Mythic Monday: Thank God It Wasn’t Daryl


Philippe de Champaigne [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The new season of the horror fantasy, The Walking Dead, premiered last night. We knew Neegan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and his temperamental baseball bat, Lucille, had bashed to death at least one of our beloved friends in Rick Grimes’ zombie fighting group. Last season’s finale had shown us that, but had not revealed who got the bat. For eight months we worried and speculated over who had died.We knew it couldn’t be the leader, Rick, played by Andrew Lincoln. But who was it? Despite knowing it was coming, the reveal still shocked to the core and hurt. Oh boy, did it hurt.

Following the premiere, on The Talking Dead aftermath show I watched the writer of the original graphic novel as he discussed the situation. Robert Kirkman comes across as filled to the brim with twisted creativity and a bit cold and distant regarding character kill offs. I found myself admiring and even envying him.

One of the hardest things for many writers is to kill off a character, particularly a beloved one we have lived with for a while and with whom we are emotionally connected. You are zooming along writing your book, or perhaps limping, depending on such mysteries as the moon’s current astrological sign, whether Mars is retrograde, and if you have an ample supply of coffee near at hand. Perhaps an ominous feeling swirls just out of reach, and then strengthens, coming closer, invading your space, piercing your skin, and finally settling in the pit of your stomach like a stone. And not an emerald or ruby either, but a plain, hard luck, ragged, jagged rock. You have reached the point in your working manuscript where death makes sense. You have to kill someone for the sake of the story. Not the villain. If that were the case, you would probably be mulling over ways and means with a gleeful grin. No, it’s not time for justice yet. What’s going on now is injustice and heartbreak in the name of story logic. A beloved character must die.

Most often this happens in tragedies, mysteries, literary fiction, and series, where you and the reader have come to know a large cast of characters over time. It doesn’t often happen in the type of books I write, paranormal romances. I haven’t had to kill off a beloved character–yet. It can happen, though. In Loretta Rogers’ western paranormal romance, Cloud Woman’s Spirit, the wife of the hero dies tragically early in the story. Death of a beloved character is even more likely to occur if the paranormal romance is part of a series. In a blog post called Life, Death, and Fiction, Laurell K. Hamilton spoke about how saddened and affected she was upon realizing that a beloved character may have to die. She wrote the post while working on one of the books in her Anita Blake urban fantasy series.

The deaths of the heart character, Glenn Rhee, played by Steven Yeun, and the strength character, Abraham Ford, played by Michael Cudlitz, will long weigh heavy on fans of The Walking Dead. At the same time we are glad for those remaining, especially ones we thought might very well be in danger—sexy fan favorite Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus, and the pregnant and oh so sick Maggie Greene, played by Lauren Cohan. Killing off a beloved character is hard on everyone involved, including the reader, the viewer, the actor, the crew, and the author. If you are a writer, have you ever had to kill off a beloved character? Was it difficult for you?

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

Vintage Friday: 5 Spooky Halloween Treats

hallooweenCandied apples, popcorn balls, and Jack O’Lantern cookies—who growing up in the 1950s and 60s doesn’t fondly recall those delicious Halloween treats from childhood? Back then, the goodies cheerfully given to us by friends and neighbors were usually homemade. While sadly that can no longer be the case, Halloween is still a perfect time to concoct spooky treats with your own family of little ghosts and goblins. Here are a few recipes to try.


8 smaller or medium size red apples
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup cinnamon red hot candies
Cooking spray
Candy thermometer

Place aluminum foil on a large baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Remove stems from apples and insert a 6-inch dowel into the stem end of each apple.

In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and cinnamon candies. Cook until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon. Then cook without stirring until your candy thermometer registers 300 degrees. This takes about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Make one apple at a time. Hold apple by its dowel and dip it into the syrup, coating apple quickly and evenly. Allow excess syrup to drip back into pan. With dowel side up, place apple on prepared baking sheet to harden. This only takes about 5 minutes. Store candied apples in an airtight container for up to three days.


1 cup unpopped popcorn
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter
½ pound marshmallows

Pop the corn and sprinkle with salt. Melt butter in skillet. Cut marshmallows in quarters. Alternate layers of popcorn and marshmallows in skillet. Cover, and heat slowly until marshmallows are partially melted. Remove from heat, and mix well. Form into 2-inch balls. Makes 9 balls.


Half can prepared vanilla frosting
1 ounce vanilla flavored candy coating
Orange paste food coloring
14 cream filled chocolate sandwich cookies
Chocolate decorator icing
7 green gumdrops, sliced in half
Cooking spray

In small heavy saucepan over low heat, combine frosting and candy coating. Melt together until smooth, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in your desired amount of orange food coloring.

