Lady Bat in Her Belfry

The day length for December 21st, 2020 was 9 hours, 26 minutes.

That also made it the longest night of the year… perfect for Vampires.

Happy Winter Solstice. I spent it on the rooftop of Cedarcrest Sanctum in my “lunarium” where I keep my telescopes. Cole refers to it as my belfry; he even hug up a little bell up to make it official. I was trying to watch the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn crossing paths, but overcast skies are thwarted my plans to see it live. I resisted cheating the weather patterns.

In facility news, we got the first round of our COVID vaccine fully distributed to residents and staff over the weekend. It doesn’t mean we’re safe; it means the end is in sight but we have to stay vigilant, remembering to mask up and keep social distancing.

And while “that guy” has less than thirty days before eviction from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C., a new round of stimulus checks will hopefully be going out to Americans soon.

I know we’ve been lucky, and I know many have not. I also know we’re all tired of “the new normal,” but things really are looking much more hopeful than they have for a long time.

Sorry for the late post. My New Year’s Resolution is to get back to a regular blogging schedule. Things have happened and been happening — you’ll find out more about them soon.

Trust me; I’m a Vampire.

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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The Longest Night of the Year — Vampire Verisimilitude

Happy Winter Solstice to all! That was yesterday technically — last night for me — but I prefer to think my heart is still in the right place.

This post is going to sound cryptic, so fair warning.

Things have changed. No, I can’t go into details about it, and yes, it has something to do with our last evacuation drill.

On a sad note, we lost one of our own. On a positive note, others are now safe, even if we don’t know where they are.

I warned you it was cryptic.

Yes, I’m fine, for those who’ve been asking.

As we draw closer to Christmas and the New Year, here’s another reminder from your executive administrator and the entire staff of Cedarcrest Sanctum that to make the most of the time you have with the people you love, especially since none of us know how long that may be.

Trust me — I’m a Vampire.

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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Early to Rise and Early to Vote — Vampire Verisimilitude

I wasn’t waiting to vote this year. I want it counted now. I want to push the damn buttons, not fill out a form.

Just a bit of a problem…

The early voting place in Glenville, West Virginia is the county courthouse on Howard Street. Their hours are 8am to 4 pm on Wednesdays, the first day of early voting.

Aaaaaaaaaand sunset is 6:31:57 pm.

This is where making a plan with my guys wins out.

I’ve mentioned before how horrible it feels to be out of my grave during the day — imagine what being dead and rotted feels like if you could still feel — in addition to the fact that direct sunlight shows me looking like a corpse to anyone who sees me. It’s cool enough for gloves and coat in the mid-sixties, but it’s partly cloudy and I’m not partial to hoodies.

Carrying an open umbrella would have looked ridiculous, but I was going to draw attention showing up no matter what I did.

I do, however, have an amazing London Fog trench coat… poppy red, my favorite color. On a whim a few months ago, I considered having a bit of fun before going all in.

Kelly Jean roused me up at 2:30 in the afternoon with a midday cup of ambition (no, not coffee) before Cole and Travis met us in the garage. As we pulled up as close to the courthouse as they’d let us, as I donned my new custom “voting cap”: a poppy-red custom wool Fedora with a sombrero-wide brim and black-buckle accent.

Sorry, Agent Carter.

Collar popped and hat pulled down, I walked inside as full-on Carmen Isabela Sandiego… and voted.

We all three did. They had me back in my crypt before four.

Have you voted? It’s important, guys.

Trust me — I’m a Vampire.

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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A Psycho-Sexual Fetish-Driven Delusional Person

So someone asked this question:

Who would need a psycho-sexual fetish-driven delusional person who believes they are a vampire?

I think this was in response to something I shared about “If you need me, I’ll be in my sarcophagus,” an obvious riff on the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Beep-Me meme.

And yet, an individual immediately launched into the notion that anyone saying such a thing came per-loaded with enough baggage to keep a psychiatrist busy for decades.

My first thought was, “Dude, who pissed in your cornflakes?!”

Look… I didn’t ask for this. I’m probably as vanilla as thinkable in the bedroom (good God, I dated the same guy in high school and college) and I never eat where I sleep. Fetish? I like red — poppy red, to be exact. I own one little black dress which I’ve worn exactly twice. Okay fine: I sleep naked, but that’s because it feels safe and comfortable inside my stone box and it’s also NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

Be thankful you don’t feel like death-warmed-over during the daytime, and no, it isn’t one of those “destroyed by sunlight” things. Half-truths and a lack of understanding have kept Vampires safe from non-believers for centuries, but listening to judgmental little shits over social media is more than a little annoying.

Fortunately, I don’t have to do a thing about it. You’ll keep getting older — I won’t.

Tiiiiiiiiiime, is on my side… yes it is!

But thanks for the writing prompt. You do you.

Trust me — I’m a Vampire.

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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Respect Existence or Expect Resistance — Vampire Verisimilitude

The title of this post was paraphrased from one of my favorite posters seen during Women’s March 2.0.

Why do they always schedule these things during the day? #unfair2undead

It does, however, bring up a very good point: with all the talk of “America First” and nationalism, why does it never seem to dawn on these folks that life itself is symbiosis? We’re in this together. Quoting Anthony Douglas Williams: Not a single creature on Earth has more of less right to be here.

No one understands this more than a Vampire.

Sure, we’re equipped like the predators we are — low-light eyes, fangs, and talons — but we can’t feed one another. Guess who that leaves?

Delicious all of you.

Yes, we can take what we want… and then people would hunt us to extinction, so any benefit of having us around would be extinguished as well. You already know about the benefits.

The smarter among us ask to feed, make fair deals, and establish lasting relationships. While it may sound like a threat, Vampires are safer when satiated, and if we’re not healing from mortal combat, we need less blood to keep us docile and out of predator mode.

But if we’re denied, it’ll get bad. The longer we’re denied, the worse it’ll get — for everyone.

Again, not a threat. Just telling it like it is.

And if you’re being marginalized, shunned, moved aside, or in any way denied your right to be here (read: to exist), you need to make yourself known.

Trust me — I’m a Vampire.

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

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No Betas Allowed — Vampire Verisimilitude

Consider this “Myth of the Immortal Court, Part II: By the Numbers.”

I’ve mentioned before the ridiculous Mathematical Impossibility of Vampires, or what I call the Daybreakers Fallacy. In short, humans postulate Vampires cannot exist because everyone in the world would have become a bloodsucker already.

As if Vampires would let such a thing happen. We’re not zombies, we’re not stupid, and one bite does not equal Vampire.

But this brings me to a key point: supposed “immortal courts” make no sense because all Vampires are alphas and see one another as mutual enemies. So what’s the big deal with dark princes and princesses and all that? Here’s my best guess.

We all know Dracula was a Count, but that doesn’t mean all Vampires are royalty or have to be. Werewolves draw strength from packs while witches have their covens — neither of which actually exist the way you think. I’m talking about social games — role-playing, LARPs, and MMOs — where human players get to become the “monster” of their choice. Some of these attribute packs and covens to Vampires, nests and the like, implying groups of Vampires huddled together…

Except they’d destroy one another. More often than not, they do.

Anne Rice had it right — only the lonely — but White Wolf Games needed to enable everyone to play Vampires, so there had to be plenty of bloodsuckers around and reasons why they would be. I think the ones organized like mafia make the most sense; they’re at least somewhat believable.

There are about ten thousand Vampires that exist on Planet Earth with a population of 7.5 billion humans.

That’s one Vampire for every 750,000 people.

430 Vampires in the United States of America out of 323 million people.

There are perhaps eleven operating in and around New York City.

I can count the number of Vampires in West Virginia on one hand, including myself.

If such a court exists, it would be populated by ghouls: helpful empowered humans trying to avoid becoming the next meal. It would in no way be staffed with other Vampires making plans to attack or be attacked… constantly.

If you’re a Vampire, you’re an Alpha. There are no Betas and certainly no Omegas. Call it Vampire paranoia; you’re always suspicious and you’re not wrong to be. Two can tolerate one another for short periods of time — very short periods of time.

If it weren’t for social media, we’d never talk to each other safely at all.

I know what I’m talking about. Trust me — I’m a Vampire.

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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Buffy the Discount Vampire Slayer — Vampire Verisimilitude

Let me explain why I was late.

