A short treatise on the vampires of R. C. Graham

Here’s a little inside info about vampires in the world I have created for Georges Belleveau and Diane Patterson, the two central characters in On The Far Side of Darkness.

The most important thing is that vampires work very hard to keep their existence a secret. They’re outnumbered at least ten thousand to one, and they know how mortals react to different. Most have been around for at least decades and to them events like The Holocaust and The Trail of Tears aren’t something they’ve just read about in books.

No one is sure what the odds are though. There’s never been a census of the world’s vampires. But no matter what, the odds can’t be good. So vampires stay out of sight.

Their main ability towards this end is that they can hide themselves. A vampire’s natural form is a terrifying beauty. They can change that appearance to look merely human. A touch pale perhaps, and an observant mortal might suspect something is odd about them, but a vampire won’t cause panic if they hunt in a crowded bar.

The other major ability is that they can mesmerize people. This is less powerful than you would think. A complete memory wipe or personality change is impossible. But subtle effects can be more effective. The suggestion that “it was just a shadow,” or, “that person was just very angry,” will be enough. The human mind will take such hints and build new memories around them.

Vampires are, of course, undead blood drinking monsters. They can be cheerful, well read generous and loving. Georges Belleveau tries to be these things But vampires are undead blood drinking monsters and to be treated with care at all times.

Since they are predators that hunt at night vampires are stronger and faster than humans. Their senses are sharper as well. Their eyesight is equivalent to the most modern mortal night viewing instruments with commensurately heightened senses of hearing and smell on top of that.

They can use the blood in their bodies to enhance their abilities even more. Increasing their senses requires only small amounts of blood. If they augment their strength to the point where where a tempered steel bar can be snapped, that takes more. A vampire will be starving in a few seconds if they move at a speed too fast for the human eye to follow.

Any wounds a vampire suffers can be healed in seconds, if the vampire takes the time to concentrate and if they have enough blood to do so. Severe wounds might take most of the blood in a vampire’s body. Which leads to one of the most dangerous things in existence; a hungry vampire.

Another power vampires possess is the ability to draw a cloak of shadows around themselves. As long as they stay out of bright light they appear as a dark mist at best. From inside this they can stalk their prey with ease.

They have weaknesses of course, with exposure to sunlight being the worst. If the sun falls directly on a vampire they’ll have barely enough time to scream before they are dust on the wind. Indirect sunlight, as in a bright room, will kill them slowly. So a dawn or sunset is something a vampire will never see.

A wooden stake through the heart doesn’t kill a vampire. It merely paralyzes them. But considering your average vampire’s reflexes and how hard it is to hit the heart in a melee, good luck with that.

If a vampire is staked then destroying them is fairly easy. Beheading works. Cutting off a vampire’s will end the magic (enchantment? illusion?) that maintains their existence. Be prepared to deal with a mess though. Time will catch up to the body in an instant.

A staked or otherwise helpless vampire can be incinerated. By which I mean shoved in an incinerator and reduced to ash. A simple dousing in gasoline and throwing a match on them simply won’t do it. Plus if the stake burns away you’ll have a vampire in a great deal of pain to deal with.

Vampires do sleep during the day. Not entirely because sunlight is fatal. Just the fact that the sun is in the sky drives them into unconsciousness. They find a dark place to sleep at dawn and stay until sunset. They can wake to defend themselves so don’t think it’s much easier to destroy them during the day.

Barring the methods listed above vampires are very hard to kill. Shooting or stabbing them will simply make them angry. As noted previously, this is not a good thing.

One famous vulnerability is in reality, uncommon. Icons of faith such as crucifixes can only affect a vampire if the wielder has honest-to-God, bone deep faith. Belief isn’t enough. Without faith a vampire will just laugh at a mortal acting like a character from a Hammer Horror film.

So these are the vampires of which Georges Belleveau is numbered. It’s a dark, hidden world where mortals are not allowed. But, very occasionally, love grants an entrance.

On The Far Side of Darkness is available for preorder at the cost of just $0.99 until the release date of Halloween. You can buy all of R. C. Graham’s books by clicking on the covers in the side bar.

New Book Release: M. Malone

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The Things I Do For You

(The Alexanders, Book II)

!! NEW RELEASE !!

 

The Things I Do For You

The Things I Do for You for sale on Kobo!

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A bargain. A baby. A billion things can go wrong.
Nicholas Alexander doesn’t mind being called a playboy. His charm serves him well in business and a beautiful woman is always on his arm. Except the one he’s in love with.
Raina Winters doesn’t believe in love so when she’s dumped right before her wedding, she’s more upset about losing what she really wants from marriage. A baby.
When Nick learns about Raina’s dilemma, he wants to leave her hanging like she left him after their steamy one night stand. But he finally has something Raina wants so he offers her a deal. He’ll give her a baby if she gives him something he wants just as much.
Just two little words.
I. Do.
**WARNING**
This book contains encounters with a drunken Elvis, pushy mamas, tabloid shenanigans, several occurrences of bad cooking and hot sex between two people who aren’t even sure they like each other. Just saying…

Concerning the events in Newtown

Here’s a story I read many years ago. Considering the horrible event that occurred on Friday, and the debate it reignited I think it’s quite germane.

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Many years ago there was an old samurai who had decided to retire and become a priest. Before he could do so however he had to decide which of his three sons received the family sword.

After pondering for a bit he decided to set a test for them. He went to a room in his house and placed a small wooden block on top of the shoji, the sliding door through which the room was entered. When the door was slid open, the block would fall and strike the person in the door.

He called his youngest son to him first. This son was a swordsman. He constantly practiced. He was fast, precise and deadly.

This son came to the room and slid open the door. The block fell and hit him. The son’s sword was out of his scabbard and the block was in two pieces an instant after that.

The old samurai stood up, enraged. “Get out of this house!” he shouted. “You are disowned. You will never be worthy of the sword! You do not know what it means to be samurai and you never will be!”

The old man replaced the block and called his middle son to him. This son spent a great deal of time on sword play, but it was not his only interest. He made some, small effort to study other things as well.

The middle son came to the door and slid it open, with the expected result. This son, however, caught the block before it hit the ground. He then bowed to the old samurai and asked, “You wish to see me, father?”

“I did,” the old man replied, “and I have discovered you are not yet worthy of the family sword. I can see that some day you will be though.”

The block was replaced yet again and the old man called for his oldest son. This son spent some time on swordplay but it was only one of many subjects that he studied.

This son came to the door, started to slide it open…and stopped. He then reached up to remove the block before it fell. He slid the door the rest of the way, entered the room and replaced the block in its position over the door. Bowing to his father he asked, “You wished to see me, sir?”

“Yes,” the old man told him. “you have shown me that you are the one most worthy of receiving the family sword.”

———————————

This story has stuck with me for many years. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the oldest son received the sword because he was the least likely to use it.

The youngest son never saw the trap and reacted inappropriately. There was no need to use a sword on the block.

The middle son didn’t see the trap either, but he reacted appropriately, proportionate and proper to the threat.

The eldest son was the only one who saw the trap and he acted to prevent it from activating.

So when it comes to violence and weapons I try to be the oldest son. It’s much better to see where there is a problem and act to prevent it, without violence and with a minimum of effort. Violence, quite simply, is a poor solution to a problem.

Unfortunately, too many people are like the youngest son. They never see the problem and their reaction is inappropriate violence.

———————————

P.S. Sorry there has been no posts for a while. Both angel and I have been either busy or ill, or both. We’ll try to get back into posting regularly again.

Cover for my next e-book

I’ve taken a sabbatical from writing. I had a very nasty experience a while ago that threw a lot of doubt on my writing. Not my ability to write. That’s fine and I’m good at it. But I found out that propriety is just as important to a writer as it is to any other career.

Unfortunately I’m not a proper person.

So writing became difficult. I spent as much time obsessing about what mine I would step on next time as I did writing. It was like trying to walk on a broken leg.

My wife suggested I take a sabbatical. It was good advice and I took it. I must admit now when I think of writing something I don’t stress about the BS.

A sabbatical doesn’t mean I can’t plan for when I do start writing again. I’ve been planning on redoing my first book, a series of short stories centred around a vampire, Georges Belleveau, and his human lover, Diane Patterson. They’re two of my favourite characters. The original book was called In The Dark. The company that published it is defunct. I’m a better writer now and I think a reissue would do well.

A couple of months ago my wife won a professional cover for a book in a contest. She graciously passed that opportunity to me. We told the artist, Suzan Butler, what we wanted and she turned out a lovely piece of work.

Isn’t it lovely? Thank you so much, Suzan. And to my lovely wife, angel.

As I mentioned last week…

…I’ve been playing a lot of the game BioShock 2. It’s a very fun game, and it reminds me that what often makes a good game is the same thing that makes for good writing: setting, characters and plot.

The setting for BioShock 2 is the same as the first game in the series, BioShock. The underwater city of Rapture. This city was built by a man straight out of Ayn Rand. A man who believed that if you were ‘strong’ and ‘smart’ you were allowed to do anything. The only limit was someone ‘stronger’ and ‘smarter’ than you. Absolute individualism rules.

It was a spectacular and horrible failure, of course. By the time the player arrives Rapture is falling apart, leaking badly and populated almost entirely by Splicers, people who have been driven psychotic by overuse of genetic altering material created by one of the scientists that lived there. The player has to stay alive in this place, trying to escape and piecing together what happened.

In Bioshock 2 the setting is the exact opposite. The main protagonist believes that individuality is evil and is working to gather every person left in Rapture into a psychic whole, and she intends to spread it beyond Rapture as well.

So, BioShock 2 has a wonderful setting; dark, dank and oppressive.

The characters in Bioshock 2 are good as well.

In the first game one of the most difficult opponents was something called a Big Daddy. In BioShock 2 the player is a Big Daddy. So you’re playing what was an enemy in BioShock. I find this type of turnaround quite amusing.

The start of the game is a well done cut scene (Careful. It’s gory in spots.) that sets motivation for you and introduces the protagonist, which sets more motivation. This means the game is a story where your actions decide what happen. You travel through various areas gradually approaching the final confrontation with the protagonist.

Each area has a secondary protagonist. A person who runs the area for reasons of their own. Surprisingly, not all are evil people, and you have to make decisions about how you interact with them. These decisions will change the ending of the game.

The plot is less straightforward than it appears. You often have to do a lot of thinking about what you are doing and why. Different actions have different consequences, which is how it should be. You aren’t just a machine moving along a virtual track going from Point A to Point B, killing everything along the way.

What I like the most is that there are ethical decisions to be made. The main ones have to do with the Little Sisters. They are the main source for a special resource in the game. At various points you have to decide what you want to do with them, harvest them or rescue them. Harvest gives you more of the resource but destroys the Little Sister. Rescue gives you less resource but the Little Sister becomes a little girl again. Personally, I would rescue them even if the rewards were a hundred times greater. They may be bio-engineered machines designed for an industrial purpose but they didn’t choose to be made that way, and I’m not killing little girls.

So, what makes BioShock 2 a great game is the same thing that makes for a great read; setting, characters and plot.

See you next week.