BOONSBORO — The odds are pretty good that you or someone you know has been visited by a vampire. Or maybe it was a shape-shifter or a werewolf.
They're hard to avoid, because they seem to be everywhere — on television, in movies and in best-selling books.
In fact, otherworldly creatures have almost become mainstream.
Maybe it's because they've come a long way from Bram Stoker's version of Dracula. Today's undead are charismatic and sultry and have ethereal good looks.
And they have legions of fans all bitten by the paranormal bug.
The flurry of interest in the supernatural bodes well for Jeaniene Frost and Pamela Palmer, who have found their niche writing paranormal fiction.
Both women are New York Times bestselling authors who create story lines filled with fantasy, mystery and a bit of romance.
The two HarperCollins authors are currently touring together, promoting their newest novels, "Hunger Untamed," a Feral Warrior book by Palmer; and "This Side of the Grave," book five in the Night Huntress series, by Frost.
Fans will have an opportunity to visit with the writers when they appear on Saturday, Feb. 19, at a book signing event at Turn the Page Bookstore Cafe in Boonsboro.
They also will be participating in a live worldwide stream with author Nora Roberts prior to the event, featuring a Q&A with all of the writers.
While paranormal fiction has become the hottest craze, Frost and Palmer said they've been drawn to the paranormal since they were children.
"My favorite book when I was 4 was the 'Golden Book of Dinosaurs,'" Palmer said. "And while it was neither paranormal nor fiction, that fascination with larger-than-life creatures soon turned into a fascination with larger-than-life worlds and characters. I discovered 'Star Trek' and my love of the paranormal was sealed. ‘Lord of the Rings,' ‘The Chronicles of Narnia,' 'Star Wars,' 'Terminator,' 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' — you name it."
For Frost, she became hooked on horror movies as a child. She also loved romance novels from an early age. So when she wrote her own book, "it had to have my two favorite elements in it — the paranormal and romance," she said.
Frost said she "feels like a kid in a candy store with the current popularity of the genre. For a long time, I couldn't find vampire or paranormal novels anywhere except the horror section. And, while I enjoyed horror, it annoyed me that supernatural creatures seemed to be relegated to the role of villain. I am thrilled by the current diversity in the market, where a fanged, furred or feathered protagonist can also be the hero or heroine."
While paranormal is popular, both authors said they have worked hard to make their characters unique."
Palmer's Feral Warriors series, for instance, is the story of a group of nine shape-shifting males, each of whom shifts into a different animal. They are the last nine immortal shape-shifters in the world.
"Each is bigger than life — inhumanly strong, darkly handsome, dangerous and capable of shifting into a deadly predator," Palmer said. "But they're men of honor and courage — flawed, yet ultimately heroic. And they're worthy of the love of the women who will, if not tame them, at least gentle them a bit."
Frost said she believes in the adage "there's nothing new under the sun." So creating unique personalities can be a challenge.
"I strive to make readers connect to my characters and I do that by showing their flaws just as often as their strengths," Frost added. "When readers tell me that my characters feel real to them, it's the best compliment ever, because, emotionally plugging into characters can make even familiar tropes like vampires seem fresh and new."
While they might write about evil entities on an almost daily basis, both authors say there still are things that make them afraid.
"The movie — Paranormal Activity' had me sleeping with the lights on for months, as my husband will attest," Frost said.
With Palmer, "the only thing that scares me is the thought that this world (she writes about) isn't something I created from my imagination, but a world I once knew — one that actually exists."
Frost and Palmer said they enjoy touring together, promoting their newest novels and getting feedback from their fans.
"Jeaniene and I met through our publisher several years ago and quickly became friends," said Palmer. "With us both writing dark paranormal romance, we have a lot of the same readers and the potential for many more. So, when Avon expressed an interest in sending us on tour together, I was delighted I love meeting readers and love traveling. And getting to do it with Jeaniene, with our publisher making all the arrangements? Priceless!"