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Monica Valentinelli

Behind the Romance of Strange, Dead Love

Posted on February 14, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli

I was excited when Russell and Eddy first approached me to work on Strange, Dead Love. For the past couple of years, I have attended several romance writing workshops to learn more about the genre from an author’s perspective. Several of the sessions were dedicated to paranormal romance and we often took a lit crit approach to the genre by pulling out contemporary examples: Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Anne Rice, Yasmine Galenorn, Patricia Briggs, etc. The subject was something I knew a lot about and, as a Vampire: the Requiem player and author of Scenes of the Embrace, I was happy I could contribute to help other players dive into this genre.

The more I thought about Strange, Dead Love, the more I obsessed over packing as much as I could into my contribution. I didn’t want it to be a fluff piece and I knew paranormal romance is complicated enough between two characters. In a game, a Storyteller has to balance the needs of the couple (or triangle, etc.) against what everyone else wants to do at the table. Otherwise, some players are going to feel left out and not any fun. Not to mention, romance can be the primary plot or something that happens in the background of a typical story arc. Russell wanted Strange, Dead Love to be “the” sourcebook for the genre and that’s exactly what we set out to do.

My role was to give an overview of paranormal romance without boring people to tears. As Eddy pointed out to me, it’s very easy to sound academic when talking about an unrequited love or how to describe intimacy. He was right! One of the techniques we used when we developed this supplement was to redline based on a draft. My first draft wasn’t nearly as powerful as the final, and those words will never see the light of day. I had to get the definitions of paranormal romance out of my system to make sure I covered all the bases before I could tell the professor to take a hike. Once that was done, I focused on readability describing moments that’ll make you sweat and get your heart pounding.

After all, isn’t that the point of picking up a supplement like this?

There’s a lot of pragmatic advice mixed in with steamy fiction and great shards. If you want to give the genre a shot, pick up Strange, Dead Love and I promise your head will be bursting with ideas.

-Monica Valentinelli

Strange, Dead Love is on sale now as part of the Geek Love Rules event going on at DriveThruRPG.com!

There are a number of great items on sale from White Wolf, Eden Studios, Rite Publishing and more! There is also a contest! Send in a short narrative about Geek Love in your life – 200 words or less, please – to contest@onebookshelf.com. From all the entries that we receive by February 14th, Valentine’s Day, one random entry will be chosen and the writer will receive a $25 Gift Certificate. As well, “Staff Favorites” will also net some kind of reward for the writers.

The Sale is also going on over at DriveThruComics.com and DriveThruFiction.com, so you can find even more romance titles from great publishers like Archaia Entertainment, Top Cow, UnWrecked Press, Moonstone, UnTreed Reads and more.

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