Happy Thursday! A day late, so sorry. Life has been crazy and we haven’t even traveled anywhere. My daughter turned 18, our neighbor passed away from COVID-19, and my car is at a garage. Did you ever learn a new word and suddenly you hear or see that word everwhere? I had never known about car tires popping from the heat. It seems in extreme heat the pressure in your tires increases by 4 to 6 psi due to the heat of the road and the sun shinging on them. They mentioned this on my local news and I was surprised. I mentioned it to a friend who said her sister’s tire had just popped from the heat. Yesterday we were out running errands that couldn’t wait until the end of the heat wave. I heard a pop and then we heard an odd sound. It turned out to be the air rushing out of my tire! We were able to make it home but my car had to go to the garage for a new tire. Our car came with one of those “donut” spare tires and ours has been used so many times over the years that we need a new one but they don’t sell them anywhere, not even at the dealership. The car will be back later today and all will be well.
Previously, I had told you that I was planning a blog featuring these wonderful blogs that I have discovered, but that will be coming next week. I decided that my opinion on these blogs isn’t enough – I will be reaching out to the authors and asking them to describe their blogs for my readers. That way the direction and the intent of the blogs will be straight from the creators.
Do any of you have the desire to write? If you do, I know that I have mentioned NaNoWriMo before – National Novel Writing Month, that takes place every November. During NaNoWriMo the goal is to write a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days. Succeeding is the goal, but just dedicating time each day to write is a great way to start getting in the habit of practicing your craft. Also, you can join the community and get buddies who help inspire you (they might be in your local area or others who write in your genre). They also have write-ins where people meet up at cafes, libraries, etc.
July is a Camp NaNoWriMo month. There are two Camp months – April and July. You don’t need to write a whole novel, you can write poetry, short stories, whatever you like. To join in all you need to do is click here and follow the directions. Join the forums as well so you can participate in the community. People can help when you get stuck for ideas, cheer you on when you are feel as is you aren’t making progress, etc.
For those of you who decide to (or are already participating) please post what project you’re working on, how things are going, and if you normally participate in November. Feel free to add me as a buddie if you wish – I am under the name Coulsongirls on NaNoWriMo. Best of luck! I will return next week.
Happy Wednesday! Tomorrow we will be able to view a “strawberry moon”. A strawberry moon is the last full moon of June and the first full moon of summer. The term strawberry moon comes from multiple Indigenous tribes of North America who associated the moon with the ripening of the strawberries.
Here is a heads up that next Wednesday I will be taking a break from the story to give a shout out to some wonderful blogs in the WordPress world that are just too good to miss.
PIcking up where I left off last week, the story continues. Content warning: sexual content
Her dreams were filled with dancing. She was in a beautiful gown dancing at a masque ball. There were people all around, yet their faces were indistinct. Near a table loaded with beautiful fruits and cheeses stood Esme in a ball gown. She held up a mask covering her eyes with one hand as she chatted with an unrecognizable man. Jocelyne looked around. Across the ball room were several men who seemed as if they were going to approach her and request a dance. A hand on the small of her back made her turn around and she looked up into the face of Baraqiel. Despite the mask he wore she knew the contours of his face so well that she had no doubt that it was him. No longer in a blue robe, he was dressed for the masque, blending in with everyone. He led her to the edge of the floor, and they began to dance. His movements were fluid, balletic. Even more amazing was that as he guided her amongst the other dancers, she felt herself dancing better than she ever had in her life. She was acutely aware of every place that their bodies touched, and she felt the rising heat of desire again. What was it about this man that he had this effect on her? As the throng of dancers about them grew they found themselves pressed tighter together. She felt the warmth of his body along hers and she pressed herself, unnecessarily, harder against him. His body’s reaction was immediate, and she had a self-congratulating moment in her mind. They danced until the end of the song at which point, he led her by her hand outside to a beautiful veranda. Standing behind her he pointed out the stars above, telling her about each constellation. Jocelyne was only half listening; most of her mind was paying attention to the feel of his warm breath on the back of her neck, his hands rubbing up and down her arms to warm her, and the hard press of his arousal on the back of her dress which was too thick and firm to be ignored. She wanted nothing more than to turn around and face him and as she did so, she reached her arms up to pull him down for a kiss.
The sudden loud snap and crackle of the logs on the fire awoke her. Disoriented, her brain still on the veranda at the masque, it took her several long seconds to realize she was in her bed. Immediately she craned her neck around to see if he had awoken, but he was no longer there. He must not have been gone long-the warm impression on the goose down mattress still retained the shape of his body. She sat up and looked around.
The yearning in her voice surprised even her. Only the low crackling of the fire responded. The shadows in the corners if the room did not hide him; Baraqiel was gone. But why? Why would he come to lay in her bed and then leave without a word? Laying back she scooted over to where he had been laying, soaking up the last remnants of his body heat and smelling that unique smell that belonged to him. She was surprised at how disappointed she was that he had gone. She had known him less than a day and here she was missing and desiring him. Despite his protests, she was convinced that this must be something he was doing to her. Closing her eyes, she fell back to sleep until the morning.
All day she saw clients as was her normal routine. Whilst this had been her life for the past few years, a life that had contented her, now she found it tedious. She wanted to see Baraqiel, and she wanted to see him now. It was all she could do to go through the motions of her readings and make small talk with her clients. The later the hour grew without the appearance of Baraqiel the longer the day seemed. Esme noticed her mood and tried to make her laugh, but Jocelyne remained distracted. She wanted to speak to Esme, to tell her all that had happened, but she was afraid that her friend would think her mad. Or perhaps she would think even worse – that she was some sort of a witch. Already working as a palm reader and fortune teller put her life in danger from those zealots who belonged to The Hammer. The Hammer was a group that retained the fear of the Middle Ages and the Salem witch trials. They believed that anyone who had what they deemed “unnatural knowledge” needed to be killed to protect good Christian society. Because the most she did was advise women, and because she stayed out of the business of men, she had been left alone during their witch hunts. As much as she trusted Esme, she still was afraid to say anything. As of late Esme had begun attending mass at St. Francis Catholic church more often than usual. Jocelyne still went on Sundays; again, more to appease the neighbors rather than a profound belief of her own. Truth be told, she believed in God, but she wasn’t sure how many rules were from God and how many were from men. She had a hard time believing the book of Isaiah-could God really be as petty and judgmental as to say what women should and should not wear in their hair? She also thought that Genesis gave women a bad reputation what with the eating of the fruit of knowledge. After all, God had told Adam not to eat from the tree before he had even created Eve, so why were women blamed when God had not told Eve? She dared not ask this of the priest as these types of questions could make her a target.
Hello everyone – I am a bit late today in my posting – sorry! At least I am getting it in under the wire. I will be picking up from where I left off last week with Jocelyne & Baraqiel. Still a title for this work eludes me. Hopefully you are all having a great week. As a reminder, this story contains sexual content. Now, back to our story…
“You said you could help me, how so?”
“I see all, Jocelyne. I can check on any person at any time that I wish. If you need information to help you with your clients, you need not the boy; I can help you.”
“And why would you help me? What’s in it for you? I certainly hope you don’t expect me to pay you” Her haughty tone concealed her desire to go to him, caress his face and feel his lips upon hers. She’d never found her husband attractive or sexy and had only been with him out of duty. The weakness in her knees, the wetness between her legs, the yearning – all of this was new to her. Deep down she still believed he was consciously causing this and was even more determined not to give in.
“Do not worry – payment is not expected” His smile broadened as he watched her reaction.
“Then why would you help me?” As she asked this, she realized she was considering a partnership with this …thing. His answer would also reveal the true reason for his presence, and she could then take back control of the situation.
“Call it boredom. For ages I’ve watched mankind, the big events, sometimes picking a person out to see their life, but always I’ve been disappointed. But you are enchanting – you make me laugh which is something that I’ve not done for eons” His face gave no sign of anything but honesty. After several more minutes of silence, Jocelyne relented.
“Alright, I shall let you help me. But mark my words, I owe you nothing. The information that you bring me best be true, for if your goal is to jeopardize my livelihood, fallen angel or not, I shall seek my vengeance”.
“If I sought to harm you in any way, believe me, you could not stop me, and it would already be done. That so fair a face could hide such a devilish temperament! I shall return this evening with information for you” The words were still hanging in the air as he disappeared.
Not sure if she’d just hallucinated, Jocelyne got up and walked around the table to where Baraqiel had been sitting. She touched the cushion and looked about, yet no signs remained that he had ever been there. She grabbed her basket, slipped her purse into her pocket, grabbed her list and left for the market.
“It smells wonderful in here” Esme declared as she came through the back door. Hanging her cape on the wall she turned, smiling, towards Jocelyne. “Alexander gave me some wonderful information- you remember Monsieur Andive who visited town last year? He is, at this very moment, on his way back here. He plans on choosing a bride and he has narrowed it down to either Mlle. Fleur or Mlle. Gautreau!”
“Wonderful! And the timing could not be more perfect! Oh, Esme, this shall get us quite a fair price from both ladies! How much do we owe the boy?” asked Jocelyne as she reached for her purse.
“I’ve already paid him. He had no coat for winter, and I took the fox pelts that Monsieur Poivre paid us last spring and made a coat for the boy. He is so happy that he said he’d get more information if I can bring him gloves and a hat next.”
“Esme, you never cease to amaze me! Your talents are boundless. Hopefully, my cooking will be as good as yours. I’ll put dinner on the table if you will bring a pitcher of water and a bottle of wine”.
Hours later, after both women had eaten their fill and discussed the best strategies for dealing with the two clients who had caught Monsieur Andive’s eye, Esme went upstairs to prepare Jocelyne’s bed for her. Jocelyne sipped her wine and stared at the glowing embers in the fireplace. Had it been real? Had an angel appeared to her and offered to help her scam clients? That hardly seemed angelic but then again, he did say fallen angel. Perhaps she’d been overworked, or maybe she’d eaten something earlier that caused hallucinations? As far as hallucinations went, he was a great one. Had living without a man these past years finally begun to take its toll on her sanity? Deciding the best answer to all these questions was a good night’s sleep, she went upstairs.
Esme had the fire burning brightly in her bedroom when Jocelyne walked in, the warmth beginning to penetrate the early autumn chill. Even though it was on the Gulf coast, New Orleans still was chilly in the autumn and winter. Looking out the window she shrugged off her dress and put it on the chair for tomorrow’s wash. In her emerald green slip she washed her face and watched the sun’s final rays slip down over the tree line. When the last orange tendril had departed, she turned to go to bed. The light from the fireplace partially illuminated her bed and her heart stood still. He was there – lying in her bed. Asleep. What kind of man just appears in a woman’s bedroom, in her bed no less, and then just falls asleep? Had he no common decency? Of course, he wasn’t a man so perhaps she should stop expecting him to behave as one. Quietly she approached the bed and stood staring down at him. His black hair fell carelessly over his face, his eyes shut, the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest almost hypnotic. She was unsure what to do – she was exhausted and now this gorgeous creature was lying in her bed, awakening that part of her that hitherto this afternoon she had not been aware. Whispering his name, she saw him stir slightly but he did not awaken. Jocelyne was unsure what she wanted to do. Did she want him to wake up and disappear again? Was she ready to have a profound conversation with this other worldly being? In the end she decided neither was an option at this time of night. Hesitantly she slid under the covers trying not to awaken him. She slid in front of him so that she would be able to feel the warmth of the fire. She didn’t want to touch him as the translucence of his skin gave the impression that his body would be ice cold. Half expecting him to awaken, she held her breath and lay there waiting for something to happen. When nothing did, she exhaled and closed her eyes.
In between parenting and schoolwork I’ve been debating on whether to share one story at a time or alternate between books. My stories are fiction novels, not short stories. Therefore, I will share chapters of just one story until it is completed. Alteranting between books could be confusing. The first story will be the one that I finished for NaNoWriMo this past November. However, it has been altered slightly. As I mentioned in the previous post, you need to just put it down on the page and worry about editing later. As I edit I find myself, at times, taking the story in a different direction.
This first book has the working title Jocelyne and Baraqiel. I am still working on the title, perhaps the final iteration will give me a great idea. At this point I have called it Jocelyne and Baraqiel for so long, that it might be stuck with that.
The story involves a woman living in late 19th century New Orleans – this is Jocelyne. She is viewed as somewhat of an outcast due to her desire to remain unmarried and because she is successful at making her own way financially. Her life is turned upside down with the appearance of Baraqiel, one of the Nephilim (he is the 9th watcher and one of the 20 leaders of the 200 strong nephilim mentioned in the Book of Enoch). Jocelyne’s secretive adventures with Baraqiel place her in danger. To share the rest without spoilers I will just say that also in the mix are a werewolf, reincarntation, witch hunters, and a love story that spans centuries. Please be aware that this story does include sexual content.
My intent is to publish every Wednesday. I hope that you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. See you back here next week. For my LGBTQIA+ readers, Happy Pride Month!