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

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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

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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

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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

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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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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

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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

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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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Indomitable – Vampire Verisimilitude

It’s been an interesting few days in the U.S. of A.

An arguably narcissistic, arguably successful businessman took the reins of a republic to lackluster fanfare, while a next-day women’s march became the biggest inaugural protest in the country’s history… possibly the world. A true leader would acknowledge and address the concerns of so many; instead of seizing upon that opportunity, the media was accused of intentional and inaccurate reporting… and anyone watching could see that was a whopper of a lie.

Climate change, civil rights, LGTB concerns, and health care vanished from the White House website as if they had never been.

Somewhere in middle forgotten flyover America — of which our little neck of the woods is certainly included — worried folks are still holding out hope that maybe in return for their support, new jobs are on their way and I want them to be right.

For me, the Women’s March represented something great: choice.

earth-viahubbleLife is precious; believe me, I get that — read: I’m a Vampire — but you cannot fully appreciate what you have until you’ve lost the ability to choose for yourself. History is littered with the casualties of loss of choice — both slavery and genocide in the extreme — often because those in power use it against those who needs their help the most. With the open global communication of today, it’s hard to sweep these kinds of activities under the carpet… we can see you, and we’re not putting up with it.

I had my choice taken away, and I’m telling you: NEVER again.

The Vampire population isn’t large, less than ten thousand in a world of over seven billion. We don’t want to dominate; we want to be left alone. That may sound very libertarian, but it’s also practical; a large Vampire population would ravage the Earth and doom us all, so this is in everyone’s best interest. But the idea that we should have no interest in politics until it knocks on our doors is dangerous; we all need to pay attention.

Forget “stronger together” and “making everything great.”

We are indomitable. All of us.

We need sanctuary cities. We need escape from tyranny. Those who have power need to protect those who do not instead of using it against them.

It has to be all-inclusive. It already is, even if you can’t see that. We’re all in this together.

Yes, even the damn Vampires.

What affects one affects all. The old ways didn’t work and we don’t have all of the solutions yet, but we have to keep moving forward.

There is no utopia. We have to work through these differences.

Civilization cannot survive if we do not.

Speak up. Stand together. Survive and be vigilant.

We are indomitable… and we’re not going away.

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

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“The Orderly” – Vampire Verisimilitude

The orderly opened his eyes; I waited patiently for the reality of his dire situation to set in.

2016OrderlyHandsHis eyes darted around in panic, finding himself in a hospital bed rather than tending one. I watched his shoulder lurch as he attempted to use his hand, but I had already told him he couldn’t use his arms or legs; he’d simply forgotten — also my doing. Did you know screaming sounds a lot like someone gasping for breath when they can only whisper? That was when I stood up from my comfortable chair. He recognized the illusion I had planted into his mind.

“Ms. Johnson?” he whispered. I could have heard him were I on the opposite side of the assisted-care facility, but I was playing a part: the kind, gentle, and elderly Vivian Johnson who had come to stay a week before.

I leaned in close, feigning confusion. “I’m sorry. What did you say?”

“Help me!” he said, sounding a bit horrified.

“No, no. You said something else before that…”

“Please!” he gasped again, but his inability to achieve any actual volume only terrified him more.

Good; I had his attention.

I took his chin into my hand and forcefully turned his head toward me. “It feels different when you’re on this end, doesn’t it? Helpless and entirely dependent upon someone else. You can’t walk around, you can’t lift anything, and that bed is your entire world.”

“How…how did I get here? How did I get like this?”

“Tsk, tsk. You’re asking the wrong question.”

The terror in his eyes turned to confusion. I glanced down at his uniform, reminding myself to use the name on his badge.

“Tucker, do you think you’ve treated your patients with the dignity and respect they deserve?”

A slow realization set in as his features softened and reflected genuine guilt…or at the very least the acknowledgment he’d earned his predicament. He wasn’t a complete idiot.

“I’ve been watching you, Tucker. You’re cruel and thoughtless. You’re too rough with your patients, you don’t listen to them, and they hear you when you dismiss them under your breath. The only thing that gives you any pleasure is seeing the fear in the eyes of your charges when they realize it’s you being sent to assist them. Do you enjoy that kind of power, having trained everyone to be afraid of you?”

Confusion played across his face. With luck, maybe he realized there was no excuse for his actions.

“Well, I don’t have the kind of time you’ve had to earn that fear, so I’ll skip ahead if that’s all right.”

I let Tucker watch my transformation. In his mind, Vivian opened her mouth to show him her piercing fangs, looked upon him with blackened eyes, and snatched up his arm with taloned fingers. As his heart raced and his skin oozed sweat, I ran my mouth close over his arm, even letting one fang rake his flesh ever so slightly. The entire bed vibrated with his trembling.

I wouldn’t have bit him, of course. I imagined his blood tasted like hate and raw sewage.

“Am I dead?” Tucker asked. “Is this Hell? Did I die?”

I couldn’t resist a toothy grin. “Is that what you want, what you think you deserve? I can grant your wish…”

“No!” He didn’t blink; he didn’t even breathe.

I casually released his arm and placed it next to him. “No? Then what do you deserve for your sins?”

Oh — he wasn’t going to cry, was he?

I pulled in the fangs and talons and allowed my eyes to become normal. “How about we consider this a preview, hmm? A taste of things to come, when you’ve reached your golden years and things begin to break down — ”

“I’ll do better,” he pleaded. “Just fix this!”

“That won’t do, Tucker,” I explained. “You’re going to quit. You’re going to find another profession where you can’t intimidate people who have to depend upon you. I want you to think hard about the way you’ve treated others and how you’d like to be treated.” I leaned in close, lowering my volume to a whisper. “Because I will be watching you for the rest of your life. If you return to your old ways, I’ll know, and while I may not come to you immediately, rest assured I will…and you’ll wish you were only bedridden after what I’ll do to you.”

Tucker nodded, still looking afraid.

I looked him dead in the eyes. “You can move your arms and legs again, Tucker, and your voice is no longer restricted to a whisper. After you leave this room, you will be able to see me as I am and see the real Vivian Johnson again.” While the thrall was in place, he wouldn’t remember I had given him any commands. I released him and said, “You can go now.”

He tested his arms; his hands worked. He cleared his throat and spoke in a normal tone. “Thank you…”

Still appearing as Vivian, my eyes blackened and my voice deepened. “Don’t thank me — get the hell out of my bed!

Tucker scrambled like a caught cockroach to get out of the room.

Vivian couldn’t help but laugh. “Thank you,” she said after he was gone, “for putting the fear of you in him.”

“People like him should never be hired to work in places like this, but limited resources and finding good folks to help take care of others isn’t easy.”

“Or a good vampire?” she added.

“What I did just now wasn’t exactly good…”

Vivian touched my arm. “I know Cedarcrest Sanctum doesn’t have the resources to monitor every assisted-living facility in West Virginia, but this thing we did, dropping me off and looking around a bit? We should keep doing that.”

I smiled. “It’s still risky. Something could happen to you.”

“Not ghouled on your blood, it won’t. So…where to next?”


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