Tuesday Tales: Writing Staple

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 staple. 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.

“Easy there, buddy.” Nate eased Spurge onto the settee.

“Ya’ll leaving?” The basset hound eyes seemed to be trying to focus.

“Nope. Not until I see you getting some shuteye. Lean back now.”

“Can’t even do what you want in your own house.” The grumbling ended with a fit of coughing. When that passed he took a shuddering breath and flopped backward. His eyes closed and then popped open. “I’m sorry, Miss Hannah. You needed me and I messed it all up.”

“Never mind about that, Spurge. Listen to Nate and get some rest.” She didn’t know what was worse, a railing Spurge or a maudlin one.

Nate was nothing if not determined. She found herself admiring the way he spoke matter of factly but with an air of quiet authority. Not everyone would take such time with a burnt out codger. “Feet up, buddy.”

Grunting, the old man complied, while a pillow was tucked under his grizzled head. The bleary eyes fluttered and then closed.

Nate waved her out of the living room and into the kitchenette. “You mind if we make sure he’s resting peaceably before we go?”

“Not at all.” She maintained the same low whisper he used.

He opened up the icebox and grimaced, causing Hannah to peek over his shoulder. It was nearly room temperature and all but empty except for a puddle, two shrunken lemons, and a quart of buttermilk. Her nose wrinkled at the blue mold.

The cabinets he checked were barren as well. Not a staple in sight. He seemed to be making mental notes of either what was there or what may be needed if Spurge woke up hungry. If he had his way, she was sure the old man would get his act together and eat some healthy food for a change.

Loud snoring erupted from the front room.

Nate’s lips spread into a grin, putting a twisty sensation in her stomach. Damn that dimple.

“We’re safe to leave him now.”

On the way out he turned Spurge on his side and spread a thin blanket over him. She followed him out into the cool night air.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt staple. 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 Sexy Merman

Welcome to the first Tuesday Tales Bookstore, where you’ll find books for sale by participating authors. Some are even freebies! If you enjoy the free reads we offer each week at the Tuesday Tales blog, something at the bookstore may strike your fancy. Thank you for visiting!

Most of  my mystic adventures take place here at Conjuring the Magic, my cyber abode. Today we highlight Guardian of the Deep, a dark paranormal fantasy. Let’s look in on the heroine and hero.

LAYLA AND SAMAEL

Forbidden love in the fae realm… 

One fiery succubus + one undersea guardian = STEAMY.

Samael has a few surprises in store for his passionate heroine Layla:

His patron deity is Poseidon, god of the sea. In his natural oceanic habitat, Samael’s appearance is unique–

As happened when sea water covered him, his skin from chest downward shimmered in vibrant jeweled tones—cerulean, purple, and green. The flecks in his eyes sparkled, and his long dark hair with its burnished streaks streamed out behind him. The flashes of sienna undulated with each movement of his head, dazzling her with riches. The lower half of his body had shifted to its undersea form, that of tail and fins, a brilliant-hued merman in all his glory. The sight took her breath away.

Samael has an affinity for horses, the noble creatures that were Poseidon’s original gift to humankind. When Layla expresses her craving for cowboys, Samael sets out to fulfill her every desire–

She sat before Samael on the horse, enclosed in the crook of his arm, with her cheek resting on his chest, while his free arm guided the horse by touch alone. Beast and man bonded deeply, as one being, and she, who had never been astride a horse, melded with their masculinity as they raced like the wind across the green earth.

Although charged with keeping order in his undersea realm, Samael is intoxicated with the reckless need Layla brings to the surface–

Her fevered palm caressed his cheek. He kissed her temple. She thrilled to hear her own breathlessness mirrored in his. “I know what you need, Layla. The same as I.” His lips slanted against hers, and he sucked her tongue into the heat of his mouth.

If Guardian of the Deep sounds like a book you’d enjoy, you can grab a copy from Books2Read sites or Amazon.

Catch more surprises and secrets from the exceptional authors at Tuesday Tales.

 

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Fae Friday: Amp Up Your Fantasy Novel with Nature Spirits

Max Frey - Poseidon auf Fabelwesen

Poseidon By Max Frey (1874-1944) (Photo from original) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mythology is a fertile cauldron for fantasy stories. In my books I love to give a unique twist to age old names, ideas, and images. For example, in several of my books the Norse frost giantess Skadi becomes the powerful sorceress Skada. Here are some little known nature deities that can be incorporated into your novel as is or, better yet, serve as a jumping off point for your limitless inspiration to soar.

