06 October 2014

How to be a Vampire and not even know it!

October! The month of chilling, the time of dying, the final days of the year, and the assemblage of monsters of various designs!

One of the most famous of such monsters is the Vampire. From legends far and wide, comes the idea of someone who has died returning to life or of not truly dying but settling into a degree of existence between life and death, what many have termed the undead. It is a frightful situation, both for the poor sucker [pardon the pun] who must "live" such a "life" as well as for those who may encounter him or her. (Read more here.)

Last year I awoke from a nightmare--actually, fell off the darn night mare, hit my head on a stone--and had the idea of writing a vampire tale. Much in the vein of my paranormal-writing colleagues, I sought a story of Gothic pathos, a horror tale of bloody delight! Alas! I could not in good conscience create something along the lines of more recent Vampire fictions. They were too much magic, melodrama, and frou-frou accoutrements than suited my sophisticated tastes.

I knew there were some medical and biological causes of symptoms which are typical of those claiming vampirism. I did my research, both into legends and customs of Eastern Europe, and into the science behind such disorders as porphyria. Is there such a thing as vampirism as a medical condition? And if so, how does one combat it? Is it genetic or does one catch it from someone who is already a vampire? (One valuable resource was the scholarly book by Paul Barber.)

So I deliberately sought to create a tale as contemporary and realistic as modern science and my twisted imagination would allow. 

The result is the amazing true-to-life story of Stefan, doomed to become a vampire--and at precisely the wrong time in his life. Just when Stefan is falling in love with his Beloved and they are planning to marry, he notices the first sign: A DRY PATCH of SKIN.

“I do care about you,” she whispered.
“Thanks,” I said, trying to sound positive. “We can’t let a dry patch of skin get between us, now can we?”

But I digress...

Check yourself. Check your family members. Look over the people standing close to you. Examine all with whom you come into contact. Look for the tell-tale signs of oncoming vampirism. To aid in your quest for avoidance, here is a handy checklist:
  • dry skin, in blotchy patterns and red-brown shades regardless of natural complexion
  • gaunt features, as though the skin were pulled back tightly against the bones
  • withering away of musculature, rendering the person unusually thin
  • loss of hair, head and body
  • protrusion of teeth as gums shrink
  • protrusion of eyes as sockets decline; loss of lashes and brows
  • semi-hunched posture due to less of muscle and bone integrity
  • heightened senses, especially of olfactory ability (smell)
  • metallic taste in mouth and bitter breath
  • decreased urine and fecal output
  • decreased hunger and thirst sensation
  • exposed skin sensitive to light, especially sunlight; prone to either drying and shredding or to melting
  • hands and feet painful due to swelling; nails may appear to protrude due to reduction of skin borders
  • bearing the scent of decay, mildew, etc. or alternatively a hint of sulfur
  • constant physical readiness for sexual activity
  • capable of periods of sustained activity (3 to 4 days without sleep) followed by prolonged sleep (2-3 days)
  • consumption of heme (blood) improves symptoms temporarily
  • contagious via exchange of bodily fluids
  • no cure, only treatment which offers brief relief at best
  • long-term prognosis: a lengthy, miserable existence filled with alternating nights of desperation and days of coma-like sloth
  • usually a normal life-span (90-120 years), barring attempts at suicide
  • onset usually early 30s through late 50s; fully symptomatic 2-5 years after onset

Be aware of those around you who may appear normal yet may have begun the transformation. Take particular note of any strange discolored and/or dry patches of skin upon the face. Avoid those who wish to sample your blood. Call for help should you be unable to extricate yourself from the magnetic aura of a true vampirism sufferer. 

Also, I recommend the various lotions and other skin treatment products at Bath & Bodyworks. Stefan swears by them, too.

For further information, I recommend reading the following: A DRY PATCH of SKIN.

The truth about being a vampire: It is not cool, not sexy. It’s a painful, miserable existence.

Good reason to avoid that situation, thinks Stefan Székely. He's too busy falling in love with TV reporter Penny Park, anyway. Until one day when she notices he has a dry patch of skin on his face.

At first it's annoying, nothing to worry about, some weird skin disease he can treat with lotions. However, as his affliction worsens, Stefan fears that his unsightly problem will ruin his relationship with Penny.

If only that was all Stefan has to worry about! 

He soon realizes there is a lot more at stake than his handsome face. To save himself, Stefan must go in search of a cure for the disease which is literally destroying him inch by inch. 

If only his parents had told him of his family's legacy.

Available now for Kindle! Paperback coming soon.

(C) Copyright 2010-2014 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.


  1. Wow! You really did your homework. Reading your list of symptoms made me think of those TV ads for medications, where the visuals show pastel butterflies, and the medication has some benignly lyrical name like, "Bambira." Meanwhile the announcer rattles off a huge list of distressing side effects - or in this case symptoms.

    Anyway, sounds like Stefan has a tough row to hoe. Glad to hear Bath & Bodyworks products provide some relief! :)

    aka @TuiSnider, dropping by from #Mondayblogs :)

    1. Thanks for your comment. Homework is half of what writing is, after all. More so if one wishes to make a plausible claim about a medical condition.