Tuesday Tales: Writing Number

Have you ever seen a ghost?

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 number. 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.

Hannah cringed at the disbelief on Meg’s face and the eyebrows that were about to take flight. Protest would only fuel the fire. Might as well sing a different number. She pretended to brush grains of sand from her thighs. “To tell the truth, Nate has been on my mind today, but only because of what happened last night.”

Meg lurched up, her eyes wide. “What happened?”

“My resident haint made an appearance.”

“You mean you and Nate actually saw the ghost?”

She shrugged. “No so much saw as saw the effects of.

The teaser was met with a flurry of arm flailing. “Tell me this minute.”

“I had gone up to the attic to look around and straighten…”

“The fortune teller warned you not to go up there.”

“I have to take an inventory for the bank. You know how shoddy the sale papers were.”

“Then you should have waited for Nate to go with you.”

“He was late coming to work. Do you want to know what happened or not?”

At the sight of Meg’s vehement nodding, Hannah continued. “To make a long story short, I hadn’t been up there five minutes when the music started again and the air suddenly smelled like jasmine, and then…” Her playful mood sobered at the memory. She stopped to swallow. “Something, someone touched my arm.”

“Oh, my ever lovin’ God. Old Sarah was right. The ghost is dangerous. What did you do?”

“I ran out to the landing and smack dab into Nate.”

A beatific smile hovered on Meg’s lips, and her voice turned soft. “And Nate comforted you.”

Hannah’s forehead crinkled. “How’d you know?”

“That’s what he would do. Did he investigate?”

“No, I wouldn’t let him. We went downstairs. But he heard the tinkling and smelled the jasmine.”

“Good. I’m glad it’s not just you.”

“You might clear me of hallucinating, but I don’t even want to think about his take on it.”

“You didn’t talk it out?”

Hannah shook her head. “I was a smidge upset, and then Buster came, so no.” She stood up. “Let’s go for another swim before Bryan gets back.”

A few minutes later the fickle ocean had them both laughing. Good natured fun heated her cheeks. The waves stroked her lotion into coconut scented beads. She didn’t care. The beach always took away her troubles, if only for a little while.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt number. 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: Rune of the Day – Inguz

Inner self, higher self, higher power, spirit, angels, goddess, fae, source. There are many names for the sacred wisdom threaded throughout our reality. My old metaphysical teacher called it Spirit, and that’s how I tend to refer to it most times. We can call on the underlying wisdom to guide us. How does it answer? The ways are countless, and one way is rune casting. This is an ancient method from the frozen north, used by Vikings and other Germanic cultures. Runes shine a light on the ripe possibilities of the moment. A casting also comes in many patterns and forms. In the old days one who practiced the magic of runes was called a Vitka. For a swift reading, I draw one rune.

I close my eyes and ask Spirit for guidance, for a message. What do I need to know at this time? From my bag of amethyst runes, I draw forth a single stone. I listen with open mind and heart.

The Binding of Fenris by D Hardy (Public Domain) via Wikimedia

Today I draw Inguz. Its shape is that of an X standing on top of another X. Part of the traditional Germanic Futhark or runic alphabet, it is one of the eight runes under the patronage of the warrior god Tyr. Lately my runic messages seem to be predominantly of Tyr’s Eight. Tyr shines in our minds as the god who bound the monstrous wolf Fenrir, losing a hand in the process.

Inguz speaks of fertility and new beginnings. Its qualities are that of the hero god Ing, whose name I settled on my hero Ingvar in my first book, Wytchfae Runes. Ing and Ingvar remind me of the noble knight Sir Gawain, who strived to maintain his integrity in the deceptive situations he encountered.

The mysterious, changeable moon is related to the energy of Inguz. Each night the moon presents a different face as it travels swiftly in its heavenly orbit, from new to old and back to new in only 28 days. The moon indicates movement and emotional health. Inguz represents these concerns, as well as intuition, a desire for harmony, and the adaptability needed for success.

Inguz signals an emergence from a tense, closed state into a more fertile, creative mode of being. 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.

Recently I completed a life task that has been troubling me for some time. Another such task in also nearing completion. Drawing Inguz seems a validation that these changes are needed and sanctioned by the universe.

I hope you enjoyed our look at Inguz, the Rune of the Day. What’s on your mind after reading this?

More: The Book of Runes by Ralph Blum

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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Dice

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 dice. 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.

Hannah savored the cherry from her Tom Collins and unscrewed the cap from the bottle of suntan lotion. “It’s been a while. You’d better squirt some more on your back, too, Meg.”

Her friend was sucking on ice chips. “Hand it over when you’re done then.” A slight pout formed on her bottom lip as she studied her watch. “It’s after one. I thought Bryan would be back by now.”

“He’ll show up soon.” She gave the small copper bottle to her friend. “I’ll run over to the tiki hut and get us another drink. Same kind?”

“Yeah, and get a bag of chips. We don’t want to get smashed before that nice lunch my husband promised us. I knew we should’ve stopped for breakfast along the way.” Meg dove a hand into her pocketbook.

Hannah stopped her. “My treat this time.” She drew some money from her billfold before standing and slipping into lilac sandals.

Photo by Alicia, copyright 2014

When she returned a few minutes later with the drinks and a bag of potato chips, she was surprised by the sight of Meg flashing her ring finger at two good looking young men. Her friend caught her gaze, looked a question, and Hannah responded with a stern shake of the head.

“Sorry, boys,” Meg drawled. “No dice. My friend and I aren’t looking for company today.”

Once they had sauntered off with good humored reluctance, Hannah lowered herself onto the blanket and grinned. “Can’t leave you alone for a minute, can I?”

Meg reached for the snack and drink. “They’re harmless. College boys skipping off from classes. Neither of them suited your fancy, eh?”

She shrugged. “Not really. You know I’m not interested in pursuing the opposite sex right now.”

“I know. I know. Work on your mind. You and my Bryan, two peas in a pod in that sense. I wonder though…”

The sweet sour nectar trickled down her throat. “About what?”

“Is someone else on your mind, Hannah? A tall, dark, and handsome ex-soldier maybe?”

Her pulse skipped a beat. “If you mean Nate Larkin, the man hasn’t crossed my mind all morning.”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt dice. 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: Demeter’s Joy

FredericLeighton-TheReturnofPerspephone(1891)

Frederic Leighton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

DEMETER’S JOY

Most of us have lost someone dear in our lives, whether a husband, child, parent, or friend. The hurt is unbearable. We can understand Demeter’s deep, gut wrenching sorrow at the sudden, stark disappearance of her beloved daughter Persephone, taken by the dark lord of the Underworld. In her misery the world turned barren and frost laden, and she did not care. She couldn’t care. Her agony was too great for her to summon up any shred of compassion for anyone else. The earth and earth dwellers who had been under her patronage now receded from her heart. Neither did she mingle with her fellow gods, as their pastimes were shallow and trivial. Only her grief was real. And then her anger.

Evelyn de Morgan - Demeter Mourning for Persephone, 1906

Evelyn De Morgan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, translated by Gregory Nagy:

She would never go to fragrant Olympus,
…never send up the harvest of the earth,
until she saw with her own eyes her daughter, the one with the beautiful looks.

She begged heaven and hell to return her daughter. Begged from the deepest, most rage filled recesses of her soul. Time passed. Her pain continued. And then, in a miracle, her daughter returned.

I can imagine Demeter taken right out of her mind by the sheer overwhelming joy of the moment.

Alfred, LordTennyson put it this way:

Queen of the dead no more — my child! Thine eyes
Again were human-godlike, and the Sun
Burst from a swimming fleece of winter gray,
And robed thee in his day from head to feet —
“Mother!” and I was folded in thine arms.

Demeter rejoiced, for her daughter was by her side

Walter Crane [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Interlinear Translation
edited & adapted from the 1914 prose translation
by Hugh G. Evelyn-White:

And the whole earth laughed for joy.

To you and yours, best wishes to relish the beauty and pleasures of spring.
Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Tuesday Tales: Writing Hotel Window

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 the picture prompts we selected from were types of windows. Mine reminded me of a hotel window. 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.

Hannah breathed in the salty air. She hadn’t realized how much she had missed that uplifting scent. A purr of contentment vibrated across her lips.

From next to her on the car seat, Meg patted her arm. “Yep, I smell it, too. Nothing like beach air to shake out the cobwebs. You smell the salt, Bryan?”

The driver lifted a tanned hand from the wheel for emphasis. “I smell it five days a week, honey. Doesn’t do much for me anymore.”

Meg looked at Hannah and shook her head. “You ever hear such nonsense? Man gets to live on the beach five days out of seven and already takes it for granted.”

“Work on the beach, honey. Work. Through the week you won’t find me lying around on a big towel sipping drinks from paper cups like you two girls have planned.”

Photo by Alicia, copyright 2014

 

The slice of turquoise bobbing between buildings made Hannah’s heart beat faster. Soon Bryan turned between two hotels, driving out onto the bumpy white sand. An endless swatch of turquoise met a half globe of clearest blue, and the sight poured its majesty right down into her gut. 

The two women lugged out their numerous bags and began nesting in the sand as he drove off. Spreading out a towel, Hannah glanced up at the multi-story luxury hotel. Most of the drapes were still drawn, but one gave a wide open view of its occupant. A young woman clad in silk pajamas faced the window and stretched out her arms in exuberance. Despite puffy eyes that told of over indulgence last night, she obviously didn’t have a care in the wide world. Enjoying life. Vacationing here on her trust fund or her father’s money. A dull pain thudded between Hannah’s eyes. She pinched her brow. There before her loomed a mirror to her past. A phantom of her former life welcomed the morning rays. 

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the picture prompt of a hotel window. 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: What You Don’t Know of St. Patrick

Photograph copyright by Karen Barnett

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

We don our green in honor of St. Patrick, the patron saint of the Emerald Isle. As a girl, my mother and I always got new green dresses for the occasion. At her restaurant, as many items as possible were dyed green, including the draft beer. At school, anyone not wearing green was pinched. I find it fascinating that green is also the color of nature and fairies, two aspects prominent in Irish culture. Do you celebrate the merry, festive St. Patrick’s Day, and if so, how?

  • The Irish patron saint, St. Patrick, was said to be born in Wales in 385 A.D.
  • His original Welsh name was Maewyn Succat.
  • Not an early practitioner, Maewyn converted to Christianity around age 16, after he was kidnapped and transported to Ireland as a slave.
  • His primary job during captivity was to care for the animals.
  • After his escape, he eventually studied under the renowned St. Germain at a monastery in Gaul.
  • His passion to convert pagans came about after a vision called him into service.
  • The Church stationed him in Ireland to win converts, and he remained on his mission for thirty years.
    British Library Royal 17 B XLIII St John of Bridlington in St Patricks Purgatory

    See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • He served as the first Bishop of Armagh.
  • He built churches, schools, and monasteries in Ireland to promote learning and the Christian faith.
  • Two of his written works survive in Latin: Declaration (also called Confession) and Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus.
  • He used the three-leaf shamrock to explain the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to his followers.
  • Legend has it that he banished all snakes from Ireland.
  • He was known to raise the dead.
  • After striking his walking stick made of ash to the ground, the stick grew into a tree.
  • These famous and soothing words are attributed to him: “Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.”
  • He lived 300 years before my favorite fictitious Irish sleuth, Sister Fidelma of the mysteries by Peter Tremayne. Have you read those incredible books?
  • St. Patrick died on March 17 in 471 A.D.

Mo sheacht mbeannacht ort!

(An old Irish blessing meaning “My seven blessings on you.”)
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Cover Reveal: Carmen Stefanescu’s Dracula’s Mistress

My online friend from Romania, Carmen Stefanescu, is unveiling a new book cover. Just looking at this splendid  cover and title, I am beside myself with anticipation to read the book! It is a “paranormal historical with a smidgen of romance.” Available at Amazon.

Congratulations to Carmen, and to my readers, cheers & happy reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Tuesday Tales: Writing Lemon

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 lemon. 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.

 

At the sound of a commotion, Nate bounded up the stairs toward the attic landing. Hannah sped toward him, no hint of recognition on her features. He gripped her shoulders. When she tried to jerk away, he held on to keep her from tumbling down the stairs.

“Let me go!”

Her frenzied state alarmed him. “Calm down, Miss Ross. It’s Nate Larkin.”

She stared at him, unseeing.

“Hannah, it’s me. I’ve got you. You look like you’ve seen a ghost. What has happened?”

“Nate?” She collapsed against him.

He wrapped his arms around her, peering around with trained attention. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but he’d clear the space once he got her settled. No one would hurt her on his watch. Her nearness and soft warmth caught him off guard. His eyelids fluttered. The sugary lemon of her hair tantalized his senses. He breathed in the scent as if it were oxygen he’d been missing. Her body trembled. Protectiveness washed over him, merging with his heightened state.

