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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Werewolves, Myth and Legend

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Like vampires, shape shifter legends appear in many forms and in many societies around the world. In countries where the wolf is not indigenous, these may take the form of were leopards or were tigers, even were cats and were dogs.

In Europe, the werewolf legends greatly parallel the development of the vampire legends during the Middle Ages. The supposed first evidence of a werewolf occurred in 1591 around German towns of Colongne and Bedburg. Villagers, plagued by wolves, hunted them down, when one wolf changed form, becoming a villager called Peter Stubbe. He was accused of killing over sixteen people and brutally executed. Just as with witch hunts and vampire staking, the hysteria over werewolves continued to plague Europe during the Medieval and Renaissance eras. In France alone, between 1520 and 1630, some 30.000 individuals were charged with being werewolves and most suffered death for it.

Some of the same physical explanations are given for people believing they were werewolves and the werewolf hysteria as for witches and vampires. Ergot poisoning, the infected grain which causes hallucinations and is thought to be the cause of the New England witch trials, is one possible cause. Also the diseases of Porphyries, which is often sited as matching the symptoms of vampirism, and rabies, are considered possible causes.

Werewolves are also linked with insanity and madness from early on. In his 1621's work entitled Anatomy of Melancholy Robert Burton, a clergyman and scholar, considered lycanthrope to be a form of madness. Even today Lycanthropy is a recognized mental disorder, where the victim believes they are a wolf and acts accordingly. Some people chose to distinguish between Lycanthropy and werewolves. Werewolves actually change, while lycanthrope only believes they change.

Today our perception, thanks to the movies, is that you become a werewolf only by being bitten by one, just as you become a vampire by being bitten. But in the Middle Ages, werewolves were most often thought to be witches who deliberately turned themselves into wolves by performing a magical ritual that included rubbing their naked bodies with special ointment and wearing of a magical girdle of wolf skin or a wolf pelt

One of the persistent vampire myths is that vampires can turn themselves into wolves or that they controlled the "creatures of the night" as Count Dracula called them. So from the very beginning, werewolves and vampires have been linked together.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hot Vampire Romance Books Trends

Vampires and vampire romance books seem to be a hot trend in the marketplace today. Since the original Dracula movies, vampires as monsters have been popular, but never as much as in today's world. Books like Twilight seem to have re-instilled the interest in the vampire world as a whole. Not only did Twilight bring about a new era for vampire lovers, with monsters and horror included, but Twilight also introduced romance into that bizarre world. As a result, not only the teens, to whom to book was geared, but many other readers of all ages became entranced with the possibility of vampires as the good guys, and as lovers.
The Twilight saga books, written by Stephenie Meyer, were well written which also brought in a lot of readers. Meyer's writing skills and creativity made the whole idea of vampire lovers believable. The intensity of her characters made people believe that a deeper love was possible with a vampire than could be achieved in an ordinary human-to-human relationship. As a result, women who may have been love-starved in the past seek out this type of vampire romance novel as a means to fulfilling their own love lives.
Other books in the vampire romance genre have also introduced vampire-human love affairs that appeal to many of today's readers. Charlene Harris of True Blood fame is also known for her vampire romance novels. Her character of Sookie Stackhouse has become very well known not only from her vampire books, but also from the T.V. series they inspired.
Another great vampire series, in books and on T.V., were written by L. J. Smith-The Vampire Diaries. The books were also intended for a teen audience, but also appeal to other age groups today. The Vampire Diaries is another example of a vampire-human relationship that seems more intense than regular romance books can achieve.
Part of the reason that vampire romance books are hot today is that every woman can identify with the intensity of the love relationship. It is what every woman wants in their own love situation, but few have actually achieved it. Also the hero is made to be super-human, with extraordinary powers and skills that few women can resist. The vampire hero is portrayed as the most handsome, the strongest, the most intense lover and one who will fight to the death for their heroine. Because of this women can fantasize about the lover portrayed in the book without guilt, because such a person could not possibly exist in real life. The stories take place in a fantasy world where it is safe to dream.
In most of the vampire romance books, the heroine (especially in the Twilight series) is also just a commonplace, everyday girl-just like most readers. It can be gratifying to know that even regular girls can have a chance at a fantastic romance that may not be achievable to them in the real world.
As long as authors strive to create fantastic super-heroes in their vampire characters, there will be a market for their vampire romance books. Readers young and old will want to fantasize about their own vampire lovers where they can aspire to an intense love relationship, without having to actually believe that it will ever really happen. Vampire romance books will be popular on the reader's marketplace for a long time.
Introduction: Vampires and vampire romance books have been a hot trend in the reader marketplace for a while now. Books like Twilight and The Vampire Diaries have attracted a loyal readership that extends beyond the simple horror aspect of vampires, but into the romance world of the vampire-human relationship

The Vampire Romance Book Authors

There is no doubt that vampire romance books are popular in the market right now. With the raging success of the book and movie Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, vampire romance books have dominated the romance genre market. But Stephenie Meyer is not the only vampire romance book author to shine in this newly created vampire era. There are many other authors of vampire romance books worth reading. Here is a sample of a few that you might enjoy:
Charlaine Harris - Charlaine Harris is the author of the books on which the popular T.V. series True Blood is based. Her vampire novel, Dead Until Dark, is the first in the series and introduces Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire boyfriend, Bill. Their romance is a classic human-vampire mix. Charlaine Harris' series of books is definitely worth reading. The T.V. series True Blood loosely follows the story, but adds a lot of embellishments for the made-for-T.V. plots. The books delve deeper into Sookie and Bill's thoughts and relationship.
L. J. Smith - Here is another author that can boast of vampire books made into T.V. series fame. The T.V. series The Vampire Diaries is based on L. J. Smith vampire romance books, with the characters of Elena (the human element) and the love interest and rivalry of vampire brothers Stephan and Damon. The three battle the forces of evil and vampires to keep their hometown of Mystic Falls safe. The vampire books by L. J. Smith vary quite a bit from the T.V. series, but they also present a good read if you don't mind straying from the T.V. scripts.
Lynsay Sands - This is a different kind of vampire romance book author. Stephenie Meyer and L. J. Smith focus more on the teen vampire romance market, where Charlaine Harris captures a more mature market. Lynsay Sands goes a step further in the mature vampire market adding a bit of erotic reading to her great characters and plots. Her series of vampire novels include the Argeneau series, with character overlapping in her books, but each book is focused on a different vampire experience. Her premise of vampires and how they came about is unique and shows a different side of the vampire world. Romance leads the way, though, in every one of her books. If you like vampire romance books with a little 'zing' to them, you should definitely try one of her books. Lynsay Sands books include: The Accidental Vampire, A Quick Bite and Love Bites, among many others.
Kimberly Raye - Kimberly Raye presents another twist on vampire romance books. Her books are new-age and very entertaining, even when mixed with the romance aspect of the books. Kimberly Raye has an excellent sense of humour which she incorporates into each story. Her characterization is wonderful, and her plots are extremely entertaining and quirky. Some of her books include, Just One Bite, Your Coffin or Mine, and Dead End Dating.
If you are into vampire romance books, you would definitely enjoy reading any of the vampire book authors mentioned above. All of their books make love and romance a part of their stories, but with a vampire twist to enhance the traditional romance novel experience.

Introduction to the Fairy Tales

Once upon a time people told each other stories of great and dark deeds, of hopes, of dreams, and fears. They told stories for entertainment on long nights after hard days, and perhaps to help transmit their culture and ideas. Certainly many such stories hold great moral messages, and for some of these this message is the central theme of the story. However despite any attempts to teach messages and transfer culture events happened to them beyond their control.
For these people the peasants who told these stories had very little control over the world, so as they passed their stories on from generation to generation something happened, their cultures changed, over and over again, so that the concerns and thoughts of the people changed, some of these changes took years, others where dramatic from conversions to new religions, famines that drove them from their homes, and invaders from other lands. And as these people changed so to did their stories, morphing and evolving, these stories that were passed from culture to culture from person to person would grow becoming a mean of the humanity from whence they came, and while such stories will always reflect the time that they come from they will reflect in some way thousands of years of human history, for the thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams, and lives of thousands if not millions of people back each story.
These people who told stories went through cycles, cycles of prosperity and of unparalleled poverty and horror, from times when starvation required the abandonment of children, to times when raging hoards from unknown lands destroyed everything that they held dear. Diseases swept the villages, with unknown causes the illnesses killed half the population prompting philosophers to advice parents not to get close to their children.
At the same time these people experience triumph as they built a Renaissance, found room to dream, had children they loved, and a spouse who loved them. Many of these people even experienced the courage to stand up against the darkness, to overthrow their lords and to hope for a better future.
This is the world of fairy tales, a strange world of magic and unparalleled human emotion. These stories are often the raw uncensored fears of the humans who created them, from dark woodlands to cannibals, incest, and wicked stepmothers, these stories tell of human history and human thought as few other things can. For as means of humanity folktales are not the thoughts and aspirations of one person but of generations upon generations of people. And each person has their own hopes, fears, and dreams. The fact that so many people have touched on fairy tales makes their interpretation in the historical purposes very difficult. For many symbols that made the first story significant have been altered, or taken out completely, replaced by new thoughts and ideas. Interpretation then is a puzzle one pieced together by looking at history, and culture, as much as at the story itself.