I made a Guest Blog Post on Simply Infatuated.
Here’s a peek:
In Communion, the group has to get Lester to drink human blood in order to awaken his dhampir abilities. Getting someone to drink blood at random is pretty tough, so the group puts it in his drink. Here’s the scene:
“So, Lester, Roman makes this drink called a Bloody Stake. I normally don’t take mine with alcohol. But if alcohol’s your thing, his dad has a wide selection.”
I saw the chance Gwynn gave me and took it. “How about I take my first one without and— depending on where the night goes—we’ll see.”
“But…” I began.
I tried to think of a graceful way to say I’d prefer to be around Roman when he made the drinks.
Gwynn laughed. “You still don’t trust us?”
“I never said that.”
“But you felt it.”
I shrugged. I wasn’t sure what to think of her knowing how I felt.
“Let’s head to the kitchen so you can watch Roman work.”
Roman reached into the freezer and pulled out a pre-made Bloody Mary mix with a TGI Friday’s
“Better rinse out the glasses in case Lester suspects there’s some roofie residue at the bottom.”
Roman shot Brent an annoyed glance but did so.
I sat down at the kitchen table, deciding that my presence would be enough to dissuade any mischief. And just in case, I still glanced over at Roman making the drinks every now and then. When he added some tabasco sauce, I figured maybe it was better I didn’t know the ingredients.
Gwynn and Brent were talking easily amongst themselves. They’d broken up months ago, but I wondered if there were still lingering feelings.
“Here you go.”
Roman passed me a cup. Its contents looked like cherry Kool-Aid. The four of us toasted to nothing in particular. I sipped. Then my eyebrows jumped from the sweetness hitting my tongue and I quickly downed the rest.
“That was great!”
Want to make your on Bloody Stake? Check out the recipe on Simply Infatuated.
My first week jitters are gone and just in time:
Today is the first day of Communion’s blog tour.
You can catch a introduction to myself here on the Fangtastic Book Blog . (Make sure you enter to win the $30 Amazon gift card while you’re there!)
And, if you’re tired of hearing me go on and on about how great Communion here, you can read someone else say it is too. Check out Sabina’s blog.
Tomorrow is the big day and I am STOKED.
I’ve spent the past week and a half on overdrive and I’ll finally get to see the fruits of my labor.
OR WILL I?
Tomorrow is the first day of MANY years that Communion will be available to the world. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be a stellar first day that proves to everyone I’m going to be a successful writer. In fact, most people who buy Communion tomorrow will be you faithful readers of this blog and friends I’ve met since becoming more active on the internet.
More readers and fans won’t come until later, some of them much later than tomorrow. Despite all my blogging and tweeting and commenting, the internet is a big place. It’ll be a LONG time before even a fraction of the internet knows Communion even exists, let alone considers buying it.
TOMORROW IS THE FIRST STEP
At this point, I’m getting tired of first steps. I thought planning the novel was it, then writing the first page, then revising it. But no, all of that was just the warm-up. Tomorrow, I cross the line from being unpublished to published. I’m out there. There’s a chance that strangers I’ve never met before will find me and come to know who I am (or what I say of in my ABOUT section).
But just like novel-writing is a marathon that took a great deal of time to complete, so is a successful writing career. Regardless of how well or how terrible Communion does tomorrow or even this month, I have to keep pushing on. I have many more books to write. Maybe I’ll see a return on my time and money invested with this first book. Maybe not until the third. Either way, I have to keep writing.
SOMEONE IS GOING TO DISLIKE THIS BOOK
Actually, I can think of at least 3 people who told me Communion wasn’t their cup of tea. All three were older (30+) women, which is completely outside of my target audience. Two of these three said they liked my writing style and want to see more work for me, but Communion wasn’t it for them.
There are going to be others who aren’t so nice. All of the greatest books I’ve ever read have 1-star reviews. Sometimes I read those reviews and think, “there’s no way this guy read the same book I did.” Regardless, it is what it is. You can’t please everyone.
So, I’ve spent the past two weeks going over Communion in my head, scene by scene, trying to predict what people will dislike. I’ve done calculations in my head to come up with how much I need to sale to become a full-time writer.
But enough is enough. The world gets its first taste of my dhampir tomorrow. I won’t sit back and wait. Instead I begin a month of aggressive marketing (release day party, blog tour, tweets, etc.). I’ve been watching the book market for over a year now, waiting for my chance to compete. Tomorrow, I enter the fray.
I need to a break from the marketing madness and spamming my Twitter account (it’s only for the next few weeks, I promise).
Did anyone see last night’s episode of Sleepy Hollow?
I’m still not sure how I feel about the show. I LIKE Ichabod and Abbie’s chemistry. And I LIKE Ichabod’s dialogue and overall wit. But there show has a very unrealistic feel to it. So many broken rules in regard to police policy. And there are other factors that seem kind of absurd, like the fact Ichabod is still wearing his 18th century gear.
As long as my Monday evening Criminal Justice class continues to let out early, I’ll keep watching it.
Excited for Agents of Shield to start tonight.
Pft, what else is there to say?
Communion is now on Goodreads.
So, anyone else see Sleepy Hollow?
And I know you’re all excited for Agents of Shield, right?
Ok you guys,
So in addition to a blog tour, I also ordered a release day party.
C’mon. It’s my debut. For my first novel to the world EVER.
I just wanna have some fun 🙂
If you’re interested in hosting, you can sign up HERE.
Please and thank you’s,
Back to our main question: How do authors get us to root for these malicious creatures of the night who feed on human blood?
