Don’t Bother Me (I bet you feel the same)

I still own the small adorable house (1,100 square feet) I purchased when Teddy and I first started dating. I don’t live there, but I rent it out to a little nice family. About once a week I get a call, text, or letter from someone wanting to buy it. I always tell them $650,000 cash by Friday, small bills. Nobody has taken me up on the offer yet.

The latest guy asked where I got the price. I responded with, “Dude it is my current selling price. We are in California, plus the property has the added bonus of being haunted. Ghosts cost extra.”

I have to give the guy some credit because he responded with “Good luck! No ghosts for me! I was thinking of $900k; now that there are ghosts I’m not interested.”

What else is going on today?

I’m not seeing any ghosts at my house (where I live.)

I have seen a dozen or so squirrels who no doubt were the ones who took one of my humming bird feeders yesterday. There were also two coyotes out back who had ALL of the neighborhood dogs barking. Something large flew over. I have no idea what it was because I only saw the shadow.

As with most Vampires, I don’t like to be bothered. I let the dog bark and growl at the door. Yes, my dog is a total goof ball filled with sweetness and preciousness, but she is also a ninety pound German Shepard with a loud hell hound bark. Then there is that low growl that would put fear into just about anyone.

Just like the random animals that wander in and out of my yard… wait, that isn’t correct. The animals aren’t so random. I see the same ones every day and every night.

Be it home repair, religion, or anyone asking for money, I don’t like strangers at my door. I don’t like strangers calling me on my phone. I don’t like them sending me mail (traditional or email.)

My twenty year old daughter keeps getting invitations to move into local senior communities. I forward the invitations to her with the note, “Skip college and go straight to retirement.” When she was in high school she was flooded with coupons for baby formula and sent diaper samples.

My husband gets advertisements for burial plots.

My twenty three year old gets mail about gun shows and male “enhancements.” I don’t forward those to him.

We all record everything we watch on TV so we can fast forward through the commercials.

I’ve worked in marketing. I know how it works. Unfortunately things are totally out of control and so random. The invasion of personal privacy is out of control.

That’s all. Now I have to go search for the missing humming bird feeder, and maybe one of my ghosts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

 

 

Musings on Pets, Art, Vampires, and Trying to Make Sense of Anything At All.

It started out as one of those days where the dog ate all of the cat food, the squirrels at all of the bird food, the cat tried to eat a bird that flew into my house, I’m trying to take photographs and the fall lighting is all off, then the cat barfed on the carpet. The other cat is asleep out on the deck. He never causes me problems aside from his yearly “I am an idiot and got myself gravely injured again,” vet visit. Today, I am also feeling a great sense of loss that has come over me in a wave.

A sense of loss and melancholy isn’t uncommon for Vampires. I just had to throw that out there.

I put on some sunscreen and decent clothes and went out in search of art supplies. I didn’t need any. I thought it might inspire me to try to put pen or pastel to paper. That is to put it to paper without fear of disappointing myself.

At the downtown art supply shop, the one that had been there for decades, I wandered the isles looking at brushes, textures, tools, and colors. I was drawn to all of the shades of gray, then got sort of perturbed that some asshole decided to write a bad porn book of that name that became oh so popular with bored middle aged women who didn’t date enough when they were single. Still I looked and imagined what I might create.

I felt a cold hand upon my arm, then looked to my left. “Connie,” I said upon seeing my old friend. Constantine Jones, the very one I wrote the story Night Dogs about. He’d told me about that night a few years back. I valued his friendship because he matched my love of art, both in creating it, and in studying it.

“Juliette. Pastels today?”

“Maybe,” I said.

We talked of art and our lives. He asked about my children. I asked him what he was up to. I purchased pastels and paper. He picked up a few brushes and oil paint. Then we walked down the tree lined street to a small independent coffee shop.

As we sat in the shade sipping our coffee nobody would have suspected that we were Vampires who’d know each other for over a century.

No, dear reader, this isn’t a story of fangs, dripping blood, or darkness. All creatures, even the most ardent predators, the lions, the hyenas, the wolves, and the wolverines, still need their times of peace. We are always aware, but sometimes we just need to take a break from what keeps our bodies alive and think about what keeps our passions alive.

Even more so it is the small things that matter. It is things we do for tangible reason like having coffee with an old friend. We talked about art, as kindred spirits do.

