The Art of Taking a Break: Rolling on a Riverboat

In the USA the Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated this week.  I’m grateful for those of you who have continued to visit and offer encouragement even though I’ve stopped giving away episodes of a novel or serial.  I’m thankful for you.Crystal w-Story Jar 06-29-14

My National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) story, The Delta Pearl, is set on a very special riverboat.  It continues to roll on the river, often propelled by “three things” I’ve been given by you, or taken from my jar of random things.  It’s keeping the big wheel turning.

Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary 1971

Thanks to Sally G. Cronin for reminding me of that version of the song. (I hope it’s still available when this post publishes. The first recording I used was taken down.)  

This week some of the “things” I used were from two marvelous writers who have been wonderful sources of support for me.  I said I had been editing this post. I decided not to show you the snippet I first had in mind.  However I still want to give a mention to the two writers who left “things” that I used this week. 

Teresa (Tess) Karlinski  posts marvelous travelogues, allowing us to share in her adventures.  Her brilliant stories are also featured in anthologies.  Tess left Montreal, Harpsichord, and Soup for her three things. I’m sure you will enjoy her vivid stories and travels.

Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel has been with this blog since its very beginning.  She happens to have two new releases. Give yourself a romantic treat with Christmas at Love House and Whispers of Forever.  Mary’s things were Victorian, Engineering Drawing, and Peculiar.

My Writing Process1800s-riverboat

I just revised this post (thank goodness, else I wouldn’t have known about the first video problem).  I can’t decide whether to share with you a snippet from the prologue or the beginning of chapter-1…

You see, I wanted the opening to connect strongly with the prologue, even though time had passed and the narrator’s life had changed greatly.  So I think I’ll show you both so you can see how I’ve tied it together.  (In other words, I couldn’t decide, so I’ll show you both.)

Here’s a bit of The Delta Pearl:

Prologue

The first time I saw the Delta Pearl I was eight years old.  My grandpa had died three days before.  He was sick for a long time before that.  I asked Moma if Grandpa had seen the riverboat.  I didn’t see what was wrong with the question, but apparently something was.  It made her angry and she never answered me.

Later, relatives descended upon our house bearing all manner of food.  There was some hugging and handshaking, but eyes were mostly dry of tears.  They didn’t cry much, my family.

Moma and Nana used every flat surface available as they tried to sort all the food into some kind of edible order.  As they got creative about how to make room for every cousin’s best cooking, I made for the back door.wooden-porch-close-up

Pushing the door open, I stepped onto the little porch.  When the screen door banged behind me I cringed.  Moma always yelled at me about that.  It seemed impossible to close it without the bang.  However, when she called out she didn’t mention the door.

“Em!  Emerald Perlezenn!  You stay away from that river,” she hollered.

So of course I went to the river.  The gentle sounds of the water always helped me come to terms with things I didn’t understand.  The river comforted me.  At that moment, I really needed the river.  Besides, I thought, I might finally see the riverboat.

So I trotted down narrow paths Nana called pig trails.  Rounding curves, dodging brambles and tree roots, I eventually got to the riverbank.

The riverboat, the Delta Pearl, was a legend along that part of the river.  Few people had seen her.  As for the ones who claimed they had seen the riverboat, everybody seemed pretty sure they were lying.

Some said the riverboat was haunted.  Others claimed it was the river’s version of the Lost Dutchman, cruising the river for eternity.  Most had it that if you saw the Delta Pearl you were marked for death.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Of course the Delta Pearl is not real, Em.  It’s just a story,” Moma always said.  “There are too many places around here where a boat like that can’t go.  It couldn’t get through.  Now I’ve heard enough of that silliness, and I’d better not hear another word from you about it.”

I walked along the very edge of the bank.  Now and then my foot slipped, because I was so close to the edge.  I backed away to clean the mud from my shoe.

The fluttering sound of a bird taking flight came to my ears.  An odd clicking sound caused me to look up into the trees.  Pine needles showered down and I covered my eyes.  I spotted something brass colored as it streaked across the blue sky.

That seemed like a strange color for a bird.  It looked almost like metal, but that was too impossible, even for my active imagination.  My eyes followed the bird as it flew along the river.

As I sat there I listened to the music of the water as it lapped against the shore.  It gave me a dreamy feeling.  I gazed vaguely down the path the river had carved eons before.  Sunlight glittered the surface of the water.  I imagined the tiny reflections were diamonds and tried to count them.

Squinting at the brilliance, I thought of what it would be like to be a grand lady with strands of diamonds at my throat and in my hair.  I thought of her suitors asking for a dance.  So I stood and turned and turned, dreaming of the dance, while I spun around and around.

I staggered to a stop, enjoying the sensation of the dizzy world seeming to sway around me.  Stumbling, I held my arms out for balance as I faced the river.

That’s when I saw the Delta Pearl.

***

Chapter 1:  Dance

jenna-coleman-and-rufus-sewell-as-queen-victoria-and-lord-melbourne

Jenna Coleman and Rufus Sewell

A silver thread glittered as the morning sun streamed onto the deck.  At the end of the filament was a purple clockwork spider.  It skittered across the wooden floor before vanishing behind a crate.

In the arms of a truly expert dancer, I twirled and spun until the world whirled dizzily with me.  My partner’s impeccable sense of balance never faltered.  We danced high above the river, on the hurricane deck.  Dozens of fluffy white clouds blurred into one as he twirled me rapidly around and around.

Like diamonds, I thought as sunlight reflected brightly on the strands of triangular waxed flags strung above the deck.  The sound they made as they fluttered in the breeze reminded me of startled birds taking flight.  It took my mind to the day, years before, when I first saw the Delta Pearl.

I missed a step.  The Dealer stopped our dance.  He looked at me with what passed for concern on his less than mobile features.  He blinked before speaking in his quasi French accent.

“Émeraude, are you well?  Do you tire?  Perhaps the sun is too much?” the Dealer asked.

One would never realize it just by looking at him, but the Dealer was compassionate and nurturing.  Sometimes I felt he was too consoling, though that quality had benefits in his occupation.  I had to admit that I seemed to receive more of his nurturing behavior than did the rest of the crew.louis-jourdan-as-the-dealer

Of course he had a name besides the Dealer.  He called himself Jaspe.  To my ears he pronounced his name ZASH-pah.  However, more often than not he was simply referred to as the Dealer.

I smiled and shook my head before speaking.  “I was merely distracted, Jaspe.  You are a much better dancer than I.”

“Ah, but cher, I am named for a rock — jasper,” he reminded me, using the English pronunciation to refer to the semiprecious gem.  “I claim no more talent than the rock whose name I bear,” he replied, self-deprecating as always.  “Besides, I have had so very long to perfect the steps.  You are much improved,” he complimented me with a graceful, sweeping bow.

The Dealer gazed at the horizon.  He raised a white gloved hand to shield his eyes from the bright sunlight.  I knew he saw much more than I ever could.  After a moment he spoke.  “We will be in port soon.  Best we get to work, eh?”

I couldn’t help watching his graceful movements.  I wanted to ask just how long he had been perfecting his dancing, how old he was.  His name, Jaspe was French for jasper, and his accent clearly bespoke New Orleans.  Yet, I knew he discussed neither his age nor his origins.  I was sure the Captain knew from where Jaspe hailed, but our skipper was not inclined to gossip.

However, the unspeakable, nagging question to which I most wanted an answer about the Dealer was not the number of his years.  Rather I wanted to know whether or not he was in fact a man at all.

***

The Delta Pearl is sedately rolling on the river.  It might never be a speedboat, but at least the big wheel is turning.  Mega hugs!

Copyright © 2016 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.

 

 

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81 thoughts on “The Art of Taking a Break: Rolling on a Riverboat

  1. I love this snippet Teagan. I read it and the language and imagery made me feel dreamy and wish for one of those days I had as a child where I stared at the water too and wondered how to catch the diamonds that lay on the surface. Mega hugs my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful prologue and chapter one, I enjoyed reading them both Teagan. You always intrigue me with you wonderful stories. D.Parker is right when she calls you a word goddess.
    I hope you had a wonderful weekend and and work is not too stressful.
    Mega hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Gerlinde — you and Donna are both far too kind! (But I secretly admit to getting a big kick out of the word goddess thing!!! 😀 ❤ )
      Well, I was stressed out the minute Monday began. Thankfully I am on leave the rest of the week. So all I have to do is make it through today. Yay!
      I really appreciate you taking time to read and comment. Mega hugs right back 😀

      Like

  3. Ooh thanks for sharing these Teagan, I absolutely loved these snippets – what great atmosphere you build up in the first piece and I’m waiting with bated breath for the satisfying conclusion of seeing the Delta Pearl, I know it’s coming and it doesn’t disappoint. And the second – you create such intriguing characters with such interesting titles. I’d love to read the whole thing one day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andrea, thank you – thank you. I admire your writing so this means a lot to me. I really hope I can finish and finalize the Delta Pearl and all the others that are waiting on the computerized “shelf.” I appreciate you taking time to visit. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How fabulous is that -‘Rolling on the River with the Delta Pearl:):) I love that Tina Turner version…one of my favourites…bound to get me up and dancing:) I thought of you over Thanksgiving and hope you are well and that there isn’t too much noise to disturb. Today I send magical hummers in your direction…janet. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  5. As if visiting you wasn’t a joy enough, dear Teagan, I open this post and start reading about the amazing Sally, Tess, and Mary! Wow! You sure know how to make me smile and visiting those three lovely and talented ladies always makes my smile widen exponentially (never ever mind when a link takes me to a wonderful place, thank you). 🙂
    Please tell me WordPress has created a gushing love-love-love-what-wait-where’s-the-rest-I-need-more-more-more-that-was-fantastic-I’m-mesmerized button just for this post! They should. You just made my day, forget that, week, not enough, month, year. Thank you, dear friend, I’m hooked, reel me in, drop me in a net and get me ready for dinner, I’ll bring the butter and herbs. Seriously, I’ve had a rough few days, well, some of it was good at times, but too busy and your words, stitched together with such passion and flare were a balm to soothe my battered, well, everything.
    Hope this weekend treats you well and now get back to writing lol. 😉
    Mega you’re a word goddess hugs xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Donna, I’m genuinely sorry you had such a week. I’ve had plenty of those myself and it’s nothing to sneeze at. 😥 I hope your arm is out of the sling soon and perfectly healed. Sending you virtual Epson salt and lavender.
      LOL, “word goddess”… Love it. 😀 Thank you for taking time to visit and type a comment. It means a lot to me — particularly under the circumstances. Light and mega hugs my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy Weekend, Teagan! The Prologue is delightful! A perfect child’s perspective of the goings on! Good ending too. I’d want to read more! Okay…so who really is the dealer. Big question! Keep the wheels turning, we need to read more! Huge hugs! 💛Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Christine. Thank you for this delightful comment. ❤ Haha, the Dealer… I expect to keep folks guessing about him for awhile — because I haven't made up my mind just exactly what he is yet! 😀
      I'm happy you liked the child's perspective. This is an abreviated version. I'm still not sure if it isn't out of place… but I wanted to establish an idea of Emeraude and the life that began shaping her character, and then her life on the Delta Pearl. It's a work in progress… I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Teagan, think it’s a good idea to establish Emeraude’s character from early life. Sounds as if she was an adventurer with definite ideas about the behaviors of adults. That gives her an edge to figure out the what & why of the Delta Pearl chsracters. I thought about that with Elizabeth in Sunset Inn, starting with her young life to set her character as the seeker of (underlying) Truths. Seems your Emeraude is the seeker of adventure, outside the usual kid’s spy, pirates or fairyland ones. I like her. She & Elizabeth would have been fast friends! Huge hugs. 💛 Christine

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a great start to a new story. I like the down-home feel from the start simple things that bring out memories of family, haunted places and imagination. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh Teagan, I have already fallen in love with the characters!!! I am very glad you posted both snippets, it gives context to when the main story takes place. With just the prologue, I might have thought the story would take place much earlier. Great writing! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you kindly Inese. 🙂 I did that still life of Crystal way back when I started the 3rd serial “A Ghost in the Kitchen.” (I was actually trying to photograph the collection of objects, but she jumped up to inspect what I was going — so she is in the picture too.) Back then it was the “jar of spooky things” she posed with. But now it’s just random things. I’m very pleased you enjoyed the snippet. I hope you are doing well. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, the Prologue and Chapter 1 leaves me wanting more. And to think you’re writing this by the “seat of your pants.” You’d never know it by reading this. You have a keeper here. The Delta Pearl reminds me of the romance novels of old, where so many of these books took place while rolling down the river toward New Orleans. 🙂 Thanks for the shout-out, Teagan. I appreciate you mentioning my new releases.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh my, that prologue was wonderful, Teagan. What a way to end it. I was completely drawn in and, yes, it made me want to find out more.

    And that question at the end of Chapter one ‘Rather I wanted to know whether or not he was in fact a man at all.’ That just gets all sorts of questions flashing through my mind.

    If this isn’t a great start to The Delta Pearl, then I don’t think anything would be.

    Well done. It has all the makings of a great classic.
    Hugs to you,
    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a delightful treat for my weekend. I loved a glimpse of the past, a time when the child’s perspective shows that not all funerals bring great emotion and that important questions are not always answered.
    The present aboard the Delta Pearl seems fascinating with questions about the humanity of a subject posed so matter of factly. So many threads to follow in your usual inimitable way Teagan. I feel better already with anticipation.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear David, your comment alone makes me want to make sure I finish The Delta Pearl. LOL, although we may never know if “The Dealer” is more than merely human — sometimes it’s fun to keep a mystery. I think you would enjoy the little clockwork creatures I’ve put in the story (it’s steampunk). There’s a little owl named Onyx who is a bit of a gossip, and a purple bejeweled spider who loves to spy and whisper secrets to Emeraude. Wishing you well. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Geoff. That is valuable feedback to me, because I wondered if it was even suitable. But with Novel Writing Month, the idea is to keep going, get the bones of the story, and trim the fat later… so I kept it. I appreciate you taking time to visit. Mega hugs.

      Like

  12. Thanks for sharing this Teagan. As a person who has always found comfort at the side of a river, I quickly identified with your character. If this is how the writing is going, I wouldn’t worry about the word count. Every one of these is a keeper. You’ve set several things in motion, and I look forward to seeing them all develop. Have a great rest of your weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dan. I like what you said about the riverside. There is something about each type (body) of water. They bring similar but different feelings. The gentle flow of a river is comforting, I agree. Thanks from my heart for your kind and encouraging words. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

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