Falling into reality… (Big Dreams Blog Update #48)

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It’s Update Day.

Every last Friday of a month the Got Goals Blog Hop’s members share the updates on their big (sometimes crazy) goals. My goal is to write one million words worth of fiction projects. But I also like to share my reading goals. 🙂

If you’re interested in joining, sign up HERE or click one of the two banners (above and below). The more, the merrier. And give a “HELLO” to our blog hop’s hosts, authors Misha Gericke and Jen Garrett.

So I’m back from vacay, and I suffered through some serious jet lag.

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Now that I’ve recovered from the nausea and headache inducing fatigue, I need to get out of vacay mode back to a more productive schedule. Hello, reality. (I didn’t miss you.)

Let’s re-cap my goals for this month then.

Here are my September 2017 goals:

☀have the first (third?) draft of Ghoul & Alien completed for CPs

☀read another 4 books

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Writing:

The writing didn’t happen this month (and really last month too). I did clean out the documents of “ideas” I had stored away. A lot of them weren’t going to see the light of day because I had no interest in pursuing them, and I needed to de-clutter physically and emotionally.

I did post some completed novellas I had lying around on Wattpad. You might remember Home Sweet Cocoa. It was a novella I’d published with a small publisher, but what I don’t think I shared was that the publisher closed last October (a couple months after the book had released) and I’d been given the option to have my rights reverted to me. And the second novella was a story I’d had contracted with that publisher, but by then they’d closed their doors.

So, yeah, back to ground zero with a new project. I’m not going to go into the details of it (in case I end up abandoning it). I get distracted too easily. *sigh*

Reading:

Reading went well.

I couldn’t leave home for my trip without some books. 4 weeks is too long to go without reading. I decided to take both my Kindle app on my tablet and these titles with me:

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I re-read The Selection trilogy by Kiera Cass because the books are good fun and sappy romance. Just what I needed. If you haven’t read them, and YA romance with a dash of dystopian is your thing, pick this series up. You might like it.

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What do I have planned for October then?

October 2017 goals:

☀write something. just write. just. do it. (channeling Shia LaBeouf here.)

☀read at least 4 books (fiction and/or nonfiction)

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What are your writing or non-writing plans for October?

It’s already getting chilly here. Seasonal drinks are sprouting up and the first leaves are changing colors. Ahh… autumn is the last hurrah before winter kills sleeps everything. Let’s hurrah together by letting me know what you’re up to this season with a comment.

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Ned Stark gets me.

 

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Hello, the last third of 2017. You look good. (Big Dreams Blog Update #47)

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It’s Update Day!

Every last Friday of the month, 14 of us at the Do You Have Goals? blog hop update on our big (maybe crazy) goals. My goal is to write one million words worth of completed fiction projects. I’ve reset that goal earlier this year (or maybe it was at the end of 2016), and I still haven’t tallied where I’m at, but I imagine it’s at least 25% of my goal.

If you want to join us, click the banner above or sign up here. And give a warm “HELLO” to our blog hop’s hosts, authors Misha Gericke, Jen Garrett, and Brittney Woodson.

Since I can’t just fly to that one million word goal, I’ve been setting smaller goals every month. I’m going to be honest: I haven’t written much this month either. At least I haven’t written anything as I’m writing this on August 14th. When this goes live, I’ll be vacationing some place with spotty Wi-Fi, so I’m writing this post in advance. Better safe than sorry (I don’t want to miss updating you or me after all).

So, let’s do this. My August 2017 goals were:

write 500/day towards whatever project I end up sticking to

☀read through my library TBR pile (at least 4 titles)

These goals were pretty straight-forward.

Reading:

As usual, the TBR pile from my library was gobbled up. This month (half month?) I read:

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Five Days of Famous by Alyson Noel. This was my first MG this year. I haven’t been reading MG and YA as much. Glad I picked this one up though. It was super cute, and I’m always up to read a Christmas-themed novel.

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The Great Hamster Massacre by Katie Davies. Another chapter book; this is the first book in a four-book series of themed animal mysteries staring nine-year-old detective Anna and her inquisitive little brother, five-year-old Tom.

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The Wrong Billionaire’s Bed by Jessica Clare is the 3rd book in her Billionaire Boys Club series of six steamy books. It’s a sexy read, so be ready! I loved this opposites attract tale. It’s certainly my favorite (I read Book 2 as well).

Not four books, but still enjoyable reads (and there’s still another two weeks of August – I’m writing this post early, remember?). 🙂

Writing:

Like I said, writing hasn’t been happening for me. But I am plotting that paranormal chapter book, Ghoul & Alien that I completed two drafts of back in March-April. It’s the only story that’s calling to me right now, so I believe that’s where my head should be at (cuz my heart’s already there).

Which brings me to my September 2017 goals:

☀have the first (third?) draft of Ghoul & Alien completed for CPs

☀read another 4 books

Ah, autumn’s almost here but the heat has been hitting us hard. I’m looking forward to what the season of colorful foliage will bring us.

What do you have planned for the last third of 2017? Have you started on your early Hallowe’en shopping?

Let me know in the comments, so I can cheer you on!

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I’m not burned out; I’m scared. (Big Dreams Blog Update #46)

It’s Update Day!

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I’m a day late, but here I am.

Yup. That time of the month again for the crew of the Do You Have Goals?/Got Goals? blog hop. On the last Friday of every month the 15 of us on the bloggity hop gather to update on our (crazy) big goals! Hosted by authors Misha Gericke, Brittney Woodson, and Jen Garrett, the Got Goals? blog hop is always looking for more company. If you’d like to join, click the banner above to be redirected to the sign-up page, or click HERE. You won’t regret it. 🙂

My crazy big goal is to hit 1 million words of completed fictional projects (i.e. short stories, novellas, novels). I’m likely not to hit this goal, but at this point, I’m hoping I can even hit the halfway mark of that goal at this point.

But you want to know what I had planned for July, and if I reached any of my goals.

How did my July fly? Well, for starters, my plans looked like this:

July 2017 goals:

write first 35K of Play By Ear, a category romance

☀read through my library TBR pile

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Writing:

Let’s start with writing. Honestly, I’ve been bouncing back and forth from children’s fiction to romance, and now after two months I can honestly say I have a few WIPs laying around and nothing accomplished.

I’m not even burned out. It’s more like I’ve been freezing myself out of writing. The problem is I’m scared. I’m putting a lot of pressure on the first draft when I know that, in the great words of Ernest Hemingway, all first drafts are shit. And I can’t edit a blank page anyways, so I’ll have to get something down before I can pick it apart. Problem is that the Evil Internal Editor has been winning lately. She’s on fire, and I’m not sure if I can extinguish her flames of doubting.

I’ll figure it out though. I usually get myself out of these funks eventually.

Reading:

If my writing has been nonexistent, my reading has been going really swell. I started back on YA again (finally!). I read:

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Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson. It’s the first in her new YA fantasy duology. She’s known for the Defy series (which I haven’t read yet). I really enjoyed Dark Breaks the Dawn. If you enjoyed any version of the Swan Lake (like maybe The Swan Princess film), then pick up this one. It’s got kissy romance, action and adventure and a sprinkling of political intrigue.

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The Black Witch by Laurie Forest is a long read at 601 pages, and it’s the first in a planned four book series. It’s also YA fantasy. You got dragons, wyvern shifters (so cool!), elves, Fae, and wand magic. Oh, and 2/3rds of the book follow the protagonist as she journeys through her magical university. Do I have you hooked yet?

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Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier was my first graphic novel for 2017 (and actually since probably 2012), but it was the PERFECT book to end a long dry spell. This book is a keeper. I borrowed it from the library, but as soon as I can I’m buying this one. It’s a book for all ages. If you have young children, pick this one up. It can go a long way in teaching understanding and compassion.

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I also read a bunch of chapter books, and I’m in the middle of A Wrinkle in Time (it’s my first time reading it!).

Now my plans for August are going to take into consideration my raising fear of facing the blank page. I’m going to take baby steps. My word count will be smaller; my expectations a little lower. It always works. Here we go then:

August 2017 goals:

write 500/day towards whatever project I end up sticking to

☀read through my library TBR pile (at least 4 titles)

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How are your goals coming along? What do you have planned for August (what I like to think of as the last hurrah for summer)? Let me know in the comments.

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July, I’m coming for you. (Big Dreams Blog Update #45)

It’s Update Day!

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Gosh, I’m always saying this, but this month felt like it zipped by. We’ve still got a lot left of summer (thankfully), and I mean to seize the still-long days.

How did my June go? My plans looked like this:

June 2017 goals:

☀begin working on the 1st draft of Ghoul & Alien 2.0

☀read four more books

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So, my June goals didn’t look like too much.

