dsc_0042It’s hard to believe it’s been fifteen years since that fateful day when the American public lost its innocence. I’ve been trying to watch the testimonials and such that have aired most of the day, but the trauma of that day, and how it has changed our world, is hard to face.

My memories of that day are unremarkable. I worked at the time as an administrative assistant for Reengineering, an organization on Robins Air Force Base that focused on improving the mission by improving processes. I was on my computer, working on yet another PowerPoint presentation for one of my bosses, when someone ran through the office shouting that an airplane had just struck one of the buildings at the World Trade Center. Since attacks against this complex had happened before, I dismissed the event, sad to say. But when a second strike occurred, we all knew something very bad had happened.

The television we had on a cart in the back of the conference room was brought to the office and plugged in, and we walked past it while conducting our routine, but we became more and more attracted to the horrors on the news. It became clear early on that something very bad, even catastrophic, had begun, and the reactions were mixed. Some cried, some paced the office in anger, and others grew concerned about their loved ones. The overall mood grew darker by the moment.

I recall looking in on our director, and watching his face turn red. You had to know our colonel as well as I did to know he was royally pissed – he turned red from the collar up. He was something like a pressure gage. The deeper the red got, the more likely he was to explode, and the man was glowing. He muttered something like, “I knew we should have taken him out when we had the chance”, but I didn’t understand. Later, my husband told me he was probably referring to Osama Bin Laden, someone I had never heard of before since I rarely watched the news. The colonel dismissed everyone, civilian and contractor alike, but while I watched the other secretaries leave and the director obviously staying, I simply couldn’t leave, even with the promise of a full-day’s pay. I stayed and supported my colonel until the day was done.

The base locked down overnight, so it took me two and a half hours to reach the base gate to go to work the next day. It didn’t get any better over time, in fact, it got much worse. My husband’s hours grew longer because he was still active duty Air Force at the time. Even the kids tell me they felt the stress. In fact, I finished the Tigger mural pictured here for my oldest daughter just three days before, and she is emotionally attached to it. When we get ready to sell, I’ll have to figure out how to carve it out of her bedroom wall and mount it on a canvas for her. When the state of the world was at its worst, she would look at the pleasant face painted on her wall, and all was well again. I wish my world was as easy to tame.

Our government has betrayed us. Terrorism has reached an all-time high in the last seven years. I’m afraid to go to any restaurant, theater, or other “soft target” for fear some extremist will want to make an example of me. We should have been fostering peace, but now even greater threats loom, and I can’t blame anyone but our federal leadership. Even domestic issues have accelerated until I’m afraid of everyone. I won’t ever fly again – there’s just too much danger, either of life or limb, or of dignity. I’m not a biggot, or a homophobe, or an islamaphobe, or any other phobe. I’m simply afraid of being punished for who I am, and won’t be able to walk the streets in confidence until our world, as a whole, gets better.

So today I pray for our nation, as I pray for the world and all mankind. If only we could all live in the peace and mutual respect I write about in Haven’s Realm.

~Tamara Monteau




It’s funny how some numbers stick in your mind, no matter how much time passes since the last time you needed them. I’ve never been good with numbers. Dates and figures elude me, no matter how I try to remember, but this obsolete phone number is still in there.

I remember when Father became temporarily disabled. Because he was unemployed, Mom had to register us with the Social Security Administration, so she could continue to receive child support until Father completed college and secured a better job. I held that paper card in my hands for hours, studying the blue on gray print, closing my eyes to repeat it, but that number never stayed long in my overly imaginative mind. It wasn’t until I joined the Air Force, where reciting your social is as mandatory as service numbers were in World War II, that I finally memorized these nine crucial numbers.

But the number that rang to the home I grew up in remains, lodged in the darkest corner where memories of my youth and the warmth and fellowship of family reside. This was a time when dialing a long distance call required ten turns of the clicking dial while your heart raced with the rare anticipation of speaking with someone from another state. I still recall how my hands trembled when Mom let me dial the number to a cousin clear across the country who was my age. I never met her, and only spoke to her that once, but the way I felt making the call still lingers after 40-odd years.

Today, such miracles are commonplace. When I grew up, knowledge came from books–real paper books–many of them heavy encyclopedia volumes and hard-cover tomes I hauled by the armload to a library table where my note pad and pencil waited. My first literary composition was a piece of poetry I wrote into a hard-bound book full of blank pages. I still have the book, and although only the first few pages are filled, the illustrations and reflections bring back fond memories. Now information comes from the numerous websites and blogs available on the global network, and our children regard bound books the way Scotty looked at a keyboard during Star Trek, The Voyage Home. For those of you who are not Trek fans, this is the spoiled dismay one feels when faced with antiquated forms.

Sometimes I could wish for these simpler times, when you were constrained to the four to six channels on a thirteen-channel television set with either an aerial cable or rabbit ears connected to the top. We watched as a family on evenings and weekends, our minds broadened by shows like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild KingdomThe World At War, and 60 Minutes (yes, it’s been on that long, and I waited through all the interviews and commentary for Andy Rooney to give his thought-provoking, and most often humorous, closing thoughts). We laughed at shows like Laugh-In, All In The Family, and The Beverly Hillbillies, explored the future in shows like Star Trek and Lost In Space, and kept up with national events on NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love technology. So, unfortunately, does my husband, who spends most of his free time tethered to one boob-tube or another. I couldn’t imagine writing without a computer, and the things I’ve learned to do with a PC have enriched the lives of my family in some surprising ways. And I probably might appreciate the convenience if I were in a bar where the music was so loud the only way to converse with your date is to text him from across the table.

But I see so many children, my 10-year-old granddaughter included, who long for these marvelous toys. Teens and twenties meet for dinner at restaurants, and sit throughout the meal while texting, playing games, or browsing the Internet. My son and his friends are hooked on the new Pokemon game, careless of the information this program’s servers are gathering and storing. People are choosing convenience over a modicum of common sense and caution. Or have I read Orwell’s 1984 too many times?

I’m going to close my eyes, envision the avocado phone hanging on the wall between the kitchen and dining room, and dial the number that rang where life was simple. A 10-year-old child could safely walk a mile to the corner drug store alone. (Lowe’s Market–a convenience store where you could buy stamps and post mail, fill prescriptions, and buy goods and sundries. Oh, and there was a Dairy Queen right next door!) I had four quarters and three nickels jingling in my pocket, with which I would buy a real feast that included a quart-sized milk carton filled with Whoppers, Big Hunk nougat bars, three-foot licorice or cherry ropes (I liked the cherry) and wax containers filled with flavored sugar water. We knew who we were back then. No one was an enemy, no matter their color or background. We respected the law and its officers, and shopped at the same stores, smiling and holding doors because that’s the proper thing to do, and thanking someone who extends that courtesy.

So meet me on 44th Avenue any Saturday afternoon. We’ll listen to the AM radio while we dance under the sprinkler, lay out on the lawn and study the clouds, and laugh at all those who think we really need more.

~Tamara Monteau

The Writer’s Journey

A fan asked me a while back about the publication process. This comes up a lot, and she seemed genuinely surprised by all that publishing a novel entails. Today I’ll make this my topic of conversation.

Of course, first and foremost, you need to write and complete a story. It has to be original, or contain a new twist on an old idea. This alone is a daunting task, successful only to those who truly believe in their work, and have the fortitude to see it through. When I tell someone I’m a published author, about half the time I receive the same reaction–“Yeah, I have a book I’ve been meaning to write…” Trust me. Meaning to isn’t doing, and doing is a lot harder than it sounds. I tell them all the same thing. Sit down and write a little every day. An hour is sufficient, as long as you stick with it. That’s the key.

So now you have a completed manuscript. Congratulations. You’ve nursed it, coddled and fed it, and the final words of the final chapter bring you great satisfaction. “I did it,” you tell all your friends. “I finally finished that book.” Well, guess what. You’re not even halfway down the path to a published work. Next comes self-editing. This is where you dissect that carefully assembled product and weed out the bugs. You’ll second guess plot and dialog, add, subtract and rearrange, polish every word until you can, honestly, read someone else’s work and think, Hey, mine’s better than that. When you reach that stage, it’s time to find a publisher.

Now, I can’t speak for publishing houses, but I imagine each must receive thousands of submissions every year. The competition is stiff. You have to sell your book right out of the envelope, so to speak, convince the house you are contacting that this book is worthy of sale. To that end, you have to first sit back with a blank canvas, choose the most important plot elements, and condense your book into a two-page synopsis. It has to be concise and tell the basic story, and it absolutely has to be free of typos and editing mistakes. Your writing style will be judged here.

Next comes the query letter, these days an email containing your completed manuscript and synopsis, and an explanation to catch the attention of the submissions department. I begin by naming the title, tell how many words and if the work is complete, the genre, and if the book is part of a series, the series title. A blurb outlining the idea of the story follows, and it should be brief, generally 150 words, and should make the reader want to know more. This is the same text you browse through on the back covers at your local bookstore. Now thank them for their time and consideration, and push send.

Then you sit back and wait for a reply. And trust me on this as well–it’s a killer. It may take as little as two, or as many as four weeks to receive a reply, depending upon how busy the publishing house is at the time. You really don’t want to hear back any sooner than that. A reply that comes two days later is probably a “Thank you, but not what we’re looking for” let down. In my opinion, the longer the wait, the more closely they’re considering offering you a contract. Don’t send followup messages every day and irritate the crap out of them, just be patient.

At long last, if you’re good and very lucky, someone will offer you a contract. Read it. Read it again. If you agree to the terms, sign and mail back. Now you can call yourself a published author. Go ahead and do your happy dance, you definitely deserve it! But the journey does not end there. Oh, no. You’ve only reached the top of the mountain. Now you have to work your way down the other side. And this, to many, seems the most surprising of all.

While you’re waiting to be assigned an editor, you’ll polish your blurb and submit information to the company for the development of your cover. You probably have a pretty good idea what your cover should look like, and you can express those ideas here. I’ve often found that giving just the right info–main character descriptions, etc.–and letting the artist do his/her thing is best. Once the final product is approved both by you and management, you can use the image to promote interest in your book.

By now, your editor is probably ready for you. Be prepared for compromise, and don’t be too much in love with your own words. These people are professionals, and know what works. Be patient, tolerant, and cooperative. Most of the time, you’ll progress smoothly through this step. You’ll go around a few times before you’re both happy with the finished product and are ready for formatting.

But there will be times when standing your ground is crucial. A good case in point is my own journey through my first Haven’s Realm novel. The editor I drew seemed, for the most part, fixated on another series, and pestered me no end until I finally had to say, “Look. The story is what it is.” There is nothing in the plot that resembles the work I have never read–I didn’t see the movies until after I first made my story public. Thankfully, when I moved on to book two, I was reassigned, and my new editor loves my work. I give her my full cooperation, but there are times when I need to explain why something is said a certain way, or point to a reference earlier in the story. I do have to say, however, that sometimes my editor has a suggestion on word usage, such as British slang or swear, that vastly improves that one sentence, and I’m always open to improvement.

At this stage, most of your pre-release work is done. You’ll see an email or two while the work is assembled and formatted, and I strongly recommend reviewing the entire manuscript every time. Until the day it goes live, there’s still time to correct that troublesome typo. In the meantime, you can organize your release party and prepare yourself for the day your book goes live. When that day finally arrives, and you’re holding a copy of your very own book in your hot little hands, do another happy dance, and move on to marketing. And, oh yes, get started on that next book!

Thank you for spending time with me today, cherished readers!

Tamara Monteau

What are Damphere?

Recently, I had a wonderful opportunity to spend time with a new friend and fan. In the smattering of various conversation topics came a few comments and questions regarding Haven’s Realm, my favorite subject. One she asked mirrored a few more I’ve received over time, the origin of the damphere. I thought it time to tell you about these marvelous, inherently dangerous, creatures.

When I wrote my first novel, Twilight Destiny, back in 2003, the idea of a mortal being impregnated by a vampire wasn’t new. I had, in fact, read a shockingly unique twist by Linda Lael Miller, where one of my favorite female characters becomes impregnated by her mortal lover. I loved the idea. For her. I wanted another approach.

I like to do research online, and don’t swear by any one source. I often enjoy finding blog sites and forums I can browse through, especially when attempting to fully grasp a concept based more on myth and legend than on fact. Precious little information of any real credence was available at the time, and I really got a giggle over some of the ideas floating around in cyberspace.

Research indicated that a damphere is the hybrid result of a vampire impregnating a mortal. Please note that I did not say human. I pondered this while I read several articles describing damphere bears, wolves, and even beavers, and shook my head against the irrationality. The immortal sire would have to be of the same species in order to thusly procreate, and since most animals lack a sense of romance in their mating rituals, in fact lack all but basic procreational instincts, they probably won’t find their way into Haven’s Realm.

I concluded, for the sake of my series, that the male vampire retains his seed. He couldn’t produce a damphere without it. Women, however, lose the ability to nurture life. Their bodies probably still have eggs, but daily rest would restore any tissue altered in the course of the previous night. Bye bye baby. If pressed, through my writings, I’ll simply explain that the vampiress’ physiology prevents the eggs from being released. After all, they don’t go through “that time of the month.”

It takes a mortal woman and a willing vampire to create a vampire-human hybrid. That goes without saying. I’ve mentioned in my writings that birthing a damphere takes a great deal of willpower and fortitude. If you haven’t read my work, I’ll only tell you that Catherine, my first heroine, nearly dies in the attempt during my second story. Carrying the child would not be a problem that can’t be overcome with the best diet and exercise. Any baby draws what elements it needs from its mother’s body, so replenishing these nutrients is vital. She’ll need all her strength and endurance in the end.

Mentally, damphere are aware the moment their microscopic hearts begin to beat. They develop a strong life force, feeding, unfortunately, on that of their hosts. By the time they’re ready to emerge, the mother’s life is dependently connected to the child’s. Usually, the moment the baby draws breath, his mother dies. Tragic.

Thankfully, I’ve found a handy way around that problem. Consequences derived from the events in book two give two of my Council Elders unique skills. Combine this with their growing understanding of the half-breeds and their capabilities, and the hope they won’t become lethal enemies, and you’ll understand why the Council is now no longer adverse to the subject. Whether or not more children are born to my vampire family remains to be seen.

The exact nature of my youngest characters is not yet clear. As I’ve said in other articles, I write what my imagined friends tell me to. At this time, three damphere belong to Haven’s Community. The MacAaron twins reached the celebration of their fourth year, and are displaying the intelligence and vocal skills of teenagers. Their bodies, right now, are growing in sync with their ages, but not their minds. Already they’ve learned how to manipulate their environment, opening doors and such, to the dismay of their parents. Little Devon has already mastered aggressive skills his father sometimes needs to circumvent.

As they grow older, physical aging will slow, granting them, perhaps, centuries of life through their immortal parent’s aggressive and persistent physiology. But that is not all they inherit. Damphere typically have all the powers of the vampire, with the freedoms of a mortal. Although some suffer a mild thirst, they usually eat solid food. They have the advantage of daylight tolerance, making them potentially lethal enemies. It was one of these who killed Lysander, one time Elder and sire to Antonia, the only woman on the Council. It’s no wonder she acted the way she did on discovering Catherine’s condition.

The most recent addition is a boy of nine, the product of a demented vampire’s tendencies. His mother failed to survive confinement, leaving him to the protection and support of the Chancellor of the Savant. Unfortunately, Lorenz suffers from autism, along with isolated motor and language deficiencies. Carloman and I are placing all our hopes in my uniquely talented Dragon/seer friend, Hope, that she find a way to break through the boy’s isolation and bring him out to the real world before the power growing inside him destroys himself and all those around him.

I hope this answers your questions. Please feel free to ask more. In fact, I look forward to suggestions for my next article. Thank you for dropping by, Cherished Readers!

~Tamara Monteau

Arguing With Myself – The Power of Dialog

Carrying the story through dialog is the best way to write a novel. All authors, at least those who produce well-written stories, know this to be one of the most important elements in leading readers along. But I’ve discovered hidden power in surrendering to dialog while solving problems. I call it arguing with myself.

I’ve often maintained that my characters do all the writing, that I sometimes feel my role is one of secretary, taking notes and putting their thoughts in logical order. I write, basically, by the seat of my pants, allowing my muse, and my carefully constructed characters, to take the lead. Whenever I have a problem that research and contemplation fails to resolve, I turn it over to my characters, close my eyes, and let the solution run its course.

A good example lies in a conversation near the end of Midnight Skye, the book I’m currently putting the finishing touches on. In this book, I introduce a new line of characters – the Sen Aesir, an evil vampire offshoot from ancient times, and Adept, wizards who work with elemental magick. Interaction I wrote early in the book that has since been withdrawn for later use (for reasons I’ll explain after Midnight Skye is released) revealed the fact that vampires cannot drink from Adept. Since the problem resurfaced in a meeting near the end, I had to come up with a reason why.

And so, I asked the question of my knowledgeable King and Council through my confused heroine, when she learns the Community are holding two Adept prisoner.

“I don’t understand,” Summer argued boldly. “Why can’t you just take control of them?”

“We cannot drink Adept blood, and blood is what helps us secure our connection,” Lucien explained.

“You can’t…why not?”

“They’re marked as paranormal beings, though not immortal, and are followers of nature,” Jason answered. “Vampires exist outside nature, our very presence a violation of her most basic rules. Drinking that contrary power would render us nullified for a time, which would cause both our bodies and spirits great distress, as well as make the task of forcing a servant bond impossible. It would also leave us more vulnerable to intrusion and mortal injury.”

The solution was so simple I should have understood from the beginning. But when my vampire expressed his confusion over why he couldn’t drink from the young woman standing before him (again for reasons I can’t reveal right now), his confusion stuck with me. It took me asking, through my newest and least experienced member, to find the answer. And the answer came, believe it or not, just as I finished typing the question, as if Jason had been waiting for just the right moment to speak up. Surrendering myself to my characters and letting them argue it out has since become an easy habit.

This probably isn’t true of all writers. Then again, maybe more than a few have had similar experiences. Our imagined friends, whether they stick with us through a series or only inhabit one story, very often have minds of their own, insisting on paths we’d prefer not to take. There have been times when I was the reluctant follower, and when I placed my faith in my inner vision, these altered paths led to more important consequences than I ever could have imagined all at once.

After all has been said and done (and written down), isn’t it more interesting to read a story where the characters are involved and emotionally interactive, instead of page after page of dry explanation? My characters come to life in the minds of my readers. This is the power of dialog!

~Tamara Monteau

Reinventing the Vampire Genre – Sunlight and Silver

What’s it like to be a vampire? It all depends, I suppose, on the kind of vampire you’re looking at, and who developed his culture. After exploring a variety of opinions, myths and so forth, I considered each element and pondered its logic. There’s so much to consider, I’m afraid, that I’ll have to break it down into segments and call upon my friends for their help. Today I’ll ponder the effects of sunlight and silver, and correct a misconception concerning the properties of light.

Sunlight is the most common enemy of the vampire. Stars radiate a vast number of elements – radiation, heat, light. It is the UVA and UVB rays that cause human skin to burn and will, over time and exposure, lead to deeper damage. Therefore, it must be this radiation that more strongly affects the more vulnerable vampire. Like open flame, the sun causes severe and instant burning. As Joshua explained in Twilight Destiny

“Although I must avoid contact with the sun, I do not have to sleep when the sun rises. Most of us prefer to, because the nighttime suits us and it is more convenient. Older vampires are said to have the ability to resist the powers of the sun for short periods…

“Even momentary exposure to the sun causes severe burns. I’m extremely susceptible to the heat and radiation. Within minutes, I can become burned beyond the ability to protect myself. ‘Tis, as I understand it, a very painful death, lingering in the soul long after the body ceases to exist.”

In fact, Jason, being the oldest vampire in the Community, at least at the beginning of Haven’s Realm, can tolerate moderate sunlight exposure, as he reminded Mirissa in Haven’s King…

“You’ve only seen me in the early hours of morning. You noticed how I kept to the shadows inside Gale’s home. The older I become, the more sunlight I can tolerate.”

As I understand it, Bram Stoker agreed with this age v. tolerance issue, and I recall Mick St. John in Moonlight getting by with shadows and shields to avoid burns, although in one episode he was debilitated through prolonged exposure and needed an ice bath, and some blood, to recover.

Since we’re also talking about the element of light here, I’ll also address in this segment the problem of mirrors and cameras. I suppose it all springs from the core problem regarding the use of sliver. Since silver is supposed to be poisonous to vampires, it is probably assumed the element would resist all things vampire. Well, that’s just plain silly, isn’t it? I mean, how can silver possess the cognitive awareness necessary to recognize and reject the light bouncing off a vampire? My apologies and respects to those who’ve written before me, but I just can’t see it. What I can see, or could if he were present, is the light reflecting off the solid being that would be a vampire. If I can see this light directly, it only follows I’d see it bouncing off of any reflective surface, mirrors included. Since film, and now digital cameras, record only light wavelengths, well, there you go.

So what about silver? It’s a natural element, used as a catalyst for chemical reactions and in electrical contacts and conductors. It also has antimicrobial and disinfectant applications, which makes me wonder at the biology of the vampire. This fact does contain the possibility of chemical reaction to the negative elements present in a paranormal body. In Moonlight, silver bullets were used to incapacitate a vampire, while in Vampire Diaries, wooden bullets do the same trick. Since silver is more commonly associated with werewolves, probably because of their bondage to the moon and the cultural connection between the metal and our satellite, I decided to exclude this magic from my work.

Here, Cherished Readers, I’ll rest and allow you time to ponder. In my next article, I’ll take a closer look at vampire abilities and address the myth surrounding religious symbolism. Have a great weekend!

~Tamara Monteau

Reinventing the Vampire Genre – Transformation

Many readers have asked me how I developed my vampire culture, where I did my research, and who’s works inspired me. While it’s true writers, at least this one, take inspiration from others’ writings, the challenge is to create something new and original in a genre that has been in existence for centuries.

Countless authors present their opinions on today’s marketplace, and there certainly is no right or wrong when developing a fictional culture. Some of my favorite authors in this genre are Maggie Shayne, Linda Lael Miller, and Cynthia Arsuaga. While I’ve never read the Twilight saga, I’ve seen the movies and enjoyed them. In the media, my favorite vampire television series are Forever Knight, The Vampire Diaries, Moonlight, and Angel. All of these creations vary dramatically, but each has an interesting approach to various points that I compared to the old legends before deciding on my “rules of engagement.” In this article, I’ll address the problem of transformation.

The most popular of the old assertions is that it takes three bites. This is close to Stephenie Meyer’s mention of vampire venom, for although she doesn’t require three bites, one can assume venom of some kind must exist for it to only take bites. I liked the concept when developing my killer clan, but stripped them of their basic humanity to make them more threatening. Rogues possess in their blood and saliva an agent that will turn a human, invading the body like a cancer, until that human dies. The soul goes into a tormented limbo while the practically mindless creature his body becomes carries out his instinctual acts.

When developing my more civilized clans, I realized I needed something a little different, and considered the works that had come before me. Shayne’s vampires spring from mortals she calls “the Chosen,” rare humans who possess the belladonna antigen in their blood that enables transformation. These few humans have a greatly reduced lifespan, and vampires are instinctual drawn to protect them. I had trouble with her restrictions, but liked the idea of the vampire taking life in the act.

In Vampire Diaries, one must have vampire blood in their systems when they die, and must feed on human blood within 24 hours of waking to complete their transference. I liked this idea, because it presents the mortal with one last point of no return. In Moonlight, I believe humans rise as vampires if they’re not killed, but drained to the point of death. In this case, they made it the moment they opened their eyes.

But I wanted something more than that, so put a bit of magic in with the ritual. In Haven’s King, Devon, a member of the Community’s Council of Elders, explained the process to Mirissa, the Carrington Police Agent in love with Jason, their king, in the following excerpt:

“In order for you to become a vampire, a vampire has to end your mortal life by draining you of your blood and binding your spirit before it has a chance to move on. Your body would begin a transformation that is completed the moment you rise and reclaim your blood from your master, inheriting his power and bloodline. It’s a tricky maneuver, requiring a great deal of concentration and skill. If your sire were, for example, to take you a little too far into death’s grasp, you’d simply die. Not quite far enough, and the transformation never takes place. Either way, your body would die of severe exsanguination.”

She stared at him for a few moments before she said softly, “That’s why Jason can’t turn me.”

He raised one eyebrow. The rest of his features were practically inscrutable. “You are correct, my dear. The moment he ends your mortal life, he condemns his own soul, even if his actions are meant to save you.”

She asked her next question in the hope his answer would quiet her sudden feeling of doom. “Could…could someone else do that first part for him? Does he absolutely need my blood in his system to finish the job?”

“Well, I don’t believe it’s ever been done before, but then, no other vampire I know of has this particular handicap hanging over his head. But if the person who drained you was close enough to Jason, say myself or Vincent, and shares your blood with him before you rose, it would probably work. Just a taste of your death would be sufficient. I honestly don’t think it would be a problem that cannot be overcome.”

She thought in silence for almost a minute before she asked, “So, what would happen to my spirit while my body does its thing?”

“I cannot give you a definitive answer to that one. Everyone I’ve spoken with on this subject has given me a different story. Some of them simply rested in peaceful oblivion until the time of awakening. Others remained awake and aware, though outside of their bodies, of course, and stayed with their masters during the entire process. Several visited with loved ones who’d passed on before them, or set out in search of loved ones they were about to leave behind, in a usually vain attempt at saying their goodbyes.

“In all cases, except for those who’ve failed to make the transition either by accident or choice, the fine tether keeping that spirit bound draws it back when the body nears wakefulness. If you did find yourself faced with a choice in that netherworld, you would have to be prepared to turn your back on Salvation if you are truly determined not to die.”

And that is, in my case, pretty much it, though I haven’t yet addressed exactly what happens to mortals in transition if they don’t retake their blood from their sires. I’ve mentioned in my writings thus far only that the consequences “didn’t bear thinking about.” After considering the alternatives, I’ve concluded that the hatchling, or freshly risen vampire, would fail to complete the transformation, much as it is in Vampire Diaries. Theoretically at least, within a few short hours, he or she would die of severe hunger, a rather painful way to go.

But the consequences run much deeper, because they need their sire’s power as well, and the vampire’s conservatorship of their souls. Without their sire’s support, they would be driven by instinct to feed on the first source available in order to survive. The moment they do, their link to the vampire that took their lives would be severed, and they’d lose a vital part of themselves. So I must conclude they would become more like Rogues, the true meaning in their spirits lost to them, but with enough rationality to understand and be tormented by what they’ve become.

In my next article, I’ll address what it’s like to be a vampire. If you would like to know more about the Community and Haven’s Realm, please visit my website.

See you next time!

Tamara Monteau

Why Do I Write?

Tam1You’d be amazed at how many time’s I’ve been asked that question, or one of its many variants, such as, “Why do you write about vampires?”

My answer to the title question is probably the same as most of my fellow authors. I write because I have to, because if I don’t express on paper the ideas running through my mind, they’ll stay there and fester, unresolved and unsatisfied. My need to create is the driving force of my life, and my greatest satisfaction comes from watching others enjoy my work. That applies not only to my writing, but in the many other creative endeavors I’ve dabbled in throughout my life.

But why vampires? I was raised by a devotedly spiritual family, and have very strong beliefs. Most of them don’t understand why I have such a fascination with romance and the macabre. What would possess me? How can I turn my back on Faith to write such questionable material? My reason for writing about vampires is simple, though understandably curious. I write about them because it’s what I do. As for my family, if they read my work, they’d understand.

In truth, I had a hard time in the beginning reconciling my beliefs with my fascination with all things vampire. It wasn’t until Jason, one of my lead characters, whispered the answers in my ear that I understood. He told me of the Community and how it was formed, and when I understood the connection, it filled me with peaceful acceptance. My stories are not about vampires and sex. There is a lot more written in the plots. I finally revealed the truth to my readers in Haven’s King, Haven’s Realm’s fourth story.

I was able to blend Christianity and Greek Mythology in my modern vampire culture, bring the Powers together in a way that defined the Community in a way unheard of until now. I keep vulgarity and harsh language out of the prose, leaving behind the beauty and poetry that has had many of my readers sighing in reflection. I’ve created a series of works you can curl up with and get lost in, a set of enduring characters you’ll come to care for, and enough suspense and drama to keep you turning pages.

Why do I write? Because it is my gift. My talent. I write in hopes of bringing others joy, of providing them with the perfect escape when reality hits too hard. Reading has been my lifelong joy. Being able to write, and to pass my work on to you, my cherished readers, has turned that joy into a passion that I sometimes have no control over.

How long will this last? How many books will there be in the Haven’s Realm saga? I’m afraid only time will tell. With book five in the home stretch and six already clamoring for attention, I can promise only that it will not end soon.

Respectfully submitted,

Tamara Monteau