The Ghost of Pumpkin Spice

“I never had a computer, or pumpkin spice lattes, or a cell phone. I had a VCR for about a year. I had a French Press. I’d get coffee beans from the Farmer’s Market. There was a little booth with a zillion spices and about thirty flavors of coffee.”

“They’re still there. I think the gal there has been selling spices since she was a teenager, maybe forty years now.”

“Wow. Remember the Mexican bakery?”

“I’m a Vampire. I don’t eat pastries.”

“Well, you eat other things besides blood. I know that.”

“The olive guy. There was a guy who sold olives and pickles.”

“You eat olives?”

“Sure. I eat most green things.”

“Artichokes?”

“I love artichokes.”

“Green beans?”

“Sure. Not a lot but you know, sometimes.”

“I can’t imagine Dracula eating green beans.”

“Dracula is a fictional character. In fiction the only time people eat green beans is when they snap them with their grandma. I doubt if Dracula snapped beans with his grandma.”

Nigel the Ghost held a hot mug of coffee laced with cinnamon. He put his head down and closed his eyes. “I miss coffee.”

“You can always get it here,” I said.

“It isn’t the same when you can’t drink it. Shit, I haven’t had a real cup of coffee in thirty two years.”

He brushed his black hair out of his eyes, then smiled.

“What?” I asked.

“I’ve been dead longer than I was alive.”

“So you’ve told me.”

I sat across from the Ghost, his black hair shaggy around his face, a black tie, and white shirt with the sleeves rolled up today. He’d hidden the gash in his head and the blood on his pale face. His eyes flickered from the coffee to me.

He cleared his throat, not because he needed to but for dramatic effect. “I might be a ghost but I’m not completely dead.”

“You’re never completely dead as long as someone stills loves you.”

“I can feel it but unfortunately I can’t see them. Well, I can’t see most of them. I don’t know how to get to them. You know the limits of my territory is out of my control.”

“So you’re stuck with me.”

“Stuck with a Vampire. Who would have thought.”

“Want me to heat that coffee up.”

“Sure, and add some nutmeg to it. Pumpkin Spice.” Then he winked and gave me a rare smile. “You know this is weird.”

“Not for us.”

Then he put his head back and laughed. I just sipped my own coffee and then put his cup in the microwave, because that is what friends do, even if they’re Vampires or Ghosts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

coffee

Coffee with Vampires and Ghosts

Friends, Vampires, Fellow Bloggers…

juliettepurpledress

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Lend me your ears… Actually what I need is your voice.

In September I’ll be speaking at WordCamp Sacramento about Personal Blogging, Community Building, and Letting Your Unique Voice Shine.

Yes, that means I’ll be sharing my own stories of my blogging experiences.

The one thing that we all share is that we’re a unique bunch. We might not have 25,000 followers but we have the best followers.

Share a tiny bit of your story with me so I may share it with others who share our unique world of blogging.

Below are a few standard questions to get you going… I don’t expect anyone to answer all of them. Just one. Or just a comment not included in the questions below would be great.

  • What do you like about blogging?
  • What keeps you blogging year after year?
  • Do you have a fun start-up story?
  • Why do you follow the blogs you do?
  • What is one of your favorite blog posts?
  • How do you feel about your readers?
  • Has writing made you a better writer/artist/person/vampire/cat-owner/poet/cook/cartoonist/photographer/muser/musician/reader/observer/parent/fop-and-dandy/teacher, or anything else?
  • What have you learned from blogging?
  • What WP tools help you the most with blogging?
  • Are you having fun?
  • Anything else? I’m open for any comments about your experience blogging.

Leave any comments below in the comments box, or email me at juliettevampiremom @gmail.com

I’ll be contacting a few of you personally.

Thanks so much. I know I wouldn’t still be doing this without your support and friendship.

And thank you for not being afraid of Vampire, teenagers, or parents.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Maman

 

 

I’ll Meet You At WordCamp Sacramento 2018 (Yes, I’m a Speaker!)

Screenshot 2018-06-17 14.22.30

I will be speaking about personal blogging (i.e. non-commercial blogs like yours and mine,) the blogging community and keeping your unique blogger voice alive at the 2018 WordCamp Sacramento this September.

Yes, I am over the moon honored to have been chosen as a speaker. Note: I will be speaking under a different name. More on that later. 

As you all know, I’m passionate about my blog, your blog, and supporting each other. I’m passionate about creativity. I’m passionate about sharing. I’m passionate about you.

From the official WordCamp Sacramento site:

WordCamp Sacramento is a casual, locally organized conference happening September 15-16, 2018 that covers everything related to the world’s favorite platform: WordPress. Whether you’re brand new to WordPress, you use it casually, or you’re a seasoned professional, there is something for everyone at every skill level!

In its fourth year, the event will include a Beginner Track and two mixed tracks of sessions running concurrently on both Saturday, and three mixed tracks of sessions on Sunday.

Tickets go on sale in June.

For more official information click on this link: https://2018.sacramento.wordcamp.org

blogging-cat-meme

I’ll be talking more about blogging and the event as we get closer to September. In the meantime I’ve got to bug Vlad about getting his latest Vampire Diary post finished, and I have some book recommendations too (and a new summer feature for Wednesdays.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

sacramento-convention-center

Yes, this is the place.

Vampire House Warming

Note: My brain is full so I’m re-running this today from 2013. A lot has changed since then – especially with Max and Andy. I’ll catch you up later or you can look for it yourself.  So have fun. I’ll have new thoughts on parenting young adults, Vampires, Ghosts, and all kinds of stuff soon.

Vampire House Warming

We all have those turning points in our life. Some we choose and some we don’t. Some we’re nudged in the right or more often wrong direction.

And there are those times when we try to read between the lines too much about the lives of others. It is usually far more complicated or else far less complicated than we think it is.

My brother Andrew (second of 5 siblings) recently moved back to California after several years in London and other parts of the globe and purchased a home in San Francisco. I hear he paid a million and a half for the place in St. Francis Woods, but he could afford it. I hold my breath to think what my brother Max’s home or my parent’s homes with views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge would go for. Anyway…this isn’t about real estate.

It is about a lovely housewarming party my brother Andrew hosted. The place was packed with both Vampires and Regular Humans. There were of course musicians (Andy is a singer) and dancers. There were artists and college professors and writers and high tech geeks and all sorts of interesting people with every profession and opinion imaginable. What made this remarkable, as parties and gatherings go, was that Andy’s Regular Human friends know about Vampire. They’re friends with us and don’t have a problem with it.

OK there was one exception. Andy invited his “girlfriend.” Shawna had come up from Southern California where she is a university professor. She is not a Vampire. She is still in that state of wonder and a little bit of disbelief about Vampires and our world (which isn’t all that different than hers, usually.)

Andy is head over heels in love with this divorced mother of two college kids. The story is that she came home from a research trip to find her husband had put her things in storage and moved a new trophy wife into their home. Their youngest child had just gone off to college so it was his opportunity to also make a change. Shocked, she found a small house on a quiet tree lined street and made a new life with her cats and dogs (she wouldn’t leave them behind.)

Shawna was strong and smart and I had no idea what she was doing with my scatter-brained brother. But it was ok. They were cute together and, well, you know all that sort of early romance cute stuff.

I looked out the window to the backyard to see my brother Max kissing his “friend.” This was more than just a friend. I’d heard rumors but this was proof that there was something more than he’d admit to. Funny that she backed out of his arms and went inside alone leaving him to pace a bit then follow her back inside.

In the kitchen I found Shawna. She was cutting up limes.

“I told Andy to have this catered.” I said this trying to be friendly. I could sense a tiny bit of discomfort behind her warm friendly fang-less smile.

“It’s ok, this will just take a second.” She cut into a lime then her hand slipped, of course, in a house full of Vampires, and cut a deep gash in her thumb.

I grabbed her hand and put it in my mouth to stop the bleeding and sealed the wound. I could have left it but it would have required stitches, not to mention drawn a lot of unwanted attention.

I let go and she pulled away with a little bit of horror and disbelief.

“It’s OK Shawna. I sealed the cut. It will heal now without stitches. You’re A positive.” I smiled. “Don’t worry.  I’m not going to drink your blood or bite you or anything. Just basic first aid. We don’t want anyone else smelling blood.”

I suddenly realized that Andy had never bitten her or exposed her to his natural Vampire ways. He was such a gentleman.  He was also a dick when it came to women. He was always falling for anything that wasn’t a Vampire and when it was a Vampire it was usually always someone who was totally wrong for him. He always had to have everything in life more complicated than it had to be.

“Isn’t this sweet,” I heard a smooth male voice say behind me. I turned to see James, one of Andy’s best friends. James who had always watched out for Andrew but who was also one of the most absolutely annoying Vampires in the known universe.

“You know, Juliette and her brother Valentine are two of the best when it comes to Human to Vampire conversions. Almost a 100% success rate, mot to mention a great follow up and support system.”

“Shut up James,” I snapped. Poor Shawna looked horrified. Why was it that everything James said sounded vulgar? Oh right, I know, because he is a flipping pig.

Shawna looked horrified. I was about say something else nasty to James when a very angry Vampire (showing her fangs no less) suddenly slammed him into the wall. “You’re making me sick James. Get out of here before I rip your throat out.”

He held up his hands and backed off. With a smile he said, “Later ladies, I’ll leave you to your tea party.”

Max’s friend Mehitabel  (the one he kissed in the backyard) stood there in a sleek black dress and some great sky high patent leather Mary Janes. She washed her hands saying something under her breath about getting the stink left by James off of them.

Mehitabel was the pretty woman who could either stand out in a crowd, or more likely not be noticed by anyone. That worked well in her professional life. She could stand unnoticed and watch and wait. As for her personal life, I have no idea. I don’t know her that well. I really don’t

I found her entertaining and funny. Sure she was a little distant as well, an odd combination.

Earlier I’d asked her what she was doing for Memorial Day. She was going to spend it with close friends. They always spent holidays together.  Why did I assume she wouldn’t have anyplace to go? Gossip and rumors can build into false biographies that paint a harsh sad picture of someone who is anything but harsh or sad.

She didn’t ask questions about my brother Max, the object of her affections – not like most women do.  She wasn’t talking to anyone about Max. She’d come to the party because they had mutual friends – nothing more. She was staying at Max’s house but no details of fluttery “wink wink” was forthcoming.

She had known Max for a long long time.  Over the years they’d been in and out of dangerous situations together, even saved each other’s lives. They were considered Vampire elite, thought she didn’t act like it.

So, anyway, I’m standing in the kitchen with two women who for better or worse were involved with two of my brothers. At this point I doubted if anyone was going to come in and rescue me.

“Don’t bother with James,” I said to Shawna.  “I think he was snorting too much dragon dust or something.”

“More likely out feeding on meth heads and heroine junkies,” said Mehitabel in disgust. The she softened her look and approached Shawna.

“I’m sorry you had to see that.  We’re not like that. Andy isn’t like that. He is one of the most gentle souls I’ve ever met, Regular Human or Vampire, and he adores you. He’d never ever let anyone harm you. The same goes for Juliette and me, and everyone here. Even James, even thought he is an asshole.”

I knew there were those would harm Shawna, but then again, I suppose nobody could have hurt her more than her ex-husband, the one who traded her in for a younger model.

After a few minutes and a few cocktails, we forgot about the party and my brothers. We talked of other things, things we all could relate to. We talked about movies and books and shoes and our work.

I suppose there is no point or moral to this story. No usual twist. It is always just odd and I’m glad my kids were in another part of the house, I’m sure being exposed to all sorts of other weirdness.