After a few moments she pulled away. A rosy tint stained her cheeks. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Mr. Larkin. Please forgive me.”

“Nate.” He wouldn’t let her dismiss him. “You’re still distraught, Miss Ross. Come downstairs and sit down.” He maneuvered her down the steps. “Careful now.”

“I’m fine.”

He led her to the settee and lowered himself beside her, not wanting to loom over.

She focused on a spot on the wall and took several deep breaths. She seemed to gather in her distress, steeling her features into normalcy and calm. Only then did she turn her face to his. “I’m fine now. Truly. Thank you for your help. I’d better get busy. I have things to do.”

He raised a brow. “Not until you tell me what scared the daylights out of you.”

 

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt lemon. 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: Rune of the Day – Dagaz

Inner self, higher self, higher power, spirit, angels, goddess, fae, source. There are many names for the sacred wisdom underlying all. My old metaphysical teacher called it Spirit, and that’s how I tend to refer to it most times. We can call on it to guide us. How does it answer? The ways are countless, and one way is rune casting. This is an ancient method from the frozen north, used by Vikings and other Germanic cultures. Runes shine a light on the ripe possibilities of the moment. A casting also comes in many patterns and forms. For a quick casting, I draw one rune.

I close my eyes and ask Spirit for guidance, for a message. What do I need to know at this time? From my bag of amethyst runes, I draw a single stone. I listen with open mind and heart.

Today I draw Dagaz. Its shape reminds me of an hourglass or a geometric butterfly.
Part of the traditional Germanic Futhark or runic alphabet, it is one of the eight runes under the patronage of the warrior god Tyr.

Using free association, its shape reminds me of the name of the chaotic, powerful god Dahak from the television series Xena: Warrior Princess. Although Dagaz is certainly not dark and evil like Dahak, its transformative power may seem earthshaking to the one experiencing it. It signals a major breakthrough, a high level transformation. Think about the words breakthrough and transformation. Transformation is alchemical magic. You are being created anew. Breakthrough is when the sun, after a long period of being obscured by clouds, suddenly reappears in all its glory. The moment may not feel comfortable. You may be temporarily blinded by the intensity of the light. You may have been so accustomed to the darkness or the low light that you can’t even look up at the sun’s brilliance right away. But you will, for your day has come. You must trust in the process and your readiness to handle it. Remember, transformation is hard work.

Drawing Dagaz, I can tell this is a momentous time for me. I need to greet the changes with an open mind and a heart of joy.

I hope you enjoyed our look at Dagaz, the Rune of the Day. What’s on your mind after reading this?

More: The Book of Runes by Ralph Blum

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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Tree

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 tree. 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.

Hannah tossed down her pencil and pinched the bridge of her nose. Bookwork had never been her favorite pastime. A contemptuous chuckle escaped her lips. No one was around to hear her thoughts. Who did she think she was kidding? She’d never kept financial records in her life before she came here. Her gaze settled on the newly polished wooden floor. Shadows cast by the lone chandelier obscured the sheen. The long knives of dusk. She hated it and always made sure to be outside when it came. She wanted to absorb every last glimmer of sunlight. Let night fall like a curtain rather than fade like a song. Now the twilight always seemed to creep up on her before she could get to the open air.

She pushed the chair away from the desk. That air suddenly seemed a necessity. The screen door squeaked on her way to the outside landing, further unsettling her nerves. Why couldn’t Buster take care of things without her having to remind him? Her father would never have stood for it. Her father. His death already seemed a lifetime ago, the world she’d known a distant dream. Faded like the day. She sucked in a shaky breath. The faint scent of jasmine still lingered. If only she could figure that one out. The coming night cascaded around her. Stars popped out on the horizon, impatient. She had the strangest urge to push them back through their pinholes. The strident ring of the telephone drew her back inside.

“Hannah, this is Meg.”

“Oh, hi, Meg.”

“I’m on the calling tree for the PTA, and I wanted to give you the first chance before I start. We’re working on the Halloween fundraiser, and I remember you mentioned civic involvement. Do you want to be listed as a sponsor?”

“How much?”

“Five smackers for an individual but fifteen if you want the hotel listed.”

“Put me down for fifteen.”

“Great! Thanks so much, Hannah. That’ll put the curdle in Audrey Wyver’s tea.”

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

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