reading and taking a chance on my work. I hope you will be pleasantly surprised!

    Good luck to all entering the contest!

    Katie Salidas

  6. Great post. I loved the first two. Looking forward to the new one. I think a lot of people mistakenly think all paranormal fiction is horror. But while it can be, it can also be a lot of other things. Paranormal fiction really fits into any genre it wants to at the time.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  7. I have a wonderful recipe for biscotti that has dried cranberries, nuts, and white chocolate that my son loves, but enough of that and if you really want it I will be happy to share:) In my opinion comparing horror with the para books there is often a fine line. Both as a rule, at least in my opinion, have a significant element of suspense and surprise, and sometimes a bit of blood and gore and chills. I enjoy the para UF books for the super element of strong characters with the paranormal what ifs, as well and everyone running amok kicking ### - yes the kicking ### is a major priority for me. Love the battles and the good guy has to win! Of course these can occur in horror as well, but sometimes the bad guy wins. Like I said very fine line here. Thank you for participating in this wonderful tour blitz and I am glad I found your sit, it is refreshing to find different places with new discussions and interests to partake in. I think you should check under the bed now and then go grab a cookie, it will definitely make you feel safer :) or maybe it will, then again have two.


  8. @Donnas I completely agree, Paranormal spans quite a few genres!

    @Denise Z I'm getting hungry just thinnking about cranberries and white chocolate. Yummy!!
    And yes A$$ kicking heroine is a staple in UF and I love that!

  9. For me Paranormal does not necessarily mean Horror. I love the first, a little squeamish about the second. Small doses only.


  10. This sounds like such a great book! Id love to read it! :) Thanks for the chance to win! My favorite cookies are 'no bake cookies'.
    Recipe: No Bake Cookies

    1 1/2 cups of milk
    2 cups of sugar
    1/3 cup of coco
    1/3 cup of butter
    3 cups of oatmeal
    1 1/2 cups of peanut butter
    1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

    Step 1: In a sauce pan, combine milk, sugar, coco and butter. Turn the heat up on high and boil for one minute. Then take off heat.

    Step 2: Mix in vanilla extract and peanut butter. Keep stiring until all of the peanut butter is melted and mixed with the chocolate from step one. (You might have to put the pan back on the burner to help melt the peanut butter. Thats ok, just dont leave it on for to long.) Then poor in oatmeal and stir until everythings mixed good. Sometimes the consistancy is runny, just add more oatmeal. I do!

    Step 3: You can set out wax paper and drop spoon fulls of the cookie on there or you can just poor them into a cake pan and cut them as you go. (I do the cake pan, its easier and less of a hassle)

    Step 4: Once you decide to put the cookies on wax paper or in a cake pan, put them in the fridge for about an hour until cold. Then eat and enjoy!


  11. @Shadow_kohler - I'm so trying that recipe tomorrow.

    @marybelle - Exactly. It's not always horror, but it can be. It's one of those wide open genres.


    And my wife feels the same about biscotti, so Denise, we're going to have to talk.

    I used the Dungeons & Dragons dice roller and rolled a d12: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/dice/dice.htm

    Katie won the first two rolls, but the winner of Pandora's Box is Tammy from Novel Opinion!

  13. I am so jazzed! I just picked up the first in this series but I love having all three. I am a series junkie. Thanks so much Katie, my day is complete. Alan, thanks for hosting Katie so I got the chance to win and discover a new Author!
    Oh and Alan, DnD dice? Snort. Well, ok, I still have a set from way back. Can't seem to throw them out.....

  14. I never joined another group after my college friends moved away, but I do still have the dice.

    KUGaR 4 life! (KU Gamers and Roleplayers)