Vampires, Party Favors, Family, Friends, Thanks, and a Recipe for Swiss Chard.

Back in the 1880’s around the time of Jack the Ripper, my brother Valentine and I spent some time in London. We were in our 20’s out having fun and getting into more trouble than I want to mention tonight. There, in London, we met another young American Vampire, named Pleasant Van Dusen. Pleasant and I became lovers. He was handsome, cultivated, fashionable, sexy, and I hate to admit, but a bit more of an asshole than I needed. But at the time we worked well together, especially with the party scenes of both elegant Vampires and warm blooded folks.

We were young. We were Americans. We were full of too much joy and light for most Vampires we met there. Truly, we were, and of course the others, the English, and European Vampires found us extremely fascinating.

On cold November evening, dressed in our best formal party wear Pleasant and I attended a party that was promised to be spectacular. Upon entering the ball room of the beautiful mansion we were greeted with the sight of a low table about ten feet long, covered with all sorts of food. There were cakes, berries, apples, pastries full of cream and more fruit, chicken pies, tiny roasted potatoes, breads, and muffins of all kinds. Around the table sat at least two dozen small children, dressed in frilly fancy clothing, eating away without any adults saying no.

Of course not. The only adults in the room were Vampires, and the children were very warm blooded.

Pleasant and I looked at each other, then looked again at the children. This was not what we expected. The host and hostess greeted us with a giddy excitement that was unusual for English Vampires of the time. They had obtained two dozen children from different sources. It would be such a rare and wonderful night of feasting after the little darlings were done with their own party.

I have to say that by different sources I mean children of the poor, without parents, or with parents who were more than willing to sell their own children to well dressed, attractive people with a lot of money. These Vampires, I found later, had their sources. There was no shortage of children to be purchased – no questions asked.

Pleasant smiled and introduced me to his friends. They were lavish with their attention on me, especially after they realized that I was one of those rare Vampires who was born a Vampire, not made one after the fact.

To make a long story short, sort of, when the time came to pick a child and feast upon it’s young and delicate blood, I feigned illness. A blood bourne disease, no doubt from an opium user or some other drug, Pleasant explained to them. As we were ready to leave, coats in hand, the host handed us two bundles.

“One of each. A boy and a girl. Consider them party favors,” said our host.

In our carriage on the way home we discovered we had a skinny baby girl of about eight months, and a talkative boy who said he was four years old.

The boy said he lived in a house with his father and five or six women. He didn’t know which one was his mother. He said a pretty woman, with pretty clothes, who smelled like flowers, gave his father real money, then she took him to the party. Before the party a group of maids gave all of the children baths, then put them in clean fancy clothing. It had been great fun with more food than any of them had ever seen.

We arrived back at the house I was sharing with my brother Val.

We told our story to Val, who was both disgusted and amused.

“What are you going to do with the children? You know we can’t keep them,” said Val.

“I don’t know,” I told him.

Then Pleasant, in typical Pleasant fashion, said, “I don’t care what you do with them but you need to get rid of them as soon as possible.”

“Me?” I asked.

“Yes, you Juliette. I have to get something to eat before I starve to death. I’ll be back in a few hours.” And with that Pleasant Van Dusen left into the night in search of fresh blood, but not from children.

Val glared at the door. “Typical Pleasant. Of course he left those children with you.”

“Am I going to live you now? Are you going to be my new parents?” The boy called out.

“I think I know someone who might take them in. She doesn’t have children her own. God knows she and her husband have been trying. This might just be a blessing in disguise,” said Val.

“Are you her Vampire?” I asked my brother.

He smiled. “Yes, I am her Vampire. She owes me.”

Val and I gathered up the children. The boy said he was called Billy. The girl had no name. I held her tight against me. She was so warm, and smelled like a bit of heaven.

We dropped the children off at the home of Val’s friends, a lovely women called Lillian and her husband the Marquis of Lampeaus.

Val spoke to them while I kept the children quiet. He used his powers of persuasion to convince the childless couple  to keep the children as their own.

Like I said, I’m trying to keep this story short.

Right before dawn Pleasant came back into the house. He made love to me in my bed, his hair smelling cigar smoke, his breath of fresh blood. He brought me a bottle of Poet’s blood, the first I’d ever had.

Then he said, “Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We should celebrate, with Val and maybe a few other friends.”

And so we did.

And we continue to, but now I’m married to Teddy, and Pleasant Van Dusen is with someone who fortunately is not me.

Occasionally, like on Thanksgiving, we, Vampires eat things that are not blood, or things that go with blood. One of these is Swiss chard.

Way back in 2012, I shared a recipe for my Thanksgiving Swiss Chard. I haven’t fixed it for years, but hey, it is a good source of something green for your belly (and heart.)

Juliette’s Swiss Chard

  • About a half pound of bacon (or more to taste, use whatever kind you want but a good thick cut pork bacon works best for me)
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh lemon juice (about ¾ cup) or balsamic vinegar (cranberry flavored is nice)
  • 1-4 table spoons fresh garlic chopped – to your own taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One onion – chopped sauted until translucent.
  • Hand full of roasted chopped walnuts.
  • 4 bunches Swiss chard, cut in 1 inch pieces. It is up to you if you include the stems (I don’t, my mom does). I also add in a hand full of flat leafed kale and sometimes some spinach.

Put some olive oil, a couple of table spoons of the stuff, in a large skillet and heat it up nice and hot. Throw in the garlic and chard and crumbled cooked bacon. Toss it around until the chard starts to wilt a little. Throw in about a table spoon of butter, the onion, and a little bit of the bacon fat. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Then drizzle with the lemon juice or vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Top with walnuts. Taste as you go to make it just how you like it. Simple and easy. That’s all.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And yes, the children lived long happy lives with their new parents. They really did.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Fall Garden

 

So I’m digging away, trying to put in some sort of flower beds in my rocky garden. It is foggy. It is cold. And I am not amused. That is what happens when you live in a house built on gold mine tailings. Rocks. Nothing but river rocks coated in a tiny bit of dirt and a shit load of weed seeds.

I’ve got the pick ax out, and I’m jamming the shovel in a hole, with the cold nose of a ninety pound German Shepard in my face, when I FINALLY get the last rock loose before I can plant a small dwarf lime tree. The dog goes nuts. I push her away and pull out the rock.

It isn’t a rock.

It is a skull.

A human skull.

Shit.

My son comes out with a fresh cup of coffee for me (did I mention it was cold.) He looked at the skull and then calls up to the house.

“Hey Dad, she found another one.” Then he turns to me. “This one is small. Man, woman, or child?”

I toss the skull in my garden gloved hands. “It might be a woman but you never know.”

“Want me to put it with the others?”

“Sure,” I said, handing the skull to my sweet teenager.

I could hear him in the side yard opening the 50 gallon Rubbermaid storage container, and dropping in the skull.

He came back to me after about a minute. “Hey Mom, the container is almost full.”

I took a deep breath. “That’s a lot of skulls.”

He gave me an uncomfortable look. “It sure is. Who do you think they are?”

I put my arm around his waist and gave him a hug. “I have no idea. But thanks for the coffee sweetie. Let’s go in. I think I’m done out here today.”

 

~ End

 

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

Vampire Diary: Fortunes and Cookies

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Dear Diary,

The rain has started again. Even Vampires are unable to see through the windshield of an automobile when it is raining.

My old friend Randolpho came over to help me put new wiper blades onto my car. He was wearing his tall hat. I told him that it is not the fashion now. He said it was always the fashion because he, as a Vampire, made the fashion. Then he said something about someone called Slash who also wore a tall hat. Who is named Slash? I asked if he was a serial killer or an actor in horror movies. Randolpho said Slash was a killer guitarist. I asked if this Slash person was in prison. Randolpho looked at me in a confused manner and stopped talking. I did not pursue the line of conversation any longer.

I can now drive in the rain and see the road.

I think of guitarists and wonder how many are killers. I asked Randolpho about it. He said there was a band of musicians called The Killers but they do not kill. He said he thought at least one of them might be of the Mormon faith and from Las Vegas. He said The Killers were one of his favorite bands. He said a lot of great bands are from Las Vegas. He said so was Wayne Newton but he did not like the way Mr. Newton sounded like a girl. I had never heard of this Wayne Newton. I did not ask any other questions on the chance my head would explode.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

After being trapped in a crypt for three hundred years I still have much catching up to do. I often have the expectations that everything has changed. Unfortunately I must report that some attitudes and barbaric practices still exist. How superior “Modern” society thinks it is when in fact it is not. I do not understand why.

There is only one young woman living on my street as my neighbor. There were two others who have gone away to study at universities. The one left, with the name of Kylee, is going to a place of higher learning a few miles away. I am impressed that young women are now going to such places of great thinking to learn to be leaders.

