Monday, July 11, 2011

Guest Blog with Karen Taylor and Hunger Beach Set Giveaway

(A tongue-in-cheek tribute to the women in Stoker’s Dracula)

In honor of the name of this blog, I decided now would be a good time to talk about vamp chicks. I don’t mean the ladies who love all things vampire, in print or on film, although, yes, we are fabulous. And I don’t mean the ladies who hunt vampires and other creatures of the night, although they almost always kick serious butt. And again, I don’t mean the ladies who interact with vampires, either as victim or as volunteer – I understand the appeal, but...

No, what I really want to talk about are actual vampire chicks – the supernatural women with fangs and the appetites to match. And specifically, what called me to write about them, and why I prefer to use them as my major, point-of-view characters, instead of offering them up as eye candy, cannon fodder or subservient thralls.

I suspect, ultimately, my fascination with the female of the species came from reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Countless times, as a matter of fact. And although I enjoyed the story and quite thrilled to the seductions of the Count, the characters I found myself most interest in were the women, starting with Dracula’s three wives. Who were they? What were their names? Why did they need his permission to feed? And what exactly did they do with all their free time while they were waiting for the man of the house to bring home a baby in a bag? Did they long for their husband to bring home a fourth wife, so they could at least play bridge?

And then there’s Lucy. Poor, poor Lucy, who was just a girl trying to have fun. Why shouldn’t she have as many suitors as she could handle and why couldn’t she take as much time as she wanted to decide who she would marry? It’s not as if the women of her time had much in the way of other freedoms. Unfortunately, when she picks the wrong suitor by opening up her window to the Count, she is doomed. The men who profess to love her pretty much line up to kill her, and they seem to take great joy in releasing her soul. Maybe it’s for religious reasons, but I have my doubts. Did they really have to do her in?

Don’t even get me started on Mina. A devoted, faithful wife, eager to learn new things and new technologies, ruined by just one encounter. “Unclean,” she sobs guiltily, when in fact she’s done nothing wrong. Why did she allow herself to get shut out so easily? And labeled impure, to boot? Maybe she should have crossed over the holy circle drawn by Van Helsing and join the wives waiting for her. Did Mina even know how to play bridge?

The more I wondered about these silly things, the antsier I grew. Stoker, of course, was a man of his times and his female characters reflected that time. But there were plenty of other, newer novels which reflected the same sentiment. After reading book after book, I never found what I was looking for. Equality. And perhaps just a little humor. So I sat down to write my first vampire novel, thinking that it was high time for the women to have some of the fun. After all, we are the deadlier of the species, aren’t we?

Deirdre Griffin didn't choose to be a vampire. But she is. And she's determined to make the most of her fate. For Deirdre that means surrendering to the raging hunger ignited by even the slightest whiff of blood a hunger that pulses through her body like a fever, demanding release. It means making friends in dark places and savouring every hot, salty, bitter, revitalizing drop of life force the night has to offer...

From Book #1 of HUNGER:

After the kiss, I buried my face in his neck. Now, I thought as I heard the blood pulse in his veins, Oh, please, now.

I nipped him at first, savoring the moment, my low moans echoed by his. Then when my teeth grew longer and sharper, I could hold back no longer. I bit him brutally, tapping the artery and was rewarded by the flow of his blood: hot, salty and bitter. He shuddered violently and fought to push me away, but his resistance was futile. Finally his struggles ceased and his body grew limp as I continued to draw on him, gently now, almost tenderly. I drank a long time, slowly, relishing the feel of my own body being replenished, then I withdrew.

Arising from the couch, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. No longer pale and haggard, my skin glowed with life and my eyes shone, victorious and demonic. A few drops of blood were trickling down my chin; I wiped them away with the back of my hand and turned from my reflection in disgust...

From Book #2 of HUNGER:

He was trembling violently under my touch, but that merely encouraged me and I spoke his name again.


This time I connected. I knew he heard me and understood, his hands tightened on mine and he whispered my name. Then before I could react, he quickly dropped my hands, formed a fist and silently punched me on the jaw, striking me with such force that I fell to the floor.

As I pulled myself up, shaking my head and gingerly feeling my jaw, I saw him running from the room, pursued by a nurse and two orderlies.

I stood, swaying in the air slightly, oblivious to the uproar Mitch's action must have been causing around me. The noise level in the room rose, as if from a long distance. I could hear the laughing and crying and shouting of the rest of the patients in the room. But my eyes were fastened on the door through which he had disappeared.

What the hell did you expect, you fool, I thought, a passionate embrace, a warm welcome-back kiss? His eyes had been the eyes of one who looked on hell, and I had helped to put him there...

Karen E. Taylor is a horror/paranormal author, with eight published novels to date and an eclectic assortment of short fiction which ranges from vampires to ghosts to telepathic, romantic dinosaurs. She claims she starts out to write a "normal" story, but then her characters turn spectral or grow fangs or fur or wings. So she writes what she loves and hopes her readers love it too. She started writing her first novel (Beauty Like the Night) in 1988. It was that novel, published in 1993 under the title of Blood Secrets, that started Karen's career.

In real life, she is mother of two sons, has been married for 32+ years, and owned by two cats and a dog. In her spare time she makes candles and cosmetic creams/lotions. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Karen attended Grove City College where she earned a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Communication Arts. She currently lives in Los Angeles, but is planning a cross-country relocation this summer. Her newest book is entitled HUNGER: The Vampire Legacy and is an omnibus edition containing her first two novels (Blood Secrets and Bitter Blood).

Giveaway Time

Karen is giving away a "deluxe" beach prize pack which includes an autographed copy of HUNGER, a HUNGER tote bag and a HUNGER water bottle

To enter leave a comment on this post

Include your email

+2 entries for being a VampChix GFC Follower

Open to US Shipping

For more chances to win fun prizes follow Karen on her Bewitching Book Tour


Okiniiri said...

Nothing better then summer and vampires..

SandyG265 said...

I liek relaxing on thedeck with a good vampire book.

+2 GFC follower
sgiden at

Bethie said...

I would love to win this! I am going to the beach for a week and I would love to read this by the water.

I Follow on GFC

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

CrystalGB said...

Sounds great. I would love to read these. :)

June M. said...

Sounds like a really good book. I love to relax at the beach/pool with a good book.

**GFC follower: June M.

manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

tetewa said...

Sweet giveaway and I'm a follower!

Anonymous said...

Such a Cool Contest!
Would love to win this!
+2 I'm a GFC Follower

Laurie said...

Loved the tidbit in the post about the three wives wanting a forth for Bridge!! LOL. This is a wonderful giveaway. I would love to win. I am a new GFC follower.
lauriej170 at gmail dot com
Laurie's Thoughts & Reviews

mortiana said...

I'm a GFC follower--it's how I find
out about such interesting authors
and their works; love the contests!

mortiana said...

...and I forgot to leave my email--
no wonder I never win!

Kalex said...

Sounds interesting.

Megan@Riverina Romantics said...

Such a fabulous giveaway! I'm a GFC follower!

rootml1 AT hotmail DOT com