TATB Guest Post: A Dangerous Time for Vampires by Dylan J. Morgan

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

Dylan J. Morgan

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Vampires—ruthless and deadly. Born from the depraved desires of a bloodthirsty Romanian warlord early in the seventh century, vampires evolved quickly into the hellish nightmares that mortal perceived them to be. But they became more than that, reproducing and establishing thriving communities not only in Eastern Europe but across the entire continent. Yet they kept to the shadows, hidden from mankind’s gaze, only entering their world to feed. And they were not alone in the supernatural world, sharing their existence with werewolves. Nothing lasts; before long hatred and bloodlust consumed all, and war raged in the darkness.

During the brief standoff a knowing passed between the two preternatural beings: recognition formed centuries in the past, yet one fueled by abhorrence born a mere one hundred years ago. In one fluid movement he flipped his coat-tails to one side and unsheathed the steel blade. He held the weapon back behind his head, feet splayed as he awaited the creature’s onslaught. He had done it many times in the past, and knew if he angled his strike correctly he could behead the hellish creature in one graceful arc.

178786602As war spread and diversified, so did the vampire coven, each member becoming expert swordsmen and relying on agility and cunning in battle against ferocious lycanthropes. Elite battalions, called Enforcers, tackled packs of werewolves in open conflict in the expansive countryside of Europe, fighting tooth and claw with their immortal enemy. In the growing cities of an advancing world, through the Middle Ages and into the Edwardian and Victorian eras, vampires developed a complex civilization, a hierarchy of Elders governing a coven equipped with soldiers and loyal subjects.

Beginning his existence as an Enforcer fighting the war against werewolves, Markus took control of the coven with the death of his grandfather. Using ruthless determination to ensure his race survives, he’s a warrior at heart who gives no quarter and accepts no prisoners. Born nine hundred years ago, Markus now lords over a coven in change.

Mortal life—nothing but fleeting time; as insignificant as a grain of sand in an hour glass. The lifetime of a human did not compare to the experiences Markus had suffered through. He’d been embroiled in a brutal war filled with carnage and bloodshed for the better part of six centuries. He’d slaughtered lycanthropes and hybrid soldiers with a ruthless determination; had borne tragic witness to the massacre and torture of his brethren.

Monsters and Mortals - Blood War Trilogy Book II by [Morgan, Dylan J.]

Their war has changed too. Four hundred years previously the bloodlines were crossed, vampire and werewolf copulating to produce a grotesque mix of both races: hybrids. Enforcers became Eliminators, their sole responsibility to hunt down the perpetrators of this heinous breeding and slaughter every last one—before turning their attention to the hybrids, and massacring each of them in turn. Now, there comes a time for vampires to dilute their hatred of their lycanthropic cousins, to put aside six hundred years of conflict and bloodshed in a combined effort to extinguish that which should never have been born.

Now that the offer had been put on the werewolves’ table he hoped there’d be no turning back. Counsel would have to support him. Besides, the truce wouldn’t remain in effect for long; only until such time as those hybrids were no longer a threat to his coven. Then the lycanthropes would discover just how treacherous he could be.

The Last Stand -- Blood War Trilogy Book III by [Morgan, Dylan J.]

For the vampire race it’s a dangerous time. The supernatural world is filled with treachery, lies, betrayal, and a fragile truce about to be shattered by the most shocking secret of them all.

***

Book excerpts reproduced with kind permission from the author.

Now go check out  website and/or stalk him on twitter and make sure you enter October’s Vampire Novels Giveaway, which includes a copy of The Blood War Trilogy

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TATB Guest Post: But Our Vampires Are Different by Stephen Kozeniewski

Today we have one of October’s giveaway authors guest posting on the TATB blog. Please welcome horror and sci-fi author,

Stephen Kozeniewski

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“My vampires are different, though!”  It’s such an oft-repeated line, there’s an entire portal of pages for it on TV Tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OurVampiresAreDifferent).  It’s so common, that I consistently see reviewers say, “No vampires, and yes, I know yours are different.”

 

I guess the ubiquity of that phrase says one thing about vampire authors: at least we take our worldbuilding seriously.  It’s a common lament that fantasy authors will say, “You know, they’re Tolkien- style elves” or, “You know, it’s a Warcraft-type orc” and call it a day.  I guess because vampires are so common and come with so much baggage, vampire authors at least like to lay down the rules for their own work.

