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Monday, September 28, 2015

The Eroticism of the Vampire by Elizabeth Donald (GUEST POST)

There’s a moment early in the horror film The Devil’s Advocate where Al Pacino is literally breathing down Charlize Theron’s neck.

He’s encouraging her to wear her hair up and expose her lovely neck. The neck, he says, is the battleground between the mind and the body.

He’s clearly macking on her. And he is the devil. Just so we’re clear. But he’s not wrong: the neck is a highly erogenous zone for many people, and maybe it’s the battleground between mind and body, but when a vampire starts snacking, the body usually wins.

The eroticism of the vampire is a trope going all the way back to its origins. Its more modern incarnations as teen heartthrob may have caused horror purists to throw fits, but the vampire as tragic romantic, the vampire as a creature of the heart, the vampire as a monster borne of sexuality – this is nothing new.

The most famous, of course, is our good friend the Count. As many have observed, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was brimming with sexual energy. The three weird sisters who “go to their knees” for Jonathan Harker are not nuns, folks. It’s fairly obvious in classy Victorian language that the vampire’s hold over Lucy and Mina is a sexual one, and the romances between humans and vampires have persisted throughout their literary history.

In fact, if you want to get deep in the English-lit weeds, you can pretty much track the eroticism of the vampire by the sexual freedom of the era in which it appears – the more buttoned-down the society, the less sexual its imaginary monster. A highly erotic vampire for the Victorian era, though the vampire of the Roaring Twenties was pretty much a monster – no one sought to do anything with Nosferatu but run away, quickly. Later incarnations of Dracula into the 1950s were definitely stumbling efforts into sexual control – the creature uses mind control to force you into his will, so you might be enjoying it, but it’s not your fault. It’s the perfect monster for a frustrated era.

By the time Stephen King wrote Salem’s Lot, he had intentionally jettisoned most of the sexual angle. It was the sexual revolution, as he wrote in Danse Macabre, and with free love abounding through the 1960s into the 70s, he felt as though “the sexual engine that powered (Dracula) had pretty much run out of gas.”

Of course, when King wrote that in 1980, he could not have predicted the AIDS epidemic, and other sociological factors that brought the sexual revolution back to a buttoned-down, just-say-no era. And we see the rise of Anne Rice’s brooding vamps of New Orleans, of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake in sexual thrall to a host of vampires, and Buffy gets to work with the stake as the works of Charlaine Harris and Sherrilyn Kenyon continue to sell like the proverbial hotcakes, to say nothing of the Twilight phenomenon.

The sexual nature of the vampire also makes it fun to write. Anything can kill you, but a monster that can seduce you? Conversely, the manner in which the vampire is created – in most versions of the folklore, of course – give rise to their own dramatic license. A vampire was once human, after all, and often retains a bit of that human’s personality, memory and consciousness. I quite enjoyed delving into the vampire as conflicted – not brooding, necessarily, or complaining about being cursed by awesomeness, but both drawn to humans and instinctively seeing them as food.

For better or worse, the vampire is the most sexual of creatures. He controls your mind as well as your body, and he will give you pleasure as he takes what he wants, and you can derive all the disturbing psychological inference from that as you might wish. But there is a reason why he persists in our imaginations, enduring as werewolves and zombies and ghosts (oh my) come and go as horror trends. He is the creature that taps into dark desires, and sometimes, the mind simply cannot overpower them.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Donald is a writer fond of things that go chomp in the night. She is a three-time winner of the Darrell Award for speculative fiction and author of the Nocturnal Urges vampire mystery series and Blackfire zombie series, as well as other novels and short stories in the horror, science fiction and fantasy genres. She is the founder of the Literary Underworld author cooperative; an award-winning newspaper reporter and lecturer on journalism ethics; a nature and art photographer; freelance editor and writing coach. In her spare time, she… has no spare time.

Find out more about her at elizabethdonald.com.


Twitter:  @edonald

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About the Book

Nocturne Infernum
By Elizabeth Donald

Nocturne Infernum includes the original three chapters in the Nocturnal Urges series, an alternate version of present-day Memphis in which vampires walk among us, but are not treated as our equals. They work the night shift, the jobs no one else wants, and they're not too happy about it. Meanwhile, humans take advantage of the pleasures vampires can provide, but call them friends? Lovers? The gap between human and vampire stretches wide as death rises in the streets of Memphis.

Nocturnal Urges. It's the most popular club in the Memphis nightlife. Part legal bordello, part feeding ground for the city's vampires, Nocturnal Urges offers pleasure and pain in one sweet kiss. It's the ultimate addiction: both drug and sex at once. For the vampires, it's the only way to survive in a world where the creatures of the night are a dark underclass, ignored until the humans need another fix.

Into this world comes Isabel Nelson, a young woman seeking only a night's pleasure. But after Isabel's lover takes her to try the bite, she cannot stop thinking about Ryan, the dark vampire with whom she shared her lifeblood - and who is now suspected of murder. Isabel falls into a world where passion and love are miles apart, where life and unlike have little meaning... and someone is hunting in the shadows.

A More Perfect Union. Samantha Crews has lived a long time in the shadows of Memphis, working at Nocturnal Urges and hiding from the vampires that darken her past.

Det. Anne Freitas is stuck with a new partner, a young woman with a chip on her shoulder. Now they're assigned to investigate a series of threats against congressional candidate Robert Carton, for whom Samantha volunteers.

But Samantha is falling for Danny Carton, the candidate's son - an idealist who wants to make life better for humans and vampires alike. But there's a lot Danny doesn't know about Samantha.

He doesn't know she's a vampire.

He doesn't know she works at Nocturnal Urges.

He doesn't know his own father is one of her clients.

And he doesn't know what's stalking her...

Abaddon. The Lady Zorathenne requests the honor of your presence at a celebration. A toast, if you will. Followed by a feast.

Beneath the dark Memphis streets, something is stirring. Filled with ancient fury. Seeking revenge on the ones who live above. A revenge born in fire.

The fires are ranging in Memphis and no one is safe. Ryan and Samantha must descend into darkness beyond their imagining to find answers to the mysteries of the past, as Detectives Freitas and Parker seek the truth about the present.

And the return of an old foe could make the future a dark place indeed... save for the flames of Abaddon.

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Tour Schedule and Activities
9/28/2015 The Den of Debauchery's Garden Gazebo Guest Post
9/28/2015 
Beauty in Ruins Guest Post
9/30/2015 
Book in the Bag Author Interview
9/30/2015 
Shells Interviews Guest Post
10/1/2015 
Come Selahway With Me Author Interview
10/1/2015 
Armand Rosamilia, Author Guest Post
10/2/2015 
Bee's Knees Reviews Review
10/2/2015 
Deal Sharing Aunt Author Interview
10/4/2015 
I Smell Sheep Review

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, Elizabeth!
    There is something sexual about vampires, and even more so when they are women. (Which doesn't happen enough I might add!) Definitely nothing sexual about King's vampire though. And ironic that the beginnings of the vampire with Vlad the Impaler were also not sexual in nature.

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