Tag Archive for Fat White Vampire Blues

Japanese Fan Site for Fat White Vampire Blues

Fat White Vampire Blues, Japanese cover

Way, waaaaaaaaaay back in those olden days of 2003, Fat White Vampire Blues was published in a very smart-looking edition (trade paperback with slip cover and built-in bookmark) in Japan, in Japanese. I exchanged several emails with my Japanese translator, who was incredibly sweet and polite and wanted me to explain some New Orleans local lingo so he could properly translate it. I received in the mail a small advance payment (which I greatly appreciated) and a copy of the incredibly neat-o edition of my book (which I think I appreciated even more). Then I never heard another word from that Japanese publisher. They opted not to translate and print Bride of the Fat White Vampire, so I assumed the first Jules Duchon/Fat White Vampire book had dropped like a stone into the pond of the Japanese market and hardly created so much as a ripple.

Well, it must’ve created at least something of a ripple, because I just stumbled across a Japanese fan site dedicated to Fat White Vampire Blues. If you are a fan of Jules Duchon and the series, you should go to this link, even if you don’t read Japanese, because the accompanying photos are so perfectly selected. This Japanese fan has assembled a small portfolio of fat New Orleans culture. Below is a sample: an obese cab driver waiting for his next fare.

Fat cab driver from Japanese FWVB website

Now, if I could just get that Japanese publisher interested in the next Jules Duchon book, which features a trio of Japanese super-heroes (Fat White Vampire Otaku, due out next month, May, 2014), maybe I could be big in Japan!

A The Frisky Article Which Should Appeal to a Certain Plus-Sized Vampire

Perusing the Internets, I came across a link to an evocatively entitled article, “Girl Talk: How Having Sex With a Fat Guy Changed Me.” Before you all go scurrying off to follow the link yourselves, let me warn you that (as with many articles I’ve encountered at this site) the title promises a pay-off way, way beyond what the article itself delivers. I believe this is called “link bait.” (Hey, it works; I’m linking.)

Anyway, the couple of minutes I spent reading this rather disappointingly limp article got me thinking of great “link bait” titles for other articles in this vein, titles the editors of The Frisky might come up with after a few nights spent in bed with copies of Fat White Vampire Blues and Bride of the Fat White Vampire. Here are a few suggestions:

How Watching a Fat Man Transform Himself into 180 Plump White Rats Changed My Feelings About Rodents

How Being Fed Three Quarters of the Menu at Ralph’s Po-Boys Emporium by a Nosferatu of Size Changed My Opinions of Moderately Priced New Orleans Restaurants

How Being Forced to Imagine a Fat, Starving Vampire Change Himself into a Wolf, Scarf Down Three Bags of Stolen Dog Chow, and Then Have Unintentional Doggy-Style Sex with a Stray Mutt Changed My Inclination to Donate to the SPCA’s Spaying and Neutering Fund

How Reading the Tales of a Washed-Up, 450-Pound Vampire Bragging About His Glory Days as a Masked Superhero During World War Two Changed My Willingness to Tolerate Cross-Genre Experiments by First-Time Novelists

Are you listening, Frisky editors? Link bait like this doesn’t come along every day, y’know.

An Unpredictable (But Golden) Reward of Publishing

I’ve written elsewhere on this website about the personal rewards of the act of writing. Few things give me more pleasure than crafting a well-wrought metaphor or paragraph, brainstorming a delightfully appropriate plot development, watching as a character takes on a voice all his or her own and begins telling me where the book should head next, or coming to the end of a final chapter and knowing exactly what the final sentences of a book must be. I believe that if a researcher were to conduct a brain scan of me when I’m in the midst of such moments, the firing of my neurons and the hyperactivity of my serotonin would closely mimic well-documented brain activity during a “runner’s high” or following absorption of a powerful anti-depressant.

Apart from the rewards of writing, what about the rewards of publishing? I’ve also written in my blog that I believe “story” is a shared performance of at least two persons: the writer, and the reader, who must be seduced by the writer’s efforts into injecting his or her own memories, colorations, mental voices, and emotional responses into the act of story. Unless both actors, reader and writer, are giving their fullest energies to the shared performance of story, the gestalt does not achieve its full potential. Without publishing of some sort (which can be as basic as printing up extra copies for one’s workshop group to read), there are no readers, and the act of story remains incomplete. Yet publishing is often drudgery, involving tasks a writer either dislikes or feels far less competent at than the act of writing (such as marketing one’s work, either to agents or editors or directly to prospective readers; dealing with contractual or legal issues, and struggling through layers of bureaucracy to ensure one’s book doesn’t get “lost,” if working with a traditional publisher; learning the intricacies of document conversion to various e-formats and dealing with hired copy editors and cover designers, if self-publishing).

Those are the burdens of publishing. So what are the rewards of publishing? The obvious ones leap to mind. If one is fortunate enough to be chosen by an editor and publishing staff at a traditional publisher, one receives the ego boost of external validation. One may also experience the pleasures of spotting one’s books in a favorite local bookstore, or being approached at a convention by a reader asking to have his copy signed. Sometimes there are financial rewards to be had, although, in the overwhelming majority of cases, if one honestly adds up all the hours of labor spent writing, revising, and marketing one’s book, the pay received per hour comes to considerably less than the minimum wage.

However, there is another reward of publishing, a reward most often hidden from and unknown to the writer, a reward which, by its nature, is completely beyond prediction and cannot be consciously striven towards. It is a reward that may sometimes come from completing the circuit of “story,” that wondrous instance when three elements come into full confluence: the writer’s best efforts at storytelling, the reader’s best efforts at interpretation, and external circumstances which render the reader especially receptive to being drawn into a book’s enchantment.

Sometimes a book, as an act of communication, as an instance of human sharing, can provide a lifeline to someone who needs one.

When did I decide I wanted to be a writer? I began thinking about it when I discovered I could entertain my peers by writing an appealing story. But what solidified my desire was receiving the gift of a remote human touch when I truly needed such a touch, from writers such as Ray Bradbury, Robert Silverberg, and Anne McCaffrey. The clincher was reading Barry N. Malzberg’s The Engines of the Night, which told me about the real-life sadnesses and struggles and failures of the minor figures of the science fiction field, men and women (mostly men) who had dreamed big, achieved some measure of success, occasionally major success, and had then been forgotten. I was a teenager when I first read Barry’s book. The stories he shared with me humanized a whole class of people – writers – whom I’d previously assumed led charmed lives. Paradoxically, reading about the writers Barry referred to as the failures of science fiction only made me want to become a science fiction writer even more. Revealing their flaws and their disappointments made me more optimistic that I could, with enough practice and diligence, at least approach their level of work. Perhaps most wonderful of all was my sense that Barry was speaking directly to me, even though we had never met. That sense of connection made me feel much less alone, at a time in my life when I was very prone to feeling terribly alone.

I thought one of the best things I could possibly do as a writer would be to provide someone else, some stranger whom I might never meet, with the same sense of companionship and connection that Barry’s work had granted me. So at that point I knew I would work towards becoming a writer, even though I was fearfully uncertain then that I would have anything worthwhile or new to say.

Living one’s life and taking the gut punches that experience tends to dole out eventually provide a person with something to say; rarely new, but worth the telling (the best stories, after all, can be repeated again and again without losing any of their power). When I was thirty-two, I experienced a double blow that literally left me gasping on the ground. I broke my left ankle in two places during my first attempt at rollerblading, and my wife of four years announced she wanted a divorce. I’ll never forget the book I was reading at the time: Robert Silverberg’s novel, Hot Sky at Midnight. Not one of Silverberg’s classic works, but it was still Robert Silverberg – and I had read and loved enough of Robert Silverberg’s prose to cling to his familiar voice like I would the edge of a lifeboat. For several weeks after my wife’s announcement, I couldn’t fall asleep without talk radio turned on, without some voices (talking about the stock market or home repairs or whatever) to distract me from the voices in my own head. And I couldn’t remain sanely awake in the empty apartment, a cast on my leg, without having Robert Silverberg’s book open on my lap.

The third book I wrote, and the first I was able to get published, Fat White Vampire Blues, grew directly out of that experience. I took my feelings of abandonment, betrayal, yearning, and loss and my resentment at having to move to a new home, put them to words, and made them funny by voicing them through a 450 pound vampire. It was a form of self-therapy, probably one of the most positive things (apart from rehabbing my leg by swimming at the Loyola University gym) that I did for myself. As soon as I finished them, I mailed chapters to my best friend from high school, Maury, who had recently moved from New Orleans to Upstate New York. Maury was going through a rough emotional patch himself, and he told me that my bumbling, hard-luck vampire, Jules, had become a welcome companion, someone who regularly cheered him up, almost as good as having me in the apartment with him.

Recently, I attended CONtraflow in Gretna, Louisiana, the first fan-run science fiction convention to be held in the New Orleans area since just before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In the hallway outside the dealers’ room, a trio of volunteers from Biloxi’s Coast Con manned a table to advertise their upcoming convention. I hadn’t met any of the three, but I’d attended many Coast Cons, and I stopped by the table to ask them to do a favor for me. A group of Gulf Coast fans, all connected with Coast Con, had tracked me and my family down while we’d been sheltering in Florida after Katrina and had mailed us several care packages. This had touched me very deeply, because I knew the people who had assembled the care packages had most likely been personally devastated by the storm (Katrina came ashore between Gulfport and Bay St. Louis, smashing and inundating most of the Mississippi coast prior to breaking the levees in New Orleans) – yet they had taken the time away from their own troubles to do this for my family and me. I had mentioned this in an Afterword to my most recently published novel, The Good Humor Man, or, Calorie 3501 , and I wanted as many Gulf Coast fans as possible to know how much I had appreciated and would always appreciate what they had done. Knowing I’d likely be unable to attend the next Coast Con in the spring, I asked the three fans at the table to help spread the word for me.

One of the three, a young woman, seemed very eager to talk. She told me she had read Fat White Vampire Blues. She said she had read it a few years ago during an extended hospital stay, when she had been seriously ill. Reading my book had helped her get through her physical and emotional ordeal. It had made her laugh. Reading it and laughing had given her something to look forward to each day she’d been in the hospital. She’d come to think of Jules the vampire as a buddy, someone she happily anticipated spending time with.

I thought back to what Maury had told me years ago, before the book had been published. Being able to provide a modicum of entertainment, diversion, and emotional relief for my best friend, welcome and wonderful as that was, was not too unexpected. But to be able to do the same for a complete stranger, a person I had never had any direct contact with… that was another thing entirely. That almost seemed like a form of magic. Or a blessing. I had sent my book out into the world, a message in a bottle, not knowing how the message would be received, nor who would receive it. And here I was, a thousand miles away from my home, talking with a stranger, only to learn that my effort at storytelling had achieved something well beyond my modest ambitions for it. It had helped shepherd a fellow human being through a harrowing ordeal.

In moments of frustration, disappointment, and self-pity, I sometimes think of myself as a “garbage can novelist,” a writer who had his shot at commercial success, came close but missed, and whose manuscripts now get endlessly circulated around the publishing world, generating rejection after rejection. But I’ll have a much harder time considering myself a failed writer now. My various agents have told me that comedy is a hard sell, risky in the marketplace, because humor is so subjective. I’m sure there’s a lot of truth to that. But now I know I made someone laugh when they really, really needed to laugh.

And how can anyone consider himself a failure when he has done for someone else what the heroes of his younger days did for him?

Seeing New Orleans After a Two Year Absence

Not everything is A-OK in New Orleans, but lots of things are slowly getting better

Yes, indeed, I know what it means to miss New Orleans…

Not that life in Northern Virginia has been bad. Far from it. In some key ways, life has improved for my family since our move. But no other place can fully replace New Orleans – its people, its neighborhoods, its music, its festivals, its profusion of places to hang out and simply be. I tell people that life is just bigger in New Orleans than it is in other places; the highs there are much loftier than average, and the lows there are very, very low. It is a very romantic place to live. Fabulously fun if you’re single and have few responsibilities; tough as hell if you’re trying to raise a family.

So what’s changed in the past two years?

Once the site of Royal Street News, where Jules bought his big girl porn

Everywhere I drove, the streets are getting torn up and remade. General de Gaulle in Algiers on the West Bank. Loyola Avenue and South Rampart Street downtown. South Carrollton Avenue in Uptown. The treacherous old Huey B. Long Bridge over the Mississippi, connecting Elmwood and Bridge City, built during the Depression, is at last being upgraded to the standards of the latter half of the twentieth century (always a terror to drive across due to its narrow lanes, built for the cars of 1935, maybe it’ll be less stomach-shriveling a couple of years from now). Several new library branches are finally replacing old libraries that got flooded out during the Katrina disaster. I saw one going up in my old neighborhood, at the edge of Village Aurora in Algiers, still a steel skeleton but at least progressing. All good news; the tail end of all that FEMA money is finally reaching the streets.

"Fangs station" at Boutique du Vampyre

Oak Street in Carrollton is bustling, busier and more full of shops and restaurants than I’ve ever seen it before; it reminds me of what the section of Magazine Street between Louisiana and Washington Avenues used to look like, funky and colorful (before it went a little too upscale). Boutique du Vampyre has moved from Orleans to Toulouse in the French Quarter, gaining a little space in the transition. My favorite “big girls” stripper bar in the Quarter is now a memory, the place where it was on Decatur in the Quarter empty and forlorn-looking. The Maple Street Children’s Books Shop is also gone, apparently done in by the Uptown Borders Books during its brief, two-year existence on St. Charles Avenue. There are now designated bicycle lanes on Carrollton Avenue and St. Charles Avenue.

Maureen Remoulade's house in the upper French Quarter

What hasn’t changed in the past two years?

P.J.’s Coffee on General de Gaulle still serves a great cup of joe, and the gals behind the counter there are still pretty and friendly. Airline Highway (yes, I know it’s been renamed Airline Drive, but I’ll always think of it as Airline Highway) still retains its beat up used cars lots and seedy motels. Octavia Books is still one of the country’s best independent bookstores. More Fun Comics is still more fun than your average comics shop. Kim Son Vietnamese Restaurant still has a menu it would take you a year to sample every item from if you ate one item per visit and went five times a week. The streets throughout New Aurora in Algiers are still in crappy shape and will bust out your transmission and your muffler if you drive over them faster than twenty miles per hour. It is still almost impossible to eat a bad meal in the French Quarter (you can if you try, but you have to really try). The derelict bowling alley on the West Bank Expressway across from the Quality Inn (formerly the Clarion Inn, formerly the Holiday Inn) is still derelict, but all the small businesses in the shabby shopping center surrounding it still seem to be doing a surprisingly darn good business, including Pho Tau Bay Restaurant and Barry Manufacturing (where I bought a terrific sports coat for my birthday). The fire station at the corner of Shirley Avenue and General de Gaulle in Algiers still doesn’t have a repaired roof, more than six years after Hurricane Katrina, despite being only blocks away from the site of the former FEMA Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office.

Birthday dinner at Kim Son: standing are Gwen Moore, Fritz Ziegler, me, and Rob Cerio; seated are Marian Moore and Cherie Cerio

Something else that hasn’t changed? The wonderful willingness of strangers to enter into conversations, and of friends to spend hours talking in any reasonably accommodating space. I reconnected with many old friends during my visit – Fritz Ziegler, Marian Moore, Marc McCandless, Diana Rowland, and Gwen Moore from my old writing workshop group, the one founded by George Alec Effinger back in 1988; and Gulf Coast and Southern fandom friends such as Maxy Pertuit, Frank Schiavo, Raymond Boudreau, Allan Gilbreath, Lee Martindale, and Rebecca Smith. I also made some wonderful new friends at CONtraflow – John Guidry, Michael Scott, Dean Sweatman, Rob and Cherie Cerio, Jennie Faries, and Kalila Smith.

The reliably nutty Clover Grill on Bourbon Street, where Mayor Roy Rio and Lily went to be naughty

But one of the most endearing and unique qualities of New Orleans and the surrounding region is that you are perfectly capable of meeting (and very likely to meet) new friends, or at least very friendly acquaintances, virtually anywhere you go. I stopped in for a quick lunch at a little French Quarter luncheonette on Dauphine Street where I used to go when I worked at FEMA downtown, only noticing that it had a new name and new ownership after I’d sat down and looked at the menu. I ended up enjoying one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth – a redfish slider with dill mayo – and a great conversation with the owner, Billy, who had opened the place, Nosh, only a year earlier. I wanted to buy myself a sport coat to replace one I’d torn a hole in and ended up at Barry Manufacturing at 95 West Bank Expressway, across from my convention hotel. I used to be in sales myself (I sold Saturn cars and trucks for a brief time), so I appreciate a sales job done right. Alphonse at Barry did me right; I saw one jacket I fell in love with, but it fit me like a glove, with no give whatsoever, and Alphonse was honest enough to tell me I’d have problems if I so much as gained a pound. He didn’t have the same jacket one size bigger, darn it, but I liked his stock, and I liked his prices, I liked him, so I looked until I found another jacket I liked almost as much, and that fit me much better. Sale!

Making the donuts at Marrero's Coffee &, a West Bank spot Jules Duchon wouldn't mind hanging out in

And then there was Coffee &, a little coffee and donut shop on Manhattan Boulevard in Marrero that I’d driven past hundreds of times when I lived on the West Bank. I’d never gotten around to stopping in there, even though I’m a big coffee drinker; I think their tinted windows sort of put me off, making me dubious of what I’d find if I opened their door. But Saturday morning I found myself in their strip center and hungry for breakfast and desperate for coffee, so I said, “What the hell?” And you know what? I loved the place! As soon as I walked in and saw the counter and the counter staff and the selection of donuts and the signs listing the breakfast specials, I said to myself, “Ooohh, nice, I like this joint…” I sat at the counter near the door into the kitchen, where I could watch the staff mix the batter for the donuts. I got scrambled eggs and hash browns and coffee (with endless refills, of course) for less than five bucks. Plus, I had a super time kibitzing with the staff. You know you’re in a good spot when one of the customers sitting next to you is an employee, there during her own time, who came in for coffee and breakfast because she likes the place and loves the people who work there. A neat bonus was that Coffee & sells coffee travel mugs exactly of the type I’ve been looking for – all plastic, so safe for the microwave, with a sturdy closable top that won’t leak on me. Liked ‘em so much I bought two to bring back to Virginia with me (the second one for Dara, who deserved a new coffee mug).

My only disappointments with my trip were that I wasn’t able to bring my family down with me – all three of my boys were born in New Orleans – and that I couldn’t squeeze in more time to visit with my mother-in-law and my cousins than I did. And there were old favorite bookstores and coffeehouses I didn’t get to. I’ll just have to find excuses for more trips, I guess. The place still feels like home, and I suspect it always will.

Country Flame, one of the best spots for cheap eats in the Quarter

Sinead and Jules: the Emails!

Sinead: lookin' for LURVE...


Well, following my post of last Monday, when I attempted to make a Love Connection between Sinead O’Connor, currently on a self-professed “man hunt,” and my old buddy, Jules Duchon, the transatlantic emails flew fast and furious! Romances flare so hot and fast in this Internet Age; then burn out just as quickly. Looks like it turned out to be a case of, “close, but no cigar.” We all tried. Jules tried. Sinead tried. I tried. At least we all parted friends.

With the permission of the two parties most directly involved, I am publishing their email correspondence, in hopes that star-crossed lovers everywhere can take some solace and wisdom from the thoughts exchanged between Jules and Sinead.
___________________________________________________________________________
jules_vampomatic@yahoo.com: Hi, Sinead. This is Jules Duchon. Andy Fox’s friend. Andy gave me your email address and said I should write you. He showed me your list of requirements in a boyfriend. There was nothing there I couldn’t handle. Your pics are cute, by the way. Glad you aren’t bald anymore. Bald women give me the willies. So you like big “snuggly” guys, huh? They don’t come much bigger or snugglier than me. Oh, I have to admit (this is sort of embarrassing), I’m not really familiar with your music. I’m more of a traditional jazz guy than a pop music guy. But Andy played me one of your CDs, “Am I Not Your Girl?” The one that’s all jazz standards? It was really nice. I like it. You’ve got a great voice. If the rest of you is half as good as that voice, I think I’m in love.

sinead_iamwonderful@me.com: I’m the kind of woman who is unfortunately terminally unsuitable for the role of wife or girlfriend. I am accursed. But I have begged God, that while he rightly banishes me from good men like yourself or Robert Downey Junior or Adam, could he salvage me a few from the section in-between guys like youse and guys like the one this week who because he is living with the mother of his children offered me ” a once off experience which will guarantee you years of masturbatory material and will involve you crying in pain and being humiliated in a corner” Yikes!

jules_vampomatic@yahoo.com: Well, y’know, at this point, I’m not really looking for something big-time serious, so I don’t think that’s a problem. See, my last girlfriend (actually, my “vampire mother,” if you want to get formal about it), Maureen, she kind of broke my heart. So I’m sort of looking to play the field before jumping in the deep end again, if you know what I mean.

sinead_iamwonderful@me.com: I don’t want my not being suitable wife or girlfriend material to mean I never again get kissed so much that I have to go around the whole next day with fat lips on me, giggling like an idiot, mad from being rogered so hard all night and me voice ruined from screaming. I don’t want to never again have to wear a polo neck to hide love bites from my daughter so she won’t know I love sex. I don’t want to never be snuggled. Or told I’m gorgeous. Or have no reason to shave my legs. I don’t want to never bury my nose in a stubbly man’s face again. I want the end of my nose red raw from sniffing smelly men’s stubbly faces. I want my whole face and neck sore from stubbly men sniffing me!

jules_vampomatic@yahoo.com: I really like it when you talk about “love bites.” I’m REALLY into love bites. Also, I’m just fine with rubbing my stubble all over your neck and face. Kind of hard to avoid it, in my line of work. If you know what I mean.

sinead_iamwonderful@me.com: Baby, I’m supposed to write a follow-up to last week’s plea for a man, not a yam, but I’m so inundated with offers that I’m holed-up (sorry) in Planet Of The Apes, the only beauty parlour which will take me, and even then only round the back door in the middle of the night, but then I like a bit of that now and then don’t I?

jules_vampomatic@yahoo.com: Hey, great, I really like the Planet of the Apes movies, too. But only the original series, the ones from the 1970s. I thought the remake from a few years ago, the one with that Marky Mark guy, kind of sucked, big time. Don’t know about this latest one, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Haven’t gotten out to see it yet. Maybe when it lands in the cheap theaters. Can’t say I remember a beauty parlor in any of the original movies. Oh, wait, didn’t Zira go to a beauty parlor in Los Angeles in Escape from the Planet of the Apes? I forgot about that. Sorry.

sinead_iamwonderful@me.com: But I need to finesse my requirements based upon this week’s responses to my plea. I want to ‘make lurve’. Sweet and filthy LURVE. With sweet and filthy men. If u don’t have both sweetness and filth don’t apply. I want ‘sweet lurve’ with music on. Say it again Sinead .. Like u really mean it this time.. I WANT TO BE LURVED STUPID BY SWEET FILTHY MEN WITH MUSIC ON. Ok? We clear? Ahem… Good. Now I wanna know what music you’d lurve me with.

jules_vampomatic@yahoo.com: I would LURVE to make LURVE to you with some good music on the stereo. You like New Orleans music? Do you get WWOZ radio on the Internet over there in Ireland? I’ve got this buddy, Porkchop Chambonne, who does a sort of traditional jazz thing mixed with some old school R&B. He’s really cool and a really great guy, too. Another local guy I really like is Mem Shannon. Although I’m not sure he’s local anymore; seems to spend a lot of time in Memphis. Lots of New Orleans musicians moved out to Austin or Atlanta after Katrina. Real bummer.

sinead_iamwonderful@me.com: Im revising the language from ‘ humping’ to ‘lurve’ because humping became misleading. Am a bawdy thing alright on twitter etc, and a joker, but in fact secretly I’m quite a good girl. Just naughty enough. And I wanna be ‘lurved’

jules_vampomatic@yahoo.com: I am totally into that LURVING thing, like I said. What kind of food do you like? You look like a nice, healthy, husky girl. Do you like New Orleans food? Jambalaya? Fried oyster po’ boys? I know some really great local joints around here.

sinead_iamwonderful@me.com: I promise to behave like a lady unless you kiss me and then i can only promise i will melt and the ESB will have to shut the whole country off for the night and a day or so after.

jules_vampomatic@yahoo.com: Well, I sure can appreciate a lady. Not sure what the “ESB” is, though. Or how they would shut the whole country off. You’re in Ireland, right? So, is “ESB” “Electricity Sending Board?” “European Socialization Bureau?” Did I come close? I’m not always that good a guesser, and I’m not too familiar with European stuff. Maureen used to make cracks about my being a “spud head.”

sinead_iamwonderful@me.com: Please will you try to make the ‘normal’ people understand that anyone even remotely connected to the music business are so because we are intellectually and emotionally unsuitable even for criminality. We are morons with 16 year old adolescent senses of humour, which are only made worse by attention being paid. We are as children whose unwanted behaviour should be ignored.

jules_vampomatic@yahoo.com: I totally understand where you’re coming from. Maureen always used to rag on me for being “immature” and “unfocused.” Like she was my mother or something… well, I mean, she WAS my vampire mother, but that’s different. Anyway, like I said before, some of my best friends are musicians. And my sense of humor is kind of “adolescent,” too. We got that in common, I think.

sinead_iamwonderful@me.com: My father often said affectionately of me when I was a child ” you could bring her anywhere twice. Second time to apologise. Never a truer word was spoken and it’s what I want as my epitaph. I did once ask Alan Shatter to spank me. Years ago. Cuz he’s a ride. And no I don’t think it’s inappropriate to sexualise our politicians. I think it’s most appropriate we should. They should feel good going to work. If i was Alan or Enda today being discussed in such terms by a fine filly like myself I’d be very flattered. Of course Alan turned me down. As sensibly, did Adam Clayton (the only do-able one in the band). I wonder if he’d known I would have let him in the tradesman’s entrance would he have stopped to think about it for a millisecond.

jules_vampomatic@yahoo.com: Maybe things are different over here in America. I mean, the only American politician I remember getting sexualized was Bill Clinton back in the 1990s. Oh, well, yeah, then there was Senator David Vitter and his hookers. Still ended up voting for the guy, even after that whole D.C. Madam thing blew up in his face. Better the dog you know, I told myself. And then there was that Anthony Weiner guy, who emailed or twittered or something a picture of himself in his underwear to some underage girl. He was up in Brooklyn. Had to yank himself out of Congress. What a dumbass. So, well, maybe Ireland and the U.S. aren’t so different after all. You’ve given me something to think about.

sinead_iamwonderful@me.com: I must say, my greatest amusement this week is that on this day last week I had 3 followers on twitter. since I mentioned anal sex I have almost 2000! The funniest question I was asked this week was ” arent you insane to talk about anal sex in public?” Answer? No! Rude? Yes. Bold? Yes. ” inappropriate? Arguable. But insane? Why THAT’S insane!

jules_vampomatic@yahoo.com: Uh, anal sex? You’re Catholic, right? I hope I don’t come across as some kind of a prude, but I’m really a “missionary position” kinda guy. I’m pretty traditional between the sheets. Oh, there have been times when I’ve strayed off the straight-and-narrow. There was this one time I was stuck in Baton Rouge, after Malice X burned down my house. I had nothing to eat, I mean, I couldn’t find any necks to put a bite on. So I stole some dog food and transformed into a wolf, just to get something into my stomach. Well, to make a long story short, while I was in my wolf form, I ended up humping this stray bitch that was in heat. Couldn’t help myself. Totally out of my control. So, yeah, I’ve done it “doggy style,” I guess. But that’s about as wild as I get.

sinead_iamwonderful@me.com: I want you to clarify for all who may be concerned that Sinead is in fact 99.999% vaginally oriented but has experienced the odd shall we say ‘bark up the wrong tree’ and immensely enjoyed it. Apart from that and an as yet un expressed desire to get royally rogered while wearing nothing but stilletos, by a man wearing a regular business suit which she could clime all over, and an intense enjoyment of light to not especially painful spanking, is as “kinky” as the girl gets.

jules_vampomatic@yahoo.com: You know Sinead, you sound like a really nice girl, and I sure appreciate your emailing me back and forth, but I’m thinking, maybe we aren’t too compatible after all. Maybe it’s my Catholic school upbringing (they were really, really STRICT back in the 1890s), but I just don’t think I’d be comfortable trying to meet your needs. Anyway, I checked out your blog, and I see you’re into Dave Chapelle, big time, and you dig black guys. I’ve got a good friend who’s black. Actually, two good friends who are black, if you also count Porkchop Chambonne, but I think Porkchop is too old for you, maybe. And he might be on the traditional side, too, like me, when it comes to pleasing a woman. Anyway, this other guy I want to mention, his name is Preston, and he’s a vampire, like me. But he’s black. And he grew up in the 1960s, not the 1890s, so he’s like, more liberal than I am when it comes to the sort of stuff you were talking about. Nice guy. I don’t think he looks much like Dave Chapelle, but maybe if you squint real hard…? He’s not a bad looker, not really. Anyway, I took the liberty of passing along your email address. So maybe you’ll be hearing from him. Good luck finding that special guy you’re looking for. Been nice emailing with you. Do another jazz record, okay? That would be great.
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If you’re of a mind to, follow the rest of Sinead’s epic quest for a man on her personal blog. Like Jules, I wish this outspoken and very talented lady all the luck!

Sinead and Jules: Is It a Match?

Sinead O'Connor, hungry for a big red-hot hunk of room-temperature man

Breaking News! An update to my post of August 9, 2011, “Wild-Ass Rumor of the Day: Is Sinead O’Connor Angling for a Role in ‘Fat White Vampire Blues?’

I think we have a Love Connection in the making, my loyal readers. This is Big. This is Historic. I honestly believe that Sinead and my dear friend, Jules Duchon, can be the Cathy and Heathcliff of the new millennium. Or at least the stars of a new hit reality show.

On August 20, 2011, Sinead wrote the following post on her website, entitled “Sinead on a Manhunt:”

“20.08.11 IS SINEAD ABOUT TO HUMP HER TRUCK?

“The man who runs my site will protectively suggest I may want to visit the bathroom for a few intimate moments and a subsequent cold shower before deciding to post this on the site but I will of course ignore him as it’s too late now and the her-moans are having the best of me.

“I recently read of a woman in America who married and regularly humps her truck. I don’t yet own a truck but I’m beginning to understand her head space. And am worried I too may be so desperate for sex that within days I might run up the road and hump Bray Cab’s whole fleet in one hour. Forty quid clear-up afterward. Can’t say fairer than that. Except maybe a photo for their web-site. Which would be fine.

“My shit-uation sexually/affectionately speaking is so dire that inanimate objects are starting to look good as are inappropriate and/or unavailable men and/or inappropriate and/or unavailable fruits and vegetables. I tell you yams are looking like the winners. I actually do know a woman who is a performance artist from America. I have a photo of her being escorted arm in arm by two uk police man onto a plane back home cuz she humped a yam in the middle of her show. I just know that’s going to happen to me if I don’t take drastic action.

“Needless to say what I do for a living makes it hard for me to find men that only want me cuz they like my (legendary) arse. Yet I am in the peak of my sexual prime and way too lovely to be living like a nun. and it’s VERY depressing.

“So I’ve been pondering on whether or not I should join some Irish dating agencies. Of course if I did it would end up in papers so I may as well save myself the registration fees. Besides which a friend of mine uses dating agencies and half the men actually have wives.

Sinead, you and Jules could make beautiful music together...

“Am in desperate need of a very sweet sex-starved man.

“He must be no younger than 44.

“Must be living in Ireland but I don’t care if he is from the planet Zog.

“Must not be named Brian or Nigel.

“Must be blind enough to think I’m gorgeous.

“Has to be employed. Am not fussy in what capacity generally but vehicle clampers need not apply.

“Leather trouser- wearing gardai, fire-men, rugby players, and Robert Downey-Junior will be given special consideration. As will literally anyone who applies.

“I like me a hairy man so buffed and/or waxed need not apply.

“No hair gel.

“No hair dryer use.

“No hair dye

“Stubble is a non-negotiable must. Any removal of stubble would be upsetting for me.

“No after shave.

“Must be very ‘snuggly’. Not just wham-bam.

“Must be wham-bam.

“Has to like his mother.

“Has to like his ex and or mother/s of his children.

“Has to live in own place.

“I must end now as I have a hot date with a banana

“Applicants can apply through my secretary at vampyahslayah@yahoo.com”

Sinead, I am honestly sorry to hear that such a talented, interesting, and attractive woman as yourself is in such a state of needfulness. Although I’m not a talented, interesting, and attractive woman myself, I’ve been there, believe me. I know where you’re coming from. Thank God, I’m married now; otherwise, I might try to pass myself off as your ideal beau. Actually, you and my wife could be sisters. If you were Russian-Jewish instead of Irish. And if you’d had a nose job. Dara has a gorgeous voice, too! She used to sing in our synagogue choir. Maybe you’d consider hiring her as a backup singer for your next album? But enough about me. This all about you. You and Jules. Let’s take a look at your list of requirements. I really do think my friend Jules stacks up quite well in terms of what you’re looking for. Here are those requirements again, with my notations in brackets:

Am in desperate need of a very sweet sex-starved man. [Jules is nothing if not sex-starved; please read the first half of Fat White Vampire Blues. And his friend Rory “Doodlebug” Duchon, who knows what a woman wants, considers Jules to be very sweet.]

He must be no younger than 44. [Jules is well over 100 years old.]

Must be living in Ireland but I don’t care if he is from the planet Zog. [Lives in New Orleans, but is of Irish ancestry–is this good enough?]

Must not be named Brian or Nigel. [Check.]

Must be blind enough to think I’m gorgeous. [Thinks Maureen is gorgeous. She is a four hundred pound stripper. Might find you a bit on the skinny side, but he is a man broad in his tastes. Don’t think you have much to worry about in this department, Sinead. Really, I’d let you know if there were any concerns.]

Has to be employed. Am not fussy in what capacity generally but vehicle clampers need not apply. [Drives his own cab. Self-employed in a virtually recession-proof business!]

Leather trouser- wearing gardai, fire-men, rugby players, and Robert Downey-Junior will be given special consideration. As will literally anyone who applies. [Not sure whether leather pants are available off the rack in Jules’s size, but I’m sure there’s a leather shop in the Quarter where he could have them custom made.]

I like me a hairy man so buffed and/or waxed need not apply. [Check.]

No hair gel. [Check. Hair gel is too “Bela Lugosi” for Jules.]

No hair dryer use. [The dude wouldn’t know what a hair dryer is.]

No hair dye [He’s happy to go silver. Looks distinguished on a vampire.]

Stubble is a non-negotiable must. Any removal of stubble would be upsetting for me. [Jules is not known for the consistency of his shaving habits.]

No after shave. [See above.]

Must be very ‘snuggly’. Not just wham-bam. [Jules is extremely snuggly, all 450 pounds of him.]
Must be wham-bam. [How can you not be “wham-bam” when you’re Jules’s size?]

Has to like his mother. [Jules basically worshipped his mother. Had a portrait of her over his mantlepiece.]

Has to like his ex and or mother/s of his children. [Jules risked permanent death to avenge the destruction of his ex-significant other, Maureen, by a very, very mean vampire.]

Has to live in own place. [Had his own house, inherited from his mother, but it was burned down by Malice X. However, basically inherited the French Quarter home of Maureen, his ex-significant other, after he lost his own house.]

Not only that, but, like yourself, Jules is a partially lapsed Catholic with a very strong emotional tie to the Church. As you probably know, religious compatibility is a key to a successful long-term relationship.

And hey, check out that email address that you list: vampyahslayah@yahoo.com !!! Vampire Slayer?? Could anything be more obvious? This isn’t merely a woman who wants to star in Fat White Vampire Blues… this is a woman who yearns for the intimate touch of the fat white vampire himself. Don’t be coy, Sinead!

Sinead, I am not a licensed matchmaker, but I have passed along your contact information and your list of requirements to Jules. Please expect to receive an email soon (but after sundown, Central Daylight Savings Time, of course).

Update: Dear readers, I have the emails to share with you. Warning: may not be suitable for viewing at work!

Wild-Ass Rumor of the Day: Sinead O’Connor Angling for Role in “Fat White Vampire” Movie

In the wild jungles of the entertainment industry, it is often virtually impossible to separate truth from fiction, accurate prognostication from rumor, baseless speculation, or bald propaganda. However, as the caretaker for the at least somewhat beloved “Fat White Vampire” stable of characters, I feel it is my duty to share with you, the readers and fans, any nugget of potentially precious information which may indicate that you will soon have the pleasure of witnessing your literary favorites up on the big, BIG screen.

Projects can languish in development hell for years and years. However, when a star of the first rank puts his or her imprimatur on a property, touches that property with the magic finger of approval, the property, like Victor Frankenstein’s monster after its infusion of electricity, shudders to life.

nymphlike Sinead O'Connor in 1990


Who?” you ask. Which major star has expressed interest in portraying a major character from Fat White Vampire Blues? Why, none other than Sinead O’Connor, Irish pop singing phenomenon from the 1990s. I understand she quite desperately wants to portray the role of Maureen. To convince backers she can fill the shoes of this weighty role, she has put herself on a strict dietary regimen patterned after that pioneered by Robert De Niro in his Academy Award-winning classic, Raging Bull.

Sinead O'Connor today, ready for her big role as Maureen


I happen to think her new look is quite fetching. Her wholesale adoption of the Goth persona is very endearing and should appeal to the fans of the “Fat White Vampire” books. Of course, she’ll need to ditch that prominent Celtic cross when she goes before the cameras. But that is a minor detail, one which pales in comparison with the thespian dedication she has shown in pursuing her physical makeover.

Authors rarely have any say in the casting of films made from their novels. But I wish to express a hearty “two thumbs-up!” for Sinead as Maureen. I’m looking forward to seeing it.
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Update: From Sinead’s own blog, a description of the kind of man she’s looking for… and he sounds just like a certain JULES DUCHON… Yes, the similarities between Sinead’s ideal beau and our very own Jules are too striking to be denied…

Again, Vintage Laptop Madness

1989 ad for the magnificent Poqet PC, touting advantages over its rivals

We’ve reached the midpoint of Vintage Laptop Computer Madness Week here at Fantastical Andrew Fox.com. Today’s installment zeroes in on one of my greatest acquisitions ever, the fabulous Poqet PC. This was the tiny machine with the wonderful keyboard on which I would compose first drafts of Fat White Vampire Blues, Bride of the Fat White Vampire, and The Good Humor Man, or, Calorie 3501.

This installment has lots of juicy stuff in it, for those of you with a special appreciation for the inside dope; I tell some stories on myself here. I get divorced. I get depressed. I get on an antidepressant. I start dating again. I begin writing Fat White Vampire Blues. My cute Poqet PC helps me score with a French Canadian doctoral student. I rewrite her dissertation in linguistics. She dumps me. I buy my first house. I get what seems like a great idea… that leads me into a whole heap of trouble down the line…

You can find installment three of “Lust for a Laptop, or the Madness of the Compulsive Collector” here.

New Stuff Added to Articles and Stories Pages


I’ve posted a couple of new items. I retrieved “The Secret Origin of Jules Duchon, Vampire! Or, How Jules Duchon, New Orleans Bloodsucker, Got So Darned Fat” from my old website and added it to the Articles page. I also added my personal favorite of the short stories I’ve written, a piece I’m really proud of called “The Man Who Would Be Kong.” It first appeared in SCIFI.COM back in 2005, in the final monthly edition of the online fiction magazine SCI FICTION, edited by Ellen Datlow. I snuck in right before the powers-that-be pulled the plug on one of the best magazines going.

Jules vs. Breezy


I added the only Fat White Vampire short story I’ve ever written, “Jules Versus Breezy,” which also serves as a little memorial piece for my very dear friend, Robert Borsodi. To me, Bob was one of the people who made New Orleans such a fantastical, enchanting place. He had operated bohemian coffeehouses in ten different locations by the time he arrived in New Orleans in the late 1970s; he’d founded his first in New Haven in 1959, when he’d been a student at Yale, before he went into the Marines (it is so very, very hard for me to imagine Bob Borsodi in the United States Marines; but Bob, like Walt Whitman, contained multitudes). He opened his first New Orleans coffeehouse on Daneel Street, next door to what was then the Penny Post and is now the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse, a folk music club. His second, best known location was on Freret Street, about a half mile east of Tulane and Loyola Universities. It was a huge, warehouse-like space, with the espresso bar in front and a stage in back big enough for full scale plays. Bob lived in a kind of hidden alcove above the stage, with access to the building’s roof. The entire coffeehouse served as a colossal collage, an ever-evolving art installation made up of whatever Bob and his regulars felt like gluing to the walls and furniture. I first met Bob in 1983, while I was an undergraduate at Loyola, shortly after I moved into an apartment in the neighborhood. I did my laundry at a shabby little washateria next to Bob’s place, and while I was waiting for my wash to finish, I’d go next door for a cup of tea or an Italian soda and a chat with Bob. He didn’t have his beard then, and he was open during the afternoons, which he wasn’t in later years, although the place was mostly deserted before about seven at night. He was interested in Loyola because he thought his son might attend. We got to be pretty good friends over the next three years. Upon graduation, I swore to him that I intended to move back to New Orleans someday. I don’t think he believed me.

The next time I saw Bob was after I moved to Northport, New York in Long Island’s Suffolk County. Bob had taken a crew of his friends and regulars to perform one of his plays, Musk, at Theater for the New City in the East Village in Manhattan. The stage set looked just like Borsodi’s Coffeehouse in New Orleans. I immediately felt homesick. I invited Bob and his lady friend, Sara Beth, to come stay with me at my apartment in Northport. They stayed the night and walked around the harbor and the old downtown. I promised again that I would move back to New Orleans someday. Again, I don’t think Bob believed me.

Less than two years later, I picked myself up and plunked myself back in New Orleans, with no plans or prospects other than finishing my first novel. . . at Borsodi’s Coffeehouse. Bob was really the one who drew me back to New Orleans. So I have much to thank him for, since everything that is most wonderful in my life has its roots in my time in New Orleans. I’ll write more about my return to New Orleans and my experiences at Borsodi’s Coffeehouse in an essay I’m finishing up called “Lust for a Laptop, or the Madness of the Obsessive Collector.”

I wrote the little story here linked to in 1998, for Bob’s sixtieth birthday. Four years later, suffering from incurable cancer that had spread through much of his body, in unbearable pain, Bob threw himself off the Hale Boggs Bridge in Luling, about thirty miles west of New Orleans. The city hasn’t quite been itself since.

New Essay Added to Articles Page

I’ve posted a new essay, A New Hope, A Different Tack, to the Articles Page. It’s a bit of “where I’ve been” mixed with some “where I am now” and a dash of “where I hope to be soon.” I hope you enjoy it.

Welcome to My New Online “Den”

Well, well, it’s been a while. . .

Aside from little forays here and there — some interviews, commenting on other folks’ blogs — I’ve been “off the net” for a few years now.  My original website, erected in 2003 to coincide with the publication of my first book, Fat White Vampire Blues, died three years later in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  My webmaster owned a beautiful, historic home in the Bywater neighborhood, which ended up covered in seven feet of flood waters after the levees broke.  He vanished, and I, distracted by a bazillion post-disaster concerns, allowed my website to languish, failing even to pay the renewal fee on my domain name.

Gentle readers, here’s a hint — don’t let your domain name expire.  It will be immediately colonized by a porn site.  I began receiving emails from dismayed or bemused readers and friends: “Hey, what’s the deal?  Did you go into the porn business???”  No, I did not.  However, my former domain name, which I will not list here because I have no desire to send more business to the rascals who took over my abandoned property, is now forever associated with bad photography, plain paper wrappings, and men living in their mother’s basements (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  I know this for certain because, during my recent exertions putting together this new site, I went to the Internet Wayback Machine in an effort to salvage materials from my old site.  I attempted to do this at the office (not wise, but I’ve been eager to get this site up and running).  Taxpayers, rest easy — your government has very secure filters to block employees from viewing porn.  Even when I directed the Internet Wayback Machine to take me back to 2003, to years before I abandoned my domain name, still the electronic nanny blocked my access and informed me that I had attempted to view porn.  There I was, trying to salvage old articles about George Alec Effinger and my obsession of collecting vintage laptop computers, and the censor built into my network was berating me for trying to view porn, porn, PORN.  Let that be a lesson to you.  Pay your bills in a timely fashion, particularly for your domain name.

After the pornification of my website, I took to blogging at the Night Shades Books message boards, which, in the middle years of the last decade, were a thriving community of hundreds of science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers and fans.  I used their boards as an emergency communication tool to reach friends and family during the months my immediate family and I were trapped away from our home in Katrina’s wake, first in Albuquerque and later in Miami, and my posts evolved into an ongoing commentary on being exiled, returning home, and participating in the rebuilding of New Orleans.  Unfortunately, an invasion of spambots utterly infested the message boards sometime in 2007, driving out the majority of participants, and eventually Night Shade shut their boards down.  The demise of that community was a real shame.  Lucius Shepherd, all by himself, had nearly 30,000 posts on his boards and sub-boards by the time the end came.  Maybe this August, when the next anniversary of Katrina approaches, I’ll try to salvage some of those old disaster-related posts and provide a sampling here.

Anyway, over the next few weeks, I’ll be unboxing my old knicknacks, touching up their paint, and displaying them on the freshly dusted shelves of my new den here, along with lots of new stuff.  Among the new stuff will be an article called “A New Hope, A New Tack,” which explains where I’ve been these past few years, what I’ve been up to, and why I’ve chosen now to get back into the swing of blogging.

Meanwhile, I’ll be doing my darndest to get the hang of WordPress.  I’m liking it so far.  A lot.  Putting up my own site is a much different experience than paying someone to do it for me.  Rather than having it updated three or four times a year, I’ll be fiddling with this den of mine constantly, moving the furniture, adjusting the pictures on the walls, and patching drafty spots around the windows.  I expect it’ll be a lot of fun.

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