Just random thoughts about last weekend…

But all in all, I like both of these women my brothers have brought around. Now if my brothers could just behave… And if they don’t behave, I might still just keep these two around.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

(this post first published here 11/13)

_____________________________

and before i could argue him

out of his philosophy

he went and immolated himself

on a patent cigar lighter

i do not agree with him

myself i would rather have

half the happiness and twice

the longevity

 

but at the same time i wish

there was something i wanted

as badly as he wanted to fry himself”

Don Marquis, archy and mehitabel

____________________________________

More on Shawna and Andy (click here.)

More on Max and Mehitabel (click here.)

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Real Men

From my husband (exact quote): “Real men wax their cars, not their chests.”

I'm not Juliette's husband. I'm another Vampire guy with a hairy chest and a great set of wheels. Let me drive you all night baby.

I’m not Juliette’s husband. I’m another Vampire guy with a hairy chest and a great set of wheels. Let me drive you all night baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman Cast (or who are all these people you write about?)

I write about a lot of things including my friends, family and others I run across from time to time. If they make a good story I’ll write about it.

Who are all of those people/vampires/werewolves/ghosts I write about? And yes, I consider Vampires as people. If you walk on two legs and aren’t a bird you’re “people.” Unless you’re a troll or goblin but that is an entirely different post.

It is hard to keep track. Not everyone is listed, but almost everyone. Just use this as a quick guide. Feel free to bookmark it.

Each name has a link to one of the many articles featuring that person/being.

Vampires (includes parents, kids and other normal Vampires just like you)

Juliette: That would be me. I write the blog.

Teddy: My husband. He is also my brother Max’s best friend.

Garrett: My 21 year old son.

Clara: My 18 year old daughter.

Max (Maxwell): My eldest brother. Max is the kind of hot and sexy brooding Vampire one finds on the covers of Paranormal Romance Novels. That isn’t how I see him, but it is how others see him. Maxwell hunts Vampire Hunters, Rogue Vampires and other unwanted creatures and keeps us all safe. He is also kind of an asshole.

Aaron: The second of my four older brothers. He is an attorney and most conservative of my siblings.

Verity: Aaron’s wife. She is also one of my best buddies. She looks like Botticelli’s Venus. I kid you not.

Laurel: Aaron’s daughter. Just graduated from Stanford.

Logan: Aaron’s son. Just graduated from UCLA Law School

Andy (Andrew): The third of my brothers. Andy is the most romantic and most sensitive of the brood. He is a singer, mainly opera. He keeps a baby unicorn as a pet, and a cat or two. Pixies, and assorted other weird things live in his house.

Val (Valentine): Sometimes Val is almost like my twin. He is calm and happy and always there for me.

Tellias and Eleora: The Elders. They’re ancient Vampires, over 2,000 years old. They look like they’re 19 or 20 years old, but they’re more like senior citizens. Seriously, they ARE senior citizens.

Lola: My great great great great grandmama. She put the Vamp in Vampire.

Samantha and Jeremy: Our parents.

Nathaniel Chase: A friend of our parents and along with our parents, leaders in the Modern Vampire movement.

Thomas Kent: A mysterious and somewhat famous Vampire. He is well known under a different name which I won’t disclose.

Cody: A fairly “new” Vampire from the Silicon Valley. He and Lola are involved off and on. Strange but true.

Pierce: A friend from our childhood who works with Max. A tall cool drink of Vampire water.

Jayne: A friend and coworker of Max.

Elizabeth: Works with Max

Elizabeth: An attorney like Aaron. She is quiet and serious and has found herself more involved with a local Vampire Hunter than she wants to be.

Mehitabel: A woman who works with Max. He says she is a friend with benefits but she is more. She is also of an ancient band of Vampires who see the world slightly different than we do, but are still part of the Modern Vampire Culture.

Innocenzio D’Antonio: An opera singer and friend of the family.

Matthew: Former Shadow Creeper. An old fashioned Vampire who is trying to navigate the modern world for his teenage son Josh.

James: A total douche of a Vampire. He is my brother Andy’s best friend.

Foxy Mendoza: An old friend who dresses sharp and talks fast.

Amelia: My dear Vampire friend who now lives in Las Vegas.

Randy: My son Garrett’s best friend and now college roommate. He is that tall blonde California kid that never comes across as a Vampire. He likes plaid pants and funky vintage clothes.

Chloe, Zoe, Ione: Friends of Garrett and Randy.

Willow: Recently became a Vampire. A bit shy but coming out of her shell.

Jackie Rafferty: Owns a garage that stays open all night. Has a sweet spot for Willow.

Jason: A mysterious Vampire from the islands.

Pleasant Van Dusen: An old beau of mine. The guy in the “Seriously mom” meme.

Vampire Diary:

Vlad: Former King of Vampires. Author of Vampire Diary. After being locked in a crypt for 300 years he is trying to navigate the modern world.

Gillian: Vlad’s Vampire Lover

Randolpho: Vlad’s best buddy for hundreds of years.

Baba: Vlad’s Grandma

 

Werewolves:

Adam: A Werewolf and one of the best professional photographers I’ve ever met. He is the best I’ve ever worked with.

Brandy: Adam’s girlfriend.

 

Zombies:

Michael and Melissa: Young professionals who had the misfortune of becoming Zombies.

 

Ghosts:

Nigel: The Ghost. He drives me crazy. He is rude and obnoxious and never stops talking. Nigel died at the age of 27 in 1986. He is also my friend, sort of.

Mary: Nigel’s girlfriend. She is exceptionally sweet. She was murdered around 1600.

 

Regular People:

Kelly: My friend and neighbor.

Austin: A Vampire Hunter. He also restores old buildings and sometimes works with my brother Aaron. He is also in love with Elizabeth (a Vampire)

Shawna: A college professor my brother Andy is in love with, on and off and on and off and maybe on again…

John: John owns the farm next to the farm owned by the Elders Tellias and Eleora. Tellias always thought John was in love with Eleora. I told Tellias that everyone who meets sweet Eleora falls in love with her. John’s family has been friends with mine since the California Gold Rush.

Jack: My special friend and regular lunch date. He is usually on my Friday lunch menu.

LeRoy and Jasmine: Hipster Vegans

Lilly: A woman Val sees every once in a while.

 Johnson and Booth: Men in Black Suits

Captain Sandy: An airship captain.

Bart: Father and business owner. Takes no shit from bullies.

Cassie: Owns a midtown bar frequented by Vampires. A friend of Vlad the Vampire King.

Merlin: Yes THAT Merlin. A time traveler. He is one of many time travelers who show up here from time to time.

Ramon and Josh: Friends of Val.

Officers Garcia and Murphy: County Sheriff Officers: Eleora and Tellias call them when they want take-out delivered to their door.

WPaD –  Writers, Poets and Deviants: A group of amazing writers I’m honored to work with. I’m not sure if any of them are Vampires or not. They are exceptional.

Teachers: This is a parenting blog so I must mention teachers. Great and not so great. Mostly great.

 Marla Todd: A writer and artist and editor when she feels like it, which is rarely.

 

Others

There are also assorted dogs and cats. Do a search on dogs or cats. I have a lot of posts about them.

Selkies: They take both human and seal form. We run into them from time to time.

Warlocks and Witches: I’m not overly fond of them but some of my kin are friends with them. 

Evil Squirrel: I’ve written several blog posts for the Evil Squirrel’s Nest Contest of Whatever. If you don’t follow ES you should.

There are also posts about goblins, demons, aliens, time travelers and other assorted nasty creatures I really don’t like spending much time with except to complain about them. Oh right, and story problems (or why your kid is failing in math.

I know I left somebody out but…we all have a lot of people in our lives. I use the term “people” rather loosely.

So have fun. Check the side bars. Read all 1,700 + posts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman