Three Things Fire Rooster

2017 Is a Fire Rooster Year

1918-july-vogue-woman-rooster

Vogue, July 1918

My post for the calendar New Year was about “animalizing” your writing (that post is here).  As most of you know, the Chinese zodiac is a cycle of 12 animal signs. Each year is represented by an animal. So I thought it would be fun to mention the Chinese New Year as a follow-on for my Is Your Writing Beastly? post.

If 2016 monkeyed around with your life, remember what mischievous animal embodied that year.  However, it is advised that we embrace opportunities and navigate challenges in 2017.  That doesn’t sound like much of a reprieve to me. Already I’m navigating way too many challenges…  Okay — I will try to be positive.

chinese-new-year-babies-vintage(Yes, I know that’s a fish in the picture, but it’s a fiery color.) I had to investigate why this year’s rooster was called a Fire Rooster.  In Chinese element theory, each zodiac year is also associated with one of five elements: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire, or Earth.  So to include both the animal cycle and the element cycle, a Fire Rooster, for example, comes once every 60-years.  The last Fire Rooster year was 1957.  Before that, I believe it was 1897.

So in theory, 2017 and persons born in a Fire Rooster year would have characteristics  decided by their birth year’s zodiac sign and element.  Anyway, now we have a fire rooster ready to pick up where the monkey left off.

Three Fire Rooster Things

Most of you are familiar with my three things writing exercise. It led to me writing four serial stories here at this blog, and “book-izing” the first one as a novella, The Three Things Serial, a Little 1920s Story.  (All about that here.)

So now I challenge you — put your fingers on your keyboard and just write anything, as if you were writing an article or a story.  Write until you’ve mentioned the three things I’m about to give you.  Then leave it in a comment here, or a link to your own blog.  Ready?  Here’s your things:

Fire, Rooster, Calendar

Okay, okay… I hear you.  I know it’s not fair unless I play too.  So here goes…  Off the top of my head, here’s something from the “Pip universe.”

3-things-cover_3-2016

Pip’s a Chicken

“Bock, bock-bock.  Bock!  Baaawk!”

Of all the nerve!  My mouth dropped open.  I was speechless.  Granny Phanny bocked at me like a chicken.  She bocked.  She put her fists under her armpits and flapped her boney elbows — and she bocked at me!

Then, to make matters worse, she laughed.

Why that banty old woman.  Of all the self-important, cockalorem…

“Oh Pip, if you could see the look on your face,” she said, still chuckling.  “It’s not like you to chicken out.  Now tie on your apron and we’ll look at this recipe together.”

Granny hung an apron around my neck, and then put her hands on my shoulders to forcibly turn me around.  She tied a bow in back that I knew without looking was perfectly symmetrical.

“But Granny, I nearly set the kitchen on fire last time,” I complained, sincerely afraid of what damage I might cause.life-woman-chickens-1908

“Hush that nonsense right now, Sweetpea.  We’ll not be having any fires.  Just because your fried chicken turned out as tough as an old rooster doesn’t mean you can quit.”

“An old rooster?” I exclaimed, mortified.

I looked at the recipe card.  “Chicken Fricassee…” I read aloud.  “Dredge chicken pieces in the flour mixture; coat well.  Oh Granny, this sounds pos-i-lutely like a repeat of the fried chicken disaster.  Granny?”

Phanny Ilene Peabody was gone.  Her purse was missing from the corner table.  I called out again and she hollered from the living room.

My eyes fell on the calendar that hung on the wall.  Wong’s Chinese Restaurant made one annually for Chinese New Year.  Granny was going to an early dinner with friends.  No wonder she wasn’t worried about me ruining dinner again. 

“Granny!” I yelled, really miffed.

“I’ll be back this evening, Pip.  Just keep the stove set to low while you fry that chicken, and follow the instructions for the fricassee,” she called from the living room to the sound of the front door creaking open.

I blew a raspberry as the front door closed with a thud.  My hand plopped down on the plump poultry with a smacking sound.

“Old rooster, huh?  I’ll show her,” I muttered and went back to the recipe card.

***

Special thanks to Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen for suggesting chicken fricassee as Pip’s cooking assignment.  

As a little bonus treat, here’s more on chicken fricassee.  This one has a Cajun slant.  Happy Chinese New Year! 

 

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work 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.

 

Thriving Thursday: Adjust Accordingly

1925-march-sewing-modern-priscilla

You may have already seen this post. It is one of a series of monthly guest spots I’ve been doing at The Story Reading Ape’s blog.  I’m adding it here to my Motivational section.  Since it’s “been done” be sure to visit at the Ape’s tree-house. Just click here.

Thriving Thursdays:  Adjust Accordingly

I was delighted when our Ape in Chief invited me to the tree-house to do a mini-series.  Those of you who know me, are used to seeing me write fiction for my blog, Teagan’s Books.  However, for these posts, I’m sharing my “office” side.  While it’s not part of my job at the moment, I’ve written a log of motivational messages.  I continued that via my LinkedIn blog where I do mini posts.

We’re inundated with  information. That can result in a lot of gigo… garbage in — garbage out.  Yet one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.  When I stumbled across this quote, I thought it was a little gem.  Let’s give it a try.

Make a list of things that make you happy.

Make a list of things you do every day.

Compare the lists.

Adjust accordingly.

Enough said.

 

Wishing everyone a thriving Thursday,

Teagan

 

 

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work 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.

Catkin – What do you think of when you hear this word?

I usually limit myself to one or two posts a week (certainly not 3 in a weekend, as I’ve done now). You see that I had to make an exception for this amazing post from Katzenworld. Tarnegolita at Pet Zoo Shiller gives us a truly fascinating article that is also kindly and mindfully written. Check out this blog and leave a comment there to say hello. Mega hugs, Teagan.

Katzenworld

What do you think of when you hear the word “catkin”? The first thing that comes to mind would be this, right?

willow_catkin_2_aka

Well… you might be surprised to learn that the word “catkin” has an alternate meaning. And yes, it has to do with cats.

In the past, I have written a few guest posts about cats who do unusual or human things (Working CatsCats with Jobs and Agility Cats). So this time, I thought it might be interesting to turn things around. What about humans who do cat things? Yes, they exist. And I’m not talking about people working in rodent control or people who sleep a lot.

Let me introduce to you the Otherkin. The word sounds as if it comes straight from a fantasy novel, and indeed the concept is fairly bizarre. The Otherkin are a community of people who believe they are animals…

View original post 749 more words

Three Things Serial Goes to Mars?

young-lucille-ball-pensive-peach

Young Lucille Ball as Pip

In my novella, The Three Things Serial – a Little 1920s Story, Pip dubs one of her friends “the astronaut man.”  That character is Andy Avis and he writes science fiction stories (hence Pip’s nickname for him).  He happens to have a gigantic crush on Mona.250px-Princess_of_Mars_large

In the novella, Andy is working on a re-imagining of A Princess of Mars.  That is a science fantasy novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Andy would cast Mona in the titular part as Dejah Thoris.

Now, that is not the focus of the novella — it is a very small aspect of the story.  However, I thought it would be fun to let you know more about it.  Science Fiction was coming into its own in the Jazz Age with silent films.  

Edgar Rice Burroughs, of course, became famous before the 1920s.  He published A Princess of Mars in 1912.  If you are interested, you can get the book free at Project Gutenberg.  YouTube boasts several offerings of the entire seven hour audio book as well.

I can imagine Pip having all kinds of crazy dreams after reading Andy’s screenplay. 

The red and green Martian armies likely battled through Pip’s slumber.  She might have drifted from the Edgar Rice Burroughs vision of Mars to become the Queen of Space in “Aelita, Queen of Mars” and fall in love  with an earth man (who probably looked a lot like Frankie).

Or she might have dreamed of going to a futuristic city with all her friends, Andy, Mona, Boris, and Frankie. “Just Imagine” how they might have envisioned the year 1980.  (No, this video is not from the 20s, but it is from 1930. Full movie.)

They sort of missed the mark there, but I guess that depends on how you look at it.  However, I continue to be intrigued by the number of modern ideas that existed in Pip’s day.  cracker-jack-ad-vintage

They didn’t have concession stands inside theaters back then, but there was likely a snack bar or cafe next door.  Some movie houses allowed vendors to hawk popcorn or peanuts in the aisles.  Horsefeathers, they probably munched on Cracker Jacks!

Here’s a recipe for Cracker Jacks from Add a Pinch, in case you don’t have a box handy.

cracker-jacks-vintage-open

Thanks for taking this little jaunt through present-future-past with me.  Mega hugs!

 

Copyright © 2017 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.

Thriving Thursdays: What if I Fall – 1

My heartfelt thanks to Chris Graham, the one and only Story Reading Ape, for hosting me at his terrific blog on the third Thursday of each month.

In order to build my “Motivational” section, I’m posting it this way (rather than the standard re-blog).  However, please visit the Ape to leave a comment at the link below.  Have a thriving Thursday! 

https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/01/19/thriving-thursdays-what-if-i-fall-1-guest-post-by-teagan-riordain-geneviene/ 

Thriving Thursdays: What if I Fall – 1

man-mountains-jumping-or-falling

UnSplash.com

I strive to be positive, otherwise I can’t thrive.  However, the ugly head of reality continually rears up in my face.  So I know that many times I’m actually going to fall.  But no matter how many times — or how hard I fall, the only choice is to drag myself back up and start climbing again.

Of course my self-talk takes a negative turn after a fall, and I ask myself
“What if I fall again?”

Then on the breeze I hear the faintest whisper… “But what if you fly?”

“There is freedom waiting for you,

On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask “What if I fall?”

Oh but my darling,

What if you fly?”

― Erin Hanson

Flying man w umbrella

Wishing you a thriving Thursday,

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.

What to Wear?

Welcome everyone.  I’m glad the weather does not usually effect our ability to have these virtual visits, but horse-feathers, it’s cold out there!  Or at least it is cold for a lot of us.  The question of what to wear is answered by “A coat!”

Life October 1929

Life Magazine, October 1929

Have you guessed that I’m leading into another writing process post?  Some people don’t like “descriptive writing” but I find some level of description helpful, whether I’m writing or reading.  An occasional mention of a character’s clothing can help in several ways.

To me describing a garment is particularly helpful if the story is set in a different era, or an entirely different world.

I enjoyed Robert Jordan’s descriptions of the clothing of the various cultures he built in to the world of his “Wheel of Time” series.  The garments helped define the nationalities. They also helped me keep up with the vast array of characters in that voluminous high fantasy series.

Also a quick mention of clothing can firm up the physical environment or climate.  Your character might wear a tank top or a cozy sweater, sandals or fur-lined boots.  Regardless of the garment it can help the reader feel your fictional world.

“What to wear?” can help develop a character’s personality.  I don’t mean just the items of clothing you choose to dress them, but what they pull out of their closet and why.  For instance, Ralda Lawton, the heroine in Atonement, Tennessee (© 2012) has a tendency to feel frumpy.  Ralda’s “go to” at-home garment is a tattered sweat jacket.  It also shows up in book-2, Atonement in Bloom, (currently in progress).  Meanwhile her friend Bethany (© 2012) consistently wears black.

Also in “Bloom” a new character is easily identified when the townspeople discuss him — because of his bowler hat and suit.  That’s not something one often sees in quaint Atonement, TN.Lew with hat

In writing a series, describing attire can serve as a reminder about aspects of a character.  Bethany’s affection for hats is brought out in “Bloom.”  I used the sequence to let you see the playful side of my Goth accountant.

The sound of a squishing footfall told me I was not alone.  I didn’t have to look to know it was Bethany Gwen.  Maybe it was logic, maybe it was intuition, but I knew it was her. 

Bethany lived farther up the street in the opposite direction.  She was an early riser, an accountant, and a Goth. She was a study in contrasts. 

A vivid color caused me to look down instead of up when I turned toward her.  Bright pink flame and swirl designs covered her shiny black galoshes.  On each boot, amid the pink flames a scull rested atop crossed cutlasses.  I shook my head.  In all of Atonement, only my friend would wear such foot-gear.

“Those are great,” I said of the galoshes, giving her a lopsided smile.

As was her usual habit, nearly everything else she wore was black, including an antique top hat and the ruffled umbrella she carried.  Bethany had tied a hot pink ribbon around the hat to match the boots.  The black garb made the galoshes seem even brighter.

“You like?” she confirmed and stuck one foot out in a precarious way.  “I couldn’t resist when I saw them online,” she said.

“Oh yes,” I said with a chuckle.  “Hey, wait a minute, you’ve cut your hair,” I commented moving a step closer to be sure, since she wore a hat.

Bethany doffed her top hat and bowed.  Then she stood and ruffled her new pixie cut.hats-vintage-magazine-red

As you see, that scene was not really about clothes.  It lets you know about the character’s personality.

Do you have a favorite book that makes use of clothing descriptions?  Or is there a character you enjoy who has a signature item of clothing?  If so, then be sure to mention it in a comment here.  You know I love hearing from you.

Mega hugs!

PS:  My apologies if you can’t get the videos in your location — or if commercials have been added.

Also known as “The Way You Wear Your Hat…”

Happy Anniversary & Pip’s Lemon Christmas

A year ago a very talented chef asked me to share a story at her blog for her blogiversary.  That chef was Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen.  My story was Adelle’s Teapot.  We had a great time working together, so I was thrilled when she asked me again for this years blog anniversary (click here).

Since my short story was going to be from the “universe” of my Three Things Serial Story novella, Suzanne went all out researching recipes of the era.  She even made the perfect table and settings!  So I want to begin with her beautiful work and then finish with my little story.  (Suzanne posted this on New Year’s Day, but I saved my reblogging for this weekend.  I’m still blushing about her kind words.)  

young-lucille-ball-pensive-peach

Young Lucille Ball as Pip

Now, here’s Suzanne from her post of last week…

Happy New Year Everyone.  On the first day of 2017 I wanted to do something special, not only are we starting a brand new year but this is my 5th year of blogging, in a few days will be the anniversary of A Pug In The Kitchen.

Last year for my anniversary post I invited Teagan of Teagan’s Books to guest post and I had so much fun doing it I decided I would ask her again to collaborate with me. Teagan’s books are special, she takes me to a happy place with characters that come to life, mystical, magickal and a little bit of the supernatural are woven into stories that are so beautiful I honestly can’t and don’t want to stop reading. Whether it’s her amazing serials or a novel she never disappoints.  

Teagan graciously penned this snippet with one of my favorite characters, Pip a flapper from the 1920’s. In doing some research of food in that era, citrus, specifically lemons were very popular so that’s what we did, incorporated lemons not only into this delightful snippet but also into a recipe for a lemony dessert.  I found a recipe for a lemon pound cake from the 1920’s that was served at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in their tea room.

The cake was a disaster, it stuck to the bottom of the pan and didn’t come out in one piece,  but I didn’t let that deter me. I managed to salvage the cake, turning it upside down (the top of the bundt cake was missing) and serving it with a lemon sauce — sort of like a lemon pudding cake.

when life gives you lemons...

Pound Cake With Lemon Sauce

You can use homemade cake or just go buy Sara Lee Pound Cake for this. The star is really this pucker worthy lemony sauce served over the cake. It couldn’t be easier to make and has only a few ingredients.

Lemon Sauce

Adapted from a recipe on Epicurious

2/3 cup sugar

2 1/2-3 tbs cornstarch

1 1/2 cup water

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

zest of 2 lemons

1 tbs unsalted butter

Whisk sugar and cornstarch in heavy bottom non reactive saucepan, add the water and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and starts to boil, add the lemon juice and zest and continue cooking until it comes to a boil again and immediately remove from the heat, add the butter and whisk until combined. Refrigerate until slightly thickened and serve. It can be made a day ahead just bring to room temperature before serving.

Did the delivery man join Pip?

 I hope you all enjoy what Teagan has written for us all and again wishing all of you a joyous, healthy, happy and prosperous 2017. Back to you, Teagan…

Now, wasn’t that just the most gorgeous table ever?  It feels anticlimactic, but here’s my little story.

Pip’s Lemon Christmas

lucille-ball-1937-stage-door

It had been a grand and glorious year.  However, it pos-i-lute-ly had ups and downs.  At that moment I was in one of the downs.  Even the long distance telephone call from my best friend Mona failed (miserably I might add) to cheer me.  She might not be sure where she wanted her future to go, but at least it was going somewhere.  All my friends were moving forward, going somewhere.  Me?  It didn’t look like I would ever get anywhere.

Not only was I going nowhere, I seemed to be going there all by myself.  Worse, it was Christmastime.  Even my Pops suddenly had to go up north on business.  I offered to go and keep him company…  Okay, so I begged. 

“Young ladies have no place at business meetings,” he told me in the stern, no nonsense voice that meant I wouldn’t get anywhere with my plea.

Idly, I looked at the lace covered table, lemons artfully arranged as a centerpiece.  I took one of the tangy fruits, tossed it in the air and caught it.  I pondered as I tossed the lemon. 

What would any self-respecting flapper do in such a situation?  Refuse to be a sourpuss, that’s what a flapper would do!

I decided as I tossed the lemon.  If all I had for Christmas was lemons, then I’d make lemonade — so to speak, especially after I found the bottle of hooch Pops had squirreled away.  I would have rather had the champagne I knew he hid some place, but that had been ages ago and I couldn’t remember where I saw it.

Gin will do just fine, I told myself.

Suddenly inspired, I gave the yellow fruit a final toss.  I went to the shoebox that held Granny’s recipes.  She had given me instructions for all sorts of citrus treats, and I was a sourpuss with a sweet tooth.

1920s-lemons-king-tut-brand

A little while later I was cleaning up the kitchen as it filled with citrusy baking aromas.  Just as I picked up the remains of my lemons, a loud knock pounded at the front door.  It startled me so badly that I ran to the door with barely a wipe to my juice drenched hands.

“Delivery!” the words came with another thunderous knock.

I threw open the door and the cool December air hit my face.  It was downright brisk, for Florida anyway.  There was a truck in the driveway and a young man with a name embroidered on his jacket — Ronny.  I took the package, barely looking at the guy who handed it to me.  My hands tore at the twine excitedly, even before I went inside.  Meanwhile Ronny the delivery man wrote something on the receipt clamped to his clipboard.

“If you’ll sign here, Miss?” he asked.

There was a card inside the package from my friend Mona.  The front of it said “I’m sorry you’re alone at Christmas.”  Hurriedly I stuck the edge of the note between my teeth and tucked the package under my arm so I could take the clipboard and sign the form.

Only then did I notice what a cutie the guy was.  He tilted his head all the way to his shoulder and read aloud the note while I signed.  As soon as I heard him speak the words, I blushed scarlet.  To make matters worse, he made a sympathetic aww sound that made me feel like a six year-old.

In my flustered flurry of motions, taking the note from my teeth, trying to stick it back in the package, and pushing my hair back… wouldn’t you know I touched a lemon coated finger to my face.  I yelped as the citrus stung my eyes.  It made tears stream down my cheeks.man_ray_tears

The guy sounded guilty when he pleaded to know what the matter was, as if he had caused it.  The only word I could manage to utter was, “Lemons!”

He pulled my hand away from my face and lightly sniffed it.  He gave a little chuckle that made me want to bean him.

“Yep, that’s lemons all right.  For a minute there I was afraid you got bad news,” he commented.  “But I guess being alone on Christmas Eve is bad enough.”

For some reason his comment made me lose my composure.  I burst out in real tears and sobs, no longer caused by the stinging citrus.  I plopped down on the porch and sat there with the package in my lap.  This upset poor Ronny.  He started blabbering apologies, clearly unsure of why he was asking for forgiveness.

“Look sweet cakes, you’re my last delivery.  Let me help you wash your face and get rid of that lemon juice before you put your fingers in your eyes again,” he offered in a contrite voice.

I insisted that it was okay, and with a sniffle, silenced my sobs.  Too embarrassed to look at him I turned my attention back to Mona’s gift.  Her card had fallen, but Ronny picked it up and handed it to me.  I took it from him and with a deep breath I spoke the words that humiliated me a moment before.

“I’m sorry you’re alone at Christmas,” I read the elegant script on the outside, and then opened the card.  “So you’ll just have to make your own party.”

Antique champagne Glasses

What?  Digging through the packing paper I found two sparkling etched crystal goblets.  I held up one of the glasses to watch the light play on it.  I looked at Ronny, feeling utterly bemused.  He returned my gaze with a twinkle in eyes that I suddenly noticed were a heavenly shade of blue.

Ronny picked up the other empty glass and playfully tapped it against the one I held.  I suddenly remembered where Pops hid the bubbly.

The end

***

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.