It’s worse than I Thought


The illness is hanging with me. I’m going in for more testing between now and April 4th to see how bad it really is. I’ll keep in touch, but slower than I would like because I have so little energy lately.

On a different note: Visa has finally come forward saying that they had nothing to do with PayPal’s decision (supposedly forced by the credit card companies…. the same companies that pay for porn everywhere) to suddenly censor the content on SmashWords where rape or bestiality or incest… obviously targeting authors of erotica.

Discover and MasterCard have yet to come forward, but I think PayPal is hiding behind a lie.

Thankfully today PayPal has reversed some of their requirements. The latest update can be found at http://www.SmashWords.com/press/release/32.

A big thanks to SmashWords for holding out for a solution that didn’t involve blatant censorship!

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Moving soon, I hope—SO tired


I have my own domain now.  http://www.ravenmarlow.com.  After it’s up, I’ll double post everything for a month or two, but then this site will retire, probably.

I’m so tired from staring at a computer screen all day for work and then all night for homework (read all my classwork tonight for one week and part of last week’s too…Yes, I was late).  My eyes and head …and well my whole body hurts from Fibromyalgia.  The weather front moving in has me barely able to move, so instead of writing tonight I’m going to post my journal entry for last night:

Can't we all just get along??

Class today—well it sucked.  Apparently even gadgets on a desk piss off the professor, whether using them or not.  LOVE being treated like I’m 2. NOT!!  Ah well…the next class has a great professor, but I feel clueless on some things while my much younger classmates seem to already know everything. MAN I feel OLD!!  Remind me again WHY I’m in school…anybody?

I’m beginning to see it as little more than a roadblock to my writing.  Unfortunately, there are financial reasons why I really need to stay in, so stay in I will.

Besides…what if I can’t make it?  What if I never make a career in writing?  I read an article the other day that showed how a certain company is making it all but impossible for new authors to gain success.  Sure they can publish, but without a name, who’s going to buy your work?

Basically, either you already have it or you never will.  It doesn’t bode well for my reams for the future.  I really hope that article is wrong.  OR–I hope I’m the exception (long with some close friends).  I’d really LOVE more time to write and develop a fan base–even meet fans.  Besides, my day job is slowly killing me.  I really need to get out if IT!  I know…how did I go from IT to writing? That, my friends, was a very LONG journey.

Maybe someday I’ll share a bit of it.  But not today—

What are you looking for?  What are your dreams? I would love to hear them!

 

 

 

PS if anyone knows who the picture creds belong to, please let me know. I saved it years ago. Thanks bunches!

Indulging in Guilty Pleasures


Anita Blake rescued me from Reality TV.  Everywhere I looked, someone was living in the wilderness or eating something horrible, or BOTH!  Worse still were the cameras following celebrities to show their “exciting” lives.  One of my favorite past times suddenly made me want to pass out!

I met a new friend who read a lot during that time, and she decided I must want to read as well. I’d read all of my adult life, but never more than 2-3 books a year.  Anyhow, given the state of television, I decided to try the books she loaned me.  There were three, and it took me about 10 months to read all three of them. When I finished the third one, I wanted more.  Sure I’d read about vampires and fantasy worlds before, but never one quite like this one. The desire for more led me to the discovery of serial fiction novels.  No, I really hadn’t known much about it before.

Book Cover for Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton

As it turned out, the book was the first in a series and there were already 8 other books in the series.  I read them all in the same amount of time it had taken me to read the first three, including another one that was released while I was reading them.  I was hooked. I had to wait 9 more months for another release in the series, and I was frothing at the mouth to read more.

The series is about an Animator, one who raises the dead in the form of a zombie for ‘legal’ reasons for a business quaintly named Animator’s, Inc.  She is also a vampire hunter.  Move over Buffy!  Actually, the first book in the series, Guilty Pleasures, was copyrighted in 1993, long before the TV series came out in 1997, but the 1992 box office bomb the TV series was based on might have also helped inspire the creator of Anita’s world of mythical creatures.

Vampires are made by other vampires.  Zombies are raised from the grave by an animator or voodoo priest.  Ghouls, as far as we know, just crawl out of the grave on their own.”  Anita Blake – page 26.

Laurell K Hamilton creates a world where vampires not only exist, but they are also legal citizens in the United States.  Anita’s jurisdiction covers several states in and around St. Louis, MO.  She kills vampires only when she is issued a warrant of execution by the state in which they reside. At least, that’s what the police think.  In Guilty Pleasures, Anita faces the decision to kill or be killed, in a matter not necessarily recognized by law, for the first time, but not the last.

The story begins with Willy McCoy, a newly turned vampire and the first vampire Anita had known as a human, tries to hire her to investigate a series of vampire killings that are very disturbing to the police and, apparently, the vampire community. Unfortunately for Anita, the beautiful Jean-Claude, second only to Nikolaos, the Master of the City, has convinced the Master, that Anita is the only person who can help them solve this mystery.  Anita turns Willy down, refusing to work for the fanged creatures.  The Master is not pleased when Anita refuses. She orders Jean-Claude to lure her to his strip club, Guilty Pleasures, in order to make her an offer she can’t refuse.  If she doesn’t investigate the murders, they will kill her good friend, Catherine. This time Anita doesn’t refuse.

By this time the story had me, but it wasn’t just the story, it was the storytelling that sucked me in.  Laurell K Hamilton uses a first person narrative to develop a strong female protagonist that I really relate to.  In many ways, I feel like I would say and do the same things if I were Anita.  Anita rambles sometimes in her thoughts, but the ramblings had fears and doubts, same insecurities that I shared.

“Everyone has their weaknesses.  Some people smoke.  I collect stuffed penguins.  If you won’t tell, I won’t.”  Anita Blake – page 80.

Sometimes, her thoughts explain her emotional connection to her gun or why she works with the people she works with.  Other times she waxes philosophic:

“You can’t save everybody.  In fact, there are days when I think you can’t save anyone.  Each person has to save himself first, then you can move in and help. I have found this philosophy does not work during a gun battle or a knife fight either. Outside of that it works just fine.” Anita Blake – page 158.

But every decision she makes is thought out before she makes it, even if her thoughts aren’t exactly logical.  I doubt I would think very logically with a vampire clouding my mind either.

“You do what we want, or I will peel away your mind like layers of an onion.” Nikolaos to Anita Blake – page 69.

I found myself living through Anita’s eyes and truly becoming Anita.  Her eyes were the window to another world where I could escape whenever I needed a break from my not-so-exciting life.  When I had read all there was to read of the Anita Blake series, I found others to read, more strong protagonists to become.  Soon I was reading 2-3 books a week when I wasn’t in school.  How did that happen?  It got to a point where someone would tell me of a really interesting movie and I would think, “I wonder if it’s based on a book”.  I loved how books had more details than movies.

Eventually, a friend asked me if I would help her write a book, and because of my (respectively) newfound love, I said yes.  I helped her for several months and helped pushed her further towards a complete outline than she’d ever been.  Before we were able to finish, however, she moved to another state and lost all her writings in a fire.  The following year I met a writer and together we came up with a very unusual concept.  We worked on this story for months, and I would help with the ideas while he did the actual writing.    A large change happened in both of our lives and he dropped offline to pursue other things.  The story churned in my mind for almost a year before I was able to contact him again.

He told me that I’d had very strong ideas on how the book should be written and that I should write the book myself.  I wasn’t happy with that idea because I was no writer.  I was a reader.  Until an emotional day when suddenly words started coming to me:

“Part of me wanted to run away screaming. But where would I go? What would I do? Who would I run to? I’d once seen the gods who created me, but only once.” –Pandora

I started writing and what do you know?  I enjoyed it!  Thanks to a love for books I’d discovered almost 10 years before with Anita Blake, I’d found a new Guilty Pleasure.

 

 

What’s your story?  What started you reading, or even writing? What was your main inspiration?    Please share, I can’t wait to read your responses!!

Can You Save the Faeries?


Here’s a little something I’m playing with.  Let me know what you think!

You’ve heard it said that when children say they don’t believe in fairies that their lights go out. But they don’t die. Oh no, they don’t die.

When a fairy’s light goes out, they become nasty dark fairies. They miss the light so much that they become very bitter.

So instead of flying around doing good things, they do mean things. They don’t want to help young children believe in themselves.

Instead they whisper dark things in their ears. They don’t tell them to be nice and share. They tell them to take things that aren’t theirs.

They no longer leave money in exchange for your tooth as a special celebration.  They prefer to take away your shiny things, just because they can.

They bully around the fairies of light and tell you to do the same to your friends.  They take their money and kick them around.  Do you know people like that?

They pull dogs ears and make them yelp so mom and dad think you hurt the family dog. Is there any end to the mean things they do?

But there is hope yes there is.  There is something YOU can do!

It’s true that every time a child says they don’t believe in fairies one of their lights goes out,

But if you believe again their lights return!

YOU can bring back the fairies of light one by one!  Share this phrase with everyone you meet:

I believe in fairies, yes I do.
I believe in fairies, do you?

Say it with me, shout it out to the world!

I believe in fairies, yes I do.
I believe in fairies, do you?

Apple to Compete with KDP Select?


Rumors are flying today about a Press Conference Apple will be holding later this month regarding a new software release.  The rumor-mill says the new software is Apple’s answer to Amazon‘s KDP Select: An exclusive self-publishing incentive for indie authors.  As yet there are no details, but Mark Coker of Smashwords says of the rumors:

Apple has a unique (and in my opinion extremely successful) approach to content acquisition in which they complement their own self-publishing platform with a carefully selected list of recommended aggregators. Smashwords been on the list since the iBookstore’s launch. All of the aggregators are subject to ongoing audits where Apple scrutinizes every aspect of our business for our ability to serve their publishers, and if any of us don’t make the cut we’re dropped from the program.

 

Frankly if they do decided to try to compete with Amazon (which won’t be much of a competition once the KDP Select participants see how low the actual payouts are, in my opinion) I hope they do a much better job giving Indie authors the payout they deserve.  Leave a comment telling me what you think.

Raven

 

Sources:

http://www.mediabistro.com/ebooknewser/smashwords-mark-coker-responds-to-apple-rumors_b19165

http://www.mediabistro.com/ebooknewser/is-apple-planning-a-media-related-event-in-nyc_b19142

http://www.mediabistro.com/ebooknewser/apple-to-launch-self-publishing-platform_b19161

http://goodereader.com/blog/tablet-slates/apple-to-launch-new-self-publishing-program-later-this-month/

New Picture – Writing Prompt


The new picture above actually came with this theme, and I think it’s very lovely, so I decided to make a writing prompt out of it. My story is below, what is yours?

A young couple took a walk just in the morning dawn. The morning mist still hung in a thick curtain over the water, but they decided to walk by the lake anyhow. As they neared the bridge, the light shone through the fog as it lifted. The man grabbed his camera and took a picture. He showed the picture to his beloved and said.

“I took this picture so that we could remember the mist that sometimes clouds our lives. Since meeting you, the mist has vanished from my life and I can see a clear future for the first time. You’ve made my life complete and I want to spend forever with you.”

Then he bent on one knee and placed a ring on her finger. “Please help me keep the fog of daily living from clouding my life again. Your smile means the world to me and I want to see it for the rest of my life. Marry me.”

 

 

Please share your story too, if the picture inspires you, and please share this post, so we can get a lot of stories going here!  I’m excited by the traffic I’ve received lately, let’s see if we can’t get some interaction going.  Thanks to everyone!!

Should I use KDP Select?


Well this may be a bit late, but it’s been on my mind a lot and I thought I’d comment on it.  The TOS for KDP Select is here.

 

I think few authors realize that there are so many limitations to this KDP Select, blinded by dollar $igns.

The Pros:

  • Yes, you get put in a pool with all other KDP Select users and Amazon will market your book for you.
  • You’ll get your share of the $500k (or whatever their monthly budget is) after each month, depending on your sales per capita.
  • You can promote your book for up to 5 days within the 90 day period in which you are committed to KDP Select.
  • Your book will be available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

The Cons:

  • Amazon has EXCLUSIVE rights to your book/story during the 90 days you are committed.  That means you can’t sell it anywhere else or even post it on your own blog.
  • Amazon will automatically renew your commitment at the end of each 90 day session, so if you aren’t careful you may be committed for a very long time period.
  • Your book will be available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Program where all Kindle owners can access it for free.  (I listed this in pro and con because yes, there is more visibility, but also you don’t get paid for any of those views.)
  • If you should per chance make a mistake and thing you’ve opted out of the KDP Select program, then post your book elsewhere, or even forget to pull it from everywhere it’s available, then Amazon no longer owes you any of the Royalties from the monthly pot and may take out any previously paid royalties out of future royalties, via a lien.

“Your Commitment. Your commitment to these terms and conditions is important, and the benefits we provide to you as part of this option are conditioned on your following through on your commitments. If you un-publish your Digital Book, we will remove it from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, but you must continue to comply with these commitments, including exclusivity, through the remainder of the Digital Book’s then-current 90-day period of participation in KDP Select. If you don’t comply with these KDP Select terms and conditions, we will not owe you Royalties for that Digital Book earned through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Program, and we may offset any of those Royalties that were previously paid against future Royalties, or require you to remit them to us. We may also withhold your Royalty payments on all your Digital Books for a period of up to 90 days while we investigate. This doesn’t limit other remedies we have, such as prohibiting your future participation in KDP Select or KDP generally.”

Amazon already reserves the right to end your agreement and stop selling your products without any reason at all, and they allow 7 full days for refunds…which is plenty of time to read a book completely and then just go back for your refund after you’ve read it.  That’s a bit excessive in my opinion. There should at least be some kind of limit as to how many times you can do this in a year.

As a buyer, and not yet a published author, I can see why this refund policy is good.  You may not realize you clicked on something until you have checked your email several days later. But as one who hopes to be published, and a friend to several published authors on amazon, I can see how authors are seriously in jeopardy on this point.  Okay I’m off topic here, but I feel it’s relevant that you know the full story about Amazon’s policy before you publish with them.  My author friend posted not long ago about a friend of hers who’d had $50 in sales on her book, only to get to payday and find that her check was only $5 or thereabouts.  When she questioned Amazon, she was told it was due to returns.  That’s a REALLY high percentage of returns.

Amazon wants to corner the market on e-publishing, but they don’t seem to want to take care of their main source very well.  They are taking advantage of their authors in a bad way. One would think they would treat their bread and butter better.  Maybe they think they are doing writers a favor, and in a way, they are, but as yet, they aren’t the only ones out there, and while they sell more e-books than anyone else, that may not remain the case if they continue to take advantage of their suppliers.

Happy Holidays!


I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays. My holidays are a bit quiet this year, but that’s not always a bad thing.  It is taking some getting used to, but I’ve learned to like quiet over these past months.
I am still working on the book; however I will be slower to post for some personal reasons I am happy to share with you … well, almost.

Festive Christmas Tree by the Fireplace

 

For one thing, I’ve decided to do some more informative posts for now. I really want to share my path and what I learn along the way as a writer.  I will continue to post my book, but I may only post a chapter a month or so, and hopefully by the time we finish the posts, I will be ready to publish.

 

The other news I will hint at but not share completely yet. I’ve decided to use my skills and degree for a certain business venture that I hope to reveal here very soon.  I need to get my ducks in a row, verify market and startup costs involved before I can announce the project.This is very near and dear to me, and I think you will really love it.  I hope so!

 

Meanwhile, have a wonderful holiday season!  I’m getting ready to go get a peppermint latte and go look at Christmas lights!  Tell me what your favorite holiday tradition is!

NaNoWriMo Project – Day 30 is here!


Woot!  10195 words!!  Granted not the 50k I had hoped for, but having to take that second job and getting maybe 5 hrs of sleep a night (in two 2.5 hr shifts) hurt badly.  I still consider this a HUGE victory because of working two jobs and being in school part-time, because of my lack of discipline in any other project I’ve ever taken on….besides the fact that I’ve never ever written before!!  I’m so happy I got so much done and I can’t wait to continue!!

 

I plan to take this project very seriously even now that NaNo is over.  I’ll take a week break to get past finals then pick it back up.  I’m going to try something different.  I’d like to open this up for CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.  I’m still very new and would love to know ways I can improve my writing.  Besides that, it’s time to learn HOW I will take the criticism. Will I run screaming?  Will I accept it graciously and use it productively?  Or will I do what I’m doing now and crash and burn since I’m running on only three hours of sleep?  Time will tell.

 

Blessings everyone! Thanks for reading!!!

NaNoWriMo Project – Chapter Four – first draft


CHAPTER 4

 

I could see that parts of the house were still standing.  Reena’s quarters were untouched because they stood separately from the main house.  The more formal living areas were still mostly standing, except for a few cracks and burn marks on the walls.  Finally my foot touched the drive and I ran all the way up to Reena’s door and began pounding!  “Reena! Reena are you here?”

No answer.

I went around back to the swimming pond, since it was early evening, she might be relaxing in the waters.  “Reena are you out there?” I yelled as i rounded the bend.  Already I could see the silvery light of the moon reflecting on the still water.

My heart sank.

“Reena?” I called out loudly, hoping she would hear.

Pandora, is that really you?” came the voice from behind me.

“REENA!  You’re here! She was right, you really are alive!  Gods I thought you were dead!”  I ran to her and embraced her tightly.  Oh how wonderful to see my Reena again.  My friend. My sister.  My only family.

“Pandora, where have you been? Who was right? Who told you I was alive?”

I told her all about what had transpired since I had opened the box.  I told her everything about the massacre in the market, about running in the woods, about feeding on animals, about killing those ladies in the clearing and discovering that I could make others like myself. Then I remembered.

“Oh yes.  James, Truth come over here.  This is Reena who I’ve been telling you so much about.”

“Aw Truth? What a cute kitty!” Truth rubbed against Reena’s ankles.

“No she’s not, but she’s feisty!”

Reena picked up Truth and cuddled with her,“you’re right, she’s not cute.  But she is friendly. And who is James?”

“He was in the marketplace and I found him yesterday in the city, feeding on someone in an alleyway.”

“P-Pleasure to meet you, Reena.  P-Pandora has told me wonderful things about you.  I’ve been very excited to meet such a wonderful teacher.  I’ve only ever heard of t-teachers like you in the p-palaces.  How did you come to work here?”

Reena smiled. “That is a story for another time.  I’m so glad to meet you.

“Pandora, when I woke and you were gone, I thought you had disintegrated in the explosion.  The box was gone and so were you and Lord Epimetheus, Oh Pandora it was so awful to see him like that.

“I think I was out for a couple of days because the smoke was almost gone and the house smelled of rotted meat.  I went to town to see if maybe anyone had seen you there. I still hoped.  I looked for days, but nobody had seen you and I just knew you were gone.  I ate normally, and it tasted far more amazing than food had ever tasted, but the hunger just wouldn’t ever go away.  Then it happened to me too.  The smell took over and I killed a man.  It was only one, nothing like what happened to you, but it scared me.

“I was outside the city when it happened and I was just about to head home because the fragrance was overwhelming me and I wasn’t sure what I’d do.  It was such a strange sensation.  Then a man rounded the corner.  I looked him in the eyes and asked him about you and suddenly his face went blank.  He just stared at me.  His heart was beating quickly and the smell got stronger and I just couldn’t resist anymore.  I took him.  I took every last drop.

“When I came to myself, I dropped the man and looked around to see that nobody had seen what I’d done.  Nobody was around yet.I tasted blood in my mouth, so I felt around with my tongue to see if I had any wounds.  That’s when I found the fangs.  I played my tongue around them for a moment, wondering where they had come from. It was strange to find something there that I hadn’t known was there, but it was interesting too. I was fascinated by them.

“Anyhow, I looked back down at the man before me. He was pale and his eyes were still open.  He looked just like those people from the market had been described.  His dark skin had turned nearly white.  It was then that I realized it must have been you in the market, and how terrible for you, nearly a babe yourself, to have inadvertently killed so many.

“I didn’t blame you for running away and I hoped you’d return to me, but I didn’t think you would.  You were so sensitive and loving from the day you came to us.  I knew you hadn’t taken it well.

“Anyhow, I wanted to hide what I’d done, so I took the man into the woods and hid him there. I went back into town to see again that nobody had noticed the man missing or that I had taken him into the woods.  I thought to tell them that he’d been drunk and needed help getting home, but nobody was around when I returned.

“I began the journey back home only to run into Apollo just on the outskirts of the city.  What an annoying man, and to think he was named after the Sun God!  Someone needs to teach him who his namesake is!”

“Y-you mean, you know the Wizard, Apollo?  Is h-he really annoying?”

“Yes, that’s who she means.  So what happened with Apollo?”

“Oh you know how he is.  He told me how inevitable it was that we’d be together and asked if I wanted to return to his bed with him.

“I told him I had no interest in joining the masses who’d graced his bed. Of course he pretended the comment hurt. I told him I really must be going and I headed back this way.”

“Reena, if we can turn others, maybe we should check to be sure the man you killed is really dead. Do you think you could find where you put him again?”

“Sure.  I remember exactly where he is. We’ll go check tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow night.  James here has a tough time in daylight.”

“He does? How so?”

“We’re not sure why, but it makes him very weak and he can only tolerate it for very short times.”

“Fascinating.  Okay tomorrow night we’ll go check on the man. Tonight, we rest, get to know James, and try to decide how to find those ladies from the clearing in the woods.”

~*~

We settled in to Reena’s quarters for the night.  Truth curled up in my lap and rested her head on Reena’s knee.  Reena had set a fire in the fireplace and we all talked for a while.

James was actually only 12.  He had been at the marketplace with his mother, shopping for dinner.  His mother was dead, and his father had been off on a journey.  He didn’t know when his father would return and he worried what his father would do when he found his wife and were dead.  They didn’t have any other family and his father had been a very devoted husband and father.

It made my heart-sick to think of what I had done to him and his family.  I supposed now there was nothing I could do about it, but I still hated that I had caused all this pain.  Yes, the gods created me to be cunning and beautiful, deceitful and persuasive, but they also gave me a heart.  I didn’t like all the gifts I was given, Reena had taught me that lying wasn’t always a good thing, and I believed her.

This left me with a dilemma, of course.  How could I help James?  How could I help his father, and all those others whose lives I had affected?  I was thinking on these things when I realized James was talking to me.

“P-Pandora?“

“Wha?  Oh sorry, I was thinking about the past few weeks.  What were you saying?”

“I was asking if I could stay with you two.  I don’t think I can go back to my father.  I’d love to, but he’s going to think I’m dead and I can’t explain to him how I can’t go out in daylight anymore or even how I survived.

“Reena, what do you think?”

“I had been thinking there was no other choice.  He’s right, he really can’t go back to his father.  It would be too difficult to explain.  He must remain with us.”

“James, welcome to the family!”  Reena and I both leaned forward to embrace him.  It really was the only choice.  I’m glad Reena agreed.

We’d talked well into the night and still hadn’t discussed how to find those ladies from the clearing.  I had to think of a way to find them.  “Reena, do you feel anything different now that we are around?”

“Different how?”

“Like a humming or vibrating in your chest, maybe?”

“No, I can’t say that I do.”

“Honestly, I don’t feel it from you either, only from James.  Maybe it’s because he carries my blood.  I felt it in the clearing too, when I found those ladies.  It was much stronger there, and a bit different.  I’m not sure how to explain it.  Really I wasn’t paying much attention. I was too horrified to think much about anything other than getting out of there.”

“It makes sense though.  There are a lot of new abilities you have now that you’ve changed, maybe this is another one you haven’t quite discovered yet.  You can feel the vampires you have created.”

“True.  I guess I should go back to the clearing and start from there.  See if I can sense anything.  Check neighboring villages and such.”

“Let’s head there after we check on the man I left out in the woods.  I believe I need to feed again too while we are in the city.”

“D-Dawn is coming.  I think can f-feel it.”

“Hmm, fascinating.  It appears that his sun sensitivity is due to his change, but if that’s the case, why aren’t we affected?”

“There are so many things we don’t know yet.  I guess we will find out eventually.  Let’s find a place for James to rest.”

~*~

Reena and I didn’t really need to sleep, but we did rest for a couple of hours.  We woke up about three hours after James had fallen asleep and started to clean up the main house a bit more.  Reena had already done a lot of work and, apparently, she had finished burning my Epi.  I was sorry I hadn’t done something more for him, but I couldn’t look back now.  We had too many things to do and too many things to learn.

We were just getting into the bedroom area where the explosion had started when a man, Epimetheus’s keeper of books, arrived.  He yelled for Epi, but I answered instead.  “I’m sorry, sir, but Epimetheus is dead. He didn’t survive the explosion.”

“You–you killed a Titan?  I didn’t think it was possible, though I’d had my suspicions after I saw the house a few days ago.  Nobody had answered then and nobody has heard from Epimetheus since.  I really hoped I’d find him today.  Now I shall have to report to Prometheus that you have killed his brother.  He will not be happy about this.”

“Killed—I killed Epimetheus? I suppose I did, but he was trying to save me.  I didn’t know it would kill him.  I really had no intention of hurting anyone, I just wanted to see what was in that cursed box that Hermes? gifted me with.  He ran to save me, but the box exploded and took him with it.”

“You mean to tell me that the box exploded in your hands and killed Epimetheus and yet, here you stand, completely unscathed?”

“Dear sir, that is exactly what happened, I saw it with my own eyes.  Epimetheus threw himself on the box just as Pandora opened it.”

“So, let me get this straight, madam.  The ‘box’ to which you are referring, exploded right next to you, Pandora, and close enough that you, Reena, witnessed it, yet the Titan god is dead and the human and the god-child stand here today?”

“I suppose it does sound unbelievable when you say it like that, but yes sir, that is what has happened here,” said Reena.

“I have to go, I must report this to Prometheus at once!  He will not be happy to hear that you have killed his brother,” the man said as he ambled off.  I heard him mumbling as he left, “killed a Titan by accident.  No way Prometheus will ever believe that.  I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes when he finds out about all this.”

“Pandora, he’s right.  What will Prometheus do with us once he knows we killed his brother.  We can’t fight a Titan!”

“Reena, we can’t panic.  We have other things we need to worry about right now.  Prometheus will just have to believe me. There is no other option.”

“You’re right. Prometheus knows that gifts from the gods can be unpredictable, and he had warned Epimetheus about accepting gifts from Zeus.  I just hope he doesn’t think you are the gift that Zeus sent to kill him.”

“Let’s just find the others and see what we can do about and for them and we’ll talk to Prometheus afterwards.”

“Of course.”

~*~

As soon as the sun set, we, the unlikely trio of vampires left, with a scraggly cat trailing just behind us.  This time, due to the time constraints of daylight hours for James, we kept a faster pace.  Often I would carry Truth so we could run at full speed.  It only took two and a half hours to make it to the city.  Reena then led the way from there. Then man was where she had left him, thankfully, although a bit worse for the wear.  Apparently he’d been dinner for a few creatures over the past few days.  Still, we were relieved to find him still there and not turned into one of us.  Next we had to find the ladies that I definitely did turn.

Reena carried Truth this time, and we made it to the clearing in only a couple of hours with me leading the way.  James couldn’t hold the pace much longer, so he was glad we arrived when we did.  The clearing was empty now.  I kicked a stone and swore.  “Now what?”

Athena appeared just then. James and Reena jumped and fell prostrate  before her. I bowed as well, but this time I wasn’t as shocked as the first time.

“You can feel all the ones you have turned, you simply must quiet your mind and seek them out.  It may take you a while to discover them all and distinguish them, until you have found them and until you know how many there are, but you can do this. But that is not why I’m here.

“I’m here because you have more than one enemy now.  And more will come.  You must be prepared to battle.  Find what allies you can.  Prepare quickly.  Time is short.” She vanished as quickly as she had come.

“Oh dear, Pandora do you know who that was?”

“Of course I know, I’ve seen her before.  More than once.”

“You have? Oh yes, I suppose when you were created, but when else?”

“I didn’t tell you?  She was the one who had told me you were alive. Well, she didn’t tell me directly, but she told me there were two mothers. That could only have been you, I thought.  It helped me come back to my senses and to come and find you.  I’m not sure what I would have done had she not shown up when she did.”

“G-G-Guh-”

“James, are you okay?”

“G-G-Goddess.”

I patted James on the head and Truth meowed loudly, rubbing on his ankles.  Apparently she was not pleased she had been dropped and no longer wanted Reena to carry her. “Yes James, that was Athena.  She seems to have taken a liking to me, and Zeus has allowed her to help me out since Epimetheus didn’t survive the explosion. Apparently that had been his goal all along…to kill my Titan.”

“Oh Pandora. Pandora, I didn’t realize.  I’m so sorry.  How awful for you,” Reena said.

I waved her off.  Now wasn’t the time to dwell on things we couldn’t change.  “I need a moment here. I’m going to try to quiet my mind like she said. Maybe I can hone in on the others.”

Reena and James gave me some space, stepping out of the circle there.  Yes, the pillars were set in a circle.  I stood in the middle and tried to quiet my mind.  Tried to connect with that humming within me and maybe sense the others.

After a few moments I felt three separate, distinguishable hums, other than James.  There were more, but those were the only ones I could differentiate as yet.  I focused on those.  They seemed too all be to the north, two were not far from where we now stood. I decided to head in that direction to see what I could find.  Maybe, just maybe, the ones I found would know where to find and how to direct me to the rest.  I had to try.

“I feel some to the north of here. Let’s head that way and see what we can find.”  The troops rallied and followed me at a normal, er more human? pace. Truth pranced happily beside me.