Friday, April 13, 2012

Tory Michaels Guest Blog

Today I have Tory Michaels on my blog to discuss vampires and her new release. As a fellow vampire writer myself, I asked her to write something about the idea of vampires through time. 

How Have Vampires Changed Over the Ages

First off, before I launch into this, since we all know the juggernaut that is Twilight cannot be ignored in a post about how vamps have changed, please be advised that I despised the one book I forced myself to get through, and thus I’m likely to be less than warm and fuzzy as to what Ms. Meyers did to her vamps.

Okay, friendly warning done.

I grew up watching vampire movies and TV shows (Dracula: the Series – still love it, even if it’s incredibly campy and only lasted a season, look it up, Dark Shadows – the 60s/70’s show, the 90’s reboot, NOT the monstrosity currently about to be released which is a joke on the Dark Shadows legacy, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries to name just a few). There has definitely been a shift in the past 20+ years as to how we view them. You have the heavy hitters who have definitely moved us toward that (Anne Rice, I’m looking at you), and the writers who have turned them into figures of ridicule (how many people HAVEN’T laughed at Sparkly Edward – c’mon, even if you like the books, how can you not laugh at the CGIness of diamond Edward?). Needless to say, many people no longer view them as evil, death-dealing, blood-sucking to death, creatures of the night.

Going back to the early 30’s – you have the movie Dracula with Bela Lugosi. Creepy, scary movie, yet there was something seductive about him. Look at the wives (both in the book and the many movies), the way he draws in both Lucy and Mina in their own ways, et cetera. He was of the “evil but sexy” variety. This image got upheld by the great Christopher Lee (aka Count Dooku as a more recent role).

Then, following the 60’s and 70’s with Lee as Dracula, out comes Interview With a Vampire and its sequels, followed by the (IMO mistaken) casting of Tom Cruise as Lestat. Suddenly, vampires became sexy. Lestat, then Dracula 2000 (Gerard Butler, wowser), and so many other incarnations. Books too changed drastically. Far from being angsty or soul(blood)-sucking evil creatures, suddenly they could love and be loved and after hundreds of years alone find their “one true love”.

Now, to some degree this is fabulous. Who wouldn’t want to know that, after hundreds of years, one guy settles on you?! And he’s hot, with lots of experience in the sex department, and likes some serious necking. But then, for me, some of the appeal is lost simply because it’s the (ultimate) April/November romance. There’s something squicky about it, at least for the ancient vamp who converts the innocent young maiden forever after (Christine Feehan, I’m looking at you most specifically) and she will forever be his.

Now this trope, to some degree, I use in my books. Anthony is over a thousand years older than Dara (Blood Rage), and Jordan has a good 7 centuries on Chris (Blood-Mage Rising). Where the difference (and significant squick reduction) for me comes from is the fact that it is not upon their conversion that these lovers get together (ultimately). No, in both cases, both women have been vampires and successful (and somewhat happy with life) without a man (a permanent one anyway) for more than two centuries. They’ve got a great deal of experience, which goes a long way in balancing the scales. (You know I had to do a little promo, right?)

Back to the most recent phenomenon, the YA vampires including the cannot-be-overlooked Twilight Series. Stephanie Meyer probably did one of the most unique (albeit IMO ridiculous) twists on the old “why vampires can’t go out in daylight) by making her vampires sparkle. Now, not only are they young, hot and ageless, now they’ve been attacked by GLITTER GUNS! She does a great combination of the stress between vamp and shifter, has good (er, vegetarian) vamps vs. evil vamps. So, whether you like her style or not, she certainly created a remarkable phenomenon with one decidedly unique twist on the tried and true.

And of course, you can’t overlook the vampires of Alyssa Day in her Atlantis series, the awesomeness that is Eric Northman and Sookie. I understand the Vampire Diaries (tv & book versions) are wonderful too.  The sheer variety of vampires available via television, movie and books today are mind boggling. It’s a great time (though incredibly competitive) to write and read about vampires. I wouldn’t trade it for another time, personally!

Thanks for having me, Isabella.

Twitter: @torymichaels

Blood Rage Buy Links:
For eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived in relative peace together. The peace is threatened when three bodies turn up less than a mile from the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs in Tampa, all bearing the signature of vampires who once terrorized Europe.

The Bureau’s chief liaison to the vampires, Dara MacKechnie, learns that the Tampa victims are not alone when her ex-lover, and head of the vampire’s Great Council, Anthony Caldwell comes calling.

The pair discovers the lie that separated them two centuries ago only banked their passion, not extinguished it. Dara must decide whether she can trust Anthony with her heart a second time as they try to head off the war that threatens all they hold dear.

Blood-Mage Rising Buy Links:
     In the eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived side by side, relatively at peace.  In an attack that leaves his wife dead, Jordan MacNaught is caught up in the start of a war meant to turn the other races against the vampires. He knows beyond a doubt the vampires of yesteryear are not involved in the attacks. They're all dead, except for him.

     Jordan asks for Chris Javert's help in hunting those who murdered his wife. She's no stranger to hunting vampires. After all, she nearly destroyed Jordan when she ended the reign of his Aristocrats in Europe two hundred years ago.

     Despite doubts about Jordan’s innocence, Chris joins forces with him, the man who once tried to kill her, to save the inter-species pace from the new Aristocrats before war consumes them all.

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