Tuesday, December 19, 2017


You ever sit back and wonder what events in your life made you who you are? I cringe when I hear people say something to the effect of, I wouldn't change a thing because it made me who I am. I feel like that's bull shit. Certainly, I would still be the same person I am if I didn't eat that burrito yesterday. ...That's probably not what those people mean. The big events. The horrible things we did and had done to us. They're talking about the Rape, Cheating, Car Crashes, Fires, Broken Hearts, Accidents and Neglects that leaves us changed forever. Core memories, as Disney, might put it. Life's little happenstances that shape us. 

We mostly remember the bad. I know I certainly do. I remember feeling stupid for the first 15 years of my life. I was held back in second grade. I took special classes for reading in school. The first time I saw so much as a B on any of my school work was my freshmen year of high school. I can tell you, it was such a feeling. I'll never forget it. I cried. 

It took me until I was 20 to realize why I was so stupid before high school:
  • I needed glasses since I was in 4th grade and maybe sooner. My mom got me a pair when I was 11, but I took them off to play outside and they fell out of my pocket. For days and weeks, I searched for them, but they were gone...mom never bought me another pair. My dad did when I moved in with him at 16 years-old.
  • I was starving. My older brothers and I grew up in poverty. There was a short time of two years in which my mom was married to a physically and verbally abusive ass-hat that we had food in the house and money for lunches at school, but after they divorced we couldn't even afford furniture in our trailer, let alone groceries. The food we did have was not for us. It was for mom's new boyfriend...another ass-hat (men always came first). Mom was too proud to ask for government handouts, so there was no free lunch program or food bank visits, we just went without food. I remember coming home to find my brother unconscious on the floor while the vacuum was running. He was so starved that he fainted while doing his chores...Hard to focus on school when your stomach hurts like hell...Some of my most shameful memories as a child were out of hunger. I've eaten out of a dumpster before. I've eaten a jar of mayonnaise before. Right now I cringe at the thought, but thinking back on it, at the time it tasted like heaven to a starving child. Men make more money than women, and my dad only had me and one other brother to care for, so at 16 I had regular meals. 
  • No doctor or dentist visits unless I was dying (period) No health insurance mandate meant no health care for me as a child. Unless I was screaming in pain, no go. 
  • There was no help at all...on top of not being able to see the board and not being able to focus because of hunger pains or sickness, I received no help at all on my school work. I admit, memories are fully faulty and there is a chance I simply do not remember being helped at home, but truly I do not recall my mom ever sitting down with me and actually helping me study for a test or work on a project. Everything from day one was left to me, a child...and I failed at everything. You would assume my teachers said something to my mom about my performance, but instead of helping me, I felt ridiculed and judged only. She spoke openly in front of me to anyone about how stupid I was, especially compared to my perfect brothers, who could do no wrong in her eyes. I felt like shit. I clearly remember that. I was 7 years old and crying into my teddy bears. Screaming I HATE YOU and meaning me...
I don't really blame my mom, though. She was 19 when she had me, a single mom of 3 without a high school education. She put herself through college while working full time and raising 3 kids alone. At times she worked up to 3 jobs at once. She worked as often as she could to pay the bills. She just didn't have time for me. She often forgot about me altogether. (she still does. My birthday was 11/17...she never called)

I remember when I turned 10 years old. I don't remember where my mom was on my birthday, but I have fond memories of a young prostitute who stole cake mix, frosting and whoppers from Safeway and made me a birthday cake. I don't remember if I ever tasted chocolate before that day and no cake can hold a candle to it. It was perfection! Perhaps it is love that makes the memory of that cake so amazing.

Yes, befriending prostitutes isn't something most 10-year-olds do, but without a parent home, my brothers and I were left alone to be abused and abuse each other and wander the streets and try drugs and drink coffee and alcohol and smoke cigarettes...We were the kids other parents didn't want their kids hanging out with.  I don't want to sit and think and count how many times I was raped or molested growing up. It hurts my heart. LOL I laugh so I don't cry... 

I didn't have help with school and I didn't have help with life...I did some really dumb stuff. I should have been killed a few times over. When I was 12 I once got in a car full of grown ass men I didn't know just because a friend of a friend was dating one of them. They took me and my other friends back to their grown ass man apartment and did things they should have been doing to grown ass woman and not a bunch of fucking preteens...I've made sooooo many bad choices like that. Why am I still alive!?!?!?!?!  I was a little girl without a full-time mom and only an every other weekend dad. 

When I was young I used to call myself stupid. I told myself that everyone hated me and that I was a burden. I told myself I was ugly and I felt sorry for people who had to look at me. I don't know what made me change all the sudden at the age of 16. Was it moving in with my dad? (which broke my mother's heart) Was it just getting older and realizing I needed to make some changes? Maybe it was wanting something better than what I had and being someone better than who I was. I look at my little girl and I think back. I never ever want her to feel what I felt. I help her, I watch over her, I make sure she knows she's beautiful and I never lie to her, never. So if what I went through has made me a better mom, I guess I wouldn't change a thing either. 

I feel like my first 5 books were me working through all that shit.


Thursday, December 14, 2017


I'm not sure if I'm ambitious or confused or a bit of both. I mean, well, I have my fingers in a lot of pies...or is that the wrong analogy. Perhaps I'm juggling too many damn balls...

I'm a writer


I'm currently writing the last book in The Serial Killer series and the second Zombie Book...Zombie Book 2. 

An Artist

I'm trying to start my own business.

I tried to get it going through the Kickstarter website, but that only seems to work for famous and rich people now...as if they need help at all. 

I'm trying to sell the pilot episode or Paranormal Washington, a series based on the Raina Kirkland Novels.

Amazon.com took a look at the first pilot episode and asked me to change some things, so that's what I'm doing. I hope to resubmit the new pilot before Christmas! 

And, I'm trying to find a job in my field of study, Social Science...some grand mix of social services, counseling and administration. 

But I can't forget everything else I have to do...running a house is a full-time job. Guess I'm feeling stretched a little thin...Oh yeah! And I'm trying to lose weight.

Monday, November 20, 2017


It's fair to say that I'm kind of obsessed with the Raina Kirkland series. Besides my children, I've never made anything so grand as this five book adventure. I want to stay in Raina's world.

I started writing the adventures of secondary characters. What happened when Raina, the narrator, wasn't around. When Nick was sent away after murdering two people, before coming back in book 3. And how Katie changed from meek child to bad ass between books 3 and 4. Books 2.5 and 3.5 respectively. But, I never finished them...

I wrote a screenplay for a television series pilot episode, and I submitted it to exactly one production company. They got back to me after 4 months and said, "If I changed some things I should resubmit it" but never said what those things were...I haven't submitted it to another company or changed anything yet...

Because I possess some artistic talent in the area of drawing and graphic design, I thought I could convert my novels into graphic novels, but...I don't know...

I've entertained the idea of writing a 6th book, but I'm sure Raina's story has been told pretty thoroughly. All the bad guys have been dealt with and all the surviving good guys have their happily ever afters. 

I have the fullest of plates at the moment. I'm currently looking for a new day job, while also trying to start a small business (Kickstarter) and write The Librarian, The Zombie Book 2 and hopefully an erotic novel. Maybe a time-traveling piece...You could say I'm kind of busy, but I really want Raina in my life. I'm just not sure which direction to go in. 

  • Novels 2.5 and 3.5
  • Television Series
  • Graphic Novel
  • 6th Book
What do you think?

Sunday, November 19, 2017


After years of planning and research and all that jazz, I'm going for it. I want to be a small business owner. I have so many ideas for a business, but I believe the most profitable is the kid's cafe. Ever since my daughter was born I've had this idea in my mind. When a kid's cafe opened in Lynnwood, Washington I really hated myself for not pursuing it before. But Lynnwood is so far away now. I need a play cafe in the Tacoma, Washington area and there just isn't anything like that around, so why not open one? I wanted to name it Rainy Day Cafe, but as a compromise with the husband, I named it Stay N' Play Cafe. 

