Fire

The air is thick with smoke.

My eyes burn.

My heart is heavy.

Ninety miles north of here is the Camp Fire. An entire town have been wiped out. More homes are burning. Over 40 people have died and many more are missing. In Southern California the fires still burn.

Now is the time for our leaders to be leaders and show compassion and caring for those involved. It is time to support those who have lost their homes and loved ones. Now is the time to support those who have rescued, and continue to rescue both people and animals.

Now is the time to thank those who are having fund drives, providing shelter, taking in people and pets, cooking for rescue teams, and helping in so many other ways.

It baffles me that some people can even THINK of making this political because this is California. Fires have always happened here, just like tornadoes and floods happen in other parts of the country. It is worse because there are now more people. Just like there are more people where hurricanes hit.

Now is time for love.

Now is time for support.

We are California. Despite what anyone says we will survive and thrive. It is what we do. We will also stand by others outside of our state when disasters strike – because that is what we do.

As soon as I can get the information together I’ll post a page of helpers who need donations and of those in need. Hospitals have been burned. Schools have been lost. Homes have been lost. Animals have been separated from their people. People have lost loved ones. They need our help both in Northern and Southern California.

I have already seen a great outpouring of love and support for every fire we’ve had this year, and last season. I have seen people do amazing things to help others.

My heart breaks for California. This is, and always be my home, my heart, and my soul.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Slut (and a few additional thoughts)

A story from my friend Bart. He’ll tell you all about it (you might have heard this before but it is a story well worth repeating – I’m sure a lot of you can relate.) At the end I will have a few more thoughts of my own.

Slut

A lot of us have kids in college, or starting college in the next year or two. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change.

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole, and tell him that Beth and Bart don’t say hello.

~ end

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since the day I became a mom I’ve thought of telling my kids about sexual predators. I’ve told them that more often than not sexual predators are people they know. It will be their word against yours. More often than not they already know how to hack the physical, emotional, legal, and social systems so that you won’t win. But always fight back. Never believe their lies. Tell your parents or someone else you trust.

Parents: LISTEN to your kids. Talk to them. Don’t judge. Don’t yell. Listen. Help. BELIEVE THEM. Kids and teens don’t lie about these things.

College Kids: RED CUPS. Don’t drink out of a drink anyone else gave you. That sweet punch in the big red cups will SLAM you hard. There will be a blog post about it and a quiz in a day or two.

In light of everything going on in the news this week I have a story. A friend posted something on FaceBook about men and boys behaving badly. She claimed if women flashed their boobs at Mardi Gras and other drunken events like concerts etc., then why did we all have a problem with men flashing their dicks.  I thought I’d quote my 19 year old daughter:

“When a woman flashes her boobs she is being silly and using bad judgement. It is insanely tacky and rude but not threatening anyone. When a man exposes his penis to someone it is a power and control thing. He is doing it as a threat. He is doing it with the purpose to make someone else intentionally uncomfortable. You can’t compare the two.”

That is all for today. Be safe. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Believe them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

It MUST STOP. We are writers. We will not keep quiet.

In light of today’s shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md we need to all watch and speak out for writers, editors, and journalists everywhere.

From NPR: “On Thursday night, Anne Arundel officials released the names of the Capital Gazette employees killed in the shooting: Rebecca Smith, sales assistant; Gerald Fischman, editorial page editor; Wendi Winters, special publications editor; John McNamara, staff writer; and Robert Hiaasen, an assistant editor and columnist.

 In a Facebook post Hiassen’s brother Carl, a renown novelist, described Robert as “one of the most gentle and funny people I’ve ever known.”

Journalists, nonfiction writers, bloggers, or writers of fiction have long been targets. Jails around the world are full of bloggers and journalists sent there for speaking out on subjects we would consider no big deal. Writers of fiction and nonfiction have long been threatened by extremists. In the US, in France, and in other countries journalists have been targeted by crazy ass insane hateful ignorant people.

In today’s climate of crazy ass madness and blind hate we need to keep our voices loud and support writers all over the world. No writer should live in fear. Not from some crazy ass shooter. Not from their government. Not from stalkers and trolls. We must stand together.

We don’t need useless thoughts and prayers. We need action. We need to speak out for the freedom of thought and speech for everyone on this planet.

I don’t feel like my government will do anything. Thoughts and prayers are useless and will not fix the problem. Ignorance and hate must not be embraced. We can’t ignore anymore shootings. Politicians are useless. It is up to us to figure out a way to CHANGE. I wish I had the answer – help me out.

Keep your voices loud. Keep your voices clear. Support all writers be they journalists, bloggers, writers of fiction, and nonfiction.

To the assholes of the universe: YOU CAN’T KEEP US QUIET. YOU CAN’T STOP OUR VOICES. WE WILL WRITE. We will write. We will write. And those who don’t write will READ and talk and share.

We are writers. We will not go away. We will not be quiet.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Note: One of my all time favorite authors John Sandford said this better than I could have. This is his heartbreaking FB post.

Screenshot 2018-06-28 22.26.16

 

Vote TODAY – Everybody

On Tuesday June 5, 2018, I will be working as a Sacramento County Polling Clerk at one of the new voting centers. I’ll be in Orangevale so if you’re in my neck of the woods you might see me.

We are now in fire season here in Northern California. No big fires yet, but they’ll be here soon enough.

I was going to wax and wane poetically about fires that burn in our hearts with desire for love and freedom and dreams that others would take away. Think about how many times a child says she wants to be an artist or writer or doctor or historian or anything and someone says “that is too hard” or “you’ll fail.” How many times have people come up against all odds and had success. Think about that when you vote tomorrow. And you WILL vote (or I will lose all respect for you if you’re an American citizen.)

Anyway, a lot of people, including ALL women had someone before them fighting for that vote. But I won’t go on. The fires burn for education and knowledge. The fires burn for freedom to love. Vote for the fires that burn for the love of your children. Vote for the environment and water issues. Just vote for common sense.

Today you need to VOTE because all of the above. In other parts of the world (not my part of the world) people risk their lives for the right to vote. They die for it. People died for it here too.  So remember them and VOTE.

Plus remember… if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the results.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

vote

 

Online Bullies & Monsters Among The Writing Community

This is from one of my favorite writers and friend Nathan Tackett:

Ah yes, the internet – where spineless cowards bark with hateful intention. A terrible situation recently came to light where a fellow artist/author was berated with a vile string of ‘go kill yourself’ comments just because they used stock photos in their work. Guess what?! The individual actually DID try to take their life. Luckily, they didn’t succeed and are recovering.

Artists. We are a sensitive bunch and one can never tell what demons we may be fighting under the poetry and prose. I have seen several situations lately where artists have been trolled to horrible ends. We can do better.

Unfortunately, we live in an atmosphere were shit slinging is commonplace. Weak-minded creeps throw around words like ‘cuck’ and ‘snowflake’ and ‘nazi’ without a second thought. Somehow, this has become an accepted language of the new era. We can do better.

I fully support the first amendment, but I don’t support your right to be an asshole. Unfortunately, the school bully sits safely behind a virtual wall of anonymity. We can do better.

It’s time we start calling these slugs out. I support all of my artistic folk. Whether you’re a best-selling author, or an understood misfit. You can always sit next to me.

~ Nathan Tackett

 

Screenshot 2018-03-18 18.50.21

Thank you Nathan.

juliette

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Dear Vampire Maman Readers,

More and more I am hearing horror stories of gangs of bully trolls out of online writing groups terrorizing authors by leaving horrible reviews on Amazon and other online book dealers. They also troll blogs, and any social media outlet they can get to. They gang up and go in like blind fire ants killing anything in their way – never thinking about what they are doing.

I have seen this happen to more than one author in my circles.

Don’t get caught up in the group-think mean mind-set. Be an ADULT. Be a professional. Don’t be an asshole. Don’t be a horrible bad person. Don’t get all butt hurt over NOTHING. 

DON’T BE A MONSTER.

THINK before you post.

Stand up against the trolls who troll our fellow writers and artists.

WE CAN DO BETTER.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

the nathan tackett

For more about Nathan Tackett’s work CLICK HERE. And for a great short story from Nathan CLICK HERE.

Teens

Half a dozen teens ate Tide Pods.

About half a million people tweeted about it.

Twenty million believed that half a million kids were eating Tide Pods.

Thirty Million posted memes on Facebook about kids eating Tide Pods.

Those same people are now criticizing kids for speaking out against school violence because they believe that all teens eat Tide Pods.

This is what is wrong.

Everyone WANTS to judge.

Nobody THINKS about these things.

Nobody asks the teens they actually know about this shit.

People are stupid.

I’m sick and tired of it.

STOP EMBRACING IGNORANCE.

THIS is why Vampires sleep during the day. It has NOTHING to do with sensitivity to light. It is because people are stupid and they rush to embrace ignorance.

How do we change this?

Listen to young people for a change. They are our future. Listen to old people. Sometimes they have good ideas and nobody listens to them anymore.

Or maybe just shut the fuck up for a change and THINK before you post. Listen before you post. Have an original idea.

Go back to bed. Clean out your garage. Take a deep breath. And realize that there are different ideas and opinions out there to every problem.

This is for ALL issues.

In June all of the kids I had watched grow up will now be voting.

ALL OF THEM.

I wish them the best. 

They are our future.

We’ve let them down.

Let’s hope they won’t let us down.

 

Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Don’t talk AT them. Talk with them. Engage them. Force the conversations. Spend time with them. Hug them. Love them.

Don’t parent by accident. Your children deserve more than that.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman