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

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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Meet Tlaloc, Our “Metal” God

Visitors to Cedarcrest Sanctum often notice (but don’t always ask about) the metallic tiles with the weird face. Big eyes, fangs, and looking a bit South-of-the-Border.

Our founder Louisa Newcomb had many interests, one regarding Aztec culture, specifically a rain deity bearing more than a few similarities to one of our favorite longevity subjects. She was so enamored with the idea of it, she commissioned a local artist to create an image engraved into metal which was later duplicated all over our facility… a watcher, if you will.

Meet Tlaloc.

Appeased with ritual sacrifice, the god (small “g”) was both revered and feared. From the Encyclopedia Britanica:

“Tlaloc was not only highly revered, but he was also greatly feared. He could send out the rain or provoke drought and hunger. He hurled the lightning upon the earth and unleashed the devastating hurricanes. The Tlaloque, it was believed, could send down to the earth different kinds of rain, beneficent or crop-destroying.

“Certain illnesses, such as dropsy, leprosy, and rheumatism, were said to be caused by Tlaloc and his fellow deities. Although the dead were generally cremated, those who had died from one of the special illnesses or who had drowned or who had been struck by lightning were buried. Tlaloc bestowed on them an eternal and blissful life in his paradise, Tlalocan.”

While there’s no proof of an actual being by this name, the legend dates back to the third century as an agricultural deity before later being elevated into the Aztec pantheon. A preference for the blood of the young, an ability to control the elements, and eternal life bestowed upon the chosen?

Oh, and fangs.

Sounds like someone I know, but I tell everyone he’s our “metal” god.

It’s funny, damn it.

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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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

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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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”

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 hung 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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An Old-Time Allegheny Christmas – Daughters of Darkness

From three years ago… enjoy!

Cedarcrest Sanctum

Note: this conversation originally took place on the evening of Wednesday, December 21st — the 2016 Winter Solstice.


2016daughtersofdarknessJaniss: We’re back for another evening of hot cocoa and immortal talk. Say hello, Nancy.

Nancy: (long sigh) Hello.

J: It’s the longest night of the year, and you’ve chosen to spend at least a little of it with me — thank you.

N: Free drinks, yes?

J: I pay for those.

N: Free for me, then. (sips) What topic have you chosen?

J: Christmas, of course.

N: Very appropriate. (gestures at all the decorations and shoppers, then at her themed cup) Continue.

J: (leans forward) Do you celebrate it?

N: (raises an eyebrow)

J: Come on, you can’t tell me you’ve never been swayed by the Christmas spirit. Not once in three centuries?

N: I most often choose to spend it alone not killing anyone.

J: Isn’t that how you spend…

View original post 1,089 more words

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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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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Objects In Mirrors – Vampire Verisimilitude

Ever heard the tale of Androcles and the Lion? There are plenty of variations, but the core of the story is that a mortal man cares for a deadly lion in need of help, foregoing his own safety to do so since the lion can kill the man on a whim. This selfless act earns the predator’s respect and affection; not only will the man remain safe in the lion’s company but can count on the protection of the clawed and fanged creature if threatened.

Surprise FYI: Vampires aren’t all that different, folks.

When I was turned and subsequently abandoned, I internalized; I couldn’t bear the death of even one more innocent on my conscience. Fortunately, I was taken in, provided for, and (mostly) allowed time to figure things out.

Everyone needs help from time to time, whether it’s having a thorn removed from a paw or satisfying the thirst of an immortal. There’s always a risk, of course; every situation and individual are different, just like Vampires or lions.

Sometimes hope isn’t as unattainable as you think; your fate isn’t sealed. I took a life when the monster took over, and while the lives I’ve saved will never replace the one taken, I don’t save them in penance; I do it because it’s the right thing to do… and because I have the power to do so.

If you need help, seek it. If you are offered help, accept it.

And even if you’re afraid, sometimes it’s still good to be another’s hope — even at risk to yourself.

If there’s a better definition of heroism, I’ve never heard it.

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

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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Immortal Holiday, Part 9: Homeward

“What did we get?” I asked Cole after takeoff.

He tapped up a few screens on his laptop. “A few local exchanges and recent call numbers. It’ll take a while to go through the data. Tucker lives for this; I’ll send the entire sample to him.”

“Good idea. And good job tonight.” I glanced toward Travis. “Both of you.”

“We should have caught that sooner…”

“Me, too.” I noticed mom and dad together in the back of the plane where mom had napped out on the way up. They seemed okay, but it was all a bit of a shock: a bitter end to an otherwise enjoyable weekend. Now we were all questioning what parts were real and which weren’t… as well as who to trust. I went back to sit with them.

“He didn’t even seem apologetic,” my dad said to me, “like he was just doing his job.”

“And nothing else seemed weird before that? Mom and I had never met Ron or Cammie before.”

Dad shrugged. “Same old Ron… right up to the end.” He smiled. “Bet he didn’t figure on you sweeping him up like that!”

“Ron also didn’t resist, and I think Cammie gave herself away on purpose.” It reminded me of Nancy’s invasion of Cedarcrest. “Vampires don’t trust anyone they can’t thrall. Maybe if I was a little less trusting — ”

“You didn’t know, Sweetie,” mom reassured me. “But all-in-all, it was a lovely weekend. Good food, good company… surely Willie wasn’t in on it.”

I wasn’t convinced. “From what Ron started to say, this Adam took the time to find out who I was, who you were, who Ron was, and set all this up. I can’t imagine his intention was to do us harm; he passed up plenty of opportunities before that.” I shuddered at the thought of letting my parents sleep there, in his house, when they could have been kidnapped, murdered, or worse.

“We’re all safe now,” my mom said, ” and that’s what’s important. Well, that and me winning our bet.”

I eyeballed my mom. “What bet?”

She grinned. “On whether or not he could talk you into biting him.”

Dad rolled his eyes and smirked.

“You had a bet going?”

“You should have seen him!” mom said, imitating the way dad would act full of himself. “‘I know my daughter. If she thinks she’s fulfilling someone’s fondest wish, she’ll bend over backwards!’ Imagine his surprise when you refused. I said you’d think it was creepy…”

I flashed my fangs at my mom and pretended to scowl at her. “Maybe I should bite you.”

“Anything you need, Sweetie,” she replied in the most mom-like way possible.

I hope everyone had a good holiday. 😘

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

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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