Monday, July 13, 2015

From History to Vampires: Why Honor at Stake?

A question I haven't gotten, and that I had expected, would have been, well, how the bloody blue Hell does one go from The Pius Trilogy to vampires?  Like with Honor At Stake, coming out on Sept 1?

Step one: Once upon a time, I did some fan fiction.  Actually, no, I didn't. My sister did a fan fiction once. I took it, made it far more interesting, and rewrote it as an independent book.  I then decided that the book was a little too ... compact. The first sixty pages of the book? I expanded all of it into Honor At Stake.

As I started expanding it ... well, everyone say it with me: It just spiraled.

The novels were basically "Catholic vampires," where I kicked the mythos into compliance with standard theology, and then did a little rewrite of history since 1789, and....Anyway...

Step two:  one of my Facebook groups wanted something "Dark." A fellow member, Erin Lale was an acquisitions editor at Eternal Press / Damnation books, and she had nothing in her email.  So, I sent in my book, and well...Nothing happened. At all.  No word, no nothing. I got a reply at 1pm the next day saying that it was received.

That evening, I was cleaning out my spam folder.  There was a 6pm response, that very day. Five hours after the confirmation email.

That was when Erin told me they wanted Honor At Stake.

Short version ... I wrote it when I felt like it, I wasn't entirely certain that anyone else would be interested, and now, surprise, they do.

I wanted something interesting and different.  I was tired of vampire mythology that could barely follow the general guidelines established by Bram Stoker. "Oh no! We can't have crosses! Or holy water! Or anything remotely religious!" Screw. You. Hollywood.  And Marvel comics (yes, I think the Blade films sucked. No pun intended). Come on, if an atheist like Joss Whedon can have vampires be affected by holy objects, so can everyone else. He's taken out several vampires with Holy water, and if you take a very close look at Buffy's chest o' death in the pilot film, you'll note that she has a glass jar of communion wafers -- That's something I haven't seen used since Laurence Olivier was Van Helsing in the 1970s.

On the other hand, I wanted vampire fiction that at least acknowledged something like free will. Let's face it, if you turn a person into a vampire, why would their character change to make them a villain. You can make some arguments that the vampire is actually feral at first, so that explains Lucy in Dracula (used by Fred Saberhagen in The Dracula Tape, more or less). The Buffy-verse explained that vampires were possessed by a carbon copy of a demon, occasionally with an overlay of the victims' personalities / memories.

I'm not even going to touch the Anita Blake books by Hamilton. I refuse. Ignoring that they are basically porn -- and boring porn -- they are inconsistent and confusing, based on a whole collection of conditionals that I'm not even sure she understands at this point. She started with "vampires are not people with fangs," and how during the day they become corpses, then goes into how vampires actually have souls. And crosses don't work, unless they're charged by a person's faith in it (so your lucky rabbits foot has about as much power to save you from a vampire as a crucifix blessed by a priest?).  And yes, that's me not going into it.

I hear you now, gentle reader: "So, smartass, what's your solution?"  It's simple. Make their power and abilities as well as their weaknesses dictated to by their choices and actions. Oh look, if you casually rip the throats out of victims, crucifixes will burn you. If you harm no one, and go about your daily life, you can walk into a church. Welcome to salvation. (I believe James Rollins has a similar system with his Blood Gospel series, but I don't know that one like the back of my hand.)

Enter Amanda Colt and Marco Catalano.  One is a blood-thirsty, murderous psychopath, and the other's a vampire. Heh.

Step three: screw Twilight. Yes. Screw Twilight. With a fire poker. I absolutely hate Bella Swan, the most vapid, soulless little twit. I had how shallow she and her two boy toys are. I hate how that she's basically a soul-sucking manipulative psychopath. Why do I mention it? Look at the tagline on the cover. For the record, I did not choose that one. I gave the publisher a choice of four or five. They picked that one from the middle of the deck.


  1. Actually, I've never been able to figure out why a vampire who didn't start out as a believing Christian (Seems like that should actually be just the RCs - have never noticed Baptists/Presbyterians/etcetera making a big deal of crucifixes) would be bothered by any of the trappings of that religion.

    1. So you'd want a subjective weakness as opposed to an objective one.

      Well, you'd be happy to know that I use basic holy relics. Because it's more dependent on God that on the vampire or the user. So, yes, there will be throwing Stars of David. :)

    2. Well, I am most definitely NOT a horror-story fan... BUT I do like your work very much, so... I'm going to buy this one too. WARNING: Be prepared for outraged indignant remarks if it turns out to be "just another vampire story".

    3. If it turns out to be "just another vampire story" ... then the other vampire stories must have gotten much more interesting since I last read them.

      Always nice to have another fan. One day, I'll get used to have *any* fans. :D

  2. If I'm not mistaken, in Dracula, the vampire victim actually dies and the vampire monster/demon merely imitates characteristics of the person when taking control of the corpse. That is how all holy objects work regardless of the victim's faith. Because they are not the person, they are merely using the body.

    1. I never caught that before outside of anywhere but Joss Whedon, but I'll take your word on it. It's been a while. A very long while.

      Thank you. I now have more hope for the rest of the genre.


Please, by all means, leave a message below. I welcome any and all comments. However, language that could not make it to network television will result in your comment being deleted. I don';t like saying it, but prior events have shown me that I need to. Thanks.