Vampire Influence on Television (GUEST POST)

Cami Hadley is a freelance lifestyle writer with a passion for film, fashion, home decor, entertainment and the technology that simplifies her life.  She left her entertainment law practice in 2007 to spend more time with the true loves of her life: her family. Cami's a proud wife and mom of two children, two dogs, one cat and a goldfish.

Vampire Influence on Television

By Cami Hadley

With the box office still buzzing from the latest (and final) installment of The Twilight Saga and the TV brimming with vampire-related TV series, it may seem like vampire-mania is a recent development. However, fascination with the mythology and legend of vampirism has long been a staple of western culture, especially when it comes to television.

Vampire Flashback

You may or may not recall the popular late-‘60s/early-‘70s TV series Dark Shadows. This vamp-centric soap opera ran from 1966-71 on ABC and was briefly revived in 1991 before NBC cancelled it. Johnny Depp was a big fan of the show and recently played the main vampire, Barnabas Collins, in 2012 film adaptation of Dark Shadows directed by Tim Burton.

A ’90s Resurgence

Perhaps, 1991 was too soon to revive Dark Shadows. Fast-forward six years to the debut of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), and you’ll see TV audiences enthralled in the story of a high school cheerleader delving into a supernatural world to fight forces of evil and repeatedly save the planet. Buffy’s wild success was followed by a spinoff series, Angel (1999-2004), in which the vampire is the hero and battles demons and their human allies to assuage his guilt over his own past sins. One might argue that these two series inspired and set the stage for the popularity of the Twilight franchise of novels (first published in 2005) and movies (which debuted in 2008).

Carrying the Torch

Today, several TV series continue the vampiric TV legacy forged by Dark Shadows and revived by BuffyTrue Blood, has aired on HBO since 2008 and been the center of much controversy among fans of the Sookie Stackhouse novels upon which the TV series is (some would argue, loosely) based. Being Human is a popular BBC series that follows the struggles of roommates who happen to be a vampire, a ghost and a werewolf. The CW didn’t want to miss out on the public’s renewed fascination with the undead and launched The Vampire Diaries in 2009.

Spotting a pattern? Vampires on TV never really die. You can always count on them to come back for more.

The Undying Popularity of Vampires (GUEST POST)

Gianna Perada is the author of the vampire novel Blood Life. I had the good fortune of meeting her in May of 2012 at the awards ceremony for the San Francisco Book Festival, where Blood Life was being honored. We got along like old pals, talking about writing, publishing and vampires, among other things.

The Undying Popularity of Vampires

By Gianna Perada

I have a vested interest in the mythology and culture of vampires, as I’m in the process of writing a trilogy, which began with my debut novel Blood Life. While I have every confidence that Blood Life is interesting and unique, the reality is there are many books and movies about vampires out in the world already.

It’s truly a saturated market and tough for us authors to stand apart without a good fight. But, still, luckily for us, vampires are all the rage. They’ve been resurrected from Anne Rice’s romantic and sexy reign into a new, more carefully crafted modern version consisting of glitter, current clothing trends, and youth. And audiences can’t get enough!

True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and Stephenie Meyer’s epically popular Twilight series are only the most recent examples of the undying popularity of vampires. And if you read enough vampire literature, you’ll find that no two vampires are exactly the same. Some wear sunglasses, foundation, and sunscreen to blend in (Lestat), some bathe in the blood of virgins to remain young (Countess Bathory), and some vaporize and shape shift (Dracula). Still others walk around in Victorian lace, Levis, patent leather or latex, combat boots, and cloaks (many of the newer versions); some even resist the urge to feed—gasp!—with special serums (Blade), while others prey on the weak or ruined (et al). You name it, it’s out there.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, Poppy Z. Brite’s Lost Souls, and Michael Romkey’s I, Vampire are probably the novels that most influenced me when I began writing Blood Life—but I wasn’t influenced by fiction alone. I read about historical figures, such as Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed and Vlad “The Impaler” Dracul. I also read accounts of vampirism throughout history from Montague Summers, Konstantinos, and Manuela Dunn-Mascetti, among others. Over the last 15 years, as I worked on Blood Life, drawing from heaps of research, I also mixed in some vampire traits from pop culture, such as Steve Niles’ graphic novel 30 Days of Night and Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish film Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In).

