Vampire-Human Relations

In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marita Crandle, owner of Boutique du Vampyre in New Orleans, and Steven Foley put together the Vampyre Library Book Club. Each month, Steven would select a book, members would read it, and at the end of the month, Steven would interview the author and readers would have a chance to ask questions. I was honored that my novel Vampires of the Scarlet Order was one of the book club’s selections alongside such works as Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, Dracul by Dacre Stoker, and The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden. My wife and I participated in the club after my book was featured and I discovered a number of great books. As the COVID-19 pandemic began to wane and life began to return to normal, I wasn’t able to read every book. One of the books I missed was Some Girls Bite by Choe Neill. I finally had a chance to read the novel a few days ago.

Some Girls Bite tells the story of a University of Chicago graduate student, Merit, who falls victim to a rogue vampire attack. Fortunately, vampire Ethan Sullivan, the master of Chicago’s Cadogan House is on the rogue’s trail, finds Merit and makes her a vampire, thus saving her life. We soon learn that Merit wasn’t the first victim of the rogue vampire. A couple of nights earlier, the vampire attacked and killed another young woman. At issue is that the vampire houses only recently made themselves known to humans and they want to show that they can live alongside humans. The vampires in the houses don’t attack people. Most drink donated blood in bags and those who drink from people, only drink from willing donors. So, the rogue vampire’s actions are threatening to bring an angry mob of humans down on the vampires.

As the story progresses, we learn that Merit is the daughter of one of the richest businessmen in Chicago. Ethan Sullivan sees her as someone who might help him maintain and hold a position of trust among humans. What’s more, Merit’s grandfather is a retired police officer who has taken the job of ombudsman between the Chicago’s supernatural and human communities. Vampires aren’t the only supernatural creatures who have been hiding in the shadows. There are also sorcerers, water nymphs, lycanthropes, and more. Still, vampires are the only ones who are known to most humans. Merit, though, doesn’t appreciate being a pawn in this developing saga of vampire human relations. She also resents being made a vampire against her will, even though it may have been the only thing that saved her life. Fortunately, after becoming a vampire, Merit has developed skills that allow her to find an important position of her own in House Cadogan.

As Merit navigates her way through her family relationships and the relationships with the vampires in her life, she learns about the vampire houses and how each one maneuvers to gain advantages over the others. Of course, now that the vampires are known to exist, they are playing politics in the human world as well. I’ve long found it interesting to consider how humans would interact with a non-human, intelligent species living in their world. Vampires make an especially interesting case, since they’re predators. Even though they’re predators, it would be a bad idea for vampires to destroy all of humankind. After all, that would destroy their food source. Whether vampires are known to humans in general or not, vampires would have to find a way to live in a world dominated by humans. I thought Chloe Neill presented an interesting vampire culture and presented ways they can be both clever and foolhardy when dealing with the humans around them.

As I write this, I’m settling in to edit my new vampire novel Ordeal of the Scarlet Order. My vampires live in secret, but they still have to live in a world dominated by humans. I’ve been having fun exploring how that works in this novel. I’ve been posting updates about the novel at my Patreon site, including a sneak peak of the cover, which has already been created by the talented Chaz Kemp. Also, my Patreon site helps to support this blog and keep it ad free. If you find value in my reviews and comments here, please consider supporting me there. What’s more, you can now join free for a week and take a peek behind the scenes before committing to being a regular patron. Why not go over and take a look at I’ve shared several of my novels as I’ve edited them for new editions and I also plan to share Ordeal of the Scarlet Order as I get it ready for publication. Joining up would be a way to be among the very first readers and I’d love to hear your feedback!


As I write this, I’m working on the final chapters of my third Scarlet Order Vampire novel, Ordeal of the Scarlet Order. I’m still in the rough draft stage, so in some ways, once I complete this phase, the real work will begin. I’ve been having fun with the book, but I know it needs work to make it better. While working on the novel, it was fun to learn about the movie Renfield starring Nicholas Hoult as Dracula’s famous familiar and Nicolas Cage as Dracula himself. My wife and I decided to make an excursion to see the film.

Renfield is told as a sequel to Universal’s 1931 film, Dracula. As the film opens, we find Renfield in New Orleans in a support group for people in abusive and co-dependent relationships. As he narrates how he came to be there, he tells us the story of his past century or so of existence, starting with a recreation of scenes from the 1931 film. The recreated scenes demonstrate how well Cage and Hoult channel Bela Lugosi and Dwight Frye in their performances. In fact, in some ways, Cage feels like he finds a middle-ground between Bela Lugosi and Carlos VillarĂ­as, who played Dracula in the Spanish-language version of the film, shot at the same time and on the same sets as the English-language version. We learn that Renfield effectively gets super strength from eating bugs, an offshoot of how vampires gain strength and power from drinking blood.

The reason Renfield is in the support group is that he’s dealing with his guilt over taking innocent people to Dracula over the years. Instead, he’s decided to take abusive partners and spouses to Dracula. The only problem with this plan is that Dracula has no taste for evil-doers and Renfield finds himself stepping on the toes of a drug cartel operating in the Crescent City called the Lobos. Meanwhile, a New Orleans cop named Rebecca Quincy, played by Awkwafina, will do anything to stop the Lobos, who murdered her father.

After Renfield kills one of the Lobos top hit men, Teddy Lobo, son of the cartel’s boss, is sent to dispatch him. Meanwhile Officer Quincy is on the trail of Teddy Lobo played by Ben Schwartz. They all collide at a New Orleans restaurant and Renfield saves Officer Quincy’s life. As the two get to know each other, Renfield decides to take steps to further separate himself from Dracula.

Overall, Renfield was an enjoyable horror/comedy take on the Dracula. I liked how Cage gave us a Dracula who really wasn’t at all sympathetic and I also really appreciated that the film understood co-dependent relationships. After all, the idea is that Renfield defends and supports a being who is addicted to blood. As a fan of New Orleans, I loved seeing the Crescent City in the film and recognized many of the filming locations. Tonally, the movie was a little jarring. It seemed to have trouble deciding whether it was a light horror comedy in the vein of What We Do In the Shadows or a more over-the-top bloody action romp in the style of Robert Rodriguez’s Machete. Also, I felt the inevitable, final confrontation between Teddy Lobo and Renfield could have been a stronger scene.

Although this was a vampire film, I felt the clash of magic, horror, and crime reminded me most of my novel The Astronomer’s Crypt. You can learn more about my novel, and even see a short film based on a scene in the novel by visiting