My pub sista at Etopia Press, Catherine Cavendish, is guest posting today about Paranormal Horror. This lady is an EXPERT, for realz. I dig Catherine’s work and this post captures her style of horror perfectly. Before you start reading, make sure no one is sneaking up on you.
Take it away, Catherine!
Paranormal Horror – It’s All In The Mind
Well, OK, not always. It just depends on your particular preference in this broad school of a genre.
Years ago, you never heard the term, ‘paranormal horror’, it was just, simply, Horror. Generations of teens dived under bedclothes, scaring themselves sleepless with Dennis Wheatley and the Hammer Horror Omnibus. Frankenstein’s monster lumbered over the landscape. Dracula sank his fangs into unsuspecting maidens. And as for The Mummy – well, you couldn’t keep him in his tomb for long. Horror was scary, and when it came to the big screen, there was lots of screaming and Fay Wray wriggling her legs frantically, as she struggled in King Kong’s masterful embrace.
Nowadays, horror has diversified into many sub-genres – from the ‘slasher’ (Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday 13th) to the ‘found footage’ shock-fests (Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity) and a host of others in between. If you enjoy being scared, then you’re bound to find something to suit your mood and desire – from the wholly explicit to the subtly disturbing and, with writers such as Stephen King, a heady mixture of the whole spectrum.
My preference is to write the kind of story that creeps up behind you, taps you on the shoulder and breathes in your ear (when there’s nobody but you in the room). I don’t want to place a bloodbath in front of you, I want your imagination to run riot, your heart to beat a shade faster and your knees to knock a little as you start up that dark staircase. Alone. In an empty house. Where there should be no sound, except that of your own breathing. In. Out. In. Out….
What the hell was that?
You grab the banister. A shadow flies past you. A ghost?
You flatten yourself against the wall, struggling to breathe. Your heart thumps painfully in your chest. In the distance you hear a plaintive wail. Like the cry of a lost child.
Only there’s no child in this house…
There’s just you, remember?
You – and Jemima, your Siamese cat who has just knocked the books off the shelf at the top of the stairs and is loudly protesting that you’re late feeding her.
Sigh of relief. That’ll teach you to read a Paranormal Horror story at night. On your own, with most of the lights switched off and a hungry cat to feed. She’s waiting for you now, downstairs in the kitchen.
You turn around and proceed down the stairs. Your heart rate slows to normal. Your breathing settles down.
And in the darkness behind you, a pair of red eyes blink.
Don’t have nightmares – but I hope you’ll enjoy my latest paranormal horror. This one is a ghostly tale called The Second Wife and here’s the blurb:
Emily Marchant died on Valentine’s Day. If only she’d stayed dead…
When Chrissie Marchant first sets eyes on Barton Grove, she feels as if the house doesn’t want her. But it’s her new husband’s home, so now it’s her home as well. Sumptuous and exquisitely appointed, the house is filled with treasures that had belonged to Joe’s first wife, the perfect Emily, whom the villagers still consider the real mistress of Barton Grove.
A stunning photograph of the first Mrs. Marchant hangs in the living room, an unblemished rose in her hand. There’s something unnerving and impossibly alive about that portrait, but it’s not the only piece of Emily still in the house. And as Chrissie’s marriage unravels around her, she learns that Emily never intended for Joe to take a second wife…
The Second Wife is available now from:
You can find Cat here: