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

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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Halloween Hotties: Werewolves

My friend Brandy, who just happens to be a Werewolf, asked me an interesting question yesterday. 

Why are most Werewolves in fiction male? Why are sexy Werewolves usually male? Why are there so few sexy Werewolves. What’s up with that?

I thought about it for a second. Well Brandy, I’m sure my gentle readers would be able to come up with dozens of examples of all of the above mentioned. I just don’t know of many. In the meantime, maybe I need to change that and write a few stories for Brandy.
Today I’m reposting favorite from 2013. It was part of my “Halloween Hottie” series.  Aside from all of the love letter, taking kids to rock concert, and spoon hanging posts THIS one is in the top five all time most popular.

Halloween Hotties: Werewolves (if you’re into guys who smell like wet dogs)

Time to Countdown to Halloween with Halloween Hotties  – WEREWOLVES.

Werewolves. I’m torn on this one. I just don’t find them attractive at all. OK – I don’t find most of them attractive.

Now wolves, the wonderful wild wolves who don’t turn back into humans are some of the most beautiful creatures on earth.

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But Werewolves? Really? They’re just gross and disturbing.

This is not attractive or hot in any way shape or form.

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But before he was transformed…Mr Chaney was quite the looker. After the transformation his was just one ugly dog faced boy.

Lon Chaney looking hot in a suit! Sweetheart stay out from under that full moon!

American Werewolf In London = hot guys, ugly werewolves.

Looking cute now guys but wait until midnight!

So what does the whole Werewolf thing mean in modern culture. Man shows his inner beast? Nooooo, it’s just another way to creep us out and give us some scary fun.

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Caution: If you’ve come here for deep and meaningful look at my parenting posts.

That said, if you are looking for a HOT Werewolf… The hero of Robert McCammon’s The Wolf’s Hour, Michael Gallatin, is the most smoking hot Werewolf ever to grace the pages of fiction or non-fiction. I love this book. It goes down in my top 10 favorite books of all time. Take my word for it.

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The Wolf’s Hour is about a Russian Werewolf who is a Nazi hunter during WW2. Trust me, this isn’t some silly book. It is powerful, well written and filled with some of the best characters ever written. Read it. Read it. Read it. And by the way, Mr. McCammon you’re pretty hot yourself! I mean, any man who can write how he writes has to be hot.

Then there is Adam, my own Werewolf friend. He just rolls his eyes at me.

Yes, I do have personal experience with these guys. It is creepy when you see hair growing out of the top of somebody’s hand. I can handle the teeth thing, especially since I have fangs too. And I like a man with a little hair on his chest, but not covering his entire body like, well, like a DOG or a bear rug. Nor do I like the idea of kissing a guy knowing that he was chewing on his ass the night before. Yuck.

I once told Adam that I found the idea of turning into a wolf somewhat disturbing. He went off on me for a full 15 minutes about how vile Vampires are and that we’re more or less the most evil disgusting creatures that ever stayed awake all night. I told him I hoped he’d get fleas in his crotch and that I would NEVER forgive him for trying to rip my throat out a while back. I told him he smelled like a wet dog after he’d been a wolf for the night.

Most Werewolves are Halloween Hotties because of what they look like BEFORE the full moon. You gotta admit I’m right about that one. I mean, look at the photo below with the cute guy and the puppy. Cute now…just wait until the full moon and he turns into some disgusting hairy beast that eats Alpo and small children. Maybe we just want to take care of them – like we take care of our faithful dogs. Poor babies…. No, I don’t think so.

cute guy with pup

Adam and I didn’t talk for a while after our big Werewolf vs Vampire blow out and insult throwing contest,  but we’re back to being in the close friend category.

Creatures such a Vampires and Werewolves can get a little emotional with expressing our feelings. That said, if you want emotional try spending some time with a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

And as long as you’re here…check out the rest of the blog for more fun and more Werewolves.

He claims he looks more like the wolf, but I've seen him with those wolf teeth and hair growing out of his arms...it is enough to scare the most hardened Vampire.

 

Short Story Sunday: Leaving Victor

A new Tangled Tale for October 13, 2019 from Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

Leaving Victor

The Creature watched as the figure in the large overcoat and hat came through the door. The man walked with a slight limp. He smiled at The Creature as he took off his coat and hung it on a peg.

“Igor, you back. Doctor left,” said The Creature.

“Gone for three days. That gives us plenty of time,” said the man with the limp as he took off his hat and shook out his hair.

“Nice do,” said The Creature. “Igor look good.”

“I needed something different.”

“You look like hipster. Short sides. Longer top. Igor look stylish.”

“It isn’t Igor anymore. It never was Igor,” said the man.

“No Igor?”

“Victor called me Igor. It was a derogatory term due to my handicap.” Then he reached around and pulled a pillow out of the back of his shirt. “I won’t be needing this anymore.”

“You straight,” said The Creature.

“Physical therapy. Now I just have to use a cane when I’m on uneven surfaces. But listen, my name is, my real name, is Isidore Rassioli. Some of my friends call me Izzy.”

“Izzydore. I like.”

“You need a name too. That damn Victor didn’t even give you a name. What do you want to be called?”

“Don’t know. Never think I could have name.”

“Well I have.” Isidore pulled out an envelope and set it in front of The Creature. “You are now Corbin Jones. Look here. You now have a birth certificate, and a passport.”

“Corbin. Middle?”

“Andrew,”

“Sound good. I like. Why all this?”

“Because, my dear Corbin, it is time for us to leave. Our servitude is over. For years I toiled under Dr. Victor Frankenstein as his assistant. I did all of the research. I formulated the numbers. I came up with the key ideas, theories, and every thesis. I even wrote his lecture notes. The only reason he has tenure at the university is because of me. All the while he called me Igor and took advantage of my lack of confidence. Well no more. I am not ugly. I am not stupid. I am not a cripple.”

“Looking good Isidore. You smart. I always say that.”

“And so are you Corbin. So are you.

“Passport say American. Why?”

“Because dear Corbin you are a man of an astoundingly diverse heritage. Your body is Italian, built like Michelangelo’s David. Unfortunately the first owner was crushed in an automobile accident. Fortunately we were able to find a perfect fit for a new right arm and shoulder from a murdered Ethiopian gun smuggler. Your left brain is Irish Catholic and your right brain is Ashkenazi Jew. Your head is generic Caucasian, from an American who lost it to an unfortunate run in with a machete. You look like of like Chris Evans, you know, Captain America, sort of but I think better looking. Your ears don’t match, but nobody looks at ears unless they’re unusually large, and yours aren’t.”

“What about her?” Corbin asked, looking over at a closed door.

“The woman? Her body is from a woman who was of English, Welsh, and German decent. She was involved in an unfortunate industrial accident that took off the top of her head. Her scalp and brain are Korean. I’m not sure where those came from. Her heart is First Nation Canadian. Jesus Christ, I can’t make this stuff up. The two of you are true citizens of the world.”

From behind the closed door came a woman. She was striking with one brown eye and one hazel eye. Her long black hair was pulled up into a messy bun on the top of her hair. She wore jeans and an oversized sweater the color of the evening sky.

“Izzy. Did you get my papers?” Asked the woman.

“I did. Here you go Rochelle.”

“Oh my goodness it is good to hear my name. Rochelle. Wow.”

She opened her envelope and looked down upon the birth certificate. Rochelle Patti Smith. She’d picked out the name herself. Her own name. Not Eve or Lilith as Victor wanted to call her, but Rochelle. Patti Smith was after her favorite musician. Rochelle was just because she’s always liked the name somewhere in her distant past that she couldn’t quite remember.

“I have my bag packed,” said Rochelle.

“Good,” said Isidore.

“Where we go?” Corbin asked.

“Orange County, California, the United States of America. I got a job teaching at the Biology Department at UC Irvine.”

“UC?” Corbin asked.

“University of California,” said Isidore. “I have my PhD. This is a great opportunity. Plus we’re not going to be alone. My brothers Sal and Perry own a body shop in Long Beach.”

“They make people too?” Rochelle asked.

“No, cars. They repair cars. Automobiles.”

Six Years Later

Corbin, Rochelle, and Isidore lived in a house walking distance from the beach. It was a good life.

Corbin obtained his GED, took two years at the Community College and got into California State University Long Beach majoring in Political Science. With the help of a speech therapist he now spoke without a trace of hesitation. His girlfriend owned a surf shop and had taught him how to swim.

Rochelle was now in Law School at UC Irvine. She dated a movie producer.

Isidore was a popular teacher. Often he’d walk the beach with his dogs Ramble and Corky, and ponder the meaning of life. Not so much his life, but life in general.

He’d never even thought of making any more conglomerates of reanimated body parts and calling them human beings. Corbin and Rochelle were enough. They were miracles who’d been rescued from spending their new lives shut up in a laboratory to be poked and prodded. Now they were free. Maybe they even had souls. God knows they lived their lives like they did.

Victor had approached Rochelle a few years back, like an abusive stalker waiting to bring his woman back where she belonged. She told him that she’d call the police if he ever approached her again.

Victor had told her, “You ungrateful sewed together bitch. I made you. You belong to me.”

Rochelle said, “No Victor, I made me. I made the women I am today.”

A small note on the online news sites stated that the body of famous biologist Dr. Victor Frankenstein had been washed up on a beach just south of Santa Barbara. Corbin, Rochelle, and Isidore never talked about it. They didn’t need to.

The thought of Rochelle standing up for herself made Isidore smile. He wanted that for all of his students. It had taken years for him to stand up for himself.

As he watched the sunset over the Pacific Ocean a peace settled over Isidore.

“Come on boys,” he called to his dogs. Then he stood up straight and planted his cane in the sand. “I’m done with crutches my dear dogs. Let’s go home.”

~ end

Tangled Tales