Outrageous Fortune #IndieThursday

horsehoe Luck. From lucky rabbit’s foot to a horseshoe nailed over the door, symbols of good fortune come in all shapes and sizes and can be anything really. Some are deeply rooted in culture and represent generic or personal beliefs. Some are there just for fun. For the next few days, I’ll be delving into these interesting and curious symbols of good luck.

What does today’s title mean anyway? Shakespeare coined this bit from Hamlet: Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune. Essentially it means good luck or bad luck, you can’t prevent luck from happening so go with the flow. I prefer good luck.

The origin of the word Luck pops up in old Dutch sometime in the middle of the 1400’s. Back then it was known as luc, gelück, or gelücke. Etymologists believe luck is a gambling term. The interesting thing about luck, to me anyway, is it’s considered a force. Think about that. Forces are the forte of Sir Isaac Newton. They’re gravity and magnetism. Forces are things out of our control. They are the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. They influence good and bad and there’s nothing we can do about it. Except carry a talisman in our pocket and hope for the best!

So how did luck symbols even come into being?
I suppose it’s the same way we figured out which mushrooms were poisonous and which were edible. Experience. Trial and error. I’ll paint you a little story about how it might have began…lightningtree

Say it’s 10,000 years ago. You’re out foraging and find yourself in a downpour. You decide to take cover under a tree, but a glittering stone on the ground draws your attention and you stop to pick it up. Suddenly, a lightning bolt strikes and explodes the tree right before your eyes. That’s one lucky stone in your hand! From here on out, those glittering stones protect against lighting. And everyone wants one.

I once read a story about a man in Africa whose son lay dying. Feeling hopeless, the father went walking one day and came across a stream filled with water-smoothed pebbles. He stood at the water’s edge and prayed for anything that would help his son. One nondescript pebble caught his eye and he picked it up and brought it home. I don’t know what the son’s illness was, but after receiving the stone, he got better. The man’s neighbors couldn’t believe it and they asked about this miraculous recovery. The man attributed his son’s return to health to the stone he had found. Some people asked him to find them stones for loved ones who were ill. He did, and those people got better. It made the local news, then the regional news. And it eventually made international news (and that’s how I found the story). But get this, people from all over the world send money to this man to go find a pebble just for them. He has a regular cottage industry now — Pebble luck charms. Lucky stones indeed.

Today’s symbol ~ Guiding Stones


Stone of Destiny

The idea that forces are attributed to stones is ancient. I can’t recall the smaller details, but an odd glass-like yellow stone sat in some pharaoh’s headpiece and was considered extraordinarily rare and powerful. The Stone of Scone a.k.a. the Stone of Destiny is the rock upon which the kings of Scotland were crowned. The Black Stone of the Kaaba is a stone set into a tower and devout Muslims circle it in the Hajj pilgrimage. It’s was revered long before Mohamed became a prophet and is considered by some to be a meteorite .

Everyone knows about the Blarney Stone in Cork, Ireland. This awkwardly located (and no doubt germy) stone is set in the battlement of Blarney Castle and kissing it gives you the gift of persuasive speech. In Jerusalem, the Foundation Stone and the site it sits upon under the Dome of the Rock influence three major world religions. Doing research for my magnum opus (my heavy work in progress), I discovered legends that say that huge stone hovers over the Well of Souls and doesn’t touch the ground.  All these stones somehow became symbols of force. They guided (and still guide) a lot of people.

On a smaller scale, precious or semi-precious stones have coffin gem surrounded with diamonds ringlong been considered symbols of wealth and power. Crowns and sword hilts alike were studded with them. Eggs and other trinkets encrusted with them. And peoples around the world conquered for them. The more rare, the more coveted. Giving rare stones was long considered a token of high esteem. A rare gem for a unique person is a symbol of the unique sentiment that person arouses in the giver. Example: It’s thought that when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a love token of a diamond-studded ring to Mary of Burgundy, he started the “diamonds are forever” symbology that connect diamonds to one’s fiancé today.

Do you know what your birthstone is? Some of the following are more rare than others. The list has me wondering if it goes back to the days of alchemy. I’m curious now so one of these days I’ll do more research.

January: Garnet
February: Amethyst
March: Aquamarine
April: Diamond
May: Emerald
June: Pearl (does not apply)
July: Ruby
August: Peridot
September: Sapphire
October: Opal
November: Topaz
December: Turquoise

Mine is the diamond. It’s supposed to be a stone that brings me luck and good fortune. The person of conscience I am wonders about those child slaves toiling in the world’s diamond mines so someone’s fiancé can have a rock on her finger. I don’t think that sad fact makes for a lucky stone.  In the same vein, the rabbit foot may be lucky to the person who owns one, but I’m certain the rabbit had his own opinion on that.

The following link leads to a very interesting site if you’d like to know more about some of the world’s most famous stones. Some are very unlucky. And that’s a post for another day. 🙂


Tomorrow ~ More!


Words Worth Msnowman-mdentioning for January

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
~Albert Schweitzer


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Feelin’ Lucky? #WriterWednesday

horsehoeWho hasn’t heard of luck charms? Mention a rabbit’s foot or a horseshoe nailed over the door and our minds make an immediate association to luck. Symbols of good fortune represent generic or personal beliefs and come in all shapes and sizes. From simple to wacky, I’ll be delving into these interesting and curious talismans over the next few days.

Once just for fun, my husband and I went to a local bingo game. It was our first and only time at the bingo table. Everywhere we looked, seasoned bingo players surrounded themselves with luck charms– everything from bobble-headed devils and rabbit feet to Smurfs and angels. People take it far too seriously! lol

Why do people like luck charms? I suspect because our existence is filled with curve balls. Who wouldn’t want to believe good forces are working on our side? I enjoy them for the symbols they are. My mother went to Italy when I was a teen, and I asked her to bring back a cornicello for me. The cornicello is a popular luck talisman in southern Italy. My grandfather came from Sicily so I figured the charm was a nice nod to the old country. I still have it.  

Thousands of years before the onset of Christianity, the horn was associated with the Goddess in all her aspects. It was worn on her behalf with the hope she’d shine a little good fortune on the wearer. My little horn-shaped luck charm is made of red coral but they also come in bone, silver, and gold. The cornicello, also known as a cornuto or corno, has ties to the Celts who weren’t just located in the British Isles. They were all over Europe as well as parts of Asia and Africa.horn

As teen, I used to wear mine on a silver chain strung alongside my mano cornuto — another Italian charm. Those curious little charms come in a range of styles. Mine is basically a small silver fist with the first and pinky fingers cornuextended. In Italy they’re also known as a malocchio or mal occhio (from the Latin for bad eye. In other words evil eye) The evil eye equals every negative or malicious thought anyone can glare your way from envy to death wishes. Upright, this little hand is supposed to look like a devil’s head with horns sticking up.

Now before you peg me as an Illuminati or witch or some such thing, I’m not. The little hand is worn upside down and therefore works as an apotropaic luck charm (from the Greek apotropaios meaning averting evil.) Symbolically, upside-down is interpreted as the opposite of something. 

The maloccio comes from today’s Italy, but it was known as oculus eyemalus among the Ancient Romans. The evil eye belief is found all over the world. In Scotland it’s known as the droch shuil. In France it’s the mauvais oeil. In Germany, the evil eye is called the bösen Blick. And it’s known as ayin harsha in Arabic, and ayin horeh in Hebrew. If you’ve ever seen blue bulls eyes made of glass on pendants, beads, rings, etc, you’re looking at an apotropaic luck charm.

Each Christmas I give an apotropaic luck charm to my friends. It comes on a card explaining its history and where it comes from in the world as well as what it symbolizes. I call them wishes — an intentional wish for my friends to have good health, prosperity, vitality, happiness…  You get the picture.

Authors, imagine the fun you can have with this.  😀

Tomorrow ~ More!


Words Worth Msnowman-mdentioning for January

Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience.”
~George-Louis de Buffon


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Our January contest is on! Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/


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Finding fortune in a china cup

teaI’ve mentioned before that I was once involved with living history. Our odd hobby began in 1984 and we raised our family in it. At one point, from April to October and just about every weekend we participated in living history events across five states. Oh to have that stamina again!

One of my fondest memories was tea time. I’d set out my linen and china, my silver spoons and silver service, then invite my colonial lady friends and the occasional colonial gentleman to our camp.  I’d brew tea to go with fire-baked shortbread, cobbler, and dried fruits. Our accouterments were the genuine article. You have to have antiques or fine reproductions to portray living history with any degree of authenticity. The goal was always the suspension of disbelief for the public as well as ourselves. I used a special tea called Lapsang souchong — the first black tea in history.  And I did more than pour. I read the tea leaves between refills–divining our fortunes in the bottom of our china cups.

For the next few days my symbol series will cover symbols for divination and luck charms.

Mention tea leaves and the first thought that often comes to mind is the Gypsy fortuneteller of old. Scrutinizing sediment in the bottom of drinking vessels is actually an ancient practice that occurred all over the world. This wasn’t done by tea leaves alone. People hunted for patterns in coffee grounds and wine sediments left in their cups too. Why? For the same reason people read horoscopes. I suppose man always wants to know what’s around the bend.

The only things I have left from our living tea2history days are my silver spoons and the old book I learned from. I still read leaves for fun, and to set the mood, use my small collection of vintage bone china teacups specially made for that purpose

Tea leaf reading is  known as tasseography.
Tasse = cup
Graphy = drawing

When the last small sip is left in the teacup, the leaves clump up and form patterns. The patterns have meanings. Example: if the pattern looks like a chicken, expect a chatty visitor.
If you’d like to give tasseography a try you don’t need Lapsang souchong tea. Some tea readers just open regular old black tea teabags and brew their tea as usual. Here are two nice sites with pattern info.


Tomorrow ~ More!


Words Worth Msnowman-mdentioning for January

The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another. “
~James Matthew Barrie


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Blow ye Winds #MondayBlogs

top10author top10anthoBefore I begin today’s installment of my 2016 Symbol Series, I’d like to share some fantastic news. Madeline Archer, my alter ego  won the coveted Predators & Editors Top 10 Reader’s Poll for Best Author of 2015! Not only that, Entice Me and Exquisite Christmas (the multi-author anthologies I assembled and saw to print) won two spots in the Top 10 Best Anthologies. I’m tickled pink and very proud.

tjNow I’d like to share an old shame. Back in my high school days I contacted an organization that got books on tape into the  hands of the visually impairedI wanted a specific book, but formats like this weren’t available in bookstores. This was the age of the 8-Track so I figured that’s what I’d get. I had no idea books on tape were really books on reels. It turned out they didn’t have my particular book on a reel, not that I could even play a reel if they had.

Assuming I was visually impaired, they offered me braille instead. They also said as the book was a short one, they could also have someone schedule to read to me over the phone. Read to me? To be honest, there was a split second where I considered it, but someone in real need would go without. Feeling sheepish and ashamed of myself, I thanked them for their generous offer and declined. What book could possibly lead me down the dark path of chicanery? The Great Gatsby.

Don’t laugh!

At the time that book was a necessary evil. A thorn in my side. A pebble in my shoe. It was required reading in my English class and I hated it. From the very beginning that story grated on me. I’d find myself reading and rereading the same miserable paragraphs over and over. My brain just couldn’t get into the crazy writing.  I mean really, a city divided into East Egg and West Egg? City = Eggs? Who writes like that?? I had no form of reference and a very young and new English teacher who might have explained the concepts better. Let’s just say I wanted to punch ol’ F. Scot Fitzgerald in the nose.

There’s no doubt symbolism in literature creatively enhances the storytelling. But using it like F. Scott Fitzgerald is akin to someone delivering the punchline to a joke and expecting you to instinctively know what the set-up was. After seeing a movie made of the darn book many years later, I came to understand the author’s most dumbfounding metaphoric lines were symbols for concepts. Example: Doctor T. J. Eckleburg’s eyes looking down on the world. Those fading, bespectacled eyes were a metaphor for divine judgement in George’s mind.  ::sigh::  Out of all of it, the metaphor that made the most sense was how the weather tied in to everything Daisy Buchanan did or felt. That much was easy.

This week’s portion of the 2016 Symbol Series starts with a hodgepodge of things deliberately used to stand in for a thought. But first, how about that record-breaking weather in the Mid-Atlantic? In the Great Gatsby, Daisey Buchanan forever had a cloud or sunbeam on her frame of mind. Weather symbolized the overall mood. Authors will often use weather and natural phenomenon to convey all sorts of details. I’ve done so more than once. Have you?

Here are a few symbols from the earth and the elements:

Air ~ German Philosopher Nietzsche thought of air as man’s freedom. His writings often refer to air in one form or another (lots of flying through air in Nietzsche’s mind). Shakespeare too used air as a symbol of thought. As breathing creatures, we rely upon air. Now with breathing and thought in mind, how powerful a metaphor is it to have “air” taken away?

Wind ~ Gentle breezes and ill winds generally act as portents signifying that change is on the way. Wind is fleeting and transient. The wind reference often comes in the form of billowing sails that may represent adversity unless a new course is charted. Then it takes on a role of potentiality. If you really want to see wind used to convey a thought, read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

Dawn ~ Almost always a symbol of awakening. The coming of light is seen as a resurrection. A new day is a second chance.

Night ~ Often associated with secrecy and things hidden under darkness. It can be the flip-side to dawn. Instead of enlightenment, you get ignorance. Nightfall also has sexual and death associations.

Sky ~ The sky broadly represents eternity and references vastness and unlimited possibilities. It also symbolizes heaven and the universe.

Earth ~ Generally a reference for stability and foundation for life. We see “earthy” references that hint at the robust, lusty, or uninhibited. Often used for unrefined, basic, coarse, or crude.

Clouds, fog, and Mist ~ Represent the unseen and often the uncertainty about the future and beyond. Fog rolling in can represent approaching death as well. Fog lifting represents a clarity of thought and the end of indecision.

Water ~ Generally represents life or strength of purpose. Flowing water usually represents change and the passage of time. *see cataclysm

Rain ~ Often symbolizes acts of purification or revelation. Depending upon intensity, it could be revitalizing and life-giving or it can signify complete destruction.

Ice ~ Is often a symbol for things stiff and unyielding. It’s also a nod to frigid: cold and void of love, and emotionally difficult. It can reference the coming of death. To some, ice is the dividing line between the conscious and the unconscious. Dante referenced it for the deepest part of Hell.

Snow ~ Generally represents isolation. Anton Chekov frequently tucked snow into his works for that hopeless thought. Edith Wharton used it that way in Ethan Fromm. Snow, because it’s white, can also signify purity. Melting snow represents the softening of the heart and new beginnings.

Wild weather ~ Hurricanes, twisters, cyclones and tornadoes often have hand-of-god wrath and judgement references.

Cataclysms ~ Floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami, etc are often the harbingers of change. The end product comes through themes of sacrifice, death and rebirth, baptism and spiritual regeneration.

Lightning ~ Traditional lighting bolts are a symbol of sudden illumination and the destruction of ignorance. Author Bernard Malamud wrote a novel that was later made into a movie about baseball. I haven’t read the novel The Natural, but if the movie is true to the story (which happens to be a modern spin on Homer’s Odyssey) the lightning reference was a divine gift to give the hero the power of inheritance. (To allow his father’s belief in his natural talent pass to him so the hero would believe in himself).

Thunder ~ Generally represent a creative force unfolding (picture Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein). Thunder is often seen as the calling card of the demiurge whether good or evil.

Fire ~Fire is often used to represent passion — it consumes, it burns. Depending upon the context in which it’s used, fire can mean a lot of different things. It can illuminate and warm, but it can also cause destruction, pain, and death. It can also reference rebirth. Example: the phoenix. (This is why I was certain Dumbledore lived.)

Tomorrow~ the 2016 Symbol Series continues


Words Worth Msnowman-mdentioning for January

We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.”
~Shirley Abbott


RB4U goldSMallAuthors and Industry representatives all month long.

Our January contest is on! Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/


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Because I looked for it #FridayReads

sherlock“By George!” cried the inspector. “How did you ever see that?”
“Because I looked for it.”
~Sherlock Holmes The Adventure of the Dancing Men

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”
~Sherlock Holmes The Hound of the Baskervilles

“Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons, with the greatest for the last.”
~Sherlock Holmes His Last Bow

It’s just as well the older I get, the more blank pages turn up in my mental vault. Knowledge grows exponentially and I need room for all the new info! My novels are works of fiction but they couldn’t be more true in their details. My facts are solid. A little known fact of me my head is full of facts from reading the entire 1985 World Book Encyclopedia. (The task took me approximately six years.)

Another fact of me — I was raised in market research. My family business introduced companies to the benefit of both. In order to do that we needed to know what those companies needed, and that required research. I was deep in research at a young age and I still love it. Research equates to treasure hunting for me. Combine reading the encyclopedia with penchant for research and what do you get? You get a very busy mind with one fertile imagination. Fact-wise, when I write, the only thing I take liberty with is how I stitch those facts together. I enjoy when authors take the time to write a believable story, even if that story is about a werewolf. 

One way to craft a believable story is to include those things people understand intrinsically. Like body language.

Today’s post wraps up those telltale body symbols we do on purpose or display subconsciously.

  • Sucking in the belly – look at me
  • Chest back, belly out – you’re uncomfortably close to me, back off
  • Rubbing belly – seeking comfort
  • Rubbing belly – (situational – pondering or having uncomfortable thoughts)
  • Thrusting hips – provocative, overtly sexual
  • Hips drawn back – uncomfortable, protecting the vulnerable spot
  • Hips sideways – (situational – a subtle indication of what you really want)
  • Swaying hips, sashay – suggestive sexual display
  • Hands on hips – waiting
  • Hands on hips, stance wide – growing impatience
  • Hands on hips, elbows wide – (situational, could mean aggression)
  • Cupping hand gesture – the topic needs extra care
  • Gripping hands – possessiveness, ownership
  • Holding your own hands – seeking comfort
  • Wringing hands – extreme nervousness, woe
  • Fist in hand – repressed anger
  • Hands wrapped around a mug etc – self-comfort
  • Hands clenched thumbs up – pleasure
  • Cupped hand weighing gesture – evaluation
  • Fingers curled, thumbs inside – seeking comfort
  • Hand out sideways – greeting
  • Laced fingers propping chin – thinking, listening
  • Laced fingers behind head – carefree, evaluation
  • Drumming fingers – impatience
  • Finger tracing a circle at the temple – he’s nuttier than a squirrel!
  • Index finger to thumb, other fingers out – it’s ok, all is good
  • One finger in the air – (Situational – seeking attention or having a point)
  • Hand with/without one finger in air, arm raised – attention, pick me!
  • Finger tapping temple – (Situational – think about it, he’s touched in the head!)
  • 8 fingertips on the mouth – received shocking news
  • Hiding hands – (Situational – lying, concealing, I don’t care to talk, I want to listen to you)
  • Hand on face, middle finger over mouth – evaluating
  • Steepled fingers – (Situational – thinking, superiority, confidence)
  • Rubbing hands together – (Situational – cold, plotting, excitement, anxious to get going)
  • Palms flat together – prayer, contemplation
  • Hand massage – stress, anxiety
  • Palm(s) up – (Situational – beseeching, asking for help greeting, nothing to hide)
  • Fiddling fingers – expelling tensile energy
  • Handshake, simultaneous arm grip – dominance
  • Firm handshake – display of strength, alpha move
  • Handshake, quick withdrawal – submission, discomfort
  • Finger point – that way!
  • Fist pound into palm – rage
  • Snap – like that! That fast! In an instant
  • Clapping hands – approval
  • Sharp clap – attention getting
  • Thumbs up – it’s ok, liked
  • Thumbs down – it’s not ok, disliked
  • Thumb jerk over shoulder – that way!
  • Finger slash over throat – your dead, it’s dead, it’s done
  • Palm out – Stop I’ve heard enough, interrupt
  • Side hand chop – It’s done! Enough!
  • Wave – helloooo
  • Wave off – dismissive
  • Wave to – come here!
  • Hand shaping – hands forming words as you speak them, sincerity
  • Butt thrust – sarcasm as in kiss my….
  • Butt thrust with patting – insult as in kiss this
  • Butt thrust, mooning – disregard
  • Butt wiggling – overt sexual display
  • Butt sway – look at me, I’m hot
  • Butt patting – you want me
  • Thighs widen – conscious or unconscious sexual invitation
  • Thighs tight together – self-protection
  • Swinging legs – delight, tensile energy – usually sexual
  • Crossing legs – (situational – at ease, self-control, defensive)
  • Hands on thighs – I’m ready to go
  • Hands on inside thighs – unconscious desire
  • Both hands on thighs elbows out sideways – equal to hands on hips – (situational – impatience or aggression)
  • Thigh slap – motivational gesture
  • Thigh drumming – (situational – boredom, impatience, excitement)
  • Bouncing thigh(s) – focusing or impatience
  • Touching or stroking the knee – sexual tease
  • Balled fists on knees – anger
  • Foot point – works like a finger point
  • Parallel feet pointing at someone – you have my full attention
  • Curling toes – (Situational – frustration, fear, excitement, pleasure or anxiety)
  • Foot tap – impatience
  • Toes pointing inward – (Situational – introspection, awkwardness, defensiveness
  • Foot stomp – seeking attention, rage, tantrum
  • Foot swinging – focus, expelling nervous energy
  • Tilting back on balls of feet – contemplative, made a decision
  • Bouncing on toes – exuberance

I’m sure if you were to think about it, you’d come up with even more.
My personal well is dry!

Monday: Different symbols


Words Worth Msnowman-mdentioning for January

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
~Winston Churchill


RB4U goldSMallAuthors and Industry representatives all month long.

Our January is on! Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/


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You see, but you do not observe #IndieThursday

“You know my method. It is founded upon the observation of trifles.”
~Sherlock Holmes ~ The Boscombe Valley Mystery

“You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.”
~Sherlock Holmes ~ A Scandal in Bohemia

As part of my 2016 symbol series, I’m continuing on with yesterday’s body language post. (scroll down for the previous posts to learn more). As mentioned yesterday, we give physical clues to what we’re feeling. Not only do we do this all the time, we do it consciously and unconsciously. Our body language is filled with these symbols and most are universal. The more wide-spread it is, the older it is. One of the oldest is the head nod we interpret as yes and the head shake we interpret as no.

Yesterday we went head to collar. Today we’ll starting at the neck:

  • Covering the neck with the hand – disturbed or fearful
  • Slow palm stroke down the front of the neck – uncomfortable
  • Massaging the neck – indicates tension or anxiety
  • Massaging the neck – (situational – desire, weary)
  • Exercising the neck – boredom
  • Sudden front neck-grab – shock or surprise
  • Grabbing the back of the neck – a displacement activity for anger
  • Shrug – I don’t know or indifference
  • Shrug with arms up – I don’t know, I tell you!
  • Quick slight shrug – lying or lack of understanding
  • Slow animated shrug – aggression or disregard
  • Chest in profile – sexual overtone
  • Chest thrust – I’m tough, look at me
  • Sunken chest – meek, don’t hurt me
  • Chest leaning, crossing into the other person’s space – aggression
  • Touching your chest – highly suggestive and flirtatious
  • Breathing:
    Slow deep breath – buying time, thinking
    Shuddering breath – overwhelmed, forgot to breathe
    Gasp – surprise
    Cough – skeptical
    Panting – excited, exertion
    Choke – stunned, disbelief
  • Turning your back – (situational male. Belittling. You’re no threat to me)
  • Hunched shoulders – feeling cold or fear
  • Hunched shoulders ducked head – fearing attack
  • Hunched shoulders forward head – wishing to hide
  • Shoulders back – fearless or taunting
  • Shoulders back, back up against a wall – desire to remain unseen
  • Shoulder on the wall – relaxed
  • Shoulder on the wall with ankles crossed – carefree
  • Shoulder half turning away – disinterest or uncomfortable with the topic
  • Arms held firmly to the sides – deception
  • Arms thrown in the air – exasperation
  • Arms in motion during conversation – excitement
  • One arm suddenly thrust in the air – I have no idea! Sarcasm: That’s just great!
  • Forearm up to face with head-ducking – self-protection
  • Crossed arms – can be situational, as in feeling cold
  • Crossed arms, shoulders tense – wary and feeling vulnerable
  • Crossed arms – self-protection, feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable
  • Crossed arms hug – seeking comfort
  • Crossed arms with shoulder on wall – waiting and growing impatient
  • Crossed arms, balled fists – restraint (or situational – my hands are cold)
  • Crossed arms, hands in armpits – cold
  • Crossed arms, shoulder on wall, crossed ankles – judgmental
  • Crossed arms, shoulder on wall, crossed ankles, balled fists – intolerant and ready to
  • fight
  • Crossed arms, turn away – hurt feelings
  • One hand on arm or shoulder – I want to be friends with you
  • Reaching out – seeking comfort
  • Reaching out situational – I want to throttle you!
  • Reaching out, pulling back sharply – defensive
  • Arms back – hiding something
  • Arms back exposing torso – (situational – submissive or over confident)
  • Elbow jab – get out of my way!
  • Propped on elbows – listening

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’d planned to take it all the way to the toes, but every time I assumed I was done, I though of another! We humans sure say a lot when we keep our mouths shut. Writers often color their stories with these little actions.  I certainly do.



Words Worth Msnowman-mdentioning for January

I have always a sacred veneration for anyone I observe to be a little out of repair in his person, as supposing him either a poet or a philosopher.”
~Jonathan Swift

RB4U goldSMallToday is Author Renee Vincent’s blog day
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Elementary, my dear… #WriterWednesday

sherlock“By a man’s finger nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boot, by his trouser knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt cuffs — by each of these things a man’s calling is plainly revealed. That all united should fail to enlighten the competent enquirer in any case is almost inconceivable.”
~Sherlock Holmes A Study in Scarlet

🙂 I love Sherlock in all his iterations.

Our lives are filled with symbols. Literally filled. Take the simple nod and the shaking of the head. Early on we recognize these gestures  as meaning yes and no. Sociologists (who study human social behavior) call these simple body gestures symbols of communication. The interesting thing about those two ancient symbols for yes and no is they’re nearly world-wide in understanding. That shows you how truly old they really are. Of course I understand them as a human. Even toddlers know the gestures for yes and no. Beyond my basic human comprehension, it’s the writer in me that sees potential in the fact non-verbal cues happen consciously and subconsciously. Just knowing that puts my mind in Sherlock mode. As Sherlock Holmes would say, “Give me details!” The literary world is full of body language — from pacing and nervous twitches to head-scratching perplexity and come hither glances. I could go on. So I will!

Body language from head to collarfacepalm
I started this post with the idea of doing a head to toe run-down of gesture symbology. But after composing all of the following, I saw dozens more in my mind. I’ve decided to list just those head to collar cues today. I’ll post more in the days to come.

Sherlock would deduce broader information in the following body language. What do you see?

  • Head tilt – interest
  • Prolonged tilt – boredom or impatience
  • Head in hand – boredom or focus
  • Head in two hands – overwhelmed or listening with deeper focus
  • Head bowed, eyes raised – coy invitation
  • Head clasping, elbows high – wondering what to do next
  • Hair twirling or fiddling – insecurity, lack of confidence, sexual overtones
  • Hair tossing – look at me!
  • Hair pulling – frustration
  • Brow furrowing – a moment of confusion or deep thought
  • Brow raising – astonishment
  • Brow flick – acknowledgment or greeting
  • Forehead slap – sudden understanding
  • Face palm – exasperation
  • Face to face – sincerity or aggression
  • Knitted brows – anxiety
  • One brow raised – doubt
  • Fingertip to the temple – contemplation
  • Blinking – disbelief or astonishment
  • Dilated pupils – desire
  • Narrowing eyes – doubt or suspicion
  • Rubbing the eyes – doubt
  • Wide eyes – surprise
  • Eye rolling – exasperation
  • Eye crossing – fed up
  • Side eye – wary
  • Long eye closing – stop what you’re saying
  • Wincing – embarrassment or revulsion
  • Blank stare – unable to follow the thought
  • Looking down – embarrassment
  • Looking away – discomfort
  • Eye to eye – sincerity
  • Doe eyes – desire
  • Wink – share a secret
  • Eye batting – you want me don’t you?
  • Fluttering blink – nervous or aroused
  • Prolonged eye contact – sexual attraction
  • Head to toe perusal – overtly sexual – I like what I see
  • Rubbing the point between the eyes – weary or negative evaluation
  • Eyebrow fiddling – contemplating
  • Ear folding or tugging – Indecision
  • Nose wrinkling – something distasteful
  • Pinching the nose – distasteful as in that stinks
  • Rubbing the nose – you don’t like it
  • flared nostrils – excitement: positive or negative
  • Sharp sniff – displeasure
  • Finger to the side of the nose – keep the secret
  • Hand to cheek – evaluation
  • Inflating cheeks on a breath – buying time to decide
  • Lip licking – enjoyment
  • Lip worrying (biting) – anxiety
  • Finger to lip – enjoyable thoughts
  • Thrusting lip – a pout
  • Pursed lips – contemplative or annoyed
  • Finger to lip tapping – thinking and deciding
  • Tight lips – annoyance
  • Lip twitch – suppressed humor
  • Smile – happy
  • Frown – disturbed
  • Tongue poking – deep concentration
  • Sticking out the tongue – cheeky petulance
  • Running a tongue over the lips – potential enjoyment or I want you
  • Clenched teeth – anger
  • Baring teeth – aggression
  • Teeth tapping together – thought in process
  • Teeth tapping with fingernail – boredom
  • Yawn – tired or bored
  • Clenching jaw or jaw tic – suppressed anger
  • Jaw drop – stunned
  • Biting inside of cheek – holding back
  • Grimace – regret
  • Scowl – deep negativity
  • Stroking chin – thinking or making a decision
  • Thrusting chin – obstinate
  • A neck scratch in conversation – lying
  • Massaging the neck – working a problem or a show of attraction
  • Pulling collar – I’ve been found out

Holy cow. And that just involves the head! There are so many ways to silently communicate, I’m sure I’ve missed some. Other nonverbal gestures involving hands and body stances say even more. That these symbols of nonverbal communication have universal understanding proves just how ancient they are. Perhaps they trace back to a time when the earliest humans didn’t use words. 

I say universal because this communication is recognized all over the world. That said, there are places in the world where cultures just do them a little differently. For example: your A-Ok or thumbs-up hand gesture would be taken as an insult akin to flashing your middle finger. Oddly, there are also cultures where your nod means no. In Korea, you must be careful how you smile. As ancient as they are, I wonder how these non-verbal communication anomalies came to be.

Intentional gestures~




Tomorrow: More


Words Worth Msnowman-mdentioning for January

When I no longer thrill to the first snow of the season, I’ll know I’m growing old. “
~Lady Bird Johnson

RB4U goldSMallRomance Books ‘4’ Us
Authors and Industry representatives all month long.

Our January is on! Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/


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