It All Began With Dracula

I think one of the very first vampire movies I ever saw was Dracula with Frank Langella. You know which one I’m talking about-the one with our legendary Master of the Fang in all his Victorian splendor but with a 70’s blow-out style hair do. He could have rivaled the “Farrah”. The way he moved wasn’t like the old Bella Lugosi who brought the ghoul part of the character to life but Frankie added the swoon factor. Is that why I fell in love with vampire stories and movies? Nah. Keiffer Southerland and Billy Wirth of Lost boys was what inspired that. Up until Lost Boys, you didn’t really have the romantic aspect of it all. It was basically, “Me vampire, me use mind control(which usually meant a dramatic musical interlude with a close up on wide or narrowed eyes) then girl suddenly tosses her head exposes neck and BITE”. Now that I think about it-we never know what becomes of Mina after she watches her dark prince becomes ash in the light of the sun. Lost Boys it all ends up a happy ending while Dracula, poor Mina possibly ends up in a loveless marriage and a head case.Who knows during the time period that Dracula takes place, she probably ends up in an asylum.

So what is the fascination? Well I don’t know if I would say it is a fascination as much as it was when it comes to horror movies vampires and even were wolves are what I’m drawn to. I’m not huge on slasher flicks because well I’m home alone at night and let’s face it-I would pop a lung trying to run. I would be slashed before the movie even got started. There wouldn’t even be enough time for someone to call and ask me what my favorite scary movie was. I like that out of every movie monster or book villain that has ever been, the vampire is that dark seduction. Unless you happen to meet up with the 30 Days of Night vampires-for the most part vampires are like Venus Fly Traps. They are beautiful, seductive, and they draw you in only to trap you and well….you know what happens should you find yourself within the embrace of a vampire.

I can’t talk about Vampires and not include the creations of Anne Rice. C’mon, until Anne’s Vampire Chronicles, how many vampire books were so easily to find in the mass market unless you went to some specialty book store? I can remember there being a small paranormal romance section at our Walden Books (man I miss having a book store). It was clustered with the Sci/Fi and Horror section. When Anne hit the stage it changed forever how Vampires would be seen. I saw Interview With The Vampire four times not to mention how many times I rented it when it came out on VHS. It was that her books and the movies that followed were like the first ever epic vampire tales. Until her we had Stephen King-who in his own right can keep me up at night holding a cross and garlic and Bram Stoker. I don’t know about you but as much as I love the movies that came from Bram, his book bored me to tears.

I wrote my first vampire story which was a short story in the eleventh grade. Let me clarify this-it was the first one that I ever let anyone read. My English teacher, Mr. Moritz told me that after he read my story he got chill bumps and then had to go home and watch  he and his wife’s videos from their trip to Disney. So I figured if I could scare him, then I wondered if I could scare someone else. It wasn’t long before me and my sister made me mad and I created a story about a woman who was being stalked by her twisted sociopathic siamese twin.

So tell me….

If you are a lover of horror or just a lover of the paranormal-tell me what hooked you and why. If you’re a bonafide Fang Banger, what got you addicted to the seductive world of vampires.

Less than a week until Halloween. How are you celebrating this year?

October: Bring the Halloween On!

I can’t believe there are so many people out there that do not like Halloween. For me, it is my favorite holiday. A lot of happy childhood memories come from Halloween. Can you remember your first Halloween costume? I can’t really but most of the ones I had were little vinyl plastic numbers that instantly made your body sweat and plastic masks that had 2 small nose holes and a hole at the mouth. WHAT WERE PEOPLE THINKING? That it would be fun to suffocate children all over the nation? Well I can tell you that for three years running, I was Holly Hobbie. Later, I decided I liked the more fantasy costumes. In the October that I was 17, me and some friends went to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show. I loved it! Me and my girls dressed up in French Maid costumes and were Magenta. 

Aside from trick or treating, I loved those great scary movies that played on the television. Remember when they actually had shows like Sammy Terry, Elvira, Tales From the Crypt, Captain USA’s Groovy Movies, and Friday Night Frights? Does anyone remember anything before the age of Reality Television, Honey Boo Boo, or Jersey Shore? Anyone? Mostly the movies that showed on Halloween were all those great classics like Night of the Living Dead, Friday the 13th, Halloween(and its many sequels), and then there were all those wonderful B movies. The B movies that you knew were just too stupid or fake but you had to watch them regardless? We all stayed up late to watch them. I mean we had to do something until the sugar crash came, right? 

Some of the first stories I began to write were horror themed ones. I can remember one that I wrote after a fight with my sister that caused quite the stir in my house. I grew up in the 80s so I had influences like Stephen King, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, and many of the great horror masters that influenced the masses today. I also had a great love of Edgar Allan Poe who could write a chilling story very simply yet stories like Tell A Tale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum raised the hair on the back of the neck. Those were the stories I wanted to write. I wanted to take my readers through the gauntlet of horror without them even knowing it until it was too late. 

So tell me, what kind of horror story keeps you up late with the lights turned on? Do the stories of escaped mental patients with a thirst for the kill have you looking out your window into the darkness or zombies craving human flesh have you clutching a Bible? Do you fear a beautiful seductive vampire who wants to embrace you in his midnight’s kiss before he rips your throat out? Perhaps tales of men who turn into savage bloodthirsty beasts that leave their victims trying in vain to escape under the light of a full moon? Then again perhaps you’re a bit more twisted and you fear something more sinister yet less noticeable at first? Don’t worry, I got the lights on, cop a squat and let’s talk books and boogie men. Image 

Para-normally Disturbed

Many of us love to write within the realms of ghosts, faeries, vampires, shape shifters, and were wolves. Some use the muses of aliens, demons, and the like. What happens when one is writing such and they get a block? What happens when you’re writing something that comes to your mind and then you pick up a random book and it seems as if the story has already been written by someone else? Ever have any of this happen to you? Wonder what to do about it? I wish I had the answers. For writer’s block, we’ve all been there. Suddenly the story just hits a dead end and nothing seems to flow just right. For me, I step away from it. I try to relax my brain that seems to always be firing in different directions. It is a common thing for me to be writing one story and get an idea for another one. So that leaves me to wonder if I’m schizophrenic or something. Perhaps me and Sybil Dorsett should have a Girl’s Night or something. I hate it when I’m right at the peak of the story I’m working on and then nothing. Its like being on a roller coaster and you’ve psyched yourself up for the exhilaration of that drop that is within sight only to have it level out and stop back at the starting gate. Screams from the Bell Jar anyone?

I have tried to make it a point to not read any books that even resemble my main characters until I have finished a story I’m working on. Nothing takes the wind out of my sails more than spending hours and even days writing a story then in my free time pick up a book and feel as if I have plagiarized it in some way. For instance, I was working on this idea of a Highland warrior that had been cursed inside a mirror that was a portal to some sort of netherworld version of hell. I had a hundred or so pages written when I picked up a book by a well known author and there were similarities such as her main character was a Highlander that had been spelled into a mirror. Now that book and my story were different but they still had that same thing of using a mirror as entrapment and had been seeking a way out of it. They had both been thrust into a modern world they didn’t understand. I just filed my story into a folder for a later date. I felt deflated and still do over it. However, being a writer means never giving up. At some point I will go back over the pages I have written and try to make something out of it and tweek it here and there. Who knows, I may just do a total overhaul like I did with my recent publication, Cursed Awakening available through http://www.xoxopublishing.com. If I can’t, which for me can’t is just not an option, then I have to move on and hope my next story is more original. I think I’ve said it more than once that I do not want to be the type of author who gleans from the work of others. That to me is not writing; its copying. There is one book series that seems to do just that and it is a widely popular series with housewives everywhere. Then again, who am I to critique someone else’s originality even though I read all three books twice and still found them to be gleaned from another series written by another author. I wish I could go all Yoda here and have some sage writer’s advice that would clear up these problems.

