Short Story Sunday: Circles

Circles

“The damn circles are back. My crops are gonna be ruined by it all. We’re already having a cold planting season, and now this, right before the harvest of our winter crops.”

Druce listened as Farmer Wyne told him about the return of the crop circles. As the local Warlock Druce had done all he could to help. Damn this was frustrating.

“I’m as distressed as you are Wyne. This is not good. Not good at all. Right now I’m brewing up some berry tea. We can get ourselves a cup and go take a look.”

The men walked out to the field about 100 feet from Druce’s cottage. He was surprised he didn’t hear anyone out in the field the night before. He took a sip of tea and surveyed the damage.

“Didn’t you hear anything?” Asked Wyne.

“I was in a deep sleep last night, lulled by the storm,” said Druce.

A large pattern of circles made by knocking over the tall grain had been made in the middle of Wyne’s field. It wasn’t the first time. A faint unpleasant smell came from the circles. Druce couldn’t place it.

He stood in the middle of the largest circle and closed his eyes, as he attempted to get a sense of it all. There were no spirits or demons present. There was no magic. There was nothing but a lingering unknown smell.

Later that afternoon Druce walked down to the beach and called out to his friend Morcant the Selkie. A large seal poked it’s head out of the water, then went under again. A few minutes later a man walked out of the surf carrying a seal skin.

Selkies are seals when they want to be and men when they need to be. They carry their seal skins with them so that nobody will steal them and trap them forever on dry land.

They talked of the crop circles but could come up with no answers. They did decide to roast some fish Morcant had caught and headed back to Druce’s cottage.

The two old friends spoke of a myriad of unexplained events that had happened since that idiot Wizard Merlin had moved into the old castle on the hill. It took a day or two to walk there but it Merlin was still too close as far as Druce was concerned.

Druce had once asked Merlin about crop circles, lights from the sky, and strangely dressed folks wandering around in the shadows. Merlin said the strange events must be because of fairies and their displeasure with the king, who was even more of an idiot than Merlin. Or, Merlin said, it could be that the old gods were angry at King Arthur for worshiping the new Christian god. Druce thought Merlin was full of shit and never asked him about it again.

After they finished their dinner of fish and nut cakes, and were cleaning up there was a soft knock on Druce’s door.

Standing in the drizzling rain was a man and a woman wrapped in heavy cloaks.

“Are you Merlin the Wizard?” asked the man in a strange accent.

Morcant laughed out loud.

“No, I am Druce, the Warlock. May I help you?”

“I told you Merlin was just a myth,” said the woman.

“Merlin lives down a way,” said Druce. “Do you know him?”

“No, not yet,” said the man.

“Well,” said Druce, “Merlin is a bit socially awkward and insecure. He might visit with your or he might hide and pretend he isn’t home. Have you come a long way? I sense that you have.”

“You’re a Warlock?” asked the woman. “What does that mean?”

“It means that I can tell that you’re not from around here. It also means that you should tell me your names and come in out of the rain. I sense you aren’t here to kill or rob us. I know you have weapons in your pockets but you aren’t comfortable using them. We won’t threaten you. I am Druce the Warlock, and this is my friend Morcant.”

The woman eyed Morcant involuntary. Of course she did. Silkies are unusually attractive and humans find it difficult to resist their charms.

“I’m Trinity, and this is my friend Ryan,” said the woman as they entered the house.

Druce and Morcant eyes the sturdy shoes and the fine weave of their clothing. They noticed the smell of flowers on the woman’s hair.

“So you’re here to see Merlin. I suppose you want to take a look at the Round Table and all of that as well?” said Morcant.

“You’ll be disappointed. They’re a rather unorganized lot. The King has a good public relations staff but it is really a disaster over at Camelot,” said Druce.

“The Camelot always stinks too. They never do maintainace on the moat like they’re supposed to,” said Morcant.

Trinity and Ryan looked disappointed. “This is unexpected,” said Trinity.

“And speaking of unexpected, do the two of you know what is causing the crop circles around here? You’re not behind it are you?” Said Druce.

“Why would you ask that?” said Ryan, as he shifted in his chair.

“I don’t know, you being time travelers and all. Seriously, we get your type all the time.  You come her wanting to see the glory of days gone by, the holy grail, magic, and maybe a bit of romance… wait, wait, hold on a minute. I have it figured out. Your time wagon, or machine, or whatever you call it is making those crop circles,” said Druce, now standing up.

“Whenever strangers like you show up with your odd accents and sturdy shoes show up our farmers complain of crop circles. Dude, you have to stop it. You’re ruining the harvest,” said Druce.

Of course Trinity and Ryan had no idea that their machine had caused the crop circles.  They did however stay the night and talk until the sun came up about their lives in the future. Trinity was a history professor at one of the great universities in her land. Ryan was something called a cultural anthropologist and a former Navy Seal. Being a seal himself, Morcant was fascinated with this fact and asked many questions. Ryan was even more fascinated with Mocant and the whole idea of Selkies.

The following week Druce leaned that Trinity and Ryan had indeed found their way to Camelot. King Arthur was down due to food poisoning. The place indeed was extremely stinky. There was no round table, just a big long table in a room full of shabby tapestries. One of the more interesting things were the displays of Roman relics left over from the past century.

They’d also met Merlin who was brooding and writing love poems to female spirits who just thought he was sad and weird.

Years, rather centuries later Druce would come across Ryan again. They’d run into each other at a museum. Druce, because he was a Warlock, was still alive. Ryan was in his own time – the time in which he and Trinity been born.

They caught up on their lives and exchanged their cell phone numbers.

Druce looked at a painting by the artist Wayne Thiebaud. It was of fields and orchards.  A river intersection. The painting was a favorite of Druce’s. He thought about the crop circles. It was fitting, as everything eventually circled around, be it truth or just a myth.

Suddenly he got an ear worm. Dead or Alive. Round round round. Odd after all these years how unexpected and utterly weird life was. It was also a comfort to know that a lot of things just never change.

~ end

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For more about Druce and Morcant click here.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: Off To See The Wizard

Off To See The Wizard

Druce had just pulled his toasted seed and dried berry bread out of the oven when his friend Morcant came through the door carrying a basket.

“What do you got in there?”

“Smoked salmon, a bottle of squid ink, and dried salted kelp chips.”

“Nice.”

“I see you’ve made your famous berry bread. That will win over the hearts of the coldest stone.”

“We can only hope. I’m paring it with a jar of honeycomb, and a jug of my best mead.”

Druce wrapped up the bread and took a look at his friend. Morcant wore a soft seal skin over his shoulders. His tunic was sleeveless showing off his muscular arms. Today Morcant’s black hair was worn down around his shoulders framing his handsome face. Druce never wondered why all of the women in their village and the surrounding area sought Morcant out even if it was just to look.

The seal skin was that of Morcant’s sister who’d died in the past summer season. She and Morcant were Selkies. On land they were human, and in the sea they were seals. They guarded their seal skins with their lives, for if anyone stole their skin they would be trapped as humans, and in bondage forever.

Morcant’s brother-in-law never took his wife’s skin, but celebrated the fact that as a Selkie she had come to him of her own free will. Her love was free, and her husband was devoted to her. They had that rare true love that so many seek but never find.

One day while they were out fishing, his sister still in her human form, they were overcome by a great shark and dragged to the bottom of the sea as dinner. Morcant, as customary for Selkies now wore his sister’s skin to stay close to her spirit and to have her love with him always.

Druce looked into his mirror and brushed his sun streaked brownish blonde waves with his fingers. He was smaller than Morcant, and not quite as handsome, but the ladies still liked him too. And of course he liked them more than they could imagine.

“So, Druce,” said Morcant, “when exactly did this Wizard guy come into town?”

“Last week, under the darkness of the night.”

“What’s he like?”

“Personally? I don’t know. I hear he was sleeping with his sister. Nymue told me that. She also said he used to stalk her, asking her about her magic and getting all sappy and trying to sound mystical about it. One day she showed him a sword she was going to give to the next king and he said I’ll show you my magic sword. She kicked him out and told him she’d put a bad enchantment on him if he ever hit on her again. And I mean bad, you know, guy bad, like his sword won’t work for a year or two. Like a blade of grass.”

“Sounds like a creeper.”

“A real mess if you ask me. Anyway, that was a while back so maybe he’s changed. Gotta give a guy some doubt that he has grown up since his misplaced youth chasing ladies in lakes and all of that shit.”

“OK so I don’t get it Druce. You’re the Worlock around here. What’s the difference between you and some Wizard dude, except that you’re better looking and are better with women.”

Druce laughed. “As a Warlock, I can, how can I put this so it won’t sound weird. As you know I can harness and control spirits, demons, and other’s who aren’t human. I can’t make them work for me. I also control their evil so that they can’t harm people. I take their energy and do good with it. I can also do other magic and tricks through my own will. I deal with both sides of the world, that of the dead and that of the living. That of the physical and that of the spirits.”

“And what about Wizards?”

“Wizards learn their craft. They are gifted in the ways of magic, but their magic comes mostly from the use of potions, and the channeling of their magic through a staff, or wand. They can scare spirits and demons but they can’t control them. And Wizards are giving Warlocks a bad rap. I hear that in other parts my kind are being hunted down and burned to death. They think we’re minions of Satan.”

“That’s bull shit. Then why the fuck are we going to greet this guy and bring him gifts. He sounds like a freak to me.”

“Because he is working for the King.”

“The Kings is an idiot. He is obsessed with some old cup, and everyone knows his wife is sleeping with his best friend.”

“Hey, I didn’t put him into office. Blame that on Nyume. The Lady of The Lake should have minded her own business and …”

There was a scream and in through the door came a whirl of gray, which stopped and materialized into a woman. She smiled showing lovely white teeth, but her eyes were black and crazy. No harm. Just their friend Milen, who was also a Banshee.

“Milen,” said Druce, as he blew her a kiss. “Thanks for coming. I have fresh venison stew in the pot there over the fire. I put the eyes in there for you.”

She grinned and put a long fingered hand into the boiling stew and plucked out an eye, the popped it into her mouth.

“Hey, Milen, we should be gone just a few hours,” said Druce. “I’m so glad you could watch the baby for me.”

“Ohhhhhh of course,” she said as she went over to a baby unicorn who was curled up asleep in its tiny bed made of soft sea grasses and dried fragrant flowers.

“Alright then, we’ve better get going, if we’re going to go,” said Druce, and they packed up their gifts and went to meet their new neighbor.

The new Wizard had chosen and old Roman camp on a hill as his new home. The buildings were already there and in fairly good shape. It was also about a five day journey from there to where the King lived. Or at least the king the Wizard worked for.

The two friends arrived at the home of the Wizard and were greeted by a tall man with a brown beard flecked with gray. His eyes shone blue like spring wildflowers, flecked with gold.

The Wizard welcomed them in and introduced himself as Merlin, the Wizard. There was something sort of sad about him, like someone who had a lot of friends, but nobody he was really close to. Druce wondered if Merlin could pick up on emotions and sadness like a Warlock could. Or like a woman could.

Merlin thanked them for the gifts and asked them to come sit. He led them to a room where the walls were covered with tapestries and the chairs with lush textiles and furs.

“The seal skin you wear is beautiful. The finest I’ve ever seen,” said Merlin to Morcant.

“This is my sister’s skin. She passed six moons back. I wear this skin in her honor.”

There was a pause in the conversation and a bit of weirdness.”

“Morcant is a Selkie,” said Druce.

Merlin looked surprised. He was surprised. He’d never met a Selkie before. It seemd, as they talked, that there were a lot of things Merlin had never done.

Still they visited and had polite small talk. Druce and Morcant of the village and the surrounding peoples, and those who were not people. There was also a lot they didn’t tell him. When the sun began to set Druce and Morcant bid their host goodbye.

They started the walk home in silence but then Morcant spoke.

“Merlin was nice. Not much of a bro, if you know what I mean, but nice. But dude, he has more demons than you’ll ever have.”

Druce gave a sad smile, “At least I can control my demons. Fuck, they aren’t even my demons. Merlin needs more sunshine, and he needs to divorce himself from his dysfunctional family and friends. I always tell everyone that it isn’t demons that are bugging them, it is their toxic friends and family members that are getting them down. He needs to let go.”

“True,” said Morcant. “Are you going to tell him about the unicorn?”

“Hell no,” said Druce. “I’m not telling him where the dragons are either.”

As they passed a cottage on the edge of a field of grain a woman stepped out and greeted them. “Morcant, will you stay the night with me? I could use your love, and I’ll have plenty to give back.”

“Go,” said Druce. He knew Morcant had been seeing the Widow Cath for few months. Her elderly husband had died leaving her a large farm to manage, a task she did better than most men. Morcant had always been fond of her, but now it was becoming a bit more than fond.

At home Druce found the Banshee Milen sleeping with the tiny unicorn baby in her lap. She’d taken on a physical form, that of a woman of a certain age who had a well earned beauty earned from a life well lived, at least before she had been betrayed and murdered by her husband. He put a blanket woven of the softest flax over them.

He poured a glass of beer and pulled a stool outside in his garden, out under the stars. He could hear the waves of the ocean. Maybe later he’d go down to the beach and see what spirits were among the sea shells and boats tonight.

But now he sat and thought of the sad Wizard. Then he thought of the women he knew and how it would be nice to have one of them in his bed that night, skin against skin, and a special kind of magic that came when two people came together in desire of both the body and the soul.

Then he thought about how dragons had become so endangered due to the trade of dragon bones by Wizards for their wealthy clients. Everyone with half a brain knew that dragon bones powder did nothing to make one’s manhood larger.

Then he thought of women again.

Milen the Banshee came out with a stool and sat next to him. He told her about his visit to Merlin. She said it was sad when one was so full of power and so lost. Then she said she was glad her husband had been hanged after she’d died. She always mentioned that. Druce didn’t blame her. She hadn’t planned on being a Banshee.

Then she put her hand on Druce’s. “Darlin, I’ll be in human for for another hour or two. Let’s go inside and take advantage of that.”

And like any good Warlock who knew what was good for him Druce kissed her and took her inside.

~ End

 

First published January 2018
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Tangled Tales

 

Short Story Sunday: Off To See The Wizard

Druce had just pulled his toasted seed and dried berry bread out of the oven when his friend Morcant came through the door carrying a basket.

“What do you got in there?”

“Smoked salmon, a bottle of squid ink, and dried salted kelp chips.”

“Nice.”

“I see you’ve made your famous berry bread. That will win over the hearts of the coldest stone.”

“We can only hope. I’m paring it with a jar of honeycomb, and a jug of my best mead.”

Druce wrapped up the bread and took a look at his friend. Morcant wore a soft seal skin over his shoulders. His tunic was sleeveless showing off his muscular arms. Today Morcant’s black hair was worn down around his shoulders framing his handsome face. Druce never wondered why all of the women in their village and the surrounding area sought Morcant out even if it was just to look.

The seal skin was that of Morcant’s sister who’d died in the past summer season. She and Morcant were Selkies. On land they were human, and in the sea they were seals. They guarded their seal skins with their lives, for if anyone stole their skin they would be trapped as humans, and in bondage forever.

Morcant’s brother-in-law never took his wife’s skin, but celebrated the fact that as a Selkie she had come to him of her own free will. Her love was free, and her husband was devoted to her. They had that rare true love that so many seek but never find.

One day while they were out fishing, his sister still in her human form, they were overcome by a great shark and dragged to the bottom of the sea as dinner. Morcant, as customary for Selkies now wore his sister’s skin to stay close to her spirit and to have her love with him always.

Druce looked into his mirror and brushed his sun streaked brownish blonde waves with his fingers. He was smaller than Morcant, and not quite as handsome, but the ladies still liked him too. And of course he liked them more than they could imagine.

“So, Druce,” said Morcant, “when exactly did this Wizard guy come into town?”

“Last week, under the darkness of the night.”

“What’s he like?”

“Personally? I don’t know. I hear he was sleeping with his sister. Nymue told me that. She also said he used to stalk her, asking her about her magic and getting all sappy and trying to sound mystical about it. One day she showed him a sword she was going to give to the next king and he said I’ll show you my magic sword. She kicked him out and told him she’d put a bad enchantment on him if he ever hit on her again. And I mean bad, you know, guy bad, like his sword won’t work for a year or two. Like a blade of grass.”

“Sounds like a creeper.”

“A real mess if you ask me. Anyway, that was a while back so maybe he’s changed. Gotta give a guy some doubt that he has grown up since his misplaced youth chasing ladies in lakes and all of that shit.”

“OK so I don’t get it Druce. You’re the Worlock around here. What’s the difference between you and some Wizard dude, except that you’re better looking and are better with women.”

Druce laughed. “As a Warlock, I can, how can I put this so it won’t sound weird. As you know I can harness and control spirits, demons, and other’s who aren’t human. I can’t make them work for me. I also control their evil so that they can’t harm people. I take their energy and do good with it. I can also do other magic and tricks through my own will. I deal with both sides of the world, that of the dead and that of the living. That of the physical and that of the spirits.”

“And what about Wizards?”

“Wizards learn their craft. They are gifted in the ways of magic, but their magic comes mostly from the use of potions, and the channeling of their magic through a staff, or wand. They can scare spirits and demons but they can’t control them. And Wizards are giving Warlocks a bad rap. I hear that in other parts my kind are being hunted down and burned to death. They think we’re minions of Satan.”

“That’s bull shit. Then why the fuck are we going to greet this guy and bring him gifts. He sounds like a freak to me.”

“Because he is working for the King.”

“The Kings is an idiot. He is obsessed with some old cup, and everyone knows his wife is sleeping with his best friend.”

“Hey, I didn’t put him into office. Blame that on Nyume. The Lady of The Lake should have minded her own business and …”

There was a scream and in through the door came a whirl of gray, which stopped and materialized into a woman. She smiled showing lovely white teeth, but her eyes were black and crazy. No harm. Just their friend Milen, who was also a Banshee.

“Milen,” said Druce, as he blew her a kiss. “Thanks for coming. I have fresh venison stew in the pot there over the fire. I put the eyes in there for you.”

She grinned and put a long fingered hand into the boiling stew and plucked out an eye, the popped it into her mouth.

“Hey, Milen, we should be gone just a few hours,” said Druce. “I’m so glad you could watch the baby for me.”

“Ohhhhhh of course,” she said as she went over to a baby unicorn who was curled up asleep in its tiny bed made of soft sea grasses and dried fragrant flowers.

“Alright then, we’ve better get going, if we’re going to go,” said Druce, and they packed up their gifts and went to meet their new neighbor.

The new Wizard had chosen and old Roman camp on a hill as his new home. The buildings were already there and in fairly good shape. It was also about a five day journey from there to where the King lived. Or at least the king the Wizard worked for.

The two friends arrived at the home of the Wizard and were greeted by a tall man with a brown beard flecked with gray. His eyes shone blue like spring wildflowers, flecked with gold.

The Wizard welcomed them in and introduced himself as Merlin, the Wizard. There was something sort of sad about him, like someone who had a lot of friends, but nobody he was really close to. Druce wondered if Merlin could pick up on emotions and sadness like a Warlock could. Or like a woman could.

Merlin thanked them for the gifts and asked them to come sit. He led them to a room where the walls were covered with tapestries and the chairs with lush textiles and furs.

“The seal skin you wear is beautiful. The finest I’ve ever seen,” said Merlin to Morcant.

“This is my sister’s skin. She passed six moons back. I wear this skin in her honor.”

There was a pause in the conversation and a bit of weirdness.”

“Morcant is a Selkie,” said Druce.

Merlin looked surprised. He was surprised. He’d never met a Selkie before. It seemd, as they talked, that there were a lot of things Merlin had never done.

Still they visited and had polite small talk. Druce and Morcant of the village and the surrounding peoples, and those who were not people. There was also a lot they didn’t tell him. When the sun began to set Druce and Morcant bid their host goodbye.

They started the walk home in silence but then Morcant spoke.

“Merlin was nice. Not much of a bro, if you know what I mean, but nice. But dude, he has more demons than you’ll ever have.”

Druce gave a sad smile, “At least I can control my demons. Fuck, they aren’t even my demons. Merlin needs more sunshine, and he needs to divorce himself from his dysfunctional family and friends. I always tell everyone that it isn’t demons that are bugging them, it is their toxic friends and family members that are getting them down. He needs to let go.”

“True,” said Morcant. “Are you going to tell him about the unicorn?”

“Hell no,” said Druce. “I’m not telling him where the dragons are either.”

As they passed a cottage on the edge of a field of grain a woman stepped out and greeted them. “Morcant, will you stay the night with me? I could use your love, and I’ll have plenty to give back.”

“Go,” said Druce. He knew Morcant had been seeing the Widow Cath for few months. Her elderly husband had died leaving her a large farm to manage, a task she did better than most men. Morcant had always been fond of her, but now it was becoming a bit more than fond.

At home Druce found the Banshee Milen sleeping with the tiny unicorn baby in her lap. She’d taken on a physical form, that of a woman of a certain age who had a well earned beauty earned from a life well lived, at least before she had been betrayed and murdered by her husband. He put a blanket woven of the softest flax over them.

He poured a glass of beer and pulled a stool outside in his garden, out under the stars. He could hear the waves of the ocean. Maybe later he’d go down to the beach and see what spirits were among the sea shells and boats tonight.

But now he sat and thought of the sad Wizard. Then he thought of the women he knew and how it would be nice to have one of them in his bed that night, skin against skin, and a special kind of magic that came when two people came together in desire of both the body and the soul.

Then he thought about how dragons had become so endangered due to the trade of dragon bones by Wizards for their wealthy clients. Everyone with half a brain knew that dragon bones powder did nothing to make one’s manhood larger.

Then he thought of women again.

Milen the Banshee came out with a stool and sat next to him. He told her about his visit to Merlin. She said it was sad when one was so full of power and so lost. Then she said she was glad her husband had been hanged after she’d died. She always mentioned that. Druce didn’t blame her. She hadn’t planned on being a Banshee.

Then she put her hand on Druce’s. “Darlin, I’ll be in human for for another hour or two. Let’s go inside and take advantage of that.”

And like any good Warlock who knew what was good for him Druce kissed her and took her inside.

~ End

 

 

 

Vampire Maman’s 2017 Fall Reading List

New mystery series, paranormal romance, old favorites, and great short stories… I’ve got it all in my 2017 Fall Reading List. Scroll down some fun fall (and even Halloween) book suggestions. This list contains best sellers and some hidden gems. This is my off the top of my head short list. Like I said, there is something for everyone. Happy Reading.

Unfortunate Souls (Book 1) (Unfortunate Souls Series)

By Jade M. Phillips

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Unfortunate Souls (Book 1) is the start of a new series for Jade M. Phillips, one of the princesses of paranormal romance with suspense. The author warns us that the book contains mild kissing and cursing — and some mild violence — and is meant for readers fourteen years of age or older.

That said, this is a fun book, carried by first person viewpoints, first Ruby’s, then Guy’s. The tale is told in a modern English; the viewpoint characters are up to carrying the plot. I’m not going to thumbnail this book for you, since it is the start in a series where love may not be mortal, nor hate.

If you enjoy Young Adult or New Adult fiction, and want a quick moving story with all paranormal and suspenseful elements imaginable come in to play, you’ll enjoy this first book the series — and by inference, its sequels.

 

Creepies: Twisted Tales From Beneath the Bed

A WPaD Anthology

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– A desperate father, on the run with his daughter reveals a terrifying truth about his child…
– Who is the bogeyman, really? Hear the real story – directly
from the monster himself…
– A tiny burger joint along a desert highway – it appears to be a refreshing oasis for a traveling family… or is it?
– A psychic investigates an apparition of a little girl and uncovers a shocking tale…
Enjoy these chilling stories and more in
Creepies: Twisted Tales From Beneath the Bed.
This collection of short stories is a fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis, in support of some of our writers who live with MS. For each copy sold, a portion is donated to MS research.

 

Creepies 2: Things That go Bump in the Closet

From the twisted minds of Writers, Poets and Deviants (WPaD)

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Prepare for terror… and a few laughs as well.
– An exterminator meets his match in a family’s attic…
– A cuddly toy with a disturbing origin is all the rage…
– A boy’s survival of a deadly accident turns out to be more curse than miracle…
– A man asks a vampire for a favor and gets more than he wished for…
– A strange device collects and stores the rage from people bent on revenge…
– An exquisite chess set in an old pawn shop is more than it seems to be…
– A WW2 bayonet carries an evil history…
– An ancient vampire struggles with life in modern society…
– Something is alive in the outhouse…

Enjoy these chilling tales and more in volume 2 of WPaD’s popular Creepies series.
But leave the lights on…

 

The Poe Shadow

By Matthew Peal

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I love the writing of Matthew Pearl. It isn’t always easy but it will transport you to another time with his language and story lines. He takes you back in time, not by today’s culture, but really back in time. If you like Poe, and history, and a bit of romance, and a lot of mystery you’ll love this book.

“I present to you . . . the truth about this man’s death and my life.”

Baltimore, 1849. The body of Edgar Allan Poe has been buried in an unmarked grave. The public, the press, and even Poe’s own family and friends accept the conclusion that Poe was a second-rate writer who met a disgraceful end as a drunkard. Everyone, in fact, seems to believe this except a young Baltimore lawyer named Quentin Clark, an ardent admirer who puts his own career and reputation at risk in a passionate crusade to salvage Poe’s.<br><br>As Quentin explores the puzzling circumstances of Poe’s demise, he discovers that the writer’s last days are riddled with unanswered questions the police are possibly willfully ignoring. Just when Poe’s death seems destined to remain a mystery, and forever sealing his ignominy, inspiration strikes Quentin–in the form of Poe’s own stories. The young attorney realizes that he must find the one person who can solve the strange case of Poe’s death: the real-life model for Poe’s brilliant fictional detective character, C. Auguste Dupin, the hero of ingenious tales of crime and detection.<br>In short order, Quentin finds himself enmeshed in sinister machinations involving political agents, a female assassin, the corrupt Baltimore slave trade, and the lost secrets of Poe’s final hours. With his own future hanging in the balance, Quentin Clark must turn master investigator himself to unchain his now imperiled fate from that of Poe’s.

 

Norse Mythology

by Neil Gaiman

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Norse Mythology is Neil Gaiman’s own take on traditional Norse tales. Thor, Odin, and Loki are all there getting into trouble, making mischief, saving their friends, dealing with their families, falling in love, and facing loss. The book is assorted related stories so you can take it in small chunks if you want. I read this while reading other books – a break between if you know what I mean.

 

Two Nights

by Kathy Reichs

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A lot of you might know Kathy Reichs from her Bones Series. I love the books but don’t like the TV show. Anyway, now that you know where you are… Two Nights is a well written start of a new series. I can’t wait for the next book. You won’t be able to put it down.

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .
Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help. Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found?

It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons—because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Lost City of the Monkey God

By Douglas Preston

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Yes, this is the Douglas Preston who writes the Pendergast books with Lincoln Child. This is a non-fiction adventure about finding a lost city, treasure, and finding something more dangerous than most fictional villains.

In 2012, author Douglas Preston joined a team of explorers searching for Ciudad Blanca (“The White City”), a legendary ruin hidden in the dense jungle of eastern Honduras. To this point the city – also known as “the Lost City of the Monkey God” – was literally a legend; while various hucksters and hoaxers had claimed to have discovered the abandoned metropolis, no credible evidence had ever been presented, and its very existence remained shrouded in doubt. In addition to the objective hazards of tropical disease, wild boars, and the deadly fer-de-lance viper, locals stoked the mystique, describing various curses awaiting would-be discoverers. Don’t pick the flowers, or you’ll die.

But this team had an advantage that previous searchers had lacked: LIDAR, an advanced laser-imaging technology able to penetrate the dense jungle canopy – just enough – and return detailed elevation profiles from which subtle, man-made anomalies could be identified. Almost immediately, two major sites emerged, their scale and architecture indicating a civilization to rival another local, more famous power, the Maya.

The announcement had consequences. The fledgling Honduran government, having gained power through a military coup, sought to use the discovery to bolster its status with the population, while the academic community ripped the expedition with accusations of Indiana Jones-style exploitation and shoddy scientific methods, cries which could be uncharitably interpreted as sour grapes. Encroaching deforestation and the prospect of looters created urgency to conduct a ground survey, and the team ventured into the wilderness and all the hazards that awaited, including an unexpected and insidious danger that cursed the team well beyond their return home.

The author of over 30 books, including number of bestselling thrillers co-written with Lincoln Child, Preston knows pace, and he packs several narratives into a taut 300 pages. Indiana Jones criticism aside, the story of the discovery and exploration of the ruin is solid adventure writing, and he walks a fine line in dealing with the archaeology community’s response, reporting on the bases for their criticism where they chose to provide it. And by invoking Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, Preston speculates on the mysterious, sudden demise of the White City and its inhabitants, drawing ominous parallels between their fate and possibly our own. Lost City is a tale that manages to be both fun and harrowing, a vicarious thrill worthy of a place on the shelf next to David Grann’s The Lost City of Z. –Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review

 

More scary reading:

The Feeder

by Mandy White

The Feeder gives brutality a new meaning…

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Victims horribly mutilated, with parts missing and inserted in their mouths…

An aspiring actress-turned-prostitute falls victim to the killer, leaving behind a grieving twin obsessed with revenge.

Warning:
Graphic violence and scenes of mutilation. Some readers may find the content of this book offensive. Read at your own discretion.

Biography

Mandy White is a Canadian author who resides on Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she is living her dream of being one of those weird, reclusive writer types. She primarily writes fiction in the horror genre, often featuring Canadian characters and locations. She is founder of the WPaD group (Writers, Poets and Deviants), best known for their charity anthologies.

Published works include:

The Jealousy Game
Non-fiction – A guide to dysfunctional relationships where excessive jealousy is present.

Avenging Annabelle
Fiction – A thriller about a distraught father who seeks revenge on his daughter’s abductor.

Dysfictional: Short Stories for Twisted Minds
Fiction – A collection of Mandy White’s short stories, including the novelettes, A Feast Not So Fancy and The Immigrant.

The Feeder (April, 2013 release)
Fiction – A thriller told from the point of view of an individual whose twin sister is brutally murdered, sparking a gruesome and bloody vendetta.

Creepies: Twisted Tales from Beneath the Bed by WPaD
Fiction – A horror anthology featuring two of Mandy White’s stories along with a collection of chilling tales from the talented writers of WPaD.

Passion’s Prisms: Tales of Love and Romance by WPaD
Fiction – A romance anthology featuring two of Mandy White’s stories along with a collection of romantic tales from the talented writers of WPaD

The Immigrant
Fiction – A Sci-fi/comedy novelette about an alien with extremely poor hygiene who comes to Earth to genetically engineer a new food source. (Featured in Dysfictional)

A Feast Not So Fancy
Fiction – A horror novelette about a loner who finds himself paralyzed and at the mercy of his hungry house cats. (Featured in Dysfictional)

Zombie Cuisine
Fiction – A short story told from the point of view of a zombie who encounters a lost love in her search for sustenance. (Featured in Dysfictional and Creepies)

The Creators by M.W. Sharpe and Mandy White
Fiction – An alternative origin of the species story based on various metaphysical theories.

WPaD Publications

WPaD Publications featuring stories from Juliette

The Crystal Cave

by Mary Stewart

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crystal_Cave

The story of Merlin of the Arthurian legend. This is followed by The Hollow Hills and The Last Enchantment. Well written and magical the story brings Merlin to life in a way no other book has done. I read this so many times my paperback copy fell apart.

 

And for a fun light romance…

The Girl Who Knew Too Much

By Amanda Quick

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When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool…

The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn’t resist—especially since she’s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene’s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.

Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago…

With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…

reading

This should keep you busy for a while. There is something for everyone on this list. Check my past blogs for other book recommendations. I have a big pile of books I’m working on now.

Morning at the Vineyard

Of course you could always read my short story collection “Morning at the Vineyard.” Also keep reading my blog – start from the beginning. I have posted hundreds of witty, mindful, and interesting blog posts and short stories to keep you amused, amazed, and enlightened.

Happy Reading,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want you so bad my fangs hurt (and more historically accurate tales of Camelot)

“I want you so bad my fangs hurt.”

I whipped around feeling cold breath on my neck. Smiling behind me was non other than my old boyfriend Pleasant Van Dousen.  Yes, HE is the one I made that meme about. Yes, this one. Even after all these years, more unpleasant memories to want to remember, and the fact that we’re both happily and faithfully married, I still got a little bit of a thrill out of it.

Pleasant Van Dousen, my old beau

Anyway, this isn’t about this. It is about history, and setting the record straight. It is about reunions. It is about sharing experiences. It is about the Knights of the Round Table before you learned it all from Monty Python. It is about old people and how you need to get their stories down and treasure their stories because when they’re gone so is any trace of the history they take with them.

Over the past four months I’ve been in the throes of planning a reunion for the Vampires of my youth (1870’s.) My old friend Amelia, a charming and stylish Vampire now living in Las Vegas, came up and stayed with me for the week. While she was here we stopped by to see the Ancient Vampires Eleora and Tellias.

Apparently we were not the only ones. Pleasant also stopped by. Amelia was even nice to him, something which surprised the jeebers out of me. Stranger things have happened.

We sat on the back porch of the large old Victorian farm house chatting over glasses of iced Poet’s Blood with sprigs of mint and sweet basil. Our hosts Tellias and Eleora are over 2,000 years old but they look like they are nineteen or twenty years old. Tellias wore an old Bob Seager tour shirt from the 1980’s over black tuxedo pants. Eleora was in an old faded sundress made of a print with monkeys and tropical flowers on hit. She’d pinned the straps with safety pins. They both wore yellow flip flops.

We were just chatting about people we used to know, or still know, or want to know better, or want to be rid of. Then Pleasant said, “Tellias, Eleora, I heard recently that you two were close with Merlin, the Wizard in the Court of King Arthur.”

Tellias leaned back in his chair and smiled a sly Vampire smile. “The thing is Pleasant, Merlin wasn’t much of a Wizard. In fact he wasn’t a Wizard at all.”

Pleasant looked surprised, as did the rest of us. “Was he a Vampire, like us?”

“Heaven’s no,” said Tellias. “Merlin was a time traveler. Or maybe still is. He still pops in occasionally, though it has been about sixty years.”

“Sixty five,” said Eleora. “Sixty five long years without a word. No word at all. Not a one.”

“But how…” started Amelia.

Tellias leaned forward and gave all of us a long look. “Technology. He bowled them over with simple technology. You’d be amazed at what folks in the dark ages thought of a man with a simple hand held flash light full of D batteries. Or music coming from a smart phone stuck in a tree.”

“But what about Excalibur?” asked Pleasant. “How did Arthur get the sword out of the stone? Didn’t Merlin have something to do with that?”

“A few sprays of WD40. It was a no brainer,” said Tellias. “You know what else?”

“Pray tell Tellias,” said Pleasant.

“He had a taser, and a laser pointer, and a Zippo lighter. The Knights of the Round Table went nuts. They had no idea they were being fooled by a handsome sleight of hand artist with a seductive voice and skills that would have made Houdini proud.”

“He fooled them with all kinds of things.” said Eleora.

“All kinds of things,” said Tellias.

“A bag full of things we take for granted,” said Eleora.

“Things we take for granted,” said Tellias, “but seemed positively magical in the Dark Ages.”

“Positively magic,” said Eleora.

“But,” said Pleasant, “what about the Lady of the Lake?”

“That was me,” said Eleora with a coquettish grin.

“You know how she loves to swim,” said Tellias. “Can’t keep my gal out of the water. She love to swim.”

“I love it,” said Eleora.

“What about the rest of the Camelot group?” I asked.

“Arthur was a good King, but his personal life was out of control. He was swayed too much on his emotions. He trusted everyone,” said Tellias.

“He was sexy as hell. I have no idea why Guinevere cheated on him so much,” said Eleora.

“She was in an arranged marriage my dear,” said Tellias. “Remember it wasn’t love at first night as it was with us Eleora.”

“Love at first sight. Every single night with you  Tellias is love at first sight,” said Eleora.

Tellias blew her a kiss from across the room and continued, “Guinevere didn’t go to a convent either after her affair with Lancelot.”

“Where’d she go?” Asked Pleasant.

Tellias shrugged his shoulders. “She hooked up with the pilot of the time machine, a guy named Frank. They’re both still out there. Somewhere. I don’t know. I saw them at one of Scott and Zelda’s parties back in the 20’s. Don’t know where they went from there.”

Pleasant looked surprised. “What about Lancelot?”

“Sir Lancelot du Lac, now he was a piece of work. He was worse than Casanova. Couldn’t keep it in his tights. It wasn’t just the queen. He’d see a pretty face, or any half way decent face that was female and he’d go nuts. It didn’t matter if she was married or not,” said Tellias.

“Once Lancelot came up behind me and guess what he said to me,” said Eleora.

“What did he say?” said Pleasant.

“He said I want you so bad my fangs hurt. And that was when he was with Gwen. Yes, he was a Vampire. Tellias and I turned him.”

I was shocked. “You two never told me that. Where is he now?”

“Nowhere,” said Tellias. “He was an unfortunate victim of the Spanish Inquisition.”

“So sad. So sad it was. Positively tragic,” said Eleora.

On that somber note we turned our conversation beck to Time Travelers, old friends, and our plans for the week.

As night turned into dawn we shared hugs and promised we’d be back soon.

On the drive back to my house, while Amelia talked about Merlin’s use of simple technology, I thought about my own past. I thought about how it had always been love at first sight with my  husband Teddy, when I knew what love at first sight was. I thought about all of the Vampire men who’d attempted to take a piece of my heart, along with my body. Then I said, “What are you wearing to the party tonight? I’m going to wear my black dress with the low back.”

Amelia answered, “Color. Juliette you need more color. I’m wearing blue and silver.”

And she did and she was absolutely beautiful, more than any princess or queen who ever lived. Even in Camelot.

Of course, as usual I wore black. I always wear black.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Everybody likes a little romance. Come back for more at Vampire Maman.