Bringing Down the House

Tonight Teddy and I went to the Crest Theater (a beautiful 1940’s theater) and saw 85 year old John Mayall bringing the house down with the blues.

I looked around at the audience and noticed all of the gray hair. At least 80% of the audience.

I over heard a man telling his companion that he saw John Mayall in 1972 opening for Eric Clapton.

I thought about all of the old people in the theater who used to be the young people who changed the world with their music, and tie dye, and radical ideas.

Now they’re ending or retired from professional careers but the music never dies.

These old ladies were the young women who sat on their boyfriend’s shoulders and lifted up their shirts and exposed their naked breasts to bands they liked.

They are now still listening to loud music, and signing along, and dancing, and feeling good vibes, and all is good, at least for a few hours at the Crest.

Tell your kids that they’re cool, but they’ll have to try harder to be THAT cool. The cool that started it all. Also tell them to thank an old person for their music. Tell them to do it now, then share that music. Share it. We should all be so luck to have someone to turn up the volume with no matter how old they are.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

2019 Summer Reading: A Very Bad Girl and Invisible Furies

The temperatures are going to reach into the triple digits today, so I’m thinking about upcoming trips to the coast, the mountains, and other cooler climates. That means books to bring along. I bring a book everywhere I go, no matter what the weather.

The two books I’m featuring today from my shelf have nothing in common except that both are supposed to be extremely interesting and extremely good.

reading

The Heart’s Invisible Furies

by John Boyne

My husband is from an Irish family so I originally got this one for him.

This is the official description:

From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Boy In the Striped Pajamas, a sweeping, heartfelt saga about the course of one man’s life, beginning and ending in post-war Ireland

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery — or at least, that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his many years, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more.

In this, Boyne’s most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit.

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Bad Blood – Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

By John Carreyrou

My kids talked me into getting this one. It is a fascinating story. A young woman who is brilliant, beautiful, and has the determination and leadership skills we all want our kids to have goes down the wrong path. Why? Greed. Let’s get reading.

The official write up:

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER •  NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: NPR, The New York Times Book Review, Time, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post • The McKinsey Business Book of the Year

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the one-time multibillion-dollar biotech startup founded by Elizabeth Holmes—now the subject of the HBO documentary The Inventor—by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end.

“The story is even crazier than I expected, and I found myself unable to put it down once I started. This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.” —Bill Gates

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.

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Unlike my choices last week these are fairly new books (2017 and 2018.) You’ll be able to find both online, in bookstores (yes there are still a few left) and in your local library.

For more book suggestions and to find out what I’m reading this summer check out my other 2019 Summer Reading Posts. I’m posting every Monday for the rest of the summer.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

summerreading

Short Story Sunday: Beauty

“I only picked a rose. Just one rose, and now I must be his,” said Papa as he packed his bags.

“Wait, why, what? The beast we hear of in the forest wants you? For a flower? What a douche. Why were you there picking flowers?” Beauty was flustered by her Papa’s story.

“I wanted a flower for your sister Joy. It is her birthday and she has been so depressed since her baby was born,” said Papa.

Poor Joy had tried to be happy but she was tired and sad. Her husband was caring and tried to give her the joy she was named after.

Joy stood in the doorway, her baby in her arms. “It is my fault dear Papa. I will take your place.”

Beauty looked at her sister. Joy should have been named Beauty. She glowed with goodness and love. She was also beautiful beyond measure.

“No, it is my price to pay,” said Papa.

“Nonsense, I will go,” said Beauty.

“No, you will die. There is nobody in the castle of the Beast except the beast,” said Joy.

“Dear sister, do not worry about me. I’m already dead. Seriously, nobody around here likes me anyway. They all think I’m weird,” said Beauty.

“You are not weird,” said Papa.

Beauty laughed and hugged her Papa and her sister. She kissed the sweet baby, packed her bags, and left for the castle in the great forest.

In the middle of the night, Beauty, a pretty young woman with dark blonde hair, and big brown eyes arrived at the castle in the woods. She knocked on the door.

Nobody answered.

“Oh come on. Let me in. I came for my Papa. What do you want with an old man anyway. He just picked a rose for his daughter with postpartum depression. One rose. One freaking rose. You have thousands of roses in the garden here. What’s your problem?” Yelled Beauty.

The great door was opened by an unseen hand. Beauty entered. The place was beautiful but empty.

“Hello?”

She looked around and saw cameras in the corners of the room. Shit. I should have known this would be weird, she thought.

“I know you’re there. I see the cameras. You might as well come out. I will find you.”

