Tag Archives: writing

Tuesday Tales: Writing Flowers

Don’t you love spooky movies set in rambling old houses where the heroine finds a secret passageway or hidden room?

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 prompt is a picture of flowers. 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 stumbled into the room, a maze of impressions bombarding her senses. Pastel, lacy, feminine. Her hand fluttered over her heart. She stood by the bed, her vision blurred. A secret room. A small bedroom hidden inside a larger one.

Nate’s voice broke her trance. “You all right?”

She swallowed, and then nodded. “This is too much. How did you know?”

“When you sent me up here to measure the bedrooms on this side, I saw the dimensions were off on one.” His hands tumbled the screwdriver as he spoke. “Why? There was no closet cutting in, nothing telling on the other side. Why shave a few feet off one of the three?”

“A hidden room would never have occurred to me.”

His head tilted to one side. “I remembered a secret compartment in an old desk of my grandfather’s. The drawers all looked the same, but when you measured, one was slightly smaller. There was a hidey hole in the back.”

“You thought of it this morning? Why didn’t you come and get me?”

“You had company, remember? And my boss doesn’t like holes in the wall.” He gave her a conspiratorial wink. “If I was going to barge in with an axe, I had to find the right spot.”

She stared at the opening, crinkling her brow. “But it’s perfectly rectangular.”

“I didn’t have to maul more than a couple square inches. There’s a spring mechanism.” He pointed to the hardware sticking up. “Smart as hell.”

“Why would someone go to all this trouble?” The dainty vanity compelled her attention. She ran her hand over a crocheted doily. “Oh, there’s something underneath.” She drew out a handkerchief.  A small gasp escaped her lips. “A flower keepsake.” She held it up to him. The bud lay against the fine white linen like a drop of dried blood.

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

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

Tuesday Tales: Writing Lake

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 lake. This week I’m leaving the vintage romance for a bit and going back to work on one of my soothing (to me) action packed fantasies. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Helle’s domain was the last place Rhade wanted to visit. When the Goddess of the Underworld summoned, you never knew whether it was for tea and scones or to scourge you bloody. Maybe you’d get out in one piece, or maybe thirteen. The pulse in his throat thudded at the sight of her grim expression.

The tautness of her face indicated disturbing emotions rippling beneath the surface. Flaxen hair framed strong cheekbones. Her wintry gray eyes glittered. In presentation she reminded him of the showcase fountain bearing secret passageway to her palace. An icy lake spurted jets of fire that rose and then crashed in startling and unpredictable abandon.

The Valkyrie's Vigil

Edward Robert Hughes [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Stern soldiers flanked her.

She extended the tips of her fingers. “Warrior.” The provocative scent of Lily of the Valley wafted into his nostrils.

He bowed his head to bestow a respectful kiss. “Divine One, how may I be of service?”

“Come with me.” She swiveled, and a bodyguard advanced beside her. She thrust out a palm. “Halt. You shall remain here.”

The uniformed man appeared bewildered. “But Divine One, your safety is my utmost responsibility. I beg you—”

Her visage turned fearsome. “Stay, I say. I will speak to the warrior in private.”

Beckoning Rhade to follow, she led him beyond the luxurious front rooms, down endless long corridors, and deep into the tunnels circling her cavernous domain. The pathways spiraled and coiled. He doubted even his well-honed sense of direction would save him if she abandoned him here.

What did she have to discuss that her own trusted guard could not hear? A surge of adrenalin sizzled through his body. He had never ventured this far inside Helle’s mysterious netherworld. She appeared to be leading him deep into her innermost sanctum.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt lake and the quick trip to the Underworld. 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: Amp up Your Fantasy Novel with Spirit Horses

The Fomorians, Duncan 1912

By John Duncan [Public domain],The Fomorians via Wikimedia Commons

Fantasy creatures come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. Regardless of the fantasy genre you write, whether paranormal as my books are, or high, low, historical, dark, urban, etc., there may come a time when you are in need of a little extra something. Done right, spirit horses can be an espresso shot to a story. Here’s a peek at a few. Keep in mind that the fae horses often share attributes and can exist in various locales under different names. Using one of these enables you to create exotic settings, but there is also the opportunity to have the creature show up closer to home in a more normal setting. Many readers appreciate blended mythologies where the author adds a new or surprising aspect to age old stories. I love to do this in my books.

The Phooka, Pooka, Puca, Pwca (and various other spellings) is a Celtic fairy horse of capricious character, sometimes beneficial to humans, but usually dangerous and deadly. One small, benign herd paid nightly visits to help a farmer’s son bring in the crops after being perceived in their willowy incandescent form. Years later at the boy’s wedding, the Phooka presented him with a magical drink to ensure his matrimonial happiness.

More often, the Phooka are portrayed as ravaging, wild, and fearsome creatures with long, jagged teeth and chains around their necks. They have a particular grudge against travelers and make it their business to lure them to their deaths. At times their nature is dark, flesh eating, and vampiric.

Not only does the Phooka appear as a horse, but it can also shapeshift into a bull, hare, and human form. The name of Shakepeare’s Puck is related to the root word of Phooka. In the movie, Harvey, the name of Jimmy Stewart’s 6 foot tall imaginary rabbit friend is referred to as a Pooka.

The Geetoe (or Gitto, Gryphon, Griffin, and Griffith) is a Welsh fairy creature with an equine head and body of a goat. Their particular brand of malice is to blight crops in the field. These creatures possess the power of human speech and laughter. However, they dislike humans and go out of their way to cause harm. They loathe children most of all and do their best to entice them into misdeeds and danger. A Geetoe’s power arises at night and extends only between Samhain (Halloween) and Beltane (May Day). The remainder of the year the creatures reside in Fairyland.

Thekelpie large

Herbert James Draper [Public domain], The Kelpie via Wikimedia Commons

Water horses can be especially interesting. One type is the Scottish Kelpie, which lives in or near rivers and streams. Kelpies are generally more whimsical and unpredictable than evil. They do not tend to stalk their prey. However, they are not to be taken lightly. Humans who venture too close are fair game. Kelpies will often maim and drown their victims, and sometimes devour them. Kelpies often take the form of a beautiful woman.

A Nuggle is a variety of water horse from the Orkney Islands. It is chock full of mischief but not evil in the sense of dangerous or demonic. It can be recognized by its odd tail that resembles a wheel.

Another type of water horse is the ominous Each-Uisge. This malevolent creature favors fresh water lakes, and many sightings have occurred in Scotland. The most famous example is Nessie or the Loch Ness Monster. The Each-Uisge can not only take the shape of a horse but also of a man or predatory bird. When in man shape, the Each-Uisge is handsome, compelling, and deadly to those who come near. In the olden days country folk knew to beware of a solitary person loitering near a body of water. A human can ride the Each-Usige when it’s in horse shape, but if horse and rider approach water, it is bad news for the human. The skin of the creature develops a bonding power that grips the human, not allowing dismount. The Each-Uisage will then plunge down into the depths, taking the rider to his death.

Fire Horses are unusual and perhaps the most fascinating type of spirit horse. In Greek mythology the god Helios drove four fire horses to guide the sun across the sky. The god of war, Ares, tamed a number of fire breathing horses. The Fire Horse is one of the sign designations in the Chinese zodiac. In my book Lord of Fire, the hero Gabriel rides a fire horse during one particularly harrowing part of the story. If you’re interested in reading how and why, grab your copy of my anthology, Dark Warriors. This paperback book also contains another of my paranormal fantasies, Time Singer.

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Vintage Friday: World Book Day

Stories help create a child. THE book that lit the fire on my passion for reading, writing, fairy tales, and mythology is actually a SET of books my parents bought me at age 3—the Young Folks Library. At that time my mother and father worked long hours at their restaurant business, but my paternal grandparents happened to live with us. From these delicious stories of a princess living atop a glass mountain, a girl spitting out diamonds, and a wise woman bestowing a magical invisibility cloak, my Grandmother Flossie read to me every day with dramatic flair.

By my 5th birthday we had lost her. I will always honor her memory and our spirited story times. Thanks to her and this set of books, my imagination, my inner life, and my magic mirror to the mystical were created.

With World Book Day coming soon, do you want to share what book started your passion for reading and writing?

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

Tuesday Tales: Writing Air

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 air. 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.

Roscoe trudged toward Nate with the obvious goal of getting in his face. “I don’t need any smart ass comments, boy. I asked you a question. What are you doing out here at the old cemetery?”

“Just looking around. Most of these graves are in pretty good condition to be so old.”

Roscoe gave him a sideways glance. “Cemetery Association takes care of that.”

“For a buck here and there from the family?”

The older man shrugged in apparent agreement.

“What about when there is no kin?” Nate nodded at a tilted marker half sunk into the ground. “Like that one. Cemetery Association just lets it go to hell?”

Roscoe’s eyes took on a mean squint. “What’s it to you? You’re a stranger in town poking his nose where it don’t belong. You and that snobby ass tart Hannah Ross. Nothing but trouble. Both you need to high tail it back where you came from.”

Nate clenched his fists and swallowed over the burning in his throat. Smashing the pompous air out of the man’s gut wouldn’t help matters. Will power couldn’t stop the words that poured through his lips. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you? She leaves without meeting the deadline, and all the cash plus the hotel reverts to you?”

Roscoe took a final drag and stomped out his cigarette. A satisfied grin spread out on his ruddy face. “So that’s what this is. She’s got your britches in such a wad you can’t see straight. Telling you tales about some robbery or another.” He waved an arm. “Well, go ahead. It’s your party. Look around all you want. Spend your fine Sunday afternoon with the corpses. Just remember one thing. I got my eye on you, Larkin. And on her.”

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

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