What I have learned thus far: Talk to other authors. Most authors who have more than a few works published whether self or otherwise have tips and tricks. This is free advice and if they are really prominent authors, you may have the Holy Grail there. Next, don’t over think when it comes to a block. Step away from it. Don’t obsess over it. Relax and take in a show or something. Don’t just hit delete or develop anxiety over it. That serves no purpose but to cause undo aggravation and who knows, you might just be on the cusp of a Best Seller that will take the book market by storm. When it comes to the problem of thinking or feeling that  your story is similar to something already in publication step away and think  your way through the story. Re work it if you can. Like I said, I have made a rule unto myself: whatever the subject or main character I’m basing my story on I steer clear of reading books under the same topic. If I am writing about a vampire, I steer clear of vampire books and even movies. Writing is a passion and any true author will tell you that. It isn’t something to make yourself miserable over. Just think if Michelangelo or Picasso had pressed their work and hadn’t taken time to work their art they would have had nothing to show for it. Their creativity would have been killed off. So don’t over think and don’t work yourself into a frenzy.  So when  you feel you are para-normally disturbed, just remember to take some time outside of your padded cell and avoid the little red pill.

Which Is Sexier, Vampires or Weres?

It is a simple question, Which is sexier a vampire or a were? I say were because so many authors have moved from were wolves to hunky men who shift into different animals. For me, I used to be a strict follower of vampires but in the past few years, thanks in part to authors like Lora Leigh, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Pamela Palmer I’m on the fence.

I can remember the first time I saw a vampire movie; it was Dracula starring Frank Langella. Now Frank wasn’t so much the Bo-Hunk but he did make for a quite daunting Dracula. Later, Gary Oldman would take the reigns of the infamous Vlad Tepes, aka, Dracula and made all of us drool but he wasn’t overly sexy either. The first time I read Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire, left me kind of hanging on Lestat and Louie until I saw the movie. I wouldn’t say they were pantie droppers but the first time I picked up a Black Dagger Brotherhood book and Acheron, I can say I found myself back on Team Vamp. It also helped with Erik Skarsgard portraying Eric Northman on True Blood. C’mon, who didn’t want to be his midnight snack? 

What is the allure? What is the attraction?

I get asked that very question a lot. I think for me its the whole element of the ultimate bad boy portrayed as something not particularly evil. It is definitely not a case of having some necro-fetish. A good vampire book for me has a strong female character who is 3 dimensional; a character that one can associate themselves with. It also has to have a great plot; can’t all be about great sex scenes in books. Like any reader, I want to be hooked in from the beginning and I try to write my own stories that hook readers in. I like at least most of my five senses engaged.

Wolves, Bears, Tigers, Lions, and Dragons oh my!

New to the frenzy is our Weres. Sherrilyn Kenyon has really put a spin on the whole man-animal-shifter thing. In her books, Were’s can be male or female, usually have one mate, and come with their own bag of tricks. If you have never read a Dark Hunter book, I won’t spoil it for you but for all my Dark Hunter Addicts out there, y’all know what I’m talking about and there are very few things more sexier than the Peltier Brothers and those who call Sanctuary home. Lora Leigh’s Breeds aren’t shifters but men and women who have been genetically created with animal DNA. Doesn’t sound like you’re cup of tea? Believe me, if you read her books, you’ll be needing more than a cup of tea! More like a cold shower. Deborah Cooke has her fearless warriors as dragon shifters that do not disappoint and Pamela Palmer dishes out her sensual tales of Feral warriors who shift into different animals. However, we still have our favorite were wolves like Alcide Herveaux from the famous True Blood series from the Sookie Stackhouse books from Charlaine Harris. I think we can all agree, Alcide is way hotter than Team Jacob any day of the week! Shifters, like vampires are bad boys who are all testosterone and pretty much are pantie droppers.

So which do you find sexier? Vampires or Weres? Do you want the eternal tormented soul of a seductive vampire looking for love or a man who is in tune with his inner beast and isn’t afraid to let the animal side show? Or are you like me, good to go with either one.