February is…

February is the month of love, romance, and gushiness. Or is it? Is red the color of flowers, or sacrificial blood?

February is also Women in Horror Month. flower lips

I’m a woman. I like romance. And I like horror. Sounds like an oxymoron. Can the two genres go hand in hand?

Consider this; Saint Valentine was a priest sentenced to a three part execution—beating, stoning, and decapitation.  Legends vary on how his name became associated with love. One account states Valentine performed marriages for soldiers against the wishes of the Roman emperor. Another states he was a persecuted Christian, and had written a farewell letter to his jailer’s daughter, signing it, “Your Valentine”.

As to how February became known as Valentine’s? Some say he was executed on February 14th. Some say Pope Gelasius wanted to put an end to the pagan love festival of Lupercalia—a drunken orgy where animals were sacrificed and the women were whipped—and replaced the festival with the feast day of Valentine. I thank you, Pope Gelasius. I’d much rather receive a box of chocolates than a whipping. And the orgy doesn’t appeal to me, either.

But, for some reason, people find horror appealing. No, you say. Not you. Mmm, I’ll bet there isn’t an avid reader out there who hasn’t read at least one.

My newest novel, The Bookseller’s Secret, also taps into love and horror. Mason, an American reporter, has risked his life writing and whistle blowing. He catches a blurb on the deep web about a magic book written by the anti-Christ—a woman living in South Africa. Readers claimed the author’s words have compelled them to murder and suicide. Mason heads to Llandudno, a wealthy suburb of Cape Town, to find the book, and expose the author as a charlatan. He never expected to fall in love—with her book.

So, there you have it. Horror in the name of love. Gotta love it!