I didn't know what Owen had in mind, but it was already obvious to me that I would go anywhere this man was leading. He kept his hand in mine as he guided me through the crowded bar and toward the pool tables. Thankfully, because the band was still playing, the back of the bar was far less populated.
"Is playing pool normally part of a first date with you, or are you just trying to get me alone?" I teased.
Owen took a step towards me, pinning me between him and the pool table.
"Both," he said with a smile on his face that I could only describe as wicked.
I tilted my head to the side as I looked up at him. "Let's make it interesting, then."
I took a step to the side, sliding out from between him and the ancient wooden table. I grabbed a pool cue off of the rack and tossed it to him before grabbing a decidedly smaller one for myself. "We're going to need more shots," I said to him.
A smile crept over his dark features. "My kind of girl..." he murmured as he lowered his head towards mine.
"Nope, if you want to kiss me, you better plan on winning."
Owen shook his head and left me at the table while I started to rack the balls. A few minutes later, he returned with four shots; two of whiskey, two of tequila. I took one of the shot glasses filled with dark brown liquor straight out of his hand and threw it back. I winced as the alcohol made my throat close in on itself. The truth was, I might have been putting on a show. I enjoyed the way I felt around Owen, but I didn't know if I was as wild as I wanted him to believe.
"So what are the stakes here?" he asked me as he set the remaining shots on a nearby hightop.
"If you win, you get to take me home..." I said in a voice I barely recognized as my own. It was breathy and seductive. Those two shots apparently went to my head faster than I thought.
"And if you win?" Owen asked with a raised brow.
"If I win, I get a second date."
"Who said we can't do both?" he said with a chuckle.
I rolled my eyes. I didn't have this whole impulsive, whiskey-drinking, short skirt-wearing Jacey completely figured out yet.
Owen took a step towards me. He reached for my hips and pulled me toward him. "What do you really want?"
I could feel my pulse banging in my ears, and the loud, crowded bar faded into the background. He reached around my head, threading his fingers into my hair and tugging me towards him. I leaned forward, expecting him to kiss me, but his mouth hovered over mine.
"What do you want?" he asked again.
"You," I said, my voice caught in my throat.
"What was that?" he asked teasingly. His deep voice, vibrating through me.
"I want you."
Finally, he brought his lips to mine and kissed me deeply. Kissing Owen wasn't new to me; we couldn't stop kissing the night he drove me over the Brooklyn Bridge. But this was something else. I wasn't sure I even knew my own name anymore.
"When I take you home, it's going to be because you're begging me to...not because I won at pool."
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Changing the Face of Paranormal Romance with Roxanna Mason #ParanormalRomance
If you grew up in the 2000s, chances are you devoured young adult paranormal romance novels like Twilight and The Vampire Diaries. These books featured beautiful, aloof heroines with absent parents who quickly became consumed with their supernatural love interests. While these stories were thrilling and addictive, they also perpetuated certain stereotypes and left many readers feeling left out.
As a young girl, I was a rebellious, edgy, creative type from a major city. My world revolved around my art first and foremost, and I couldn't relate to the characters in these books. While I loved them, I knew that there was more to the genre than just the same old tropes.
Years later, when I began writing my own novels, I knew that I wanted to change the face of paranormal romance. I wanted to create characters that were diverse, complex, and relatable to a wider range of readers. So what did I do differently?
First of all, I started my book off feeling realistic and modern, more like a contemporary romance. I wanted readers to feel like they were immersed in a world they recognized, before slowly introducing the paranormal elements. I also made sure that my characters were multidimensional and had interests and passions beyond just their love interests. As focused on love as Jacey, my main character, can be, she also has a successful career as a designer that is without a doubt the first love of her life.
Another way I wanted to improve the genre was by creating a more diverse cast of characters. This doesn't just include the ethnicities or nationalities of the characters but also their sexual orientations. I wanted my readers to not only see themselves in my characters but to see people they knew in them. I think one of the really special pieces of representation in this book is the introduction of a demisexual love interest which I've always thought was an identity that was almost entirely missing from romance novels as a whole.
I also wanted to do something different when it came to supernatural abilities in my book. While I could have written a shapeshifter with the same abilities and weaknesses that you see in most stories, I chose instead to take a realistic approach to the idea. My shifters can't turn themselves into animals or mythological creatures. What they can turn themselves into is other people. I wanted a love interest that felt real and accessible which meant, in a way, making him less powerful and more thought-provoking. I asked myself what if there were human beings who had a gene that made them capable of looking like anyone they wanted at will and what would the repercussions of that be?
Finally, I made sure that my book explored themes and issues beyond just romance. While the central story of Shifted is a love story, I wanted to create something that was still meaningful and thought-provoking, while still being entertaining and exciting. By tackling issues like identity, friendship, consent, and personal growth, I hoped to create a book that would resonate with readers long after they finished reading it.
In conclusion, if you're considering writing a paranormal romance, there's no need to stick to the same old tropes and stereotypes. By diversifying your cast of characters, exploring new themes, and creating a world that feels realistic and relatable, you can continue to change the face of the genre and create something truly unique and impactful. In the same way that there are authors that I loved whose work gave me a cornerstone to build from, I hope that my work does the same for the authors who come after me so that the genre continues to grow.
The Shifted Series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: 12/18/2022
Number of pages: 516
Word Count: 109,379
Cover Artist: Benjamin Richard
Jacey Lange has everything she has ever wanted. She is newly engaged, and her menswear line is one of the fastest-growing in the country. Beautiful, successful, and deeply in love, Jacey feels like she's on top of the world.
That is, until she catches her fiance in bed with her assistant.
Everything around her comes crashing down.
Thankfully, her best friend, Leon, welcomes her back to her old apartment with open arms. The people in Jacey’s life watch for months as she wallows in her misery, until Leon hatches a plan: if Jacey agrees to get herself back out there and promises to go out with the next five guys that ask her, no matter who they are, then not only will he give her the master bedroom in the apartment, but both Leon and Jacey’s sister, Elise, will agree to stop meddling in her love life.
In rapid succession, Jacey finds herself falling for five completely different men. Yet despite all their differences, there is something oddly familiar about each one. When she finds out why, it won't just change the way she feels about love, it will make her question everything she once thought was real.
Roxanna Mason is a debut paranormal romance author and formally trained actor from Los Angeles, California. It was her deep love of storytelling that led her to study theatre and that same love of storytelling that drove her to write her first novel. When not writing, Roxanna is binge watching horror films, creating vegan recipes, and dancing around her living room to Fleetwood Mac.