TATB Guest Post: The Darkly Vampires by Chloe Hammond

Today we have one of October’s giveaway authors guest posting on the TATB blog. Please welcome paranormal author,

Chloe Hammond

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In Darkly Dreaming, Book 1 of the Darkly Vampire Trilogy I wanted to create vampires that might actually exist. These are not the undead, or supernatural, they have been infected by an ancient virus, originating from Egyptian times when there were cults that used group blood-letting as part of their worship. To me it is all too easy to imagine a mutation, an infection, a virus that changes the human DNA resulting from these dangerous practices. The resulting evolutionary leap is then worshipped as a God…..

Humans have been through so many evolutionary processes, from fish, to reptiles, to mammals, and finally, to humans. We have sectors of our brains and DNA, still shaped and functioning from these times. Our DNA can be changed by our life experiences, emotions we do not express form proteins on our DNA, changing us forever.

Is it so hard to imagine a vicious virus that can rip through your DNA? Reawakening evolutionary pathways that have been closed down, causing a complete metamorphosis while the victim is in a coma, so that many die, but those that awake are as completely transformed as a butterfly? A butterfly does not just grow wings while it is in the cocoon, its insides turn to mush, and it completely changes all of its organs, limbs, everything. My vampires do the same.

Here the Pride leader tells the newly transformed friends what they have become:

‘You will heal quickly and are immune to all the diseases and illnesses humans suffer from. Although if someone you feed from is very ill, their blood will taste unpleasant,’ Guillaume continues. ‘You will not age. You will not die of old age, but you are not invincible. You are a lot more resilient than a human, but to kill you, someone only needs to separate your head and heart.’ He takes a breath and leans his head back with his eyes closed before he continues to relay his list of changes we need to understand about our new existence.

‘You can ignore the silly stories and films. You can be photographed, and will see your reflection in a mirror,’ he continues. ‘You can go out in the day light, but I recommend you don’t because you look very different now, and the only hope we have of remaining a legend is if the humans who see us up close die immediately. They must not be allowed to acquire photographic evidence. You are not ‘undead’ or ‘supernatural’. You have just been infected by a virus that has caused a physical transformation.’

I use the language of cats a lot while talking about my vampires, they live in a Pride like lions, and I use lots of feline analogies. The transformation has made the vampires strong, lethal, and lovers of hunting, they are beguiling and terrible, just like cats.

After transformation Rae explores her new vampire body in the mirror:

‘As I stand upright again, still a little unsteady as I learn to co-ordinate my newly extended body, I catch sight of myself in the mirror. I check the blind is down on the window, and the door is firmly closed, then I slowly undress and stand naked in front of the armoire and gaze at the transformation.

My brown hair tumbles past my waist in thick, shining pre-Raphaelite curls the colour of conkers. My eyes are huge and instead of their usual muddy hazel colour, they are the shocking yellow green of peridot crystal, and my eyelashes and eyebrows are thick, dark and long. My high colouring, wrinkles and freckles are gone and instead I have the perfect pink and white complexion of a Victorian doll. My lips, blushed a gothic burgundy, are curved in a perfect cupid’s bow, and look like I am about to smile when actually I want to scream. My teeth are new, smaller, whiter and sharper than I had before. I look ageless, inhuman, a beautiful freak

As Guillaume, the Pride Leader explained, vampires all have special powers, extra gifts which aren’t always apparent. The vampires do not know what influences these powers, or why some turn out the way they do. Rae and Layla both happen to be Pretty Ones, which means they can Glamour other vampires, this goes beyond the normal compelling that any vampire can exert over a human, like a weasel over a rabbit. Being a Pretty One means you can exert complete sexual control over another vampire, or a human.

Freshly turned vampires cannot always control their new powers with potentially embarrassing results:

‘Thank you for listening to me.’ As we stand up, my mind is already back up at the house, on Layla. Brian casually reaches his hand to my shoulder and leans forward to give me a friendly peck on the cheek. As he touches me, everything changes in an instant.

My head falls back as my back arches, and his friendly grasp on my shoulder becomes molten. He slides his hand up and cups the back of my head while he is kissing, and licking, and nipping, down my cheek, lingering on my mouth and then down onto my throat. Then back up to bite and tug my earlobe, and back down to the dip where my collarbone meets my neck. At the same time his other hand slides around my waist and down onto my arse, pushing me hard against him. The need in me is as instant and furious as a gas flame; it becomes me. Only where he touches me is the need sweetened and slaked.

Within seconds we are naked enough for him to be inside me, filling me, our eyes locked in the intensity of the moment, as almost instantly I am rocked by my climax, which tips him into his bliss. We are gasping and grasping and… and then as quickly as it all started, I see the need wane from his eyes as quickly as my own vanishes and we are just two embarrassed vampires who don’t know each other very well, stumbling around trying to put our clothes back on, hoping that no one can see us.

‘Well,’ I say sheepishly as I pull my clothes straight. ‘That’s new.’

There is also the Rage, when a vampire feels threatened or extremely angry they experience the Rage, a preparation for battle, which usually includes a swelling of muscles, a lengthening of the limbs, but some vampires, often those who were deeply unhappy when they were infected, develop extreme Rage symptoms:

‘Oh well, darling, if you’re going to be a rude little upstart, you can die first.’ Patrice’s face lengthens and distorts as she moves towards me. Suddenly, Layla is beside me, but I hardly recognise her. Her face is long and her mouth gapes nightmarishly open. Her teeth have become long slender spikes protruding diagonally from her mouth and meshing viciously as she gnashes.

Her steps are rigid and awkward, and her shoulders are wider and have risen unevenly to her ears. Her hands claw in front of her, grasping towards Patrice. Her fingers have extended, the bones protruding from the flesh with her nails long and sharp inches beyond where the flesh ends. Her back has arched like an angry cat’s and her ribs have dislocated so sharp bone spikes are sticking through her skin and clothes all down her sides. Her legs are longer, but not quite even, adding to her lopsided lurch as she lunges across the room towards Patrice, screaming an alien scream, like nothing I’ve ever heard before.’

For me though, the most important thing for me about the Darkly vampire friends is their struggle to retain their humanity, to cling to what is important to them. I hope this is what will entice my readers to fall in love with the funny, feisty friends, and follow their adventures through the full trilogy.

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Now go check out Chloe Hammond’s website and/or stalk her on twitter and make sure you enter October’s Vampire Novels Giveaway, which includes a copy of Darkly Dreaming!

GO TO THE GIVEAWAY

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