Finish it… odds and ends… That usually means more odds but, whatever.

Before I do anything I need to let EVERYONE know that my short story collection “Morning at the Vineyard” will be FREE on Amazon (download only) October 27 – 31, 2017. It is a fun collection of stories from this blog. Share with your friends. Read it on Halloween. Have fun. Happy Halloween.

Here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/Morning-Vineyard-Collection-Tangled-Tales-ebook/dp/B00M4V1DGI

I was looking at my blog stats and noticed that someone was looking at random pages of my “Girl in the Woods” online novel. That was supposed to be finished in 2016 but I came to a chapter that needed to be rewritten and I didn’t feel like it, so I ignored it. It didn’t go away. Now it sits there lonely and alone, waiting for that chance reader to come by and read chapter 9 and chapter 19.

Another example is my house. I love my home. It is my dream home. It is a mess. I could clean. I plan on cleaning. So instead I go to the store and buy Twinkies and frosting so I can make Ghosts for a Halloween party this weekend. Actually there are TWO Halloween parties.

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It is a fun and easy project. Get a box of ten Twinkies, a can of white frosting, a tube of black frosting. Spread the white frosting over the Twinkies. Draw faces with the black frosting. Presto – you have a delightful treat. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart. It doesn’t take any time at all. You don’t have to be perfect. Everybody loves these. It will make you laugh. Clara and I made these cuties a few years ago, and we’re doing it again. We don’t eat them (we’d become violently ill) but we have a lot of fun making them.

But back to my house. I wish I had a maid. I’m not a witch so I can’t just snap my finger and make everything clean up itself. To tell the truth most witches can’t do that. I’m not a Disney Princess so I don’t have animal friends who will come do it for me either. With my luck they’d be like my cat and pee all over everything just for spite. He has no reason to feel any spite, but he is a cat. Something was moved, or someone called him an asshole, or the dog looked at him wrong, or the other cat simply exists, so he pees to prove his point. He is a talker too. It isn’t like I’m not listening to him 24/7.

This is the glamorous life of a Vampire. No blood stains to wash out today. No turning into a bat. No cryptic messages from an ancient council of folks who wear robes and chant weird shit. Just a mom, who planted bulbs in the yard today, and who is going to go to the post office in a few minutes, then off to Dave’s Bottle Shop to pick up a few bottles of  Poet’s Blood and a case of Spiced A Positive.

Then we’ll decorate for Halloween.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Marla Todd _ Oscar Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost of High School Past

My daughter graduates from high school on June 2. This month has been a whirl of AP tests, college placement tests, robe and yearbook pick-ups, Senior Ball, skate practice ramping up for the Regional and National championships and the list goes on and on and on. Tomorrow she signs up for classes at college. The eldest child who is already off at college is getting worked up for Grad school after he graduates next year.

I’ve started the empty nest post about six or seven times. They were in Middle School and High School when I started blogging. But no matter how old they are I’m still a mom. I’ll always be Vampire Maman. Sigh.

So I’m drinking way too much coffee and trying to write today when I look out into the predawn light and see not one, but five Ghosts out on my deck. There are three men, a woman, and a dog. And don’t tell me that dogs have no souls (because if you say otherwise you don’t know shit about dogs or ghosts.)

I sat as still as death, which isn’t difficult, and watched the Ghosts.

Nigel was there of course. He is always here lurking around and semi haunting me. The woman was willow thin wearing a white sundress with her long brown hair flowing down to the middle of her back. The large black Lab mix stood leaning against her leg. It wore a white bow around it’s neck. Like Nigel, she was young, in her twenties. The tallest of the men had dark hair with gray streaks along his temples. He wore blue scrubs, like a doctor would wear. The other man wore a bright red and blue Hawaiian shirt and shorts. He was a really big guy, not just fat, but big. He must have been about 6’5″. As usual Nigel was in a black dress pants, with a black shirt and black tie.

“So what did they do with your bodies?” I could hear the woman say.

“I was cremated. My wife had me on the mantle for a while until her lover moved in. Then I was dumped in the river during the Salmon run. The salmon part was the kid’s idea. They’re still pissed off at my wife. They found out she had been cheating on me for years before I died,” said the doctor.

“Oh man, that is rough,” said the guy in the Hawaiian shirt. “Cremated too. My family took me out on a fishing boat in the ocean. My son threw up over the edge after he dumped my ashes. Poor guy still feels bad about it. I was laughing the entire time. He’ll be fine, my son Kyle that is. I’m just glad I got to meet my grandkids before I died. How about you Angie?”

“I’m buried not far from Nigel. Roxie here was buried with me. We died together. Car accident. Anybody donate organs?”

The all shook their heads yes.

The doctor had slipped on some blood in the emergency room and hit his head on the side of a table. He’d died immediately. The guy in the Hawaiian shit had been doing some avian research with in Africa contracted a rare brain parasite. apparently Nigel was the only one who was murdered, as least as far as they knew.

The doctor rolled his shoulders and transformed out of the scrubs into a button down shirt and jeans. “Are we the only Ghosts in the class of 77? We’ve lost about 30 people so far. We can’t be the only Ghosts.”

“Deena Adams died of a drug overdose in 88,” said the woman. “Do you know if she’s still around?”

“Do we want her around? She’s probably some pathetic poltergeist, or worse. She was a pain in the ass when she was alive, so do you really want the dead version around?”

“Oh Nigel that is cruel.”

“No, it is the truth. She’d ruin the party for us and try to completely destroy it for our living classmates.”

I realized that they were planning their 40th class reunion.

Nigel looked up and scowled then flipped me off. I went outside and said, “Then get off of my fucking deck. Just you Nigel. Your friends can stay.”

I went back inside and finished up what I was doing. I swear sometimes I wonder what it is with Ghosts.

But I thought of them, the Ghosts, two middle-aged, two in their twenties, and a dog of unknown age, sharing memories of their high school years. Even ghosts have their own kind of catching up to do.

I think about my kids, and even myself thinking back. My children think back on when they were small. I think back when I was their age, then later. I’m one hundred years older than those ghosts out there and I still look back to 1877 when I was seventeen, almost eighteen.

More than anything I’m thinking ahead. What will the future bring to my children who are young adults? I should be thinking of my own future, but after doing that for so many years just don’t do it anymore. Maybe tomorrow.

Nigel did come back later. He stood in front of my bookcases and smiled, his ghost eyes twinkling under his long dark eyelashes.

“What?” I said.

“Nothing,” he said. Then he vanished without so much as a wisp of mist. That’s a ghost for you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Another Rainy Day (or Night)

Maybe it is the gray weather, or just changes, or nothing, but the gray mood of Winter continues, way past the first day of Spring.

Anyway, my jeans and sweatshirt were still wet from going out in the rain, as I looked up #vampires on Twitter just out of curiosity. It was all fangs, dripping blood, sexy hot male Vampires, and a lot of violence. Seriously, I’m always up for the sexy hot male Vampires, but you know, after kids, and pets, and business, and taking care of stuff at home… I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time to drip blood all over my clothes, try to get the stains out, go shopping for new clothes, etc, etc, etc. Oh, and not to mention getting the damn stuff out from under my fingernails. I find a friendly neck or a wrist. I keep it clean and simple, I go on. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have a life. I don’t have time for the drama right now. And it is raining. Hard. Really hard.

I spent the day driving around in the car with an 85 pound German Shepard. She slept most of the time while I made all of my stops. It wasn’t interesting. No Vampire councils, no visits to any clairvoyants, no tight skirts and red heels (Vans today.) We went to the used book store, the post office, Trader Joe’s (yes, there is stuff there I need), to the high school, and then Dutch Brothers (where they can make anything sugar free for Vampires who as you well know love coffee.)

So I’m looking up different hash tags because I’m tired of political crap today and trying not to get sucked down the rabbit hole even more… don’t leave me because there is a story here…maybe.

My brother Andy called. Andy lives in San Francisco, in St. Francis Woods no less. I live near Sacramento. Andy is eight years my elder but who’s counting. We’re both over 15o years old so birth order doesn’t always matter at this point.

I hear Queensryche playing Another Rainy Night in the background. The band wasn’t there, Andy was playing it on an unknown device. I mention that because my brother Andrew is an insanely talented musician.

“Oh sweetie, did someone break your heart again?” I had to ask.

“No, it’s just the rain. I’m thinking about the loves I’ve lost over the years. Far far too many to count.”

“I know Andy,” I said.

“Maybe it isn’t even that. It is just a bad day. You know when it just hits you like a wave and every cell in your body feels like it is just going to stop.

“I know,” I said. Depression. It never makes sense. “You should call James. Tell him to bring the Unicorn over,” I said. I hate Andy’s friend James, but he always seems to snap Andy out of his moods. James is so sexist that he’d make the entire Trump administration look like members of the Pantsuit Nation. Jokes aside, he would. He also has a Unicorn. A real Unicorn. Nobody can resist the cheering charm of a Unicorn.

While I’m talking to Andy there is a knock on the front door. Then I hear our brother Val (almost a twin we’re so close in age) call out “Hey, Jewels.”

I put the phone on speaker and he talks to Andy. Val can always cheer up a room with his infectious laugh. You know, that sort of horse funny laugh that young men have (despite his 158 years.) Val is charming and soon we have Andy out of his gloom, at least we hope. In fact I invite Andy on our Spring Break adventure to the mountains and snow, but at least it will be beautiful and he won’t be alone.

We’ll have a weekend of quiet beauty and maybe even a bear sighting or two. They (the bears) are just coming out of hibernation, and for some unknown reason they always cross my path. These are black bears mind you, but I have had a grizzly cross my path before. That will scare even the most hardened Vampire, and even Werewolves. One does not mess with the one who is at the very top of the food chain.

I tried to think of another song to suggest to Andy, but by then he didn’t seem so depressed, but in an hour it might come back, but it might not. I tell him to resist, to tell it no, to not allow it in, not to embrace it, not to acknowledge it, or let it see him. It lurks around like a mean little demon who scuttles silently along the walls, waiting, watching, hungry to suck out as much as one’s soul as it can.

Then I think of the quiet woods, and know that we’ll find peace this week, along with laughter and love. No #scaryvampires. Just #lovedvampires.

Have a great weekend everyone. Find your peace.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: One Night

Andy opened his eyes. His head was still in tact, or at least he imagined it hadn’t completely exploded.

She’d called his name then jumped in his lap, knocking over the chair he was sitting in. As he tried to move he discovered his hair was caught under the top of the chair back. Someone pulled Taylor off of him, and helped him up.

“Yes, I’m fine,” he said to everyone who asked.

Taylor, a small young woman with a black bob and a quick smile, was fighting back tears. Andy figured at least three if not four fingers were broken, and maybe some other bones in her beautiful delicate hands.

He kissed her hand. Some of the pain went away. Then he slipped her six fresh one hundred dollar bills.

“This should cover your deductible and any other expenses tonight. Call me tomorrow and let me know how you’re doing. I’ll come see you.” Then he kissed her cheek. “We have to stop having so much fun.”

He declined help and decided to walk towards home. He’d had enough of clubs, and people, and the last place he needed to be was a hospital. Unknown to most of his friends he was a Vampire. He’d be fine.

As he walked along the city streets he thought about all of the women he’d ever known and all of the parties he’d ever been to, and all of the stupid things he’d ever done. His mind wandered to lost loves, and music, and how hungry he was. His head still hurt. The fall was harder than he’d initially thought. Blood would be good right now but he didn’t want to put out the effort for anything fresh. There was blood at home in the refrigerator.

He took out his phone and pulled up his Uber app, and called for a ride. It was another four miles at least to his house and he was tried of walking.

A song would take his mind off of it all. He started to hum the St. Motel song Midnight Movies. And right as he got to the verse,

Stories get told, I hear the plotlines unfold, it seems they’re handing me gold
Stories get told here at the midnight movies

The back of his head exploded in pain again. Someone, or something had slammed into him. He stumbled and went down on his knees, the palms of his hands scraping the sidewalk. He was grabbed and someone dragged him into an alley.

He heard a voice in his ear, “Andrew Todd, there you are in your long hair, and your Vicuna coat, and your expensive jeans, and your Italian shoes, thinking you’re better than the rest of us.

Andy smelled the foul breath in his face. It was a mix of old blood, rotting flesh, and dog farts. Opening his eyes he saw three figures. Vampire trash for sure. Shadow creeping bastards who lurked around in the dark damp corners of the city.

“Come on guys. Don’t make any problems with me. I’m one of you.”

The three, one large, one medium size, and one small, looked at him with dark lifeless eyes, showing their fangs.

“You think you’re better than us. Well you’re not, you perfume sucking faggot,” the smallest and ugliest one hissed at him.

Andy knew better than to try and argue with them. They were idiots, but dangerous idiots. They circled him, three against one.

A car stopped in front of the alley. A large man yielding a sword stepped out.

“Hey, ass-wipes,” he yelled, and he swung the sword. Three heads went flying into the alley, rolling like bowling balls down the lane.

Andy got to his feet and staggered back.

“Hey man, don’t worry, I’m your ride,” said the driver.

“You’re a Vampire Hunter,” said Andy, still sort of in shock.

“Sure, but I don’t go after your kind. Get in. Go on. I won’t hurt you.”

Andy gave the driver a large tip, locked the front door of his house, and went to the kitchen for blood. A small orange cat wound around his feet purring. He stroked it’s head and said “good kitty.”

Then he texted Taylor’s boyfriend to see how she was doing, went upstairs, and fell into bed.

A few hours later he woke to find a beautiful woman sitting next to his bed. She was dressed in jeans and a white button down men’s dress shirt, with pearls around her neck and on her ears. Chestnut waves of hair fell down her back. She stroked his cheek. He took her cool hand.

“Mom,” he said.

“I had a feeling my baby was hurting. Oh Andy, you have to be more careful.” She put her hand on his forehead and his headache vanished.

“Thanks.” After 163 years there was still nothing better than to have his mom there for him.

His phone dinged with a message. His mother picked it up. “That was Taylor’s mom. She wanted you to know she is going to be fine. Three broken fingers, and a broken bone in her hand, but no surgery is required. She wanted to know if you were ok. I texted back that you’re ok.”

Then she smiled, with a little big of fang, that beautiful smile that all moms have when they know their children are alright, and that they will be alright.

~ End

Short Story Sunday at Vampiremaman.com

 

 

Lost Keys and Lies

I’m on the road… so this is a repost from 2013. It still applies. And you’re right – he hasn’t been around for a while. I know, I haven’t been around much either, but starting in August we’ll be back with the usual shenanigans.

 

Lost Keys and Lies

Every have one of those days when getting out of the house seems nearly impossible?

I couldn’t find my keys this morning and of course I was running late. And no I can’t just change myself into a bat. That only happens in fiction.

I’m scouring the house but nothing. Then I heard a throat clearing. I turned around and behind me is the Ghost, damn him, with my keys.

“I believe I have something of yours.” He said that with a nasty curl of his lip then flicked a lock of black hair out of his eyes.

I reached for the keys and they vanished, along with the ghost.

I let out a string of not so nice words (the kind moms pretend not to know) and then tried to sense where he could have gone.

Off of the bookshelf I grabbed the box with all of the spare keys. Does anyone else have keys to cars, doors and safe boxes they don’t even remember?

Anyway I grabbed the spare keys to my car and yelled, “If you don’t give me my keys back I’ll pour a bottle of Pinesol on your grave. I’ll pour a gallon on it.”

Nothing.

“I know where your grave is Nigel. I looked you up. I know all about you.”

I heard a clang as the keys dropped on the tile floor of the kitchen. I picked them up and headed for the front door.

He stood there waiting for me. “How’d you find out where my grave is?”

“I don’t even know your last name. How would I know where your grave is?” I looked at him with such calm as his eyes narrowed and threatened to turn me to ice.

“You’re a Vampire and a liar,” he snarled at me.

