Fuckable Fictional Characters: Sam Merlotte

In honor of Mardi Gras, we’ll be taking a trip to Bon Temps, Louisiana to visit with one of the most fuckable characters from Alan Ball’s series, True Blood. As you might imagine, it would be difficult to choose just one character from the series to shower with your affections. I plan on writing posts for multiple characters in this fictional universe, and waffled about who would be first on my list. As much as I love vampires and werewolves, you’d think I’d start with Eric Northman or Alcide Herveaux. But no, I’m going talk about Bon Temp’s handsomest shifter, Sam Merlotte.

February 9: Sam Merlotte

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In a town full of supernatural weirdoes, Sam Merlotte is usually the most level-headed and reliable inhabitant of Bon Temps. As long as you stay on his good side, he’s a loyal friend and stand up guy. Perhaps a little judgmental and over-protective of some of the women in his life, Sam owns the local watering hole, Merlotte’s Bar & Grill. Sam employs a host of interesting characters, including Sookie Stackhouse, Charlaine Harris’s psychic heroine, Arlene Fowler, Tara Thornton, Terry Bellefleur, and my favorite, the fabulous Lafayette Reynolds.

Merlotte's Sign

Sam has relationships with all of his employees that range from tolerant boss to love interest. Aside from Terry and Lafayette who work as cooks, Sam mainly employs female wait staff, all of which are easy on the eyes. Sam likes the ladies, and the ladies like Sam. He’s also easy on the eyes and genuinely a thoughtful and supportive guy. Unless you miss too many shifts or try to cheat him.

Charlaine-Sam

Even Charlaine Harris stops by to check out the local flavor.

Bon Temps is a small town, so everybody knows everybody else’s business, and Merlotte’s is one of the best places to listen to local gossip. The colorful staff have personality traits that set them apart, and life experiences that make them interesting much in the way a train wreck is interesting. They’re daily lives are complicated enough that they do miss shifts from time to time. Sookie Stackhouse misses a lot of shifts after she begins dating a vampire, Bill Compton. The fact that Sookie likes this vampire so much is a source of concern for Sam. He’s not only worried about her safety. Sam is jealous because he wants to date Sookie. Unfortunately for Sam, Sookie seems to have placed him in the friend category indefinitely.

Sookie-Sam

No matter how much you love her peaches, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

But don’t worry about Sam. He’s never lonely for long. He develops several sexual relationships with local ladies, and as a teen he even managed to have sex with a Maenad, Maryann.

Maryann-Young-Sam

Maryann teaches a young dog some new tricks.

He has a habit of dating or trying to date his waitresses, but one of his most notable on and off relationships is with his bartender, Tara Thornton. Tara is a complex woman and has nightmarish dating experiences and a history of abuse from her alcoholic born again mother. Let’s just say she has trust issues. But she’s sassy, independent, speaks her mind (perhaps a little too much), and is drop-dead gorgeous. Sam and Tara initially are just drinking buddies who share their concerns about Sookie’s dating habits. Tara and Sookie are best friends and have been for years. They’re tight. More like family than friends. One night after having too many drinks, Sam invites Tara to crash on the couch in his trailer behind Merlotte’s. They have a few more drinks, talk about how lonely they’ve been…and how horny, and pretty soon they’re naked and having some of the hottest sex on the show. Before they have sex, Tara makes it clear that she’s not looking for a serious relationship. Sam hesitates, but agrees that they make good friends, and being friends with benefits might be even better.

Sam-Tara

I’d love to spend a bourbon-fueled night of bad choices with these two before sneaking out in the morning to avoid awkward conversation.

As I mentioned, Sam is a shapeshifter, or shifter. Not a werewolf like Alcide and the inbreeding family of werepanthers who kidnap Sookie’s brother, Jason Stackhouse, but a true shifter. Sam can become any animal, but tends to prefer dogs. Maybe because people trust them and he’s a loyal friend. Although vampires have “come out of the coffin”, shifters and weres prefer to remain anonymous to the larger human population. So only a few close friends know about Sam’s ability to transform into animals.

As the storylines become more complex, we learn that Sam has some skeletons in his closet. When he was young he ran away from home and ended up living with a foster family. The first time they caught him shifting, they packed up and moved without him. Sam had to fend for himself and apparently lived a life of crime for a number of years until he settled in Bon Temps. He claims to have bought the restaurant from the previous owners – the actual Merlottes – and he took over the business and the name. We get the sense that Sam has moved around a lot and has needed to reinvent himself on a few occasions.

As a teen abandoned by his foster family, Sam had to learn to survive on his own. He commits petty crimes to feed himself, and one night he unwittingly enters the house of a Maenad. Maryann catches him stealing from her and decides to have some fun with him. She seduces him and invites him to stay for a while. But Sam is kind of uneasy about Maryann. There’s something really strange about her. So, he sneaks out while she’s in the shower. With $30,000 of her money. Years go by, and Sam has managed to avoid many of the problems he’s created for himself by staying on the run. But eventually his past catches up with him in Bon Temps. Not only does Maryann track him down, but so does his real family. He’s not happy to see any of them. Sam prefers to stay a few steps ahead of his past, and no one in Bon Temps really knows his whole story. People get bits and pieces he chooses to reveal, but usually only in times of crisis.

Maryann-Bull

Like I said, Sam is a great friend when you stay on his good side. But he has a temper, and since he’s been known to not only conceal murders, but also commit them, you really shouldn’t piss him off.

Doberman

Maybe Sam isn’t as glamorous as the vampires and weres of Bon Temps, but he sure as hell knows how to wear a western-style shirt. And since he’s a shifter, we get to see him naked a lot.

He’s got a wiry frame and salt and pepper facial hair, which makes him totally fuckable. But for me, it’s his smile that would get me to follow him home to his trailer.

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Let’s get wild in the double-wide.

Fuckable Fictional Characters: John Mitchell

Here we are in the second week of my February blog series, “Fictional Characters I Would Totally Fuck”. I’m not gonna lie. I am having a blast writing these posts, researching supporting content, and best of all, finding images of all these totally fuckable fictional characters.

Today we’ll be staying at the BBC and visiting one of my favorite shows, Being Human. If you’ve only seen the American version on the Syfy channel, you need to take a look at the original. If you’ve never seen the show, here’s a synopsis:

Two friends, a werewolf (George Sands) and a vampire (John Mitchell) rent a flat together in Bristol in the hopes of living semi-normal lives among humans. After moving into the flat, they discover it’s haunted by the ghost of a young woman (Annie Sawyer) who can’t remember the details leading up to her death. The three supernatural friends build a strong bond and try to help each other deal with life as monsters.

While I adore all of these characters, as well as the supporting cast, I’m here to discuss the most fuckable character.

Yep. You guessed it. It’s the vampire.

February 8: John Mitchell

First-Image

What can I say about John Mitchell? We’ve already established that he’s a vampire. But all vampires have their own unique tale. In the first episode of Being Human we learn how and when Mitchell became a vampire. He was a soldier fighting in Europe in World War I. In the midst of battle, a battle he believed to be his last, he met a group of vampires in uniform. The next thing he remembers is waking up in a pile of dead soldiers killed in the battle with a craving for blood.

Bloody-Bed

Want to join me for a bite to eat?

Blood is a staple of the vampire diet. The food of life. Human lives. Some vampires eat regular human food, others exist on blood alone. Mitchell eats human food and drinks blood. Mitchell would like to stop drinking blood, because the guilt he feels for all the people he’s killed is unbearable most of the time. So, much like a drug addict, Mitchell tries again and again to kick the habit. He believes initially that if he stops living among his own kind, he won’t be tempted to behave like them.

Mitchell-1

Old serial killers can’t learn new tricks.

Most of the other vampires he knows – there are quite a lot of them living in Bristol – embrace their monstrous nature and love to kill and eat people. The vampires aren’t exactly out in the open, but they do have jobs in important positions and influence society for their benefit. Mysterious and violent deaths remain unsolved, because they control the police. The vampire who made Mitchell, Herrick, has been around since at least the Middle Ages and he has established a position of power within the vampire society. Herrick has plans to take even more control by targeting humans in positions of power and turning them. He wants Mitchell to be his right hand man, because they used to be murder buddies. They spent decades living an intensely hedonistic lifestyle – sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, and bloodlust. They killed a lot of people together. Mitchell’s kill list is legendary and he’s viewed as a hero among the other vampires.

Guests

Living with George and Annie makes Mitchell want to be a better person. Their friendship grounds him and keeps him on a bloodless path. But he can’t always control his cravings for blood. He slips up sometimes. Actually, he slips up all the time and finds himself in a never-ending shame spiral. So, like a drug addict who doesn’t want his friends to know that he’s using again, he lies to them.

Bloody-Daisy

I’m sorry, that doesn’t usually happen to me. Wait, no, that happens all the time.

Sex is a trigger for Mitchell’s bloodlust. Women who share his bed usually end up in the cemetery. Or become vampires like him. Either way, he kills them. Obviously, Mitchell’s relationships don’t last very long. But things might be easier with a ghost, right?

Ventriloquism

Annie is a bit naive at times. Before her death, she lived a relatively sheltered life. But that doesn’t mean she’s an idiot. She knows Mitchell is a vampire and has very dark and violent history. So why would she be interested in developing a romantic connection with Mitchell? Well, when he isn’t falling off the wagon and committing serial murder, he’s a really fun guy with a great sense of humor and well…stunningly gorgeous.

He’s good with kids.

Baby

No babies were eaten during the filming of this episode.

He likes to smell good for the ladies.

Date

Helpful hygiene tips for the undead bachelor.

He’s passionate, emotionally complex, and feels things deeply.

Mitchell-Collage

And, he has an irresistible smile.

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But, at some point, all the good is out-weighed by his murderous urges.

Is it just me, or is he still incredible sexy?

George-Stupid-Pills

Stupid? Maybe. But, holy shit. A night with Mitchell might be worth the trip to the morgue.

Final

Fuckable Fictional Characters: The Winchesters

If you’re anything like me (a slut), lusting after one character in a fictional universe just isn’t enough. This is especially true if those characters are well-developed, have strong voices, plenty of conflict, and interesting plots to follow. Fighting monsters is a bonus. It also doesn’t hurt if gorgeous actors with fun personalities inhabit those roles.

One show that seems to have everything I’m looking for in a serialized speculative fiction story that delves deep into Horror and Fantasy, with occasional monster-of-the-week episodes, is Supernatural. The show is currently in its eleventh season and has a seriously devoted fan-base. If you’ve been living under a rock and have never watched Supernatural, do yourself a favor, and catch up NOW! Seasons 1 – 10 are available on Netflix. And, my online stalking…I mean research…predicts a release date for season 11 in October 2016.

Seriously.

Stop what you’re doing right now.

Unless you’re performing surgery or curing cancer, get up, make an excuse, head home, put on pajamas, fix a snack, have a box of tissues handy (for crying or for whatever other use you have for tissues), and binge-watch season 1. If you aren’t hooked by the end of the first season, you may be dead already. Or hate fiction. Or interesting characters. Or fun.

One-Episode

But seriously, though.

I could watch every single episode over and over. And, I have. But the meta-fictional episodes are always my favorites, with the episodes that deal with urban legends in a close second place, and after those, the season finales when you are guaranteed to hear Carry On My Wayward Son, and shit gets real.

February 4: The Winchesters

While putting together my list of fuckable fictional characters, I initially planned on giving separate posts to both Sam and Dean Winchester. Then I started thinking about their dad, John. And Crowley. And Balthazar. And Castiel…and…well, you get the idea. I would very much like to devote an entire post to Crowley, because who wouldn’t want to go on a date with the King of Hell? Unless, of course, you hate fun. Or fear demons. Or whatever.

johnwinchestersupernatural

So many flavors, and none of them vanilla.

ANYWAY, the Winchesters are each appealing in their own way. I mean aside from being well-developed characters you can really empathize with; they are each uniquely handsome, interesting, emotionally damaged, and yet somehow extremely funny. So, why just pick one when you can fantasize about all three?

Dean Winchester

Without giving away too many spoilers to people who have been living under a rock, Dean Winchester is the older (and hotter) brother in a family of Hunters. In this fictional universe, Hunters hunt all things supernatural – demons, vampires, werewolves, sirens, rogue angels, gods and goddesses, and even the Wicked Witch of the West…or East…South? Whatever. You get the picture. Dean and his brother, Sam, lost their mom at the hands of a demon when they were young, and were raised by their dad, John, to become Hunters. The death of Mary Winchester changed their lives forever, and put them on the road to Destiny.

Dean is ruggedly handsome, physically strong, an expert at recognizing bullshit (except for his dad’s), loyal to a fault, and sexually promiscuous and adventurous. Dean likes the ladies. So many ladies. He’s a weapons expert, street-savvy, well-versed in the popular culture of his youth, protective of family and close friends, and suspicious of anybody who isn’t human. He can be incredibly sentimental and romantic when given the chance, and he will fight to the death to save his brother, and maybe the rest of humanity. He has a perverse sense of humor and is a connoisseur of pornography, Looney Tunes, Classic Rock, and muscle cars. He could probably benefit from some therapy to deal with his anger issues and fear of abandonment.

Rather than talking things out, Dean likes to solve problems with his fists. Or a shotgun. He spends a lot of time drinking, fighting, and on a good day, fucking. He believes that being a Hunter is the only life he’ll ever know. Life on the road is rough, but he seems to enjoy traveling back and forth across the United States, hanging out in roadhouses, and eating in diners. He lives on cheeseburgers and pie, but would happily sit down and enjoy a family-style meal at the house of a friend. Unfortunately, aside from Sam and a few other important people in Dean’s life – it’s a short list – he doesn’t have many friends.

Sam Winchester

In the first episode we learn that Sam Winchester, Dean’s younger brother, has decided to quit the family business and go to college. He has aspirations of becoming a lawyer, getting married, having kids, and living a normal life. A life he never had growing up, because being the child of a Hunter means moving from place to place, having a spotty attendance record at school, and never really making lasting relationships with people outside their community of Hunters. Sam’s very book smart, and he often figures out what monster they’re chasing each week and how to kill it. He does a lot of research using old books, their dad’s journal which holds a lot of valuable information about supernatural beings, and the Internet. Sam spends a lot of time hanging out in libraries and coffee shops. Dean constantly teases him about being a nerd, but Sam’s still a kick-ass Hunter even though he keeps denying his true calling.

Sam is also smoking hot, but in an adorable, shy, nerdy way that makes you want to talk about books, movies, and mythology with him for hours before you seduce him and rip off his clothes. He isn’t afraid to show his emotions or be the voice of reason. Despite all the tragedy, pain, and suffering he experiences from dysfunctional family dynamics, the grief of losing friends and loved ones, and dealing with the shame and guilt he feels for killing monsters with human faces, he never seems to lose hope. He still dreams of becoming something other than a Hunter. He wants a better life for himself and Dean.

Sam and I share a phobia in common: Coulrophobia. There are several episodes where he has to confront clowns, including one of my favorites where they have to hunt and kill a Rakshasa, which is both hilarious and terrifying. Okay, mostly terrifying. I go through phases where I’m more into Sam than Dean, but honestly I adore them both. A few days ago I saw a T-shirt that read: “I’m a Dean Girl, but Sam Curious.” And I was like, “That’s totally me!” Of course, a more appropriate T-shirt for me would say something about an empty bottle of bourbon, a cheap motel room, and figuring out how all three of us are going to fit on the bed.

John Winchester

john winchester

I’d like to call him daddy.

Sam and Dean’s father, John Winchester, was a normal working class guy, who was happy raising a family, coaching little league, and being married to the love of his life, Mary. But Mary had a secret past, and one night that past came knocking. Their happy family is shattered in a matter of moments when a demon invades their home and kills Mary in one of the most spectacular death scenes ever. Seriously, it is horrifically beautiful. The manner in which she dies causes the house to catch fire, and John hands infant Sam to 4-year-old Dean and says, “Take your brother outside as fast as you can! Don’t look back! Now, Dean, go!” From that moment on, Dean became Sam’s guardian.

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In the first episode, Dean tracks down Sam at college, because their father is missing. John isn’t exactly missing. He doesn’t want to be found. Now that Sam is in college, Dean fears that he’ll be left alone if anything bad happens to John. Dean’s fear of abandonment is justified. Sam doesn’t take it very seriously, because John has a habit of taking off for long periods of time while Sam and Dean are expected to fend for themselves. In fact, in Sam’s opinion, Dean spent more time acting like a father to him than John ever did. Sam holds a deep resentment towards his father because he hated the transient lifestyle they led while growing up. And, Sam has no interest in following in John or Dean’s footsteps. He renounces his life as a Hunter and leaves the family against his dad’s wishes. Where Sam sees an absentee dad, Dean sees a hero. The family dynamic creates an endless source of animosity and conflict, but the Winchesters believe in family and truly love each other. When you’re a Winchester, risking your life to save your family is just the status quo. John Winchester isn’t winning any Father of the Year awards, but he taught his sons to be tough and self-reliant, and to never abandon each other. His parenting philosophy is: Do as I say, not as I do.

It’s no mystery where the Winchester brothers get their good looks. John Winchester is a very attractive man. He was more stable and a better catch before his wife was brutally murdered, but I wouldn’t turn him away if he wanted to share my bed for a few nights while passing through town. I’d be more than happy to help him relax after a long night of demon hunting. Hell, I’d even make him breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. Because I wouldn’t want to have to get dressed to leave the house.

Just in case I didn’t make myself clear about why these three men are welcome to rest their shotguns against my nightstand, here is some further clarification.

Here’s Dean in the shower.

Dean-Shower

Um, what was I saying?

And Sam without a shirt.

Sam-Hot-Body

It’s okay to stare. He wants you to objectify him.

And John worrying. Seriously, he looks sexy laughing, crying, brooding, or fighting.

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It’s a huge responsibility being this handsome.

Fuckable Fictional Characters: Damon Salvatore

Hi. I haven’t blogged in a really, really long time, and I need some motivation to write. Today is the first day of February 2016, a leap year, and the month of my birth. I’m not going to tell you how old I am unless you ask very politely and promise not to laugh in my face. What I will happily tell you is that my birthday is February 14. That’s right. I was born on Valentine’s Day. People have a habit of saying how lucky I am, and what a special birthday it must be each year. Well…that isn’t entirely true.
Spooky-Heart

Here are my top 3 reasons why Valentine’s Day is a crappy day to celebrate your birthday on. Yes, I know it would suck to have a birthday on Christmas, too, unless you’re Jesus, but Valentine’s Day birthdays are their own special brand of Hell. So, let me count just a few of the ways that having a birthday on Valentine’s Day totally blows.

  1. Corporate-Sponsored Peer Pressure: Valentine’s Day manipulates you to find that special someone and/or give said someone not only your undivided attention, but also gifts that evoke romantic sentiments. There is nothing worse that being expected to buy romantic gifts for someone you have either recently met, or secretly hate and plan to leave soon. Especially of they do something really nice for you on your birthday.
  1. Envy: Watching other people who aren’t even celebrating a birthday receive flowers, cards, gifts, etc., and you might only get lucky enough to go out to dinner with a friend or eat a cake that a co-worker bought at the last minute on the way to work.
  1. Loneliness: Being single can be depressing at the best of times, but when you are single on Valentine’s Day, the feeling of being alone often feels more amplified. And, if it’s your birthday AND Valentine’s Day, some years you feel like the biggest loser that ever walked the face of the Earth.

Expectations run really high on Valentine’s Day for a lot of people, and birthdays can be bad enough if you experience anxiety about that fact that another year has come and gone and you still aren’t living up to your full potential. Talk about a double whammy.

Last year I was in a relationship that sent me straight to therapy and required medication. I’m still working on exorcising those demons. This year I am single. And, oddly enough, I’m pretty happy about that. I doubt this is the first time I was happy to be single on my Valentine’s birthday, but I don’t remember ever feeling so relieved.

This year to celebrate, I’m planning a party with some of my closest friends and we’re going to have an ‘80’s dance party. I’m very excited, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The purpose of this post, and a series of posts I plan to share with you each day this month, is to talk about some of my favorite fictional characters. More specifically, fictional characters I would hop in the sack with…or on a couch…or in the backseat of a car…or the hood of a car…or in a crypt…on a train…I think you get the idea.

ANYWAY, since this is the month of love and romance, and since I’m single and have sworn off online dating, I’m going to spend the month fantasizing about sexy fictional characters and why I find them so irresistible.

February 1: Damon Salvatore

Damon-Side

For the first installment of “Fictional Characters I Would Totally Fuck”, I offer you Damon Salvatore. Damon, Damon, Damon. Where to begin?

Well, for starters, he’s a vampire. That usually scores big points for me when it comes to fictional characters. I totally effing love vampires. And, I’ve loved vampires since I was about 12-years-old. WAY before Edward Cullen started sprinkling glitter all over the vampire fiction universe. My mother gave me a gently used copy of Interview with the Vampire for Christmas one year, and that solidified my obsession with vampires. I had spent a lot of time watching horror movies as a kid, and vampires and werewolves were my favorite monsters. I saw Bela Lugosi in Dracula when I was really young, and was given set of View Master disks that depicted a version of Stoker’s novel in cartoon images. I guess my interest in vampires started with Universal and Hammer films, and I devoured Dark Shadows. Let’s face it folks, vampires rock. And, I’ll most likely devote an entire post to Dracula this month.

Damon-3

Stefan who?

But today, I’m going to talk about the hottest vampire in Mystic Falls, Damon Salvatore. I might be inclined to watch The Vampire Diaries if Ian Somerhalder wasn’t cast as Damon, but I’m not going to lie, he’s the main reason why I watch the show. He’s an incredible anti-hero who enters the story as a villain. He’s the bad boy older brother of the hero, Stefan Salvatore. Stefan’s attractive, and he seems to be a really nice guy. He’s handsome, emotionally stable, smart, romantic, and initially, safe. By all outward appearances, he’s a parent’s wet dream. This is exactly the type of guy high school girls should be interested in dating. Well, normal high school girls who are Hell-bent on having a safe, boring, vanilla relationship with a guy you could easily imagine marrying, and having kids with…if vampires could procreate. He was a perfect match for the heroine, Elena Gilbert. They were happy and I wanted them to be happy. But the moment Damon makes his first appearance on screen, I was like, “Stefan who?”

Damon-6

This statement made me giggle like a school girl. A school girl with a deeply perverse imagination and access to classic smut.

Damon is everything Stefan isn’t. Impulsive. Sexy. Violent. Vulgar. Inappropriately funny. Stunningly gorgeous. Promiscuous. Vain. Reckless. Dark. Dangerous. Comfortable with being a vampire, and not afraid of his true nature. And his true nature is to be a monster. He never really pretends to be anything else, and when he is tempted to go against his nature, he always manages to disappoint the people closest to him by reaffirming that he is a monster and in many ways, proud of that fact. He’s a villain. I like villains. But more importantly, I like villains who seek redemption and show me that despite their murderous rampages, they really are the most logical, loyal, and honest character in the story. It helps that he’s the funniest character and gets some of the best lines in every episode.

All of his romantic scenes are hot. The way he kisses women, touches them, gazes at them, bites into their necks, tears off their clothes…there isn’t a dry pair of panties in the audience when he grabs the object of his desire and succumbs to lust. Or love.

And seriously, look at him.

Damon-1

Yep, totally fuckable.

No, really, LOOK AT HIM!

Damon-4

I’d skip prom to make out on the hood of a car with this guy.

I sure as shit wouldn’t kick him out of my bed for spilling blood.

Damon-7

Bite me already.

For the Love of Monsters

1843-Alice-in-Wonderland-Zombie A few days ago, a good friend of mine, poet and fellow fiction writer, Lana Hechtman Ayers, contacted me to let me know that she really enjoyed my new blog. She said the title reminded her of a poem she had written a few years ago. My curiosity was immediately piqued. You see, I am a fan of Lana’s poetry and fiction, so I couldn’t help wonder how my blog connected with her writing. What she sent me is a poem that spoke to me in ways that I am still processing. Internalizing. Devouring.

The poem, “Alice’s Blind Date With Frankenstein’s Monster,” which previously appeared in Eye to the Telescope, and can also be found in Lana’s poetry collection, Chicken Farmer I Still Love You, examines one of the topics I hope to address more fully in future blog posts: falling in love with monsters.

Monsters are sexy.

I recently used that line in my online dating profile, and have yet to find myself in a shallow grave along the interstate. In retrospect, it was a potentially dangerous statement to make in a public social media forum designed for people to stalk each other online and ask each other inappropriate questions about their sexual preferences. Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t attract more weirdoes. Do I sound disappointed? Maybe I am. Just a little. Although, I’m still not convinced the guy I’ve been dating for the past year isn’t a serial killer.

I posted that line within the context of talking about the kinds of media I consume: books, comics, movies, etc. And, at the time, I was in the midst of writing my first novel, which is a supernatural slave narrative. In the novel, Invisible Chains, a young slave tells her story and how she dreams of reaching freedom. In her travels and day-to-day life, she encounters many monsters, literally and figuratively, and she must learn to navigate a very dangerous world where she is seen as a possession, an object, to be bought and sold, and used however her owner pleases. We soon discover that monsters with fangs and fur may not be as scary as the men who uphold the institution of slavery in the Antebellum South. My protagonist develops a fondness for a vampire, but is quick to let him know she never wants to become like him. She never wishes to become a monster. Eventually, she discovers that her strengths are found in the parts of her others might perceive as monstrous. By befriending and trusting monsters, she learns to trust herself.

Lots of people have written about falling in love with monsters, and most people who read horror fiction or enjoy horror films can recall at least one instance of feeling empathy for a monster due to the fact that they connected with the monster’s plight. The more we love monsters, the more we see ourselves reflected back to us, like mirror images of ourselves – distorted, transformed, fragmented – hauntingly familiar, but simultaneously alien.

Crushing on monsters can be dangerous, which may be why vampires and werewolves and other creatures of the night have become so popular in YA speculative fiction. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past nine years and haven’t heard of Stephenie Meyer’s paranormal romance series, The Twilight Saga, the novels follow the drama-filled life of misanthropic teen, Bella Swan, and her ill-advised love triangle with vampire Edward Cullen and werewolf Jacob Black. These novels are not only popular among misunderstood teens, but also confused middle-aged women still looking to fill the void that no amount of Häagen-Dazs could ever accomplish.

I don’t mean to make light of this phenomenon. In fact, I take it very seriously. Monsters have always spoken to me in a way that I find exciting and somewhat unsettling. Monsters are sexy. And scary. And a little sad. As a teen, I sought them out – in fiction, in films, and unfortunately in some of the boys I chose to date. Monsters typically have a hard time fitting in and they seek the company of others like them – dark, damaged, melancholy, missing parts. As an adult, I haven’t completely outgrown my love of monsters and probably never will. Like my protagonist in Invisible Chains, as I learn more about monsters, I learn more about myself.

I feel like I have a lot more to say on the subject, but before I get too far into things, I need to spend a bit more time meditating on why I love monsters. So, without further ado, please enjoy Lana’s poem.

Alice’s Blind Date With Frankenstein’s Monster

by Lana Hechtman Ayers

Where the personal ad read, tall,
Alice assumed dark and handsome.
Where it read, Loves moonlit walks through the cemetery,
Alice surmised, romantic.
And the bit, Firebugs need not apply,
she thought quirky charm.

So what harm could come by answering?
Only that learning reality is a bitter cake
that sometimes shrinks one’s hopes.
That he wasn’t handsome,
was an understatement.
But in his favor, he had a friendly laugh

and looked deeply into Alice’s eyes.
He didn’t bat an eyelash (in fact he had none to bat)
at her whole Looking Glass story
the way her parents had upon her return,
then sent her to bed without supper yet again.
The cemetery her blind date picked for their picnic

was wide and well-lit under the full moon
and though he was creepily patched
from mismatched skins of the dead,
his green pallor glowed a warmer hue.
He wore his fears on his ragged sleeve:
fire, villagers, dogs, and shed a few tears

telling her of his longing for a true companion.
He wasn’t the worst date she’d ever had.
Also, he seemed to completely grasp
yearning for wholeness, the very thing
Alice herself wanted, but had not the words to express
since the incidents with the older gentleman

that began when she was only six.
Her truth was that monsters
don’t always look the part.
Those that do can turn out not frightening at all
and can have quite a good heart
(even if electric shock is necessary to get it started).

Frank, he’d asked her to call him,
just Frank, and not wanting to wait
for things between them to cool too much
she did when she rang
him up the very next day
to ask him out on a second date.

Sally

Frankenstein and Alice’s love child.

While reading Lana’s poem, I couldn’t help but think of Patricia Lillie’s amazing speech, “Down the Rabbit Hole,” given back in January at Seton Hill University’s graduation ceremony for the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program. If you weren’t there, I feel sorry for you. You totally missed out.