30 Days of Vampires–The Myth of the Vampire & a Prize!

30 Days of Vampires Schedule

By Michelle Rowen

When my first vampire book, Bitten & Smitten, was published I was surprised at some of the comments I read in reviews, such as how I got the vampire myths “wrong” and should have done a bit more research if I want to write in that genre. I’m paraphrasing, of course.

The thing is, I love vampires. I adore them. I have been a hardcore fanpire (isn’t that a great word?) since…well, the beginning. The Count was my favorite Sesame Street character. Frank Langella freaked me out (as well as made me feel strangely tingly) in the 70’s version of Dracula. And when Gary Oldman told Winona Ryder that he’d crossed oceans of time to find her… Zing. I was sold.

Love vamps. The myths? They’re just myths. I saw an HBO special the other day about vampires (it was promoting the fantastic show True Blood) and they went down the list of myths asking writers and directors about them. The funniest thing was that every last one was disputed. Except the wooden stake thing. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

1. Vampires are killed by sunlight

This was the biggest one for me, and the one that garnered the most “she’s wrong!” comments. The vampires in my Immortality Bites series can go out in the sunshine just fine and dandy without the risk of bursting into flame. I do state that they feel a bit weaker than at night, and they must wear dark sunglasses to protect from the glare of the sun. Am I wrong for doing this? No, I’m not. Really. Dracula himself was a daywalker. The idea that sunlight can kill vamps is a recent thing. I read an interview with Joss Whedon once that said he had vamps turn into dust from sunlight or staking specifically so Buffy and the gang wouldn’t have to worry about cleaning up corpses. Because that would be very inconvenient.

2. Vampires have no reflections

Since my main character cherished her reflection I made sure that my vamps lost their ability to see themselves in mirrors. However, this didn’t happen right away. It was a gradual process. A fledgling vamp would be able to see their reflection for a while before it faded away. Since I’m not a completely mean writer, I did invent a special mirror called a “shard” for vampires to see themselves in. Unfortunately that sort of mirror costs a lot of money. Isn’t that always the way?

3. Vampires are immortal/stay young forever

This one is just too much fun to mess with. To be hundreds of years old and still look good? I know some people have issues with Edward Cullen being over 100 and falling in love with a seventeen year old. If you can’t get over that element of vampires, then you probably don’t read about them. I don’t see Edward as an old, lecherous man in a young body. I see him as an eternal 17-year-old. (Robert Pattinson – call me!)

4. Vampires must drink blood to survive

Well, of course they do. This is the one myth I think can’t be messed with. Sure there are psychic vampires who feed on the energy of the living, but come on. Vampires need to drink blood. Some theorize that the sinking of the fangs in the innocent neck is always a metaphor for sex. I disagree. My vamps don’t usually get their blood from the source, per se. In my world there are blood delivery services and it’s delivered in kegs. But when it is from the source itself, and the vampire is old, the bite hurts. I can’t imagine how having somebody sink their sharp teeth into your neck could be remotely pleasurable. Different strokes for different folks, though.

5. Vampires can turn into bats

Nope. But that would be kind of cool.

6. A vamp can be killed by plunging a wooden stake through the heart

I think this would kill just about anything, really. But yes, I kept this one. Decapitation will also work. Not too many things can exist without a head.

7. Vampires are evil

Nope. At least not all of them. I went with the thought that however you are as a human would be the exact same as a vampire. If you’re nice in real life you’d be a nice vampire. If you were a devious, greedy, murderous villain, then that is what you’d be as a vampire. Only with extra strength, immortality, and a thirst for blood.

8. Crosses and garlic repel vampires

I decided that since my vampires aren’t necessarily evil, they wouldn’t be affected by crosses. Garlic however, I had a bit of fun with. I made it so that it knocks a vampire unconscious, therefore my vampires hunters (the real bad guys in my books) use garlic darts as tranquilizers. Because that’s evil and delicious at the same time.

So…after establishing all of my myths in the first three books, I decided to mix it up a bit in the last two books in my Immortality Bites series (Stakes & Stilettos in April ’09 and Tall, Dark & Fangsome in September ‘09). Just as my vampire heroine is getting used to being a vampire, I give her a curse to be a “nightwalker.” To me, a nightwalker is an “dark vampire” and would exhibit all of the mythical symptoms of vampirism that gave the nice vampires the reputation they have to deal with. She can’t go out in the daylight, she is now completely repelled by crosses, and she might be feeling just a little bit…evil. But she’s trying very hard to break the curse before it’s too late. She’s also not too happy with me as her writer for putting her through so much stress. I’m sleeping with one eye open and worried about the safety of my neck.

