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Fiction Friday: Paranormia By Paul Regnier

A great balance of comedy, action adventure, and the supernatural, Paranormia is a quirky, heartfelt adventure that is both enjoyable and uniquely engaging. — Jill Williamson
| Jul 12, 2019 | 4 comments | Series:

Paranormia

by Paul Regnier

INTRODUCTION—PARANORMIA

A nerdy nobody is heaven’s newest hero. It’s too bad that the devil fights dirty . . . Paranormia is an enthralling urban fantasy adventure.

Chris Loury is penniless and painfully geeky. So when the struggling illustrator makes a wish that grants him supernatural visions, the lines start to blur between his comics and reality. After he crosses paths with a protector who calls himself an angel, Chris must decide if being a hero is worth the danger.

When his newfound confidence helps him connect with the girl-next-door, he hopes he can balance a relationship and a superhuman secret. But after a devilishly gorgeous woman with money and an ulterior motive tempts him with career success and fame, he puts his crush, his town, and his life in jeopardy.

Will Chris fulfill his destiny and save the city from destruction?

“Paul Regnier has penned a refreshingly different kind of story. A great balance of comedy, action adventure, and the supernatural, Paranormia is a quirky, heartfelt adventure that is both enjoyable and uniquely engaging.” — Jill Williamson, Christy Award-winning author of the Kinsman Chronicles and the Blood of Kings trilogy.

PARANORMIA — EXCERPT

Chapter 1

Greatness eluded me. It wasn’t for a lack of effort or potential, as far as I could tell. I just couldn’t shake the feeling I’d taken a wrong turn somewhere and couldn’t find my way back.

As I lay on the mold-scented linoleum, peeking through the gap under the front door of my apartment, waiting for Amber to come home, the correlation between how I spent my time and what I’d accomplished in life became all the more apparent.

“You’re gonna need a tetanus shot,: my roommate Steve called over his shoulder. “That floor has a pulse.”

I shifted my weight, and my arm rubbed against a greasy buckle in the linoleum, as if to confirm his point. “She’s worth it.” The floor wasn’t my favorite spot to recline, but it offered the best view of Amber’s arrival, and I had to time this perfectly.

“Let it go, man.” Steve spoke with little conviction. He knew I was too far gone.

Life had thrown some brutal curve balls this week. Losing my job at the movie thearer and passing a kidney stone—a man’s equivalent of giving birth—had constructed a sturdy wall of despair around me. People were always saying that at twenty-one life had just begun, and there was plenty of time to make things happen. This hopeful advice blew right out the window of my crummy little apartment in downtown Long Beach.

I needed something to boost my morale, and I hoped Amber would be it.

“I’m pretty sure I heard her car.” I strained to hear her approach on the stairwell leading to our third-floor hallway. Either her footsteps or the bell from the elevator would signal her arrival. “She’ll be here any minute.”

Steve grunted. He had his back to me, nestled in his makeshift art studio wedged in the three-foot space between the living room couch and the kitchen counter. Beyond his tweed fedora that caged a smoothed, black pony tail, a dark paint brush struck mercilessly against his latest art piece. Swirling layers of thick black and grey oil on canvas grew more devoid of hope by the minute. A lone figure with an inner luminescence walked through his painted darkness toward a keyhole-sized beam of light in the distance. I held little hope he would make it.

“Chris, this is stalker territory,” Steve said. “She’ll see right through it.”

Being referred to as a stalker definitely soured the romanticized view of my plans. “Staging a run-in doesn’t qualify as stalking. It just shows that I care and I’m a planner.”

He finally put his paint brush down. “Just wait till you see her at Shimmer Fitness and say hello. That’s what normal people do. Your plan is weird.”

“My plan rules. I already waved to her on the elliptical last week. That’s phase one. Phase two is when I ‘accidentally’ run into my hot neighbor and ask her to go to the gym. It’s like a date without the pressure.”

He laughed. “And you wonder why you’re single. It’s supposed to rain. No one wants to go to the gym in the rain, especially late at night. Abort mission.”

“You suck. I need this. You know that.”

Steve’s art stool gave a metallic squeak as he spun to face me. His eyes were serious behind prescription Ray-Bans. Whenever he got that sober expression, he resembled an Asian version of Johnny Depp.

“Who keeps trying to get you out of this apartment?” He motioned to the low-lit, pea green wallpaper of our prison. “Who told you to submit your comic book to a publisher?”

“Graphic novel.”

“Whatever, man. It’s good stuff. What are you waiting for?”

“I already sent out submissions. They got rejected.”

“Twenty rejections is nothing.”

“Twenty-four.”

Steve adjusted his glasses, his jaw clenching. “Everyone gets rejected at first. If it’s your dream you gotta keep going. Or just do it yourself. Do that self-publishing package you told me about.”

“It’s eighteen hundred dollars,” I said. “I’m broke.”

“Okay, fine. Future goals. Meanwhile, you gotta get out of this apartment. You should come with me to Bible study this week. You haven’t been there in months.”

“Maybe they can lay hands on my wallet.”

Steve pursed his lips. “You know, my cousin Miyu was there last time. A woman who actually wants to talk to you. No stalking required. She said you remind her of Daniel Radcliffe.”

I sat up. “Really? Harry Potter?”

He nodded. “So now that your kidney stone is gone and you’ve spent plenty of time home with your video game recovery program, what’s your excuse?”

“I’m busy.”

“You’re unemployed.”

“I’m busy thinking.”

“Come on man, don’t neglect the spiritual. Showing up is half the battle.”

I sighed. “Well, maybe God could show up a little more and inspire me.”

Steve put his hands up. “Thin ice, man.”

“Sorry. Long week. I need something on a Biblical level to turn things around. If there was ever a time for divine intervention, it’s now.”

Steve took a squeaky turn back to his brooding art piece. “Careful what you wish for.”

The elevator bell dinged. I laid back down, and my eyes narrowed toward the space under the door. Thin shadows broke the light at the far end of the hall. Someone was coming. I sprang to my feet and made sure my earbuds were tucked in tight and straightened my black Adidas branded T-shirt. I checked my phone. Ten-thirty. Was it too late? Was my fake run-in idea desperate and transparent?

I turned to Steve for a confidence boost. “How do I look?”

Without a glance he shook his head, his shiny black pony tail giving a lazy swoosh. “Sad. This whole idea is just sad.”

“Sad like that depressing painting?” I pointed to the maelstrom of darkness dominating his canvas.

“That’s cold-blooded, bro.”

I opened the door and strode into the hallway with an energetic pace. I kept my eyes on the ground, bobbing my head to imaginary music from my earbuds. I too a quick glance between head-bobs. Someone was coming closer. Definitely her.

PARANORMIA AUTHOR BIO—PAUL REGNIER
Paul Regnier is a speculative fiction author perpetually lost in daydreams of spaceships, magic, and the supernatural. He is the writer of Paranormia, an urban fantasy/supernatural comedy, and the Space Drifters series, a sci-fi/space opera comedy.

Paul is a technology junkie, drone pilot, photographer, web designer, drummer, Star Wars nerd, and a wannabe Narnian with a fascination for all things futuristic. Paul lives in Treasure Valley, Idaho, with his wife and two children.

Best known for her aspirations as an epic fantasy author, Becky is the sole remaining founding member of Speculative Faith. Besides contributing weekly articles here, she blogs Monday through Friday at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. She works as a freelance writer and editor and posts writing tips as well as information about her editing services at Rewrite, Reword, Rework.

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notleia
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notleia

Y’know what I’d like to see as a change of pace for a romance? Shy nerd boy who is pursued by a girl who is not a manic pixie dream girl.

Also, just flipping the girl/guy script would make most of the cliches funny and 90% less creepy.

Girl uses cheesy pickup line on a dude with a crooked smile. “Did it hurt, when you fell from heaven?”

Wife pulls up car to pick up husband and catcalls out the window, “Hey, baby, nice butt! Wanna come home with me?”

Autumn Grayson
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I like flipping the script/plot stereotypes between the guy and girl chars sometimes. Not even just with romance, but other things. Like…I dunno. Usually a lot of the dark, mysterious, jaded chars looking for redemption tend to be male, but I want to write some some day that are female.

notleia
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notleia

This is kinda related to the topic of romance that I focused on, but kinda different. This is an article about the isolation from community that marriage produces. Or that we’re putting all our expectations of belonging and companionship into the basket labeled “marriage” and it doesn’t turn out well. https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/07/case-against-marriage/591973/

I admit, I’ve made use of the myth of married independence to get the heck off the farm, which was isolating in its own way, but if I’d had support outside my nuclear family and had opportunities to get where I wanted without having to jump through hoops…

Don’t get me wrong, I’d still be with my dude — he is one of my favorite people. Also, we’ve moved cross-country to get away from the dysfunctional aspects of both his family and mine, so it’s not like extended family support is fraught-free. It’s just…there’s a lot of dumb in these expectations, but I can also see their usefulness in some situations and have taken advantage of them myself. I’m also having an existentialism of What Could Have Happened if I’d been able to stay with extended family rather than be stuck on the farm.

Autumn Grayson
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At times like these, I wonder if you’re a lot more extroverted than you think :p

It’s really just how people handle it, honestly. Early on in college I was reading up on relationship advice stuff, and one of the things I heard in some form or another from a few Christian relationship class things was that it was important to have friends (mainly/especially of the same gender) outside of one’s marriage.

In a lot of ways…I dunno. I don’t know how living with a significant other long term would be less isolating than being married. Never been in either situation, but to an extent if I lived on my own I’d probably be more isolated since socializing is far from my first instinct. I like people, but I need lots of space and I almost forget to hang out with people. Marriage would ensure I talked to at least one person regularly, and would probably make me more social since I’d sort of be absorbing his social circle and adding it to mine. That said, either way, people should build their own social circles. But that’s a decision each individual makes. And marriage would rarely ensure the outcome either way. If marriage causes someone to have cruddy expectations, though, the person just needs to work on their expectations.