Blood and Stilettos: The Diary of a Vampire Stripper
This story is from the collection, "Blood and Black Roses."
Blood and Stilettos: The Diary of a Vampire Stripper is the journal of Tilly Rose Marlowe, a young 19th century girl who becomes a vampire and goes on existing in different incarnations of the burlesque stage up until the present day.
Adult content warning: Over 18 only. This material is of a mature nature. More
This story is from the collection, "Blood and Black Roses: A Dark Bouquet of Vampires, Romance and Horror."
This is the journal of Tilly Rose Marlowe, a young 19th century girl who becomes a vampire and goes on existing until the present. She begins life as a young innocent New England girl who learns the cruelties of life at an early age. She inherits and loses a family fortune and is forced to work in a factory where she becomes the victim of a mad killer.
Her life begins anew when she awakens in the underground lair of the mysterious Vasco Valverde, a very old vampire with a talent for gambling. The two begin a torrid love affair and all is going well until they become the prey of vampire hunters.
Along the way, Tilly finds a new family in the early burlesque theater. She weathers the years of changes in adult theater throughout the decades, later becoming a go-go dancer and, finally, a modern stripper.
All the while she and her lover are pursued by two insidious organizations: The Vampire Hunters Association and the local police department.
Will they ever rest in peace?
Notes on Blood and Stilettos: The author has long dreamed of writing about life as a striptease dancer in some way, but the subject poses some difficulties when it's portrayed in any kind of believable way. What takes place on the stage and in the dressing room is one of the best aspects. There is usually a marvelous camaraderie among the dancers and a great deal of understanding from night club staff. These are the happiest parts of the job.
But, there is one very dark theme that runs throughout the life of an dancer that is really unpleasant, rarely addressed and which plays a very big role in "Blood and Stilettos." That is the constant sense of being pursued. You are pursued as a mere woman who must go out and earn a living and as a dancer who must cope with individual stalkers and predatory organizations, usually the local police or state alcohol and beverage commissions, but sometimes churches and committees, as well.
Historically, law enforcement agencies were a problem for burlesque establishments, early comedians and other performance artists. Sometimes, the mayor in a city wanted to make a name for himself before elections or there was a political war of some kind going on behind the scenes and the police were used as a weapon against the club owner, the patrons and, most of all, the dancers. In many instances, they tried to destroy businesses they didn't like, drive the entertainers out of town or use some other means deprive them of their livelihoods. This is something that has not changed with the times, despite the advent of the sexual revolution and the equal rights movement, which are supposed to have had a broadening effect on the culture.
While "Blood and Stilettos" is hardly feminist literature, the protagonist, Tilly, is aware from an early age of what bad fortune can and does frequently befall women, whether they make bad marriages, good ones or none at all. The story begins in 1889 when there were few options for women and it ends in the present time. It demonstrates how we have not come a long way.
The most important things in Tilly's life are her love with the vampire Vasco and dancing on the stage. She struggles against intervening forces to keep these things in her life. Even though she is a vampire, she does not understand violence for its own sake. She defends her friends and family to the very end.
The author struggled between the story she wanted to tell versus the story that wanted to be told because this theme of patriarchal oppression and violence haunted her thoughts all throughout its composition. It is a tale of a passionate love, interwoven throughout this conflict of being pursued by often unknown forces, which try to usurp your power and purpose in life and keep you apart from the things you love.