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Wow we're almost halfway done with this event! I'd like to introduce you all to a new author I've discovered recently. I haven't read her book yet, but let me tell you, it's sitting on the top of my TBR pile right now. (and when I say top, I really mean at the top) Please give a warm welcome to Jeannie!
"I grew up in rural southwest Mississippi with my five older siblings, and they were the first introduced me to science fiction and horror movies, much to the chagrin of our parents. Blessed with an over-active imagination, I spent countless hours creating entire worlds within my mind and "play acting" within the wondrous rural acres surrounding my home.
I moved from rural Mississippi to the big city of Aurora, Colorado in August 1998. While living and working in the Denver metro area, I met my future husband, Mark. We became inseparable in November 1998, and eventually returned to Mississippi, where we wed in the summer of 2002.
We are currently living in Mobile, Alabama. Mark works and I write. I graduated summa cum laude in December 2006 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in creative writing. In December 2008, I received my Master of Arts degree, also in English with a creative writing emphasis.
Aside from a large collection of vampire and horror film memorabilia, we happily share our humble home with four neurotic cats: Chaos, Panic, Disorder, and Nugget."
Bio courtesy of Jeannie's website.
Playing with Fire
by Jeannie Holmes
Fiery. Sensuous. Hot-tempered. Hot-blooded. Exotic. Odd. Rare. These are some of the words most often used to describe redheads whether in real life or fiction. But why are we so fascinated with red hair in paranormal books? Here's my theory.
Red hair naturally occurs in only 4% of the world's population, making it the rarest of hair colors. It's actually caused by a genetic mutation that was traced to a single chromosome by scientists in 1997. However, none of that has any real bearing on this discussion, other than to the favor the idea that humans, by nature, fear the strange and unknown. Therefore, the folklore, superstition, and mythology surrounding redheads is varied, and most of it isn't favorable simply because ancient peoples had no knowledge of genetics and how they affect everything from hair color to height to resistance to diseases. Ancient people only knew something about a person was different and different was often ridiculed or feared.
For example, in ancient Greece, redheads were thought to transform into vampires when they died. Ancient Egyptians considered the rare color as either sign of displeasure from the gods and would regularly burn maidens with red hair alive in an effort to appease their gods or as being a sign the person was favored by the god Set, brother of Osiris and god of storms and chaos. During the Middle Ages, Heinrich Kramer published the Malleus Maleficarum ("The Hammer of Witches") and stated that red hair was one of the "marks" of a person being a witch. Thanks to this common belief countless individuals were tortured and killed simply for having an unusual hair color.
Discrimination and bullying of red-haired children continue into modern times with a higher rate of redheads participating in classes on how to cope with bullying than any other segment of the population. Despite all the negative attributes associated with it, those people with naturally red hair are often admired for their fighting spirit, strong sense of independence, and never-give-up attitudes. All qualities we, as authors and readers of paranormal fiction, look for in a lead character, especially a female lead.
The increased number of redheaded lead characters in paranormal fiction is a response to authors looking to folklore and mythology for inspiration. I know when I was creating my own red-haired heroine, Alexandra Sabian, I chose to make her a redhead because her father was Irish. (Ireland has the second largest concentration of redheads in the UK with Scotland being number one.) I certainly play with some of the stereotypes commonly associated with the hair color but as the daughter of a redhead, I've tried to keep it a favorable portrayal instead of something for the character to be ashamed of. Other authors have different reasons for choosing red hair, depending on the particular mythos they are creating. The bottom line is that we all want our worlds to be as real to the reader as the one in which we live so using some familiar folklore as a basis helps to make our fictional worlds more real.
Will redheads continue to dominate paranormal fiction? I don't know -- maybe. Considering publishing works eighteen months to two years in advance of what readers see on the shelves, it'll be fun to see if redheads continue to hold our fascination or if the blondes and brunettes make a comeback.
Want to win a signed copy of Blood Law? I know you do, because the cover alone looks AMAZING!
To stop a vampire killer, she’ll have to slay her own demons first.
A provocative and savvy vampire, Alexandra Sabian moves to the sleepy hamlet of Jefferson, Mississippi—population 6,000, half vampires—to escape the demons lurking in her past. As an enforcer for the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations (FBPI), Alex must maintain the uneasy peace between her kind and humans, including Jefferson’s bigoted sheriff, who’d be happy to see all vampires banished from town. Then really dead vamps start turning up—beheaded, crucified, and defanged, the same gruesome manner in which Alex’s father was murdered decades ago. For Alex, the professional has become way too personal.
Things get even more complicated when the FBPI sends in some unnervingly sexy backup: Alex’s onetime mentor, lover, and fiancé, Varik Baudelaire. Still stinging from the betrayal that ended their short-lived engagement, Alex is determined not to give in to the temptation that soon threatens to short-circuit her investigation. But as the vamp body count grows and the public panic level rises, Varik may be Alex’s only hope to stop a relentless killer who’s got his own score to settle and his own bloody past to put right.
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