Short Story Sunday: Fall Garden

 

So I’m digging away, trying to put in some sort of flower beds in my rocky garden. It is foggy. It is cold. And I am not amused. That is what happens when you live in a house built on gold mine tailings. Rocks. Nothing but river rocks coated in a tiny bit of dirt and a shit load of weed seeds.

I’ve got the pick ax out, and I’m jamming the shovel in a hole, with the cold nose of a ninety pound German Shepard in my face, when I FINALLY get the last rock loose before I can plant a small dwarf lime tree. The dog goes nuts. I push her away and pull out the rock.

It isn’t a rock.

It is a skull.

A human skull.

Shit.

My son comes out with a fresh cup of coffee for me (did I mention it was cold.) He looked at the skull and then calls up to the house.

“Hey Dad, she found another one.” Then he turns to me. “This one is small. Man, woman, or child?”

I toss the skull in my garden gloved hands. “It might be a woman but you never know.”

“Want me to put it with the others?”

“Sure,” I said, handing the skull to my sweet teenager.

I could hear him in the side yard opening the 50 gallon Rubbermaid storage container, and dropping in the skull.

He came back to me after about a minute. “Hey Mom, the container is almost full.”

I took a deep breath. “That’s a lot of skulls.”

He gave me an uncomfortable look. “It sure is. Who do you think they are?”

I put my arm around his waist and gave him a hug. “I have no idea. But thanks for the coffee sweetie. Let’s go in. I think I’m done out here today.”

 

~ End

 

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

Vampire Diary: Fortunes and Cookies

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Dear Diary,

The rain has started again. Even Vampires are unable to see through the windshield of an automobile when it is raining.

My old friend Randolpho came over to help me put new wiper blades onto my car. He was wearing his tall hat. I told him that it is not the fashion now. He said it was always the fashion because he, as a Vampire, made the fashion. Then he said something about someone called Slash who also wore a tall hat. Who is named Slash? I asked if he was a serial killer or an actor in horror movies. Randolpho said Slash was a killer guitarist. I asked if this Slash person was in prison. Randolpho looked at me in a confused manner and stopped talking. I did not pursue the line of conversation any longer.

I can now drive in the rain and see the road.

I think of guitarists and wonder how many are killers. I asked Randolpho about it. He said there was a band of musicians called The Killers but they do not kill. He said he thought at least one of them might be of the Mormon faith and from Las Vegas. He said The Killers were one of his favorite bands. He said a lot of great bands are from Las Vegas. He said so was Wayne Newton but he did not like the way Mr. Newton sounded like a girl. I had never heard of this Wayne Newton. I did not ask any other questions on the chance my head would explode.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

After being trapped in a crypt for three hundred years I still have much catching up to do. I often have the expectations that everything has changed. Unfortunately I must report that some attitudes and barbaric practices still exist. How superior “Modern” society thinks it is when in fact it is not. I do not understand why.

There is only one young woman living on my street as my neighbor. There were two others who have gone away to study at universities. The one left, with the name of Kylee, is going to a place of higher learning a few miles away. I am impressed that young women are now going to such places of great thinking to learn to be leaders.

I tell them all to watch out for men who would prey upon them. As a Vampire it is my duty to protect those in my life I care for. I find my heart has started to beat a few times when I think of the way my neighbors watch for me. I do not ask them to, but they happily inquire about my well being. These people offer to help me with tasks with no expectation of payment. I do not understand.

I do not understand how my heart, so hard and strong, has become like that of … I do not know. I cannot explain how I feel almost warm-blooded.

I am a Vampire King. I have led armies. I have ruled an empire of the undead. I have been just and cruel showing swift justice to those who have crossed me, and my people. And even though some call me cute, I have been feared. I have ordered heads be put on poles outside of my castle. I have watched Vampires feast as blood dripped from their chins while I laughed. Yes, I have been feared. I have made hearts stop and souls grow cold.

Yet, here in this world in which I now live, my neighbor, a woman named Liz, asked me to feed and pet her cat while she is gone for the weekend. Liz once asked me to watch her children for a few hours when she took her husband to the hospital. The children were small, a feast for some less cultured Vampires, but I watched them. The baby was not yet walking but crawled in my lap and laughed and drooled. The older child, a small boy of about six years showed me how he could draw a cat. It was, dare I say, cute.

I told him stories about the animals of the forests near where I lived as a child. There was a great bear who would eat men who came to kill for sport. He would only let those who killed for food go home to their families. There were birds who would talk and tell the secrets of all, and whisper them to the bats, who in turn would whisper them into the ears of sleeping humans, who would then wake in confusion with a sense of unknown betrayal. I told him of the beautiful hawk I hunted with. I told him of my horses, but not of the battles. This child is one who would one day make a good Vampire but I did not tell him that. After he had gone to sleep I showed the baby my fangs. She laughed. I also laughed. I knew she would keep it our secret.

I feel warm. That troubles me, but it is not altogether bad. I must go feed the cat now. Her name is Daisy. Like the flower, only she is a cat.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Tonight I was out at one of my favorite night spots, a small old local bar where people of all ages sit at dark wooden tables, and at a long bar, and talk while sipping drinks and listening to Irish Punk music (yes, I do know what that is. I am not that much in the dark about current culture.)

A few young women who frequent there like to give out cookies. I do not eat cookies. I am a Vampire. Then I thought of the singer Randolpho told me about. There were cookies made of figs called Newtons. I wondered if the singer who sounded like a girl ate fig cookies. I wondered if he wandered the Nevada desert like Moses of the Bible because figs are biblical. Then I had another glass of wine to ease the pounding in my head. I wanted blood but I would have to wait.

But tonight the young women, they tell me that these cookies they have are called fortune cookies. I told them that I did not understand. Where they like tea leaves that one could read the crumbs of such cookies to tell the future. They laughed and then one of the women cracked a hard oddly shaped cookie in half. Inside was a small slip of paper with the words You have a charming way with words and should write a book.

That was not a fortune. It was advice. A fortune would say something like tonight you die a slow and painful death.

Another cookie had a note in it with the words You may lose the small ones but win the big ones. I do not understand which ones they are referring to. I did not ask.

The women gave me another fortune cookie. I cracked it open and found the small slip of paper, and it read Boy chased girl around church and catch him by organ. The women all laughed. I did not understand. One said it was one of the dirty fortune cookies. They all laughed again. I still did not understand.

“Why would one want to eat a dirty cookie. Do you not like your food to be clean?” I asked.

They all laughed and said I was too cute. I do not understand. How can I be cute, much less too cute? Kittens are cute. Babies are cute. I am at a loss. The language of women is confusing. I will never understand.

I gave the women the cookies to eat. I went home with one and drank her blood. I left her sleeping with a smile on her face. We only talked. That is what she wanted. She is in love with a young man. I will make sure he falls in love with her. I am a Vampire. I can do that. The next morning I had flowers sent to her. What is happening to me? I, Vlad the Vampire King sent flowers.

Maybe I should write a book.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I started to read a new book. A friend recommended it. She is a Vampire as well. The book is odd but I like it. It is about science and fiction. I like this Science Fiction. It could be real, but maybe not. That sense of the unknown has a certain thrill to it. The drawing of the woman on the cover is beautiful. She reminds me of my sister. I will send her a copy. My sister is a Vampire but she would like space travel.

Strange Adventures in a Deviant Universe

My love Gillian came to me and told me to put down my book. She put her hands on my shoulders and gently carressed them. Then she walked around in front of me and gently kissed my lips. She tasted like fresh blood and cinnimon. She asked what I was reading. I told her I was in the middle of an amusing story called Hollow Heads.

She curled next to me and I read it to her. She laughed and said she wanted me to read more to her, but later… Then we made love as only Vampires can. That had nothing to do with the story we’d read. It is just what we do when we are together.

As we lay in bed, our bodies entwined, Gillian asked me if I believed there were others out in space. I glanced out the window at the moonless sky. I gently kissed her and took her hand, holding it close to my chest.

“I wonder,” I said, “if there are lovers out beyond the stars we can see tonight, asking the same question. There has to be. If I can wake after three hundred years into a world such as this, then there have to be other worlds out beyond our imagination. It would be sad to think that we were so alone, like someone locked in a crypt, withtout hope of a friend who would someday come by and break the seal.”

Gillian whispered, “I love you Vlad,” and kissed my neck, gently scraping her fangs over my skin, then moved her lips to mine.

Yes, I was on Earth, but she transported me to the stars once more, as she always does.

~ Vlad

Kissed by a Vampire

CLICK here to get YOUR copy of Strange Adventures in A Deviant Universe. Available in electronic or paperback versions.  Recommended by Vampires, and Science Fiction fans of all kinds.

 

 

 

 

 

It isn’t all about the blood. Parenting and Vampires.

It isn’t all about the blood. I’m not a food blogger.

I do blog about parenting and Vampires. That is exactly what I do.

I explain the basics in my “about me” page. Click here to read it.

Why it works. Vampires and Parenting. Because I’m both. You might be both. You might not be either. But I have learned from my years on earth, and learned from my mistakes, and from making deliberate decisions about how I raised my children.

Being a parent, of any kind, required attention. It requires ALL of one’s attention. It requires thought. It requires compassion. It requires courage. It definitely requires humor.  The same goes with being a Vampire.

I don’t read parenting books. Most are smug perfect self-serving. I never use the term “mommy blogger.” Just put a wooden stake through my heart. Seriously, there are some good books, and funny books about parenting. Just be careful. There is a lot of crap out there. It is better to find a blogger you can relate to (not just me, there are plenty of other great parenting bloggers out there.)

Parenting books assume that we all live in some flavorless world where all rules apply to all children and all parents. Every child is different. Every family is different. We can relate through Werewolves, Zombies, Ghosts, and Selkies. Each has their own set of issues they have to deal with. Each parent has their own set of issues to deal with – believe me, things get real when you have children, but it isn’t as if they weren’t already real, and difficult, and challenging.

What IS the same is the need for a kid is to be loved and understood. Talk to your children, even about uncomfortable things like sex, drugs, and being an asshole. Talk to them about school and their friends. Don’t take a grunt for an answer. Let me repeat that: DO NOT TAKE A GRUNT or a one word answer. Engage your child and make them talk to you. Start early, but if you didn’t it is never too late to start (even if your child is an adult.)

It doesn’t have to be all serious. It is your moral obligation to bring humor into your child’s life. That includes the worst puns and word play you can come up with – as if your life depended on it. It makes you fast. Fast is good.

And about that blood… I can tell you where the sales are. But sometimes it is really nice to go out to eat. Even a kid will tell you that. As Vampires we have to teach our children how to be responsible when it comes to obtaining blood. We teach them to respect and protect their donors. We teach them discretion. And no, I’m not spilling the beans on this in such a public forum and going into lurid details.

Being a Vampire isn’t all about blood and converting other people into Vampires. Well, no it isn’t but it is a huge part of who we are.

Converting someone, changing them, switching them over, or whatever you want to call it, isn’t something to be taken lightly. It isn’t like religion where you have an option to have a change of heart later. It isn’t like a superficial body modification like a tattoo or hair style. It isn’t a lifestyle. It is a drastic physiological change. Only about 10% of people who undergo the conversion are going to die – right away. Of course that depends on who  is converting and who is being converted. My track record is 100% and I’ve never lost a soul (literally lost someone’s soul and ended up with one of those dark soulless beings that none of us like to be around.) I don’t do this unless I’m 100% sure, and even then, not  very often.

Bringing a new Vampire into the world carries with it a tremendous responsibility that must be taken seriously by all of our kind.

And if the one who turned you into a Vampire is a dick that doesn’t mean that you have to be a dick. Break the cycle. Remove the dicks from your life. The same goes for parents: you don’t have to be around dicks or expose your kids to dicks. There is no place for them in your life.

Ask yourself:

Why do I want to convert this person? Is it for personal gain? Will they be good at it. Do they want it? Are they an asshole? Will they freak out? Do they understand what they are going to risk? Do they understand what they will gain. Do they understand what they will lose?

What does that have to do with being a parent?

Bringing a child into the world is also a tremendous responsibility that unfortunately many “parents” take lightly. Maybe lightly is the wrong word. They bring a child into the world with no thoughts whatsoever about how they’ll raise it. Not a thought. You have seven or eight months to think about it before the big day comes. You’d better get busy.

Having a child is never an accident (yes, there are those rare cases but that is RARE.) Yes, one can become pregnant by not using birth control (a choice.) One can keep a child they have no love for (a choice.) There is always a choice. Do I sound harsh? Of course I do. I am harsh. We’re talking about a new child and a life here, who doesn’t deserve to be an afterthought, or worse. So buck it up cupcake and be an adult and be a real parent. That goes for fathers too. Don’t be a dick – be a dad.

Your parenting style is up to you, not a book. It isn’t up to me. I just ask that you take it seriously. You have the life of another person in your hands. Take it seriously.

Learn from your mistakes. Teach your kids so they won’t make the same mistakes you did. It is ok to break a cycle of disfunction.

If you want to be a parent look to people who have great kids. Don’t take advice from people who have rotten kids or people who constantly complain about their kids. This aren’t the good parents.

Yes, I’m feeling harsh. In a world where politicians are saying it is ok for men to molest teenagers, harassed and rape, and all the while claim that they are religious. Yes, the Church of Assholes is alive and well.

I’m proud to say that my husband, the father of my children, refuses to watch any movie directed by Roman Polanski or Woody Allen. This isn’t anything new. If you want to protect your children teach them about people who have no respect for children or anyone else. Warn them that predators aren’t always things that lurk in the deep dark woods, or under floor boards. They might not drink your blood but they sure as hell will try to steal your innocence and your soul.

Talk with your kids. Not to them, but with them. And listen to them. Don’t judge until you’ve listened. Don’t judge them – period. Even Vampires don’t do that.

Love your children unconditionally. Protect them. Teach them. Hug them. Be present. Be THERE.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

mother daughter discovery

 

pepper2017

NanoPoblano 2017 #NanoPoblano #NanoPoblano2017

 

 

 

Useful Links (and I’m not just talking sausages)

25 Useful Links (and I’m not talking sausage)

  1. Do you want to suggest someone for a TED Talk or even suggest yourself? Click Here.
  2. Do you want to donate blood? Click Here.
  3. Do you like to read a fun Vampire Paranormal Romance Series? Click Here.
  4. Would you like to read a super cool Vampire series? Click Here.
  5. Do you want to read some GREAT NEW SCIENCE FICTION? Click Here.
  6. Do you want to find a great place to stay on your next road trip? Click Here.
  7. Do you want to visit or learn about a National Park? Click Here.
  8. Do you need a festive silver-plate serving pieces for the holidays? Click Here.
  9. Do you want to learn about a great art museum? Click Here.
  10. Do you need to identify a silver pattern? Click Here.
  11. Do you want to hear a song? Click Here.
  12. Do you want to learn about Bram Stoker? Click Here.
  13. Do you want to learn about corny Vampire films? Click Here.
  14. Do you want to read articles about writing? Click Here.
  15. Do you want a great easy cookie recipe? Click Here. 
  16. Do you want to read Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing? Click Here.
  17. Do you want to hear another song? Click Here.
  18. Do you want to learn how to knit? Click Here.
  19. Do you want to learn about Fun Goth Style? Click Here.
  20. Do you want to visit Florence, Italy? Click Here.
  21. Do you want to see a Teleporting Fat Guy? Click Here.
  22. Do you want to learn about classic movies and theater? Click Here.
  23. Do you want to read a sort-of-love story? Click Here.
  24. Do you want to read about a journey with a cat, a dog fight, and Vampires? Click Here.
  25. Do you want to learn how to make sausages? Click Here.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

oscar_artistic copy

 

pepper2017

#NanoPoblano

 

Short Story Sunday: A Ray of Hope (a Thanksgiving Story)

Thanksgiving is in Tahoe this year. My husband Justin’s family has a large beach front cabin. It is a 5,000 square foot cabin and two other smaller A frames within walking distance. Yes, they’re insanely rich, at least to me. They’re also incredible loving and giving and have taken me into their family as one of their own.

My mom left when I was five, taking my twin baby brother and sister with her. Dad said she said she was bored with her life. Bored with my dad and bored with me. I only saw her once after that. She’d poisoned the minds of my siblings by telling them that my dad was abusive. Her new husband gladly went along and encouraged it. My brother is now a successful motivational speaker. My sister is a teacher. I don’t talk to them. They don’t want to talk to me, but they like to talk about me, or somebody they say is me. I don’t care anymore.

When I was growing up Thanksgiving were small, like my grandparent’s two bedroom house – Just my dad, Grandpa and Grammy, and Uncle Ray. We’d gather around the kitchen table in Grammy’s kitchen and have a feast on old chairs covered with yellow vinyl. The table would be covered with turkey, green bean casserole, jellied cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with little marshmallows browned on top. Everything except the turkey came out of a can except the wine. The wine was from a box with ice cubes. It was great.

Uncle Ray lived with Grandpa and Grammy. He believed that at the age of 15 he was abducted by aliens and taken for a blinding fast tour of the universe and Planet X. Ray believed that Jesus was protecting bigfoot, unicorns and other rarely seen creatures so that when mankind finally killed itself off that those were the creatures who would rule the earth. A great gray wolf would lead dwarves and elves out from their underground kingdoms to live in peace. Aliens from space would set up trade routes to earth and help the new found order prosper.

Despite his weirdness Uncle Ray was accepted into UC Berkley and managed to obtain a degree in Political Science. With his knowledge of politics he began working on his plan for a new world order he’d build along with Jesus and the Bigfoots and elves.

Yes, Uncle Ray was nuts but I adored him. My dad protected him. My grandparents accepted him. The university where he occasionally taught a course tolerated him. He never married so I was the only child there for the holidays.

At night a few hours after pie and watching “Meet Me in St. Louis”, Ray and I would go outside. He’d grab a turkey leg and I’d take a wing. We’d munch on our turkey while Ray pointed out constellations and tell me about his time with the aliens and his love for Jesus.

Ray would always take my hand and solemnly tell me, “Jenna, what I’m telling you is real. I’m not crazy.” Then we’d go inside and have turkey races with some funky wind-up toys my Grandpa got for us. We’d laugh until our sides hurt.

My grandparents and Ray are gone now. Grandpa died in his sleep the year I graduated from college. Grammy had a stroke a few months later while at a prayer group. Three years ago Ray went hiking in Death Valley one spring and vanished. The rangers found his backpack, hiking boots and an empty water bottle. There was a note that said, “Tell Jenna that I love her.”

I still have the note.

Thanksgiving with my family was never fancy or exciting but I knew I was loved.

Right after I graduated away from college my dad remarried. I met my husband Justin and Thanksgiving dishes no longer involved food from cans or vinyl chairs.

This year dad and his wife Gracie went to Montana to visit friends for Thanksgiving. I knew I’d miss them but wished them a good time.

As Justin and I drove up into the mountains I thought about Ray as I looked out the car at the forests. Over the river and through the woods… When I was 16 Ray and I would drive up to the mountains to see the stars. I’d drive. He never learned how. In the cool summer nights we’d stand in a clearing at 8,000 feet and watch the endless show of zillions of stars and watch for shooting stars and satellites. Ray would tell me about the aliens who’d be back to get him. He’d tell me about how the ancient Greeks would navigate ships and come to America to visit. He’d tell me about planets that were inhabited by people so beautiful that our eyes would explode if we looked at them. He’d tell me that he’d been in love with a girl once and kissed her under the stars but she killed herself. He said he’d see her again. The aliens said they had taken her just before her soul was lost. Uncle Ray said to never be sad. He also told me over and over that he wasn’t crazy.

“What are the thinking about?” Justin startled me out of my reverie.

“My Uncle Ray. I miss him.”

Justin put his hand on mine. “I know honey, I know.”

Thanksgiving was spectacular. The food was amazing, the company was wonderful, the day was perfect. I’m blessed to be married into such a great family.

A few hours after dinner, after football and a lot of other fun, I took Justin by the hand and led him to the kitchen. I got myself a smoked turkey wing and gave Justin a leg, then poured two glasses of wine, minus the ice cubes and took him outside to watch the stars.

We talked about what fun we’d had that day. Then we talked about starting our own family, maybe trying to start that week.

A fireball sailed across the sky. I couldn’t figure out what it was. Maybe a meteorite?

Justin held my hand and said, “It’s your Uncle Ray.”

I think it was.

 

~ End

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

desert

News From Outer Space

Strange Adventures in a Deviant Universe

Now available on Amazon for Download

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Coming soon… Strange Adventures in a Deviant Universe – WPAD Science Fiction.

Also NOW AVAILABLE from WPaD…

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We are Writers, Poets and Deviants, AKA WPaD.

We are an independent publishing group made up of writers who collaborate on thematic anthologies to raise funds for MS research.

We meet on the internet to share ideas and challenge ourselves to write in different genres. The stories and poetry we compose are compiled into books, which are sold to help raise funds in support of group members who live with MS.

To date, WPaD has published eight books, with a ninth already in progress.

Books by WPaD:

Deviant Universe (science fiction ~ published in 2017)
Creepies 2 (horror ~ published in 2015)
Goin’ Extinct (apocalyptic ~ published in 2014)

Tinsel Tales (holiday ~ published in 2013)
Dragons and Dreams (fantasy ~ published in 2013)
Passion’s Prisms (romance ~ published in 2013)
Creepies (horror ~ published in 2012)
Nocturnal Desires (erotica ~ published in 2012)

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#NanoPoblano, #ScienceFiction, #WPaD

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman