Instead of blogging, this last month I've been spending a little more time with my monsters, as well as the unofficial child of our household (the husband). But I couldn’t resist joining in with the IWSG on their monthly blog hop. They are a wealth of information on all things writerly. I highly recommend any of you lovely writers to take a look at their blog posts and get involved. ISWG post a question the first Wednesday of each month. If you'd like to get involved and sign up (why not? You've nothing to lose!) click here. In the meantime, take a look at IWSG's Captain of the ship/Master of Ceremonies Alex J. Cavanaugh and this months brilliant co-hosts: Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner.
This months question is: what are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?
I thought I'd keep it simple write a list of my top nine pet peeves (because ten would be typical, and I'm feeling rebellious).
1) When my entire house turns into a noisy gamer’s den-come-TV show home… ‘put the fidget spinners and games controller down and get outside and play, kiddos. Mum is trying to write!’ (Parenting fail, I know.)
2) When I'm in the midst of writing a nail biting, tummy-twinging scene, and I run out of coffee. Java-junkies, know my pain!
3) When I think the latest pages I’ve written are good, only to read them the following day and be left wondering whether I had some kind of mental, schizophrenic episode during my last writing session.
4) When I read another author’s work that I adore, and awe turns into that naughty little tyke, envy. And envy leads to the biggest pity-party known to humankind. I am not Neil Gaiman, and never will be. Get over it.
5) When I fail to find a major plot hole and my loving husband points it out, laughing. You win this battle of one-upmanship, Mr. Fitzpatrick, but the war isn’t over.
6) When I think my kids are settled in bed and I sit down to write, only to have mistaken their silent serene sleep for a midnight bedroom-wall colouring session.
7) When I wakeup with an excellent idea and plan to write it down later in the day, and I either forget what my brilliant epiphany was or I’m exhausted and fall asleep, dribbling on the keyboard.
8) When I struggle to write even basic sentences, and it takes me a day to figure out how to eloquently write that John did a poo… just kidding. None of my characters poop on the page, they prefer taking their toilet-breaks in private without anyone reading about it.
9) When I edit and decide to change a tiny detail at the beginning, only to realise that the tiny snowball of a detail turns into a giant avalanche of plotlines by the end. It’s time to crack open the Rocket coffee and get shovelling through.
This week I'm taking part in another IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group) blog. I highly recommend any other writers out there to take a look at this fantastic group here, and popping over to the July co-hosts: Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan.
The question asked by the IWSG this month is: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since writing?
I’ve been loaded with indecision thinking about this, so, instead of answering with one lesson I’ve made a list of ten imperative things I’ve learned (but don’t always adhere to) since I began writing.
1) Surviving off coffee for prolonged periods of time will give you palpitations and paranoia.
2) Whoever penned the advice, ‘Write drunk, edit sober’ should have added, ‘but don’t consume the entire bottle of vodka'. Not only will you get no editing done for days with your post-kid hangover, the chances of you understanding a word you’ve written whilst drunk are slim to none.
3) Procrastination can be fun if you do it right. Do it wrong and you could end up spending four hours watching vines on YouTube. Four hours of your life that you’ll never get back!
4) There is no such thing as flat-out failure. Failing is merely a learning curve lined with silver sparkles. Everyone loves silver sparkles, right?
5) I never thought for a minute writing would instigate a chair obsession. Not all chairs are the same. Get a comfortable one. Backache sucks and codeine is NOT the answer.
6) If I have a (rare) day off I tend to get less writing done than the days I’ve got a gazillion things to do—I’m pretty certain an undiscovered black hole passes by earth and messes with the relativity of time when I’m not working. That’s the only plausible explanation for my inefficiency.
7) Say yes to as much as you can. If you don’t you’ll only regret it later—unless you’re busy with your face in a computer screen not paying attention, and your kids ask for a puppy. Disappointment is hard to rectify with those little monsters. It might cost you dearly.
8) My husband has more patience than a salesman on the verge of closing a deal when it comes to me spending the evenings writing. He does call me Borg, though. But I can deal with name calling from my husband, Cowhead.
9) Never take yourself too seriously. Life’s too short and precious to waste on self-created worry. Paying monthly bills is enough pressure, why add to it?
10) Validation from others is nice but use its uplifting effect carefully. It can be undermined with a couple of unkind words. Writing is subjective. I cannot please everyone.
There comes a time when the motivation monkey is happily swinging from branch to branch with the wind in his face and the world passing beneath him, when, out of nowhere, he loses pace, grabs some rotten foliage, and promptly plummets to earth with a thud.
If he has a particularly lengthy fall he might be left feeling a bit tender. A bit unsure. Looking up, he might see an epic, mountainous climb. Looking down, he might see a soft bed of leaves.
I know what I’d choose.
Does your motivation monkey lose the battle of wills when he takes a tumble? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Mine is so used to falling off track he’s developed a habit of catching some lower branches to cushion his descent—a toolbox of helpful techniques I try to deploy before he reaches ground zero.
First off: why do we lose motivation?
Boredom. Big yawns all round! Who wants to clean the house or cook dinner when you could be reading… or doing whatever it is that flicks your switch.
Distraction. When YouTube distracts… this is like diving into a rabbit warren for me. I could waste hours on YouTube under the guise that I’m learning something. Usually, I start off with something educational and related to my story building—a little philosophy, or perhaps a historical documentary on the rise of the Third Reich… two hours later I’m glued to videos of animals being rescued from abuse, while I eat ice cream and cry uncontrollably.
Overwhelmed. Christ Almighty, I have gazillion-and-one jobs I NEED to get done each week. What’s the answer? Do none of them and pretend they will all go away! Feeling overwhelmed is the biggest motivation killer for me.
Laziness. Come now, don’t be ashamed, laziness is okay in small doses. I like to think of my lazy episodes as holidays from reality. We all need a break now and then. Don’t beat yourself up. However, if people start to comment on your personal hygiene it’s probably an indicator that you’ve taken it a step too far. Now, go and wash!
So what’s the answer?
Well, I had a gigantic list of things I’ve used written down in my note book: from hypnosis and meditation to self-help books and taking regular walks. But I won’t be penning these techniques here.
There are far more eloquently put examples and excellent motivational experts out there (check out some of these videos here and here).
In the interest of brevity, I’ve whittled it down to one question I ask myself when I lack or lose motivation:
If I do it, will it count towards enhancing my life and those around me?
If the answer is no, I find something else to do. Chances are it isn’t all that important, and there will be something else with a higher priority that I need to achieve. Anyone who has been to my house will be able to witness this question in action. I still have walls without plaster… it’s been two years since we moved in.
If the answer is yes, I do it. Well… most of the time. I might need an extra mental boot up the behind. And that comes in the form of addressing my own mortality—recognising that you have a finite amount of time is, without a doubt, the best motivator around.
So, don’t put things off. Get your motivation monkey back up into the tree canopy and start swinging! Because the next time you drop off and dawdle in that comfy bed of leaves, there might be a hungry tiger waiting for you to fall asleep.
Our cat, Dave Lister The Smeg, is a total tiger.
If you happen to have any techniques of your own, please let me know. I like to acquire information with the same passion a person with collectomania gathers possessions.
Illustration by A. Gristwood. You can find her on: https://www.facebook.com/A.Gristwood.Art/
Following my Vampire exposé a few weeks ago, it was brought to my attention that the fishy folk of the sea (aka ‘Mermaids’) have been mobilising forces. Battalions of these enigmatic water walkers have been gathering presence on the internet. And people are worried.
I have taken on the task to reassure you… to help settle down those needless and unsubstantiated concerns.
Remember people: fishes are friends. Flippers, fins or feet… discrimination will not be tolerated.
Truth from Tale...
Pre-political correctness, mermaids were more commonly known as Clamantes Acerbus (that’s Latin for ‘Tannoy Tart’). I know, what an awful classification! But this isn’t my doing. I’m here to spread facts, not fiction.
‘Tannoy Tart’ was likely coined by the seafaring men (and their wives) to warn naïve sailors of the seemingly dangerous beauties donning the coastline, with nothing but shell brassieres to protect their scandalous bosoms.
Half fish/half human, speculation has dogged the origin of mermaids since they were first spotted.
Were they a product of magic? Did they evolve from an amphibious lizard-like-fish that crawled out of the sea four million years ago? Or, had a fisherman taken a different kind of interest in his ‘catch of the day?’
No one knows for sure where these slithery seductresses appeared from; one thing we do know: they are real and some have adapted to life on land.
‘Why?’ I hear you ask. ‘If I were a mermaid, I’d never leave the sea.’
Well, if you’re straight and looking for love, then you might not have much choice.
Mermaid’s aesthetic beauty is world renowned; however, there’s much to be said for their male counterparts…
Or, as they are more commonly known: Squamea Convolvens Limus (that’s Latin for ‘Scaly Slobs’).
These Jabba The Hutts of the sea spend most of the day sleeping, scratching their genitalia and farting (ever smelled a merman’s fart? Trust me, you’ll never breathe properly again afterward!).
Mother Nature is a cruel beast—for every twenty mermaids, there is only one merman. Imagine!
With their male genetic pool dwindling, mermaids turned to humans for help.
What Went Wrong...
Rumour spread that mermaids tempted sailors into the sea with their beautiful song for the sole purpose of drowning them. And this is simply not true.
Yes, mermaids have had a number of ‘run-ins’ with sailors over the past few hundred years, but this is due, in part, to a long built-up frustration within the mermaids pitiful and stressful circumstances with the mermen.
The sailors had an answer.
These sirens of the sea weren’t luring anyone to their death. How were they to know that most sailors couldn’t swim? I mean, come on. Who travels across oceans and can’t even produce a doggy paddle if they fall in?
Mermaids were simply trying to get their hands on the bottles of rum sailors had stashed in their ships. They were looking for a little bit of alcohol-induced escape.
We’ve all been there, right? Absent fathers, screaming kids. Well, mermaids needed an outlet too. And they found their solace at the bottom of the bottle.
It’s been a while since the last confirmed mermaid sighting, but, if you know where to look, you’ll find them (I saw one last week and had a nice cup of tea with her. I can’t tell you where, though, I pinky-finned a promise to keep shtum).
What I can divulge is that some do come ashore. They possess the ability to shed their tails (a secret process even I’m not privy too) to spend time with us walkers.
Ever seen those Instagram pics? You know the ones, just a pair of legs sunbathing by a pool or the sea. You guessed it, they’re a secret nod between mermaids. Next time you see one floating about on the internet, take a closer look… you might catch a glimpse of a sparkly scale or two.
From NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller Mimi Jean Pamfiloff, Comes Part One of Mr. Rook’s Island, a Sexy, Dark, Romantic Suspense.
He’s Enigmatic, Dangerously Handsome, and COMPLETELY OFF-LIMITS…
The women who vacation on Mr. Rook’s exclusive island are looking for one thing and one thing only: to have their wildest romantic fantasies come to life. Pirates, cowboys, billionaires—there’s nothing Rook’s staff can’t deliver.
But when Stephanie Fitzgerald’s sister doesn’t return after her week in paradise, Stephanie will have to pose as a guest in order to dig for answers. Unfortunately, this means she’ll need to get close to the one thing on the island that’s not on the menu: the devastatingly handsome and intimidating Mr. Rook. And he’s not about to give the island’s secrets away.
This review won’t contain any spoilers—because spoilers ruin EVERYTHING.
However, it will contain points on why I think this book is an absolute winner. Because although Mr. Rook is primarily a romance, it managed to tick more boxes than a data entry clerk. Mystery. Romance. Paranormal. Heartbreak. Humour… the list goes on. And, I bloody loved its unpredictability.
Stephanie is grief-stricken after the disappearance of her sister, Cici. Stephanie isn’t a weak-willed wallflower, sure, she might be heartbroken, but she’s a tenacious risk-taker who needs answers and closure. And those answers can only be found on the mysterious fantasy island where Cici was last seen alive—owned and run by the equally secretive and enigmatic Mr. Rook.
The island is like nothing I’ve ever read about before. It’s a place where all your fantasies can come true. There are moments where I laughed out loud and moments where I thought, Christ-on-a-bike I want to go. It’s a cheeky romance lover's heaven… at least, on the surface, it appears that way. *cue mysterious music*
Who. Is. Rook? He’s suave, sexy, controlling, attentive, arrogant, sweet, thoughtful… Rook has more contradictions than a politician (in a good way, of course!). The picture of who he is, and how he and his ‘paradise’ island are linked to Cici’s disappearance begin to unfold throughout the story; at the same time, like a potent concoction of dangerous and exciting illegal substances, the chemistry between Rook and Stephanie begins to mix and sizzle.
BOOM. An unexpected curveball smacks you right in the nose.
If anyone is familiar with Mimi’s work, they’ll also be aware that she’s a demon with twisty cliff-hangers, and this novel is without exception. Don’t worry, if you loathe dangling on the precipice, there is hope:
1) you never have to wait too long for the next book.
2) there are some brilliantly insightful ‘extra chapters’ at the end of the novel.
3) Given that her backlog is twenty-something books long, there’s plenty to keep you going in the meantime.
But, hey, patience is a virtue, right? ?
I started reading Mimi’s books when the ‘Accidently’ series was first published, but, I’ve missed out on a few releases over the past two years (what can I say, working in a library can get a little distracting); however, after reading Mr. Rook I headed over to Amazon and bought every single book I hadn’t read. Like a Netflix binge-fest, I’m preparing for a Mimi-marathon. Tea and cake are at the ready to carry me through… I’m so excited!
Don't take my word for it. Click on the links below to get your hands on your own copy.
Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/rw3Z90
Amazon CA: https://goo.gl/fGmVnY
Amazon AUS: https://goo.gl/M7Ymlq
Alternatively, if you're undecided, why not click the rafflecopter link to be in with a chance of winning a paperback instead.
Mimi Jean Pamfiloff is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of Paranormal and Contemporary Romance. Both traditionally and independently published, Mimi has sold over 900,000 books since publishing her 1st title in 2012, and she plans to spontaneously combust once she hits the one-million mark. Although she obtained her international MBA and worked for over 15 years in the corporate world, she believes that it’s never too late to come out of the romance-closet and follow your dreams.
When not screaming at her works in progress, Mimi spends time with her two pirates in training, her loco-for-the-chili-pepper hubby, and rat terriers, Mini & DJ Princess Snowflake, in Arizona.
She continues to hope that her books will inspire a leather pants comeback (for men) and that she might make you laugh when you need it most.
I've signed up to be part of a blogging group who post a question the first Wednesday of every month. I'd highly recommend writers of any genre to click on the link and check out their insightful blogs.
Insecure Writer’s Support Group
June 7 Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?
In short, no.
But, in keeping with my propensity for prattling on, I’m going to expand and say: sometimes… kind of.
Writing is like any other form of creativeness—whether you spend an hour on your hair each day or a month decorating your house in Las Vegas style lights ready for Christmas—we create because it brings us joy.
But we’re social creatures. We like to share.
So, there comes a time when most of us take the leap, strip naked and show off our stuff (metaphorically speaking, of course); however, what we hope to achieve when bearing our most intimate creations, doesn’t always transpire.
And that’s where problems can start to make you wobble.
Primarily, I write because I get a kick out of putting words on paper. I love making things up—when life gets a little tough or when the world’s news sounds like some late-night horror listing, writing makes it all go away. I don’t just bury my head in a rusty bucket of earwig-filled sand, I get to transport myself onto a sun-kissed beach where anything I want to happen happens—I’ve never actually written about a beach, and my stories tend to involve death, but, you get the idea.
It’s all about escapism. And your imagination’s the limit.
Because I love what I do, I want to share it. It’s a little like sharing photos of your kids on social media— you’re proud of those little critters, and you know someone else will see their cute hilarity too, right?
However, creating and sharing don’t always walk serenely hand in hand—sometimes, they end up running, kicking and screaming, in opposite directions. Sometimes your kids, no matter how cute they are, just don’t appeal to others.
If someone doesn’t like what you’ve made/written/drawn/built, then it sucks. There’s no poetic way to put it that doesn’t come off as a little self-absorbed. It. Just. Blows.
Let’s get the awkwardness out of the way, you can call me Narcissistic-Nelly if you like, but I cannot think of anything more gratifying than having someone get that same buzz I feel when I read a good book.
And if they don’t like what I’ve written?
I begin to waiver. I gear myself up to dive into the abyss of self-pity whilst wailing ‘what’s the point in it all?’
Luckily, I have a husband who finds these moments funny; he also happens to have no problem in telling me I’m acting like a dick (he usually does an impression of Stewie from Family Guy and asks how my book is going to hammer the message home). And his humour is a welcome slap to the senses.
There will always be a tonne of people better than me. There will always be people who think my stuff is smellier than a week-old cat turd (everyone knows that cat poop stinks, right?). But if other people’s opinions make me want to quit, then my perspective is seriously skewed and off-track; so, I have a firm word with myself, watch a bit of Family Guy, and trace my steps back to my original motivation for writing: the love of it.
The Resurrection of Dylan McAthie
by Nancee Cain
Series: Pine Bluff, #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Shannon Lumetta
Release Date: June 1, 2017
Hosted by: Book Partners In Crime Promotions
I'm incredibly excited to be a part of Nancee Cain's release tour for her fantastic contemporary romance novel: The Resurrection of Dylan McAthie... so much so, I had to pinch one of my Mum's Tena Ladies (sorry Mum)... anyway, enough about my excitable bladder, back to the reason I'm writing this: if you love your contemporary romances to contain lashings of laugh out loud hilarity intersected with hair-pulling drama and face-fanning moments then read on...
At seventeen, music legend Dylan McAthie ran away from his Alabama home to chase his dreams. Years later, he’s forced to return—coming full circle to escape the nightmare his life has become. Hounded by paparazzi and plagued by the aftermath of personal and professional loss, Dylan craves some quiet anonymity so he can regroup and sort out what lies ahead.
Hired by his estranged brother, Jennifer Adams knows exactly who Dylan is. She grew up next door to his family and has followed his career. But the surly, overbearing man she’s caring for as a private-duty nurse is far from the charming boy she remembers. Nevertheless, she’s determined to be professional, do a good job—and not fail at her first time getting away from home.
As her patient heals, his demeanor softens, and their interactions grow less antagonistic. Soon their chemistry is undeniable—and inappropriate—leaving the inexperienced Jennifer thoroughly confused. Adding to the turmoil, scandal finds Dylan once again, threatening all the progress he’s made and putting Jennifer at risk as collateral damage.
It’s up to Dylan to fix what his fame has so easily broken and find a way to move forward with his life. But will his resurrection mean the death of any relationship with Jennifer?
Fancy reading it? Of course you do! Only Tax Collectors with a nightly routine of plaid pyjamas, decaffeinated Kopi Luwak Coffee, and a copy of The Financial Times would say no.
And you're not one of those broadsheet boring-baldies, are you?
I didn't think so.
However, just in case you're still stuck on the fence with change jangling in your pocket, let me grab you a stepladder and offer you my personal opinion on why your spare coins might be wisely invested in the purchase of this book...
First things first: This review won’t contain any spoilers. Because I’m nice like that… contrary to what my husband might say.
I was gifted a digital copy and, after reading it, I ordered a hardcopy (get building more shelves, Husband). If a book’s good I like to own a real version… one that I can sniff when the mood takes me (ever tried sniffing a Kindle? It’s very disappointing and people look at you like you’re crazy).
I have to admit, I dip in and out of contemporary romance because I get a teeny-weeny bit tired of certain character traits and predictabilities that seem to be synonymous with many contemporary romance stories. You know the ones… a testy Alpha male starts off broken and troubled, only he meets a girl and ‘BAM’ (through the use of unrealistic feminine powers none of us mere mortals can ever attain) she changes him into a perfect, poetic Adonis who is unrecognisable from the man he was at the beginning of the story. Please, don’t shout at me for saying this. I will cry. And it won’t be pleasant. Sure, books with idealistic perfection will always have a place (and rightly so). But there are so many to choose from. The Resurrection of Dylan McAthie takes that trope and gives it a good pounding (like tenderising a tasty steak or, for the vegetarians reading this, pestle and mortaring an incredible flavour into a piece of soy).
Dylan’s life is a bit of a car crash; he’s been through the mill (and then some). But. I don’t think I have ever read a more realistic, funny, flawed, endearing and (at times) enraging character as Dylan within the contemporary romance genre.
Yes, we read for escapism from this horribly hectic world. And let’s face it, no one wants to read about ‘real men’— they fart, they constantly fiddle with their balls, and they forget important dates… like your ANNIVERSARY. But. I have to say the bar for fictional male leads (in my humble opinion) is often set so unrealistically high, I can’t always immerse myself fully in the story world (call me cynical and unimaginative). That didn’t happen with The Resurrection of Dylan McAthie. The author clearly knows her men and knows how far she can push realism without stepping over into the unappealing. And that was so much fun to read. Dylan has the perfect amount of charm, flaws and sex-appeal; he is one of my top ten book boyfriends to date (shhh… don’t tell my husband).
"I know that you don't care if you get cancer, but haven't you heard of second hand smoke?"
"Misery loves company, angel. You can join me in an early grave."
Jennifer Adams is relatable, and a girl you’d happily have as a best friend. She might be sweet, kind and a naïve preacher’s daughter, but she’s by no means a fool (sure, she might not always make the most sensible decisions, but there is always a plausible and justifiable reason behind them). She has just the right balance of vulnerability and sass.
"He's not that bad, Daddy. He even has a Bible verse tattooed on his ribcage."
"I hardly think that makes him a Bible scholar, Jennifer."
The combination of the two characters makes for the most hilarious, sexually-charged and interesting journey. I read this in two sittings. It was fast-paced and had twists and turns I did not see coming or anticipate the outcome of. The ending left me settled, satisfied and complete.
"You're supposedly the world's sex-uh, I mean, talented lead guitarist. But I've yet to hear you play." She could feel herself blushing.
"I'm a sex-talented lead guitarist? Do you think I play with my damn dick?"
"Don't most men?"
Amazon US ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ Amazon UK
Paperback (for book-sniffers, like me):
Amazon US ~ Amazon UK
Still not sure? Still balancing on the fence with indecision? That's okay. I have a solution! In celebration of her new release Nancee is running a rafflecopter giveaway for all you beautiful people (no purchase necessary). To be in with a chance to win $50 of Amazon vouchers all you have to do is click here.
A little bit about Nancee:
During the day, Nancee Cain works as a nurse/counselor in the field of addiction to support her coffee and reading habit. Nights are spent writing paranormal and contemporary romances with a serrated edge.
Authors are her rock stars, and she’s been known to stalk a few for an autograph, but not in a scary, Stephen King way. Her husband swears her To-Be-Read list qualifies her as a certifiable book hoarder.
Always looking to try something new, she dreams of being an extra in a Bollywood film, or a tattoo artist. (Her lack of rhythm and artistic ability may put a damper on both of these dreams.)
Finally, if you'd like to keep up to date and/or spy on Nancee's bookish shenanigans, you can click any (or all) of the social links below.
Illustration by A. Gristwood. You can find her on: https://www.facebook.com/A.Gristwood.Art/
It’s a well-known fact that mythical creatures have appropriated grandiose notoriety and stories to fair better in today’s media-led society. And vampires are the kings and queens of the propaganda ferris wheel; so, today I’m going to pull the breaks at the funfair and set the record straight about these pale-skinned, lily-livered, blood fiends— once and for all.
‘Geminae Dente Virgo Fututorum’ (that’s the technical Latin name for 'vampire') roughly translates to ‘Twin Fanged Virgin Fucker.’ (Apologies for the crass language. But if you’ve read this far, you clearly wanted the truth. And truth is never pretty). However, as I don’t want to offend, and seeing that typing Twin Fanged Virgin Fucker gets a little repetitive, from here onwards I will use TFVF instead.
Disseminating TFVF: Fact from fiction...
Inability to walk in the daylight: now, contrary to popular belief, the TFVF won’t spontaneously combust into a fiery inferno if exposed to sunlight. Shocker, right? I know. Like you and I, they can happily stroll in the sun without even a hint of a singed hair. Not only that, they can, in fact, accomplish a nice sun-kissed glow.
How do I know this?
Because an expert, anonvamptruthhunter69, uploaded videos on YouTube about them from his Mum and Dad's garage.
TFVFs were documented on the beach, soaking up the very rays that are meant to turn them into hideous human fireworks. Not only that, they were filmed in the park, playing frisbee with their BFFs, the Hounds of Hell (there’ll be another expose about these dodgy dog impersonators soon). TFVFs have been lying to us all along about their inability to walk in the sun. But. Sightings of these neck-sucking-toothy-terrors walking about in daytime are rare.
Yep, our iron-deficient dudes and dudettes fear wrinkles.
There’s no getting away from sun damage, and these pasty people know the harsh reality of UV rays. The flame bursting myth was concocted to propagate a bad-arse fable about these precious narcissists. Reputation is everything. Propaganda, people—pure spin.
Excess nail growth and lack of body hair: this, like most hair-rific problems regular people incur, is a hormone imbalance.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Why do you think western society promotes hairless bodies and acrylic nails? Ever wondered who ‘really’ owns all those nail bars? Because they are EVERYWHERE. Ever questioned why hair-removal products are so expensive? Yeah, that’s right, TFVFs have their talon-fingers in this, people. They are the Illuminati of the beauty industry. Don’t blame the beauticians or laser removal technicians, though. They are merely pawns.
Fangs/blood drinking: Whilst these two points are very much rooted in fact (bad pun very much intended), their origins have been skewed to cover up a rather embarrassing reality.
TFVF are lactose and gluten intolerant, suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and have a genetic inability to absorb nutrients properly (namely iron and B vitamins). They get the shits if they drink dairy and break out in a nasty case of hives if they eat flour-based cake; so, they adapted with a spot of blood-supping. Sustenance straight from the tap. Easily digestible and packed full of all the stuff needed to sustain these pastel-faced bandits.
Much like the lack of wisdom teeth in many, and the useless appendix in us all, TFVF evolved pronounced canines. As blunted fangs make for poor skin penetration (and gone are the days where they could get away with tearing out throats without consequence) natural selection did its work, and survival of the pointy-toothed-fittest won. The law maybe an ass, but it’s saved us from all the inadequately fanged—since ripping out throats generally leads to death and murder is a crime.
Immortality: there’s a lot of speculation about the longevity of a TFVF. Truth is, no one knows. It’s been confirmed that a stake through the heart or decapitation will end them, but those kinds of methods are likely to kill anything.
Sexual appeal: one word... HYPNOSIS. Mind-manipulators are not benign cabaret acts. Beware the man who whips out a pocket watch. He's likely of the vampire persuasion.
Now you know the truth. Do with it what you will.
Illustration by A. Gristwood. You can find her here: https://www.facebook.com/A.Gristwood.Art/
Because I've had a busy week, I thought I'd cheat on this weeks blog and post a short story I wrote a while ago... I promise to have something more bite-sized up next week :-).
I’d always wondered how Billy felt when he died. Rumour spread like rats through a sewer; the people in town said all his dealings with the wrong kind of ideas had cursed him. According to some, his body was found trussed up like a chicken on a spit in the middle of the woods; according to others, he’d had his heart ripped clean from his chest and then staked to a tree. I was five at the time, and the twenty years since haven’t helped quieten speculation.
Death in any town is troublesome. But in ours? It never happens. At least, it shouldn’t. My name is Tabitha Meadows and I’m Custodian to the three-hundred and seventy-five people of Somerton— the link between them and the outside world. But being dogsbody and peacekeeper to a village in a rift outside of time is about as joyous as shovelling donkey shit for a living.
Still, if you don’t want to die, and you promise to not turn into a complete fruit-loop because your neighbours are eternal, Somerton is the place to live.
Of course, that’s if you can find us.
“Tabitha Meadows!” Olive’s voice crackled behind me as the familiar prod of her walking stick dug into my calf.
I stared at the red letterbox on the edge of the road, smoothed my skirt with one hand and let the white envelope flutter through the rectangular hole.
“You hear me, Tabitha Meadows?” She prodded me again.
“It’s a good job I’m not a dog, Olive.” I spun around to face her. “Because you do that to a dog? It’ll bite back.
She raised her stick in the air and waved it. “There’s been bad business with some of the folk at church. And now I can’t find ‘em.”
I held out a hand to hush her. “And this is this my problem, how?”
“Because the Hermins’ weren’t at coffee mornin’.” She stamped her boot and nodded.
“You sure they aren’t hiding from you again?”
“They ain’t hiding,” her voice crescendoed like a cat about to fight. “Something ain’t right. There were talk.”
I sighed; town talk and Olive Crisp were like a pair of worn shoes— where one trod, the other followed. “What do you want me to do about it, Olive?”
“What it is that you people do.”
“There’s lots of things my people do, like fetch supplies, drive cars—.”
She spat out her words like a dirty curse. “I want you to find ‘em, of course.”
“I’m not spending my morning traipsing across town because you’ve had another falling out. I’ve got better things to do with my time.”
Olive’s eyes darted around; she lowered her voice in a panicked whisper, “It weren’t just normal talk. It were blasphemous, I tell you. About… Billy.”
“Billy.” I folded my arms and rolled my eyes.
She flapped a wrinkled hand and hissed, “Don’t be saying that name so loud. Bad omens.”
“I read Billy Goats Gruff to Mrs. Spooner’s class the other day. Does that count?” I raised my eyebrow and smirked.
“They were talking about his curse, girl.”
Her Gorgon-esque expression and patronising tone did little to penetrate my apathy for her plight. “We’ve been over this a thousand times. Curses don’t exist, Olive.”
“You try telling that to his poor Mama.”
“Olive. It’s been twenty years since… Billy. And in my five years as Custodian you’ve concocted more stories about his death than I’ve had hot dinners. Perhaps you should note these tales down and sell them?” I nodded. “Might make yourself a bit of money, you know.”
“Don’t get smart with me, Miss Tabitha Meadows.”
“Then don’t poke me with your stick and call me girl when you want help.” I placed my hands on my hips and continued before another word spewed from her mouth. “Billy’s body was never found, Olive. Everyone knew he was fond of eating wild mushrooms and getting high. It’s also common knowledge that his Mum dragged him here because she couldn’t stand the thought of losing another son. If you ask me, he either wandered off—high as a kite—and found himself outside of the boundary, or, he left of his own free will because he couldn’t take being stuck in his sixteen-year-old body after forty years of puberty. Contrary to your beliefs, not everyone wants to spend eternity existing inside this town.”
She gurned until her lips disappeared into her leathery face. “What would you know? You’re twenty-five. Barely old enough to wipe your own arse.”
“Olive Crisp! Don’t they teach you in church that if you haven’t got a nice thing to say then don’t say anything at all? A bit of humility goes a long way here. How about on my next trip into the city I pick up a book on the subject?”
“Don’t you dare go waving your freedom in my face, Tabitha Meadows.”
“Freedom?” I snorted. “You chose to be here. I didn’t. The day I got landed with Custodian duties I lost everything. Friends… Home… Job… Fiancé.”
“Quit whining. Ain’t no man dumb enough to court you.”
I pointed a finger at her. “Stop digging that hole before you fall in it, Olive.”
“Don’t you be threatening me, missy.”
I turned to walk away. Olive’s voice cut through the air like nails on a chalkboard, “They said there’s a way to let it in.”
I stopped, took a breath and gritted my teeth. “Let what in?”
“What do you think? The tooth fairy? Death, you fool. They said the boy found a door to let death in. They were going to open it, and then tell him where I lived.”
I bit a chunk in my cheek to stifle a smile and faced her. “And why would they do that?”
“How the hell should I know?” she replied indignantly.
I stopped fighting the need to smile but made no effort to list the reasons why this town would be better off without Olive Crisp.
“Said it’s up at that cursed tree, the one where… he was found.” She pointed her stick behind me, toward the woods. “And it’s your job to stop that kind of thing. So do what you’re meant to, and stop them.”
I glared at her for a long, hard moment. Olive Crisp was the most ungrateful, spiteful old bat to grace the earth. But a lynch mob set out to crucify old Crisp would give me a headache I didn’t need.
“Fine.” Without bothering to explain myself, I stormed along the road, up the hill, and into the wood.
Olive needed a bone to chew on, so I’d give her a big tough one to get her gnashing teeth into. Hopefully, it’d tire her jaw and she’d quit badmouthing people long enough for them to settle down.
I reached the top of the wood, pulled out my phone and clicked the camera on; slowly, carefully, I walked around the tall, dead gnarled tree that the towns’ folk thought was Billy’s, filming broken branches and bare roots. Unending time for small minds ran imaginations crazy, but a tree was just a tree. I’d call a town meeting, force them all to watch the film until their eyes blurred, and then make Olive publicly apologise to the Hermins’ for being an old biddy.
As I turned to leave wind rippled along the ground, lashing goosebumps across my skin. I clasped my elbows and shivered. Stupid Olive and her tall talking of curses. About to storm back down the hill, into town and demand an emergency meeting, I made one glance back.
That’s when I saw him.
A red-haired boy—no older than sixteen—dressed in jeans and black jacket, lifted a finger to his lips. I recognised him instantly. I know the dead when I see them, and Billy Baker was most certainly dead.
He nodded toward the town and smiled. “Death’s coming for them. Whether they want it or not.”
The church bell rang. Dong. Dong. Dong… it went on and on, vibrating through the air like an unhinged note. I swallowed the ball of fear, turned tail and ran until my lungs burned and my legs seized—down the hill, through the street— I didn’t stop until I reached the church steps.
It was two days later when we found Olive Crisp dead in the woods. Tongue torn from her head, bible clasped to her chest, she looked like a modern-day recreation of some macabre renaissance painting. Mr. and Mrs. Hermin were discovered shortly after, only their corpses were laid out like blinded angels in prayer.
And I thought it’d been tough babysitting the folk of Somerton? It was only when they started dying that my real problems began.
This isn’t one of my epically long blogs. I’ve been man-flued up this week (what can I say... I’m a fragile creature when snot is involved).
So instead of passing on my wondrous wisdom, I thought I’d share the kind of stuff my husband (the fourth child in our three child household) does when I'm shivering, crying and generally dying in bed. Yes, I'm a hypochondriac. And I'm not ashamed to admit it.
He brings a Dymo home and gets to work labelling things...
Cute, huh? He's such a goof... with a sweet sense of humour. Haha... no. If there's a line to cross, he will eventually cross it.
I think the line has been stepped over here. This was stuck to the toilet lid... and the children got involved too. They added 'BUM HOLE'.
This is the our fridge... it's a giant telephone box. And this is how one man made something fun and funky into something murky and seedy (at least the kids couldn't see this label, it was too small and too high).
I think he went in a different direction with this and crossed a different line. This was stuck to the mirror in our living room... I do not look in the mirror all the time! I'm quite insulted.
And finally, the line is mere speck on the horizon with this label. This candle, above our fireplace, was given to me by his sister (for those who don't know me, Rita isn't my real name... but that's another story). Beautiful. Who said romance was dead, eh? Luckily the kids didn't see this one... although they did see the label he stuck on my back that said 'twat'. Thank you, husband. I will seek my revenge. One day. When you lest expect it...