October Sparks Mysterious Musings
Full, ripe, and abundant, October could be the harlot of the calendar months. Its hills and valleys are rouged with gleaming red, orange, and gold, and amber hues. Costume parties, county fairs, and harvest festivals dot our date books.
October makes us all a little giddy and dreamy as the temperatures cool enough to make sipping hot cider and mulled wines inviting. We may awaken to bright sunshine and be emerged into eerie fog before sundown. Its dropped leaves hide dangers lurking below.
Her salacious sunsets defer to spooky moons as the light wanes and those feathery evergreens twirl their skinny tips as though beckoning us further into the forest. With breathlessness comes a shudder. Shadows become stalkers.
This is why I adore October.
It sparks mysterious musings that flirt shamelessly before dashing away. That is, unless I grab them and put them to work for me. Conjuring stories from October allure feeds my muse.
See if you can find October’s influence in the opening chapter of Behind The Mask.
What a spectacular autumn night in Italy for a costume party, Richard Tatinger thought. It’s almost a pity that before the midnight unmasking, someone will be dead. Almost a pity.
His camera was hidden by October’s overripe floral display draping the urn next to the corner bench where he sat, watching and plotting. Though he had avoided the authorities and sneaked back into Venice, it wasn’t solely for the privilege of photographing the tony incognito masquerade attendees filing up the walkway dressed as famous icons. His job tonight was much more important than shutter-snapping.
possibly Beethoven, definitely not new age, he thought—floated across the Venetian canal. It washed over the arriving guests as they mounted the marble steps leading from the water up to the palazzo, obscuring voices to little more than a hum. Heel taps punctuated the percussion, or often wildly defied it, turning the classical sounds into jazzy beats.
Boats, bouncing to their own tunes, bobbled in the dock. They provided illumination in wavy light rays bent by the low-lying fog, their hulls reflecting the harbor lights in fog-shadowed waves. Occasionally one struck the pole it was tethered to, sending a crescendo into the mix. And then there were the bells…
So sit back and enjoy.
Grab your copy of Behind The Mask, pour a nice warm beverage, and cuddle up for a read that will add a little suspense and romance to your October. If that isn’t enough for you, it’s also dotted with lyrical Italian language in its setting of Venice, Italy.
If it’s a ghost story you’re interesting in, please check out The Haunting of William Gray. Perfect for the season, The Haunting of William Gray is just spooky enough to make your spine tingle.
Renee Canter Johnson is the author of Acquisition, The Haunting of William Gray, and Herald Angels. Behind the Mask is her fourth novel with The Wild Rose Press and highlights her three favorite things: storytelling, travel and foreign food. Renee has studied in France and Italy, and is a fellow at Noepe Center for Literary Arts on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and University of Iowa’s Novel Intensive Workshop. She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and two very spoiled German shepherds named Hansel and Gretel.
Renee Johnson is a member of the North Carolina Writer’s Network, Romance Writers of America, Women’s National Book Association, and She Writes. Her essays have appeared in Bonjour Paris, Study Abroad, and Storyhouse. She maintains two blogs: writingfeemail.com for travel insights and reneejohnsonwrites.com which is focused on her writing journey.
Behind The Mask
“The fog, signora. It was very thick right before you fell into the canal. Most people do not take risks in Venice during such low visibility.” There was a suggestion of culpability in his words that even he heard as they escaped him. His rawness was affecting his ability to remain objective.
“Venice?” Surprise rose in her voice. “Venice, Italy?”
“Yes, signora, you are in Venice, Italy.”
She looked off to the right, cocked her head to one side, and winced. “What am I doing in Venice?”
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