Hats Off to You — from Atonement TN

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Lilith and mirror

Lilith ponders her reflection, unconcerned about what to wear

Welcome everyone.  While I’m finishing edits to Atonement in Bloom, I chose to make things easy on myself and recycle a “writing process” post. 

Hats Off to You — What to Wear in Atonement, TN

But first, a plea…

What is your blog wearing?

Yes, this is selfish of me.  I see more and more blogs using gray text (like this) in the body of the post.  Even when I “zoom” up to 200% I am unable to read it without difficulty.  Lately I’ve noticed an even lighter tone of gray (like this) — which is flat out painful for me.  I realize other people’s blogs are not “about me” so please don’t think I’m criticizing you.  I’m just letting you know that if I’m not there (and your words look like these), then it’s probably because I simply was not able to read your post.  I’m not complaining, just explaining.  Moving on now.

My Writing Process — Characters & Clothes

Jordan 3 WoT covers

Character’s clothes described to “show” changes in the story

Some people don’t care for “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 even a different world.  It helps set the entire scene.

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.

Jonathan Daniels, Unsplash

“What to wear?” can help develop a character’s personality.  Here on this blog, I can show you a picture.  In a novel I have to show you by describing.  If I wrote about the clothes the woman in the above photo wears, you would build her personality in your imagination.

Also, I don’t mean simply the items of clothing you choose when you dress the character.  If I tell you what they pull out of their closet and why, then it helps define their personalities.  

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 undergoing edits) where the jacket meets its demise.  Meanwhile her friend Bethany (created 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. 

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.

Eunice Stahl, Unsplash

“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.

As you see, that scene was not really about clothes or hair.  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.

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…”

I hope you’ll come back to this “station” Wednesday for the next chapter of Hullaba Lulu, my diesel-punk collaboration with San Francisco artist, Rob Goldstein. 

***

Of course here’s my shameless self-promotion.  Unfortunately no hats involved…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise. 

Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 10.2

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Bot on unicorn Rocking horse The Pyramid 4

Art by Rob Goldstein

I apologize and hope everyone finds this post…. I made a scheduling error…

Welcome everyone.  The diesel-punk train has arrived at Jazz Age Wednesdays.  It’s great to see all you Sheiks and Shebas!  Artist, Rob Goldstein  created a new video and more wonderful images for this episode. Check out his latest video, Am I Blue.   His post, Dance of the Bots features the video.  If you need a comprehensive review of this serial, Rob has a post with links to past chapters

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Due to sabotage to the Tesla coil, Valentino’s train passed into a painting. Heroic efforts by the clockwork angel-bots brought everyone back onto the train.  However, it is still inside some kind of vortex and Valentino’s health continues to diminish. 

This time

In this episode we learn more about what’s in Lulu’s head as she experiences her strange adventure on Valentino’s train.  Pearl has something on her mind as well.  This episode is nearly 2,000 words.  The story picks up where Chapter 10.1 ended.Now to Chapter 10.2.  Do you hear Valentino’s trumpet?

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 10.2

The Theremin

Train travel vortex blue corridor Flight to Egypt-9

Art by Rob Goldstein

The brandy Dynamite intended to help me go to sleep wasn’t as strong as any of the giggle water that flowed through my grandfather’s speakeasy.  It didn’t have much effect on me.  I pretended to fall asleep so that he and Ginger would leave and go about their business ― whatever that was for clockwork creatures.

Dynamite and the other angel-bots risked life and limb to get everyone back on the train, I thought.  Life?  Clockwork creatures?  They must be more than other machines.  Whatever the case, they deserve some time to do what they want, not look after me.

Everyone was worried about Valentino.  After his collapse while his automobile followed the train into the Pittura Metafisica, and the dramatic way the angel-bots got us back inside the train, his deteriorating physical condition couldn’t be kept quiet.  Moon had figured it out when he discovered that the Tesla coil had been sabotaged.  I had a hunch he had blabbed to the other clockwork attendants.

Valentino n Bots in dark room

Valentino with angle-bots, by Rob Goldstein

Humph… gossiping angel-bots.  They seem more human all the time.  They’re definitely not ordinary automatons, I thought.

I was feeling confused and conflicted.  Valentino had separate histories with my grandfather, and later with my mother.  The odd tension between the two men could be fierce, but I sensed something deeper too.

My friends, Rose and Pearl acted like smitten kittens when the handsome and mysterious man was around.  Horsefeathers!  So had that journalist who turned out to be a spy, Tom Driberg.  It seemed the sheik attracted everyone.  Though I couldn’t admit it, not even to myself, I may have carried a torch for Valentino too.

“Speak of the devil and he doth appear,” I muttered as Pearl stepped from her sleeper car and into the corridor.

Morg-rose_009x

Rose and Pearl, by Rob Goldstein

Although Pearl was no devil.  Everybody said she was a darned nice girl.  Her red eyes and nose told me she had been crying.  I thought her crush on Valentino must have been more intense than I realized, but that wasn’t it.

“Hey!  Do you want to go down to the automat for bloody marys?” I asked with a grin and a wink.

It was my nature to put cheering up my friends ahead of the need I felt to be alone.  So I tried to hide my own confusion and sadness.

“Lulu, how can you stand this?  I’ve never been through anything as horrible as this trip.  Everything about this train and the places we’ve been is… upside down,” Pearl said and her tears began go flow.  “It’s terrifying!  And Rose is the worst part of it!  For years, I thought she was my friend, and it turns out she was some kind of spy with Tom Driberg.  She’s from a good family.  I thought she was swell, but she was just using me the whole time, so she could hide.”

I was stunned by Pearl’s vehemence.  I couldn’t think of what to say.  While I searched for words, she looked at me as if my lack of response betrayed her as much as she felt Rose had.

“Rose had big things to hide from,” I began, uncertain of what I felt myself.  “She mislead us about her past, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a friend.”

“You wouldn’t understand.  How could you, with the kind of people you come from?” Pearl continued on a frustrated sob.  “I know life is different for you, and I don’t hold it against you.  But I love my family and I want to go back to them. I need to get back before everyone thinks I’ve run off with a bunch of…” Pearl glanced at me and paused.  “I just want to go home!”

Burgers Lulu Recline

Lulu in the train’s automat… with cheeseburgers, by Rob Goldstein

Pearl turned back to her rooms and slammed the door behind her.  What she said about the kind of people I come from made an empty spot in my stomach.  Maybe Rose wasn’t the only friend who wasn’t what she had seemed.  I wondered if a cheeseburger would help.

Maybe Pearl was right about Rose.  She wasn’t who she let us think, but did that change the person she was?  Maybe what Pearl said about me had just been a poor choice of words, but I started to wonder if either of my friends were the people they made themselves out to be.

Feeling even more despondent than before, I wandered the corridors of the train.  My thoughts briefly went to Tom and my mother, Lauren.  Both of them, although not together, used that tilt-a-whirl to run away, back at the amusement park.  I said good riddance to both of them, but I couldn’t help wondering where they might have landed.  The only thing that seemed certain was that due to the properties of the strange ride, they wouldn’t have gone to the same place.

Valentinto LuLu Tom D Rolls

Valentino, Lulu, and Tom, by Rob Goldstein

I kept walking, trying to get my thoughts to fall into some semblance of order.

A soft light emanated from the control room of the train.  It was dark except for illumination from the various strange devices.  As the comfort of the gentle glows beckoned me, I promised myself to make sure I didn’t bump into anything else.  The last thing I wanted was a repeat of the Tesla coil incident.  I walked into the room stiffly, trying to be careful.

My eyes swept the room to make sure I was alone.  A single tear sneaked onto my cheek.  Then another fell.  Abruptly, rivers of tears ran down my face.  I was sad to think Valentino would die, but I hardly knew him.  So, I didn’t understand my uncontrollable grief.  I felt that hope abandoned me just as my mother had.

A quiet click drew my attention to the large golden control angel.  The Ouija board that was part of the navigation system was attached to the statue.  The board started to exude a thin fog of ectoplasm.  I bent closer to look at it.  Some of my tears dripped onto the Ouija board.

Lulu Valentino in the control room

The train’s control system including angel statue and Ouija board. Art by Rob Goldstein

The soft click came again.  I looked up and saw the stationary angel statue staring me right in the eyes.  So, it had looked at me that other time!  I took a breath intending to tell it off when the heart-shaped planchette from the Ouija suddenly jumped off the board and shot right past my nose!

The planchette had a small hole to hold a pencil that could be used for automatic writing.  The heart-shaped piece of wood flew over to the Orthophonic Victrola.  (Chapter 4.)  The Victrola had been connected to an odd looking device, which had an antenna at either end.

I straightened my arms at my sides and clinched my fists, so that I wouldn’t touch the thing.  I heard another click from the control angel statue.  Her eyes were opened very wide.  Until the moment before, I hadn’t thought she was completely immobile.  For all I knew, she might up and walk across the room, but her only movement was in her eyes.

She repeatedly turned her eyes from me to the device.

I gingerly stretched one hand closer to an antenna.  She blinked.  I drew my hand back.  She blinked twice.  I took a deep breath and reached with both hands ― a single hard blink.

Control room The Angel_0322-

The control room of Valentino’s train, by Rob Goldstein

I moved my hands near the antennae.  The device began to whine and moan like a ghost.  The sound was amplified by the Orthophonic Victrolla and the loudspeaker sent it throughout the train.  I jerked back and the sound stopped.

The sound of rapid metal footsteps preceded Moon’s arrival.  The clockwork engineer bounced on his toes excitedly.  I started blabbing that I hadn’t touched anything, that the angel told me to do it.

“No, Miss!  This is wonderful.  Do it again!” Moon cried in answer to my defensive babble.  “None of the angel-bots have been able to make the theremin work.  It doesn’t seem to respond to clockwork creatures.”

“The what?” I asked skeptically.

“Valentino is deteriorating quite rapidly,” Moon explained in his subtly Spanish accent.  “The theremin should stabilize his condition, but none of us could cause it to make music.  Please, Miss.  Put your hands out again.”

I did as Moon asked, but the hellish sound started again, so I drew back.  He made motions over the machine, but it had no effect.  I tried to copy his movements.

The Angel -Ship-Dark

Angel control system, Art by Rob Goldstein

“The antennae sense the relative position of the thereminist’s hands and the control oscillators,” he began explaining in techno-babble. “With one hand you control the frequency, and the volume with the other.  The electric signals from the theremin are amplified by the Orthophonic Victrola and sent throughout the train by the loudspeaker.”

“And this will help Valentino?” I asked, perplexed.

“It is unlikely to heal him, but it is my theory that the right frequencies from the theremin will stabilize him, hopefully long enough for healing to be found,” Moon told me.

“Just as the instruments of the train have to be attuned to one another, so does Valentino have to be attuned to the train.  That balance was sabotaged, as you know,” the blue-gold angel-bot continued.  “Yes, keep moving your hands like that.  The vibrations are pleasing so I think you are using the correct frequency.”

Bots w Huge angel blue Bots Get Down

Art by Rob Goldstein

What at first sounded like ghostly moaning, under Moon’s direction became more musical.  Although it was still an eerie sound.  Several of the clockwork attendants quietly gathered in the control room.  The odd music seemed to please them, but in a soothing, almost mesmerizing way.

An indigo colored light suffused the area.  A collective sigh came from the angel-bots.

The calm was broken when the trumpet levitated from the place where it rested.  It blew a single sustained note, an A.

“You may stop now, Miss.  The harmonic spectrum is in balance,” Moon explained, though it didn’t make a lick of sense to me.  “That should help Valentino… at least temporarily.”

He picked up the Tesla coil to examine it and I cringed, remembering how wild the lightning from it could become.  Moon still bore the scorch marks.  A series of clicks came from the clockwork engineer.  The sound reminded me of someone saying “tut tut.”

Portal Valentino_Entering ND-2

Valentino out of tune, by Rob Goldstein

“Do you know how to fix him permanently?” I asked and hated the pleading tone of my voice.

Moon shook his head and looked down sadly.

“The adjustments the theremine will not hold.  I will have to ask you to repeat the process from time to time.  Is that agreeable to you?” he asked and I nodded mutely.

The planchette started scratching where it had landed by the theremin.  Moon quickly got a sheet of paper and slid it under the pencil of the heart-shaped tool.  It zigzagged and looped across the paper.  Abruptly it stopped.  I looked at the product of the automatic writing.

“It drew a big triangle and wrote secret chamber?” I read aloud.

Bot Valentino Lulu inside train windows Flight to Egypt-4

Art by Rob Goldstein

Suddenly it felt as though the floor dropped out from under me.  There was a heavy thud and a hiss similar to tires spraying gravel.

“I don’t think that was a triangle,” Moon stated as he gazed out the large windows of the control room.

The train had stopped.  The clockwork attendants were quick to make sure all the mechanisms of the of the train were in place.

At first, I thought the scene beyond the window was nothingness.  Then I realized it was sand… an endless ocean of sand.

With a whoosh, the sky darkened.  I gazed at multicolored wings in flight before they quickly vanished.

My eyes followed the direction of the wings.  Squinting, in the distance I saw it.  The Great Pyramid.

Sphinx Tesla Tower

Composite image by Teagan R. Geneviene

***

The End

***

Bushwa!  Lulu is afraid Valentino is going to die.  Well, he said he would if he’s separated from the train.  Will there be time to save him?  Tune in again next week!

Real World Notes

The Theremin.  Originally known as the ætherphone/etherphone or thereminophone, a theremin is an electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the performer. It is named after the Westernized name of its Soviet inventor, Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928.

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there, and terrific blog posts too. 

Stay tuned for more spontaneously written fun.  The remaining things Rob sent to drive Chapter 10 are Wave Frequency Machine and Hidden Door.  Your guess is as good as mine for what I’ll do with those things. 

I hope to see you will be at the station again next week to catch the diesel-punk train.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion for my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip, and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Books set in TN & Atonement, TN Revisited

Saturday, June 23, 2018

I can’t believe that it was way back at Christmastime, 2012 when I published my urban fantasy novel Atonement, Tennessee.  That makes it downright embarrassing that I still haven’t released the second book!  It’s written, but I have little time to give the editing and proofing process.  Although I’m getting closer.  

Marketing Graphic for Teagan's Books

Image by Chris Graham

It might not be okay for me to mention it outright, but if you miss the “Sookie” books, now that the well loved series set in a small Louisiana town (with HBO series based on it), has come to an end (wink-nudge-wink), then I think you will like my Atonement, Tennessee series.  There are no vampires (not that I know of), rather there are characters loosely inspired by ancient Celtic mythology.

I wanted this post to be about more than me.  I was surprised to learn how many books had the (USA) state of Tennessee as their setting.  Here’s a Goodreads page listing amazing books that are set in Tennessee

Many of you are new and not familiar with my novel.  So while I’m scrambling to get Atonement in Bloom (book 2) out there, I thought I would use my Saturday posts to revisit that… erm, let’s say unique little town.  Today we’ll get reacquainted with the the heroine and narrator, Ralda (Esmeralda) Lawton.  Here are some fun (I hope) facts about her.

1.  Is she fictional or a historic person?

Ralda-in-car_dreamstime_xs_28934268

Ralda Lawton, Dreamstime Image

Ralda (Esmeralda) Lawton is a fictional character.  Atonement, Tennessee, the first book in the series, was a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novel.  I designed everything about that story to be something I could do in the single month of NaNoWriMo — in other words, fast.  Typically none of my characters are based on real people.  However, with the need for speed in mind, I let Ralda share some of my outlooks. Plus her profession is similar to mine.  But she isn’t me, I promise.

Ralda is the narrator for all the Atonement books.  However, her cat, Lilith, takes a turn for important scenes that Ralda could not witness.

Lilith and mirror

Lilith, Dreamstims

2.  When and where is the story set?

Following the advice “Write what you know,” I wanted a small southern town as the setting.  I chose Tennessee for the state of my fictional town.  (Even making up a fictional town was also intended for speed – it wouldn’t need as much research!)  Yet what to name this town?  I was thinking about what kinds of people might live there, their attitudes and opinions.  Suddenly “Atonement” popped into my mind as the name for the town.  So my setting is the fictional town (and the title), Atonement, Tennessee.

3.  What should we know about the heroine?

That’s really hard to say without giving away parts of the story.  I don’t want to spoil anything for people who have not read the book.

3 friends oval

Neighbors & Friends, Dreamstime

I’ll tell you that Ralda has been hurt badly in the past, and more than once.  She’d like to keep an open mind about things like relationships, but she’s afraid to try.  Besides, she doesn’t think the “pluses” outweigh the “minuses.”  On the other hand, she makes friends readily.  If she cares about someone, she’s fiercely protective.

She’s highly intuitive, and smart.  Those assets lead her to unravel the mysteries that surround her in her new mysterious old house, in Atonement, Tennessee.

4.  What messes up her life?

Ultimately, that would be (repeatedly) the supernatural beings that either live in or frequent the strange little town and the old estate house in which she lives — and its graveyard.   Yes, I said graveyard. 

5.  What is the personal goal of the character?

Ralda Lawton just wants a peaceful life in her new town.  She succeeded in getting away from the big city by moving to quaint Atonement, Tennessee.  However, so far, her new life has been anything but quiet.  How could she know the tiny town rests on a very powerful ley line?  It seems to draw mythological entities like a magnet.  (I took creative license with the ley line idea and their actual locations.)
TN_Ley-Lines

6.  Do the same characters return for book 2?

You’ll meet many familiar characters in book-2, Atonement in Bloom.  There are also several new supernaturals in town for the sequel.  And yes… I do intend a third book for the series.  Eventually I plan to do a “three things” type serial for it here on this blog.  That seems to be the only way I have time to write. 

 If you have any questions about the “Atonement-verse” feel free to leave them in a comment.  I love to hear from you.

***

Here’s my own shameless self-promotion…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise. 

Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 10.1

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lulu Valentino chaos outside train Arrival 1

Lulu & Valentino see chaos outside the train when it passes into a Pittura Metafisica, by Rob Goldstein

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays, Sheiks and Shebas!  I’m happy to see you here at the station for this diesel-punk, pantser story.  Artist, Rob Goldstein  created a new video that serves as a visual recap for the series up to this point.  Rob’s post, Hullaba Lulu: The Music Goes Round talks about what he did.  If you want a more comprehensive review, he generously made a post with links to all the past chapters

(Click here for Rob’s entire collection of videos.)

This time I didn’t even make it to the first of the three things Rob sent for our tenth chapter… but I’m still calling this episode Chapter 10.1.  It wasn’t an official “thing” but as I was writing, I realized that I needed an electromagnet. So that’s my title for this segment.  The action picks up where Chapter 9.3 stopped.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Valentino told Gramps and Lulu that he is connected to the train and can’t be separated from it.  Worse, he said he doesn’t have long to live.

“I have kept the knowledge to myself, because you did not share it,” Moon began.  “But I know that your connection to the train has deteriorated.  I think the damage to the Tesla coil slowly eroded as your condition became worse.” 

Cotton Club Valentino on Car

Valentino reclining atop his Rolls-Royce outside the Cotton Club, by Rob Goldstein

Valentino’s train was out of control and headed straight for the Cotton Club.  However, instead of crashing into the nightclub, the train traveled into a Pittura Metafisica mural on the outside wall of the club. That created a strange vortex, pulling the Rolls-Royce and all the angel-bots into the painting along with the train.

Do you hear Valentino’s trumpet? 

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 10.1

Electromagnet

Rocking horse bot pulled after train The Pyramid 1

Things being pulled behind the train as it passes into a Pittura Metafisica

As the train went into the Pittura Metafisica of the bizarre Egyptian scene, I was mortified.  Valentino couldn’t be physically far away from the train.  Worse he said he didn’t have long to live.  So, I had to think that any separation at all would be more than he could take.

Yet I didn’t have time to focus on that thought because as the train charged into the painting it pulled the Rolls-Royce, the clockwork angel-bots, and a few nearby objects into the painting with it.

Colors whirled outside the vehicle’s windows.  Valentino grew pale and his hands shook.  He was telling Gramps something about “vortex” but I could barely hear them over the noise Rose and Pearl made. 

General vortex Flight to Egypt-5

Vortex, by Rob Goldstein

Giving a girlish scream wasn’t something I was likely to do, not after what Valentino said about dying back at the Cotton Club.  That weighed too heavily on my mind for me to have half a thought about being pulled inside a painting. 

Besides, it all happened so fast, there wasn’t time to divide one thought from the other.  My pals had not been at the table.  They didn’t know about Valentino.  There hadn’t been time to tell them, but I figured that wasn’t mine to tell anyway.  I didn’t know whether or not Valentino meant it to be a secret.

Our immediate peril became clear.  Outside, two angel-bots seemed to lose their hold on the vehicle.  When Ginger cried out I knew one of those bots was Dynamite.  By his blueish coloring the other bot had to be Moon. 

I gasped in consternation as they tumbled away from the Rolls.  Then I realized that they let go of the Rolls deliberately in a rash attempt to reach the train.  As Dynamite hurtled forward he grabbed hold of the railing on the train.  He caught Moon’s arm and the two of them gradually climbed onto the train and hurried inside.

Bot Valentino Lulu inside train windows Flight to Egypt-4

Train entering Pittura Metafisica

Soon all the angel-bots had made a chain, in much the same way that people would make a human chain to rescue a skater who fell through the ice.  Although I had only seen that done in pictures.  Clumsy as I was, that was one calamity that had never befallen me.  But then, I had never been ice skating.

Dynamite and Moon emerged from the train and wheeled out a machine about the size of a Victrola cabinet.  It was topped with a cylinder and a lot of wires, and the cabinet had a bunch of knobs and even more wires.  Valentino muttered the word electromagnet.

Moon twisted the knobs.  I heard a loud hum.  The automobile surged forward, connecting itself to the train.  The angel-bots gathered to make sure it was firmly attached.  Then they helped Pearl, Rose, Gramps, and me get on the train.

Briefly I wondered why the angel-bots weren’t stuck to the electromagnet.  I supposed they really were made from gold, rather than from some fake metal.  Before I could be astonished by that fact, a question from Pearl caused me to whirl away from the machine and the bots.

“Where is Valentino?  Is he still in the Rolls?” Pearl asked.

Valentino Bots Green Metropolis 6

Valentino with Angel-bots, by Rob Goldstein

There was commotion around the automobile.  Valentino had collapsed.  So many of the angel-bots surrounded him that I couldn’t tell whether he was even conscious.

I tried to follow the clockwork figures who carried Valentino, but there were so many that they blocked the corridor.  I could see my grandfather’s hat.  He was taller than the others.  I was relieved that Gramps was with him.

Suddenly Dynamite and Ginger were beside me.

“Moon is quite skilled.  He can’t cure Valentino, but I know he will help,” Dynamite said in a comforting southern drawl.

“You should get some rest,” Ginger added.

I hadn’t noticed we were right outside my sleeper car.  Ginger opened my door and motioned me inside.  She plumped the pillows on my bed.  Next thing I knew, Dynamite handed me a snifter of brandy.

Lulu towel Bots Metropolis 4

Angel-bots looking after Lulu, by Rob Goldstein

I stood motionless, gazing in fascination at the chaos that fled by my window.  Wildly shifting scenes rushed past. 

Then, strangest of all I saw a vast multicolored wing.  Whatever it was must have been flying directly above the train. 

***

The End

***

Holly Hannah! I’m glad everyone is back on the train.  But applesauce!  Lulu has no idea whether Valentino is okay, but I’m glad it looks like Gramps is with him.  I wonder what the Sam Hill has “vast multicolored” wings?  Tune in again next week to see if the “things” answer any of those questions!

Real World Notes

Westinghouse surgical electromagnet 1915

Westinghouse surgical electromagnet 1915

Ectromagnet. A device in which a magnetic field is produced by an electric current.  William Sturgeon invented the electromagnet in 1825.  Sturgeon’s device came a mere five years after a Danish scientist discovered that electricity emitted magnetic waves. Sturgeon harnessed this idea and conclusively demonstrated that the stronger the electric current, the stronger the magnetic force.

His first electromagnet was a horseshoe-shaped piece of iron wrapped with a loosely wound coil. When a current was passed through the coil the electromagnet became magnetized, and when the current was stopped, the coil was demagnetized. It could lift nine pounds with a seven-ounce piece of iron wrapped with wires through which the current of a single cell battery was sent.

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there, and terrific blog posts too. 

Stay tuned for more spontaneously written fun.  The things Rob sent to drive Chapter 10 are The Theremin, Wave Frequency Machine and Hidden Door.  Your guess is as good as mine for what I’ll do with those things. 

I hope to see you will be at the station again next week to catch the diesel-punk train.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the berries!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion for my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip, and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

June is Jumping with Books

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Lulu on Atonement books

Rob Goldstein’s Lulu dances on my Atonement books

Teagan:  Lulu! What the Sam Hill are you doing here?  I’m trying to work on Atonement in Bloom.  You are not part of the “Atonement-verse.” 

Lulu:  I figured you could use my help.  I mean, Lilith is the cat’s pajamas, but she’s snoozing.  You were supposed to finish that novel before spring ended.  I hate to break it to you, Sheba, but you’re about out of time.

Teagan:  Ha-ha… the cat is the cat’s pajamas.  If you don’t skedaddle back to Valentino’s train right now, I’ll sing Don’t Bring Lulu.  I know how you hate that.  How am I supposed to do anything else when you keep doing the Lindy Hop into my head?  Now scoot!

I’ve seen so many great books making their debuts already this month!  Silly me (after all this time) I thought Atonement in Bloom would be one of them.  Unfortunately it doesn’t seem likely. I’ve promised myself all year that I would publish Bloom this spring.  But the only one I’ve been kidding is myself.  The solstice is nearly here.  

So, I decided to feature other new releases for this month — or at least the ones I know about.  I humbly apologize if I missed anyone. That seems unavoidable.  Let me know and I’ll do a follow-up.  In no particular order…

Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves Story and Cookbook.  Authors: Robbie and Michael Cheadle.  Blog:  Robbie’s Inspiration

 

 

 

Soul Swallowers. (Pre-order).  Author: D. Wallace Peach.  Blog: Myths of the Mirror

 

 

 

The Gemini Connection.  Author:  Teri Polen.  Blog:  Books and Such.

 

 

 

 

Cusp of Night Mae Clair

Cusp of Night.  Author: Mae Claire  Blog:  From the Pen of Mae Clair

 

 

 

 

Extra InningsExtra Innings.  Author:  Don Massenzio.  Blog

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet and Sassy Weddings (boxed set).  Includes “Hold ‘Em” from author Jacquie Biggar.  Blog: It’s All About the Romance

 

 

The Contract coverThe Contract.  Authors: John W. Howell and Gwen M. Plano.  Blogs: Fiction Favorites.  http://www.gwenplano.com/

 

 

 

So many wonderful writers with brilliant books.

Happy reading!

I hope you’ll be at the station Wednesday to get aboard the diesel-punk train for Hullaba Lulu.  It’s my latest pantser serial, featuring illustrations by Rob Goldstein.

What the heck.  Let’s make it a party!

Hugs!

 

 

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 9.3

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Featured Image -- 23201

Lulu and Valentino dance in a Pittura Metafisica, by Rob Goldstein

Hey there, Sheiks and Shebas! Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays. You already know I’m being a pantser as I write this story — flying by the seat of my pants, not planning anything.  All the details, major and minor are triggered by the sets of things from Rob Goldstein,  who creates the gorgeous images and videos for this series. (Click here for Rob’s entire collection of videos.)

Today I’m featuring music from the Jazz Age. There are videos for songs mentioned in this chapter from YouTube as well as some from Rob. I’m giving you those music breaks since this episode is about 2,000 words in length. That will help you save your place if you don’t have time.  If you don’t like long posts — you’ve been warned.

With today’s episode of Hullaba Lulu I’ve finally gotten to the third “thing” for Chapter 9 of the series.  The action picks up where Chapter 9.2 stopped.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Everyone but Lulu and the rose-gold angel-bot, Ginger had already left the train to go to the Cotton Club.  To make up time, they took Valentino’s Rolls-Royce. Unfortunately, Lulu doesn’t know how to drive! 

Valentino Trumpet_The Mystic_Dark-2

Valentino and the trumpet, by Rob Goldstein

This time

Valentino makes a dire revelation.

Now to Chapter 9.3.  Do you hear Valentino’s trumpet? 

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 9.3

Star of David

Lulu bending Valentino car Cotton Club

The runaway Rolls-Royce ploughed down the street sign for 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue.  That slowed the automobile.  On the outer wall of the building I saw a big mural that had pyramids, a sphinx, and a strange tower.  I had only been to the Cotton Club a few times.  I didn’t remember any murals on the outside, but the posters on the sidewalk looked familiar.

The Rolls-Royce bounced up over the curb and rolled to a stop right in front of the door to the Cotton Club.

Boom-boom had managed to bring the fortuneteller booth that housed the automaton, Sipsing.  He and another angel-bot used a hand dolly to wheel the booth.  I wondered at Boom-boom’s fascination with the gypsy automaton.  It was not nearly as advanced as the angel-bots and it couldn’t communicate the way they did.  Maybe it was like a pet to him.

Cotton Club-Egyptian outside The Flight to Egypt-12

Cotton Club with Pittura Metafisica, by Rob Goldstein

Ginger and I got out of the vehicle.  I bent over to inspect Rolls.  A bit of steam trickled out from under the hood, but I figured it would be okay.

A group of angel-bots ran out and hustled us into the club.  As the door opened I heard the song “I Wanna Be Loved by You,” and knew that it must be Dynamite singing.  He carried a torch for Ginger.

The rose-gold angel-bot walked into the club just as he sang Boop-boop-de-boop!  Applause erupted from the audience when they saw Ginger.  With so many bots in the crowd, the clapping sounded like hundreds of little cymbals.  I gave Ginger a little push to get her up onto the stage with Dynamite.

Bot on stage Val Lulu Cotton Club-9

Dynamite at The Cotton Club, by Rob Goldstein

I had a glimpse of Rose and Pearl headed backstage.  I figured they would sing or dance, or both.  Those Shebas loved the spotlight.  My eyes found Gramps and Valentino at a table, so I joined them.  Gramps commented on the mural I noticed outside when I arrived.  My grandfather asked if Valentino painted it.  The enigmatic man nodded.

Earlier when I wondered if the Cotton Club might be like the strange version of Atlantic City, I was right.  I was pretty sure it was “sideways” too.  I had never seen a more elegant, sophisticated group of people at a night club.  Their clothes were extraordinary.  Those weren’t just glad rags, they were ecstatic!  Wild and wonderful colors and designs, they didn’t conform to any convention or norm of fashion I had ever seen.

Valentino_close Hat

Valentino, by Rob Goldstein

A woman at the table next to ours wore an exquisite Star of David pendant.  It was made from some rare and precious metal that was unknown to me, except that the angel-bot I named Moon had the same metallic blue finish.  In the center of the star was a sapphire as big as an eyeball.

When I looked at Valentino, I saw the woman’s Star of David reflected in the depths of his dark eyes.

Dynamite and Ginger left the stage.  They were followed by Pearl and Rose.  I took a sharp breath when I heard the first chord of the music.  I hated that song!  I slouched down in my chair and tried to pretend that I didn’t exist as Rose took the first part.

 

“You can bring Pearl, she’s a darned nice girl,” Rose sang and pointed to her friend.  “But don’t bring Lulu.”

I slid farther down in my chair.

“You can bring Rose with her turned up nose.  But don’t bring Lulu!” Pearl sang and they both pointed to me.

In utter mortification, my eyes wildly searched for the exit.  Gramps laughed at the antics of my pals.  Valentino smiled.

“Lulu, are you well?” he asked me in a puzzled voice.

My eyes and nose were the only thing above the tabletop, I had sunk down so far.  I realized there was only one way around the embarrassing scene.  Like the man said, “If you can’t lick ’em, jine ’em.”

Lulu n bots onstage

With a motion to angel-bots Wicky, Wacky, and Woo I went to the stage and we sang “Back in Nagasaki.”  When I belted out the words, “Hot ginger and dynamite,” the angel-bots in the audience got so excited that some of them jumped up onto the table tops.

As I went onstage, I saw Pearl and Rose move onto the dance-floor with a couple of swell looking Oliver Twists.  Those four were such great dancers that I almost forgot the song while I watched them.  However, I lost track of my pals while I sang.  When my number was over, I went back to the table with Gramps and Valentino.  The evening was beginning to wind down anyway.

“I haven’t seen you leave that train of yours without the trumpet,” Gramps commented to Valentino.  “I don’t pretend to understand the many mysteries of the train, but it seems like you can use the trumpet to make the train come to you.”

