Birth of a Vampire, Part II, & Giveaway

Last week, I explained that part of why I came to be interested in paranormal creatures was that I was a lonely kid, an outsider, and felt a kinship with paranormal beings.

I have other connections to creatures of the night. Interestingly—and perhaps prophetically—when I was a kid, my friend’s father used to call me a vampire because I only came out after dark. There was a logical reason for this. Both my parents worked , and I was a latch-key kid  and was forbidden to leave the house until my mother got home, at which point I’d have to wait for dinner, and then I could go out. But the vampire identity kind of stuck with me. Then there’s the fact that I really don’t like the light very much. I love sunlight, but artificial lights annoy me. Yes, I get dressed in the dark in the morning—which probably explains why I sometimes end up with two different colored socks or with my underwear inside out. Whatever.

Anyway, in the early 90s, having already written a novel and put it away in the back of a dark closet where it belonged, I decided to try another one. This one would be about a vampire named Fiona.  But I did not create Fiona as a reflection of me, despite everything I’ve said. Rather, I created Fiona’s love interest, Rose, as a reflection of me. She lives a sheltered life, being a “good little girl” for her family, until she discovers what she wants and breaks through the barriers of social expectations.

Fiona became an expression of both what I wanted to be (invincible, fearless) and what I feared (having my freedom and choices taken away from me). I love historical fiction so, naturally, I set it in a bygone era. I chose the Edwardian period, at the turn of the twentieth century, when elaborate dresses and formal greetings were the norm. And I decided to set it in New York because there was such an elegance and grandeur to New York City at that time. Yes, there was a seedy underbelly (as all cities do in all eras), but there was also an element of refinement and sophistication. And I needed Rose to be part of the aristocracy (I would say that today there is no aristocracy, only rich people).

Fiona also moves away from the vampire-as-evil-predator trope (although that’s being twicebittendone more these days). She’s a sympathetic antagonist who illustrates that people sometimes do the things they do out of desperation and it doesn’t necessarily make them bad people.

These characters, and Ursula, the third person in this love/fear/hate triangle, are the core of what eventually became Twice Bitten, published in January 2012 by Regal Crest.

*******************

And now for the GIVEAWAY!

The six-month anniversary of the publication of Twice Bitten is coming up, so to celebrate, I’m giving away a copy.

You know the drill—leave a comment on this post. Do NOT put your email address in the comment body (we’re saving you from spambots), but DO include it when you fill out the comment form. I’ll randomly draw a name from a hat (or bag or whatever) at MIDNIGHT EST FRIDAY, May 24. I’ll then contact the winner offline. Good luck!

53 comments

  1. the vampire-as-evil-predator trope

    I’m wondering what you mean by this. Is it that vampires can instead be predators but not necessarily evil in the soulless spawn of Satan sense? Are predators evil if they do things that are considered evil by others but really they’re just struggling to survive? – which I guess is what you mean by ‘sympathetic’. Or are you implying the existence of vampires who are neither evil (in either sense) nor predatory? – of which I imagine Twilight’s Cullen family is an example, perhaps.

    Like

    • What I’m saying is that just because she is a vampire, she is not inherently evil, as vampires have been historically portrayed. And while she is a predator, she is one only to survive.

      Predators are predators–there’s really only one definition: “any organism that exists by preying upon other organisms” (dictionary.com). By this definition, lions are predators. Hawks, wolves, bears, cheetahs, owls, eagles, sharks, crocodiles, and a host of other creatures are predators.
      Are they evil? Of course not. I don’t think I need to explain here what evil predators are—those who prey for some kind of personal satisfaction and/or from a lack of compassion/emotion. Animals don’t kill for fun, but for survival.

      The same could be said of vampires—except that evil vampires will kill for the pleasure of it, as well as for a meal.

      Having said all of that, the evil that I’m talking about in my blog is not about Fiona killing/feeding. It’s about what she does to Rose. Her desperation is not about feeding or killing—she has absolutely no problems feeding. It’s about love. Finding it and keeping it. That’s the desperation I’m talking about. Many of us have done things we’re not proud of to win over the people we love. Does it make us bad people? Not necessarily. It all depends on the person and her/his history/personality.

      Thanks for the comment. 🙂

      Like

      • Thanks. A lot of recent PNR has vampires who would fail that definition of predator…

        I do prefer vampires that are not inherently evil. I also prefer vampires that don’t fall into the heroic alpha male / cruel psychotic female paradigm that is so pervasive, so Twice Bitten has been on my to-read list for the past month or so.

        Like

  2. Can’t wait to read Twice Bitten! I keep discovering more and more and more books for my too be read list on this blog

    Like

  3. R.G……The Edwardian period…..one of my personal loves…..Vampires…..my first published book was a vampire yarn. Love them. ONCE BITTEN sounds like my cup of tea. Congrats.

    Like

  4. Please throw my name in the hat for the drawing! I have loved vampire stories for a long time and am eager to read a lesbian one.

    Like

  5. YAY! Giveaway! Since I’m an admin here at Women and Words, I cannot be signed up for this fab offering (but it’s okay, since I’ve already read the book! WOOO!).

    And since I’ve read the book, I’ll gladly respond to Frank, as well. Fiona is the main vampire protagonist in this book. R.G. painted her as a vampire, but whose motivations are coming from a place that aren’t purely predatory in nature. Fiona wants a soul mate. She wants to be in love, she wants to have a partner who loves her back and who doesn’t die of old age. She’s lonely, and she’s less-than-enamored with the life that’s been forced upon her (as you’ll see). As manipulative and deceitful as Fiona was, I ended up having sympathy for her. I like books that provide complex characters with complex motivations, whether human or paranormal. I liked how R.G. portrayed Fiona as vampiricly (woo! made up a word!) predatory but with sad and all-too-human motivations behind her actions. I feel the same way about Anne Rice’s Louis, in “Interview with the Vampire.” Would I trust him? Hell, no. Would I hang out with him? Hell, no. But did I feel a bit sorry for him? Yes.

    In some ways, Fiona also reminds me a bit of Lestat, who was seeking an immortal companion and turned Louis, something that Fiona herself (as you’ll find out) was subjected to. Lestat, however, comes to embrace his life in many ways, while Louis’ revulsion and moral issues with who and what he has become create a myriad of issues within him, warring with the human he was and the creature he is. I like that kind of complexity in paranormal tales, and that’s what R.G. offers.

    Damian Serbu also captures this internal war between vampire and human in his “Vampire’s Angel” (Regal Crest). It takes place during the French Revolution, and one of the main characters is a priest, who falls deeply in love with a male vampire, who in turn struggles with wanting to love him back but resists because of who and what he is. The priest has a choice to make, but it’s his to make. In the case of Fiona, she was not allowed that choice, and because of her own internal war with who she was and who she is, she perverts the idea of “choice” in her search for a soulmate. Something, I’d argue, that even humans do.

    Vampires are predators. But then, so, too, are humans. We are at the top of the food chain, something that’s subverted in paranormal writing because what’s more predatory than the top of the food chain? Superhumans. Undead humans. Immortal humans. When you’re at the top of the food chain and it’s really hard for you to die via conventional means (paranormal fiction), I think that allows an author a lot of opportunities to explore what it means to be human and what motivations we have and what we do that either define us as human or, in this case, vampire. Do I trust Fiona? Hell, no. Would I hang out with her? Probably not. Do I feel sorry for her, based on the background R.G. provided her? Yes.

    So people, sign up and win this book! WOOOOOO!

    Like

  6. Hi R.G

    I herd you do a reading on Lizzie’s bedtime stories, I really loved it! So want to get the pirate anthology now!

    Can’t wait to read this book I love vampires so reading about a lesbian one is definitely my cup of tea 😀

    So throw my name in the hat (or whatever ;).

    Thanks
    Carrie

    Like

  7. I would love a copy of the book. To be honest I’m not a big vampire lover I tend to like were stories. This story doesn’t seem like a run of the mill presentation. I’m putting it into my to be read list.

    Like

  8. OH! Forgot to mention one important detail: the time limit. Readers have until midnight tomorrow (Friday, 2/24, EST) to post here in order to be entered into the giveaway.

    Like

  9. Both the vampire aspect and the setting have definitely caught my attention. Looking forward to reading Twice Bitten. I would love to win a copy. 🙂

    Like

  10. I definately look forward to reading these books. To me this would be reading about vampires with class.

    Like

  11. I would love a copy of Twice Bitten. I’ve always been intrigued with vampires, but have been very picky about what books I read about them. I’d definitely read yours.

    Like

  12. Admittedly I’ve never read a lot paranormal, but certainly would never pass up the chance to sink my teeth into a good one!

    Like

  13. Admittedly, I’ve yet to read a vampire/were/paranormal lesfic because there is so much other stuff out there to read. One of these days I’ll dive into it and Twice Bitten is on the list.

    When you mention vampires are capable of not being evil, Aidan from Being Human is the first that comes to mind. Perhaps that show is helping with getting over the “vampire-as-evil-predator trope”.

    Like

    • Yes, there is a trend now toward “good” vampires. The kind who are friends with humans, protect humans, and go out of their way to find blood that is not human. It’s part of a bigger trend of paranormal beings being incorporated into “normal” society.

      Like

  14. That is kind of cool about having the freedom and choices taken away. Lately vampires have been so romanticized that it seems they have all the freedoms in the world (except for maybe spending a day out in the sun). Thanks for sharing your background in the two blogs. I’ve enjoyed getting the insight a bit.

    Like

  15. Okay…I’m joining the “newbie” club when it comes to reading your work. Love paranormal books so this is a treat for sure! I had added Twice Bitten on my ‘to read’ list, so why not add my name to the mix and try to win it?!! Thanks for having the give away! Cheers!!

    Like

  16. Hi R.G.,
    Twice Bitten sounds good. I look forward to reading it. I am definitely in on the giveaway. Enjoyed the blog!

    Like

  17. Very good couple of blogs!
    I’m not one to pass such an occasion, and *Twice* Bitten seems to be the right dose… 😉
    And, I noticed a little typo in the blog: TB was published in January 2013, wasn’t it? ^
    Good luck everybody! 🙂

    Like

  18. Thank you all so much for participating. You all rock! I will be doing the drawing this afternoon (Saturday) at 3 p.m. EST and will post the winner. The winner will be contacted offline. Good luck, everyone!

    Like

  19. Woohoo, got to the drawing a little early. Congratulations, Erin Saluta!! I’ve sent you a private email.

    Thank you all for playing with us again. You know we love giving stuff away here, so keep coming back.

    Like

Comments are closed.