REAL vampires don’t [insert thing here].

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research, and I thought I’d share some of the interesting tidbits I’ve come across as I create The van Helsing Legacy (which you can read free HERE).

Whenever new vampire media comes out, it’s common to see strongly-worded objections in the comments section of all the reviews – something along the lines of “A REAL vampire doesn’t [insert thing here].”

Common complaints include sparkling, failing to burst into flames in the sun, not being a corpse, being capable of, ah, engaging in hanky-panky with humans, being able to consume the blood of animals, being too pretty, being too ugly… The list goes on and on.

The reality, though, is that our idea of what a real vampire looks like is extremely recent. Even when Bram Stoker wrote “Dracula,” ideas of vampirism were only just beginning to consolidate. The folk beliefs from which our current ideas have grown are… shall we say, “loose” at best.

For example, in many regional traditions, the distinctions between a vampire and a witch are casual or even nonexistent. A witch might become a vampire after death, but she also might prey on other people even while she’s alive, sometimes by changing her form into some predatory animal or by leaving her body as a spirit and attacking people as they sleep. Whether or not she is considered a vampire before she dies depends entirely on which old person is telling the story. And of course, while this predatory creature usually seems to do her predatory thing at night, she usually spends her days trying very hard not to be burned at the stake, hanged, or stoned to death for witchcraft, all of which tend to be more immediately dangerous than sunlight.

The dead kind of vampire catches fire in the sun, though, right? Actually, no. There is no folkloric support for sunlight destroying vampires. That bit of our modern myth comes from the 1922 film Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens, and even in the film, it’s not the sun itself that kills Count Orlok, but the noble sacrifice of a pure woman. In folklore, it’s true that vampires usually do their nasty work at night, but many also attack humans in their sleep, which has been known to include daytime naps as well. Others simply vanish when the sun comes up, with no mention of what would happen if they stuck around.

But they can only drink human blood. Sorry, this one is recent, too. Traditional vampires do an awful lot of harassing livestock, and often took the blame for plagues among cattle and sheep. On the other hand, the monsters of folklore never go after livestock because they have any moral compunction against going after humans, as contemporary vampires often do. In fact, a European peasant was likely to be just as devastated by attacks against his livelihood as by attacks against himself, so killing his cows was certainly not a decision of mercy.

They do drink blood, though. Weirdly enough, not always. The stories lumped together under the ‘vampire’ umbrella cover all kinds of depredation, and not all of it centers on the blood of humans or of animals. Eviscerated livestock was blamed on vampires. Failing crops, dying trees, noises on the roof or in the chimney, disappearing money, dry wells, bad dreams, good dreams that made people feel guilty, unexpected pregnancies in unmarried women… Heck, vampires even took the blame for eating their own bodies. Essentially, if there’s any kind of trouble in the neighbourhood, you might have a vampire problem.

So the next time someone gripes at you about contemporary media getting it wrong, you can head them off with a “Well, actually…” The only real constant in folklore is that it’s constantly changing. I, for one, am interested to see how it changes next!

Further reading:
For an interesting and informative read, check out “Vampires, Burial and Death” by Paul Barber.

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Virtual Book Fair Booth: The Medium by M.R. Graham

I am a participant in The Virtual Book Fair. The event is live November 12-21. For more information, check out the event at https://www.facebook.com/events/927569970656592/ or just head over to The Virtual Book Fair page right here on the blog!

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Welcome, and thanks for visiting. I’m M.R. Graham, author of the Liminality Series: The Medium, The Mora, and at the end of this month, The Mage. I’m a strange bird, an academic, a collector of books and umbrellas, and a lover of tea and hats. I write about things that go bump in the night, both of the supernatural and early varieties.

Liminality follows a cast of characters trapped between, because that is what liminality means. Betweenness. Between life and death, between dreaming and waking, between family and friends, between guilt and repentance. In The Medium, Lenny, a defective vampire unable to take a life, is kidnapped by a creature far worse, a vicious abuser determined to turn him into what a vampire ought to be. Even a gentle monster has his breaking point. Kim is a wizard with a unique perspective, one of the very few who believes you don’t have to be human to be a person. Perhaps she can save Lenny from his captor and from the spark of violence growing inside him…

For a limited time, both published titles are discounted in anticipation of the release of The Mage.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE MEDIUM for only USD0.99.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE MORA for only USD1.99.

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Scavenger Hunt Number 5.

Check out more booths at the Virtual Book Fair.

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Incredible upcoming box set – FALL INTO MAGIC

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Fall into Magic with 20 Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Reads! 
 
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Preorder for $0.99!
 
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Including:

NY Times bestselling author Rebecca Hamilton & USA Today bestselling author Conner Kressley
International bestselling author Lia Davis
USA Today bestselling author JC Andrijeski
USA Today bestselling author Rainy Kaye
NY Times bestselling author Laxmi Hariharan
USA Today bestselling author Joanne Wadsworth
USA Today bestselling author J.E. Taylor
NY Times bestselling author SC Green writing as Steffanie Holmes
USA Today bestselling author April Aasheim
NY Times bestselling author K. de Long
USA Today bestselling author L.B. Gilbert
NY Times bestselling author Susan Stec
USA Today bestselling author Noree Cosper
USA Today bestselling author Angela Fristoe
International bestselling author AR DeClerck
International bestselling authors Gina Kincade & Kiki Howell
USA Today bestselling author LJ Swallow
NY Times bestselling author Calinda B
Award Winning author Kristin D. Van Risseghem
USA Today bestselling author Angel Lawson

 

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Tuesday Teaser #30

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

The Mage

Kim was fully prepared to avoid Daniel Leland for the rest of forever.

Tuesday Teaser #28

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

The Mage

“You… You lost… Death?”

Tuesday Teaser #27

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

The Mage

She smiled grimly. “Exactly. You are probably old enough to have noticed. There are more ghosts now than there were a hundred years ago, which was about the time it started. More unable to cross. When Charon vanished, parts of the Veil began to deteriorate, and now there are places that are almost impassable without the help of a medium.”

“I noticed. I thought it was just the population boom. There are more people now than there were then. More people, more dying, more ghosts.”

“I’m sure that’s part of it, but the fact is that something is badly wrong, too. There should not be so many more ghosts.”

Tuesday Teaser #16

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

We Shall Not Sleep

Even as some kind of vampirish infection was held to proceed from the wolf, the vampire himself will even more strongly convey this taint, and therefore, unless the most drastic and immediate remedies are applied, a person who is attacked by a vampire and whose blood has been sucked will become a vampire in turn imbued with a craving to pass on the horrible pollution. This is perhaps, and with good reason, the most dreaded quality of the vampire, and examples thereof occur again and again in legend and history.

Montague Summers, The Vampire, His Kith and Kind

Tuesday Teaser #15

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

We Shall Not Sleep

Sad to relate, self-destruction has fearfully increased since the Great War, but it may perhaps be mitigatingly advanced that the reason of the world tottered almost to eternal delirium during the chaos and welter of blood, and the balance is not recovered yet.

Montague Summers, The Vampire, His Kith and Kin

Tuesday Teaser #11

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

The Mage

They had been in San Antonio about two weeks when the next-door neighbor got back to town. Kim was helping unload groceries from the trunk when a dark green Lincoln Continental coasted up into the next driveway. Its driver climbed out and ducked into the back seat to retrieve a battered brown suitcase. Then he straightened, shooting upward like a stalk of bamboo, tall and thin and wiry.

Kim gaped. He had to be six and a half feet tall, with his brown fedora pushing him toward seven. The afternoon light fragmented against the sharp angles of his narrow face, almost startlingly white beneath dark hair majestically winged with gray. Piercing, frost-pale eyes regarded her and her scrutiny with mild affront from behind wire-rimmed spectacles. A muscle twitched in his jaw, like a failed attempt at a smile.

He was spectacular. Spectacularly frightening. Sort of like her grandfather, Kim reflected.

“Good afternoon,” he said crisply, raising incredibly long, white fingertips to the brim of his hat. “Ma’am, Miss.”

English, Kim thought, or something like it. The ‘r’ was missing from ‘afternoon’, and ‘ma’am’ lengthened into ‘maahm’.

“Afternoon,” said Kim’s mom. Her fingers dug painfully into Kim’s upper arm and squeezed, pushing her toward the house.

Kim stumbled a step away and stopped. Her mother nudged her again, and she pushed back in irritation.

“Hi,” Kim said brightly. “I’m Kim, and this is my mom, Cindy. We just moved in while you were away.”

“Cynthia Reed,” her mom clarified. She gave Kim another discreet prod.

The man nodded, staring hard at Cynthia. “Daniel Leland,” he replied. “It’s a pleasure.” His sharp gaze traveled to Kim. “I think your mother wants you to go inside, Miss. It is usually best to do as your mother wants.”

Kim felt Cynthia stiffen beside her.

Daniel Leland’s thin lips twitched into an expression a little too sardonic to be called a smile. He locked his car and strode up the sidewalk to his front door, disappearing inside.

Cynthia seized the last remaining grocery bags, shut the trunk, herded her daughter inside, and locked the door.

“Holy beans, Mom,” Kim griped. “What the heck was that? I’m supposed to be polite, but you get to be a complete jerk to that man?”

Cynthia pressed her flat palm to the door and whispered a single word. Kim could feel the power that surged through the house’s walls, its windows, its roof, down into the foundation and the surrounding soil. It felt like caulk, something that was meant to stop up holes.

“That’s not a man,” Cynthia muttered. “Our neighbor is a vampire.”

Paranormal Box Set out today!

 photo 12465921_1066177933427593_2267951300909758602_o_zps5qrllqut.jpgExciting news, my friends! Paranormal After Dark, a brilliant collection of 20 full-length paranormal novels by Amazon and USA Today bestselling authors, has released today! And the best part (Or at least, a very nice part) is that I’m part of it!

I highly recommend grabbing a copy, as 20 novels for 2.99 is an absolute steal. If you’re looking for a new favorite paranormal author, you can’t go wrong with a sampler, including:

USA Today Bestselling Author, Noree Cosper – A Dose of Brimstone

USA Today Bestselling Author, Kim Faulks – End of Dreams

Author Heather Hambel Curley – Haunt

Amazon Bestselling Author, Ann Simko – Dark Crossings

Amazon bestseling author, Calinda B. Headspace: Seattle. 2052

USA Today Bestselling Author, Susan Stec – The Other F Word

Amazon bestselling Author, Rachel McClellan – Unleashed

Amazon Bestselling Author, Stacy Claflin – Hidden Intentions

USA Today Bestselling Author, Aimee Easterling – The Complete Bloodling Serial

Amazon Bestselling Author, Kyoko M – She Who Fights Monsters

USA Today Bestselling Author Sarah M. Cradit – St. Charles at Dusk

Amazon Bestselling Author, Madison Sevier – Wicked by Nature

Amazon Bestselling Author, Marissa Farrar – Underlife

Author Eden Ashe – Dragon’s Redemption

Author Grae Lily – Milan’s Return

USA Today Bestselling Author, Conner Kressley- The Breakers Code

Author MR Graham – The Medium

Amazon Bestselling Author, Heather Marie Adkins – Wiccan Wars

USA Today Bestselling Author, Katie Salidas – Carpe Noctem

Amazon Bestselling Author Nicole Zoltack – A Question of Faith