First, I'd like to very explicitly state something; there is no such thing as turning.
Now something a bit more important than that even; Vampires do NOT have slaves, servants, or any other stupid ownership complex. Granted, we may become somewhat attached to regular (as in several time) donors, but no legit vampire (or any other decent person) will ever try to control your life. That's called a sexual predator posing as something they're not to make poor excuses.
Now, on to the explanation of what is, rather than what is not.
Vampires are nothing like you read about or see in the media, they're real people with a real problem that simply isn't yet recognized by medicine. They don't turn into bats, they can't turn other people into vampires, they don't die in the sun (although many dislike bright lights or have a nocturnal sleep pattern), they aren't immortal, they age just like everyone, they are living, not undead, and they most certainly don't sparkle.
The defining characteristic of a vampire is the need, not desire or ability, to drain either blood or a metaphysical energy from others in order to maintain a good level of health. Common symptoms include a tendency toward being nocturnal and increased sensitivity to light (sometimes other senses as well), but these are only symptoms and by themselves do not make one a vampire.
Awakening is the onset of symptoms for vampires, the beginning of the time they need to drain energy or drink blood. In a few cases, a vampire might awaken and be active for a short time, then ignore their symptoms and start feeding unconsciously as a survival response. Vampires are born and later "awaken,"(usually in the early to mid teenage years, but sometimes slightly sooner or up to much later). Vampires can not be created, and someone who is not a vampire cannot be turned into one.
Once you understand all of this, vampirism looks more like a simple genetic anomaly and less like a supernatural disease or something foolish like a type of undead. Although there is little to suggest that vampirism is genetic, a lot of people think so (I think it has a small genetic component, but this is not the most important part of how it occurs).
A few internet resources:
If you haven't stopped reading and become upset by now, and still are actually interested in vampires (the real kind, not RPG or myth types), feel free to e-mail or IM me with any questions. The necessary information is on my profile.