I allowed myself to be fully immersed and influenced so that my own creatures could come out and stand in their own light, alone and beautifully defined. The vampires in Blood Life breed with witches and create a new species called the Combined; they are the top race in my version of the vampire mythology. Pure vampires and the Combined are both predators of humans, as they both need them for sustenance.

They are creatures—monsters if you will—but totally and completely human and lovable in their other actions. They may drink until the heartbeat stops, but they possess a full arsenal of emotions (both good and evil) and live among humans in daylight and possess great strength and magical abilities.

In the end, there are many, many versions of vampires and they are all unique and fascinating in their own fabulous and refreshing ways. Some are loved and some are hated, but what delights me the most is the fact that they are still so embraced and adored by the culture at large.

Buy Gianna's award-winning novel

Blood Life on

Write What You Know: The Importance of Research in Storytelling

I was recently watching Breaking Bad, which, aside from being one of my very favorite TV shows, is a premium example of masterful storytelling. If you're not familiar, Breaking Bad is about a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with cancer; already in dire financial straits, he turns to the drug trade and begins manufacturing and selling crystal meth. In the particular episode I was watching, there's a scene where a man is sitting in front of a hospital in a wheelchair waiting for his ride home. While he waits, an ambulance pulls up, sirens blaring, racing to the entrance of the emergency room. When the EMTs exit, the wheelchair man gets a look at the man on a stretcher, injured by gunshot wounds. He gets up from the wheelchair and follows the EMTs as they roll the stretcher through the sliding doors of the ER and down a hallway, before entering another set of doors.  The man stops at the second set of doors, smiling, because he recognizes the gunshot victim—and, more importantly, because he's pleased to see that the man has been shot.

It's a very engaging scene, but, as I watched it, I found myself thinking:

"He's allowed to follow the EMTs that far into the hospital? Nobody needs to stop him?"

It's a mundane detail and one most audience members wouldn't worry too much about, but, as a storyteller, I think about these things all the time. In Breaking Bad, the scene I described is important. The one character needs to see the other character; he needs to know he's been injured, as it gives the audience a satisfying payoff.

For me, since I know very little about hospitals, I notice the little details and, with a show as well-crafted as Breaking Bad, I trust they get most of them right. I assume that someone on the writing staff might have some intimate knowledge with hospital protocol, particularly where it concerns EMTs and the ER (perhaps they were simply big fans of the show ER).

But, as a TV show, I also figure they have a wide range of resources. I can imagine the writers developing that scene and somebody asking some version of the question I asked:

"How far can he go without somebody stopping him?"

From there, I figure there's a production assistant who can make a phone call to a hospital on behalf of the writing staff and get as many answers as they need, delivering them back to the writers who will use the information to craft their scene.

When I write stories, I worry (perhaps to an obscene amount) about getting the details wrong, especially when I'm writing about a particular topic that I don't know very well. That very idea, in fact, is at the root of that ol' storytelling adage: Write what you know.

Which is to say, write about things you're familiar with, because, by doing so, your details will be authentic.

So, what do you do when you don't know about a topic that you want to write about? The answer is simple.


Research is so important to good storytelling, because one false detail can be enough to derail a story for your reader. As the author, getting the details wrong injures your credibility, causing the reader to come out of that hypnotic trance you'd worked so hard to put them in.

Whether it be in a movie or a TV show or a book, as audience members, we've all had the experience of coming out of that trance and saying (out loud or otherwise):

"That doesn't make any sense!" or "It wouldn't happen that way!"

As a storyteller, that's the fear that drives my research. In my novel, Inside the Outside, several of my most important details concern the fictional cult, which exists in a hidden commune in the San Bernardino Mountains. It was very important to the story that this commune exist off the grid, so I had to figure out a plausible way for its people to exist in a reasonably modern fashion without anybody of consequence knowing where they were. After doing some research, I learned about sustainable communities; this seemed to be the answer, so I bought a handful of books (I prefer owning my research material whenever possible) and learned as much as I could about sustainable communities.  As I did my research, I slowly but surely figured out how my fictional community would function off the grid.

While books are great and the Internet, when properly utilized, is an invaluable source of research, I prefer communicating with a person whenever possible. I like to have a dialogue, so I can ask questions as they arise.

Social networking is a great way to contact folks from the comfort of your computer. Twitter, in my experience, is ideal for connecting with new people. Roam around a bit, find somebody who knows about whatever it is you need to learn (i.e. a cop, a lawyer, a fireman, a chemist, etc.) and send them a quick tweet. Let them know you're an author doing some research and, more times than not, they'll be happy to help you out. One of the most common traits amongst people is we love talking about topics which we're experts in. You can, if they're open to it, communicate via email or phone. And, of course, if they're particularly helpful, you can thank them in the "Acknowledgments" page of your book.

As I work on my forthcoming novel, The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl, I've found that one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing about vampires is very few of the major plot points are based in reality, so I'm free to make stuff up without a care to accuracy or authenticity—but that doesn't mean the whole book is free of researched information. For example, one of my main characters, Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter, both uses and sells anabolic steroids.

I, on the other hand, have never used nor sold steroids—so, as you might imagine, I had some learning to do. Apart from becoming familiar with the general science regarding steroids, I also wanted to learn how they are taken (i.e. shots? pills?) and how an average user assimilates them into their fitness routine (i.e. once day? once a month? once a year?).

To get all of this information, I used a combination of books, as well as the Internet; I found several bodybuilding forums where, among other things, guys (forgive me, ladies, for assuming they were all men) were having informative discussions about steroids in very informal, easy-to-understand terms. The fact that I was able to read about steroids in the words (and, essentially, the "voices") of the men who used them proved invaluable in the writing of my new novel and, just as importantly, the developing of my character, Jesus.

At the end of the day, my fear is always that my details will ring false. I never want a reader to fall out of that magical trance that happens with a well-told story, because—as an enthusiastic  audience member myself—I know how disappointing and frustrating that can be.

Despite my fears and my ardent wish to avoid the worst-case-scenario, there's not much I can do beyond internalizing the information I research and trusting my storytelling instincts. While I try always to get every single detail exactly right, I know that, despite my best efforts, I'm bound to strike out a few times. So, when it does inevitably happen, I can only hope that the reader will be too engrossed in my story to notice... or too polite to care.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Like 99.99% percent of the literate world, I first became aware of Seth Grahame-Smith when I came across his novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The first time I can remember picking that novel up was at Costco, where the first thing I always do is head to the book section. The cover was very neat looking, the title was great, and the premise was intriguing; Grahame-Smith had taken Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and re-imagined it with zombies. And then there was that wonderful opening line: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." I'd never read Pride and Prejudice, despite taking a Women's Literature class in college (in which the featured novel was Jane Eyre) and, honestly, I've never been much engaged by most of the canon of classic literature, primarily because my tastes lean towards stories of a more fantastical nature (such as Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis). So, in that vein, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies appeared to be the perfect mashup, but, after a few chapters I realized I was simply reading Pride and Prejudice with an occasional smattering of zombies. I quickly became bored and did something I almost never do: I returned the book and got my money back.

A couple years later, I saw a book trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which seemed like one of the coolest, most original ideas I'd ever heard of it. I wasn't surprised to find out that it was written by Grahame-Smith, but I also became less interested.

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

But, for months and months, it seemed to be turning up everywhere I went (i.e. the mall). Finally, I picked it up and was pleasantly surprised by the first couple of pages.

"Vampires exist. And Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest vampire hunters of his age. His journal—beginning in his twelfth year and continuing to the day of his assassination—is an altogether astonishing, heartbreaking, and revolutionary document. One that casts new light on many of the seminal events in American history and adds immeasurable complexity to a man already thought to be unusually complex."

Seth Grahame-Smith, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"

While the same general formula was there—a mashup of something classical with something fantastic—I found the prose to be engaging, probably because Grahame-Smith wasn't simply painting silly mustaches on someone else's canvas. So, I bought the book and knew pretty quickly I was going to love it.

What's fun, even charming, about Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is it reads like an earnest biography of Lincoln, chronicling his life from childhood to adulthood. Knowing very little about the man himself (save for trivial bits, like being on the penny), I actually learned a lot about him, which is a tremendous testmanet to Grahame-Smith's book. And it's that straight-forward biographical voice that makes the book so much fun, as it adds a tone of legitimacy to Lincoln's fictionalized life as a vampire hunter.

Grahame-Smith tells much of the story in Lincoln's "voice," purportedly pulled from a series of secret journal entries. These entries play a significant role in breathing life into this fictionalized view of history, such as the first time Lincoln attempts to kill a vampire.

"I threw myself at her with the last of my strength and thrust its blade into her belly. This only improved her good humor, for she grabbed my wrist and dragged it along her gut, cutting herself and laughing all the while. I felt my feet leave the deck; felt her hands on my throat."

Seth Grahame-Smith, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"

What most any storyteller does when taking on the vampire genre is find a happy medium of paying homage to traditional vampire mythology, while adding their own wrinkles, essentially creating their own unique vampire world, which is what Grahame-Smith has done here.

The vampires in his book can be killed by sunlight, but the older they get the stronger their tolerance; after a century or so, they can walk outside during the day with dark glasses and a wide hat.

Since Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter's publication, a movie has been adapted from it (which, as of this writing, I've yet to watch) produced by Tim Burton, using a screenplay written by Grahame-Smith. Around the same period of time, Burton directed an adaptation of the vampire television series Dark Shadows, using a script penned by Grahame-Smith.

My impression is he'll continue to work in Hollywood, as writing screenplays pays more than writing novels; but, thanks to Seth Grahame-Smith's flair for prose fiction, I'm certain that, as his career evolves, he'll never stray too far from the gal who brought him to the dance.

Romanticization of Stalking (GUEST POST)

by Mauro Corso

Mauro Corso is a journalist, writer, and actor who lives between Rome and Berlin. As a special contributor to, Corso has written a series of Guest Posts about vampires in popular culture. This is PART 4 of 4

Edward and Bella | Twilight

The description of the first Adam and Olivia “encounter” in "Adam & Olivia," Martin Lastrapes' vampire short, is a very powerful portrait of a relationship between a predator and a prey in its most primal terms. Everything is about scent, pursual and the thrill of the hunt in general. Some time ago I read about a very interesting criticism surrounding Twilight about Edward and Bella’s relationship. At the core of the criticism was a very simple question: Is Edward a stalker?

More importantly, is vampire literature a romanticization of stalking (and violence)?

Let’s first take a look at a non-vampire example. In Marc Webb’s 2012 film, The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker takes pictures of Gwen Stacy when she is not watching her; he sometimes follows her as well. All of this is perceived as cute and clumsy. Should we consider this stalking as well? I think we should tread lightly when applying laws of our world to those (albeit fictional) supernatural relationships. When defining stalking in a literary context, we should keep in mind what stalking actually is.

Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker | The Amazing Spider-Man
Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker | The Amazing Spider-Man

In Florida, for example, stalking is defined as a repeated following or harassment, where “to harass” means to “engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such person and serves no legitimate purpose” (Florida statute 784.048). So we can see that behind the definition of stalking there isn’t a single episode, but a behavioral pattern.

Also, the point of view of the potential victim should be taken into proper account. Is the victim experiencing “substantial emotional distress”? Is the victim feeling cut out from the rest of the world? Is the victim developing some kind of dependency to an aggressor? I think that these questions should rule out Edward Cullen’s behaviour as stalking, especially when considering Bella’s reactions.

Returning to the "Adam & Olivia" short, what is going on is definitely a violent aggression, portrayed in a very vivid and somewhat disturbing fashion. Do we need to be concerned about the possible ramifications of a “pleasurable violence”?

Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon

We should always be concerned about this matter. Romanticization of violence, especially on women, should always be considered very carefully.

I don’t know what is going to happen next in Martin Lastrapes' forthcoming novel, The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl, and I don’t know what is going to happen to Olivia.  I do, however, know that Lastrapes treats his female characters with the utmost regard—just as Joss Whedon does with characters like Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Timber Marlow, the main character in Lastrapes debut novel, Inside the Outside, embodies that notion of an empowered woman. She takes her destiny into her own hands and personally challenges the strict patriarchal society where she grew up, engaging in both ideological and physical battles. For this reason, I am very confident that Olivia is going to take a lead role in Lastrapes next novel.

In "Adam & Olivia," we are even given a very telling hint: Olivia wants to write a vampire novel. The identification with the author could not be more obvious than that.

I think that even when we talk about violence, we should consider a character as a whole, in its development, in the course of actions he or she chooses and in the beliefs of this character.

I must admit I have great expectations for Olivia and I believe that the romanticization problem is not going to be much of an issue in her story.

Check out all of Mauro Corso's articles in this series: 


Vampires, Boredom, and Sex (GUEST POST)

by Mauro Corso

Mauro Corso is a journalist, writer, and actor who lives between Rome and Berlin. As a special contributor to, Corso has written a series of Guest Posts about vampires in popular culture. This is PART 1 of 4

What is the main problem of immortality? It lasts more than anyone can reasonably bear. Adam, the vampire in Martin Lastrapes' vampire short "Adam & Olivia," has been a vampire for thirty years and is already bored to death. Boredom is an underdeveloped theme in vampire literature. Sometimes we get a hint of this existential problem in the life of vampire, like in True Blood when we see  Sophie-Anne Leclerq, Vampire Queen of Louisiana, playing a board game. Or we may suspect that all the power play and meddling in human lives is simply a device to hide the emptiness of being a vampire.

Lastrapes’ vampire short made me feel this powerful boredom in Adam’s life right from the start, setting this tale apart from everything else I have seen or read so far. Boredom, it seems, might well be the worst part about being a vampire. For example, consider the unlife of Edward Cullen from Twilight series, who is is essentially stuck in high school for all eternity. Even if we don’t sense his boredom, I can’t possibly imagine a more powerful image of damnation. Given all this, we might ask:

What is a vampire’s main drive?


Everything else is just a pastime between survival and drinking sessions. There is sex, of course, which is a rather problematic issue in vampire physiology. I think that the sexuality of vampires is generally taken for granted. It would be hard to categorize this drive as just another pastime. While it is one of the most basic human drives, is it possible for something not living to have an erotic desire? It is quite true that love and death are strictly intertwined (thank you Mr. Freud!), but saying that a corpse feels attraction to someone else (especially living!) is something I always found dissatisfying. Possibly, a vampire not interested in sex would be too un-human to sympathize with.

I believe that sex is the only interesting thing in the delirious mayhem of twists that is True Blood (yep, I don’t like it...please bear with me). Between Sookie, Bill, and Eric, their sexuality is never questioned; vampires and humans have sex with each other without missing a beat. And in Twilight, sexuality is taken to the next level: Supernatural pregnancy. I find this concept really frightening, and not in a good way. I thought that the only way a vampire could have children was by siring a human being.

The way the TV seriesBeing Human  (US version) depicts sexuality in the vampire world makes the most sense to me, because it is rough, messy, and involves a lot of blood; we so often take for granted the importance of blood in the life of a vampire. The drive for blood in sexuality is rarely clear in vampire stories such as Twilight or True Blood.

This brings to mind another problematic aspect in many vampire stories, which is the "vegetarian" vampire—a vampire who doesn't feed from humans. There is something primal and erotic about vampires feeding, which seems to have strong connections with sex, so the idea of a vampire being able to restrain himself/herself from draining someone he/she is having sex with is difficult for me to swallow.

At the risk of sounding ridiculous, I would like to see some sort of vampire sexuality that actually makes sense. Even Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which revolves around the idea of undying love (especially in Francis Ford Coppola's film adaptation), isn't very clear on how the physical part of this immortal relationship is treated—due, in large part, because Dracula’s romantic desire is doomed to failure.

Sexuality, especially in literature, should not be the easy way to engage a reader; it should have a deep, existential meaning in the economy of every novel.

Check out all of Mauro Corso's articles in this series: 


Once More, With Buffy (GUEST POST)

by Mauro Corso

Mauro Corso is a journalist, writer, and actor who lives between Rome and Berlin. As a special contributor to, Corso has written a series of Guest Posts about vampires in popular culture. This is PART 2 of 4

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

When an author quotes something belonging to pop culture, we should always carefully consider what’s behind it. A lesser author chooses to name something popular as a way to build an easy bond with a reader; when you name something a reader can readily connect to, you, as a writer, are making your job a lot easier. After all, writing is all about seduction. This is a double-edged sword, though. If a reader can sense there is nothing behind the given reference, disappointment will kick in, and, for that reason, everything an author did will be in vain. On the other hand, a superior author will use a reference to pop culture, not as literary shorthand, but as a means of expressing some larger theme or idea.

In “Adam & Olivia,” Martin Lastrapes' vampire short, he makes a reference to Joss Whedon's iconic television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The show is about Buffy Summers, a high school student by day and vampire slayer by night. Whedon cleverly positions Buffy and her battles against evil as metaphors for the hardships that come with being a teenager. In "Adam & Olivia," Lastrapes doesn't simply reference the show itself, he makes a very specific reference to a particular episode.

In "Adam & Olivia," we learn that Olivia is a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; she is particularly fond of Episode 7/Season 6: “Once More, With Feeling.” While Lastrapes doesn't go into great detail about the episode itself, the fact that he mentions it at all leads me to believe we should take it as a hint of what is to come—or, at the very least, how the character of Olivia is going to shape her destiny throughout the story.

“Once More, With Feeling” is a musical episode in which Whedon wrote all the songs in different styles to fit the various moods and themes of the episode and its featured characters. Similar to "Adam & Olivia"—which is both a short story, as well as a chapter in Lastrapes' forthcoming novel—"Once More, With Feeling" works very well as a stand alone episode and, at the same time, it’s a pivotal episode of Season 6.


In the opening episode of Season 6, Buffy, having died at the conclusion of the previous season, is raised from the dead by her friends. She told her friends they rescued her from Hell, as she didn't want to them to feel bad about what they'd done. But, in "Once More, With Feeling," we learn that Buffy was in Heaven, finally at peace from all the struggles that come with being a slayer. Her resurrection is a traumatic experience that changes her, setting her apart from other human beings.

In 1906, Russian novelist Leonid Andreyev wrote “Lazarus,” a short story about the aftermath of Lazarus' resurrection. Even if Lazarus has come back to life and is cherished by his family and friends, there is something unnamed he brought with him from the afterlife, an invisible touch of death, a hint at the mortality of every human being. While Buffy, in Season 6, shares some similarities with Lazarus, her situation also has some distinct differences.

As a slayer, Buffy is already alone, but as a resurrected slayer, she is set further apart from humanity. As Season 6 progresses, she becomes more and more detached, resulting in an unsettling loneliness  which becomes the main theme of "Once More, With Feeling." While Buffy feels completely alone, the episode demonstrates how every other character in the show also feels alone, each of them harboring some secret that he or she cannot bring themselves to face or share with anybody else.

By the end of the episode, Buffy finds a way to feel alive—or, to be more precise, she finds a way to “feel” once again, an allusion to the title of the episode. The solution to her conundrum is a paradox: In order to feel alive, she allows herself to fall in in love with a vampire, the undead.

I don't yet know what direction Lastrapes' forthcoming novel, The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl, will go in, but I can already see, based on his two vampire shorts, that loneliness is going to be a major theme. In "Adam & Olivia," Adam stalks and, ultimately, attacks Olivia out of loneliness. Olivia, for her part, is also lonely, stuck in a job that has nothing to do with her true calling, which is writing. Jesus, the featured character in "Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter," is also a loner; hunting vampires, as Buffy Summers so aptly demonstrated, is a lonely trade. One thing I am certain of:

At some point Adam, Olivia, and Jesus will have to find a way to work out their feelings of loneliness—and I can't wait to find out what happens as they do.

