Welcome author Karen McCullough to the blog today! So glad to have her stopping by the blog today. Check out her excerpts of two releases, UNMASKING and WIZARD below.
Paranormal – It’s More Than Bloodsuckers and Shapeshifters
For most people, the terms “paranormal” and “urban fantasy” have come to mean either vampires or were creatures (or both), propelled by the success of the Twilight series, its gazillions of imitators, J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse, and Laurell Hamiton’s Anita Blake books, along with scores of others. Add a solid dash of zombies and that pretty much defines what a lot of readers think the genre comprises.
But paranormal stories cover a much broader range. Wikipedia defines paranormal as “a general term (coined c. 1915–1920) that designates experiences that lie outside “the range of normal experience or scientific explanation” or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside of science’s current ability to explain or measure. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranormal
This time of year, in particular, remidns us that a lot of stories with nary a shapeshifter, undead or bloodsucker in sight get classified as paranormal. Ghost stories, time travel, wizards, witches, demons and other assorted monster tales are also included in the category.
And paranormal stories have been with us for as long as stories have been told. The Odyssey, with its cyclops, sirens and sorceress, is a paranormal story. Jason and the Argonauts, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, the medieval Arthurian sagas, and hundreds of fairy tales collected by the brothers Grimm and others speak to how deeply the impulse to explore beyond normal everyday life for great tales is embedded in the human psyche.
I’ve done a number of paranormal stories myself, but only one of them involves a vampire, and even it features a vampire who doesn’t want to be one. (A Vampire’s Christmas Carol). But I’ve also written a number of paranormal stories of other sorts, including two fantasy novels (Wizard’s Bridge and Witch’s Journey) available from ImaJinn Books, a paranormal that involves wizards and magic (The Wizard’s Shield) and my latest release a Halloween-themed short ghost story – Unmasking. I’ll also have another paranormal Halloween story debuting in a week or so.
Although I also write straight mysteries and romantic suspense, interspersing them with paranormal stories lets me stretch my imagination into new and strange places. It helps keep my creative juices lively and flowing.
Karen McCullough a web designer by profession, and the author of a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres as well. She has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy, and has also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, three grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.
Blurb for Unmasking:
Trace Handley hates social events of any kind, but she has reluctantly agreed to go to a Halloween party to deliver an important message. Before she can accomplish the mission, though, she has to identify the intended recipient despite costumes, her own shyness, and the dubious assistance of the source of the instruction. The source is a ghost and he wants her to deliver his message to the man accused of his murder.
“Darling, what a clever outfit.”
The speaker, who guarded the entrance to the party area, wore an expansive, red-velvet medieval gown. Her gigantic cone hat wobbled and threatened to topple over as she ran a dubious glance over Trace’s costume, a hooded brown cloak with a mask that left nothing visible of her face but the eyes, outlined in glowing orange.
The woman mustered a smile that probably wasn’t any more forced than the several hundred others she’d already conjured that evening. She studied Trace’s invitation with almost insulting care before she touched Trace’s arm and invited her to join the festivities. “Do come in and enjoy yourself.”
Trace nodded, although enjoyment wasn’t high on her agenda for the evening. She moved to the side of the room where she could scan the other guests. Her ghostly companion perched on a table beside her and crossed his legs.
‘Darling, what a clever outfit,’ the ghost mimicked. “Clever? I’ll bet she hasn’t seen Star Wars even once. Wouldn’t know a Jawa if it bit her on the leg.”
“I wonder what she made of him, then.” Trace nodded toward a tall, well-built man in a Boba Fett suit and helmet. He was talking with an overweight Robin Hood.
“The knight in rusty armor’s got a funny nose?” the ghost suggested, while checking out the room himself. In a ballroom crowded with a couple of hundred people that took a while. “Oh, oh, look over there,” the ghost said. “That Little Red Riding Hood will have every big bad wolf in the place running for cover. Whoa, and check it out: Mr. Mayor and wife as Dorothy and the Tin Man. Watch out for flying monkey business.”
“Enough,” Trace said. The combined aromas of food, drinks and too many different, expensive fragrances rolled over her and made her dizzy. “Just point me toward this guy you want me to find and let’s get this over with.”
“Give me a break,” the ghost pleaded. “I haven’t been out in company for a while. Can’t I enjoy myself a little?”
Blurb for The Wizard’s Shield:
A powerful wizard with a physics degree and a checkered past invents a shield to ensure he’ll never again be tortured almost to death.
The wizarding powers-that-be fear the repercussions of such a device and send his former girlfriend, an accomplished wizard herself, to retrieve the device or destroy it.
When the shield is stolen by the magical mafia, Ilene McConnell and Michael Morgan have to set aside their differences and work together to recover it. Michael claims he needs the device as insurance against the kind of injury and injustice he suffered once before. Ilene maintains its potential to upset the delicate balance of power makes it too dangerous and that it needs to be destroyed. But none of that will matter if they can’t retrieve it before a ruthless, powerful wizard learns how to use it for his own ends.
Buy The Wizard’s Shield:
Trade Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/The-Wizards-Shield-Karen-McCullough/dp/148118296X