Undead @ The Empty Glass – Daughters of Darkness

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 – Daughters of Darkness”

Fang-Girling

fang-girl

/ˈfaNG-ɡərl/ informal
verb
gerund or present participle: fang-girling

(of a vampire female fan) behave in an obsessive or overexcited way.
“I’m still fang-girling over this Dracula casting!”

I’m going to admit to you that Vampires have crushes like anyone else. Have you seen movies and television?

As stupid as it sounds, I think we all watch those Vampire shows; we’re not above stealing a good idea. There are also some very pretty people on them — many with very pretty throats, too (read: neck porn). My guys have caught me mesmerized thinking about my fangs sinking slowly into a thick, muscular neck or two… and it’s just as embarrassing as you’d think. Just a little. Maybe.

Like a night with both Joe Manganiello and Sofía Vergara… together. C’mon — look at them!

Just admit it: you’ve got a no-strings fantasy or three if the impossible happened and someone(s) on your top-five list were available and inexplicably willing. It’s harmless, right? Imagining the right time and place, meeting for the first time, already knowing what both of you want, as private or public as you’d like.

For the record, none of my fantasies involve anyone’s death, okay? Everyone walks away — guilt-free, of course.

Let’s not confuse this with wishing people who deserve to watch their foul blood flow out of their bodies because it solves everyone’s problem: them.

I’ve also never seen the need to combine any feeding with the actual sex — some Vampire authors appear to enjoy writing out such whimsy — but two bleeding people writhing all over each other in a bed (always with white sheets, of course) seems like such a waste. Imagine smearing food all over your face like gravy, or satisfying your thirst by putting your face in a fountain. Maybe it’s to imply an animal thing or whatever.

It’s seems inefficient, like blood-mouth. Eww.

We’re Vampires, not savages. Leave the dripping unkempt mindlessness to the zombies.

Nibbling is fine. Especially when your partner tenses up, slowly relaxing when the bite they fear is coming is sealed with a firm but gentle kiss.

I may or may not missing someone right now. Sigh. Anyway…

If you were a Vampire, ladies, who would you be fang-girling on?

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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Immortal Affirmation – Vampire Verisimilitude

I am a Vampire. We notice everything and forget nothing. We drink the blood of the living to remain immortal. We prefer the night and avoid the sun. We are strong, fast, and very hard to destroy — not to mention the retractable fangs and talons.

It’s easy to accept that all evil stems from beings perceived as different from ourselves.

The Vampires I know were made, not born. We are not a race. Some sought it, some accepted it, and some had it inflicted upon them. It can’t be undone, but we can choose what we do with it.

I will not be evil. I have vowed to protect against those who embrace destruction and champion those who cannot protect themselves.

Vampires are not evil by nature, but we are survivors. We have a strong will to exist… the same as all creatures upon this Earth.

Those who easily take can also choose to ask, but we cannot exist by ourselves.

We are symbiotic, you and I — all of us.

Can you understand that? Everyone wants to live.

Please stop hurting one another.

We’re better than that.

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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Thinking Inside the Box – Vampire Verisimilitude

Crypts and coffins go with Vampires like garages and cars — they have to be someplace when they’re not active, right?

vampirecoffinreadinlightI’ve mentioned before that immortals require a place to rest, one with a bed of earth and deep enough to be completely interred. It doesn’t require being covered, but a sense of safety is paramount; if you’ve seen any of those movies where the fools disturbing a Vampire at rest during the day realize we’re not actually sleeping, you’ve got the right bloody idea.

As a reminder of what immortal rest feels like: the blissful bit of time when you feel like you’re falling asleep right after you hit the snooze button because you don’t have to get up just yet? That… except you never fall completely asleep. You stay right there: comfortably numb.

But what about those times when you don’t want to get up but you don’t feel like resting?

coffintexting-smallAh, modern conveniences to the rescue! Of course Vampires can see in extreme low-light conditions, but a reading light never hurts — nor does a back-lit video screen with an in-crypt high-speed wireless connection and a charging cradle. Finish a book, interact on social media, do some light shopping, or binge-watch a season on Netflix. When Vampires were cursed to spend their days confined to a crypt, I’ll bet the culprits never suspected science would supersede magic.

Pro-tip: set your mobile device to vibrate whenever you don’t need sound. Any audible alert when you’re sacked out makes you feel like someone will be standing over you with a stake when you open your eyes — you don’t need that kind of negativity in your eternity.

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

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Immortal Memories – Vampire Verisimilitude

How does disaster affect an immortal?

I was twelve years old on September 11th, 2001 — not yet an immortal. Daniel was my age, but his older brother Eric was a sophomore in high school and understood what was happening more than us. We all felt it: shock, helplessness, confusion, anger… everything. But how does someone who has been around forever come to terms with this kind of event?

Here is what three other immortals told me.

The Humanitarian Viewpoint:
newyorkcity1941to2001

“I came from a time when if you wanted to travel, you walked; if you wanted to eat, you hunted. Most strangers you met outside of your clan were travelers instead of tourists and you traded instead of purchased. Having seen the world evolve from thatched homes to high-rise skyscrapers seemed too sudden, and three centuries of experience made me wonder what held them up — or how easily they might come down again. I passed the World Trade Center once on the streets of New York City, but I didn’t have the courage to go in; it’s a sad thing for me to admit.

“The towers intimidated me, and while I imagined they would one day be replaced as everything is, I didn’t suspect how little time they had left. It was a shared terror when I, like most people in America, saw everything on television. There wasn’t time to process it because we worried what else was about to happen, each staring unblinking at the screens as we prayed it wouldn’t get any worse. It wasn’t about why it happened; we just hoped we would find a moment to catch our breath.”

The Conspiracy Counterpoint:

“We were arrogant, and what we watched was a much-needed slap in the face. The United States wasn’t immune anymore, and we couldn’t ignore what the rest of the world took for granted. I remember being impressed with the first responders, seeing the self-sacrifice and personal risks to save anyone they could, but in the days that followed, it felt like Pearl Harbor all over again.

“I hate to suggest it, but Americans were more gullible in 1941; they never concerned themselves with the possibility that the Japanese might have been allowed their attack to prime the great war machine. The conspiracy theorists were more prevalent on 9/11, and the fuel for their worries was telling: how could our government not know this was about to happen? Why didn’t they stop it? Either it was allowed to happen or our elected officials were incompetent.”

The Washington Insider:

“In October of 1957, the Russians had beaten us into space. Forget about Hitler’s V-2 rockets raining down onto the British Isles; if the Commies then could launch something into orbit, who could say they couldn’t drop a nuclear warhead into the middle of America? That was what the Space Race and the Cold War was all about: fear — a positive emotion if you want to keep a society alive.

“Nine-Eleven is a reminder of what dedicated patriots have always known: eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. We became complacent and let our guard down. It was no one’s fault and everyone’s fault. What followed a single morning of horror was a reminder that we can all come together to help support one another. A little fear is always healthy because it creates a common cause, but it’s a pity it too often takes a disaster to remind us of that.”

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

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Mind Control, Elections, and You – Vampire Verisimilitude

I’ve talked about elections. I’ve mentioned the under-served Vampire Vote. What I haven’t said is the obvious: if Vampires can control the minds of mere mortals, why don’t they? Just tell them what you want and they must obey, right?

Thralling a mind isn’t as simple as that — subtlety is key.

Example? You can say “forget the last three minutes” or “forget you saw me or anyone was here tonight.” That usually works… UNLESS there’s missed evidence. With photographic or video proof to the contrary, a supervisor may decide Mr. Forgetful is either a liar or incompetent; now you’ve cost someone their job. Happy, now?

Missing time can usually be reconciled — “I must have nodded off” — but what about something hard-wired throughout a person’s long-term memory? “Forget you ever had a sister.” Wow. Now every memory of ever doing anything with that sibling is going to feel incomplete, including why a person felt the way they did: happy, sad, angry, jealous, or whatever. Thralling isn’t just mind control; it’s brain damage. The severity depends on how evil or thoughtless a Vampire is.

ManchurianCandidatRemakeLievThis brings us back to controlling an election cycle. Sure, maybe mention to the new small-town mayor that the Blood Bank doesn’t need new surveillance cameras (which is ridiculous because Vampires couldn’t use any of that blood, but that’s a different story) or to declare an “abandoned” century-old mansion on the edge of town a state landmark to ensure it’s never torn down and must be maintained by the city. Neat ideas, sure, but on a larger scale, problems ensue…

Just take a look at what’s happening in the current US presidential race.

If any candidate starts acting against their party’s interests, others will step in for damage control. Assuming a Vampire could get close enough to suggest “announce that Vampires are safe and should be accepted into American society with open arms,” someone else will counter that — people WILL take notice. If a candidate announces out-of-the-blue that major amounts of money should be set aside to provide blood dolls for timid immortals, that might raise a few eyebrows, too.

Having said all of that, I’m not suggesting that subtle suggestions couldn’t swing an election in a positive way for everyone; less Village of the Damned and more The Manchurian Candidate. Influential little whispers like “a great wall built over the border to a neighboring country would keep citizens safer” or “women should be held accountable for not carrying a child to term.” You know: the kinds of things that make it seem like the pressure is too great and the nominee is having what the media calls “a meltdown.”

You’re welcome, America.

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

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Paranormal Romance Extreme – Vampire Verisimilitude

A thousand-year old Viking vampire-werewolf-zombie-angel-sorcerer trained as a samurai-ninja-hacker-curator-Navy S.E.A.L. walks into a bar and says, “I have crossed oceans of time to take you to heaven in a flying DeLorean.”

Wow. Stacking the deck much? Some dude — I’m sure he’s got a twelve pack and a man-bun — who’s just EVERYTHING finds the perfect mate: a surrogate for the reader. When did these paranormal romance books get so extreme? How in the devil can anyone take any of this seriously?

ParanormalBlankCoverI used to read my mom’s old paperback romance books: Danielle Steel novels. What’s wrong with falling for a renowned heart-transplant surgeon these days? Maybe what I remember are the heroines: “a glamorous, well-to-do young writer,” or “a beautiful young journalist.” Yes, there’s a pattern here — only the young get to fall in love ’cause those are the rules — but when you don’t have to worry about money, you can concentrate on everything else you want out of life without consequence (insert sarcastic laugh here).

Maybe I should pitch my story to her. “An eternal twenty-two year old, tethered to a rest home by an insatiable thirst, tasked to protect those who keep her alive and forever forbidden to walk in the sun. Suddenly (because you have to overuse words like that on back cover blurbs), a tall, dark and handsome immortal from wherever offers to take her someplace-or-another and give her whatever he thinks she actually wants but blah, blah, blah…”

Sorry, Danielle (may I call you that?) I don’t think I’m cut out for your amazing brand of one-woman survivor story with so many paranormal elements in my personal afterlife. That said, I’d probably laugh at a thousand-year old Viking vampire-werewolf-zombie-angel-sorcerer trained as a samurai-ninja-hacker-curator-Navy S.E.A.L., not that I’d be hanging out in a bar to begin with. Oh, and he can teleport and move things with his mind, too… did I mention that?

*the blank book cover is available here for those interested.

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

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What the F**k is a Good Vampire? – Vampire Verisimilitude

I apologize in advance for the self-censored but semi-clear expletive, but I’m in a mood. Someone actually said to me (through social media) that they couldn’t take a “good Vampire” seriously.

When the hell did I ever claim that?! Let’s chuck all this good versus bad thing through a skyscraper window, shall we?

My place of residence is a retirement home; there are living people here I protect, and they provide for me in return. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, neither good nor bad. Do I care what happened to my residents? Yes…and that I would do anything to protect them could be considered “good” if you need context. As another example, gypsies willingly served Dracula not out of fear for their own lives but with a sense of duty and respect.

2016IanInYourEye600That said, if you come at me with the intent to harm myself or my charges, I will end you. Maybe I’ll give you a chance to turn your ass around and maybe I won’t. There are plenty of ways I can kill you, some faster than others and I have quite the imagination. Oh, that’s against the law? The last time I checked, there weren’t any Mountain State politicians exactly pandering to the Vampire Vote, so when you cross my threshold, consider anything that happens to you justified — not to mention we have a really great cleaning crew on staff.

I’m not Pollyanna with fangs. I’m not yours to label.

Don’t give me a reason and we’ll all continue to exist happily ever after.

How’s that for a good Vampire, mister social media crusader?

Now fuck off.

No, I’m not going to apologize for that…

~ Janiss

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