Wednesday, April 16, 2008

To Boldly Go Where PM Has Never Gone Before

Some things are as reliable as the sun rising every morning. Then there are things you never expect, like me suddenly going over to the dark side and developing an interest in vampire romance.

While you are picking yourselves up off the floor and/or laughing hysterically, let me explain. Several years ago I wrote a scene about a TV reporter who receives a DVD from her ex-husband. She views the DVD and on it he alludes to having information that would destroy her career. And he's going to turn it over to her competition if she doesn't find it first. Then she watches as he puts a gun to his head and blows his brains out. The scene was for an online contest and went nowhere.

Great opening for a romantic suspense, but as you may or may not know, plotting is not a strong point of mine. And a good romantic suspense requires as many twists and turns as an unpaved, one-lane mountain road.

After reading Smarty Pants's submission for the new Nocturne Bites line, I remembered the scene and wondered if it might be re-written with some sort of woo-woo element. I was thinking maybe the hero or heroine could be psychic. Then I ran the idea past a friend who emailed me back and said " about once she composes herself, she realizes that her ex's little brain splattering is just for show, because the secret he holds--the secret that's both terrorized her and kept her alive--is that he can't die. He's either a demon or a vampire or an immortal or something evil. Maybe she is a vampire or shapeshifter or witch or something."

My first reaction was not only no, but hell no. But the idea just wouldn't go away and the more I thought about it, I realized it might could work. The only problem is that I know squat about anything to do with vampires. Last winter I read two Christmas vamp novellas and shuddered at every mention of blood. Beyond that, I knew nothing.

So I've been immersing myself into all things vampire. Well, maybe not ALL things, but some things. I read a vamp romance by Caridad Pineiro from the Silhouette Nocturne line and now I'm reading one of Kerrelyn Sparks's single titles. I watched an MSNBC special from a few years ago about a teenage vampire cult that murdered a couple in Florida (nothing valuable there) and Sunday afternoon I drooled over Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing (which I call "Frankenstein and Dracula meet James Bond and Indiana Jones).

I've done research online and learned that while there are some things that most vamp romances have in common, there are basically no rules. I can create my own world and as long as I explain it well and have things make sense, I can be in charge and run things my way. Oh, if the real world were only that way.

Vampires have appeared in books and movies for a long time. We've had Dracula on the silver screen for ages and in various incarnations. Kids have Sesame Street's Count to help them learn numbers (One bat hanging in the steeple. One bat flies in through the door. That makes two bats in my belfry, but wait. There's more. Two bats hanging... well, you get the picture).

There's even been a cereal named for a vampire.

And where there's a vampire, there's a vampire slayer such as Buffy. I never watched the show but PC has offered her Buffy DVD collection. Despite PC's warnings, I tried to watch the Buffy movie and promptly fell asleep. It's no longer using up space on my Tivo. My Tivo "To Do" list includes a History channel special on vampires and "Queen of the Damned" as well as something else I can't remember at the moment. And I have a couple more vampire romances to read.
I'm beginning to get a feel for my hero and heroine, and have some ideas for the villain (Mr. SplatterBrains). But there's more that I don't know. Isn't this guy superbly hawt for a hero?

So my question to you is, if you're a fan of vampire romance, what are your favorite story elements? Do you like the vamp to have all the traditional weaknesses, or are you willing to compromise on some for the sake of the story?

What are some of your favorite parts of vampire mythos? Do you think the hero and heroine have to both be mortal or immortal by the end of the book for them to have a HEA? Can a woman live happily ever after knowing her husband will live for centuries after she's gone? Or knowing she'll turn into an old crone while he still looks like Mr. Hawt Guy above?

What's your favorite vampire romance and movie? These are research questions, you know. I have a good excuse to pile up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket and read or watch a movie.

I know -- I'm just full of questions, but I'm trying to build a world here and well... it's hard work. Help me build it.

P.S. The Spoil Me Silly contest is still open. Be sure to enter!


Maven Linda said...

There's only one word you need to know: Buffy.

That says it all. The television series was one of the most smartly written, witty, funny, and emotionally touching shows I've ever seen.

I was always an Angel fan; I wanted Buffy to end up with him. But I adored Spike, too; his character had some of the most hilarious lines ever. My favorite is the one where he's returned to Sunnydale and he heaves this sigh and in a sour, ironic tone says: "Sunnydale, the scene of the most spectacular kickings of my ass." And the expression on his face when he realizes he loves Buffy, and he's horrified.

Angel could break your heart, though. He was ironic and funny, and some of his best lines were when he was Bad Angel. He was really, really Bad. But when he was good . . . yum. David Boreanaz has taken some of that same magic to "Bones."

Buffy rules.

Maven Linda said...

I have a question. Next to the word verification window, why is there a little "handicap" icon? Does that mean this website is wheelchair accessible?

Problem Child said...

I told you the Buffy movie sucked. Not worth the TiVo space.

But I'm a HUGE Buffy fan. Angel, Spike--how to chose? And poor Buffy, trying to be "normal" and fashionable and still kick butt.

I have all the seasons...Buffy and Angel. It would make for a great weekend on the couch.

Remind me after I get back from class to send you some links...

(And yes, Maven Linda, we are wheelchair accessible, an EEOC, and an eco-friendly blog!)

Angel said...

I think we already covered some of my vampires ideas this weekend. Though I've never written one, I'm an avid fan.

My favorite funny version is How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks. The entire series is great. As for dark, I'd have to go with Kresley Cole, the first in that series is A Hunger Like No Other (my copy of which I can't find and it is driving me crazy!).

Lots of people love JR Ward, but I haven't read that series yet. My sister has the complete one and also Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. I might have to pry them a book at a time out of her fingers so I can read them from the beginning. :)

PM and vampires? Well, almost as hard to imagine in person as Maven Beverly and her psychopathic killers. :)


Lynn Raye Harris said...

I've never seen Buffy, though I've always intended to at some point. I became a Joss Whedon fan with Firefly, so will watch anything of his now. :) One of these days, I'll have time... *sigh*

I LOVED Linda Lael Miller's TIME WITHOUT END, and she had the immortal vampire and mortal woman at the end. But there was a reincarnation thing that was a center piece of the book. I thought it worked well.

Also read DARK LOVER (JR Ward) over Christmas and then had to read two more of the books before taking a little break. LOVER AWAKENED was my favorite, but I needed a break afterward because it's INTENSE. Holy crap intense. And Ward's world breaks a lot of "traditional" vampire rules, but I think that's what's made it so fresh and such a hit.

Mostly, I dabble in reading vamps. An overdose of them is like too much sugar or something -- good while you were having it but makes you sick later.

Favorite vamp movie? Well, not being a horror fan, and loving me some good humor, I'd have to go with Love at First Bite. *g*

"Children of the night -- shut up!"

"Without me, Transylvania will be as exciting as Bucharest on a Monday night."

And, who could forget: "I'm going out for a bite to drink."

Instigator said...

I'm usually not a big vamp fan. I watched Buffy occasionally but I wasn't a die hard fan. Now, I love the new series Moonlight. Mich St. John...sigh :-) It's starting back up next week I think.

As far as helping you build your world, I suck at that stuff. I can't get the details for the real world right let alone one that's totally in my head.


Playground Monitor said...

note to self: borrow Buffy DVDs

Of course at some point I have to stop the research and write the story. I still don't know what the black moment is and the way I write, I need to know that and sort of work backwards in terms of minimal plotting. ::sigh:: I'm not sure of the heroine's conflict either, or even what the career-destroying information is that the villain has.

I feel like I have a bag of little pieces that should all fit together into a big picture. But all the pieces aren't there and some are so strange I can't figure out which way they go. ::double sigh::

And yes, we're handicap accessible and I blogged about being green.


Kathy said...

Love the Buffy movie. It's corny and campy, great fun. Since no one else seems to like it, I'm wondering if there is something wrong with me. The Buffy series is great. Who would have thought that a cheerleader would be the savior of the mortal world? LOL. Great, fresh new take.

Bram Stoker's Dracula with Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, and Winona Ryder has infinite passion involving a love that transcends time! A must see!

Van Helsing, Underworld, Love at First Bite, Planet 9 from Outerspace, Nosferatu the Vampyre, Salem's Lot, Fright Night, Graveyard Shift, From Dusk Til Dawn I & II, Bordello of Blood, and last but not least, Dracula 2000 with Gerard Butler *sigh*. Oh, to be bitten by Gerry. *double that sigh*

Love the photo of Mr. Yummy. Who is he?

Rhonda Nelson said...

I love the Raven Hart vampire books. Jack McShane. :::sigh::: Wonderful character.

Playground Monitor said...

Who is Mr. Yummy?

He's mine! All mine! Mwahahahaha.


Smarty Pants said...

I'm a Spike girl. Hands down. I also liked Oz, although he isn't one of the choices.

Maybe this is bad, but I don't actually like to read vampire books. I don't want to taint my head with other people's ideas of what vampires do. Last vampire book I read was Interview with the Vampire and Memnoch the Devil (back before Ann got religion and went all weird).

I did enjoy the Underworld movies though. They're interesting and dark. Good music soundtracks, which I listen to while I write.

Kathy said...

Divulge the facts, PM! I insist. Mr. Yummy is dark, handsome, definitely inspirational. Share and share like on the playground, please. :-)

Kathy said...

Scott Speedman is uber cool but I always liked Shane Brolly, who plays Kraven. He's dark, handsome and such a bad boy. :-)

Jen said...

If you haven't read Raven Hart's vamp books, get thee on-line and order posthaste. They're wonderful.

Liza said...

I only got into the vampire books in the last year. I started with JR Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood and then searched for more vampire stories. I found Raven Hart, Lara Adrian, and Sherrilyn Kenyon(in the process of reading all the Dark-Hunter books). I'm ok it the vampires don't have all the qualities of the myths, as long as it goes with the story.

I too am a huge Buffy and Angel fan. I still will watch Angel some in the morning. It was fun to watch Buffy with Spike, but I always wanted her to end up with Angel.

Mark said...

On the subject of people who can not die, you might want to give Torchwood on the BBC a try. The lead character Jack is not a vampire but he cannot die. Whats interesting is that it changes his outlook and the way he approaches problems and situations. You might try the show a bit and see if you pick up anything useful, be warned though, its a kick-ass show that sucks you in with its wildly unpredictable but very engaging stories.

Anonymous said...

Oh great. Now I have more books to check out and movies to watch cos you all made them sound so good. Oh well, I'm sure I can suffer through it. *g*

I haven't read a lot of the vampire books but the ones I have I really did enjoy. The last one was Hot Blooded - a collection by Christine Feehan, Maggie Shayne and two others that I can't remember off hand. But I DO remember the temperature change while I was reading it!
Sherry W.

Stefanie said...

My favorite vampire writer is J.R.Ward with the Black Dagger Brotherhood. But there are other great vampire writers too. One of them is Lynsay Sands.

My favorite vampire "movie" is Buffy, without a doubt.

Mark. said...

For vampire stories i've not read better that:
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It's based on Vlad tepic aka Vlad the impaler who is rumoured to be the real Count Dracula.

Just a bit of historical background seems to add so much to the tale.