Wednesday, October 18, 2017
As always, I have to chat since Wordless and me do not go together. I wish I could show you Autumn as it's been in other years here. You know, the traditional gorgeous colors? Yeah, not this year. We had a real lack of rain during the summer, which the weather people say is what makes the colors. This year our "Autumn" has been warm . . . warm and sunny, just like our summer.
Now go and view Bronwyn, Jessica and Paige's pics. Let's hope their pics are prettier than mine.
Monday, October 16, 2017
The song this month is Call Me Crazy by Travis Collins. As it is a country song I have no clue who this guy is, but I did come up with a story to go with it. Go me. If you're curious here's the song:
And here's the lyrics
When I first heard it, my first thought was, "Damn, what a downer." Then this idea began to form and I saw a video on YouTube about Ghost Brides and BAM there was the story. Hope you like it:
The Ghost’s Bride
Emma stared at herself in the warped mirror and still couldn’t believe her situation. All she’d wanted was a vacation. Okay, not just a vacation, but an experience. Something she’d remember for the rest of her life. Because of this wish, she’d chosen Asia for her destination since she’d always been drawn to the different Asian traditions. Now she stood, swathed in a long red dress, ready to take part in a sacred tradition. Or, at least, that’s what her captors had claimed.
What had started out as a beautiful day exploring the country side had turned, literally, into a nightmare. One moment she’d stopped to speak to an elderly woman at an outdoor market and the next . . . well hell she wasn’t sure. The woman had given her a sample of tea to drink and then, after that, nothing. Not until she’d woken up in an unfamiliar room. An unfamiliar locked room.
Panic overwhelmed her at finding the door and windows locked. Gasping for breath, she’d sat and put her head between her legs. Sweat oozed down her face and back as she shook. Ah, panic attack, my old friend, she’d thought. I really hadn’t missed you. She’d finally gotten herself calmed when the door opened and a large group of men and women entered.
“What’s going on? Why am I here?”
An elderly woman had stepped forward and bowed. “You have been chosen for a great honor. You are to be the bride of our Tono.”
“Bride? What the hell? I refuse.”
As if that had meant anything to anyone. In no time, Emma had found herself dressed in a long red gown and locked back in the room she’d started in. She didn’t know who the tono or whatever was, but as soon as he arrived she was going to attempt to talk to him. Who, in their right minds, kidnapped someone so they could be forced into marriage? Wasn’t going to happen.
A different elderly woman entered the room and smiled at her. “It is time.”
“Look, I understand that you think this is an honor, but I don’t. I can’t marry someone because you want me to. I’m just a visitor here. I need to go home.”
“Our village owes a debt to our Tono. He has protected us for centuries and to allow him to go long without a bride is an insult. He will lose face if he is not wed.”
She stared at Emma with night black eyes, in a small wrinkled face. Her gray hair was pulled back from her face in an elaborate bun, dotted with pearls, and her dress looked to be a soft, pink silk. The woman was certainly dressed for a party.
“Centuries? I don’t understand. How can he have protected anything for centuries?”
“All will become clear. Come. Come now.”
Grabbing Emma by the arm, she guided her out of her prison and across a small entry hall. The door stood open showing it was night. How long had she been held? Was it the same day? A day later? If she didn’t make her flight home, someone would come looking for her. Of course, that didn’t do her any good now.
She tried to yank her arm away, but the woman held on with an iron grip. The long trailing hem of the gown tangled around Emma’s legs and she stumbled. The woman huffed out a breath and waited. Emma righted the dress and used her free hand to hold the hem up. She would not be escaping wearing what she had on.
A large group waited for her and they too were all dressed, in what she assumed, was their best. They surrounded her and ushered her through a large intricately carved gate into a garden. They moved down a well-tended path, lit with small torches. Thank goodness for small miracles, Emma thought, since tripping and falling would not improve her day.
Water whispered over rocks as night birds called in the trees. Around a bend, a small bridge came into view and they crossed over, to where the path was wilder. Bushes and flowers crowded on either side and the group was forced to walk single file with Emma still being towed along by the old woman.
They broke into a clearing and before them was a large stone house. Emma couldn’t see much by the light of the moon, but it was bigger and grander than the brief view she had of the homes in the village. The group stopped and everyone bowed low. The woman gave a hard tug and Emma too bowed. She wasn’t sure why, but figured it was easier to go along. Maybe if she acted amenable they would leave her alone.
Together they entered the front door. A huge hearth across the room held a roaring fire, chasing away the chill in the air. A table near the fire was set with food, but it only had two chairs. A large bed, swathed in a red and gold spread, sat on the other side of the fireplace.
Someone shut the door and the room fell into silence. Heart pounding in her ears, Emma searched the dark. Where was the groom? She saw no one new, just the people who must be the elders of the village.
One of the men stepped forward and again bowed low, placing a wreath of lilies and chrysanthemum on a slightly raised rectangular stone embedded in the floor. The old woman, once again, dragged Emma next to the stone.
“Kneel, child,” she directed.
Emma folded the skirt of the dress under her and knelt on the cold stone floor. She placed a hand on the stone to steady herself and found it oddly warm. As a man began to speak in the local dialect, she studied the carved piece. It depicted the image of a man, clutching a sword, eyes closed in rest. No, not rest, death. The stone was some kind of flat headstone.
Looking up, the old woman nodded at her and smiled. Ghost Bride. She was a ghost bride. Emma almost laughed. She’d seen a video on YouTube about the custom, but thought it was outlawed. What would happen to her? Would they try and kill her once it was over? She didn’t think so, since the video hadn’t mentioned it, but hell who knew?
The man stopped speaking and the group bowed to her and the stone on the floor. Before she could stand, they exited through the door and slammed it shut behind them. She pulled the dress until she could get her feet under her and went to the door. Locked. Of course, it was.
Her stomach grumbled and she looked longingly at the food on the table. She so wanted to eat, but what if it was poisoned? Better not take a chance. Instead, she went over and sat on the bed. The bedding was soft and smelled of spices, she wasn't sure what, but it was actually pleasant. Wearily, she began to pull the pins from her hair until it tumbled around her shoulders. Rubbing her face, she tried to figure out what to do. The outside of the house looked large so there had to be a way out of the room she was currently in. Maybe if she could, then there’d be a way out and to freedom.
A noise brought her head up. A man stood in front of the fire place watching her. Emma stifled a scream. He narrowed his eyes and stepped toward her. She pulled herself onto the bed and scrambled to the far side.
“What do you want? Who are you?”
“You can see me?”
His voice was low, and stupidly, made her think of a purr. His ink black hair was pulled away from his face and fell down his back in a waterfall. High cheekbones, full lips, straight nose, and almond eyes completed the package. The man was handsome.
“You can see me,” he said again.
“Yeah, of course I can. You’re standing right there.”
Slowly, he smiled and Emma’s heart skipped a beat. Handsome became devastating. Didn’t matter if he looked like Jason Mamoa, he was part of the group holding her captive.
“I am Ryu,” he said, bowing low.
“I’m Emma. How did you get in here?”
“This is my home. I dwell here.”
“I don’t understand. Any of this. Nothing.”
“How did you come here?”
“I was drugged and kidnapped.”
At his hiss of breath, she felt a bit better. Perhaps he would help her escape.
“When I woke up I was in the village. A group of women cleaned me up, fixed me up, and put me in this dress. Then they dragged me here, said stuff I didn’t understand, and locked me in. Oh wait, one woman did say I was here to be a bride for some guy named Tono, or something.”
“Tono, is not a name,” he said. “It is a title of respect due to royalty.”
He leaned back against the headboard and Emma jerked. How the hell did he get on the bed? How did she not noticed him move? Were the drugs still in her system so that she was having blackouts or something?
“I think I figured out I’m supposed to be a ghost bride.” She motioned to the stone in the floor. “Right? I’m his bride.”
He smiled. “Yes, you are.”
“Okay, so what? Are they going to kill me?”
His black brows lowered. “No, they will not hurt you. I won’t allow it.”
“Okay, so who are you?”
“I told you. I am Ryu, or as the villagers call me, Tono.”
Emma ran her fingers through her hair. “So, you’re the Tono now? None of this makes any sense.”
He ran his fingers down her arm and she jerked back. What the hell?
“How did you . . .”
“I am Tono. I have been Tono to this region for centuries. You are the first woman in two hundred years that can actually see me. Touch me.”
He pressed his mouth to hers and Emma shivered. It wasn’t possible. There was no way. He was real. He was a man.
She opened her eyes to find the dress gone. Just gone. She was naked. Eye wide, she stared at the man who watched her. He too was no longer wearing clothes. This wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. Ghosts didn’t exist. Okay, maybe they did, but they didn’t make clothes disappear.
“You are my bride,” he spoke against her lips. “I am a very lucky man.”
“No, you don’t understand. I can’t. I have to leave.”
“One night. Give me one night and I will let you go in the morning. It has been so long, so long.”
Emma thought herself insane when she considered it. What choice did she have? No one was going to open the door. She was here, stuck in this room and he was so beautiful. No one would ever have to know. Their secret.
“Yes. One night, but you have to promise to let me go.”
“Promise,” he said, then took her mouth.
Now pop on over to check out what Bronwyn, Jessica, Kris, Siobhan, and Deelylah did with it.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Here we are with October's promptly penned. The prompt this month was: "While cleaning up the attic s/he finds a box of glass balls with names on them. One drops and, as it shatters, a person appears." Cool, huh? So, here's what I did with it:
Lily moved around her grandmother’s attic trying to figure out what to do with eighty-plus years of living. At eighty-three, Lillian Jameson was still feisty and active, but the large family home was just too much for her. The woman who had given Lily her name, and a home after her parents died, was moving to a small retirement community. Lillian was taking only things that meant something to her personally, everything else had to go. Lily hadn’t realized her grandmother was the repository for every bit of family history.
Edging around stacks of boxes, she moved to the farthest corner of the attic and sat on top of a closed wooden chest. Where to start? How to start? She certainly didn’t want to just start pitching. Hell, who knew what kind of treasures might be among all the boxes, bags, and trunks. At least, some of it was already gone since Lily and her grandmother had gone through the things nearest the door. Those were the things Lillian herself had either put up in storage or her husband, Thomas, had. Unfortunately, there was a whole lot of stuff left.
“Sitting here isn’t going to get the job done,” she said, giving herself a pep talk.
Standing, she turned and open the trunk she’d been using as a seat. Old, smelly fabric met her eyes and nose. It was starting to dry rot, which meant its home was in the garbage. Carefully, she lifted it out, making sure it hadn’t been used to protect something breakable. When she was sure, she dumped it beside her on the floor and peered back into the trunk. A small wooden box, surrounded by more fabric, sat in the center.
Cherry wood, it was made of cherry wood. She ran her fingers over the top and thought it might have been handmade, since she thought she could feel where a tool had been used to attempt to smooth the wood. Whoever had made it did a beautiful job. Lily decided it would go perfectly in her bedroom. Maybe she could use it to hold jewelry.
Carefully, she lifted the box out and closed the lid of the trunk so she could study it at eye level. There were no hinges, but a seam clearly showed. Grasping what she thought of as the lid, she pulled up and it easily lifted off. Inside, were four glass spheres nestled in dark blue velvet fabric.
The smooth glass balls seemed to twinkle in the attic lights. When she leaned close she saw each ball had a name engraved on it. Alasdair, Evander, Hamish, and Torquil. No, not engraved. She ran a finger over the even surface, the name was somehow embedded into the glass.
Carefully, she picked up each globe feeling the weight in her hands. They were all exactly alike, or at least, that’s the way they felt. Until she got to the one marked with Torquil. No, that one felt a bit heavier and warm. Warm? That wasn’t possible. Something deep within the glass caught her eye and she leaned closer to try and see what it was. No, the light was too dim.
Cradling the ball in her hands she moved out of the tight space and closer to the lights to get a better look. Before she could react, the glass seemed to leap from her hands and shatter on the floor. Lily stumbled back as a glittering silver fog flowed up from the broken pieces and swirled in circles, as if caught in a tornado.
When the smoke cleared, a man stood in front of her. A man wearing a kilt and armed with a very large sword. Lily opened her mouth, but nothing. She had nothing. She didn’t know what to think. Hell, how could she?
“My name’s Torquil,” he spoke in a deep, heavily accented brogue. “You set me free. Thank you.”