The pained look on the enigmatic man’s face suggested my grandfather hit a nerve.  Valentino gazed down at the brightly polished horn.  He swallowed hard.  His eyes were haunted as he looked from Gramps to me.

Gramps Valentino contorl room lightning

Gramps and Valentino, Tesla machine on the left

“I’m not able to go more than a short distance from the train,” Valentino began in a rough voice, but stopped to clear his throat.  “Lately I can’t leave the train at all unless I have some aspect of it with me.  The trumpet, the Rolls-Royce, the Ouija board, and other things are all aspects of the train.”

“When your daughter, Lauren traveled with me I underestimated her,” Valentino began with a regretful look at Gramps.  “There was another passenger, the most brilliant man I’ve ever met.  His name was Nikola Tesla.  Your daughter mesmerized him.”

Both men turned their eyes briefly to me.  Maybe they thought I would be defensive.  I didn’t know how my grandfather might feel about something negative being said about my mother, but I already understood what kind of person she was.

Bots and People Cotton Club-5-22--3

Inside the Cotton Club, by Rob Goldstein

“Wait a minute,” I objected.  “I’ve heard of Tesla.  He was too smart to be undone by a choice bit of calico.  Lauren couldn’t have been smarter than him.”

“No,” Valentino continued.  “However, Tesla was fragile in a way.  He also had phobias that Lauren used to her advantage.  I’ve never seen anyone get so upset at the touch of human hair.  Or the sight of a woman’s earrings…  It’s no wonder Nikola liked the angel-bots.”

“Lauren dissected an angel-bot to take the part that gives them intuition.  She used that plus alcohol and drugs to mesmerize Tesla.  Then she used the knowledge she pulled from him, along with the angel-bot’s mind…  I think she meant to take over the train and failed.  But in her attempt, she altered my connection to the train.  That’s why I can’t leave the train without having an aspect of it with me.  Now that glitch in my affinity with the train has grown,” Valentino stated, but paused and stared down at the trumpet.

La Garçonne-ectoplasm

Lauren on the train, by Rob Goldstein

“As my affinity with the train deteriorates, so do I,” Valentino explained.  “I haven’t much longer to live.”

Applause for the jazz band interrupted that horrible revelation.  My grandfather was speaking quietly to Valentino.  Both their voices had serious tones.  I was too stunned by what Valentino divulged to hear what they said.  I was speechless.  I couldn’t even look at either of them.  I stared blindly at that trumpet and desperately fought tears.

The crowd had thinned.  A group was gathered around the fortuneteller booth.  The familiar words of the automaton cut into my fugue.  Dazed, I turned to watch.

“Sipsing the Gypsy King knows all, sees all.  What would you divine?” it asked.

Question after question was posed.  The automaton dealt tarot cards in response.  Sometimes he made a mechanical remark about the cards.  Other times he remained silent.  Though I stared, I wasn’t paying attention until I realized that Sipsing’s audience had quieted to worried sounding murmurs.

Valentino abruptly stalked to the group.  His long legs took him across the room in a few strides.  His expression reminded me of the way he looked when he pulled me away from that Pittura Metafisica he’d painted.

Gilded Tarot Chariot.jpg

The Gilded Tarot, The Chariot

“Sipsing!” Valentino commanded the automaton.  “What is wrong?  What do you divine?”

The fortuneteller dealt a single tarot card ― the Chariot

Valentino went pale.

Just then Moon, the engineering-bot burst into the club.  His blue-gold finish was easily recognizable.  I saw several scorch marks marred the shine.

“You were to remain with the train,” Valentino challenged the angel-bot.

Moon was so distraught that could barely form a sentence.  His clockwork mechanisms clicked and whirred erratically.

“It’s the Tesla coil,” the engineering-bot blurted out.  “It’s shooting lightning randomly, haphazardly!”

In his excitement, Moon’s Cuban accent more pronounced than it was when I met him.  However, that wasn’t what took me aback.  Just before I left the train, I had nearly knocked the Tesla machine off its shelf.  I caught it, but when I put it back, I wasn’t sure if I set it down exactly the way it had been.

Valentino looked at me and I tried to act casually, but I couldn’t meet his eyes.

“I noticed the Tesla coil was turned backward.  Naturally that wouldn’t do any harm,” Moon added.

Bless the blue-gold bot, he gave me a quick reassuring glance.  I relaxed and looked Valentino on the eyes, and then raised my eyebrows inquiringly.

“But that made me examine the device,” Moon continued.  “I found that it had been changed, sabotaged.  It appears the initial sabotage was done quite some time ago.”

Moon paused awkwardly, looking down at his feet.  I placed my hand on his arm and urged him to continue.  He looked at Valentino.

“I have kept the knowledge to myself, because you did not share it,” Moon began.  “But I know that your connection to the train has deteriorated.  I think the damage to the Tesla coil slowly eroded as your condition became worse.”

Valentino cleared his throat uncomfortably.  I gradually became aware of a noise outside the club.

“Surely that didn’t cause you to leave the train,” Valentino stated.

“It’s the train!” Moon cried.  “The Tesla coil triggered the train.  Neither the control angel nor I could get it in check.  It will break free any moment.”

At that moment the trumpet spun around on the table.  Of its own accord the horn blared out the notes that had been sensuous when Valentino played them ― and it played the notes backward.

I thought Valentino’s eyes would pop out of his head.  That vein in his throat started throbbing.  The ground trembled.  The roar of the train filled the room.  I knew it must be headed right for the Cotton Club.

Everyone ran outside.  I saw that Pittura Metafisica of pyramids and a sphinx that Valentino painted on the wall at some past date.  My eye was drawn to the sphinx because oddly, it wore a Star of David as an earring ― and the earring was glowing.  Abruptly I realized the odd tower was a Tesla tower.  The picture came to life and lightning bolts shot from the tower as the train bore down upon us.  The pyramid in the painting started to glow.

Sphinx Tesla Tower

Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Valentino played the trumpet furiously, but it had no effect on the rapidly approaching train.

It was in sight by then and looming large.  Strangely it was the caboose that headed toward us.  The train was going backward.

Valentino yelled something about the Rolls Royce.  Gramps made sure Pearl, Rose, and I got into the car.  Some angel-bots squeezed into the car too.  We were packed like sardines.

It looked like my grandfather meant to give up his seat.  He would be left behind to whatever disaster headed our way.  Then Ginger got in and pulled Gramps inside to sit in her lap.  Any angel-bots that couldn’t fit inside the vehicle held onto the outside.

Somebody pressed the starter switch and Valentino hit the accelerator.  The Rolls shot out of the way just as the caboose rolled past.  I cringed and threw up my hands reflexively because I was sure the train would crash into the wall of the Cotton Club.

However, it went into the Pittura Metafisica.  I don’t mean it hit the mural, I mean it went into it!

Since Valentino said he could not be separated from the train, I was horrified.  He said he didn’t have long to live.  The train vanished into the painting, Valentino would surely die right away!

Wake of train travel red photo Flight to Egypt-8

Image by Rob Goldstein

***

The End

***

Bushwa!  Lulu is afraid Valentino is going to die.  Well, he said he would if he’s separated from the train.  Will there be time to save him?  Tune in again next week!

Real World Notes

The Cotton Club.   It was the place to be for music in the 1920s. The club’s beginning is a bit dubious with gangsters and such.  In 1920, Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion, opened the Club Deluxe on 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue in the center of Harlem. Owney Madden, a white gangster, took over operations in 1923, and renamed the venue the Cotton Club. However, it was legendary for featuring black entertainers.

Val Lulu inside club Lurking Lauren (1)

Art by Rob Goldstein

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there, and terrific blog posts too. 

Stay tuned for more spontaneously written fun.  The things Rob sent to drive Chapter 10 promise to be a big challenge for me — Wave Frequency Machine, The Theremin, and The Oscillation Overthruster!  Right now, I have no idea where the seat of my pantser pants will fly with those things.  Wish me luck!  I hope to see you on our diesel-punk train again next week.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion for my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip, and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Book Launch: The Contract by John W. Howell & Gwen M. Plano

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Hi, Lulu.  This is a surprise.  I wasn’t expecting you until tomorrow for Jazz Age Wednesdays.

Lulu purple sofa

Bushwa! I was too excited to stay cooped up in your brain.  It’s time to launch John & Gwen’s new book.  You didn’t forget did you?

Don’t give me that look, Lulu. Of course I didn’t forget.  Oh, there’s a bit of horseradish on your cheek.  Was it another late night with free flowing giggle water?  Never mind — I don’t think I want to know.  On to the main attraction.  Here’s John and Gwen to tell us all about their book. 

Take it away John and Gwen!

The CONTRACT

between heaven and earth

By John W. Howell & Gwen M. Plano

Thank you, Teagan and Lulu, for inviting us to join you today. We are so grateful to be featured on your blog to share a little about our new book. All your stories are so fanciful and good and we think some elements of ours would be comfortable here. All the best to you!

The Contract

Available on Kindle and Paperback

Kindle priced at $0.99 for the introduction.

The CONTRACT is a different story for writers John W. Howell and Gwen M. Plano. For either of them, it is their first attempt at co-authorship. After a year of Hurricane Harvey and other challenges, they have created, what they have termed, an inspirational thriller that bridges heaven and earth.

Here is the blurb:

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance, and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires.

Howell the Contract composite

Trailer

Here is an excerpt.

He stood listening to the whoop-whoop of a helicopter approaching from somewhere beyond the tree line. He didn’t like the sound and could see no reason for anyone to fly a chopper at such a low altitude. His experiences in the Middle East alerted him to an imminent attack. “Something’s not right, Sarah.” Agitated, Brad’s voice held urgency.

He gripped Sarah’s upper arms and stared down at her. “Jump in the water and swim to the shore. Do not look back.”

Confusion darkened her brow,but then she glanced over Brad’s shoulder.A low-flying helicopter approached. Without further hesitation, she did exactlyas Brad had advised and dove into the water.

Brad pulled out his semi-automatic, but not soon enough, and could not get off a shot before a flurry of 7.62 mm bullets pelted the vessel, throwing pieces of the cabin into the air. Brad took cover behind what he figured would be the sturdiest part of the boat. The chopper turned. For sure, the next pass would bring even more destruction. Obviously, these guys meant business. What looked like automatic weapons protruded from the open door, which meant one thing: he needed to get off the boat before the mini-guns opened up for what would—in all probability—be the last time.

Not waiting any longer, Brad darted to the edge of the boat and dove over the side. When he surfaced, he saw the boat being riddled with gunfire. It wasn’t more than a second until the fuel tanks could take no more and erupted with a force that sent him tumbling through the water.

Authors Bio

John Howell Head shotGwen's headshot

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The last, Circumstances of Childhood is a family life thriller story and launched October 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books.

Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Gwen had a lengthy career in higher education, and it was there that she published her first book, Beyond Boundaries, for students interested in volunteer work in developing countries. After she retired, she wrote her award-winning memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love.

Gwen lives in Branson, Missouri with her husband.

Gwen’s Books

Available on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2wdXsrn