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Draculaura_2015The day has arrived.

Welcome to the 2015 Vampire A to Z.

A whole new year of vampire fun. A post daily through to Halloween working through the alphabet.

There will be no repeats from last year’s A to Z. And …

…wait for it…

No Buffy.

I really think we might be growing and acquiring new knowledge here.

Not bad for a woman in her late 30s and a dolly that doesn’t age, hmm?

So with that said?

Anita_Blake_buttonA is for Anita Blake.

I had one of those odd moments with a colleague last year where we realized we both read vampire fiction.

She gave me a list of authors she enjoyed to check out and Laurell K. Hamilton was on it.

Hamilton is the author of the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. Over twenty books and counting, starting with 1993’s Guilty Pleasures, it is a series of urban fantasy novels, short stories and comic books that have sold millions of copies. Many have made the New York Times Best Seller List.

Anita works in St. Louis, Missouri, and is a professional zombie raiser and vampire slayer who is on retainer with the police given this unique skill set. In Hamilton’s world vampires and all sorts of beastie are out of the coffin and known.

Two books in, I’m a bit ambivalent about Anita. I like her, but so far she lacks depth. She’s tough and her male colleagues see her as “one of the guys”. She’s a bridesmaid to her possibly only female friend and dislikes her pink dress. But while raising the dead she shows empathy where others don’t.

That said, the world is fun. Vampires and zombies and ghouls. And a business structure to deal with it. A strong female protagonist also doesn’t suck.

But, based on what I’ve read online, I’m concerned later novels chip away at that and turn this more romance/erotica than crime-solving woman kicks ass. I believe a woman can have both, but feel there’s much fiction out there that makes unnecessary trade offs for its female protagonists, so I’ll see. I’ll report back if I read far enough in to form a solid opinion on Anita as a whole.

Barnabas_Collins_buttonB is for Barnabas Collins of Dark Shadows Fame.

Dark Shadows was originally an ABC daytime serial, which aired from 1966-1971. Then, he’s a 175-year-old vampire in search of his lost love, Josette.

There’s been a few revivals of the character since then. NBC did one in 1991 with British actor Ben Cross playing the role, but I first discovered it through a love of all things Tim Burton. He came out with his version of Dark Shadows in 2012.

Synopsis à la Tim Burton: In 1760, the Collins family moves from England to Maine and establishes the fishing town of Collinsport.

Their son Barnabas grows up there and falls in love with Josette, though not in love enough not to also have an affair with her maid Angelique, who falls in love with him and when scorned – oh! – happens to be a total bad-ass witch. That goes badly. She curses the Collins family and enchants Josette to leap to her death off a cliff. In a fit of grief, Barnabas attempts to leap to his own death, but that fails as well, as Angelique has cursed him to immortal life as a vampire. When he still rejects her advances, she turns the town against him and he is buried alive in a coffin.

Until…

… 1972 when a group of construction workers dig up Barnabas’s coffin and inadvertently free him. He returns to Collinsport, introducing, and eventually passing himself of, as a “distant relative”.

He helps the family, reopening the family cannery business and using hypnosis to steal away several of the fisherman crews who work for Angelique, who now runs the town. There’s all sorts of drama I could tell you about, but you should really just watch the movie. With Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer, despite the mixed reviews, it had me before I realized there were vampires involved.

Carpathians_buttonC is for the Carpathians.

These are, of course, the mountains of Count Dracula, or Vlad Tepes – the vampire who sorta started this whole … thing.

They are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly 1,500 km long across Central Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe.

Dracula? Well, he’s the centuries-old vampire, and Transylvanian nobleman, who claims to be descended from Attila the Hun. We featured him in last’s year’s A to Z here.

He may or (most likely didn’t) live in this castle up above. Either way, even Prince Charles wants a … stake in this whole … thing.

Dimitri_ButtonD is for Dimitri Belikov of teen fiction Vampire Academy fame.

He’s also a dhampir, so I think I should get double points on this letter.

A dhampir, in Balkan folklore, is a creature that is the result of a union between a vampire and a human.

In Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, Dimitri is first introduced as protagonist Rose Hathaway’s instructor (she was featured in last year’s A to Z). They have an instant attraction and their romance drives much of the story in the six book series.

He’s played by Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky in the 2014 film version of the first novel. While the film was a flop, that, as well as the imagination of readers everywhere has led to some pretty enjoyable fun online:

Dimitri_collage

So that’s the first four letters of this year’s A to Z. As promised, here’s the handy chart for those who want to follow along at home.

Vampire A_Zlist_AD22015

Next post we cover E, F and G. So go ahead: guess!

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Today’s photos: Anita Blake is from Comic Vine, Barnabas is visiting from Fanpop, the Carpathians were found on World Travel Synergy, and Dimitri is from ImageBam with the T-shirt and Snow Angel vision found on Pinterest.

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