Reading and Writing: A Good Story

Let’s talk about reading and writing.

My sister-in-law Verity recently threw a stack of books into the recycle bin. That is a habit she got from me. If a book is too stupid/bad/boring/offensive to finish then why risk someone else wasting their time on it? Just throw it out.

Her reason for the latest toss out was, “I hate it when favorite male authors get old and decide to write sexist drivel about older men with hot young things, or two guys in competition over the same hot young thing. What is up with these authors? They used to write the best books.”

We talked some more and decided that this is not the rule. Most male of our favorite authors we read are on their mark. They still write witty characters, and if anything else their female characters have become more realistic, believable, and entertaining.

Another thing we decided gets a book into the recycle bin is when authors (usually female) start writing about either weak female characters who are always victims, or characters who are so snarky towards the poor smitten male characters that we’re shaking our heads and thinking what the hell is wrong with these people?

Books, like real life, should be populated with a variety of characters. With so many variations and personalities why depend on cliches?

I see that a lot, cliches, in online writing groups. Those who want to be writers ask questions about such things. They often don’t realize that they just need to write in their own voice, or the voice of their characters. They struggle with trying to describe something on paper, when all they really need to do is open their mouths, say the words out loud as if telling a friend, then write THAT down.

The same goes for writing dialogue. Be natural. Be real. Listen to how people talk to each other in real life. An author should be like an actor and get into the character, and even become the character they are writing about.

I had to admit to Verity that I am not the best at editing, but sometimes I can tell a good story. I’ve also read thousands of books over the years. I love a good story. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate my favorite authors (both indie and mainstream) who can write a good story.

What I love about bloggers is that they tell good stories. Bloggers write like they talk, and boy do they talk. Blogs are usually so spontaneous. It makes me happy, even when the subject matter is deep and depressing. I’m happy because it is fluid, entertaining, and as if I’m right there with the blogger. It is that intimate voice that I love so much. There is also the interaction with the readers that is so rewarding as well.

My advice to people who’d like to dip their big toes into writing and see how it feels is to blog first. Why? It is good practice. You can write whatever you want. It is totally yours. You can try things out. You don’t have to worry about rejection. Blogging has a built in community – believe me, you’ll find it, or it will find you.

Verity went through a bag of books I brought her and found something new to read. I gave her recommendations for books to download too. She’ll find something she likes. There are so many good books. As much as we all complain about everything it is nice to know that we live in a world with so many wonderful story tellers.

And speaking of wonderful story tellers… I can’t go without saying something about the new anthology from WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants) Goin’ Extinct Too! Apocalypse A-Go-Go. Nineteen authors share their stories, essays, poetry, and visions of a sometimes grim, and sometimes hopeful future. You decide, and if you like it leave a nice review.

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What are your pet peeves about books, story lines, and characters?

What do you like the best about your favorite books or types of books?

What makes you dump a book into the recycle bin?

What makes you keep a book and want to read it again?

Any other thoughts on the subject?

Did your cat do anything cute today?

Let me know. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Social Distance. Read a book. Stay safe.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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I spilled half a littler box of used cat litter down my shirt

Venting Musings At Home With the Vampires Amid the Lockdown

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Today I spilled half a littler box of used cat litter down my shirt.

I was attempting to dump the box of used litter into a bag and well… I guess we can just say shit happens.

One a popular social media platform someone told me “I don’t read vampire books but I like Twilight.” I translate that to the entire text of Green Eggs and Ham. If you don’t understand this comment please don’t even ask. If you’ve never read Green Eggs and Ham please do yourself a favor and read it sometime in the next 48 hours. Please do not tell me you or a fan of Twilight or anything along those lines. I am not a fan.

Read this.

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Yes, it it one of those days.

It seems like every other week another writer, artist, musician, complains that friends and family don’t like or understand their work. Worse than that is that friends and family ignore their work.

I have friends who DO like my art and my writing. If you don’t do not worry about it. Plenty of people do or will like your creative work. Even if you’re the only one, along with your tens of thousands of fans that is all that matters. Keep telling yourself that.

I write about parenting. Don’t tell me you don’t like teenagers.

I also write about Vampires and other such things. I usually do that metaphorically /ˈˌmedəˈfôrək(ə)lē/.

Don’t tell me you are not a fan if you haven’t read any of my work, or read works from my friends or other authors I like.

Do you see where this is going? If you are an adult and someone politely offers you something you do not think you will like there are two correct answers.

  1. Have a small taste. You might like it.
  2. Say nothing.

During our time at home during this historic period we’ve been remodeling the inside of our home. That means we’ve been painting and moving around furniture before the new floors go in. According to cats that gives them permission to scratch up any nice furniture we might still own, and it also gives them permission to pee on everything that might have fallen on the floor. Cats do not live by the same rules as the rest of us. They are not part of polite society. However humans, or those who look human are expected to be part of polite society.

At this time polite society means four things.

Those things are:

  1. Wear a mask when going out in public and social distance.
  2. Be nice.
  3. Give moral support to medical staff, teachers, first responders, and people working in grocery stories, working in hardware stores, and working in places like Costco and Walmart, food workers, delivery drivers, and those who are out among the public.
  4. Do not complain and whine about staying in or online schooling.
  5. You are not unique or special. Even Vampires are not unique or special at this time. If they’re not special you aren’t special. Seriously, ever hear a Vampire whine? Be a like a Vampire. Don’t whine about staying inside, wearing a mask, missing a pedicure or a haircut, or shit that in the long term really doesn’t matter. You can miss things but not mourn them. Only mourn those who have lost their lives.

You may complain about people who are mean, or misleading, or prone to embracing ignorance.

Yes, I dumped a half a litter box full of used litter down my shirt today and I’m tired.

If you say you don’t like Vampires then just think of how hard it is for them now. We don’t like breaking into houses so we don’t do it. Nobody is out in public. Bottled blood just isn’t always fun be we deal with it because that is what we do. We stay home and deal with it.

Yes, it is hard. The money isn’t coming in. The government hotlines leave you on hold listening to endless messages for an hour then tell you to go away and hang up. Don’t give up. Never give up.

The best thing to do is stop listening to the news for even a day or two. Binge watch Netflix. Go for a walk. Read a book. Keep in touch with friends and family. Start drawing pictures even if you aren’t artistic. Look at cat memes. Read blogs you’ve never read before. Ask me for recommendations if you need help.

Adopt a stray. I hear shelters are open for adoptions. Adopt a stray. Give it a forever home. Bring unconditional love into your life. I’d do it but I have enough unconditional love and those who give it to me don’t like each other and are destroying my furniture right now.

Yes, I’m complaining about complaining. Heaven help me. At least I don’t have issues with Demons like my brother Max.

I’m done.

Have a wonderful POSITIVE day. xoxoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Write that novel while you’re staying at home. Easy fool proof instructions.

Are you looking for something to do while you’re staying at home?

Look no more! Follow the simple guidelines below and write that best selling novel.

Plot: what happens

Pick up to two.

  • Boy meets girl. Girl calls boy an asshole. Girl changes her mind.
  • Girl is gets engaged. The guy she is engaged to is a dick. She meets someone else. Someone else is better than the dick.
  • Someone is murdered. Everyone tries to figure it out.
  • Someone goes missing. Everyone tries to find missing person. Missing person doesn’t want to be found.
  • Someone is in danger. They meet someone while in danger. They fall in love. The bad guy dies. They are soulmates.
  • Someone gets sick. Then they get better.
  • Someone lives on a farm and longs for another life.
  • Someone lives in the city and longs for another time.
  • Someone finds religion and doesn’t know what to do with it.
  • Someone goes on a treasure hunt but finds that bad guys are looking for the same treasure.
  • Man finds out his wife is cheating and moves out to the wilderness with his children.
  • Woman finds her grown children frustrating so she moves to Italy and falls in love with a dashing man her own age.
  • Rock star goes on a journey to find his long lost family.
  • Someone has something to hide but they aren’t doing it very well. Drama ensues.
  • Someone finds a lot of money but a bad person wants it too.
  • Someone finds a body under their house and decides to bring it back to life.
  • An invasion of frogs and the exciting conclusion
  • Crew goes into space and something goes wrong
  • A quest to find treasure or something. They pick up friends along the way and get into loads of trouble before they FINALLY find what they’re looking for.

 

Twists: unexpected and surprising events

Pick up to five

  • Treasure
  • Ghosts
  • Sasquatch
  • Illness
  • Sex
  • Puppies
  • Politics
  • A big fat lie
  • Poison oak
  • A tall handsome cowboy
  • An angel
  • An unexpected visitor
  • Rabies
  • They get back together
  • Magic
  • Death
  • Robots
  • Explosions
  • Illness
  • A love letter

Ending: what happens in the last few pages

Pick up to three 

  • They get married and happiness happens
  • They get rescued
  • The killer is caught
  • The killer isn’t caught
  • They all laugh about it
  • She loses all of her extra weight and shows them all how fabulous she is.
  • The dog comes home
  • The long lost child comes home.
  • They find the planet
  • They find happiness right where they are
  • Revenge is applied and it is sweet
  • They are ok just the way they are

 

Main character(s)

Pick up to three

  • The detective
  • The man
  • The woman
  • A person who uses they/them pronouns
  • A traveler
  • A person
  • An alien
  • An animal
  • A child
  • Brother Harold who solves mysteries in the Middle Ages

 

Supporting characters: people and other living creatures

Pick up to ten

  • The gay best friend
  • The sassy black woman
  • The Asian friend
  • The pale white friend
  • The other ethnic friend
  • The preacher
  • The talkative child
  • The shy beautiful woman
  • The slut
  • That guy
  • A tall handsome cowboy
  • A prince
  • A princess
  • The husband
  • The wife
  • The kid
  • The sullen teen
  • The mother-in-law
  • The bully from high school
  • The mean boss
  • A rich female business owner
  • The man in charge
  • The politician
  • The best friend from college
  • The mysterious stranger
  • The lady detective
  • The hard boiled detective
  • An alien from another planet
  • The pool boy
  • The ex-girlfriend
  • The ex-husband
  • The children
  • A wizard
  • A witch
  • A wise person
  • A super old granny or grandpa
  • The noisy neighbor
  • The maid
  • The cook
  • The poor guy who is really a rich guy in disguise
  • The female mechanic
  • A Vampire
  • A Werewolf
  • The General
  • The tennis pro
  • The hair dresser
  • The dog
  • The cat
  • The horse
  • The bird
  • The fawn
  • The HUGE moose
  • An elephant
  • An ape in a dinner jacket with an English accent
  • A ghost
  • A fairy
  • A dragon

 

Genre

Pick up to two. It would be easier to pick one but there might be some crossovers.

  • Romance
  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Mainstream
  • Cozy mystery
  • Crime/Detective
  • Mystery
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Historic
  • Western
  • Erotica
  • Magical Realism
  • YA
  • Depressing introspective mush
  • Literary
  • An overly gripping family saga
  • Sports

 

Location: Where your story takes place

Pick up to six in case they want to move around

  • Big City
  • Small town
  • Medium City
  • Near the ocean
  • Far far away
  • Florida
  • New York
  • California
  • Texas
  • The West
  • Nebraska
  • Europe
  • Mountains
  • Space
  • On the moon
  • Alien Planet
  • Fairy land
  • I want to build my own world
  • In a well
  • Unspecified
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • New Orleans
  • A swamp
  • Lizard Town
  • The desert
  • Deep dark woods
  • An unspecified chocolate shop
  • A factory
  • A diner
  • A rabbit hole
  • A ship on the high sea
  • A ship on the low sea
  • A castle
  • A police station
  • A raft
  • A cave
  • Wild Canada
  • Tame Canada

 

When

Pick as many as you need but don’t jump around too much

  • Present time
  • Twenty years ago
  • 1960’s
  • 1980’s
  • 1880’s
  • American Civil War
  • English Civil War
  • Russian Revolution
  • California Gold Rush Era
  • Black Plague
  • Roaring 20’s
  • 1600’s
  • American Revolution
  • A few years into the future
  • Way into the future
  • Back to the future
  • Bronze age
  • Roman times
  • Ancient China
  • A long long time ago
  • Not Earth time
  • Caveman Time

 

Chapters: Pick a quantity and stick to it

  • No chapters. Let it freely flow
  • 1-10
  • 11-20
  • 20-248

Sex:

  • Explicite
  • Soft Porn
  • Implied
  • No
  • Hell no
  • What?

Violence:

  • Yes
  • Hell yes
  • No
  • Hell no
  • Implied
  • Maybe a little
  • Nothing but violence

 

Now what?

Look at your list. Put on your face mask. Go for a walk and think about it. Come home. Wash your hands. Leave your shoes by the door. Make some tea/coffee/cocktail/water then put your list in order and start writing.

WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE.

You can do it!!!!

By using these easy lists, in two weeks at home YOU will have a best selling novel. Don’t forget to spell check and edit. Make sure your cover isn’t some crappy ass amateur thing. If you have a good cover who cares what is inside. Right?

Good luck. Have fun. Send links to your book when you’re finished.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 Vampires write love letters too

 

 

 

 

Every time you use two spaces after a period a fairy dies. Writing rules to remember in 2020.

Fairy

Every time you use two spaces after a period a fairy dies.

There is a REASON for that. We no longer type on old typewriters. The computers have lovely typographical features that fix the space according to the font. Don’t screw it up. One space. It is easy to break that old habit. DO IT. Break that bad habit. Stop killing fairies.

I wish we’d had computers back in the 19th century. We didn’t even have typewriters when I started out. Anyway…

I wish we’d had spell check back then. My spelling skills are much better than they used to be. Unfortunately as my readers know I still make a lot of mistakes. That is mainly due to my short attention span and general laziness. Hey, at least I’m honest about it.

Rules Everyone Needs to Know

Your: Your cat is climbing up my leg.

You’re: You’re climbing up my leg. Cut it out.

There: There is a car blocking my driveway. Where? Over there in my driveway.

Their: Their car is blocking my driveway.

They’re: They’re pushing your car over the cliff because it was blocking the driveway.

Two: I have two fangs.

Too: Me too.

To: I’m going to bite you.

To: I’m going to the castle.

Who and Whom

Who did you bite tonight?

I sucked blood from a man whom had once been in love with me.

Whom does have a sort of formal sound to it. A tricky word to use for most folks. It is also tricky to explain.

Who is used as a subjective pronoun. Whom is and objective pronoun. Confused? Me too. Don’t worry. Just move on to the next item.

The “I” and “Me” rule.

Incorrect: Me and the Vlad are going to the party.

Incorrect: Vlad and me are going to the party.

Correct: Vlad and I are going to the party.”

ALWAYS treat the person you are bringing to the party as your guest. That means that they get to go first.

Here is a trick I use. Remove Vlad and go to the party alone. So what would you say?

Me is going to the party.

or

I am going to the party.

See where I’m going on this? There is more.

From Mandy White:

One part of the I/me rule that a lot of people get mixed up on is when it appears at the end of the sentence.

Example: 
“The party was for Vlad and I.” (incorrect) As you said, the guest goes first, but when you remove Vlad, it no longer makes sense.

The correct way would be: “The party was for Vlad and me.”

Now, this may not look right to a lot of people. I remember my mother constantly correcting me; that it was always supposed to be, ‘I’. “Vlad and I’ seems to sound better to me. But, when you eliminate Vlad from the sentence, it no longer makes sense.

_________________________

There is a good reason I’m not an English teacher. I have to look up the rules all the time. It is also a good thing I have friends who know the answers to these important questions.

Hey, thanks Mandy White for ALL of your reminders.

Ignorant people think it’s the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain’t so; it’s the sickening grammar they use.
– A Tramp Abroad, Mark Twain

Write well, not good.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking in the Dark

“Don’t walk in front of me — I may not follow; don’t walk behind — I may not lead; walk beside me and just be my friend.” ~ Camus

We’ve lost two friends this week, and one a few weeks ago. A young friend, one of my daughter’s best friends, has been in intensive care. Sometimes it is hard to wrap one’s heart and mind around it all. But I do. We all do. That is what we do. We love. We just love.

Tonight a coyote tried to eat my cat Oscar. I think he’ll be ok. The cat that is. I don’t know what happened to the coyote. I hope the cat bit and scratched the crap out of it. The other cat and the dog are giving him his space. He is sleeping in my daughter’s room.

She moved out two weeks ago for college. I miss her so much. She’s doing great. I’m so happy for her.

I’ll take Oscar the cat to the vet tomorrow if he is still in distress. His leg seems bruised. No blood.

I am grateful for my friendships online and off. Paranormal and not.

The air tonight is cool and comforting. I’m ready for fall. The leaves die, but for some reason I can’t explain fall always seems like a new beginning. Maybe it is because Halloween is near. Maybe it is because my birthday is in October. Maybe it is because I’m always super excited about planting fall bulbs which will bloom in the spring.

Bulbs are tiny packages of beauty and joy.

I’m trying to find more things that might be packages of joy. There are many.

So, I will get back to my book… finally. I met another writer this week and will be featuring his books in a few months on my Monday book post.

As for my books…there are ghosts, and reapers, and all kinds of demons and others who live in the shadows, corners, and even out in the open.

I’m also writing about parents, relationships, and adult kids. Cats and dogs too.

As always, I’ll leave you with thoughts of everything that is possible, things that go bump in the night (Halloween will be here soon) and love. Yes, it all comes together sooner or later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Marla Todd _ Oscar Gray

This is Oscar. I love this cat so much.