London – 1582
A fog crept in from the Thames, gliding through the streets like a phantom, shrouding the darkened alleyways between the tanneries, breweries and slaughterhouses…a perfect place to hide. Tucked into the shadows, a cloaked figure stood, listening. Staggering footsteps clicked against the cobblestones and feminine laughter fluttered against the high walls of the surrounding industry buildings.
The dark figure stepped from the shadows, seized her by the shoulders and whirled her into the doorway. Her eyes as wide as saucers, she gasped as he opened his mouth, revealing his fangs. “Wha-what are you?” she shrieked.
“I’m a…” He paused. “Well, I’m a…” He scratched his head.
Go ahead…I know you want to finish the sentence. He’s a vampire, right? Actually, as you read above, it’s 1582 and the word vampire didn’t exist. That’s right! Vampire from French or Vampir from German didn’t make it into the written language until 1734; or 1732, in an account of Hungarian vampires, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Dictionary.com says 1725-35 for the German Vampir, so it depends on your sources.
Vampire-like creatures have existed for centuries in a multitude of cultures, but they more resembled demons and spirits or walking, bloated corpses. Not the hot, sexy, intelligent and alluring creatures of the night that fascinate modern culture today. And they definitely didn’t sparkle. Imagine my dismay when I started writing my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles—which starts in 1486, and the back story even earlier—and learned I couldn’t use the word vampire! Well…I had to come up with something!
The number one question I get about my vampires is, “Why did you call them Vamsyrians?” Obviously, the above was my motivation. I chose to create a word that could easily morph into vampire through the years…and that’s exactly what some of my readers have done by mispronouncing it by adding a “P” where none exists—vamp-seer-ee-an. It’s already on its way to morphing!
That’s my two pence…