Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vampires, Myth, and Genre

Do you like vampires? If so, why? Is it the myth behind them, or is it the romantic image that literature and cinema have slowly created of them? I like vampires, but more often than not I find myself disappointed with literature and movies that depict them. When I do find a work that captures the essence of the genre, it is usually because it contains a gritty realism that contrasts the myth with the actual world we live in. Good examples are the Swedish sensation Let the Right One In and the cult American flick Near Dark. They do not sensationalize the monster, but rather they use it to offer some kind of insight about humankind.

That is what I strove for in my erotic horror trilogy The Darkness and the Night. Each book is a separate story all in its own, but when read in order they create one long story that spans nearly twenty years. The main character is Karen, although her place in each book varies greatly. Through her, and, later, her two children, I explore many of the aspects to what makes a person “human,” putting them through moral dilemmas and scenarios with which many readers might connect. As a survivor of physical and mental abuse at the hands of a previous SO, I felt it necessary to examine the “human monster” the best way I knew how—through my writing. After all, what better way to look at humanity with all of its attributes and flaws, than to write about a monster in its image?

The Darkness and the Night trilogy is highly erotic, the use of sexual exploration being a strong venue for both the characters’ development and further commentary on human behavior. It is a piece on female liberation and empowerment (especially Book II: Cosmic Orgasm--don’t let the campy name fool you!) as much as it is about fallibility, humility, and evolution of the human spirit. You’re going to have to read all three books if you crave that ever-satisfying Happily Ever After, but if you’re willing to let go of all preconceived expectations for this particular genre, I can guarantee the ride will be well worth it.

Book I: BLOOD AND COFFEE

Karen is a young woman fresh out of grad school, with just one stop left to make before beginning of the rest of her life. Agreeing to meet her family at the old summer home one last time, hoping to find some sort of closure to the estrangement between her and her paranoid and delusional father, Karen suddenly finds herself alone in the large house, in the middle of nowhere, after her family calls to report a travel delay.

Karen begins to question her own sanity when she falls victim to a vampire attack that night, recalling the similar circumstances behind her father’s psychotic break: in his delusions, however, he was the vampire hunter. The vampire informs Karen that his family is using her to settle a score against her father, for killing one of their family members years ago. The plan: present Karen, newly turned, to her recently “psychologically rehabilitated” father, and then see which one survives.

Karen manages to escape, only to embark upon a dark, virtual odyssey. Hitchhiking across the California coast, she searches for what is left of her humanity while she searches for the vampire that turned her, now set on settling a score of her own. During her journey, she finds herself taking refuge in a battered women's shelter, kidnapped by amateur demon hunters, joining a surreal nocturnal commune, and being confronted with the ethical dilemma of carrying the unborn child of a true monster....

"This is a strangely compelling tale of blood, love, lust, and betrayal." - Nicole - Bitten by Books

"...the writer is a good storyteller, and does an excellent job of leading the reader on..." - Regina - Coffee Time Romance

Available in paperback, Kindle, Sony Reader, audio book, and pdf. Click
here for details.


Book II: COSMIC ORGASM (contains spoilers)

Karen's odyssey continues as she escapes from a mental hospital, after having accidentally turned another patient. She immediately finds herself running from a bounty hunter and his donor, sent by the insane commune leader, John-Michael, who has convinced himself that Karen carries his heir.

In the meanwhile, Karen finds herself haunted by Billy's restless spirit, his fluke death on the Astral having trapped him between planes. He visits her in her dreams, unable to accept his death ... and slowly, the dreams become nightmares as he decides he doesn't want to let her go. In a strange turn of events, lover becomes captor, foe becomes ally, love begins anew, and Karen survives her biggest challenge yet: childbirth.

"I couldn't put this book down!" – Five Stars - Michelle

Available in paperback, Kindle, Sony Reader, and pdf.

Book III: TWINS OF DARKNESS

Karen learns quickly that being both a mother and a vampire is no easy task, especially since her children, fraternal twins Anna and Andy, are not typical kids. Anna, although seemingly human, has the unique ability to not only travel the Astral, but also manipulate objects and people between planes. Andy also appears to be a normal human boy, but appearances prove disastrously deceiving.

With the help of her blood donor and lover, Jason, Karen does her best to offer the twins a “normal” suburban life. Despite them, Anna and Andy come into their own, exploring their family’s past . . . and the very different beings they are both slowly becoming. In the process, the author takes us on a wild ride that breaks beyond the boundaries of time and reality, sexual exploration, and love . . . and back to the vampire commune.

The book is actually four novellas that come together to create one full-length story:

Part I: Vampire. Mommy.

Karen's past returns to haunt her as Billy's nomadic family returns to the old Victorian, set on kidnapping the infant twins.

Part II: The Innocent One

The full extent of grade-school-aged Anna's Astral abilities shine through in dark and horrifying ways, as Karen's vampire-hunting father tracks them down in suburbia, intent on killing all of them.

Part III: A Family Affair

Desperate to know more about her natural father, adolescent Anna uses her Astral abilities to pull an alternate version of Billy into reality. His presence proves bittersweet for Karen, who has committed herself to donor and lover, Jason.

Part IV: The Awakening

Anna's twin, Andy, begins to undergo an unexpected transformation, while commune bounty hunters track down Karen and Jason. Anna, with her goddess-like Astral abilites, is their only hope . . . but her aid does not come without a sacrifice.

". . .well written and exciting. This is certainly one of the most unique vampire novels I have come across. It is chock full of imagination and feeling; a totally fresh look at the dark side." – Lototy - Coffee Time Romance

"Having read the first twenty-nine pages off and on, I continued straight through to the end. As I’ve already said, the plot is superb, and when such a plot comes along, I always marvel at the human imagination and what it can produce." - Fanny - Cerebral Reviews

Lisa Lane
“Because even SEXY vampires should be DANGEROUS.”

Fellow writers and readers: What have you read/seen/written that, to you, stands out in the vampire genre?

4 comments:

Jay Di Meo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay Di Meo said...

I recently saw Let the Right One and found it interesting, but disturbing. I really get upset when I see children vampires - it's like child abuse to me. But yes, you're right, stories that portray the gritty reality of vampiredom are rare.
I loved the vampires in the Anita Blake series. Maybe they're seen in a very romantic light, but their politics was cool, and they guys drool-worthy. ;-)

Rebecca Leigh said...

we must be kindred vampire loving spirits!!

Lisa Lane said...

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is a must-see (or read) for die-hard fans of the genre.

I'm going to have to check out Anita Blake. ;-)