Today, I want to share a guest post I once penned for Embrace the Shadows.
Vampires: Monsters Or Heartthrobs?
I’m so excited to be today’s guest blogger at Embrace the Shadows! To be honest, I’m also a bit nervous. It’s a great honor to be invited to speak to someone else’s audience, but along with that honor comes a tremendous amount of pressure. Everyone at Embrace the Shadows has entrusted you to my care, and I’ll be darned if I’m going to make them regret that decision. Plus, they’ve threatened me with bodily harm if I fail.
So here goes …
(By the way, the part about threatening me with bodily harm is untrue … or perhaps it’s the voices in my head. Nevertheless, no one at Embrace the Shadows threatened me—explicitly or implicitly—with anything. In fact, they didn’t even wish me good luck. Now that I think about it, I’ve never actually communicated with any of these people. Am I even supposed to be here? Is this all a dream? What does it all mean?)
But, seriously, I am quite happy to be here.
I’ve known for a few weeks that I was scheduled to write this blog. Well, not this blog—I mean, who has that kind of foresight?—but a blog for this site. So, anyway … my approach to guest blogging is fairly straightforward: first, I find out if the site has any guidelines pertaining to guest blogs; then I spend as much time as possible doing research—reading through blog posts and comments, trying to get an overall “feel” for the site while everything sort of percolates through the gray matter; and finally, I pray that inspiration strikes.
With a system like that, crafting a guest blog can be a pretty smooth process.
In fact, I haven’t seen the other side yet—you know, when it’s the night before the blog is due and I’m staring at a blank computer screen, wondering why the writing gods have forsaken me—which isn’t a testament to my creative prowess, by any means. Some of the credit goes to the fact that I haven’t been asked to write many guest blogs, so the law of averages (or something similar) is on my side. Much of the credit, however, goes to the blog owners and their fans. There’s always so much interaction, so much energy created, that I can’t help but find inspiration.
I was pleasantly surprised by my experience for this blog post. Oh, I did the usual research, but a seed had been planted the second I saw the blog name. Embrace the Shadows. Who couldn’t find inspiration in that? It sent the thoughts careening in all sorts of directions. All I had to do was allow that seed time to germinate and then somehow harness those careening thoughts into something coherent.
Embrace the shadows.
The concept resonated with me. Of course, you can’t physically embrace shadows. I should know, as I spent the better part of one night trying—quite unsuccessfully, I assure you—to do just that. All I got for my efforts was a visit from a police officer. It seems a concerned citizen reached out on my behalf. I never embraced a shadow, but I did come within a whisker of a free night’s stay at the local precinct.
In retrospect, I should have immediately realized that “embrace the shadows” was a metaphysical, not a physical, concept … but heck, a strip search (totally warranted, given the circumstances of my arrest, and performed in the most dignified manner possible, as stated in the waiver I signed as a condition of my release) and a few bumps and bruises are a trifle when compared to my transgressions. Besides, that’s why hindsight is twenty-twenty, right?
Anyway, once I realized I could embrace shadows in a spiritual sense, things really started coming together. I knew what the theme of my blog was going to be. I just needed a vehicle to help with delivery.
Enter Twitter, stage right.
A few weeks ago, a question began circulating through the small community I’m a part of. The wording was different, but the gist of it was this: do you prefer your vampires as angelic lovethings or monstrous bloodsuckers?
The question originated at a blog, so I dropped by and left a short comment. My wording was different, but the gist of it was this: I embrace the shadows.
While some of you are nodding your heads and admiring my wit, others are shaking theirs and muttering (a la Bugs Bunny), “What a maroon.”
If that reference is lost on you, watch this:
Yet, I speak the truth. When it comes to vampires—in particular, when it comes to my vampires—I do embrace the shadows. You see, I want my vampires to be awesome and savage. I want them to be violent, virulent, and vitriolic. I want them to inspire fear, kick proverbial a$$, and take what they want.
But the heroes in my novels are vampires. Teen vampires, to boot.
So, what gives?
Well, you see, I am embracing the shadows. Shadows hide things. Monsters lurk in shadows. People are afraid of walking into shadows. Yet, aren’t shadows simply projected images of something else—images that are similar to, but not quite perfect copies of, the original?
So, my heroes are vampires and my monsters are væmpires, because væmpires used to be vampires … before something caused them to mutate into bigger, stronger, faster versions of their former selves.
With a hunger for cold vampire blood.
You see, shadows can also be gray areas. Not pitch dark, but certainly not light—somewhere in the middle. I want vampires to be monstrous, but a lot of people—writers and fans alike—disagree. They insist on humanizing vampires. So, if vampires are going to be human-like … then I believe vampires should experience what it’s like to be human in a world full of monsters.
What it’s like to be prey.
You can read the results in my novels. A word of warning: they’re not for the faint of heart. As one reviewer put it, væmpires is like “vampires meets X-Men meets The Walking Dead.”
I can live with that.