Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “vampire mythology”

The Anatomy of a Vampire: Running Home style

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate cappuccino stuff. Also known as Waiting For Pumpkin Spice.

By Julie

VAMPIRE WEEK, BABY! And yes, the anatomy of a vampire, but not like that. Come on, dirty birds.

This is all about my vampires, and what makes them mine. Not their personalities, but what makes them up, the bones of them.

The Shinigami vampires of Running Home have this stuff going on:

1.  They feed on whoever they are called to feed on, a fated urge to take the life of a specific human, for reasons revealed in the book. If they don’t do it, no other blood will be able to nourish them. They will wither to the brink of death, but never really die. WAY WORSE.

2.  When they feed, they’re left with a human residue, certain aspects of the human’s personality that they carry around in themselves for indeterminate amounts of time. Sometimes the human’s memories invade their own, making life for them kinda sucky. If they feed on an animal, they take on the traits of that animal, as well.

3.  My vampires can go out in sunlight if they drink the blood of a person who is essentially good. The better the soul, the more light they can withstand and enjoy. But if they drink the blood of an evil man, they are condemned to live in darkness until the blood wears away, and it becomes a darkness of the very soul.

4.  They create a shield of sorts, a bubble that protects them from the view of humans. Some are better at it than others. Lynch, for instance, isn’t disciplined enough to bother sometimes, while Nicholas has made it an art form, as expected.

5.  When the Shinigami vampires get angry or turn into their vampire selves, it creates a blast of cold that can actually radiate a frost from them and chill everyone around them. Again, the stronger the vampire, the more this is felt. Nicholas is entirely unique in his abilities with cold. READ THE DAMN BOOK, WHAT IS THIS, YOU WANT ME TO TELL YOU EVERYTHING?

6.  They can’t read minds, folks. Nope.

7.  They don’t sleep because they get tired. They sleep because they become weary.

8.  They do have a thrall, a mesmerizing ability to lure a person in, unique to every human, but scent is usually the one that hits home. The scent of a vampire is ever-changing, speaking to the needs and emotions of the person as they change as well; for Eliza, the scent of peppermint brownies makes her calm down, puts her right at home when she’s at her most restless. Nicholas seems to always have a scent of woods and baked goods for her.  Roman smells differently to her, settles her in a different way that is soothing, but not connected to her heart the way Nicholas is. Roman smells of the ocean and salt air.

9. They’re fast, and strong. Stick to the classics.

10. You don’t just get turned into a vampire willy-nilly. The Shinigami are born and found, and trained before they’re given eternal life.

That was fun for me, and I hope it was fun for you! And please, if you have questions about how I created the mythology, or about the vampire anatomy, please ask here or find me on Twitter!

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March Madness: It begins!

Today’s Brew:  All the coffee

KRISTEN

You may or may not be relieved to find this post has nothing to do with college basketball. Julie’s husband came up with a great concept for the month of March:  March Madness.  Julie and I will be exploring all that is creepy–haunted stuff, insanity, mental institutions, deviants, and scary old buildings.  On Manic Mondays, check in for short stories.

This Old House

Julie and I were obsessed with this house when we were kids.  It looks much better now than it did then.  It’s previous owner had let it fall into disrepair to the point we thought they had abandoned it.  You may have a hard time believing this, but we were bold little kids, and we had no problem going right up to the windows and sticking our faces in. Today we would realize the old owners were just  hoarders, not the killers we assumed.  We’d see yellowing newspapers and moldy boxes of Cheese Its.  I don’t remember, but Julie says she say someone sleeping on a bed inside.  (Side note by Julie: I was almost certain that person was dead. They so weren’t, of course, but I was convinced.) That didn’t stop us from peaking in, seeing what we could see.  Both of us credit that house with our current fascination with abandoned buildings in disrepair. Sometimes I photograph them.  I like to call them wreckage.  Even more fascinating is that some of these dilapidated buildings are still in use!   I stopped to take pictures of what I thought was a closed business in a neighboring town one day, shocked to realize that it was very much still in operation.

JULIE

March Madness gives me a reason to play with insanity, a terror I hold near and dear. Kristen and I are excited to toy with the creative genius and their madnesses. The best works are reflective of the inner lunatic, I believe. I’ll work on insane vampire myths and stories, as well as plenty on asylums, which I am particularly psyched out of my mind for. I will be researching OCD this month, too, for my Trent from The Animal, so I will keep you updated. You may get to see something from my favorite vampire serial killer, Chris Lynch, also, if you’re lucky.

Strap up that straightjacket, friends, for some decadently dark stuff this month.

Vampire Evolution

Today’s Brew:  I may or may not break into the Seasonal Nog, and I may or may not doctor it with some Kahlua.

When I began writing Immortal Dilemma, I needed to come up with a mythology to back up my undead darlings.  While the reading masses want originality, it seems like too much originality is frowned upon.  After all, real, masculine vampires do not sparkle in daylight, right?

What makes a unique yet compelling vampire story?  What are we willing to accept, and what will always be true?

Julie has done some amazing posts on vampire myths and legends around the globe (see below for linkage).  Mari Wells writes a compelling column exploring common vampire traits every Wednesday on her blog.  I am reading an anthology of vampire accounts and stories from the 18th through 20th centuries.  What strikes me most about these tales are the common themes, especially in the ancient myths.  They didn’t have the luxury of Google to compare their stories against those on the other side of the world.  But yet, they are all eerily similar.

Most vampire legends seem to stem from the unfortunate practice of burying people before they were dead.  We didn’t have the scientific explanations that we did today about aging and disease.  People just knew that their fellow villagers were getting sick by the boatload.  They didn’t have the sophisticated medical equipment to detect heart beats, or medicine to make all of it just go away.  So when people appeared to be dead, their loved ones did the Christian thing (if indeed they were Christians) and buried them.  Unfortunately, some of them weren’t dead, and they weren’t ready to spend the rest of eternity in a coffin.

Our medical and scientific knowledge has evolved, why can’t vampire mythology evolve as well?

In early lore, vampires were zombie like beasts, attacking innocents for blood.  But now, thanks to Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris, and Stephenie Meyer, vampires are beautiful creatures to be desired.  With familiarity and allure comes a comfort level.  Would you be frightened to find out someone was a vampire, or just simply intrigued?  They no longer rank with murders, thieves, or even charlatans.  Would they be more fearful if they weren’t attractive?

I’m thinking survival of the fittest here.

Wouldn’t a race of vampires that could go out in sunlight be stronger than those creatures of the night that lost half the day worrying about burning to a crisp?  Stephenie Meyer had a dream about a sparkly guy.  He became Edward Cullen.  Dreams, as interesting as they can be, are not evolution.  After all, we evolved from a race of hairy cave dwelling beasts to become the awesome species we are.  Dracula didn’t burn in sunlight. Even some of Anne Rice’s characters aged to the point they could withstand the sun.  I have not been able to find an explanation why the sun is vampire kryptonite.  Why do we have such a hard time accepting ‘Daywalking’ (which is even the proper term for it) vampires?

Now let’s move on the blood.  In days before CSI Las Vegas, New York, and Miami, vampires had it made in the shade, so to speak.  When Big Brother wasn’t all over our collective shit, it was pretty easy to make someone disappear.  Just ask the Mafia.  Now, we know the minute someone is missing and we almost immediately begin tracking that person down.  If they’re found dead, science can trace back to the exact time it happens and they’ll probably be able to figure out the body is missing all of it’s blood.  If vampires have DNA, they are so screwed.  At the very least, the four, five, and six o’clock news are going put a rash of neighborhood vampire attacks on blast.  There’s no place to run, no place to hide for our friendly bloodsucker.  Drinking blood is no longer an efficient means of vampire survival.  You just can’t get away with these things like you used to.  So unless we let vampires feed on death row criminals or they somehow can line up some willing kamikaze type victims, they’re up the creek without a paddle.  Charlaine Harris introduced Tru Blood, a synthetic blood substitute that everyone seems to accept, but again, the poor Cullens get their asses handed to them for only feeding on animal blood.

As someone who is scratching at the door of the paranormal writing community, it interests me to find out why people are willing to accept certain liberties to legends while we reject others.  After all, we’re talking about stories about dead people doing very human things.  That has become accepted in mainstream culture, so why do we resist their changes?

Julie’s Vampire Mythology Series:
The Japanese Do It Right: Gashodokuro & Hagoromo Gitsune
The Reason NYC is The City That Never Sleeps
Vampires, Eh?  What’s That All Aboot?
Bonjour!  French Vampire Mythology and Sightings
The Rhode Island Vampire Girls

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