I tell them all to watch out for men who would prey upon them. As a Vampire it is my duty to protect those in my life I care for. I find my heart has started to beat a few times when I think of the way my neighbors watch for me. I do not ask them to, but they happily inquire about my well being. These people offer to help me with tasks with no expectation of payment. I do not understand.

I do not understand how my heart, so hard and strong, has become like that of … I do not know. I cannot explain how I feel almost warm-blooded.

I am a Vampire King. I have led armies. I have ruled an empire of the undead. I have been just and cruel showing swift justice to those who have crossed me, and my people. And even though some call me cute, I have been feared. I have ordered heads be put on poles outside of my castle. I have watched Vampires feast as blood dripped from their chins while I laughed. Yes, I have been feared. I have made hearts stop and souls grow cold.

Yet, here in this world in which I now live, my neighbor, a woman named Liz, asked me to feed and pet her cat while she is gone for the weekend. Liz once asked me to watch her children for a few hours when she took her husband to the hospital. The children were small, a feast for some less cultured Vampires, but I watched them. The baby was not yet walking but crawled in my lap and laughed and drooled. The older child, a small boy of about six years showed me how he could draw a cat. It was, dare I say, cute.

I told him stories about the animals of the forests near where I lived as a child. There was a great bear who would eat men who came to kill for sport. He would only let those who killed for food go home to their families. There were birds who would talk and tell the secrets of all, and whisper them to the bats, who in turn would whisper them into the ears of sleeping humans, who would then wake in confusion with a sense of unknown betrayal. I told him of the beautiful hawk I hunted with. I told him of my horses, but not of the battles. This child is one who would one day make a good Vampire but I did not tell him that. After he had gone to sleep I showed the baby my fangs. She laughed. I also laughed. I knew she would keep it our secret.

I feel warm. That troubles me, but it is not altogether bad. I must go feed the cat now. Her name is Daisy. Like the flower, only she is a cat.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Tonight I was out at one of my favorite night spots, a small old local bar where people of all ages sit at dark wooden tables, and at a long bar, and talk while sipping drinks and listening to Irish Punk music (yes, I do know what that is. I am not that much in the dark about current culture.)

A few young women who frequent there like to give out cookies. I do not eat cookies. I am a Vampire. Then I thought of the singer Randolpho told me about. There were cookies made of figs called Newtons. I wondered if the singer who sounded like a girl ate fig cookies. I wondered if he wandered the Nevada desert like Moses of the Bible because figs are biblical. Then I had another glass of wine to ease the pounding in my head. I wanted blood but I would have to wait.

But tonight the young women, they tell me that these cookies they have are called fortune cookies. I told them that I did not understand. Where they like tea leaves that one could read the crumbs of such cookies to tell the future. They laughed and then one of the women cracked a hard oddly shaped cookie in half. Inside was a small slip of paper with the words You have a charming way with words and should write a book.

That was not a fortune. It was advice. A fortune would say something like tonight you die a slow and painful death.

Another cookie had a note in it with the words You may lose the small ones but win the big ones. I do not understand which ones they are referring to. I did not ask.

The women gave me another fortune cookie. I cracked it open and found the small slip of paper, and it read Boy chased girl around church and catch him by organ. The women all laughed. I did not understand. One said it was one of the dirty fortune cookies. They all laughed again. I still did not understand.

“Why would one want to eat a dirty cookie. Do you not like your food to be clean?” I asked.

They all laughed and said I was too cute. I do not understand. How can I be cute, much less too cute? Kittens are cute. Babies are cute. I am at a loss. The language of women is confusing. I will never understand.

I gave the women the cookies to eat. I went home with one and drank her blood. I left her sleeping with a smile on her face. We only talked. That is what she wanted. She is in love with a young man. I will make sure he falls in love with her. I am a Vampire. I can do that. The next morning I had flowers sent to her. What is happening to me? I, Vlad the Vampire King sent flowers.

Maybe I should write a book.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I started to read a new book. A friend recommended it. She is a Vampire as well. The book is odd but I like it. It is about science and fiction. I like this Science Fiction. It could be real, but maybe not. That sense of the unknown has a certain thrill to it. The drawing of the woman on the cover is beautiful. She reminds me of my sister. I will send her a copy. My sister is a Vampire but she would like space travel.

Strange Adventures in a Deviant Universe

My love Gillian came to me and told me to put down my book. She put her hands on my shoulders and gently carressed them. Then she walked around in front of me and gently kissed my lips. She tasted like fresh blood and cinnimon. She asked what I was reading. I told her I was in the middle of an amusing story called Hollow Heads.

She curled next to me and I read it to her. She laughed and said she wanted me to read more to her, but later… Then we made love as only Vampires can. That had nothing to do with the story we’d read. It is just what we do when we are together.

As we lay in bed, our bodies entwined, Gillian asked me if I believed there were others out in space. I glanced out the window at the moonless sky. I gently kissed her and took her hand, holding it close to my chest.

“I wonder,” I said, “if there are lovers out beyond the stars we can see tonight, asking the same question. There has to be. If I can wake after three hundred years into a world such as this, then there have to be other worlds out beyond our imagination. It would be sad to think that we were so alone, like someone locked in a crypt, withtout hope of a friend who would someday come by and break the seal.”

Gillian whispered, “I love you Vlad,” and kissed my neck, gently scraping her fangs over my skin, then moved her lips to mine.

Yes, I was on Earth, but she transported me to the stars once more, as she always does.

~ Vlad

Kissed by a Vampire

CLICK here to get YOUR copy of Strange Adventures in A Deviant Universe. Available in electronic or paperback versions.  Recommended by Vampires, and Science Fiction fans of all kinds.

 

 

 

 

 

It isn’t all about the blood. Parenting and Vampires.

It isn’t all about the blood. I’m not a food blogger.

I do blog about parenting and Vampires. That is exactly what I do.

I explain the basics in my “about me” page. Click here to read it.

Why it works. Vampires and Parenting. Because I’m both. You might be both. You might not be either. But I have learned from my years on earth, and learned from my mistakes, and from making deliberate decisions about how I raised my children.

Being a parent, of any kind, required attention. It requires ALL of one’s attention. It requires thought. It requires compassion. It requires courage. It definitely requires humor.  The same goes with being a Vampire.

I don’t read parenting books. Most are smug perfect self-serving. I never use the term “mommy blogger.” Just put a wooden stake through my heart. Seriously, there are some good books, and funny books about parenting. Just be careful. There is a lot of crap out there. It is better to find a blogger you can relate to (not just me, there are plenty of other great parenting bloggers out there.)

Parenting books assume that we all live in some flavorless world where all rules apply to all children and all parents. Every child is different. Every family is different. We can relate through Werewolves, Zombies, Ghosts, and Selkies. Each has their own set of issues they have to deal with. Each parent has their own set of issues to deal with – believe me, things get real when you have children, but it isn’t as if they weren’t already real, and difficult, and challenging.

What IS the same is the need for a kid is to be loved and understood. Talk to your children, even about uncomfortable things like sex, drugs, and being an asshole. Talk to them about school and their friends. Don’t take a grunt for an answer. Let me repeat that: DO NOT TAKE A GRUNT or a one word answer. Engage your child and make them talk to you. Start early, but if you didn’t it is never too late to start (even if your child is an adult.)

It doesn’t have to be all serious. It is your moral obligation to bring humor into your child’s life. That includes the worst puns and word play you can come up with – as if your life depended on it. It makes you fast. Fast is good.

And about that blood… I can tell you where the sales are. But sometimes it is really nice to go out to eat. Even a kid will tell you that. As Vampires we have to teach our children how to be responsible when it comes to obtaining blood. We teach them to respect and protect their donors. We teach them discretion. And no, I’m not spilling the beans on this in such a public forum and going into lurid details.

Being a Vampire isn’t all about blood and converting other people into Vampires. Well, no it isn’t but it is a huge part of who we are.

Converting someone, changing them, switching them over, or whatever you want to call it, isn’t something to be taken lightly. It isn’t like religion where you have an option to have a change of heart later. It isn’t like a superficial body modification like a tattoo or hair style. It isn’t a lifestyle. It is a drastic physiological change. Only about 10% of people who undergo the conversion are going to die – right away. Of course that depends on who  is converting and who is being converted. My track record is 100% and I’ve never lost a soul (literally lost someone’s soul and ended up with one of those dark soulless beings that none of us like to be around.) I don’t do this unless I’m 100% sure, and even then, not  very often.

Bringing a new Vampire into the world carries with it a tremendous responsibility that must be taken seriously by all of our kind.

And if the one who turned you into a Vampire is a dick that doesn’t mean that you have to be a dick. Break the cycle. Remove the dicks from your life. The same goes for parents: you don’t have to be around dicks or expose your kids to dicks. There is no place for them in your life.

Ask yourself:

Why do I want to convert this person? Is it for personal gain? Will they be good at it. Do they want it? Are they an asshole? Will they freak out? Do they understand what they are going to risk? Do they understand what they will gain. Do they understand what they will lose?

What does that have to do with being a parent?

Bringing a child into the world is also a tremendous responsibility that unfortunately many “parents” take lightly. Maybe lightly is the wrong word. They bring a child into the world with no thoughts whatsoever about how they’ll raise it. Not a thought. You have seven or eight months to think about it before the big day comes. You’d better get busy.

Having a child is never an accident (yes, there are those rare cases but that is RARE.) Yes, one can become pregnant by not using birth control (a choice.) One can keep a child they have no love for (a choice.) There is always a choice. Do I sound harsh? Of course I do. I am harsh. We’re talking about a new child and a life here, who doesn’t deserve to be an afterthought, or worse. So buck it up cupcake and be an adult and be a real parent. That goes for fathers too. Don’t be a dick – be a dad.

Your parenting style is up to you, not a book. It isn’t up to me. I just ask that you take it seriously. You have the life of another person in your hands. Take it seriously.

Learn from your mistakes. Teach your kids so they won’t make the same mistakes you did. It is ok to break a cycle of disfunction.

If you want to be a parent look to people who have great kids. Don’t take advice from people who have rotten kids or people who constantly complain about their kids. This aren’t the good parents.

Yes, I’m feeling harsh. In a world where politicians are saying it is ok for men to molest teenagers, harassed and rape, and all the while claim that they are religious. Yes, the Church of Assholes is alive and well.

I’m proud to say that my husband, the father of my children, refuses to watch any movie directed by Roman Polanski or Woody Allen. This isn’t anything new. If you want to protect your children teach them about people who have no respect for children or anyone else. Warn them that predators aren’t always things that lurk in the deep dark woods, or under floor boards. They might not drink your blood but they sure as hell will try to steal your innocence and your soul.

Talk with your kids. Not to them, but with them. And listen to them. Don’t judge until you’ve listened. Don’t judge them – period. Even Vampires don’t do that.

Love your children unconditionally. Protect them. Teach them. Hug them. Be present. Be THERE.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

mother daughter discovery

 

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NanoPoblano 2017 #NanoPoblano #NanoPoblano2017

 

 

 

Useful Links (and I’m not just talking sausages)

25 Useful Links (and I’m not talking sausage)

  1. Do you want to suggest someone for a TED Talk or even suggest yourself? Click Here.
  2. Do you want to donate blood? Click Here.
  3. Do you like to read a fun Vampire Paranormal Romance Series? Click Here.
  4. Would you like to read a super cool Vampire series? Click Here.
  5. Do you want to read some GREAT NEW SCIENCE FICTION? Click Here.
  6. Do you want to find a great place to stay on your next road trip? Click Here.
  7. Do you want to visit or learn about a National Park? Click Here.
  8. Do you need a festive silver-plate serving pieces for the holidays? Click Here.
  9. Do you want to learn about a great art museum? Click Here.
  10. Do you need to identify a silver pattern? Click Here.
  11. Do you want to hear a song? Click Here.
  12. Do you want to learn about Bram Stoker? Click Here.
  13. Do you want to learn about corny Vampire films? Click Here.
  14. Do you want to read articles about writing? Click Here.
  15. Do you want a great easy cookie recipe? Click Here. 
  16. Do you want to read Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing? Click Here.
  17. Do you want to hear another song? Click Here.
  18. Do you want to learn how to knit? Click Here.
  19. Do you want to learn about Fun Goth Style? Click Here.
  20. Do you want to visit Florence, Italy? Click Here.
  21. Do you want to see a Teleporting Fat Guy? Click Here.
  22. Do you want to learn about classic movies and theater? Click Here.
  23. Do you want to read a sort-of-love story? Click Here.
  24. Do you want to read about a journey with a cat, a dog fight, and Vampires? Click Here.
  25. Do you want to learn how to make sausages? Click Here.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

oscar_artistic copy

 

pepper2017

#NanoPoblano

 

Silent Noises

The only noise

Is the clock

Almost as old as I am

From 1876

Still running like new,

And the sounds of random

Traffic

In the distance,

A cat eating,

An owl outside,

The tap tap tapping

Of my keyboard,

No sounds from

Others in my house,

Slumbering quietly,

Still,

And cold

Upstairs,

With quiet dreams,

As only

Fellow

Vampires

Will have.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

pepper2017

#NanoPoblano

sleeper