Happy Halloween!

Once again, this year the unusual is more unusual than ever. Last year, we missed the regular “school-parade-and-party-neighborhood-trick-or-treating” because we were in Disney. If you ever have the chance to go during the fall, I strongly recommend you buy tickets for the “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.” Everyone goes in costumes, the characters are all over hosting special events, the parades and fireworks are awesome, and they do have trick-or-treating. I saved the bags they give you, they were one of the best things of the night! To me anyway.
This year, the Northeast got pounded by a very early nor’easter that left power lines and trees down all over the place, worse than during Irene in the late summer. Basically, because the leaves are still on the trees, the wet, heavy snow on top made things worse than they’d usually be. I heard and saw several large tree branches, and in some cases actual trees, snap under the weight. Schools are closed, and all celebrations are, at the moment, cancelled. We will trick-or-treat, but we’ll be done way before dusk because it’s more dangerous than usual at night this year. Can’t see those dratted power lines, never mind the melting snow will ice up over the roads and sidewalks.
Nevertheless, this is a particularly fun time for me anyway. I love all sorts of creatures of the night, and this is their season! The creepier and scarier something is, the more I like it. Not the gory, in-your-face, blood & guts scary, but the sort that leaves everything a bit blurred, letting your imagination take over. Nothing can be more frightening than what you imagine it to be.  Like the creaking of your house, the heat flaring on. Normal sounds, unless you’re alone, at night, and you can’t quite make out what that shadow is in the corner. A wisp of wind outside suddenly becomes ominous, and you find yourself huddled in a comfy chair, with every damn light in the house blazing!
I remember having Halloween sleepovers with my friends in grade school, and we’d always turn out the lights, tell scary stories, make each other do things like “Bloody Mary” in the darkened bathroom, or playing with a Ouija board, where nothing would happen, but we’d end up scaring ourselves silly despite the fact we’d imagined all of it. Or had we? Needless to say, the reason we didn’t sleep all night wasn’t because we were chatting.
What are some of your favorite Halloween traditions? Do you carve pumpkins, go to a costume party, sit around telling scary stories? Let me know, and you can win a copy of any one of my books. With vampires and magic, they’re perfect kinky reading for the season.  And in the same spirit, here’s a couple of my favorite scariest magic folk, in pumpkin form:
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Who’s Your Favorite Vampire?

So, it’s October. The time of year when all ghosts and ghouls and witches and monsters come out to play. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the fall, the weather turning colder always bums me out. Hey, what can I say? I’m a summer baby, born on the summer solstice, as a matter of fact, so I like my weather warm and my sun endless.
But I digress. This time of year is actually pretty cool, for one big reason. It’s vampire season! As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a fan of all things vampires. Even as a kid, I was drawn to the bloodsuckers. Of course, growing up in the Twentieth Century, when vampires first started to become sexy to the population in general, helps with that. Prior to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, vampires were pretty much reviled and feared. No one wanted to be seduced into an immortal life of darkness by one of the creatures. The perceptions of vampires back then were also very different – they were filthy, evil monsters whose only intent was to kill. People went to all sorts of crazy rituals to ensure dead bodies didn’t come back to stalk the living. The natural effects of a body’s decomposition also lent to the belief in vampires. Modern science has debunked a lot of the cultural beliefs about vampires by explaining this very process. Sort of takes the fun out of it, if you ask me!
Through the years there were several vamps who caught my eye. I do remember watching Dark Shadows with my grandmother, and though I didn’t particularly find the Barnabas Collins of the 60’s very sexy to my child’s perception, I most definitely rooted for him to come out on top.
From there, my next big recollection was seeing the play Dracula on Broadway in the late 70’s. I think I was 14. Raul Julia had just taken over for Frank Langella who had originated the role and then gone on to act in the movie. Can I just say, from that moment on, vampires had me hooked, and I was ready to be bitten! When they staked him at the end (my aunt still laughs about this), the entire audience heard me yell, “NO!” But who can blame me? I mean, really! Look at this guy! Is he one of the hottest vamps you’ve ever seen?
As soon as the movie version came out, I was there. And fell in love with The Count all over again:
 
Again, I ask, how can you resist? Seriously? To this day, I still find Frank Langella incredibly sexy. He’s one of the ones who I think has aged well over the years.
As time went on, and I watched/read lots of vampire tales, I found many really sexy ones, some others who made my skin crawl.
Of the ones I like, and always recall with fondness (and likely some drooling) there was this guy:
Yes, the remake of Dark Shadows, where I fell in love with Barnabas for real this time, and discovered Adrian Paul, yes, the Adrian Paul of Highlander fame and my obsession for most of the 90’s and a good part of the early 2000’s. And now, still, to be honest!
But Ben Cross made a fantastic Barnabas, right amount of tortured hero/vindictive villain and for all the right reasons! Sexy, yet unconventionally in a lot of ways.
But my true favorite vampire is this one:
Few people remember this show, which cast Geordie Johnson as The Count in a campy little TV series called, what else? Dracula: The Series. It was silly and sexy, at times solidly spooky, but always good fun. I thought the idea of Dracula living as a modern day businessman was a hoot. Then I thought, if he could do it, how many other vampires were there throughout Europe who had made a success of themselves as seemingly ordinary businessmen? Turns out, more than you’d think! At least in my twisted little mind. One of them in particular sprang to life and demanded I write his story – Adrian duLac. He is much older than Drac, nearly 2,000 years old, and though he may physically resemble this early 90’s portrayal of The Count in some ways, he is not as much of a parody, and as Katerina Romanov finds out, quite capable of love. Not to mention, the man possesses some serious sexual prowess. After all, what kind of vampire would he be if he couldn’t kiss a woman senseless, among other things?
Anyway, in honor of Halloween and the recent release of The Taste of Magic, I’m giving away a copy. Tell me – are you a fan of vampires and the various desires they supposedly represent? Who is your favorite vampire and why? Comment here, and be eligible to win!