Straightlaced Saturday — Elusive Isabel

Saturday, February 16, 2019 

victorian novels

Straightlaced Saturday and the Victorian Novels feature is finally back.  It complements the era of my steampunk serial, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers. 

With these posts, I’ll give you some information about novels written in the Victorian Era of the real world, along with a link where you can get the book for free!

Elusive Isabel

This week’s novel from the Victorian Era is Elusive Isabel, by Jacques Futrelle.  I’ll be surprised if you’ve heard of it.  It was not an important novel in its day.  Far from it, the book was considered trivial.

So what?  I had fun with it.  It could be entertaining to re-imagine this as a steampunk story.  Why? Bear with me — I’ll get to that.  I read this book a number of years ago.  No, it’s not a fantastic book, but it’s not bad either.  In fact, I had a great time reading it.

elusive isabel illustration

Illustration from Elusive Isabel

Why did I enjoy myself?  The story is set in Washington, DC and nearby Alexandria, Virginia.  The author mentions real world places and establishments. It was fascinating to read a Victorian perspective on those places, transportation, and distance, comparing it as, to the here and now, as I rode through some of those locations on a shuttle bus.

A Spy Novel

When I started reading this book, I had no idea that the Victorians were as enamored of spy stories as we are today.  Elusive Isabel is a spy novel!  That’s why I thought it would be fun to re-imagine it as a steampunk story.  There’s an inventor, a secret weapon… those things just screams for steampunk.

In addition to being intrigued by how the locations had changed since the book was written, there was something else that made it fun for me.  Futrelle touched on the “secret” language of fans.  In the novel, Isabel uses the language of fans, and she all but bewitches the hero with it.   Otherwise the plot is pretty much standard spy novel fare. 

elusive isabel illustration stand off

Illustration from Elusive Isabel

This is an enjoyable book if you’re in the mood for something that you don’t want to take too seriously.  It’s entertaining if you let it be fun — and set your expectations accordingly.

Project Gutenburg Link to Elusive Isabel

If you want the book and have trouble accessing it, let me know and I’ll send you a file.

What do you think about the idea of the hidebound Victorians enjoying a spy novel?  Please leave a comment and start or join a conversation. 

***

Some of you have asked for updates on my personal soap opera — relocating.  I’m single-handedly doing all the planning, logistics, and particularly the physical work is a lot for anybody.  Then add my personal, peculiar disabilities, and it is 99% impossible. 

I haven’t blogged about that problem, but you may have seen me mention it in comments this year.  Anyhow, I’m striving for that one percent of possibility.  Now I’m trying to prepare posts in advance, so that I don’t leave you dangling from any cliffs while I’m deep in the throes of being severely agoraphobic in the middle of a cross-country move.  I can tell you — it ain’t pretty!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers continues on Hidebound Hump Day.  My chuckaboos, I’ll be looking for you at the steampunk submarine port on Wednesday.

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

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

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

Amazon UK

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 ©  2019 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 30

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Saturday Evening Post, 1937. Delivery boy ringing doorbell, waits with man in formal attire (and top hat) who has his head through a cut out in a big Valentine card

Saturday Evening Post, 1937

Happy Valentine’s Day, my chuckaboos!

I know this image is not from the right era, but the dashing man looking all afternoonified, made me think of something Cornelis might do.  I think Valentine’s Day around him would be positively naty narking.

Back in 2015, Christoph Fischer sent the “things” for this chapter.  Christoph is a blogger, reviewer, and the author of many compelling novels.   I’m currently reading “The Body in the Snow,” and I’m having a great time.  If you asked Christoph to let you see a photo of his Valentine, he might show you something like this…

4 Labradoodle puppies

Christoph’s Labradoodle Puppies

It’s time for Hidebound Hump Day!  If there are Valentines where our heroes are, then they are surely in shades of violet and lavender.  

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

Chapter 28  Our bricky friends met a very gentlemanly, large, chimpanzee. He also happened to be dressed in a suit and hat.  Oh, and he was undeniably purple.  

Chapter 29   Felicity figured out at least part of the mystery of the “trained” chimpanzees, but we still don’t know who was using them.  Can Cal Hicks, the ape version of Calvin Hixon, somehow help our trio reach Copper’s real daddy?  Felicity also saw a portrait of primate doubles of herself and Ignatius Belle, and it caused her to ponder her capricious feelings about the handsome innkeeper.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

30 — Babylon, Toothpick, Alpine

Harper's Bazar, March 1896, Victorian woman riding bicycle with red heart design background

Harper’s Bazar, March 1896

Cornelis Drebbel had that look in his eyes — the twinkle-eyed look that never failed to worry me.  That expression would make you think he came from ancient Babylon — powerful, affluent, and downright sinful.  However, he actually wasn’t born until 1572.  I knew that expression meant he thought he was being clever.

Young Copper was a regular church bell.  While the amethyst ape, Cal Hicks, was distracted by Copper’s animated conversation, the alchemist cast a considering gaze his way.

“What are you up to Cornelis Drebbel?” I narrowed my eyes and whispered in a warning tone.

“It’s important that we get back to our own world, don’t you think?” he asked drolly.  “If there was a version of myself here, then that me would have had a laboratory or a workshop of some sort.  I suspect this ape knows where it is.  But how to get him to disclose the information…” the Dutchman pondered.

“Why not just ask him?” I sputtered in exasperation.  “There needn’t be any subterfuge.  He already believes you are, well… you.”

Cornelus Drebble With Eclipse and Sundown rev

Rob Goldsteins vision of Cornelis Drebbel inside his submarine

The Dutchman’s mouth twisted to one side.

“Oh, I suppose you’re right.  You do have a way of taking the fun out of things, Felicity,” he said drolly.

“Mr. Hicks,” I began.

“Dear one, please do call me Cal,” he said in a fatherly tone and added a little bow.

That felt a little too much like something a gal-sneaker would say, but I smiled and nodded agreeably, determined to give our host the benefit of the doubt.

“Would it be possible for you to show us to the Lord of Alchemy’s laboratory?  Cornelis doesn’t like to admit to having lost so much of his memory — temporary though it may be.  I think being amongst his things would help him remember.  Besides, he dotes on this submarine and would love to repair it,” I said.

The amethyst ape was eager to comply.  I gave Cornelis a sidelong look.

“See,” I told the Dutchman.  “Simple as that.”

Surprisingly, Absinthe seemed to object.  He fluttered around the alchemist’s head, chirping excitedly.  Remembering how impossibly potent one of his poots could be, it made me nervous to see the Green Fairy so agitated.

“Calm down old boy,” Cornelis said soothingly to Absinthe.  “Everything will be fine.  If I so much as sense something a hair out of the ordinary, I’ll come back here straight away.”

Green fairy skunk

Absinthe, the Green Fairy, by Teagan

At the words “out of the ordinary” the tiny skunk-like fairy shrieked.  I had to agree.  Everything in this world was out of the ordinary.

As we exited the submarine, Absinthe followed.  He seemed torn between flying protectively around Copper and Cornelis.  The girl turned back and gasped delightedly.

“Look at the submarine!” Copper cried.  “Isn’t it beginning to turn purple?”

Absinthe zipped through the air and quickly circled the submarine.  He came back, with nervous sounding chirping.  He hovered six inches away from the alchemist’s nose, looking quite excitable.  Cornelis looked from Absinthe to the submarine.

“It’s becoming part of the amethyst world,” Copper said in awe.  “If we stay will we turn purple too?” she asked in a way that made it clear she found the prospect of such a transformation delightful.

“We might at that,” Cornelis answered in a wry voice.

Finding the Lost De Milo (2)

Finding the Lost De Milo, by Rob Goldstein

I thought he had gone to hide when Absinthe darted back into the submarine.  However, a moment later he emerged with a seabag floating behind him.  The tiny fairy seemed to be handier with levitation than Cornelis.  Absinthe continued to levitate the bag until he reached me.  Then he unceremoniously dropped the bag at my feet.

The seabag came open and out rolled a frightful looking head.  I gasped and nearly screamed, but closer inspection showed it to be some kind of hideous mask.  It had two big round goggle eyes and a long snout that ended at a flat circle and a leather strap to hold it to the wearer’s head.

Absinthe levitated the mask over to Copper.  She was quick to understand that he meant her to wear it if needed.  When I saw that the bag also contained several bottles, I thought the Green Fairy was still concerned about this strange environment.  When we first arrived, he had given us bottled water; fearing things of this world would be harmful to us if consumed.

gas mask

As I returned the bottles to the bag, I discovered a charming silver toothpick holder.  It was shaped like a little gazebo with a domed roof supported by columns.  Within was a crystal bird with wings outstretched.  Tiny holes in the rounded roof held toothpicks.

“Why ever would he think we’d need toothpicks?” I murmured, bemused.

Cornelis suddenly appeared at my elbow.  He knew it annoyed me when he did that.  It never failed to be disquieting, and it always entertained him to startle me.  He smirked.

“Absinthe isn’t far off the mark,” Cornelis whispered.  “There is a very real danger that we could become trapped here.  However, we would have to be here for a very long time before that potential became a reality.  This is a measuring device,” he explained, pointing at the toothpick holder.  “If the toothpicks begin to turn purple, it is a warning.”

Seeing my widening eyes, he was quick to elaborate.

“Many of the effects can be mitigated,” he waived away my concern.  “For instance, a little lavender hue is of no real concern.  But if all the toothpicks turn purple, then we are in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple,” he added pointing to the crystal ornament in the center of the gazebo.  “Well, then it is too late,” he finished with a wry twist of his mouth, which suggested that was a real possibility.

The Green Fairy was still agitated, but the purplish color of the undersea vessel seemed to have changed the cause of his worry.  Absinthe fluttered over to Cal Hicks and chirped once.  The ape chuckled, still marveling at the tiny fairy.

 

Reading Ape purple

Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape

“You are the most delightful shade of green,” he said in a mystified tone.

“He wants you to lead us,” Copper translated.

“Ah, so he does!  This way then,” directed the purple primate as he adjusted his bowler hat and pointed with his amethyst topped walking stick.

After about fifteen minutes of walking we reached a clearing.  In its center was a sprawling building.  It was only one story tall, except for a broad, towering dome in the center.  Cornelis gazed at the facility in childlike wonder.

The sound of clamoring hooves and the clanking of a bell made everyone turn.  A lavender Alpine goat ran out of the building and barreled into Cornelis.  The Dutchman landed on his back with a thud.  The goat sniffed happily at his face.  She made the oddest warbling behh sound.

I had become accustomed to the amethyst ape’s warmhearted chuckle.  So, I was surprised to hear him laugh uproariously.  He recovered himself somewhat and turned to me to explain.

“The Lord of Alchemy allowed us to keep a herd of milk goats behind his laboratory.  There was something about the grass there that improved their milk greatly.  I’ve always pondered if that was because this grass has a greenish tone,” Cal Hicks told me, but then shook his head.

“But I digress again,” he apologized.  “Cornelis Drebbel made a pet of this particular goat.  However, I always told him that it was she who thought he was the pet.  She’s quite possessive of him.”

1920s man w-goats

Wikimedia commons, circa 1920. (Altered by Teagan)

Cornelis clamored to his feet.  The lavender goat gently head-butted the Dutchman and nearly knocked him over again.  She nibbled at his coat sleeve and pant legs, ignoring his attempts to brush her away.  From time to time she uttered that strange warbling behh sound.  It really was funny, and I couldn’t help laughing.

Copper had no compunction about offending anyone.  She wrapped her arms around the goat’s neck, hugging the animal.  The girl laughed so hard she toppled over.  Fortunately, the goat seemed to take to her.  The next thing I knew, the large goat had maneuvered Copper onto her back.  Copper sat astride the goat as if she was about to take the animal for a gallop.  The oddest part was that it looked perfectly natural.

All the laughter was abruptly cut short by a trumpeting screech.  I looked to the amethyst sky from which the sound came, but saw nothing.  Cornelis looked apprehensive.  The ape, Cal Hicks, trembled fearfully.

