Today, I continue celebrating the tenth anniversary of Vampires of the Scarlet Order by remembering the earliest version of one of the lynchpin chapters. “Bat Flight South of Roswell” was published as a standalone chapbook by Anxiety Publications in January 2002. In this story, a college lab instructor goes on vacation to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, only to be attacked by a vampire, then abducted by aliens!
I was inspired to write the story during a visit to Carlsbad Caverns, followed by a visit to Roswell. Going through the UFO Museum in Roswell, it struck me how much descriptions of alien abduction resembled vampire attacks from gothic literature. The aliens often attacked at night. They might even sneak into your bedroom. The aliens will then have their way with you, performing almost sexual acts.
This was the story where I introduced the vampire Marcella DuBois, who came from Louisiana, but chose to live in near exile in Carlsbad Caverns, hunting first guano miners, then tourists. Marcella’s perhaps the vampire most envisioned by artists. Her first appearance is on the cover of the chapbook. Below, you see her as visualized by artists Nick Johns and Steve Gilberts for the novel Vampires of the Scarlet Order.
When I first pulled together the Scarlet Order short stories into an overarching storyline, I originally envisioned that the vampires would tangle with aliens from another world. The problem was the whole story felt too campy to me. So, I rewrote “Bat Flight South of Roswell” for the novel. Instead of aliens, Marcella and the lab instructor are abducted by strange creatures and taken to a secret base in the desert. The lab instructor thinks they’ve been abducted by aliens, but soon learns he’s mistaken. The creatures are vicious, predatory super soldiers being developed by the army.
An important lesson here is that writers often fall in the trap of feeling they must revise until their story is perfect. The problem is, your story will never be perfect. What’s more, even a campy, imperfect story such as the original “Bat Flight South of Roswell” can be published, but nothing says you can’t revise it and create a better version you’re happier with later!
If you’d like to learn more about Marcella and the vampires of the Scarlet Order, be sure to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway. I’m collecting entries until the end of the month. See the first post in this series for more details or just click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway