Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Some say life is a game. I don’t believe that is a good message for teens but sometimes, on those stupid frustrating adult days when everything seems to go wrong it seems like some stupid horrible game. You know those days when you think “I must have been a really horrible person in a past life.” 

One of the frustrations about being young (in your teens and twenties) is that Chance and Fate are unfair forces that seem bound and determined to keep us down.

Chance isn’t logical or fair. He picks favorites. He excludes those who work hard. He surprises us with delights. He breaks our hearts and smashes our delicate egos. He devastates. He rescues. He is our best friend and our worst enemy. That said, try explaining that to your teen or college aged kid. Try explaining it to anyone?

And what about Chance’s fickle girlfriend Fate. Fate is lovely to behold but can be a real bitch. She likes to make us think she is on top of things, but in reality Fate has very little to do with anything. Fate is a poser. She is full of empty promises. Fate takes credit for things she did not do. Because in my opinion Fate does nothing if she can find someone else to do the work for her (and she is very good at getting Chance and others to do the work).

Then there is their friend Noel Reason. He is a secretive guy who has his hands into everything but doesn’t take credit for anything. In fact he shouldn’t take credit for anything. Sometimes things just happen for Noel Reason. But you never want to tell your teen THAT.

The unpopular kids are Logic and Reason. Nobody wants to listen to them. They are usually polite and never scream. They aren’t popular. But people who do get to know Logic and Reason love them. Their lives get better. The world makes sense. But it is so frustrating having Logic and Reason for friends because so many people hate and fear them (for no reason – chalk up one more for the gossip mill). You can depend on these two.

Ignorance seems to be the most popular guy around these days. He acts tough. He is the “bad boy”. He gets friends by spreading the message of fear and hate. His most famous saying is “We’ve always done things that way. If it was good enough for my dad it’s good enough for me.” Ignorance hates people who think freely and is glad to get his bullies to take care of it for him.

The perfect union

There is a rumor that Art and Science don’t like each other. In reality they are a couple – and a successful couple at that. Take my word on it. Plus they are two that your teens and twenty somethings need to get to know (and know well). As with Logic and Reason you can also depend on these two.

Hope stand by herself never knowing what to do. She has great power. She brings comfort but she also brings disappointment. Keep Hope as a friend but don’t make her your best friend (and she often is caught flirting with Chance which pisses Fate off to no end). Hope can do a lot for you and those you care about but she can’t solve the World’s problems.

Faith is Hope’s twin sister. You have to get to know Faith. She isn’t overly religious as some people believe. But she embodies all that is good and kind. She teaches us that all things are possible and to believe in ourselves and others. She teaches us to believe in what is good. She teaches us trust. But don’t keep her in the dark or cover her eyes or you’ll have blind Faith – and that combined with our pal Ignorance can be a very bad thing indeed.

Most of all teach your children that they should not depend on the friends above for what they  need or want. They need to depend on their own talents, drive and follow their own hearts. They must lead, not follow, not wait.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: Father Paul

She remembered when he was just in high school. His family lived next door in an old ranch house with a rabbit warren of added on rooms. There were six Jackson kids. Paul was the peacemaker, the child of compassion, and the smartest of the bunch. He went to the local all boys’ Catholic high school then on to get a doctorate in theology and the priesthood.

Elizabeth never questioned his faith or his decision to enter the priesthood. There would be those who would question what they could not understand. Paul just took it as part of the job.

In turn Paul never questioned Elizabeth. He certainly asked questions but never judged. He just accepted what neither one of them could change. Nor did he ask her if she was afraid of eternal damnation of her soul or her life in the shadows.

Now years after they met they sat together. At the age of 54 his hair was turning gray and crows feet crinkled at the edges of his eyes when he laughed. At 195 years she looked the same as the day he met her in 1975 – a beautiful vision for any young man, including the teenage Paul.

The two old friends walked along the path in the oak forest together. Elizabeth took Paul’s arm.

“You always accepted me as I am. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.”

“Same here.”

“Stop.” She then embraced him. It was a warm day but her embrace was like ice to him. “I mean it Paul.”

He never used the word Vampire when he thought of her. She was what she was. Maybe a creature of evil but he didn’t know that for sure. Sure she drank the blood of others but that was nothing compared to some of the evil he’d seen in the world. At the same time he feared for his own soul when he was with her but he couldn’t resist. It wasn’t romantic or sexual at all. She’d always been there for him, unconditional. But that wasn’t it. She drew him in as if she was the only one who knew his heart and soul – as if she owned him.

Elizabeth let him go and then gave him a knowing smile. “I understand it is sometimes trying to have your own Vampire. You handle it well. Oh, yes, by the way, I’m having a party next weekend. You know, just cocktails and finger food. I want you to meet my boyfriend Austin. He is like you, not a priest, but warm, like you. You know what I mean. Forbidden love. Who would have thought. But you know how that is.”

“Uh, sure. A boyfriend? Sure. Will Vampires be there?”

“Of course. No worries. You know most of them.”

Paul was waiting for lightning to strike but it never did – never with Elizabeth.

 

 

To be continued….

This is the 14th story in the Austin and Elizabeth (The Hunter) series. For more on the Austin and Elizabeth Stories – the complete set CLICK HERE. 

 

Dead or Alive

After writing my previous post Religion and Ramblings (in speed post mode) I thought about this story about Vampires, romance, and maybe a little bit of faith.

Dead or Alive
A Vampire Romance

By Juliette Kings

1886

“What a bunch of idiots,” Jamie said to himself as he watched a mob of men run down the road brandishing knives and guns they didn’t even know how to use. They wouldn’t dare use them. Well, maybe they would – that is why Jamie had to hide. Now he was all dressed up with no place to go.

Now what? Maybe a trip to his favorite opium den for an easy meal or a trip to Madam Rosanna’s for a drink with one of her girls. At least the girls were clean and pretty, but the rush of opium infused blood sounded good right now.

Jamie ended up back home to change his bloody shirt. He knew his housekeeper would be able to get the stains out but it still annoyed him.

As he grabbed a new shirt out of the wardrobe the smell of jasmine and roses gently made him smile. He turned around.

“Belinda. What a delight.” She was indeed a delight but he didn’t expect to see her, not here in his house, much less in his bedroom.

The delicious sight in a silk green dress smiled and sat on his bed. “Your housekeeper let me in. I don’t think she approves but then again…” she didn’t finish her sentence but just laughed.

James brushed his lips across hers then slid his fangs across the side of her neck. “She doesn’t approve of you because she doesn’t know you.” His mouth went to Belinda’s again.

“You taste like blood,” she whispered.

“You taste like death darling Belinda.” Jamie took her hand and pulled her up. “I’m getting dressed. Let’s go out.”

They passed into the darkness outside, arm in arm, laughing quietly at their private jokes.

Maybe they’d go to the whore house or the opium den. Maybe they’d go to a musical revue or drop by and see friends. Anything was possible. Together, Jamie and Belinda always had a way of making everything fun – at least fun for them.

They decided on the theater but stopped in front of one of the larger churches in the center of the city. A bride and groom happily rode in their carriage to start a new life together. The bride was dressed in innocent white. The groom was happy and handsome.

Jamie and Belinda stood, arm in arm, and looked upon the happy couple.

“That could have been us,” said Belinda.

“We don’t deserve that kind of happiness,” said Jamie, giving her hand a squeeze.

“Why not? We could get married. We could be happy Jamie.”

“Oh darling, you’d drive me crazy. I’d have to kill you.”

“I’m already dead. Well, sort of dead.”

And under the gaslights by the church Jamie kissed Belinda. “Dead or alive, I love you Belinda. I always have. I always will.”

A cold tear ran down Belinda’s cheek. Jamie led her into the empty church and up to the alter. “Belinda, will you love me and stay with me always?”