 

I find there are two basic methodologies for doing this.  Authors will either treat their vampires like strangely exotic animals whose idiosyncrasies all have a scientific explanation (“The Strain” is a good recent example, or “Underworld” is a slightly older one) or they’ll treat them like nonsense magical creatures who can do whatever the author’s imagination likes (such as in “Buffy” or “True Blood”). 

 

For myself, I mostly split the difference.  I don’t hate the idea of trying to make vampires scientifically plausible, but folks like Guillermo del Toro have already taken a crack at that and I don’t feel like I have a whole lot to add.  I do kind of dislike the whole “vampires can do whatever we say they can do because magic” method.  Because I mean, how, physically how, would a two hundred pound man turn into a six ounce bat?  Exactly how do fangs become hollow things you can suck blood through, and how do you retract them when you’re not aroused?  Where do they go?  Does anything in nature do these things?  Snakes have fangs but they always have fangs, and they’re hollow for injecting venom, not for sucking blood.  And tadpoles can gradually evolve into frogs, but they can’t turn back, and they certainly can’t go from tiny to giant and back again.

 

So I didn’t want to worry about every little aspect of my vampires having to jive with some kind of scientific principle, but I did want them to at least be reasonable physical beings.  Which meant a couple of rules:

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1.)  Creating vampires is more like giving birth.  You know the old math trick that if you take a penny and double it thirty times you’ll end up with ten million dollars?  This is my problem with easy peasy siring, or bringing across, or turning, or the blood kiss or whatever you want to call it.  In HUNTER OF THE DEAD only very powerful and ancient vampires can grant the Long Gift (hey, I had to come up with a new term, my vampires are different, after all) and they’re not always very good at it.  Sometimes people have miscarriages or their children are born with deformities.  It’s the same way with my vampires.  Sometimes when trying to turn someone they simply die, other times they become subhuman ghouls.  It’s not always just a bite and a turn.

 

2.)  Ditch the fangs.  As I said, fangs are cool, but they don’t make much sense and I feel like writers have come to rely on them as a crutch.  If someone can give me a working explanation for retractable fangs, I will gladly rescind this statement.  So my vampires have ordinary teeth, and when they need to drink blood, they use a razor blade.

 

3.)  No mesmerism.  Like fangs, I’ve come to think of mesmerism as a cheat.  It’s a way to have humans witness a vampire story, then be able to erase their memories later.  It’s a reset button, basically, and I think its crap.  So my vampires do have humans working for them, but it’s not because they’re hypnotized.  It’s because they’re convinced.

 

4.)  Shapechanging is right out.  I intend to at some point in the future tackle werewolves in a similarly reasonable-but-not-too-reasonable manner, and I will probably address the matter of a six-foot man bulking up into a nine-foot killing machine.  But a man turning into a tiny little bat just does not work for me.

 

5.)  Your humanity dies with you.  After a century and a half of literature trying to humanize vampires, we’ve reached a point where vampires are basically just angsty regular people with special powers.  I don’t like that and I’ve never liked that.  I think a vampire should never be mistaken for a human, and vampires struggling to regain their souls constitute a trope so common it’s lost all merit.  So my vampires lose their humanity and it stays lost.  You can appeal to the better angels of their nature…except they haven’t got any.

 

And that, my friends, is just a few examples of how my vampires are…uh…dissimilar.  🙂

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Now go check out Stephen Kozeniewski’s website and/or stalk him on twitter and make sure you enter October’s Vampire Novels Giveaway, which includes a signed paperback copy of Hunter of the Dead!

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Books with Bite! Get your teeth into October’s #Vampire #Giveaway with $90 in gift card and book prizes!

This month Totally Addicted to Books have teamed up with eight awesome fantasy and horror authors to bring vampire fans a giveaway with bite. Enter now to win a $40 Amazon gift card, 3 signed paperbacks and 5 digital books:

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Remember to check your email to confirm your entry after you enter as any unconfirmed entries will be disregarded. Note: By entering the giveaway you’re signing up to the participating authors’ newsletters. Three of the authors have free digital content for sign ups so you’ll get some new reading material just for entering!

GOOD LUCK!