My first plan of action is to do a Kickstarter

It took some time, but I made a video to promote the venture

After months of working the budget side, I've come up with the barest of bones financial goal to open the business ($18,000)

The cost includes rewards given to those who back us on Kickstarter.  

Most projects don't get by only on large backers, but mostly $15 to $30 backers. Well, in any case, the Kickstarter ends near the end of December. We will see. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


J.K. Rowlings said that she was inspired to write Harry Potter while she was riding a train. She imagined children on their way to a magical school and the plot developed from there.

Stephany Myers said she was inspired to write the first Twilight book one night as she laid awake in bed. She had an image of a man and woman together. The man wanted to devour the woman but he wouldn't let that happen because he also loved her. The rest of the plot developed from that point out.

Steven King said he wrote Dreamcatcher out of the idea that horrible things happen in the bathrooms all the time; diarrhea, heart attach, slips, vomiting...aliens tearing their way out of your ass while you're on the toilet. The rest evolved from that idea. 

Stories don't usually come to writers in their completion. They come bit by bit, flowing in the path of least resistance, like a river. It starts with an idea or picture you can't get out of your mind. For the Raina Kirkland Series, it started with the idea of a normal girl becoming a killer. For The Artist, it was the idea of a killer who used the human body as his clay. For The Zombie Book, it was about nerdy dorks surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.  

The idea is like an algebra equation. 

Idea + X = A story             Solve for X

Once the idea is solved there is no real rest until it's all written out, perfected and published.   

It's helpful and natural that once you start thinking about your idea, complimenting ideas come to the surface. For The Zombie Book,  it was the idea of a mom and young child surviving alone. Another idea that came up while researching human activity during war times was the ramped depravities humans are capable of; mass murder, raping, torture, cannibalism... This expands the equation.

Nerds & Zombies + Mom & Child + Depraved Humans = Story

How do these things connect? Find a starting point and follow the natural flow of events. 

So now I have the story's major components. Next, I compile goals to meet. Staying with The Zombie Book, I went into the story with some specific goals in mind. 

  • Bad Ass Mom (who else could keep their baby alive?)
  • I love me some Cannibalism (been obsessed since I was a child)
  • A Realistic Concept of Zombism (which meant a scientist who understood it)
  • A Realistic Survival method (the nerd's bunker)
The equation is coming into focus.

Nerds in bunker + Scientist + Bad Ass with Baby + Evil Cannibales + Zombies = Story

You want to start a story strong and pick your voice. If I were a man I might have started the story from one of the nerd's perspectives, but I'm a lady and a mom. The first part of the equation is in place.

Bad Ass Mom with Baby, fighting Zombies...+ Bring in the Nerds! + Set up for Evil Men & Science.

The story has begun. At this point, I had a rough outline from beginning to end, but everything was flexible and fluid and from point A to Z things changed depending on feelings and new ideas and information coming late in the game. Like in Dungeons and Dragons, the board is set, the players are in place and the rest is an adventure that surprises even the dungeon master at times. Roll the dice! 

Sunday, November 5, 2017


After finishing the Raina Kirkland Series in 2016, I quickly started plotting out two short story series. The first one was about serial killers in Seattle and the second book was about Zombies in the Olympic forest.

The serial killer series was published on New Year's Eve 2016.
The Artists is the beginning of a new serial killer series.

There are 35 active serial killers at any given time in the U.S.
There are 271 serial killer suspects currently on the FBI list.
Nearly 50% of serial killers kill for Enjoyment (thrill, lust, power)
The Average IQ of serial killers is 94.7 
90.8% of serial killers are Men, while only 9.2% are women

Carmen is a studious woman with a peculiar manner and odd interest in the criminal mind so you might imagine her delight when she finds herself in the middle of an FBI investigation into a serial killer, known as The Artist; a killer who literally turns his victims into works of art. It really is a dream come true...until it becomes a nightmare too real.

“The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.” 

~ Richard Wright

The book has had 4 cover changes in the 11 months since it's release.

The first cover lasted less than 30 days. In that short time, I sold just 1 copy of the book...to myself!

The second cover was a drawing I made for an adult coloring book I put together called Dark Whimsy. From the end of January 2017 until the end of June 2017. I sold only 6 more copies, 2 in February, 3 in March and 1 more in April. 

The third cover sold 0 copies between June and October!

Since this cover's release in October, I've sold just 1 copy. 

The second book in this series, The Librarian, is about 2 months away from being published.  

Published October 20th, 2017.
The Zombie Book

Erin is a single mom facing the Zombie Apocalypse alone until she stumbles...is chased by a horde of rotting corpses, into an adorkable group of bad ass zombie hunting, video gaming playing man-children and their sweet doting Gran Gran/ mad genius... 

But if Erin has learned anything from the end of the world, it's that humans are far scarier than any flesh-eating zombie. Deadlier too.

In the 16 days since The Zombie Book's release, I've sold 13 copies...

Because of these numbers, I'm actually considering putting off finishing The Librarian in favor of writing the sequel to The Zombie Book. Meanwhile, I'm trying to plot out an erotic fantasy novel to come out this coming Spring 2018. Thoughts? 

Monday, October 23, 2017


This will be the last chapter from Fatal Retribution that I will be posting here. I just published a novella aptly titled, The Zombie Book...it's about zombies. Now, I must delve deep into my next book, The Librarian, the end of the Serial Killer Series, which was supposed to be a three book series, (THE ARTIST, THE LIBRARIAN & THE RAVEN) but since only 7 people bought the first book, I don't want to waste more time on a book no one wants to read. However, I can't leave a story unfinished, so I'm combing the last two books into one. The covers below are linked to Amazon...


If you haven't read Chapter 1, PRESS HERE

Book 1
By Diana Graves

Copyright © 2011 Diana Graves
All rights reserved.
Book cover & format by Diana Graves, www.dianagraves.org
Kindle Edition
License Statement
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This book is a work of pure fiction.  Characters, places and incidents are creations of the author’s imagination, and any similarity to people, living or dead, businesses, events or places is purely coincidental.
To my family and friends, thank you.
Fatal Retribution
Mortal Sentry
Grave Omen
Deadly Encounters
Toxic Warrior
The Artist: The Serial Series Book 1
The Librarian: The Serial Series Book 2
The Zombie Book: Zombie Book 1

Adult Coloring Book: Dark Whimsy


I ARRIVED AT Bastion Fatal early.  I’d only been there once before, when Uncle Seth was directing a play, Anna in the Caribbean.  I’d never been to the Bastion on my own.  I was intimidated, to say the least.  Alicia offered to lie to her father so that she could come with me, but I was too mad at her to have her around.  She shouldn’t have to lie to be with me.  She was my best friend of fifteen years for Goddess sake!  We survived public schools together and college, and now that all meant nothing.
The Bastion was built half on land and half in Commencement Bay, with a large part of it under water.  It looked like an Indian palace, all gold, and white, with the water behind it.  The only entrance was through a gilded wrought iron gate, guarded by three humans.  I thought the guards’ uniforms were a bit odd.  They wore white and gold getups that looked like pajamas.  And, besides a slim red sword, the guards didn’t exactly possess intimidating guard gear either.  But, what they lacked in weapons and armor, they made up in numbers.  The place was lousy with them.  

The parking lot was full of both cars and people.  Some were just standing around in cliques; others were making their way toward the building like me.  It was warm for a summer night in Washington, and most of the women were wearing skimpy clothes that showed off a lot of skin.  I felt frumpy in my baggy jeans and flip-flops.  My hair was combed neat and short in the back, while the front was allowed to cascade over my shoulders long and red.
I didn’t mind the long walk through the massive parking lot.  The Bastion looked magnificent in the growing dark, with the bay in the background.  Most of the Bastion was painted white with red accents.  At the top was a huge glass dome, gilded and shining.  The marble steps that led to the large front doors were crowded by guards.  I had to squeeze my way through.  There were two more guards standing just inside the doors, like Wal-Mart greeters.
“Thank you for visiting Bastion Fatal.  Please refrain from going beyond the first two floors, as those are off-limits to guests.”  The guard smiled down at me with big white teeth and an excessive amount of eyeliner.
I entered the grand hall.  You would think the inside would be just as bright as the outside, but it was all plain dark marble walls, floors, and ceiling.  Small round lights in the ceiling provided spares lighting.  
“Excuse me?” I asked a guard standing at the entrance of a door along the hall.  Her dark hair was pulled back tight, leaving her face bare to the world.  All her features seemed too much; eyes too big, lips too plump, eyebrows too thick and dark.  
She didn’t move a muscle as I approached her.  She didn’t look at me, she simply replied, “Yes.”
The pamphlet didn’t have a room number, just the address of the collective’s compound. “Um, I’m here for the class taught by Damon.  The one for vampires and I was hoping you could—.”
“Down two floors,” the woman interrupted.
“So, it’s okay that I go beyond the first two floors?” I asked.  
“Yes,” she said with her eyes still staring straight ahead.  By looking at the other guards I knew standing still, eyes front was not a rule for them, which meant she probably took her job way too seriously.
“Do I need a pass or something?”
“No,” she said loudly and with an inflection that told me I was rubbing her the wrong way.
I began to walk away, but then I turned back to the guard.  “How will they know I’m going to class and not trespassing?” I asked, so not wanting to get in trouble in this place.
The guard looked down at me.  The weight of her stare made me hold my breath.  What big dark eyes coated in black makeup you have.  
“There are no other rooms being used two floors down due to construction, so that would be the only reason for anyone to be down there.  Normally that class is held on the first floor.  However, that space is being used for something else, due to construction.”  She gave me a stern look.  I backed away slowly.  The other guards seemed to be friendly and smiling.  Lucky me, I decided to talk with the one with a chip on her shoulder.  
I followed the plain black and white signs hanging from the ceiling that pointed the way to the elevator as I walked down the hall.  I found the elevator with a crowd of people hanging around it; most of the people weren’t human.  Don’t ask me how, but I could always tell if someone’s not one-hundred percent human.  The guards, all of them, were human.  But, most of the people standing around me were other things; witches, were-creatures, Sasquatch.  Well, it’s not so hard to tell Bigfoot from human.  Bigfoots are big, and if the size difference somehow escapes your notice, there’s always the thick fur jumpsuit and exposed genitalia.

The doors opened, and we all piled into the redwood box that was the elevator.  I didn’t like elevators because I didn’t like heights and elevators usually go up.  Thankfully, I was going down.  It was a big elevator, but I still managed to get squashed against the wall in the back.
“Floors?” someone shouted out from the front of the elevator.  People started shouting out numbers.  I waited until everyone was quiet before I said, “Two floors down!”  I didn’t think anyone could see me behind the two Bigfoots standing in front of me.
“Down is first!” announced the same voice.
I felt a pull when the elevator started moving, and I clutched at the bare wall, trying hard not to touch the people in front of me.  Why oh why don’t Bigfoots wear clothes?  
“Negative two!” shouted the voice.  
“Um, excuse me,” I said as I squeezed my way out of the elevator.  I didn’t look anyone in the face, just their feet, as I made my exit.
“Sorry. Excuse me. I’m so sorry,” I muttered until I nearly fell into the hall.  The doors closed behind me before I could apologize one more time.  
It was a part of Bastion Fatal I’d never been in, not that I’d been in much of it, mostly just the grand hall and auditorium.  The hall was empty, dark and all the doors were open or missing.  It was smaller than the grand hall, narrower.  As I walked down the hallway, past all the open dark rooms, I had that feeling of being watched that you get when there’s too much darkness surrounding you.  The lights in the hall were dim and unlike the marble walls on the first floor, this floor had thick old wood paneling and tapestries.  It looked better to me.  More sophisticated and warm.  There were carvings in the wood.  I walked up to one of the panels to get a closer look.  The carvings depicted creatures, vampires, and humans in various situations.  I ran my fingers over the dusty, cobwebbed walls.  I admired the care and talent that had gone into making them.  One carving was of a woman with long curls flowing in the night’s sky.  There was something familiar about her.  
“Beautiful,” I whispered.
“Yes, she was.”  It was a booming voice that cut through the empty hall and I jumped high and screamed—just a little.  
“Shit,” I spat.  I put my hand over my heart to calm it.  It didn’t work.
“Sorry,” said the silhouette of a man standing in the doorway of one of the rooms.  He appeared to be crossing his arms and leaning against the door’s frame, but there was no knowing for sure.  He was simply that dark.  The only thing that was clearly visible was his teeth, ultra white in contrast.  He stepped into the light of the hall and still he was a shadow of a man.  He was complete darkness, like a walking talking man made of tar, without the luster.  

“Are you here for the class?” asked the dark figure.  His voice had lost none of its boom.  Like Ruy’s deep masculine tone, it was unsettling but strangely alluring.
“Yes,” I admitted.  My voice quivered just a little, but enough to make me ashamed of myself.  I hated being afraid, probably more than I hated heights, and since I was afraid of heights that was all the more reason to avoid them.  
“You’re early,” he said.  He had no whites in his eyes, smooth black skin and short black hair.  He wore black on black clothes, shirt, slacks, shoes, and belt.  I stared at him for a moment longer than was polite, until I realized that this man was the silhouette from the pamphlet Tristan had given me yesterday.
“Are you—Damon?” I asked.
“Yes, you’re Raina?”
My heart jumped into my throat, “Um, yeah.  How did you know my name?”
Damon waved his hand as if he could shoo away my fright.  “Your uncle, Seth, told me to expect a witch-elf with the deepest darkest auburn hair I’d ever seen.  That’d be you,” he smiled, revealing warmth I wouldn’t have guessed would be there.  “You’re a living vampire?”  He came closer to me, and I almost took a step back but stopped myself.  
“That’s what they tell me.”
His dark face leaned in closer, too close for comfort.  He was in my bubble, but I didn’t back away.  At this distance, I should have been able to see his pores but I saw none.  His skin was smooth, smooth like glass.  There was no hair, no wrinkles.  In fact, if he stood still and kept his mouth shut there would be no telling him from a statue.
He sniffed the air around me.  “What are you?” he asked himself more than me, but before I could think of an answer that wasn’t sarcastic we were interrupted by the arrival of a noisy vamp.
“Yo, D!” shouted a vampire walking off the elevator.  He had smooth brown skin and eyes that revealed some distant elf relation.  He was wearing a hoody and a pair of light colored jeans.  
He walked right up into my bubble with Damon.  Does anyone here understand the concept of personal space?  
He smiled down at me.  “Hey, I’m Charley,” he said, and he offered me his hand.  I took it and found it cold and rough, but firm.
“I came early so you could help me with my problem,” he said, looking over my head, to the shadow man.  Damon nodded as if he knew what the vamp was talking about.
“Well, why don’t we step inside the classroom, and then we can talk, Charles,” Damon said, gesturing with an incline of his head.
The classroom was beautiful.  Like the hall, it was full of rich wood carvings and tapestries.  One wall was made of thick glass, a window looking out into the bay.  Right now the window was black with dark night waters.  I couldn’t imagine what it must look like during the day.  There were five long tables with plastic chairs, facing the chalkboard at the front of the class.  I sat at the first table and doodled on a pad of a paper, while Damon and Charley talked in hushed voices at the back of the classroom.  I could have heard them if I wanted to, but I had more integrity than that.

Once other people started arriving Charley sat down far from me, and Damon headed to the front of the class.  He wrote his name on the chalkboard and turned back to the class.
“Have a seat!” he shouted over what was now a room full of people. “My name is Damon, and before you all ask I’ll answer some common questions I get.  What am I?  My race is called Barguest.  What the hell is that?”  I heard giggling from behind me.  “It’s a little-known shapeshifter race.  My people commonly get mistaken for the black dog or death omen, which is part of the reason why Barguest is an endangered species.”
“Yeah, Yo, D needs to repopulate his peeps, so if any of you hot honeys want to save a species I can give you his number!” interrupted Charley.  
Several of the vampires around him gave him high fives and Damon smiled.  Charley and his pals sat away from the rest of the class, like a little gang of street-smart vamps.
Damon cleared his throat loudly, “If I can continue.  To combat some rumors you might hear.  I am not immortal, but barguests do live about five times that of a normal human, so about four hundred and fifty years, give or take a century or two.  We don’t drink blood or eat people.  We eat what you would eat.  Though, most of us are partial to vegetarianism.  It can be hard to eat something that you can shift into.  It feels too much like cannibalism.”  He looked out over the class and when his gaze ran over me I looked away.  His darkness was intimidating.  
“I see a few new faces today, and for those of you that are new, there is really no beginning to these classes.  I teach you seven rules to live by, two hours a night, five nights a week.  So, by attending seven classes in a row, you’ll have learned the tools a modern vampire needs in order to live in today’s America.  Usually, before and after class I’m free for personal advice, any questions you might have or a group discussion.  And, while I’m not a vampire, I have lived long enough among them and I have doctorate degrees in sociology, economics, politics, medicine, psychology, and theater.  Believe me, when you’ve lived as long as I have, you have time to remake yourself a few times over,” he added when many of my classmates made faces of astonishment.  I was one of them.  That was a lot of school.  Damn.
“So, without further ado, shall we begin tonight’s lessons?”
No one made a sound.  In fact, the room was deathly silent.  Charley and his gang of vamps were leaning forward over their table listening intently.  I found myself not immune to the appeal of what Damon might teach us.  The life of vampires was all mysterious and scary.  
“The first thing I want you to get out of your heads is that vampires are foreign and mysterious things you could never be, because if you’re in this class, you are either on your way to becoming a vampire, or you’re one already.  And, to live successfully as a vampire you need to admit to yourself that those vampires out there are just as much human and feeling as you are.”
Damon was a passionate teacher.  His voice was charging and his very presence demanded respect and obedience.  Our faces followed him about the room as he lectured.  I was almost mesmerized by the void of his dark skin, and the muscles that worked under it, and how he moved his arms when he made important points.  I had brought a pen and a notebook, but they sat on my desk with not a single note taken.  I could never write fast enough to keep up, why even bother?  

I noticed that many students had recording devices on the table in front of them.  Damn, what a good idea.  I would have to remember that next time and maybe repeat this class.
“Now that you understand that vampires are people and that becoming one doesn’t make you less of a human, I must tell you that this class isn’t a philosophy class.  I won’t be lecturing you about morals or anything of that nature.  If you want to throw around ideas after class, that’s great, but my class is about practical life as a vampire.  The belief in your innate goodness is essential to being a productive member of society.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is as philosophical as I will get during class hours.”
For the first hour of the class, he went on to explain the vampire’s economic place in America.  He handed out career placement quizzes to the class, at least, those of us who hadn’t taken this class before.  Apparently, many of his students simply came back for his good company and to hear his lectures.  There were only three of us that were completely new to the class, and there was one more that never took this particular class.  The quizzes were short and done quickly.  Once the quizzes were all taken, Damon gave us a ten-minute break while he evaluated them.  As we came back into class Damon handed us our quiz results and asked us to move the tables to the side and make a circle out of the chairs.
“Now,” he began, standing in the middle of the circle as we sat in the chairs.  “I want you all to go around the circle and introduce yourselves to each other.  I want names, interests and how you became a vampire or why you want to become a vampire.  If you feel comfortable sharing, go ahead and tell us about the quiz you just took.  If you’ve taken it before and you want to share your quiz or your current career, feel free to share.  You have thirty minutes, go!”
Squeezing through the circle, Damon walked back to the front of the class and sat behind an old oak desk, cluttered with papers and old knickknacks.  

“Okay,” said a girl wearing a powder blue sweater.  She had a real down to earth look to her.  She wore no makeup or jewelry that I could see.  She seemed utterly plain until she actually spoke.  “Let’s get it on, bull shitters!” she announced and half the class laughed, including me.  

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