Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance

Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance

One question I've always asked while reading some of my favorite YA books was:

What is the difference between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance?

They seem almost inseparable, so I thought as I'm uploading my soon-to-be-released debut novel, Culture Shock, what genre would my novel fall under? I always thought it would be Urban Fantasy, but then again, I'm not so sure. It has elements of paranormal and romance.

So, I did a little research.
Here I've listed a few similarities and differences.....

Urban Fantasy

Urban Fantasy is written for the Fantasy genre while Paranormal Romance is written for the Romance genre. Urban Fantasy is all about the paranormal embedded in a modern setting. The setting will be contemporary in an urban or sometimes rural setting. There might be romance, but the romance is not the primary focus and a happily-ever-after is never guaranteed. Almost always Urban Fantasy is told in first person by the heroine herself, which by far is my favorite part. I love having the story told through first person experience. That is how Culture Shock is written as well. Urban fantasy will have elements of the paranormal embedded like: vampires, werewolves, and fairies, but again the romance, if there is any, is not the focal point. Urban Fantasy invokes a new world; A typical setting, but with supernatural characters living within it and why they are there.The element of romance may or may not be involved.

Example of Urban Fantasy:

Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy Series: though there is romance involved it is not the main focus of the story. The unique world of Moroi, Strigoi, and Dhampirs is the main focus. Rose and Dimitri's love story is just a perk, not the primary reason for the series.

Paranormal Romance

Paranormal Romance is the happily-ever-after. The main focus will always be on the love interest and relationship of the main characters and it will usually end with a happily-ever-after. Either one or both of the characters in love are of the supernatural (or paranormal) nature. While Urban Fantasy settings are contemporary, Paranormal Romance books can be either modern, historic, or futuristic. Paranormal Romance is almost always told in third person or from multiple points of view.

Example of Paranormal Romance:
J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood Series: Romance is definitely the main focal point. Plus, it's told from multiple points of view. There is eventually is a happily-ever-after for one of the brothers, etc.

So after careful consideration, I would still go with my original genre of Urban Fantasy. Though Culture Shock has romantic elements between the main characters it is in no way the main focus of the story. Often times, one bleeds into the other and it's hard to determine the difference, so I hope this was helpful.

Please feel free to comment below. I love hearing from y'all.


***Read an excerpt from Culture Shock, my debut novel and a love story with a dangerous edge.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

10 Ways to Find Inspiration for Writing Fiction

10 Ways to Find Inspiration for Writing Fiction

When writing a novel, short story, poetry, music, etc. it's important to draw inspiration for your writing. Many authors pull from different places and I am no different. Here are a few places in life where I pull inspiration from. I hope these will help you along your writing journey.

1. Eavesdropping on Conversation: Okay, I'm not creepy or anything. Most times it's unintentional. Imagine you're sipping your latte at your local coffee joint and two funky individuals start having a conversation that piques your interest. You start listening. The topics and responses become fascinating to where your mind, as a writer, starts churning out ideas for dialogue, character development, etc.

2. Books: The books you read, especially by your favorite authors, will inspire you. The genre, writing style, etc. The more you read, the better you write.

3. Movies or TV Shows: Sometimes I'll sit with my writing journal and watch a movie or TV drama to spur some ideas if I've hit a brick wall or rough patch with my writing. I won't ever copy ideas, but watching the actors' actions to a similar situation I'm working up in a work-in-progress helps. For example: a horror scene, you're trying to describe the reaction to something scary a character is witnessing. Seeing it in action on the scene will help you visualize how your character should react in print.

Other times the camera angle and close ups on certain objects on the big screen can inflict certain scenes or emotions in your mind which lead to inspiration for a plot, etc.

4. Art: A lot of people find inspiration in Art. I mostly find it in photography. Seeing the world through another's eye, seeing a different perspective on something I've seen a ba-jillion times. Like say, a flower, but this particular flower's colors are vivid and there's a rivulet of dew dripping off a petal. Those types of things inspire me. I have a photographer friend. Her pictures are poetic. Nearly every image she takes, whether it be a family session or inanimates, they are breathtaking and bring out the extraordinary in ordinary things.

5. Music: I listen to music when I write. It inspires me, especially in action or love scenes. I know I may seem strange, but the background music to the video game Skyrim is the shizzle for writing music. It's daunting, yet lyrical, hard at times and soft at others. It's perfect how it builds to a crescendo then slowly pitters out.

6. Travel: Whether it's getting out of your environment or taking the trip to where a setting in your novel takes place, travel can inspire any artist. Last weekend, I went to Cedar Key where the next installment of Culture Shock takes place. I just sat in the thick of the harbour with tourists and locals milling about and took out my writing journal. I sat and watched, smelled the sea air, and absorbed my surrounding so that I may write a believable description of the setting I have in mind. The more things I focused in on, the more ideas popped into my head. It was like rapid fire for brainstorming.

7. Dreams: (Or nightmares in my case) I have some of the most animated dreams/nightmares. The concept for Culture Shock came from a nightmare I had. The climax of the book and the nightmares (that seemed to reoccur) themselves were the catalysts to the main plot line.

8. People Watching: Oh, people watching, one of America's favorite pastimes. Football, apple pie, and people watching...the American Dream. Whether you're at the mall, in a crowded park, or a restaurant, people watching can create scenes, gestures, or actions that can inspire your writing.

9. Google: Need I say more? Google, oh and Wikipedia too, can help solve a lot of questions you may have including enhancing your story. For example, you know you want to write a story about zombies and your current knowledge consists of flesh-eating monsters back from the dead and you want to know more. So you type "zombies" into your browser. You'll read the history of where the lore of zombies derived and maybe some theories or fanatical accounts of zombies, etc. You can branch out from there and create scenes based on your research.

10. Writing Journal: I mentioned this above, but a writing journal is an essential for any aspiring or current author. First and foremost, I bring mine everywhere. An idea will spark at any time and you don't want to be caught in a similar situation I ran into when I first started this writing journey. I would get this great idea and then get home to jot it down, but I would forget it or the idea would lose its essence and fall flat. Never again!!!! That trusty little marbled black and white composition notebook goes with me everywhere (even my day job...don't tell!).

***Read an excerpt from Culture Shock, my debut novel and a love story with a dangerous edge.

Learn more about me on my website:

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Happy Reading,


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Essential Items to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Top 10 Tuesday: Essential Items to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

There’s nothing worse than getting caught in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse empty handed. Tools are key to survival, and especially when your survival depends on a war waged with the living dead. Here is a list of 10 essential items to survive a Zombie Apocalypse.

1. Compass

In this situation, a handheld GPS would actually be ideal, but given that the increase in zombie population means an inevitable global satellite failure, it’s best to keep things as old school as possible. Brushing up on the difference between North and South also wouldn’t be a bad idea.

2. Pocket Map

Start in the area you’re attempting to flee. Chances are you’ve heard about a magical camp/village/cargo ship some distance away that serves as a safe haven, if you only knew how to reach it. Steal more maps as you continue on your journey. Knowing where you’re are is the first step to getting where you’re going. Plus, this way you won’t miss the Grand Canyon on your way to your new home at the camp/village/cargo ship.

3. Gun and Ammo (Lots of it)

Preferably something easy to carry with plenty of rounds per cartridge. AN assault rifle would be recommended. Range weapons are best, as they allow maximum casualties with plenty of room for retreat. Avoid weapons that hold fifteen rounds of ammo or less. Nothing sucks more than getting your arm gnawed off because you didn’t have time to reload. Plus, don't forget to double tap, repeat as necessary.

4. Lighter

Some might suggest lighter fuel and matches, but the truth is, one well stocked cigarette lighter (antique, of course – remember, old school) should see you through the worst of the apocalypse. Not only will it help you cook whatever pigeons and squirrels you manage to kill for food, it will also be helpful in setting fire to the living dead.

5. Hummer

Sure, they’re bad for the environment, but then again, so are flesh eating zombies. These babies are built for high impact travel. They hold several adults, they don’t roll as easy as the SUV your mom owns, and they’re the next best thing to driving a tank. Sturdy and dependable, this beast will flatten anything in its path while doing 80 down a deserted highway on your way to the camp/village/cargo ship. Stop for gas at every deserted station.

6. Chain Mail

What is this, a zombie attack or a Renaissance Faire? You want to protect as much of your luscious, living flesh as you can from potential zombie bites. No one’s really sure how infection spreads, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Light weight full body armor is best, but at least do your best to protect your arms and upper torso. In the plus column, chain mail looks good with almost anything and you’ll be the envy of all your new friends, most of whom are probably going to die soon.

7. Zombie Movies

You’ll be traveling a lot in that Hummer – probably with a ragtag group of friends and new acquaintances – so you should spend that time brushing up on how to kill zombies. Look for obvious mistakes made by fictional survivors and strive to do better than going back for a doomed friend or isolating yourself from the group in the middle of a battle. Do not make the mistake of assuming that you are the star of the movie, and therefore indispensible. You could just as easily be the funny friend that dies in the second act.