Idunn was the Norse goddess of spring who guarded the sacred apples that rejuvenated the gods and kept them young. All were barred from eating the fruit but the gods. Idunn’s name means “always young.” When the trickster god Loki attacked her, he caused Idunn and her apples to fall into the hands of the enemy giants. With this sacrilege the Norse deities began to wither and age.

Korrigans were the spirits of healing springs that run underground in Brittany. They naturally appeared as tiny luminous fairy sprites. At night a Korrigan sometimes took the form of a young maiden, causing men to adore her, but in the harshness of day the young beauty would morph into a withered crone. In this latter appearance, any man who insulted her or interfered with her rituals or sacred ceremonies took his life in his hands.

Max Frey - Poseidon, um 1933

Poseidon By Max Frey (1874-1944) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Jurate was a mermaid sea goddess of the Baltic region. From her undersea castle made of amber, she protectively watched over hardworking fishermen.

Medeina was a Lithuanian goddess of the forest whose sacred animal was the hare. As a huntress guarding the forest, her form was that of a she-wolf. Jurate loved running with the wolves.

Xochilpilli was an Aztec earth god of maize and, similar to Orpheus, ecstatic song. His name means “Flower Prince” and relates to the joyful experience of the soul. The Mayans worshipped him as “Tonsured Maize God” and adorned him with a mother-of-pearl pendant in the shape of a teardrop. Isn’t it true that high emotion such as ecstasy and sorrow often go hand in hand?

Regardless of your fantasy sub-genre, mythology has immense potential in the way of inspiration. Any one of these little known nature spirits could help you amp it up. In my book Guardian of the Deep, the hero’s patron god is Poseidon, ancient god of the sea and the one who brought horses to Greece. Not only does this connection help anchor the hero Samael as an undersea guardian, but it also provides a basis for his transformation into a horseman or cowboy. You can grab a copy here. 

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

Fae Friday: Surprising Magical Mothers

Linnaeus Hortus Cliffortianus frontispiece (Mother Earth & Apollo)

Mother Earth and Apollo, By Linnaeus_Hortus_Cliffortianus_frontispiece_cropped.jpg: Linnaeus, C. (1707-1778) derivative work: Bff [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Happy Mother’s Day! For the occasion, let’s honor three of the most ancient and iconic mothers.

Ana / Anu / Danu  is the most ancient Celtic goddess. After the Celts conquered Ireland and created their own unique and high level culture there, Ana gave birth to the band of fairy immortals we know and love today, the Tuatha De Danaan. However, Ana is much older than the Irish Celtic world. She was preeminent to the European Celts as well, and the Danube River is Europe is named after her. To this day Ana’s tears continue to bring life to the world. She is the quintessential mother goddess.

Primeval Sumerian goddess Nammu / Namma gave birth to heaven and earth, An and Ki. Although An and Ki may seem to be huge impersonal concepts, consider how much closer ancient people were to nature and the outdoors. They were both sustained and at the mercy of the earth and the elements. Notice the similarity of the word for heaven, An, to the Celtic goddess name, Ana. Many other goddesses have the same root sounds, including the Sumerian goddess of love and fertility, Inanna. I love that the name Anne is still a popular feminine name today. Some historians trace a path from ancient Sumeria to the Celts, a connection that fascinates me as a writer and mystic adventurer.

Primordial goddess Gaia is the personification of earth. Before time began, she stretched out her body to form our home planet. The earth is her living, breathing body. Without Gaia, none of us could exist. What do you think about plans to create human colonies on other planets, such as Mars? Would you leave our comfortable earth and volunteer to be such a pioneer?

It would be interesting to look into the future and see if our current masculine, warlike notion of Mars would change to a more feminine image if Mars were our future mother.

I hope you enjoyed our look at three of the most surprising and magical mothers. Happy Mother’s Day!

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

Spotlight on Dracula’s Author

CARMEN STEFANESCU IS IN THE HOUSE!

You can snag her latest books for only .99!

Hello, everyone, Carmen Stefanescu here! I’d like to take a moment to thank  Flossie for her support in helping me to promote my newest release –  a paranormal/ light historical/ light romance /light horror – Dracula’s Prodigy, sequel to Dracula’s Mistress.

  1. Welcome to Conjuring the Magic, Carmen! Would you tell us more about your genre and what inspired you to write in it?

Though I read almost all genres in fiction, the one I prefer to write is paranormal.  I’ve always been interested in all the things that go bump in the night – ghosts especially.

A topic that fascinates me is reincarnation, karmic retribution. Perhaps I will myself to believe that there’s something more after  we leave the Earth world.  The hope  and belief that life here is just a step in the ladder of spirituality is the one that makes me write stories like Shadows of the Past and Till Life Do Us Part.

  1. Those same mysterious topics fascinate me as well. Tell us a little about your writing process or habits. What drink do you tend to have by you?

I must admit that I am not so disciplined as many of you are, or as disciplined as I should be. Life gets in the way, or so is the excuse. I write when the  “muse” urges me. There are moments when a sentence, a line in a song, a paragraph in a newspaper triggers the inspiration; when I feel deep in my bones that this is a story worth telling. Coffee is my permanent companion whenever I write. And not only then. Black, no sugar or sweetener, hot.

  1. I’m delighted to find another black coffee fanatic! Carmen, what do you love most about your latest books?

I am glad I managed to tell Vlad’s story, to show what were the social, political, historical circumstances of those times and why he came to be known for eternity as the most evil creature in history – Dracula. As a native of his country my perspective is different. The story is woven with characteristic traditions and customs in Romania, former Walachia.

  1. I’m certainly thrilled you tackled the historical facts and climate around Vlad, known as Dracula. You were born to write that story! I loved Dracula’s Mistress and can’t wait to get into Dracula’s Prodigy. What was hardest for you in writing these?

Dracula’s story was assigned an editor when it was accepted by the publisher – Wild Child Publishing at that time, (they closed doors before the release of the book). She advised me to reduce the number of POVs in the story, though I read a couple of books with multiple POVs. Reluctantly, I took her advice and rewrote 5 POVs! I was sorry to see those characters go, but, in the end, I think she was right.

  1. That was certainly a lot of work, and the end result was worth it. What is the one thing you do every day that most ensures your writing success?

I don’t think I have a one such “wonder”performing activity, sorry  to disappoint you. There are moments when I feel guilty I haven’t written a line that day. Then, I think that writing must be something that gives me pleasure and thus allows me the luxury of not blaming myself.

  1. We’ll move on to tickling our taste buds then. Chips, cake, pie, or cookies?

Chips and cheese pie – Romanian recipe!

  1. Carmen, you have shared pictures of your Romanian cheese pie, and look how delicious. It makes my mouth water. I hope to try it one day. Since you are one who loves history as much as I do, what historical period or person would you most like to visit and why?

I  would like to meet Shakespeare face to face, though I wonder if he’d understand my present-day English.

Or, visit ancient Britain when the Celts lived and meet the Druids and learn from their wisdom.

  1. Great choices! What stories do you have planned for the future?

I am writing  a story intended, like Dracula’s Mistress and Dracula’s Prodigy, as a two parts book. It is the story of a haunted house in Braila, my native town. I finished the first volume already. The parnaormal element – ghosts – and mystery are present, of course.The timeline is not the Middle Ages, but the action takes places during the World War I.

I also am polishing several stories, with a twist, that I wrote along the same time.

World War I–how interesting, Carmen. We’re both tackling new time periods (for us). One I’m working on is set during the Korean War. I loved chatting with you, and thank you so much for taking the time to fill us in. Now let’s take a look at that newest book, Dracula’s Prodigy.

Dracula’s Prodigy    Only .99!
Publisher – City Lights Press
Release date – 27th April 2017

Blurb
Running from the hands of an abusing husband, on the verge of committing suicide, a series of strange events/apparitions make Linda reassess her life. She embarks on a thorough research regarding her unusual ancestor- Vlad, the Impaler, aka Dracula.
Can Linda discover the truth regarding Vlad among the countless malicious stories, exaggerated legends and whispered slander dating back to 15th century? Is he a hero, a brave protector of his hard tried people and country? Or a cruel monster feeding on the blood of those impaled at his order?
And is good-looking Jody really helping Linda regain her trust in men and love, or is he another evil envoy of a past that haunts her and threatens her life?
Dracula’s Prodigy is the sequel to Dracula’s Mistress, and will awe legions of fans of Gothic literature, paranormal and historical fiction.

Thanks, Carmen! I have it on my Kindle ready to read. Readers, snag your copy of Dracula’s Prodigy, and if you haven’t read Dracula’s Mistress, believe me–you’re missing out! Each book is currently a steal for only 99 cents!

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Cinco de Mayo

Here’s wishing you a festive Cinco de Mayo!


COCKTAILS FOR THE DAY

Watermelon Margarita

Ingredients: 2 ½ cups of fresh watermelon cut into small chunks and with the seeds removed—place in a small baggie and freeze for two hours, 4 ounces tequila, 2 ounces Triple Sec orange liqueur, 3 tablespoons lime juice, lime wedge, coarse salt, fresh watermelon chunks for garnish.

Directions: Use the lime wedge to moisten the rim of a large cocktail glass and tilt the rim into the coarse salt all the way around to coat it.
Place watermelon chunks, tequila, Triple Sec, and lime juice in blender and puree until smooth. Pour into cocktail glass, and garnish with small watermelon chunks loaded onto a fancy toothpick. Sip and enjoy!

Easy as Pie Peach Margarita

Ingredients: Ice, margarita salt, Jose Guervo White Peach Light Margarita

Directions: Moisten rim of cocktail glass and twirl rim in coarse margarita salt. Place ice in glass. Pour White Peach Light Margarita over the rocks. Hop into the pool or sit poolside and sip the heck out of it. It’s even better in the moonlight. Enjoy!

Piña Colada

Ingredients: 2 ounces rum, 2 ounces coconut milk, 2 ounces pineapple juice, a cup of crushed ice or a tall glass of ice cubes.

Directions:
Frozen- Start with a cup of crushed ice in the blender. Add the rum, coconut milk, and pineapple juice. Blend. Pour into a tall glass and bask in the flavor.

On the Rocks- Into a cocktail shaker, pour the rum, coconut milk, and pineapple juice. Shake with vigor. Pour over ice into a tall glass.

Banana Daiquiri

Ingredients: 1 ½ ounce lime juice, 1 ½ ounce light rum, 1 tablespoon triple sec, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 banana, ice cubes.

Directions: Place ingredients in blender and blend until firm. Pour contents into chilled cocktail glass.

READS FOR THE DAY

Aztec – Gary Jennings 

The Pearl – John Steinbeck 

Seduction of the Minotaur – Anais Nin

 

MUSIC FOR THE DAY – TEXAS TORNADOS

Many thanks to rspaceball for the Texas Tornados on You Tube!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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

 

Tuesday Tales: Writing Cry

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 cry. 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 cry of a distressed blue jay pierced the dawn, and then another. Her gaze followed a flash of color. Probably babies were involved. She searched the tree line. There was no glimpse of any further confrontation, and no more outbursts. Just the pleasant muted hum of waking fauna. Cradling her cup, she enjoyed the last few sips in peace. How relaxing it would be to prolong these moments. She’d like to suspend early morning to an all-day languish of drinking coffee and musing around.

That was no longer possible. She wasn’t the girl with oodles of cash or even the dosh for a lazy day. Sighing, she returned inside. Thank goodness for the screen door. Lizards and bugs were Florida staples she could do without.

Her stack of laundry was back from Miss Sarah. Slipping a freshly starched apron over her head, she made her way to the big drawing room lugging a pail of soapy water and another of supplies. With a wry glance at her once lovely nails, she got busy. First using the feather duster on the wood furniture, she then delved into the bottle of polish. The oily aroma overpowered her breathing but gave the satisfaction it was working. By the time she had finished the major pieces, the outside crew was well underway with hammering noises. She began on the smaller tables. The wall clock chimed, and she craned her neck to see it was already nine o’clock. Nita was supposed to be here to scour the floor. Oh, good, there was the screen door now. She scrunched back down to the table legs. “In here, Nita.”

“Not Nita. Good morning.” Nate came in, his dark eyes seeking her out.

Butterflies by Fujishima Takeji

Butterflies By Fujishima Takeji (1867-1943) ([1]) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The sight of him caused a fluttering in her abdomen. His hair looked a bit rumpled, and wrinkles etched one cheek as if he’d been sleeping hard on it. She hoped his nights were more restful now. 

“Here.” He offered a hand to help her rise, and that one dimple deepened. “What’s Cinderella doing on the floor?”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the picture prompt cry. 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: Beltane Lady

Mother of Hermes! and still youthful Maia!
John Keats

These days, flowers blossom in reckless abandon, and colors grace my sight. When I open the front or back door, the world is filled with the scent of jasmine–mysterious, sweet, and tantalizing. New ideas germinate in my mind. Vivid stories appear on the page. Springtime energy abounds.

The month of May promenades onto the green landscape, adorned with brilliant hues of purples and pinks—and all the vibrant, pristine colors of spring. She is decked out aplenty. April welcomed the heat early here in Central Florida, with the respite of a few lovely, chilled mornings. The blessing is that summer’s humidity is yet to come. So good tidings, May, come and give wings to our spirit with your fruitful riots of color and scent.

The Pleiades (Elihu Vedder)

Elihu Vedder [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

May’s namesake, Maia, participated in the Roman pantheon as well as the Greek. Her mother, Pleione, protected sailors from the dangers of the deep, and her father, the Titan, Atlas, saved humanity by carrying the burden of earth on his shoulders. Maia’s name relates to mother, grandmother, or perhaps wise one. She was the eldest of seven divine sisters, represented by the Pleiades in the splendor of the night sky. Seeking sanctuary from the attentions of Zeus, the king of the gods, Maia secluded herself in a remote cavern. However, Zeus followed the lovely woman to her dim starlit abode, resulting in the birth of a son, the fleet footed messenger god, Hermes, known as Mercury to the Romans.

Back Camera

Maia, daughter of Atlas, shared the sacred bed of Zeus
and gave birth to Hermes, renowned herald of the gods.
Hesiod, Theogony

The Romans depicted Maia as a goddess of spring and the fertility of nature. They celebrated her powers of sexuality and regeneration. Fire served as her element. For centuries people celebrated May 1 by dancing around the maypole, a colorful way of honoring springtime in all her regenerative glory. On the Wheel of the Year, the corresponding holiday is Beltane, a cross corner day falling halfway between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. Maia is a Beltane Lady.

Maybe you are watering your garden and encouraging it to flourish. Maybe you are writing that different story you never thought you’d write. In whatever ways you honor nature, spring, and the rebirth of light and energy, Maia sends you mesmerizing aromas and vibrant blossoms to sparkle up your life. What do you love about this time of year?

 

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

Rave Reviews Block Party

 

Welcome to Rave Reviews Book Club’s Springtime Book & Block Party!  Thanks for visiting Conjuring the Magic in Romance here in sunny Central Florida!

Today’s Goodies:

Signed copy of my paperback anthology Dark Warriors
Total number of prizes offered today: 3

To be eligible to win a prize, leave a comment
on this post
.

Having recently joined RRBC, this is my first block party with the crew. I look forward to meeting and getting to know everyone. Paying homage to our SPRINGTIME theme, here are some delights that are meaningful to me as a Florida native and inspirational as a paranormal fantasy romance author. Enjoy!

SPRINGS –  Our family likes weekend day trips, and Juniper Springs is one of our favorites.

RIVER – My two little grandsons enjoy boating on the Withlachoochee River.

BEACH — We especially love to zoom over to the beaches on the east coast of Florida.

POOL – With summer coming, it is time to plan poolside grilling and cocktails.

For me, the hardest part of writing is the initial 1st rough draft. It often feels like jumping off a cliff. To combat my resistance, my habit is to work on one of my 1st rough drafts seven days a week. The daily routine lessens the cliff sensation. Do you play any tricks like that on yourself? Still, I need my fur fae, Marigold, (and an endless supply of coffee) to see me through.  

Thank you for visiting my part of Rave Reviews Book Club’s Springtime Book & Block Party, Conjuring the Magic in Romance! I hope you enjoyed our Florida waterworks of springs, river, beach, and pool–which one do you like best?

I look forward to meeting up with you in the social sphere:

Website        Facebook      Twitter @frostfyre        Pinterest

Amazon author page        Goodreads author page     

 Google+     Tumblr       

Cheers,

Flossie

Fae Friday: Spenser’s Belphoebe

What is more wondrous and expressive of spring’s energetic regeneration than a lovely verse and exquisite painting?

Her name means Beautiful Moon.

Johann Heinrich Füssli 058

Henry Fuseli [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

But to this fair Belphoebe in her Birth
The Heavens so favourable were and free,
Looking with mild Aspect upon the Earth,
In th’ Horoscope of her Nativity,
That all the Gifts of Grace and Chastity
On her they poured forth of plenteous Horn;
Jove laugh’d on Venus from his sovereign See,
And Phoebus with fair Beams did her adorn,
And all the Graces rock’d her Cradle, being born.
The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser, 1590

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