“And I’m really good at being both.” Then I smiled and headed out the door.

Anyway, tell your kids that lies and bad words are not acceptable…of course unless you’re dealing with a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Why moms swear more than anyone, stupid romance stories, what inspires my writing, and other unrelated thoughts.

If you want you can scroll down to the bottom to some links to something not so random. Or just go back to the All Hallows Eve post and read it again.

All Hollows Eve

All Hollows Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do mom’s swear so much?

I was driving down the road in the rain and I thought about moms and swearing. Moms swear a lot.

We don’t swear so much when our kids are small because they repeat everything we say. My daughter went to a lovely preschool we called “The Holy Roller Preschool.” It was at a large church that we did not attend. Only about half of the kids were members of the church. But it was the best preschool around. So one day when I picked up my little darling the school director said told me my daughter was saying “What the Hell.” and “God damn it,” all day long. I lied and said Grandma was in town and the kids picked up bad language from her. Of course I knew Grandma never swears and hasn’t said a swear word in 400 years.

SO why do we swear so much?

Any child will tell you “my mom swears in the car ALL THE TIME.” We all do it. We swear at our husbands too, especially when they aren’t around. The older our kids get the more we swear and the more F bombs we drop.

I don’t have an answer for you on this one. It is what it is. Every teenager will tell you “MY MOM SWEARS A LOT.”

All moms would like to yell SHUT THE FUCK UP a lot more. Oh well.

_______________________________

Don’t show your kids pictures or video of hairless chimps or gorillas. They’ll freak out (your kids, not the apes). Trust me on this one.

________________________________

Now for random romance…you can pass this part over. In fact I don’t blame you if you pass the entire post over today… just skip to the next joy and cheer filled Vampire post… I’ll have it up later.

I don’t mean to beat a dead horse… but it is so much fun…

I overheard my brother Max a few months back talking to his “friend.” Or she was talking to him quietly and calmly, neither one of them knowing I was out on his deck enjoying the view, frozen still as I strained to listen to their very private conversation.

He asked her, “Why didn’t you tell me how you felt about me?”

Then she told him, “You said you’d never love me. You said we could never have anything emotional. So I got involved with a string of losers who didn’t deserve me pretending, fooling myself into believing they were good enough for me. It was embarrassing. I sold myself cheap because I didn’t think I was good enough for you, so I settled. I was too young and stupid to know the difference. Either way, it didn’t matter because after you told me you were in love with someone else I gave up. Then I just got angry because I realized…I realized you would never love me and you thought I was an idiot, no matter how strong our connection. We were meant to be… but we can’t be. We’re perfect for each other but… I won’t let you take the lead again.”

“I never knew.” The tone in his voice was half real and half bull shit (yes, moms swear.)

Her voice was calm and low. “You always knew. Don’t talk about it again. I lied so you’d leave. I lied to protect myself.”

“That was 90 years ago.”

“Don’t. Just pretend I never said anything. Just pretend that the nights are ours and when we’re together it is our time alone. But don’t expect anything else Max. I can’t…”

I heard nothing. Was she crying? I didn’t hear a sob. I didn’t hear anything. They’re Vampires so they wouldn’t make any noise when they move, or hardly anything. So I stood against the wall and watched the lights of the boats on the San Francisco Bay. After what seemed like forever I heard Teddy call up. Max and his friend Mehitabel said a few uncomfortable words and went downstairs.

From the rest of the evening one would never know what had gone on between the two. Not that night, not any night. Why the Hell didn’t they talk about this stuff decades ago? Why now all the sudden? I roll my eyes. I do it again.

I followed down a few minutes later. Nobody asked me where I was. I don’t think anyone missed me. There was a house full of Vampires. Unlike my brother Andrew’s parties, Max rarely had non-Vampires at his home.

I was feeling like I’d just dropped into a bad romance novel.

My son Garrett who is now living in the dorms in a college south of here is experiencing the same thing. He hears a lot of drama in the dorm rooms and at parties on and off campus. He takes it all in then slips bits of wisdom and advice innocently into his conversations. Or so he tells me.

