Using Leftovers — Research

Welcome back everyone.  I’m happy to see you.

Today let’s discuss leftovers.  How do you (or could you) use leftovers in any of your creative pursuits?  Yes, it could be leftover food — and even better if you post a recipe about it!  However, I mean leftovers in a much broader sense.  Apply it to any craft or process or activity you choose.

Leftover Research — Blue John


My editor brain often serves me leftovers — leftover research.  There have been more than a couple of times when I get so intrigued by a research topic that it comes back, not yet finished with me.  One was the mythology I found while researching The Dead of Winter.  (You can find a few old posts about that epic nestled away in this blog.)  Myths from ancient Wales had little part in that novel, if any.  However the leftover research inspired some characters in Atonement, Tennessee as well as the work in progress, Atonement in Bloom.

Then there was the little feast author  Lord David Prosser provided when he left the gemstone, Blue John as one of the “things” for the original Three Things Serial Story.  Of course I had to Goggle the name, and as research topics sometimes do, it stuck with me.  (You can read the first episode involving Blue John here.)

Years later when I began a steampunk story, The Delta Pearl, as my 2016 National Novel Writing Month project, I needed several character names that were gemstones.  That time Blue John gave me more than a name — it created an entire character.  He even got the area where the gemstone is found as his home, not to mention his

So today I thought I’d share a snippet that used this leftover research.  I’m still working on the middle of The Delta Pearl, but here’s one the scene that includes Blue John, the First Mate of the Delta Pearl, and the heroine, Émeraude Perlezenn.  It’s just a slice of life aboard the strange riverboat in this steampunk tale.


The Mate looked positively frazzled as he rolled charts and tidied up the bridge.  Onyx, the clockwork owl perched on a sexton, and hooted at me as I entered.

“Who-who?” the owl vocalized.

I knew that was the owl’s version of “Who goes there?”  At one point, Captain Cecil Perlog fancied teaching the owl to talk like a pirate.  Granted, the normal rules of nature did not apply to clockwork creatures.  However, the Mate and I managed to convince him that human-like speech was more the province of parrots than owls.

“Oh really, Onyx.  It is not as if you don’t know who I am,” I chided the unrepentant owl.jenna-coleman-as-emeraude

“Who-who?” the owl asked again, but I ignored him.  “Blue, are you all right?” I asked the flustered Mate.

Blue John Boulton had been the first mate of the Delta Pearl for as long as I had been aboard the riverboat.  Born in Derbyshire, he still had the particular English accent of that area.  His dialect produced more than a few unexpected and often archaic sounding turns of phrase.

Though his eyes were the most magnificent shade of blue that was not how he came by the name Blue.  His parents named him for a unique form of fluorite mined in their area — Blue John.  However he was usually called the Mate, or simply Blue.

Blue was typically cool and composed, but seemingly random events could sometimes agitate him.  Some might even say he was paranoid.

“You know how the Delta Pearl can get finicky about such things as borders and boundaries.  I don’t know why it should matter to her…  But I’ve seen it a time or two, when she reacts strongly to crossing a line of demarcation, like the borders between states.  And that’s nothing compared to how she gets with time zones.”

It was not the first time I had seen him in a tizzy.  “When will we reach the boundary for the state line?” I asked.steamboat-mississippi

“Right about dinnertime, all factors remaining constant,” the Mate told me.

“Well, there’s no need to run around like a chicken with its head cut off.  There’s plenty of time.  What can I do to help?” I asked with the sudden realization that the Mate probably took precautions of which I had been unaware.

“Is that another of your grandpa’s sayings?  I love it when you talk like a southern belle,” he told me with a saucy wink, seeming more like the Blue John I knew rather than the frazzled mess that stood before me.

“Just make sure any artifacts,” he began but paused when he saw the perplexed expression on my face.  “That’d be anything, any item, decoration, or furnishing onboard that you just knew was dodgy somehow.  You know, anything that’s ever given you one of those strange feelings.  Anyhow, make sure anything like that is properly secured.”

“You don’t truly think there is that much cause for alarm, do you?” I asked, trying to keep the incredulous expression off my face.

“Better safe than sorry, Émeraude.  Better safe than sorry.  That includes the clockwork creatures,” he replied.Edwardian man

Onyx gave a triple hoot of protest at Blue’s words.  “Nen mate, now then old boy.  I’m sorry about that,” the Mate told the owl.  “It will only be for a short time,” he added consolingly before turning back to me.  “Em, if you can possibly find Amethyst it would be best to store the spider somewhere safe and secure.  I know she’s a hard one to find when she doesn’t want to be seen.  So just give it a try.”

