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.

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.

Coming soon to an e-book publisher near you.

These days I’m reworking some stories and characters I’ve created.

A few years ago I wrote a story for a website called Literotica. This site holds frequent contest based around a theme. I started working on a story with a vampire as a central character. I became quite interested in the story and it was a joy writing it.

The readers agreed. I won the contest, which was a really good trick since there were over 150 entries and some were by writers who are very good.

Then another story came to mind with the same character, and I wrote that one. After that another one seemed necessary because I really wanted a happy ending for the main character and the woman he fell in love with. Then a story with her as the main character. Another one with her and finally, finally, one that brought their character arc to an end.

Until I thought of more with them. I’m glad I like these characters.

These stories were e-published in an anthology entitled In The Dark several years ago. The publisher went defunct so I got the rights back. I’ve gone over them and realized I could make them better.

So I’m reworking them. Deepening the relationship between the main characters mostly, along with sharpening the conflict between the hero and the villainess in the first story. Sometime in the near future I’ll be releasing these stories in a new anthology going by the title On The Far Side Of Darkness.

So look for the adventures of Georges Belleveau and Diane Patterson in the not too distant future.

Why Vampires by Rob Graham (Monday Mania)

Monday Mania with Rob Graham

They‘ve been a popular subject of fiction for a long time now. They never seem to go out of style, although the style of them often changes. Why is that?

In my mind, to understand that we need to understand monsters.

Many years ago I read a newspaper column that said you can understand what a society is afraid of by its literary monsters. The first such monster was Frankenstein. People at that time were unsettled by science and the implications of what it could do. So Frankenstein’s monster was created by science.

The next set of literary monsters were Mr. Hyde and Dracula. The Victorians were a buttoned down people who tried to keep their emotions under control at all times, and they were very uptight about sex. Mr.Hyde was the epitome of out of emotional control, and Dracula was a sexual monster. As Stephen King noted in Danse Macabre when Lucy is being fed upon by Dracula you can tell that “she’s coming her brains out.”

Today we are unsettled by death, and our monsters reflect that. Freddy, Jason and Saw are all incarnations of death. In the Final Destination series death itself is the monster.

In many ways vampires are still monsters. Undead, night dwelling and feeding on blood they haunt our fictional worlds.

There have been a few changes since the days when Dracula spread fear though.

First, in a society like ours, vampires appeal to us rather than frighten us. Our is, I’m sorry to say, one that tends to push people to the outside. Many of us become or feel like ‘the other.’ So we identify with vampires who are always ‘outside.’ They don’t dare get too close to people for they are still monsters to most.

In contrast, unlike most outsiders, vampires are powerful. Their physical strength and speed is far superior to mere humans. They have other powers as well, such as the ability to change shape or mesmerize their victims. These traits mean that vampires are highly appealing to us.

So as outsiders, we identify with them and at the same time, with their powers, they uplift us.

They have not lost their sexual aspect though. They are still seductive creatures who can raise the most exquisite lust in their victims. A lust that causes mere humans to cast off their morals, their control, freeing them from the constraints of everyday life.

Which is why vampires make such wonderful characters for romance. For romance is about the happy ending. In the end a vampire finds a real love. Some one becomes more than food or an enemy to them. They, finally, despite their monstrous nature, become part of something. More importantly, they become part of something forever. A thing that will last longer than the ages and will never die.

No wonder I like writing vampires so much.