Burning Question #22: Hotter than the pavement outside (with a bit of horror)

It is too hot to even think right now – about 107 F outside and the air conditioning isn’t what it should be…so I’m inspired by something even hotter than the pavement in front of my house – Vincent Price.

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Vincent Price is one of my favorite actors. He was wonderful in the dark mystery “Laura.” I saw him live in the early 80’s as Oscar Wilde.

Oh and that voice. He had such a wonderful mesmerizing voice.

The weirdest thing (something I just found out) is that he played Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith in one of his early movies. I kid you not.

Of course anyone who was around in the 1970’s will remember all of the Hammer films and other “creature features” of late night TV along with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

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From Wikipedia:

Vincent Leonard Price Jr. (May 27, 1911 – October 25, 1993) was an American actor, known for his performances in horror films. His career spanned other genres, including film noir, drama, mystery, thriller, and comedy. He appeared on stage, television, radio, and more than one hundred films. 

Price was an art collector and consultant, with a degree in art history, lecturing and writing books on the subject. Additionally, he was the founder of the eponymous Vincent Price Art Museum in California.

An example of his outspoken political action came when he concluded an old-time radio episode of The Saint, entitled “Author of Murder”, which aired on NBC Radio on July 30, 1950. He denounced racial and religious prejudice as a form of poison and claimed Americans must actively fight against it because racial and religious prejudice within the United States fuels support for the nation’s enemies.

Price was supportive of his daughter, who came out and was critical of Anita Bryant‘s anti-gay campaign in the 1970s. He was an honorary board member of PFLAG and among the first celebrities to appear in public service announcements discussing AIDS with the public

Not only was he an amazing actor and dad but he was also an accomplished cook and had his own cooking show in the UK. 

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You might only remember Vincent Price from all of the old Poe related and vampire movies. Watch this and you’ll change your mind (click here).

Warning ladies: You’ll want to watch it over and over and over. You’ll swoon for sure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwxtj0ZKgrg&feature=fvwrel

Burning Question #22: Is Vincent Price Smoking Hot or What?!?

Here are just a few more photos. Be inspired. Have fun. Read Poe. Watch a Vincent Price movie.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Burning Question #18: Was It murder?

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We will agree that we all know who Edgar Allan Poe was and are familiar with some of his work. I’ll have a reading list at the end for reference.

Don’t run off before you answer the poll below. It is fast and easy and the reason we’re here today. Just scroll down (but read the amazing story too.)

Welcome to the Next Great True Crime Mystery

In October of 1849, ten years before I was born, my parents were arriving in California with a baby boy and a group of Vampires who’d come out West to start a new life.

In the meantime, across the country on October 3, 1849, Poe was found delirious on the streets of Baltimore, “in great distress, and… in need of immediate assistance”, according to Joseph W. Walker who found him. Poe later died on Sunday, October 7, 1849 at 5:00 in the morning. Poe was never coherent long enough to explain how he came to be in his dire condition and, oddly, was wearing clothes that were not his own. He is said to have repeatedly called out the name “Reynolds” on the night before his death, though it is unclear to whom he was referring. Some sources say that Poe’s final words were “Lord help my poor soul”.

All medical records and Poe’s death certificate were conveniently lost. 

Newspapers at the time reported Poe’s death as “congestion of the brain” or “cerebral inflammation”, To translate that means he died of the overuse of alcohol. To this day the actual cause of death remains a mystery. Speculation has included a multitude of dire conditions including delirium tremens, heart disease, epilepsy, syphilis, meningeal inflammation, cholera, and rabies. 

The day that Edgar Allan Poe was buried, a long obituary appeared in The New York Post signed “Ludwig”. It was soon published throughout the country. The piece began, “Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it.”

“Ludwig” was soon identified an asshole named Rufus Wilmot Griswold an editor, critic, and anthologist who had borne a grudge against Poe since 1842. Griswold somehow became Poe’s literary executor (no doubt through lies and bribes)and attempted to destroy Poe’s reputation after his death.

The story was fabricated by Griswold, and it was denounced by those who had known Poe, including Sarah Helen Whitman, Charles Frederick Briggs, and George Rex Graham. This account became popularly accepted, in part because it was the only full biography available and was widely reprinted. It also remained popular because many readers assumed that Poe was similar to his fictional characters and were thrilled at the thought of reading the works of an “evil” man.

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Nevermore

A more accurate biography of Poe did not appear until of 1875 (Ingram). But once a lie is out it is difficult to retract it. Many writers used Poe as a cautionary tale against alcohol and drugs.  In 1941, Arthur Hobson Quinn presented evidence that Griswold had forged and re-written a number of Poe’s letters that were included in his “Memoir of the Author”. By then, Griswold’s depiction of Poe was entrenched in the mind of the public, both in America and around the world, and this distorted image of the author has become part of the Poe legend despite attempts to dispel it.

The very fact that Poe, a snappy and fashionable man was found in worn out clothing in a gutter went against the nature of the man. I believe he suffered from depression, of course, but I also believe that the notion of him drinking himself to death is wrong.

In the 19th Century, in America, people, especially man, all drank copious amounts of alcohol. The temperance movement in the United States was well founded due to the amount of alcohol most people consumed. Drink did not agree with Edgar Poe. So we he drank it went right to his head in extreme ways, but yet, if he had passed up a drink that would have gone against the social norms.

A few months before his death Edgar Allan Poe became engaged to his childhood sweetheart Sarah Elmira Royster. There were rumors that her brothers, who were against the union, had Poe murdered.

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Sarah Elmira Royster Poe’s Love Interest at the time of he is death.

Poe’s friend Sarah Helen Whitman, a poet, and woman of good standing always insisted he did not die a dishonorable man.

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Sarah Helen Whitman Poet and Friend of Poe

He did die a brilliant story teller and the father of the modern murder mystery, and modern horror.

If you get a chance look up the different stories about Poe. You’ll be amazed at what is out there.

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Or, on the other hand, Edgar Allan Poe might still be with us, having come aboard the ship to California with the rest of the Vampires.

Burning Question #18: Was Edgar Allan Poe Murdered?

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The Black Cat Illustrated by Gris Grimly

 

When I was a child my brother’s and I used to read Poe around a candle at night. Well, they’d read. As the youngest child I’d just let them scare the jeebers out of me. Later I read the stories on my own. And of course we’ve all seen (much later) the Vincent Price movies.

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Poe by Harry Clarke

Some of the Works of Poe:

Other works

Also HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

The Poe Shadow
by Daniel Pearl
Yes it is one of my favorite books. You must read it.

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So your project for this summer is to read everything you can by Edgar Allan Poe, or about Edgar Allan Poe, and SOLVE THE MYSTERY.

Your next project is to keep checking back here on Saturday mornings for the next BURNING QUESTION.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crawl Space (with thoughts of Halloween, Vampires, and Parenting)

I took off my sweater and handed it to my brother Aaron. There was no way I was going to crawl on my stomach under the crawl space of a house with it on.

“So tell me again why you can’t get the bodies out from under the building first?” I had to ask.

“They’re not quite dead yet and they might attack Austin. He’s human, a Regular Human,” my brother told me. Austin by the way is a Regular Human and sometimes Vampire Hunter and usually just a guy who does a great job restoring old buildings that seem to be filled with scary shit like ghosts and old musty Vampires.

And of course Aaron was wearing a $5,000 suit of course he couldn’t crawl under the house.

“You might know them”, added Austin, meaning the creatures under the house.

I almost gave him a fang filled snarl but I just gave him a weak normal girl smile.

Wearing garden gloves I crawled on my  hands and knees over bare dirt.Even in the dark I could see assorted bugs and cobwebs. Rat droppings were scattered around. Why the crap would any Vampire want to sleep under floor boards?

About 20 feet into it I was the boxes. OK they were coffins.

I thought back of when I was a kid and always the one to crawl under houses and into tight spaces. It wasn’t because I was small. It was because I pretend to be fearless and now it is because I don’t take any bull shit from Shadow Creepers and dusty old Vampires who can’t deal with the modern normal world. We’re not having a Nosferatu and Dracula Hoedown kids, this is the 21st Century.

The lids were on the boxes. I managed to kneel on my knees without banging my head on something and pushed one off. Inside was a male in a pinstripe suit. His face was waxy looking and pale. I noticed sunken cheeks and lips that seemed a little thin. He hadn’t fed in a while. The box next to him contained a female. Skin stretched over her face, a hint of teeth including fangs showed beneath parted lips. Oh come on, all Vampire girls know not to sleep with their fangs exposed. She wore some sort of black dress thing. The scent of rotted roses and cigar smoke came from her box. In the third box…nothing jumped out. It was another male. I recognized the face. His eyes open a bit, yellow green rolls to stare at me. I see recognition in his face; a fact that was once handsome and could be again, but he was so strange, so weirdly in the shadows and cold, not like Vampires I associate with, but like a dead fish.

Then my butt vibrates. My phone. I pull it out. Garrett, my darling son is calling from college. I’m a mom. I must answer.

“Hey mom, what do you call two ducks and a cow?”

“What?” I had to smile.

“Quackers and Milk.”

“Good one Garrett. What do you call an Englishman, two ducks and a cow?”

“Graham Quackers and Milk. Love you mom.”

I hear a groan from one of the boxes. I slap slap it hard with my hand and hiss at it. The noise stops.

I keep my eyes on the yellow green orbs that watch me as I talk to my son. Garrett rattles on about classes and girls he knows and sings me a song he wrote. He says he goes to the beach almost every day and is going to go surfing on Sunday. He says it is the perfect college for Vampires. He is so excited about school. My heart melts a little.

Then Garrett asks me what I’m up to.

“Sweetie, I’m under a building with three boxes full Shadow Creeping Vampires. You know me, everyday is Halloween.”

“How’d you end up there?”

“Helping your Uncle Aaron and a friend. Long story, but the short version is that I was the only one wearing jeans and I’m smaller than they are so I got elected.”

Old Yellow Green Eyes started to sit up. “I gotta go Garrett. I’ll call you back later today.”

“Love you mom.”

“Love you too sweetie pie.”

I looked at my old friend. OK he wasn’t a friend. I’d met him before, a long long time ago. “What are you doing here?” I said trying to keep myself from sneering at him.”You look like a fucking Zombie. What is wrong with you people? Have you lost all self respect?”

“Juliette,” he whispered my name in a dry voice, like old coffee grinds and gravel.

“Jasper. That last time I saw you was…1923, New Orleans. What are you doing here?”

He started to tell me something in French that I couldn’t quite make out when I stopped him. “Listen, you have three choices. The first is that you agree to live like Modern Vampires and stop this nonsense of lurking around like you’ve just come out of some creep show. The second is that I leave you to the Vampire Hunters. The third is that you let one of my friends, and I use that term loosely, take you to San Francisco where you can be with others of your kind. But you can’t stay here. We have enough problems in Sacramento without your kind.”

“My kind?” Jasper opened his icky eyes wide and showed his fangs.

“That is exactly what I mean, you giving me the evil eye and trying to scare me with your ugly mug. You used to be handsome and well, you were never charming, but you used to be, well, not THIS.”

I crawled back into the sunlight which was no cup of tea, believe me. I might spend time during the day but the sunshine, especially after the darkness under a house, always comes as a shock. I pulled out my sunglasses put them on then took a deep breath and brushed off my pants. Filling Aaron and Austin in on the situation I told them that I’d let them decide what to do with Jasper and his friends.

I had to go home and take a shower and scrub my skin off with steel wool, or at least that is how I was feeling. The image of his eyes stuck in my brain like Poe’s Tell Tale Heart story.

“It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees – very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings

His eyes will haunt me for sure. Maybe I’ll check on him in a few months time, out of morbid curiosity. That is, if the Vampire Hunters or other creatures don’t get them first. There are Shadow Creepers who seem so vile, but then there are other Vampires who I don’t even dare name or ever seek out for any reason.

Like I said, Halloween is never far from my reality.

I called Garrett back. He listened to my story. I didn’t make it into some cautionary tale or anything like that. We just talked. He told me that I was the most awesome mom ever.

So anyway, that is what I did today. Halloween is here. Oh boy. Time to get a few more pumpkins and watch for things that go bump in the night (like my cats.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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This post is part of the Austin and Elizabeth series. Check out their adventures from the beginning (CLICK HERE)

Short Story Sunday: Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

You might of already read Tell Tail Heart…
I’m honored to NOW feature a story of terror from dear Eddie Poe. My brother used to read this to me and we would scare ourselves silly! This story is best when read out loud! So please READ IT ALOUD to your friends and family and anyone you want to totally and completely creep out! 

 

 

The Tell-Tale Heart

by Edgar Allan Poe
(first published 1850)

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TRUE! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses — not destroyed — not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily — how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees — very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded –with what caution –with what foresight –with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it –oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly –very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! –would a madman have been so wise as this? And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously –oh, so cautiously –cautiously (for the hinges creaked) –I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights –every night just at midnight –but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch’s minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers –of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back –but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed, crying out –“Who’s there?”

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed listening; –just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall.

Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief –oh, no! –it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself –“It is nothing but the wind in the chimney –it is only a mouse crossing the floor,” or “It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp.” Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. All in vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel –although he neither saw nor heard –to feel the presence of my head within the room.

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little –a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it –you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily –until, at length a single dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.

It was open –wide, wide open –and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness –all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man’s face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.

And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over acuteness of the senses? –now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man’s heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eye. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The old man’s terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! –do you mark me well? I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me –the sound would be heard by a neighbor! The old man’s hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once –once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.

I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye — not even his –could have detected any thing wrong. There was nothing to wash out –no stain of any kind –no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all –ha! ha!

When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o’clock –still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart, –for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a neighbor during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises.

I smiled, –for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search –search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.

The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct: –it continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness –until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears.

No doubt I now grew very pale; –but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased –and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound –much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath — and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly –more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent   but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men — but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed –I raved –I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder –louder –louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! –no, no! They heard! –they suspected! –they knew! –they were making a mockery of my horror! –this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! –and now –again! –hark! louder! louder! louder! louder! —

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! –tear up the planks! –here, here! –it is the beating of his hideous heart!”

______________________________________________________________________________

More from Short Story Sunday

Click on the title to go to the story.

And if you get a chance read or listen to the audio version of The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl (it is one of my favorite books). A fun, romantic, smart book that will transport you back to the 19th century (but without Vampires.) It takes you back to a young man’s search for the real truth behind Poe’s death and on a journey with unique characters you won’t forget.

And because I couldn’t resist…

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Ask Juliette: Feeling Blue, Looking Orange, Finding Waldo, Vampire Cats, and Poe

Ask Juliette (Ask A Vampire – Advice for Everyone) is a regular Thursday feature here on Vampire Maman. These are all real questions from real readers. If you have questions about anything (and I mean anything) send me a note at juliettevampiremom @ gmail .com

An old illustration I started for a Poe story. I've always liked it. That's all.

An old illustration I started for a Poe story. I’ve always liked it. That’s all.

 

Dear Juliette,

I finally worked up the courage to ask… or say something about many different things. I go through a lot every day, as do most people. Let me begin my saying, I’m someone who suffers from bouts of depression. It’s something I’ve only recently been able to talk about with people. This step I’ve taken, I somewhat regret. I placed my trust in people who I now think don’t like talking about it. It leaves me in a place of deeper loneliness and on top of that, life isn’t slowing down. I stress about my life all the time and people who constantly surround me make me feel guilty for choosing a path that helps me with my depression.

These two groups are friends and family. I’ve trimmed my friends a great number. The friends I have now, I consider dear to my heart, but sometimes, when they avoid talking about something weighing me down, I wonder, do I matter to them as much as they matter to me? And my family, well… what can I say… To them, it’s like a cold. Take medicine, sleep it off, and the morning next, I should be fine.

Taking this all into consideration, what do you think I should do to keep myself from falling down the rabbit hole I’ve only so recently climbed out of?

~ Sincerely, Not Alice

 

Dear Not Alice,

I saw your email in the wee hours of the morning. It really moved me.

The fact that you’ve recognized that you have depression and that you are dealing with it is something you should be proud of. It is never easy. It is a huge step.

A lot of people never talk about it to others. There is still a stigma about depression. It is uncomfortable to deal with for everyone.

It is never easy for others to hear someone suffers from depression. People tend to not want to talk about health issues, especially mental health, because it makes them uncomfortable.

The one thing being a creative person teaches you is to face rejection. It also teaches you to dig deeper inside of yourself than most people can ever imagine. I want you to know that. It doesn’t mean rejection gets easier, it just means you’ll learn to handle it better than most people – and not take it personally.

Is it going to be easy? Absolutely not. Are there going to be rewards. Absolutely YES.

In life there are those people who have a five-year plan. There are those who know at age 20 what they’ll be doing at age 30. And you know what? Life happens. Companies fold, people die, opportunities happen, people fall in love, or you just change your mind. Take it all, take everything, as an experience to learn and grow.

Be good to yourself. Have fun with yourself. Love yourself. Be your own best friend.

At the same time know that your friends and family who are there for you LOVE YOU. Yes, they do. Sometimes it is just hard to show it in the ways you want them to. Not only do they want you to be happy but they want to see you happy. Show them a smile. Tell them something positive. Make it a habit. I know it sounds like Sunday/Kindergarten stuff but it works.

