While reading Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice, I was charmed by the character Aunt Queen and her love of cameos. Not only did Aunt Queen love cameos, but the Vampire Lestat was depicted as wearing a coat with cameo buttons. Curious about cameos, I visited some of my favorite websites and found that while traditional shell cameos are quite expensive, there are some rather fun costume cameos made out of resin. Two in particular caught my eye. One was a beautiful Medusa that reminded me of the statue the vampire Theron has in his courtyard in the novel Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order. Another one was a vampiric Snow White, who reminded me of the title character of the story “The Tales of Blood Red” from Blood Sampler. I decided to buy the cameos along with a pair of nice pin settings.
In addition to paranormal and horror fiction, I write steampunk and science fiction. One thing I love about steampunk events is that you’re encouraged to dress up and I really like the steampunk look. Although there’s a certain crossover between the steampunk and goth communities, I’ve never really figured out a satisfactory way to bring my vampires to life—or is that un-life—through costuming. However, it occurred to me that the cameos are one way to do that. They fit in quite nicely with both goth and steampunk costuming and could even be worn as a lapel pin on a contemporary jacket for a more “business casual” meeting.
The first cameo I came across was the Medusa. I knew that was a perfect discussion starter for Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order. As it says right in chapter one:
In the courtyard was a statue of the Medusa. Her countenance was at once terrifying and beautiful. Instead of giving this Medusa a head full of snakes as I had seen many times in the past, the sculptor had carefully woven the snakes through her hair as though they were faithful companions. The sculpture was painted so realistically that I half expected the Medusa to step off her pedestal. “Our master seems to have a fascination for gorgons,” I remarked.
I soon discovered the same sculptor who made the Medusa cameo, also made a Vampire Snow White cameo. To me, there’s always been an association between Snow White and vampires, especially if you read the original Grimm fairy tale. She gets her name when her mother’s skin is pierced by a needle, and her blood lands on the snow in a black window frame. Her mother wishes for a child with hair black as ebony, skin white as snow, and lips red as blood. Snow White is not merely killed once, but three times. The final time, she’s placed in a glass coffin where she never decays until the dwarfs drop the coffin and the slice of poisoned apple is dislodged from her throat. At that point, Snow White unleashes horrible vengeance on her step-mother!
As it turns out, I have a special bicentennial edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales which I bought from Amazon Germany. These include notes by the brothers about the origins of the tales. They tell how one version of the Snow White story describes how she was conceived in a wild sleigh ride. That notion gave rise to this opening of “The Tales of Blood Red”:
The queen invited the count to join her for a sleigh ride. He brought a bottle of wine and they spoke through the night. As the queen grew intoxicated, she grew open to the count’s advances and revealed her desire for an heir. The count nuzzled the queen’s neck and, looking back, she was surprised to see drops of blood in the snow, illuminated by the sleigh’s lantern. “If only I could have a child with skin white as the snow, and lips red as the blood upon it,” mused the queen.
I was able to mount my cameos to the settings with a little bit of epoxy and I have to say, I was quite satisfied with the result. So, is this something you’d enjoy? If so, let me know in the comments. I’d be willing to make more and hold a giveaway.
If these little snippets have compelled you, you can learn more about Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order at davidleesummers.com/dragons_fall.html and Blood Sampler at davidleesummers.com/Blood-Sampler.html.