Feb 22 2011 6:00pm

Fangs, Fur, Rotting Flesh: What’s Your Paranormal Pleasure?

Bela Lugosi as Dracula

My tastes in paranormal romance can be summed up as follows: Stake the vamps, burn the zombies, shag the werewolves. Shorter version: Don’t fuck dead things. (I thought about making one of those the tagline for my website, but I’m just not sure.)

Even if you read an assortment of subgenres of paranormal romance, you probably favor one more than the others: vampires, shapeshifters, demons and angels, whatever. Heck, a new subgenre currently gaining popularity is zombie romance. Dead vampires are one thing, but I can honestly say I never envisioned zombie romance protagonists. I don’t want to judge before I’ve read one, but I just picture body parts falling off at inconvenient moments . . .

River Marked by Patricia Briggs

Some people like any shapeshifter romance, and the shapeshifters of today’s paranormal romance run the gamut—you got your cats (both big and house-sized) and mice, birds and dogs, octopi (tentacle sex!)—you name it, some hero or heroine shifts into it. I only read werewolves; other shifters don’t interest me.

I’m not into vampires in general, because I don’t like dead things and I don’t think you should have sex with them. I read the Southern Vampire series, but honestly I’m hoping Sookie winds up with Sam. (That's on paper.  On TV, I have absolutely no problem with Sookie and Eric getting down and dirty. With lots of close-ups of Alexander Skarsgaard, please and thank you.)

Evermore by Lynn Viehl

The only vamp series I read in which I like the vampire heroes are Lynn Viehl’s Darkyn books and J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood (Vishous = YUM). The difference, of course, is that the Darkyn and the Brothers are alive—they have beating hearts and detectable pulses. The Brothers don’t even drink blood from humans. Viehl and Ward have removed a lot of the darkness from their vamps and turned them into rather traditional romance hero types—which doesn’t bother me at all, but that’s because I don’t like the whole dark, dead, blood-sucking creature-of-the-night thing. (Anther thing I like about the Brothers: they eat food and drink alcohol. An eternity of no vodka and no solid food? No thanks.)

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

I’m not as picky when it comes to urban fantasy, which I read a lot—I love the magicians and the fairies and the witches and the demons and the whole throw-every-supernatural-being-into-the-mix plots. (And dragons—I love the dragons.) It’s just in my romance reading that I take it werewolf, straight-up, no bloodsucking, no rotting corpses.

What about you?

Kinsey W. Holley can be found at her own website, is published with Samhain.com, is at twitter @kinseyholley and blogs at NineNaughtyNovelists.com.

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Ruth T
1. Ruth T
My reading perference are leaning away from the traditional vampire/werewolf tropes and more toward the "more than" human. I agree zombies need to eat your brains. I'm not entirely sure how vampires work because unless the vamps heart beats they cannot produce any heat.
Ruth T
2. Kinsey
I know, right? Not to mention erections - no heartbeat means no blood flow, no blood flow means no throbbing manhoods.

You can't take em to the beach and they're always cold. Who wants that?
Ruth T
3. Diana (@Offbeat Vagabond)
If the vampires are actually like J. R. Ward's vampires, then that would be my choice. But I never thought about what I like more before. As long as they are paranormal, I don't care, but I am with @Ruth T, definitely not for zombies.
Charli Mac
4. CharliMac
I like me so Eric Northman, thank you very much. But I stop there.

Zombies freak me out. I don't get the zombie protagonists. What if you're doing it and it falls off? What do they smell like? What the hell to you serve them for dinner? I think it's so gross. If I were to read one of those zombie hero books the above is all I would think about, regardless how good the writing was.
Ruth T
5. Lucky4
The werewolves (Lykae) in Kresley Cole's IAD series are super HOT! But I think her vamps are sexy too and I am SO not on the vampire band wagon. I haven't seen any zombie books yet but I would have to pass! I would love recommendations for more werewolf books though! ;-)
Natasha Carty
6. WickedLilPixie
I actually don't like Weres/Shifters. I have a slight fur issue ;) I love my vamps & my fae.
Ruth T
7. akajill
I totally agree. A live werewolf is much more appealing than a dead, blood sucking vampire (even if he only drinks from animals or donated blood). So not sexy. I have been reading Diana Rowland's Demon series as of late. There the demon is unabashadly bad, but a most excellent lover. Not sure how I feel about that yet, but I am curious to see what will happen next.
romance reader
8. bookstorecat
(And dragons—I love the dragons.)

Then you've probably already read this short page-turner by Vivian Vande Velde. If not, I recommend it very much:)
Keira Gillett
9. Keira
I like the broody vamps, but then again I've always liked broody heroes. As for the werewolves, they tend to be hot-headed and not in a good way, at least in many of the ones I've read... and especially in love triangles.
Kinsey Holley
10. KinseyHolley
Keira - I know! That's why my werewolves aren't borderline psychos. No matter how hot he is, if you have to worry about your boyfriend going homicial everytime someone looks at him, or you, sideways, life gets stressful fast. I wanted sexy werewolves who knew how to control themselves.
Keira Gillett
11. Keira
Yes. Exactly. I like shifters just fine... when werewolves are done well I like them a lot. I like big cat shifters too which all got started by LKH's ABVH series... Micah and Nathaniel yum :D
Ruth T
12. E Roths
I think (most) vampire characters are smooth and suave and the werewolves are more emotional and, well manly. Richard trumps Jean Claude any day. One of my favorite werewolf characters is Clay from Kelly Armstrong's Bitten...HOT!
Bridget Horn
13. bridget.c.horn
YES! I love Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series! But I actually prefer Jeremy to Clay - he's so mysterious and so in charge. . . I also really like Patricia Briggs' books about Mercy Thompson and the Alpha and Omega series.

All in all, I prefer werewolves to vamps, though I like vampire stories too. Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter books have a nice blend of were-creatures and vampires. They're great because there's a good mix of good guys and bad guys. And even the bad guys aren't really all that bad, depending on whose perspective is being viewed.
Ruth T
14. southerngirl
I agree with you that you don't like vampires when they are cold and dead. I do like Kresley Cole's vampires in the IAD series, especially Sebastian in (No Rest for the Wicked". Cole's vampires all develop a pulse and body heat (and the ability to have sex) when they meet the woman that is destined to be the one for them. Check out the IAD series. It is my favorite paranormal romance series! Cole has a few super hot werewolves (Lykae) in the series, too!
Misha Tagliaferro
15. MishaTagliaferro
Vampires, were-creatures, and shapeshifters are fine with me, as long as they don't get too ridiculous with the shapeshifting. I don't think I could take a weremouse hero seriously. As for demon romance, I would think the human would be scared to death of the demon, not fall in love with him/her. That is just too creepy for my tastes.

But zombies? Really? How can a zombie, which by its very nature is a mindless undead body with no will of its own (unless it's driven to eat brains), fall in love? And if the human is the one falling in love with the zombie, what is wrong with that person? Zombie romance gets a definite EWWW from me.
Julie C
16. Jaya
I am really loving Chloe Neill's 'Chicagoland Vampire' Series at present. Yes they are vampires, and they do drink blood, but they aren't dead or undead. They still breathe and bleed and all that stuff. And they're 'out' so they buy their blood from the terribly named "Blood4U", and most live in beautiful large mansions in something like a giant vampire dorms. She has an extremely likeable protagonist (Merit), and it is through her that we find out most stuff.

My other Vampire novels I like have either Vampires with Vampires, or again, non-dead Vampires.

It really does depend on the book for me. If it looks interesting I'll probably read it, and if it's well written with characters I can like and admire, I quite often like it.

With exception of Zombies. Zombies creep me out.

Some of my other favourite paranormal authors are Patricia Briggs, Michele Bardsley, Dakota Cassidy and Jennifer Rardin (who's final book is coming out later this year)
maria medina
17. foofah
fangs, fur, rotting flesh, the best things in life are all of them. all gotten in any Anita Blake book by Laurell K. Hamilton.
Donna Omo
18. GreenWillow
Thanks for the heads up. I will avoid all of Lynn Viehl’s Darkyn books and J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood as it sounds like both authors write "Vamp Lite."
I guess I just like my vampires portrayed as very much Other-- cut off from Life but yearning for it -- because therein lies the conflict. That probably precludes the HEA ending, but I think vampires are tragic figures anyway.
I think both vampires and weres have appeal, and varying degress of hotness depending on how they're written.
But zombies? Oh dear. Much too messy!
Nakia Huff
19. nakia
I've never really thought much about which I prefer. I tend to lean more towards the "other" types of paranormal. Dragons, fallen angels, demons, etc. I love the BDB series, I even enjoyed the Darkyn series. I don't think I've really read any werewolf books. Or if I did, they must not have left a very big impression. I'll have to start taking a look at those.
Traci Parrott
20. reject
I'm actually with the consensus for a change. The BDB boyz, definately. Jean Claude...meh...seriously I could pass. I think it's cuz the vamps tend to be written as metrosexual types (or dare I say even effeminate). I like my alpha males more alpha-ish. As for brooding, hot headed lycan, sign me up. (I'm a sucker for the passionate types, must be my Irish acting up.) I'm liking the faye as they can pull off the "he's so pretty" type manliness. Dragons and the demons from Imortals After Dark or Demonica, you betcha. Zombies? Sean of the Dead comes to mind. Urban fantasy and paranormal, even in the painting of what an author thinks is sexy, I'm willing to roll with it, do a mental rewrite if necessary. But I'm thinkin' it's gonna take an aweful lot of mental editing to make a zombie sexy...guess I'd vote for a metrosexual vamp before that.
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