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Let’s say you are a writer with dreams of becoming the next Ann Rice. Let’s say that you have written one top of the line vampire story and are looking for a place to put it. You grab your copy of Writer’s Market and start looking down the list of magazines and under each one’s submission guidelines, you read two words that make your heart sink: NO VAMPIRES. Disheartening, isn’t it?
There are two reasons that this occurs: either the magazine has over-bought vampire stories, or it thinks that the vampire craze has run its course and it’s waiting for the next big thing. A writer, a fan of THE DARK SIRE, once submitted a serial killer story to a major magazine. The editor loved it, however, she told him that serial killers were passé. No one was interested any more. The next year, Dexter hit the stands. Her observation was wrong, which begs writers, readers, and editors alike to re-evaluate what should be prioritized: a great story or a trend? So are vampires passé? Romantically, the market is saturated, but vampire as fiend - not even close.
In fact, vampire stories that actually delve into the fiendish behavior of earlier vampires, like Dracula, need to be explored more. Vampires used to scare, delight, and use our fears against us. Now, as one young reader so eloquently put it, "Vampires aren't scary anymore." And it's true, thanks to the oversaturation of vampires as lovers. Romance Vampires (though a beloved category of fiction) are the kinds of vampires that we need less of, not because of quality or story but because that's where the overdone tropes are. To create the next level of vampire story, writers, poets, and artists must dig deep into the past, when vampires were scary and haunted your nightmares. Then, a revival of the fiendish vampire will surface, bringing about a revolution of the next big vampire take-over.
So, now we observe the other magazine's difinitive view on vampire stories: NO VAMPIRES.
No Vampires?! You have got to be kidding! Vampires are amazing creatures. First, they occupy two worlds: the living and the dead. This gives writers many avenues to explore other dimensions that dovetail our own. The vampire stories that appear in THE DARK SIRE explore vampires from all angles. Our lead story in Issue 1, Grave by W.C. Mallery, looks at the vampire as the hunter and humans as his prey. Vampyre by Sarah Brown Weitzman (Issue 1) looks at the vampire as something to be pitied. Once Bitten: A Vampire's Lament by Maureen Mancini Amaturo (Issue 3) depicts a vampire grieving for his love and lost humanity through self-isolation. The Village series by David Crerand (Issues 1-5) always paints vampires as the villian, the despot creatures who prey on humans. And let's not forget the three serializations. The last Summer by Frances Tate (Issues 4 and 5) delves into a different breed of vampire that navigates humanity and nightwalker. Vampyre Paladin by Brenda Stephens (Issues 1-4) creates a whole world where vampires are fiends that prey on innocent children. Kyuuketsuki by S. M. Cook (Issues 1-5) explores the vampire simultaneously as predator and prey, heroine and villain.
Second, because vampires occupy two worlds, writers can explore what their characters have gained and what they have lost. Within every vampire story is the struggle for survival, both of the vampire and of its prey. Vampire stories tease the fight or flight impulse in everyone. The reader is treated to a vivid look into society’s conflicts that are hidden behind the allegory of one who survives on the blood of others.
Third, vampires can be alluring, romantic and compassionate. Under the masterful pen of a TDS storyteller, they can even display empathy. The important thing to remember is that vampires have common issues with those whom they hunt, the ultimate one being the desire to live. The nuances are endless. And this struggle between preying on humanity and devouring one's own soul is the kind of twisted, demented story that needs to be told.
Vampires, there is no doubt, have a place and a home in literature today and it would seem that THE DARK SIRE is their safe haven. You will never see a “NO VAMPIRES” sign above our door. We love them. They are our bread and butter. To us, they are the next big thing. They have always been relevant through the years. Ever since Bram Stoker published Dracula (1897), vampire stories have been flowing in and out of the mainstream of literature. After Dracula, there was Prisoner of the Planet Mars (1908); The Young Vampire (1920); I am Legend (1954); The Vampire Saint-Germain Series (1978 to the present); The Hunger (1981); and that’s not even touching Ann Rice’s books or the books written by Stephen King.
At THE DARK SIRE, we love vampires. There is a dynamic tension in their actions, loves, and desires that makes them the perfect literary fodder for a magazine such as ours. In many ways, they reflect the trials and tribulations that we, as readers, experience in our everyday life. A great vampire story lets us clean the shadows out of our subconscious and poses as a metaphor to better mental health.
Do you have a vampire story, poem, or piece of art in your portfolio? SUBMIT it now!