Connie touched took my hand in his. It was warm from holding the coffee. I thought how odd that was to have a warm touch from another Vampire.

“Your heart is heavy,” he said to me.

“I don’t know what it is right now,” I told him. “I’m fine.”

“You’re not.”

“It shall pass. I just have too much BS that I have to deal with.” That is true, but isn’t that the case for a lot of us.

Standing across the street I saw a lone figure with dark hair and a black suit with the tie loosened. Connie looked as well.

“A ghost,” he whispered. “Why is he looking over here?”

“I know him. He lives at my house most of the time, but he’s buried near here.” I motioned for my ghost, Nigel, who was an artist in life, to come join us.

I pulled up a chair for a friend that nobody but Constantine Jones and I could see. I ordered coffee for Nigel. He sat in the chair holding the cup and letting the aroma pass through him. He can’t drink it but he can smell it, which is a small comfort for a ghost.

We talked more of art, and the weather, and small things that friends talk about.

After two hours Connie went his own way and Nigel came home with me. As we drove down the freeway Nigel changed the radio station about thirty times. I finally yelled at him to stop it.

And now I’m home. I don’t know where Nigel got off to.

From my window I cans humming birds in the lemon and orange trees. The calico cat sits snoring in a chair. I can hear the other cat scratching a piece of wood outside.

I feel better. Sometimes we just need to get away from ourselves for a while, or at least get into a different place where we can be the selves we need to be, and deserve to be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Little Hagrid, being a Vampire at Halloween, and Friends who aren’t Vampires

Despite the fact that I have become she of the empty nest and have no children at home for Halloween fun, I’m finding myself extremely busy this October.

I’m retelling a story from 2015 today. Last year my husband and I went as Simon and Garfunkel for Halloween. It was absolutely the best, but I’d almost forgotten the time we went as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Maybe this year I’ll finally go as Little Hagrid.


creepies

Little Hagrid, being a Vampire at Halloween, and Friends who aren’t Vampires

“Teddy and I have been invited to a Harry Potter Party. Why in God’s name our friend chose that theme I’ll never know. Anyway, I was thinking I could find some ugly baggy old sweaters and we could go as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. What do you think?”

He looked at me with shock. OK almost shock. He looked at me like I was the weird kid asking him is he ever ate cat brains, or something along those lines.

“I thought about going as Little Hagrid. Get it? Little Hagrid because he was huge and I’m only 5’4″ and Hagrid was about seven feet tall.”

I've got the moves like Hagrid

I’ve got the moves like Hagrid

I could hear the gears turning in his brain. Vampires going to a costume party? Vampires dressing up like Harry Potter characters? Little Hagrid? WTF?

“It is always funny when a woman wears a beard,” I said as I put more drawings out on the table. “Here are the rest of the sketches. If you like them I’ll finish them up.”

Oh right, this is where I back up and tell you what is going on. Dr. Austin Durant, history professor and sometimes weird Vampire Hunter, but all around normal guy, had hired me to create some drawings for him for a book he is writing. He likes my work, plus I lived back then, in the middle of the 19th Century, granted I was a child at the time.

I shouldn’t have asked him about the costumes. Back to the drawing board, literally.

“The Weasleys would be funny,” he finally said. “I could see that. It would be easy too.”

I smiled minus my fangs. We both turned at the sound of a tap on the door.

Standing there, as impeccably put together and flawlessly handsome as ever, was my friend Jack.

“What are you wearing to the Harry Potter party?” I had to ask. He and his wife aren’t Vampires but they’re going too.

“We’re going as Dobbie and Malfoy,” he said with a wink. Damn, that man was handsome, with blood like the finest Cabernet. Obviously Jack isn’t a Vampire, but a dear friend. I’m his Vampire.

“Oh my God, that is brilliant,” I said.

“I’m going to be Dobbie,” he said. Then we both laughed. You have to admit that is funny. Jack is six feet tall after all.

I introduced Austin and Jack. Austin intuitively knew that Jack wasn’t a Vampire. Austin knows a lot of things, but as cocky as he can get he has never really come to terms with the fact that Halloween has come to his life every single day of the year.

About five years ago Austin Durant started restoring historic structures (old buildings) and has since run across all sorts of nasty old things like dead bodies, dried up old shadow creeping Vampires, and ghosts. My brother Aaron, who is an attorney and a Vampire, is Austin’s attorney and in turn hires Austin for various tasks, like removing unsavory things from buildings.

