Author Archives: Flossie Benton Rogers

About Flossie Benton Rogers

Paranormal romance author who loves to shake the edges of reality.

Tuesday Tales: Writing Business

Welcome to Tuesday Tales, a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a book hungry troop that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today our word prompt is business. The excerpt is from a dark fantasy romance. Visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

 

An icy claw clenched her stomach.

What kind of crappy business had Atropos stuck her with? She was sick and tired of being given the bull crap jobs, while her three half-sisters lounged beachside, sipping mojitos, sandwiched between thong attired, ripped cabana boys. Well, that was how she imagined them anyway. It wasn’t like she received weekend invites.

Still, all they had to do was spin, measure, and cut. She had no job description aside from “as needed.” That meant she landed all the off the wall assignments in arcane hell holes she couldn’t even talk about later.

The snarling jaws of the lion head snapped her way, missing her forearm by an inch. She jumped back out of reach and steadied the revolver. She had always pictured Lamassus as serene and wise. A mixture of human and animal, often lion, bull, and winged creature, they guarded cities and palaces for councils and crowns. Set before the entrance to a dark region of the Underworld, this one displayed perverse tendencies. Its three heads were eagle, lion, and giant snake, all savage, and all determined to feast on her flesh. The apparent astral rope binding would not protect her if she stumbled too close.

“Are the bullets magic charged?”

At the sound of the gravelly voice, her chest tightened. She sank to one knee and peered around, but the Lamassu blocked out a major portion of the 360.

“If not, they’ll wound but won’t kill.”

The gun felt so good in her hand, too. Damn it! “I used my stash on rum soaked ghouls.”

“Too bad. Well, you might try a distraction.”

“Who the hell are you, and where?”

A cackle shot out. “I’m the least of your worries.”

Courtesy Free British Library Flickr

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt business. Thanks for stopping by. Make sure to visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

 

 

 

Amazing Actress Doran Clark

Happy Birthday, Doran Clark!

Born August 8th, 1954, Leo Sun Sign

A couple of years ago I discovered vintage mysteries on one of the Hallmark channels and am enjoying delving into such shows as Columbo, Diagnosis Murder, Matlock, Hart to Hart, and especially Murder She Wrote. While watching these series from the 1980s and 90s, a fascinating talent named Doran Clark caught my attention. There is something magical and enigmatic about her, whatever role she plays. I first noticed her in an episode of Matlock entitled The Vacation. In that one she played a hit woman hired to murder an old school chum. Her reaction upon being found out was minimalistic and chilling. She had a semblance of a marble statue about her, compartmentalizing her profession while displaying a tiny and deeply buried thread of tension and remorse.

Although she played in a number of television shows and movies, Doran Clark is not always easily recognizable. In fact she’s rather like a chameleon. It’s not just that her hair and clothing changes. She changes. I guess that’s what good acting is all about. After seeing her in Matlock and an enthralling episode of Murder She Wrote called Angel of Death, I decided to blog about her. To my astonishment the next night I watched two thirds of another episode of Murder She Wrote entitled Deadly Lady before realizing the actress portraying one of four sisters was none other than Doran Clark. She looked and acted THAT different. Amazing.

She makes a brief appearance in this movie trailer on You Tube. Keep going past the beginning until you get to the dark haired actress:

I love seeing the old mystery shows with their parade of guest stars. One of the best and most versatile was Doran Clark. Kudos to the actress for such outstanding and entertaining performances.

New information: Blog reader Tom Gill recently notified me that Doran’s grandfather was WWII General Mark Clark who led US and combined Allied forces in recapturing Italy from the Nazis! How’s that for an auspicious family tie?

I wish we could see Doran Clark in action today. Do you enjoy vintage television mysteries? Which are your favorites?

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

Review: Our Justice #RRBC

5 STARS FOR OUR JUSTICE

Author – John W. Howell

First Published – 2016

Genre – Suspense Thriller

Setting – California locales

Hero – John Cannon, lawyer and quick study

Villain – Matt Jacobs, wealthy terrorist set on assassinating the President and killing anyone who gets in his way or annoys him

Major Theme – Determined good wins over evil.

Descriptors – fast paced, moves at light speed, never a dull moment- seriously, well researched, puts the reader in the mind and body and behind the eyeballs of the hero, part 3 of series but stands on its own

Favorite Supporting Character – Ned Tranes, excellent police chief, good hearted friend and mentor of the hero

Fun Tidbit – I’m used to reading books with 3rd person POV. This book is written in 1st person POV, and not only that, it’s written in PRESENT TENSE. This gives it a fantastic quality of immediacy– Examples:

To add to my misery, a droplet runs down my forehead and into my eye. I don’t have a free hand to wipe the sweat away, and it burns my eye. I try to wink in the hope of clearing away the salt water.

“Also, if you make any sudden moves, I’ll have to pop you in the knee with my little friend here.”

Memorable Line – The coffee appears to have some magical power—the color flows back into her cheeks, and she looks much younger than just two minutes ago.

Buy Our Justice

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Fierce Writer: Unlock Your MICE Quotient

Courtesy Pixabay, free

The inimitable Orson Scott Card’s MICE Quotient is a method of looking at stories and creating story structure. As writers our role is to provide a rewarding experience for the reader. Whatever format or master plan you currently use to shape a compelling story, taking a look at your story through the lens of MICE Quotient can help:   

  • Know your characters
  • Better understand your story
  • Avoid the pitfalls of an unsatisfying ending
  • Tighten the work

I came across MICE Quotient via the marvelous Karen Woodward, whose work I was drawn to by our mutual admiration of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. She does a great job of explaining many things for writers.  

This is a brief glance at MICE Quotient to whet your appetite. It is a beginning take on the subject. MICE equates to Milieu, Idea, Character and Event — 4 factors of stories whose emphasis and relationship create types of stories. Keep in mind that an author can create a story geared toward one main factor or toward blended factors. Also, a story can be viewed through different lenses of MICE, by the author or reader, in order to generate ideas or deepen understanding.

 

MILIEU

  • The world is the thing.
  • World building is your main task.
  • You can provide more setting details than in other types of stories.
  • Begin the story when the protagonist enters a new world.
  • End the story when the protagonist leaves that world.
  • Use characterization strategically to support the world but not to overshadow it.
  • Usually the Milieu story type is blended with another type.
  • Example – epic fantasies such as Lord of the Rings (can also be viewed an Idea story), westerns, and utopians.

 

IDEA

  • The problem is the thing.
  • Your main task is to create an exciting, compelling, tricky trek toward solving the problem.
  • Begin the story when the protagonist encounters an obstacle or problem to be solved.
  • End the story when the problem is solved.
  • You can go wild with eccentric characters in this story type.
  • Example – bank heist novels, locked room murder mysteries such as some of the detective stories featuring Nero Wolfe and Sherlock Holmes.  

 

CHARACTER

  • A fully fleshed out character is the thing.
  • Characterization is your main task.
  • Begin the story when the protagonist is unhappy with her role in life and seeks change.
  • End the story when the protagonist achieves a new life, goes back to her old way of life, or becomes hopeless and just plain gives up.
  • Example – romances, women’s fiction. Remember, in romances the hero and heroine should change and grow in order to come together and receive each other’s love.

 

EVENT

  • The out of kilter aspect of the world is the thing.
  • Your task is to show the character responding to and “taking on” an upside down world.
  • Begin the story when the protagonist responds to what’s out of kilter and seeks to restore order to the world.
  • End the story when the protagonist wins or loses.
  • Example – “changing places” stories such as The Prince and the Pauper, dystopian and catastrophe stories such as Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

 

How can MICE Quotient help writers provide a more rewarding experience for the reader? Here are a few ways:

Know your characters – Viewing characters through the parameters of MICE can shed light on goal, motivation, and conflict. You can gain deeper insight about your characters.

Better understand your story – I write paranormal fantasy romances, which are big on world building, and mine are chock-full of action and adventure. Because I love to write that way, to me plot is king. When I viewed the stories through the MICE lens, I realized how fleshed out the characters were, a realization that made me happy.

Avoid the pitfalls of an unsatisfying ending – An important rule to remember is that a story ending must be geared toward the same factor as the story beginning. The beginning is a promise to the reader. The ending is the satisfactory delivery of the promise, for example:

  • If you as author end a murder mystery without telling the reader who committed the murder, big NO NO. 
  • Ditto if you dilute the murder mystery ending with overblown character details.
  • If you end a romance with the heroine suddenly discarding the hero and becoming a nun, big NO NO.
  • At ending time, we also have to be adroit in introducing new characters to clear a path for a sequel. Anything tacked on that is not part of the promise can lead to reader woe. Those characters need to be gracefully woven in earlier in a non-scene stealing way.

Tighten the work – Deciding which type of MICE you’re going with, or if it’s a blend, can help you focus on the most compelling details to include in a story and what NOT to include. Erle Stanley Gardner purposefully omitted specifics of Perry Mason’s private life. The focus had to be on Mason’s professional life. Private life focus would dilute the sheer genius of Mason’s courtroom gymnastics.

 

I hope you’ve found some interest in this brief glance at MICE Quotient. What do you think?

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Tales: Writing Rain

Welcome to Tuesday Tales, a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a book hungry troop that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today our picture prompt is rain. My excerpt is from one of my books in progress, Hannah’s Haint, a vintage paranormal romance set in a small town in the 1950s.  Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Branches rustled as a breeze kicked up. Thunder rumbled and rolled from the west.

“Storm’s moving in.” He kept his voice low. Her ear was next to his lips, the way she had nestled against him. Plus, sounds carried in the night, especially in a small town. The last thing he wanted was for her to pay some kind of penalty for spending time with him on the porch after ten at night. “Do you smell the rain, Hannah?”

She murmured in languid agreement.

Fast moving clouds blotted out the moon.

She straightened, peering out into the darkness. “Our full moon’s gone.”

He wanted to banish the disappointment from her tone and keep her beside him as long as possible. “Just during the squall. Do you like Florida thunderstorms?”

His heart picked up speed as she leaned back against him, nodding. “Yes, I love them. They soothe me, as long as the lightning is not directly overhead. How about you?”

“Yep, they give me a kick. Here comes the rain.”

A light sprinkle quickly turned into a torrent. He could barely make out the yellow porch light on the house across the way. A few drops of slanted rain misted onto his face. “Do you want to go–?” Something wet and furry streaked by, brushing against his pants leg. He jerked and circled his arms around her protectively. “What the–?”

“Oh my god.” Her hand flew to her chest. “Taffy, you scared the life out of me.” She patted his arm. “It’s just the neighborhood tabby. Nate, we’d better go inside.”

He stood. “I was about to ask you that when the fur ball attacked.”

“Now don’t grumble. That cat is good luck, so I hear.” 

“Mm, I bet.” He smiled at her concern for the feline, stood, and took her hand to usher her inside.

Lightning cracked, sharp and close. She jumped, and her hand trembled in his.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on a picture prompt of rain. Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

Review: Assaie’s Gift #RRBC

4 STARS FOR ASSAIE’S GIFT

Author – D.E. Howard

First Published – 2015 

Genre – Fantasy

SubGenre – Romantic Elements

Setting – Earth; Goddess Realm

Heroine – Kia; Assaie

Hero – Xander; Jacob

Major Theme – Love endures and heals; features parallel stories on earth and goddess realm

Descriptors – light, delightful, fanciful, as appealing as our favorite childhood fairy tale

Favorite Supporting Character – Mother, the wise old woman who took in a hungry goddess

Fun Tidbit – I’m used to reading romances with 3rd person POV. This book with its plethora of POVs was a lot of fun. Example: She still had an outfit to choose and didn’t see her mother wiping a tear from her eye as she watched Kia leave the room.

Memorable Line – “What kind of boyfriend do I have that won’t let me cut him up a little bit?”

 

Buy Assaie’s Gift – a steal at 99 cents!

 

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

Tuesday Tales: Writing Earth

Welcome to Tuesday Tales, a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a book hungry troop that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today our word prompt is earth. My excerpt is from one of my books in progress, Hannah’s Haint, a vintage paranormal romance set in a small town in the 1950s.  Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

A thud sounded from down the hallway.

Her heart jumped to her throat. Was it Lily again, trying to frighten her? Where was a strapping soldier when you needed one? She’d soon see lights installed in this section, if she had to empty her pocketbook. Grabbing a wrench in one hand and stuffing a flashlight in her apron pocket, she crept down the passage, feeling her way. Better not flick on the flashlight until she identified the source of the noise.

Another thud, louder.

Lily, what are you playing at now? She almost muttered it aloud but stopped herself. What if it wasn’t the hotel ghost this time? Nate had mentioned hearing something up here one night last week. She should have let him investigate, instead of brushing it off.

A light bobbed catty-cornered to Lily’s old bedroom, and then came the sound of chipping or scraping.

Hannah stopped and squeezed her eyes shut. Maybe she should go back and telephone someone. That fiasco last time she called the Chief, though. Her cheeks burned at the memory of being deemed hysterical. Maybe Nate? Nope, no time for that anyway. She would not be frightened out of her own hotel. Determined to approach in silence, she slinked like the neighborhood tabby, slow and deliberate.

She made it to the doorway, peered around, and her mouth fell open.

Grant Peavey knelt by the built-in hutch, using a screw driver and file on the rusty lock. He had a small flashlight clenched between his teeth.

She must have uttered some sound of surprise, because the next thing she knew the light was trained on her face. Blinded, she stepped back against the door jam and reached into her pocket. Instead of shining the light in his eyes she waved it up and down his casual, all black ensemble. “W-what on earth are you wearing, Grant?”

His laugh was chilling. “Not why am I here or what am I doing, but what am I wearing?”

Courtesy Pixabay – free image

She swallowed. His demeanor was off kilter. “Crazy question I know, given the situation, but I’ve never seen you in anything but a three piece suit. You don’t seem like the Grant I know.”

His features screwed into a menacing scowl, and he stepped toward her. “Ah, Hannah.” His fingers bit into her flesh. “You have no idea how many Grants race around inside my brain.”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt earth. Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

Secrets of a Rebel Pharaoh

 Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

O living Aten, beginning of life.

 

Transformation came to ancient Egypt when Pharaoh Akhenaten banished the old gods and established monotheism around 1350 BCE.

  • The priestly caste lost its power and prestige.
  • Thebes and other royal destinations no longer served as the Paris and Riviera of their time.
  • Pharaoh moved the entire court to an obscure northern desert location that he named Akhetaten after his god.
  • There he built a marvelous white and gold city to honor his deity, a sublime entity depicted by the disk of the sun with cascading rays.
  • For a time during his 17 year reign he lived in pleasant circumstances with his beautiful wife Nefertiti and their daughters.
  • The art of the period relaxed into informality and naturalism.
  • Pharaoh wrote exquisite poems to his beloved god, Aten.
  • He offered a new way to his people, and all seemed well.

 

That was only on the surface, of course, and only among Pharaoh’s most loyal family and supporters.

  • Beneath, in the beating heart of long-remembered Egypt, the old gods stirred.
  • The old priestly caste of Amen-Ra connived to reassert its power.
  • The common people of Egypt longed to demonstrate their unfailing devotion to the deities that had served them well for millennia.
  • Never mind this unrelatable, usurper god who appeared distant and unfeeling.
  • Never mind this heretical Pharaoh who had disrupted eons of stability and tradition.
  • Also, with disproportionate emphasis placed on radical change in religion and little on national security, the wolves were at the gate.

 

Egypt was headed for reversal, with the end result a return to the old gods and old beliefs.

  • Pharaoh, his gleaming white and gold city, and his god Aten were scratched off the stones and monuments, covered by the desert sands, and forgotten by history.
  • He remained unknown until the discovery of his long lost city, now called Amarna, in the 1800s.

 

Upon discovery, the modern world became captivated by the Amarna period.

  • Pharaoh and his revolution were admired.
  • Nefertiti became a subject of fascination and awe.
  • The subsequent discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb shook the world.
  • My favorites Smenkhkare and Meritaten emerged as mysterious figures that scholars fervently seek to pin down.
  • Some scholars, including Freud, theorize that Pharaoh’s beliefs were instilled by the visiting Hebrew Moses.

 

Again, revel in the beauty of Akhenaten’s words:

Thy dawning is  beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

O living Aten, beginning of life.

 

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

 

Tuesday Tales: Writing Firecracker

Welcome to Tuesday Tales, a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a book hungry troop that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today our word prompt is firecracker. My excerpt is from one of my books in progress, Hannah’s Haint, a vintage paranormal romance set in a small town in the 1950s. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

The aroma of grilling hot dogs and sound of children having fun filled the air. Charcoal smoke spirals perched on make-do stands to keep away the mosquitoes. With dusk imminent, the blood suckers would soon follow. Hannah settled into the folding chair between Meg and Nate. “I didn’t expect there to be so many people here. You rounded down, didn’t you, Meg?”

“Don’t scold. Would you have come out if I mentioned this was the in place for 4th of July fireworks? They’re really spectacular here by the lake.”

Aware of Nate’s attention and his knee hovering a mere inch from hers, she merely offered a noncommittal murmur. She didn’t dare give a truthful response to Meg’s query. She would have come, if only to spend time with him away from their usual work environment.

Laura from the café’ emerged from the crowd, carrying two folding chairs, with little Gwennie in tow.

Meg piped up, cheery. “Made it, huh?” 

Nate and Roy stood, and greetings were exchanged. Roy scooped the chairs from Laura. “Let’s find you a good spot, boss lady.”

Laura looked a bit harried. “Thanks, Roy.”

Gwennie jumped up and down, pointing. “I want to sit by Judy and Sandy, Mommy.”

“All right, Darling. Over by the Smith twins would be great, Roy.”

Gwennie tugged on her mother’s blouse as they set off in a line. “Mommy, can I light a firecracker?”

“Good heavens no. You can have a sparkler.”

Roy soon returned, plunked into his chair, and popped the cooler lid. He passed beers to Meg and Nate. “Brewsky, Hannah?”

“No thanks. By chance any wine in there?”

“Nope, sorry. Hey, here are some cokes though. You sneak these in my cooler, Meg?”

“Of course I did, you big lummox. You know perfectly well Hannah hates beer.”

She leaned forward. “What kind do you have?”

Roy shifted bottles around. “Uh, looks like cherry, grape, and banana.”

“Banana, please.”

Roy popped off the cap and handed her the bumpy glass bottle. Banana scented fizz tickled her nose.

Meg pulled a sad face. “Sorry I didn’t think of wine, Hannah. You’re stuck with the soft stuff.”

Nate raised a brown. “Not necessarily. Go ahead and take a swallow, Hannah.”

Wondering what he was up to, she took a sip of her banana drink, while Nate retrieved a small flask from his back pocket.

Roy whistled. “Now why didn’t I think of that?”

Curiosity had her leaning his way. “What is it, Nate?”

“Gin. I don’t like the stuff, but you do. You game?”

Unable to resist the cockeyed grin that deepened his dimple, she passed him her drink bottle.

Holding his hand around the neck, he carefully poured a jot from the flask, shook the bottle, and used his thumb to keep it from spewing out. Once the concoction had settled, he returned it to Hannah.

She took a tentative sip. “Hmm, not bad. Definitely a kick.” She relaxed into the chair, pleasure tickling her insides. “Thanks, soldier.”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt firecracker. Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales. 

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Happy 4th of July!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

Fascinating Facts of Europe’s Oldest Writing

Galerie d'Appolllon Le Triomphe de Cybèle par Guichard

Joseph Guichard [Public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons – Triumph of goddess Cybele

In modern day Turkey, known as the kingdom of Anatolia in ancient times, archaeologists recently discovered a variety of weights used by traders over 4,000 years ago. These were found in one of the 14 layers of the mound of Aemhoyuk. One of these was a piece of rock crystal, which– lo and behold—boasts an actual inscription. This marvelous discovery turns out to be the oldest written document in Anatolia and Europe as a whole. The cuneiform letters have not yet been deciphered, nor is it known whether the writing is in Anatolian or a more widespread international language used for trading purposes.

Antichambre de la reine-BELLONE, DÉESSE DES COMBATS, BRÛLE AVEC UN FLAMBEAU LE VISAGE DE CYBÈLE

By VIGNON, Claude-François (1633-1703) (RMN) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – goddess Cybele

The Assyrians of Mesopotamia, in the region now known as Iraq, established trade routes and centralized locations for traders to congregate and sell their wares. Purushattum in Anatolia became one of these centers. The civilized world of that time coveted the silver of Purushattum as a prized commodity. Tin and luxurious fabrics were among other items traded.

I look forward to the day when this ancient writing, one lonely line from so long ago on one small rock crystal, is translated. What do you think it is? I’m wondering if it refers to the amount and type of material the weight stood for, e.g., one measure of silver or the like. Trade talk and measurements are among the most common reasons for ancient writing. I remember that was the case for Linear B in Mycenaean and Cretan times.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

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