Anne Rice

“As we move on year by year in this life, we learn that telling doesn’t necessarily purge; telling something is merely a reliving, and it’s a torment.”

–          Anne Rice, Blood Canticle

When I was thirteen years old I picked up my first Anne Rice book, Interview with the Vampire. And I knew then, as clearly as know now that the sun will rise each day, I wanted to be like her. I wanted to write vampire novels, and I wanted to write vampire novels where the vampire is so near to human that they suffer from human weaknesses, driven by human emotions, both vast and petty. But also, I wanted to write vampire novels that made others feel the way hers made me feel, like the supernatural could exist. Like vampires are not just restricted to myth and hype, intended to tantalize and unnerve us.

I read that first novel in the Vampire Chronicles series nearly twelve years ago. I was a typical teenager – angst-ridden, and certain that I was alone in the world. Her descriptions mesmerised me, I felt certain that what she wrote could not have simply been pulled from the air, from the annals of imagination. It must have been a product of experience. The characters she moulded could only have been drawn from reality, from something palpable. This sensation stayed with me through each and every one of her vampire chronicles, right through to Blood Canticle. When I outline a character, it is to the words of Anne Rice that I turn for inspiration, not to compare and recreate, but to garner inspiration.

It has been asked of many people, including this famed author, what the intrigue is surrounding vampires in society at present. And the answers seem varied. But one thing does seem clear; vampires are an excellent means to explore taboos that one would normally steer as far from as possible. The vampire, it has been theorised, is a symbol of the outsider that every individual senses inside of themselves at some point in their lives. As such, readers can sympathise with the plight of the vampire, but is the vampire not a monster? Not quite. It is apparent, when we explore vampire literature, that the vampire has become almost human in its portrayals. And, intriguingly, this is what makes such a figure more terrifying than most.

It is the thought that the vampire can manipulate, seduce, and then destroy that piques the interest of readers. Well, it certainly piques my interest, and has done so for over twelve years of my life.

After I read Interview with the Vampire, I virtually devoured the following eleven books, constantly using the words I lapped off the page as a means to carry me through my days. I was always in love with at least one of her many enigmatic characters, never certain which one I found to be the most perfectly crafted. I switched frequently between the breath-taking madness of Armand and Louis’s sweet sadness. Sometimes, I even found Marius’s constant nature to be more of a lure than any of the others. But I always returned to Lestat.

“It was as if the empty nights were made for thinking of him. And sometimes I found myself so vividly aware of him it was as if he had only just left the room and the ring of his voice were still there. And somehow, there was a disturbing comfort in that, and, despite myself, I’d envision his face.”

–          Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire

Lestat de Lioncourt. Who has to be the most complete of literary creations. From the desperate recitation of his personal history in The Vampire Lestat, trying to repair the damage done to his name by his beloved Louis, attempting to draw out his old compatriots, to the self-assured lord (still carrying his childish, naughty streak) in Blood Canticle, Anne Rice imagined a daring character. With each new book told in Lestat’s own words, the reader felt as though they were falling into a much-loved rhythm, embracing an old friend after months apart.

But, back to the topic of taboos. One element that I have always found both enticing and freeing about The Vampire Chronicles is the security of intimacy. The fact that affection is not limited to gender. That the vampires which are her creations are not restricted by sex and deviancy. I loved then, and still do, the idea that vampires are not bound by sexual attraction as they have ascended past such physical constraints.

But I do believe that many people (those that have read the books but fail to truly comprehend them) still cannot come to terms with the notion. To this day, homophobes and individuals bent simply on bashing Anne Rice’s genius accuse her of rampant sexual deviancy in her novels, as well as labelling all her characters under the flag of ‘homosexual,’ as though it were some dirty word.

Firstly, how can a creature be homosexual if it is no longer bound by sexual drives? And secondly, so what? Characters in the novels deliberate often over the virtues of men and women. Occasionally the conclusion is in favour of one or the other sex, but it still stands that preference over a single one does not make them. They adhere to beauty. And, as the author describes it, for her vampires, beauty is a fluid thing. For a creature that can see the tiniest of imperfections and is lost in the most miniscule of adequacies, beauty can be found in everything.

“If I am an angel, paint me with black wings.”

–          Anne Rice, The Vampire Armand

In short, Anne Rice’s vampires revolutionised the monstrosity of these creatures, illustrating how their nightmarish qualities could also be considered their most poignant charms. If I can evoke even a fraction of the emotion in my readers as what her novels drew from me, I will be thrilled and ecstatic.

Lafaeyette


The Versatile Blogger Award

A nice surprise for the day – Thank you, Lily Wight for this. It is really motivating to see that others enjoy the silliness that traipses through our heads as much as we do 🙂 You are a darling!

Another fifteen truly spectacular blogs:

Walking in Shadow

Darkwriter Writings

Tornadoday

Simple Pleasures

Robin Coyle

M.S. Fowle

Ramblings of Everything

Thoughtsinblogform

Theanonyblogger

Bornoutofbourbon

Push Me Farther

Five Reflections

The Harem’s Master

Dean J. Baker

A Faded Romantic’s Notebook

Seven things about myself?

Well, I shall tell you about myself and add in Herrflic’s info when he wakes up 🙂

1. I love vampires (okay, maybe that wasn’t a stretch of the imagination),

2. I owned an Aqua CD when I was young (very, very young),

3. My parents bred Rottweiler pups when I was young and I grew up around these big, loveable mutts,

4. I am, in fact, a catholic schoolgirl,

5. My favourite band is H.I.M,

6. I teach English to high school children, and

7. I am a Grammar Nazi (only a little).

 

Lafaeyette

Sanguinem Emere: Bought in Blood

QUERY:

She lost everything when she was taken, while he lost everything to find her, and that’s before things turned supernatural.

A wealthy heir to a flagging, multinational super-corporation is abducted from a seedy bar in the worst part of town, her feet covered in blood without a memory of what brought her there. A down-on-his-luck alcoholic detective sees it happen while in hiding from his estranged wife, the events all too similar to the case that has haunted his career. In captivity, everything she has ever known will fall apart. In finding her, his life will tumble into disarray, as he uncovers the Templeton Family Empire’s darkest secret. A secret Bought in Blood.

BOUGHT IN BLOOD is a 92, 000 word Adult Fantasy.

 

BIOGRAPHY:

Richard Wheeler is a final year Creative Writing student, Freelance Copywriter, and Online Entrepreneur, while Carmen Taxer is a professional editor and freelance copywriter with an Honours Degree in Translation and Professional Writing. Both have a strong online presence, having been at the mercy of the blogger virus, and together they form a team of vampire fanatics, bent on returning the image of the vampire to its former romantic and terrifying glory.

 

FIRST 250 WORDS:

“Come on!”

“Wait, stop. We really need to talk-” Her words are cut-off by a sizzling crack as the flaming roof-strut gives in with a groan. The house is, by now, well on its way to an unstoppable inferno, the blaze from the cellar hungrily licking at the roof and support structure.

“What? Now?! Come on!” His vision swims in the encroaching smoke, his breath strains through clenched teeth, and his hand grips firmly on her upper arm. He starts off, but she will not budge. She seems rooted to the spot.

“Would you like to die here?!” He hisses.

Memories of the evening’s events uncurl in her mind as she absently rubs her blood-covered hands over the front of the torn and ruined towel draped around her, the only defence between her remaining modesty and the outside world. Suddenly she sets off toward the door, slipping like water from his grasp, her feet light. With a curse, he sets out after her.

 Resounding with skittering and wheezing, the house is consumed. Along with all that occurred there.

 

Prologue

Blood. There will always be blood.

The sky opens up gingerly enough for the pale moon to lance through, but not to completely abate the incessant autumn rain.

Blood. It runs though him and over him. The sting of the precipitation in his eyes caressing the red haze over his vision as he stirs spasmodically, his crimson streaked hand reaching painfully slowly to his face, his jaw carefully unclenching.


Because the vampire cat is so last season…

This has been bugging me… How exactly does a vampire drink blood? Yes, yes, I know… fangs pierce skin and arteries, arteries expel blood into vampire’s mouth, vampire is fed and content… Fine. But how?

1.       Are a vampire’s fangs curved?

The simple physiology of a vampire is already difficult enough to wrap a rational mind around. If a vampire, with curved fangs, were to bite into a victim’s throat, would the fangs not cause a large deal of damage AND most likely be in the way of any blood? If the vampire’s fangs are not curved, one still has to consider that the fangs would hinder any decent flow of blood.

2.       Do the vampire’s fangs distend?

Are they always out or do they need to be forced out? The latter sounds painful. I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be, such action would have to alter the jaw structure to accommodate the regrowth of fangs on a regular basis. And if they do distend rather than being pre-existing, how does this occur? Like a snake’s which folds out? If so, what happens to the teeth that are replaced? If the fangs are an oddity, then surely so would be two weird, hillbilly gaps where one’s eyeteeth should be…

3.       Are a vampire’s fangs hollow?

I have asked this question before and people offered this as a solution – A vampire’s fangs could be hollow like the proboscis of a mosquito. Eeuw. Just eeuw. Although it does make sense, but if they are hollow, where do the hollows open up to? Into a gland? Then we’re back to changing the jaw structure of the vampire. And besides, vampires are always described as appreciating the taste of blood. If the blood is carried straight from a tube in the fangs to a gland in the palette and then into the system, when do they ever get an opportunity to savour the taste?

4.       Do vampires simply bite and release?

Hmm. If this were the case, vampires would be supremely messy, spilling blood all over the victim from an open wound. Can you imagine?

She smells like violets and heat, blended together in an aroma of perfumed hunger. My fangs slip into her throat and in my haste to sample the ambrosia coursing through her, I retreat minutely, desperate to extract my fangs for the taste of her on my tongue. As I release her, the force pulsing through her veins bursts forth and… Oh God! My eye!

5.       Do vampires have fangs at all?

Sacrilege!

None of these options sounds particularly appealing or logical to me. I am a traditionalist at heart. Vampires must have fangs. Vampires DO NOT use a proboscis or teeth that vaguely resemble a proboscis.

I suppose vampire fangs could distend… They do in True Blood, don’t they? With that eerie, audible click like a snake? But then again the vampires in True Blood also growl and hiss on occasion… I will never understand that. Vampires don’t hiss. Why would they? If anyone can explain this strange ‘hissing vampire’ phenomenon to me I would appreciate it.

Vampires are not cats.

Sometimes I miss reading vampire novels as an amateur vampire enthusiast. It never seemed to matter what the logistics were back then. Vampire bites human. Human bleeds. Happy vampire. I miss that. Anne Rice’s vampires were that simple to understand and I appreciated it. What was inexplicable for whatever reason was left down to mysticism or possible science which has not yet been investigated as no vampire would be stupid enough to allow it to occur. Personally, I don’t put much stock in mysticism. I don’t even like the word. I prefer things that can be explained (to an extent) with some semblance of rationale and the scientific method.

This particular vampire science is somewhat extreme for me, but it does illustrate some of the inherent problems.

But I do have a theory. Perhaps vampires do have curved fangs? And the curvature is there with a purpose, not because it looks awesome. Perhaps the curvature is intended to manipulate flesh and create a pocket where blood will collect and ooze out at a more sedate pace? Thus the vampire is not forced to remove his fangs and can still drink with little to no difficulty, no spillage to sully the meal. The fangs do not need to retract in the same manner in which a cat’s canines do not need to retract… Uh oh… Don’t get any funny ideas…. Vampires are still not cats.

Although, I have been wrong before :/ And according to this guy, I am now: http://thatotherperv.livejournal.com/145992.html

Lafaeyette

What makes a great Vampire?

With the explosion of vampire fiction bombarding us from every direction, going from Meyeristic sparkle to Burtonesque camp, from Coppolidian veritas to Ricean evolution, what is it about vampires that pulls in our imagination? What is it that makes a great vampire in modern mainstream media?

The list of fictive vampires that would encompass this criteria can be exhaustive, so a measure of measuring criteria would need to be established before any meaningful result can be ascertained. In short, we would need to define the meaning of ‘great’ in this context. Could it be the popularity of the character? If so, then dear Edward Cullen might have what it takes to be great, even with that unfortunate skin condition. Is it a closeness to the founding myths of our favourite nightstalkers that needs key consideration? Then perhaps Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula could have a seat at this table, hairy palms and all.

As that line of reasoning is not really getting us anywhere, could we propose an alternative measure in this conflict? Reading the recently stumbled upon great article by psychologist Dr. Belisa Vranich in the Huffinton post (the fact that the article has been there since 2010 is moderately irrelevant) that documents her 10 reasons why we love vampires, we can have a clear benchmark for our late great fictive escape.

These 10 reasons breathe understanding into the phenomenon hitherto-unseen to date to my mind, and should form the basis for our exploration into vampire fiction.

After reading that article, how many vampires un-live up to your expectations now?

Herrflic

The psychology of vampirism

When I was a child I developed an obsession (what some would call a dangerous fetish): an unwavering love for vampires. And I did not fall into any category either. If there was any implication that something drank blood and had fangs, I was enamoured. It started out innocently enough, frequently I would sit in front of the television in anticipation of those cartoons and kids’ shows I most favoured and secretly hope for a Halloween special or the hint of something bloody to titillate my fear. But really, it was not the sensation of terror I was after, but rather the squirming rush that bound itself to my fear, the liquid warmth that would make my mind flurry with unthinkable opportunities.

It began in innocence, as all such things do. A crush on a boy. Granted, a boy with fangs… A fictional boy… A boy who drinks blood… But a boy nonetheless. A man that harboured a dark secret; the desire to drink human blood. A hero, really. Someone who fought his nature, tried to remain on the beaten path, tried to tow the line. It started with the Angel’s and Louis’s of the world. It stemmed from the need to love something that does not want to be loved. Lust after something that hints at the vaguest possibility of danger. Something, or someone, that could eventually tear the fragile, human body apart in passionate abandon.

The obsession grew from a simple love for a simple vampire with complex motives and notions. The precursor to Edward Cullen, really. I’m terribly sorry to break this to you, Twilight fans, but your Edward is not an original concept. In all vampire tales there is one. The vampire with a soul, the vampire with human passions, the vegetarian vampire, the man that hates his own monstrous nature and seeks to change it.

When we’re young, this appeals to us, no doubt. We crave the danger of vampirism and we want to dip our toes in that pool ever so gently, trying not to stir the monsters beneath the surface, trying not to get too wet, swirling our feet in misted patterns and thinking ourselves ever-so-daring for stepping outside of our own ignorance to indulge an ‘amoral’ vice. We think ourselves better than the monsters. Good little girls want to change bad boys; they want to be the ones to drag them over to goodness, make them see the bad in their behaviour. Good little girls want a man they can fix. The vampire stereotype of a bad boy, seeking redemption is the perfect outlet. No real danger can be incurred and innocent fantasies remain unspoken.

Gradually, however, that fantasy evolves and transforms into the desire to experience a potentially fatal lust, I suppose. At least, this is the way it was for me and many other girls I have known. And this, Twilight moms, is what will eventually move your daughters. Not Edward any longer, he will become dull and uninteresting, and soppy to them, just as he is to the rest of the world. We start innocently, wanting an emotionally available vampire, a vampire that cares, that is not afraid to talk about his feelings, a Stefan Salvatore. But as we mature so do our needs. Sweet and gentle is no longer acceptable. I want fire, passion, a man that uses the threat of his fangs as a means to dominate me.

Vampires… The ultimate Doms?

Dracula is clearly the Hue Hefner of vampires; everywhere he goes, women are unable to resist his old world, noble charms, despite his age, his reputation as a womaniser, and his strange physical deformities (Hairy palms? Kind of gross when you consider the connotations). His magnetism, his way with people, allows him to control them, makes slaves of them, to the extent that he keeps a number of them to himself and they live only for him.

Let us not forget my personal favourite, Anne Rice’s Lestat de Lioncourt. Beautiful and impetuous, he does what he chooses when he pleases and despite his (often) childish behaviour, no one can deny him, he is adored by most and secretly desired by others. Interview with the Vampire is a study in sadomasochism, really. Louis is alone, miserable, and aching for death when Lestat finds him. He has nothing left (or so he believes) and wants to end his life. But his maker-to-be sweeps in and changes the entire game. Making Louis’s life an erotic combination of love for this strange, nobleman, childish, petulant, and fiercely loyal and protective all at once, but also a misery more intense than living had been, an existence tied to hurting and taking. Lestat spends eighty odd years instructing Louis (albeit badly at times) and binding him, treating him as a treasured lover at times and punishing him for (what is perceived as) bad behaviour at others. Louis spends most of his nights straining against the tethers of his master. And these mannerisms do not change. Even after Lestat’s assumed death, Louis seeks a vampire that can instruct him and teach him and love him as a master. In this he finds Armand, who, of course, has his own masochistic tendencies playing on his past. His relationship with Marius built of him a masochist, but his induction and training with the creatures that kidnapped him from Marius’s home twisted his psyche, moulding him into a sadist.

I could spend reams of pages discussing the bondage relationships inherent in the Vampire Chronicles, but let me continue with another fictional character…

In the Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series, one character stands out above the rest, Jean-Claude, the conniving, lustful, and occasionally cruel vampire that finally wins Anita’s love after… How many books did it take? Eight? I lost count. While I do not like the main character, Anita, I do have a world of affection for Jean-Claude who plays an effective game with her. Allowing her to come to him on her own terms and then owning her as both his human servant and lover. Yet again though, I must stop before I digress further. So many vampires to study in this series and a whole universe of taboo sex.

I could remain on this tangent, listing the vampires we love to want. The vampires we wish could keep us as pets, playthings, toys… Zillah, Eric, Damon Salvatore, Asher…. But it all boils down to these inescapable truths: Vampires are not always kind or compassionate, occasionally they are these things, but as a whole we have encountered very few that follow these strictures; Girls desire vampires because it allows them to indulge their own wickedness, the wickedness they attempt to hide from the world at large; When we accept our need to be dominated, we accept vampires as the most succinct outlet.

I know where my masochism started…..

http://www.rovinginsight.org/library/index.php?content=features-sex-and-sadism – An intriguing piece, it does not support the notion in detail, but a good read nevertheless.

Lafaeyette

Are vampires real?

I’m a cynic. I prefer to believe that vampires are not real, if only not to get my hopes up and have them dashed all over the cold, stone heart of reality. This cynicism tends to colour my opinion whenever someone tries to prove to me that vampires are real. Certainly, one may say that ‘there is no smoke without a fire,’ but anyone who has taken the time to read up extensively on vampire mythology and the origins thereof will register that the fire we speak of is simply the collective superstitions of people trying to understand odd occurrences. Why do our neighbours become sick and have a depleted will to thrive after the recent death of a loved one? Vampires. Why do the bodies of the recently deceased appear flushed, lively, and creased with blood when we dig them up to prove vampirism? Vampires. When human beings fail to understand a thing… Anything at all… They tend to make up stories to explain phenomena. Take the ancient Egyptians – A great ball of fire rises in the sky each day. It must be the hand of a god.

So, there’s your fire.

Although there is a group of people who call themselves ‘real vampires.’ Yes, folks. Real vampires, and heaven help you if you disagree with them. Apparently, vampires exist in the form of individuals who suffer from energy deficiencies. In other words, they cannot maintain their own energy levels sufficiently and they are forced to siphon energy off of others. These individuals refer to themselves as psychic vampires (and occasionally sanguinary vampires for those who use blood as their source of energy). Psychic vampires are an intriguing oddity in that in NO WAY do they resemble actual vampires as we recognise them from myth. In fact, aside from needing to take from others in order to ‘survive,’ I would say they share no similarities at all. And, of course, one could easily say that those who coin the phrase ‘sanguinary vampirism’ for themselves and claim to need blood in order to survive have simple subconsciously chosen to adapt to the banner ‘vampire’ under which they find themselves.

I say that these people bore me. When I discovered this community, I was desperately in search of a real vampire and instead I found people that had not even the vaguest resemblance to my vision of vampirism. Psychic vampirism only holds weight if one believes in auras and fluctuations of energy.

So, if vampires are not real, why is the world so suffocated by people who love vampires and vampire paraphernalia? Simple. The more we believe that something is not real, the more we want proof of its existence. This is how I function. Although I will maintain that Twilight is a stretch. The Saga contains less real vampires than the psychic vampire community does.

I do not believe vampires are real. But I would be thoroughly ecstatic if someone could prove me wrong.

Lafaeyette