Apr 30, 2012

Miothermic Monday

miothermic ~ of, like or pertaining to temperature conditions of the present day

Hurray! I got my taxes (and those of the rest of my family) done and filed on time. *big sigh of relief* And I learned an important lesson: when you have a home-based business, you should really keep your bookkeeping up to date. It makes things so much easier . . . or it would if I followed my own advice. New goal for this year – do my accounting books once a month. :-)

Anybody else angry over the fact we no longer get the Ontario Tax Credit as a lump sum added onto our returns, but have to wait for it to be doled out with an eyedropper over the course of the year? And I loved the little message at the end of the tax program that congratulated me on not having to pay and advising me that I won’t be receiving a refund either.

Last week went pretty good, considering how cold, grey, and miserable the weather was. I got all my posts written and up on their proper days, although my flash fiction got posted with only an hour to spare on Friday. And I had to go back and fix the spacing on my Passion For Poetry post.

I only had time to read a couple of books last week, but one was non-fiction, which I don’t read nearly enough of. It’s not that I have anything against non-fiction, it’s just that they seem to be more time consuming than fiction and I don’t always have the time. I think one of my original ‘goals for the year’ was to read more non-fiction, or more classics, or something like that. Guess I’ll just have to do more reading. ;-)

Speaking of reading . . . When I started reviewing books on Random Writings I was doing it as a way to fill my empty Tuesday spot when I started running out of links to post for my Sharing the Love idea. I didn’t really expect anyone to start reading them, but apparently they have been. Go figure. :-)

I read for entertainment and enjoyment, so don’t expect to find an overly critical review for my Tuesday post. I’m doing these reviews primarily for fun, and where’s the fun in making someone feel bad about all their hard work? So you won’t see a review of the book that was poorly written and even more poorly formatted (I kept reading because I wanted to see who the heroine ended up with, not that she deserved anyone). And you won’t see a review on the horror anthology that I didn’t finish (it was repetitive and not all that scary).

What’s Up This Week: The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts We have Part Nine of Prophets and Prophecies, Mother Shipton. On Random Writings we’ll have my review of a fabulous book that was sent to me. If you’re an author and would like me to review your book, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com. I promise I’ll add your book to the top of my list, or at least as close to the top as I can manage. :-)

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Fifty of Shades of Errol Flynn. I think it’s time we looked in on Jessica again, don’t you? And on Random Thoughts there’ll be another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday we have Chapter Fifteen of Water (on Random Thoughts).

Friday On Passion For Poetry (Random Writings) there will be a poem – it’s been a while since I’ve done a form, but I’m not promising anything. And on Random Thoughts I’ll be doing another flash piece, prompted by a picture.

Apr 27, 2012

Flash Me Friday

This week I’d like to try something a little different. I say “try,” but the fact that you’re reading this means I tried it and it worked, even if it did take me longer than I expected. :-) Last week, for my Passion For Poetry post on Random Writings, I shared two poems I’d come up with for my poetry group, using a prompt we were given for our monthly “poemwork.”

The prompt was as follows: Take any 3-5 consecutive lines from the index of Bartlett’s Famous Quotations. Filling in the gaps with your imagination, expand on the thought and feelings you glimpse between the lines to compose your poem.

My lines were: Imagination, cold and barren Imaginations are as foul Imagine why or whence Imagining fear in the night Imagining the grave

I thought it would be interesting to take this one step further and use this as my prompt for my flash fiction. You should give it a try some time, it was kind of interesting to work with. You can read the poems I came up with HERE. The story is based on the first one.

The Prize

The path before her came straight from the devil’s imagination, cold and barren, a bleak landscape stretching forth into a wasteland of empty dreams. It was littered with those who had gone before her, their bones scattered like flotsam on a tidal shore. She could see her goal in the distance, the shiny pinpoint of blue light on the peak at the far side of the plain. All she had to do was get to it.

She remembered her training, the last words of wisdom her mentor had for her: Imaginations are as foul creatures, intentionally misleading, inspiring hope that has no place here. Do not use your imagination; do not look for things that are not there. Trust your instincts, trust your gut. Above all, do not listen to the whispers on the wind.

There were others here. She could feel them, hidden in the shadows, waiting, watching to see if she was foolish enough, or desperate enough, to step down off the black rock she was crouched upon. They’d been drawn here, just as she had been, just had all those whose bones littered the plain before her had been. In time the pull of this place would prove too much and they, too, would succumb to the lure of the Prize.

How many dead? Too many to count surely. And not one of them knew what the Prize was. Was it treasure? Knowledge? Power? No one knew. They only knew the inescapable pull of it, drawing them to this desolate place where they awaited their turn.

The landscape shifted, as it did every seven candlemarks. Though changed profoundly each time, each time it was still bleak and unforgiving. The path she’d picked out was obscured now, but it made no difference. All paths led to the Prize. It was time to step down off the rock.

No more than a handful of steps and she could hear the voices on the wind: Imagine why or whence we came into this space between realities, the great void that enshrouds us. A shiver went up her spine but she kept moving, one foot carefully placed in front of the other. She did not look back. There was no point. Once you set foot on the black sand of the Prize Plain there was no turning back. Your only hope of survival was the Prize.

She walked with a measured pace, tireless and determined, ignoring the bones bleaching in the sun. The black sand crunched under foot. The scent of death filled the air.

The voices whispered to her again: Imagining fear in the night surpassed only by the waking dream.

“Is that the best you’ve got,” she called, taunting.

Phantoms grew out of the aether surrounding her. Fantastic beasts with sharp claws and dripping fangs. Scaled birds of prey flew at her and in spite of herself she ducked. Her mentor had warned her of this, that the biggest danger would be illusions created by the plain; her training had been focused on dealing with it.

She paused in her tracks and the phantoms drew back, sure of victory. From her pack she pulled three slender pieces of wood which she fitted together to make into a long stick. Delving into her pack a second time she withdrew a long strip of cloth and tied it across her eyes.

Continuing on her journey, she felt her way with the cane, opening herself up to her other senses. Despite her handicap she made better time this way. No longer was she impeded by what she could see.

The voices on the wind began to sing to her, a siren’s song of promises. Lay down the burden that you carry needlessly. The way has been long and you grow weary; take your ease for just a few moments.

She was tired. She’d been travelling for hours. Perhaps a short rest was in order. Her steps began to slow.

You have done well, better than anyone before you. Remove your blindfold and see for yourself. Rest weary Seeker.

Her steps faltered, then stopped. She’d been walking for so long . . . Could she really be further than anyone before her?

You are almost to your goal. See for yourself.

Of its own volition her hand crept up to the blindfold and pulled it away.

Once again the Seeker fails and is left imagining the grave that waits. Reality shatters, fragmenting, a downward spiral into madness. The Prize awaits another day.

Apr 24, 2012

Prophets and Prophecies - Part Eight
Edgar Cayce

Edgar Cayce (pronounced Casey) of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, was known as “the Man of Miracles.” He has also been called the "sleeping prophet," and is the most documented psychic of the 20th century. For more than 40 years of his adult life, Cayce gave psychic readings to thousands of seekers while in an unconscious state, diagnosing illnesses and revealing lives lived in the past and prophecies yet to come.

As a child he was said to have spoken with an angel, and to have seen visions of his dead grandfather. He was a shy, reserved boy with deep religious feelings, and although he never completed his schooling, he had a great love for reading.

Cayce was only sixteen when he entered a trance (with the help of a hypnotist) to diagnose his own illness. His reputation as a healer soon began to attract the sick and suffering to him. They were all desperate for treatment, and the young Cayce was often exhausted by his efforts to relieve ailments which had generally been given up as incurable by doctors.

Much of Cayce’s treatment was based on diagnosing spinal lesions as the cause of the disorder, and called for osteopathy and homeopathy. He invariably went into a trance state which was followed by the diagnosis, starting with the words, “Yes, we see the body.”

He emphasized the importance of diet, attitudes, emotions, exercise, and the patient's role - physically, mentally, and spiritually - in the treatment of illness. As a result, he has been called "the father of holistic medicine" and has been recognized for describing the workings of the human body and foreseeing the direction of health care.

Apart from his powers as a psychic healer, Cayce was clairvoyant. He would lie down on a couch with his hands folded over his stomach and allow himself to enter a self-induced sleep state. Then, provided with the name and location of an individual he would give answers to any questions about that person that he was asked. These answers were written down by a stenographer, who kept one copy on file and sent another to the person who had requested the information.

During the mid-1920's he predicted the rise and fall of the stock market, teaching his clients how to play the bull market and how to prepare for the crash of 1929. In January 1934, Cayce predicted that Hitler would rise in power to reign over Germany. He foresaw a world war that would begin in 1936. He predicted that international patterns would spiral out of control after 1936, resulting in new national boundaries. By 1937 he foresaw both the beginning and the end of World War II.

For Cayce the purpose of his prophecies was to warn people to change so that the prophecies won't happen. His readings continued to provide highly accurate predictions about the escalation of the whole world on fire, the U.S. entry into the effort to fight it, the establishment of peace, and the return to normalcy within the new world order.

Since 1901, the information in the Cayce readings has been explored by individuals from every imaginable background and discipline. In addition, this vast scope of materials has come to the attention of educators, historians, theologians, medical professionals, and scientists. No doubt, part of the attraction has been that regardless of the field of study, Cayce continually proved himself years ahead of his time.

When he died in 1945, worn out by a lifetime of dedication to the sick, and by the strains of both poverty and persistent medical opposition, Cayce left records of no less than 30,000 cases that he had treated over a period of 43 years. The Cayce Foundation of America continues to honour the name of a man who has been described as possibly the most remarkable healer that has lived.

Apr 23, 2012

Maderization Monday

maderization ~ wine becoming rusty in colour and flat in taste

Okay, before anything else, I have to say that I’m not happy with the new blogger layout. What was wrong with the old one? The same goes for gmail and Facebook. I say to you all: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Oh, and by the way, the new blogger doesn't even work as well as the old one. It took all my spacing out and I had to enter the HTML codes by hand. Not cool! Especially at 2 a.m.!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

Holy cow! For the second week in a row I got all my posts done and posted on the proper day. Granted both my serial chapters were late going up, but that was because I couldn’t seem to write them at night, I ended up writing them in the morning they were supposed to be posted.

My hair is still pinkish looking, although my husband came into my office yesterday and commented: “You know, in this light your hair almost looks purple.” Thanks, hon. *sigh* I don’t know how long you’re supposed to wait between dye jobs, but I’m only going to wait another couple of weeks before redying it to a more . . . subtle colour. :-)

The trees and shrubs are covered in buds and the lily-of-the-valley is coming up in my front garden. So of course the weather’s turned cold and dreary. Of course that doesn’t stop the ducks from coming to visit our pool. Just a single pair, but they come ever year.

I made time for a little reading last week – one good book, one no so good book, and one that was written by a friend. I didn’t get my Goodreads or my reading list updating, so they’re on the list for this week.

At the top of my list for the week is getting my taxes finished. Have I mentioned how much I hate doing taxes? Yes, it’s much easier with a computerized tax program, not like the old days when we had to do everything on paper, but it’s still a pain in the butt, especially when you have a home office and you’re slack at keeping up your bookwork.

What’s Up This Week: The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts We have Part Eight of Prophets and Prophecies, Edgar Cayce. On Random Writings we’ll have a review of one of the books I read last week. If you’re an author and would like me to review your book, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com. I promise I’ll put your book at the top of my list. :-)

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Forty-nine of Shades of Errol Flynn. Looks like Ellen is going to have a front row seat for the strategy session. And on Random Thoughts there’ll be another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday we have Chapter Fourteen of Water (on Random Thoughts).

Friday On Passion For Poetry (Random Writings) there will be a poem, probably someone else’s ‘cause I did an original one last week. And on Random Thoughts I’ll be doing another flash piece, prompted by a picture.

Apr 20, 2012

Flash Me Friday

Today’s flash is based on three pieces I wrote for my writing group, the Northumberland Scribes. We meet twice a month and at each meeting someone suggests a topic for the next meeting. We’re limited to 150 words, which is not as easy as it sounds. The following is an expanded version of three of these prompts that just seemed to flow naturally together – the body in the road; the face in the window; and the shadow at the door.


As if expecting her, the white lace curtain on the attic window was already pulled back. She had come up here hoping the view would have some how changed, but no, she hadn’t imagined it. The body was still lying in the road, lit up by the street light like the show piece for an expensive museum collection.

This meant she hadn’t imagined the rest of it either – the screech of tires on the pavement, the grinding crash of the car hitting the body and the thud of the body falling to the pavement; the smell of decaying leaves overpowered by the acrid smell of burning rubber as the car sped away. No, she hadn’t imagined any of it.

Slowly she made her way back down to the kitchen. She stared at the phone for a moment before reaching out, unsurprised when her hand passed right through it. Turning with a sigh, she wondered how long it would be before she was discovered.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Jace was at the donut shop on the corner of 7th and 10th when the call came in. Reluctantly, he left his coffee and half-eaten cruller behind and hurried out into the cool, autumn night.

Flashing blue and red lights strobed through the dark, illuminating the body lying motionless on the road.

“Looks like a hit and run,” one of the officers told him when he arrived.

“Anybody know who she is?” Jace asked, reporter’s notebook flipped open, pen poised to start writing.

“She lived over there,” the officer pointed. “Looks like she got hit crossing the street.”

He glanced over at the crumbling Victorian house. Movement from an upstairs window caught his attention. A face briefly appeared in the attic window, then pulled back again.

“Have the next of kin been informed?”

“No one to inform. She lived in that big old house by herself.”

Jace felt a shiver run up his spine.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The house had always been a dream of his. He’d been out of town the first time it went up for sale; it was snatched up so quickly the ‘For Sale’ sign barely had enough time to go up before it was down again. How had a middle-aged spinster been able to afford it, all on her own?

He went out of his way to be nice to her, to make friends with her. Little did she know he was just pumping her for information, looking for something he could use against her. Too bad she was such a law abiding citizen.

She was alone in the world. No family, no relatives. He bided his time and when the opportunity presented itself, he took it. While the police and the gawkers were huddled around the body in the road, he was busy scrubbing the blood off his fender.

Afterwards, he walked past the house every day, waiting for it to go up for sale again. He ignored the face that sometimes appeared in the window – it was probably just a trick of the light – just as today he ignored the shadow at the door. This was his house now.

Apr 18, 2012

Hump Day Hunk

Today seems like a good day to lounge around in bed. What do you think? ;-)

Apr 17, 2012

Prophets and Prophecies - Part Seven

Perhaps the most famous prophecies of all time are the prophecies of Nostradamus.

Michel de Nostredame was born at midday on 14 December 1503 in the town of St. Remy-en-Crau. His grandfather, Jean de Saint-Remy, was physician and astrologer to the exiled court of King Rene of Anjou.

He was first educated at home by his grandfather, but later attended school in Avignon, and from there went on to study medicine at the University of Montpellier. After qualifying as a physician, he set out through southern France, wandering as far west as Bordeaux and as far east as Savoy, treating patients as he went and earning a reputation as a plague doctor.

He returned to Montpellier in 1529 to receive his doctorate, but by 1533 he was on his travels again, and by 1536 he had settled in Agen – about 60 miles southeast of Bordeaux – where he married, sired two children and established a medical practice. Two years later he was summoned before the Inquisition in Toulouse; on his return he found his wife dead of the plague, and both children died soon after. By 1545 he had returned to Marseille, and in 1547 he married a wealthy widow and moved to Salon, not very far from his birthplace, where he lived for the rest of his life.

From this time on he devoted himself to writing: at first, pharmacological treatises, and a handbook on jams, jellies and conserves. Soon, however, he turned his attention to the occult arts that his grandfather had practised, and began to publish a series of almanacs with predictions for the coming year.

The work that was to establish a reputation that has survived to the present day was Les Propheties de Me. Michel Nostradamus, in 353 verse quatrains. It aroused great interest, and the following year Nostradamus was summoned to the French court by the queen, Catherine de Medicis, who was deeply interested in the occult. He remained in Paris for about a month, during which time he cast horoscopes for the royal children and for many others; but, learning that the Paris magistrates were anxious to question him about his sources of information, he returned to Salon. There he continued the writing of his verse prophecies.

His quatrains were divided into sets or ‘Centuries’ of 100 verses, and in 1557 a further 387, numbers IV-54 to VII-40, were inserted in a new edition of the Propheties. In the following year, the final three Centuries, making 940 quatrains in all, were published as a separate volume. The missing 60 quatrains were published in 1568, two years after his death.

Every Nostradamus quatrain represents an individual prophecy. They are not presented in any obvious chronological order and each must be interpreted individually. In archaic French, full of misprints, oddly punctuated and filled with obscure anagrammatic references, this is very difficult. Every successive generation discovers something that appears to be significant, and surprising coincidences have been recorded.

On of the most dramatic occurred soon after the 1558 publication. In a dedication to the French king, Henry II, Nostradamus had written (VI-70):

Head of the world shall be the great Chyren-
Plus ultra after – loved, feared, respected:
His fame and renown shall rise above the heavens,
And with sole title victor well content.

‘Chyren’ is an anagram for ‘Henry C’, and Ne plus ultra was the personal motto of the Emperor Charles V.

Unfortunately for Henry, he took part the following year (against the advice of a horoscope drawn up for him by Luca Gaurico) in a joust at the wedding of his sister. The lance of Montgomery, the captain of the Scottish Guard, broke on the king’s golden helmet, and a piece penetrated Henry’s eye and brain. He died ten days later.

Very soon, another Nostradamus quatrain (I-35) was being quoted:

The young lion shall overcome the old,
On field of war in single combat,
In a cage of gold his eyes shall be pierced,
Two knells for one, then die a cruel death.

This apparently accurate prediction assured Nostradamus’s reputation.

Not much is known about his later life, although the Queen is reputed to have kept in touch with him. In 1565 the new young king, Charles IX, stopped in Salon and insisted on meeting Nostradamus; Catherine, who was with the king, requested more prophecies, and the king presented him with a pension and the title of medecin et conseiller ordinaire du roi (doctor and ordinary adviser of the king).

Nostradamus did not live long to enjoy his pension, dying of dropsy on 1 July 1566. He was rumoured to have been buried upright so that the citizens of Salon could not defile his grave with their feet, but this has been disproved by excavation.

Since that time countless editions of the prophecies have been published, and each generation has found quatrains which appear to predict current events. Quatrains have been identified as predicting the outbreak of World War II and the rise of Hitler, the atom bomb, the purges of Stalin in Russia, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and much more. However, a detailed study of the verses of Nostradamus reveals that he wrote mostly about the France that he knew, occasionally about England and Scotland, the Mediterranean countries and central Europe.

Generation after generation of Nostradamus enthusiasts have supposed that the quatrains, not matter how obscure their contents, must be regarded as genuinely prophetic. It is conceivable, however, that he composed them with tongue in cheek, and that he was well aware that there is an enduring market for prophecies – particularly for veiled ones.

If you’d like to explore the Prophecies of Nostradamus more fully, you can find the full text HERE

Apr 16, 2012

Mussitation Monday

mussitation murmuring; grumbling

Wow, I can’t believe it. I got all my posts up last week and only one of them was late. That was the Friday Flash story and it took a little longer to write than I counted on. It was a fun story to write . . . but don’t take my word for it, scroll down and see for yourself. :-)

My other goal for last week was to get some reading in and I managed that as well. Now I’m going to have to make one of my goals for next week updating my reading list and updating my Goodreads list.

Last week turned out to be pretty good, all things considered. The sun shone, mostly, and other than a funeral I had to go to Thursday morning, the only other dark spot was an unfortunately choice of hair dye. What can I say? They were out of my regular brand and colour and the big selling point of my chosen substitute was that it was on sale. I’m sure the pinkish tint will wash out eventually.

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts We have Part Seven of Prophets and Prophecies, Nostradamus. :-) On Random Writings we’ll have a review of one of the books I read last week. If you’re an author and would like me to review your book, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com. I promise I’ll put your book at the top of my list. :-)

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Forty-eight of Shades of Errol Flynn. Now that Jessica’s had her talk with Ellen, it’s time for Howard to brain-storm with Thackery and Paran. And on Random Thoughts there’ll be another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure – on time this time. :-)

Thursday we have Chapter Thirteen of Water (on Random Thoughts). And on Random Writings we have a special treat. To celebrate the launch of her new site Kaizen Journaling, the lovely Dolly Garland has written a guest post. You really don't want to miss it!

Friday On Passion For Poetry (Random Writings) there will be a poem, probably someone else’s ‘cause I did an original one last week. And on Random Thoughts I’ll (hopefully) have a flash piece prompted by a picture.

Apr 13, 2012

Flash Me Friday

It’s the end of the week and I freely admit that I’m running low on creative juice. A couple of the photos I have in my flash prompt archives elicited a flicker of interest, but not really enough to get going on a story. So I posed the question on Facebook: What should I write about?

The lovely Dolly Garland suggested: Write about an employee who turns into a zombie and murders colleagues.

My good friend Pat Davidson suggested: Take Dolly's idea and set it in a place like where we used to work.

And Adam Slade AKA the Newfie Newbie suggested: Ninjas. Eeeeevil ninjas.

So, I pondered these suggestions, and I realized that the zombie theme worked well with my previous employment as a call centre drone, as anyone who’s ever worked in a call centre can tell you. And Ninjas, yeah, I could see Ninjas fitting in. To populate this oh-so-serious story, I drew my characters from both my writing friends and friends I made while working at the call centre. I tried to include as many I could, but there just wasn’t room for you all. :-)

Here’s the result:

Call Centre Zombie Apocalypse

Dolly juggled the two stacked take-out trays of Tim Horton’s coffee she was carrying so she could swipe her pass key through the first of the two security doors. The red light turned to green and she wrestled the door open, then swiped her way through the second security door.

Three steps into the vast cavern of the call centre she stopped abruptly. What the hell?

“Dolly! Hey Dolly, over here!” Amanda waved frantically from several rows down.

With another glance at the black clad figures sitting her regular row, Dolly continued down to where her friends were now sitting and started passing out coffees and lattes, making sure Adam got his extra large steeped tea.

“So who are those guys dressed in black sitting in our row?”

“Dead meat, that’s who!” Kahley said, taking her double double and inhaling the steam.

“I heard they’re Ninjas,” Heidi said as she typed furiously, trying to fill out all the required forms before her call ended.

Dolly looked at Jamie, the calming influence of the group.

“All I know is, it’s Comcast Cable technical support, like us, but it’s a new campaign,” she said, putting her phone on mute. “It’s all very hush hush.”

Leanne slid into her seat and popped the top off her latte. “You’re not going to believe this,” she said, taking a sip. “Those bee-atches are getting paid $10 an hour more than we are.”

There was dead silence in the row as everyone turned to look at her.

Amanda was the first to speak. “Ten. Freaking. Dollars! You’ve got to be kidding!”

“Nope,” Leanne shook her head as she logged into her phone. “And they don’t have to work weekends. Just because they’re Ninjas.”

“No way!” Pat said, ‘accidentally’ losing her call.

“Told you they were Ninjas,” Heidi said smugly.

“There’s only one thing we can do,” Yvonne advised.

Beside her, Sarah nodded solemnly. “Mamma Jo.”

“Mamma Jo,” Amanda agreed.

“Mamma Jo,” Adam said with a slight shiver.

“Who’s Mamma Jo?” Dolly asked. She was the newest member of the team, which was why she was the one sent on the coffee runs.

Pat lowered her voice to answer. “She used to be our supervisor before she was let go under mysterious circumstances. Now she’s a Voodoo priestess.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

“You all are sure about this?” Mamma Jo asked. To look at her you would think she was just a regular, motherly type of person. Which, of course, was just the way she wanted it. In reality she was the most powerful Voodoo priestess in all of Ontario.

“They took our row,” Amanda said.

“They’re allowed to wear those black uniforms,” Pat added.

“They’re getting paid more than we are,” Yvonne said grimly.

“Have you seen their shoes?” Sarah asked with a shudder. “Can we say, ewww?”

“All right,” Mamma Jo said. “I’ll help you. But it’s going to cost you. How much have you got?”

The team members looked at each other.

“We were kind of hoping you’d do it for old time’s sake,” Kahley said.

“You think chicken feet and voodoo dolls come cheap? Come back when you’re ready to talk money.”

“You know where we work,” Pat reminded her. “We’re never going to have the money.”

Mamma Jo heaved a sigh. “Tell you what I can do. I can turn the ninja team into zombies. But I’ll need something to focus their zombie rage on. Any ideas?”

Adam grinned his most evil grin. “How about Comcast cable customers?”

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Two weeks later the team, plus Mamma Jo, were camped out on the flat roof top of the building the call centre was housed in. Fortunately, they’d had enough time to lay in supplies, mostly tequila and Zesty Cheese Doritos.

“Well, that could have gone better,” Mamma Jo admitted.

“It’s not your fault,” Yvonne said. “And it’s not like they’re going after everyone, just anyone connected to Comcast.”

“Yeah,” Leanne told her, “If Sarah hadn’t tripped over her new shoes and fallen towards Amanda . . .”

“Who jostled Pat, who nudged Kahley . . . Yeah, yeah. We know. What’s done is done though,” Jamie said.

“It wasn’t my fault!” Sarah whined, sticking her foot out to admire her newest shoe. “You guys are always trying to blame me for everything.”

“I’m kind of disappointed,” Heidi said. “I thought Ninja zombies would be faster than regular zombies.”

“Nothing like getting the life sucked out of you to slow you down,” Adam told her.

“You couldn’t have known you’d lose control of the spell,” Yvonne said, ignoring everyone else in her attempt to soothe Mamma Jo.

“All those innocent lives . . .”

“Innocent my ass,” Kahley said with a snort. “Bunch of lying, cheating, losers, the whole works of them.”

“What happens when they start coming after us?” Heidi asked.

Adam patted his trusty Winchester and grinned his cheeky grin. “Then we start picking them off, one by one.”

Jamie, already three sheets to the wind, held up her mug of tequila. “Let’s hear it for the Call Centre Zombie Apocalypse!”

Everyone raised their mugs. “Cheers!”

This is pretty much what our call centre actually looked like, only the rows weren't quite as long.

Apr 10, 2012

Prophets and Prophecies - Part Six
The Norse Völva

Then came the völva Gróa there, wife of Aurvandil the Bold. She sang her galðr [spell-songs] over Thor until the piece of stone loosened [from his flesh]. When Thor noticed this, and understood that there was a good hope that she would be able to completely remove the byrnie-piece, he wished to reward Gróa for her healing by doing her an honor…

Snorri Sturluson, Skaldskáparmál, Prose Edda
Source: Freyia Völundarhúsins

Völva is a word reclaimed from Old Norse meaning staff or wand carrier. A Völva was a wise woman, shaman, or priestess in Norse and Germanic paganism. While most of sources identify women as practitioners of this art, many men were drawn to this pathways well. However, it was understood that by doing so they were taking on a female role, thus endangering their manhood.

The Völva were believed to possess powers so great that even Odin himself (the all-father) consulted a Völva for what the future had in store for the gods. Highly respected members of society, they cared for the spiritual and physical needs of their people by means of herbalism and prophecy.

The Völva travelled the land, usually followed by a retinue of young people, and she was summoned in times of crisis. She had immense authority and she charged well for her services. A woman who carried the wand of the witch would never be harmed. They were allied with the fate goddesses and thus wielded the greatest of powers.

When the Völva reaches a town she is greeted with a lavish meal of food prepared only for her. After the ritual meal is over she mounts a platform where she sits on a pillow of down feathers (to aid her on her spiritual flight). A young villager sings entrancing incantations called the Vardlokkur Songs.

The songs are an important part of the Seidir (the divination ritual); they draw the spirits in to hear them. The Völva asks these spirits questions concerning health, war, farming, or what ever other issue is of concern. Once she learns what she needs to from the spirits she emerges from her trance and passes the information on to the waiting villagers.

The practicing völur appear to have been buried with the wands they wielded in life, a fact hinted at in some sagas and confirmed by archaeological finds. Scandinavian archaeologists have discovered staffs, or wands, in about 40 graves of women believed to have been Völvas. The graves themselves are rich with valuable grave offerings as well as jewellery and animal sacrifices. The finds are on display in the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm and show that that the Völvas belonged to the highest level of society.

If you would like to learn more about the Völvas and their practices, I highly recommend The Return of the Volva, by Diana L. Paxson

Apr 9, 2012

Metonymy Monday

metonymy ~ figurative use of word to name an attribute of its subject

Did everyone enjoy their holiday weekend? Anyone suffering from a chocolate hangover?

I remember Easters when I was a child . . . we’d drive up north to my Aunt and Uncle’s place in Owen Sound – it was a great house for Easter egg hunts, full of antiques and nooks and crannies. I remember getting a new outfit, complete with a hat, to wear to church. In fact somewhere there’s a picture of my mother, sisters and I standing in a row in my Aunt’s rock garden, dressed in our Sunday finest. Ahh, nostalgia. :-)

Easter is my favourite of all the holidays. It has nothing to with religion or chocolate, I like to think of it as the turning of the seasons – the true transition between winter and spring. Easter is daffodils and tulips and the buds coming out on the trees.

Last week *shakes head sadly* last week was such a dismal failure that a sane person would just hoist up the white flag. But nobody’s ever accused me of an overabundance of sanity, so I’m really to start fresh (again!) with this week.

Despite the fact that I got no writing done on the weekend, my goal for this week is to get all my posts up on time. I also want to set aside an hour or two each day for reading. I took the time to get some reading done on the weekend and I’d like to keep up my momentum. I’m up to 700 unread books on my Kindle and it’s time to start knocking some off them off.

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts We have Part Six of Prophets and Prophecies, the Norse Völva. For real this time. :-) On Random Writings we’ll have the review of the book I’d intended for last week but didn’t get a chance to finish. If you’re an author and would like me to review your book, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com. I promise I’ll put your book at the top of my list. :-)

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Forty-seven of Shades of Errol Flynn – when I wrote my goals post last week I honestly thought I’d be continuing with the previous instalment, but I realized that Jessica still hadn’t had her post-castle talk with Alexandre and Gareth so I figured it was over-due. So I really have no idea what's going to happen in that story this week. And on Random Thoughts there’ll be another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure – on time this time. :-)

Thursday we have Chapter Twelve of Water (on Random Thoughts). I wonder what kind of trouble Ravi can get into this time?

Friday On Passion For Poetry (Random Writings) there will be a poem, but I haven’t decided whether or not it will be mine or not. ;-) And on Random Thoughts I’ll (hopefully) have a flash piece prompted by a picture.

Apr 3, 2012

No Post Today

I apologize, but due to a series of unfortunate circumstances (it's a long story and you really don't want to know!) there will be no post today. Posting will continue as scheduled tomorrow. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Apr 2, 2012

Myrmecophilous Monday

myrmecophilous ~ having a symbiotic relationship with ants

So, did anyone get April Fooled yesterday? I logged onto my internet home page Saturday night and I admit they almost got me with a news story about a woman who bought a lottery ticket in her cat’s name and it won a million dollars (the cat did).

Wow, April already. How did that happen? And of course now that spring is here and summer’s on the way we’re back to the cooler temperatures. :-)

I was pretty late with both my serial posts, but I did get them up eventually. And those who look forward to Wednesdays may have noticed I was late with the hump day hunk as well. This was because in my concern to get the next instalment of Shades written I forgot all about my hunk du jour. Oops!

I’ve been watching a show called Come Dine With Me, where 5 people take turns hosting a dinner party for each other in their homes in the hopes of winning a cash prize. The result of this is my flexing my culinary muscles for Sunday dinners. An exercise, I might add, that is totally wasted on my family of barbarians.

I didn’t have a lot of time for reading last week, but I’m still downloading lots of free books from Amazon. Way too many, actually. I’m going to really have to step up my reading, maybe schedule some regular reading time into my day.

I did a bad thing on the weekend. I started playing a game on Facebook. Specifically, the Disney Hidden Objects game. *sigh* I made it to about level 4 before I remembered why I found these games annoying. Levelling up is rather slow unless you want to try and sucker a bunch of your friends into it.

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts We have Part Six of Prophets and Prophecies, the Norse Völva. On Random Writings we’ll have another book review. If you’re an author and would like me to review your book, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com. I promise I’ll put your book at the top of my list. :-)

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Forty-six of Shades of Errol Flynn, in which hopefully Ellen and Jessica get a chance to chat. And on Random Thoughts there’ll be another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure – on time this time. :-)

Thursday we have Chapter Eleven of Water (on Random Thoughts). I think it’s time to see how the kids are settling in to the new compound.

Friday On Passion For Poetry (Random Writings) there will be a poem, but I haven’t decided whether or not it will be mine or not. ;-) And on Random Thoughts I’ll have another flash piece prompted by a picture.