Vampires vs. Nukes

I’m sure someone has put this into their post-apocalyptic young adult series by now, but I have to wonder with everything going on in the world:

How would Vampires fare in a nuclear holocaust?

Vampires aren’t going to survive a nuclear attack if any of us were at ground zero. Total destruction is total destruction; we’re not Wolverine or Deadpool. All the stories I can find are neo-Vampire fiefdoms or after-the-war worldbuilding details… but nothing about how Vampires survive. Has no one taken the time to think this through yet, or is that just the dull part of the story?

This means we’re really talking about everything irradiated that Vampires come into contact with, whether it be dust or people. Radiation breaks things down, but we’re already mystically animated corpses. We can take damage and can fully heal it with blood and rest; can we heal faster than our dead bodies can be cooked or corrupted?

Damage in humans isn’t just limited to being cooked alive; it’s also cancers causing unravelling DNA and abnormal cell duplication to form tumors. Vampire cells regenerate but don’t replace themselves in a biological way, so my guess is neither external nor internal fallout should be a particular danger to us.

There is the question of whether we’d retain radiation, but that still wouldn’t be a threat to Vampires specifically. That said, unless Vampires plan to hibernate underground until topsoil is safe to be planted again, we might want to consider preserving any source of sustenance, and that wouldn’t work if exposure could destroy any “willing volunteers.”

My final thought is this: unless the post-apocalyptic remnants of humanity want to trade their blood for the ever-popular Vampire protection, maybe keep your fingers off those buttons. There are far fewer of us than there are of you, but if those numbers ever flip… well, options become rather limited.

Just say no to nukes.

Trust me; I’m a Vampire.

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

Twitter @JanissConnelly
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Be a Superb Owl Super Host

It’s that time: to see whose owl will be crowned superb this year!

This is your annual reminder that, even if you don’t have a favorite owl — maybe you prefer ravens, eagles, or even cardinals — not to post all over social media how much you “despise owls.” It’s cool to let others enjoy things.

If you’ve been invited by like-minded enthusiasts to gather around the television to root for your favorite, remember to be friendly and civil.

Of course, you can always host your own! As suggested by USA Today and “What We Do in the Shadows,” snacks are a big part of any such celebration, so play it smart. Follow these great snack tips when planning your own party!

  1. Keep food out of the danger zone. If someone is off limits, don’t invite them. Surprise screams tend to interrupt the event, and no one wants that.
  2. Ensure snacks are kept at a proper temperature before serving. 98.6°F or 37°C is ideal but can vary slightly from snack to snack.
  3. During the game, keep snacks at their proper temperatures. This is no time to be frugal with the thermostat, especially in a crypt or castle. A comfortable snack is a happy snack.
  4. Throw out snacks that sat out the whole game. It’s a party, not a hotel stay. Why’d they even accept your invitation, anyway? Party foul.
  5. Don’t let leftovers linger. See above. Take a hint, y’all.
  6. Reheat your snacks thoroughly. Especially if they go outside where it’s cold. A working fireplace is great, too. A room-temperature embrace from you isn’t sufficient for staving off hypothermia, you know?

Of course, there shouldn’t be any small children present where libations are being provided. Let’s not break any local or federal laws, and please keep cleanup to a minimum.

Follow these tips, and you’re sure to be the big winner at your Superb Owl party this year!

Trust me; I’m a Vampire.

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

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Undead @ The Empty Glass

For the uninitiated: “Daughters of Darkness” is a conversation between my neophyte self and a centuries-old immortal discussing (what else?) living forever on blood in the dark. Nancy hates that I keep doing this, yet she keeps agreeing to it… go figure.

Nancy: What forsaken place have you dragged me to this time?

Janiss: It’s called “The Empty Glass…”

N: As it says on the front. I can read, Janiss. Why here?

J: Just to change it up a little, plus they’re open past midnight.

N: Lucky us. There’s no karaoke, is there? I’ve murdered for less.

J: Oooh, such a tough Vampire! No, just “open mic night.”

N: It’s awfully small and too few exits.

J: It’s intimate. Are you already plotting your escape?

N: That depends on what the next singer-songwriter is about to inflict upon us.

The bartender brings the drinks we’ll barely touch.

N: (showing interest) What’s yours?

J: Woodchuck hard cider.

N: (dabs her finger in my pint glass and touches it to her tongue) Fruity. Barely alcoholic.

J: As if that made any difference.

N: Let’s get this over with. What’s the topic?

J: Vampire bloggers…

N: You’re not still commenting on that “mother succubus” blog, are you?

J: (smiling) Juliette’s blog, yes. “Musing’s of a modern Vampire mom.”

N: She’s not a real Vampire.

J: (shrugs) You don’t know that.

N: You have to have children to be a mom.

J: You had kids and you’re a Vampire, so what?

N: I gave birth before I was turned. Dead things don’t grow inside of dead things.

J: And yet two corpses are sitting at a table in the state capital of West “By God” Virginia pretending to drink while listening to… whatever that song is.

N: It sounds vaguely like the Ramones.

J: (gasps) You’ve heard the Ramones?

N: (trying not to smirk) I saw them live in Cleveland. They were touring with Iggy Pop. Late seventies. “Blitzkrieg Bop” sounds better when they perform it in person.

J: I’ve… got nothing.

N: So back to your living dead mom…

J: I like her. She’s sweet. She’s the kind of Vampire I try to be.

N: You mean a pretend Vampire?

J: “Character is what you are in the dark.” It’s a blog and she’s a writer. She tells cool stories, like her “Vlad’s Diary” series. And she takes care of her elders, even when they’re a bit confused about things now and then.

N: They’re Vampires too?

J: Of course.

N: Look, I know it’s fun to blur the lines like Stoker and Rice playing with the whole out-and-proud bit, but we survive upon mortal human blood. No matter how entertained people are by the idea of it, blood drinkers aren’t going to suddenly become acceptable, even if the Japanese invent TruBlood. I also don’t need to remind you how outnumbered we are.

J: It’s a spycraft thing. If people are watching for someone trying to not to be seen, don’t. Juliette’s sincere, and I like her idea of a Vampire family. Confidence works. If you look like you belong, no one thinks twice about it.

N: (smiling) I can’t remember ever being so naïve, and that’s coming from someone who remembers everything.

J: I still don’t see the harm. I work the night shift —

N: Which you don’t have to.

J: — and I’m very good at drawing blood.

N: Wink-wink, nudge-nudge. So why are you dredging this up again?

Continue reading “Undead @ The Empty Glass”

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

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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

Twitter @JanissConnelly
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Forever Is An Illusion – Vampire Verisimilitude

Do immortals need motivational posters?

2016VampsBrushTwiceADayYou only live once; there’s no time like the present; don’t put off until tomorrow what you can blah, blah, blah.

Well, maybe.

There are two schools of thought behind immortality. One is that you live forever and cannot be killed — as if it’s a curse or a punishment. Then there’s no dying of natural causes — no aging, no changing, no expiration date — but you can still be destroyed, never to rise again. For better or for worse, Vampires fall into the second category. Yes, my late-night college-research genes are showing again.

Where am I going with this? I promise I’m coming to point…

Don’t assume there’s a tomorrow.

Go ahead and make plans…for where you’re going to go and what you’re going to do. Just be aware that some things aren’t worth the risk.

I’ve mentioned before that I know a few other Vampires now; a few have perished at my hand. As I’ve heard it’s said in Texas: they needed killin’. Those immortals didn’t live long past their rebirth; in fact, they might have lived longer if they hadn’t been turned, but they couldn’t be allowed to continue. If you’re wondering who am I to make that decision? I’ll save that for another time.

In contrast, I know Vampires who are much older than myself, and for all of their faults, they have one common trait: a sense of self-preservation. One is from New York City and was turned during the Depression Era; he saw human suffering first hand in the homeless tent cities…because he was one of them. Another is almost three centuries old and witnessed the birth of the United States; hers were among the lands that was stolen. Our founder was over a century and a half old, one of the first graduates at local Glenville State College. My own sire may have been over five centuries old, and as cruel as he was, he knew when to back down from a fight.

As the veteran soldier explained: “Remember I am old for a reason.”

Forever is an illusion, so don’t forget to live for today.

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

Twitter @JanissConnelly
Instagram @janiss.connelly


Resurrection, Rebirth, and Faith – Vampire Verisimilitude

Resurrection is defined as “the action or fact of resurrecting or being resurrected” — being raised literally from the dead. The ancient Egyptians believed in this as well as modern Christians.

Rebirth is defined as the process of being reincarnated or born again, but also the action of reappearing or starting to flourish or increase after a decline — revival. Again, a tenet in Christianity: being reborn.