Check out all of Mauro Corso's articles in this series: 



A Vampire Diptych (GUEST POST)

by Mauro Corso

Mauro Corso is a journalist, writer, and actor who lives between Rome and Berlin. As a special contributor to, Corso has written a series of Guest Posts about vampires in popular culture. This is PART 1 of 4…

Mauro Corso

As an avid fan of Inside the Outside, I was thrilled to learn that Martin Lastrapes’ next novel was going to be about vampires.

It seemed to me like a logical evolution, as vampirism is the supernatural equivalent of cannibalism; and, of course, there would seem to be some common ground between blood-sucking vampires and flesh-eating cannibals—at the very least, in the powerful drive to hunt.

Of course, Timber Marlow (the protagonist cannibal of Inside the Outside) didn’t have an eternity to live, as is the case with vampires, which is an important difference. While, at the end of the day, there are more differences than similarities between vampires and cannibals, the “man as prey” concept is both a powerful and central theme for both.

In the last few years vampires have been all the rage and, while I was excited to find out Lastrapes would be trying his hand at the vampire genre, I couldn't help but think, "Aren’t there already too many fanged demons already?!” Lastrapes displayed masterful craftsmanship in Inside the Outside, so my concerns weren't about his writing or storytelling ability.

The Painter's Last Stroke by Nico Whittaker

I just worried that it might be difficult—if not impossible—for him to write a story capable of distinguishing itself amongst the over-saturated world of vampire literature.

These were the thoughts that went through my mind as I prepared to read Lastrapes' two Vampire Shorts, “Adam & Olivia” and “Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter,” which, respectively, will be the first two chapters of his forthcoming novel: The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl. I am very happy to report that, upon reading the Vampire Shorts, all of my doubts and fears faded away.

In “Adam & Olivia” and “Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter,” I found the same compelling writing I was so enthusiastic about in Inside the Outside; that intensive style that brings the reader into what's going on in a highly sensorial level. I also found and enjoyed Lastrapes' distinct ability for building and developing characters, which was a strong trait of Inside the Outside.

Between the two shorts, we meet the three main characters: Adam, Olivia, and Jesus. In "Adam & Olivia," we meet a vampire on the prowl and the girl who has no idea she is being hunted; in "Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter," we meet a young man named Jesus, who is one of the few people that not only knows vampires exist, but has dedicated his life to hunting and killing them.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Lastrapes' Vampire Shorts is they can be regarded as a diptych. Traditionally, a diptych is two different paintings tied to one another to tell a complete story. In this way, I think “Adam & Olivia” and “Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter” are a very interesting experiment in and of themselves.

Their very nature demands a multi-faceted approach from readers. Individually, both stories effectively stand alone, each with an engaging narrative and strong character development. Together, however, these Vampire Shorts conspire to tell an even richer story, which leaves me all the more excited for the publication of the completed novel.

Check out all of Mauro Corso's articles in this series: 


Martin Made Me Eat Brains (GUEST POST)

Cassandra Pearson is a blogger and horror fanatic. Her website, Monkeycstars, regularly provides articles and videos on all things horror, primarily focussing on films, television, and literature. As a fan of her website, I contacted Cassandra and asked her about her unwavering love of horror. This is what she had to say...

Martin Made Me Eat Brains

By Cassandra Pearson 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been totally obsessed with horror. When I was a little girl, my dad never brought home Disney movies—he brought me a new horror movie every night. I freaking loved it! I like being scared; and horror films and books are a safe way to experience that terror. In recent years, zombies have moved up on my favorites list of monsters.

When it’s dark in the house or there are no streetlights outside, I start wondering if a zombie apocalypse is under way. If there were a zombie apocalypse and the zombies were slow, like in Night of The Living Deadthen I'd probably stand a chance of surviving. But If they were fast, like in 28 Days Laterthen I'd probably just double tap myself and call it a day.

