[see details at end of post]
by Cecilia Tan
I've edited a lot of anthologies of erotic fantasy in my career, including erotic fairy tales, erotic cyberpunk, erotic steampunk, and more. In all of those I invariably end up having to explain to numerous people what's erotic about the topic.
But that never happens when I say I'm editing an erotic vampire book. In fact, I can usually just say "vampire book" and people make the assumption it will be erotic. The vampire is a sexual figure and an erotic icon in our society and has been since long before Anne Rice put Lestat and Louis in a coffin together or Stephenie Meyer added high school dating angst to the mix.
The great Victorian vampire novels, like Bram Stoker's Dracula and Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla can be interpreted as being about fear of sex, especially fear of sexual power and female sexuality in the Victorian age. The allure of the vampire in those days was partly about fearing erotic surrender, and the transformation it could bring to a highly repressed society. A vampire's hunger or lust was a supernatural force that mere mortals could not resist. That meant, however, that succumbing to a vampire's seduction was not the fault of the victim. Guilt-free ravishment.
Thankfully, we're not so repressed now. What was terrifying and yet titillating to an earlier age is merely sensual and thrilling in ours. But in this era of erotica by women for women and the celebration of eroticism for all genders and sexes, the vampire is still a vehicle for our desires. When I put together the anthology BITES OF PASSION (just released in trade paperback by Red Silk Editions), I wanted to look beyond the old formula of "vampire as sexual conqueror."
Yes, the stories feature passion and lust that reach supernatural heights, but the vampire also represents immortality. What could be more romantic than undying love? Of course, immortality also means that it's more difficult to forget an ex. Vampires allow a writer to take all the usual emotions in the romance pallet and punch them up even more. In BITES OF PASSION the settings range from the Western range to Victorian drawing rooms. There are detectives solving mysteries, and vampires waking for the first time from the long sleep. They've got love and lust and more to deal with.
Because here's the ultimate secret about what makes the vampire one of the most compelling "monsters." Like the werewolf and the zombie, every vampire was once human. And being undead doesn't take away the pains or passions of the human heart; it magnifies them. That's why I like my erotic romance with a bite.
For more info:
Cecilia Tan's blog
One lucky reader will win a copy of Bites of Passion
To enter simply comment on Cecilia's post OR ask her a question.
[Contest for paper copy of book is open to US/Canada residents only. International readers are eligible to win an ebook copy.
Contest ends November 2, 2010
Contest ends November 2, 2010