Now, that is a guest post I liked very much! Thank you, L.T.!
Dreams of Mariposa by L.T. Getty released a month ago in the Steampunk-Horror genre.
Every decade, Marie must leave her home and everything she loves to start anew. She can’t risk the locals learning the truth of her immortality, much less her vampiric need of feeding off fear. Fortunately for Marie, fear comes easily and she spends her endless days mourning the loss of her beloved.
When she is summoned to the leaders of the masquerade, she is persuaded to assist them in uncovering a mystery of powers possibly more ancient then their own order.
As a rare daywalker of exquisite beauty, there is no society Marie cannot infiltrate. Having spent the last few centuries growing into her abilities, she expects to learn of the old powers, and return to her lonely eternity of mourning.
She doesn’t expect to fall in love.
I could smell the inside of the building as being more than simply old and in need of a maid. It smelled of old earth and iron. I sensed nothing out of the ordinary, which told me the devious one likely had means of cloaking. Curious, as most old houses at least had hints of hauntings.
He led me past a set of stairs and into what was probably once a receiving parlor, but he had many dusty tomes and tall bookshelves, and a ladder besides to get to the highest levels. One could not easily get to the furniture, which was draped in ugly fabric. Boxes and crates littered the floor. The cad hadn’t the sense to tidy up and make an effort when he knew he was having a lady visitor.
“How many of your kind are there in town?” Septimus asked. “More than a dozen?”
I laughed, looking up at the ghostly pale portraits. He had strange tastes in art, preferring a more stylized appropriation than realistic or idealized beauty. I saw a reference to ancient gods, destroying towns and descending upon mortal women to force upon them their demi-god offspring. Half-naked women in chains being molested was his true artistic preference, it seemed. I should have brought Rosa. Even if he only dabbled in finger-paints, she needed only half an excuse to show skin, and perhaps I could have rooted around and discovered what he was up to without his condescension.
“As…we like to keep to ourselves and go without detection, it is more like half that.” I didn’t bore him of the needs of the lesser of my kin. “Have you had many run-ins with my kind?”
“I was curious about how you go about feeding without being detected.” He turned his back on me and lit the fire almost too easily.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
L.T. Getty is a science fiction and fantasy writer who hails from the Canadian Prairies. When she’s not writing, you can likely find her driving an ambulance and dreaming about travel.
I asked L.T. what makes this story different from all the other Vampires’ stories, and here’s what she told me
Tropes and Originality – Projecting the Shadow of the Masquerade
by L.T. Getty
I wasn’t sure how to approach the subject without sounding self-important. My knee jerk reaction was to state that my approach was more of a return to the vampires of the past, and make them out to be absolute monsters as opposed to trying to make them more relatable or even sympathetic to a modern audience. I thought that was dishonest, because with the popularity of vampires in the past decade in fiction there were bound to be other authors who had done something similar. To say I borrowed tropes for this novel is obvious from reading the back blurb. I’m not the first writer to use unreliable narrators, villain protagonists, or prefer vampires that have familiar weaknesses and powers we’ve seen before. Of all the tropes I embraced, I don’t think I used anything stronger than the idea of the masquerade, the idea that what’s projected is far different than what lies beneath.
It got me thinking about the notion in many stories that the idea that man is the real monster isn’t all that original either (See I am Legend, a vampire story by Richard Matheson). And my earlier post this week on the paranormal got me thinking as to what these classic tropes represent. Ghosts often are seen clinging to the past and being unable to move on, whereas werewolves represented a more untamed, feral nature.
Vampires on the other hand were most often tied to the demonic, and it got me thinking that they’re perhaps the closest monster to us in so far as we’re named. We are homo sapiens, literally “wise man” which sets us apart from homo erectus (“upright man”) or homo habilis (“handy” or “able man”) the term demon didn’t always have the evil connotation we tend to see it with today, it being a Greek term tied with concepts of the divine and fate, and sometimes genius. Although there are depictions of vampires as mindless ghouls, often times in literature they’re seen as sort of an ideal person – often attractive and intelligent, worldly and powerful. The evil, scheming demon is more like us than we’d like to admit, and although vampires might be stronger and more resilient than a typical human, it also feels like they’re a more concentrated and corrupted form of a human being.
Psychology isn’t my field and I consider myself more in the school of Jung than Freud. The concept of a shadow is essentially the dark part of a personality the individual doesn’t want to admit exists (it’s not always completely negative, check out the link below). It’s often times when someone doesn’t admit that they have an issue, that the issue becomes a forerunner in their lives. That’s often times why many self-help programs start with the familiar, “My name is____, and I have a problem.” We can lie to ourselves that we can give it up and it’s really not that bad. Denying the shadow, denying the darkness, it can lead to not only self delusion but a protagonist-centered version of morality. If the villain does something, it’s because they’re evil. If the hero does it, it doesn’t matter, they’re the hero. I found this disturbing trend in a good number of books I’ve read, and I always try to be conscious of it when I write.
Dreams of Mariposa is a supernatural horror novel with steampunk flavors. I don’t pretend to be the only one who plays around with tropes, but I’d say my story is different from the majority of the mainstream because it’s about stripping away the superficial perfection of a beautiful monster, and exposing a creature both far removed from her humanity, and at the same time exhibiting the very base and very real evils that only an intelligent and intentional mind can create.
So don’t expect a paranormal romance, or kid yourself that Marie became one of the most powerful members of the masquerade because she was a tragic figure. I think it’s all too easy to identify with her, and we’ve seen heroines like her before, but I’m not interested in an unearned happy ever after. I’m interested in what happens to a character when I strip her of her reason for giving up her humanity, and she now has an eternity to dwell on the fact that there is no going back. For all of our flaws, humans have the ability to learn from our mistakes, but it’s hard to admit you have any if you’re wrapped up in a web of self-perfection.
You can read more about these ideas at:
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