The incubus lingered over a coverless paperback about a French vampire. It was one of those overblown stories that had been really popular about ten years ago, complete with ruffling white shirts, long dark ringlets, and outrageous accents. Even a duster or two, actually. I'd thought it marvelous and horribly sexy when I'd read it, my sixteen-year-old heart near fit to bursting at the idea of some dashing angel of the night feeding from my inner thigh.
The reality had been a whole lot messier. It didn't involve my inner thigh either.
He blew the dust off the pages, snorting softly when he read the title. I'd always thought Moira had an absolutely craptacular taste in books. From the looks of it, he agreed. My opinion of him rose a notch.
"It has a happy ending, you know," I said.
His brow furrowed, lips pursed at me, before his attention flicked back to the book. "Does it?"
"All the good romances do."
"There are no happy endings. And vampires are over-rated, bloodsucking tools."
Obviously a tongue-in-cheek scene from the opening pages of A Brush of Darkness. I don't really write vampires, although they're technically part of the world and my main character, Abby, does have an encounter with one at some point in her past. But at the time when I was writing the original draft, vampires and werewolves were everywhere in paranormal and urban fantasy, which is why I decided to run with an incubus for my"hero." (Incidentally, I do have a werewolf character as well, although he's mostly secondary, and I never really talk about either werewolf OR vampire lore in the books. At the moment, neither are particularly important to the story, but it's nice to have a base mythology that I don't have to explain. I simply write vampire or werewolf and people get exactly what I mean.)
Still, I've always had a soft spot for the vamps, and even the werewolves to a certain extent. (I adored The Howling when I was a kid - along with An American Werewolf in London - both were vaguely campy, but so very well done, both in matters of lore and special effects.)
Actually, now that I think of it, I'm probably a bit of a sucker when it comes to the vamp/werewolf motif in general - even when you mix them up together (a la Underworld). Although, I must confess I've never read Twilight. I've caught a few bits of the movies on TV here and there, but that's about it. Otherwise, I look back on the movies of the day and it was all Buffy, Angel, Interview with the Vampire, The Lost Boys, Fright Night...on and on.)
Still, for all that vamps and weres have seen such a resurgence within popular culture within the last several years, they've been around in mythology and human history for a very long time. Clearly, as far as "monsters" go, they fulfill some sort of need in our collective psyche - whether that's horror or repressed sexuality, or just the idea of being able to "tame the savage beast" within our relationships and our lives.
Sometimes, vamps are just an excuse for porn.
(I did a little piece on this bit of wtfkery on my blog yesterday...including a few clips from youtube. Soooo cheeseball, even for porn, but I'm all about cheeseball, so there you go.)
And incidentally, in reference to the French vampire bit above, I've had a few people ask me if I was making fun of Anne Rice or LKH or numerous other authors....and no, I wasn't. Not directly. French vampires are a bit of their own trope, so I was sorta poking at that in general, but I was also poking fun at myself. My friend Staci and I had a couple of characters from a PbP a while back - I wrote an emotionally constipated angel...and she wrote the French vampire. While we never actually wrote a book about them, we do have snippets of their torrid love affair floating around on our hard drives (and you'll get another look at the inside of the above mentioned book in A Sliver of Shadow). It's all about inside jokes with me (and I apologized rather profusely for slandering his name in the acknowledgments as well.)
Wrapping this up with another reminder that there's still time to enter the contest for a copy of Jeffe's Sapphire!