The one thing I can tell you, from my own experience, is to never embrace Depression. Do not be kind to it. Do not consider it your friend. Do not see it as part of you. It is not who you are. Depression isn’t like a cold. You don’t just get over it. But you can learn to give it the middle finger and be strong.

I bet you have more talent in your little finger than most people have in their entire bodies. So seek out inspiration, new experiences, and things that make your happy. Don’t worry so much what others think. They aren’t you.

So what should you do to keep out of the rabbit hole?
Be good to yourself.
Treat yourself.
Keep active.
Most of all keep creative.
Find new activities (and new friends)
Don’t be a hermit.
Know that you are not defined by depression.
Know that you are loved.
Get professional help if you feel you need it.
Learn from your experiences and mistakes (and learn from the experiences and mistakes of others.)
And learn from your own success. Celebrate your success, even the small things.
I’m not an expert or a medical professional. I’m just someone with a lot of life experience who observes and records everything in the crammed small space I call my brain.

Take a deep breath. One day you’ll look back and want to hug the younger you. So go ahead and give yourself that hug now. I know it is hard. It is really hard. But you’re on the right path. Just keep going. Never stop.

Hugs ~ Juliette

moth

Dear Juliette,

My cat has recently taken to vampirism. At first he was noshing nightly on rats and raccoons, but over the past month he’s gone and drained poor Aunt Milly dry. We buried her last week. What’s to be done? And should we expect Aunt Milly back?

~ Guy with a Cat

 

Dear Guy,

Bad kitty.

I consulted with my friend Adam, who also just happens to be a Werewolf and expert on shape changers.

It looks like Aunty Milly might come back but as a rare North American Werelynx. I doubt if your kitty did all of the blood draining. He had help. Werelynx frequently hand out with house kitties and their unsuspecting owners. Aunt Milly might do quiet well under the full moon with her new beautiful fur, tufted ears, and take-no-shit attitude. Keep me posted and let me know what happens. And remember to keep some rabbits or raw meat around so she won’t be tempted to eat any family members.

~ Juliette

Lynx, Werelynx

 

Dear Juliette,

Can vampires get a suntan?

~ Malibu Barbie

 

Dear Barbie,

Unfortunately no. Even Vampires of color are sensitive to the sun. We buy sunscreen by the gallon. When we’re in the sun we can get violently ill. My son had problems with that in high school. I was always going up to school to pick him up until I had a serious talk with the PE coach. Thank goodness they only have to have PE for the first two years.

Believe it or not, Vampire don’t tan but we do get amazing freckle blooms. That is something most people don’t know.

Spray tan sounds like a logical option for Vampires who want that just-back-from vacation-in-Arizona-glow. But, being the stylish and classy creatures we are, we don’t spray tan. I mean, seriously, look at a certain orange buffoon running for president and his tacky orange wife. Yikes. They’re scary monsters to say the least.

~ Juliette

Annoying_orange_meme
Dear Juliette,

Can Vampires diet?

~ Skinny

 

Dear Skinny,

Sure, but why?

~ Juliette

 

I added this image of Vincent Price just because he is smoking HOT.

I added this image of Vincent Price just because he is smoking HOT.

 

Dear Juliette,

Where is Waldo?

~ Still Looking

 

Dear Still Looking,

With the Goblin King.

~ Juliette

Goblin King

 

Dear Juliette,

Did you know Edgar Allen Poe?

~ Fan of Eddie

 

Dear Fan of Eddie,

No, he died before I was born.

Edgar Poe – January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849

Juliette Kings – October 23, 1859 – Not Dead Yet.

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Dear Juliette,

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

I already answered this burning question in a previous post but here it is again.
Dear Juliette,

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

~ Tongue Tied

 

Dear Tongue Tied,

Really? Woodchucks?

If a woodchuck could chuck wood it wouldn’t be much. They have little bitty arms and can’t throw logs like some great big Vampire guy could. I’d say after a hefty pile of kindling, say about a twenty-five gallon drum full the poor little critter would be exhausted for a week.

~ Juliette

Look at those tiny little woodchuck arms.

Look at those tiny little woodchuck arms.

 

That is it for this week. Thank you everyone for all of the questions. I hope I’ve been able to help. If you have a burning question about life, parenting, relationships, mysterious stuff, paranormal, Vampires or ANYTHING for next week just email me at juliettevampiremom @ gmail .com

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

EricDahlin-CuteCrow'