Place waxed paper on baking sheets and spray with cooking spray. Using tongs, dip each cookie in the melted frosting mixture. Coat each one completely. Lay each cookie on the wax paper lined baking sheets. Let sit until set. This takes about ten minutes.

With the decorator icing, give each cookie a Jack O’Lantern face. This is the part little goblins especially love to help with. To give each Jack O’Lantern a stem, top with half a green gumdrop.


12 ounces vanilla flavored candy coating, cut into pieces
1 pound package peanut butter filled sandwich cookies, the ones shaped like peanuts
4 teaspoons of miniature chocolate chips
Cooking spray

In a small heavy saucepan over low heat, melt candy coating until smooth, stirring constantly.

Place waxed paper on baking sheets and spray with cooking spray. Hold cookie with tongs and dip into melted coating. Coat entire top and side of each cookie. Let excess drip back into pan. Lay flat on the waxed paper baking sheet with the coated side up. To make eyes, place two chocolate chips on the coated cookies. Let stand until set, which takes about ten minutes.


½ cup shortening or butter
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups cooked and masked or canned pumpkin
2 ½ cups sifted plain flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or other nuts

In a large mixing bowl, cream together shortening and brown sugar. Add eggs, and beat thoroughly. Mix in vanilla extract and pumpkin.

In separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Blend into creamed mixture. Stir in raisins and chopped nuts.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoonful about 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375 degree for about 15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove cookies and cool on racks. This recipe makes about 5 dozen spicy pumpkin cookies that you and your little ones will love making and eating.

I hope these vintage type recipes help you get into an old fashioned cookie making mood—not to mention brimming with Halloween spirit. Take your time and enjoy being with your little ghosts and goblins as much as I do.

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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Cafe

cafeempty10-18-2016Tuesday 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 we have a picture to spark our imaginations. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Ivy checked the clock. Ten minutes until midnight. She must be nuts staying here alone with a strange ghost—or man, whatever he was now. Rowena would give her crap about it. Her heart pounded in a wild rhythm. Tossing out her stale chips and half-full soft drink, she dug out a couple of bills and coins from her purse. At one of the vending machines, she inserted money for two bottles of water.

When she made her way toward the table, he was standing, watching her come. Hands trembling, she sat down, unscrewed her bottle of water and chucked down a swig.

He took a chair across from her.

She removed the cap from the other water and handed him the bottle, shivering when his warm fingers brushed hers. What kind of ghost had a hot touch?

Unable to stop herself, she glanced behind him, puckering her lips at the myriad of golden curlicues gleaming from the decorative wallpaper. The symbols created a gaudy abstract effect. A gasp escaped her lips as she honed in on a series of bold markings scattered among the astrological and occult symbols. She had never noticed them before, but now they stood out in exquisite relief. Ivy blinked as one actually seemed to vibrate. Its shape was the simplest of all—that of a hearty square with exaggerated corners. She tilted her head to see it better.

She looked back at the warrior. The silver clasp on his cloak displayed the same design.  She pointed at the brooch. “What is that symbol?”

He shrugged. “In old Akkadian it stands for the Gate of Mystery.”

“Oh.” Was she supposed to know what that was?

Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

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

Mythic Monday: Spooky Cats


My sweet fur baby Marigold is frisky in the slightly chillier air we’ve experienced of late. This is her month. October is the month for cats, all kinds, and especially black ones. How could it not be when ebony furred felines are iconic images of our exciting October holiday? Halloween, when the veils are thin between the world as we know it and the parallel world of ghosts and other phenomena, drifts into burnished autumn like a pale shroud. Halloween beckons us to leave daytime reality and play in a more mysterious realm. We wear masks and disguises and revel in the midnight hour. We decorate our homes with pumpkins, scarecrows, witches, ghouls, and spider webs. We welcome little goblins and treat them to candy, hoping to ward off their tricks. Halloween is a fun time for humans and a frolicking time for cats, black, white, ginger, grey, and calico.


The Cat and the Moon
by William Butler Yeats

The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

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

Vintage Friday: We Love Ricky 1951

Desi Arnaz 1950

By General Artists Corporation (management) (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


We love Lucy, and we also love Ricky, a talented actor, singer, musician, and innovative television pioneer. Born March 2, 1917, of a wealthy Cuban family, Desi Arnaz and his clan fled to Miami, Florida after a revolution in Cuba that occurred in 1933. He went on to become the creative force and one of the stars of the iconic television comedy named after his wife, Lucille Ball. I Love Lucy only ran for six years, from 1951 – 1957 but to this day is still one of the most watched and beloved shows in television history. 

I have many favorite Ricky scenes, but one of my favorites is when he rushes to the hospital after the birth of Little Ricky. Since he came from a performance in his club, The Tropicana, he was still in the full makeup and costume of an Oceanic native. Ricky was so excited and overcome by the birth of his son that his legs froze. He could not move them. Fred and Ethel had to help him totter up to the viewing window to see his baby—after which the emotional first time father fainted dead away.

In honor of our vintage hero Ricky Ricardo, allow me to share a vintage Cuban cocktail. Since it is a type of zombie, this treat is terribly appropriate for October and our upcoming Halloween celebration.


1 ounce Cuban rum (or, if still unavailable to law abiding souls, a high end white rum)
1 ounce dark rum
½ half ounce orange liqueur
½ ounch crème de almond
½ ounce orange juice
½ ounce sweet and sour mix (For homemade, stir 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water until sugar is completely dissolved. Add 1 cup fresh lime juice and 1 cup fresh lemon juice and keep in refrigerator.) lime_cdc
An additional ½ ounce of Cuban or white rum 

Pour white rum, dark rum, orange liqueur, and creme de almond over ice into a hurricane glass. Alternate equal parts of orange juice and sweet and sour mix until the glass is almost full. Top off with the additional rum. Do not stir. Sip through a straw and enjoy.

What is your favorite Ricky Ricardo moment?

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

Mythic Monday: Pomona

Nicolas Fouché 001

Pomona by Nicolas Fouché [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Pomona, a Roman goddess or wood nymph associated with abundance and fruitfulness, is considered a Numina or guardian spirit with domain over a specific aspect of nature. She blesses the autumn season by protecting the orchards and gardens and assuring the people of plentiful food. Apple trees are her particular passion. Pomona’s name is from the Latin word for fruit, and pomme is French for apple. Pomona is often shown surrounded by fruit or holding an overflowing cornucopia. Her holy places were among the fruit trees in sacred groves. Admirably, she is one of the few Roman goddesses without a corresponding Greek counterpart. Courted by several woodland gods, she was tricked into marriage by the lusty Vertumnus who astonishingly appeared to her in the form of an old woman brimming with marital advice. Harry Potter’s professor of magical plant life is named Pomona Sprout. The Roman goddess Pomona is an appealing harbinger of autumn.

from To Autumn by John Keats:
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees.

Many thanks to the goddess Pomona for all the delicious varieties of apples and fruit, and for the gourds and stout orange pumpkins so iconic to the month of October.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Mythic Monday: Crystals and Gemstones – Amethyst


My youngest Snickerdoodle presented me with this beautiful amethyst last week, spurring me to write about one of my favorite gemstones.

Amethyst is a sparkling violet quartz much coveted for jewelry and auric therapy. The color varies from lavender to vivid purple. The stone’s name originates from the ancient Greek word for drunkenness, and wearing or holding it was considered a plausible antidote for that malady. Since then it has been considered a sobriety stone. The goddess Rhea was said to have gifted a regal amethyst to the god of wine, Dionysus, to prevent unwanted inebriation. In medieval times European soldiers often wore amethyst amulets to remain level headed and focused in battle.

amethyst1The Doctrine of Signatures is a line of thought originating at the time of the brilliant physician Galen, born in Pergamon, Turkey, and whose ideas and work became known throughout the Greek and Roman world. The doctrine states that nature speaks to us through form and that the color and appearance of a food, herb, or other natural object maintains correspondence with the human body. Per the doctrine, the purple hue would make amethyst beneficial for blood purification and detoxification, as well as for reducing fever and inflammation.

amethyst2Amethyst is the gemstone most associated with the crown chakra, the vital energy center located above the human head. The Women’s Book of Healing by Diane Stein says amethyst is used to help with anxiety, insomnia, and a tendency toward fearfulness. I think of the latter as free-floating anxiety, the type of dis-ease you can’t quite put a finger on, and there doesn’t appear to be a reason for it, but it is reality for the person experiencing it. Amethyst is also beneficial in alleviating inattention or a lack of concentration, overeating, and stress. The author and Reiki Master goes on to say that amethyst is calming and can give comfort in terms of grounding and stability. When the golden solar plexus is over engaged and out of whack, amethyst can aid in balancing the chakras for more positive emotional, mental, and physical vitality.

amethyst4Have you chosen amethyst or other gemstones for healing or transformational purposes? What types and colors of stones are you most attracted to?

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

Vintage Friday: Topaze



I hope you will come along with me on my continuing obsession with finding the few varieties of forgotten vintage perfumes with special meaning to me from the past. How did we live without eBay anyway? The first Avon scent I remember as a small child came in a tall, slender yellow bottle with a golden jeweled topaz adorning the top. It was many years later before I realized that most topaz gemstones today are actually blue. (Because of this perfume, they’ll always be golden to me.) The scent smelled quite sophisticated to a child’s nose, as if a movie star as might wear it. At this moment upon each wrist I apply a drop from the unused bottle I just bought and am transported into a lady’s garden filled with fragrant night blooming flowers. The lady wears a silk evening gown of the Regency period and has powdered her bosom. With music and sounds of dancing emanating from the open drawing room door, she waits for her lover to appear. Of course by the jeweled adornment I mentioned above, you know the fragrance is Topaze. 

Fragrantica lists Topaze’s scent accords as “floral, aromatic, woody, aldehydic, powdery, and warm.” Launched in 1959, Topaze is described as a floral aldehyde featuring note of “aldehydes, coriander, peach, bergamot, lemon, carnation, ylang ylang, lily of the valley, rose, sandalwood tonka bean, amber, benzoin, civet, and vetiver.” That’s an amazing number of fragrance notes, and what a beautiful blend.

I haven’t found Topaze yet in the original yellow bottle. This one is in a harp-shaped bottle described with the words Heavenly Music Topaze. One user is right on point, saying Topaze has that “extra unexplainable something.”

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

Mythic Monday: Rune of the Day – Inguz

inguz1Divination is a way to focus on what matters. It allows us to gain insight into the ripe possibilities of the moment and is best used as a type of meditative effort. With their symbolism and kinship with long ago Scandinavian and Germanic cultures, runes are a fascinating method.

From the bag of runes, we close our eyes and draw a single stone as we ask a question: What do I need to know about [such and such situation]? If drawing on behalf of another, visualize that person. We must listen with open mind and heart.

Today we examine Inguz, a rune resembling an X standing atop another X. Part of the traditional Germanic Futhark or runic alphabet, it is one of the eight runes under the auspices of the warrior god Tyr.

Inguz concerns fertility and new beginnings. Its energy is that of the hero god Ing, whose name forms the basis of my hero Ingvar’s name in Wytchfae Runes. Ing and Ingvar remind me of the noble knight Sir Gawain, who strived to always do the right thing in the perilous situations he encountered. The splendid changeable moon is related to this rune, as it involves movement and emotional health. Inguz represents intuition, a desire for harmony, and the adaptability required for successful relationships. Humans have a deep need to share and be desired by another. Inguz signals an emergence from a tense, closed state into a more fertile, creative state. It is a powerful rune signifying a new path and a transition into joy. What may have been stagnant now has the energy to blossom. It is important to actively strive to shake off old habits and outdated thoughts patterns that no longer serve our best interests. Change is at hand.

I hope you enjoyed our look at Inguz, the Rune of the Day. How do you welcome opening up and positive change?

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

Vintage Friday: Moonwind 1971

moonwindRecently I have been on a mad tear regarding perfumes. It started with a passion to purchase violet fragrances—more on those in a future post–and learning the technicalities of scent–jammy, basenotes, oud, aldehydes and the like. What a fascinating field! I see a lovely career coming up soon for a favored heroine. My passion now has veered into finding favorite vintage perfumes of the past—those I actually loved and used. Most were Avon and drugstore scents, not high end designer. However, one’s first beloved perfumes tend to remain in memory forever, long after they have been discontinued and forgotten by the public.

Today’s feature is my all-time favorite Avon fragrance–Moonwind. I loved it so much and still do. Heaven knows why Avon discontinued such a treasure. Moonwind came in an artistic cobalt blue bottle adorned with a silver flame shooting from the top. The box shone resplendent with the sacred silhouette of Artemis, moon goddess and huntress, depicted with her silver bow. She is a goddess so close to my heart. The aroma of Moonwind lifts me, and I go soaring, upward, straight into radiant moonlight. I wore Moonwind, while Charisma in its striking red bottle sat atop my mother’s vanity.

The “it” perfume site, Fragrantica lists Moonwind’s scent accords as “green, woody, aldehydic, aromatic, and citrus.” Launched in 1971, Moonwind is described as an aromatic green fragrance featuring note of “aldehydes, bergamot, grapefruit, lavender, narcissus, woody notes, green notes, oakmoss and vetiver.” Users assign it 4.42 points out of 5, which is a lot higher score than many designer fragrances achieve.

You can imagine how thrilled I was to find a new, unused bottle of Moonwind, along with its accompanying skin softener, on eBay and for a most reasonable price. Boy, did I scarf up that bargain. Once again, I am enjoying the inimitable fragrance symbolized by the moon goddess Artemis. I sleep well.

What are your favorite perfumes?

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