8. Military Water Purification Tablets

Let’s be honest: you don’t know how fresh that water’s going to be wherever it is you’re going, and you may be miles from the nearest zombie-free Wal-Mart. Ensuring you always have a source of fresh drinking water is a surefire way to survive in between zombie attacks. Always rinse out your canteen between purifications. Avoid bodies of water recently inhabited by zombies and/or zombie fish.

9. Comfortable Shoes

Zombies don’t move very fast, so it becomes probable that you can outrun them. Make sure you’re outfitted with the kind of high priced footwear a professional athlete or futuristic apocalyptic warrior would wear. You want to move like Kobe or at least appear just as cool. Remember to stretch before running from zombies, unless, of course, zombies are already attacking. The more unique your footwear, the better the chance that you are the star of this zombie attack, therefore securing your long term survival.

10. Ham Radio

It will eventually become important to have contact with the surviving outside world. Since most modern forms of communication will be eradicated, it will become necessary to use sad, outdated technology to find other scrappy survivors who also had grandfathers that lived through World War II and never threw any of their old crap away. These people will be running the camp/village/cargo ship and you will probably not agree with how they do things. Luckily, zombies do not know how to use radios or other devices requiring more speech than the occasional needful moan.

***Read an excerpt from Culture Shock, my debut novel and a love story with a dangerous edge.

Learn more about me on my website:

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Happy Reading,


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Best Romantic / Love Quotes From Books

Best Romantic / Love Quotes From Books

Getting You in the Valentine's Day Mood

In honor of Valentine's Day tomorrow, I've decided to gather together some of my favorite love quotes from books I've read. Feel free to steal 'em and use them on your sweetheart. My sweetheart is halfway across the world, but words of love travel distances.

1. “I am the happiest creature in all the world. Perhaps other people have said so before, but not one with such justice. I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh.”
– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

2. “He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

3. “I can’t live in a world where you don’t exist.” – Stephanie Meyer, New Moon

4. “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”
– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

5. “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind.”
– William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

6. “There is no pretending," Jace said with absolute clarity. "I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there is life after that, I'll love you then.”
― Cassandra Clare, City of Glass

7. “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
― Jess C. Scott, The Intern

8. “You can't force love, I realized. It's there or it isn't. If it's not there, you've got to be able to admit it. If it is there, you've got to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.”
― Richelle Mead, Frostbite

9. “The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that's what you've given me. That's what I'd hoped to give you forever”
― Nicholas Sparks

10. “The very essence of romance is uncertainty.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays

***Read an excerpt from Culture Shock, my debut novel and a love story with a dangerous edge.

Learn more about me on my website :

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Happy Reading,


Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Culture Shock by Jeanette Pekala

CULTURE SHOCK is a witty tale of mystery and romance with a large helping of southern hospitality.
Macy Holmes is a seventeen-year-old socially-isolated introvert since her best friend's death a year ago. When her family decides to move from Manhattan to the quaint country town of Bougainvillea, Florida, Macy finds she's in a completely different world. Macy is no longer the outsider hiding behind designer clothes when she is sought out by three strange students, one of whom she is particularly interested in. The more time she spends with Chad the more things don't add up. When his true identity is finally revealed, Macy is pulled into a supernatural society with its saturation of inhabitants residing in Bougainvillea.
You would think she has enough on her plate, but no, then her dreams become infiltrated by an external magical force, Macy and her band of supernatural misfits must find the culprit behind the magic-induced nightmares. They must dodge zombie assassins, shifty shape-shifters and high school bullies in order to stop this perpetrator before Macy, her friends or her parents pay the ultimate price. Especially when Macy has the sneaking suspicion that these dreams are reality...


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Monday, February 4, 2013

FaceBook Page

Jeanette Pekala's FaceBook Page

I finally have a FaceBook author profile page. Took me long enough.

Like me on FaceBook today:

Giveaways and Drawings coming next month.

Cover Reveal tomorrow!!!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Culture Shock Cover Reveal

Culture Shock by Jeanette Pekala - Cover Reveal - Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My debut novel, Culture Shock, is being released soon, but before that I will have a cover reveal on February 5, 2013. This Tuesday!!!!!

Keep an eye out for the gorgeous cover by Bonnie Estell with BE Photography. She does stunning work and has worked her magic for my cover image. Hope y'all love it as much as I do.

To find out more about Culture Shock, read an excerpt or visit my website .

You can follow me on Twitter or pinterest: @JeanettePekala

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Happy Reading,