Are Vampires Dead? By Cynthia Arsuaga

ARE VAMPIRES DEAD?

That’s the word I’ve been hearing around the water cooler lately. Yes, there are some who love their vampires and will never tire of them, but in the publishing world where the next popular genre is important to sales. Contemporary and even erotica due in thanks to 50 Shades of Grey pushes us lovers and writers of the paranormal take a backseat to the latest rage. Me, I think what falls out of favor now eventually comes back again. Vampires and the lore surrounding the creatures will be here for a long time. Yes, the market is saturated not only in literature, but in the television and motion pictures. I for one won’t stop writing about my “guys” of the night. I love them enough I’ve created two different worlds and will be debuting another one this December. The first two have been out since last year and are continuing into this year with more planned for 2013. They are more traditional types of vampires. One world is darker and edgier with the other with vampire warriors who are more “business-like.” Yeah, I know that sounds strange, but it works. Each series currently has two books released each and others are in the works, a minimum of four each.

When I created the two different worlds, I started with an idea about the women, the heroines. The story/plot came next with the Heroes, the vampires, created to compliment the women.

For the research in the Born Vampire series, I had the hero as a 500 year old Romanian vampire and not the leader of the local family of vampires; he is the “Enforcer” or Sergeant Palatine of the group. The hierarchy of this “blood family’ is based loosely on the Knights Templar. The head of the family (read as a clan, nest or coven) is called the Master and Commander with other members as Sergeant Palatine, Knights, and the supreme commander of all is a Grand Master of North America, Europe, or Asia.

From the beginning, I wrote the first story adding in some of the vampire folklore, but not the typical types. Researching the many myths and legends, I picked those that would fit into each world and had the stories revolve around BDSM in the Born Vampire series with added elements that weave through each successive story, and in the Forces of Beauty series, different “powers”.

As I mentioned before, the Forces of Beauty series has the vampires as businessmen. The hero of the first book owns a hospitality and entertainment company who meets his lady in Crete at one of his resorts. (BTW, hubby and I stayed at this particular resort and I had it in mind when I wrote the location.) In the most recent release, A Vampire in Paris, the hero was in the first book as a secondary character and I had to give him his own love story. The company he works for is also owned by an ancient vampire who just might show up in a future book and he is one of the company’s best security investigators. You never know where the inspiration comes from! The heroines in both are “older” women, quite accomplished in their own professions but doubt their attractiveness to the “younger” men, until they find out who these men really are.

As a fun project as an escape from the serious story-lines, I have recently begun a vampire comedy series of short stories put together as an anthology. The first short releases December 2012 and will have a total of five shorts releasing around holidays in 2013.

In closing, I’d like to share a few vampire traits, myths and folklore that may or may not be widely known. I love research and you never know what you find.

  • CLOCKS:  According to European folklore, a person’s house can be protected from a vampire attack by stopping the clocks at the time of death. Stopping a clock is said to put the corpse into a sort of suspended animation, preventing demonic forces from entering the body until it is ready for burial and therefore not becoming a vampire.
  • COUNTING:  In Chinese narratives about vampires, they state that if a vampire comes across a sack of rice it will have to stop and count all the grains. These are similar myths recorded on the Indian continent and even in South America. The vampire isn’t repelled or pierced by the objects, rather the creature is compelled to eat them or count them one at a time, thereby slowing them down and away from the living. (I used a variation of this in the Born Vampire series. The vampires have OCD, I explained.)
  • INCENSE:  Composed of grains of resins and spices that are burned or sprinkled on lighted charcoal to create a sweet or pungent odor, incense has been used in many religions over the centuries to drive out evil entities from a person or a place. In fighting vampires, it ranks alongside garlic as a preventative measure and as a way to counteract the stench of death. In some regions of Romania, it was often pushed into the ears, eyes, and nostrils of a corpse to stop an evil spirit from entering and reanimating the body.
  • SECONDARY POWERS:  Folklore, not of the fictional types created today which have variations ~
    • The ability to cause impotence ~ This surely wouldn’t work with any of my vampires.
    • The ability to cause plagues, epidemics, crop failures and the deaths of livestock.
    • PROTECTION:  Methods of protection differ from region to region and country to country, but some of the most common means of securing safety are listed below:
      • Thorns:  Considered to be magical barriers against vampires and witches.
      • Calling three times:  In Romanian lore it was believed that one should never answer someone unless they call three times, because it was said that vampires can only ask a question twice. If someone answers a vampire, the vampire has the power to kill them.  (This sounds like a “Beetlejuice” variation!)
      • Lemon: In Saxony in Germany, a lemon was placed in the mouth of suspected vampires.
      • Bread and cheese:  Among some Slavic Gypsies, offerings of bread and cheese were made to appease vampires. In Transylvania wine was buried with bodies for the same purpose.
      • Holly, hawthorn, and wild rose are all said to harm vampires.
      • SNEEZING:  There are numerous widespread folk beliefs that the soul temporarily leaves the body through the mouth during a sneeze and is therefore vulnerable to the forces of evil. Sneezing creates an opportunity for evil entities to enter the body through the mouth and take possession of it. In the folklore of Romania, sneezing can attract or empower a vampire unless a blessing is given immediately after.
      • SOCK:  According the lore of the Gypsies from Eastern Europe, the left sock of a vampire can be used to drive it away or even kill it. Vampire hunters steal the sock from the grave, fill it with rocks, and throw it outside the village, preferably into a river or running water. The vampire will then wake up, miss its sock, and start searching for it, even if that means entering the water and drowning in an attempt to retrieve it. Like the use of seeds and grain to distract the vampire into counting for centuries, this is based on the widespread belief that vampires are obsessive creatures. (Why the hunters just didn’t stake the vampire instead of stealing its sock just doesn’t make sense, but this is all myth, right?)
      • VISION:  The eyes of vampires are often described as hellish and hypnotic and able to paralyze victims. They may also turn blood red when the vampire begins to feed. The superb night vision of vampires isn’t explained or even mentioned in folklore but it is implied, as generally the vampire of folklore is a nocturnal creature. (My vampires’ eyes turn red not when they want to feed, but when their sexually aroused.)

And last, but not least, is this one!

  • WATERMELONS:  Among the Muslim Gypsies of Yugoslavia, watermelons like pumpkins, could become vampires, especially if they had teeth and had been kept for more than ten days or for too long after Christmas. Stained with drops of blood, these not very deadly or threatening vampires roll around making growling sounds, for no other reason than to irritate the living. (Yep, fanged watermelons rolling around the ground certainly would irritate me!)

All these interesting facts are from The Element Encyclopedia of Vampires by Theresa Cheung and I hope you have enjoyed learning a few new things about vampire folklore, myths and legends.

EXCERPT FOR A VAMPIRE IN PARIS:

Merde! Vous avez rompu son coeur. Vous, vous êtes un vampire.” Inching off the sofa, she leaned forward, and then stood. “Julli told me everything.”

“Calm down. She told you I’m a vampire and I broke her heart? What else did she tell you?”

“You speak French. Oh mon Dieu!” She stared at him with intense green eyes. “I’m not telling you anything, nothing! You are a monster and addicted her to you creatures! You did this to her!” Camille lunged at him with the flower vase she picked up from the coffee table.

Dodging the arm clasping the crystal glass container filled with roses and cloudy water, his reactions were too fast for her to recover. He grabbed one of her flailing arms as she stumbled, losing balance, and ready to crash head first onto the hardwood floors.

“Don’t touch me!” She struggled to release his embrace, but he held on tight.

“Would you rather me let you fall on your face? I could do that easily. No skin off my back.”

“No!”

With a wicked grin of arrogance, he gazed down at the pleading pale face. He pulled her upright and turned her to face him. The glowing emerald eyes staring back amused him, he smiled inwardly recognizing the tell-tale sign of dilated pupils, lust clearly reflected back. He inhaled deeply. Bloody bollocks! The woman has lusty thoughts. He instantly knew the arousal she felt was a natural reaction and nothing his vampire powers created. His cock got impossibly hard from being in such close proximity to her and this wasn’t the vampire beast begging for release.

Fuck she smells incredible, like freesia and honeysuckle. The fresh scent, only that of a woman he lusted after could make him lose the willpower to pounce on her right then. Something about this female made all logic leave his brain, something he couldn’t explain. Her mind wasn’t guarded any longer and he read every carnal thought running through her mind. And she turned him on. He struggled to compose himself.

“It’s better than being seduced by a…a blood pusher.” Her voice cracked getting the words out.

“A what?” The brow pulled together in a frown as he wrapped his large hands around each arm, holding her still. “Listen Madam, I didn’t get her hooked on anything and I’m not a pusher. She came to me already enjoying the pleasures of us creatures, as you like to call me. Your niece left me by the way, so if anyone should be heartbroken, it would be me.”

Camille’s breathing increased, her heart raced, and he sensed them both. “That is not what she told me. You don’t have a heart. You only use people for your own satisfaction. Let me go!” She twisted and turned to wrangle from his grip. “What do you want, my blood?”

For the first time since meeting this fiery woman, he was intrigued. Here was a strong, intelligent woman, and for an older woman, she was no Doris. As a matter of fact, she was very attractive and under any other circumstances he would not be attracted to. Most women succumbed to his touch, his good looks, and his charm. Not this little vixen. She could be a royal pain in the derriere to any man who took interest. Except, Camille du Bassin possessed a quality he wanted to explore and more than her blood. Attention shifted to the pulsing vein in her neck. “No, don’t flatter yourself, sweetheart.”

“Don’t presume to know me and call me sweetheart.” Her eyes flashed and the color grew a darker green. “I won’t become one of your blood whores.”

Ramsey’s attention refocused on Camille’s face. A grin widened on his face. “I could say the same. I’m particular about the women I take from and you’re not my type, claret or sex.” He swept an arm around her waist. “I can find any woman on the streets more than eager to quench my thirst, any night of the week and any time I desire. I don’t need you.”

Over the years, he’d played the game of cat and mouse with many women, but none amused him more than this little one. As he breathed in her intoxicating scent, his body and brain went into hunter mode. He wanted to shag her, no needed to fuck hard and feed ravenously, so said his aching fangs and cock, over-riding all sane thought. One night is all he required, or a few hours worked just as well to sate his hunger. His elongated incisors pricked the bottom of his lip. The coppery taste of blood tantalizing his tongue caused his desire to increase. The scent of blood flowed through her veins, titillating his nose. The touch of her skin caused his cock to twitch in his jeans.

Something indefinable in Camille’s expression drew Ramsey as he turned attention to her parted mouth. An element of desire and defiance in the way she held herself sparked a red-hot challenge to the vampire security investigator to force the older woman’s submission.

Her chin tilted up just a fraction, and Ramsey almost laughed with delight at the defiant way she played the game so well.

“Maybe that eez true, but I do not need you either. I’d rather sell my soul than let you have your way weeth me.” She squirmed and fought to break his embrace.

Ramsey noted that her eyes widened as she verbally assaulted him. He sensed the fear that had begun to edge her demeanor, brought to the surface by the knowledge of who and what he was. For a moment, he stared into fascinatingly beautiful deep emerald eyes contrasted against pale skin and soft light-colored red hair. What he caught a glimpse of within sent lust rushing over him instantly. Earlier in the evening, he’d not given much conscious thought to the woman other than she was Giselle’s aunt, and a royal pain in the arse. But obviously his body had a mind of its own because he now wanted her fiercely, the power over his libido became hard to tamp down.

Full lips curved into a smile and a tongue slipped out to wet them. “I could probably arrange that, but you will resign yourself to me sweetheart. Eventually, but not this time,” he murmured wickedly.

Suddenly without another thought, Ramsey dropped his head and possessed the luscious lips, curling a hand around the tightly wound strawberry blonde chignon. Taking what he wanted this moment, tasting the sweetness of strong defiance in the woman’s kiss. He thrust his tongue between her lips, his determined hands found and then cupped her cheeks. A moan filled his mouth along with the sound of her heart beat resounding in his ears.

The sound of a fast and furious pace of desire roared loud and clear in her thoughts, the same seductiveness tugged on his insides like never before, at least not this strong. He pulled free from her lips and stumbled away, surprised by the sensation. Had this temptress with the impossibly green eyes bewitched him?

Ramsey’s heart skipped. Bloody bollocks, it skipped? He couldn’t remember the last time any woman made him react like that, not even Giselle. Or maybe, the impulsive kiss came from weakness with the dawn nearing.

“You dare challenge me, woman? You don’t understand who you’re dealing with.” He fought the desire to have this woman’s blood and sex this minute. Crikey! What am I thinking? I like my women young, sexy, and very blonde. Not…not anything like this woman.

But, something about Camille du Bassin, something so different and so desirable, unlike any human or vampire woman he’d ever known, piqued his interest.

A sucker for green eyes, he wasn’t usually crazy about red heads or older women either, but he could make an exception for this one. She had fire in her belly representing a temptation intriguing and forbidden. He’d have Camille if for nothing more than to win the challenge over her insufferable defiance. The desire to have dominion over the woman had nothing to do with liking her, but everything to do with pure, unadulterated lust.

“I know enough. You can’t seduce me, bend me to your will or leave one mark on me because I’ll fight you.”

Ramsey grinned. “Hmm, we’ll see. But the hour is late. I have to go.” He turned and took a couple steps and added, “Until tomorrow night, mademoiselle.”

As he reached the front door and opened to leave, he heard her call out from behind, “Never. You’ll never have me.”

With a quick glance over his shoulder, he said, “We’ll see. I know your type, Camille. Our night together will be soon.” A grin curled his lips as he waited for a reaction.

She grabbed her handbag, and squeezed between him and the doorframe stepping into the hallway. For a split second she hesitated before glancing over her shoulder, and hissed, “Casse-toi.”

He laughed and closed the door. “Fuck off. Now that was real lady-like, Mademoiselle du Bassin.”

 

For more information, visit my BLOG or WEBSITE. All my books are available from Secret Cravings Publishing and all retailers—Amazon, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble, and Bookstrand

Cynthia Arsuaga

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