How to Tell Urban Fantasy from Paranormal Romance

First off, we have winners! Congrats to:
Jennifer
on winning the copy of Kami Garcia & Margie Stohl’s Beautiful Darkness, and
Yara
on winning the copy of  Lena Meydan’s Twilight Forever Rising.

There are lots of new books being released next week, so stay tuned to the blog for more giveaways–and keep reading below for how to win a copy of Meljean Brook’s new steampunk/romance The Iron Duke!
Okay, here’s the deal. I’ve begun a series of monthly columns for Tor.com called Fiction Affliction, wherein I present a handy shopping list of all the new releases coming out in science fiction, urban fantasy and paranormal romance, high fantasy, and YA paranormal. The November lists will be up in a week or two.

Making those lists isn’t as easy as it sounds. The genres have become so blended that it’s hard to tell where a title should be listed –apocalyptic sci fi, urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal romance are all doing huge mashups right now. 

I have, however, discerned a quick and easy way to tell an urban fantasy title from a paranormal romance. 
If you’re browing the bookstore shelves and see a book cover featuring a half-naked kickass female torso, usually with tattoos and often with sexy long hair and a gun–THAT BOOK IS AN URBAN FANTASY.

If you’re browing the bookstore shelves and see a book cover featuring a half-naked male torso with show abs, with longish hair and a stubbly chin that’s barely visible because his entire head isn’t showing–THAT BOOK IS A PARANORMAL ROMANCE.

Urban Fantasy…..Paranormal Romance
Easy peasy. Now the issue is solved. I swear this is true–put it to the test.

TODAY’S CONTEST: If you want to read more thoughts about writing outside the box romance has been wedged into for the past thirty years, check out my guest blog today at the Romance Books R Us blog–and leave a comment for a chance to win Meljean Brook’s new steampunk romance, The Iron Duke!
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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

11 thoughts on “How to Tell Urban Fantasy from Paranormal Romance

  1. Thank GOD! I have been hoping for an explanation for a while, and since I really only dabble in reading either genre, I keep thinking if I just read enough, I’ll figure it out, learn the secret handshake. It never occured to me to look at the cover.

  2. Your post made me laugh so hard because it’s so true. Finally, I can easily explain the differences to my friends. Nice!

  3. And here I had settled in for a long explanation on the topic. Whew! This makes so much sense.

  4. Ugh! I love this explanation, and yet . . . where does that leave me? My recent novel is a paranormal but it doesn’t have a guy on the front. Obviously SOMEONE made a mistake. Like I said, ugh! By the way, my “picture” is my cover, in case you’re interested. 🙂

  5. Ugh! I love this explanation, and yet . . . where does that leave me? My recent novel is a paranormal but it doesn’t have a guy on the front. Obviously SOMEONE made a mistake. Like I said, ugh! By the way, my “picture” is my cover, in case you’re interested. 🙂

  6. Funny! And take a look at THIS delicious cover, for Stronger Than Sin by Caridad Piñeiro. I have an advance copy — the rest of you have to wait until next week! Great mix of romance (with that cover, you KNOW that!), paranormal elements, medical suspense, with evil scientists, and science fiction. My daughter, who loves science fantasy books, just loves it.

    It’s the second in a series but it stands alone just great. In fact, I’m going back to pick up the first one, “Sins of the Flesh.”