The Sleigh: Annie’s Inventory Notes — Features from Atonement, TN

Welcome back to Atonement, TN!
I hope everyone has had a wonder-filled week.  I’m delighted that you’re spending a moment from the holiday weekend here.

1940-Dec Womans Day Sleigh SnowSometimes I get a few posts prepared ahead of time (and that’s nice for me). However, that hasn’t been the case for awhile. Anyway, just as I was wondering what I could possibly do for this weekend’s post, I got a lovely holiday wish from the very talented Inese.  So I went to her beautiful photography blog looking for inspiration.  I found so many things to trigger my imagination that I couldn’t decide.

Then I remembered something about a joke Hugh had made about a sleigh ride in Atonement, and I had replied with a James Bond-like idea-joke.  Well, one of Inese’s photos had a sleigh in it… But we don’t have to worry about how Mr. Bond likes his martinis. I don’t think it will play out like that. At least not this time.

If you’ll recall, I’m using these blog “features” to give you bits of lore, back-stories, and even secrets that might never appear in one of the novels. Inese’s sleigh photo inspired one such edition of “Annie’s Inventory Notes.”  I hope you enjoy it.  Also, here’s a link to the magical moment Inese captured with her camera.

Annie’s Inventory Notes — the Sleigh

1908-Jan Success mag Sleigh CoupleTiny white holiday lights reflected in the windows of Annie’s Antiques and Consignment Shop.  Annie absently watched the lights.  The twinkling reminded her of ice crystals, despite the unnaturally warm December.  With thoughts of ice and snow she glanced toward the sleigh.  It was another of the “secret” items on her ancient inventory list.

The sleigh was hidden in plain sight.  She used it as a large display stand for various antiques.  At that moment the sleigh held two bedside lamps and a collection of quilts.  All the quilts were sewn over generations in Atonement, Tennessee.

Annie walked to the sleigh and caressed wood smoothed by centuries.  Her tale of the sleigh was a favorite bedtime story of her sons when they were small.1905 Horseman mag Sleigh horses couple

She told them of how it could glide over hill and dale with magical speed.  Once the sleigh had been pulled by a team of magnificent matched horses.  The shaggy white hair at their feet and their flowing white manes glowed in the night with the enchantment of the sleigh.

The sleigh could go places no other vehicle could reach.  Any where.  Any when.

When Annie told her boys the stories they always begged for more.  Sometimes she gave them tales of amazing places where the sleigh had taken her and their aunt Adelle.  Her sons giggled and gasped at the stories of their mother and her sister.  There was one thing Annie did not tell her sons.  The tales were true.

***

Now that I’ve given you a wintry tidbit, I hope you’re in the mood for a lovely hot drink.  My search of WordPress led me to this treat at blog called “Milliemirepoix,” so check out the intriguing recipes at this site.

Hot Milk, Honey & Nutmeg

Hot milk honey nutmeg

Click the picture for the recipe

I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit to Atonement, TN. Leave a comment to say hello.  I’ll look forward to seeing you again next time.

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Seasons Greetings — Features from Atonement, TN

Blessings of the Yuletide to you and yours!1925 Dec American Magazine

Welcome back to Atonement, TN everyone.  I hope the holiday season is bringing joy your way.

The truth is that I don’t make a big deal of this particular season.  However, I do enjoy giving little presents.  So I spent hours trying to think of something I could give you.  I was woefully unprepared.

What if I were to …

Oh! I’ll write a special short story. No — not enough time.

Well then, I could record a “sound bite” to read you something from “Atonement, Tennessee.”  But I didn’t allow enough time to learn all I needed to know for that either.  (It was an ill-fated, belated brainstorm.)

Is it re-gifting…?

Thursday I made an Atonement TN holiday video, meaning to use it as a greeting card. I don’t know what possessed me to put it on Facebook.  Is it re-gifting if  I share it here?

What if I did a really fast Three Things?

Okay then.  I just now took three things from the video card…  It came to me to let my Ralda Lawton character tell this tidbit from her first Christmas in Atonement, TN.  Here goes!

Three Atonement TN Holiday Things:

Christmas Tree, Hearth Fire, Pinecone.

I’ve had cats who made a flying leap for the top of the Christmas tree the moment they saw the tree.  The fact that it was artificial didn’t slow them down a bit.  Because of that, for many years I didn’t decorate at all — not so much as a string of lights.

Lilith had always been good about decorations.  She didn’t climb or eat them.  Yet this was our first Christmas in our new/old home.  In fact, it had only been a matter of weeks since we moved.  So I couldn’t be certain of how she’d behave after so much upheaval in her life.  However, everything was going pretty smoothly.  An ornament got loose.  Fortunately it wasn’t glass, because she chased it across the hardwood floor.

1925 La Vie Parisienne ChristmasThe ornament rolled to a stop at the fireplace screen.  There was no hearth fire.  I wanted to have the chimney inspected before I used it.  Sunhold was a very old estate, after all.  Sadly, I was having trouble finding a general contractor or chimneysweep who was available.

Gwydion — Guy Fabdon of Fae’s Flowers to the townspeople, was also the local handyman.  Most people would tell me to call on him. Unfortunately I had important reasons for avoiding Gwydion.  So even though it would have been cozy to light the fire, the hearth remained cold.

A knock at the front door startled my cat and me as well.  I peeped out the stained glass panel that surrounded the door.  I couldn’t see clearly, but it looked like Pete Mannix.  He had been hired as a private detective by my friend Lacey Hampton’s attorney when her husband went missing, but that’s another story.  And yes, if you were about to say something about his name — that’s another part of that other story.

I hesitated minutely before opening the door.  Someone I trusted with my life, did not trust Pete Mannix.  So I couldn’t help having doubts about the detective.  However, I was editing a massive report for Pete and the attorney.  I just wasn’t expecting Pete to be the one to bring the additional information I requested for the project.

When I opened the door my eyes widened at the sight of a box of paper files he carried.  He noted my surprise.1920s Vogue Christmas

“Didn’t anyone tell you how far this stuff dates back?” he asked with a chuckle.

Then he hit me with that thousand watt smile.  Did I mention that Pete Mannix was the epitome of the term silver fox?  “Leroy Jethro Gibbs” would have nothing on Pete Mannix in a contest for that title.

I gave a mental shove to my distrust and opened the door.

Then my fickle feline floozy noticed him.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned that Lilith has an uncanny fondness for attractive men.  Mannix passed the calico’s test.  She twined around his ankles.  When I shooed her away, she came back, batting a pinecone decoration and chasing it as if it was a toy.  The detective was quite taken with her.  Lilith was entirely too susceptible to his thousand watt smile.

***

Now how can I possibly segue any of this into a recipe?  I doubt you’d want to eat pinecones. Oh, but wait!  Pine nuts!  But holy Hannah, pine nuts are expensive… and I know everyone has spent all their money on presents.  So I found this delightful dip at Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen.  Chitra describes it as “a traditional winter pesto made from parsley and mixed nuts instead of basil and pine nuts.” Please click the link below for the recipe.

Parsley-walnut-almonds-pecan nuts pesto/dip

Thanks for visiting Atonement, TN!  Wishing you every blessing and every joy throughout this season — from Ralda, Lilith, and all the characters from all my stories — and of course, from me.

Mega holiday hugs,

Teagan

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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.

 

 

3 Bloom Things — Features from Atonement, TN

Welcome back everyone.  Thanks for coming to Atonement, TN!Good Luck road sign

It’s great to see you again  — I know it can be hard to find your way to a fictional town.

I’ve been delighted with everyone’s support of my “pantser” serial stories.  As most of you know, those stories resulted from a writing exercise I created for myself long ago, and I turned the exercise into something to use on my blog.  The serials are propelled by three things sent by readers.   You can find links to them at the top of this page.  I like to say they are pure pantser fun.

My Writing Process

I’ve used the same spontaneous method to “at least keep myself writing” on my novels.  However, my books are planned (at least to a degree) so the spontaneous exercises aren’t always usable for the novels.  It’s a “That’s Good, That’s Bad” sort of thing.

(My dad liked this skit, and the good-but-bad concept stuck with me throughout my life.)

Homer and Jethro – That’s Good, That’s Bad – 1960

However, I realized Three Things would be a good way to share something from my “Atonement Universe” — something that wasn’t another snippet from either book.  With “Annie’s Inventory Notes”  I told a “secret” part of the story that might not even be in the books.  So I’m using Three Things in a similar way.

To get my “things” I went to the first three comments from last weekend’s blog.  (Besides, you know I love to give a shout-out.)  I’m taking one thing from the title of each of those blogs.  Those commenters were from the following:

Writer Christoph Fischer

No Facilities (Dan Antion)

Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel ~ ~ Contemporary Western Romance

As I write this introduction, I have no idea where this Three Things exercise will take me.  Here goes…

Three Atonement, TN Things:  Writer, Facilities, Western

The voice on the radio crackled as she drove through another area with little reception. The DJ counted down the top hits of 1974. Marge pushed her big glasses back on the bridge of her nose and hoped she wouldn’t lose this channel before hearing a favorite song. The glasses were very similar to a pair she’d seen in a picture of Elton John. She his flamboyance. 

Elton John 1974 Madison Sq

Elton John 1974, Madison Square Garden

You see, Marge Tipton wanted more than anything to be a wild child, a rebel, antiestablishment. However, the truth was she just didn’t know how. So she left her southeastern home and as her family put it, ran off out west.  She stopped running just after she crossed the Texas state line. Marge lived there for ten years. Then the post cards started coming.

The writer of the cards was her brother, Tracey. She didn’t know why her brother moved to the strange sounding Tennessee town a year before. It sounded like he didn’t have much choice in the matter. With each post card Tracey’s state of mind seemed to get worse. He was not pleased with his life there, yet he refused to leave. In his last missive Tracey begged his sister to come to Atonement, Tennessee.

Marge was not happy about the situation. She rebelled against anything she felt she was “supposed” to do, and she knew that everyone would say she should help her brother, regardless of whether he deserved it or whether it ruined her own life. Marge had been perfectly satisfied in her western home. However, Marge had a sense of duty that was as strong as her wish to defy the establishment. So she got into her pickup truck, leaving Texas in her rearview mirror, and headed to Tennessee.

1972 Chevy C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

Chevrolet 1972, C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

 

The gas gauge in the truck steadily crept toward empty. Just as Marge was getting worried she spotted a sign for a gas station. At first she was relieved in more ways than one, but when she got closer, she saw the smaller sign below the oil company’s logo. “No facilities.” Marge grumbled to herself. Maybe, if she was real polite, they’d let her use the employee restroom.

***

Lolas inside diner

L.O.L.A. Lola’s

Okay… As you see, I ended up writing about a minor character who appears in both book-1 and book-2, Marge Tipton.  Previously I hadn’t given a moment’s thought to the back-story for Marge.  However, the spontaneous exercise led me to write about her relocation to Atonement, TN back in 1974.  That’s good.

No, this snippet is not something I can use for “Atonement in Bloom.”  That’s bad.  Also I doubt that the part of Marge Tipton will grow as a result.  Even so, as a writer I feel good to have a fuller sense of this character, minor though she may be.

Marge Tipton eventually opened “L.O.L.A. Lola’s Bar and Restaurant, the diner frequented by my characters.  One of Bethany’s favorite menu items is the Cobb salad.  So I searched the WordPress countryside for a recipe.  That led me to Sherri at the Eden Market blog.  Her photos are beautiful and I think you’ll enjoy visiting there.  Click on her photo below for the recipe.

Cobb Salad

cobb salad

***

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.

When the Greatest Is the Smallest — Features from Atonement, TN

It’s My 3rd Blogiversary!champagne n glasses 2

The second day of December marked the third anniversary of this blog.  Like some other things, to me it doesn’t seem nearly that long — yet it also feels like something I’ve always done.

To many bloggers and readers three years and 295 posts truly is not much at all.  I recognize that it’s not exactly a great achievement. However, great or small, it feels pretty good to me.  So cheers!

At Once Great and Small — and the Challenges

Meadow_frameWhen an urban fantasy story becomes a series, usually new characters are added with each volume.  As the story-line for Atonement in Bloom took shape, a few new supernatural characters came along.

 (I don’t mean to be a tease… Who knew it would be such a challenge to share about a novel in progress without giving spoilers?)

One of the new supernatural characters is Meadow.  Her existence helps give the story a whimsical tone.  In describing Atonement, Tennessee I often say that it doesn’t take itself seriously.  The same is true of the sequel. Atonement in Bloom has the same kind of humor.  Not a laugh-out-loud kind of funny, but an eyebrow-raising “Did she really say that?” funny.

Meadow’s character doesn’t actually do a lot (at least not at this point but who knows how that might change).  Yet despite the fact that she doesn’t shoot lightning bolts or save the day, Meadow is central to the story of Atonement in Bloom.  She is at once great and small.

One challenge ahead of me is to better develop Meadow’s character.  I’ll describe this character as an “inactive” cause of some events in the story.  She doesn’t take actions that cause events, but without her presence, they would never have happened.

Artist, Cheryl Rose Hall

Artist: Cheryl Rose Hall

Meadow is not alone in the “great but small” category. Beira the Crone, also known as Cailleach Bheur, is a new character inspired by Celtic mythology.  Her presence in the story is very small, yet her part is great; integral to the story-line.  My challenge with Beira is sewing her thread throughout the story, so it doesn’t seem contrived when she makes an appearance.

A Snippet from Atonement in Bloom

You already know I’m concerned about giving away any part of the story, so I won’t say when this tidbit takes place.  It’s part of a scene with Beira the Crone.  I hope you’ll enjoy it.

And now to restore the balance,” Beira said but then hesitated.  “But those two tricksters have definitely earned a lesson,” she said fiercely.

Beira looked at the calico and her expression softened.  “I see you are fond of him. So be it then, for your sake little heart. But there must be at least a small lesson.  The balance must be kept,” she added with a wink to Lilith.

Her dark green velvet cloak fell back as she extended both arms.  With the staff still grasped in her right hand she turned in a circle three times clockwise.  As she moved, the velvet cloak swirled about her ankles as if the wind moved it.  Her long lapis-blue braid lifted on the same invisible currents.  Her eyes shone brightly in the moonlight.  On the third circle Beira tilted her head back exultantly and smiled.

Blue Rose on Wall

The temperature plummeted.  Snowflakes floated to the ground.  Snow began to accumulate on the nearby stone wall.  Beira walked over to it and tilted her head as if considering.  “So it has grown here before, and spontaneously.  Ah, recently too.  This place is more interesting than I knew. Perhaps it bears further investigation,” Beira commented, rousing Lilith’s curiosity.

She gave the wall a light tap with her age darkened wooden staff.  Then she nodded once more.

Lilith’s feline ears heard an odd vibration within the stone wall, which a human would never have noticed.  In the light of the moon, the cat watched as a single rose sprouted from the top of the rock wall.  A single blue rose.

***

Coconut Snowballs Recipe

In keeping with the setting of the story snippet, I searched the WordPress countryside for a recipe with “snow” in the title. I found a blog called Whisk Away Your Worries.  The delightful Meaghan shared a recipe for Coconut Snowballs.  Click on the picture or the link for the recipe.

Coconut Snowballs

Thanks for visiting Atonement, TN.  Say hello by leaving a comment.

Mega hugs,

Teagan

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.

Book Launch Feature — Tales from the Garden

Book Launch Feature — Author Sally G. Cronin

Hello everyone.  In case you aren’t familiar with her, let me just say that blogger and author Sally G. Cronin is one of the world’s most generous and supportive people.  When I saw that she had a new collection of short stories coming out, I volunteered to participate in the book launch.  So without further preamble, here’s Sally to introduce her hew book with a little “behind the scenes” look.

Take it away Sally!Sally Cronin Photo

Tales From The Garden – Behind the scenes – by Sally Cronin

 I have been overwhelmed by the support of fellow bloggers and writers during the launch of Tales from the Garden and was delighted to be invited by Teagan to be a guest and to talk about some behind the scenes background on the book.

ellie_close-up

As I progressed through the stories it became clear that I would need some more creative input, and when I visited my sister in Portsmouth in the summer I took advantage of her lovely garden to take photographs. Diana and her late husband had spent many years creating inviting and beautifully stocked areas of the garden to sit, catch the sun or inhale the scents of the many flowers they had planted. Miss Ellie who is a black Staffie brought another element to the story Trouble in Paradise and she became the guardian of the fairy king as he lived out his exile.  He too originated in Diana’s garden, in a lovely sunlit courtyard at the back of the house.

Writing this book of fairy tales has given me a new perspective on gardens. I have never had a particularly green thumb despite my best efforts. I now have become addicted to sites on flowers and plants and my next garden will be lavished with a great deal more love and attention.

Tales From the Garden - Cover

Tales from the Garden is a collection of fairy stories and 80 illustrations, for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden forever.

The tales reveal the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees and you will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.

The guardians who have kept this sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.

The book is available in print and Ebook at a substantial discount via my own website: http://moyhill.com/tales

Also at Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0180Q6CKM

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0180Q6CKM

 

About Sally Cronin

Sally Cronin spent a number of years in each of the following industries – Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, Radio & Television; and has taken a great deal of inspiration from each.

She has written short stories and poetry since a very young age and contributed to media in the UK and Spain. In 1996 Sally began studying nutrition to inspire her to lose 150 lbs and her first book, Size Matters published in 2001, told the story of that journey back to health. This was followed by another seven books across a number of genres including health, humour and romance. These include Just Food For Health, Size Matters, Just an Odd Job Girl, Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, Flights of Fancy anthology, Turning Back the Clock and Media Training.

All these can be found on Amazon or Smashwords.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

 For the last two years Sally has written a daily blog covering the subjects close to her heart including writing, health and music: Smorgasbord Invitation – Variety is the Spice of Life. You can link to it from here: smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com.

Connect to Sally on social media

http://moyhill.com/tales/

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
https://twitter.com/sgc58
https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
https://www.facebook.com/sallygeorginacronin
https://plus.google.com/+SallyCronin/about

Mega hugs to Teagan for hosting me today…

Mega hugs right back to you Sally.  I’ll be back with a new post of my own this weekend.  Hugs all ’round.