Damn technology! I can’t remember my password here at WordPress, so I’ve had my maker, Deborah Riley-Magnus, author of the Twice-Baked Vampire Series post for me. Trust me, it took all my patience and tolerance to convince her to post this exactly how I wrote it. Writers. Sheesh.

Okay, I’ve been walking around this place – this strange warehouse where dead supernaturals spend their purgatory – and wondering, why me? Why them? What makes us so special that we’d get another run at the Pearly Gates? No matter how hard I think about it, I still come up with … nothin’. As far as I can see there’s nothing special about me and definitely nothing special about all the other dead supernatural creatures living in the West Hollywood warehouse holding tank with me. I think the Big Kahuna spins a roulette wheel and it’s all nothing but luck.

Of course, there’s that other thought in my head – the one that’s afraid I might have actually made it into heaven in the first place if I tried a little harder. I have this sinking feeling that this time around, it’s going to be even tougher. Yeah, I’m scared, pretty sure that before God spun the wheel, I was heading straight to hell which is pretty much like I expected anyway. Vampires mean hell, right?

So, if you’re a supernatural who has bitten the dust and found yourself facing one last chance for redemption, I have a few tips for you. Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Dead is supposed to be dead and second chances were never free in life, but just in case … just so you’re ready …


A really important thing to do once you realize you’ve gotten a second chance at heaven is to … REMEMBER. A good rule of thumb – most things you did in your supernatural life are no-nos in your purgatory life. Being dead, there are a ton of things you can’t do anymore. For example, werewolves and shape-shifters can’t change form anymore, vampires can’t drink blood and hide in the dark anymore, pixies have had their wings clipped and the fae are pretty much powerless against the demons (their own or the real ones floating around the universe). You’ll discover early that some of your internal instincts are still there, but the test is all about how you use them. Knowing you’re being watched all the time by, well, you know, the guy upstairs, means that everything you do from now on counts for or against you. Earning brownie points is pretty much based on how you think before you act, your ability to consider the consequences to those around you – human, supernatural or dead supernaturals – and the choices you make for good over not-so good. What used to be fun is now something to think hard about before rolling with it. Remember how you lived, put it into this all new context and try like hell to do it better this time around. I’m not positive, but my guess is that there isn’t going to be another shot at the Pearly Gates after this one.


Most supernaturals, especially vampires, have pretty volatile tempers. We’re so used to having it our way, getting our way and getting anything we don’t care about out of our way, that we’ve become naturals at using rage to meet our goals. Don’t expect it to get you anywhere but to hell quickly now that you’re in the purgatory system. Seriously … leave it in the past life. Controlling supernatural temper is tougher than you think. Someone here in the holding tank once suggested I take anger management classes at the Learning Annex. I didn’t and trust me, it took a while to get this issue under control. Don’t fight it, just let it go.


This one’s about timing and most of us break this rule. Having a loving relationship out there in the world with a human is going to happen. After all, we want what we want and need what we need, right? The problem with falling is love has to do with your current situation – that of a dead supernatural who may end up taking the elevator UP or DOWN at any moment, or sticking around for centuries. How do you explain never aging? The fact that you can never have children or make plans for next weekend? The best advice I received about dead supernatural/human relationships is this … go ahead, have some fun, enjoy the relationship then cut it off before it gets too deep. Did I follow that advice? None of your damn business.


This too has to do with timing. Remember the polka lyrics, “In Heaven there is no beer, that’s why we drink it here.” Need I say more? There are a few rules about waiting until you’re acclimated to your new environment and phusical limitations before swilling the Stella Artois, but when you’re ready, by all means, enjoy!


This means inside your purgatory holding tank and most certainly, outside. It’s no fun for a Tank Manager to have to go bail you out of jail or break you out of the nut house. It’s never good to keep getting fired from your job just to have to go out and find another one. Starting trouble or joining in where trouble is running amuck is counterproductive for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a black mark in your bad column and second, it brings attention to you and that, my dear dead supernatural, is a really, really bad thing.


The fae have never reached out and lent a hand to a human in need. Vampires take advantages of humans in a bad situation and pixies like to play with confused people until they snap and aren’t fun anymore. This is no longer productive or acceptable according to the unwritten but oh-so-strict Dead & Double-Dead Supernaturals Rule Book. Chuck your “too cool for school” attitude and help that old lady across Hollywood Boulevard. Give directions when someone asks and make sure they’re the right directions. Help your fellow dead supernatural through a tough patch. Do something good … on purpose. What a concept!


