Hi, there. My name is JG Faherty, and I’m your guest blogger for today. Leonora has thrown open the doors and let me do whatever I want! Which I can do—I’m not shy when it comes to promoting my own stuff! But I want to do more than just talk about my book. I want to explain why I’m talking about it on a blog that’s usually focused more on the romance and erotica ends of the fiction spectrum.
I could say it’s because I’ve written plenty of erotica and romance myself, both under the name JG Faherty and under various pseudonyms. I could say it’s because Leonora enjoys a good scary book now and then. I could say it’s because we’ve worked together on projects before. All of those would be true. But the real reason is, horror and sex go together like, well, sex and anything. What doesn’t go well with sex? (Except picturing your parents while you do it.)
My novel The Cure is no exception. Depending on who you talk to, it’s a paranormal thriller (that’s what I call it), a horror story, or even a mystery. But at its very heart, it’s a story about love, sex and fear, because those are the things that drive so many of the things we do in real life.
In The Cure, Leah DeGarmo has the ability to cure animals and people by touching them. But she’s also as cursed as she is blessed, because whatever she takes from the sick and injured she has to pass on to something/someone else, or suffer it herself. This not only makes her valuable to the wrong kinds of people as a potential weapon, it makes her life very lonely.
Like most of us, Leah longs for love. After losing a fiancé to a freak accident she couldn’t prevent, she’s become an emotional recluse, refusing to share her heart or body with anyone. It takes police officer John Carrera to unlock her doors, to get her to feel again.
And what happens when she does? People find ways to use her love against her, to force her to do things she doesn’t want to do in order to save John’s life. It is the horrors they experience together that bring them closer, and also threaten to destroy them as a couple. When they finally consummate their love, it’s in the worst possible situation, captured, in fear for their lives, and monitored by shadowy figures. Yet they still do it, because sex, like fear, is such a powerful urge that it can break through boundaries, knock down walls, make everything else seem insignificant.
Think about it. What else besides sex and fear can make people do such crazy things? Love? Sure, in some instances. People will risk their lives for love. At least, some will. Money? Sometimes. People will lie, cheat, and even kill for money. But not everyone.
Sex, though, sex short-circuits rational thought like nothing else. Think of the insane things people do when it comes to sex. We take perfect strangers—potential murderers, thieves, perverts—into our bedrooms because we want to fuck them. We spend every last dime in our wallets, even our bank accounts just to get someone into bed. We risk our health on prostitutes, or skip using protection rather than miss out on great sex. For thousands of years, sex has been used as a weapon, a method of coercion, a blackmail tool, and even as a way of bartering for goods. The need for sex can drive prisoners to homosexual acts. It’s such a powerful driving force that men and women were (and still are) routinely shorn of their sexual organs in order to create easily controlled slaves. Sex causes people to ignore social and familial mores, commit adultery, and even break religious vows.
The only thing that compares to it is fear.
Fear can be so powerful that it not only creates a state of temporary insanity, it can cause physical harm. Your heart beats too fast, adrenaline courses through your veins, your pulse pounds in your temples until your head aches, and your stomach clenches. If this goes on too long, a person could have a heart attack, a stroke, or just plain pass out and crack their skull open. Fear can be so intense that it causes you to piss yourself, toss your cookies, or soil your pants. Fear can turn the bravest man into a whimpering coward. We all would like to think that in a life or death situation we’d be the hero. Save someone from a burning building, stop the mugger with the gun, or tackle the person about to cross the street in front of a truck.
But would we? Or would we freeze in terror while disaster strikes? Think of what people do when they’re frightened. Drop a spider or snake onto someone who has a fear of them, do they quietly brush it off? Hell, no. They scream, frantically shake their arms or dance in mad circles. They’ll fling that deadly animal off themselves with no thought of where it’s going to land—on their spouse, their mother, their child. Shout fire in a theater (no, don’t, just imagine you did!) and watch as people trample each other in panic, run face first into walls, pound frantically at doors they can’t open because they didn’t read the sign that says “pull.”
Like the quote from Dune by Frank Herbert, “Fear is the mind killer.”
The only real difference between fear and sex, is that sex (for most of us!) is enjoyable, while fear is not.
In The Cure, fear is more of a driving force than sex. Leah is forced to confront her fears, both psychological and physical. Her mind and body are abused until finally she simply can’t take it anymore. And that’s the crucial element of the story. Will she snap, let insanity take over, or give in to the darkness? Or will she overcome her fear and master it? It’s a quandary we all face, albeit on a smaller scale. Deadlines, presentations, first dates, illnesses; all the things in life that create fear. Do we submit or conquer? Give up or fight?
The same can be said of sex. Sex has the power to drive us over the edge. People become addicted to it. They need more sex, have to have it. For some it’s porn. For others, it’s the actual physical act. What was once enjoyable becomes a compulsion.
That is why I’m blogging today. To let you know that horror and erotica/romance have always been, and always will be, entwined. And if you don’t believe me, I’ve got a book for you to read. It’s all about lesbianism, bisexuality, fetishes, dominance and submission, rape, oral sex, and bestiality.
It’s called Dracula.
And now back to your regularly scheduled blog programming!
Thanks, Leonora, for having me.
Leah knew only darkness and pain. They surrounded her, encased her in walls of black fire. There was no conscious thought, no sense of body or mind. Just endless torture.
Just when she thought she might explode from the pain, a glowing sun appeared in the distance, its light enticing her with salvation from the eternal hell of her existence. Without being aware of moving, she reached for the golden promise of deliverance.
The moment she touched it, the brilliance poured through her, melting through the burning dark in waves of cool, soothing pleasure that was like nothing she’d ever felt before. Better than an ice-cold drink quenching a parched throat, better than stepping into a frigid mountain stream on a hot day. She let the waves wash over her, wanting to bathe in them forever. As the yellow light grew stronger, she felt its energy recharging her, revitalizing every cell in her body. In her mind, she shouted with laughter as conscious thought returned.
This was it! She’d finally reached heaven!
Leah opened her eyes, wanting to see the beauty of the afterlife.
And found herself face-to-face with a monster.
All of Leah’s good feelings shattered at the sight of the shriveled, twisted mummy standing less than a foot away from her. She cried out and jerked away, but it followed.
It’s got me! It’s got—
Realizing she was holding on to the creature and not the other way around, she let go, her hand unclenching like she’d grabbed a red-hot pan. The thing slowly toppled backwards and hit the floor next to her, its limbs as shrunken and deformed as its face.
Leah gasped as she recognized the monster for what it really was.
The corpse of Tal Nova.
JG Faherty is the Bram Stoker Award®- and Thriller Award-nominated author of four novels, seven novellas, and more than 50 short stories. He writes adult and YA horror/sci-fi/fantasy, and his works range from quiet, dark suspense to over-the-top comic gruesomeness. He enjoys urban exploring, photography, classic B-movies, good wine, and pumpkin beer. You can follow him at http://www.jgfaherty.com, http://www.twitter.com/jgfaherty, http://www.facebook.com/jgfaherty, and http://jgfaherty-blog.blogspot.com/.