LASR Anniversary: Carmen Fox – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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The other day, a friend asked me why Urban Fantasies or Paranormal Romances are never set on the beach. Sure, vampires wouldn’t last long under the beating sun on Balboa Pier, but the paranormal isn’t all about fangs.

Favored locations for the para-, preter- and ubernatural seem to be nightclubs, as in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, or the dark streets of Seattle, as in Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series or, indeed, my own book.

Others have been drawn to sunnier climes. Joss Whedon set his hit show Buffy The Vampire Slayer in a small Californian town called Sunnydale, and the Buffy spinoff Angel was filmed in Los Angeles, although for obvious reasons, the tall broody one spent pretty little time on the beach.

In fact, California is a popular locale for Urban Fantasy. My own sequel will largely take place in—drum roll, please—Pasadena. Yes, this time round, my characters will get a tan. But (and you knew there would be a but, didn’t you?) despite the high SPF factors and fashionable straw hats, much of the action will play out at night.

Why? Although my series does not feature bloodsuckers, half of my cast relies on the darkness to access their powers. After all, night time is when bad things happen. Spooky things. Every sound takes on a new meaning. Every shadow makes your heart go cold. As much as I enjoyed the city-feel of Seattle, I also love the dichotomy of The Golden State. The white sandy beaches under a cloudless sky, and the black nights where evil lurks behind every palm tree.

carmen summerblog (2)So why not take it further? Pick ever more cheerful and sunnier places? Why not set an entire fantasy book in Disneyland or Tijuana? Or spark a romance on Spring Break? Those sexy, smoldering heroes would look pretty good catching some early waves or boogying around the pool in their bathing suits.

Orange County or Boston – no matter where you are, the streets are always dark at night, and anywhere would be perfect for unleashing the contents of Pandora’s box.

But my friend’s question got the cogs spinning. Is there a way to make the plain-as-day stuff scary, and the darkness a place where our hero could find respite? Perhaps if there were beings that traveled the sun’s rays to spy on us or influence us or even possess us? Beings that relied on a high UV factor to function, but who fell asleep at night, giving heroes time to plot? That would be pretty scary.

This reminded me of a half-written book that lies abandoned in my drawer. In it, our heroine is a young vampire. The first vampire to be turned in a hundred years (or so they think), she’s still immune to sunlight. But her bloodlust rages and makes her too dangerous to let roam. After all, vampires have lived in happy coexistence with humans for centuries. Every day she is trained in restraint and the old vamp ways. Very Buddhist. Until one day, a hoard of young vampires that thrive in daylight upsets the balance. They consider themselves the superior race, and their violence and killing sprees bring back old fears among the humans. Our heroine must venture outside her comfort zone to take on the evil fang brigade, finding only short moments of peace at night. Who created the daylight vampires? And will she be tempted by their abandon and by her own cravings for fresh blood?

The reason I didn’t finish was, although it was a neat idea, I wasn’t sure this upside-down of our expectations warranted a book. Besides, I have so many plot ideas, I can’t possibly bring them all to life, and my current series of books keep me plenty busy. Yet a couple of years down the line, who knows? Should the project ever come to fruition, remember: you read about it here first.

Why not leave a comment? At the end of the Anniversary Week, I’ll pick a winner out of a hat, who will receive a $20/£15 Amazon giftcard. Woot!

carmen DACCover (2)“Don’t go out at night.” The words ring in Lea’s ears, but she’s not buying the crazy-ass story from the woman in the come-whip-me leather outfit. Lea’s told she’s from another realm, has magic powers, and Shades are out to kill her. Shades? Shades are window covers, not assassins. She just wants an exciting job and a boyfriend. She’s made zero steps toward the job, but at least one toward the boyfriend—Kieran, a hottie she met over the weekend. It isn’t until Lea’s attacked by a bunch of helmet heads that she finds all is not right in Seattle… because in the midst of the fight she discovers her little legs can actually kick butt. But her new-found confidence crumbles when betrayals smash through her life like a wrecking ball. If she wants to see her parents again – or get another date – she’ll first have to save the world.

About the Author:Carmen lives in the south of England with her beloved tea maker and a stuffed sheep called Fergus. By day she translates technical texts, by night she sleeps. It’s her mission to squeeze as much geek in-between as she can. Besides a more than casual interest in physics, she plays and invents tabletop games, reads across genres, and maintains a blog that’s become a bit of an obsession. Divide and Conquer is her first book.

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  1. Val Pearson says:

    I never thought about part of a story being set in Disneyland and I think that would be a really cute idea. Thanks for participating and I wish you nothing but great sales on your books.

  2. Heather R. says:

    Your blog post was very interesting. You are right that there are not many paranormal romances set on the beach. In Kresley Cole’s Lothaire, which I think is a masterpiece of PNR, several chapters occurred on the beach in NC and a little bit in Fiji. I remembered being surprised that a vampire ever visited a beach, even if it was at night.

  3. We will hopefully see the young vampire one day soon 🙂 And Balboa does seem very far removed from Paranormals!

    • Ah yes. If only I had the time to write down all the stories in my head. Trouble is, I get lost in each world and spend ages tweaking until it is “just so.” Thanks for commenting, Eva. Much appreciated.

  4. Interesting post – there would be so many great places to roam about in Disneyland and behind the scenes with danger lurking about.
    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com

    • You’re right, Jess. I can see the tagline. “Visit the happiest place on Earth. Now pray you survive it.” Or “Disneyland. The place everyone is just dying to visit.” Or “Disneyland. Come for the rides. Stay for the vampire lord who wants to make you his bride.” 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

  5. Your story idea sounds interesting. Enjoyed reading your post.

  6. A UF set in Disneyland would be clever–I definitely feel an alternate reality when I’m there!

  7. Interesting setting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  8. Barbara Elness says:

    I think turning the vampire mythology upside down and putting your own spin on it is a fabulous idea. It’s always fun to see something new and different with a favorite theme.

  9. SHELLEY S says:


  10. Shirley Ann Speakman says:

    The books sounds really good. I never realised that so many Vampire stories were set in hot places amazing and of course Vampire don’t need the sun!!

  11. I used the Randomizer (also known as “a bunch of names in a bag” and drew my winner. The winner is *followed by unbearably long pause* Heather. Heather R.? Would you like to come up and make an acceptance speech?

    Please let me know your email address (either disguised here or anonymously on my social media accounts).

    To everyone else a huge thank you for taking part. If you’re interested, you can “like” my facebook page for more cool giveaways and plenty of fun. I’d love to see you there. In any event, thanks for your kind comments.

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