Walking down the hallway she noticed that the eyes in the pictures followed her. The furniture shifted as if it was alive.

Then she heard a noice. A low growl. She tried the door in front of her. It was locked. Out of her hair she pulled a bobby pin and picked the lock.

Inside was a beast, a man who looked like the cross between a wolf and a lion, sitting in front of a bank of screens.

“You’re the Beast? What are you? A Werewolf or something?”

The Beast who was wearing a black AC/DC Tee shirt spoke. “I am not a Werewolf.”

“OK. So tell me. What are you?”

“Why are you here. I expected your Papa, or your sister Joy.”

“Joy is married and has two children. How do you know about Joy?”

“Joy is the most beautiful woman in the land. Everyone knows of Joy.”

“Whatever. I’m Beauty, the sister nobody ever sees. You know, Beast, or whatever your name is, this is really messed up. What are you? Some sort of weird geek who can’t get a girl. Do you have everyone because you’re different?”

Beast looked sad. “I am different. People fear me.”

“Welcome to the club Beast,” said Beauty.

“I am a prisoner of my own stupidity and selfishness.”

“Tell me about it.”

The beast held out his hand. “Let’s dance. There is a closet full of beautiful dresses. Go change.”

“I’m not going to be part of your weird fantasy. How’d you get here. You didn’t start out as a wolf man did you?”

“I was selfish. I was mean. I was everything a man should not be?”

“A politician.” said Beauty.

The Beast smiled, showing great white teeth. “No, not a politician. Anyway, to make a long story short, I was enchanted by a woman, a witch, I’d been dating. I’d been vain. I’d cheated on her. I lied to her in more than one way. She turned me into this.”

“I understand how bitter you are. Seriously, I went through something like that but then I accepted the fact that I was different. Just because you were a douch doesn’t mean you can’t change. It sounds to me like you have changed, at least a bit.”

“I have. Could you ever love me?”

“Seriously dude, I’m a Vampire. That’s why I left. I was glad to leave. I love my family and all but I don’t belong there. But I’m not sure I belong here either. The castle is nice and all but you know, this isn’t the Bachelor. I’m not waiting around for a rose from a guy I hardly know.”

“I get it. I’m sorry I was such a jerk. Tell your dad and sister that I’m sorry.”

And suddenly the room filled with magical sparks that didn’t burn and colored smoke, and when it cleared a good looking young man stood before Beauty.

“Wow, Beast. You’re hot. My only advice would be to stay cool. Be good. Keep your karma good.”

Beauty was suddenly hungry and sank her fangs into his arm. When she was done she kissed him, packed her bags, and left.

After a few minutes, she pulled over her car to the side of the road to send a text. “Papa. I’m ok. Don’t worry about the Beast. I’m taking off. Maybe to the beach. I’ll call you soon. xoxo.”

She didn’t know where the road leading out of the other side of the forest would lead, but she knew it couldn’t be as weird as where she had come from.

~ end

Tangled Tales

 

Thank you for reading this tangled tale. These stories are written on Sunday mornings while I drink my coffee, listen to the birds and my old calico cat purring. I never know what I will write about. Sometimes the stories I write are brilliant, sometimes not so much. If you write I encourage you to write every Sunday. It is sort of like going to church – a place where you can find your own inner whatever and find what is good, or funny, or just yours. I’m also listening to NPR. There is a great interview of Jack White talking about The Raconteurs. It has nothing to do with this story but it made me happy.

So read stories, write stories, listen to music, hug someone you love.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Nailed to the floor

We had seen her wearing a veil to cover a bruised face. We could smell blood where her skin has split open from his blows. We had seen her wince from cracked ribs that hid underneath a tightly laced corset.

On a winter night when I was small, my brothers Aaron, Val and I walked down a dark muddy street for no reason other than to get out of the house. I was six, Val was seven, Aaron was a mature eleven (almost twelve.)

At the time the Civil War was over, Lincoln had died, and Andrew Johnson was president. That year the first Civil Rights bill would be passed, the ASPCA was founded, and the James Gang committed their first train robbery.

Closer to home, both Mark Twain and Bret Harte were writing for the Sacramento Union Newspaper. Construction was everywhere due to flood control efforts. Reuben Clark, designer of the state capitol, died in the Stockton Insane Asylum. And three Vampire children saved a life.

We didn’t go out thinking we’d rescue someone. Our parents had gone to a fancy party. Even in those days, in the winter of 1866, there were parties put on by those in society.

One night, for a few hours we were no longer under the watch of our parents or two elder brothers. We were free to roam the streets as we wished.

We came upon a new house built in the Italianate style. We knew who lived here. It was the woman with the veil, who smelled of tears and blood.

Aaron lifted me to the window so I could see in. On the floor a woman was crouched. I could see the moonlight reflecting off of the silk of her dress. Folds and ribbons swirled around her. She moved her head and cried out for help in a small weak voice.

The back door was open. It was after midnight so not a soul was awake except the woman on the floor. Silently we made our way to the front of the house and found the room she was in.

Aaron grabbed a candelabra on a table and the candles lit. My brother showed early talents for creating fire out of nowhere. Not all Vampires can do that but family caries that trait. It comes in handy.

On the floor in a dress of burgundy and gold crouched a woman. She looked to be in her mid twenties. Her brown hair was still up in complicated curls set with ruby and pearl clips. She looked up at us with fearful eyes, then realized we were just children. Bruises were forming around her eyes. Then we looked down to her hands.

Her hands were nailed to the floor.

“My feet,” she whispered.

Aaron pushed her large skirts aside to see that her feet had also been nailed to the floor.

“My husband did this to me. Help me.”

Aaron started to pry away the nails. He told Val and I told help hold her so she wouldn’t fall. I remember getting blood on my hand. I couldn’t help but taste it. I was only six so the temptation was too much.

Aaron held her face in his hands and sent healing cold through. Then he asked, “Where is he? Where is your husband?”

“You are Samantha’s children. Your parents were at the party. They suspected. I should have…” she said, then trailed off, looking at us with tears running down her  face.

“Why did he do this to you?” That would be Val asking. He was only seven but I could feel the anger growing in him.

“I told him that I was going to leave him. He demanded to know if I had a lover. I told him no. Then…then he said he would never let me leave, and he nailed me to the floor.”

Aaron went upstairs to find the husband. Val stayed by the woman with his skinny little boy arm around her. I followed Aaron.

A man lay on the bed. His handsome face was calm without guilt or shame. Aaron blew a cold breath over him.

The man opened his eyes to find two children standing over him. We’d made our eyes go black and our fangs were out. He screamed and then we tasted blood.

No, of course we didn’t kill him. But he did go insane. Maybe because of us. Maybe not. His wife was able to get a divorce. She had the floor refinished and a few years later married a man who was filled with joy and happiness. He was a man who loved her rather than owned her.

Aaron watched her and looked out for her for the rest of her life. She lived until 1941. It was a long and happy life with her second husband and children. The scars on her hands and feet eventually faded, but her beauty and the joy she brought to the world did not.

Our parents never scolded us for our behavior. They were too appalled by what had been done to the young wife. They’d suspected something was wrong. A lot of people had suspected but had never reached out. It wasn’t polite. Plus we were Vampires so we were always cautious when dealing with people of the warm-blooded variety.

It is always easy to look the other way. That is the beauty of children is that they don’t. They look. Children LOOK and listen. They also learn from what they see – much more than any grown up can imagine. It is sad that so many people forget those feelings they had as children and the memories of an unexperienced mind.

I drove by that house yesterday. It had been beautifully restored. Looking through it in the rain made me think of cozy reading in a window seat. It also reminded me of that night and the young woman who’d been nailed to the floor.

There are all sorts of nails both physically and mentally that people use to hurt others.

I don’t know what else to say. She married my future husband’s younger uncle. We are still in touch with a few of their descendants. They’re cool about having Vampires in the family. We’re cool. No puns intended.

If you know someone who might be in an abusive relationship please reach out. Vampires are rare, so you can’t always count on us to be there to help.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Emily

 

 

 

___________________________

Jealousy is not a healthy or normal part of any relationship. A jealous partner isn’t doing out of love – he/she is doing it for control. I recommend “The Jealousy Game” by Mandy White, for all parents and teens and anyone (of any age) who might be at risk for staying in unhealthy relationships.

Yes, tell all of your human friends NOT to get involved with emotional vampires (for THEY are the evil ones).

The download is FREE on Amazon so that everyone who needs this book can have a copy. Share it please. CLICK HERE for the free download page.

It is also free on Smashwords and ALL OTHER online book sellers.
The Jealousy Game, an Ebook by Mandy White

www.smashwords.com

 

When in doubt wear a dress

“I’m not going to crawl under a building again. It is going to be a hundred degrees out today. That is bad enough if you’re a regular person but we’re Vampires. Remember? Aaron?”

I have four siblings – all male. I am the youngest of the brood. Aaron is smack in the middle.