I turned to go, but Blue stopped me, his eyes wide.  “Oh, and that portrait of the woman wearing the cameo like yours — make sure you cover it up!  The whole thing, just hang a sheet over it, or anything you can get your hands on quick.  That’d be the main thing right there.  Cover that portrait.  Thou art kind, Émeraude.  I appreciate the help.”


Nothing exciting… as I said, it’s more of a slice of life aboard the Delta Pearl.  However, I hope you enjoyed visiting the mystical riverboat.  Have a wonder-filled, hug-filled weekend.

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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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.



76 thoughts on “Using Leftovers — Research

    • Oh my! I hadn’t thought about that, Bun. That could add a new element of tension. Hmmm… Since all the crew of the Delta Pearl think of one another as family, I believe Onyx and Amethyst will get along very well. They both like gossip, so they’ve that in common. However… that wouldn’t apply to other clockwork creatures that might get on the riverboat. 😉 Thanks so much for commenting. Have a thriving Thursday. Huge hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great topic, Teagan, on the importance of leftovers. As artists we often delve into something and then find it isn’t quite the time for it, but as you say, it comes back to you, and often can be used again in a new context. I enjoyed your writings on the Delta Pearl~~

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh no, I almost missed this, Teagan, WordPress didn’t send it to me; thank goodness I checked and here it is.
    First, I love leftovers and just had some for lunch, but these are more like treasures. Thank you.
    Next, love that I keep reading “Who-who” and then seeing a picture of Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald, The Impossible Girl from ‘Doctor Who’) – gave me a giggle.
    My only complaint, which is my usual one with you, dear friend, you give us these gems which just makes us drool for more, more, more! Hmmm, I guess that’s a silly complaint, I should just say thank you, as always, for the joy you share with your devoted readers, so, you’re the gem. And you gave us a blogging breadcrumb trail to David who is just too wonderful for words to express.
    Thank you and glad I finally got here, round about and all.
    Mega Better Safe Than Sorry Hugs xoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG!!! I didn’t think about that at all (Who who)… You just made me forget about the cold I came down with today. How fun.
      It’s probably my fault (not seeing the post). I’m not sure what I did or what I was thinking, but I accidentally scheduled this post 24 hours sooner than I meant.
      Regardless, I’m happy to see you Donna! And even happier that you enjoyed this bit of leftover this and that. Mega hugs right back, my friend. Sending good thoughts and wishing you all good things.


  3. Nothing exciting? Teagan, covering up artifacts and securing clockwork creations, that’s exciting lol. It makes for a great “oh what is going to happen moment” thank you for the look inside the Delta Pearl. I too need a folder for the left over research that I have. That’s on my to-do list. Leftover food, now, I have a good one for you. My Mum used to make this, she was Irish. Left over potatoes and cabbage? No problem. Mix the cold potatoes with some flour and add an egg. Mix in the cabbage. Salt and lots of pepper. Turn out onto a floured board and knead into a circular shape. Tear off palm-sized bits and flatten into pancakes. Fry in a little oil till golden brown on both sides. Yummy. Have a great week my friend. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL… now that I look at it that way, I suppose so! Thanks for saying that, Adele. 😀
      Oh yum! We used to make potato patties like that (minus the cabbage), but a thinner batter that was dropped into the pan with a spoon. I like cabbage, so I’m sure those are very tasty. (Since, in these row houses, you can see, hear, and smell everything your neighbors do… When the neighbors have been horrendously noise, I get a “sudden craving” for cabbage! 😈 )
      Wishing you a wonderful new week too. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good morning dear Teagan, Superb post as ever….Interesting to learn about how your Welsh name influences came about and as for Lord David Posser – always a source of inspiration. OK..leftovers…they are so important in every element of our lives…obviously food, but for me (a bit like you with your writing) through my painting, I use so many ‘left over’ ideas. When sifting through old paintings, I see completely new avenues….and from a very practical point of view…I paint over something I don’t like and re use the paper….or tear an old painting up and find interesting details within the whole. I could go on and on 🙂 I think that growing up in post war Britain I learned from a very young age how to re use things, and be excited when I found a way to re-energise a left over. Hope you are enjoying a lovely, peaceful and creative Sunday. Raining, grey and cold in London and so for me a perfect day to do all of the above. Sending hummingbird magic. Janet 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Janet, I could imagine you working in all the “leftovers” you described. And I cringed at the idea of one of your paintings being torn apart. 🙂
      I was born a little after any post-war hardships, but my father (at a young age) fought in WWII. He was from humble circumstances anyway, so everything I did, I was “wasting something.” Drawing or writing was wasting paper. Experiments with cooking were wasting food… etc. So the concept of not wasting anything is very firmly ingrained. I too like to find new uses for things — especially if there is a pretty design or color. I enjoy looking at Pinterest, doing a search for “Up cycle.” Such fun things! I’d love to try and make a bed headboard from an old window, or a room partition from a barn door…
      Have a sublime Sunday. Hummingbird hugs!


