Monday, April 4, 2011

Guest Post: Jennifer Rainey, Author of These Hellish Happenings

There's something just... delightful about vampires. Those cold, deep gazes they tend to give their victims, centuries of living behind them, the blood-sucking, the seducing, the hunting, the pale skin and fascinating dental work...

I mean, let's face it: vampires are a comic gold mine!

Reader, I imagine you're giving me that look. I've gotten that look before. So, you're not convinced. Vampires are supposed to be one of two things. Either a) they're sexy seductors looking for humans to lure into the dark, romantic world of the bloodsucking undead or b) they're vicious killing machines. No other options, so if you want something else, you better reconsider what supernatural being you want to tangle with.

I don't think that's true and neither do many other authors. The market is saturated with vampires right now, and a lot of writers are stepping up to the plate to create a fresh vamp that stands out from the crowd of fanged hunks and Nosferatus. One of the routes you can take in that quest to craft something fresh is a comic one.

I took that route in my debut novel, These Hellish Happenings. My vampire protagonist, Jack Bentley, is about as far from sexy or a vicious killing machine as you can get. He's a slightly dorky and cowardly music salesman. His centuries of various failed vampire love affairs have left him romantically awkward (that famed suave nature his kind is known for is nowhere to be found). A defunct circulatory system has made sex quite a challenge, and in addition to all this, he gets his blood fix from a vampire bar called Bela's, where he encounters not only other vampires, but pathetic humans wishing they were vamps, as well. As of the time the book takes place, he hasn't actually bitten a human for blood in nearly a century.

To put it lightly, as far as vampires go, Jack is a little bit of a loser.

Though These Hellish Happenings is a dark comedy, I made Jack this way for more than just comic effect. I wanted to give him quirks and normal problems and make him relateable by taking common aspects of vampirism and giving them that humorous spin. I recently wrote a blog entry for Patricia's Vampire Notes about what I like to call the "Everyday Vampire," the relateable vamp with very human qualities trying to fit in in everyday life. This is a kind of rendition I really enjoy (check out Christopher Moore's Bloodsucking Fiends for a superb example), and I wanted Jack to fit that bill. Humor helped me to achieve that goal.

Now, am I bashing the tried and true stone-cold-sexy vampires or the monstrous bloodsucking machines that so many flock to? Of course not! Every vamp has their merits and every vamp has their audience, and rightly so. But I do encourage both writers and readers to step outside the box once in a while. The supernatural genre is full of possibilities that only a few authors explore.

I mean, hey, some of us just see a pale guy with a garlic allergy and weird teeth who sleeps all day as something to laugh about.

Buy These Hellish Happenings at:

Jennifer Rainey was raised by wolves who later sold her to gypsies. She then joined the circus at the age of ten. There, she was the flower girl in the famed Bearded Bride of Beverly Hills show until the act was discontinued (it was discovered that the bearded lady was actually a man).  From there, she wandered around the country selling novelty trucker hats with vaguely amusing sayings printed on front. Somehow, she made enough money to go to The Ohio State University for a major in English.

Big thanks to Jennifer Rainey for being the first author to brave the Honey Badger Pit, as I lovingly think of you all. She supports the efforts of indie authors of scary schtuff at her blog Independent Paranormal. Check it out. And follow her on twitter @THH_SeriesLast thing: I'm gonna head off any Twilight hate or love from vampire noobs and point out that "Bela" is NOT a misspelling of "Bella."

Thanks again, Jennifer! 


  1. You sold me on the book by mentioning the defunct circulatory system... *ahem* Never thought of things that way! I wonder how the sexy vamps manage?

  2. Hey amkuska! Some actually comsume blood in order to use it as a replacement for all bodily fluids. *ahem* I always thought that was a little much, but to each their own. :P Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. As far as the circulatory system goes, several of the more recent vampires books claim that vampires are alive rather than undead, heading off the entire circulatory system problem.

    Your book sounds very interesting Jennifer. I don't think I've read anything with a more comedic twist on vampires yet. I'll have to add it to my ever growing Indie TBR list. :)

  4. Living vampires? I haven't been this shocked since I realized I'd overlooked all the Zombies in Pride and Prejudice.

  5. Thanks very much, Coral! :)

    Bubba- I know, right? And the sea monsters in Sense and Sensibility? I have a feeling I might've actually liked that book if I had realized they were talking about sea monsters!