Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 15

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 

Man Sun gears Steampunk Eugene_Ivanov_2442

Eugene_Ivanov, Wiki Media Commons

Happy Halloween, everyone!  Welcome back to the spontaneously written, #SteamPunk serial, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  Everything about the story is driven by the random things that were sent by readers, back in 2015

When I say everything, I mean it — even the location.  Although no one seemed to notice (or at least they didn’t seem to mind), after all those weeks, I still had not gotten a “thing” that guided me to where all the zany events were taking place.  Author and translator, Olga Núñez Miret sent the “things” for this chapter, and I finally saw a general location for the story.  Which of “Old Family Bible, Carved Whale’s Tooth, and Vine Leaves” do you think gave me the location? Read on and find out.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 14.  Ignatius Belle seems a little too intent on getting Copper to visit his paddle steamer, anchored at the riverside near the abandoned church compound where our trio took refuge.  Or is it just that he believes the girl is Felicity’s supposed niece, and thinks being nice to Copper would endear him to Felicity?

However, Cornelis invented “old family friends” who are on the way to transport the trio to a fabricated holiday. So the handsome innkeeper will surely have to part company with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  Or will the “things” create more complications?

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

15 — Old Family Bible, Carved Whale’s Tooth, Vine Leaves

Mourning Angel_Cat

Lilith thought this image from the Atonement universe was just right

There was a ragged hole in the roof of the old church.  Sunlight poured through the opening, engulfing Ignatius Belle.  He had taken off his coat and his white shirt caught the light so that it almost glowed.  The effect made him look tall, safe, and… angelic.

I stared at him without realizing it.  Apparently I gawked for so long that it made him uncomfortable, because he chuckled and looked askance at me.  I stuttered, trying to explain without embarrassing myself by telling the man that he looked like an angel.

“It’s just that— Your shirt is dazzlingly bright in the sun’s light,” I stammered, then I reached up and wiped a drop of the shepherd’s pie from his collar, pretending that was the only thing on my mind. 

“You’re right,” he agreed. “This is an interesting ruin, but it is much too fine of a day to be indoors,” Ignatius said and surprised me by taking my hand.

He led me toward the front doors of the abandoned church. 

“Oh wait.  What’s this?” I asked, stepping into an aisle where something was left behind on a pew.

At first I thought it was an old hymnal, but it was too large.  I carefully opened the book and turned thin, fragile pages.  Dates were recorded for births, deaths, and marriages.

Ruins St Dunstan

“Look, it’s an old family Bible,” I commented in fascination.

I turned another page and my eyes were drawn to a name.  “Agustus Belle wed Antigone Stewart—”

“Please, let me see that,” Ignatius said, gently but eagerly taking the antiquated book from my hands.

He squinted and moved back to the place where the sun shone through the damaged roof. 

“Those were my grandparents,” he marveled.  “They eloped.  No one was ever sure where they went to get married.  I wonder who this Bible belonged to,” he murmured, delicately turning the pages.

“It doesn’t appear to belong to anyone now.  The congregation, and apparently whatever village was nearby, they’ve all left long ago,” I began, as I looked up into serious brown eyes.  “I think whoever owned this book would want you to have it.  A tie to your grandparents,” I affirmed with a nod.

Ignatius took my hand again, smiled, and led me outside.  He held the old Bible under one arm, and pulled me close to him with the other.  I looked up, with sun-dazzled eyes as he lowered his head toward mine.

Copper - Victorian young girl

Copper

Aunt Miiiina!” Copper cried my alias on a sustained note as she ran toward us.

I gave my head a sharp shake to bring myself out of the drowsy, mauve-colored moment.  

Of all the bad timing.  But it was probably just as well, I thought.

“Look what I found!” Copper declared excitedly.

There was dirt under her fingernails as if she had been digging in the ground.  Tiny bits of rich soil littered the front of her dress.  The yellow petals of a black-eyed Susan stood out against hair the color of a new-penny.  She had tucked the blossom behind her ear.  I imagined her accidentally pulling up the flower by its roots, and spraying herself with dirt in the process.

Ignatius bowed playfully to Copper. 

“Miss, that is a lovely flower, but it beauty pales next to your own,” he told the girl in a whimsical tone.

Copper tilted her head to one side and looked at the innkeeper as if she didn’t understand. 

“He’s paying you a compliment,” I told her and tried not to laugh.  “Say thank you.”

She made a quick movement that might have passed for a curtsey and mumbled her thanks.  Then Copper held her cupped hands toward me.  I hesitated, wondering if she dug up a mole and made a pet of it.

“Look!  Cornelis said it might be magic!” Copper said in a whisper that could have been heard at the riverbank.

In her hands was an ivory figurine inlayed with abalone shell, and not quite four inches long.  It depicted a man reclining on two humpback whales.  The style of the piece reminded me of Aztec artwork.

Basil Gill 2

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

“I found it in the ground when I picked my flower.  Cornelis said it was an amulet,” Copper explained, testing the sound of what must have been an unfamiliar word.

“May I see it,” Ignatius asked.

Copper drew back slightly.  My warning look encouraged her to give the figure to Ignatius.  “It might well be magic of a sort,” he agreed in the tone sometimes used by adults encouraging children to believe in the supernatural.

The girl’s eyebrows went up expectantly and she moved a step closer to the handsome innkeeper. 

“You realize we’re not far from the Pacific coast,” Ignatius said turning to me before continuing his examination of the ivory.

“This looks like the work of a coastal tribe to the north of here.  You see the little man?” he asked Copper who nodded interestedly.  “He is a shaman, and he is resting on the backs of his spirit animals — these two humpback whales, placed end-to-end.  Their eyes are made of abalone shell.  Oh, and look here,” he added in childlike excitement.  “You see where the shaman rests his head against the whale’s head?  That connects them and his mouth is the blowhole for the whale!  So this is meant to be the shaman traveling to the spirit world upon his whales,” Ignatius said to Copper’s amazement.

1860 Carved Whale Tooth

“So then,” I began.  “Is the ivory actually a carved whale’s tooth?” I asked and Ignatius affirmed with a smile.  “Copper, I’ll have to find a ribbon for you so you can wear this amulet around your neck.  After all, that’s how magic amulets are supposed to be worn,” I promised to her delight.

A shrill whistle interrupted our examination of the little carving.  At first I couldn’t tell from where the sound came, but I wasn’t looking up far enough.  The sun glinted off polished brass, high in a tree near the river.

“Cornelis Derbbel, of all things!” I declared when I spotted the alchemist in the upper branches of the tree.

The Dutchman whistled again and motioned for us to come to him.  By the time we reached the place, he had climbed down.  Or at least he pretended to have climbed for the innkeeper’s sake.  The alchemist probably descended via a less mundane means.  His face expressed a combination of excitement and worry that only Corenlis could achieve.

“You won’t believe this,” he told me.  “It would be wonderful if it wasn’t so horribly wrong.  But we have to hurry.  They’re only ten minutes or so away!” the Dutchman babbled.Drebbel stamp“Cornelis, what are you talking about?” I demanded.

He calmed down minutely and held up his brass spyglass. 

“I saw them headed this way on the river.  And they’re using a hydrofoil!” he added almost dancing in his enthusiasm.  “I can’t tell who it is though,” he added before I could ask.

I watched the attractive face of Ignatius blanch at the alchemist’s words. 

“No.  It can’t be,” he groaned and paced a few steps as if torn.  “I should get you to safety.  But the hydrofoil can outrun my paddle steamer,” Ignatius fretted as he paced.

He seemed genuinely worried for our welfare.  I shot Cornelis a challenging look for his distrust of the dashing innkeeper.

Burrell Road Locomotive

“We actually do have transportation,” I confessed.  “It’s just that we felt it had to be kept secret.  It’s one of Hixon— I mean my half-brother’s inventions, and I don’t think he was ready to show it to the world,” I told Ignatius a partial truth.

His eyes widened. 

“Don’t tell me!  Do you mean to say that he finished the road locomotive?  That he actually got the steam engine working?” Ignatius cried.

I wondered how it was that the innkeeper knew so much about Calvin Hixon’s inventions. 

“Well, mostly.  Cornelis put on the finishing touch, correcting a small problem with the design,” I said looking askance at the Dutchman who nodded with a wide grin.

“Then go!  Go quickly.  No, wait!” Ignatius faltered.  “The road locomotive makes a tremendous noise, does it not?” he asked and we all nodded emphatically.  “I’ll lead them away.  Hide and wait until they are well past.  I’ll make sure they see me.  If they think I have gotten the girl, they are sure to follow,” he said, and then inspiration lit his brown eyes.  “I can even make two bundles.  I’ll put hats on them or something so they can be you and Copper,” Ignatius said turning to me.

Stripped Bustle Gown

“You can have my stripped gown,” I said catching his enthusiasm for the idea.  “It’s ruined anyway,” I justified my donation to the scheme. 

When Ignatius looked like he would ask how it got ruined I realized I spoke without thinking yet again.  I couldn’t tell him about my dive into the river to retrieve the skull of Cornelis Drebbel.

“That’s a long story.  But there’s all manner of things in that large building,” I said pointing to the half ruined building where we hid the steam engine.  “I’m sure we can bundle up some things that will look like Copper and me, at least from a distance.”

“I’d love a look at the locomotive,” Ignatius said wistfully a moment later when we got to the building.

“Ah, but you realize there’s no time,” Cornelis reminded him with a sidelong look that made it clear to me that he still did not trust Ignatius Belle.

“I found this earlier,” Cornelis began in a sad tone.  “I meant to give it to Copper as the next thing to a playmate,” he told us as he presented a doll, about three feet tall, with hair the color of a new penny.  “But it’s better put to use to protect her,” the Dutchman sighed.

closeup photo of doll

Patrick Hendry, Unsplash

“Oh what a shame,” I said.  “Copper is a good deal taller than the doll, but from a distance it should be quite convincing.  Yes, she would love it.  Such a pity not to give it to her,” I commented as I looked around for the girl.

I spotted Copper running back toward us, dragging my stripped frock behind her.  I reminded myself that it was already ruined.  She had also grabbed two ladies’ hats from that opened crate of accessories.  The hats didn’t match my gown or the doll’s dress, but that was of no importance.

Suddenly Ignatius pulled out a knife.  I gasped in shock and jumped back.  Cornelis had a green aura as he gathered his powers.  However, Ignatius didn’t see it because he was already running for the gaping hole in the wall of the abandoned storage building.  He shouted over his shoulder. 

“I saw some vines growing just outside,” he called and he was gone.

Quickly he ran back inside, haloed in green vine leaves.  Ignatius used the vines to tie the bundles and they made passable human-like figures.

***

There was a cluster of bushes just far away enough from the riverbank.  Cornelis used one of his little tricks to make sure we wouldn’t be seen as we watched the paddle steamer pull away.  Just before it rounded a bend in the river, Ignatius gave a blast on the boat’s whistle.  He was making sure whomever piloted the hydrofoil didn’t lose him.

Forlanini hydrofoil

Ignatius claimed that he didn’t know who those people were.  He said the hydrofoil had changed hands a few times since all the chaos began.  I didn’t get to ask him about his involvement in the disappearance of Calvin Hixon, or any of the strange events surrounding it.  Neither could I ask him about his relationship with the man, Copper’s father.  But apparently there had been some level of interaction between the two men.  That might explain the girl’s distrust of the innkeeper.  How I wished for enough time to ask questions!

Too soon, a boat on feet-like skis that lifted it up out of the river neared our hiding place.  For the first time I wondered if Ignatius Belle was a hero or a traitor.  Perhaps he risked his life to lure villains away from Copper and myself.  Then again, he might be meeting them farther down the river, comrades in arms.

Cornelis Derbbel gave a soft surprised grunt.  He used one of his tricks to look farther than the human eye could see.  I raised the spyglass to see what startled the alchemist.  As the hydrofoil drew even with our vantage point, I saw a figure moving wildly on the vessel.  A very large chimpanzee cavorted and gesticulated wildly.

***

To be continued…

***

Real World Notes

Victorian Dolls.  When I was a young girl I always wanted one of those beautifully dressed, elaborately coiffed porcelain dolls.  They were also called bisque dolls and were characterized by their realistic, skin-like matte finish.  They had their peak of popularity between 1860 and 1900.  During the 19th century, dolls’ heads were often made of porcelain and combined with a body of leather, cloth, wood, or composite materials, such as papier mâché or composition, a mix of pulp, sawdust, glue and similar materials. 

Could Ignatius Belle now be in jeopardy?  Or is he only pretending to lead the hydrofoil away from the others?  The question remains as to whether the innkeeper is angel or aggressor.  And once again, who controls the chimpanzees? 

Come back next time to learn where the “things” One Lone Dandelion, Free Verse Poem, and Candle Wax take our trio.  Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers will continue on Straightlaced Saturday.  

I’ll be looking for you at the station.  

Hugs! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

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The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

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Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

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Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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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 © 2015 and 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 Review: Atonement in Bloom

Blue-Rose-Orb-52327

I feel like everything is coming up roses for “Atonement in Bloom” (you know I couldn’t resist the pun). I’m tickled pink that Diana Wallace Peach hosted me at her Myths of the Mirror blog. She gave me a one question interview. Then she added a review of “Bloom” that made me positively giddy! Click on over to visit Diana. I’ve disabled comments here, because I want you to visit her amazing blog. Hugs!

Myths of the Mirror

I’ve been aboard Teagan’s tour bus for a few days and just hopped off for some biscuits and gravy in Atonement, Tennessee. While I’m at it, I’ll attempt a little magic for Teagan and share my review of Atonement in Bloom.

But, oh, not so fast. First I had to delve into Teagan’s amazing technicolor pantser brain and find out how she does it! Here is my question:

I know that you’re a pantser, Teagan, and I assure you that this is foreign territory for us dedicated outliners. Your stories are full of magic – people, objects, places, lore – and they all converge on the small town of Atonement in a zany adventure with eight plot threads whirling around at once. How do you keep this literary cyclone straight and make sure that it arrives at “the end” in one piece? I’d love to learn about the method to…

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What If I Take a Break…

Saturday October 27, 2018

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who got on the party bus for the launch of Atonement in Bloom.  I can’t describe how much I appreciate everyone who shared and contributed to the launch.

Deme and Honeybell are still in a party mood

I don’t seem to know how to really take a break.  I lightened my workload by rerunning Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers (latest episode here).  Yet somehow doing the posts still takes a good deal of time.  So today, I’m trying harder to take a break.  This post re-shares a bit of whimsy I wrote a few years ago — even then I was working on Atonement in Bloom.  

Here I explained what I call my “What if?” game.

 

What Would Happen If There Was a Character Like…

 

Flower Woman spencer-dahl-796539-unsplash

Come on out to play!  Are you ready for a little game? It doesn’t require a special arena, equipment, or athletic ability — and it doesn’t cost a cent.

How My Writing Process Begins a New Story

Have you ever played What If?  Probably not, since that’s my own little speculative free-thinking game. If I heard something quirky in the news, or if I heard about some “breakthrough” that left everyone scratching their heads as to its usefulness, I liked to use it to start a conversation with a friend.

Meadow_frameI’d take the headline a step further and ask, “So what if…” this or that.  The other person would throw out a potential next step, and we’d go on with the “what if” getting wilder and more imaginative as we went, although it would still trace back to the original headline or concept.  I even did a post about very early in my “blogging career.” It created some fun conversations — some bubbles of what-if.

Ultimately, “what if” is how all of my stories start, from short story to epic fantasy.  When I was ready to lay the groundwork to build book-2, Atonement in Bloom, I again read the Celtic/Welsh mythology that loosely inspired book-1.  As I read about something the mythological Gwydion fab Don did for another person in that myth, the image of a new character came into my mind. Stone Planter Flowers Face

What if there was someone like the character that came to mind?  The first what if bubbled into more questions.  What sort of person would she be? Would she be bad, good, or just a sort of device to drive the new plot?

The chain of what if had begun!  What if her presence effected the town? How?  If she did have some sort of magical influence, who would be effected and who might be immune? Why?  What would be the result of either?  As I progressively answered each of the questions that rose from my first “what if,” the character became real to me.  

Because of the what if, some existing characters from Atonement, Tennessee grew in depth — in good ways and in bad ways.
Cherry blossoms snow 2The initial “what if” added two other new supernaturals to the cast of characters.  The chain of what if also brought a character from the short story, An Atonement, Tennessee Valentine, and the short became tied securely to Atonement in Bloom.  I sure wasn’t expecting that to happen!

Most importantly, early on that first what if led me to see the most significant what if of all…

What if, in the midst of a December snow — Atonement, Tennessee came into bloom?

Halloween was always my favorite holiday.  I know it’s not quite here yet, but I’ll wish you a happy one anyway.

Thanks again for visiting Atonement, TN.  It was wonderful to see you. Come out to play What If by leaving a comment!

I’m so grateful to everyone who hosted the Bloomin’ Party Bus that I’m repeating the Atonement TN Book Fair, beginning with my own shameless self-promotion.

Long awaited sequel to Atonement, Tennessee

Where “atonement” begins

It’s best if you read the first book first.  So, for the launch of “Bloom,” Atonement, Tennessee is on sale for 99¢ (e-book). Click Atonement book covers for purchase links.

Includes the prequel

Atonement, TN Book Fair!

Click the author names for more info on the books.

D. Wallace Peach

Image result for legacy of souls d wallace peach

Chris Graham (for Agnes Mae Graham)

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

Olga Núñez Miret    For info about this book click here. 

Angelic Business 1. Pink Matters Now available as an audio book too

D.L. Finn 

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Jan Sikes

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Mary J McCoy-Dressel

Mary J McCoy-Dressel, western romance author, Book Three Canyon Junction: Hearts in Love Series, Blog Post Cover Reveal I think Marge and Ralda would vote for Mary’s cowboys to visit Atonement, TN… Just sayin’…

Sally Cronin

Jacquie Biggar has a sheriff too…

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Valentina Cirasola will help you tour Atonement, TN in style.

The Road To Top Of The World: Short Stories In The Land Of Puglia

Barb Taub will keep you laughing the entire way.

Staci Troilo

Tortured Soul

Mae Clair

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weeds

John W. Howell

Annette Rochelle Aben

Image result for booku Annette Rochelle Aben Whimsical poetry from Annette.

Donna Parker will keep your smile alight and whimsy in flight at Yadadarcyyada, Vague Meanderings of the Broke & Obscure.  But there’s nothing obscure about delightful Donna.

Robbie Cheadle

Image result for robbie cheadle while the bombs fell

Chuck Jackson

Image result for chuck jackson what did i do

Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Teri Polen 

Image result for teri polen sarah

Patty L. Fletcher of Campbell’s World

Image result for bubba tales campbell

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 © 2015 and 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.

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 14

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who got on the party bus for the launch of Atonement in Bloom!  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everyone who hosted the launch post, reblogged, allowed me to use images, and otherwise helped me promote my new novel.  If you missed the launch, don’t worry.  The double-decker bus is still rolling!  Just click the back arrow at the bottom of this post.  Beep-beep yeah!

mauve Dolly Baird of Bunbarton 1906

Mrs Howard Johnston – Dolly Baird of Bunbarton, by Boldini 1906

Welcome back to the spontaneously written, #SteamPunk serial, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  Maybe you’ve heard me mention that I seem to have a physical need for color.  I used to wear black occasionally — it’s a color.  However, I’ve seen so very, very much of where I’ve lived this past decade, that I mostly avoid it now. If I wear all neutrals, light or dark… well, I just don’t feel very good. 

The Victorians had a particular fondness for a certain color.  It is one of the random things I was given to drive this chapter.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 13. The handsome innkeeper, Ignatius Belle unexpectedly showed up at the remote location where our heroes were hiding.  When he brought up the topic of Calvin Hixon’s inventions, Felicity tried to deflect the subject.  She suddenly felt cautious.  Not distrustful of Ignatius, mind you, just cautious.

However, Ignatius wasn’t ready to be diverted.  “I hear he was always designing amazing machines.  Word was that Alexander Graham Bell once contacted him about his design for a hydrofoil,” Ignatius said.

Cornelis made an impressed face.  The alchemist wasn’t a bad actor.  Felicity knew he was pretending to be impressed.  As soon as Cornelis had appeared at the estate, he had learned about Hixon’s hydrofoil and the letter from the famous Alexander Graham Bell.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

14 — Bicycle, Mauveine, Shepherd’s Pie

Girl on bicycle, advertisement circa 1897

The silly straightlaced standards of our society baffled me.  Something that was perfectly ordinary for a man was quite out of the question for a woman.  Whether I wore a cumbersome skirt with a ridiculous bustle, or my preferred trousers shouldn’t make a bit of difference to anyone.  Neither should anything about how I led my life.

Everything was always so caught up in hidebound propriety, and really had nothing to do with me. 

Honestly, I thought.  People and their moralities. 

The fact that people judged me for traveling with Cornelis Drebbel astounded me.  They always assumed impropriety when there was none.  That’s why I had taken to keeping the Dutchman’s presence a secret for the most part.  That was fine with the alchemist.  He wasn’t exactly a people person.

The alchemist and I were not a pair, not romantically involved. 

My, I thought, a romance with Cornelis after the accident of alchemy that put him in that strange state.  That would be tricky to say the least. 

I blushed when I caught myself pondering the whats and hows of it.

Basil Gill

Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle

“It’s unseemly for a woman to go traipsing across the countryside with a man!” Ignatius said heatedly.

The argument seemed to have escalated while I considered the implications of a physical relationship with someone in the uniquely nonphysical condition of the Dutchman.

That last remark offended Cornelis Drebbel, if his bulging eyes and the throbbing vein in his forehead were any indication.  I realized I had best step into the fray.

“Mina, if you’ll not allow me to take you and Copper back into town, then at least come downriver with me.  I have business to attend anyway, so I may as well take care of it straight away,” Ignatius said, addressing me by the alias I had provided.

I didn’t feel like a Mina.  Whatever had possessed me to come up with that name?

Ignatius took me by surprise and I blurted out what I was thinking.  Cornelis was right that sometimes I had no manners in that regard.  However, I’d never let the alchemist know I agreed. 

“Business?  What sort of business?” I asked; all curiosity and no tact.

The tall innkeeper smiled disarmingly, as if I had been perfectly polite.  Maybe he saw my curiosity as acceptance.

“It’s just a small business transaction.  I sometimes buy items and resell them.  I’ve bought some aniline purple.  Are you familiar with it?  The synthetic organic chemical dye?” he asked.

“Oh, do you mean mauveine?  I simply adore the color,” I said with what I hoped was just enough enthusiasm to make up for anything he may have perceived as rudeness.

Mauve Queen Marie Henriette

Queen Marie Henriette of Austria

“Precisely.  The dye will fetch a good price.  The color is quite popular.  Perhaps a hundred years from now, people will think of mauve as the color of our era,” Ignatius said with just a touch of whimsy.

Cornelis rolled his eyes and sarcastically muttered something about “marvelous mauve.”

“Assuming you mean to hire a coach at the next town, I can take you there.  It won’t put me out of my way, as I had planned to go there to pick up the dye anyway.  Or I can take you back home.  Really, it’s the only reasonable course of action.  What will people think of you wandering the countryside with your… associate,” Ignatius said, echoing the words I used when I introduced Cornelis Drebbel.

“Why, the same sort of thing they’d say if she paraded down the river on a paddle boat with an innkeeper,” Cornelis said drolly.

A fire sparked in Ignatius’ eyes at that comment and I feared the two would argue again.  The next time they quarreled, I was sure it would come to blows.

“Mina, you can’t mean to tell me that you would rather walk to the next town!” Ignatius exclaimed, but then he shook his head and grinned.  “Surely you are not afraid of the steamboat.  You don’t seem like a woman who would be intimidated by technology,” he said.  His voice and facial expression became softer.  “Oh Mina, I promise you it is perfectly safe,” he said encouragingly.

I glanced at Cornelis Drebbel.  An aura started to shimmer greenly around him.  It wouldn’t do to let the dashing innkeeper see that.  Quickly I moved so that Ignatius would have his back to the alchemist.  I was astonished that Cornelis would use one of his tricks in front of anyone.  However, that aura meant that he was up to something.

Pigeons pulling a slipper coach. Victorian trade card, circa 1881

An instant later a pigeon fluttered down, alighting on a bush next to the Dutchman.  A closer look told me that it was not just a pigeon, but a messenger pigeon.  Cornelis hummed a happy sounding tune as he removed a note from the tiny container on the bird’s back.  The alchemist looked inordinately pleased with himself.

“Ah good,” Cornelis said jovially, so I knew he was fabricating something.  “They are on their way.”

“Who?” Ignatius quickly demanded.  “Who would be coming to this Godforsaken place?”

It was fortunate that the innkeeper spoke abruptly, because that prevented me asking the same question.  I would have spoiled whatever story Cornelis had in mind.

“If you must know,” Cornelis began acerbically.  “We were not, how did you put it?  Wandering the country side.  With that strange unrest at the Hixon estate, it was a good time for a holiday.  So, we were going to some old friends of my family.  Then, as Mina mentioned, our horses were stolen when we stopped here.”

“And how…” Ignatius started but hesitated, looking at the pigeon.  “Do you mean to say you used a pigeon post to communicate to these people?”

“Why of course.  I’d never go anywhere without some of my birds,” Cornelis said affably and stroked the pigeon’s head.

Cornelis even cooed to the pigeon.  I thought that was laying it on a bit thick.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis 2

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

The tall innkeeper’s eyes narrowed as he looked down at Cornelis and the bird.  I wondered what Ignatius was thinking.  Back at the Hixon estate when I first introduced the two men, Ignatius seemed to think the name Cornelis Drebbel was familiar.  Even though he didn’t pursue the issue, it gave me pause.  It was possible that he knew of the Dutchman’s acclaim as a long ago inventor, but it was unthinkable that Ignatius could deduce anything about his unique situation.

That paddle steamer proved the innkeeper’s interest in technology and tinkering.  However, something Ignatius said when he first arrived nagged at me.  Ignatius Belle had mentioned Calvin Hixon’s inventions. 

I told myself that shouldn’t bother me.  The entire town thought of Hixon as an eccentric.  The inventions were surely common knowledge.  Perhaps Ignatius simply admired the brilliance that Copper’s father evidently possessed.

The innkeeper looked charmingly perplexed as he studied Cornelis.  I couldn’t help smiling.  The Dutchman noticed my expression and rolled his eyes heavenward. 

“Do try and control yourself,” he murmured using one of his tricks, so that only I could hear.

Ignatius Belle inclined his shoulders to speak to Copper.  She drew back and based on the look on his face, he was genuinely hurt by her negative reactions to him.  I felt a little sorry for him.  He had been very kind.

“Have you ever been on a paddle steamer?” he asked Copper, meaning the boat that unexpectedly brought him to us.  “We could do some fishing from it.  Maybe catch something for our dinner?” he asked her, though Copper’s brows knitted in a skeptical expression.

“I have my bicycle onboard,” the innkeeper continued undaunted.  “There’s enough room to ride it a little on deck.  I could teach you,” he offered. 

I was taken aback by the way he suddenly seemed to want to entice the girl onto his boat.  However, Ignatius had been consistently generous.  He thought I was Copper’s aunt.  If he was interested in me, then it was only natural that he would want to win over my “niece.”

Copper looked intrigued about the prospect of learning to ride a bicycle.  Cornelis noticed the minute change in her expression and took half a step, inserting himself partly in front of the girl.

“Neither fish nor fishing will be necessary,” Cornelis said.  “Unfortunately we’ve little time for bicycle riding on boats.  We were just about to eat.  Won’t you join us?” the Dutchman boldly invited the innkeeper.  “I’m sure there’s more than enough.”

What was Cornelis thinking by inviting Ignatius for a meal?  Thanks to his alchemically affected sneezes we had not gone hungry, but did he really mean to offer leftover pancakes and short ribs?

Cornelis waved toward a shade tree.  Beneath the tree a blanket was spread and at its center was a large picnic basket.

“Umm!  What’s that smell?” Copper asked.

“That, my dear, would be shepherd’s pie,” the alchemist said with a genuine smile for the girl.  “Would you like to unpack the basket so that we can eat?  Perhaps our… our guest will help you.”

The suggestion was enough for Copper.  It seemed like the child was always hungry.  To my surprise, she grabbed Ignatius’ hand and half dragged him over to the tree.  Cornelis may have accidentally smoothed Copper’s unaccountable distrust of the innkeeper.  The same thought occurred to the Dutchman if the pursed twist of his lips was any indication.

“I didn’t think your tricks included the ability to make real food,” I whispered.  “I thought you only did things like that accidentally.  You know, like when you sneezed and pancakes appeared.”

“That’s quite true.  Conjuring edible food is not a skill I’ve mastered,” he said.  “Despite two centuries of attempts,” he added in a very droll tone.  “I have to—  Think of it as reaching in and take something.  I have to take something that already exists.”

“So you stole the pie?” I asked.  “Cornelis Drebbel, I’m shocked.  Did you steal some family’s dinner?”

“No, nothing of the kind,” Cornelis defended himself.  “It wasn’t a poor family.  They had a huge feast laid out.  And I didn’t simply take it,” he added with a pout.

“Oh?” I asked, eyebrows raised.

“No. I did not.  In return for the shepherd’s pie I left them a very fine laying goose, and the makings for all the frog’s legs they could possibly eat,” Cornelis said, lifting his chin.

***

To be continued…

***

Real World Notes

Mauveine.  William Henry Perkin discovered the first synthetic dye when he was only 18 years old. The color was known as aniline purple, Perkin’s mauve, or mauveine.  It is also among the first dyes to have been mass-produced.  Young Perkin was actually trying to synthesize quinine when he made the colorful discovery.  He patented it and opened a dyeworks mass-producing it.

Pigeon post is the use of homing pigeons to carry messages.  Pigeons were effective as messengers due to their natural homing abilities.

Even though Copper and the Alchemist distrust him, the Woman in Trousers certainly seems to like the dashing innkeeper.  Ignatius seems to know an awful lot about the Hixon situation.  That bothers me.  Stay tuned.

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers will be back again next week for Hidebound Hump Day.  Right now, I think I’ll take a break on Saturday.  

I’ll be looking for you at the station.  

Hugs! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

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The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

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 © 2015 and 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 – Party Bus & Atonement TN Book Fair!

October 20, 2018

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit — Atonement in Bloom is finally published!  It was a wild ride, even after I finished all the work on the novel.  Meaning I’m not best pleased with all the bumps in the road from the Amazon take-over of Create Space…  Now, let’s get this party bus on the highway!

Atonement Blog Party Bus Loaded

The bus is headed to Atonement, TN, the fictional town of my urban fantasy series.  The stories in my “Atonement universe” are not romances, not science fiction, not family drama, or religious — and they certainly are not high-brow literature.  They’re whimsical, suspenseful, magical, fantasies set in our current real world. 

All aboard!  Beep-beep, yeah! The party bus is here. (Click here for theme music Magic Bus!)  Our first stop is in Connecticut to pick up Dan Antion, who has a handy guided tour of Atonement, TN.  Dan agreed to be a relief bus driver too, since bus-driver-Lilith the calico, sometimes has to take a break to give Deme or Honeybell (the otherworldly pigs) a head bath.

Where “atonement” begins

It’s best if you read the first book first.  So, for the launch of “Bloom,” Atonement, Tennessee is on sale for 99¢ (e-book). Click Atonement book covers for purchase links.

Cover Expiación y Magia ― Una Fantasía Urbana

Atonement, Tennessee in Spanish

Residents of my fictional town might be of any race and from any ancestry.  So, author and translator Olga Núñez Miret translated the debut novel to Spanish!  For that language I changed the title to Expiación y Magia

Speaking of the otherworldly pigs, I should mention the order of the Atonement stories.  Your first visit to the town is Atonement, Tennessee. Aside from the heroine and her neighbor-friends (or as Diana Peach likes to call them, the gall palls (Diana’s review of “Atonement, Tennessee” here), you’ll meet the grumpy sheriff, Robin Warden.

Includes the prequel

The first “snort” in The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee is about a very young Deputy Robin.  I’m thrilled to share a review of The Glowing Pigs by Donna Parker here!) That particular story is tied to the novel I’m launching today, Atonement in Bloom.

We’ve stopped to pick-up passengers.  It’s Chris the Story Reading Ape, and Sally Cronin.  Welcome to the party bus!

Long awaited sequel to Atonement, Tennessee

Here’s the blurb for Atonement in Bloom!

The quaint town was stranger than Ralda Lawton could have imagined.  The local population included supernatural beings.  Yet only she and a few others knew about that. 

Although she didn’t know the details, in a past life, Ralda ― Esmeralda had been involved in something with those supernaturals and the repercussions had carried into her present life.  In Atonement, Tennessee, that almost got her killed.  Now she has new problems, and new supes to complicate matters.

Atonement in Bloom continues the misadventures of Ralda, her friends, and neighbors in the small (but far from peaceful) town of Atonement, Tennessee.  Her old house and cemetery are still there, along with Lilith the cat, quirky townsfolk, and assorted supernaturals.

Lilith in snow

Now Lilith the calico sniffs out a strange beast.

Fae foolery backfires.  A friend is abducted.

On a cold December day, Atonement, Tennessee comes into bloom.

Here’s an advance review of “Atonement in Bloom” by Donna Parker.

The Unfolding Of An Orange Rose Bud

The party bus is slowing.  Lilith, what’s going on? There’s a big collision up ahead?  I don’t see any cars… Ah! It’s not vehicles — it’s genres!  There’s Traci Kenworth from Where Genres Collide.  Dan could you please open the door for Traci? 

Wait a sec, there’s something else.  Oh! It’s a delivery of flowers in honor of the book launch.  It’s from Kirt Tisdale of The Wall Gallery!  Wow… beautiful blue roses. Thank you, Kirt.  The blue rose of the impossible is an important element of Atonement in Bloom

We’re back on the road, and Dyanna at Ravenhawk’s Magazine has plenty of music for our road-trip.  Lilith, slow down. I see Melissa from Today You Will Write at that bus stop up ahead.

Hang on to your seat-belt!  Lilith just took a sharp curve and we are magically in Kentucky.  Deme wanted to check out Teri Polen’s October horror and suspense book fest, Bad Moon Rising.  You’ll find 31 authors and their books there!

We’ve arrived.  Welcome to Atonement, TN!

TN Welcome Sign

Everybody in town is taking part in the fun.  Annie’s Antiques is hosting an exhibit of Art by Rob Goldstein.  It looks like Rob has set up a temporary nightclub in a big tent next to the store.  The sign says The Stardust.

My Blue Heaven

My Blue Heaven, by Rob Goldstein

What’s that on the next table of antiques?  It looks like an Aladin’s lamp.  My goodness, and a puff of colorful smoke!  Oh, it’s the Lamp Magician.  Welcome, Magician. I’m glad you could join the party bus.

My stomach is growling. Thank goodness Carol Taylor and Gerlinde de Broekert have catered the book fair.  There are delicious foods at every booth! 

Deme and Honeybell love to read, so they ran straight to the Atonement, TN Book Fair.  They’re in hog heaven with so many great books!

If anyone wants to share a link to a review of your book, or anything about yourself, please leave a comment with the link.  I love to hear from you.  

Heartfelt thanks to everyone for supporting this Bloomin’ Party Bus. Click the author names for more info on the books.

D. Wallace Peach

Image result for legacy of souls d wallace peach

Chris Graham (for Agnes Mae Graham)

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

Olga Núñez Miret    For info about this book click here. 

Angelic Business 1. Pink Matters Now available as an audio book too

D.L. Finn 

Image result for dl finn the button

Jan Sikes

Image result for jan sikes flowers in stone

Mary J McCoy-Dressel

Mary J McCoy-Dressel, western romance author, Book Three Canyon Junction: Hearts in Love Series, Blog Post Cover Reveal I think Marge and Ralda would vote for Mary’s cowboys to visit Atonement, TN… Just sayin’…

Sally Cronin

Jacquie Biggar has a sheriff too…

jacquiebiggar_thesheriffmeetshismatch_800px

Valentina Cirasola will help you tour Atonement, TN in style.

The Road To Top Of The World: Short Stories In The Land Of Puglia

Barb Taub will keep you laughing the entire way.

Resa will help you find the right thing to wear. She’s a costume designer. She would have enjoyed helping Ralda, Bethany, and Lacey search through the antique clothes in Sunhold’s closets (scene in “Bloom”). 

Staci Troilo

Tortured Soul

Mae Clair

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weeds

John W. Howell

Annette Rochelle Aben

Image result for booku Annette Rochelle Aben Whimsical poetry from Annette.

Donna Parker will keep your smile alight and whimsy in flight at Yadadarcyyada, Vague Meanderings of the Broke & Obscure.  But there’s nothing obscure about delightful Donna.

Robbie Cheadle

Image result for robbie cheadle while the bombs fell

Chuck Jackson

Image result for chuck jackson what did i do

Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Teri Polen 

Image result for teri polen sarah

Patty L. Fletcher of Campbell’s World

Image result for bubba tales campbell

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 13

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 

Steampunk Man pipe-Eugene_Ivanov_2431

Eugene Ivanov

It’s Hidebound Hump Day, and another episode of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  There was not a Straightlaced Saturday chapter last week, so today we pick up where we left off a week ago. 

Remember I’ve mentioned that this serial was originally presented as a “culinary” mystery.  All of the random “things” that drove this spontaneously written chapter were food related.  How do you think I used all those food things to create a story?

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 12. 

The alchemist’s head cold continued to wreak havoc with magical sneezes.  However, that didn’t keep our heroes from noticing that someone or some thing was headed their way.  Felicity and Cornelis argued about whether or not they should make a stand. Then the woman in trousers noticed that Copper wasn’t there…

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

13 — Pâté, Profiteroles, Olives

File:Broken walls of Vijay Garh Fort.jpg

Public Domain Image

Where could she be?

“Copper!” I called, trying to keep the urgency I felt from showing in my voice.

“I’m over here,” a small sad sounding voice said from the other side of a stack of wooden crates.

She came out from her hiding place, doe-eyed and most unhappy looking.  I felt horrible when I realized she had been listening to us fight.

“I’m sorry,” she mumbled.  “I didn’t mean to be such a bother,” Copper said but her perplexed expression told me that she didn’t know what else to do about being a burden.

With a deep sigh I shook my head.  Copper had heard me argue with Cornelis about whether we should make a stand and confront the parties chasing us, or continue running.  I felt terrible that I had gotten angry in front of the child.

“No, this is for us to worry about, Copper,” I told the girl.  “It’s just part of what we’re supposed to do ― to discuss what is the best alternative.  Sometimes discussions get rather heated…  You, on the other hand, are only supposed to be young.  You aren’t supposed to have to worry about such things,” I told her and made sure I smiled.

Copper with Flowers

I tousled that hair the color of a new penny when she looked up at me.  The honking noise escalated. 

“Is that a goose I hear?” I asked.

I hadn’t seen any sign of people living anywhere near the abandoned church and its buildings.  We were still in the large one with a missing wall, where the road locomotive was hidden.  How would a goose come to be in such a place?

When I voiced the thought, Cornelis was sure a goose could do perfectly well on its own.  Copper said that it was chasing some of the frogs.

“Did you ever see what the frogs did with that eggplant they carried off?” I asked her, still curious about that strange spectacle, but Copper shook her head negatively.

My inquisitive nature took over and I went outside to investigate the commotion.  Apparently, the tables had turned from when Copper saw the goose chasing the frogs.  Row upon row of frogs lined up to confront the fowl.  The goose honked furiously at them. 

Goosey Goosey

I felt sorry for the poor bird.  Looking at the frogs versus goose tableau, I realized just how right Cornelis was about us being extremely outnumbered by our adversaries.  If we took a stand at that juncture, we would make no more progress than the goose against the hoard of frogs.

I had never been around geese.  The tale about a goose laying a golden egg was about as much as I knew about the species.  Stepping gingerly, because I didn’t want squished frog on my boots, I made my way to the goose.  I picked her up and tucked her under my arm.

“Don’t you fret, old thing,” I told the still honking bird.  “We’ll find a spot where the frogs haven’t eaten all the good bits.”

Then the infernal goose bit me!  I screeched and released her.  The goose settled to the ground and looked up at me with a very annoyed squawk.

“Why you ungrateful wretch!” I exclaimed as I rubbed the bitten spot on my arm.  “I should make pâté of you!”

At that threat, the goose flew off somewhere beyond the abandoned church.  A pop told me that the alchemist had appeared behind me.

Cornelis Drebbel Alcmariensis

Cornelis Drebbel

“Do you see my point now?” Cornelis Drebbel asked with a nod to the assembled frogs.

“Why you!” I sputtered.  “You arranged that entire thing didn’t you?  How dare you have that dreadful goose bite me!”

“Now, now,” Cornelis chided.  “You had the poor judgement to pick her up in your arms.  I didn’t do anything to make the goose bite you,” he said.  “That was just icing on the cake,” he added with a smirk.

I clinched my fist and took a swing at the Dutchman.  I already knew what he would do, so don’t ask me why I swung at him.  Cornelis immediately became semi-solid and my fist passed through him, throwing me off balance.  I nearly landed on my face in a pile of goose droppings.  It was lucky for him that I didn’t fall into that mess.

He looked distractedly toward the river.  There was my moment!  I leapt, tackling the Dutchman while he was fully solid and preoccupied.  We both landed on the grass with a thud.  I grinned wickedly when I realized that he had landed in the goose poop.

Cornelis glared at me and with a pop he disappeared.  A moment later I spotted him close to the banks of the river.  He discretely hid behind a tree as he looked at the waterway.  Then I heard the sound of a rhythmic splash coming steadily closer.  That slight noise must have been what distracted the alchemist.

Postcard, Oneida River, Brewerton, New York circa 1910

I hurried to where he stood behind the tree.  I was enormously glad to finally be wearing trousers again, rather than full skirts and a bustle.  Looking at the river I couldn’t see what made the faint sound.  Was it a beaver, or perhaps an otter going sleekly in and out of the river?  In a quiet voice I asked I asked what it was.

The Dutchman didn’t seem concerned about being heard.  So, whatever it made the sound must have been unlikely to hear us.  He said that someone was coming toward us on the watercourse.  He said the sound was from paddles going into the water.

“Surely that rhythm is too fast to be an oar,” I commented as the sound became more audible.

“Not an oar,” he said, once again looking pleased with himself to have deduced something I had not.  “It is a paddleboat.  A small one, granted, but still steam powered with a paddlewheel,” Cornelis said with certainty.

Soon the odd-looking boat came into view — a paddle steamer.  It was moving much faster than any rowboat would have moved.  It was a narrow vessel, with a mast for a sail, but no canvas was attached.  On each side was a red paddle wheel that sat nearly as tall as the enclosed bridge.  Behind the bridge stood a tall yellow steam stack.

Sm Steamboat

Who piloted the craft?  I had yet to see who was onboard.  Was it one of our adversaries catching up with us?  It seemed too much of a coincidence for some random person to suddenly appear, heading toward us, from the direction we had come.  

I jumped when something grabbed my long coat.  Looking behind me, I saw that it was Copper.  She peeked around me looking at the boat.  I felt her stiffen.  She looked intently at the craft and I could tell that she saw more.  The girl had keen eyesight, I thought.

“What’s wrong Copper?  Who pilots the boat?” I asked.

“I don’t like him,” Copper said flatly.

“Who?” I asked, but by then I could see a familiar figure standing on deck at the boat’s wheel. 

It was Ignatius Belle.  I remembered that Copper had reacted strangely to the handsome innkeeper before, though it made no sense to me.  I didn’t perceive anything untoward about the tall dashing man.  Quite the contrary.  He had been kind and considerate to me from the moment I checked into the Belle Inn.  He had an easy relaxed smile that I thought of as a strong indicator of honesty.  His soft brown eyes were surely the windows of his soul.  My intuition about such things was never wrong.

I stepped out into the open.  Cornelis hissed a caution at me.  I hissed back to the Dutchman that he was being ridiculous.  The man looked to be alone on the boat, and he was clearly not under any duress, if my friends feared our adversaries had forced him to pilot the boat to our destination. 

Basil Gill 2

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

Cornelis sputtered and then narrowed his eyes as he stared at Ignatius Belle.  Copper’s expression matched the look on the alchemist’s face.  I shook my head, trying not to be annoyed.  It was easy to put on a bright smile as I walked toward the riverbank.

Really, I thought.  Those two… of all the silliness.

By the time I got to the riverbank Ignatius had come ashore.  A wicker basket hung from his arm.  I hoped it contained a peace offering that would win over the suspicious girl.

I led the innkeeper up the sloping green.  Belatedly I remembered that Copper was the only one from the town who had met Cornelis Drebbel.  Perhaps I should have kept the alchemist hidden, but I was so piqued about the way he and Copper acted about Ignatius that I really didn’t think about it.

“You remember Copper, of course,” I said and smiled encouragingly at her. 

I think I tried by force of will to get her to smile at Ignatius Belle.  Apparently, my will was not up to that task. 

“And this is my… Allow me to introduce my associate, Cornelis Drebbel,” I added with a motion toward the Dutchman.

The alchemist mumbled a noncommittal sound.  I tried to glare at him without letting Ignatius see the warning look on my face.

“I don’t believe we’ve met sir, but your name seems familiar to me,” Ignatius said politely to Cornelis.

A visit by Queen Isabella and her husband. The globe-like object on the table at the left is one of Cornelis Drebbels’ attempts at a perpetual-motion clock; the principles which ran it are now lost. Artist, Jan Brueghel the Elder, circa 1621

The alchemist cleared his throat, taken off guard by the near-recognition.  I discretely poked my elbow into his ribs as a warning for the fierce frown he wore.

“One of my ancestors achieved a slight amount of acclaim,” the Dutchman dissembled.  “Perhaps you heard the name mentioned in passing, or in a very boring lecture when you were a schoolboy,” Cornelis said with a wave to dismiss the issue.

I was relieved that encounter went as well as it had.  I gave an involuntary sigh that I hoped Ignatius didn’t notice.  Before things could get tense again I changed the subject. 

“What have you in that very interesting looking basket?” I asked Ignatius, but turned my gaze to Copper. 

“Dare I hope for something from Cookie again?” I asked but that time I gave an ever so slight flutter of my eyelashes to the dashing innkeeper.

Good, I thought when I glanced at Copper.  She was curious about the basket.  I was sure she remembered Ignatius bringing that basket filled with lovely food and Irish soda bread.  Perhaps whatever he carried now would win Copper over or at least make some headway.

With a flourish, Ignatius lifted the checkered napkin that covered the basket to reveal delicious profiteroles.  Chocolate glistened darkly, covering the cream puffs.  I could see a bit of the luscious creamy filling where it was piped into one of the pastries.

Profiteroles, WikiMedia

He held the basket out to Copper and she wasted no time taking one of the profiteroles.  Chocolate quickly adorned her mouth and nose, but she still looked suspiciously at Ignatius.  I gave a sigh of resignation.  Then I consoled myself with one of the pastries.

“What brings you here, if I may ask?” Cornelis asked the innkeeper with no preamble.

“I knew Mina and Copper were alone at the Hixon house,” Ignatius began.  “Then I heard there was some strange and noisy commotion there.  I accompanied the sheriff when he went out to investigate.”

Once again, I had to think fast to remember that Mina was the alias I took to allow me to stay close to Copper — Mina Hixon, half-sister to Calvin Hixon and Copper’s long-lost aunt.  Quickly I gave Ignatius a smile of appreciation for his concern.

