The Tiny Ghost Newsletter, edition #17, October 13, 2022
IT'S OCTOBER! We're already halfway through spooky season 2022 and deep into the Halloween spirit! How have you been celebrating? What's been sending shivers running down your spine this year?
Seeing as you can't swing a black cat without hitting a vampiric tv show, book, or costume at this time of year, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the vampires who have captivated my attention through out the years. And also a few that have helped to shape the horror landscape in haunting ways.
Vampires are a stalwart member of the monster tribe, a constant at Halloween, and a fanciful creature with an undeniable clamp on the neck of society. They're strong, immortal but not invulnerable, mysterious, and romantic. Whether you're a dedicated Team Edward, diamond skin loving Twilight fanatic, a Bram Stoker purist, or a Queen of the Damned apologist, there is a vampire out there for everyone and every occasion. These are just a few of the ones that mean the most to me.
Starting from a literary standpoint, no other vampires have held as much of an unholy grip as those of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. Lestat, Louis, Armand, and the entire tribe loomed large during my foundational years. The books are undeniably queer and were some of the first instances I can remember of seeing queerness in media. What's more I'm not sure if my teachers or parents knew just quite how queer these books were. I'm not sure I knew at first! And there was power in that as well. Being able to read these books where queerness ranged from subtext to very much text, and escape into them was so important. Lestat is also, let's face it, ridiculously cool. He's charming and dangerous and rebellious––everything you could want from a vampire pin up. The fact that he could be all these things and still walk through time hand in hand with Louis says a lot. From the 1994 film starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, to the ill-fated Broadway musical, and the now openly and celebratory queer AMC TV adaptation, plus something like 20 novels, Lestat and Anne Rice's vampires are a cultural touchstone, a redefining of vampires, from monster to demonic angel, that led the way for a lot of contemporary vampiric romance.
It's impossible for me to think about vampires without going straight to Buffy. Buffy, famously a slayer of vampires and not a vampire herself, broke new ground in the late nineties and opened the door for the teen vampire to strut through. Without her particular brand of snarky humour, and apparent 'thing' for a sexy vamp we wouldn't have had Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, or countless other teen friendly blood suckers. Angel is, of course, endgame, while Spike is frenetic and rebellious. For seven years Buffy and her toothy companions brought vampire realness to our screens and kept the obsession well and truly undead.
A newer entry into vampire canon came from Caleb Roehrig in the form a The Fell of Dark. This young adult romance clearly takes inspiration from Buffy but it takes that inspo, makes it very gay, and runs with it. In The Fell of Dark, August Pfeiffer lives in a vampire town at the nexus of mystical energy fields, and hates it. Desperate to get out he can't believe his bad luck when an (incredibly hot) teen vampire brings him a warning, and soon he finds himself involved in all sorts of vampiric hi-jinx. This book is refreshing, yet familiar, and finally, fiiiiinally, some of those hearthrobby vamps, the likes of which tussled with Buffy in graveyards, fought for Elena Gilbert/Katherine Pierce's affections, or carried Bella on their backs through the red woods of Forks, Washington were out and out gay. Despite the overt queerness in Anne Rice's books and the queer rep in Buffy that was arguably ahead of its time, this book felt like it was written for gay kids. The kids, who like me, found a familiar in vampires, and could finally have a vampire of their own to swoon after.
Some other vampires who deserve an honourable mention are:
Dracula (the OG)
The Count (of Sesame Street fame)
Count Duckula (look it up, he's a duck and a vampire)
Alucard (from the anime Hellsing, who isn't fooling anyone with that name)
So, that's my vampire wrap up. Who are some of your faves? Which vamp would you want to run into in a dark alley?
I'd love more than anything to publish some queer, teen vampire stories, so if you have one in your pocket, check out our submissions page and send it over. I'm dying to read it!
We're halfway through the official spooky season so I'd love to know how you're spending the month? What films have you been watching? Will you be carving a pumpkin or playing stiff as a feather? We want to get into the spooky spirit with you too, so we're hosting two live-tweet watch alongs. On the 20th we'll be watching and tweeting along to the Neil Gaiman classic, Coraline, at 7:30EST and on the 27th at 4pm EST we'll be watching and live tweeting the 2022 Scream. Make sure to use the hashtag #tinyghostpress so that we can find your tweets and join the conversation and we'll see you there.
Also, if you're in London we're going to be at Kirkdale Bookshop's Halloween event at 7:30pm on the 29th, with advance copies of Wicked Little Things for sale, plus our other titles. There'll be drinks, spooky readings, and more. Entry is free and you can book here.
And finally, our proof copies of Wicked Little Things showed up and they are terrifyingly gorgeous. Have you preordered your copy yet???
I hope you spooky season is going hauntingly and hope to see you at the watch alongs.