A very big welcome to Bertena Varney!
Bertena has written a fascinating non-fiction book about the iconic figure of the vampire. I was thrilled when she asked me to contribute an essay to the work. You'll get to read an excerpt of it later in this post. Bertena is giving a PDF ebook away to one lucky commenter. Entry details are at the end of this post.
Hi everyone. Lure of the Vampire is my first book and has been an interesting project in the making. It began as my final master's paper and grew into a study of vampires from mythology, history, literature, movies, recreation, and much more.
I found that there was not a lot of research in one place that dealt with all aspects of vampires.. or at least not one that covered all aspects from beginning to current lifestylers. So, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to create a quick reference guide for vampire fans, writers, and students.
I began the book with essays that came from my paper and then added more research facts, lists and websites. I then looked to several friends of mine who were vampire authors but each from a different genre. For example Elizabeth Loraine writes young adult literature, David Blue MacDowell wrote the Annotated Carmilla, etc. These are just a few, but the vampire author who I felt that the reader would enjoy to read as much as the author would enjoy writing it. So, I chose Denise Verrico to submit an essay dealing with the mythology of vampires.. a subject that she loves so much.
Here is the excerpt:
Since our early history, people have understood that if a human being lost a great deal of blood he or she would die. It’s not surprising that similar myths of blood-drinking monsters arose all over the globe. Usually these stories were connected with sudden or early death of a person. Almost every culture has some sort of vampire myth. Some of them are very colorful. In some legends they are portrayed as seductive men or women, while in others they are bloated corpses. In Malaysian stories they can sparkle ala Twilight. The ancient Assyrians believed in ekimmu, emaciated creatures that drank the blood of people about to die. Chinese vampires or jiangshi hop to get around and feed on a person’s “life force.” Russian vampires were said to be witches who rebelled against the church, while the ancient Greeks believed in the lamiae, female demons that drained the life force of males.
However, it is the folkloric tradition of Eastern Europe that has inspired many of the legends we associate with vampires. In Slavic culture, belief in spirits both good and evil abounded. Demons in either human or animal form were said to feed on the blood of livestock and human beings. Vampires were purported to be the resurrected dead, pale of complexion with long fingernails and elongated teeth that sometimes had only one nostril. They preyed upon their own families and haunted their villages. These were bloated, mindless creatures, more similar to today’s movie zombies than the dashing gentlemen of popular culture.
Differing stories surrounded the creation of vampires. The idea of a vampire simply biting a victim and that person becoming a vampire or some sort of blood exchange taking place between a vampire and the chosen human is a more modern development. In some of the older myths, it is said that if one was destined for vampirism if illegitimate or the seventh son of a seventh son. Death in childbirth or a cat or dog jumping over a corpse could also result in a vampire. Heresy, committing suicide, or engaging in immoral behavior was also said to cause vampirism.
According to myth, destruction of a vampire could be accomplished by differing means. In some places, a bullet was shot into the coffin of a suspected vampire or its clothing nailed in place to prevent it from moving. Staking was not to kill the vampire but to immobilize the creature so it can be decapitated. This could be done with everything from a hatpin to the more commonly known wooden stake, and it was usually done in the abdomen not the heart. Burning of a suspected corpse was another method of destruction.
Many of these legends of Eastern Europe, along with the stories surrounding of the real life Vlad Tepes, inspired Bram Stoker to write the most famous vampire tale of all time, Dracula. Vlad Dracul (son of the dragon), or Vlad the Impaler, was a 15th century Wallachian prince. As a boy of eleven, the Ottoman Turks took him hostage along with his brother, Radu the Handsome. It is probable that during his captivity at the Ottoman court Vlad suffered sexual abuse. This may have caused him to develop his deep hatred for his former captors. When his brother converted to Islam and went on to serve the Sultan this served to intensify his hatred. These factors may well have also inspired him to invent a particularly ghoulish way of dealing with his enemies.
Denise's essay is just a taste of what Lure of the Vampire offers. If you love movies, television, or literature then the lists and websites will provide you with so many resources that you can spend days learning more about the vampire in pop culture.
The essays discuss topics such as vampire romance, teens and the use of the vampire as a learning how to be a teen, Dracula movies, Carmilla, and even how vampries are used in religion.
There are ten sections of the book that also provides a very generous bibliography. But, the end of the book deals with the people who consider themselves real life vampires. There are interviews that are very telling and personal accounts of both a vampire magician as well as the New England Council of Vampires.
Lure of the Vampire is a unique and very different book with a unique spin on how it is written. This is just not a project of one but a project of many. It's a book tht helps you choose the vampire that you could love forever.
Lure of the Vampire contains essays from authors: Denise Verrico - David MacDowell Blue - Charles E. Butler - C.J. Ellisson – BittenTwice – Elizabeth Loraine
Interviews with: Vampiric Council of New England, Vlad the Gothic Vampire Magician , Audrey Koogler, Vampire Priestess , and Hugo Pecos, creator of The Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency
About the Author:
Bertena Varney is from Winchester, KY and currently resides in Bowling Green, KY. She attended Morehead State University where she received the following degrees:
- B.A. in Social Science and Education - M.A. in Social Science and Education
- M.A. in Sociology and Criminology - Rank 2 Secondary Education Certification
While in college She used all of her extra essays, projects and independent study classes to study vampires in pop culture….thus the creation of Lure of the Vampire.
She has been employed as a middle and high school as well as college instructor. Here past employers include Morehead State University She has been employed Morehead State University, Eastern Kentucky University and National College and will be lecturing at Bowling Green Community College in the fall.
Currently she is planning her lecture tour schedule. In the past she has presented papers at conference such as Sirens in Vail, Colorado and The Harry Potter Witching Hour in Salem, Mass. Currently she is scheduled for ScareFest, Dance on the Dark Side and A Day of Mystical Blood Lust.
She is also planning to begin a vampirology course based upon her studies of vampires in pop culture.
Find Bertena on the web:
Her writing website is http://www.bertenavarney.com/
Her vampire research website http://searchforthelure.webs.com/
To sign up for her newsletter go here. http://eepurl.com/exZYQ
Book Trailer- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPMyiYjS6Y0
To enter, become a follower of this blog (if you already follow here that is fine), and Bertena's website, www.bertenavarney.com, tweet this article and leave a comment here that you did so. Winner will be chosen by random drawing. The contest will run until Saturday, 8/6/11 at Noon EDT. The winner will be announced here on Saturday and contacted by email, so please make sure your email address is included. Good Luck!
Info on Bertena's Book:
Lure of the Vampire: A Pop Culture Reference Book of Lists, Websites and Very Personal Essays
By Bertena Varney, M.A.
Paperback: 176 pages
Also available as an ebook
Publisher: Search for the Lure
Published: June 22, 2011
Lure of the Vampire contains essays from authors: Denise Verrico - David MacDowell Blue - Charles E. Butler - C.J. Ellisson – BittenTwice – Elizabeth LoraineInterviews with: Vampiric Council of New England, Vlad the Gothic Vampire Magician , Audrey Koogler, Vampire Priestess , and Hugo Pecos, creator of The Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency