Happy Vamptember!

My vampire novel CODE RED is now for sale on Amazon.

I will probably be selling it on other platforms too, but for now, you may buy it in ebook and print. Also, if you’re on NetGalley, you may download a free copy through October. I proud of this book which began as a Wattpad story and ended up winning a Watty award in 2020. Here’s the premise:

The Vampires are Running the Asylum!
Wormwood Asylum, a private mental hospital located in Southwest Virginia, specializes in treating adolescent psychoses, including Renfield’s Syndrome, an obsession with drinking blood. But when a young man is committed to Wormwood because he believes he’s a vampire, it turns out he wasn’t lying, and soon rapacious revenants are running rampant through the rural mountain community. To fight the blatant bloodsuckers, the local sheriff teams up with a candy striper and her moonshiner grandpa, who just happens to have an arsenal of war-grade weapons stored in his prepper bunker, for a bloody country hoedown of epic proportions.

To celebrate my take on vicious vamps, I thought I’d share my favorite vampires in lore and legend. Not the most original list in the world, but here goes.

Barnabas Collins

Like many from my generation, Dark Shadows, was part of our daily routine. A soap opera fully steeped in campy Gothic tropes, the show lasted for a good chunk of my childhood. The feature film based on the series, The House of Dark Shadows, was the first horror film I was allowed to see when I was a kid and it scared me to bits–in reality, I was a bit young for it, but I’ll be forever grateful for my older sister who dragged me along and turned me into a horror fan forever chasing that first high. Just the other day, I discovered a Dark Shadows book and comic bonanza at my local antique mart and rejoiced at adding to my collection. Perhaps one day I’ll happen upon the elusive Dark Shadows Cookbook we decimated as children, now selling for hundreds on eBay. As far as I’m concerned the Tim Burton travesty doesn’t exist.

Carmilla

I’m late to Carmilla, having only read it last year, but man, it did not disappoint! Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella about an ancient aristocratic vampire with Lesbian tendencies has a titillating premise, but to be fair, the sexuality is as subtle as a cool whispered breath on a fluttery bosom. What I enjoyed most about the story was its slow burning Gothic atmosphere. Its influence on Stoker’s Dracula is quite obvious. This is a creepy story I will return to each fall while spending a holiday at a haunted Austrian castle or at least a misty morning in my neighborhood graveyard.

Lestat

I discovered Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire when it became a paperback sensation in the 80’s and I immediately fell in love with the seductive Lestat de Lioncourt (as did Batilda). I was less impressed with Tom Cruise’s performance in the film adaptation. It wasn’t his fault he was miscast, but his performance and the film has grown on me with subsequent viewings. In the decades since I discovered this classic, I’ve been slowly working my way through The Vampire Chronicles. Rice’s lush, meandering prose can prove frustrating at times, but what an incredible character she created in Lestat. His seductions are immortal.

Dracula

All roads lead back to Drac, but which incarnation is best? I confess, it took me two reading to appreciate Stoker’s novel. Now, it shares a shelf with Frankenstein, the fraternal twins of Gothic literature. There have been so many film and television adaptations, from the ridiculous to the sublime, but I think the original silent Nosferatu comes closest to doing the Count justice. He’s a weirdo, and not as seductive as some renditions–Frank Langella’s coifed 70s styling comes to mind–would suggest. In truth, I love each portrayal for different reasons, with a particularly fondness for Gary Oldman’s seductive count, but now when I read Dracula, it is Max Schreck’s version I envision. His is a different kind of seduction. Not quite human, here is a monster whose talent for inspiring fear and fascination can never be matched.

Do you have any favorite vampires? Please comment below and let’s share notes. Vamp on!

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