So I asked for a blog topic, and you asked, “Which do you like better: Vampires or Mermen and why? How was writing a series about each similar? How was it different?” Great questions. Some are easy to answer, and others are more of a challenge.
So let’s start with the tough one first. Which do I prefer, vampires or mermen? Ack! Do I really have to choose? Honestly, I don’t have a preference. Each creature has his own appeal, and each universe fascinates me. I love the angstiness of vampires and their constant struggle to maintain their humanity (or what happens when they don’t struggle in that way). I love their immortality, and the complications it presents. I love the concept of vampires creating more of their own from humans, and how those newborn vampires often can’t easily control their urge for blood. All of these concepts make writing vampires fascinating, and developing characters in that universe so much fun.
Mermen, on the other hand, are newer territory. My mermen can shift in and out of human form. I created their universe wholesale, because when I wrote the first Mermen of Ea Series book, there were almost no mermen books (especially in the MM genres). That gave me a lot of leeway to do what I wanted with them, but it also make the worldbuilding in the stories more challenging, since there wasn’t much out there to build upon. People didn’t have the same sorts of expectations of mermen as they have of vampires.
The Blood Series and the Mermen of Ea Series were, in many ways, very similar to write. Both required me to imagine a complete universe where these unusual creatures could exist. Both series call for characters who learn and grow through events beyond their control, and both series required complicated plots that are complete over a series of three books.
The difference is what I alluded to before. When someone says “vampires,” readers have certain expectations. But if you write a new vampire story with all of the familiar elements and nothing unique, readers may get bored. Readers want familiarity, but they’re also looking for more than just the old vampires they’ve been reading. Balancing these elements made writing the Blood Series different from the Mermen of Ea Series.
How does that play out? The vampires in Blood and Rain are essentially immortal because they live extraordinarily long lives. On the other hand, my vampires are not “undead.” They are very much living, breathing creatures. And they don’t have any issues with sunlight. Yes, they crave human blood and they struggle with control of their urge for blood. My vampires can mate and have children. Vampires can be born or created. Born vampires, or “ancient” vampires, are the most powerful and are a sort of vampire royalty. Some of the ancient vampires intermarried with humans, and created quasi-humans who become vampire hunters. The hunters are long-lived, but not immortal. Hunters can become immortal, however, with the help of an ancient vampire. Hunters can also become vampires in the same way a normal human would.
I hope you’ll enjoy the universe in Blood and Rain! I sure enjoyed writing it. -Shira
Blood: Book One
Adrien Gilbert has spent several lifetimes searching for the love he lost. Born in the 1800s into a clan of fabled vampire hunters, Adrien once wanted nothing more than to tend his family’s vineyard in southern France or read a good book. But Adrien’s peaceful existence ends abruptly when his older brother, François, is murdered. Bound by his hunter’s oath, Adrien sets out on a path that will forever change his life when he agrees to execute his brother’s killer, the vampire Charles Duvalier.
After months chasing the elusive Charles, Adrien reluctantly makes a bargain with Nicolas Lambert, an ancient vampire. Adrien will escort Nicolas to Paris for his marriage to a rival clanswoman, and Nicolas will help Adrien find Charles. Nicolas’s quiet strength and gentle heart soon convince Adrien that Nicolas is nothing like the vampires he has sworn to destroy. As the wedding date draws nearer, a force intent on destroying the fragile peace between the vampire clans threatens to tear apart both the vampire realm and the world of the hunters. To secure both past and future for those he loves, Adrien must find a way to stop the looming war between hunters and vampires. But first he’ll have to let Nicolas go.
Adrien licked the skin of Cole’s neck, feeling the blood pulse there, hearing it call to him. Cole tilted his head in anticipation, opening himself to Adrien.
Adrien buried his teeth in Cole’s skin. Blood flooded his mouth and danced on his tongue, sweet and salty. Too long. His body was far more vampire-like in its craving for blood than when he’d first been given the gift of an ancient vampire’s soul. He wondered if it was the same for other immortals.
Adrien tried to ignore the images that flashed through his mind—the sound of silvery laughter, a mother’s loving caress. Cole’s memories. Adrien despised this forced intimacy, but he’d come to see it as the price of blood. Something to be tolerated.
It hadn’t always been that way. When he’d shared Nicolas’s blood, Adrien had experienced great joy. He’d seen himself through Nicolas’s eyes and felt the depth of Nicolas’s love. Each drop of that precious liquid had opened new doors. Each taste offered insight into Nicolas’s heart and soul. A beloved memory. A mystery—the mystery of Nicolas—unfolding with every swallow.
Adrien drank his fill, then claimed Cole’s mouth. This kind of contact he could stomach. He didn’t need sex to survive, but he enjoyed the release. Cole unbuttoned Adrien’s black silk shirt and his cock swelled against Adrien’s thigh. Adrien moaned as Cole skated his fingertips over his chest.
“I have never known a hunter to crave blood,” Cole whispered in his ear. “I thought only we experienced the bloodlust.”
“You were wrong,” Adrien said as he pulled Cole’s shirt over his head and mouthed a pretty pink nipple. Sex was always better after he fed, and Adrien’s cock was already hard at the thought of fucking such a lovely ass. He drew Cole’s body against his, walked backward into the living room, and pulled Cole with him onto the rug. Soon they were naked and he was no longer a hunter or an immortal, he was simply a man, seeking release, seeking pleasure.
For at least an hour after, Adrien lay on the floor and allowed the night air to caress his bare skin. He closed his eyes and dozed.
The voice awakened him. Nicolas’s voice again. Why sleep if it only served to reawaken the pain he sought to suppress?
He stood and pulled on his jeans. He walked onto the balcony in his bare feet, then climbed to the roof of the penthouse.
Having reached the edge, he spread his arms. He leaned forward and fell unimpeded, riding the wind like a sigh. The glass of the building sailed by him, the breeze buffeting his face. He hit the water and sank into the cold blackness. He wished he could die.
Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 35’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.
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