Okay, bad shit happens every day and sometimes we’ll be right there and fall into the frenzy. Rather than give a smug grin and walking off, step up, take some responsibility for the mess and make things right.  It will make you feel better and add to your good deeds column. Most dead supernaturals never do this, but as hard and against your nature as it might seem, it’s worth a try.


NEVER LIE. Not to your purgatory tank manager, not to your human friends or lover, not to your dead supernatural tank mates and never to yourself. The more reality we learn to swallow, the better things will get. At least that’s what they tell me.



This one’s a really hard thing for a dead supernatural to swallow, especially double-dead vampires who are the least likely to have ever imagined there’d be a second chance at redemption. The illusion of immortality has seriously messed with our heads and while we lived, it never crossed our minds not to control everything around us. Why not? Who cared and who was going to stop us? No consequences, right? That’s definitely wrong thinking you’ll do well to toss out the window and fast. We control our own decisions, our choices, our day-to-day life, whether we’re happy with our progress or pissed off all the time. We control who we sleep with and who we don’t care to spend time around. We control ourselves and no one or nothing else around us. The sooner we accept that, the easier it gets. I know, I know, it kinda sucks at first but you’ll get used to it.


This IS a secret. Living supernaturals can never know about this, about us, or where we’re living. Humans hardly believe we exist alive, much less walking around already dead and working in the cubicle right next to them. This is the reason the Big Kahuna made us more human than supernatural during our purgatory time – so that we can blend in and work solely on our own souls, our own choices and our own path. Trust me, if the living supernatural world or the human world had a clue, all hell would break loose. We’d all be in danger (don’t forget, being more human means getting hurt hurts a whole lot more!). And if one of us causes that kind of disaster, there’s no telling if any supernatural will EVER get another chance again. Opening your mouth can put you in the loony bin, and my bet is that sooner than later, you’ll wake up in hell. There’s no beer there either, so KEEP THE SECRET!

That’s it. Sorry you’re dead, but maybe these ten tips will help you get some redemption.

Cold in California, COMING SOON!

Don’t Crowd Me!

Posted: August 4, 2011 by Deborah Riley-Magnus in Gabriel's Rants
Tags: , , ,

Twice-baked and working my way to … ah-hem … heaven is a tough gig. I was a loner. Even when I was human I wasn’t a big one for company and conversation. When I had no choice but to do vampire stuff for eighty years, being sociable sure as hell wasn’t my strong suit. And now, being double dead, it seems I can’t get alone if my life after life after twice-baked life depended on it.

There, see how complicated this is? In 1931, someone back in Indiana once told me “The apples are ripe when the apples are ripe.” I kinda thought I’d rotted on the vine long ago, now I’m suddenly sitting in the sun waiting to be picked. Is this gonna be like kids waiting to get chosen for a sandlot game? Am I gonna get left for last, or worse yet – left without a position at all? I can play left field! Honest! That’s exactly what this second chance to earn a ticket through the Pearly Gates feels like.

Everything is a challenge! Yeah, yeah, I get that I need to behave, do the right thing, maybe even do some do-gooding but seriously, can’t I be left alone to do it? I feel seriously crowded.

You know I live in a warehouse in West Hollywood with other dead supernatural creatures, right? It’s not the only warehouse holding strangos like us either. I thought maybe you’d like to know a little more about those odd looking people hanging out around that ugly old warehouse down the street. Look harmless, do we? Well, we we’re all bad, and I mean bad to the bone. We were bad when we were alive (or in my case, vampire alive) and we’re worse now. Why? Because it just isn’t our nature not to be. I think I mentioned my warehouse mates before. Let me tell you about my associates.

Take Stick Man. This poor dude was bad because he was kinda dumb. Way back who-knows-when, when he lived as an ancient Native American creature, his job was to save good people and lead the bad ones to a cliff. He did this by whistling. Whistle one melody, the good folks would find their way home. Whistle the other melody and it’s adios, Wiley Coyote style Was it Sticky’s fault he couldn’t whistle so good? Oh he can now but we’re talking hundreds of years of practice. Back then when it really mattered, he always seemed to whistle the wrong tune. Badly.

Now he’s here. In this warehouse. Taking up a LOT of space. This dude is almost 12 feet tall! He’s been trying to get into heaven for like ever. Seems like a nice enough guy to me and he’s still here! Taking up space. Wanting to chat and socialize and share his granola. If he’s still here after all this time being so good and well behaved and all, what hopes do I have of getting out of this place anytime soon?

Sticky’s not the only talker, either!  Next time I’ll tell you about a demised werewolf who can’t keep his nose out of my business!

Can’t a double-dead vampire get any peace around here?

*crunch* *crunch* Damn good granola!

Cold in California, COMING SOON!

Cold in California cover, lg




What the hell? Or maybe I should say … What the purgatory?

So I was alive back in the 1930’s. Then I got dead. Then I woke as a vampire and managed somehow to survive for almost eighty years and lucky me, I finally get finally dead. At least that’s what I thought. Instead, I wake up here and have to live out some time trying to earn brownie points and get my sorry ass into heaven. Impossible? Possible? Who knows? Once I believed there were no vampires, now I discover that not only are there vampires, but twice-baked vampires and I’m one of them. Damn.

Life here in the West Hollywood warehouse  is kinda strange but no stranger than life has been for a long time. It’s just different from what I’m used to. Shirley, the dead pixie, is sitting on a raggedy overstuffed chair combing her long silky golden hair. All round her, like little kids at a library story-telling session, sit the dead, grinning leprechauns. Pixies and leprechauns. Now those two races are sexually insatiable and I’m guessing things might get real weird, real soon. In the kitchen, Mumbu, a voodoo fairy, is having a cup of coffee with Pete Maloney. He’s a dead werewolf. Thinks he can save the world. I hate talking with him, he’s always pontificating about the value of a man and what gets him into heaven. I’m not sure I even like the subject. After all, I assumed I’d never get there, so I just kinda ignored the heaven thing. Granted, I wasn’t all that thrilled about hell, but at least I figured I deserved it. Some powers-that-be figured otherwise, so here I sit. And I’m wondering, what do those two have to talk about anyway?

At the back of the warehouse, Stick Man, an ancient Native American supernatural giant, is dusting the high hanging lights. He’s a strange one. When he’s not keeping the upper levels of the place neat and clean, he’s making granola and sharing it with everyone. Personally, I don’t like the stuff, it tastes like twigs and bugs to me.  And from the office, Crudo Cushman, the troll in charge, is watching me like a hawk.

I need diversion.

There’s a computer off to the side of the warehouse for us. I think we’re supposed to job shop or find things to do on it, but I kinda like watching the porn. I’m still just learning how to use the thing but surfing the web is a fun distraction … and Cushman can’t see me from his office.

I check my favorite websites, look around for something interesting on YouTube and then I find this … Cold in California

Holy shit! So I go here … Cold in California and now my newly pumping blood is boiling.

My story’s out! My whole story! How did this happen? Before I put a fist through a wall, I think about this a minute. I mean, seriously. What’s all the fuss about? Nobody will believe it, right? It’s fiction. Vampires aren’t real. And if they are, they can’t get twice dead and live in West Hollywood. Right? Right?

I need to talk to the author, this Deborah Riley-Magnus and find out why she’d do this to me. Why she’d out me like this! I found an old address right here in Los Angeles, but oh hell yeah, of course she’s moved east.

Maybe I’ll just track her down. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. In the meantime, if you buy this book, remember one thing, okay.


Don’t forget or I may be knocking on your door too.

Cold in California, COMING SOON!

Favors. I hate owing favors. We have this woman – an elf field reporter with The Purgatory Press – hanging around the Warehouse lately, interviewing every dead supernatural she can pin down (not a hard thing to do when she’s at least seven feet tall). Well, today she comes to me and tells me she needs me to cover an interview for her.

“You look more human than most around here, and this subject is very human,” she spouts.

“Why can’t you do it?” I sure don’t wanna.

“Well, today I have … women problems … and you’ll have to do it for me.”

Yeah, right, she’s got women problems all right. Her problem is that she’s a skyscraping female hot for a four foot nothing troll. Said troll, Crudo Cushman, is the boss man around here and has a few hots for her too. Just imagining it burns my eyes. Either way, I’m stuck. I owe Crudo for keeping a secret about a sweet pixie named Shirley and me … never mind.

So here I go, me, a double-dead vampire out to have a talk with the human writer/director of the web series, Vampire Mob, Mr. Joe Wilson. Who should be interviewing who? I do like I’m told and go to the Starbucks on Sunset in West Hollywood. He looks like a writer/director, the typical creative type who thinks The Purgatory Press is some fun little ditty created as a Halloween entertainment gimmick. Whatever. When I get there I realize I forgot the tape recorder so I’ll be writing the answers on a napkin. Joe doesn’t seem to notice. I explain that the professional interviewer is otherwise detained and I’ll be asking the questions. Poor dude has no clue he’s been stood-up by a dead elf and is facing a twice baked vampire. This should be interesting.

Me: So, Joe. You make a web series about vampires, right? Vampire Mob. What’s the story?

Joe Wilson:  Thanks Gabe.  Can I call you Gabe?

Vampire Mob is about Don Grigioni, a hitman and vampire, who just found out his mother-in-law is moving in for eternity.

The hitman/vampire is played by John Colella (CSI: NY, The West Wing) and his wife Annie, played by Reamy Hall (Criminal Minds), decides to bite her mother without discussing it.  Now Don’s mother-in-law, Virginia played by Marcia Wallace (The Simpsons  / The Bob Newhart Show), is moving in and needs blood to drink.

The season one cast also includes an amazing group of actors including Kirsten Vangsness (Criminal Minds), Chris Mulkey (Twin Peaks), Jim Roof (Murderabilia), Andrea Cansler (The Groundlings Sunday Company), Cris DAnnunzio (Chasing 3000) and Elizabeth Beckwith (Curb Your Enthusiasm).

Me: Impressed. That’s some terrific cast but … you think humans … uh people … like to fantasize about vampires? Like they really exist and do things just like humans do?

Joe Wilson:  Judging by books, movies and television shows I keep hearing about, it certainly seems that way, doesn’t it?

I think humanity has always had a need for stories, to suspend disbelief and be dropped into a world with characters they can identify with or are at least curious to see in situations that are nothing like their own lives, or similar to their own lives.

Living for eternity, under the right circumstances depending on the vampire mythology, is inherently an interesting world to spend time in and in the case of Vampire Mob, there is also the mafia to contend with.

Me: Mythology. Right. And, I’m guessing you do all the filming late at night? Aren’t you afraid? I mean, don’t you ever wonder if … never mind. You do the filming at night? (Oh shit, just don’t tell me where, last thing I want is some living, sucking vampire showing up at your … pay attention and write down his answers, you idiot!)

Joe Wilson: You guessed right!  All our exteriors are shot at night but we have done some window blocking for day shoots of interiors.  That wasn’t a problem when we were shooting in a tunnel in a castle!

What’s to be afraid of at night in a dark alley in Los Angeles?  Other then the LAPD busting us for shooting without a permit, that is.

Me: How long is each episode? (Nice safe question, I need more like that.) How long do they take to film?

Joe Wilson: The first six episodes in season one range from about three and a half minutes to a little over five.

I work very quickly and use two cameras shooting at the same time on many of the scenes, which helps speed up the process.  It also helps to work with really talented actors! Our longest shoot day was six hours, but the rest were four hours or less.

Me: Has anyone died during filming? Yeah, yeah, just joking. What kind of things do the fans of the show do to show support?

Joe Wilson: Fans of Vampire Mob, “The VMob,” are one of the most incredible parts of making this show.

At first, they recommended the show to friends and continue to, but then they started doing amazing things like helping with closed-captioning, translating the show into French, German and Dutch, designing web site banners and even a fan web site (http://vmobfans.wetpaint.com/).  I had cards made for the show and have shipped them all over the world to fans willing to help get the word out, many in other countries like Romania, the U.K, Philippines, Australia, Belgium, Austria, Canada, Switzerland and South Africa!

Now the VMobbers are directly supporting the show by donating to our Kickstarter campaign (http://kck.st/cZmaw0) to make a second season of Vampire Mob.

We shot the first season with ten-year old video cameras that barely made it through the shoot, one kinda died.  So, there’s new gear needed to make more episodes and pay for things like insurance and feeding the cast of 19!

Me: Where do you get your actors for the series?

Joe Wilson: All of the actors in the first season cast I’m friends with or had seen on stage or screen. I approached each asking if they would be up for playing in the Vampire Mob world.  No auditions, which was especially nice!

I was amazed they all said yes and that I got to work with this cast in our first season.

You look familiar, Gabe, have you done any acting?

Me: Me?  Oh hell no! Hey, thanks for the interview, I think I got everything she wanted me to ask. Uh and hey, be careful out there at night, will ya Joe?

Well that was it. I thanked him on behalf of The Purgatory Press and reporter Glisanna Stinger and let the man leave. Sometimes I really have to wonder about people. Seriously. Don’t they realize they’re all enamored with killers who really suck blood?

Meantime, my literary maker, Deborah Riley-Magnus, who wrote Cold in California (the book I’m in), just informed me that the book is actually being published, and will be available in March of 2011. Why do I get the feeling life’s going to get even more complicated?

My name is Gabriel Strickland. I’m a twice baked vampire, and I got something to talk about.

West Hollywood is hot today, sunny and kinda smelly but that doesn’t mean a lot to you. Your nose doesn’t work overtime like mine. So I’ll try to keep the stink out of my blogs and look for things a double dead vampire and plain humans have in common.

In my state of mind, two topics make sense. Women … and the darkness. Not that the two have a whole lot in common; I personally think of women as being a bit lighter and brighter than men. My darkness isn’t what you think, either. It’s not the absence of light, it’s the questioning of soul that aches today. So, because I’m fighting a foul mood, let’s talk women. The thought of women doesn’t hurt one bit.

You don’t know it, but every single day you come across a whole world of different kinds of women. Human women, of course. Troll women. Pixie women. Shifter and werewolf women. Women laced with witchcraft and witches laced with humanity. Female descendents of strange gods and angels. Then of course, if the sun’s gone down, there are the vampire women. There are a lot more supernatural women than you think, probably one for every five or six human women. And let’s not forget about the half breeds and aliens, and I ain’t talking south of the border aliens either.

Don’t panic, until I became a vampire in 1933, I never knew there was anything but normal human women either. I learned a lot between my first death and second. Now, in this purgatory time, what I know makes my head spin.

Gentlemen, this is all a secret, okay? No blabbing this stuff around. Just between you and me I’ll tell you a few things that differentiate the human women from the other kinds. Take notes, boys. Crack open a beer and face facts. You’ve been with supernatural women all your lives, met them in bars, dated them, had sex with them, hell, a lot of you even married them and you didn’t know.

Here’s the breakout.

  • Troll Women. Wipe that grunt away, guys, these are nothing like you think. No, they’re not all ugly or grumpy or covered with warts. They come in all shapes and sizes, blond, brunette, redhead, round, curvy and flat as a board. What they all are is short, like gnomes and some races of leprechauns, only in most cases, prettier. How to identify a Troll Woman – Very long memories, lots of stewed meats recipes, quick smiles and loud when drunk. Troll women also have a very dry sense of humor, so buck up, you will be the brunt of her jokes. In bed, troll women are … well … damn good.
  • Pixie Women. Pixie women are the sexual dynamos of the supernatural world. Always blonde, always Barbie Doll proportioned, these gals can entertain, one-on-one or in a crowd, for hours on end. As a vampire, they were off limits. There’s a poison in their blood that renders a vampire paralyzed. I will say though, I’ve heard of many a vamp who fried in the morning sun coming into a pixie’s window simply because it seemed worth the price. My one and only experience with a full blooded Pixie woman was the very night I arrived at the holding tank (the warehouse where I live with other twice dead vamps and totally dead supernaturals.) Granted, Shirley was dead like me, but wooeee! She can sure … entertain. How to identify a Pixie Woman – Off the chart sex. Pixie women have a hard time focusing their minds on anything. According to the warehouse records, most of the female pixie population is either living in the San Fernando Valley or staring in a “Real Housewives” reality show. A pixie woman will steal your heart, exhaust the hell out of you then simply disappear. It’s not personal. She just can’t follow her own train of thought.
  • Shifter Women. A shifter woman is a supernatural woman who can change form. Although many human women can suddenly change from sweet purring kitten to full out mountain lion in the blink of an eye, a shifter woman is a little different. She really can change into a full out mountain lion, and her claws are not metaphorical, they are real. How to identify a Shifter Woman – Now this one’s a little tricky. Shifter women look and act, cook and talk, think and punish (or reward) just like a human woman. The only difference comes when they are crossed one too many times. Shifter women are, like all of the supernatural races, very secretive about their proclivities. So when they’re pissed off enough to do a full out shift, they’ll simply walk away. They’ll leave you at the game, on the beach, in the bed, on the street or in Wal-Mart and not show up again for several hours. Don’t ask where they’d been.
  • Werewolf Women. Woof, woof, howl! Oh yes, gorgeous, sexy, always have thick, luxurious, shiny hair. Tall, short, thick, thin, all variations exist in the Werewolf race. Werewolf women make fantastic mothers and nurturers. They’re houses and apartments are obsessively neat and clean but they can’t cook for crap. How to identify a Werewolf Woman – Some call it their moon time, their time of the month, their be careful, I have P.M.S. and in a bad mood time.  Facts are fact. Stay the hell away when the moon is full. Trust me. When they say they’re not in the mood, they are NOT in the mood. They need to get out, need some space, need to go out with the girls or have a night alone. GIVE IT TO THEM. That’s all I’ll say about that.
  • Witchy Women. This one’s real complicated, mainly because women laced with witchcraft and witches laced with humanity are basically … human. Something of the supernatural realm sifted through the universe and dropped on these women. This category includes psychics, telepaths, telekinetic women, mediums and many network television ghost hunters (only because they haven’t figured out yet that they can see and talk to the ghosts during the day too. I guess doing it in the dark makes better television.) In almost every respect a witch, practicing or not, aware of her powers or not, looks exactly like any other human women. How to identify a Witchy Woman – There’s only one sure fire way to know you’re with a witch. You lose large chunks of time and can’t remember shit about an argument no matter how hard you try. Lots of men like this. Personally, when I’m around a witch and I know she’s a witch, I refuse to drink anything she offers me and never, EVER look her in the eye. Not that a dead man (vampire or twice baked vampire) can be effected by anything a witch does; witches just give me the willies.
  • Descendents of gods or angels type women – I have no clue. I know they’re around and dangerous as hell, but having never (to my knowledge) crossed one, the best I can do is warn you that they’re out there, maybe working in the mailroom or as the boss’s new assistant. Maybe she’s your travel agent or dental hygienist.  How to identify Descendents of gods or angels types of Women – Let me know if you find out. Like witches, they creep me out.
  • Vampire women. Look like any other woman, always in the dark, very pale and never hungry. Best suggestion: If you suspect your date is a vampire, wear a turtle neck and ask for I.D. Most of us vampires have no driver’s license, no social security card, no charge card, no nothing. We don’t need them … well, when I was a living vamp, I didn’t need them. How to identify a Vampire Woman – Offer her a lobster and caviar dinner at the most expensive restaurant in town. When she says “no thanks” … run like your ass is on fire.
  • Alien women. From outer space. Sometimes interesting looking. Smarter than the average bear and always wearing the most expensive perfume. How to identify an Alien Woman – If you don’t know, I can’t help you. But, I hear they are good for some pretty kinky hard-core sex, if you’re into that kinda thing.

What a wonderful world of female fancies we live in! My preference is and always has been … human women. So keep this all under your hats guys. Thrilled to help. If I can save one man from a miserable … uh … what? … Oh shit … um …

My literary maker, Deborah Riley-Magnus,  who wrote Cold in California (the book I’m in), just informed me that women read this blog too.


Cold in California, COMING SOON!

Cold in California cover, lg


I’m guessing that hearing a vampire say “I’m hungry” might be kinda scary for you mortals out there, but chill, okay. I’m a double-dead vampire. I don’t drink blood anymore. I eat food. Yup, food. Just like you.

I’m not real sure why you’d give a crap about this subject but my literary maker Deborah Riley-Magnus, who wrote Cold in California (the book I’m in), tells me I should talk about whatever I feel like talking about. Given the fact that I don’t want to talk about being twice baked, I don’t want to talk about my job these days – which is to consciously earn my way into heaven or hell, an irritating concern persistently nagging at me – and figuring that you’d all just move on to some other blog if I went on a confession spree and blathered about the crap I did as a living, bloodsucking vampire … I’m thinking food might be a safe subject.

I’ve had me a few lives, three so far. I was born on a farm and grew up during the Depression. That little historical accounting error showed up in the Indiana corn fields long before it reared its ugly head in the big cities. Needless to say, food wasn’t much of an extravagance. At thirty-something, I met a vampire and he met me. Lights out.

During the next almost eighty years, I lived in the dark but food was always somehow in the picture. Honestly, if I wasn’t watching humans eat, I was smelling what they ate hours earlier. If I wasn’t noticing a commercial for Pizza Hut on the television over the bar, I was working as a short order cook back in the kitchen. Yeah, of course I worked. A guy’s gotta make some money sometimes. Never was one for just stealing. Maybe I had too many hard times to force them on another man. So sometime … I cooked. I wasn’t real good at it and the smell made me gag. Not anymore.

So here I am, lifetime number three and wondering … why me? I’m sure what you’re wondering is … why do I eat food? Let’s just say that when the Big Kahuna, the Dude upstairs, the Boss Man decided to give me another chance, he made the playing field pretty level. So, aside from being able to smell knockwurst grilling a mile away, clearly hearing the whispered conversations all the way up on Sunset Blvd. and the ability to run faster than you can see, everything else is just like you. Everything. Even the digestive system.


Let me ask you something. You’re all human, breathing, alive. You have the luxury of relishing everything available to you but do you? Really, do you? Walking along Santa Monica in West Hollywood, not far from the  … ah … place where I live with other dead supernaturals, I distinctly heard the pop of a wine cork. I caught the scent of a great red and how it blended with whatever was offered on the plate with it and I was hooked. Inside I read the menu like it was a bible. All too good to be true, expensive like anyplace that serves good wine. I couldn’t understand a word of the descriptions but I sure as hell could point and order.

That’s the difference. The experience of food is so all new to me, I can’t begin to tell you the crazy, near sexual peaks I reach. What I ate as a farmer in the 1930’s tasted nothing like this. The blood I savored since then did carry a hint of Chinese or Mexican, and on occasion a little rich French foie gras, but this? This is biting into a thousand textures, not just the firm flesh of a pulsing host. The smooth sweetness of creams, glazes, melting chocolate. The crunch of a good, hard pretzel. The sensation of pasta marinara sliding down my throat … holy blood pudding! An explosion of flavors, spices, herbs, alliums. Alliums? That’s cook-speak. Alliums are onions, leeks, scallions, shallots. In 1941 I dined on a chef’s daughter in St. Louis. She taught me about alliums, and she taught me some other stuff I won’t mention here. (We’ll just leave that for another blog, okay?)

Here’s what I know. Food’s the bomb. It’s more than nutrition. It’s comfort, indulgence, being bad without having to pay for it – until my jeans get too tight. Food makes friends and enemies. It changes and defines the human dynamic. Truth is … food is what makes humans human. Amazing. Never knew that before I died … twice. Food beats the hell out of just about anything (short of sex) as a reason to be alive.

Last word on food before I go get something to eat. My first meal after arriving in this third existence was pastrami. Amazing, tangy, juicy pastrami and I tasted that at one of Los Angeles’ most famous restaurants since the 50’s, Johnnie’s Pastrami. Go there. Eat. Tell me I’m wrong.

I dare you.

Come back again. Watch for my rants. Because … life looks real different this time.

Cold in California, COMING SOON!

Cold in California cover, lg

Okay. Introducing myself and not much more right now. My name’s Gabriel Strickland. See, I was alive, then dead, then double-dead. They call me a twice-baked vampire. From everything I knew about vampires, I was supposed to be toast after the second death. Gonzo. No more. No nothin’.

Not so.

As it turns out, some of us get one more chance, a final conscious effort to determine whether we’re going up, or going down. A last shot at heaven or hell. Neat, huh? But here’s the catch (and of course, there’s always a catch), I have to make these last ditch efforts for salvation while living out my double-dead life with a mess of other dead supernaturals. I live in a holding tank of sorts, a warehouse tucked secretly in West Hollywood. Sixty departed creatures – including other double dead vampires, pixies, a legendary Navajo stick man and bothersome leprechauns – struggle together to earn brownie points (against our natures) and wait out possible centuries of purgatory.

Okay, I’m not such a social guy and I’ve always been a loner but it’s a roof over my head. This should be simple, right? Wrong.

Being twice-baked means I get to keep some of my vampire powers, and I get a few blessings in the mix, if that’s what you want to call having to get a job and walk around in the daylight like normal people. Trust me, I’ll have a lot to say about that later.

Deborah Riley-Magnus, the author of the book I’m in … I guess you can call her my maker … was nice enough to set up this blog so I can rant when I need to. She seems to think I’m less cooperative when stressed. She’d probably right. And since she’s trying to write the future novels in the Twice Baked Vampire Series, maybe it’s best if I cooperate.

Watch for my rants. Because … life looks real different this time.

Cold in California, COMING SOON!

Cold in California cover, lg