I was still on the Braxton County side of Route 5 heading toward Glenville when I saw this old Toyota pickup on the roadside with hazards on and the hood up. I normally wouldn’t have stopped except for this tiny little blonde shivering in a ripped blue winter coat. We all know I’m not supposed to, but I couldn’t leave her out there cold and alone on the last week of December, right? The truck had paper plates, so I figured it was just a breakdown.

Yes, it was the middle of the night and, yes, I was a little thirsty, but that isn’t the point.

I parked behind the truck, left my lights on, and walked up to her. She was five-nothing, twenty-ish, and slight; I’m average but I still felt twice her size. Her eyes looked huge as she looked up to me, heavy night makeup and all. No tears, though.

“Are you okay?” I asked. “Do you need me to call someone?”

“You shouldn’t have,” she said, sounding both shocked and angry. “Look at you. Why the hell would you stop? You don’t know us.”

“Us” turned out to include a beastly broad-shouldered guy with a face-full of black fur who thought he was sneaking up, and by sneaking I meant stamping around like a buck. He’d come down the hill behind my Kia Soul, opened the driver’s door and switched off my headlights.

So, yeah: trap.

“We’ll need those keys in your pocket, too,” the man said. I turned my back on the woman and stared him down, catching him poking around in my purse. He was about the size of Travis but looked more like evil Travis, standing and staring like he dared me to do something.

“And if I tell you to put my purse back and walk away?” I kept my tone even with maybe a hint of sarcasm. He didn’t look sure he was ready for a reaction like that.

“Would you prefer a hole in your spine?” the woman said behind me, cocking the hammer back on what sounded like a good-sized revolver and poking my back with it. I didn’t feel like having a hole in my coat any more than hiding bodies, but I wasn’t letting them get away with it, either. When I didn’t immediately react, she added, “It ain’t worth your life, lady. Why the hell did you stop?”

As I felt her hand plunge into my coat pocket to fish for my key fob, Evil Travis stepped toward me. Decision time: if I stepped aside as the trigger was pulled, he’d get a gut shot instead of me and it’d serve him right, but I also didn’t feel like filing a police report. Instead, I waited for an opportunity. When she found the fob, Evil Travis grinned.

“Who loves ya, baby?” she asked, tossing my keys toward him.

“You do, Buffy,” he replied, doing his worst Elvis impersonation as he reached out to catch them…

But this Vampire wasn’t going to be robbed by a blonde named Buffy.

As the guy started to get back into my vehicle, Buffy put her free hand on my shoulder, presumably to guide me somewhere while keeping me at gunpoint. As she touched me, I quick-grabbed her wrist and yanked her around faster than she had any hope of avoiding. Her hand cannon didn’t go off as I slammed her back against the ground; the weapon was a .38 Special — Kelly Jean owned one. I took it without resistance.

Evil Travis froze when he saw I had the gun, but seeing me empty the bullets into my hand emboldened him to rush me. I admit I couldn’t resist inflicting him with a good pistol whip when he lunged; it must have made him feel small. When he recovered and turned toward me again, I stopped him with a single word.

My pint-sized nemesis, on the other hand, gasped for air; I’d knocked the wind out of her. I waited as she recovered, something that clearly made her antsy along with Huck’s sudden compliance. She probably wondered why wasn’t I beating her ass down or running away. Short answer: I had questions.

“What did you do to Huck?” Buffy finally gasped.

“He’ll live. Why are you two out here rolling travelers after midnight? Is this even your truck?”

She nodded. “What… what did you–”

“He’ll be fine. Why are you doing this?”

Buffy eyeballed me. I guess she couldn’t get past the idea I was even asking about them. “We’re going to Florida to start over. To be together.”

“From where?”

“Bobtown. Pennsylvania.”

I remembered it being a small town right over the West Virginia border, plus they were too old to be runaways. “Why are you robbing people? Have you ever done this before?”

“Huck’s dad cut off his credit card. We can’t buy food or gas.” Buffy looked at Huck. “Are you calling the cops? We weren’t going to hurt you, I swear.”

Said the woman who pulled a loaded gun on me and tried to steal my Soul. “Where in Florida?”

“Jacksonville.” She looked hard at me. “You’re so calm about this. Were you really going to help us? Women don’t do that — never when they’re alone.”

“Give me your driver’s licenses.” As I took pics of them with my phone, I noticed there was no cell signal; they’d picked a dead spot on a curve in case someone tried to call for help. Maybe not so dumb.

I commanded Huck to face the hillside, watching Buffy looking horrified at his zombie-like compliance while I snagged some money from my purse. “Look at me, Buffy.” She did. “I’m buying your gun for three hundred dollars. You and Huck are driving straight to Florida except for gassing up and eating. I know folks in law enforcement, and if I even think you didn’t go to Jacksonville, I’ll tell them everything you tried with me including giving them your gun. Are we good?” I returned their IDs to her along with the promised cash.

She looked both shocked and confused. “Why? After all this you’re still going to help us? Who are you?”

“Everyone should get a second chance,” I said before vamping out: black eyes and full fangs while lifting her chin with the tip of my taloned finger. “Also, the Mountain State is under my protection and I want you out of it. If I ever see either of you here again, I’ll bury you alive and paint ‘Here Lies Buffy’ on your headstone in Huck’s blood. Got me?”

“Yes, ma’am.” At least she was polite.

I told Huck to sleep for an hour before forgetting everything that happened back at the road after I got there, so only Buffy would know. I watched her turn their truck around and followed them back to I-79 to ensure they turned south before I came home.

In our training room under the Longevity Studies Building, Eric, Cole, and Travis looked appalled.

“That’s where you were?” Eric asked. “You’re not supposed to stop out there except in an emergency. That’s your rule.”

“It was an emergency,” I replied, still exhilarated over the entire incident. “Or I thought it was. It was seven degrees out there.”

“Plus you should have called us,” Cole added.

“Without a cell signal? I think I mentioned that.” I couldn’t believe they didn’t get it. “And?”

Eric wasn’t buying it. “And not one other car passed by on that road while a gun was being waved at you?”

Travis looked devastated. “Evil Travis? You think I’m evil?”

“I said he ‘looked like’ an evil you. You guys are all missing the point…”

Cole smirked. “That only a fool would give a couple of thieves three hundred bucks?” All three nodded at that. “Where’s the gun?”

“I gave it to Kelly Jean. You think I’m making this up?”

“Show us the license pictures,” Travis added. “I want to see what this fake-me really looks like.”

“Seriously, guys! Think about it: I met Buffy the Vampire Slayer and lived to tell the tale! Where are my props?”

Happy New Year, guys.

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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Myth of the Immortal Court — Vampire Verisimilitude

I came across this art for a Vampire MMO (read: video game) called Shadow’s Kiss, which admittedly sounds interesting. Believe me when I say Vampires should only meet on social media… because “reasons.” But this image makes me cringe — hear me out on this.

The crowned and corseted brunette with the opera gloves and thigh-highs; the blonde and blue-eyed blood doll worshiping at her feet desperate to be “kissed”; the goateed and coiffed confidant standing close — and all of them noticing you noticing them. Hell, event the gold and gem-encrusted skull throne is ridiculous. Image, image, image — no reasonably intelligent creature buys any of this, right? This is such a cliché and overdone idea that the subjects might as well be sparkling and swaying to looped trance music.

Why would anyone want to become any of these characters? How much court intrigue could justify it? Even “True Blood” character Eric Northman (read: still yummy) hated doing the whole bit at Fangtasia precisely because it’s ridiculous. And if you needed any fictional proof of vampire-court pointlessness, look no further than the ineffectiveness of Underworld. There’s no Italian Inquisitor Council and no secret cabal of hibernating immortals awakened whenever “Chuck the Vamp” steps out of line to deal with his Chuckiness.

I hope the game turns out to be cool, but let’s step into modern times and away from the Mushroom Ring Fairy Tale Demonic Vampire Court thing, okay?

Addendum: I should probably clarify my viewpoints. My father is a self-made man; he didn’t give me everything I wanted growing up and he worked hard so he could send me to college. He kept bettering himself even with setbacks, but while he was tough on me, he also had a few thoughts on “royalty.” I was three and had no memory of when Queen Elizabeth II visited America, but I do remember Princess Diana (no, not Wonder Woman) and her passing when I was almost nine.

Elizabeth served in the armed forces as a truck mechanic, and Diana wanted to be as far away from thrones and courts as she could get. I knew girls my age who wanted to be Disney princesses — and that’s okay — but I preferred a princess with quotes like, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” Selfless and in service of others, not ruling over them and have them do for you.

While this Vampire Court image is a very pretty fantasy picture, nothing about it feels selfless or serving: it’s threatening. It looks like a gathering of wolves waiting for sheep to be served to them, and I cannot articulate just how much that pisses me off. How do I know? Look at the blue-eyed blood doll. If the courtesans were in any way benevolent, she wouldn’t be tethered to her mistress for snacking while looking wronged for it. They’re flaunting themselves and will likely be destroyed for it — not exactly the best way to plan for your immortality.

Trust me — I’m a Vampire.

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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Cassidy from “Preacher” – Vampire Verisimilitude

I’m a Vampire who enjoys stories getting Vampires right.

“Preacher” is one of them. If you’re not familiar with this AMC show — spoiler! — Cassidy’s a Vampire but not the main character. While we’re shown he’s capable of blood-raging violence, most of the time he just wants to be left alone with his substance abuse. He’s a predator who avoids killing because of both the complications it brings — bodies don’t hide themselves — as a well as personal code of who deserves his wrath.

Every Vampire I’ve met has their own variation of this unwritten code with no two alike. None are more complicated than that of a sire and their progeny, and in the case of Cassidy — another surprise spoiler! — turning his actual son, Denis. Cassidy is over a century old, so it isn’t clear if he fathered Denis before being turned, only that he was there at the time of the child’s birth. I’m thinking he wasn’t a Vampire yet; newborn blood is intoxicating to a Vampire, even more so than in regular children.

But the real Cassidy is revealed in his attitude toward his fatherly-looking son. As Denis lays dying from heart failure, he begs the Vampire to show him mercy: to turn him. Cassidy has shown no forethought in being an immortal, living moment-to-moment from one distraction to the next. Yet here is his son whom he can save, but the Vampire clearly knows that turning him isn’t the same as saving him… not if it’s unleashing a new monster upon an unsuspecting world. Still, he wants to be the “good da” he promised, so…

Vampires are survivors, and in my experience, they keep their own numbers low all on their own. I laugh every time that meme goes around “proving” Vampires don’t exist or else they’d have infected the entire population now like mindless zombies. It isn’t humans Vampires fear; it’s other Vampires, and rightly so. While showing complete loyalty to preacher Jesse Custer, even killing for him unasked, Cassidy typically takes the path of least resistance, partying all night before making a withdraw from a blood bank rather than kill an innocent. Surviving off of stored blood isn’t exactly true for us, but the sentiment is appreciated.

Cassidy is as close to the Vampires I know as any, and seeing the pain of both wanting and having to deal with the son he couldn’t abandon, especially knowing the dangers, he also took personal responsibility for his part in it. Not perfect by any means — none of us are — but hitting very close to home. I wouldn’t go partying with Cassidy as his sort of debauchery isn’t my thing, but I also wouldn’t turn him away if he asked for my help… within reason.

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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Ladyhawking the Eclipse – Vampire Verisimilitude

My friend Nancy told me about le paradoxe, which is exactly what you think it is: “the paradox.” I’m not sure why it’s pronounced with a French accent, but it’s the idea that a solar eclipse bends one of our Vampire rules: the need to be in the ground during the daytime.

Just a reminder: sunlight doesn’t kill us and neither do stakes — not to imply we’re fond of either.

According to Nancy and confirmed by Parham, during the period of even a partial solar eclipse, it elates a euphoric reaction in Vampires and suspends our “corpus visage” from the moment of First Contact. Here’s a cool chart showing all that eclipse terminology and stuff if you’re interested.

And unlike mere mortals with retinas that can burn out, we can look at it all we like.

To repeat: unless you’re undead, NEVER look directly at the sun.

This said, I am planning accordingly… to “Ladyhawke” it but without all that priest-killing. I’ll be on the rooftop of Cedarcrest Sanctum next to my belfry — aka my lunarium — and I already have a beach lounge chair angled for optimal viewing. I’m thinking flip-flops and a bikini, the red two-piece I never get to wear anymore.

Maybe I’ve included an old picture of how I looked in it when I was still alive, or maybe I haven’t.

Wouldn’t you like to know.

See you all after the eclipse!

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

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