He was big, probably well over six feet dressed in a full kilt. Not something bought out of a store, but a real kilt. A great kilt or, at least, that’s what she remembered her grandmother calling it. He was wearing a cream-colored shirt with a huge belt that held the whole outfit together.
When she found her voice, she whispered, “You’re welcome.”
If she was nothing else, she was polite. Her grandmother had raised her the right way.
“Where am I?”
“My grandmother’s attic.”
“Are you alright, lass?”
“Sure, yeah, I’m fine. Everyday occurrence to break a glass and have a man pop out of it. So, are you like a genie or something?”
He cocked his head and studied her with cool green eyes. “I don’t know what that is.”
“Never mind,” she said, slowly rising from the floor. “I’m Lily. Can you tell me who you are again and how you got here?”
“My name’s Torquil and I was cursed, by a draoidh. He locked me and my brothers in the glass spheres.”
She nodded, yeah still didn’t make any sense. “What’s a . . . whatever that word was you used?”
“Draoidh? Someone who uses magic. Don’t you have those?”
“No, no, I don’t think so.”
“Well then, we might be in a bit of trouble. He’ll know one of us has been released and come hunting.”
Wearily, Lily rubbed her face. Why her? Why did crazy stuff like this happen to her? She never asked for it. She didn’t think she’d done anything to deserve stuff like this happened. Okay, yeah, not that something exactly like this had ever happened. It wasn’t everyday a guy popped out of a paperweight and said an evil magic user had cursed him.
“You said your brothers were in the other glass balls?”
“Well then let’s break them, get them out, and you all can go and fight the bad guy.”
He shook his head. “We can’t. I can’t touch them at all. You’ve already broken mine. You cannot break another.”
“Okay, so what? I just need to round up three other people to break them and then, poof, you’re all free?”
“No, the curse is very specific. Only the one who is destined can break the curse. You’re destined for me. We need to find the ones destined for my brothers.”
Lily raked her fingers through her hair. Yep, the attic cleaning was NOT going to be as difficult as she imagined. It was going to be impossible.
Now go check out how Bronwyn, Jessica, and Kris handled the prompt.
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
I love when we do Top 10! This month is all about our very favorite story tropes. If you don't know what they are, believe me, once I start describing them you are so going to get it. These, as always, are in no particular order.
1. Friends who becomes lovers - The 2nd book I had published was exactly this trope. It's called Be Mine. Man and woman, who had been friends, suddenly realize they're meant for each other. I love this since it's something that could really happen.
2. On the run story - Hero/Heroine or Hero/Hero or Heroine/Heroine find themselves in a dangerous situation and must run and stay alive. I love this because it's adventure and danger and a ton of fun to read and write.
3. Fish out of water - So, the hero or heroine find themselves in a place or time they have no clue about and have to cope. For instance, heroine rolling along and suddenly realize vampires are real. How does she handle it? What does she think? How does she react? Or, like my book Mated, heroine is kidnapped by aliens. There's a problem.
4. Hero/Heroine are forced to work together even if they don't like one another. Long and very self-explanatory, but still good.
5. Hero/Heroine comes home after a long absence - this one is great especially if the cast of characters around them are really fun and interesting.
6. Hero/Heroine moves to a small quirky town - Sort of like #5, but new town, new people, new rules.
7. Magic/Witchcraft - I usually like stories that have the heroine able to wield magic. In fact, some of the flash fictions I've written deal with this. Of course, my heroine isn't great at it, but then that creates interesting situations.
8. Sudden pregnancy - Normally, I don't like this trope, but if it's done in a real different way then I'm good. For instance, but I'm working on one that my heroine becomes unexpectedly pregnant through artificial insemination. He's a Shifter and she's human.
9. Mysteries - And yeah, this isn't really considered a trope, but I think of it that way. If a story has a good whodunnit I am all about that. I really love Cozy Mysteries that have magic and love in them. Oh and funny, they have to be funny.
10. Bad Boy who redeems himself - Yeah, this would hardly ever never happen in real life, but in a romance it works. You know he's mad, bad and dangerous to know to everyone, but the woman he loves. She brings him to his knees and they're devoted to one another.
So, these are some of my favorite tropes. Check out Bronwyn and Jessica's favs.