Thank You for Sucking the Life Out of My Tomatoes!

bunnicula1

The first ‘vampire’ novel I ever read was the children’s book Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe.  If you’ve never heard of it – or had children who read it – the story is told by a dog, who suspects that the new family pet is a vampire.  The evidence seems to support his suspicions when, each morning, an innocent ‘veggie-victim’ is found with all of its juices and color drained and two peculiar puncture marks left behind.

I mention this memory, because it was the innocent start to what would end up being a constant and sordid companion on my life’s journey.  Bunnicula was the first in a long, sinuous string of vampire novels: L.J. Smith and Anne Rice provided a fix for everything supernatural.  Anno Dracula by Kim Newman will always be one of my favorites and thanks to Francis Ford Coppola’s contribution to my addiction, I also spent time poring over the actual history of the fifteenth century Wallachian Prince, Vlad Tepes.  He was far, far more badass than any ‘vampire’ of story.

I was also the only 14 year old who knew what Porphyria was.  Well, except for maybe Doogie Howser.

It’s no big shocker then, to confess that I have a huge pile of supernatural novels in the works, or finished – or just scribbled out to get to later – and yes, 99.98% of them have something to do with vampires.  I’m not ashamed of this – or, at least, I wasn’t until I was discussing a short story I wanted to submit to a magazine with my ‘Editor In Chief,’ (You know who you are), who decided to point out that what was once synonymous with horror; conjuring blood-chilling fright, breath-stealing nightmares and visions of haunted, creepy castles, was now only synonymous with emo-crazed teens.  Wtf?  When the hell did that happen?

Ooooh… right.  It was that movie, that led to that TV show, that later led to that spin-off show and then before you know it, THAT friggin’ YA series is published and a WHOLE new standard for what the curse of the ‘vampire’ should mean is set in sparkling stone rather than lichen covered, blood drenched granite!  The world goes insane and before long, every publisher is bleeding new vampire and werewolf stories from every vein.

Alas, the faddish element of the genre bleeds out, growing weaker and weaker…leaving me with a whole slew of vampire and werewolf stories that I no longer feel as confident about.  I could vow that I started writing some of them long before the vampire went Disney.  That I wasn’t inspired by the craze (or even the Underworld films, which would be a closer comparison.)  I could even go as far as saying, “But, mine are different!  They’re not the same as ANY other vampire novels out there!” and it falls on editorial ears already numbed by a million writers who made that same proclamation before me.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a rant over other people’s successes, or a pity-party because I was late for that ship – I’m glad it’s sailed.  It will come around again, that at least seems a regular ebb and flow in this industry.  It is, however, an acknowledgment that for the first time in my creative journey, an outside source has caused me to take pause over my own work.  It’s a statement that I’m now torn between rehashing the whole species type listed on my character’s bios and screaming in utter defiance that “I WILL NOT STOP WRITING ABOUT THE THINGS I LOVE MOST!”

So, it is with this half-pouting, half-determined stance that I salute all of the muses with a select couple of fingers and say: “Thanks!  Thanks a-frickin-lot for sucking all of the life out of my inspiration tomatoes, you creative vamps!”

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