Eight Vampire Books for Serious Vampire Aficionados

By Editors Joan Gordon and Veronica Hollinger 

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press 
Date Published: October 1, 1997 
ISBN-13: 978-0812216288

The vampire is one of the nineteenth century's most powerful surviving archetypes, owing largely to Bela Lugosi's portrayal of Dracula, the Bram Stoker creation. Yet the figure of the vampire has undergone many transformations in recent years, thanks to Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and other works, and many young people now identify with vampires in complex ways.

Blood Read explores these transformations and shows how they reflect and illuminate ongoing changes in postmodern culture. It focuses on the metaphorical roles played by vampires in contemporary fiction and film, revealing what they can tell us about sexuality and power, power and alienation, attitudes toward illness, and the definition of evil in a secular age.

Scholars and writers from the United States, Canada, England, and Japan examine how today's vampire has evolved from that of the last century, consider the vampire as a metaphor for consumption within the context of social concerns, and discuss the vampire figure in terms of contemporary literary theory. In addition, three writers of vampire fiction—Suzy McKee Charnas (author of the now-classic Vampire Tapestry), Brian Stableford (writer of the lively and erudite novels Empire of Fear and Young Blood), and Jewelle Gomez (creator of the dazzling Gilda stories)—discuss their own uses of the vampire, focusing on race and gender politics, eroticism, and the nature of evil.

The first book to examine a wide range of vampire narratives from the perspective of both writers and scholars, Blood Read offers a variety of styles that will keep readers thoroughly engaged, inviting them to participate in a dialogue between fiction and analysis that shows the vampire to be a cultural necessity of our age. For, contrary to legends in which Dracula has no reflection, we can see reflections of ourselves in the vampire as it stands before us cloaked not in black but in metaphor.

By: Nina Auerbach 

Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
Date Published: April 7, 1997
ISBN-13: 978-0226032023

Nina Auerbach shows how every age embraces the vampire it needs, and gets the vampire it deserves. Working with a wide range of texts, as well as movies and television, Auerbach locates vampires at the heart of our national experience and uses them as a lens for viewing the last two hundred years of Anglo-American cultural history. 

"[Auerbach] has seen more Hammer movies than I (or the monsters) have had steaming hot diners, encountered more bloodsuckers than you could shake a stick at, even a pair of crossed sticks, such as might deter a very sophisticated ogre, a hick from the Moldavian boonies....Auerbach has dissected and deconstructed them with the tender ruthlessness of a hungry chef, with cogency and wit."—Eric Korn, Times Literary Supplement

"This seductive work offers profound insights into many of the urgent concerns of our time and forces us to confront the serious meanings that we invest, and seek, in even the shadiest manifestations of the eroticism of death."—Wendy Doniger, The Nation

"A vigorous, witty look at the undead as cultural icons."—Kirkus Review

"In case anyone should think this book is merely a boring lit-crit exposition...Auerbach sets matters straight in her very first paragraph. 'What vampires are in any given generation,' she writes, 'is a part of what I am and what my times have become. This book is a history of Anglo-American culture through its mutating vampires.'...Her book really takes off."—Maureen Duffy, New York Times Book Review

By:  J. Gordon Melton

Publisher: Visible Ink Press; 2nd edition 
Date Published: November 1, 1998 
ISBN-13: 978-1578590711 

The Ultimate Collection of Vampire Facts and Fiction

Death and immortality, sexual prowess and surrender, intimacy and alienation, rebellion and temptation. The allure of the vampire is eternal. The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead, Third edition, explores the historical, literary, mythological, biographical, and popular aspects of one of the world's most mesmerizing paranormal subject. This vast reference is an alphabetical tour of the psychosexual, macabre world of the soul-sucking undead.

In the first fully revised and updated edition in a decade, Dr. J. Gordon Melton (president of the American chapter of the Transylvania Society of Dracula) bites even deeper into vampire lore, myths, reported realities, and legends that come from all around the world. From Vlad the Impaler to Dracula and from modern literature to movies and TV series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, True Blood, Twilight, and The Vampire Lestat, this exhaustive guide furnishes more than 400 essays to quench your thirst for facts, biographies, definitions, and more.

By Montague Summers 

Publisher: Dover Publications 
Date Published: August 28, 2001
ISBN-13: 978-0486419428 

"Throughout the whole vast shadowy world of ghosts and demons there is no figure so terrible, no figure so dreaded and abhorred, yet [looked upon] with such fearful fascination, as the vampire, who is himself neither ghost nor demon, but yet who partakes the dark natures and possesses the mysterious and terrible qualities of both."

So begins this riveting study by one of the foremost authorities on witchcraft and occult phenomena. An indefatigable researcher, Summers explores the presence of vampires in Greek and Roman lore, in England and Ireland during Anglo-Saxon times, in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Romania, and Bulgaria, even in modern Greece. More than just a collection of library lore, however, this detailed examination of the history of vampirism in Europe also includes anecdotes and firsthand accounts gathered by the author from peasants in places where belief in vampires was still common.

A fascinating, sometimes terrifying book, The Vampire in Lore and Legend is a "mine of out-of-the-way information full of unspeakable tales," writes The New York Times; and according to Outlook, "a fascinating inquiry into the vampire legend . . . a storehouse of curious and interesting lore." Of great interest to any enthusiast of the supernatural and the occult, this book will appeal as well to the legions of general readers captivated by this ancient myth.
By Pam Keesey

Publisher: Cleis Press illustrated edition edition 
Date Published: December 1997 
ISBN-13: 978-1573440264 

Popular vampirologist Pam Keesey invites you to feast in the company of the most beautiful, alluring and untamed women in history. From Dark Goddesses to flappers, Vamps: An Illustrated History of The Femme Fatale presents 2,000 years of campy, witty and dangerous Bad Girls -vampires, witches, bitches, vamps, femmes fatales, & screen trash together for the first time. 

Popular culture - especially film - is filled with images of the femme fatale, the woman who destroys those she seduces. According to Keesey, all bad girls can trace their origins to the vampire, that quintessential evil woman who uses sex as a weapon. From Greta Garbo to Sharon Stone, these irresistible women are marked as excessively sexual, creatures of great appetites who step outside the realm of acceptable feminine behavior to satisfy their desires.

Keesey's fascinating cultural history is punctuated by excerpts of interviews with film stars and critics. Vamps book is a must-buy for vampire lovers and movie fans who treasure images of women as powerful, sexual beings. Includes 100 black and white photographs (including rare photographs of film favorites) along with complete annotated filmography, bibliography and video resources.

By Rosemary Guiley

Publisher: Checkmark Books 
Date Published: November 30, 2004 
ISBN-13: 978-0816046850 

From ancient customs to famous cases of beasts and vampires and their reflections in popular culture, six hundred entries provide definitions, explanations, and lists of suggested further reading on the macabre.

You’ll find everything in The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters from ancient customs to famous cases of beasts and vampires in modern culture, to books, movies and more about vampires and werewolves; everything has its own entry in the complex and very complete edition of  a supernatural encyclopedia. 

The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters focuses a lot on folklore, historical cases, cross-cultural mythology, and the presence of the monsters in the world of entertainment.  It also covers in its entries Japanese, Mexican, Gypsy, and Bosnian variations, among others displaying a very detailed and multicultural perspective that shows the similarity of monsters and myth around the world.

By Ph.D., Jay Stevenson

Publisher: Alpha 
Date Published: January 21, 2009 
ISBN-13: 978-1592579433 

Vampires are the hottest topic in popular culture today. From the now classic novels of Anne Rice, to the mega-selling series by Stephanie Meyer to the hit HBO series True Blood based on the bestselling novels of Charlaine Harris, the undead are certainly not dead in terms of books sales. Now, those curious about the history and lore of these creatures can get up to speed in the refreshed edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vampires. It provides a detailed explanation of the origins of vampires and insight into the fascination they hold in literature and belief.

Complete history and origins of this mythic creature.

An explanation of the various rules that vampires exist by.

A lively and exhaustive literary discussion of vampires and their importantce in fiction.

By:  Barb Karg, Arjean Spaite, and Rick Sutherland

Publisher: Adams Media 
Date Published: January 17, 2009) 
ISBN-13: 978-1605506319 

• An affordable, accessible companion to vampire literature, films, and TV 

• Several vampire movies are due out in 2008 and 2009: Twilight, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, and The Historian 

• Vampire communities are flourishing on the Internet—a simple “vampire societies” search on Google yields over 580,000 results 

• Everything reference books have sold more than 575,000 copies! Bram Stoker’s Dracula Anne Rice’s Lestat Stephenie Meyer’s Edward Who can resist these erotic, exotic creatures of the night? And who wants to? In The Everything® Vampire Book, readers unearth all the secrets of this beautiful, terrible underworld, including: 

• How vampires live, hunt, and endure 

• Why they refuse to die 

• How to destroy a vampire—from holy water to decapitation 

• The best—and worst—vampire books, TV shows, and films 

• What constitutes the “vampire lifestyle” and blood fetish practices 

• All the incarnations of vampires—from the Greek Lamia to the Indian Churel 

• Real-life encounters with vampires Vampire aficionados will enjoy sinking their teeth into the notorious history and bewitching tales in The Everything® Vampire Book!

Justice: Then and Now - Tarot in Fiction with Alayna Williams

I use Tarot cards a good deal in my writing, to give me ideas about creating characters and develop plot points. Sometimes, I pick cards on purpose that catch my eye, but more often, I deal them out at random. I let my imagination roam over the pictures to generate situations and connections among characters.

One of my favorite cards in the deck is Justice. She's depicted as a crowned woman in heavy robes, holding a sword in one hand and a scale in the other. She's not blindfolded - depictions of blind justice date from only the fifteenth century onward. Instead, she judges those who come before her with clear sight into the past, present, and future

The card's meaning is straightforward enough: Justice is about truth, karmic balance, and putting important things in writing. Seeing her in a Tarot spread is a suggestion to stay balanced, centered, and aware of dealings with the law. She's about cause and effect...every action is remembered and rewarded or punished.

But Justice has a longer history. I often associate her with Themis, an ancient Greek Titan. She was in charge of divine law. She was not wrathful or vengeful, like the Furies. Instead, she represented communities, collective law, and norms of society.

Themis had the ability to peer into the future, and was one of the original Oracles of Delphi. The Delphic Oracle is probably the most famous oracle of the ancient world. The priestess of the Temple of Apollo, the Pythia, wielded a great deal of political influence over leaders who sought her advice and the priestesses who served the temple. The Temple of Apollo was sited over a crevasse in the earth emitting noxious vapors, leading to modern-day speculation that the Pythia’s visions were not sendings from Apollo, but toxic hallucinations. The Delphic Oracle operated from roughly the eight century BC until 393 AD, when all pagan oracles were ordered to be dismantled by the Emperor. After that, no one knows what became of the priestesses.

But the image of Themis remains. She appears outside of government buildings, outside of courthouses, and in popular art. She remains a constant presence in our modern life, embodying an ideal of quiet sight into the past and future.

Witchcraft, Writing, and Cooking with Ann Gimpel

I was in the beauty shop the other day and my hairdresser carted out lots of little plastic bowls for the various colors we streak my hair with. She chatted about mixing a little of this and a little of that and said she cooks the same way. Then she grinned and said she was probably a witch in a former life.

I can sure relate to that one!  Not so much mixing hair color, but cooking. I rarely use recipes. Just sort of toss things in until it tastes right. It’s probably not accidental that Ceridwen and her cauldron show up in some of my books. Not that she was a witch, but she was the Celtic goddess Shakespeare probably used as his prototype for the witches in Macbeth hovering over their cauldron. 

Back to cooking. Many years back, I baked a lot of bread and made pastries and pies. I still do, just not as much. Bread dough and pie crust are two items that are different every time you make them. I look for a certain consistency and manipulate the flour/water balance until I have what I need. In many ways, writing isn’t all that different.

I start with characters (my ingredients). They have to be fresh, the best I can obtain, just like when I cook. Then I mix them together in unique ways, add heat and tension—not too much, just enough—and voila! A novel emerges in much the same way I pulled bread or a soufflé from the oven. Thank goodness I can alter my books until they feel “right” to me. If I blew the timing on that soufflé, or overcooked the bread, there wasn’t much I could do to remedy the situation.

Creativity, whether in the kitchen, at the keyboard, or studying a grimoire for a handy spell, taps into right brain fluidity. That’s the side of the brain that does math and listens to/appreciates music. It’s also the side that allows writers to enter their fictional worlds and make their characters come alive. 

The linear, left brain function is what allows writers to edit and cooks to assimilate a recipe before they begin tinkering with it.

How about you? Where does your creativity lie? Is there something you yearn to do, but haven’t?

~Ann Gimpel is a USA Today Bestselling Author and lifelong aficionado of the unusual, Ann began writing speculative fiction a few years back. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines, magazines, and anthologies. Her longer paranormal romance and urban fantasy books are available in e-format, print, and audio. In 2014, after two dozen books with publishers, she made the leap into self-publishing. She’s loving the freedom and it’s possible she’ll never look back. Learn more at https://www.anngimpel.com/

Annabel Lee By Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love,
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me,
Yes!, that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we,
Of many far wiser than we,
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Talking Tarot with Abigail Drake

Tarot cards. Just the idea conjures up images of things like crystal balls, and fortune tellers in caravans. But is that accurate? Where and how did tarot cards originate, and are they inherently evil or fairly innocuous?

The tarot is a pack of playing cards first used in the mid-15th century in Europe to play games such as the Italian "tarocchini" and the French "tarot". It wasn't until the late 18th century that it began to be used for divination - in the form of tarotology and cartomancy.

One of the characters in my newest book, "The Enchanted Garden Cafe," is Madame Lucinda. She owns The Hocus Pocus Magic Shoppe (also the title of what will be the second book in my series), and she is a reader of tarot cards. My main character, Fiona, scoffs at the idea, until something strange happens, and several of Madame Lucinda's predictions seem to come true.

So are tarot cards really a means to see into the future, or are they connected with something darker and more sinister? According to an article I found by Theresa Reed, "The Tarot Lady," the cards themselves are neutral. She goes on to say it might be possible that the intent of the user could be negative, but even that doesn't make tarot cards inherently bad, and "... if we go by that theory, then a kitchen knife should be evil because someone MIGHT do something harmful with one."

Most people use tarot to help them find direction, and as a tool for problem solving and decision making. Most professional tarot card readers start doing it because they want to help people. That doesn't sound very evil, does it?

Perhaps the fear associated with tarot, is more the fear of the unknown, or the feeling it violates closely held religious or spiritual beliefs. In response to this, Ms. Reed says, "For the people who assume that tarot is against their religious beliefs, then it is best to respect that and leave it be. You don’t need to be converting anyone. Do not take their opinion personally. Instead be a model of mutual respect – honor their beliefs and do not ridicule nor argue – and encourage them to do the same when it comes to your tarot lovin’ ways. We can coexist even if we disagree!"

Oh. I love that. I may to get that on a bumper sticker. Seriously. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone had that same world view?

Ms. Reed also says, "Tarot is a wonderful guide in life’s journey but it’s not for everyone. And you know what? That’s okay."

I think I love Ms. Reed. She seems awesome. And I think I want to learn more about tarot. If nothing else, just for the experience, and because the cards are so pretty.

This one is called "The Lovers," and let me just say, it does pop up in my book. (wink, wink, nod, nod). And it's so much more pleasant than the other card that comes up...."The Devil."


To find out what happens, you'll just have to read "The Enchanted Garden Cafe," available now on Amazon

The Enchanted Garden Café
South Side Stories
Book One
Abigail Drake

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Kindle Press

Date of Publication: May 1, 2018


Number of pages: 272
Word Count: 89,000

Cover Artist: Najla Qamber

Tagline: Something magical is happening in the garden.

Book Description:

For her sixth birthday, Fiona Campbell’s mother, Claire, made her a peace sign piñata filled with wishes for a better planet instead of candy. When she got her period, her mother held a womanhood ceremony at their café and invited the neighborhood. On her sixteenth birthday, they celebrated with a drum circle.

Fiona grew up trying to keep the impulsive Claire in check, and their struggling café afloat. She plans to move out, but first must find a way to stop a big corporation from tearing down their business and destroying her mother’s livelihood.

Claire thinks karma will solve their financial and legal problems. Fiona prefers a spreadsheet and a solid business plan. The last thing she has time for is Matthew Monroe, a handsome complication who walks through their door with a guitar on his back and a naughty gleam in his eye. But when disaster strikes, and Fiona’s forced to turn to him for help, will she learn to open her heart and find she can believe in something magical after all?


Falling in love is like baking.
Results may vary with experience.
~Aunt Francesca~

Chapter One

            I opened the box and stepped back, tripping over a pile of Himalayan wind chimes I’d left lying behind me on the floor of the shop. They clanked in a discordant melody as I untangled them from my feet.
            “What the heck?” I asked, ignoring the chimes and focusing on the parcel that had arrived in the mail earlier that morning. Tiny stone phalluses in various shades of gray filled the container to the brim. Checking the return address, I noticed the shipping cost and wanted to cry. Most of our inventory budget for the entire month had been used to mail this one small box halfway around the world.
            “Mom, what exactly did you order from Inuyama, Japan?”
            My mother popped her head around the corner, a bright smile on her face. “Did they finally arrive, Fiona? I’ve been waiting for ages.”
“For stone penises?”
Why was I even surprised? This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. My mother, Claire de Lune Campbell, had never been the master of impulse control, and she had a history of making very poor decisions. She’d been born Claire Campbell and added the “de Lune” in, what I can only guess, was a moment of pot-induced inspiration. The pot no longer played a part in her life, but the total inability to make common-sense decisions remained.
            Mom picked up one of the stone penises, a happy twinkle in her eye. “Aren’t they lovely?”
On the outside, Mom and I looked alike. The same blonde hair, the same blue eyes, the same stubborn tilt to our chins, but there the resemblance ended. Mom was as happy and bright as a butterfly landing on a flower, and she had the same level of fiscal responsibility. I stressed about everything, especially money, but I had good cause.
My mom owned and operated the Enchanted Garden Café, where we served food, coffee, and specially blended teas and sold unusual items in our small gift shop. Nestled in the middle of the South Side, the funky hippie district of Pittsburgh, it was the perfect spot for my mom but a constant source of anxiety for me.
I wiped sweat from my face and brushed off my clothing. Dust covered my T-shirt and shorts, and some kind of stone powder had fallen out of the box from Inuyama onto my tennis shoes. Mom, glowing in a dress made from recycled saris, didn’t have a speck of dust on her, but she hadn’t handled the phalluses.
Kate, the girl who worked behind the counter, came over to us, her blue eyes alight with curiosity. “I want to see them,” she said. Mom handed her one, and she studied it closely, peering at it through the thick black frames of her retro hipster glasses. Her ebony hair was pulled off to the side in a low ponytail, and her colorful tattoos peeked through the crocheted black cardigan covering her pale skin. “At least they are anatomically correct. Look at those veins.”
            My cheeks grew warm, and Mom smiled, putting a cool hand against my face. “Aww, Fiona is blushing.”
            “No, I’m not. It’s hot in here.”
            “Of course it is,” she said, making me feel twelve instead of twenty-five, but it was hot for early June, and the air-conditioning was broken. Again. Even with all the windows open, it still felt stuffy.
            I ignored her and picked up a penis. “What are these things anyway?”
            She beamed at me with pure, unfiltered happiness. “Fertility charms from a little shrine in the mountains of Japan. They have a big festival there every year. I went once.”
            She sighed, most likely remembering happy times at the fertility festival, and went back to the kitchen. I looked at Kate and rolled my eyes, making her snicker, before getting back to work. The fertility charms came in all sizes and seemed handmade. I just wasn’t sure how to sell them or where to display them in our shop.
            A Victorian eyesore, the café was painted on the outside in what once had been a mix of bright pink and various shades of green. The pink had faded to a dull rose, and the green looked like the color of old limes just before they rotted. It needed work and a fresh coat of paint, but instead of doing so, we spent our money on phalluses from Japan. That was how things worked with my mother. No planning. No rhyme or reason. No logic. No rational thought.
            The bell above the door tinkled, and I turned, a penis in each hand, as a stranger walked into the shop. I couldn’t see his face at first because the sun was at his back, but he carried a guitar case. A sure sign of trouble.
            “Hello,” he said as he came closer.
He had straight dark hair that brushed his shoulders, brown eyes, and a goatee. He reminded me of a sexy, naughty French pirate, and I knew his kind well. Close to my age, he was definitely one of the artsy, flighty types who always hung out around my mom. I could spot them a mile away.

            “Holy guacamole, if he were any hotter, I’d need new underwear,” whispered Kate, taking off to the back of the shop and leaving me alone to greet the stranger.

About the Author:

Abigail Drake is the award-winning author of twelve novels, including three young adult books under the name Wende Dikec. She has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, and fun.

Abigail is a trekkie, a book hoarder, the master of the Nespresso machine, a red wine addict, and the mother of three boys (probably the main reason for her red wine addiction). A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.
She is a member of Pennwriters, RWA, Three Rivers Romance Writers, Mindful Writers, Women's Fiction Writers, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She teaches writing to children, and her non-fiction article about the life of a child in Istanbul was published in Faces Magazine (an imprint of Cricket Magazine) in February 2016.