9. Vampires are fictional creatures

I hope so. I really do. ;)

So what are your favorite vampire myths? What are your favorite movies, TV, books, that break those myths? Leave a comment and have the chance to win a signed ARC of Stakes & Stilettos! Contest ends at Midnight tonight–prize can be shipped to U.S. and Canada addresses.

Visit Michelle at www.michellerowen.com to find out more about the Immortality Bites series as well as her other fantastical fictional offerings.

Order Michelle’s books:
Bitten & Smitten
Fanged & Fabulous
Lady & the Vamp
Stakes & Stilettos

29 Responsesto “30 Days of Vampires–The Myth of the Vampire & a Prize!”

  1. Donna says:

    Great article. I love your books and cant wait for the next two now to see what happens.

    I totally agree with the idea that a turned vampire would have the same attitude as when they were alive. If they were bad, now they are bad vampires. If they were good, now they are good vampires. And while sure there are psychic vampires, if they dont drink blood in some form than no they arent really vampires and thats just a fancy title.

    I laughed with the garlic darts and how she reacted with the lack of reflection in a mirror.

    I like all types of paranormal books and movies, of course vampires are my favorites. It would take forever for me to start listing them. But they really follow are ranges from the completely tradional to any number of variations, combinations or changes. For me to really like it as a vampire story, it does have to contain at least a couple of the orginal myths in some form.

    Thanks for coming, keep writing.

  2. flip says:

    My favorite myth is how vampires can enthrall people.

  3. Thanks Donna! :D

    Flip… the “thrall” is a good one. I forgot about that. I use that as another element of my “nightwalker” curse that regular vamps don’t have. :lol:

  4. Colleen says:

    Oh I love the titles of your books! :D This year, I really started getting into paranormal books… after the 30 days of vampires, I have a huge list of books to look forward to!

  5. Deidre says:

    Hi Michelle! I love your books! Bitten & Smitten was so good.

    OMG, isn’t Gary Oldman so sexy as Dracula! *sigh*



  6. Deidre says:

    Oops, meant to add that my favorite myth is that vamps are immortal and stay youthful forever because wouldn’t we all like to be in on that. LOL


  7. JMarie says:

    Vampire myths have changed so many times. I prefer they can go out in daylight and eat garlic. I love garlic!!!

  8. Caffey says:

    Hi Michelle!
    LOL on the garlic!!! That was my first thought when thinking of myths!

    I so loved MOONLIGHT that was on for one season. I so wished they didn’t cancel it. I rarely watch TV so I watched this and then so disappointed that they cancelled it. If I ever know when the first show of BUFFY or ANGEL is on, I may check those out. Maybe the library has the DVD! Now there’s an idea, LOL.

    Most I read didn’t go to the comedy side of these vampire romances. But when they do, I have fun reading them! Kerrilyn Sparks and Marta Acosta! I do like to go back and forth about the many unique ways the authors write them. Never know what you are going to get! its fun!

  9. Any fiction writer can set the rules for his/her fictional universe, without having to justify why, and no one else has a right to criticize those choices. This is fundamental. Readers may prefer fiction that uses certain conventions, but they if don’t like an author’s choices, they’re free to read other authors. Vampire fiction is so diverse, there’s something to please every taste.

    That being said, the only thing that bothers me is when authors or readers make pronouncements about what “vampire legend” or “myth” or folklore supposedly says and are flat-out wrong. That’s a different matter. Folklore vampires had reflections, didn’t need blood to “survive” (they ate anything), loved sex (they weren’t impotent), weren’t killed by stakes and often not even by dismemberment, and had no problems walking around in daylight.

    Does that mean fiction writers have to write their vampires the same way? Of course not! I just ask that people know the rules they’re departing from when they make the departure. There is a lot of misinformation commonly believed and repeated about vampire folklore and fiction–much of it by academics and journalists who are too lazy to check the facts–and I’m on something of a (quixotic) crusade to set the record straight. That doesn’t mean that if a writer queries me with a great, marketable story that happens to use fictional conventions I don’t use myself, that I won’t publish them. I will. :wink:

  10. Excellent article on your website, Inanna. I’m thinking about doing a webpage up especially for my vamp series and I’ll definitely link to that.

    I do think it’s hard to expect the average reader to know about vampire origins. It’s all about expectations. And to the layman, vampires are sun-allergic, drink blood, have fangs, and are killed by wooden stakes. If we do something different, I guess we need to acknowledge that it’s different or it might take the reader out of the story.

  11. Carmen R says:

    My favorite myth would be they stay young forever , man wouldn’t that just be cool. I love how in your Immortality Bites series that the vampires can go out into the sun. Life would be pretty boring if you can only go out at night. Trust me I know because I have an allergy to the sun. After trying the whole stay inside until night thing I figured it was worth the issues I go through just to have a life in the day time.

  12. Lisa N. says:

    Michelle, I’m a huge fan of your books! I was a fan from the beginning of Bitten & Smitten and can’t wait for Stakes & Stilettos! I love the myths about immortality and of course the garlic. I like garlic too much to miss out on it! It’s always neat to see what spin authors put on the traditional myths. To be honest, it helps as a reader to keep all the different vampire worlds apart, from J.R. Ward to Kerrelyn Sparks to Michele Bardsley!

  13. Jackie B says:

    Beyond the obvious crispy-fried Bill debacle on True Blood (so vampires don’t really burst into flames, interesting…) my favorite rule breaker is Christopher Golden. In Of Saints and Shadows, vampires are brainwashed by the Catholic church to believe they are evil/can’t be in sunlight/etc. So brainwashed, in fact, that if left in the sunlight will spontaneously combust.

    The book cracked me up and has been my favorite “rule breaker” since.

  14. Lori says:

    Jackie B, I LOVE that brainwash thing. I will have to search that book out!

  15. Tabitha v--v says:

    My vampires can definately go out in the daylight. If my vampire dies, it is only through incineration and scattering the ashes. Since I’m on a Twilight kick, I’ve been dying to talk about sucking the blood of animals to other fanpires(Yes, fampire is cool.). The idea of sucking animal blood grosses me out. -Hold on; let me explain. I’ve done a lot of wildlife rehabilitation and wild animals are, more often than not, infested with ticks so whenever I think about a character biting into an animal, I think ew.

  16. Cathy M says:

    Blade Trinity is one of my favorites. I get to laugh and be scared at the same time.

  17. sara hurt says:

    Hello. I have just started reading Bitten and Smitten today and I I can tell you that I am already hooked and I am only in the first few chapters. This book cracks me up already and I am so afraid that I will be staying up all night to finish it, which makes it a definite keeper and reread.

  18. Margie says:

    Hi Michelle! Enjoyed your post! Love the titles of your books! My favorite vampire myths include the garlic and immortality. You can have so much fun with those two myths!

  19. Lori T says:

    My favorite vampire myth is how they are able to enthrall their intended victims. I really enjoyed…yes, it is the obvious answer…Buffy the Vampire Slayer…I liked both the TV series and the cheesy movie.

    I would love the opportunity to win an ARC of your upcoming books. Your books sound really good!

  20. Debbie says:

    Michelle, I’m a big fan of your books! Loved Bitten and Smitten. I couldn’t put it down! One of my favorite vampire myths is how they are able to enthrall people.

  21. Danielle says:

    Hi Michelle! I have all ur books on my wishlist! I can’t wait to read them!


    as far as myths go… im gonna have to say just the whole being immortal party… living forever… being young… honestly id love to be a vampire… i know im weird but id love to

  22. Amy S. says:

    Great post! Living forever and no reflection.

  23. Jackie B says:

    Do you plan on writing any more books under Michelle Maddox? Countdown was a wonderful novel!

  24. Great blog post Michelle!

    I would think that by this point of the paranormal genre “boom”, that critics could find something better to do with their time than pick on FICTIONAL writers and their take on vampires. I LOVE that there are so many different types of vamps, rules, and histories. It makes for much more interesting reading!

    I just finally saw Twilight last night and Robert Pattinson did a wicked job playing Edward – Loved It! As for TV, I’m kinda crushing on Eric Northman in True Blood. I can’t wait to see more of him next season. :)

  25. Pan Zareta says:

    Great post! My favorite myth would have to be living forever!

  26. Terri W. says:

    Welcome Michelle!

    I love your books!

    I have so many favorite vampires book series that I love to name all of them.

    I really liked watching “Blood Ties” when it was on (actually I have all the episodes on tape). LOL!

  27. Liviania says:

    My favorite myths are vampires can’t cross running water or must stop and count things if you throw them. Those two aren’t used enough. (Crosses, which came about in the Middle Ages, are used too much.)

    My favorite that plays with the myths is Near Dark – it doesn’t even mention that the characters are vamps.

  28. Pam P says:

    It’s fiction and the author’s creation, and no one knows what’s really right or wrong, so who’s to say you shouldn’t… I love reading all types of vamp romances and each author’s different takes, enjoy each one for what it is, it’s all about how you draw us in to the characters anyway, no matter which powers they do or don’t have. I definitely agree with you that if you’re good/evil before being turned, you’ll be the same after.

  29. Thanks for all the comments, everyone. :D

    Jackie B… Thanks! Countdown was a lot of fun to write. I’d love to do another Maddox book (or several) and have some plots simmering in my brain. But for the next year at least my schedule is full of Rowen deadlines.


  1. guest bloggin’ | Michelle Rowen :: Paranormal Author - [...] guest blogging today on Lori Devoti’s 30 Days of Vampires and giving away another copy of Stakes & Stilettos.…