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Thursday, September 16, 2010

When Did Scary Creatures Become Hot Instead Of Horror?

Please welcome guest blogger Kerri Nelson

I remember being about 6 years old when they aired Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot as a television mini-series. I was visiting my grandmother for the summer and cuddling up with her on the sofa to watch this movie. I remember her telling me that it would probably be too scary for me but I begged her to let me watch.

She relented and I acted all brave but I was secretly terrified. Vampires scared me to death and I had nightmares for a week.

Of course, years later when I watch that same version I laugh myself silly at the pitiful special effects. But at the time…I just knew that those vampires were real and that they were probably hovering outside my window as I slept at night.

Now, when I think of vampires…I think of hot and sexy. Creatures of the night who we fantasize about, fall in love with, and befriend in the fight against evil.

So, when, exactly did scary creatures become hot instead of horror?

I was recently doing some market research for a proposal that I was putting together. The sheer number of paranormal romances on the market is truly mind boggling. And note the key words in that last sentence “paranormal romance”…as in a romance featuring a hero who is typically a monster of some sort.

Then I started thinking, what really defines “a monster”?

Well, according to dictionary.com a monster is defined as the following:

1. a legendary animal combining features of animal and human form or having the forms of various animals in combination, as a centaur, griffin, or sphinx.

2. any creature so ugly or monstrous as to frighten people.

3. any animal or human grotesquely deviating from the normal shape, behavior, or character.

4. a person who excites horror by wickedness, cruelty, etc.

5. any animal or thing huge in size.

As to definition #1: half man/half beast I think we’ve got that covered.

As to definition #2: ugly? Not anymore! Vampires and shifters are known as being some of the hottest characters in fiction today.

As to definition #3: I can see that I guess although “grotesquely” could be up for interpretation.

As to definition #4: There’s the horror mention but we see many more monsters in romance than we do in horror these days (or so it seems to me).

As to definition #5: Huge? Hmmm…well the erotic romance side of me could make a comment here but I’ll refrain. Typically, though, these characters appear normal man size.

I guess the bottom line here is that the romance market has basically redefined what a being a monster means to us. It just goes to show that women do truly love a wounded, imperfect hero. And romance writers can really turn a monster into pure hot magic.

© 2010 Kerri Nelson

Kerri Nelson has always been passionate about reading books but when she wrote her first poem in the second grade, she discovered her love of writing. At the age of sixteen, she became a columnist for her local newspaper as the high school correspondent for the weekly "Panther Tales" column. She won the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year Award for her efforts.

After an education and career in the legal field, Kerri began to pen romantic suspense novels with a legal or law enforcement theme. She is a true southern belle and comes complete with her dashing southern gentleman husband and three adorable children. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her baking homemade goodies for her family, feeding her addiction to blogging online or designing custom made book trailers. Kerri is an active member of Romance Writers of America as well as numerous Chapters including Hearts through History, Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Kerri is a multi-published author of romance in every genre from romantic suspense and paranormal to young adult and inspirational novels.

Read more about Kerri’s books at her website: www.kerrinelson.com

Want to play, learn and compete with other authors in the biz? Visit Kerri’s industry blog here: www.thebookboost.blogspot.com

For the latest news and updates from Kerri, follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/kerribookwriter

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Unknown said...

Great post, Kerri! I was thinking the other day that since romance has co-opted the "monsters," it's sort of left horror to come up with new ideas. I think the humans are the biggest horror monsters now. Gotta say, though, I love my hot monsters!

Anita Clenney said...

It really is interesting. In today's market, it's as common to read about a hero who shifts into a demon or dragon or wolf as it is to read about an ordinary guy next door or a fireman or cop.

kerribookwriter said...


I agree--gotta love 'em! Hope the fad doesn't change any time soon.


So true. The market is inundated with them these days. Hope there is still room for mine.

Thanks ladies.


Keena Kincaid said...

You wrote: :It just goes to show that women do truly love a wounded, imperfect hero."

I think that perfectly sums up why monsters are the new Darcy.

Great post.

kerribookwriter said...


Thanks so much. I love it when people quote me. :-) Made my day.

Oooh...you got me thinking...a Vampire Darcy? Grrr...

Appreciate the comment!


Nightingale said...

I have a vampire named Morgan D'Arcy but he's nothing like that Darcy!

I agree that the wounded, mysterious, dark hero attracks women--maybe in real life too!

Maeve Greyson said...

Maybe those "old wives" were onto something when they spun the tale of "Beauty and the Beast".

kerribookwriter said...


That name is very intriguing. I'd love to check that out.

Thanks for stopping by!


kerribookwriter said...


Excellent point!

Good to see you here.


Nina Pierce said...

LOL! I never thought about it Kerri, but you are so right. The monsters have become the yummy heroes we are falling in love with these days.

Pamela K. Kinney said...

I still write the monster as the romantic hero/heroine as sapphire phelan and monsters as monsters as Pamela K. Kinney (I write horror and fantasy under this name). So the scary vamps are still there, as are werewolves and more.
I admit to enjoying both kinds.

mjmuse said...

I'm just getting into paranormals. I scare pretty easily though (pathetic when you're over 4! :)But, they do give you something fun to imagine... watch out Bella!

Sandra Cox said...

I love that paranormal has taken off in such a big way!