Thursday, April 21, 2011

Guest Blog: Michele Hauf

Michele has been writing romance, action-adventure and fantasy stories for over twenty years. Her first published novel was DARK RAPTURE.

France, musketeers, vampires and faeries populate her stories. And if she followed the adage 'write what you know', all her stories would have snow in them. Fortunately, she steps beyond her comfort zone and writes about countries she has never visited and of creatures she has never seen.

Romantic Vampires Just Won't Die

Yes, I've heard the groans. When will those brooding, sexy hunks of the undead just take the stake and fade away? Can we shove them back in their coffins? Clip their perfect coifs and let the air out of their bulging, sexy muscles? Why, oh why, do they sell so well?

Well, because the majority of readers who pick up paranormal romances that feature vampires are women, and we women like our men dark, mysterious, and offering us an everlasting promise that we'll never wrinkle, grow old, or have to worry about a retirement fund. We also like hot sex, and those fang boys offer it in spades. The fact that they consume human blood to survive doesn't bother us. You've got to pay a price for all that other good stuff.

Vampires offer that something extra we readers desire in a story. That touch of magic, the unknown, and yes, the enticing and erotic bite.

So I’m sorry to say to the horror and sci/fi fans, that those covers with the male abs and smirking smiles that reveal a glint of sexy fang are here to stay—and I wouldn't have it any other way.

My newest release features a vampire who grew up in Faery so he's never tasted mortal blood, and has an addiction to faery ichor. The dude has sparkle issues, too, because the faery dust seeps from his pores giving him a certain…glint. Here's the blurb for FOREVER VAMPIRE:

Vail the Unwanted is a pureblood vampire. But raised in Faery, he has neither home nor peace, and when his aid is sought in the recovery of a priceless diamond gown, his price is information. Specifically the whereabouts of his accursed father. His goal is revenge, and the supernaturally sexy Lyric, the icy blond vampiress with whom he must work, is a distraction he can't afford.

Outwardly as cold as the diamond dress in which she was kidnapped, Lyric has her own secrets. Desperate to break free from her criminal family, she aligns herself with the brooding Vail. Together they seek justice while each secretly works for freedom and a fresh start. For Lyric that means holding herself apart, even from the smoldering blue-eyed Vail. For Vail, it means a battle to the death for revenge—and for a temptress he can't deny.

"Adventure, intrigue, and a voice like no other--Michele Hauf is a force to be reckoned with!"--Emma Holly

"Vampires, shifters, and faeries—oh my! Michele Hauf is a master of them all!" — Kerrelyn Sparks

Read the first two chapters here.

Or watch the trailer:


Cappy Tally said...

I understand that it's entirely a matter of taste, and that where some people prefer their vampires to be evil, bloodthirsty monsters with little trace of humanity, others prefer them to be uber-romantic sexual gods and goddesses. Where I take issue is that the market has been flooded with the former, and the latter is becoming increasingly more difficult to find. Even when decent vampire horror fiction is released, it's often riding the coattails of zombie fiction, with a similar apocalyptic epidemic scenario. It's frustrating for folks such as myself who look through haystacks of romantic sexy vampire chick-lit to find that horror needle, and as the haystack grows, it gets that much more difficult.

Again, I completely understand that it's a matter of opinion, and people like what they like. I don't necessariily have a problem with this style of vampire lit being out there in and of itself. My problem is that the ratio of sexy vampire romance to scary vampire horror is very unbalanced in the former's favor. With the fall of Dorchester, it's only getting worse. I just think it's unfair for the fans of one style to have a huge abundance of literature to choose from while fans of the other style are scrounging around to find just one decent morsel. It's also somewhat unfair from a writer's perspective, as someone who prefers to write vampire horror is less likely to get a decent publishing deal, and all the perks that can entail, than someone who writes vampire romance.

By no means am I suggesting that Hauf's success, or the success of other writers in the romantic vampire genre, is undeserved, but rather, that there's probably a lot of people writing intelligent, quality vampire horror fiction that also deserve success, and they're less likely to get it. One within the publishing circles might say it's a matter of consumer taste, and that if such fiction were supported and had more popularity among buyers, it might be more successful and more numerous on the book shelves. The problem is, if there's not enough output and marketing of vampire horror to begin with, then how is it the consumer's fault? Especially considering that in order to find those vampire horror needles that are released, one has to wade through the romance haystack to find them.

I agree that the vampire is here to stay, but it's simply unfair that just one type of vampire is here to stay while another is on life support, even despite certain successes like "The Passage" and "The Strain" just as a couple examples. Variety is the spice of life, and it's unfortunate to me that there's such a bias in the market for vampire fiction for just one type.

That's my opinion on the matter, anyway.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

And a valid opinion it is as well Cappy.

When I spoke to Michele about a guest blog I asked her to write something about the appeal of the romantic vampire genre as I gravitate more to evil (sexy as well, but not in a romantic way) and tooth and claw.

That's not to say I don't like a variety in my vampire genre but Michele knows the romantic side very well and it is the side of the genre I am weakest on.

I hoped that her article might spark debate, I couldn't have asked for a more insightful opening to that debate - so thank you.

Hopefully the debate will grow from here but I am grateful for such a detailed comment.

Michele Hauf said...

Cappy, I agree that the horror genre seems very lacking in excellent vampire fiction lately. I don't know if the blame can be that the publishers are buying so much vampire romance that they don't have room for vampire horror. I think they're two separate entities, and I'm really surprised that since vamps are so popular lately that they're not spilling off the horror shelves as well. But all in all, when you go in a book store, the smallest section seems to be the horror section. Why? I'm sure there are as many horror writers as there are romance authors. Kind of baffling.

Michele, who can't read horror because I don't like to be creeped out. :-)

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Certainly, in book stores near me, there is the new dark fantasy section - that seems to contain urban fantasy, rather than romance, but that has certainly encroached into the horror space

Michele Hauf said...

Yes, the urban/dark fantasy section has grown by miles. Lots of para romance authors have drifted into Urban Fantasy because we love to write action/adventure with creatures but sometimes it's just tedious to have to add in a sex scene when they could be kicking butt and staking vampires. :-)

Anonymous said...

Let a thousand vampire flowers bloom. I enjoy both the snarling ghoul with the maw full of shark teeth and the refined, comely romantic interest. Or both types in the same story, or as different aspects of the same character.

The vampire is a very versatile myth; having vampire franchises occupy different genres (paranormal romance, supernatural horror, arthouse, superhero ...) helps keep it alive as a pop culture icon. Or rather, undead.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I forgot to sign my "thousand vampire flowers bloom" comment.