The Quiet Beauty of San Miniato al Monte

Last week, it seems like yesterday, and it seems like a hundred years ago, I was at San Miniato al Monte monastery and cemetery in Florence, Italy.

The church was built in the year 1018 with no power tools, and workers who no doubt couldn’t even write their own names. It is beauty from a dark time.

It was an unexpected, moving, and beautiful find.

We (my husband, children and I) expected to find an old monastery at the highest point in Florence. We did not expect to find the huge cemetery surrounding it.

There was not enough time to spend there. I could have spent a week looking at the hundreds of touching statues that spoke of memories, but there by those who loved and those who lost their hearts. So many dates were from the 1940’s. So many were children.

The ghosts lurked far from us, watching us walk through the rain. More than anything we could feel the love and the loss. It is a special place where those who are no longer remembered by anyone now living, are still touching our hearts and souls.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Bonjourno

Bonjourno

Florence Italy Lover's Bridge

A perfect January day in Florence, Italy.

I am home from a two week adventure in Italy, complete with Christmas trees, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” style adventures, and finding those lost shadows, and romance for the soul.

So many handsome men, so many cute dogs, SO MUCH ART.

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And coffee. Oh the coffee.

And the wine.

I’ll be posting my stories soon. But I’m back for 2018 with new features, new blog posts, new insights on parenting, relationships, elders, tall tales, and critters.

When we arrived home around midnight this morning we were greeted by rain and the sound of millions of frogs.

It is always good to travel, but it is good to be home.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Ask Juliette: Beauty, The Disgusting Beast, Plus What to Read Next

Ask Juliette (Ask A Vampire – Advice for Everyone) is a regular Thursday feature on Vampire Maman.

These are real questions from real readers. If you have a question about relationships, parenting, Vampires, paranormal stuff, fashion, Zombies, art, or ANYTHING just ask and I’ll try to answer. It might not be the answer you expect, but it will be an answer.

Email me at juliettevampiremom (at) gmail (dot com)

Keeping Beautiful

Keeping Beautiful

 

Dear Juliette,

Why does your skin look so young?

~ Mirror Mirror

 

Dear MM,

Aside from the fact that I’m a Vampire and I drink human blood?

First if you’re not a Vampire I don’t recommend drinking blood. It isn’t going to help your skin. That goes for topical applications as well.

  1. Sunscreen. Every single day. Rain or shine. All seasons. 365.
  2. Remove your make-up at night.
  3. Don’t smoke (that includes anything you light.) Ever hear the term “cat butt mouth”?
  4. You don’t need expensive beauty products. Most drug store products work as well or better than a lot of the more expensive brands. We even use stuff from Trader Joe’s at my house. My splurges come from LUSH. I love the Dream Cream, Lemon Flutter and Buffy Body Butter. As for scrubs for your face or body any of the St. Ives products will work wonders on rough dead looking skin – and believe me if you’ve been in a crypt for a while, or just feel like it, these products will make you glow.

~ Juliette 

Vampire Teen

Dear Juliette,

Why do dogs eat cat box treats?

~ Fido Mom

 

Dear Fido Mom,

I assume you mean cat poop. The official term for poop eating is coprophagia.

Some folks say dogs eat poop because they are lacking certain things in their diets. It is never good for dogs, small children, or anyone to eat poop.

The REAL reason dogs eat cat poop is because dogs are disgusting. They just are. I love dogs, but they’re disgusting. They eat poop, garbage, vomit, underwear, tampons, dirt, sticks, roadkill, dead fermented rats, rotted salmon, and live snails, to name a few. Dogs have no shame. And obviously they don’t have the same taste buds as we do.

My old dog Jasmine never ate poop. A few days ago I thought the new puppy Alice was pooping a lot in the house. It wasn’t her poop. It was cat poop. She was distributing the contents of the litter box around the house. Why? Poop is funny. Poop is interesting. She was curious. And she is a dog. Dogs eat poop.  You just have to tell them NO BAD DOG when they do stuff like that.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Dear Juliette,

What should I read next?

~ Need to Read

 

Dear Need to Read,

I have a few GREAT suggestions today.

For something fun that is not in the paranormal realm read Exceptional Liars by Marla Todd.

“All of us Hobbs kids were exceptional liars, well except my brother Jordan who was a liar by default by his refusal to tell either lies or the truth.”

What do you do when the world thinks you’re dead? If you’re Liz Atkinson you become somebody else.

Alex Goldstein has a thriving law practice with his wife Tasha Alexander. Life is is good. Well, except for the fact that he drinks too much, and his wife regularly cheats on him. To keep his mind off of his problems Alex writes about by serial killers. His most recent obsession is The Killer of Virtue. Then one day, Liz Hobbs Atkinson, the last victim of The Killer of Virtue shows up in his office very much alive. As Alex helps Liz build a new life, his own life falls apart.

Exceptional Liars takes you on a wild ride with a cast of exceptionally interesting characters, sharp dialogue, and unexpected twists and turns. You won’t want to put it down.

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If you’re looking for some great paranormal stories check out the Unfortunate Souls series of novels by author Jade M. Phillips. 

My name is Ruby Carter. I was a normal teenage girl who only wanted what every other teenage girl wanted- love and acceptance. But when my parents revealed a painful secret I couldn’t accept, and my boyfriend broke up with me the night before my eighteenth birthday, I turned into something beyond average. Betrayed and broken, I tore off in my car, into the storm, and straight toward my death. I was sucked into a dark and terrifying world I never knew existed, changing my life forever. That’s when I met him…

My name is Guy Stone. I’ve been told I have no heart- a cold, ruthless killer. And I liked the perception others gave me for it allowed me to shut out my past and focus on hunting down every last Unfortunate Soul, seeking my revenge. But the night I found her lying amongst the flames of the battle, helpless and confused, I caved, finding myself drawn to her dark innocence, unable to follow the rules. And by that one decision, not only did my life change forever, but I found myself falling for the one thing I despised the most: A vampire. My enemy. An Unfortunate Soul.

*This book is recommended for ages 14 and up due to a little bit of kissing, cursing, and mild violence.

The Unfortunate Souls Series:
Unfortunate Souls (Book 1)
Broken Souls (Book 2)
Rogue Souls (Book 3)

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Happy Reading

~ Juliette

 

crowletter

 

Ask Juliette (Ask A Vampire – Advice for Everyone) is a regular Thursday feature on Vampire Maman.

These are real questions from real readers. If you have a question about relationships, parenting, Vampires, paranormal stuff, fashion, Zombies, art, or ANYTHING just ask and I’ll try to answer.

Email me at juliettevampiremom (at) gmail (dot com)

 

Patterns at Rest

marla_small

This morning I found a stash of old pen and ink drawings. Not 1880’s this time, but 1980’s. From artist Marla Todd.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Take this with your (on a shirt, a phone cover, a pillow, a scarf and more…. go to http://www.redbubble.com/people/marlatoddkings/works/14705619-marla-patterns

Dead girls of fashion

Yesterday I picked up a copy of Bazaar, the fashion magazine. It was on a table in a public place. It wasn’t mine. I would have been better off if I’d picked up a copy of “S&M Fun.”

The pages were filled with images that reminded me of death. Unhealthy thin girls, painted up, looking without expression at the camera. They were all underweight to the point of being uncomfortable to look at. Not just thin but skeletal thin.

Their faces showed no expression. Their eyes were dead. Expensive clothing hung off of loose and unflattering. In one image a young woman wore a lace bra filled with obvious artificial breasts, her own had been starved off of her body.

I’d seen bodies in crypts that looked more alive than these phantom like creatures that were supposed to represent beauty. They were a vision of horror. Zombies without the scabs. But I wondered what drugs would be found in the blood of these pathetically thin strange dead girls.

I was on the phone with my brother Val and told him about the dead girls of fashion. He said he stays away from women like that. “I’d kill them if I tried to take a teaspoon of blood much less have sex with them. Honestly Jewels, they scare me.”

In the mail yesterday there was a spring/summer catalog from Delia’s, a clothing company my daughter likes to shop at. The models were healthy looking. Thank goodness.

I look down at my own pale hand and small wrists. Cold to the touch but even the coldest Vampire is no match to the dead girls of fashion.

Pulling up a file from a novel I’m writing I think about what my character is wearing and how she looks. I try to set the scene. A figure comes up beside me and stands in the dark over my shoulder.

“Mom, what are you doing?”

“Writing on my book.”

“Is it about Vampires?”

“No. I don’t write books about Vampires.”

“Hows it going?”

“Good.”

“Can I use your computer?”

“What about yours?”

“The connection is slow. I need to finish my homework.”

This is why I’m not on the NYT best seller list yet.

I give my son the computer and find my husband. His heart starts to beat when he sees me. My Vampire love.

I wonder if the dead girls of fashion have beating hearts behind those dead eyes or blood moving through their bony arms.

Then I turn my thoughts back to my husband and put the horrors of regular humans out of my mind.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman