Category Archives: Rita’s World

Shared Whispers: Nimue’s Daughter by Rita Bay

Shared Whispers is an anthology of short stories from an international group of fifteen authors who are published by Champagne. Whether romance, suspense, mystery, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, or science fiction stories, romance is the common theme.

My contribution was “Nimue’s Daughter,” a contemporary Arthurian apocalypse tale. I enjoyed researching the old stories, then creating my own Arthurian tale in this century. The picture on the right is a representation of the story which involves Stonehenge and the Wild Hunt (Some really uncool paranormal folks from the ancient tales who you definitely don’t want to meet on a dark night). I’m sharing an excerpt in which Nimue & Myrddin (Merlin), who has just been called by the priestesses from his long sleep, meet for the first time (this century).

Nimue ran out the door as the car stopped. “Mother, where have you been? I was so worried. There are disturbances all over the country. I can’t believe you left without telling any …”

Her breath caught at her first sight of the man. He didn’t meet her standard of male pulchritude but he was so attractive that she was compelled to stare. Wavy black hair worn a bit too long, ice-blue eyes that hinted he knew everything about her at a glance, and an endearing, crooked smile. Perhaps she needed to change her standard of male pulchritude.

He appeared a bit thin and perhaps a little confused. She knew all of her mother’s friends and he was not among them. A stranger, then, that Mother had brought home in this dangerous time.

“Mother, Aunt. I’m glad you arrived home without incident.” She hugged each in turn.

Aunt Rhiann, her adopted second mother who was occasionally risqué, gave her an extra squeeze and whispered, “Look at him, Nimue, ain’t he a fine one.”

The man had moved closer and still hadn’t taken his eyes off of her.

“Who is our guest, Aunt Rhiann, and why is he here?”

The question seemed to put off Aunt Rhiann. When she hesitated and looked toward Mother for rescue, the man held out his hand. Nimue grasped it and wished she hadn’t. Attraction vied with lust. She tried to pull away. He held tight, then branded her hand with a sizzling kiss. She wanted to scrub her hands clean, to deny what had passed between them.

“Good day, Nimue. I am pleased to see you. I am Myrddin, late of Avalon. I am here to battle the Armageddon.”

Click cover or HERE to buy Shared Whispers for $3.95.


“Finding Eve” Champagne Books, September, 2013
“Nimue’s Daughter,” Shared Whispers, Champagne Books, September, 2013
“Search & Rescue” Secret Cravings Publishing, July, 2013
“Her Teddy Bare” Carnal Passions, May, 2013
 “The Aegis” Champagne Books, April, 2013
“Ely’s Epiphany” Secret Cravings Publishing, December, 2013
“Into the Lyons’ Den” Champagne Books, August, 2012
“His Desire” Siren BookStrand, May, 2012
“His Obsession” Siren BookStrand, April, 2012

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A Hero-“ine” in the Making

Rosie the RiveterAs USA celebrates Labor Day, we celebrate a “hero”-ine in the making. This poster which later became an iconic representation of the struggle by women for equality and workplace rights dates from WWII.  The “We Can Do It” poster was created by J. Howard Miller in 1942 for the Westinghouse Company’s War Production Coordinating Committee to attract women into the traditionally male workforce for the war effort. During WWII, the percentage of women in the workforce increased from 25% to 37%, while women in aeronautics jumped from 1% to 65%.

The poster was based on a United Press photograph pic of Michigan factory worker Geraldine Doyle.  During the 1970s and 1980s, the Miller poster which was not well known in the 1940s was rediscovered and became famous as “Rosie The Riveter.”  Maybe this is how legends and heroes are born.

You can check out the Saturday Evening Post 1943 version of Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell and my Labor Day potato salad recipe on my webpage.

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The Last Trojan Hero: Aeneas

AeneasStatueMy last post we left Troy in flames—its heroes fallen and the women and children brutalized and enslaved. A few, however, escaped. Aeneas, one of Troy’s heroes who was honored second only to Hector, led a small group of refugees out of the city when the gods ordered him to leave. He escaped the doomed city carrying his elderly father Anchises and his son Ascanius. His wife Creusa was lost in the confusion of the burning city and when he returned for her he was greeted by her spirit who told him about his destiny and sent him on his way.

Aeneas’ father Anchises was a cousin to King Priam; his mother, the goddess Aphrodite. Aeneas is mentioned as a hero of Troy in Homer’s Iliad. The Latin poet Virgil’s Aeneid, an epic poem, chronicled the life of Aeneas as he left Troy, wandered much of the known world and eventually ended up in Italy, where he became the progenitor of Rome. Julius Caesar’s family claimed descent from Aeneas’ son, Ascanius.

Aeneas’ most famous stop on his journey was outside of Carthage (a city in North Africa) where he fell in love with Queen Dido. He later deserted her to fulfill his destiny and she committed suicide in her anguish. On a personal note, Virgil’s Aeneid was the bane of my senior year in high school when the homework for my Latin IV class involved nightly struggles translating multiple stanzas of the damned poem.

The statue on the right by Gian Lorenzo Bernini was commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in 1618. It was completed in 1619 when Bernini was only twenty years old and is housed in the Galleria Borghese in Rome.  The statue depicts the moment that Aeneas carries his father, the elderly Anchises, and his son Ascancius from burning Troy.



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Farewell to Defiance – for Now

Oops! A tad late posting. Thought there would be a guest for our 7-7-7 Celebration where authors share seven lines starting with the seventh line of the seventh page a work in progress. My bad, but good too because one of my first posts was an early review of Defiance. Tonight we bid farewell to Defiance with the season finale that promises to be packed full of excitement. Datak Tarr , the Castithan businessman/crime lord, has been campaigning against incumbent Mayor Amanda Rosewater. Datak Tarr is a lower caste Castithan who is not particular about the means he uses to achieve his ends. Word is that someone ends up dead tonight.

After watching all the episodes, I’m still not loving it. In my initial review, I stated my concern about SEVEN races (in addition to TWO human races) and TWO languages. Fortunately, viewers weren’t bombarded with an info dump about the races but, alas, we suffered through subtitles of the Votan languages. Viewing Defiance is more like watching a thirteen hour movie than a series. The plot within the episodes of the series is connected.  If you miss one episode, you’re sunk.

On the positive side, the characters have depth and the action is non-stop. Joshua Nolan, the sheriff, is a sympathetic character (for me) because of his history and flaws. Wish we’d seen more of his adopted daughter, Irisa, who is an Irathient warrior. Don’t know anything about the Defiance game, though the graphics look realistic. Combining series action with gaming is an interesting concept.

Defiance’s ratings have been good with almost two million viewers last week. The reviews have been mixed. (How dare anyone compare Defiance to that scifi icon Battlestar Galactica!). The good news for Defiance fans is that the show has been renewed for 13 additional episodes that will air in 2014. ‘Til next week, Rita Bay.


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The WOTI 7-7-7 Challenge Kickoff

Have you ever picked up a novel, opened it to a random page and read a snippet to see if the book was worth reading? During July, the Worlds of the Imagination writers are going to put our books to the ‘snippet test’ with the 7, 7, 7 challenge. We will be posting 7 lines starting from the 7th line of page 7 or 77 of our latest works. Check it out and let us know how we do! (Thanks to Audra Middleton for the “snippet.”)

Since I’m first, I’ll share a snippet of my next Champagne release and for tomorrow tag Graeme Brown.

“Finding Eve,” Book 2 of The Lyons Tales from Champagne Books in September

Lady Bat nodded. “I knew Ellen was evil, but I couldn’t prove anything. In all my years, I’ve never seen any of the People behave as she did.” She looked through the bag of snacks. “I asked Cynthia to keep an eye on her. She had performed sensitive work for me before, but she was never able to catch Ellen at anything. The bitch played on everyone’s sympathies over the loss of her family. Can’t believe that she remained at Lyons’ Den so long after her welcome had worn out. Ellen had no friends. Only the one grandson survived from her family.”

Marie shook her head. “And now he’s dead while following her orders.”

Tomorrow, Graeme Brown meets the challenge.


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Myths & Legends: Cassandra’s Cruel Fate

CassandraIn Homer’s Iliad, one of the themes is the fate of those who cross the gods. Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. She was the sister of Hector, who was a hero of Troy and the subject of last week’s post, and Paris whose elopement/abduction of Helen had started the Trojan War.  She was described as beautiful, elegant, intelligent, charming, insane, and cursed.

The last two—insane and cursed—were linked. Cassandra had attracted the attention of the god Apollo. Because of his love for her and evidently her promise to become his consort, Apollo granted her the gift of prophecy. In his anger when she spurned him, he decreed that no one would believe her prophecies.

Cassandra was hurt and frustrated when no one would believe her and upset when most believed her to be insane. She foresaw the destruction of Troy, the Greeks’ subterfuge with the Trojan Horse, and her own cruel fate. When Troy fell, Cassandra was taken from the Temple of Athena (See Pic of 4th century BC Greek vase) and assaulted by Ajax. She was given to King Agamemnon as a concubine. Both of them were murdered soon after their arrival in Greece by Agamemnon’s queen, Clytemnestra and her lover.

Two Greek quotes describe Cassandra well: “Those whom the gods love die young” and “Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”

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Myths & Legends: The Doomed Trojan Hector

HectorOur Trojan hero this week is Hector, the first-born son and heir apparent of King Priam. He was the commander of the Trojan army, even though he didn’t approve of the war with the Greeks.  He was known for being thoughtful and peace-loving,  a loving parent and a good husband  to Andromache. When the Trojans were arguing about omens he asserted that “One omen is best: defending the fatherland.”

Although he was a peaceful man, Hector battled the Greeks fiercely. He led an attack on the Greek ships. He engaged with several Greeks in personal combat. Eventually, he was killed by Achilles in revenge for his friend  Patroclus’ death. After his death, Achilles dragged him behind his chariot around the walls of Troy (See Pic) . His body was abused for twelve days until his father retrieved his body for burial.  Hector knew  his end was near during the battle and says this about it.

Alas! The gods have lured me on to my destruction. … death is now indeed exceedingly near at hand and there is no way out of it- for so Zeus and his son Apollo the far-darter have willed it, though heretofore they have been ever ready to protect me. My doom has come upon me; let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter.

Next week, A Heroine Lies—or Not   Rita Bay


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Myths and Legends: Laocoon

In Greek stories relating the conquest of Troy, Laocoön warned the Trojans about bringing the Trojan horse into Troy, recommending that they burn it instead.  His advice was the source of the well-known saying, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”  He was ignored and the Trojan Horse was brought into Troy.  Later, the Greeks concealed within the Trojan Horse exited by a trapdoor, opened the gates to the Greek army, defeated the Trojans and destroyed the city.  Laocoön, however, had already been punished by Poseidon for having a family or by one of the other gods who was offended by Laocoön’s advice on the Trojan Horse to the Trojans.  Regardless, the three figures are contorted in pain horrified by what is happening to them. While they remain alive, they are as good as dead—and know it

The famous Greek marble Laocoön and his Sons (also called the Laocoön group), depicts the death of Laocoön which is housed in the Vatican Museums in Rome.  Pliny the Elder (a first century AD writer and philosopher) attributed the work to the sculptors Agesander, Athnodoros, and Polydorus of Rhodes (a small Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea) . Several pieces of the sculpture are missing and various pics and reconstructions over the centuries have proposed what the entire sculpture would look like. Next week, A Trojan Hero.


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Homer’s Iliad

Iliad“Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilles” The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic poem attributed to the Greek poet Homer written in Homeric Greek in dactylic hexameter (six feet to a line with one long syllable followed by two short syllables to a foot). Imagine the poem being recited in rhythm accompanied by music to a rapt audience.

The listeners who lived in a world filled with gods and goddesses knew well the danger of attracting the attention or anger of the pantheon. In the worldview of the ancient Greeks, the gods and goddesses lived and walked among them – involving themselves in the affairs of men, punishing and procreating at will.

Written during the 8th century BC, The Iliad and its sequel, The Odyssey, are among the oldest extant works of Western literature. The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states. While relating the tales of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles in the last year of the war, it actually tells the whole story of the ten-year-long conflict.

Loads have been written over the centuries about Homer (see pic), mostly guesses and speculation. Early stories place him coming from various parts of Greece. Tradition has him blind, but that could just be a myth perpetuated by later generations based on a mistranslation of an early author. His own writing tells little about him but his heroes are the rich and famous rather than of the poor.

Over the next few weeks, while I’m immersed in one of my writing marathons, my Monday posts will relate the tragic tales of the ancient Greeks that reflect themes that recur in literature across the ages.

Next week, The Hero of the Iliad  Rita Bay

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The Myth of Troy?

Sophia SchliemannLast week, the Judgment of Paris ended with the Trojan Prince Paris choosing Aphrodite as the fairest goddess and winning the apple of Discord. Aphrodite paid off her bribe by assisting with the abduction of Helen of Sparta. Paris fled Greece (Achaea) with Helen and returned to his home in Troy (located in what is now Turkey). Unfortunately, he was pursued by King Menelaus of Sparta and his brother Agamemnon who was the king of Mycenae and the leader of the Greek expedition to retrieve Helen.

The Greeks besieged the Troy for 10 years with great loss of life on both sides before using the ruse of the Trojan horse – a wooden horse which the Trojans eagerly pulled into the city. The Greeks hiding inside opened the gates of Troy for the Greeks to enter. The male Trojans were slaughtered and most of the women and children were sold as slaves. The Greeks desecrated the temples which brought the anger and punishment of the gods down on them. More on the deaths of the heroes and punishments of the gods next week.

The ancient Greeks believed the tale of the Trojan War to be fact. Archeologists for centuries discounted the historical existence of Troy or believed it at best to be an amalgamation of historical events. In 1868 Heinrich Schliemann, a wealthy industrialist turned archaeologist, used the ancient tales, like Homer’s Iliad, to trace determine the location of ancient Troy. One of the layers of the city he discovered and believed to be Troy corresponds to 12th century BC which is a likely candidate. Schliemann photographed his young wife Sophia in what he called “Helen’s jewels” which he discovered. (See pic)


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