I did well with the last one, but I ended up tossing Ghoul & Alien‘s most recent draft because it wasn’t going where I wanted it. I made it halfway and then petered out. Also my well of inspiration was drying up, and I didn’t want to push through, knowing I’d end up with something I really didn’t want or like.

I did some soul searching, and I’m back to romance for now, just reading children’s fiction.

July 2017 goals:

☀write first 35K of Play By Ear, a category romance

☀read through my library TBR pile

Writing goal:

As I plan to write daily towards my contemporary, sexy romance project, tentatively titled Play By Ear, I decided I’ll use Camp NaNo as a way to hold myself accountable. I don’t need to stray from this story, too. No “shiny new idea” distraction for me!

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Reading Goal:

Like I said, I read all 4 of the books from my June 2017 list. Yay!

This time I’ll be going through these titles during July:

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I haven’t read the Defy series from author Sara B. Larson, but I was pulled into the premise of this new series. Dark Breaks the Dawn was released earlier June, so I’m hoping that I’ll love it. Also be my first YA in a year (yeah, it’s criminal; deal with it).

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I’m diving into the second of The Kid from Planet Z series by Nancy Krulik. It’s a new sci-fi chapter book series, and it’s adorable! I’ll be doing reviews on GR soon for this treasure. 🙂

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The Fairybell Sisters by Margaret McNamara is already off to a wonderfully magical start for me. I loved Book 1, and I’ve got Book 2 & 3 in my TBR pile clamoring to be read. I’m so, so ready to fall back into the world of Tinkerbell’s younger sisters!

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All five published books in The Friendship Garden series are waiting on my TBR shelf reserved for library hauls. I’m excited to check out this one. I love Aladdin, the Simon & Schuster children’s publishing division for their beautiful covers and their wickedly awesome stories! I’m sure this one will get a two-thumbs up from me!

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And finally, the last of my chapter books for July: the first book in the Penelope Perfect series by Chrissie Perry. This was a recent release from Aladdin for North American readers. I do believe it was first published by an Australian publisher. Glad someone decided this one was worth it.

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I know I got the “I’m coming for you, July” mindset, but how did your June go?

Did you get as much as you wanted accomplished? Or do you have some goals that you’re moving into July to complete? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to cheer you on.

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A summery productivity ahead! (Big Dreams Blog Update #44)

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That time of the month again.

Update Day is, for those of you out of the loop, every last Friday of the month for the Got Goals?/Do You Have Goals? blog hop group. There are 14 of us with 14 big, maybe craaaazy goals and we’re always looking for more people to join in the fun! All you gotta do is be brave enough to share one goal you’d like to complete, and every last Friday of the month you’ll share your progress on that goal. Good or not so great, you’ll have a cheering squad in the blog hop group. And make sure to visit author-hosts Misha Gericke, Jen Garrett and Brittney Woodson.

My goal is to write one million words worth of prose. And I’ve actually reset my counter, which means I won’t reach my goal by the end of this five-year blog hop, but that’s fine. That one-million goal was to get me writing and submitting to agents and publishers.

But enough of that. You’re here to see how I did for May. So let me start with a refresher for this month’s goals.

May 2017 goals:

☀do revision work for chapter book WIP, Sweeter the Scent

☀read four more books

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Writing update:

Sweeter the Scent, my chapter book WIP, is complete – yay! And I’ve had CPs take a look at the first four chapters (double yay!). So far, I’ve set it aside to let it sit. I’m considering taking the story in a different direction.

Reading update:

I didn’t do as much reading as I wanted this month until last week. I’ve finished 2 books, Allie Pleiter’s The Bull Rider’s Homecoming and Colleen Oakley’s Close Enough to Touch.

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A heartwarming read; I’m a sucker for reunion/second chance romances.
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I related to MC Jubilee way too much. Rocking hermit here.

So two down, two to go. I’m juggling Ruth Logan Herne’s Their Surprise Daddy and Rebecca Adler’s The Good, the Bad and the Guacamole. I should have them done by end of May (crossing my fingers). If you haven’t noticed, lots of cozies and contemp romances. Solid sub-genres.

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With spring closing, and summer shining brightly ahead, I foresee a more brighter, productive future for June. Check out my goals!

June 2017 goals:

☀begin working on the 1st draft of Ghoul & Alien 2.0

☀read four more books

Writing goal:

I’m going back to Ghoul & Alien after a little more than a month since I took a break mid-April. I’ve gotten a small bit of feedback from two professional #RevPit editors on the first 5 pages and query. Both mentioned that one of the MCs – the five pages didn’t introduce my second MC – hadn’t “wowed” them. One of the editors thought he could be more unique.

Instead of showing my CPs, I’ve decided that since I explored the MG route, and I started plotting and I’m enjoying what I have, that I’m going to age this story up from a chapter book.

Reading goal:

These are the titles I’m hoping to devour in May, in reading order (some are library books that I need to return). 🙂

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The 2nd book in the Popcorn Shop Mystery series from author Kristi Abbott. I’m hoping to be ready for Book #3 when it comes out later this year.

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The 3rd title in Kathy Aarons’ A Chocolate Covered Mystery series. A delightful read with a super funny MC (but then most cozies have hilariously self-deprecating heroines).

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An early childhood text I wanted to read. I’ve been on hold for weeks, waiting for my turn at my library!

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This one is a re-read. I think I first read it in 2015, but I’d have to check it out. I do remember enjoying it!

And hopefully more reads, depending on my time management skills.

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How did your May go as far as goals? Did you get through your spring cleaning? Are you all set for summer in T-minus 4 weeks? Let me know so I can cheer you on, whatever the monthly result(s)!

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#AtoZChallenge (2017 edition): Challenge Aftermath

I survived the A to Z, and I’m posting this late, but I’d still like to reflect on April’s crazy month of blogging. (Crazy for me at least.)

I’ve been doing the A to Z since 2015, and the first year was a crazy slapdash of creating posts on the day of, so I changed it up last year. I started writing my posts early and I had them all finished and ready to go by April 1st. This year I decided I needed to do that again if I had any hopes of getting to The End and not tearing out my hair from the frustration.

Luckily, I chose a theme I was interested in. One thing I enjoyed was I learned something new in writing every post. It was fun, too. Always a bonus.

If I do end up doing this again next year, I’ve already got my theme set aside. This year I scrambled for an idea (after sticking to movies for two years in a row). Hey, mayeb I’ll even starting writing the posts later this year, so I’m not rushing around to get it all done in March.

But right now, I need a long rest from thinking about posting back to back like that.

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How did your April run if you participated in the #AtoZChallenge?

If you weren’t participating, did you make it around to some (if not all) the blogs? A lot of cool, innovative themes were floating around… Never too late to backtrack and check out those posts.

#AtoZChallenge (2017): Z is for Zeus

Day Twenty-Six of the A-to-Z Challenge in April 2017. Let’s do this.

This year there’s no linky list or form to fill out to sign up. It might be too late to join at this point (unless you were double posting), but you can always cheer/comment on participants (and find awesome bloggers) at the A-to-Z’s official blog.

Now I should warn, that I didn’t stick to the common sense rule of writing short, pithy posts. Mine are long and bloated, but I’m having fun with it. And if you wanna skim, that’s absolutely cool with me!

Leave a comment down below with your blog so I can visit I’m thrilled to be making new friends. 🙂

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As part of my Greek mythic figures, places, and things theme, my “Z” post features the god of Olympian gods – the king of the mountain who doesn’t need a-drum-roll-when-he-can-wield-thunder, Zeus.

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Look at me. Even my beard is all stabby-like.

Can you tell I barely bothered to search for another “Z” option?

Well, yeah. There’s plenty of Zeus-related material out there. But that’s also why this post is going to be hard. What do I choose to focus about? I talked some of his lovers, and I’m not really in the mood to venture into that topic again. *yawn* So the dude couldn’t keep his lightning bolts in his pants (or up his chiton), snoozefest.

So let’s talk those times Zeus sort of screwed humanity. That sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Let’s begin with the tale of Pandora.

She was the first human created, also the first woman.

The actual “whole opening the box and unleashing doom and hope” has some pretty convoluted material out there, but let’s see if I can untangle this correctly.

So, there were two brothers, both of them Titans, the good kind because this is post-Titanomachy. These brothers, Prometheus and the younger, foolish Epimetheus, were a soft-hearted duo, and hardly as whimsically ruthless as most the Olympian gods. Anyways, Prometheus was crafty, a trickster god with a gold heart. He created an original race of man and he cared for them, like a good creator (and unlike Zeus, who couldn’t give his godly behind about what happened to humans).

Anyways, the good Titans not punished by Zeus gathered on Mt. Olympus to decide who should get the better share of sacrifices. Prometheus tricked Zeus out of the greater share of meat when humans sacrificed animals to the Olympian gods. So the gods would be left with bones. (Haha.)

Then Prometheus decided to steal some fire for his little humans.

Angered by this outrage, Zeus’s fury translated into his own cunning revenge. But first, he had to chain Prometheus up. Tying the Titan to a rock, he left him there to have an eagle pecking out his liver, only to have the liver renewed at the end of the day for the oh-so-painful cycle to repeat. Funny enough, Prometheus is later rescued by Hercules, Zeus’s – allegedly – favorite mortal kid. (Guess that’s Zeus’s way of saying “you’ve been tortured enough”).

So while Prometheus was chained up, Zeus zeroed his attention on the less brighter half of the Titan brothers, Epimetheus. Sending for Hephaestus, he had the smithy god craft a “daughter” for Zeus, one made of clay.

Not sure what material Prometheus’s human race was made of, but there’s the clay Adam and Eve were also supposedly made from.

And all the other gods got in the human-making (slash pottery) party. “She was then given gifts from all the Olympian gods. Aphrodite gave to her unparalleled beauty, grace and desire. Hermes, the messenger god, gave her a cunning, deceitful mind and a crafty tongue. Athena clothed her and taught her to be deft with her hands. Poseidon bestowed on her a pearl necklace that would prevent her from drowning. Apollo taught her to play the lyre and to sing. Zeus gave her a foolish, mischievous and idle nature and last but not least, Hera gave her the wiliest gift, curiosity.” (source)

I’m still stuck on Poseidon’s gift: a pearl necklace that prevents her from drowning…for what? A wrathful, divine-decreed deluge?

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Getting me nervous here.

Anyways, she was sent as a bride to Epimetheus. Epimetheus lived down there with his brother’s humans. Pandora brought along a beautifully ornate storage jar (not a box!) with her. She was not to open the box, which sort of should have been the point when she said “Okay, I don’t want it then.”

Anyways, her curiosity (thanks Hera!) gets the better of her and she opens that sucker.

Out pours all the vileness plaguing the Earth today (i.e. violence, rage, hunger, disease, etc.). All but Hope (Elpis) comes soaring out last from the vase.

MORAL: That’s why humans have a steadfast nature. Stick in there. It’s not like it’s your fault that jar was opened.

Moving on to what happened some time after…

Remember that deluge I mentioned?

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Well, I’m sure Pandora wasn’t alive for it, so that necklace from Poseidon went to waste. And it seems like Pyrrha, Pandora’s daughter, didn’t need it either.

Pyrrha, whose name means fire, “was the first child born of a mortal mother.” Neat, right? I guess all woman and babies were made by Prometheus up until that point. It’s like humans 1.0 were upgraded.

Pyrrha went on to marry her first cousin, Deucalion, the son of Prometheus. When the jar of evils (and lone hope!) was opened, it eventually led Zeus to realize just how whacked Prometheus’s creations were down there under Mt. Olympus. He decided a good, ole, pre-monotheistic cleansing was needed.

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Time to get to work destroying the human race.

Deucalion realized that there would be a flood (or Zeus spared him, so he sent news that there would be a mass genocide occurring, and to take cover). Deucalion built a chest large enough for him and his wife, Pyrrha. Tucking them in, they waited out the 9-day mass flood.

When it was over, Zeus called for Pyrrha and Deucalion, as the remaining “humans” (they weren’t really fully human…) to repopulate the empty world. So they were given some magical stones to toss over their shoulders to create a new race of men and women.

But it’s not like that flood cleansed the world of the so-called evils that poured out Pandora’s jar. Just sayin’. It was a pointless move, Zeus.

MORAL: Think through your actions. I mean, what is really the end purpose? I’m looking at you here, Zeus.

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Sources that helped me with this post:

http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Zeus.html

http://www.greeka.com/greece-myths/pandora.htm

http://www.theoi.com/Heroine/Pandora.html

http://greece.mrdonn.org/greekgods/pandora.html

http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/Deucalion/deucalion.html

http://greece.mrdonn.org/greekgods/zeusflood.html

http://www.ancient-origins.net/human-origins-folklore/deucalion-myth-great-flood-greece-00259

Check them out when you can!