One Cold Winter Night

In the dark night

They listened

For the cry of the wolf

But more

The cracks of twigs

The rustle of leaves

The turn of a door nob

Against the lock

A break of glass

Then the scrape

Of a ladder

Against the house

He hid in the closet

In the space

Behind the walls

Only to be found

Eighty years later

A leather mummy of

A boy

Who wasn’t available

To answer the door

When his sister

Had lost

Her key

One cold

Winter

Night.

 

 

~ end

Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Don’t Mess With The Original – Dracula

This is both a book review and kind of a rant. Fair warning.

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In 1897 something extraordinary in both popular fiction and popular culture happened. Irish author Bram Stoker’s book Dracula was published.

Dracula introduced the iconic vampire Count Dracula.

The book is written brilliantly in the form of letters and diary entries.

This is the plot in less than three hundred words: Young attorney Jonathan Harker goes to Count Dracula’s castle to help facilitate a move from Transylvania to England. Harker finds himself in a strange and scary situation but makes it home. Dracula also makes it to England. The rest of the story is about Harker, Professor Abraham Van Helsing, and various friends trying to stop Dracula from stealing their women, and doing other horrible things. There is also a wonderful story of Renfield a bat shit crazy patient of Dr. Stewart. Renfield is controlled in a weird twisted fandom sort of way by Dracula. Of course there at the very Victorian main squeezes Mina and Lucy. Some people get bitten. Some don’t. Some make it. Some don’t. It is a fantastic brilliant book and oh so interesting to read. Stoker did an outstanding job making it all real. And I have an appointment to get to so I’m making this really fast today.

READ THE BOOK.

I bring this up because, in my opinion, nobody has ever done a screen version of this story that really follows the spirit of the book or does justice to the story.

Then there are those fans who obsess with every little detail of the book. Seriously folks, it was written as popular fiction by an author who managed a successful theater, hobnobbed with royalty and other popular authors of the time (Oscar Wilde among them) and wrote many other stories and books. This story is fun but nobody is expected to write their dissertation on what the “blue light” means.

Anyway, back to film and TV…

I recently attempted to watch the new Netflix version of Dracula. OMG it was bad. I couldn’t get through the first episode. It was painful to watch. You’d be better off checking out some of the old Hammer films with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. At least those had some entertainment and production value. The Netflix version is the WORST version of Dracula I have ever witnessed or imagined.

With the Netflix series they had to include weird nuns, bad special effects, juvenile and unnecessary references to sex (gotta get in all of the sex), and horrible casting choices.

If you’re going to make a TV series or movie about Vampires make it NEW. Make a NEW STORY with NEW VAMPIRES. Don’t take a classic and mangle it.

Too few people have had the pleasure of reading the original Dracula. If you haven’t read it PLEASE read it. If you have read it, read it again.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

The Story of Jack-O-Lantern (as told by an Ancient Vampire)

I stopped by the home of the Ancient Vampires Tellias and Eleora. They are dear to me beyond anything I could ever describe. Today I brought some Pumpkin Spice Blood, and some of their friend Druce’s famous nut cakes.

Tellias and Eleora look like they are only nineteen or twenty years old, but they are over two thousand years old. Nobody really knows how old Eleroa is.

Tellias was on the porch wearing overalls with no shirt. His pale blonde hair was pulled back with a piece of red string. Eleora was wearing a red flowers dress with a pink and yellow striped cardigan that must have been from the 80’s due to the shoulder pads. They were carving Jack-O-Lanterns.

“Juliette, do you know the story of Jack-O-Lantern and why we carve pumpkins, turnips and other vegetables each year at Halloween time?”

“Please tell me why we have Jack-O-Lanterns,” I said.

Tellias started to tell the tale. “There was a man named Jack.”

“Did I know him? Was it that one who became a priest?” Asked Eleora.

“No, dear Eleora it wasn’t that Jack. He became a priest and a Werewolf, but that isn’t the story I’m telling today. This Jack of my story lived in Ireland around the time that St. Patrick brought his god to the island.

Jack was a man who like to drink, make too many bad jokes, seduce women, and gamble.

One day he was playing cards in the woods with some of his buddies. But his buddies were frightened that the Demons in the woods would grab their souls so they left running after Jack won the game, and all of their money.

Jack yelled into the woods, “Do you think you can beat me Demons? Show yourself if you’re there.”

Three Demons came out of the woods. Two were males with curved horns and tall leathery wings. The third was a woman who, despite her pointed teeth and spiked tail,  was beautiful beyond anything Jack had ever seen.

Jack won all of the gold off of the two male Demons, but he could not win from the female. She laughed at him. This made Jack angry but he had a plan. He gave the Demons wine that he’d laced with poison. When the female fell asleep he took all of her money, her clothing, then burned a cross into her chest. He was going to take more from her but the male Demons woke and chased Jack through the woods. Jack was too fast for them and got away with the gold, laughing all the way.

What Jack didn’t know was that the female Demon was the Devil’s own favorite. When she returned back to Hell the Devil could no longer touch her because of the cross burned into her chest.

A few months later Jack was at home with his wife. The poor woman had just given birth to their ninth child a few days before. Jack was tired of the noise of crying babies and screaming children. He was tired of his wife always with a child at her chest, and his dinner being late. He looked over at the new child and noticed how beautiful she was. Grabbing the new baby away from his wife he told her he was going to show the child off to his friends at the pub.

Only Jack didn’t go to the pub. He took the child to the wife of nobleman who’d recently lost her own baby and was sick with grief. Jack told the woman to let him have his way with her, and give her 20 pieces of gold and the child would be hers. Her husband had been away for several weeks and was due to return home soon. He would never know the child was not his. Before he left with his gold he told her that he’d come back each and every week to roll in her bed with her, or else he’d tell her husband that she’d killed his ugly child and replaced it with a prettier one.

Jack laughed all the way home, or at least that is what he planned on.

He was attached by wolves who tore he heart out and left his body for others to find. Jack’s heart was so foul and so rank that the wolves spit it out and left it next to Jack’s body.

Jack’s wife got the gold pieces, and everyone assumed the wolf had eaten her baby. She mourned her child but not her husband Jack. Jack’s children were only happy to soon forgot about him, and all memories of Jack were forever lost. Eventually she met a good man who treated her with respect.

Jack went up to heaven. St. Peter took one look at him and told him that there was no place for him among those who spent their lives being good to others.

So Jack went down to Hell. He figured it wouldn’t be that bad. He could play cards by the fire and cheat the Demons out of their favors. Jack was in for a surprise when he got to the Gates of Hell.

The Devil told him that he didn’t want him, and recited a long list of pranks Jack had play upon the Demon’s of Hell. Suddenly Jack, who always had a party, a pub, or a pretty girl to go to had no place to go.

The female Demon who’d had the cross burned into her chest threw Jack a large turnip and a candle. The turnip had been carved into a face with a grin full of broken teeth that mocked Jack.

Jack was made to wander the Earth forever with his Jack-O-Lantern, never able to rest, except on Halloween night. But if Jack stops at a place and finds another vegetable l carved with a face on it  Jack is not allowed to stay.”

“Is he still wandering the Earth with his Jack-O-Lantern?” I asked.

Tellias smiled at me with just a hint of his Vampire fangs. “On windy nights you can hear howling and banging on the windows. Sometimes that isn’t the wind. It is Jack trying to get into a nice warm house and sit by the fire with a pint of beer. It will never happen. The wind takes Jack off again to the next storm, throwing him around the globe, with his heinous grinning turnip lamp.”

And there, from Tellias, Eleora, and me is the story of Jack-O-Lantern.

Happy Halloween.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Halfborn. Horror from Soleil Daniels.

If you’re looking for an exceptionally well written, smart, and original horror story (I stress the horror part) add Halfborn by Soleil Daniels to your reading list.

I’ve just started reading Halfborn. I’ve read many of Soleil’s short stories – and I am always entertained, and simply in awe of her writing.

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Halfborn

It should have been simple. Easy.

She had done it a thousand times. A flick of the pocketknife. A slice from the blade. A trickle of hot blood on her tongue. Filling her mouth. That is how it should have been.

Instinctually, it was both . . . Oh, so simple as she pounced on the man across the room from her . . . and unbelievably easy as her teeth sliced into the side of his neck.

But it was different.

Animalistic.

And that bite would change Coral’s life . . .

Forever.

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I drew gulp after gulp of whiskey-tainted life past my lips. My head began to dizzy, whether from the new bond forming, the alcohol-saturated blood, or from simply consuming too much blood, I wasn’t sure. I withdrew from my lock on his neck. Blood ran down onto his once-white shirt, turning a copper color as the crimson mixed with the brown-gray stains from dirt and who knew what else. I stared for a moment, then I reached over, placed one hand on his right temple and the other just behind his left ear. I turned his head with a quick, swift movement, and with the snap of his neck, the dizziness in my head subsided.

Halfborn
Soleil Daniels

Note: Halfborn is for mature readers only. It contains violent and sexual content. These are not vamps for the kiddos. They bite, kill, and do very adult and monstrous things.

“HALFBORN is beautifully done. Soleil Daniels writes in the moment which places you right in the action. From chapter one she builds up intense emotion and passion. The twists in this book are amazing. HALFBORN is written in first person, which is usually a little harder to pull off, and she does it flawlessly. Marshall begins his journey as a laid-back gentleman which is a great pair for Soleil’s main character Coral. Their character development brings the reader to the edge of emotional tolerance. The emotions felt real and the dialog flows very well. We cannot wait until her sequel WRAITH comes out!

We at NeoLeaf Press give this book our Gold Recommendation and rate it 5 out of 5 stars.”

–Neoleaf Press LLC

Soleil Daniels is a writer from the Central Florida area. She enjoys creating new worlds with her imagination and bringing them to life. All while hoping to share them with those who enjoy reading, giving them an outlet from their everyday lives.
Soleil prefers writing on the darker side of the fiction spectrum—dark fantasy, horror, bloody, grim, and/or just plain sad. Also, her works are, more often than not, written for mature audiences.

Find more on her blog at: RANDOM WRITINGS OF A WOEBEGONE WRETCH

Soleil has contributed to WPaD anthologies, and has also published several books, which can be found at Amazon.com:

Other Books by and featuring the work of Soleil Daniels:

Looking for more spooky reading? Check out WPaD Publications‘ horror anthology, Creepies 3: Nightmares on Deviant Street. Currently on free promo until the 1st of November. Includes stories from WPaD Authors Mandy White, Diana Garcia (Author), Marla Todd, Michael Haberfelner , David Hunter , Mike Cooley , Soleil Daniels, Lea Anne Guettler, Debra Lamb, and more.

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I’ll be back next Monday for more new books, and something completely different.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Boys Will Be Boys

Adam had heard the stories about Luther.

When they were kids Luther would go out to the fields behind Grandma’s house and shoot anything that moved. It started with birds and rabbits. Then it moved on to cats. Luther had an almost gleeful vendetta to shoot any cat he was that wasn’t in somebody’s yard.

Luther’s parents (Adam’s aunt and uncle) just shrugged and said, “boys will be boys.” They figured that Luther wouldn’t grow up to be a sissy. When Adam told them he only shot animals with a camera they just laughed.

When Luther’s daughter was afraid of an excited terrier pup he told everyone he was going to shoot the dog. That would be after he kicked it, beat it, and refused to give it food for almost a week. Luther’s sister Belinda gave Luther an earful, called him an asshole, and took the dog. It was the second dog she’s rescued from Luther.

A few years later he starved a German Shepard. That dog was rescued by his cousin Janice.

He continued to shoot cats. His wife continued to post photos of their pets on social media. It was a different group of pets every other year. She talked of how sweet their fur babies were and how much she loved them. It sort of made Adam sick.

It reminded Adam of a strange creepy family that had rented the house next to his a few years back. The four children would look at him though cracks in the fence and say strange things.

One day the oldest, the only boy, whispered, “my sister is retarded, do you want to see her dance?” Then the child popped his head over the fence and yelled, “my sister is retarded, do you want to see her dance? My mom said you’re gay because you don’t have a family. Do you want to see our kittens?”

The parents knew the children loved kittens more than anything else. They let their cats have a littler of kittens, then they’d take the mother to the pound and keep the kittens. When the kittens started to look and act more like cats they would take them to the pound and keep one or two females to have more kittens. The sick cycle would continue.

One day Adam’s seven year old niece Aurora was visiting. The creepy children came to the fence and whispered mean things. Adam turned the hose on them. An hour later the mother of the children came over claiming that Aurora had said mean things about their special needs child. Adam called her a liar and an animal abuser and threatened to have them evicted. Luckily for Adam they were gone within a month for not paying their rent.

A nice couple with a beautiful well behaved, well loved dog moved in. They were the perfect neighbors. It turned out that they were con-artists. They’d call the County offices and file complaints against their landlord and then refuse to pay rent. It had been a pattern with them. With a little effort and a few code violations they never had to pay for lodging – never ever. Then they vanished and the landlords sold the house and Adam bought it and rented it out to friends.

Now twenty years later he was out of town for Aurora’s wedding, and the entire family was there. Aurora was hesitant about inviting Luther to the wedding, but his kids were sweet, and everybody liked his wife. Adam wondered what kind of woman would marry a man who abused animals.

At the reception Adam’s longtime girlfriend Brandy told him about Luther bragging about dumping a dog at the lake. He said everybody dumped dogs there. Then he’d laughed about it. The dog was worthless but at least he hadn’t shot it.

Adam had once asked Luther why he was so mean to animals. Luther said, “I hate cats. I don’t know why. They’re worthless. Dogs on the other hand need to know their place. If they scare my kids, or pee in the house I’m going to shoot their asses. They’re just dogs. It isn’t like they have souls.”

Luther’s girls liked puppies but only if they didn’t jump or nip like puppies tend to do.

Then Brandy looked up at the dusky sky and said, “Full moon tonight Adam.”

Adam kissed her, then went to get more wine.

“Look at the moon,” said Luther. Then he laughed. “Let’s go shoot some werewolves.”

The next morning, after the bride and groom had left for Hawaii, Luther’s wife said he was missing.

Luther was found in the woods behind Grandma’s old house. He’d been gutted by wild animals. The police said it looked like it might have been wild dogs, or maybe even a bear.

Adam and Brandy skipped the funeral and drove up the coast to his beach house. That night he lit a candle in memory of all of the cats and dogs who’d suffered abuse at the hand’s of humans.

He found Brandy in the bathroom gargling with salt water. “What’s the matter honey?” He asked her as he rubbed her back.

“I don’t know Adam. I just can’t get the bad taste out of my mouth.”

“I know the feeling well,” he said, then went to the kitchen and opened a bottle of wine. It was a nice full Zinfandel, guaranteed to mellow out the evening. He poured a glass for himself, and one for Brandy. Then he went outside and listened to the sound of the waves, and the light house horn, and tried to empty his mind, until the next full moon night.

~ End

Tangled Tales

 

 

For more Horror fun check out  Creepies 3 (available on Amazon, Kobo, B&N and other fine online book sellers. Available in both electronics and paperback versions. Proceeds go to MS Research to support our fellow writers who have MS.

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More Vampire Art From Jason Kemp (I absolutely LOVE these)

If you’re visiting Vampiremaman.com, and especially if you like Halloween and Vampires, you’ll love the art of J. Harrison Kemp aka my friend Jason Kemp of Tenkara Studios.

I posted the first batch of Vampire Art of Jason Kemp earlier this month. Here is the second group. SQUEEEEEEEEE. OMG I love these SO MUCH. Thank you Jason. xoxoxox.

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I have to stop for a second and admit in my cold Vampire heart that the top four images have my heart (especially the top two). Oh my goodness. Ask any Vampire. That said, the rest are utterly fabulous too.

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Tenkara Studios are presently the sole domain of author and illustrator J Harrison Kemp, or Jason as the dust bunnies call him. Within the halls of his labyrinthine workspace, a sprawling Wunderkammer, or wonder-room if you will, we find the artist surrounded and overly influenced by the many intricate objet d’art of a bygone age, a multifarious miscellany of complex curiosities that only the foolhardy would call toys. Brimful but charming, the antiquated atelier is commingled with an athenaeum housing only the greatest of literary treasures and books about things from outer space. Yes, it is here that the self-taught artist and writer draws from his surroundings that little bit more everyday and applies that inspiration to new and ever evolving graphic and fictitious projects.

Jay is currently the sole inhabitant of Tenkara Studios, a.k.a. the office and is busy with a variety of commissions, short stories, incidental projects and a soon to be realized anthology of horror fiction.

Contact: tenkarastudios@outlook.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tenkarastudios
http://tenkarastudios.weebly.com/

Jason has also designed the covers of several of our themed anthologies for WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants.) Yes, and I have to add I am SO HONORED to have worked with Jason. Wow. I love these covers. AND as a writer Jason tells a damned good story too.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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