Jan 8, 2010

Tony-Paul de Vissage - Guest Blogger & Contest

Please welcome Tony-Paul de Vissage who says "I write about vampires, and have always done so, making a study of the Genre to evolve my own, special spin on the Undead tale...”

He is also the author of the vampire novel Dark God Descending (Sam's Dot Publishing, 2009). Today he writes about his take on our favorite creatures of the night, and has offered one lucky reader a download of his book "Two Vampire Tales".

[see details at the end of this post]

Vampires Among Us

There have always been vampires among us,  and I don’t think that’s a dogmatic statement.  Though the literary vampire didn't begin to flourish until the mid-1880's, a vampire by any other name will be just as deadly and there were plenty of those flitting around in the Greek, Mayan, and other ancient peoples’ pantheon of “things that go bump in the night.”  Then a short story which was intended to be read only by a group of five people was written and the vampire took sank his teeth into the public’s imagination. The Vampyre was written during the famous “Geneva Summer” which also produced Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  Published in 1819, it was long attributed to George Gordon, Lord Byron but Byron refuted this and gave the credit (or the blame) to his personal physician, John Poliodori, who used his boss as his model.  Not a good way to get a raise. Then, in 1845, Varney the Vampire strolled into town, and the fanged fiend was off and flying.   A newspaper serial with 220 chapters, its authorship is still in question.   From there, it was only a matter of time until Bram Stoker took over the reins and invented—with the aid of a little tract he found on a Transylvanian prince named Vlad Drakula—the most famous vampire ever to have lived—and died (as the movie poster say.)

Allowing for individual differences  by their various creators, novels, stage plays, movies, and TV shows concerning the Undead have flourished ever since, but it was in the 1970's that the literary vision of the vampire began to change.  Up until that time, the vampire had been a creature damned and doomed to walk the corridors of time for Eternity, an Immortal who laughed  at human fragility.  Then, something happened.  Suddenly, immortality was no longer a blessing…now the vampire lamented his ability to live forever; he began hating the fact that others must die to ensure his own survival, and—here is the most important fact and one which romance writers would latch on with eager tenacity — he  now searches the world for someone brave enough to accompany him on his Undead journey. From cursed creature of the night subsisting on a diet of liquid protein, to sympathetic protagonist who wants nothing more than to be accepted by someone who will love him in spite of his fiendishness.  A man (or woman) alone, trying to fit in and adjust his different lifestyle to more acceptable patterns, the literary/theatrical/film vampire  has done an about-face.  He still avoids sunlight, has to drink blood, and can change from human-appearing to fanged demon in the blink of an eye, but these days sunscreen shields him from the sun, he has a friend at the local bloodbank or buys synthetic blood. (A bottle of Tru Blood, anyone?) He works for a living--as a private eye, on the night shift of a police department, as the owner of a New Orleans restaurant--but he's still looking for something...the key to being human--or at least being accepted as human. 

The other characteristic  in all these stories--other than the search for acceptance--is the ennui and despair being immortal carries .  As Christopher Landless, explains in Murder in Old Blood:."Why bother to like someone when you know he'll soon age and die...as will his children, and his grandchildren...and his great-grandchildren...?"  Sometimes, this inevitability is accepted, as Damien LA Croix in "Well-Met by Moonlight" states, " It may take several millennia for the truth to sink  in, but at last, it does.  At last, I bowed my head to the inevitable, and continued my existence alone.  As I was meant to be all along...."  It’s a sad and lonely existence, as this statement, where Damien introduced himself to his readers, in Night Man, laments, " Time...something a vampire has in abundance...time to enjoy the pleasures of Immortality...time to contemplate his sins...and his mistakes."

Slowly, the vampire is shown as coming to realize that his immortality is a mistake.  Even though he's seen history in the making—may have known Beethoven or witnessed Ivan the Terrible's atrocities , even stood beside Columbus aboard his ship—it's now all a blur in his mind.  All the "new" vampire wants to do is become human again--or  does he?

The 21st century vampire seems to have shaken off this dulled-by-the-millennia boredom and bounced back with enthusiasm...he thrives in all walks of life, more times than not helping  Mankind instead of harming  it, finding better ways to sublimate the killing urge, and doing something the "old-fashioned" vampires never did—getting the girl...or the boy...in every sense of the word.  Today's vampires are not only sexy but extremely capable, and I think that's part of their... dare I use the word charm?  Or shall we say — mystique.  They've had forever to perfect their techniques, and, whether sadistic or gently seductive, they do it very well.

So there we have it:

Vampires are mysterious, exude sex, as well as make love very passionately. They've actually seen history happen, been an eyewitness to things we mortals can only read about or see in newsreels.

But most importantly of all, they want and desire companionship and the love of someone who will want them in spite of what they are, and, in the end, isn't that what we all wish?  And if the one with whom we find that companionship and love also offers us the bonus of immortality, of being with him/her forever, that would be the icing on the cake.  That, in my opinion, is the vampire's lure...and appeal.

(The vampire novel Dark God Descending was released by Sam's Dot Publishing in late December, 2009.  The Shadow Lord, the first novel in my vampire series The Second Species is currently making the rounds.  My current WIP in progress is Night Man.)

WIN A DOWNLOAD OF “Two Vampire Tales.”

For a chance to win a .pdf of Tony-Paul's "Two Vampire Tales" all you have to do is the following:

Name three actors who have played the role of Dracula.

Send answers to:  tpvissage@neb.rr.com.  Must be received by January 12th. (Put "Contest" in subject line.)


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Cool post!

Just me, Patricia. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book.

Barbara Monajem said...

Hmm. Well, apart from Bela Lugosi, I don't know, so I won't enter the contest. But I can say that Dracula is one of my favorite classics. I found it both engrossing and inspiring.

Thanks for the informative post, Tony-Paul. It's cool how vampire lore has changed to suit the times and people's tastes.

Mary Ricksen said...

Same with me! Who remembers? But I have read some wonderful vampire stories,I think I'd prefer Brad Pitt as a vampire!

Beth Trissel said...

This is a very interesting post, and told me more than I knew about Vampires. Dracula is fascinating. I haven't seen all the versions. Your take on vampires is intriguing.

Mary Marvella said...


I also have enjoyed the evolution of vampire lore. Wonder if your take on vampires will become a trend? Will other writers use you as a reference? Maybe so!

Emme Toaye said...

I'd have to google to find three, all have been erased from my mind since Brad Pitt grew fangs, and still he visits me in my Lucid Dreams.

Mona Risk said...

I haven't read vampire stories except to critique or judge. Don't repeat my secret: I am scared of vampires. Honestly. I get goosebumps wnen I read of vampires.