Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Halloween Countdown

 

Get out your flashlight and hide under your blanket!

What do you read to give yourself the scary creeps?

There are a lot of great horror authors out there. Below is my own personal suggested horror reading list. I’ve read all of these and would read any of them again. Most are available online or at your local bookstore.

You might have seen movie versions of some of these books. Please READ THE BOOK. For example, Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris will terrify you and you’ll find so much more in the book that was left out of the film.

Tales to Chill Your Bones To by Michael Haberfelner

A Feast Not So Fancy by Mandy White

Dysfictinal 3: Down the Psyco Path (Disfunctional Fiction) by Mandy White

The Feeder by Mandy White

THE by Nathan Tackett

Swan Song by Robert McCammon

Gone South by Robert McCammon

Perfume: A Story of a Murder by Patrick Susland

Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Frankenstein by Marry Shelley

Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

The Shining by Stephen King

Needful Things by Stephen King

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Turn of the Screw by Henry James

World War Z by Max Brooks

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Creepies: Twisted Tales from Beneath the Bed By WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants)

Creepies 2: Things That Go Bump In The Closet By WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants)

Creepies 3: Nightmares on Deviant Street By WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants)

Weirder Tales By WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants)

Feel free to leave your own scary/creepy/uncomfortable horror reading suggestions in the comments below.

The countdown to Halloween is ON. Happy Reading.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: Small Talk

Tangled Tales

Small Talk

The woman with the Mamie Eisenhower bangs and Cleopatra eye liner took a sip of sparkling wine and said, “I think they should all go to jail. Every single one of them.”

Max glanced over and smiled. Her high child-like voice made his head hurt. He knew she’d cultivated that sound for years. What the fuck was wrong with some people? She smiled back at him and winked.

Walking though the room he picked up bits and pieces of conversations. Always the charmer, he’d smile and blink his eyes one time in a way that would seduce the dead. Well, the living too. He smiled at his own joke.

Just two hours before he’d been with Mehitabel, his hands in her hair, his mouth on hers, her legs around…

“Max?”

He turned at the sound of his name.

“Max, so glad you could make it. You seemed deep in thought. Hope I didn’t disturb you.”

“You’d never disturb me Marc.” Max gave his old friend a one armed bro-hug.

“So when is the wedding?”

“I’m not sure. We’re still working on it.”

“Don’t take too my man long or she’ll run.”

It had been almost two years since Max asked Mehitabel to marry him. Then again why hurry? He’d been involved with her on and off for the past one hundred and forty nine years, since she was twenty and he was twenty one. A few more years wouldn’t make a difference.

Max spoke with Marc a bit more and moved on towards the bar. He glanced over to where Tim Peoples stood surrounded by an audience.

“Oh my god, Max,” said a woman, breaking herself away from Tim’s group. “How are you?” She kissed him on the cheek. He gave her a hug and a dazzling Max smile.

“Great. How are you Lydia?” He hoped it was Lydia. It could have been Linda.

“Good. How about this house? Fantastic isn’t it.”

“Beautiful,” said Max. “I need to find out who their interior designer is.” He couldn’t believe those words just came out of his mouth.

“If I find out I’ll let you know,” said Lydia, then she squeezed his arm and moved on.

“Max,” Tim called out. “Come over here.”

Max cringed inside but smiled. “Hey, Tim. Good to see you.”

Tim leaned inclose to Max, “Check out the ass on that one,” he said as he pointed out a woman in a tight green dress. “That is my goal for tonight. Hey, did you hear about my new car?” Tim showed a picture on his smart phone to Max.  “Eighty Thousand dollars worth of pure testosterone. What are you driving these days? Still wasting your time in that truck?”

Max’s friend Jayne took his arm. “Sorry Tim, I have to borrow Max for a bit.” She led Max away from the group. “Women used to find Tim attractive but not much anymore.”

“Being a douche takes the finish right off of those rose colored goggles,” said Max.

“Indeed it does. Where’s my girl tonight?”

“Mehitable? Um, she’ll might be here in a bit. She said she had a few things to take care of first.”

“She hates these things.”

“So do I.”

“Why’d you come then?”

“Had to. It was expected. If I didn’t show it would be noticed.”

Jayne shrugged. So far she was the only other Vampire there. Later there might be more. Max hoped there would be more. He hated events where he couldn’t be himself. Being charming was never a problem, it just wasn’t always enjoyable.

At the bar Max got a Martini that was all gin and an olive. Jayne ordered a Bloody Mary with an extra shot of vodka.

The two old friends scanned the room.

“So what do you think?” Max asked. “You hungry?”

“What? Dinner?”

“Sure. Dinner. I don’t think Mehitabel is going to show. We have to eat somewhere.”

“Let’s go somewhere else,” said Jayne. “The menu here is kind of boring.”

“Indeed it is,” said Max, downing his drink. “Let’s go.”

Jayne smiled and took his arm, as they went out into the night and away from a night of endless small talk.

~ end

 

 

 

Burning Question #60: Ghostly Matters

Wow it is already time for another Burning Question AND it is almost Halloween.

Halloween is also known as The Day of the Dead. Ghosts are dead. You know where this is going.

I’ve written A LOT about ghosts on this blog. Do a search. You’ll find everything you ever wanted to know about Ghosts and then some… except the answer to today’s BURNING QUESTION.

Burning Question #60: Do Ghosts Celebrate Halloween?

 

TWEENKIE GHOSTIES FOR HALLOWEENIE! ONLY EAT IF YOU DARE! BOOOOOOO

 

And speaking of Ghosts. I’ve been wondering where Nigel the Ghost has gotten himself off to lately. I know he is still lurking around somewhere.

I’ll go look for Nigel and YOU go answer the poll and please feel free leave a comment, suggestion, joke, musing or whatever. Let’s have a haunting good time.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Walking in the Dark

“Don’t walk in front of me — I may not follow; don’t walk behind — I may not lead; walk beside me and just be my friend.” ~ Camus

We’ve lost two friends this week, and one a few weeks ago. A young friend, one of my daughter’s best friends, has been in intensive care. Sometimes it is hard to wrap one’s heart and mind around it all. But I do. We all do. That is what we do. We love. We just love.

Tonight a coyote tried to eat my cat Oscar. I think he’ll be ok. The cat that is. I don’t know what happened to the coyote. I hope the cat bit and scratched the crap out of it. The other cat and the dog are giving him his space. He is sleeping in my daughter’s room.

She moved out two weeks ago for college. I miss her so much. She’s doing great. I’m so happy for her.

I’ll take Oscar the cat to the vet tomorrow if he is still in distress. His leg seems bruised. No blood.

I am grateful for my friendships online and off. Paranormal and not.

The air tonight is cool and comforting. I’m ready for fall. The leaves die, but for some reason I can’t explain fall always seems like a new beginning. Maybe it is because Halloween is near. Maybe it is because my birthday is in October. Maybe it is because I’m always super excited about planting fall bulbs which will bloom in the spring.

Bulbs are tiny packages of beauty and joy.

I’m trying to find more things that might be packages of joy. There are many.

So, I will get back to my book… finally. I met another writer this week and will be featuring his books in a few months on my Monday book post.

As for my books…there are ghosts, and reapers, and all kinds of demons and others who live in the shadows, corners, and even out in the open.

I’m also writing about parents, relationships, and adult kids. Cats and dogs too.

As always, I’ll leave you with thoughts of everything that is possible, things that go bump in the night (Halloween will be here soon) and love. Yes, it all comes together sooner or later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Marla Todd _ Oscar Gray

This is Oscar. I love this cat so much.

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Spirit

Articles abound about how schools stifle creativity by forcing children to conform to certain ways of thinking and doing things. Fortunately that isn’t always true.

Unfortunately what happens when kids get out of school, either high school, or college is devastating.

Doors are slammed in the faces of those who put themselves out there into the world where all things are subjective. The real world, especially the workplace, is set up to stifle creative thinking, the individual, and anyone with new ideas. Employees are hired for their creativity and drive, then that creative is beaten out of them, only to be replaced with the acceptable mediocracy of the prevailing management.

We’ve all seen how our government works with old men asking fear filled questions about the dangers of social media and other subjects they will not even attempt to understand. They are the same people who cut off funds for our arts and sciences because they do not trust what they do not understand. Unfortunately they do not want to understand – that would mean opening their eyes to new and different ideas. That would mean letting go of ignorance and opening up their minds and maybe even their hearts.

Friends and relatives can be the worst at killing the creative spirit in a child or young adult. They all have loud and negative opinions about hopes and dreams of the young people they know. They say things like, “only communists and socialists get Political Science degrees,” or “you can’t make a living as an artist (or a historian, a marine biologist, a fashion designer, a musician, a bed and breakfast owner, a baker, a vintage motorcycle mechanic, a poet, a writer, an art historian, a speciality crop farmer, or anything else where someone has new ideas, or ideas on making old ideas better.)

Dreams are easy to kill, especially in those who have had doors slammed in their faces  time after time after time. Even if you go around back there isn’t always another door or even a window to crawl into.

Don’t tell a young person that they are a failure before they have even tried.

I feel that individual sports and activities such as music and acting can help prepare a child for the negativity and judgments of adult life.

For example, my daughter roller skates. That is Artistic Roller Skating. It is like figure skating on ice, except on roller skates. When the skaters do their events, be it Figures, Team Dance, Solo Dance, or Freestyle, they are out there on the floor alone. They skate in front of a panel of judges. The skaters have specific requirements, but they are all judged individually on their own merits. That is a tough lesson for kids, and a good one. My daughter skated for years without winning. Finally she did win Gold at the National Championships – Twice. She got Bronze once. She also went to the National Championships and didn’t win. But she went. She went out of love for her sport. She did it because she wanted to do her personal best.

We should all strive to do our personal best even if there is no Gold Medal at the end. Even if there is no cash reward. Even if there is no fame.

Creativity in any endeavor is an act of love. Don’t stifle that love in the young people you know.

I have been writing this odd little blog since 2012. I haven’t received a MacArthur Fellowship. I haven’t received a penny off of my efforts. I has not made me famous (maybe a little bit.) But I continue to write this blog anyway. My thoughts on parenting, Vlad, Eleora and Tellias, Nigel the Ghost, and the rest of it are all stories that must be told. It is mine. I encourage you all to find what is YOURS and hold it close and keep doing whatever it is that makes you happy and creative.

Today the 2019 MacArthur Fellows were announced. Sometime this is know as the MacArthur Genius Grants.

Twenty six people from a variety of fields were awarded a $625,000 stipend that they can do whatever they want with.

From the foundations president John Palfrey: From addressing the consequences of climate change to furthering our understanding of human behavior to fusing forms of artistic expression, this year’s 26 extraordinary MacArthur Fellows demonstrate the power of individual creativity to reframe old problems, spur reflection, create new knowledge, and better the world for everyone. They give us reason for hope, and they inspire us all to follow our own creative instincts.”

They give us reason for hope, and they inspire us all to follow our own creative instincts.

I was so happy to see one of my favorite artist Lynda Barry on the list. I love her work so much.  Lynda Barry, 63, graphic novelist, cartoonist and educator
“Inspiring creative engagement through original graphic works and a teaching practice centered on the role of image making in communication.”

For years I had her Poodle With A Mohawk poster on my wall. I still have the poster. I’m going to put it back up.

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Congratulations to all of the recipients and to your creative spirit, and thank you for inspiring generations now and in the future.

So now, your assignment for today is:

  1. Encourage.
  2. Inspire.
  3. Support.
  4. Discuss.
  5. Hug.
  6. Read.
  7. Learn.
  8. Love.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Fall

Dear Diary,

Autumn is attempting to come to this hot dry place in which I live. A few trees have started to show off their golden and red leaves. The other leaves just fall because they are dead. Now I must rake them into a pile and put them in what is called a green waste can even if they are brown. My neighbors use machines called leaf blowers. I have one of those as well. I turn mine on when I leave home and put it on my back deck so that I will not have intruders.

As a Vampire I should not be concerned with the colors of the day but one can not live only in the dark. One must be on watch all hours of the day. No Vampire who lives more than the natural life span of a man sleeps soundly or deeply.

Even in the colder of weather, even if it rained, even if a glacier rumbled slowly down the street which I live on, men here would wear short pants and show off their hairy legs.

I have asked women if they find these shorts appealing. I am answered with odd stares and rolled eyes. I will assume that they are saying no. Still I do not understand. Why would a man wear a shirt, a sweatshirt, a jacket, a hat, wool socks, hiking boots, and short pants? Are red hairy knees thought to be attractive? I think not. Even though my legs are perfect I will not wear short pants when the weather turns cold.

I asked my Vampire lover Gillian about this. She told me that not everything is tied to one’s vanity. I have no idea what she meant by that. I have learned that it is better not to ask.

That is the world in which I, once the King of Vampires, exists.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Gillian said I should stop talking about shorts.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

After being locked in a crypt for three hundred years I find myself behind on cultural traditions of the Twenty First Century.

Today if the first day of the harvest season.

When I was King of the Vampires, and lived in a great castle on a hill surrounded by forest and farmland, there were great celebrations on this first day of the season.

As King of Vampires it was my job to make sure that all, not just Vampires were happy. After all I was proud that my kingdom was the Farm-to-Fang Capitol of the world.

Mind you, some Vampire Lords would exploit their populations with displays of spewing blood and tearing of flesh. I found that distasteful. Rather I found if my population was happy then I would be well fed and happy. It is common sense. Unfortunately, as it is also today, many leaders do not have common sense.

Each year a grand harvest festival would take place. During the day parades with men made of straw, wagons full of grain and root crops, and children dressed up with tall pointed hats the color of the gold and amber leaves. Even the Witches would come out to bless the harvest and keep the evil spirits away. Being the benevolent King that I was, I would allow all, including Witches and even Werewolves to show themselves at this time. Every door would have a wreath made of ribbons and wheat. Red ribbons meant that Vampires were welcome to come and partake of blood.

Warm blooded would curl their beards in wild patterns and attempt to outdo each other. Most Vampires had no beards, so they would curl their hair. I did not curl my golden locks, rather I would remain as I always was, a stunning example of male beauty and power.

The parties and feasts would last for days. At my castle we would have fresh blood, and watch as the men of straw were burned in great bonfires. There would be no executions at this time, only the burning of straw and wood.

Today I made a wreath out of wheat and ribbons. Since I no longer am king, and I no longer have farmland, I had to obtain my wreath materials from a craft store.

I discovered that a craft store is the domain of females. The other shoppers and store clerks watched in as I looked for supplies. I could hear them whispering and skittling around the isles of the store to get a look at me.

“He is so cute,” I’d hear them say, thinking I could not hear. I am a Vampire so I hear nearly everything. I do not know what they mean by cute. Kittens and puppies are cute. Hamsters are cute. I do not look like a hamster. Some they thought I was hot. I wondered if I looked as if I was ill. I had no fever.

I left with a glue gun, 100 sticks of glue, five wreath forms, wheat stalks, ribbon in black, orange, yellow, gold, red, and green. I also had an unpainted nutcracker, fabric for a scare crow face, a straw hat, buttons, 30 colors of acrylic paint, paint brushes, fabric paint, glitter, a book on how to knit, knitting needles, black wool yarn, fuzzy red yarn, a sketch pad, twenty quills and ink, a measuring tape, a pack of needles, five colors of thread, a bag of plastic dinosaurs, a bag of sea shells, calligraphy pens, and a six foot tall plastic skeleton. I will go back before Halloween for more items.

At home I made a grand wreath of ribbons and wheat. I hung it on my front door. Then I made a man of straw and put him in my yard underneath an oak tree.

Two of my female neighbors walked by. They said the man of straw was cute. Then they said I was cute for making the man of straw. I do not understand. How can the man of straw be cute when I am cute. I do not understand this word cute.

I was not wearing short pants, but jeans. I was wearing what is commonly called a tee shirt. It was black and stretched over my body like a second skin.

As the women walked on one mentioned my six pack. I do not recall having beer in my front yard for them to see. Another said I must work out a lot. Sometimes I do work outside but not often because I am a Vampire and I do not like the bright sun.

My two cats rolled in the morning sun making meowing noises for me to rub their bellies. I rubbed their bellies. I like the cats. They understand me for they are also hunters. I sometimes understand cats, in a world in which I seem to understand so little.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

My love Vampire love Gillian said to me, “Do people who sell their souls become demons who come back centuries later and become politicians? Asking for a friend.”

“Who is this friend?” I asked.

She rolled her eyes as she often does.

“Tell your friend that I believe the answer is yes,” I told her.

Then she kissed me and started to unbutton my shirt. “I’m going to enjoy that six pack you told me about yesterday.”

“I did not know you like beer,” I said.

Then she laughed. I was confused. Then she kissed me again. That is something I always understand.

~ Vlad

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

 

 

 

This has been the 52nd installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To read from the beginning CLICK HERE.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman