NaNoWiMoNoNoNoNoNoNo Bah Humbug (and everything else in my opinion)

Warning: Negativity and Triggers Ahead

The cake isn’t for you. I just thought it was funny. Yes, that is what I said: Triggers.

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Or if you prefer horses.

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Trigger, in his natural state, before being dressed up. And yes, he was stuffed after he died. I find the taxidermy aspect kind of creepy (and I’m a Vampire for heaven’s sake)

 

Now let’s get going on the main feature.

 

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Even I have to admit this is funny.

NaNoWiMoNoNoNoNoNoNo Bah Humbug (that includes fan fiction, fantasy drenched quests, magical children in black robes, and super heroes.)

Random thoughts on all kinds of stuff.

If you spend the night at my house, like Scrooge, you will also have three visitors during the night. That would be Alice the German Shepard as the ghost of writing past, Oscar the tuxedo cat as the ghost of writing present, and Gloria the calico cat as the ghost of everything else. If you like I will follow up with chains and howling, though I’d rather not.

First off – my hat goes off and I take a bow to everyone who attempting to write a novel during NaNoWiMo (National Novel Writing Month.) Keep writing. I am cheering you on.

However…

As I look around social media at the November writing frenzy, numbers pressure, and general drama I’m finding some disturbing trends.

Large numbers of beginning writers want to be somebody else. This makes my fangs hurt, both as a writer, and as a parent.

These beginners, bless their hearts, are obsessed with Harry Potter, what Hogwarts house everybody belongs to, superheroes, superhero powers, fantasy stories with names nobody can pronounce much less keep track of, sparkling Vampires, and absolute good vs absolute evil. They are also obsessed with movies – not books. This includes LOTR, Slasher movies, and The Never Ending Story.

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This is how I feel about this. It never ends. I do not like it more than Sam I Am does not like Green Eggs and Ham.

This is all lovely, but write your own story. Use your own voice. Tell your own story. Steer clear of the absolutes and the childhood loves and move on. In other words GROW UP. 

OK maybe you don’t want to grow up. It’s your story.

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My regular readers know of my distain for fan fiction – that is writing a story based on somebody else’s story.

Sure one of the worst books ever –  Fifty Shades of Grey the 2011 erotic romance novel by British author E. L. James, was fan fiction inspired by the Twilight series. I guess if you can make that much money off of writing horrible pornographic prose based on a YA novel and make millions of dollars then go for it.

My favorite fan fiction story is quite different. My daughter had a classmate in hight school who wrote slightly PG-13 rated 60 page  homoerotic fan fiction based on historian David McCullough’s book 1776.

Most A lot of fan fiction seems to have an erotic element to it. I shutter to think how much erotica has been written about Mr. Weasley and Samwise Gamgee. They’re both great characters but sometimes I just wish people would leave them alone.

On the other hand adding Zombies to anything, especially Jane Austin is always fun.

I can’t imagine adding zombies to Withering Heights. It is already close to a horror story as a dark hopeless gothic romance can get. Or adding zombies to Jane Eyre… well we know Jane would kick their rotted heads right off of their fragile putrified necks. Not sure if that would be before or after the crazy wife burns the house down.

Other books that could use Zombies are Little Women, The Bible, War and Peace, The Bridges of Madison County, Eat Pray Love, The Notebook, Gone Girl, and Tom Sawyer. 

And speaking of things that will never die…

Oh joy another version of Little Women is coming to the big screen. I say that with little joy. Nobody at my house is overly fond of that story. We just don’t like it. We don’t like the book. We don’t like the movies. We especially don’t like Marmee who needs to kick her deadbeat husband’s ass. A lot of ass needs to be kicked in that story.

Greta Gerwig is from Sacramento and we love her here. I do not love Meg, Jo, Beth, or Amy. Little Women definitely needs Zombies and maybe even some Werewolves. I’d love to see Laurie as a Vampire.

There are times when I feel like I’m the only adult in the room, or the only adult on the world of Internet writing groups (there are exceptions but those are rare.) But it isn’t just the Internet. Let’s get serious here.

As a parent, as a mom, as a parenting blogger, and as a concerned adult, I have a few options for those stuck in their YA wormhole.

I have a game called RATHER THAN. Let’s give it a go.

Rather than watch 

The Neverending Story (1984)

See

Tangerine (1984)

Rather than watch

Little Women (1933, 1949, 1994, 2018, 2019)

See

The Big Sleep (1946)

Rather than watch

Any Superhero movies that involves capes and lots of explosions

See

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Rather than watch

Twilight (2008)

See

Pulp Fiction (1994)

 

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I’m not trying to put anyone down (even if I sort of am doing that.) When I first started my blog there were all sorts of asshats that told me what Vampires can and can’t do. I told them I do whatever the hell I want to do. No dark Vampire lords are going to tell me or my kids what to do. So I get it. I get it when you’re passionate about something and somebody like me comes along and puts you down. If you want to think I’m an asshole go ahead, but please consider growing up a little and finding your own story. Looking at the real world will help with your fantasy world – write something readers can relate to.

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And speaking of random thoughts…

Robert Clotworthy (The Curse of Oak Island) and Mike Rowe (Deadliest Catch) should switch programs for a few episodes. Think about it. Damn that would be fun.

Don’t get me wrong. I love jumping into another reality.  I love what cosplay people do. They’re amazing. I love events like The Dicken’s Fair, and Scottish Fairs, and Steampunk events. I LOVE Halloween. I love fantasy and science fiction and weird stuff and urban fantasy. For goodness sakes, I’m a Vampire. But even I have to live in the real world sometimes and deal with real issues.

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And what about me?

Juliette Kings writes the blog Vampiremaman.com.

She is currently working on a novel and it is November. She is also working on an illustrated version of Jane Eyre, trying to come up with more short stories, and continuing to landscape her yard. She is also still a mom and a Vampire. Want to know more? Read my blog.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Dogs and Art make everything better

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh where is that ghoul when I need it? 

It is Thursday. That means at least four hours of the music of leaf blowers in my neighborhood. I swear to God, if you don’t want leaves in your yard move to a house without trees.

I’ve even looked from my perch, and seen the yard guys blowing NOTHING. They get paid just to make noise.

I’ve always been respectful to my neighbors when it comes to noise, including dog parking, music, and other potentially obnoxious noises. Unfortunately not everyone thinks the same.

Yes, some have died (true fact, look it up) due to neighbors being pissed off by excessive leaf blowing. The same is true with early morning construction work, rooster crowing, dog barking, and late night parties with bad music, or drunk women laughing too loud in the wee hours of the morning.

I HATE LEAF BLOWERS. I HATE THEM.

Kids can’t study. Vampires can’t sleep. Brains can’t function. Work can’t be done. Writing gets sidetracked. Artists can’t art. Babies can’t nap. Dogs want to stay inside rather than go out and play. Young adults say, “what the fuck?”

In the old days I could just send out some shadow creeping ghoul to rip out a throat or at least scare the shit out of someone who facilitated obnoxious noises and behavior, but that is now unacceptable. Bothering everyone with yard equipment apparently is ok.  Oh where is that ghoul when I need it?

By the way, for all of you WP bloggers reading this. Yes, I’m writing this in the traditional mode. I can’t stand the new “blocks” editor. What the fuck where they thinking? Nobody can write fast and loud in that mode. Sometimes I just need to complain and be fast about it. I don’t need that kind of shit.

Leaf blowers are like those people who can’t shut up about politics. Nobody wants to hear that. NOBODY.

It is January 3rd. I have no need to complain because 2019 is going to be a stellar year. But then those damn leaf blowers show up and take over my mood.

Anyway… that’s it. Come back for more later. Not complaining – more pleasant things, or at least as pleasant as a cranky old Vampire can be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Drinking Games and Raking Fall Leaves

Against my better judgement I had the radio on all day today. I learned that most of the old fart senators in Washington don’t know, or pretend not to know about drinking games, that teenage boys think farts or funny, or anything about beer. All of these “Good Christian Men” forget about their college years when they were sleeping with everything without a penis, drinking beer until they puked and passed out, and lighting farts on fire. They also like to hear themselves talk (even when it is through somebody else) so they ask a woman about a traumatic event she experienced at age fifteen and wonders why she didn’t tell anyone. Guess what? Teenage girls don’t share stuff like that because they know nobody will listen.

All of this just makes me think of drinking games. Take a drink for every time someone asked Kavanaugh if he liked beer or drank beer or every time Kavanaugh said he said the word “beer”. I was driving when I heard the whole beer episode. I thought I was in some sort of world that had turned into the cross between a Salvador Dali painting and a Carrie Nation Rally. By the way, if you didn’t know this already, Carrie Nation was six feet tall. I kid you not. But back to the hearing…I almost pulled over to the side of the road. I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen Rod Serling hitch hiking with an alien.

We’ve also suggested that the TV shows “Hawaii Five-O” and “Longmire” be made into drinking games. Whenever someone gets shot you take a drink. It they die in a more unusual way you take a drink. If someone gets kidnapped you take a drink. If someone who is a main character gets kidnapped or shot you take a drink. By the end of the show, well you never see the end of the show because you’ll be passed out by then.

When I arrived home I decided to not listen to anymore noise. Alas, my plan to just listen to the purring of my cats and maybe some music turned into my usual Thursday headache. And it is also the Friday morning headache. That is LEAF BLOWERS.

About half of my neighbors have yard services and that means leaf blowers.

Vampires, due to our naturally gentle and quiet nature, hate leaf blowers.

I HATE LEAF BLOWERS. 

And half the time I see the guys blowing leaves they’re just blowing dirt. They’re blowing NOTHING. I want to yell at my neighbor after the three hour bout of blowing leaves that he needs to move to the desert if he hates a single leaf in his back yard.

Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, and everything I hold near and dear, I swear that I HATE LEAF BLOWERS. The loud noise makes my head feel like it is going to explode. Kids can’t study. Babies can’t sleep. I can’t work. I can’t do fucking anything.

I told my daughter that next Thursday when the leaf blowers start blowing I’m getting out my trumpet, and YES I do own a trumpet, and blowing it off of my deck until they all think Gabriel himself has come down to earth to do whatever it is that arc angels do. And then when there is a strange silence I shall put down my trumpet, show my fangs and whisper, “vengeance is mine.”

So I take a deep breath. 

I like raking leaves. To be honest, I don’t rake leaves, I sweep them. I sweep them off of the walkways, out of the gutters, and off of the driveway. Along with the leaves are hundreds, and maybe thousands of acorns.

Where are the squirrels when I need them? They’re in the trees barking at me and my cats.

Back to sweeping leaves. There is something so satisfying about sweeping my leaves up. It is quiet. Sweeping is prime time to get my ideas and creativity in order. It is a time to think. I love the way I make little and big piles. I love the smell. I love the mix of leaves and the random flower blossoms and bark that mixes with the leaves.

Right now there isn’t much in my wild back yard except trees so I let the leaves fall on the bare ground to make a soft carpet and get scattered by the dog and the wild turkeys. I don’t need perfection. I don’t need the noise of leaf blowers.

I need the quiet and the celebration of nature in my somewhat ordered world. To be honest with you there is little order in my world, but leaf sweeping, and any yard work in my tiny botanical garden under the oaks brings solace.

So wishing you all peace in this change of seasons. Turn off the radio and TV. Have a beer that nobody will question you about, and count your blessings.

And then hug your cats, talk to your kids, and be a good Vampire. Fall is here.

Remember…Halloween is just around the corner.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

juliette kings _ Marla Todd

No Leaf Blowers Allowed in My Yard

 

 

Weirder Tales

Weirder Tales – Now Available on Amazon and other fine online bookstores. Proceeds to to MS Research.

 

 

 

 

Use Your Filters

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No offense to any monkeys out there. But you get my point (I hope.)

When my kids were small there was always that one classmate, or friend, or friend’s child, who had no filters. I’ll be the first to say that all small children say things that totally and completely embarrass us and others. Tiny tots are notorious for being rude. They ask people why they’re too fat or too thin. They comment on hair loss. They ask rude questions and call everything exactly as they see it – especially if it is not how things are at their house, or with their parents.

Yes, parents of overly precocious children, this is for you. Your little darling is not cute or smart. Your child is rude.

That said, we all grow up. By the time a child is seven or eight they should be learning to use their filters. And no, that age is not too young. Get with it parents. Once a child starts school they need to buck it up and learn to be a good citizen. And you have to get on their little butts and remind them not only to be nice, but WHY they need to be nice.

After a child starts school embarrassing personal (and rude) questions and comments are no longer cute. 

Unfortunately there are always those kids who never learn about filters.

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Remember her? Don’t be a Nellie Olson.

They say things like:

  • My mommy says fill in the blank.
  • At our house we ALWAYS fill in the blank with something the child observes you don’t do.
  • Why do you fill in the blank with something rude and nosey.

As adults these people are insufferable and make horrible friends and co-workers. Most of them, I’d say 98%, don’t even know what they’re doing. The other 2% is just doing it out of spite. I know, I know, I know, we all slip up from time to time, and then feel bad about it afterwords, but those that isn’t what I’m talking about. You know what I’m talking about. Below is a list of examples.

  1. Unsolicited advice or comments about someone’s body. This includes giving friends brochures from diet seminars, groups, or articles about weight loss.
  2. Just one? You need another baby.
  3. Does you husband wish you’d had a boy?
  4. To a pregnant woman: What if your daughter is gay? Does it matter? So what if my child is gay? Do you expect me to love her less? Don’t be homophobic? And what if my child is an artist? What if my child likes chemistry? What if my child gardens? What if my child likes to pretend he is a bear? Just shut the fuck up.
  5. Is he gay? Assuming a young man we know gay because he skated. No but I’ll point out another skater who is. Does it matter? Really? Does it matter. I’ll adore them either way.
  6. Is he good in bed?
  7. Did you do it last night? No it is not ok to be obsessed with your friend’s sex lives and make unsolicited comments.
  8. Beautiful dress. It fits great, but you look better in blue. Yes, we all know about the undermined back-stab compliment.
  9. I like your hair better long.
  10. At a BBQ joint: Don’t they have anything vegan? 
  11. At a Japanese restaurant when somebody else orders sushi: I hate raw fish. OK then don’t order raw fish.
  12. I thought you only dated guys with blonde hair?

I’m sure all of you have examples of blurted out, rude, and sometimes shocking, and usually hurtful comments.

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Don’t people like that just make you want to scream????

So parents, you need to make sure your children, especially your young adult children aren’t doing this. On the other hand, if they act like this it is possible that they learned it from you. I hope not.

Giving advice, or asking questions is fine and normal. Blurting out whatever pops into your head is not. Always, always, always, teach your kids to think before they speak.

  • Will it hurt someone?
  • Will it hurt them?
  • Is it rude?
  • Will everyone think you’re rude and you’ll NEVER be invited back.
  • Will you end up eating lunch alone from now on?

This is basic kindergarten stuff but some kids just didn’t listen to their teacher because they were too busy either eating paste or saying mean things to other kids.

I swear, I don’t even know the motivation of some people. Maybe it makes them feel better about them selves if they try to push down others. That is pretty sad if you think about it.

And of course these are ALWAYS the people who have to make the asshole remarks on social media. Tell your kids that if someone says something on social media you disagree with just to move on. Don’t be a troll. Don’t feel like you ALWAYS have to comment. If someone posts a photo of their Chihuahua dog don’t comment I didn’t know you have a shake and hate. Just say the dog is cute or move on and don’t say anything.

When you’re an adult rude comments aren’t funny. Remind your children of that. And guess what, you DO need to remind YOUR kids. Even the best kids need to be reminded so that by the time they’re adults they aren’t branded as assholes.

I’m not taking about normal discussions, or debates. That is ok. We can agree to disagree. Or we can agree not to agree. Or we can give advice in a nice helpful way. But we don’t have to be crass or rude to put someone down or make ourselves feel superior. 

Of course very ancient, very young, and special needs folks will blurt things out because they can’t help it. This is not about them. We love them because we know what is going on. But most people don’t fall into that category. You can help it.

But you know the snotty condescending types I’m talking about. Don’t be like them. If your college kid is one of these folks don’t be shocked when their dorm-mate asks for a transfer to another room.

This goes for all of you Vampires and Werewolves too. Yes, I had to get that in there. You know who you are.

As always talk to your kids. Talk with your kids. Think about what you say. We could all be better. Even I could be better.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Real Monsters – Adults Behaving Badly

Yes, you’ve come to the right place. Yes, I’m the one with the logo that states My Mom Blogs about Vampires. 

But the key word today is MOM. 

I blog about parenting. I blog about talking to kids and communications. I blog about uncomfortable situations with kids, and difficult subjects. Today is one of those days.

I’d like to say I’m not an expert in sexual harassment, or other horrible rude things that adults do but I am. Personal experience. Decades of personal experience. I look back in disgust at too many stories from my own life.

As a mother I have told my stories to the children in my life so that they might know how to react if it happened to them.

No child should have to put up with relatives or friends who say rude things to them.

So what do you do if you have to go to a family even and you know Aunt Teetee will be telling your kids stories about your past (true or not, usually not,) or Uncle Puss telling your kids that their chosen college path will only lead to a life of low paying jobs? TALK TO YOUR KIDS before you go. In fact let your kids know that if ANYONE says anything rude or weird to them, no matter what, that they can come to you about it. Not so much to go beat the crap out of the offending adult, but in the weirdest scenarios teach your kid to laugh about it (because we all know Teetee and Puss are fucking crazy anyway) or, in the worst case you, as the parent, can do something about it.

It seems that so much has come out lately in the news, from our own elected officials saying rude things to kids about their parents (for example the children of journalists), to sexual harassment and assault accusations/charges against oh so many in the entertainment industry. To ALL working people. To all students. To people who have been SILENT about horrible things they’ve known about and never spoken up because of fear, or worse because it was not their problem.

Now is the time to have that conversation with your kids. You should have had that conversation years ago.

Need a place to start? I’ve made a handy bulleted list of things you can tell your children (and yourself.)

  • Nobody has the right to touch you unless you want them to touch you.
  • Nobody has the right to say unwanted comments about your body.
  • Nobody has the right to fat shame you.
  • Nobody has the right to sexualize you in a work situation (or any other time it is unwanted.)
  • Nobody has the right to rape you and use the excuse that it was the way you dressed.
  • You have the right to call anyone out who says things that make you uncomfortable, or makes you feel as if you are in danger.
  • Nobody has the right to bully you into sex.
  • Nobody has the right to bully you.
  • Nobody has the right to say bad things to you about your parents.
  • You have the right to say NO.
  • You have the right to tell another adult if someone makes you uncomfortable.
  • You have the right to tell someone if anyone makes unwanted sexual advances or talks dirty to you.
  • You have the right to let your voice be heard.
  • You have the right to speak up for others.

And the list goes on and on and on.

Don’t be afraid or uncomfortable. As a parent it is YOUR JOB and YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to talk to your kids about these thing – open and honestly.

My hope is that the generation of young people today will say STOP the bull shit.

I look at all of the women and even men I’ve known who have been mollested, raped, sexually harassed at work. I think of all of the people who think they can be rude to children. I think about all of the bull shit we’ve had to put up with at the hands of these monsters – for indeed these people are monsters.

It is early, pre-coffee dawn. I am just venting here. But it is a vent that needs to remain open. It is something we should ALL vent about. It is something that we MUST talk to our children, male and female, about. Yes, this isn’t just an issue for women. It is an issue for everyone.

You need to teach your children from an early age what is and what is not acceptable behavior. Using sex as a weapon, or power to get sex, is not an option. It is NEVER an option.

This is the 21st Century. We should have evolved beyond this.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS. I can’t tell you this enough. 

LISTEN TO YOUR KIDS.

LOVE YOUR KIDS.

PROTECT YOUR KIDS.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

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Trigger Words and Neutrality

A year or two ago I read an article that some colleges (not any my kids will ever go to) were telling professors to not say certain “trigger words” so sensitive students wouldn’t get upset and kill someone, kill themselves, cry, attack classmates, get depressed, or drop out of school.

No kid should be that sensitive. My feeling is that kids in college need to learn to backhand trigger words like Venus Williams backhands a tennis ball. Bring it on. Make it a sport.

We banter and discuss and generally talk a lot at my house. It’s a good thing. If someone throws an issue out there we’ll talk about it, or at least acknowledge it.

But still, we all have our trigger words. I can hear my husband whispering to the kids, “don’t say that around your mom. It’s a trigger word.”

I have a long list of trigger words that have the potential of sending me right on top of my soap box with a tirade of well grounded opinions. I dare say I’m sure I’ll offend some of my readers but here it goes. Yes, this is a warning. You can leave now if you want to.

Juliette’s Trigger Words and Phrases and Subjects With Pictures

Anything to do with the Trump family. In case you don’t know who they are I’ve posted this photo of them. (from left to right Melania, Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka)

My political trigger words include: Trump, Shitgibbon, Bannon, EPA, Arts, Education, DeVos, Melania, Trump Children, Marla Maples, AND about a million other words…you get the direction this group is moving in. I also have no kind words for those who are bigoted against my LGBT friends, those who are obsessed with marriage, the sex lives of others, or any other kind of ignorant and hateful bigotry.

Don’t talk to me about RELIGION. That is YOUR business. When I hear the following it drives me NUTS:

  • It happened for a reason.
  • It is God’s will.
  • God has a plan.
  • God had a reason for it.
  • The Bible says so.
  • God only gives you what you can handle (if that is the case then most people I know can handle about six nuclear wars, a plague of yellow jackets, and rattle snakes in their beds, and their ex-lovers in their shower – all of their ex-lovers at the same time naked in the shower with them and NO HOT WATER.)

You get where this is going too. I’m not an atheist by any means (read my blog) but ugh. And don’t even get me started on people who say they don’t believe in science or evolution. Trigger trigger trigger trigger.

Vampires. 

I’m not going to bash Twilight because it got so many teens to start reading. They went from Twilight to other books and that was a good thing. BUT don’t talk to me about Twilight. Don’t. Just DON’T. I don’t want to hear it. I also don’t want to hear anyone say, “I don’t like to read about Vampires.” Fine then don’t fucking read about them. You don’t have to tell me about it.

Other literary and film triggers:

I don’t like (I despise) Eat Pray Love, Bridges of Madison County, Steel Magnolias, Little Women, 50 Shades of Whatever BUT –  I don’t care what you like to read as long as you’re reading. Just don’t question what I read. In fact don’t question what anyone reads. If you want to bash a genre then fuck you. We all have our ways to relax in private with a book. It isn’t for anyone to judge what anyone likes to read. With one exception….

Self-Help Books

90% are SCAMS and GARBAGE that spout Sunday School crap to confuse people, rip them off, make them feel bad, and … it just pisses me off. There are a very few good books out there for those looking for help, but proceed with caution or you’ll have me screaming.

All of that said…

I usually don’t say anything UNLESS I’m with my husband and children. I’m talking about real  life, not Twitter, or someplace else on the Internet (which by is now going to be a place where YOU will be sold like a piece of meat.) I’m speaking of real life.

In real life I tend to be neutral. I’m like Switzerland. I don’t take sides. I distract others away from trigger situations. I move conversations forward and back to where those conversations should be. I can take the most hair-brained off-target discussion and steer it back to where it is supposed to be. And unlike this post, it will all be in a thoughtful and usually good-natured way. My voice is calming and quiet. I’m like cool jazz background music, that calms, but you aren’t even sure you even heard it.

So I’ll rant about my triggers words right here, right now (don’t tell me later that the Jesus Jones ear worm is from me) because this is MY BLOG. I’ll turn it back to you later on with something witty, useful, and profound, and maybe marginally entertaining.

In the world of Vampires we see a lot of things come and go. We try to take everything in stride knowing that most things do pass. Then again a lot of things don’t pass (no puns please) and so THAT is why it is OK to get mad, speak out, vent, and use your voice sometimes.

That’s it.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

And this is a bunch of guys in hats for no special reason.