Anyway, enough of background material and back to Halloween.

Jack fawned over my sketches and marveled at my talent. My stomach started to rumble (nobody could hear it but I could feel it.) I’d have to wait for lunch. Lunch was Jack.

Life is full of such moments.

Halloween is almost here and I have yet to figure out costumes, put up decorations, figure out logistics of parties, and most of all think up a yearly Halloween theme for this blog.

In the meantime you can read these wonderful horror anthologies. Available at fine online booksellers.

 

 

Or you can cut and color paper dolls for Halloween.

Ghostie Fashion Paper Doll. Color an Cut Fun.

Ghostie Fashion Paper Doll. Color an Cut Fun.

Or go look for Halloween Hotties.

Pin-Up-Halloween

Jack had to get back to work. Austin looked at the drawings for a bit more. His next class wasn’t until 2:00.  I watched him look at the details I’d added, just small things like a cat sitting in on a roof, or a style of hat.

He looked up and straight into my eyes, a dangerous thing if I’m in the right mood, which I wasn’t. “You could offer so much. You were there. You have gone through history. You’ve seen it your own eyes.”

“Do you think anyone would listen?” I asked him that obvious question. “Nobody cares about history. They would rather keep making the same mistakes over and over. They’d rather do what is easy. They’d rather not know the truth.” I locked his eyes with mine. I could feel him feel a slight panic. That was intentional. He brought out the Vampire in me. You know, I can’t be all touchy feelie nice all the time. “Dr. Durant, I don’t want to end up a dried up husk of a Vampire underneath one of your buildings so I will continue to keep my thoughts to myself.”

Then I thought about my blog… HA HA HA. But I don’t have to worry about you. Out of my seven regular readers at least two of you are Vampires and I’m sure at least one is a Zombie.  Anyway…

“You could share with me, just me,” said Austin.

“Yes, I could. I’ll draw it for you. I’ll tell you my stories so you can get a better understanding, as long as you only use my words for a stepping off point, or for inspiration.”

“Thank you Juliette,” he said to me. He looked calm and cool. I could feel him wanting to sweat it out.

“So what are you going to be for Halloween?” I had to ask.

“I don’t know, maybe a Vampire.” He flashed a dimpled smile. I knew why the girls all liked him.

So that is it for now. Have fun and well, have fun. That is the goal for today. And do something creative. And hug your kids. And talk to them. Always talk to your kids.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Oh, one more thing. For more about Austin and his story see the side bars for the Austin and Elizabeth story links. For more about Jack just search for his name. Yes, this is the old back story ploy not that anyone will really look.

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Halloween is Almost Here (more musings and random thoughts)

Halloween is Almost Here (more musings and random thoughts)

Halloween is almost here

Ghosts and Goblins yell and cheer,

Witches drink their Bat Eye Beer

Halloween is almost here.

 

halloween kittie

 

At the crack of dawn this morning, actually about an hour before, I looked out on my deck to find two ghosts holding coffee mugs and savoring the first stirrings of the woodland creatures who live in my yard and behind my house (along with the sounds of fire truck sirens, trucks and a random dog bark or two.) I watched my translucent friends put their heads together in close conversation, occasionally laughing or using hand gestures.

These ghosts have discarded any old ideas of white sheets and hollow eyed wails. They leave that for others. Sure they can haunt the crap out of anyone and show their form in death (a rather violent image, especially for the one called Mary) but they usually choose not to.

He has pale skin and dark, almost black glossy hair that layers around his face. She has long reddish brown hair that she lets blow in the ghostly winds that most of us can’t feel.

If it was any other pair of ghosts I would have chased them off, but these two are mine. At least mine because they live in my space. I usually don’t like ghosts or anything without a body, but there are always exceptions.

I didn’t interfere with their reveries. I’d pick up the cups later. That is the empty cups they fill with their phantom coffee. I had other things on my mind.

Earlier my husband Teddy had come home with a scratch across his handsome face. Three scratches from fingernails to be exact and bites in various places.

He’d been called to see about a rare pocket watch a client of his was looking for. When he arrived at the old Victorian he discovered that the apartment was below street level (the original street level.)

The door was answered by a woman of shocking appearance. She was bloated like a dead thing that had been out in the sun. Her eyes were sunken and rimmed with pale pinkish red. Despite her bony frame the fashionable black dress she wore strained at the seams. White blonde hair tangled around her face. Blood caked around the corners of her mouth and on the cuticles of her fingernails.

He recognized her, barely. In 1934 he’d spent two weeks with her on Catalina Island. People thought she was a film star with her Jean Harlow looks and beautiful clothes. So much for happy memories.

She told him that now she fed on transients and outcasts who wouldn’t be missed. Rather than taking a pint or a quart here and there she sucked them dry. Nobody would miss them or care. It always looked like natural causes anyway. Then she’d sleep it off for a week or two and start again.

Teddy, being the man he is and a Vampire with a social conscience tried to tell her that what she was doing was not acceptable. Bad move Teddy. She attacked him, screeching that she never asked to be a Vampire. She didn’t choose that life. She had become isolated as those she preyed upon.

As she fled into the night  The young man who made the nicely decorated basement apartment at home was in a deep sleep. He wasn’t someone off the grid but someone who’d left his bedroom window open and a Vampire climbed in. Teddy had the decency to erase any bad memories the young man might have had. Then Teddy called a Vampire Hunter to take care of his old friend. Teddy didn’t have the stomach to do it himself.

We talked about it for a while and like so many things it just seemed sad. Too many things seem sad.

Halloween is almost here but we’re already up to our eyeballs in scary shit, including just about everything in the news and other stupid stuff.

But then again like all families we’re busy to the point where we can’t stop and even think about anything much. It is like this all the time. Halloween brings a flood of activity. The kids will be in town for my mother’s birthday. Friends, activities, and the usual Vampire stuff.

But I’ll make it a point to stop and sip my coffee and watch the sunrise.  And tomorrow we’ll set pumpkins on the front porch and plant fall bulbs.

 

Halloween is almost here

Werewolves howling is so near,

Zombie looking for his ear,

Halloween is almost here.

 

~ 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Even Vampires Get the Blues

Family lore said he left the battle fields of the war between the states and ran California to seek his fortune. There he died in a mine explosion. But he really went to Patagonia where he met a strange man with the voice of an angel. From there he met a man with the voice of an angel who hired him to go to London to hunt Vampires. And that is exactly what he did before he was murdered by a whore who said she did it for love. His niece ended up with all the gold and didn’t tell anyone.

 

I have the house to myself today and I was trying to pound out a blog post or maybe a story about the California Gold Rush, when my brother Andrew staggered down the stairs. Not quite alone. Andy had bad days, weeks, months… He tries to get in a good place by not spending too much time alone.

I give him coffee. He sits across the table from me. I can tell he is feeling numb and helpless. This extraordinarily gifted being feels this way for no reason – it just comes on like a wave, or so he describes it.

“I’d take drugs for this if I could but they don’t work for us,” he told me.

“I know sweetie,” I told my older brother. All four of my brothers are older. Andy is the second in line.

He is good at hiding it and dealing with it and avoiding it and trying not to acknowledge it. He doesn’t let it define him. But it is hard sometimes.

Andy had inspired a lot of my stories. This includes the popular stories Morning at the Vineyard  and Dancing on the Beach. He is a musician, a lover and gentle soul and can party like no other. He is impulsive and the most thoughtful person I’ve ever met.

When he arrived I had a list of activities. No matter how painful it was he always tried and often the flurry of action and stimulus would knock him out of it. Odd how it works.

We chatted for a while over coffee. I poured a liberal amount of blood into his (remember we’re Vampires) and told him of some fun people we’d meet later tonight… yes, we’re Vampires remember.

But no matter what you are, if you’re a little bit of human you can get the blues. Werewolves get it bad. Regular Humans get it really bad. We just need to be sensitive and help those who have it. Just telling someone to snap out of it is like telling someone with a broken arm to snap out of it.

Andy asked about my blog post, the silly stuff I was writing about hidden stories. We takes about our family, my kids, or brother Aaron’s kids, our pets, music, his work and a lot of other things. He ran his hand through his long brown hair and closed his eyes then gave a slight shake of his head, as he does sometimes.

He takes my hand. “Thanks Jewels, I’m going to be fine.”

“I know,” I tell him. He’ll be fine as long as he remembers that it isn’t him. It is something else. He told me that a long time ago.

So anyway, we have a lot to do so we’ll get on with our fun.

Hope everyone has a good weekend full of love and understanding and good coffee.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman