Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #99: Crossroads of Summer

peeping through fog
opening to the sun

I missed my turn once again
may I back it up?

peeping through the fog
on the way to take boxes
last stop on the way

opening to the sun
my heart opens very slowly
fearing further pain

sunshine lights
on hibiscus leaves before their
own dark

sunshine lights
but sometimes the sunshine lies
as much as shadow

on hibiscus leaves before their
time comes to fade for autumn
fall's first frost comes soon

own dark
indeed, I once thought I could
instead, dark owned me

~Jane & Cie~

The "sleighs" of this team of Troku were created by Jane Reichhold (1937 - 2016). The wild horses pulling the "sleighs" were wrangled by me, or, more likely, I was wrangled by them.

The second stanza of the first Troiku references a favorite song: Aqualung by Morcheeba. This song has deep personal significance, and we'll just leave it at that.

Real Cie Reviews: Mission Tango

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.
The following is a duplicate of my review on Amazon for this book.

Rating: Two of Five Stars

This story had a strong start with an exciting and terrifying scenario involving Le Docteur's agents launching coordinated attacks in Paris. Le Docteur initially seemed a compelling and complex villain, but after the first segment of the story, there were a lot of unanswered questions, the first being this: 
Why were so many people so easily convinced to follow Le Docteur unquestioningly? To me, he became rather transparent after delivering his televised speech about NEMESIS. He seemed a modernized, mustache-twirling melodrama villain, and I truly did not understand why the people working for him were compelled by him.
As well, following the attack on Paris, I noticed that the dialogue did not flow naturally. It was stilted and methodical. The author does well at creating action-packed scenes, but his manuscript could do with some adjustment where dialogue is concerned to make conversations between characters more realistic. 
I realize that the scientist, Nubia, had the possibility of being accused of murder hanging over her head, which would, understandably, make her more compliant than she might otherwise have been. However, it went against her initial independent and self-reliant nature to allow herself to be continually and, for the most part, unquestioningly, led around by Amir, including into his bed. One minute she was rather uninterested by him, the next she was falling all over him and disappointed that he wasn't responding to her advances. Her changeability was not in keeping with the way she was initially depicted.
The author might wish to ask women of his acquaintance if they would find having their nipple nipped, even playfully, to be sexy. Personally, I cringed when reading the scene which employed this description. It would likely be my reflex action to strike anyone who did such a thing in the head.
I would have rated the book three stars, but it employed far too many negative tropes. The women, regardless of how intelligent or self-reliant, were all very dependent on and needful of male companionship to the point of allowing themselves to be taken in by a murderous sociopath, i.e. Camille with Le Docteur, or a man in whom they previously had zero interest, i.e. Nubia with Amir.
It is true that there are Muslim extremists. However, even extremists have multifaceted personalities. Le Docteur's operatives were two-dimensional. There was no nuance regarding the reasons behind their involvement with Le Docteur.
Further, I found the medical aspect of the story poorly researched, tropish, and insulting. The large gentleman (of course) who eats the three cream cakes and ends up ill presents initially with high blood pressure. I am not a doctor, but I am a former nurse and emergency medical technician. Overconsumption of sugar is unlikely to significantly elevate the blood pressure. It will significantly elevate blood sugar in persons with diabetes. Not every fat person has diabetes, and not everyone who has diabetes is fat. Albert states that: "I have been diagnosed as having a tendency toward developing type 2 diabetes." 
Having early-stage diabetes which does not require insulin would not result in the blood sugar elevating significantly enough to require hospitalization. This red herring was thrown in to suggest that perhaps the bacterial strain interacted with sugar, but it was later stated that this was not the case. The "fat people eat everything" trope is insulting and tired, and the idea that anyone can eat themselves into diabetes is erroneous. The only people who develop diabetes are those who have the code for diabetes in their DNA, and they come in all sizes.
This story started out strong, but I had trouble getting through to the end. After the initial interesting scene, the pace slowed significantly, dragged down by multiple tropes. 
The author has shown that he has the potential to write an exciting story. He should incorporate plenty of action, trim down the dialogue, do better research, and flesh out his characters.


Maia and Electra: Soulmate Flower

250 Words

One day when we were still living with Mother and Kade, Maia slipped an invitation under my bedroom door. The handmade card directed me to meet her in front of the Cairo University Administration building.

Cairo was named after the city on Homeworld. Maia was fascinated by the history of our people, and Kade was obsessed with the idea of returning to Homeworld as a conqueror. He denied it, but I saw his communication with his companions. He was enraged at having his plans exposed. What had happened to him at that moment was what happens to people when they are unexpectedly caught in something very shameful. He grabbed me by the throat and snarled that I’d best forget what I’d read if I wanted my head to remain attached to my body.

I was glad to leave my psychotic stepfather and meet with my gentle sister. Maia loved animals and enjoyed pointing out those which had originated on our Homeworld.

“Look, Electra, a duck!” she declared, grinning as the silly creature waddled its way along the shore of Cairo University’s ornamental pond before taking to the water and paddling away. “I love them so!”

 “I like them too. I like the way they paddle.”

Maia found a blood-red flower lying on the ground near a yellow vine which wrapped itself around an apple tree like a snake. She handed me the flower.

“A soulmate flower for your birthday, Electra,” she declared. “It is a fortunate omen, my charming sister.”

~Aurora Hylton~
~The Real Cie~

Prompts Used:

This is a chapter for another long-neglected Team Netherworld WIP. This one is the brainchild of Writing Sister Aurora. It is a science fiction story about two sisters in their late teens who have latent powers which their abusive stepfather hopes to exploit for his benefit.

Weekend Writing Warriors 25 August 2019 (ER, FA, LGBT, SF)

Ka looked into Tiffany’s eyes, giving a weary smile. She caressed her companion’s cheek.

“I am well enough, Tiffany, only a little rattled by that terrible trip,” she said reassuringly. “Do you know where we are, Darling?”

“I do not. I only know that the stars glow brighter here than I have ever seen, and the night is so very black. I hear no motors. I hear shouts and the beating of drums. I am afraid we may be in a place completely unfamiliar to us.”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

When Base Lust-69 exploded at the end of Paraji's Prisoners, those occupying the base were thrown through wormholes to different places in time and space. Vampire-werewolf hybrid Tiffany Walton and fox maiden Ka Barnard ended up in a mysterious dark forest somewhere in Earth's past.

Carpe Diem Field of Flowers: Forget Me Not

I have a tattoo
of your name on my deltoid
but even without
I could never forget you
though you couldn't remember


Carpe Diem Field of Flowers: Weeds

I dreamed in my youth
of being a wildflower
I am but a weed
something ever unwanted
in any garden or field


Notes from a Numb Mind:

Sorry, Folks, your girl doesn't do well with love poems on her best day, and I just wasn't feeling the quote today. Have a depressing Tanka instead.
I'm tired and have an approximately 260-mile round trip ahead of me. I already wrote a book review this morning. There ain't much gas left in my tank, but now I need to go put gas in my car's tank. It's an FML kind of day.

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #99: Crossroads of Summer

Image Source I buttercups peeping through fog opening to the sun buttercups I missed my turn once again may I back it...