Tuesday Tales: Writing Strap

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 strap. The excerpt is from a paranormal fantasy romance. Visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

She made her way to the side of the bed and sank down. Her muscles had turned to water. “What does he want with me?”

There was no reply to her question. Esme’ hung a garment bag on the back of the door, slid the zipper, and held up the contents. “This is for you to wear tonight.”

She eyed the gown. It looked soft, and the translucent, golden sheen of the fabric gave the impression it was fae woven. Patches and strips of sequins glittered here and there in strategic locations, but the dress was otherwise sheer. Some of her gumption returned. “Forget it. I’m not wearing that.”

Esme’ gave an impatient snort. “Don’t give me any trouble. Put it on, or Master will send in Konrad to stuff you into it.” The woman’s face pinched into a scowl. “For your own sake, mind your manners and do as you’re instructed.”

“Assuming I do put it on, what then? What am I expected to do?”

“You’re going onstage. Look fetching and desirable when you get there. It should be simple enough for the likes of you. I don’t even need to paint your face and pretty you up like I do some.”

Her heartbeat stopped for a moment and then commenced at double time. “Why?”

“For the club members. A batch of wealthy collectors will bid for you. How you get along after that is up to you.” Esme’ draped the outfit across the bed and handed Resa a pair of 3 inch heels.

She flung the shoes at the wall.

With a snarl the woman retrieved them. “Tantrums won’t help. Pull yourself up by your bra strap, girl. I don’t have time to mollycoddle. I’ve got two others to see to. All you have to do is make the audience happy. An agreeable demeanor will increase your price. More money, happier Master.”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt strap. 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

Fae Friday: Surprising Secrets of Lamassu

Illustrerad Verldshistoria band I Ill 034

By Ernst Wallis et al (own scan) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Entrance to temple

By Frederick Charles Cooper (1817- ?) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A Lamassu is a fascinating Assyrian deity that protects a kingdom, city, building, or home. Often it has the head of a human, the body of a lion, bull, or ox, 4 legs, and the wings of a bird. When viewed from the front in raised stone reliefs, the front may appear to be complete, but go around to the side and you see the full 3D effect. When they were placed at the entrance to a palace or city, they appeared as a pair of colossal protectors. A Lamassu is strong, supernatural, and amazing. I get the shivers from a Lamassu and here’s why.

The most famous is the Sphinx in Egypt.
Lammasu are also known as Shedu.
They are thought of as winged bulls and winged lions.
They first began to appear around 5,000 years ago.
The Epic of Gilgamesh features various Lamassu.

The Lamassu exemplifies:

  • The 4 cardinal directions east, south, west, and north
  • The 4 seasons spring, summer, fall, and winter
  • The 4 cardinal zodiac signs which currently are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn (long ago ages saw different starting points for the ecliptic or apparent path of the sun as it traveled the celestial sphere)
  • Each individual zodiacal / historical age (such as the Age of Aquarius), lasting 2,160 years (a result of the earth’s precessional rotation)
  • The totality of the zodiacal ages (all 12 from Capricorn to Sagittarius), meaning 2,160 X 12 = approximately 26,000 years, a period of time also called a Great Year. Anthropologist Robert Sepehr is one who has studied this.

In other words the Lamassu emerges from the depths of time and depicts the long tail of the earth. It tells the story of earth, including humans, all living creatures, survival, art, mathematics, spirituality, immanence, transcendence, and power. Not bad for a winged bull.

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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Hall Lurker

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. Our picture today came across to me as a hall lurker. My excerpt is from a horror flash that came to me in a dream. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

“Holy hell, what a storm.” I squeezed water into the waste basket from the fishtail of my cardigan. “I’m glad to be inside, but it’s freezing in here.” I turned and surveyed my husband and teenaged son. “You all right, Trevor?” I brushed the wet hair from my son’s eyes. He nodded. I felt his head. It wasn’t any clammier than mine.

I tapped my husband’s arm with the back of my fingers. “It was a good idea to ride out the rest of the storm in the museum.” He gave me a noncommittal grunt. Both he and Trevor looked a little pale. Jesus, I hope they’re not coming down with something. That’s all we need with vacation coming up.

My thoughts brightened at the signage to the right. “Hey, you two, look over there—it’s the sports section you were talking about. You said you wanted to see the Roger Maris display, honey, and it has a lot of other players as well. Other sports, too, not just baseball.”

They headed in that direction. Good. At least this day wouldn’t be a total loss.

I moved the opposite way toward the British monarchs. The mannequins were fascinating but a little creepy. Ethelred the Unready. Richard II looked like a sun god. Geez, Anne Bolelyn was a tiny sprite. People were crowding in on me. We were elbow to elbow in between the rows of mannequins. Where were they all coming from? Same idea as us I guess. Getting out of the storm.

It was too bright in here. All primary, red, blue, and yellow. The colors swirled, bleeding together, a psychedelic pinwheel. I blinked, feeling dizzy. I need to get away from these people. Need to go get my husband and son. I pushed through to an empty hallway just as the lights went out. A flash of lightning illuminated one lone figure lurking down at the end. 

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

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

Fae Friday: Summer Vibes

Ipogeo di via livenza, diana cacciatrice

Goddess Diana hunting, Roman fresco [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Alexander Pope’s exquisite imagery in an excerpt from his poem, Summer.

Diana the Huntress by Orazio Gentileschi (17th-century)

Diana the Huntress, Orazio Gentileschi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

See what delights in sylvan scenes appear! 
Descending Gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray’d,
And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.
Come lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
When swains from shearing seek their nightly bow’rs;
When weary reapers quit the sultry field,
And crown’d with corn, their thanks to Ceres yield.
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
But in my breast the serpent Love abides.

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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Stone

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 stone. 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.

Meg looked up at her husband as they swayed to the music, her eyes gleaming. It was as if Rod had just done something amazing, like flown to the moon and back. A flicker of sensation tickled Hannah’s throat. Maybe she’d have that someday. Her lips twisted. Probably not. Her course was set. Had been since she left Miami. She had gotten herself into a deep hole. Very deep. All she could hope for was the plan to play out in her favor. Then she’d at least have the promise of a living.

She smiled at the returning laughing couple, thankful she could get out of her thoughts. “Looking pretty good out there, kids.”

Meg plopped into a seat and grabbed Hannah’s wrist. “Ooh, watch out. He’s coming your way.” The whisper made it seem like state secrets were at stake.

Rod gave her a look. “Don’t start your match making. Leave the poor guy alone, honey.”

Meg’s leer was wicked. “I’ll have you know I’m not doing a thing, except praying.”

Sure enough Nate approached their table, his eyes riveted on her. “Evenin’, Rod, Meg.” He never looked their way, but held out a hand to Hannah. “Care to cut a rug?”

His deep voice with that little backdoor rasp made her taste honey. She had never had a guy’s voice do that to her.

She placed her fingertips in his hand and stood. “What kind of dancing do you like to do, Nate?”

He let a beat pass, and then another. “Slow.”

It was a good thing she hadn’t worn a sheath dress. He might notice trembling legs or knees that functioned like jelly.

The band cooperated, or maybe he had put a bug in the head man’s ear for a couple of dreamy tunes. He folded her in his arms as if they’d been dancing partners for years.

She could almost believe she belonged there. She gazed up at him. “You’ve got style I never knew about.”

He flipped her hand over. A tiny furrow appeared on his brow. “Nice ring. What kind of stone is that?”

She eyed her fingers. What had she slipped on? “Oh it’s garnet. My birthstone.”

Courtesy Pixabay public domain free photos

His dimple deepened. When the song ended, he kept her within the circle of his arms.

“Oh, did you want to dance another, Nate?”

He drew her closer. His lips brushed against her ear. “I want more than a dance, but you’re not ready for that, Hannah Ross.”

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

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

2 Quick Ways to Supercharge Your Aura

Iaso

By The Cadmus Painter (Attic red figure urn) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Life keeps us busy. There are days when we don’t have the means or time for meditation, self-reiki, or a leisurely walk in the woods. Here are quick ways to reduce stress and raise your energy level, when you are under deadline or pressed for time. Iaso is a Greek goddess of healing, one of the daughters of Asclepius.

Iaso’s Aura Cleansing

Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor. Take a deep breath in. Center your attention on the heart area. Exhale, and relax. The placement of your hands during this exercise should be horizontal, with palms facing you. You will not touch your body but will sweep your hands through the air close to your body, in an upward movement from feet to well above the head.

Think of your body in strips, like vertical blinds. Sweep upward, refreshing one strip after another. The sweeping motions will follow the contours of your body as you sit. The movement should be quick from feet to head, as if polishing and refreshing.

There is an additional movement for the front of your body where your organs are, your face and head area, and any spots of pain or discomfort. For these, add a faster, ruffling type movement with short swipes.

To finish, hold your hands well away from your body and brush the palms together, as if brushing away sand.

Feel gratitude. Give thanks.

Iaso’s Energy Aligning

This one can even be done at work during your restroom break. Stand tall and erect, with your right hand on your abdomen and your left hand on your heart. Feel the energy of your abdomen, and then move your attention upward to feel the energy of your heart area.

You will inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Take a deep breath, exhale, and relax. Do this three times. With each inhale, visualize loving, calm energy entering through the breath and filling your heart. With each exhale, visualize stagnant and damp energy leaving your body.

In a flowing but swift movement, bend over with your hands scooped at your feet. Sweep upward over the front of your body, ending with your arms straight up and fingers pointing skyward. Feel your body stretched, straight, and vibrant. You are strong, with earth energy at your feet and sky energy above.

To finish, resume a normal posture.

Feel gratitude. Give thanks.

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

Smart Strategies of Super Writers – Quantum 4

Public domain courtesy Pixabay

She loves books and reading. Put a pen in her hand, and she can turn a pithy phrase. Writing is on her mind at least thirteen times a day. She always dreamed of being a writer. It’s in her blood. It’s her destiny. Her books would be on the bookstore shelves beside those of PickaFamousAuthor.

If only she had more time to write. If only she didn’t have to do so and so. If only so and so didn’t get in the way. If only her day job didn’t drain her down to the bone. If only she was wealthy enough to write full time. If only she had no obligations. If only she felt better. If only she had more energy to write. If only the planets would align.

Who is this? I call her Wendy WannaBeAWriter.

I used to be a Wendy. And then I decided to be an author. With the help of some wonderful mentors and supporters, I dipped my toe into the craft and eventually published seven books. Then I experienced the devastating loss of my husband of 41 ½ years. This was followed by the closing of my publishing house. Slowly, some of my Wendyness began to reemerge.

If only writing was really worth it. If only authors were actually appreciated these days. If only everything wasn’t so darn technical. If only writers didn’t have to spend so much time marketing and figuring things out. If only writers supported each other more. If only there was more time to write. If only the planets would align.

Do you have some Wendy problems, too? Here is what helped me cope with my latest spell of Wendyness. The mindset and daily non-negotiables were inspired by coach Jennifer Blanchard. I call her The Firecracker. She is a great example of living the law of attraction. Kat Laterzo is also a cool and powerful inspiration. I call the regimen I came up with my Quantum 4.

Laws of the Quantum 4:
Pick 4 things that will help you move toward your goals if you do them every day.
Decide to do these 4 things every day, come hell or high water.
See these as non-negotiable.
Do them first thing in the morning or at your first available time each day.

My Quantum 4 as I first set them up:
Mindset work
Write 20 minutes a day on 1st Rough Draft
Ride stationary bike 15 minutes a day
Eat low carb

Mindset work: This includes journaling a page that envisions desired outcomes for each area of my Quantum 4. I journal fast and from the heart as the thoughts come. To give a few examples — I am an international best-selling author. My books are made into movies and audiobooks. I write 7,000 1st Rough Draft words a day. I am fit and have oodles of stamina. I love eating foods that are healthy, low calorie, and low carb.

Write 20 minutes a day on 1st Rough Draft: This is the messy, ugly writing that initially spews out on the blank page. Because it had all the charm of a root canal, it was urgent for me to include it in my daily habits. Performing the task on a daily basis lessens the pain. 1st Rough Draft is now more of a friend than a foe. 20 minutes a day resulted in about 500 words. I’m now up to 40 minutes.

Ride stationary bike 15 minutes a day: It doesn’t seem like much, but remember—small steps! 15 minutes renders approximately 3.5 miles. I’m now up to 20 minutes. I’m amazed how much I actually enjoy riding that bike. I never would have thought! I call it my horse, and my valiant, magical steed has a secret name.

Eat low carb: I always feel better, cleaner, and have more stamina with low carb.

Your goals and regimen are up to you:
Pick 4 things that will move you closer to your goals if you do them every day.
Decide to do these things every day, come hell or high water.
See these as non-negotiable.
Do them first thing in the morning or at your first available time each day.

After a week you will start to feel more powerful and in control. You’ll be amazed that you are actually working toward your goals a little each day. Results are becoming visible. After a month nothing can stop you. You are piling up the pages. You’ll be so gung ho that you’ll adjust your Quantum 4 upward. Your productivity will increase. You are well on your way. Wendy WannaBeAWriter has morphed into Super Writer. With the Quantum 4 you show the universe what you want and what you are committed to. The Universe clears the way for you.

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

Fae Friday: Creative Ways to Shrink Yourself

© Tatjana Pilate | Dreamstime Stock Photos – free

What’s your favorite fairy tale? Do you remember from your childhood days? Put on your thinking cap because it can reveal the mysteries of your deeper self. Are you Cinderella, champion of the downtrodden? A maidenly Snow White unhappy with her alter ego, the evil bitch queen? An intrepid wit getting the upper hand on a sinister Rumpelstiltskin? Sleeping Beauty waiting for a wake up kiss? A thrill seeking Little Red Riding Hood? Or are you the big bad wolf?

From a young age my favorite fairy tales were East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Snow White and Rose Red, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and The Snow Queen. Magic runs through all, as in most fairy tales, but a major theme of these four stories is that things are not what they seem. The world is ultimately infused with mystery. This theme speaks to my need to see beyond the superficial, beyond what is in front of my eyes, into the shining dark deep magic of life.

In East of the Sun and West of the Moon, the heroine’s curiosity compels her to sneak upon her lover in the darkness to discover why he forbids her to look at him at night. After she is amazed to see a handsome, sleeping form, he is catapulted away as a beast due to her lack of trust. She must undergo an arduous journey to the home of the blustery North Wind to find her beloved. St. Elmo, a 1896 novel by Augusta Jane Evans, reminds me of this fairy tale. Have you read that fine old melodrama? It is filled with old fashioned literary allusions.

The sisters in Snow White and Rose Red defeat a malicious dwarf when they trick him into letting his beard be cut. Afterward, they are both rewarded with a prince,and their lives are successful mirror images. Snow White rises to pomp and circumstance, while Rose Red lives close to the magic of the earth. She  tends the hearth and knows the murmurings of trees. Rose Red was always my favorite. Which do you prefer?

© Serghei Starus | Dreamstime Stock Photos – free

An invisible cloak is used by the hero in The Twelve Dancing Princesses to discover why the girls’ shoes are worn out every morning. For years they’ve trekked down to a secret world below ours and jitterbugged all night. Would you be bold enough to travel into an alternate dimension? What if the dimension is your own inner self?

My favorite part of The Snow Queen is where the old wise woman in the hut writes a secret note to her faraway sister– on a fish. The heroine goes through a lengthy journey to find the whereabouts of her beloved and for a while gets to experience a rollicking gypsy life.

In different ways we all search for mystery and magic. Your favorite fairy tale can tell you something about yourself and your world view. If you believe in fairy dust, beasts are sometimes handsome princes, there are parallel worlds where you can dance all night, and both nature and fish speak volumes. So now and then let’s close our eyes–and listen.

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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Hug

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 hug. My excerpt is from a new paranormal fantasy I’ve started. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

She held the electronic device to the edge of the door and waved it slowly up and down. She had paid good money for this little trickster. It performed efficiently, as expected. With a low muffled thud, the impressive metal door popped ajar. Marta checked her watch. Twelve minutes until the guard’s next rounds. More than enough time for her to get the prize.

Once inside, she positioned a special strip before pushing the door closed. Keeping her trek silent was accomplished by a death hug around her cross body tool bag. Moving like her cat Kali in hyper stealth mode, she made her way down the corridor and across the expanse of the Egyptian room. Ignoring the stunning displays of gold jewelry and ornate sarcophagi that normally enthralled her, she kept her focus on the mission. She exited the Egyptian room by means of a side door. From there it was a simple matter of a short hallway leading into what her quirky brain had termed Elysium since concocting this caper.

The Greek room looked sparse compared to some of the others. Items were only now being delivered, and displays took time to arrange. A few mesmerizing pieces had been already placed, however, and a set of comedy tragedy masks particularly called to her. Maybe she had enough time—no! Keep to the plan. She hadn’t been successful at this for years by deviating from a tried and true pattern. Take little. Leave a lot. Besides, she only dealt in jewelry.

She avoided eyeballing any other displays and made her way to the back of the room where delivery items were still boxed. Knowing exactly where to look was crucial. And she did. She levered the top off one of the large boxes and surveyed its contents. So many little cases and all containing treasures. Her throat closed up, and swallowing was difficult. She squeezed her gloved hands into fists to stop her itchy fingers from scarfing them all up. She sought out a small square case in a coppery color. Opening it, she gave a quick intake of breath. The necklace nestled like a harvest moon atop the red silk lining. She frowned. A splendid  ring lay adjacent in its folds. It hadn’t been there earlier when she scoped things out. Or was she so focused on the necklace and pushed for time that she simply didn’t see it? Sloppy.

She glanced at her watch. Two minutes left. She shut the case and slipped it into her pocket, and then reclosed the large container. Moving fast, she retraced her steps. Kali on a midnight run. She was securing the outside door when the glow of a flashlight bobbled down the hallway. She used the device again, this time to seal the lock.

Heart pounding, she ran down the alley to her car.

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

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

Mysterious Cave People 40,000 BCE

Spread and Evolution of Denisovans

By John D. Croft [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One of my favorite books is Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel. Did you read that one? The author’s creation of the Stone Age world mesmerized me. I loved seeing how the Cro-Magnon heroine contrasted with her Neanderthal family.

Recently I came across some information about a little known extinct species of historic humans not of the genetic line of Neanderthals nor our own species of Homo Sapiens. Their remains are found in the Denisova Cave in Siberia, along with the bones of Neanderthals and numerous creatures such as wooly mammoth and a type of zebra-horse. These particular remains are from 40,000 years ago.

Whereas the DNA of many modern humans is around 4% percent Neanderthal due to ancient interbreeding, Denisovan DNA is only found in inhabitants of Oceania—especially Melanesians in Papua New Guinea, Native Americans, and Asians. Denisovan DNA makes up 5% of the first and only 0.2% of the latter two.

The Denisovan discovery occurred in 2008 when a piece of finger bone was found in a lower layer of the cave. A DNA expert familiar with Neanderthals and other ancient species identified it as that of a little girl, but of a heretofore unknown species. Not Neanderthal. Not Homo Sapiens. Can you imagine the excitement of this discovery? It gives me chills. Later, teeth fragments materialized and turned out to be from a different Denisovan than the little girl.

A beautiful green chlorite stone bracelet was also found. Due to its remarkable craftsmanship, it was first thought to be made by more modern humans. In the most exciting portion of this story, that conclusion has now been ruled out. The bracelet was made and worn by a Denisovan. The technology involved in the making of the bracelet included boring stone, drilling with an implement, and grinding. The Denisovans are now considered to have developed to a higher technological level than the Neanderthals or Homo Sapiens of that time. I have to interject here my long held belief, first attained in fourth grade, that humans have populated earth, reached a high level of technology and culture, and then become extinct many times. Are the Denisovans an example of this?

There is also apparently a mysterious Denisovan ring, but details of it have not yet been released. I long to know more about these ancient peoples, don’t you?

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