22 October 2010

Haunted Halloween: Jocelyn Davies

How I Learned to Heart Vampires: A Story of Childhood Fears, New Friends, and David Boreanaz

By Jocelyn Davies

        When I was in third grade, the most dreaded hour of the day for me was art class. It wasn’t because I was a bad artist (though to this day I can barely draw a stick figure), or that I was afraid of criticism, or even that I didn’t want to get my hands dirty with paint and clay. It had to do only with the giant green face of Count Dracula, tacked—loomingly—to the wall right above our workspace. I couldn’t concentrate on anything remotely “artistic”. I could only imagine that he was licking his fangs at the taste of my blood, as I tried in vain to construct a tiny covered wagon for our unit on Pilgrims.

        I was deathly afraid of Dracula. Well, all vampires, really.

        My experience with vampires up until this point was limited to the one night I accidentally caught a glimpse of Interview with the Vampire on TV. But all of a sudden, my cozy little 3rd grade world was blown wide open. There were just so many questions about them that the school day left unanswered. For example: could a vampire bat turn into a vampire? What happened if one flew into the window of your fourth story apartment one night, crawled under the covers, and bit your toe while you were sleeping? Would you be doomed for eternity? And how, exactly, did you take precautions against that if you were sleeping? None of it made any sense to me, and I realized with a jolt of horror that my eight year old self was woefully unprepared against a vampire attack. No thanks to my teachers, who were too preoccupied teaching me things like multiplication tables. Way to arm me with useful life skills, guys. NOW WHAT ABOUT THE VAMPIRES?

        This phase lasted a while.

        Then, late one autumn night right around Halloween, the tides began to turn. My family was driving in the car, and my sister thought it would be hi-lar-i-ous to scare me by pretending to be a vampire. I mean. Okay. At first it worked. Dark country road. Middle of the night. No other cars. Etc. etc. She did the whole voice and everything: I vant to zuck your blooood. I screamed. I may have clawed for the door, I don’t know, it was very late and the blinding fear may have caused me to black out for a minute or two. Eventually she started to scare herself, and all mayhem broke loose, and eventually my mother had to climb into the back seat and calm everybody down. But a day or two later, it was kind of funny. And it got me thinking. Vampires: not so scary after all?

        Several years later, when I was in seventh grade, my friend—let’s call her Eileen—approached me in the hall at my new school.

        “Hey,” she said. “Wanna watch the premiere of Buffy with me tonight?”

        “What?” I said. “What’s that?”

        “Buffy,” she said. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Out of habit, my heart began to beat faster. My right eye twitched. I tried to play it cool.

        “I don’t know,” I said, brushing a strand of hair casually out of my face. “I’m not so into vampires.”

         (Look, you’re laughing. I get it. But in my defense, there was no Edward Cullen or Stefan Salvator back then. Or Angel—yet.)

        “Um,” Eileen said. “It’s supposed to be really funny. It’s based on the movie.” The movie. I’d heard of the movie. My friend Beth had repeatedly tried to get me to watch it with her. Each time, I distracted her by mentioning different Sweet Valley High plotlines until she forgot what we were talking about. But Eileen was a new friend, and I was at a new school, and maybe, I thought—maybe I should just go with it.

        I closed my eyes. I swallowed. “Okay,” I said. “Call me at eight.”

        And so she did. She called me at eight, and we sat on the phone for an hour, in complete, enthralled silence. We talked only during commercials. Buffy kicked some major butt, Xander quipped, and Angel (oh my god, Angel!) smoldered at us in his long billowy coat from across the graveyard. Vampires weren’t scary. They could be funny. And, like, smoldery. And, most importantly, vanquished—by a girl wearing a ponytail like mine—with a well-timed one-liner and a quick dispatching of Mr. Pointy.

        When the episode was over and the first few notes of the Dawson’s Creek theme song began to play, I turned off the TV. I stared at the blank screen. Something inside of me had changed.

        “Same time next week?” Eileen said breathlessly.

        “Obviously,” I said. “I wouldn’t miss it.”

No cover yet, but I'm really excited to see it!!

Title: A Beautiful Dark

Synopsis: Two strangers. Two destinies. One secret that will shatter her world.

Skye never questioned the stories her Aunt Jo told her after the accident that killed her parents. Then, on the night of her seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers who make her question everything. Complete opposites, like fire and ice, Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair, cold, and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye's life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon, she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach farther than the three of them could ever imagine.

A Beautiful Dark Available from HarperTeen Fall 2011

Sorry, No Preorder links for this title yet.

Jocelyn Davies is a children’s book editor who lives in New York City. Her debut young adult novel, A Beautiful Dark, is the first in a trilogy coming out in 2011. You can follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jocelyndavies and visit her website at http://www.jocelyndavies.com/.

Jocelyn, Thank you so much for taking part in our Halloween Event and for your story. I really enjoyed reading it and am thrilled to be able to share it with everyone!

Check out Jessica's Haunted Halloween post with..........

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  1. That was a cute story, Its funny that to think that vampires were very scary to people once. This book looks good, I will have to add it to my TBR list! Thankd for the post!


  2. I too remember being a little fearful of Buffy and other vampire related things. When I was still young and before I got addicted to reading vampire books. So anywhere from little kid days to 10 or 11 ish. I read my first vampire book when I was 12 and the addiction started then!

    Around season 5 I started watching Buffy and then I caught up on all the repeats. Now I own the complete series. Never watched Angel though.


  3. That's such a cute post! Until Twilight and everything, I never really heard much about vampires except Dracula and the Count from Sesame Street! I, too, started watching Buffy and realized that vampires were pretty darn cool! :)

  4. This book sounds so good! I can't wait til it's out so I can read it :)


  5. This is a cool story :) I have yet to watch Buffy because I am lame. This book also sounds amazing too!


  6. Ha! That was hilarious! I'm actually in the process of finishing up the Buffy series now. I'm halfway through season six at the moment!


  7. So cute. This also sounds great. I can't wait to see the cover either.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  8. Haha nice story!! The book sounds interesting!

    sophiayunjin @ gmail .com

  9. I remember watching scary tv with a friend too!


  10. I loved watchinb buffy and miss her!


  11. Nice story. I must be odd, because I have never found vampires to be scary...or maybe I'm just not picking scary enough books. Thanks for sharing. ^_^

    hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

  12. I don't know what ever happened to the scary, monster vampire. They seem to have become so soft.

    romancebookjunkiesdanielle at yahoo dot com

  13. Oh gosh I got into Buffy in a similar way. I was in seventh grade and a friend of mine was talking about the show and recommended I watch it (it was on season 2). I did and I fell in love. It was soooo good. That was my first real introduction to vampires.

    nalynboni AT gmail DOT com

  14. Great story, Buffy should convince everyone to love vampires. It certainly made me love vampires.

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com

  15. Cute story! I can't wait to read your book. The plot is awesome.

  16. Great story. Always love Buffy.


  17. so going to my TBR pile!!


  18. I don't think I ever had a fear of vampires before, though there was a time in my life when I was convinced wolves jumped out of the moon. Yes, jumped out of the moon. That was all thanks to my older brother and my over-active 6 year old imagination.

    Thanks for sharing Jocelyn. A Beautiful Dark sounds enthralling!


  19. Excellent story!


    Ashley's Bookshelf

  20. Haha! Awh! Nowadays we can't stop thinking, talking, or reading about vampires, lol! Ooh, the synopsis for A Beautiful Dark sounds super interesting!

    booksoverboys at hotmail dot com

  21. Great post. Im pretty sure David Boreanaz could help anyone get over a fear of vampires, or just about anything else.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  22. LOL, my friends would call me right after our favorite shows ended so we could talk about them. Awww...I miss Buffy and SVH (I'm secretly dying to read the new SVH books). :)


  23. that was the most hilarious story i've read in a while :D



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