Sunday, September 15, 2013
Death in the Blood by Tony-Paul de Vissage
Today I am pleased to host Tony-Paul de Vissage, author of the just released Death in the Blood (congrats!)
Words from the author:
Though there have always been fictional vampires among us, the literary vampire didn't begin to flourish until the mid-1880's. Then came The Vampyre, a short story published in 1819. Written during the famous "Geneva Summer" which produced Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, it was long attributed to George Gordon, Lord Byron but is now fully believed to have been written by his personal physician, John Poliodori, who used his patient as his model.
You couldn’t ask for a better basis for a vampire than His Lordship, could you? Apparently Polidori doted on his employer while Byron ridiculed and insulted him every chance he got. Yet Polidori never thought of leaving. It was definitely a love-hate relationship.
For a long time, The Vampyre’s authorship was in question. Considering who was involved during its inception, it’s surprising no one wanted to admit writing it. Byron reportedly denied authorship and wrote a public statement to that effect. Perhaps he didn’t mind being lionized under his own name but protested having a fictional character steal some of the limelight. After all, the poet himself was rebellious, flaunting of convention, irresistible, and as unrepentant as they come…“mad, bad, and dangerous to know” as Caroline Lamb described him. As was his vampire clone, who might be damned and doomed to walk the corridors of time but he was loving every minute of it… and he stayed that way until the 1970’s.
Then the “penitent vampire” raised his handsome head. Suddenly immortality is no longer a blessing. He broadcasts his angst, lamenting his ability to live forever. Oh, woe, woe and alack a day! I’m immortal and you’re not and I wish I were like you! Huh? Come again?... He hates the fact that he’s forced to kill others to continue his own survival, while he searches the world for someone brave enough to accompany him on his Undead travels.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, then he became sensitive, hiding his immortality, getting a night job, making human friends, actually coming to their rescue when needed and protecting them from his fellow Undead, the so-called “predators”…and now…?
Now, he sparkles…
Will it never end?
Quite frankly, the only time a vampire should sparkle is just before he bursts into flame, and with that statement, I say, Bring back the Old Time vamps!
I’ve joined the campaign to do this. (And if you don’t believe me, just take a gander at the first chapter of The Night Man Cometh !) My vampires are definitely in the Byron-Polidori vein (pardon the pun there). With a little individual tweaking here and there, they stick to the rules set down long ago by Bram Stoker:
no garlic allowed,
easy on the crosses and holy water,
keep plenty of native soil around,
bring on the virgins!
Christopher Landless is my latest Undead creation and he follows the lead set by Damien laCroix, Vlad Chemare, the Andriescus, and Karel Novotny. Oh, Kit has a bit more conscience than his nosferatu brethren. He still remembers what it was to be human, but when it gets right down to the nitty and the gritty, he fights to save those like himself and not humans. In spite of that, I believe I’ve managed to make him a “hero” readers will like.
When I wrote, Death in the Blood, I wanted to make it different. As I later did with The Night Man Cometh , I started the story in the past and took it into the future. Most vampire tales stop when they get to the present even if the vampires continue to exist. Why? If someone’s living forever, then prove it by looking ahead.
Kit’s story stretches from 1794 to the year 2580. For a while, Man and Vampire managed to live side-by-side peacefully, then a terrible event occurs making humans decide vampires are too dangerous to be allowed to go free. They’re imprisoned in concentration camps, on islands surrounded by moats of blessed water.
It was a challenge to fall back on the expected way of containing and fighting vampires while transforming them into futuristic forms. Staying true to the original genre while updating it to near-science fiction f was a definite test of originality and writing skills. I hope, I believe, I managed it adequately.
…Mankind admitted vampires exist?
…Vampires followed Man into the stars, inhabiting every planet in the galaxy?
…They solved the “Vampire Problem” by putting the Undead in concentration camps?
What would happen if someone decided to destroy the imprisoned nosferatu?
Would the police investigate?
Forced to assist Lieutenant Katherine Dalia in the case, vampire Christopher Landless fights desire and thirst to uncover a motive of long-lingering revenge as both vampire and mortal discover old crimes never go unpunished.
Kit's attention was distracted as he heard someone call his name, turned and saw Antony coming toward him.
Antony Burgess was tall and blond also, four years younger than Kit when they'd been alive, ten years his junior as an Undead.
He smiled a greeting as the younger man raised one hand.
Kit and Antony were contemporaries; they'd been robbers together, shared adventures, many noggins of ale, and assorted women during their brief lifespans, and Kit considered Tony his best friend.
He reached Kit's side. "Well, another week, another pint! Not like the ones we slugged down in the Coachman, but ’twill suffice, I suppose!" As Kit made an agreeing sound, he turned to Honor, seized her hand and planted a quick kiss upon it. "Good even, my Lady! Awaiting yon delectable feast?"
Antony always assumed that pseudo-eighteenth century manner when around Honor. He knew it amused her.
Her smile matched his. "Aye, Tony—such as ’twill be!"
That brought a loud sigh. "Oh, damn, it does leave a lot to be desired, doesn't it?"
"Do I detect a note of dissatisfaction?" Kit asked. Antony, he'd found, had always been adaptable to whatever came along, accepting it in the best humor possible.
"Blast it, Kit—you know I always try to see the bright side, but—"
The blond head shook, pale brows scowling downward, mouth following; whenever Antony was negative, so was his entire body. "I miss it—the stalking, the thrill of the hunt...." he sighed again, "...fresh blood, hot from...." Honor made a slight sound and he stopped apologetically, "Sorry, Honor—that wasn't very gallant of me, was it—reminding us of what we've lost?"
She put a hand on his arm, "It's all right, Tony, we all—" and broke off as he gasped slightly and jerked away from her grasp. "What is it?"
"I—" He shook his head, brushing one hand across his eyes, "I don't know.... Suddenly I feel dizzy...."
Once more, Honor touched his arm only to have him again move away.
"Don't! That hurts!"
"Tony, what—" Kit began, sharply cutting off the rest of the sentence as his friend turned a stricken face toward him.
"Kit—" Abruptly, he doubled over, Kit catching him as he fell, hearing him gasp, "Dear God, Kit, my veins are on fire!" and nearly dropping him in the shock of hearing Antony actually speaking the Name.
He slid to the ground, was on his knees, vainly attempting to stand, the pain keeping him bent over. One hand clawed at Kit's arm and he seized his friend by the shoulder, trying to haul him upright, seeing something that stopped the movement.
There was blood on his sleeve.
For a moment, he thought the scrabbling fingers had scratched him, then realized with a jolt of absolute fear that the blood was coming from Antony, seeping from under the short, perfectly manicured nails of the pale hand clutching his forearm.
Others were noticing now, beginning to hover around, a murmur floating through them.
Kit was still attempting to lift him bodily, surprised at how heavy the younger man suddenly became, at how weak he abruptly was.
Antony raised his head, face contorted in pain, mouth opening to scream. The veins in his neck were swelling, filling like pipes with no outlet for their flow, vessels in his eyes shredding, the conjunctiva suffused with blood, and Kit's own startled eyes met the suffering blue ones awash in that sea of red.
"Kit...." A single strangled sound of anguish.
Antony's body exploded.
Kit staggered backward under the blast of blood washing over him, clutching a moment at the hand before it slid from his grasp. Then, he simply stood there, stunned and silent, staring down at the ruptured mass of flesh that had been his friend.
Honor touched his shoulder and he turned toward her slightly, started to take her in his arms, then realized he was covered with Antony's blood and pushed her away.
Behind him, one of the females began to sob quietly, pressing her face against a male's shoulder.
By this time, a Med-tech and one of the guards, hearing the commotion, had arrived. The sentry, taking a brief, face-blanching look at the body, was kneeling a few feet away, vomiting loudly into the Compound dirt, while the other vainly followed his training and attempted to find a pulse.
Kit had an almost overwhelming desire to laugh at the absurdity of his actions and wondered if he were about to succumb to hysteria.
Death in the Blood will be available from Class Act Books on September 15, 2013. Buy link.
Tony-Paul can be found at:
Amazon Author Page