Tuesday Tales: Writing Stairs

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 we have a picture prompt of an empty room with winding stairs. 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 winding stairs led Hannah to the attic. Music tinkled, tinny sounding but louder. The jasmine fragrance was more palpable up here. A tingle ran down her spine. She swiveled around. No one behind her. The breath she’d been holding escaped in a whiny trickle. Squeezing her hands stilled their trembling. Now if she could hold off the urge to scamper back downstairs like a frightened mouse. 

Stepping carefully through a maze of boxes, she made her way toward a small wooden shutter. A breath of fresh air would calm her nerves. She didn’t remember seeing such a tiny window anytime she’d viewed the hotel from outside, but she was a little disoriented at the moment. Maybe it was obscured from outside somehow. Why would you have a hidden window though?

Clamping her teeth, she reached for the knob and tugged. Nothing happened. Frowning, she tried with both hands this time. The bottom of the shutter gaped open a hair, but the top refused to budge. Warped, blast it. What she needed was a case knife or, better yet, a screw driver. She glanced around at the boxes. Maybe there was something in one of them she could use to open the shutter. After a moment she shook her head at the way her overloaded brain ran around in circles. She’d deal with the stuck window later. It’s not like she was suffocating or anything. She had traipsed up here because her imagination had played a trick on her. This was her building and consequently her attic full of junk, regardless how it got here. Maybe there were even treasures among the motley piles. She may as well investigate.

She dragged a chair up to one of the largest boxes, determination settling in. All was quiet now. No more eerie music or jasmine. She inhaled a deep breath and let it out in one fell swoop. Ugh, dusty nostrils. Luckily she carried a handkerchief in her apron pocket. She dabbed at her nose, careful to keep it dainty. You never knew when someone was watching you, her mother had advised. No, that etiquette tip didn’t help a bit right now. She reached for a box lid.

The scent of jasmine flooded the room, swirling in on the sudden musical notes. In an instant the temperature plummeted. Icy tendrils snaked around her heart and squeezed. Jerking up, she knocked over the chair and ran headlong toward the door. On the landing, sunlight blinded her just as a dark figure loomed up in front. She screamed. Hands reached out to grab her shoulders.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on a picture prompt of a room with winding stairs. 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: Dilemma and Dilemna

Adriaen van Ostade - Alchemist - WGA16738

Adriaen van Ostade – Alchemist [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dilemma and Dilemna

Have you ever known something as a fact and then found out with a fearsome shock that you are off the mark? And that thousands of other people are also off the mark about the same thing? That’s me and the word dilemma, which I learned in elementary school to spell dilemna.

Large groups of English speaking people over the world, not just Americans, also remember learning to spell the word as dilemna — “mna.” I haven’t found any old school chums in my boat, but then I’ve only asked two or three. It’s not an age thing, though. I recently mentioned the mystery to a 21 year old male, and he remembers learning to spell the word with “mna.”

To my astonishment there is a website focusing solely on the dilemna spelling of dilemma. Take a peek. It’s fascinating reading.

I discovered my conundrum while coming across a phenomenon called the Mandela Effect. Fiona Broome coined the term and studies the subject matter in depth. She has collected a massive amount of documentation about the mysterious occurrence. The Mandela Effect is when large groups of people remember something a certain way but it turns out to be the wrong way or not accepted as common reality. I won’t dwell on the Mandela Effect here, as we may discuss it in a later post. Spelling dilemma with “mna” is one example out of hundreds of examples of the phenomenon. It’s a thing.

Being blessed or cursed with an unquenchable curiosity, I am interested in quirky and unorthodox ideas that make me stop and wonder. Sometimes they even stir my soul. Some of them I have even experienced firsthand. There are so many oddities and unexplained occurrences in the world, and yet we consider as reality only what we see right in front of our eyes. We don’t look from side to side or 360 degrees around, and heaven forbid we should close our eyes and see! Our world is full of magic and miracles. 

I love string theory, time travel theory, and other cutting edge physics. Parallel dimensions and time travel form the basis of my series of Wytchfae books. Fringe theories are favorite haunting grounds of mine. I love the books of David Icke and Stuart Wilde. I love the movie The Matrix. Still, it’s one thing to study and read about subjects and another to experience the phenomenon in a close up, palpable way. You may enjoy reading about ghosts and aliens, but seeing or communicating with a ghost or alien might shake you up a bit.

That’s me and dilemna.

How do you spell it?

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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Love

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you get to share it with someone special.

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 love. My excerpt is from Hannah’s Haint, a vintage paranormal romance set in a small town in the 1950s. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Kneeling in the sparse grass, he ran his fingers over the smooth marble. It was a graceful monument, a work of art. He took in the flowing lines of the base, the scroll edged binding of the holy book resting on top. And above it all the sculpture that stirred the inner places he had closed off long ago. The curve of her bare arm. The unquenched sorrow of her mournful posture. The weeping angel sheltered the earthborn memory of the woman now gone. Although he had no idea of the countenance or figure of Iris de Pres, he could sense her reflected in the reverence of the tribute. A strong connection surged between her and the one who sought to immortalize her.

He shook off the strange feelings. Practical thoughts flicked to the cost of such a commission. She had been mightily important to someone. Was Spur more involved than he let on? What did he have to do with Iris de Pres and why was he so confounded close mouthed about the subject? He cursed beneath his breath. Why wouldn’t the old cuss just ride out here with him?

Pivoting on his heels, he maneuvered to the front of the gravestone. The inscription was in raised lettering on the base. Names and dates. Clear and simple. Hannah had been right. She died young. Only 26. And something else was written beneath that in tiny letters. He peered closer. The quiet dust made his eyes water, and he swiped a handkerchief over his face before looking again. He squeezed and then widened his eyes to clear his vision. My love, forsaken. A frown curled his brow. What the hell did that mean?

A motor sounded in the distance. He rose, moving away from the center of his interest. It was better to play it close to the chest than broadcast his business. Removing his watch, he made a show of rewinding it, keeping a sideways eye on the road.

A brand new 1954 Buick growled up and clenched into park. A red faced Roscoe Wyver barreled out, leaving the car door open. His voice boomed. “What the hell you doin’ out here, Larkin?”

He slid the watch back on his wrist. A grin sliced across his face. “Roscoe, that’s no way to treat the gears in that fine machine of yours. Grinds up the transmission real fast.”

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

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

Vintage Friday: It’s Your Music 1939

Free Picture: Heart To Heart IllustrationID: 3342193
© Fenias | Dreamstime Stock Photo

Approaching Valentine’s Day we turn to a red hot saxophone number from 1939, Body and Soul, blown the socks off by Coleman Hawkins.  There’s something earthy and smoky about a low toned sax, don’t you think?

I hope you enjoyed our sultry music in homage to Valentines everywhere and  lovers throughout time, Body and Soul.

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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Metal

Tuesday Tales is 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 metal. My excerpt is from Hannah’s Haint, a vintage paranormal romance set in a small town in the 1950s. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

With a groan, she snapped the metal cap onto the pen and shoved it aside. The ink smear on the paper singed her temper. Blasted bookwork. Didn’t two plus two equal four anymore? She dug her fingers into her temples, pressing against the throbbing pain. Trying to keep the figures reconciled had proven to be one of the worst aspects of the renovation project. Maybe she’d take Mr. Berry up on his offer of accounting help, if he’d wait and bill her after the opening. No, that wasn’t fair to him. She couldn’t do it. Sighing, she selected a yellow pencil from the top desk drawer and set back to work.

Footsteps sounded on the outside stairs. The gait was too lively to be Buster. The bulb in the desk lamp flickered, and she tapped at the heavy green shade. Please not again. The electrician had sworn he’d gotten all the wiring straightened out. Her limited budget would only stretch so far. She looked up to see Nate Larkin walking toward her.

He removed his hat. “Afternoon, Miss Ross.”

His deep voice brushed over the walls and settled like soft whispers against her skin. The old fashioned sitting room seemed suddenly too small. “Yes, Mr. Larkin?”

“Nate, please. Don’t get up, ma’am. I’m here about the carpentry work you mentioned down at the café.”

She stood up anyway, gripping the pencil. Should she take him on? He was a soldier, used to action. Spur was already a major problem. Could she trust Nate Larkin to be steady?

He raised a dark brow. “You seem a shade reluctant. I assure you I’ve done this type of work before.” He smiled encouragingly. “Do you have questions you want to ask me?”

She cleared her throat. “Not to offend you—I know you’ve been overseas—I can’t even imagine–but you give the impression of just passing through.” She must sound like a lunatic. “What I mean is you came in on the train, out of nowhere. How do I know you won’t skip town at the sound of the next lonesome whistle?”

His expression didn’t change. “You have something against strangers?”

“Not at all.”

“Soldiers then.”

She bridled. “No, of course not.”

“Right. Then let me put it like this. Those tracks can keep on going where they’re going. Doesn’t bother me in the least. I’ll hang around here until the job is done. You have my word.”

After a moment she nodded. “I could use another hand. One of my workers is out sick, and there’s too much for one person to handle, although Buster does his best.”

“Is he here? Maybe he could show me what needs to be done.”

“He’ll be back before long. He went home for dinner.” She indicated the flowered brocade settee. “You can have a seat if you like.”

He opened a palm toward her chair. “After you.”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt metal. 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: Winter Sun and Imbolc

WINTER SUN AND IMBOLC

'Allegory of Winter', manner of Giuseppe Arcimboldo

By Manner of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (Sotheby’s) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

How soon can we shed these winter blues? Pack away our overcoats and not worry about the specter of busted water pipes? On Groundhog Day we call upon Punxsutawney Phil, the famous weather-predicting groundhog to make his move. Yesterday he saw his shadow, which foretells six more bleak weeks of winter.

Mother Nature speaks in mysterious ways. For thousands of years people have observed natural signs to better prepare for what lies ahead. Winter is a hardship on many, but imagine long ago times when folks lived without modern transport and technology. Then, people were much more winter bound than today. In addition, they had to rely on a bountiful harvest for a store of food to carry them through the harsh, barren season with a weak sun. The promise of spring with the return of light, warmth, and fertile ground must have created anticipation and longing.

On the February 1st pagan holiday of Imbolc, the ancient Celts in Ireland observed serpents or badgers to see if they emerged from their winter dens. Imbolc, which means “ewe’s milk,” was the day that the Cailleach or divine crone gathered her firewood for the rest of winter. If she wanted winter to last longer, she would make the day sunny in order to gather a plentiful amount of firewood. Folks, therefore, breathed a sigh of relief if the weather turned out to be dank and dreary on Imbolc because it meant the Cailleach was sleeping and winter almost over. The youthful, maidenly form of the Cailleach was the beloved Celtic goddess Brede, also known as Bride, Brighid, and Bridgit. She tended the hearth fires, and her nurturing power was the key to opening the seed of the world to spring and all the fertility and bounty to come.

File:Stbrigid.jpg

Stained glass window, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Macon GA, Public Domain via Wikimedia.

Scholars say that Brede morphed into St. Bridgid and the Christian feast of Candlemas superseded Imbolc. St. Bridgid is known as a highly revered early Irish Christian nun, as well as an abbess and founder of the famous nunnery of Kildare in Ireland. Candlemas, which occurs forty days after Christmas, honored the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple and traditionally involved the priestly blessing of candles for use throughout the year. From the hearth and firewood of the ancient Celtic Brede to the blessing of candles on Candlemas and the national fixation with Punxsutawney Phil, for millennia people have honored the return of the sun’s light and the inseminating warmth of spring. It’s our natural cycle.

I hope you enjoyed our words about the winter sun and Imbolc. What are you doing to make your wintertime more enjoyable?

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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Track

 

Tuesday Tales is 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 track. My snippet is from Hannah’s Haint, a vintage paranormal romance set in a small town in the 1950s. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

He slid onto a stool at the counter. The lunch crowd had thinned out, leaving quite a few tables needing to be cleared. Meg, the waitress he had met before was busy taking care of it.

Her cheery manner settled him down a little. “Not in a big hurry are you?”

“Nah.”

She lumbered toward the back with an oversized tray of dirty dishes. “Be with you in two shakes.” Pleasant odors drifted through the swinging door as she disappeared into the kitchen.

Too restless to stay put, he rose and headed toward the front of the café. Maybe a tune would shake the cobwebs from his brain. Between the lakeside frogs, and the dark dreams that seemed hell bent on doing him in, he hadn’t slept more than an hour or two. One arm resting on the brightly lit machine, he ran a finger over dozens of titles. A smattering of familiar ones jumped out at him. He knocked a nickel in the juke box and punched E9.

Meg swiped at the already clean counter as he reclaimed his seat. “Now that puzzles me.”

“What does?”

“The song you played. Smoke Along the Track. You’re not getting wanderlust already, are you?”

A low laugh rumbled from his stomach. Amazing how good it felt, like something tight had been jostled loose. “Not at all. I’ve had enough traveling to do me for a while.”

“Glad to hear it. Now what can I get you?”

“Cheeseburger, all the way and extra onions.”

She scribbled on a pad. “Will do. Oh, here’s Hannah. Good timing, boy.” She gave him a sly wink.” Sure you want those onions?”

He turned to greet the newcomer with a nod and half smile. He would have known her anyway once she had come close enough. Her hair always seemed to smell of sugared lemons. This day was definitely looking up.

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

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

Vintage Friday: 13 Bullets for The Silent Speaker 1946

NeroWolfe The Silent SpeakerTHE SILENT SPEAKER

Author – Rex Stout
First Published – 1946
Genre – Mystery
Setting – Nero Wolfe’s brownstone and New York City
Protagonists – Nero Wolfe, detective extraordinaire and tender of 10,000 orchids, and Archie Goodwin, gumshoe and Wolfe’s right-hand man.
Murdered Man – Cheney Boone, Director of Price Regulation.
Key Female – Phoebe Gunther, bright, bold, beautiful. As usual, Archie is smitten.
Most Irritating Character – Inspector Ash, Inspector Cramer’s replacement, who puts his hands on Wolfe and gets slapped in return.
Key Helper – The Widow Boone, who sheds some light for Wolfe.
Star of the Book – Fritz, Wolfe’s live-in chef who can cook up a storm even when nervous about murderous goings on and who can find a certain hidden something when Wolfe sets him to the task.
Favorite Walk On Character – Inspector Cramer, who shows he has a grateful, sentimental side.
Fun Tidbit – Reference to old technology — central to the plot is a missing wax cylinder recorded by the murdered man via Dictaphone.
Favorite Lines – “He’s sick.”
                              “With what?”
                              “Sitzenlust. Chronic. The opposite of wanderlust.”

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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Sunrays

Sky perhaps cemetery 1-24-2017
Do places as well as people give off emotional energy? I believe so. What happens when a cemetery is old and half-forgotten?

Tuesday Tales is 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 depicts sunrays. The excerpt is from the WIP Hannah’s Haint, a vintage paranormal romance set in a small town in the 1950s. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Nate swung the car off the edge of the dirt track and onto the brown, heat-crusted grass. The graveyard was clean enough and seemed to be in order. There was no sign of upturned headstones or other overt vandalism. Still, a hot breath of sadness prevailed. Not just because of the nature of the place as a home for the dead. No, it was a few things. A frown clenched his brow. The dried vegetation. The bare azalea bushes with stout, old growth limbs. A sort of gray monotone buzzed just below the surface. He cast his gaze around the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of graves. A lack of color struck him. A few flower arrangements adorned the dearly beloved, but they were faded and washed out. Was this an abandoned cemetery, or full up and no longer used? Spur hadn’t mentioned it, but maybe he wouldn’t.

Sucking in a deep, unsettled breath, he searched for her name, Iris du Pres. Spur had said to look in the older section. Dates in the area he searched were within the last twenty years, but none recent it seemed. Still, there must be graves from earlier in the century. A bare tree across the way caught his attention. He straightened up. The stones near it looked different, older. He made his way toward the spot, shading his eyes with one hand. Yes, he was right. These folks had long passed. The headstones were more unusual and ornate. Several were shaped like tree trunks, and here was a weeping angel. Her exquisite beauty struck at his heart. He peered down at the name engraved in the scroll topped stone. Iris du Pres. Sunrays gleamed on the smooth granite surface. Bright and piercing, like a mirror. He knelt down. With trembling fingers, he touched her final resting place.

Tuesday TalesI hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the picture prompt depicting sunrays. Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

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