Social Justice…and Vampires!

As promised here yesterday, I am pleased and proud to host the fourth installment of the Denise Baran-Unland 2018 Blog Tour. So, without further ado, here is Denise!

Please visit Denise’s “BryonySeries” blog for more information about her many literary projects.


denise writeon

In all great literature, the truest, most powerful drama comes in the lonely longing for passion; the physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy that comes with new love; the personal validation and romantic affirmation to mature love brings; and the consolation that follows when love fails or abandons us.

            “Staked!” has all of this, and much more. (from the forward to “Staked!” by Tom Hernandez)

            Lofty words for the third book in my BryonySeries young adult vampire trilogy. Moreover, the series addresses an issue, the “much more,” which, in all the years I’ve known Tom Hernandez, is also an issue of which he’s most passionate and often speaks (and writes) against.

That issue is the oppression of others, especially oppression for personal gain. In Staked! this occurs in three key places, a necessary part of a story that features an unlikely hero.

One, teen protagonist John-Peter Simotes learns how three adults he’s trusted all his life have manipulated him for their benefit. Around the same time, he discovers what he thinks is his life’s mission: to rescue a trapped princess with whom he’s infatuated. To do so, he travels to a place inhabited by fairy creatures.

When he arrives, he meets two groups of people who have been kidnapped from the real world and used for specific purposes in the imaginary one.

The first group, to which his princess belongs, is a “herd” of blonde-haired girls, whom the fairies are keeping in basement cells for the purpose of breeding with fairies to strengthen fairy bloodlines.

The second group is composed of amateur writers with one task: to ghostwrite material for the ruthless dictator (who invented the fairyland) so he can stock his library with titles all “penned” by him.

Now John-Peter, like most reluctant heroes, really wants only to rescue the princess and go home, especially since his opportunity for helping her will literally soon expire. Yet he winds up getting involved in the other causes after two runaway girls and the spokesman for the makeshift writer’s mill beg for his assistance, which spurs him on to a fuller heroism.

Still, John-Peter doesn’t realize the extent of sacrifice required from him until the eleventh hour. Then he has a decision to make – and he must decide quickly.

Now, these situations at face value are obviously implausible. But the exploitation of one person by another is very real in many parts of the planet. And the way John-Peter ultimately agrees to participate in the solution is very (ironically, given the story’s premise and John-Peter’s essence) very human – first, outright refusal, then grudging participation, and finally a wholehearted giving of self.

You see, the thread running through all three books (and its prequel in progress) is one of free will and choice, along with its repercussions and rewards.

Sometimes we’re slow to make good and right choices because of the cost to us: ranging from simple inconvenience to our own lives. Ultimately, though, I hope we all make them. Ultimately.

That is the real inspiration behind the BryonySeries.

Although I do really like a good vampire story.












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