Vampires of the Undead Bar Association
First thing to know about vampires in the world of the Undead Bar Association: they're evil. Unquestionably, unequivocally evil. Remember that in November when Book 2 comes out (and let's hope our heroine remembers, before it's too late).
The second thing to know is that there is more than one type of vampire. There are five types. What type of vampire you're dealing with is determined by the vampire ancestor from which it's descended. Vampire types are referred to with the elegant and chummy term "House."
In Matriculated Death, two vampire Houses were introduced: Inceput and Seara. These particular houses have two things in common: they both originated in eastern Europe, and they hate each other. From there on, they're very different.
Inceput vampires are daywalkers. They tend to have blonde hair and pale eyes. Their preferred human weapon is a sword. Inceput vampires are frequently gifted with mesmeric powers. They love elegance in many things: clothing, food, furnishings, etc. But their sexual appetites are frequently dirty and depraved.
Seara vampires hate the sunlight, and avoid it at all costs. Their physical appearances are more varied than that of the Inceput vampires. Most Seara vampires can transform into predatory animal forms. Seara vampires pride themselves on being the oldest vampire house, descended from the great Count Dracula. They like their surroundings to speak of bygone eras. Most Seara vampires are themselves quite ancient. They pretend to have little to no sexual appetite, but Seara kills that contain an element of sexual attraction are particularly violent.
The names Inceput and Seara are derived from Romanian. Inceput means beginning, and the sign of the house is the sun. Seara can be translated 'evening'. The sign for that house is a waning moon.
One more important term in the series was inspired by the Romanian language: sange fera intelegere, or sfi for short. Loosely translated, it means bloodless agreement. The sfi vow is a bargain between a human and a vampire, an agreement by which the human buys protection in exchange for service to the vampire house. House Seara vampires originated the idea of sfi vows, and Inceput was quick to follow. All five houses now use the vow to enslave humans. The full spelling of the vow may differ between houses, but all refer to it generally as sfi. Readers were introduced to sfi vows in Matriculated Death; the vow comes in play again in Book 2 and later books in the series.
In book 2, look for a third vampire house to be introduced, and be ready to learn more about the culture of the Inceput vampires.
And tune in Friday for a guest post from YA writer and blogger Allie B. Allie will share her thoughts about the role of research in writing fiction.