SLAVE is now a full time reviewer for Guys Like Romance, Too!

Please note that SLAVE's Erotic Review is on hiatus to catch up on reviews.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Those sexy blood suckers!

These days we take it for granted that vampires are handsome and seductive like Eric Northman in True Blood, but why is that? Vampires haven't always been pale-faced and brooding, and they definitely weren't romantic figures. Vampire-like creatures have existed in the myths of many cultures for millennia. The current popular image of these creatures rose from east European folklore in the 18th century, and then was gradually shaped by the fancies of individual storytellers. The original blood suckers peasants feared were ruddy-faced, usually ugly, and commoners themselves.

In 1819 John William Polidori took the uncouth vampire of folklore and re-imagined it into a mysterious and seductive aristocrat in his story The Vampyre. Polidori's inspiration came from a story told by Lord Byron, whom he once had served as a personal physician. Byron later published his own version, Fragment of a Story. Not surprisingly, the vampire of fiction took up many of the characteristics of a Byronic Hero—aristocratic, passionate, and arrogant.

Polidori's antihero was also a seducer of young women, and that part wasn't completely his invention. Vampire folklore had sexual undertones—vampires frequently took on the traits of succubi and incubi, and were blamed for sexual dreams and “nocturnal emissions”. No wonder the repressed Victorians following in Polidori's footsteps were so eager to plunge into this fantasy! Bram Stoker's Dracula is full of sexual undertones. The three "Sisters" who set upon Jonathan Harker in the Count's castle are the embodiment of female sexual aggression—wicked and sinful, yet so titillating. And if you squint and tilt your head sideways, you can see Dracula himself as a symbol of sexuality. After all, he transforms the virginal female characters into something vile and immoral.

Vampires led to the exploration to other taboo subjects as well. The act of biting is a form of penetration and it allows crossing heterosexual boundaries. Bram Stoker's inspiration came in part from a now-forgotten gothic novella, Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu—featuring a lesbian vampire. Male homoeroticism in the genre took longer to emerge but Anne Rice's immensely popular books ushered in a new era of sinfully sexy vampires. Thanks to J.R. Ward, gay vamps have even gone mainstream. Meanwhile, on True Blood, Eric Northman continues to display remarkable sexual fluidity.

When writing Spirit Sanguine my goal was to steer clear from the tortured, self-hating vampire stereotype, and instead write young vampires who are coming to terms with their altered state, and older, self-confident vampires with understated power. I also wanted it to be a very contemporary story with plenty of action and romance. The plot is primarily about suspense and romance but it also features a kink or two.

Some traditions are worth keeping, and making vampires vanilla would be a crime.

Is that a wooden stake in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
After five years in eastern Europe using his unique, inborn skills to slay bloodsuckers, Gabe is back in his hometown Chicago and feeling adrift. Until he’s kidnapped by a young, sexy vampire who seems more interested in getting into his pants than biting into his neck.

Harvey Feng is one-half Chinese, one-hundred-percent vampire. He warns Gabe to stay out of the Windy City, but somehow he isn’t surprised when the young slayer winds up on his doorstep. And why shouldn’t Gabe be curious? A vegetarian vampire isn’t something one sees every day.

Against their better judgment, slayer and vampire succumb to temptation. But their affair attracts unexpected attention.

When Chicago’s Vampire Boss makes Gabe an offer he can’t refuse, the unlikely lovers are thrust into peril and mystery in the dark heart of the Windy City. Together they hunt for kidnappers, a killer preying on young humans, and vicious vampire junkies.

However, dealing with murderous humans and vampires alike is easy compared to figuring out if there’s more to their relationship than hot, kinky sex.

To buy:  Amazon 

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