Copper’s Secret

Note:  There’s a voting poll at the end of this post.  Please Vote!

 

Copper whispered a secret! But you know how loudly she whispers…

Victorian girls whisper_Hotel Perrin

So I might as well let you in on it too. It’s about the next episode. No, I promise I really didn’t know it when I posted the previous episode — you know these serials are pure “pantser” unplanned fun — but it turns out that Episode 33 was the penultimate installment of our “interactive” Steampunk serial. I’ve written the conclusion, which is waiting in the wings of my master document.

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers concludes this weekend!

Come on now… you knew this was going to happen. Stop crying or I’ll cry too.

What’s next?

Copper w ChalkboardFor about two years I’ve faithfully given episodes of serial stories, driven by the three things you send. In total I spend at least 3 full days writing, designing, and following up on each episode.  If I didn’t have a full-time job that might not be a big deal, but I have to earn a living.  However, I get enjoyment and satisfaction from writing them and even more, I absolutely love interacting with all of you!

I do plan to write another “three things” serial, and will want you to send the things. All sorts of ideas keep battering the doors of the chambers in my mind, demanding to be heard and seen.

Atonement_in_Bloom_1_03-24-2014However, I’m very much in need of a significant break. Else I’ll never finish another novel. “Atonement in Bloom” (book-2) beckons!  But what to do to keep you from drifting away???  I’d be truly hurt if I lost friends.

So for this so called break, I’ve decided to stick around, but do something less labor intensive. It’s also something to ensure I keep working on book-2.

Until I finish “Atonement in Bloom” I will post weekly updates on my progress, or something to do with the novel.  

— AND– I have a couple of ideas to make these interim posts more interesting…

1:  I could give you snippets from Esmeralda’s Journal.  No, not Ralda Lawton, the heroine of “Atonement, Tennessee.” I mean her past incarnation as the long ago Esmeralda Gwynedd!

(Farther ahead… Book-3 will be set in Esmeralda’s day and you’ll learn why she needed to “atone.”  So it’s sort of a pre-preview.)

Here’s an example:

Esmeralda’s Journal

Blue rose, symbol of the impossible

Blue rose, symbol of the impossible

Dear Diary,
I finally saw it. The blue rose. He told me it is the symbol of the impossible.  And should it grow in my garden my life would be filled with impossible things.  He also warned me to take care.  That my misdeeds could follow me beyond this mortal coil and into lifetimes to come.

Then he bent down, so near to my face that his lips brushed my cheek when he again spoke.  “And so will I follow you, Esmeralda,” he said.

Now remember, Esmeralda Gwynedd’s full story won’t be told until book-3.  I’m still working on book 2 right now.  So maybe using her is not a good idea after all.  So…

2.  I also thought about giving you weekly recipes from Bethany, our Goth accountant. It turns out she’s a bit of a baker. That would be more relevant to book-2.  Hmmm. Okay, let’s do a poll. Come on and vote everybody!

Once I’ve finished “Atonement in Bloom,” a new three things serial will begin.  So be thinking of things to send.

The steam locomotive to the Victorian Era will be at the platform one more time this weekend. I hope you’ll be there.

Hugs,

Teagan

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Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 33

Indies Agree…

Glenda Ozz

Billie Berk 1939

I love that “Indie” has endlessly different subjects, genres, and formats.  I’m happy that every indie author and blogger is unique.  Despite all that diversity, it seems that all indie authors agree on the importance of reviews – whether posted in a blog, magazine, or on a bookseller’s site.

Oh, I admit to my jaw-dropping awe when an author cheers that they’ve reached the milestone of 100 reviews… I have less than a dozen, so I’m quite impressed, as well as proud of their achievement.  So when one of my earliest author-blogger-supporters wished he had more reviews for his books, I wanted to do something… but I’m not a reviewer. I wished I could wave a magic wand for both of us… but neither am I Glenda the Good Witch.

However, with each serial episode, I do promote another blogger.  So allow me to introduce to you, if you’re new here, or to re-introduce to you if you know him – indie blogger and author, Lord David Prosser.  Please do take a look at his delightful collection of books.  If you’re any sort of reviewer, I hope you’ll take a moment to do a write-up for him.

When I asked Lord David which if his books I could promote for him, he had this to say about “The Queen’s Envoy.”Queen's-Envoy_D-Prosser

The Queen’s Envoy was always my favourite as it was such fun for me to write, casting myself as the hero in a James Bond role in places I’ve never been.

I took the three things for this episode from three of David’s books:  Tall Animal Tales for Toddlers & Up, The Queen’s Envoy, and Memoirs of a Superior.

Now, when you can tear yourself away from the enticing links I just gave you…  Jump back a step, because the steam locomotive is roaring back toward the platform at top speed!

Since there was no new episode last weekend, here’s a link to the previous chapter. If you need extra catching-up, look to the top of your screen for this serial’s homepage button.

Yikes! The locomotive is moving so fast, I’m not sure it can stop — but the breaks are screeching and the the whistle blows as it stops on a dime, right at the platform.

The conductor gives you a mischievous wink.   All aboard!!!

33.  Toddlers, Queen, Superior

Billie Berk circa 1900

Billie Berk circa 1900

Cornelis Drebbel levitated above a much bigger version of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw.  It was attached to a large gondola that contained all manner of fantastical contraptions.  Brightly polished brass and crystals glittered in the sunlight that streamed through tall windows from the cloudless lavender sky.

One device looked just like the multi-armed thingamajig from the submarine.  I mean that term literally.  The device was the original thingamajig and such was its proper name.  This one looked newer.  The thingamajig on the submarine went through some rough treatment.  The one in the gondola didn’t show any wear and tear.  (Episode 22)  A malfunction in the contrivance was at least partly responsible for landing us in this purple place.

Cornelis waved down to a pair of mauveine complected chimpanzee twin toddlers who observed him in amazement.  A young female ape watched them from the corner of her eye as she delivered a basket of food to Cal Hicks.  She seemed remarkably unaffected by the floating alchemist.

“Why thank you Itsy,” Hicks told the woman as he took the heavy basket.  “This is enough for everyone.  Thank you so much, my dear.”

She quickly took each toddler by a hand and moved to meet one of the coverall clad chimps.  He seemed smitten by her.  She glanced surreptitiously over her shoulder as the chimpanzee handed her something that disappeared into the folds of her skirts.  Some token of his affections, I supposed.  It was hard to tell with the purple coloring but I thought both might be blushing.Victorian Magazine 1891

“Tsk, tsk,” Cal said with a shake of his head.  “That boy will never win Itsy’s heart.”

“Itsy?” I had to ask.

“Why yes,” Cal began. “She’s taken on the extra work of looking after the twins during the day. Both parents were injured in a carriage accident, and aren’t able to chase toddlers terrible well. Itsy was maid to my son Nate’s grandparents. When they passed on, she came to work for me,” Cal said and then cast an astute glance at me. “I take it Itsy has a counterpart in your colorful world.”

“I believe so,” I said, nodding.  “Bitsy is a maid in the inn that belongs to Ignatius Belle.  Their voices are rather similar.  And Itsy is just as unimpressed as Bitsy,” I added with a chuckle.  (Episode 2)

My own words bothered me in some indefinable way.  I suddenly felt uneasy.  It seemed like there was something I should remember.  However, I was distracted by Cal Hicks.  He was looking at me in a most curious way.  It made me think something was amiss.

“What is it?” I asked worriedly.

His eyes quickly scanned the worktable.  The amethyst ape picked up a mirror and handed it to me.  There was a smudge of soot on my cheek, and for a moment I thought that was what the straight-laced ape meant.  However, with one of his thick fingers he pointed to my hair.  A broad ultraviolet streak ran from the crown of my head down the length of my otherwise dark brown locks.  The irises of my eyes had taken on a violet hue.

Police NewsBefore I could stop my surprised reaction, I inhaled sharply.  I glanced at Copper.  I didn’t want the girl to notice my concern.  Fortunately she ran over to Cornelis, and tossed some tool up toward him.  The alchemist caught it with a glowing yellow-green thread of magic.

I was afraid to look at the measuring device that looked like a toothpick holder.  It already showed warning shades of violet.  But I forced myself.  I removed the device from the flowered carpet bag.  The thin rods were various shades of violet and purple.  Only one was still lavender.  None at all were colorless.  At least the crystal bird at the center was still clear.  Cornelis said it might be too late for us to leave the amethyst world if the bird turned purple.

Cal Hicks cleared his throat nervously and broke eye contact with me.  He called everyone to the basket of food, but hardly ate anything himself.  He turned back to work fervently on the improved aerial screw.  Though he couldn’t levitate like the alchemist he seemed to work almost as quickly.

Coverall clad chimpanzees ran back and forth, fetching all manner of things that Cal requested.  Copper returned to stand at his elbow, handing him various small tools.  I suspected that sometimes Cal pretended to need something, just to let the girl think she was helping.Punch mag

Earlier Cornelis was utterly intense as he poured over an assortment of papers he’d gotten from Cal.  There were maps, magazines, playbills, and newspapers.  I couldn’t figure out what he could be looking for in such an assortment.

However, the alchemist saw links from one thing to another that I would never see without it being pointed out to me.  He seemed to make some alchemical sense of the stack of papers and abruptly levitated up above the flying machine.  Suffused by that yellowish green aura he began making enhancements to the aerial screw.

As I looked at magazines bearing images of well-dressed simians, all in assorted shades of purple, I was struck anew by how much like our own world this place populated by apes really was.  I couldn’t help smiling when I saw a magazine cover bearing the image of an elegant female ape wearing an intricate lace gown, jewelry including a tiara, and holding a scepter.

“Is this your queen?” I asked Cal Hicks in delighted surprise.

Queen Victoria 1859

Queen Victoria 1859

“Why of course,” Cal replied, as if I had questioned the obvious.  “That is Queen Triumphia,” he said, immediately recovering his perfect manners.  “Haven’t you a similar monarch in your world?”

I grinned at the name Triumphia.  “Yes, although it isn’t exactly my queen, the English queen is called Victoria,” I told the amethyst ape.

Cal grinned back at me as he compared the name Victoria to his queen’s name.

Cornelis gave a whoop of success.  “This is far superior to the first model!” he cried.

With a sharp pop he disappeared from his spot in the air above us.  An instant later he popped into the gondola of the aerial screw.

Itsy wandered closer.  She didn’t look excited or surprised like everyone else.  Rather, the maid looked worried.  “There’s no more time,” Itsy murmured.

She darted to the gondola and grabbed the multi-armed thingamajig.  Then I got a look at the secret-something that the chimp handed her earlier.  She had hidden it in the folds of her skirt, but it turned out to be the harmonic tuner.  Cal Hicks showed it to me previously.  Instead of the mystic monkeys tuner that belonged to Copper, this one had people in the poses of see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.  (Episode 24)  the Strand Magazine

Itsy’s actions were so sudden and so unexpected that everyone was too surprised to try and stop her.  She ran from the laboratory and out to the area that was scorched and depressed by the confrontation-reunion between Absinthe and Aubrieta.  (Episode 28)  Itsy held out the thingamajig and clanged the harmonic tuner against the contrivance.

The air in a large area before Itsy shimmered to a glowing hot pink aura.  The center of the aura took on a wavy mirror like appearance.  Then a wall of water rushed from the aura and poured into the burned out depression.  Itsy was swept away by the water but managed to grab hold of a fence post.

With a whoosh sound a hydrofoil sped through the opening created by the magical devices.  The moment I saw the craft I knew what had bothered me when I told Cal that Itsy and Bitsy had similar voices.

We had never gotten a good look at the woman leading the group on the hydrofoil.  I said her voice was familiar, but I just couldn’t place it, no matter how hard I tried.  The tone of the woman leader was commanding and harsh.  So it had been just different enough that I couldn’t connect it to the gentle tones I previously heard from that same voice.  At that moment I knew the voice belonged to Bitsy, the maid at the Belle Inn!

Harper's Bazaar 1899The hydrofoil rushed, out of control, down the length of the water that spilled from our world.  It crashed into a stand of tall bushes.  When the woman stood up, I was certain she was Bisy.  She bent over and vomited.  The nearness of her doppelgänger already affected her.

“Get her away from me!” Bitsy shouted to the men who accompanied her.

The men waded out to Itsy.  She seemed to think they were helping her and let them take her arms from the post to which she held.  However, when they helped her to dry ground one held a knife to her throat.  They spoke threateningly to her and she ran away as fast as she could, disappearing into the woods.

The hydrofoil held more passengers than I had realized.  There must have been ten heavily armed men, along with Bitsy.  They all moved toward us.

Cal Hicks had my arm.  “Quickly,” he hissed into my ear.  “Get into the gondola.”

When I turned I saw that Copper was already climbing into the aerial screw.  Absinthe and Aubrieta fluttered around her, touching various apparatus with their tiny paws.  I looked back at the interlopers from my own world.  They were looking right at me.

***

What will happen to Felicity, the “Woman in Trousers” of the serial title?  Her hair is already streaked with purple, suggesting she has stayed too long in the amethyst world.  One group of foes has caught up with our trio.  Will they grab Felicity before she can reach the gondola?  And will the aerial screw fly off without her?

Don’t leave yet!  Here’s a recipe.  Many times in Lord David Prosser’s Barsetshire Diaries blog, I’ve seen him mention “curry chips.”  Now, I’m just not familiar with that dish. So I scoured the WordPress countryside and found a lovely recipe at “Lea & Jay.”  

Recipe:  Curry Chips

Photo and recipe credit:  Lea & Jay 

Curry Chips

https://leaandjay.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/curry-chips/

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Train Schedule and Character Recap – Copper and the Rest

Rockwell Girl on Train

Update — I passed my ITIL certification exam!

Argle-bargle
Last episode I had found myself a “word of the day” — shilly shally. I had so much fun with it that I found another word of the day to entertain myself, argle-bargle.

Argle-bargle

Copious but meaningless talk or writing; nonsense.

While all of you were at the station (and thank you from the bottom of my heart) I’m the one who missed the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era.  Unfortunately I’m studying for a certification exam for my “real” job. You should hear all my moaning and groaning about it. Now that’s argle-bargle…

However, I didn’t want to leave you without something from Copper and her friends.  So I’m re-sharing this character recap, with a few updates.

girl-waiting-for-train-free

As the story-line draws close to an end, the spontaneous nature of the serials actually becomes a challenge for me.  By this point there are a lot of things — clues, and loose ends waiting to be tied up by me… I wrote most of this recap post when this serial got to an approximate halfway point. Now I’m updating it.

Characters: Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers

Here are some additions since I wrote about the original characters.

Recent Characters

Absinthe, the Green Fairy

Absinthe

Since I wrote the first character recap, the “three things” you send have brought a few new characters into this story.  The first of those became popular immediately. That would be the Green Fairy, Absinthe.  He is a tiny, winged, green fae, who farts a highly concentrated form of absinthe vapors.  Absinthe’s intoxicating poots are powerfully potent!

The amethyst world is where the submarine belonging to Cornelis Drebbel ran aground. There, almost everything is one shade of purple or another.  As you know, our heroes are running out of time. If they stay too long in that purple place, they may be trapped there forever.

Reading Ape purple

Cal Hicks

In the amethyst world there is a doppelgänger for nearly everyone in our world. The first person they met there was the amethyst ape, Cal Hicks.  He is the double of Copper’s daddy, and a colleague of the Lord of Alchemy in that purple place.

We also met Cal Hicks’ house keeper.  She is a warmhearted violet complected chimpanzee named Viola.

Monkey as girl purple

Penny Hicks

When the doppelgängers for Felicity, who is the titular woman in trousers, and Copper got too close our friends became very ill.  Copper’s double is Penny, daughter of Cal Hicks.

 

 

Initially she was the One-eyed-one-horned-purple-people-eater,  a giant purple dragon.  However, a volatile reunion with her mate, Absinthe, transformed Aubrieta to her natural form. Now she is her true self, the Purple Fairy.  Aubrieta is tiny like Absinthe, but she has one amber eye, and a unicorn-like horn above her eye. I wish I were talented enough to give you a picture of Aubrieta.

Aerial Screw Model

Aerial Screw Model

We’ve had unusual contraptions as well as characters. You’ll read about the road locomotive and the hydrofoil below. There was of course the submarine, built by the real life Cornelis Drebbel. There was also Ignatius Belle’s paddle steamer. Recently, from one of the “da Vinci papers” discovered in an early episode, you’ve seen the aerial screw. Although most of these contraptions are enhanced by the alchemy of my fictional Cornelis Drebbel, they originated in real-world history.

🙂 Play with innuendo if it entertains you.  However, try to remember that this is a G-rated blog.  😉

Original Characters

Jamie Murray as Felicity 3

Felicity Deringer

First we met the narrator of this serial, Felicity Deringer aka The Woman in Trousers (although the “things” didn’t compel her name until Episode-14).  Some readers say they imagine her as a young Katharine Hepburn, but when I started writing this serial I heard the voice and saw the face of Jamie Murray, as she was in her part as H.G. Wells on the Warehouse 13 television show. No matter what face your imagination gives her, she’s still Felicity.

 

The Woman in Trousers met dashing innkeeper, Ignatius Belle when she arrived in Basil Gill 2the out-of-the-way little town and took a suite at his hotel, the Belle Inn.

Felicity also met shopkeeper, Mrs. Billie Best, who along with her customer were downright mean to an interesting young girl.

 

Copper curious w-green

 

That girl was Copper Hixon.  At Best’s General store Felicity first saw Copper, and intuitively realized the girl was the reason she’d been drawn to the far-flung town.

 

 

 

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel

Then we were introduced to the third titular character, Cornelis Drebbel, the alchemist.  I took him right out of the history books… but altered him with an accident of alchemy.  When I thought of the Cornelis character I could hear the voice of American actor, Terrence Mann, and the wonderfully droll tone he could use to such great effect.

Drebbel stamp

1900 Maid with trayWorking at the Belle Inn was Bitsy the maid.  Felicity was pleased to meet anyone who paid no attention to her unusual attire, like Bitsy. You’d have almost thought the maid already knew about Felicity’s odd way of dressing, that’s how little attention she paid to it.   Belle Inn

 

 

 

Cookie_Belle Inn

At the inn there was also Cookie, who of course was the cook.  The Woman in Trousers and Cornelis both were delighted with Cookie’s culinary creations.

 

 

Sheriff Seth Bullock-Deadwood

When Felicity found Copper at home alone, with an unknown dead man and her father missing, some of the townsfolk were uncannily quick to know that Calvin Hixon was in parts unknown. Those people included Ignatius Belle and Sheriff Alvin Bullard.  I saw the sheriff with a bushy mustache, and Timothy David Olyphant seemed to fit the part nicely.

 

With the sheriff were a trio of officials from the place Copper feared most — Merciful Haven Orphanage.  There was the county truant officer, Claude Dinkley, and orphanage owner and all round obnoxious Ethel Farthing, and her long necked sycophant  Gertrude Hobbs.  They all gave of us an unsavory impression, but particularly Ether Farthing.

Victorian Man Collar Gertrude HobbsEthel Farthing

 

 

Though she tried, Felicity couldn’t prevent the people from the orphanage (and the sheriff) from finding the unknown dead man in (Copper’s father) Calvin Hixon’s study.  His identity was recently revealed, but I don’t want to give any spoilers.  (See Episode 29.)

The sheriff arranged for the undertaker to pickup the corpse later — and the wagon driver turned out to be Ignatius Belle who inherited the wagon and that small portion of the undertaker’s duties.  However, when Sheriff Bullard and Ignatius arrived that evening, they found Felicity injured, and the corpse vanished.  However, Copper, the alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers saw who took it away.

Ignatius Bell wasn’t the only resident of the town to have a dual occupation.  Sheriff Bullard was also part owner in the local mill.

Ignatius Belle is overtly interested in Felicity, but Copper can’t stand him.  Ignatius gave full credit to Cookie and Bitsy for insisting on packing a basket full of wonderful food for him to take to Felicity and Copper.

Naughty Chimps The culprits who took the body were of course the Naughty Chimps.  Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape is responsible for their spontaneous addition to this serial.

 

Our trio also found a letter from Alexander Graham Bell who was interested in Calvin Hixon’s design for a hydrofoil.  Then they found priceless documents written by Leonardo da Vinci secreted inside an owl-shaped lamp.

Burrell Road Locomotive

When three separate groups of villains converged on the Hixon estate (including one with an army of lethal, trained chimpanzees, and a group that seemed to be coming from the direction of the sheriff’s mill), Cornelis was able to fix one of  Hixon’s inventions and they escaped on that Road Locomotive.  The road locomotive was such a hit it was practically a character in its own right.  As the trio made their escape one of the chimps kept repeating the same sequence of gestures.  Copper thought the chimp was using sign language to say “Daddy.”

They hid out at an abandoned church complex with a big building converted to storage and at sometime abandoned.  Within that building they found many interesting and long forgotten items, including a stack of letters that reminded Cornelis of a friend who might be in the general area.
Sessue_HayakawaAs they eluded the bad guys, they met up with that friend of the alchemist.  He was the grandson of a man who once possessed the skull of Cornelis Drebbel.  That was none other than Alastair Wong — An older version of Alastair the elder had a part in Three Ingredients Cookbook-2, a Ghost in the Kitchen. I could see both the elder Alastair and his grandson who had the same name as Japanese actor, Sessue Hayakawa.

While Felicity and Cornelis recovered from head colds at the abandoned place, Ignatius Belle showed up, and his interest seemed to have switched from Felicity to Copper.  The Woman in Trousers wondered if he had been using her to get closer to the girl, but she dismissed the thought.  However, as the day progressed Ignatius was just too interested in Copper for comfort. Why was Ignatius so interested in Copper, and how was it that he found them?

Then one group of villains caught up with them. Ignatius insisted on using his paddle steamer to lead the bag guys (and their fierce trained chimpanzee) away.  Meanwhile, Cornelis used one of this “tricks” to hide the trio, but Felicity heard a familiar voice from the leader of that group, and it was a woman. Felicity mentally reviewed all the women she met from Copper’s home town, but wasn’t sure to whom the voice belonged.

anna-may-wongThe trio makes their way to Alastair Wong.  At the Wong family’s pavilion home we met the tiny woman, Victoria, one of Alastair’s relatives.  The pictured, more mature version of Chinese American movie star Anna May Wong could be Victoria.

While at the pavilion, Cornelis revealed to Felicity that Ignatius Belle is Copper’s half-brother. This may explain his interest in the girl, but why is Copper so distrustful of Ignatius?

Now, thanks to an accident of alchemy when Copper’s harmonic tuner got too close to Cornelis, who was actively using his harmonic tuner, magic produced the word “Daddy,” and emblazoned it on a map.  But did the map show the location of Calvin Hixon, or perhaps the location of their foes?  Was Copper’s daddy even abducted? Perhaps he ran away for reasons of his own…

Why are those three nefarious groups after Copper? Do they mean to use her to force Calvin Hixon to invent an amazing contraption for them? Do they want the priceless da Vinci documents?  The group led by a woman already had a hydrofoil… Was she connected to Hixon, perhaps a partner?

As you see, the story has a way to go before the steam(punk) locomotive reaches the end of the line.  Be at the train station next weekend.

I miss all of you!  But I’m studying hard.  Your comments are the high point of my week.  However, I didn’t enable them this time — because I’d be more than happy to let it distract my from studying!  Yes, I’d shilly shally! I hope you’ll say “hello” with a like and a tweet.  See you soon!

Orpheus Smoky Mary float Mardi Gras

Orpheus Smoky Mary, a Mardi Gras float

 

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 32

Word of the Day

Orient Express Dining Table

Orient Express

Often I think I should have a word of the day.  Once I bought a desk calendar of them, but it turned out to be words that none of us would sensibly use under any circumstance, professional, playfully, or otherwise.

I haven’t come up with a viable way to give myself a word of the day, but now and then one pops up, just like Cornelis Drebbel pops up next to Felicity. It happened this morning when I read a re-blog posted by Sarah at First Night Design with the term shilly shally! While I meant for my word of the day to be for my personal use, forgive me if I can’t resist using shilly shally at least once in this episode.

Sometimes the three things to fuel our steam locomotive to the Victorian Era come along in a similar way. During the two years in which I’ve been writing these “interactive” serial stories, there were several times when someone left a comment in which three things stood out to me. (And you thought you couldn’t think of three random things…)

A comment on Episode-31 from Dan Antion at No Facilities gave me the things for this chapter. Dan’s blog will take you on different types of adventures from looking at interesting doors, to random streams of consciousness, to marvelous hikes and other outings with his daughter. He’ll make sure you feel you’re along for the trip with lots of great photos.

Now that the locomotive is well fueled, I see it at the platform.

All aboard!

From last time…

Absinthe flew in circles around the aerial screw.  The Green Fairy jerked his head around, as if he heard something.  He screamed again and pointed.  The sound came again, loud enough for me to hear.  The linen “threads” of the screw ripped loudly.  The aerial screw lurched.  Cornelis struggled to keep his grip as the machine darted wildly.

32.  Tumble, Revealing, Description

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

Cornelis Drebbel dangled from the dangerously darting aerial screw.  It looked like he would take a tumble at any moment.

Cal Hicks stood talking to the chimpanzees who stayed at the laboratory after their comrades ran in fright from Aubrieta when she was in her erstwhile form of the one-eyed-one-horned-purple-people-eater.  I thought this group was surely the brightest and bravest of the returned chapel apes.  (See Episode 24 and Episode 28.)

The coverall clad chimps jumped up and down in frightened agitation as they watched the Dutchman’s predicament above.  In their frantic state they overturned the large basket of bread Cal Hicks brought out earlier, just after Aubrieta’s magic brought the chimpanzees home.  The remains of a loaf of purple bread fell out of the basket, but the lavender alpine goat made short work of the bread.

Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape, looked from the excited chimpanzees to the sky and gave a horrified gasp.  Copper screamed and a tear ran down her face.  The lavender goat made a behh sound as she gazed upward with a funny puzzled expression on her face.Flying man w umbrella

All tuned to me in astonishment when I put my fists on my hips and yelled up to the alchemist.  “Cornelis Drebbel!  Don’t shilly shally!  We have too much work to do!”

“What?” I asked in impatient response to the gallery of aghast faces.

Apparently everyone thought I was being callous.  However, they had not seen the little measuring device that looked like a toothpick holder.  It was made in the shape of a gazebo, enclosing a crystal bird.  If we stayed too long in the strange world where everything was one shade or another of purple, we might be trapped there forever.  The device measured how close we were to that state.

When first I saw the device, the toothpicks, or rather the tiny measuring rods, were colorless.  If they started to turn purple, it was a warning.  The last time I checked the device, all the toothpicks had become pale lavender — not a comforting sign.  Now many of them had darkened to violet.  That meant the amount of time we had was quickly growing shorter.  Should the crystal bird turn purple, it would be too late.

“Oh for heaven’s sake…  He’s an alchemist!” I turned to the group that had gathered outside the laboratory and defended myself.  “All he has to do is pop to safety,” I said with a snap of my fingers.

Vintage Girl GoatA yellowish green aura surrounded the aerial screw.  I watched in fascination as the rip in the linen “threads” of the screw magically wove back together.  The flying screw straightened its course and then gently lowered to the ground.

“See!  He was never in danger,” I exclaimed to the gathered simians, and Copper.

Everyone looked at me in a disdainful way.  The lavender goat made a long drawn out beeehhhh!  I sighed and threw up my hands.

Cornelis was abruptly in the middle of a concerned crowd of simian devotees.  The alchemist loved attention, so there was no point in me chastising him.  I stalked away.

The two fairies, Absinthe and Aubrieta, chirped to one another quietly as they sat atop the model based on Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of the aerial screw.  I looked skeptically at the device that caused all the commotion.  However, when I looked up at the two fairies, their chirps and grunts had a serious tone.

“I wish I understood you two,” I murmured.

“They think the flying machine can be fixed to work right,” Copper said, suddenly at my elbow.Aerial Screw Model

I jumped.  “Copper, you’re getting as bad as Cornelis Drebbel — appearing out of nowhere,” I said and laughed.  “Promise me you won’t take on any of his other habits,” I added, causing her to giggle.

The Green Fairy fluttered down to alight on Copper’s shoulder.  He really was fond of the girl.  Absinthe made a series of chirps, bobbing his head as if in encouragement.  Then he flew back to his mate and continued their incomprehensible conversation.

Copper turned puzzled blue eyes up to me.  “Absinthe says the flying thing can let us see something important,” she said.  “But I didn’t really understand what the meant.  He kept something to himself,” she added with a sulky glance at her tiny green friend.

“Show us?” I echoed her words.  “Do you mean from a great height we could see something important?”

The girl shook her head negatively.  “I don’t think so,” Copper replied.

I heard a sharp pop followed by sounds of awe from the apes.  An instant later Cornelis appeared beside Copper.  He tousled her new penny colored curls.

green skunk palm“Copper, I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, but I see that the Green Fairy has been less than discrete,” Cornelis told her.  “In all probability the flying machine, the aerial screw, will be revealing something very important, once it’s working properly.”

Copper and I wore twin expressions as our mouths shaped the question “How?”

“No, no.  No questions just yet.  There is much work to be done, and quickly,” he said in a serious tone.  “I’ve seen the measuring device too,” Cornelis added, looking at me.

As we turned to go back inside the laboratory, I heard the voice of Cal Hicks clearly, as he spoke to the group of coverall clad chimps.  Hicks directed his astonishment toward one powerfully built chimpanzee.

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel

“Dear boy!  That is an extraordinary tale!” Cal exclaimed as we reached the group.  “We should tell the Lord of Alchemy,” Hicks told him, but the strong looking chimp drew back, apparently intimidated by the prospect of talking to the Lord of Alchemy.

“I really wish they’d stop calling Cornelis Drebbel that,” I muttered.  “If his head gets any bigger, his skull won’t fit in my hatbox.”

Cornelis naturally wanted to know what had so intrigued Cal Hicks.  The broad-shouldered chimp whispered something to Cal Hicks and shook his head nervously.”

“Oh nonsense, son,” Cal told the chimp who was apparently young, though I could not guess their ages.  “Lord of Alchemy, Ced here has given the most astonishing description of a levitating boat!” Hicks told Cornelis.

“You don’t mean a hydrofoil?” Cornelis asked.

“Yes, tha— that’s what they called it,” Ced replied haltingly, clearly trying to overcome his awe of Cornelis.  “They held me prisoner, and forced me to track you and Lady Felicity and the young miss.  I didn’t mean to betray you Lord of Alchemy!” Ced cried sadly.

Recognition clicked in my head.  Although his coloring had reverted to the purple that was natural for his world, I recognized the chimp.  Ced was indeed the very large chimpanzee who had come so very close to the place where we hid at the river when the group of villains using the hydrofoil caught up with us.  (Episode 12.)  Thankfully Ignatius Belle led them away before we were discovered.Forlanini hydrofoil

Cornelis made a tut-tut sound and patted the chimp’s shoulder.  The Dutchman encouraged Ced to continue.

“On the river in that strange world, I heard your voices before the shield of alchemy was used,” Ced continued.  “So I knew where you must have been hiding.  But I pretended not to know,” he said but paused as anger suffused his face.  “I was determined to thwart the evil woman!  Can you forgive me for tracking you, Lord of Alchemy?”

Cornelis and Cal Hicks spoke to Ced for a while, assuring the big chimpanzee that everything was fine, and his actions were understandable, and were in no wise held against him.  Finally Ced sniffled and nodded.  Cal set him some task, probably to get his mind off things, and Ced hurried off to take care of the work.

Ced turned back with a new expression of worry on his face.  “You should know…  When your submarine disappeared from our sight, for a moment we saw the purple haze of this world.  That woman and her partners plan to take you the moment you return to your own world.  They are certain you either possess something they want, or you will lead them to it,” Ced told us.

I cast a covert look at Copper, hoping that she wouldn’t put that together.  So, at least some of the villains who chased us thought we would lead them to Calvin Hixon.

train tracks spooky place

***

Perhaps our friends would be better off simply staying in the amethyst world.  If they get home, remember that three groups of foes chased them, presumably intent on taking Copper.  Yet if they stay in the safety of the purple place, Copper will never be reunited with her father.  Although, we never understood why Calvin Hixon would abandon his daughter in the first place.  Oh, so much remains to be told…  So be at the train station next time!

Don’t go away yet.  You haven’t seen this chapter’s recipe.  None of the three things were food related this time.  So I chose to use the purple bread mentioned at the beginning of the episode.  Can you believe that I actually found a purple bread recipe?  I’m happy because that meant I also found another delightful cooking blog — This Girl’s Gotta Eat!  So now I bid you, bon appétit!

Recipe:  Purple Wheat Raisin Bread French Toast

purple-wheat-raisin-bread-french-toast-with-yogurt-caramelized-bananas-and-nuts

Photo and recipe credit:  Victoria Orban at This Girl’s Gotta Eat!

http://thisgirlsgottaeat.com/2014/01/11/purple-wheat-raisin-bread-french-toast-with-yogurt-caramelized-bananas-and-nuts/

***

 

 

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Crowing Pains

Crowing Pains

atonement_coverNo, this is not the weekend, and you haven’t missed the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era — I’m here with a mid-week post!

Many of you have heard me say how difficult it is for me to cope with the indie author necessity of shameless self-promotion.  I’m going to start calling that crowing pains.

However, my excitement is making it a lot easier.  Why the giddiness? Atonement, Tennessee just received a five-stare review from (drum roll)… none other than the Story Reading Ape himself — Chris Graham!

When I wrote Atonement, Tennessee I followed some old advice that I continue to use in anything I write — let the story be whatever it needs to be.  Even so, I wondered if having mostly women as the main characters would limit the audience, but I shrugged it off, and let the story be what it was. With that in mind, I’ve been delighted to see that it is well received by men as well as women… and Apes too!

Here’s what Chris wrote. He posted it at Amazon.com.

This story deserves a sequel

By Chris Graham on September 6, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

A great fantasy with Celtic tones, set in modern days.

I loved the characters who are well described and believable:

Ralda (full name Esmeralda) has had unfortunate personal experiences with life and love before moving into the ‘Local Haunted House’ of Atonement, Tennessee; which, incidentally, has an ancient graveyard as part of the estate…

Her nearest neighbour is the beautiful and friendly Lacey, whose husband Ralph is not the most pleasant of people.

Other characters include two handsome, but strange, young men who seem to be vying for Ralda’s attention, two other women, one of whom is a Goth, also become Ralda’s friends and a Small Town Sheriff with an unfortunate nickname locally.

Not forgetting Lilith, Ralda’s curious calico cat who sees more than her mistress and Puddles, Lacey’s mischievous dog.

I found this story easy to read, enjoyed the interaction between the characters and am left hoping that the author intends to write a sequel.

Now do you see why I’m practically dancing a jig, just like one of the Ape’s naughty chimps?

To reward you for putting up with my crowing pains, here is the original Crowing Pains… followed by all my purchase information (wink).

Mega hugs!

Barnes & Noble Nook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/atonement-tennessee-teagan-geneviene/1117790203?ean=2940148918431

Kindle and Paperback

http://www.amazon.com/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A/ref=la_B00HHDXHVM_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412384486&sr=1-1

Amazon UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A

Amazon India

http://www.amazon.in/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/dp/1481826948

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 31

Three Things & Three Blogs

I hesitated to ask for more “things” to fuel the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era, because the serial is nearing the end of the line.  What if I got more things than I could use?  I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  However, I still had to have the three things.  So as a way of showing my appreciation for your comments, I took one word from the blog names of the first three commenters on Episode 30!  (I was rather pleased with that idea, if I say so myself.)

So we have (drumroll please)…

3 locomotives

 

Purple from Melinda at Purple Slob in Recovery https://purpleslobinrecovery.wordpress.com/

Diary from Lord David Prosser at The Barsetshire Diaries https://barsetshirediaries.wordpress.com/

Kitchen from Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen, Good Food with Simple Ingredients http://apuginthekitchen.com/

It’s a rather noisy episode. I didn’t even hear the locomotive pull up to the platform.  However, I see the conductor waving, and now I can hear his voice.  All aboard!

31.  Purple, Diary, Kitchen

My finger traced the edge of a purple leather portfolio I found.  Now the case held the priceless drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, which were previously hidden in the owl-shaped lamp.  I nearly dropped the folio at the sight before me.

In open-mouthed wonder I stared at the riot of possessions and the general confusion of what might have been the alchemist’s bedroom.  It was such a mess that I wasn’t completely sure it was a sleeping chamber.  I thought that was a bed under a stack of shoeboxes and a pile of clothing, though I couldn’t imagine anyone managing to sleep on it.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

I came to the conclusion that the meticulously way in which the laboratory was organized was not the doing of the alchemist — or I should say the version of Cornelis Drebbel that inhabited the amethyst world.  I shrugged.  After all, our Cornelis kept the most haphazard scheme of things, whether on his submarine or anywhere else.  So I expected it was only natural that his doppelgänger would be a slob.  Alright… that wasn’t very generous of me to use such a word to describe my traveling companion.  Shall I say untidy?

Thank goodness his skull, which was safely in my hatbox, wasn’t capable of disarranging things too.  Then I had an uneasy thought.  What if the skull had capabilities of its own?  I firmly pushed that idea into a dark corner of my mind.  There was more than enough trouble at hand, without borrowing even more.  But I digress.

No, I thought, the orderly one must be Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape of the strange purple world of doppelgängers where we’d run aground.  Cal was also the double of Copper’s father, Calvin Hixon.

I tapped my foot in a restless rhythm, annoyed with myself for wasting time, yet drawn to the room nonetheless.  My intuition had become a feather, tickling a sleeping notion in my mind.  That feather suddenly woke the notion and in the full light of thought, it quickly morphed into a certainty.Victorian w purple feather hat

“Ooooh…” I murmured aloud, stretching out the word.

Abruptly I was sure that the alchemist of the amethyst world was with Copper’s missing father!  However, the question remained — where?  How they got together in the first place was a secondary matter.  I hoped to find some sort of clue in the personal quarters of amethyst world’s version of Cornelis Drebbel.  Unfortunately I had no idea what I sought, and the disarray of the room didn’t help.

A soft snuffling sound alerted me to the presence of Absinthe, the Green Fairy.  He fluttered around the eyesore of a room before perching on a shoebox.  Absinthe looked at me and gave a derisive snort, clearly an opinion about the state of the bedroom.  I laughed.  For once I understood the little fairy.

Then Aubrieta, his mate, flew into the room.  Her purple wings missed a beat when she beheld the mess.  Aubrieta gave a little scream before recovering herself.  I had to agree.

I felt a moment of comradery with the two fairies.  They seemed to understand everything I said, but I could not interpret their snorts, grunts, and snuffles at all.  However, emboldened by that friendly feeling, I told them my thoughts about the alchemist of the amethyst world and Calvin Hixon being together somewhere.  I opened the portfolio of Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanical design drawings, and said that I felt one of the designs might also be involved.Aerial Screw drawing
When I added that I thought there might be a clue somewhere in the disarray of the bedroom, the fairies went quickly to work.  They busily looked through every pile and opened every box, cupboard, and drawer.

While they looked through the room, I turned to the closet.  When I opened the door I almost shrieked like Aubrieta.  Boxes and all manner of other things toppled out of the closet as soon as I opened the door.  Cases and trinkets continued to tumble for what seemed like an unnaturally long time.  A purple feather boa draped across my shoulders as it fell.  Aubrieta snuffled appreciatively.  Apparently the little skunk-looking fairy thought it looked good on me.

“So you like this?” I asked Aubrieta of the boa and she chirped enthusiastically.  “Well, it is your color,” I conceded with a smile.Woman in purple boa

As I held out the purple feather boa, Aubrieta wriggled the single eyebrow that was between her one eye and her golden unicorn-like horn.  Static ran through the feathers and with a spark the boa was transformed to a much smaller size — just the right length for the Purple Fairy.

By the way, I never mentioned that the Purple Fairy is a title for Aubrieta, just as Absinthe is the Green Fairy.  Though I had yet to meet them, there were other purple and green fairies, but our tiny companions held some particular distinction among their kind.

I bent down to pick up a full sized feather that was dislodged from the boa.  That’s when I saw the corner of a book.  Its cover was made of tooled lavender leather.  In the center elaborate script spelled the word diary.  It should be the journal of the Cornelis Drebbel doppelgänger.  Shouldn’t it?  Although, the Dutchman was a wily fellow.  It might belong to someone else.

Though it didn’t really help, I took a deep breath to steady my nerves.  Cautiously I opened the lavender tome.  The handwriting inside was a match for that of the alchemist of my world.  I surreptitiously looked over my shoulder.  I bit my lower lip, as with a bit of apprehension I began to read the diary.

However, the journal didn’t seem to be terribly personal.  (I admit I was a little disappointed.)  There were a lot of what I supposed were alchemy related notes, and symbols I didn’t understand.  Then I found a section of spells.  At least I could understand the language with those.

Lady writing lettersTurning the pages faster, I focused my search.  I hoped to find some mention of Cal Hicks, or even better, Calvin Hixon.  Unfortunately I hadn’t found either name.  However, I was skimming the pages awfully quickly.  I could easily have missed something.  I began to notice repeated references to “Cu” but that made no more sense than the rest of the text.  It seemed to be more of a name than initials.  I shrugged.  The inhabitants of the amethyst world did seem to be fond of very short names, like Cal and Von.

As I turned pages I also saw drawings and diagrams.  Some of the sketches reminded me of the da Vinci drawings.  I slowed down, paying closer attention.

My focus was broken by a commotion elsewhere in the laboratory.  It sounded like an argument.  Yes, there was some sort of disagreement.  Aubrieta made an impatient snuffling sound and winged away in a blur.  I figured the situation was safe in the Purple Fairy’s capable hands — or should I say wings?  Paws?  Whatever, I had no doubt that the one-eyed, erstwhile dragon could use that pointy horn to good effect.

I could hear the raised voice of Cornelis Drebbel, though I couldn’t make out his words.  I stood, placing my finger in the diary to hold my place.  I knew I’d best go see what the trouble might be before things got out of hand.  Then I heard Absinthe shriek an irritated noise.

As I walked quickly down the hallway I tried to determine where the commotion had come from.  Beyond the long workroom, the laboratory was a warren of hallways and alcoves.  I hesitated when I came to an intersection of corridors.

Jamie Murray as Felicity

Jamie Murray as Felicity

A teeth jarring screech of unused metal was followed by a crash.  The noise came from the kitchen.  The shouting was louder, but not coherent until I heard clearly the voice of Cal Hicks.  “Lord of Alchemy!” the amethyst ape cried.  “No!  Please wait!”

I broke into a run.

The “kitchen” of the laboratory was a combination food preparation area, dining room, and relaxation area, with several chaise lounges.  Above the wide open room was a clear crystal dome which let in the sunlight.  The dome was divided into sections, much like one would cut an orange.  The sections were held in place by brass strips.

Earlier, after a meal, I had stretched out on a chaise and gazed up at the pastel clouds drifting in the sky beyond the dome.  It was tranquil.  However, the sounds coming from the kitchen were anything but calming.

When I reached the kitchen I found Copper and Aubrieta perched on an open wooden packing crate.  Another metallic screech caused me to look upward.  The sections of the crystal dome slowly spread, opening to the sky.  It was a fanciful idea, but it made me imagine a clear flower bud with petals opening to the sun.

Directly beneath the dome I saw Cornelis and Absinthe.  They argued.  Cal Hicks stood between the two, urging them to be reasonable.  I got the feeling that the tableau might go on for a while.  There was nothing I could do to improve the situation, and no need for me to be agitated.  I leaned against the crate and turned to Copper who dangled her feet from the top of the wooden box.

Copper

Copper

“What was inside?” I asked her as I stuck my head into the empty container.

“That top thing Cornelis has.  I think Absinthe wants to play with it,” Copper said knowingly.  “Cornelis is too big for it.  He really ought to give it to Absinthe.”

Aubrieta snorted in a derisive tone and shook her purple head.  She didn’t seem to think Absinthe should have anything to do with it either.  I noticed the purple feather boa had returned to full size and was draped across Copper’s shoulders.  The little fairy must have wanted the boa so she could give it to the girl.  I was fascinated by the way both of the fae took to Copper.

“What top thing?” I wondered aloud and stretched in attempt to see around Cornelis and Cal Hicks.

The ape and the alchemist finally moved and I saw a working model of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw.  It stood about waist high.  The “threads” of the screw were made of linen, and it rotated slowly.

“It’s only a model,” Cornelis told Absinthe.  “I need firsthand experience of it before we make a full-sized machine,” he said as the Green Fairy snorted and chirped.

Abruptly, Cornelis snapped his fingers.  A yellowish green glow surrounded the aerial screw and it gently rose from the floor.  With a last whine of metal, the dome finished opening.  The aerial screw continued to rise.  The alchemist schooled his face to a bland expression and he looked from Cal to Absinthe as the rotating machine rose above their heads.

“If the tiny fae thinks the device is unsafe,” Cal Hicks began, apparently understanding the sounds Absinthe made — was I the only one who didn’t understand fairy-speak?  “Don’t you think it would be wise to listen?  It needn’t be a long delay,” the ape offered in a reasonable tone.

With a mischievous glint in his eyes, Corenlis grinned.  He leaped up and grabbed onto the bottom of the aerial screw.  A green glow surrounded the contraption and the alchemist.  The device quickly moved up into the opening of the crystal dome.  Absinthe gave an angry scream.  He fluttered up to Cornelis and pointed his bantam backside at the alchemist’s face in a very threatening posture.  A poot of super-concentrated absinthe vapors would surely cause Cornelis to fall, and he was many feet above the floor.

“Well, climb on, old boy!” Cornelis told the Green Fairy.  “There’s room for one more,” Cornelis invited as he dangled high in the air.Green fairy skunk

However, Absinthe flew in circles around the aerial screw.  The Green Fairy jerked his head around, as if he heard something.  He screamed again and pointed.  The sound came again, loud enough for me to hear.  The linen “threads” of the screw ripped loudly.  The aerial screw lurched.  Cornelis struggled to keep his grip as the machine darted wildly.

***

Now what has Cornelis Drebbel gotten himself into?  Be at the train station next week to catch the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era.

Since one of the three blogs I used as this episode’s three things is a chef’s blog, I’m taking the recipe from it.  How could I resist this beautiful lavender colored cake to go with the amethyst world?  Thank you Suzanne, for letting me use one of your recipes.  Suzanne is a marvelously talented chef.  So be sure to take a look at her blog.

Recipe:  White Cake With Whipped Cream Icing and Blackberry Lemon Cream Filling

Suzanne lavender cake

Recipe and photo credit: Suzanne Debrango at “A Pug in the Kitchen”

http://apuginthekitchen.com/2012/03/28/white-cake-with-whipped-cream-icing-and-blackberry-lemon-curd-filling/

 

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.