“Quickly!  Get inside,” Cornelis ordered pointing toward the building that was the laboratory of the version of him that inhabited this world. “Quickly,” he added with a sharp pat to the goat’s rump.  “Hang on tight, Copper!” he called.

The lavender goat bolted toward the laboratory, carrying Copper on her back.

“What was that?” I exclaimed.

Cal Hicks came to himself as we all ran behind the goat.

“I was so sure it was dead,” the amethyst ape said.  “That was the hunting call of the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!”

Purple one horned dragon

Racheal Marie, Pixaby

***

Real World Notes

Duffle bag.  The term dates back to 1677, when it was used to describe a coarse woolen cloth having a thick nap or frieze.  The name comes from Duffel, a town in Flanders, Belgium, where the thick duffel cloth used to make the bag originated in the 1600s.  During most of the 1900s, a duffel bag typically referred to a specific style of cylindrical, top-entry bag.

Victorian Vernacular

Church-bell A talkative woman.

Gal-sneaker:  A man devoted to seducing women.

Make a stuffed bird laugh:  When something is utterly preposterous.”

Mind the grease:  When you need people to let you pass, use this phrase as you would “Excuse me.”

***

I hope our heores find something in the laboratory to help get back to their own world.  Yet with the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater out, and apparently on the hunt, will they be able to reach the laboratory?

Next time when the “three random things” are from Olga Núñez Miret.  Be at the steampunk submarine port to find out where Glass Eye, Silver Vinaigrette, and Sextant take Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers!  

My chuckaboos, I’ll be looking for you when the steampunk submarine comes into port next week.  Mega hugs! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

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

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

Amazon UK

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.

 

Atonement Ganesha

Saturday, February 9, 2018

Elephant mice tree house HEARTS_Pixaby

Pixabay, altered image by Teagan

Diana Wallace Peach started a  monthly feature at her blog, Myths of the Mirror.  I caved into the temptation to play along. Click the link to learn more. 

Each month, Diana issues an image as a prompt. This time, my response is a twofer! My first response is my alteration of the original image.  Click the link above to see the original at Diana’s blog. 

As you can see, I was hoping to make a Valentine’s story.  However, whatever and whomever my muse is, apparently it has no relationship with Cupid.  Even so, I wrote a vignette and once again, made my response part of my “Atonement, Tennessee” universe.  I’ll leave Ralda Lawton to tell you about it.

***

What is that up ahead? I wondered.

I was about to turn my Toyota into the long, rhododendron lined driveway of Sunhold.  Before you get any glamorous ideas, the plants had run wild and hiring gardeners wasn’t high on my list of allowable expenses.  It looked nothing like Manderly.  However, it did look deserving of the Creepy Hollows nickname the locals gave the old estate I had won at auction.

As I was about to say, I stopped my car.  Just down the street, opposite the Sunhold cemetery, a van was broken down.  It was painted with colorful, almost psychedelic designs of whimsical shapes and animals, including a beautiful paisley elephant.

Ganesha painting suyinorlowski_Pixabay

Suyinorlowski, Pixabay

I saw a person, whose posture spoke of confusion, leaning over the open hood.  It was selfish of me, but I held back.  I had to get home for an appointment.  A squirrel had gotten into the house.  Annie from the antique shop recommended Jo Davis’ son Billy.  I didn’t want to miss him.  Guilt got the better of me though, and I went to see what the trouble was.

“Hey, is everything okay?  Do you need help, s―” I stammered.  “Um ma―”

I stopped mid-sentence.  I didn’t know how to finish because my eyes beheld such androgyny.  Blue jeans and a loose shirt were worn with whimsical athletic shoes patterned to resemble mice, as if each foot was a big mouse.  Glossy, straight black hair hung below shoulder-level.  Brown skin had a warm yellowish tone that made me think of turmeric.  Or maybe it was just the aroma of curry wafting from the van and going from my nose to my empty stomach that made me think so.

