Monday, September 3, 2012

Guest Post - Jennifer Harlow - To Catch a Vampire

Vampires Vs. Werewolves-Jennifer Harlow

In this corner, fighting for the ultimate modern female dream lover, coming in at 180 pasty, bloodsucking pounds we have…The Vampire! [applause] And in the opposite corner, coming in at 200 snarling, hairy pounds is…The Werewolf! [applause] Who will win the hearts and libidos of millions of women? Only one way to find out. LET’S GET READY TO RUUUUUUMMMBBBLLLLEEE!

“I don’t get it.” This sentence has been uttered from quite a few of my male friends in recent years. Their wives, sisters, even daughters have all fallen under the spell of these mythical monsters, this writer included, and they can’t understand why. It is a decent question. In the past five or so years the Scoundrel Duke or Highlander have been replaced as women’s ideal romantic hero by a walking dead man and/or bi-polar man-dog. (Their words, not mine.) What is it about these creatures that we ladies find so sexy? And is there a place for both in our hearts? Can you be both Team Edward and Team Jacob? Let’s explore.

I’ve always loved monsters. I’ve seen so many horror movies and read so many books since childhood I couldn’t stop myself from writing a few. (Mind Over Monsters, out now!) In my book, the main character Beatrice Alexander finds herself caught between these two creatures as they both vie for her attention. My werewolf, Will, is shy, gruff, hates what he is, but is still responsible and a capable team leader. My vampire Oliver is playful, roguish, and though 500 years old suffers from a massive case of Peter Pan Syndrome. One is the kind you bring home to Mama, and the other you put behind you in your promiscuous twenties. Yet both hold equal room in Bea’s heart (as they do in their creator’s). Before I started writing I made a conscious decision to include these two monsters into my menagerie because I couldn’t chose which I, and in turn my readers, would have more fun falling in love with. Both spoke to different parts of what I want in a fantasy man (besides one who could take out the trash without being asked, but I can only fly so far from reality). But what are those parts? 

Vampires weren’t always suave Counts or sparkly teenage heartthrobs. In folklore they were more akin to the zombie: mindless, flesh eating, decomposing. Even Bram Stoker’s Dracula was more ghoul than sex machine. It wasn’t until the story “The Vampyre” in the early 1800s that the sexy vampire came to life. This “vampyre” was based on Lord Byron, the bi-sexual poet who slept with anything that moved (including his own sister), leaving destruction in his randy wake. Women were driven mad by him, and their standing in society was lost. It wasn’t until Bela Lugosi that the yummy vampire reached the zeitgeist and really never turned back. But through all its incarnations a few things have remained constant: they’re dead, and they eat us. So why would this be appealing to us ladies? It’s akin to necrophilia with a leech. The answer is because they’re dangerous. They play to our desire to change a man. That we alone can save him from his evil ways. That though he’s been alive for centuries, we’re the only woman who he’s loved because we’re unique and spectacular. He’s the Scoundrel Duke but with more magic and bite.

The werewolf is the same in most respects. Their legend hasn’t changed much through the ages: a man is cursed with this ailment that turns them into a savage beast at least once a month. In modern times they just have better abs. They’re a dark prince under a curse, and once again our love is the only thing that can tame their savage beast and free them from their turmoil. We can save him. And even still he’s manly, strong, in touch with his animal side, yet loyal to the woman he chooses as his mate. He’ll take care of you come what may. Who wouldn’t like that?

These creatures have a lot in common, but also seem to be polar opposites, always in opposition (at least in my books). Why can’t they get along? A vampire has no life, yet the werewolf has so much life he can’t seem to contain it in one form. The vampire always seems to have boundless charm and charisma, blending in with humans for survival, but the werewolf can’t seem to fit into normal society as he’s too untamed. They’re both alpha males who represent different things to us. Vampires are all about cold seduction, tempting us with their magic and beauty, convincing us to give into our sexual desires in spite of the danger. Werewolves on the other hand wouldn’t go to all that trouble. They’d just grab us, throw us on the bed, and take us with wild abandon. Hot or cold?  Seduction or passion? Rock and a hard place, I know. 

The battle rages on between these two alpha males. At least in my estimation, the vampire has a firm lead, at least in terms of books written and movies made about them. Bella ends up with Edward, Anita Blake’s boffing Jean-Claude more than Richard, and for every Ginger Snaps there are twelve Fright Nights. Maybe that will change, maybe not, but these rivals will continue to hold a place in our hearts and romantic imaginations for years to come. Now excuse me, I have to go buy my boyfriend a cape and fangs. J

So, are you a werewolf or vampire gal? Both? Do you agree with my assessment or am I seriously far off the mark? Are werewolves getting their equal share of the spotlight? Why not? Discuss.

        The Buzz for Mind Over Monsters
Monstrously fun! Monstrously suspenseful! Monstrously good!” –Victoria Laurie
“A gritty, dramatic police-procedural with a compelling heroine and a fascinating group of sidekicks.”
               --Karen Chance
“Harlow offers treats for every paranormal lover to relish, with plenty of action, thrills, and laughter.”
             --Leanna Renee Hieber
Mind Over Monsters is funny, scary, and creepy—and ridiculous amounts of fun!” –Kat Richardson

Jennifer Harlow is the author of Mind Over Monsters, the first in the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad series out now. You can read her blog “Tales From the Darkside” and get the soundtrack to the book at her website, You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter at jenharlowbooks.

To Catch a Vampire
Jennifer Harlow
A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation #2

Genre: Paranormal Mystery/Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Midnight Ink          
Date of Publication:  9/8/12
ISBN: 978-0-7387-2711-0

Number of pages: 288
Word Count: 78,000


F.R.E.A.K.S. Do Dallas

Beatrice Alexander, telekinetic special agent, is still adjusting to life among the F.R.E.A.K.S. while wiping out zombies and other supernatural threats. When Bea learns about her “special assignment” investigating a series of human disappearances with Oliver Montrose, her gorgeous but annoying vampire co-worker, she reluctantly agrees to go undercover.

Disguised as a married couple, they infiltrate the gothic vamp scene in Dallas. While sniffing out clues, Oliver's convincing public—and not so public—displays of affection have Bea swooning in her bustier and fishnets.

Between contending with her fake husband’s ex-lover Marianna and feeling guilty for hiding the mission from her werewolf crush Will, Bea discovers she’s not the only F.R.E.A.K. keeping secrets. Clubbing with the undead turns bloody when Oliver's old enemy, the Lord of Dallas, decides to seek his revenge. Caught in the crossfire, Bea is up to her neck in blood-sucking trouble.

Mind Over Monsters
A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation
By Jennifer Harlow

ISBN-10: 0-7387-2667-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-7387-2667-0
US $14.95 • CAN $16.95
288 pages

Paranormal heroes take on zombies in this funny and thrilling debut.

F.R.E.A.K.S. vs. Zombies
Beatrice Alexander is no ordinary schoolteacher—she can move objects with her mind, an embarrassing skill she hasn’t yet mastered or embraced. After nearly killing her brother by accident, she joins the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad, the Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and Kindred Supernaturals. This top-secret branch of the FBI combats ghosts, ghouls, and other monsters threatening humanity. With her teammates—among them a handsome former-detective werewolf and an annoying Don Juan vampire who’s dead-set on seducing her—Beatrice investigates her first case.
Disgustingly dismembered bodies have turned up, bearing bite marks of the undead. Someone—or something—is raising a horde of hideous, bloodthirsty zombies. And the master of the flesh-devouring corpses is guarding a secret that’s even more horrifying . . .
Featuring a team of monster hunters with unique paranormal abilities, the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation series combines humor, suspense, and supernatural crime-fighting.

Praise for Mind Over Monsters:

“A wonderful debut! Jennifer Harlow has written a gritty, dramatic police-procedural with a compelling heroine and a fascinating group of sidekicks. Looking forward to the sequel!” —KAREN CHANCE, NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF CASSANDRA PALMER SERIES

Mind Over Monsters is funny, scary, and creepy—and ridiculous amounts of fun!” —KAT RICHARDSON, AUTHOR OF THE GREYWALKER NOVELS
“Monstrously fun! Monstrously suspenseful! Monstrously good! Jennifer Harlow's debut novel had me laughing and gasping from start to finish!"“ —VICTORIA LAURIE, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE GHOST HUNTER MYSTERY SERIES AND THE PSYCHIC EYE MYSTERY SERIES
Mind Over Monsters is a non-stop rollercoaster ride that fans of urban fantasy will love! Fast-paced, fun, and wildly entertaining, Jennifer Harlow has given the paranormal police procedural a fresh spin with her loveable machete-wielding heroine. A quirky cast of characters and sharp writing make Mind Over Monsters a wholly wonderful debut. I can't wait to read more!” —JEANNIE HOLMES, AUTHOR OF BLOOD LAW AND BLOOD SECRETS

“With its breezy style and exuberant sense of fun, this monstery mystery is a total delight!” —CAROLYN CRANE, AUTHOR OF MIND GAMES AND DOUBLE CROSS
About Jennifer Harlow:
Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator. Currently she calls Northern Virginia home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills.

Visit Jennifer at

Tales From the Darkside Blog

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