Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Guest Author-Rona Sharon

Blood, Fire, and Pillars of Smoke: The Rise of Vampires in Pop Culture

By Rona Sharon,Author of Royal Blood

As popular themes go, vampires may very well win the prize of "most commonly resurrected." You may love them, hate them, or are trying very hard to ignore them, but surely you have wondered at least once what made the damned princes of darkness so bloody interesting.If you prefer "real world" storylines and are observing the phenomenon as a baffled bystander, you might be interested to know that thousands of years before achieving mass popularity in movies such as Underworld and Twilight, and TV series like True Blood, vampires had manifested in pagan mythology, monotheistic demonology, and spiritual rituals.

Throughout history, vampire myths appeared in nearly every culture. From the ancient Middle East (Mesopotamia, Judea, Egypt), these archetypical baddies invaded Europe, where they found fertile soil in Slavic paganism, and also materialized in Africa, Asia, and the Aztec Empire.

Curiously, the earliest vampires were females -- violent dark goddesses like the Sumerian Lilitu, the Egyptian Sekhmet, and the Indian Kali, all possessing immense supernatural forces. These vampiric goddesses had both the powers to create and to destroy, to give birth and to devour.

In the Dark Ages, tales of vampires sparked public hysteria. Corpses were exhumed and stabbed. It had taken the vampire various reincarnations, through the Hebrew Talmud, Arabian Nights, Boccaccio's Il Decameron, and eclectic poetry to reemerge as the suave ageless nobleman.

This 19th century "makeover" was a direct outcome of the violent volcanic eruption in Indonesia in 1815. The Judgment Day atmosphere caused by dark skies and a frosty summer inspired Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, as well as plays and operas starring the alluring vampire lord.

From this point on, the revenants' star was on the rise and shining ever so brightly with each literary, musical, or theatrical piece conceived (oftentimes as a result of consuming laudanum) in their honor. Lord Byron, Edgar Allen Poe, and Alexandre Dumas, to name a few, contributed to their eternal fame, but it was the Irish novelist Bram Stoker's Draculathat had the mightiest impact on the imagination and cast the glory of the bloodthirsty count and his court in perpetuity.

Evidently the public's fascination with vampires is not an original fad. The vampire is the most popular fiction character of all times. What is it about vampires exactly that appeals to so many people? And why, being familiar with this totally fictitious half-man, half-monster icon, people are still happy to spend their time on movies, books, and TV series that feature vampires?

Entertainment and escapism come to mind. As much as we are riveted by "real world" plots, sometimes the brain needs to zone out in fantasyland. This explanation is plausible, but it fails to prove why the vampire in particular outperforms any other fantastical creature.We should keep in mind that the vampire has only recently assumed the role of the compelling, gothic, martyred, seductive, gorgeous, off-limits, struggling, sympathetic, romantic outcast in love with a human. The slick hunk in black leather pants, driving a sports car in a metropolis by night, was not the bloodcurdling image that had haunted the graveyards of our ancestors.

Granted, the spooky effect has value. Sexologists believe that scary moments stimulate the libido and therefore couples may bond effectively having watched a horror movie together. However, while this theory is bound to stick in your memory, it does not offer sufficient evidence, either.Vampires, whether pale and beautiful or ghoulishly foul, have always been identified with death, blood-drinking, and sex, feeding on emotions such as love, guilt, dread, desire, pity, and sadism.

Far be it from me to undertake psychoanalyzing why we are obsessed with death, blood, and sex. In my capacity as a historical novelist, I choose to explore the mysteries of the human psyche through stories in the hopes of understanding why we were put on this earth and how we may improve our lot in life. Ironically, as I study the tapestry of man's fleeting existence, I see how the fruits of one generation's labor -- art, science, architecture, etc. -- are reaped by its successors.Now, a vampire -- omnipotent, never-aging, and immortal -- may travel the centuries unscathed, unconstrained by a deadline in his pursuit of enlightenment and happiness. Would he or she be a cheerful voyager or one cursed with loneliness? Then there is the future to consider. What if the world and/or mankind are doomed to a cataclysmic end? Would anyone care to witness that?

Vampire symbolism is tied in heavily with the awareness of the powers of darkness, chaos, and the occult -- ancient mysteries that add a chilling dimension to the rich layers of history and cast a question mark on the future. Doomsday prophecies made for an absorbing read as I was doing research back in 2007 for Royal Blood, my Tudor Vampires novel. Here's an example:

"Awake, ye drunkards, and weep . . . For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion . . . Sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand . . . And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come."– Book of Joel

The vampire -- a human lookalike possessed of superior abilities, as well as frailties, dependent on man for sustenance, multifaceted and obscure -- remains an enigmatic figure. Friend or foe? Through him, we get to experience latent fancies and scenes in which the secrets of creation are unraveled. Thank heavens for fiction, I say. The world, I predict, has not seen the last of the vampire crazes. The undead are here to stay, our prolific imagination will undoubtedly continue to produce them, and even the most discriminating realist may yet cross over to the dark side.
©2009 Rona Sharon, author of Royal Blood

Author Bio
Rona Sharon is the author of critically acclaimed historical novels of intrigue, passion, and danger. Her latest, Royal Blood, is a tale of lust and violence in the treacherous Tudor Court. From her home on the Mediterranean Coast in Tel Aviv, surrounded by thousands of years of history, Rona brings her passion for culture and travel to her writing and never fails to deliver a story that carries a punch . . . and a dagger.
For more information please visit http://www.ronasharon.com/

Saturday, June 27, 2009

This and That

How everyone's weekend going?
It's been so hot this weekend. I've been trying to work on my paper for class and find something cool for the kids to do. We currently don't have any grass in our yards, so sprinkler fun in the mud was out of the question. We opted for slip n slidin' in the driveway. We blew up two long pool floaties and put them under the slip n slide so the girls had something soft to slide on. (Sorry, no pictures. I didn't bring out the camera.) They had fun and drying off was easy with the heat.
I did my reading for class though and had a little time to read some of Fairyville by Emma Holly. It's a pretty interesting book( Warning: it's classic Emma Holly over eighteen writing)I'm at the part where the heroine's high school sweetheart has come back into town and she's a little torn with feelings from her past and her feelings toward a love interest in the present.....And the plot thickens :)
I updated the blog. I wanted to add a comment box so that we can chat here and there. I downloaded a couple comment boxes that had too much extra workings. I did find one that I hope works for me. Technically, its a guestbook widget but it works great for a comment box.(Thank you Smartgb!) I had to customize it a little to fit it into my side bar. If you get a chance say hello or tell me what you're up to this summer.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Chance To Win A Gena Showalter Book

Undercover Book Lover is giving away 5 copies of Seduced By Darkness. Gena Showalter's action packed Alien Huntress Series. Good Luck All!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Looking For A Sweet Contest!

Click the Pic!Fellow blogger Diana Evan is giving away one
of her handmade Cuppie Dolls. I entered, my
middle daughter loves dolls :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cry Mercy by Toni Andrews

I just want a normal life…even if I'm not entirely sure I'm human.
My name is Mercy Hollings and I'm a successful hypnotherapist in Balboa, California. The problem is, my good fortune is dependent on a dark secret. I can make people do whatever I want using telepathy, a power I call "the press." And that ability has hurt some people I never wanted to hurt, so I try to keep it under wraps.
I also try to keep people at a distance…at least, I used to. Recently a group of fearless characters broke through my self-imposed walls and became my friends: Sukey, my receptionist-turned-P.I.; Tino, a Chicano gang leader; Hilda, a wealthy society widow; Grant, a retired millionaire—and Sam, my sexy-as-hell ex-boyfriend.
But with friends comes drama. Tino has inadvertently led me into the dark world of gang violence, and Sukey has pushed me into searching for my biological parents, the only people who can finally tell me who—or what—I really am.

Available at a store near you or online.

Mira Books (discounted while they last!) URL=http://tinyurl.com/oe8tkd
Amazon Link: URL=http://tinyurl.com/CryMercy
Amazon UK Link: URL=http://tinyurl.com/prh6ej
Barnes and Noble: URL=http://tinyurl.com/pxrx9f
Indigo Books (Canada): URL=http://tinyurl.com/qcycaf
Rendezvous Romance (Australia) URL=http://tinyurl.com/r4g56z
Least expensive place to buy (out of print) Beg For Mercy: URL=http://tinyurl.com/r82mtk and Angel of Mercy: URL=http://tinyurl.com/ob9sv5

My First Guest Vlog With Toni Andrews

Toni's Fantastic Fives

A Tarot Reading From Toni to her Readers

Here's the link with address to send a SASE in order to get a signed bookplate: http://toniandrews.com/CryMercyTour.htm

Follow Toni on her virtual book tour throughout the month for more giveaways and fun blogging.

Toni's website: http://toniandrews.com/
Here's the book trailer for Cry Mercy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN3hiz-WJvQ
Here's Toni's Blog: http://toniandrews.bravejournal.com/

Monday, June 1, 2009

30 Days of Demons

30 Days of Demons: Books, Prizes, Demons. Time to get your demon on. Some heroes have a really bad side. Niol’s story is coming…6/30/09. ‘Unforgettable’ - RT Book Reviews. www.cynthiaeden.comThe BookEnter Today!Share Image

Red Sage–15 Years!! Kidnap This Logo…

(Taken from the Cynthia Eden's Blog)
Kidnap This Logo!

And You Could Win!

“To celebrate its Fifteenth Anniversary in June, Red Sage is throwing a party! Every party needs presents, and here’s a gift that could win you the July Secrets anthology and Calista Fox’s new novel, Object of Desire!
Here’s how to play the party game.

Anyone can play! All you have to do is “kidnap” this logo and post it on your blog or website. Copy and paste the jpg image of the anniversary gift to your own blog or website to kidnap it. Be sure to include these instructions so people know how to play!
Invite your readers and friends to send an email with the subject line “Ransom Note” to eRedSage@gmail.com. Inside this email, they must include a link back to your kidnapped logo.
Then you and your friend will both be entered into a drawing to win free trade paperbacks! Every time one of your readers sends a ransom note with a link, you will be entered again! Each Ransom Note is worth two entries in the drawing — one for the person who sends the Ransom Note, and one for the linked blog or website. And you both can win!
Want more chances to win? Invite your readers and friends to kidnap this logo, and then you can enter again by sending a Ransom Note linking to your friend’s blog or website!
The more times you enter, the more chances you have to win! But get your entries in by June 30. We’ll be drawing the winners on July 1!
Group blog or website? No problem! Just be sure to sign your post so we know who the winner should be!
Good luck, and have fun!”