When I arrived at his downtown law office I was greeted by Aaron and our brother Val (short for Valentine). Val is between Aaron and me. I’d brought my daughter Clara with me.

“Wear a dress,” I told her.

“Why?”, she had to ask. They always have to ask.

“So your Uncle Aaron won’t ask you to do anything. So he won’t ask you to crawl under a building or into an attic crawl space, or between a wall or into a sewer. You know how he is.”

When we were small, young Vampires in the American West, my brother’s had great fun sending their tiny little sister into small spaces. Be it a hole in a tree or a hole in the side of a building, in I’d go.

Consequently we ended up knowing everything about everyone in the growing city in which we lived. We also knew where all the creepers were, and we had a lot of scary fun tormenting them.

The Creepers, as we called them, were a type of, or more of a Vampire of a certain culture (not ours.) Shadow Creepers were Vampires who were content being ghouls who lurk in the shadows and get all overly happy about finding blood. They’re like those socially awkward kids or the intense annoying kids my daughter goes to school with. They aren’t what we call Modern Vampires. They’re disgusting.

And since they tended to be nasty but awkward we took it upon ourselves to annoy them.

While we slept in real houses and in real beds, the Shadow Creepers tended to search out basements, attics, crypts and holes in the riverbank or in the bottom of ;rage paddle boats. We’d search them out and start our childish torments.

One of our favorite activities would be to go into their lairs and make loud sucking noises. Shadow Creepers have such disgusting eating habits. When they’d wake we’d hiss and scream at them. Of course we’d do other things to them. Mean things. Then again, we knew most of them didn’t even have souls. Plus they’re the ones, in our opinion, who give Vampires a bad name.

Even now the few who remain hate us with a passion. Oh well. They could change, and some of them have, but most of them choose to be nasty horrible beings.

Oh, I forgot, and the absolutely worst is running into a Creeper I used to know back in another century. Ugh. Talk about uncomfortable.

Which takes us to present day when one of them shows up occasionally after being found asleep or awakened from a hundred year sleep.

Over the past few years I’ve been asked to go check them out. Aaron is an attorney so for some reason people come to him when they find these unsavory creatures.

I end up covered with dirt and in the face of some dried up husk of an animated corpse of a Vampire. No self-respecting Vampire would ever ever end up like that on purpose. Plus they always act like it is still the nineteenth century. Wake up assholes, that isn’t cute anymore. It doesn’t make you look smart or mysterious. It just makes you look stupid and creepy.

It is always an unpleasant experience finding Shadow Creepers and I’d just rather call a Vampire Hunter to take them out. You know, like when you call someone to get rid of the wasp next under your front porch.

My brothers were both in a good mood. They just wanted to go for lunch and to the art museum. Thank goodness. It was a lovely diversion. The dresses worked out just fine.

Wishing you all a week of pleasant diversions and remember your sun screen.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

First posted here in June 2015

An odd blog exchange.

So you wanna be a Vampire?  I get messages and questions along these lines from time to time. There is the weird SPAMMING guy, who I think is from England who claims to be a Vampire. I’ve blocked him with SPAM filters.
Then there are those random message exchanges like this one. 

 

Buck  June 17, 2019 at 12:20 pm
I m bor of mu life please convert me into vampire
Reply
Juliette KingsJune 17, 2019 at 12:30 pm
If you’re bored now you’ll still be bored as a Vampire. Unfortunately that is the way things are in the paranormal world.
Reply
BuckJune 17, 2019 at 10:05 pm
I seen every thing and my childhood wish is change into vampire I try to talk satan but its very difficult please help me
Reply
Juliette Kings  June 18, 2019 at 11:59 am
We’re not talking to Satan. As Vampires we don’t talk to anyone or let ourselves be ruled by anyone. We’re not demons. Sorry can’t help
Buck June 18, 2019 at 1:27 pm
As I know u know how to convert in vampire I wish please tell me
Reply
Buck June 18, 2019 at 1:29 pm
My life is like death please help me try to understand my choice please tell me how To convert in vampire I do anything
Juliette KingsJune 18, 2019 at 7:33 pm
Go to college. Get a degree. Meet a girl. Fall in love. Get a good job. Get a dog. You have to be in a good place before anyone will consider having you join the Vampire community.
Buck
I want all but as next life I like please tell me how my transform a vampire please please…
Juliette Kings
No
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That is where it ended. I suppose I should do my usual thing and talk about how happiness should come from within, and that if you ask here about Vampire conversion the answer will always be NO. But I’ll just leave it for today.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman