Retreats, Re-treats and a Vampire’s Thoughts on Writing

traditional vampire

Once upon a time, I kissed a Vampire. I wore a bustle dress but he did not have wings. It was lovely.

victoiran bats

In popular mythology Vampires have bat wings and turn into bats. Nice idea.

in your room

I was never one for creeping into bedrooms either, of course unless… unless it was a bed I wanted to stay in for a while. Hey, you know, even Vampires multi-task.

So do moms like me. So do most modern parents (Vampires or not.)

I usually don’t comment on the blogs of others… I try not to be rude or snarky (HA HA April Fools on that one) but I just read a blog post about “Writer’s Retreats.” There were thoughts and quotes from “experts.” I have no beefs with the author. She was lovely. I do have it with other things about retreats and “experts.”

Today has been one of those days when I read about “Writer’s Retreats,” and I think of myself and my writing friends and I think “WTF?” I’m f___ing busy. I have an independent mind. I need coffee. I’m a bitch. But…

Perhaps when I was younger but I would have just found love the idea of a retreat. I also would have found the cutest guy at the retreat and slept with him. I would have written a bunch of lofty angst filled crap that nobody would ever want to read. Yes that is blunt. It is. Deal with it. Or I would have instantly gotten writer’s block and totally bored, or spent the entire time trying to impress everyone else there, and maybe drained the blood from the cute guy and left in the middle of the night. Maybe not. It just has no appeal to me anymore. I don’t want to be lofty. I don’t want to be deep. I don’t want to be literary.

So anyway…

What would my retreat be?

My retreat is in those hours before the sun comes up with just the company of my cats and my coffee.

My retreat is in those times when the kids are practicing their sports, or I’m waiting for, well, just waiting for someone or something else.

It is when I walk the dog and let my mind fill with ideas.

My retreat is looking at pictures and art and music. Filling my senses completely full.

My writing retreat is when I lay next to my husband, our arms around each other. I close my eyes and drift off to a place where everything is perfect and as it should be.

Sure I’d like the luxury of spending a lot of money and time off in a cabin in the woods (but not like that silly movie of the same title) with like minds… but then I think not. I’d rather spend the time with like minds that I already know or who live in my circles. I’d rather be with other bloggers and short story writers, those I know and those I don’t know yet, who live in a rushed world with so much variety and activity that they can hardly think, much less escape from it. They’re the ones who inspire me.

My writing friends and my quick messages to them and their feedback is my retreat.

Reading the works of others, no matter what the content, point of view or genre is my retreat.

The joy of learning the craft of writing (the stuff you don’t see here) is my retreat.

I guess I’m just not a follower. There are those who inspire me but I’m sort of old and I have teenagers and life is extremely serious and at the same time so whimsical and funny and amazing that… that if I went off by myself to write I wouldn’t have anything to write about.

I like my alone time. That said, as a writer and an artist, it has to be MY time. My place. My thoughts that rattle around in my brain for hours and days before anything goes down on paper, even if those hours and days are only a split second.

You might not agree with me. I wouldn’t go on a marriage retreat either. I wouldn’t go on a Vampire retreat. I don’t do retreats. I despise the very idea of self-help retreats. Spiritual retreats make me think of cults totally creep me out. But if you like that sort of thing… well go ahead but don’t ask me along. I’ll just smile and say “have a nice time.”

I have to say that my husband feels the same way about these sorts of things. We came into this relationship with this view already. And don’t even get me started on most parenting books, experts, seminars and retreats. My fangs will come out when that subject comes up.

My husband always says “Everything annoys you.”

I respond with, “Why yes it does.”

I’m not going to pretend I’m perfect or my views and life are perfect (like some people in the news) but it is my life and I’m feeling a little snarky right now. My regular readers know I’m usually pretty sweet and sensitive. I am. Really. Most of the time. OK I try.

But I do like TREATS and I like sharing so I guess that could be a nice Re-Treat. A nice bottle of wine, some cheese, some tea or whatever you like… I could go for that. We’d talk about our writing then maybe we wouldn’t. We’ll just end up talking about our dogs or roller skating or books we’ve read or those day-to-day things that make up the contents of good writing (fact or fiction or those odd bits that live in both worlds.) Or you could send me a link to something cool online or a story you’re writing or I could read your book and then you could read mine. THAT is the perfect retreat – to share treats – the treat of our thoughts and creativity.

And to think this was going to be an essay on being a Modern Vampire… oh well.

Have a good week everyone and don’t listen to me if you don’t want to, but I’ll be here if you need me.

And on a serious and thoughtful note… I hope all of you have your own small retreats, those places either mentally or physically that are yours and yours alone.


~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman



clarke dark

My Chocolate Affair

And speaking of snacks and treats….

Of course Vampires LOVE chocolate and treats of all kind. We can’t have a lot of it, but when we do it HAS to be GOOD. I mean REALLY REALLY REALLY GOOD. And made with LOVE. I swear we can feel the love (you all can if you let yourself go).

So, where do I recommend you get CHOCOLATE? My Chocolate Affair – of course (love love love the name).

In 2005, Elizabeth and Jamie made their love affair with chocolate an obsession, they create their own chocolate confections and gift baskets for all to love. You can find their fine products in their retail store, website and boutiques in CA.

“Chocolate is no ordinary food. It is not something you can take or leave, something you like only moderately. You dont like chocolate. You dont even love chocolate. Chocolate is something you have an affair with.” — Geneen Roth, Feeding the Hungry Heart

  • Getting married? Planning a wedding? Maid of honor? My Chocolate Affair has wedding favors, bridal shower favors that fit any budget. Visit the My Chocolate affair website for sample favors, or call us at (916) 225-3773 and they can customize your favors.
  •  Six hours a day, five days a week a teacher devotes to your child. Give a gift of chocolate to show a small appreciation for all they do for you and your child.
  • Graduation time is here! Time for CHOCOLATE
  • They’ll also do custom orders for special events like parties, business functions, holidays, birthdays…you name it. Give them a call.


1 (916) 225-3773


Side note: A dear friend of mine passed away a few years ago leaving an adult cat that nobody else could take (or wanted to take). Elizabeth adopted the cat “Fox”, took her into her home, with her three girls, and loved that cat! Fox is doing great and I hear happy as any cat could ever be. I will always be grateful to Elizabeth and her family for taking Fox into their home.

Healthy Snacks for Your Vampire Teen!

Face it – kids like to snack, especially teens. Unfortunately our vampire kids can’t process a lot of gluten or carbs or processed sugar. For an special treat try these very special brownies. Perfect for packing in a lunch box or carrying along in a backpack!

Red Velvet Carob Brownies

The other kids will never know our vampire secret to these yummy treats


  • 1 cup gluten free flour (we like millet)
  • 1/2 cup carob powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup honey (this is a big splurge. If you child can’t eat honey try Splenda or Agave Nectar)
  • 1/2 cup blood (light processed)
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 5-6 drops red food coloring


  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix the flour, carob powder, salt, and baking powder together in a large bowl.
  2. Stir the honey (or substitute), blood, cream, vegetable oil, and egg  together in a separate bowl. Add the honey mixture into the flour mixture, and stir to thoroughly combine; pour into an 8×8-inch baking dish (I recommend you spray it first).
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out gummy rather than wet, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool before refrigerating overnight for best results.

We usually add chopped mixed nuts as well. Walnuts and dry roasted peanuts are super yummy.

For more on school lunch ideas and nutrition see this earlier post:

~ Juliette