Monday, January 10, 2011

Guest Blogger Katie Salidas, author of Hunters and Prey

I'm pleased to welcome back Katie Salidas.  She will be talking about the origins of the vampires in her Immortalis series.  Katie will be giving away a free e-book of her new release Hunters and Prey to one lucky winner.  To enter, please leave a comment for Katie, telling her about your favorite vampire legend.  The winner will be chosen by random drawing.  Contest ends on Thursday, January 13th at 11:00 PM EST.

Every vampire story out there has to answer the question. What are the origins of your vampires?
People will want to know where they came from and how they have been able to survive the centuries. Many popular fiction titles have come up with some great “beginnings” for their creation: alien species populating the earth, ancient curses, blood-borne diseases, evolution, etc… There are a ton of great explanations for the fictional existence of vampires. For my series, I wanted to take a look at vampires through history and see where I could find my own unique link.

Some Slavic legends state that simply being buried improperly can cause a human to reanimate as a vampire. Other legends state that one must have committed a heinous crime to become the undead. If you had turned your back on the church as a living person, you were sure to become a bloodthirsty creature after death. Still, there are other legends with weirder causes for vampirism. For example: in some older Chinese traditions, animals jumping over a corpse were the cause of vampirism.

Some popular ideas that have been adapted to fiction, explain that vampires are the cursed children of Cain or Lilith (sometimes both).

Beyond those beliefs lie the ones involving demonic spirits and possessions. If we seek far back into mythology you’ll find the Greeks and Romans believed in demonic spirits themselves and in many ways they were the prototype of the common vampire of today.

That hooked me! I love ancient mythology and happened across some very interesting similarities between creatures of the ancient Greek world and the vampires I wanted to create.

The Keres, in fact were dead ringers for what I had in mind. Daughters of the Greek Titan Nyx, goddess of the night, these creatures are described as winged female death spirits with an insatiable lust for human blood. Perfect!
According to my research they were also one of the evils released when Pandora opened the fabled box. While they sound fearsome and probably would be, they weren’t exactly evil. They existed in a murky gray area of morality. They were agents of the fates, also known as Death Fates. They did not attack people openly or without reason. However, they were not the bringers of gentle death as was their brother, Thanatos. They hung around battles waiting for someone to fall. That’s when they swarmed, finishing the poor dying man off, savoring their blood as they sent his soul to Hades. They essentially sped a person’s fate on to its course. If you were going to die, they’d be there to do it and drink your blood at the same time. Sounds a lot like a vampire, doesn’t it?

I fell in love, not literally of course, with the creature and knew I just had to base my vampire legend off of them somehow.

In the first book, Immortalis Carpe Noctem, Lysander explains to Alyssa the origin of the vampire species. He tells her that the first “vampire” was created by a mating of one of the Keres with a dying man she encountered on the battlefield. The resulting child was immortal, like its mother, and carried the same insatiable bloodlust, but had the features of its father. Being a hybrid and the only one of its kind, Nyx (essentially Grandma) cursed it to the night so that she could keep watch and protect it.

The use of the legend doesn’t stop there however. As the Immortalis series progresses we delve deeper and deeper into the history. In Hunters & Prey, we are reminded of the fact that a human-turn-vampire is not a dead creature, they are “changed” but that change must happen properly. If not done correctly it will create a hideous abomination. In the third book in this series Pandora’s Box (Should be in Print Fall 2011), we’ll delve even deeper into the legends origins and learn more about the first vampire and what became of it.

Needless to say I really do love my vampires and the legends they spawned from and I hope you will too.

A heartfelt thanks to Katie for sharing her knowlege with us today!  Please read on for an excerpt and review of Hunters and Prey and more information on Katie.

Here is an excerpt from Katie's new release, Hunters and Prey.

Hot blood coursed through my veins as I gulped down the gushing fountain of my victim’s neck.

He won’t be hurting women anymore. I thought to myself as I swallowed each hot mouthful of blood. How quickly the hunter becomes the prey.

Using the power of my mind, I sent him feelings: waves of pain and grief for the murder he had committed. The human mind was easy to control, and I called upon all the skill I possessed to make him suffer.

Murderers and those who dealt in crime and abuse were my prey. It was because of them, those vile individuals, that I was a vampire. Memories of my own near-death experience and echoes of past wounds fueled me.

As a vampire, I had power, the power to stop bad people from doing awful, evil things. Fate has a way of working things out, and it gave my bloodlust a purpose. If I was to be this creature, I would ensure that my feeding stopped the unnecessary deaths of innocents.

I drained him slowly and painfully, savoring the honey-sweet elixir of his blood. Keeping him alert enough to feel every draw against his neck, I gnawed at the wound with my sharp teeth and dug my nails into his flesh. I wanted him to feel everything. I wouldn’t let him go unconscious. He needed to know and understand the torment he had inflicted on others. I only wished I had found him, sooner before he ended the life of the poor woman lying at our feet. The fearful look in her dead eyes was a painful reminder of the men who had attacked me.

This man would pay with his dying breath.

My victim moaned pitifully. He beat against my back, struggling to free himself. I tightened my grip, locking his body in my deadly embrace.

He was going nowhere.

The heat from his blood coursed through my veins, strengthening me, warming me, giving me his life-energy. I savored this feeling: the tingling rush, the ecstasy, that filled my being.

Just as the wave of pleasure crested, his heart slowed to an erratic thump, and the gushing fountain became a trickle. I knew he wouldn’t last much longer. His blood pressure was dropping.

I lifted my head and gazed into his fear-filled eyes. “It’s no fun when you’re on the receiving end, is it?” I smiled at him, licking the last few drops of his blood from my fangs.

My head swam with energy—his energy. I felt powerful, strong, and just.

The wretched man was like putty—just a lump of mush—in my hands. Weakly, he exhaled a final dying breath. The light of life in his eyes extinguished. His head lolled and then flopped backward.

I listened carefully. His heart thumped once, twice, and then … nothing.

I bit my tongue and swirled a mix of my saliva and blood across the wound on his neck, ensuring it would close. The evidence of my feeding would be gone by the time anyone found him.

A strange prickling sensation tickled the back of my neck. The hair on my arms stood straight on end. I had come to know this unmistakable feeling quite well since I’d been turned. Another vampire was close.

I dropped my victim unceremoniously on top of the woman he’d just killed and turned around to scan the area. Though the street was dark, my vampire eyes had no problem spotting another pair of pale eyes staring back at me from the shadows.

A footstep broke the silence. Still young, I’d had limited dealings with other vampires. Not all were friendly. I hoped the one watching me would be.

“I know you’re out there,” I called to the darkness. “Show yourself.”

Raspy laughter crawled out of the shadow. “Are you sure you want me to do that, Alyssa?”

In the space of a second, realization hit me. My eyes went wide and my heart slammed into my chest.

Oh shit. Santino!

Another footstep echoed around me as he moved into the light.

A trademark of the vampire kind, his blue-gray eyes seemed to glow as he looked at me. A wild mane of salt-and-pepper hair jutted out in all directions on top of his head. Deep-creased wrinkles and scars covered an aged face that had seen many battles. His lips pulled back into a predatory smile, revealing a perfect set of sharp white fangs.

I was running before I could even comprehend the thought of it. I needed to get away. Fast.

My Review
The second installment of the Immortalis saga picks up after the Peregrinus clan has clashed with enemy vampire Callisto and the corrupt religious sect, the Acta Sanctorum. While hunting, heroine Alyssa encounters enemy Santino, thought to be dead, and becomes haunted by visions of him. Despite her lover/maker Lysander’s assurances, she can’t shake the feeling that Santino has somehow survived. Her fears are soon realized, and Alyssa finds herself the protector of her mortal friend, Fallon, in a life or death struggle with the evil mastermind behind the Acta Sanctorum, Quentin. Alyssa then discovers that Quentin has been engaged in some not quite so saintly experiments involving vampire blood that has created an army of bloodthirsty zombies. Santino, distressed by his master’s unholy army, joins forces with the Peregrinus clan and together they battle Quentin and his ghouls.

The character of Alyssa grows stronger in this installment. I admired her determination to help her friend, even against the wishes of her clan. It was fun to see her stick to her guns and stand up to the formidable presence of Lysander, proving that she’s no pushover. Hunters and Prey is a fast-paced, sexy and entertaining read, with generous helpings of action, blood, and romance. Alyssa gets to kick some serious butt, and she and Lysander dial up the sexual heat a few times. As with the first book in the series, I enjoyed the Vegas setting and how the author uses it in her story.

About Katie

Author of the hot new Urban Fantasy series, Immortalis, Katie has always had a desire to entertain. Since, early childhood, she's dreamed up fantastical characters and scribbled them into pages of various journals and notebooks. Taking an interest in vampires at an early age, she devoured every book, featuring those mysterious, blood sucking creatures, in any genre she could find. She claims that, of all the monsters out there, vampires had always been the most interesting.

It was only natural that a love of reading about vampires, and a love of writing, turned into a desire to write her own stories.

A Las Vegas native, having grown up in the famed City of Sin, Katie loves to feature it as a recurring setting for many of her stories.

You can follow Kate at the following links:



Facebook Author Fansite


Katie S said...

Thanks for having me here today Denise! I am so glad you enjoyed book 2 in this series. I can't wait to share the next.

Denise Verrico said...

Always a pleasure, Katie!

Katie S said...

You're site looks great by the way! Love the Immortyl Lexicon. Awesome Idea.

David said...

I love Katie's work, and highly recommend it to any lovers of vampire lit. I picked up a copy while at Bertena Varney's Day of Mystical Bloodlust in October.

Katie, believe it or not, my favorite vampire was the smooth but sharp-toothed immortal, Jerry Dandridge, from the original Fright Night movie in the mid-80's. I mean, I love Dracula and some of the classics, but Jerry jump-started my interest in the idea of vamps with style and grace. Thanks for being here today.

David Nelson Bradsher

Katie S said...

Fright Night is an 80's cult classic!! Loved that movie.

I'd heard something about a remake recently. Wouldn't that be interesting?

Thanks for stopping by and for reading my work. I have your Vampire Sonnets on my TBR list!

David said...

Yes, there is a remake underway, with Colin Ferrell in the role of Dandridge. I'm not sure about it yet.