“Jamie, will you love me and stay with me always?”

“I suppose,” said Jamie.

“Aren’t we supposed to talk about till death do us part?” Belinda asked quietly.

“I didn’t think about that,” said Jamie.

“You wouldn’t now James would you?” She called him by his proper name, the way she thought a wife would.

They left the church and headed back to Jamie’s place. Over a glass of wine they made uncomfortable small talk.

“Will you stay the night Belinda?” He had to ask.

“If you’ll have me. Oh Jamie, we’re so awful. We really are. There has to be more.”

He thought about it for about a second. “Not really. We are what we are. We are who we are.”

Then he took her hand and led her back up to his room.

In the morning the world came alive, but they continued their sleep, wrapped in each other’s cold dead arms, as alive as they knew how to be.

~ end

Religion and Ramblings

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Religion and Ramblings of a Vampire Maman

Oh ye of little faith… or a lot. I don’t care either way.

In my daughter’s high school about a quarter of the kids are Mormon. Another quarter are Catholic. The next quarter go to the big Presbyterian Church. A handful go to the Jewish synagogue, a few go to the other big box holy roller church, and the rest are just kind of on their own, or nothing. There are a lot more nothings than atheists. Then there are the tiny groups who are Muslim and Buddhists and other faiths.

According to my child the Mormon kids don’t try to convert the 3/4 who are Catholic or Presbyterian. They go for the others.

I bring this up because last night we saw The Book of Mormon. It was great. If you have a chance go see it.

I need to write a disclaimer that we love our Mormon friends and respect their choices. We are not haters. We don’t care about your faith of choice as long as it works for you and you aren’t hurting anyone (including yourself). Nuff said.

OK there are a few exceptions of weird ass groups that have no more business calling themselves a religion. As we passed one of their buildings downtown last night one of my companions said, “the are so evil.”

Your religion is your own, just keep it out of the schools and out of politics. That is why we’re in America. Don’t forget it.

And then there are the Vampires. At the high school there are exactly a dozen right now. For kicks and grins thrown in the four Werewolf kids at the school. This school has a huge population of paranormal types. We tend to try to stick together. It just makes things easier for the kids to have someone like themselves in their classes. Hey, it isn’t like they’re going to talk to the other kids about their unique biology and spiritual issues.

I was talking to my friend Marla who occasionally helps me with this blog. She explained some of the inspiration for her latest book Exceptional Liars.

I had a conversation with a friend about some of the families at the church we went to when we were growing up. It was one of the big churches everyone belonged to. It was one, and still is, one of the hubs of the community. My parents weren’t all that involved, which was fine with me.

But there were families where church and religion was the center of the universe. Their priorities were: 1. church/god, 2. Marriage, 3. Dad’s job, 4. Church society, 5. Children. Unfortunately five seemed to be a distant number. These parents bragged about how God and marriage came before everything else. Even as a teenager I knew that was wrong.

Their children were usually popular, good in school, involved with church activities, and they were the first to sneak off to smoke pot or make out in the back of a car. They knew more about sex, drugs and not getting caught at anything than other teenagers. When the kids were caught misbehaving punishment was swift, often including banishment. Obedience to God, church and parents was paramount. Fortunately for most of these kid they never did get caught. 

My book started out with a weak main character. She was sensitive and naive, but that wasn’t any fun. Why not make her the kind of nasty, clannish, resentful, sneaky kid that came out of these families in real life.

I added narcissistic parents, incestuous and violent siblings, an abusive Christian marriage counselor husband, a serial killer, a couple of slick and twisted layers, a crazy former DEA agent, the abused roller skating ex-husband of a pop-star, a hit man turned divorce lawyer, a guitar maker, and the bisexual wife of a senator who just wanted to be left alone.

Religion is scattered throughout the book, but it isn’t a religious book. But the characters, at least two of them, do what works for them.”

 

I like books with religious references. I think it adds mystery and interest to books if it isn’t preachy or “Sunday schoolish,” or overly sentimental with a forced unrealistic message. Religion and faith also adds conflict and interest for the characters. Two of my favorites are The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco and The Di Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Both stories wound religion into mystery and intrigue. It was fun to figure out the clues and see the conflicting views of the characters.

Movies have comedic, romantic, and chilling takes on the subject. My favorites (and most highly recommended are Elmer Gantry, The Devil’s Disciple (the play or the movie), Night of the Hunter, and Heaven Knows Mr. Allison.

In my line of work, I know those who have come face-to-face with Lucky (the Devil) and had run ins with both angels and demons.

I know Vampires who fight with their own inner demons about the state of their souls and their own jacked up immortality. They sit quietly, in the backs of churches, or quietly walk in cemeteries looking for comfort, or answers to questions that have gone unanswered for centuries. Sometimes they’re just looking for a bit of redemption. Or sometimes they just go for the music.

Vampires rarely pray, not knowing who might be on the other end waiting, or listening in. We’re always on the outside when it comes to religion. But most of us are content in knowing our own hearts, even if those hearts don’t beat as often or as loud as those of the rest of the population.

We are spiritual because we live among the spirits, good or bad.

And as you already know, Vampires are big on holidays. We do love our holidays.

As a parent I teach my children to be good and good to others. There is no use in judging those who are not like us, if they’re good people. We all must find our own peace. Some will never find peace even though they spend half of their life inside of a cathedral surrounded by icons and commandments.

I find my peace in the woods. When I’m in an art museum I see the power of what it means to be alive, even in a Vampire sort of way.

As Matthew (6.6) said, “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray.”

I’m not religious but I now my verses. I take what I need and leave the rest, like most Vampires, at least those who think about these things.

Anyway, I’m starting to ramble.

Peace be with you. Wishing you beauty and joy, and the cool quiet of the shadows.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Exceptional Liars will be free on Amazon through March 20. CLICK here for the link. If you like it leave a nice review.

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My Wish to You, Parenting, Faith and Christmas Memories (a post in 4 parts with my famous bulleted lists)

Please Santa bring me some fangs...

Please Santa bring me some fangs…

Part 1: My Wish To You

Some wish for peace on Earth. For years I wished for peace in my own family but I’ve given up. Enough of that least I get a headache that will last until after the end of the year.

I’ve wished for peace and quiet. But I have other wishes for all of my friends, especially my dear blogging friend who have provided me with so much good fun, thoughtful words and smart posts of all kinds.

  • I wish you never suffer with Trolls – those horrible negative creatures who stalk bloggers and other folks online.
  • I wish you no SPAM.
  • I wish you a creative flow that can’t be stopped.
  • I wish you good humor.
  • I wish you never be caught in a dead end alley with a pissed off Vampire.
  • I wish you success – whatever YOUR idea of success is (not somebody elses’ idea of success.)
  • I wish you good chocolate.
  • I wish you sweet dreams.
  • I wish you all the joy that you can stand.
  • I wish you good friends, cats who behave and dogs who don’t sniff in private places.
  • I wish that you will be bitten by the creative bug and not fleas or Werewolves (Unless you’re writing about Werewolves. I’m not going to even address the issue of writing about fleas.)
  • I wish you peace.
  • I wish you peace.
  • I wish you peace.

 

Part 2: Rules for Parenting (this is important)

  • Talk to your child. Engage with your child. Even if your child isn’t talking yet – TALK to and with your children.
  • Small children are loud and active. It doesn’t mean they need drugs or spankings. They need space to be themselves. They’ll grow out of the loudness and learn to sit still. It is your job to guide them and let them know when it is ok to be loud and ok to be frisky.
  • Teach your kid manners. Manners are a must. Insist on it. Your children are not the center of the universe and they should not think that. Period. Then need to learn that there are consequences to rude and bad behavior.
  • Encourage your child to laugh.
  • Encourage imagination.
  • Encourage active play and exploration.
  • Encourage independence.
  • Encourage your child to see the big picture. There is a big world outside of your front door and the sooner your child knows the better.
  • Did I say laugh? Yes, laugh a lot.
  • All of this works also works on your husbands, dogs and cats.
  • Love your child.
  • Listen to your child.
  • Don’t show favorites.
  • Learn from your child.  Yes, you can learn a lot from someone who is under 18 years old. Keep and open mind and an open heart.

 

Part 3: Faith

My brother Val and I used to like to creep into churches and sit in the back so we could listen to the music. We were not welcome, but we were not completely unwelcome.

My views on faith and my own faith have changed over the years. I’ve always been fascinated by different religions and faiths – which is different from the faith I speak of. Anyway, I was always an outsider. Yet, I feel a kindred spirit with the artists and the music. It is the trappings that give comfort, the repetition, the traditions – the good traditions 0 the positive traditions.

When I walk in the woods or walk through the rooms of an art museum I feel faith. Something is there that is wonderful and real and magic. Something is there that is good. It is a goodness that anyone can let in. It is something that makes one believe that peace and goodness is possible.

Today is Christmas Eve. I believe that the message of Christ is about love and hope and giving. It is about trying to understand others. It is about beauty and joy. You can throw the rest of the stuff out. It is not a comfort. It is not faith. Faith is good. If it isn’t good then it is just a horror story written to scare people into submission – not written by Jesus. He knew better.

That is what I believe.

I respect the faiths of others. I can see good things in religions I don’t believe in. I can say “That is fun, but I’d never believe it.” Sure there are religions, if you can call them that, that horrify me, but that is something I will keep to myself for now.

Find faith in the love you feel. Find it in the sound of birds. Find it in friendship with those who are different. Find it in things you can’t understand. Find it in the words of poetry, the sound of a child laughing, the feel of the cold damp fog on your face, the music of frogs, and in your own heart.

Even those who don’t believe in a god or higher power or world beyond have to have faith. Faith in love and beauty and compassion.

Tomorrow we will celebrate. I hope it is a celebration for all, even if that celebration is a walk in the winter air or the lighting of a candle or the steady purring of a small furry cat.

 

Part 4: Memories from my Modern Vampire Family and Friends

This was first posted last December (2013) but I’m posting it again.

From Andrew: One of my fondest memories is walking with her in the snow at night. Her hands were hot, and as hard as she tried, she could never warm up my hands.

From Matthew: We looked at the stars in the night sky and didn’t feel dead anymore.

From Verity: A nip of brandy and a nip on the neck of my husband under the mistletoe.

From Lola: A lovely young man all tied up in red ribbons and bows. That isn’t figuratively either. He was all tied up.

From Tellias: We saw a great light in the sky and I knew something had happened that would change the world. That was a long time ago. I was very young.

From Eleora: We never did much for people we took blood from until we started to celebrate the Christmas holiday. Then we started to leave them presents. That is where the Santa Clause tradition came from. And this year I’m going to wear my red dress with the white fur trim and red boots and snowflake earrings.

From Val: My sister Juliette and I would sneak into churches and sing along to the carols. Everyone said it would kill us but we knew nobody who is damned could be so inspired by the music as we were.

From Cody: I used to be afraid of Vampires before I became one and found out how much fun they are, especially around the holidays. Well, except for the men in black and the zombies, but hey, you have to respect them for what they are.

From Adam (a Werewolf): Running in the mountain snow until we were so tired we couldn’t go another inch. My mother would be waiting with fresh meat, fruit cake and hot chocolate. We’d turn from wolves to boys and run naked all over the cabin as my parents laughed. It was crazy but, you know, we’re Werewolves.

From Aaron: We used to act out the Christmas Carol except someone would always tear out Scrooge’s neck before my mom could finish the narration. Oh man, we would laugh so hard.

From Max: Candle light and the long cool kiss of another Vampire.

From Teddy: I’ll never forgot the Christmas I pried my mother’s necklace off of the rotting corpse of the woman who stole it. I knew at that moment that Juliette was the Vampire I would one day marry and would proudly wear the necklace. It was also the night I learned I hadn’t lost my soul, or at least not completely.

From Jayne: I wore a red velvet dress trimmed with flowers and holly. The room was filled with candles and garland. Everyone tasted like cinnamon and whiskey.

From Ione: I was so excited about seeing Santa that I bit the cat.

From Elizabeth: Going for angel walks in the cemetery at midnight with Jayne and Mehitabel. The stone angels inspire the singing of the dead. It is quiet lovely and moving if you know what tombs to visit.

From Nathaniel: After years of spending Christmas protecting my kind from Vampire Hunters, I look forward to spending a quiet Christmas with my wife and child. I think I earned it.

From Thomas Kent: Christmas is a time for us to make frozen hearts warm and inspire peace among all creatures, even those of the night and cold.

To learn more about the individuals above click on their names.

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Wishing you all dear readers sweet memories.

A Happy Christmas to all!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Some say life is a game. I don’t believe that is a good message for teens but sometimes, on those stupid frustrating adult days when everything seems to go wrong it seems like some stupid horrible game. You know those days when you think “I must have been a really horrible person in a past life.” Sigh.

One of the frustrations about being young (in your teens and twenties) is that Chance and Fate are unfair forces that seem bound and determined to keep us down.

Chance isn’t logical or fair. He picks favorites. He excludes those who work hard. He surprises us with delights. He breaks our hearts and smashes our delicate egos. He devastates. He rescues. He is our best friend and our worst enemy. That said, try explaining that to your teen or college aged kid. Try explaining it to anyone?

And what about Chance’s fickle girlfriend Fate. Fate is lovely to behold but can be a real bitch. She likes to make us think she is on top of things, but in reality Fate has very little to do with anything. Fate is a poser. She is full of empty promises. Fate takes credit for things she did not do. Because in my opinion Fate does nothing if she can find someone else to do the work for her (and she is very good at getting Chance and others to do the work).

Then there is their friend Noel Reason. He is a secretive guy who has his hands into everything but doesn’t take credit for anything. In fact he shouldn’t take credit for anything. Sometimes things just happen for Noel Reason. But you never want to tell your teen THAT.

The unpopular kids are Logic and Reason. Nobody wants to listen to them. They are usually polite and never scream. They aren’t popular. But people who do get to know Logic and Reason love them. Their lives get better. The world makes sense. But it is so frustrating having Logic and Reason for friends because so many people hate and fear them (for no reason – chalk up one more for the gossip mill). You can depend on these two.

Ignorance seems to be the most popular guy around these days. He acts tough. He is the “bad boy”. He gets friends by spreading the message of fear and hate. His most famous saying is “We’ve always done things that way. If it was good enough for my dad it’s good enough for me.” Ignorance hates people who think freely and is glad to get his bullies to take care of it for him.

The perfect union

Art and Science

There is a rumor that Art and Science don’t like each other. In reality they are a couple – and a successful couple at that. Take my word on it. Plus they are two that your teens and twenty somethings need to get to know (and know well). As with Logic and Reason you can also depend on these two.

Hope stand by herself never knowing what to do. She has great power. She brings comfort but she also brings disappointment. Keep Hope as a friend but don’t make her your best friend (and she often is caught flirting with Chance which pisses Fate off to no end). Hope can do a lot for you and those you care about but she can’t solve the World’s problems.

Faith is Hope’s twin sister. You have to get to know Faith. She isn’t overly religious as some people believe. But she embodies all that is good and kind. She teaches us that all things are possible and to believe in ourselves and others. She teaches us to believe in what is good. She teaches us trust. But don’t keep her in the dark or cover her eyes or you’ll have blind Faith – and that combined with our pal Ignorance can be a very bad thing indeed.

Most of all teach your children that they should not depend on the friends above for what they  need or want. They need to depend on their own talents, drive and follow their own hearts. They must lead, not follow, not wait.

~ Juliette