Well, what if they don’t feed on human blood?
Below is a list of alternate food sources vampires have used in popular vampires book and television series.
Human blood (but from a blood bank): Damon in Vampire Diaries (the TV version) does this.
Animal blood: In Twilight and in Vampire Diaries (book and TV series). In Vampire Diaries, animal blood can sustain vampires but isn’t as gratifying or empowering as human blood.
Synthetic Blood: Bill Compton in True Blood.
Symbiotic feeding: Shori in Fledgling by Octavia Butler. This one in particular is rather interesting. The “vampires” (called “Ina”) in this novel need human blood for nourishment. However, humans feel an intense euphoric sensation when they are fed on. Being bitten by a Moroi or Strigoi in Vampire Academy is similar, but in Fledgling the feedings heal human wounds and increase their lifespan.
No Alternatives in Communion
Sorry, but my dhampir don’t get to cop out. In Communion, my dhampir are powered by something inside of them called vampiric essence. They still eat regular food for the sake of the human part of them. But their vampiric essence requires human blood. Feeding on goats and rabbits won’t give them their superhuman abilities, which is what most of my characters are after.
Those are all my notes on Vampire Morality. Let me know if there’s any other alternatives to human blood I left out or if there’s any other aspects of Vampire Morality I should explore.
Thanks for reading.
Also see: Vampire Morality: The Need to Feed
Very few people want to cheer for a villain. And that’s how bloodsucking vampires are traditionally seen.
But somewhere in the literary evolution of the monster, vampires have become heroes. But how can a creature who feeds on innocent people be seen as heroic?
It’s not so bad if they don’t feed on the innocent, right?
Lestat, the central character of Anne Rice’s novels, one day decides he’s only gonna feed on criminals. In the readers mind, this isn’t so bad. Why, it’s even heroic! Good for Lestat for taking the law into his own hand and making those fiends suffer. Ever see the show Dexter? Dexter Morgan, the homicidal murderer with a sense of justice primarily kills other criminals, and we all love him.
I’ve mentioned before Anne Rice’s vampires even save the world in Queen of the Damned. But as soon as the threat is over, Lestat and the others return to murdering at least one human a night, reclaiming their status as the top predator of the human race. These vampires even create an island for themselves filled with high art and luxury shopping centers to draw humans in. But as long as their only feeding on criminals, who cares right?
One of the most consistent traits of a vampire, regardless of who is writing them is “the thirst.” The penalty for disobeying this ranges from fatigue to psychotic episodes. With an urge so powerful, it’s almost noble for a vampire to limit their diet to the people we don’t want in society.
What if the vampires don’t have a thirst?
In Communion, I play around with morality a lot. For one, I remove the THIRST for human blood. My Dhampir still require human blood to use their superhuman abilities. But, rather than having a thirst that would constantly drives them to feed, each of my Dhampir makes a conscious choice rather or not they will feed on a human.
As I mentioned in the previous post, some authors escape this problem by having their vampires not feed on human blood at all. In my next post, I look at other alternate food sources authors have used.
(P.S. In this post, I refer to criminals in a sarcastic, crass manner. Let’s remember everybody, vampires aren’t real. And, if they were, any lives they take (whether innocent or criminal) would be a problem.)
Vampires have always been associated with evil. Remember that Dracula guy? Yeah, he was the villain of the novel titled after him.
But, somewhere along the lines, vampires became heroes and/or anti-heroes. In Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned, a group of vampires even save the world! Albeit, from another vampire… who the main character was romantically linked to…
But forget about that. How can a writer get readers to cheer for a creature that should be repulsed and hated by all?
While there are some readers who enjoy reading a story centered on a villain’s criminal pursuits, most readers want to follow the tale of someone more noble.
Hence, we have the moral vampire readers can side with.
Anne Rice does this wonderfully. In Interview with a Vampire, Louis is our hero. He is the fledgling vampire who is determined not to feed on human blood. Louis is turned by Lestat, a loathsome vampire who takes joy in killing and sometimes tutoring humans.
The same Lestat is the “hero” of the other Vampire Chronicle books by Anne Rice. We are told by Louis that Lestat is a most detestable creature and aren’t shown many redeeming qualities. Lestat’s one good deed of ensuring his human father has a roof over his head is counterbalanced by the frequent verbal abuse Lestat gives him.
When we get Lestat’s side of the story, he claims he is a very moral person and only feeds on humans who are criminals. But even he admits he’s not what we’d think of as a hero. His choice not to follow what Marius tells him unleashes the villain who jeopardizes the entire world in Queen of the Damned.
As I’m doing another round of edits on Communion before sending it to an editor, I’m carefully considering the actions of my dhampir. I present my protagonists as likable but each dhampir can CHOOSE whether or not to give into their vampiric needs. Morally ambiguous situations arise, and the reader is left to make the judgment themselves.
My next few posts will be on some of the morally gray lines that are frequent in the vampire genre and common ways they are handled.
Check them out:
There’s a lot of diversity within the vampire genre. Every author who writes about the creatures of the night is expected to do something unique to make theirs stand out. There’s no one RIGHT way to use vampires.
However, no matter how many vampire fans I talk to, there seems to be one constant WRONG way, and that is to have your vampires sparkle in the daylight.
I admit, as a guy, sparkly vampires wouldn’t be my first choice for distinctive traits. But whenever I run into something that is constantly ridiculed it gets me thinking. And when I get to thinking, I get to writing, and then…
I bet you I can take something as LAME as sparkly vampires and make them totally badass. Check out my free Wattpad story Sparkle to see if I lived up to the challenge.