He is a flirt but he keeps the girls from falling in love with him. It is an important skill for a Vampire to have. But heaven forbid he get tangled with a Vampire girl. I’m just saying that as a mom. You know, this is Vampire Maman, and those of us who are Vampire parents have complicated lessons to teach our young adult Vampire children.

None of us are perfect and heaven knows I made my share of mistakes. That said, I talk to my kids about these things so they’ll be smart. Drama isn’t always that great and it can last a long time. Be smart. Think twice before getting into bed with someone. Know where her heart is. Know where your heart is.

Our brother Aaron, who was also downstairs with his wife Verity has been married 134 years. I can’t ever remember them having any drama. They’re still darling together.

vm pair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m revisiting some work of mine that needs to be finished – writing work. On my computer is a 250,000 + word epic adventure of romance, magic, technology and friendship. I’m 90% done but not quite sure what to do with it. It was one of the first pieces I started when I got back into writing after years of, well, not writing.

So Ms Kings what inspires your writing? You might ask this if you run into me in a dark alley sometime…

Real life, news stories, interesting random stuff that flies past my brain and reading what others write.

I find that authors who inspire me don’t write the way I do. I don’t want to copy anyone or emulate their style. But reading the stories of others get me thinking. It make my mind active. And active mind is a creative mind.

Speaking of creative minds, Matthew Pearl, one of my favorite authors is coming out with a new book in April.

I was fortunate to find his Facebook page a few years ago, when I started to get serious about writing again. His thoughts on research and writing inspired me to write more. I need to do a post on his work and that of other favorite authors of mine but tonight I’ll just post a clip from an email he sent (and his are infrequent because he is not a spammer):

From Author Matthew Pearl:

On to news of the next novel! It’s called THE LAST BOOKANEER. It will be
published in the US by Penguin Press on April 28, 2015, and around the
same time in the UK by Harvill Secker. It’s about literary thieves in
the 19th century (fuller tease at the end of this email). Because I like
to keep my emailing to an average of 1-2 emails a year for those who
prefer slim inboxes, please make sure to check back in on my site
(www.matthewpearl.com) for further news, the cover, and also stay up to
date by choosing to “like” my Facebook author page,
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Matthew-Pearl-author/29977879540 …and
follow me on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/#!/MatthewPearl

Want to be the first to get the book? Pre-order now! Here or your
favorite book selling site:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Bookaneer-Matthew-Pearl/dp/1594204926

As always, I’m honored to have you as readers.

THE LAST BOOKANEER

Mystery, celebrity, theft – and a thrilling adventure set at the ends of
the earth…

On the island of Samoa, in a house perched on a cliff beneath a
smoldering volcano, a dying Robert Louis Stevenson labours over a new
novel. It is rumored that this may be the author of Treasure Island’s
greatest masterpiece.

On the other side of the world this news fires the imaginations of the
bookaneers, literary pirates who steal the latest manuscripts by famous
writers to smuggle them to a hungry public. But a changing world means
the bookaneers will soon become extinct.

Two adversaries set out for the south Pacific: Pen Davenport, a tortured
criminal genius haunted by his past and Belial, his nemesis. Both dream
of fortune and immortality with this last and most incredible heist.

THE LAST BOOKANEER thrillingly depicts the lost world of these doomed
outlaws, a tropical island with a violent destiny, a brewing colonial
war and a reclusive genius directing events from high in his mountain
compound.

____________________________________

Thank you Matthew Pearl for the inspiration and research tips. Thank you for your wonderful well researched and well written books. Forgive me for my rambling on your behalf.

___________________________________

Other important news:

For the first time ever my dog and my cat slept together on the same bed. It is the dog’s bed but the cats took it over a while back. Cute stuff.

Jasmine is somewhat uneasy that Oscar the cat is sleeping on her bed.

Jasmine is somewhat uneasy that Oscar the cat is sleeping on her bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For something you might want to read click on the links below:

Ode to a Greek God

Vampire House Warming

Dancing on the Beach

A Night at the Crest

Mysterious Meeting on Cold Dark Nights

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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vm_rick