Nephilim Narrative 4 Explanation & Premium Content Release

When I wrote NN4 in November and re-read it in December I realized the ending didn’t make sense. I spent most of December trying to edit the book to make it easier to follow and have the ending make sense. Unfortunately, the more I tried to fix it the worse it got… So December 30th, I started rewriting the book from the beginning. And in the process I restructured the plot.

And that opened up possibilities. Originally, my plan was to release the draft of NN4 after I published the rewritten version of Movement in the Shadows. But with the main plot changing, I could release it before publishing the rewritten book. There may be 2 “spoilers” neither central to the story or series. Both are things dealing with Helia and while I am certain I will keep one of them, I may not keep both.

The draft of NN4 is 34 chapters long and 100,707 words. Before releasing chapter 1 on the 6th, I spent several hours trying to format the post to allow me to release 2 or more chapters at once with no success. It just refused to put all of it into the premium content box. My guess is the length of multiple chapters being around 5,000 words (or more) was just too much for it to handle. I am investigating ways to release the book as a full download for premium content members once its been released chapter by chapter.

Anyway, this means you’ll get at least 2 premium content posts a week as the draft chapters release. Interestingly, this draft version will release through the expected publication date for the new Movement in the Shadows; which deals with a serial killer and cambion. Something startlingly different than the draft version you’ll be reading until then.

Buried Dreams Released!

Buried Dreams has released! I have uploaded it to all publishing sites: Google, B&N, Apple iBooks, Amazon, etc. It will slowly become available for purchase on all these sites over the next couple of days. As of my typing this, the only link I could grab for it was Amazon.

Each site/platform has a different amount of time between upload and availability. It’s available on Amazon, it will be available on Google next (later today). The slowest is B&N and it could be Tuesday or Wednesday before it shows up there. It may show up on Apple iBooks later today or it could be Monday.

Considering this is book 18 in the series, a lot of platforms will send an email when the book becomes available saying “This author that you’ve bought before has released another book” or something similar. Or you can just keep checking your favorite ebook retailer for the release.

Merry Mithras Eve

In ancient times, the god of light and love was named Mithras. He had a huge cult following. He was born December 25th and his followers celebrated by exchanging presents and feasting in honor of his birth.

Modern studies in mythology overlook this important god. Mithras was born to a virgin mother. Unpon his birth, Mithras was wrapped in swaddling and hidden in a manager where shepherds looked after him. While technically a sun god, he was a more specific sun god than say Apollo or Ra. Mithras controlled the light of dawn, the rebirth of day, his sun lit the way and he was often referred to as The Way as well as the Shepherd of the Light.

The Persian god, was often depicted leading a flock of sheep to the light of dawn, moving them to protect them from the predators that stalked the dark. Mithra still has a minor following in modern day Hinduism. But his cult pre-dates Hinduism and Zoroastrianism (the first monotheistic religion in the Middle East). But when he needed to protect his followers, he was depicted as a lion.

He travelled Persia teaching love, forgiveness, and faith. And as his popularity as a teacher of truth grew, he gained dedicated followers. There were twelve in total who went out to spread his message. And to join the Cult of Mithras one had to be baptized into the religion.

The first mention of the Cult of Mithras comes from the Middle Kingdom of Egypt which began in 2050 BCE and lasted until 1500 BCE…. More than a thousand years before the Hebrews would follow Moses out of Egypt and into the desert to find their homeland and more than 1500 years before the Catholic Church by the Disciple Paul in the 1st century CE.

It is no secret that the Catholic Church often appropriated pagan holidays to help convert the heathens. So perhaps instead of saying Merry Christmas, we should wish each other a Merry Mithras.

2020

My intention this week was to gather all the info I could about the cracking of Zodiac’s 340 cipher. And then the US was hit with the worst cyber-attack ever. Considering this is the industry my best friend works in (cyber security), I’ve been following the cyber attack quite closely.

In the first 24 hours, we knew hackers had gotten into several federal agencies using the backdoor they’d created in a trusted software platform called Solarwinds. The US Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security were among the first. We also knew that nearly every Fortune 500 company in the US also uses Solarwinds and were in danger as a result. However, it oddly didn’t seem like the hackers were interested in these Fortune 500 companies, they seemed focused on US government agencies.

From the very beginning, it was obvious the attack was coming from Russia. It had started Sunday night and Tuesday both CNN and the BBC ran news articles about the attack coming from Russia. This doesn’t surprise me, Putin came to power thanks to the Cold War and he’s never been a huge fan of the US. Since he managed to become president of the Russian Federation until 2036, I’ve been expecting the Cold War to start back up.

By the end of Tuesday, we knew the hackers had accessed Los Alamos National Laboratory as well as the Department of Homeland Security, Treasury, and a half dozen other agencies. Then Thursday came the scariest news yet, they had accessed the National Nuclear Safety Administration and the Department of Energy. In case you are unfamiliar with the NNSA they are the agency in charge of our nuclear arsenal. Also, if someone were to sell some of the classified information held by the Department of Energy to terrorists, it could easily lead to the worst terrorist attack ever as they gain blueprints to our largest powerplants (both nuclear and hydro-electric).

In short, claiming our national security has been compromised in this attack is the worst understatement of 2020. I live about an hour and a half from the majority of the US’s nuclear arsenal, which is interesting: I have not worried about Russians blowing up nuclear bombs in the US since I was about 9, but I admit I am wondering about it again. I am also overwhelmed with a sense of surrealism. I remember President Regan’s vehement rhetoric against the Soviet Union and yet, those in highest seats of power in the US have not even issued a statement about it. The acting Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s CISA did issue a statement laying the responsibility for it at Russia’s doorstep and warning it wasn’t even close to over, but he’s the only one.

Historically speaking, this also isn’t a huge surprise. In the months after the attacks on September 11, 2001 several agencies released findings from investigations that stated quite plainly the contested election from 2000 played a key role in the terrorist attacks. 20 years later, we have another contested election and as a result the head guy in charge of our nation’s cyber-security was fired. And now the Russians have committed an act of cyber-warfare.

At which point, the solving of the 340 cipher took a backseat to the ongoing cyber war.

The Online Grocery Order from Hell

With my household in quarantine because J tested positive for COVID, we placed a grocery order from our local Gerbes to be delivered. 14 of the 30 items on our grocery list were refunded or replaced. Here’s the thing, I don’t believe they were out of all these things, I believe the InstaCart shopper was just too lazy to get them. I have tried to complain, but InstaCart just sent me a form “we’re sorry there was a problem” email that did not address my issues.

Of the 14 missing items, they replaced 2… my pizza crust mix was replaced with premade crust that I can’t turn into a calzone and my Mexican cheese blend was replaced with Italian cheese… 2 bags of it. However, I’m not a fan of mozzarella on my tacos and I already had 2 pounds of Italian cheeses that I had grated from mozzarella, asiago, and parmesan blocks. So I absolutely did not need more Italian cheese.

In the entire store there was apparently not a single bottle of pancake syrup, corn syrup, carton of eggs, jar of pizza sauce, nor any hot dog buns. Now, I admit, I usually reject substitutions, but I wasn’t even given the option about substitutions for any of these items. Ditto the pizza crust mix and cheese, I wasn’t asked if the substitutions were “okay” (it wasn’t), it was just done. Meaning I paid $4 for pre-made pizza crusts I can’t use for calzones and can’t use anyway because apparently there was not a single jar of pizza sauce in the entire store. They will just have to sit in my fridge until our quarantine is lifted and I can go shopping for myself.

I attempted to complain to InstaCart and Gerbes, Gerbes told me I had to contact InstaCart. I tried. No luck. The order doesn’t show up in my account. And it won’t let me lodge a general complaint. It was absolutely pointless to place the grocery order that cost me $10 to have delivered not counting the shopper’s tip (which honestly I tried to remove and couldn’t). Nearly half the items I ordered didn’t arrive and two were so hopelessly wrong that I have no use for them at the moment.

Now, the reason I suspect it was a shopper problem is because when my order arrived it was delivered by two people a young man and a young woman, the male was supposedly my shopper. I got the impression the other person was his girlfriend and that when they couldn’t easily find an item they just refunded it instead of asking for assistance for its location, I also suspect that’s why I didn’t get eggs… I imagine they missed it on the list when they were looking for cheese (same aisle) and didn’t go back for them and instead just listed them as being out. I say this because I called the store to ask when they would have pizza sauce back in stock and was told there were plenty on the shelves as well as the pizza crust mix I wanted. I didn’t notice the missing eggs until this morning… Why did I pay more than $15 to have groceries delivered by these people? And now that I’m really unhappy with it, I can’t complain to them about it. I feel like I got swindled by InstaCart. Lesson learned, next time I will use pick-up and hope I don’t spread COVID to the person that brings my groceries out to my car.

Not COVID

Well, my mom and I went Thursday and got tested. Both of us were negative for COVID… however, I do have a sinus infection and it would appear my anxiety was in overdrive after learning J tested positive for it.

I can honestly say, I’ve never been happier to have a sinus infection. My mom’s symptoms were most likely caused by our dogs refusal to let her sleep through the night. After two or three nights in a row of back to back trips out at 3am, she was exhausted. After a really good nap, she seems to be doing much better.

Milk Glorious Milk

A couple of friends and family members have told me, if you need anything just send me a text I’ll drop it on your front porch for you. Well, the day before we entered quarantine, I had groceries delivered. But as the sun rises on Day 3 of quarantine, I had a thought… grocery delivery is great, but you have to spend $35 and I don’t have room to store 15-17 gallons of milk and the thing we are going to run out of first is milk because I love milk.

By myself, I go through a gallon of milk in 2 days… when I’m congested (like I am now with COVID), I drink it more often. We have 3 gallons, which means by Sunday we are probably going to need milk. The problem is, we probably won’t need a lot beyond milk. We bought half a cow in August, so we are stocked up on beef. We have plenty of pork and chicken, as well as frozen, canned, and fresh veggies. That could be a problem… I’ll have to fill a cart with more fresh veggies and snack foods just so I can get milk delivered… because I find going without milk to be a hardship.

I’d text someone and say “hey can you drop off a couple gallons of milk” because everyone knows I drink a ton of it, but I despise the main brand available in mid-Missouri. The primary regional brand is overly sweet. As a result, I prefer the generic store brand milk over the regional brand in my area, but explaining that to people is difficult. Most people don’t even realize sugar is added to grocery store milk to make it more palatable… so telling them not to buy Brand X because it’s too sweet to drink confuses them. The majority of people think “milk is milk” but I can taste a difference and I don’t enjoy overly sweetened milk.

Those are my Wednesday night COVID thoughts. I have some sinus congestion, still feel winded, and I’ve developed a headache across the entire top of my head. I’m tired but not overly so. I had one high blood pressure reading on Wednesday during the day, but I’m also struggling to stay on top of my CRPS pain in my hip. I don’t know if it’s stress because I have these other symptoms or if COVID actually does impact CRPS pain levels… either way, I suspect it was hip pain and not COVID that spiked my blood pressure just before dinner. I’ll continue to monitor it and other vitals.

COVID

I write these words with COVID. J tested positive for COVID on December 1. When we got the call, neither mom nor I had symptoms. Unfortunately, as of this morning, we both also have COVID.

My mom is more fatigued than normal. But says otherwise, she feels fine. I feel winded. I am not struggling to breathe, but I am breathing a little harder than normal. We are all wearing masks inside our house right now and I find this to be a challenge. I can’t get enough air through my nose (this is not a COVID problem), so I am breathing through my mouth all the time which dampens my mask and makes it harder to breathe through it. So I am changing my mask every couple of hours.

J might be asymptomatic. He is dealing with sinus issues, but he was dealing with those even before exposure, so I can’t say for sure the sinus issue is a new problem and COVID related.

Most surprisingly, none of us have noticed a change in our sense of smell or taste. Considering 85% of people who get COVID experience taste and smell issues, I expect at least one of us to experience it, but so far we’re all smelling and tasting things just fine.

Aside from a little shortness of breath, I also don’t feel “bad”. I am experiencing some hot flashes, but no fever and I’m not exceptionally tired.

I am hopeful that none of us will end up with severe symptoms. Also, I owe everyone a premium content post. I forgot about it in the chaos of everyone getting COVID.