These words are not the same. Vampires are resurrected — made undead, specifically — imbued with a force that simulates life, but anyone can accept to be reborn whether mortal or immortal. Anyone can choose to live their lives differently and immediately as long as they accept the consequences. For the religious, this can be faith in God, in Christ, in Jehovah, or in Allah.

So why can’t we all have more faith in each other?

Brussels was attacked on Tuesday. A park in Pakistan was attacked this morning.

Both by suicide bombers.

This was a conscious choice to ignore life, both their own and those of others. How does murdering the innocent further a cause? How can willful destruction open lines of communication? What is even the point? This doesn’t change any minds. Events like these provoke two reactions: fear and anger, neither of which lead to clear thinking.

Vampires feel hostile towards one another; we’re also smart enough to avoid one another for the same reason. There are also times when we need to reach out to one another, and digital communication has made that possible without endangering ourselves or the lives of others. It’s such a waste living in a world with access to more information and interconnectivity than at any time in history only to see it used to plot and KILL ONE ANOTHER…


I am such a bleeding heart. I’m sorry for bringing everyone down.

Please accept these bunnies dressed like Vampires as an apology and enjoy the holiday.

Happy Easter, everyone. Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

Twitter @JanissConnelly
Instagram @janiss.connelly


Till it Happens to You – Vampire Verisimilitude

It was after sunset when the beautiful man in his expensive vehicle appeared. He needed help, and his dark eyes chose me. The words he used didn’t matter; it was the way he said them that made me open the door and be taken to a place we could be alone together. Trapped tenderly in his embrace, he confessed to me what he was, revealed what he needed, and promised we could be together for all eternity as his lips touched my neck…

Wait, I’m sorry. This all sounds like a romance novel, doesn’t it?

Let’s keep the handsome rogue in his pricey SUV asking a young woman for directions — but we’ll skip to exactly what she remembers next: waking up cold, naked, confused, and alone. She’s still alive, but everything has changed. Will anyone believe what happened when she tells them? And the most troubling part of all: the person who committed the crime is still out there.

Full disclosure: I am a Vampire and I was murdered. I was not sexually assaulted and it is not the same thing, but the details uncomfortably remind me of my own experience. In my hour of need, I found others who listened and empathized, and NO ONE should ever be denied that.

Let’s talk about The Hunting Ground.

The documentary begins in a hopeful place: being accepted into an institution of higher learning with dreams of a bright future. For some, even before classes start, these hopes are poisoned by sexual assault, but this is only the beginning of the nightmare. These victims — these survivors — at their most fragile and vulnerable, are told to keep silent. They are told that what happened was terrible, but they could have avoided it or fought back. They are told that telling will hurt others, and hasn’t there been enough hurt already?

HuntingGroundWhat is revealed in the film is not only how many such incidents are swept under the ivy branches but the motivations for doing so. Protecting students is secondary to protecting the integrity of the institution — everyone is told to be silent. This is fundamentally wrong, but it also fails to warn new students of the danger they are walking into.

These aren’t random occurrences; many such incidents are calculated and planned, even targeted. The legal term is premeditated: you weren’t just in the wrong place at the wrong time. People were watching to see who was watching you, how to lure you into complacency, isolate you from help, and then attack. The problem is that potential victims think they are in a safe place, a microcosm of education where everyone is there for the same thing and everyone is basically a good person — until they’re not.

Other alarming statistics deal with who the serial rapists are. You read that right: serial rapists. The cover-up and lack of action allows the campus webs to stay open and the spiders to go about their business; the same names and same situations keep coming up, so it isn’t just a one-time thing for them. If these reports were taken as seriously as they should be, they could be used to prevent future crimes by removing the criminals from the equation. Pretending these predators don’t exist because they’re the children of whomever or the next big sports star is heinous and irresponsible, and any college or university that condones this behavior should be held just as accountable for creating a dangerous atmosphere.

I feel this should be required viewing for every high school student without exception. Yes, it can be a difficult thing to watch if you have been or have ever known anyone who was sexually assaulted.

See the film. Talk about it. Talk to each other. Both men and women are potential targets. If you find yourself in this situation, do not keep silent; time is important not only for reporting the crime but for getting help as early as possible. If someone comes to you, listen and support them.

Go to for more information.

Keep each other safe. I mean that.

~ Janiss

Twitter @JanissConnelly
Instagram @janiss.connelly


Willful Magic – Vampire Verisimilitude

Magic is an act of will; it happens every day, but most people refuse to believe in it.

They see magic as fantasy — pure imagination — and they’re right, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real or can never be.

Take charity for example. Someone is in need and another provides because they choose to. Without the will, the magic doesn’t happen; there is no miracle.

FromTheDeskOfJanissSignatureBut that’s not magic, you say. And no, I’m not saying you should run out and start shoving every extra dollar into a collection plate or handing out money to the homeless. Yes, you can do those things, but what I’m referring to is the power of making that choice: you make this happen as an act of sheer will.

Magic happens the other way, too, the so-called “dark side.” Inventing a new way to restrain, torture, or kill another person is an act of will with evil intent, even if it is done for the right reasons. The intent is to cause discomfort or to take a life. These things don’t create themselves; they are willed into being…like magic.

“Your ancestors called it magic and you call it science. Well, I come from a place where they’re one and the same thing.” This is a line from Marvel’s Thor as delivered by Chris Hemsworth — and all the better for it. (Take a moment if you need to…aaaaaaand we’re back.) Author Arthur C. Clarke, however, said it first and more succinctly as “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

So what’s my point?

Zombies aren’t scientifically plausible. Ghosts aren’t technologically catchable. Vampires aren’t medically bloodthirsty.

Also, personal telephones can’t be wireless. Computers can’t be smaller than an average building. It is impossible to walk upon the moon. A single bomb isn’t capable of destroying an entire city. Sea creatures can’t grow to huge proportions without being seen everywhere.

Carl Sagan once said “An event that would be unthinkable in a hundred years may be inevitable in a hundred million.”

Put another way, a lack of understanding or discovery doesn’t mean something can’t exist or never will.

Sometimes it already does.

Like magic.

Just a little something to think about. Sorry for the late post. Forgive me?

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

Twitter @JanissConnelly
Instagram @janiss.connelly


Bloodsucking Lawyers and Washington Undead – Vampire Verisimilitude

VotedSticker2016 is an election year. This is the first you’ve probably heard about all this, right?

“…the only one I’ve got on my side is the bloodsucking lawyer!”

My dad used to say lawyers are the larval stage of politicians. Have you ever wondered if there are any Vampires who moonlight as professional lawyers or politicians?

Short answer: nope.

No Vampire right in the head wants a job that puts them in the public spotlight (restricting their movements) or requires daylight hours (a tricky prospect under the best of conditions). Does that mean the interests of Vampires aren’t represented? Who speaks for the Undead?

To put representation into perspective, a quick refresher. There are less than 500 Vampires within the continental United States; even if you lumped them all into one small town, that would be one-third of the population of Glenville, WV — and if such a thing ever came to pass, there would be only about half a dozen left before sunrise (we infamously don’t get along in close quarters).

TrueBloodAVLIn terms of representation, it isn’t necessary for Vampires. In the HBO “True Blood” series, Vampires campaigned for the rights of the Undead with opponents making claims that wills and property legally didn’t apply to creatures that rose from the grave. The AVL — the American Vampire League — fought to get changes made so that known Vampires could enjoy the same rights and benefits they had in life. Crazy, right? It was a footnote in the TV show, but it also makes a lot of sense; there’s plenty of history in the US and around the world where significant portions of the population have been told they have no rights — that they aren’t really people — no more significant to be represented than would animals.

We want what you want: safety, prosperity, and peace — what ANYBODY wants, free to do as we like and rights that end at the next person’s nose. It shouldn’t matter what you eat (unless you’re a murderer), how you live your life (unless you impose upon others against their will), or who you spend time with and how (consenting adult being consenting adults). Fortunately, there are few enough of us that we can help ourselves within the system, appointed positions that remain in-office year after year while elected officials all have to keep being re-elected. If we’re not represented fairly, that individual will be forcibly removed from office if they refuse to step down…or so I’m told. It works for us.

The living, however, can’t take those kinds of chances and don’t have forever.

In other words: VOTE if you are eligible.

Dracula2016VoteDon’t assume everyone else will do it for you. Voter turn-out is a problem; in 2012, only 129 million people voted for the US President, less than half of those eligible among the 314 million population of the country. That means if everyone who didn’t vote all decided to vote for someone else, none of the front-runners on that election would have stood a chance.

500 Vampires can’t make a difference in US politics…nor do we have to.

But if YOU can, then you should. After all, you’re the ones who have to live with it.

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

Twitter @JanissConnelly
Instagram @janiss.connelly