Read Eternal: More Love Stories With Bite Online

Authors: Anthology

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Fantasy & Magic

Eternal: More Love Stories With Bite

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ETERNAL

MORE VAMPIRE STORIES WITH BITE

EDITED BY

P. C. CAST

with Leah Wilson

Introduction -
P.C.
Cast

Bloodshed - Claudia Gray

Say Yes - Lili St. Crow

Letters to Romeo -
Nancy Holder

The Other Side -
Heather Brewer

Drama Queen's Last Dance -
Rachel Caine

Thief -
Jeri Smith-Ready

About the Authors

Introduction

P. C. Cast

Oh boy, here I go, introducing
another
vampire anthology. How could I be involved with
another
group of vamp stories? I mean, they say readers are oversaturated, inundated, sick of, done with, and basically just all around bored with everything vampire. Come on, isn't it time vampires went back into their coffins?

Ugh.

Don't you hate it when "they" try to tell you what you should or shouldn't like? As I'm writing this introduction, I'm also outlining an essay due to release during the ALA's Banned Books Week. It keeps striking me as sublimely ironic that I'm preparing to write about enjoying freedom from censorship in one essay and in another I'm having to justify why a bunch of us are still reading what we want to read.

If you've bought this collection you either aren't sick of the "vampire craze," or you don't know what the hell
I'm
talking
about
—you bought
this
'cause the cover is
cute
and you thought this thing by P.C. Cast might
be
about
the House of
Night,
so now you're confused and
annoyed.
If
the latter is
the case,
sorry.
This
isn't
a
HoN story, but there are six
other
kick-ass stories collected here. So
go
on about
your
business, skip the rest
of my intro,
and happy reading.

For the rest of us I have several things to say about "the vampire!" (please insert Andrew's voice from
Buffy
, season 7) and the hoopla about how "OMG, this whole vampire obsession is just insane; there are vampires/vampyres everywhere!" First, I don't think saying
the
market is oversaturated with vampire stories is very accurate. Can we please keep in
mind that
there
are really
only
three things
to write about:
man
vs. man, man vs.
nature,
and man vs. himself. (Three things. For
all
the books ever written. There's some oversaturation right there!) Saying there are too
many
vampire
novels
is like saying there are too many
cars.
Yeah, there may be quite
a
few rather large and sometimes gas-guzzling
cars
on the road right now, but what are they actually doing? It's simple. They're getting us from point A to point B, and that's something we always need. The type of vehicle, or genre, is only the wrapper. It's the ability to take us someplace that counts. Authors, readers, and critics need to stop stressing about fangs, garlic, blood lust, and pale skin and look under the hood for what matters: the writing. Did the story make you feel, wonder,
hope?
Did
it
leave you gasping, shaking, crying, laughing? Shouldn't that
be what
matters, and
not
the label
under which the story's shelved?

And speaking
of
labels—they have always bothered me. When I taught high school
I
used to encourage teenage boys to read at least one good romance, something wonderful chosen from
a
bevy of talented authors like LaVyrle Spencer, Laura Kinsale, Diana Gabaldon, and Nora Roberts, to name just a few. Would it surprise you to know that every single young man who gave it a go, stepped outside his genre comfort zone, and read one of those books
loved it?
And subsequently read more and more. (I suspect they became better men for it, too—you are welcome, young ladies who married my ex-students.) So, really, I've been fighting the general annoyance of genres and the needless labeling they create for years. Can't we just not care where the dam book is shelved?

Anyway,
I don't
really get all the angst about oversaturation of the market and the oh-no-not-another-vampire-story attitude we're seeing bantered about on blogs that like to pretend to be "clever," "literary," and "snarky." Yawn. Right now I'm reading the latest
in
Kresley Cole's Immortals
After
Dark series. Uh, there are vampires in it. Again. There is
also a
great story carried by wonderful characters in unusual settings. Am I reading it because vampires
happen
to be a
part
of that? Nope. I'm reading it because Kresley knows how to tell a good story. Period.

And another thing: All of you readers who seriously heart vampires and are also aspiring authors, but are depressed and despondent because you really,
really
want to write a vampire story but have
been told
it's impossible to get one published because
of
"market oversaturation"?
I
say
thumb your noses at "them"!
Writing what you love
is
usually a very good idea. Go ahead and make your character a vampire
if
it rings your bell. That won't stop you from being published, not if that vampire character makes your reader feel, wonder, and hope and the story you're telling is compelling, your fantasy world vibrant, rich, and believable.

So, how does that happen? What makes us empathize with characters? What makes us laugh, cry, cringe, and worry with them? How are plots created that keep us up at night way past our bedtimes, and why do we sometimes feel like we're walking around all the next day in that special book world—whether that world is inhabited by vampires or not?

Well, sometimes it's as simple as setting
a
story during a compelling time of history, like Claudia Gray does in setting "Bloodshed" during WWII, where her characters grapple with trying to seek love and redemption, or
in
the case of Gray's heroine, Patrice, "maybe it was her own humanity she sought." Patrice's struggle made me care about her.

I also cared about Jack in
Lili
St. Crow's dark and disturbing "Say Yes." His perfection was absorbing and, vampire or not, I saw through the heroine's eyes and understood with her that "He was too real. Everything else was paper and plastic, and he was something else. It was like a hole in the world where something behind it was peeking through." Seriously— I would have said "yes" in less than a dead heartbeat.

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