Tag Archives: new adult paranormal

New Adult Paranormal Or: Bringing Back the Gothic Cover

Moonday Mania

a mystery, an innocent girl, a dark deceptive man…

For the last several years all I’ve heard from authors is: NEED MAN CHEST! Gotta have it on my cover or  it doesn’t say romance. But I don’t just write romance, I write dark paranormal romance, new adult paranormal, or… dare I say it… Gothic Romance.

Right now, and for the past few years, that’s exactly what man chest does. For women, book buyers, editors, the sight of a guy on the cover signals romance. So does a couple in a hot embrace. But what about a solitary woman on the cover, what does that say?

A woman on the cover brings me back to my classic Gothic roots. All those romances where a young woman goes out on her own and deals with a dark, dangerous, sexy, alpha male. Hey wait, isn’t that what I write? Isn’t that the basis for New Adult Paranormal?

Yeah, it is.

So do I need man chest? Does it signal to my group of readers that they are getting what they are looking for?

Um, no.


the dark huntsman by jessica aspenBecause there is a new trend taking shape. A new, but old trend. The gothic romance is coming back and it’s signaled not by lots of skin, but by lone women. If it’s a YA paranormal you would see a single item a la Twighlight, but the latest trend in NA is a single woman with lots of angst. In other words, a cover like The Dark Huntsman.

Now, strictly speaking The Dark Huntsman is not a gothic, there is no spooky house. (I’m writing a gothic Christmas novella right now, The Ghosts of Christmas Past and that one has a house.) But it has the other elements of a gothic and curously, New Adult Paranormal.

  1.  a young woman, just finding out who she is
  2. a dark, mysterious man. Sexy and just a little bit powerful or intriguing
  3. a mystery

Add in the house and you have a Gothic Romance, just like days of old. Starting with Daphne Du Maurier’s famous line from Rebecca and moving through the golden age of authors like Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels and Phyllis Whitney we see a slew of books about young women going out on their own for the first time and discovering…DANGER.

And love.

the legend of the seventh virgin by victoria holt

And what did those covers look like?

Hmm, let’s look. Any man chest visible? No.

A lone woman, obviously in trouble, and a dark stormy background.

Romance has come full circle with New Adult Paranormal, we’ve come back to the Gothic Romance and I love it. What an opportunity to write angsty heroines, dark mysterious heros, and of course, classic haunted houses. Now in a New Adult Paranormal, you might find something else takes the place of the house, but you would still have the three key ingredients: a young woman in trouble, a dark sexy man, and a mystery.

What books have you read lately that fit this bill? Do you see the trend in romance to come back to the Gothic? Have you read a New Adult Paranormal Romance? Have you dipped your toe into New Adult? What romance trends do you see? Are you still hungry for man chest?

There is still time to enter my Goodreads Giveaway for The Dark Huntsman. Ten print copies, up for grabs! Only three weeks left, so hurry up and enter today.

And if you are on the winners list for The Dark Huntsman e-book giveaway, and you haven’t checked your spam file, please do so. I sent all the winners an email and I’d love to send you your prize!


Filed under Moonday mania, New Adult, roots of paranormal romance, The Dark Huntsman

I Write New Adult!

Moonday Mania

so what the heck is new adult and how do I know I write it?

This is not an April Fool’s Joke. I’ve made an amazing discovery. My Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series is New Adult. So what exactly is New Adult? Contrary to some of the spurious claims by the media it is not YA porn. No, in fact it is targeted at older readers, just not so old they want to read bout forty year old heroines and second marriages. According to NA Alley, a blog targeted specifically for New Adult books, this genre is:

beautiful disaster by jamie mcguire

Have you tried this New Adult book?

We view New Adult fiction (NA) as a category of literature—meaning, it gives readers content expectations, but it does not dictate genre-based criteria. Typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence—a life stage often depicted in Young Adult (YA) fiction—and true adulthood. 
Protagonists typically fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc. 
Other terms for NA include: Upper YA, Crossover Fiction, and Mature YA.  -http://naalley.blogspot.com/p/about.html

That says it all.

So, I looked at my books. My characters are all under twenty-six and over eighteen. Red (from Little Red Riding Wolf)  is dealing with trying to separate from her over protective family and balance her loyalty to her pack with her desire to go to college. Evan, her love interest, is recently graduated from college and trying to make a new career in the forest service.

Does that sound like the above definition? Yeah, it really does.

Okay, what about Snow and the Seventh Wolf? Snow isn’t as normal as Red. Snow has had to deal with her evil step-mother, but she’s almost twenty-one, about to inherit, and oh-so-ready to split! Seth is angry and dealing with his own issues. He feels differently from his family and he needs to figure out where his priorities lie.

And what about my newest book? Goldi and the Bear (out Fall 2013). Goldi discovers that her dad has lied to her and they are about to lose their ranch, the only home she’s every known and now the only person she can turn to  is her ex-boyfriend, Zeke. Goldi’s learning about facing adult reality: foreclosure, no job (she’s only ever worked on the ranch), and most of all, even your dad is only human. (Actually, he’s a werewolf, but they have human frailties). And Zeke is about to finally make it big, he’s been trying to prove himself to everyone, his dad, his brothers, but especially his ex-girlfriend, Goldi. Now he has to make some hard choices.

These do sound like NA plots. What about themes in NA plots. Well according to NA Alley they can be:

New adult touches on that space between adolescence and adulthood, so there is a wide range of themes and issues to tackle.
Common themes in NA are identity, sexuality, race, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, bullying, empowerment, familial struggles, loss of innocence, fear of failure, etc.
Combine those themes with common new adult issues: living away from home for the first time, military deployment, starting college, engagements and marriages, etc.

tiger's curse by colleen houck

While many NA are contemporaries, Tiger’s Curse is a paranormal.

I’ve got all that too! Red has to deal with sexuality and the rules of her pack as well as her identity and the issue of going to college or fulfilling family expectancies  All three books deal with racism. Okay, it’s species-ism, human versus werewolves. That counts! Snow loses her innocence and Seth finds his identity. Goldi learns empowerment through her familial struggles and Zeke faces his fear of failure.

Check, check, check.

Now we come to the big question. What about the heat level. Come on, let’s face it. My books are hot! They are so hot I blush when I talk about them to strangers, my parents, even my writer friends. 🙂

Can NA be hot? I’ve done extensive research on this and the answer is, YES! Come on, the readers are ADULTS. This is the time of life for experimentation, failure, new commitments. Sex is a huge part of adult life. Will you? Won’t you? Should you? So yes, spicy is just fine for New Adult.

Not all New Adult books have sex. Not all New Adult books are romance. They cover a wide range of genres, just like regular adult books and YA. But they do have all these things in common, the age of the main characters and the search for answers. So explore the world of New Adult. I’m trying some right now!

goodreads icon

Click the icon to be taken right to the New Adult page!

Have you ever read a New Adult book? Did you read it and not know what it was? Did you like it? Would you consider reading more or what about writing it?


Filed under Jessica Aspen's Books, Moonday mania, New Adult, writing craft