      • Yes, people that lived through the war really understood about using everything. When I cleared my Mother’s house…there were drawers filled with old bits of string….etc.:) and my Father was the same way. I like your idea for a headboard…Mine is made from an old screen I painted….which I have flat against the way which I quite like. If I remember, I will send you a picture of it on FB….I have had one of those lovely Sundays – it’s now time for some tv….Janet. xx

        Liked by 1 person

    • There’s no such thing as late at Teagan’s Books, Kathryn. I appreciate you taking time to visit — and this lovely comment. Thank you!
      Now you mention it, I do remember you like owls. So does Olga, as does Viv who stops by once in awhile.
      Onyx the clockwork owl was actually inspired by an adult (“Steampunk Designs”) coloring book from Creative Haven. I color for about an hour before bed, to help get me relaxed. Creative Haven is my favorite line of coloring books.
      Mega hugs and wishes for a wonder-filled weekend right back, my friend. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Loved the snippet, Teagan, and the names you chose are perfect for the delta. The characters’ personalities shine through. Strong voices! I don’t have many leftovers, because I don’t do that much research, but you certainly put yours to good use. ((Hugs!))

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so very much about the characters, Diana. Coming from you that means a lot. 😀 It was fun looking up the Victorian names. I’m already a “rock geek” (my affinity for gemstones), so I enjoyed learning that a handful of unexpected gems were used as names in that era. (I was amazed to see how many modern names trace back to the meaning pearl!) I particularly liked Garnet used as a man’s name. (Yes, I had to include that one. 😉 ) I appreciate you visiting. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Stunning eyes 😉 Blue John indeed. I hope to visit Derbyshire some day. Your leftovers are very good, Teagan. What a great idea to write about the events taking place on the board of a steamboat.
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Many hugs xx

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  7. Pingback: My First Post #myfirstpostrevisited | How the Cookie Crumbles

  8. I enjoyed this little “slice of life aboard the Delta Pearl” Teagan. I spent some time working on a river boat, but just doing the same nightly loop for month after month – no boundaries and certainly no time zones crossed. You make me feel like I missed something special.

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  9. I’ve also visited a couple of the mines where Blue John can be found and Castleton is well worth a visit. (The Peak Cavern, or Devil’s Arse, is irresistible) 🙂 Castleton gets very crowded but it’s a lovely and picturesque place and quite nearby from where I live. Love the chapter, and of course, a clockwork owl… (I also have research and bits of stories I didn’t get to use coming back to haunt me). Thanks, Teagan!

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    • I’m glad to know you could relate to this leftover concept, Olga.
      I read a bit about Castleton and the Devil’s Arse (who could resist that name?) 😀 It does sound marvelous.
      Thank you for sharing this post — and for visiting and commenting. Huge hugs!


  10. Well now I’m intrigued a LOT. Why are we “hiding” things? Why cover the portrait “quickly” – so many questions, so many snippits of clues or red herrings. Exciting and frustrating all at once, girl!
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Thank you and I’m sorry. 😀 I hesitate to post snippets of the Delta Pearl, since I’ve no idea how long I will be working on it. I’m horridly slow… always drained from my “real job”. I’m happy to know I’ve captured your curiosity with this one though.
      I enjoy your visits, Madelyn. Thanks for reading and commenting. Huge hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It still reads in an exciting and intriguing manner Teagan. It also reminds me that I visited the Blue John mine in Derbyshire some years ago when Ii could manage the steps and that was fascinating. There is another mine in the same area which I have never seen which has an underground lake.which I think is called the Speedwell cavern. These two and one more, The Peak Cavern are the only place in the World where Blue John exists.
    xxx Mammoth Hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi David. Thanks for this marvelous comment! I think the mines and area would be a wonderful setting for a story — particularly a fantasy. I restrain myself though. I try to follow the advice “Write what you know.” So when my only knowledge of something is from my research, I limit how much it takes part in a story… being fearful of not capturing the right feeling of a place.
      Yes! I recall seeing the name Speedwell — because I have good friends who now live in Speedwell, Tennessee. I always wondered how their town got its name, so there must be some connection. Perhaps someone from Speedwell cavern immigrated to Tennessee long ago.
      Thank’s so very much for visiting today. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for this kind comment, Dyanna — and for reblogging!
      Haha… one must have something to cause a bit of chaos in a story. Though I’m at a loss to explain how I came up with lines of demarcation causing the insanity. I’m just not wired right — I freely admit it. 😀 Huge hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

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