Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Southern Blood

In the late 1990s, Lawrence Schimel and Martin H. Greenberg edited a series of mostly-reprint anthologies of vampire fiction set in distinct regions of the United States: SOUTHERN BLOOD, FIELDS OF BLOOD (the Midwest and the "heartland"), STREETS OF BLOOD (New York City), BLOOD LINES (New England), BLOOD BAYOU (New Orleans), and L. A. BLOOD. Each volume showcases both classics and more recent stories by numerous distinguished authors. BLOOD LINES, for instance, includes Manly Wade Wellman's "Chastel," Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's "Investigating Jericho," H. P. Lovecraft's"The Shunned House," and Mary Wilkins-Freeman's "Luella Miller." In STREETS OF BLOOD, readers can become acquainted or reacquainted with works by Mercedes Lackey, Esther Friesner, and Suzy McKee Charnas, as well as a Saint-Germain story by Yarbro and Evelyn E. Smith's melancholy tale of doomed romance, "Softly While You're Sleeping," which isn't nearly so well known as it deserves to be.

Some highlights of SOUTHERN BLOOD (1997): "Claim-Jumpin' Woman, You Got a Stake in My Heart," by Esther Friesner, on vampires and country music, as funny as you'd expect from this author. "She Only Goes Out at Night," by William Tenn, a classic love story of a doctor's son and a strange young lady who just needs some up-to-date medical treatment to control her unfortunate condition. "Carrion Comfort," by Dan Simmons, which was expanded into his horrific novel of psychic vampirism with the same title. "The Cursed Damozel," by Manly Wade Wellman, set during the Civil War, featuring the superstition that a vampire's grave can be detected by a virgin boy on a never-mated horse. "The Carpetbagger," by Susan Shwartz, the ordeal of a New England woman transformed into a vampire during an ill-fated trip to New Orleans. "The Silver Coffin," by Robert Barbour Johnson, a vintage horror story from WEIRD TALES about a secret in a family crypt. Lawrence Schimel and Billie Sue Mosiman contribute an original piece, "The Scent of Magnolias." Other authors in the anthology include Brian Hodge, Fred Chappell, James Kisner, Delia Sherman, and Tracy A. Knight.

Strangely, these books don't seem to be listed on Amazon (unless they're so deeply buried under newer listings that the search engine can't find them). However, copies of SOUTHERN BLOOD are available on sites such as Alibris.

Margaret L. Carter

Please explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.

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