Monday, 31 December 2012

Pretty, Witty - Nell Gwyn, the King's Courtesan



Often lampooned, she was reportedly possessed of great comedic talent, making her the most famous of the Restoration actresses. She also won the heart of a king, but ultimately died alone and in debt.

Eleanor (Nell) Gwyn was allegedly born on 2nd February 1650 (or possibly up to eight years earlier). The place of her birth is disputed. Hereford, London and Oxford all claim her as their own and her surname is distinctly Welsh, lending some weight to Hereford's claim as this city is on the Welsh-English border. Whatever the truth of it, she was certainly raised in London, around Covent Garden.

Hers was an inauspicious start. The daughter of a a father with an uncertain background who disappeared from her life in early childhood, while her mother probably ran a 'bawdy' house, along with Nell's sister, Rose. It is highly likely that Nell herself worked as a child prostitute.

How then did she become a famous actress and catch the eye of a king?



It all began with a former prostitute called Orange Moll who was licensed to sell oranges in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane - the King's own theatre. Business must have been good because Orange Moll was able to offer work to both Nell and her sister, Rose. Less than a year after starting her new job, Nell had caught the eye of Thomas Killigrew, who owned the theatre, and, at the age of fourteen, her good looks, clear, penetrating voice and witty banter had landed her a new career as part of the theatre's company of actors.

King Charles II was a regular member of the audience and, learning the craft of acting quickly, Nell was soon performing on stage, where she sparkled in comedic roles. Her reputation grew and, when the King moved to Oxford as a result of the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London (summer 1665 to autumn 1666), she became one of the select King's Company of actors, performing for His Majesty and the exiled court. She played role after role opposite her real-life lover, Charles Hart, as part of a series of comedies based around two central characters - a male and a female known as a 'gay couple'. In fact, it is said she perfected this style of comedy and made it her own.

Her affair with Hart ended when she caught the eye of the aristocratic Charles Sackville, Lord Buckhurst. It was to be the first rung on the ladder that led her to claim the ultimate prize.

By now, it was 1667 and Nell was aged somewhere between 17 and 25 - young, vivacious, attractive and talented. Her new lover was charming, dissolute, cultured and witty. They must have been much in demand at discreet country-house parties! But, just a few months later, her affair ended and events took a momentous turn.



In April 1668, Nell was at the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, in the next box to the King, who seemed far more interested in her than in the play and flirted outrageously with her. Anecdotally, Charles discovered after supper that he had no money on him and Nell had to pay, whereupon, she is said to have exclaimed in an excellent imitation of the monarch, "Od's fish! But this is the poorest company I ever was in!" The King was entranced.

Following her two previous affairs with men called Charles, she nickamed the King, her "Charles the third." She was under no illusions that he would be faithful to her. His wife, Catherine of Braganza, had found herself virtually powerless at court as a result of her husband's longrunning - and continuing - affair with the powerful Barbara Palmer (Lady Castlemaine), whose five children were fathered by Charles. In fact, there existed a veritable harem of women, drawn from every level of society, who were called upon to warm the King's bed as his fancy took him.

Nell gave birth to her first son, also named Charles, on May 8th 1670. He was the King's seventh son by five different mistresses. In the same year, she rather extraordinarlily returned to the stage, while her royal lover took yet another mistress - the French maid of honour, Louise de Kerouaille. Nell nicknamed her 'Squintabella' and they remained rivals for years - although they did occasionally take afternoon tea together! A fly on the wall would have witnessed some interesting exchanges between the woman of noble birth used to the gentility of Versailles and the ex-orange seller and actress with a tendency to use colourful language.
Charles Beauclerk, 1st Earl of Burford

Nell's second son by the King - James - was to die tragically young, while her eldest became the Earl of Burford, a title he may or may not have been given as a result of a carefully calculated remark of Nell's. On a visit from the King, she is alleged to have summoned her son, saying, "Come here, you little bastard and speak to your father." When the king protested, she simply replied, "Your Majesty has given me no other name by which to call him." So Charles Beauclerk, Earl of Burford he became.

The king bestowed property on Nell but she was by nature spendthrift and accumulated vast debts. At the King's death, on February 6th 1685, his brother, James II, succeeded him, as none of Charles's many children was legitimate. "Let not poor Nelly starve," the dying King is reputed to have said and James II respected his wishes and paid off most of the outstanding debts at that time.

As for Nelly, she suffered a series of strokes that kept her confined to her Pall Mall home and, less than three years after the King's death she died from apoplexy, almost certainly due to syphilis. She had accumulated yet more considerable debts - but also left a legacy to the prisoners of Newgate in London (the infamous debtors' prison), no doubt in gratitude for having been spared their fate.

Colourful, bawdy, witty and pretty, Nell Gwyn was a unique and honest character who never forgot who she was, unlike so many courtesans. I'll leave the last words with her. 


When riding in her carriage one day, she was mistaken, by the crowds, for her rival, the Roman Catholic Louise de Kerouaille. They shouted obscenities and called her a "Catholic whore". Undaunted, Nell stuck her head out of the window, smiled and said, "Good people, you are mistaken. I am the Protestant whore."



Monday, 24 December 2012

Have a Wonderful Christmas


May Your Christmas Sparkle
and may all your dreams be fulfilled
Happy Christmas from Antonia

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Seducing Amanda on Sunday



My Christmas stocking treat - six more sentences for Six Sentence Sunday, from 'Seducing Amanda':

Three nights later, I woke again from a heavy and dreamless sleep to find I wasn’t alone in my bed. As before, I switched on the lamp—this time just to be sure I wasn’t imagining it. Sure enough, I saw the telltale ripples moving upward under the sheet. This time the movements were heavier as the mattress undulated beneath me. Could it be him? Hardly daring to breathe, I switched off the light and lay down, quivering in anticipation of the pleasure to come. 


 Seducing Amanda is available here:
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk    Barnes and Noble All Romance Books Kobo

You can read the other great Six Sentence Sunday authors here


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Fantasies In The Flames


Temperatures are plummeting, the wind has a real bite to it and your cheeks tingle from the frosty chill outside.

What better time then, to unwind that long scarf from around your neck, shuck off the woolly coat and mittens and tuck your numb feet into a pair of warm, comfy slippers. Then take yourself off into your living room, curl up in your favourite armchair and, if you're lucky enough to have one, stare into the dancing flames of your fire. Listen to the crackling of the logs and bathe in the warmth, as your cheeks turn rosy red.

And what images can you see in those red and yellow flames?

Figures of Fire and Flame II - Lance Jackson

Maybe dancing angels or lovers entwined. As a log falls and sends a shower of sparks shooting up the chimney, do you catch a glimpse of a witch stirring in the shadows, or fire sprites darting among the embers? Do gleaming eyes glow red as you watch them? Or do your own eyes grow heavy, while your senses relax?

Firelight in winter, the scent of applewood and Christmas punch. Mulled wine blending with cinnamon and nutmeg. Toasted marshmallows and hot, steaming chocolate.


This is the stuff of stories, and when shared with friends, the telling of them. Tall tales, where ghosts and fae folk scare the unwitting traveller and when fact and fantasy meet, merge and become one.

Here's a wonderful collection of classic Ghost Stories for Christmas on DVD  




Sunday, 16 December 2012

Six Sentences of Seduction


For the first time, I am participating in Six Sentence Sunday. 

Here are my six from the first chapter of Seducing Amanda, my new sizzling novella:

 'My breath caught in my throat as I realized the sound was coming from one of the rooms I had yet to tackle. A room that had been—last time I had seen it—stuffed with old chairs, battered children’s toys, and rolled up, dusty rugs.

Now its door was open, and a flickering light shone from it. Trying not to make a sound, I made my way to the door and peered in. That’s when I saw him for the first time. He wasn’t alone.'




You can check out the other great authors on Six Sentence Sunday here

Seducing Amanda is available here:

Amazon.com  
Amazon.co.uk   
Barnes and Noble
All Romance Books
Kobo

Friday, 7 December 2012

Seducing Amanda. Just published!

A lonely girl, a haunted house, and a ghostly passion from the past.





 Escaping from a disastrous marriage, Amanda Dalton seeks a chance to heal her troubled mind at Dalton Manor, the rambling Victorian mansion recently inherited from her aunt. Her new home seems the perfect place to recuperate, but the house has a secret or two of its own. A mysterious couple comes to call--a beautiful man and woman who share their passion and encourage Amanda to explore her deepest sexual fantasies. But who are they? Where have they come from? Why won’t they tell her their names?

When Amanda discovers she is not the first to enjoy a ménage a trois with the couple, she’s drawn in ever deeper. She combs the house for clues to their identity, her desire to learn the truth becoming an obsession. But her work proves fruitless. With Christmas coming, Amanda knows she will soon have to make a decision--one that will determine the rest of her life. The snow is falling as she sips her wine. In the corner of her room, the lights twinkle on the Christmas tree near the fire. All is still and quiet. Until there’s a knock at the door…

Warning: Ménage, M/F/F, light BDSM, spanking, F/F content


Published by Etopia Press and available now from:

Amazon.com 

Amazon.co.uk
Barnes and Noble
All Romance Books
Coming soon from:
Kobo
and other online booksellers  

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Seducing Amanda - Cover Reveal!

A lonely girl, a haunted house and a ghostly passion from the past


Seducing Amanda


In an isolated Victorian mansion, a lonely young woman meets a beautiful couple who visit her for nights of passion. But who are they? Where do they come from? Why are no words ever spoken? 

When she meets the daughter of the former cook, Amanda discovers she is not the first of her family to enjoy their sensual delights. But the pleasure comes at a price. As the snow falls on Christmas Day, there is a knock at the door. Amanda must decide. But will her head—or her heart—win?


I am delighted to announce the 'birth' of my sizzling new Paranormal Erotic novella. Just in time for Christmas!

WARNING: Seducing Amanda contains scenes of strong sexual content and is strictly for broadminded readers aged 18+.  Don't say I didn't warn you!


To be published
 by Etopia Press
7th December 2012 

and will be available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and all usual e-book stores.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Time for Hot Chestnuts and Gluehwein!

Christkindlmarkt, Rathausplatz

Yes, it's that time of the year again, when Vienna decks itself in pre-Christmas finery and markets spring up all over the city.

For there are not one, not even two, but at the last count, no less than TEN Christmas Markets in Vienna. From the Prater to Spittelberg, Schoenbrunn to the Belvedere, all sell traditional Christmas toys, candies, decorations and the lights twinkle and win over even the most cynical of hearts.

The most famous is the Christkindlmarkt in the Town Hall Square. Every year one of the regions of Austria donates a Christmas Tree and this year it is the turn of Lower Austria. And pretty magnificent it is too! Around and about you will also see the other trees decked out. Probably the most famous is the one they decorate with illuminated red hearts.






But not only is there much to see and admire at any of the markets, there are the wonderful smells that, for me, help to make Christmas. In the chill air,  you will smell cinammon and other spices from the Punsch and Gluehwein. These mingle with the aromas of hot roasting chestnuts and friend potatoes that burn your tongue, yet make you smile.

I love to go to the Christmas Market at the Schoenbrunn Palace and try to make it there at least one evening.  One Christmas lingers especially in my mind. I arrived on a freezing evening, wrapped up in a long woollen scarf, thick coat and hand-knitted gloves. Snowflakes were dancing in the chill breeze as I wandered from stall to stall before arriving at my favourite Gluehwein station.


A choir was just starting to sing carols and, as I moved closer, clasping my mug of hot, spiced wine in my hands, they began to sing my favourite, Silent Night, and, strangers though we were, my fellow shoppers and I crowded as friends around the rostrum and joined in:

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

 

For more information on Vienna's world famous Christmas markets, click here


The Christkindlmarkt at the Rathausplatz can be viewed on live webcam every day until Dec 24th

Monday, 12 November 2012

Eden - with Kiran Hunter





Today, I'm delighted to welcome fellow Etopia Press author, Kiran Hunter. Join us as we talk about writing, wild, dark places and why Kiran would like to bring James Mason back from the dead...

Antonia:  Where did you get the idea for Eden, your short story in the Halloween Heat I anthology?

Kiran: I always had this strange idea as a kid that the world reflected in a mirror isn’t quite the same as the one we’re standing in – that there is something just a bit off – after all the face we see when we look at our own reflection isn’t the face everyone else sees. We walk around with one image of ourselves in our head – and we actually look completely different to others (unless you have a perfectly symmetrical face!). I explore that idea a little in my short story Bedevil, but with Eden I took it a step further – literally. Jack sees a whole other world hidden inside the mirror, which is the gateway between this world and a wilder, darker place. I also love overgrown ruins and gardens that have run wild, with hidden nooks and follies... so you don’t quite know what (or who) is around the corner.

Antonia: Your stories have a wistful, otherworldly atmosphere which I love. Is this intentional or do they just write themselves this way?

Kiran:  I think I have a rather wistful, otherworldy mind – or, in other words, I’m a bit of a daydreamer – I seem to write in the same way I think. (I can just hear Tristram La Roche saying, “yeah... you’re away with the fairies...” )

 Antonia: What are you working on at present (and do you have anything else in the pipeline awaiting publication)?

Kiran: I’m currently working on a couple of projects – a short story and a novel – neither of them will be erotic, although sex and sexuality play a strong part in both stories.

 Antonia:  Where do you write? What do you have around you when you’re working?

Kiran:  I have two desks – one I use for what I call the ‘day’ work – fiddling with the website, writing guest blogs and doing research. It’s cluttered with notebooks, headphones, reference books and asssorted gadgets. I tend to write more at night – and have a desk upstairs where I can shut myself away with just the desk lamp on. I also have a board covered with images relevant to whatever I’m working on, and mementos picked up over the last couple of years – notes from writer friends, cover art images... and I have a scorpion keeping me company (not a live one).

 Antonia:  Which writers inspire you most and why?

Kiran:  I go from one extreme to the other. I like writers who are edgy... who don’t shy away from the grittier and darker aspects of life. Although it seems that there isn’t really a darker side to life anymore – particularly when it comes to erotica. What was once taboo can now be picked up in the supermarket along with a loaf of bread and some duct tape. I also like writers who can make me laugh (or even cackle unbecomingly).

Antonia:  OK, a fun question: Imagine you are stranded on a desert island. You know you’re going to be there for a year. Which four people (aside from friends and family) would you most like to be stranded with and why? You can choose real people or fictional characters.


Kiran:  I’m something of a loner so I’d really be quite happy there on my own. *thinks* Bit of a toss up between Arrow (Green Arrow) and Hawkeye (I have a thing for archers, what can I say?), although I don’t think Arrow would be too chuffed about being stuck on a desert island again – and of course I’m thinking practically – excellent survival skills! Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre – I’d like someone who is a challenge, to keep me on my toes. If I were stranded along with some books, I’d like James Mason be there to read them to me (yes, I know he’s no longer with us but  I love his voice)... and I’d be lost without some music... so... maybe Jared Leto if there’s an acoustic guitar to hand. Heaven on a desert island...

 










Antonia: Sounds perfect. Thank you for being my guest today, Kiran. Here are some links so that we can connect with you:
 
Halloween Heat I is available in digital format from: Amazon Barnes and Noble Kobo Bookstrand and most other online booksellers and is also now available in Paperback


 

Friday, 9 November 2012

The Vampire and the Fae - Breaking The Rules with Lillian Diamante



Today I am delighted to welcome Paranormal Erotic Romance writer, Lillian Diamante whose pulse racing short story, Tied is included in the recently published Halloween Heat III anthology. Join me as I find out more about her and explore her story of a relationship that crosses the boundaries and breaks the rules...


Antonia: Hi, Lillian, I really enjoyed Tied. A fae and a vampire getting it together. That doesn’t happen every day! Do you plan any more outings for them?

Lillian: Hi, Antonia! It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m ecstatic that you enjoyed Tied. It’s very unusual for a fae and a vampire to get together—in fact, it’s forbidden!

Nicco and Sana’s journey is just beginning. I’m going to have to check in with them and see what they’ve been up to…something naughty, I’d suspect. ;)
 
Antonia: I see you live in a mansion you’re currently renovating. It sounds quite old. Have you come across any ghosts yet? How are the renovations going?

Lillian: LOL! No ghosts…at least none that have made their presence known, ha! The house was built in 1783 and was owned by a famous bell maker and steel mogul. Not sure who lived in the house when, but I’ve got a bunch of steel gurters in the basement to prove it! And several local bells and some in Europe are still out there!
 
Antonia: Sounds fascinating. If only the walls could share their secrets...OK. Let’s talk about our profession for a moment. What is your favourite/least favourite thing about writing?


Lillian: My favorite thing is getting to know the characters. I can picture them pretty clearly at the start and once I know what makes them tick, it’s a lot of fun following them on their journey.

My least favorite thing? Getting my work out there enough to be noticed. There’s so much competition, it’s easy to drown, LOL! The nice thing, though, is that getting back to the basics—which, for me, is writing!—helps me to push through the crowd and say, “Hey! Lookie here! I got something cool to show you!”

Antonia: I can really relate to that! What/who do you like to read?

I love all things paranormal, but I gotta say The Siren by Tiffany Reisz and, well, anything by Rachel Firasek are some of my all time favs!

Antonia: Who inspired you the most in your life?

Lillian: Great question! My mom has been the most inspirational person for me. She’s always been supportive and never gives up. She’s also a master at pacing herself and being patient—two things that I still need to learn, LOL!

Antonia: Great qualities. Now, tell me, what is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?

Lillian: Wow, um, I don’t think anything strange has happened. Thank goodness!

 Antonia: Don't worry, it'll happen someday! So, what do you do when you’re not writing?

Lillian: I spend a lot of time in work, but I also enjoy reading, blogging, watching movies, playing with my cats and corgi, and just hanging out on my screened-in porch during summer.
 
Antonia: What are you currently working on and what can we expect from  you in the future?

Lillian: Right now, I’m helping my alter ego promote her work. She writes young adult paranormal romances and her prequel novelette, New Pride, just came out. She’s got a novel, Shifing Pride, coming out in December. 
As for my future, perhaps I’ll go find Nicco and Sana…I’m sure they’ve got loads to tell me!
 
Antonia: I'm certain they have! A couple of fun questions now: firstly, imagine you have won a two week holiday. You can take 3 people with you- real or fictional, living or dead, but they cannot be friends or family. You can choose anywhere in the world and any type of holiday. Who would you choose (and why)? Where would  you go? What type of holiday would you choose?

Lillian: Teehee! I’d return to Italy—either Florence or Venice—and I’d hang out with Lestat from Interview with the Vampire and Khayman from Queen of the Damned, and Hannibal Lecter (but only if he promises not to eat me!).

Antonia: Interesting (and quite scary) companion choices! Finally, I know Halloween has been and gone but witches can cast spells all year long. You can cast one, so what will it be?

Lillian: I’d love to be able to fly. 

 Antonia: Thank you for being my guest today, Lillian.
 
Halloween Heat III is available from All Romance Books Amazon Barnes and Noble  Kobo or wherever you normally buy your ebooks and is now available in paperback  as Halloween Heat M/F too where you'll find nine sizzling, highly erotic stories to set your pulses racing!




Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Serena - Halloween Magic Turning Up The Heat





Marianne closed her eyes and luxuriated in the perfumed water, as it caressed every inch of her body. Soon her secret lover would be here. Soon it would be her fingers stroking her skin, probing deep within her, rousing her to new pinnacles of passion.

Serena. Even the sound of her name swept through her on a tide of ecstasy. On this magical night, all Marianne had craved would be hers. And now she need wait no longer. Framed in the doorway, stood a tall, slender woman with black hair and emerald eyes.

Serena had come for her and Marianne was ready...

The above is the blurb for my short story, Serena, featured in the sizzling anthology, Halloween Heat III. Serena is a woman with a difference and Marianne just can't get enough of her. Halloween is a special time for them - as it is for many a Paranormal Erotic Fiction character.

What is it about Halloween? We all know about witches, pumpkins and Trick or Treat, but what of the sensuous, sexy Halloween? Where does that come from?

 Having dabbled in a little research, I can tell you that the custom of dressing up in costumes for the great night is relatively recent (nothing much reported before 1900 in the UK, for example) and, as for dressing up in skimpy, sexy little numbers, well that's an even more recent development.

So sexy Halloween is a modern invention and naughty, erotic Halloween even more so - very 21st century in fact. It's a chance for the female of the species to vamp it up. Big make-up, slinky, clingy dresses, minimal underwear (if you can get away with it and are not at the mercy of the downward descent of maturity). But if you REALLY want to turn up the heat for your Halloween, why not take a style tip from these genuine Vamps of the 1920s and even earlier:

Theda Bara, the original Vamp, as Cleopatra 1917




Myrna Loy c.1926
Clara Bow 1920s

Louise Brooks 1920s actress and style icon


Have a very Happy Halloween!



Enjoy Halloween Heat III Here


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Shape Shifting - with Andrew Valentine



Today, my guest is Andrew Valentine, author of the erotic vampire book, Bitter Things and its sequel, Bitter Consequence. Here he gives us some background into the whole vampire story:

Shape Shifting: a brief history of vampire mythology



Turn on a TV.  Check out the offerings at the local multiplex.  Peruse the titles of the bestseller lists of books.  It seems everywhere you go, there are vampires among us.  Not only are they undead, but their allure is very much alive.  This may seem new—you may ask yourself, Why the sudden fascination with vampires?  There’s nothing sudden about it however.  Like the immortal creatures they are, stories and myths about them have been with us forever.

Charlain Harris, Laurel K. Hamilton, Anne Rice and even Stephanie Meyers are lauded for modernizing the myth that Bran Stoker popularized in 1897 with Dracula.  But predating them all, Lord Byron and John William Polidori get credit for bringing the vampire into the English language, with the short novel, The Vampyre.  The story of this story is that Byron penned a few pages of the work and then abandoned it.  Polidori snatched it up and completed the work, turning the villain Lord Ruthven into a thinly-veiled characterization of Byron himself.  Byron’s ruination of women socially became actual killings in Polidori’s tale.

But what might have most influenced our Western notions of vampires isn’t a work of fiction or the blood-thirsty dictator Vald Tepes III (aka Vald the Impaler) on whom Bram Stoker based his character, but a hapless Serbian peasant. Born and bred in his small Serbian village Medvegia, Arnold Paole died from a hayride fall in 1726.  After he was buried, however, he was blamed for the spate of human and animal deaths that struck the town. There was an official investigation in 1731.  Authorities exhumed Paole’s body and found the inside of his coffin scored by his fingernails.  Fresh blood colored his lips.  An Austrian military doctor wrote the police report called Visum et Reprtum; it declared Paole a revenant who rose from his grave to Feed. Word spread across Europe, causing the drawing rooms of high society to thrum with disgust and delight.  Thus, the obscure legend of the vampire became well known in most circles in Europe.


But the vampire was in Europe at least a millennium or two before Visum et Reprtum was published. My erotic vampire novel, Bitter Consequence, explores my main character’s Italian heritage and the vampire that changed the course of her family’s line.  In researching her family I learned during the Roman Empire, many of Rome’s citizens—particularly the women—were fascinated by the beliefs of slaves, who were captured from various parts of the globe.  One persistent belief, which the women of Rome soon adopted, was that drinking the blood of fertile women cured infertility.  Men who drank blood of other men would become more potent.  As this practice grew, so did blood borne illness.  The government outlawed the practice, but blood-drinking cults continued to thrive in the shadows.  As the illnesses persisted, the government sent assassins to hunt these blood-drinkers and kill them.  These early Roman vampire-hunters used ornate daggers that were small and shaped, interestingly enough, like a crucifix.  In order to defend themselves, the blood-drinkers began to spread rumors about themselves that made them appear frightening to their would-be assassins.  They told stories that they were able to change form, into fierce animals and devour attackers.  This may have given rise to the ability of vampires to shape-shift, which Stoker popularized in Dracula.


 Pre-dating the Romans were the slaves themselves. The title of my first novel, Bitter Things, comes from a Swahili proverb, “He who eats bitter things gets sweet things, too.”  Not only is that the theme of the book, but I chose it because my original vampire, Xiamora, is African.  The continent has its own many-varied versions of the vampire.  For example, the Pondo, Zulu and Xhosa tribes fear a creature called the impundulu or thekwane, a minion of the witch who summons it to slake its thirst by drinking the blood of her enemies.  

If you’ve seen the latest season of True Blood on HBO, you may have learned that the first vampire was Lilith.  What you may not know is that the script writers were riffing on an actual Biblical story.  According to Hebrew tradition, Lilith pre-dated Eve as Adam’s first wife.  The story was first recorded in the medieval text, Alphabet of Ben Sirah, and it said that before God created Eve, He created Lilith from the same dust as Adam.  This made Lilith think of herself as Adam’s equal and therefore she would not subjugate herself to his will.  God sent angels to subdue the uppity woman but she escaped.  When God created Eve from Adam’s rib, Lilith vowed vengeance against any children they would have, by killing them and drinking their blood.  


The ancient Assyrians and Babylonians of Mesopotamia offered their own blood goddess, who most probably influenced the Lilith myth.  Theirs was a goddess was named Lamastu, which means “she who erases.”  Scholars suggest the name Lilith is a derivative of Lamastu. This creature would creep into residences and drink the blood of whoever was home, but had a special taste for the blood of infants.  She was also responsible for disease and nightmares.  While Lilith was seductive, Lamastu was terrifying, with wings and talons.  She was blamed for sterility and was an ancestor of the belief that demons would visit young men in their sleep and fill them with uncontrollable sexual lusts.  



Although today’s popular culture teams with the undead, there is a rich and varied history of vampires behind us.  Despite what looks like an unsustainable popularity, the twilight of the vampire is not upon us.  Like a Roman blood-drinking cult member, the vampire myth will continue to shift shapes to fit the needs of our culture, and the vampire will be with us eternally.

# # #
Guest blogger Andrew Valentine lives and writes in New York.  He has a masters degree in psychology from the New School, is a founding member of the Paranormal Romance Guild, and is a marketing director in a firm in Manhattan, where his writing is more effective at producing revenue than pulse pounding thrills.  

Visit Andrew online at www.BitterThingsTheBook.com or www.BitterConsequence.com or check out the books on Amazon.com:
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