When it comes to books, I love reading paranormal romance, supernatural, thrillers, and horror.  GoodReads is a website where I often discover great books and authors. I first came across Martin's debut novel, Inside the Outside, by searching the Goodreads Giveaways page. Initially, I was drawn to the cover of the book; it looked like an alien with a meat cleaver and that image got me to read the blurb. Turns out it was about a cult of cannibals—yes please!

I went to Martin's website and found that he posted Inside the Outside in serialized form, so I began reading it. I was eating the pages up and when I reached the end and realized there was more to the story that hadn’t yet been posted, I went a little psycho. I immediately bought Inside the Outside, finished it, and became so obsessed with the story that I contacted Martin and asked him if he'd write a guest post on my blog.

I told my friend, Marsha, about Inside the Outside and we had lengthy discussions about it. All the cannibalism put brains on my mind; since I was a kid, I've always been curious about the taste of brains. Marsha suggested I buy brains from the store, so the very next day I went on a search and found brains at a beat up old Food Lion.

I immediately went home, put on my gear, and fried me some brains and eggs. I can’t cook and I probably didn’t have it on the stove long enough, but I figured if some people could eat it raw, a little undercooked brain wasn't gonna kill me. I thought it would taste foul, like bad breath or something—don’t ask why I think these things; it’s kinda like how I imagine water tastes like sick people—but brains actually taste like sausage.

Obviously, if a story pushed me to do all that, it has got to be pretty freaking good. With that in mind, I was so excited when Martin announced he'd soon be publishing his second novel, The Vampire, The Hunter and The Girl. You see, along with zombies (and now cannibals) I love vampires!

Martin published the first two chapters of his forthcoming novel, "Adam & Olivia" and "Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter," and, of course, I read them immediately and now I’m dying for him to hurry up and publish the whole book. I’m already expecting to be shocked, crying, screaming, and cringing; all the things that happened to me while reading Inside the Outside.

What can say? Horror is my love. You won’t find any romantic comedies in my stash—they give me the creeps.

Hey, Everybody I'm Back (Or Did You Even Know I Was Gone?)

Hey, ya'll, I feel like I've been gone forever (about 12 days to be exact) and it's so nice to be back. I can only imagine what you've had to do to entertain yourselves in my absence.

As far as the absence goes, I encourage you to let your imagination run free in order to figure out where exactly I might've been this whole time. In the mean time, we've got a lot of catching up to do. Um...

Okay, well, maybe there's not that much catching up to do.

Since we last spoke, I began a Twitter campaign to get B.J. Novakactor/writer on The Office—to follow me. I have, as of this moment, decided to call the movement OccupyBJ. Today is officially Day #13. As of yet, Mr. Novak has chosen not to acknowledge either myself or the OccupyBJ movement. Feel free to go on Twitter and apply some pressure. And if you're wondering what it's all about, well, I'll save that for a later post.

I enjoyed quite a bit of the Twilight Zone marathon on Thanksgiving, before tolerating The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1. As for the Twilight Zone, I watched, among other episodes, "To Serve Man," which, now that I think about it, could've been an alternate title for Inside the Outside. And as for Breaking Dawn, I found it to be, all in all, pretty harmless. I was, however, disappointed to find that none of the vampires in Breaking Dawn sparkled, despite the story being set on a Brazilian island. Apparently there isn't much direct sunlight in Brazil.

Speaking of vampires, I made some significant headway in my vampire novel during my hiatus. I am, as of this writing, twenty-nine chapters (roughly 60,000 words) into my new novel. I'm so excited about the new novel and wish I could tell you more about it, but, for now it's sort of top secret—except, of course, for the vampire part. The novel is on pace to be around fifty chapters, so, at this point, it's more than halfway done.

My goal is to have it published by the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013.  Of course, if the Mayan calendar has anything to say about it, I'd best get this book done before December 21, 2012.

I've done quite a few cool interviews for "10 Questions for..." that I'll be posting over the next couple of weeks. You can also look forward to a number of new posts in "Books That Aren't Mine," as I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Unfortunately, my absence has interfered with my screenwriting project with Greg, but you can soon expect to see some new updates in the "ADAPTING INSIDE THE OUTSIDE" series.

And I guess that's about it. Until we meet again...