However, if Ignatius went out to the estate with Sheriff Alvin Bullard afterward, then the familiar sounding voice I heard could not have belonged to the lawman.  Could it?

“We found the estate deserted,” Ignatius continued.

“The grounds were so trampled it almost made one wonder if there’d been a riot.  Then I spotted broad tracks from what had to be very heavy wheels.  I followed them to the river, where I saw that they continued a good distance following along the river.  So, I got my steamboat ready and well, here I am,” he explained.  “Is everything alright?  You gave me a scare.”

Pensive woman with armillary sphere. Artist unknown. Public Domain

Should I tell Ignatius about the confrontation? I wondered. 

I didn’t distrust him in the same way as Copper, and Cornelis was naturally suspicious of everyone and everything.  However, that didn’t mean it was a good idea for Ignatius Belle to know everything.  How much information was too much?

To my surprise, Cornelis answered him. 

“We avoided an altercation,” the alchemist said in a very grave voice.  “It was evident that there were many, shall we say, unpleasant people nearby.  So, we followed the thinking of discretion being the better part of valor and left with all haste,” Cornelis said.

I was relieved with the Dutchman’s explanation to Ignatius.  It was just vague enough.  I don’t know why, but I was glad he didn’t mention the road locomotive.  Although, considering the steam powered paddle boat in which the innkeeper arrived, he might be acquainted with that sort of contraption.

I wondered Ignatius would have been able to deduce our means of transportation by the tracks he saw.  However, I put the thought aside as unlikely. 

Besides, our locomotive had the benefit of magically enhanced speed.  No one should be able to figure out how we traveled or how fast we went.  They would have to know exactly when we left the estate, and when we arrived at the old churchyard.  For all Ignatius knew, we had only been there a matter of moments.

Perhaps I was over-cautious, but I simply didn’t like the idea of letting people know about the road locomotive.  I manufactured a story about Cornelis arriving at the estate for the purpose of bringing my horses.  I dissembled that my associate saw a number of unsavory types nearby when he neared the estate.

Burrell Road Locomotive

Road Locomotive. Public domain image

Reacting in fear, we left the estate.  However, the horses were unfortunately stolen when we stopped for the night at the abandoned church compound.  Or that was the story I gave the innkeeper.

Ignatius seemed to accept that.  It was really a very logical explanation, not to mention the only one of which I could think.  Ignatius was even charmingly angered about the theft of my supposed property.

“For a moment, I had a wild image of you escaping on one of Mr. Hixon’s inventions.  You knew he was an inventor, didn’t you?” Ignatius asked.

I nodded, but gave it a dismissive wave of my hand.  I hoped I had implied that I thought my “half-brother’s” tinkering was frivolous, to keep the conversation from that topic.  I suddenly felt cautious.  Not distrustful of Ignatius, mind you, just cautious.  However, Ignatius wasn’t ready to be diverted. 

“I hear he was always designing amazing machines.  Word was that Alexander Graham Bell once contacted him about his design for a hydrofoil,” Ignatius said.

Cornelis made an impressed face.  His mouth formed a silent Ooo.  The alchemist wasn’t a bad actor. I knew he was rarely impressed.  As soon as Cornelis had appeared at the estate, he had learned about the hydrofoil and the letter from the already famous Alexander Graham Bell.

Still trying to change the topic of discussion, I asked what else was inside the basket.

“Well, if you’d rather have salty than sweet,” Ignatius began and we exchanged a suggestive look that caused Cornelis to clear his throat in annoyance.  “Cookie packed a jar of olives and some Stilton cheese,” he finished.

Récolte des olives dans le Var, WikiMedia

I made a production of serving the food, in hope that the subject would finally change.  Ignatius might not have won Copper’s heart with the pastries, but he might have made inroads with the Dutchman.  Cornelis was particularly fond of Stilton cheese.

Really, I should have expected what came next.  It was such an obvious thing, yet it took me by surprise.  Ignatius insisted on taking us back “home” on his boat.  He said it should be safe, that there was no trace of the people who had caused the ruckus at the estate.

However, I knew that we daren’t go back.  Cornelis and Copper were well aware of that too.  We turned a trio of blank expressions toward the innkeeper.

How could I refuse without either seeming utterly ridiculous or giving away more information than I wanted to disclose?

***

To be continued…

***

Real World Notes

Paddle Steamer.  In the early 19th century, paddle wheels were the predominant means of propulsion for steam-powered boats.  A paddle steamer is a steamship or riverboat powered by a steam engine, which drives paddle wheels to propel the craft through the water.

Even though Copper and the Alchemist distrust him, Woman in Trousers certainly trusts the dashing innkeeper.  He seems to know an awful lot about the Hixon situation.  That bothers me.  Has he won over Copper and Cornelis with food?  Stay tuned.

This week there will not be a Straightlaced Saturday episode of the serial.  You may have seen my cover reveal for the long awaited sequel to Atonement, Tennessee.  Or you might have seen the wonderful Thursday Atonement Doors post Dan Antion did in honor of it.  I will officially launch Atonement in Bloom this Saturday, October 20th.  It’s no ordinary book launch.  I’m having a party bus with a couple dozen of your friends along for the trip.  There will also be an Atonement, TN Book Fair, with 18 books from other authors for you to browse!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers will be back again next week for Hidebound Hump Day.  I’ll be looking for you at the station. 

Hugs! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

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 © 2015 and 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.

 

A Pause & a Review — (Cornelis will be back)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Red neon party bus

Straightlaced Saturday will not be at the steampunk train station today.  This weekend I must not blog, no matter how much I miss visiting with you.  Why?  I have a ton of work to do before the Atonement, TN Party Bus is road worthy!  So I’ve disabled comments today.  

However… Deme and Honeybell were so excited about this lovely review of their Snort Stories from Dyanna at Ravenhawks’ Magazine that I have to share it with you before the launch party for Atonement in Bloom!

Pigs collection cover banner

Dyanna’s review:  Fun and funny. Glowing pigs visit the little town of Atonement, Tennessee bringing their own brand of quirky magic to a town already steeped in magic. This wonderful little book give you a glimpse of the magic that Deme and Honeybell create and a quick peek at some of the residents of Atonement. It is a quick entertaining read guaranteed to bring a smile a short and even giggle.

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers will continue on Wednesday for Hidebound Hump Day.

Bloom bkgnd text flowers

I will be busy making sure that everyone who promised to help with the book launch of Atonement in Bloom is represented on the party bus and the Atonement, TN book fair.

Some of the characters from my quirky town of Atonement, TN are helping me prepare the bus.  Lilith the cat is your driver, and the otherworldly glowing pigs, Deme and Honeybell are hostesses.  They wanted to show you the inside of the party bus.  (I’m channeling my Meadow character, who has green hair.)

Inside Party Bus 2 pigs me

The party bus/book launch will go live October 20. 

The party bus will be making stops all around the town as we pick up readers and bloggers.  

Party Bus inside Lilith

Roll on party bus!  I’ll see you soon!  

***

Now some more shameless self-promotion.

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

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.