Huge soulful brown eyes turned to meet my puzzled gaze.  When I tore my stare away from those mesmerizing eyes, I noted the firm jawline, and then a rich voice that, while tenor, was certainly male.  A scar on one side of his rather long nose added ruggedness to his face.

He wiped his hands and closed the van’s hood.  He pushed back his bangs, rubbing his brow with the back of his hand.  I glimpsed what looked like a henna tattoo of an om symbol on his forehead.

“Hi!” he greeted me with a disarming smile.  “I think it’s good to go now.  I heard a noise and thought I’d better stop and check under the hood, just in case.  Besides, I think I missed a turn.  You couldn’t tell me where the Sunhold place is, could you?  Billy’s Critter Ridders was over booked and he asked me to pick up the slack.”

Squirrel scratching bbc

Comprehension abruptly dawned.  I took another look at the artwork on the van.  The psychedelic elephant was in a humorous pose with one foot on a mouse that appeared to carry the pachyderm.  Lettering beneath the image stated, “Humane Pest Removal.”

Tension gripped the back of my neck when another van stopped.  It was from Fae’s Flowers.  Gwydion, locally known as Guy Fabdon, hoped out, green eyes glittering flirtatiously.  He seemed to take quick stock of the situation.  There was something territorial in the set of his shoulders and the way he eyed the stranger. 

Just then the newcomer spoke.

“I’m sorry, I should have introduced myself.  I’m Bheema,” he said and shook my hand.

Bheema proffered his hand to Gwydion, who gave a snort.  I shot the florist a surprised look for his rudeness.

“Doesn’t that mean one who is gigantic?  A Hindu name I believe?” Gwydion asked in a sardonic voice.

I couldn’t imagine why Gwydion would know anything about Hindu name meanings.  Then again, I supposed he would know all sorts of things, considering the fact that he was a supernatural being of the fae variety.

I couldn’t help noticing that Bheema’s hand was not as androgynous as his slim body.

One who is gigantic? I thought.  Keep looking at his eyes.  Don’t look down, woman.  Don’t even glance.  Just don’t. Look. Down.

“Ralda, luv.  I heard you had a tree-rat lose in the old manse,” he told me in his lilting accent.  “I can take care of that beastie for you.  No need to bring in extra help.”

There was no wonder Gwydion was posturing like an alpha male.  Yes.  I confess, I looked down.

Dark haired man, face half in shadow, soulful eye

Lee Campbell, Unsplash

“That’s not necessary, Gwydion,” I said, tiptoeing to peep inside his van.  “I know you need to get those flowers to the refrigeration units in your shop before they wilt.”

“So, how long are you going to be in Atonement?” the florist continued as if I had not spoken.

“That’s not clear yet,” Bheema said, and I found his choice of words odd.  “I’m helping out Billy for a while, but I’m also house sitting for his mom while she’s in Florida.  Not sure how long Mrs. Davis is going to stay.”

“Considering what happened the last time Billy took care of Jo’s place, I can understand why she’d want someone else there,” Gwydion replied with a knowing chuckle.

I resisted the impulse to ask for details.  I was still avoiding Gwydion and wanted him to get on his way.

The sounds of meowing came from Bheema’s van.  I moved to look inside.  Two pet carriers were secured in the backseat, along with a large duffle bag.

“Ah.  You’re a cat person,” Gwydion commented in a smug tone.  “Nice shoes,” he added, smirking down at the mouse designs.

Apparently having cats and whimsical shoes neutralized any threat Bheema posed to Gwydion’s territorial alpha male impulses.  He excused himself and left a moment later.

The meowing resumed.  Bheema reached into the van and brought out a configuration of clear plastic tubes.

“Oh, meet Siddhi and Riddhi,” he remarked with a motion to the carriers.  “I haven’t gone to Mrs. Davis’ to settle them yet.  Don’t worry.  The cats will be okay because this won’t take long.  I’ll just bait these traps and that squirrel will oblige before you know it.  Then I’ll take him far enough away that he won’t come back to munch on any more of your woodwork.”

“I’m relieved to hear that.  I like squirrels, but they can do a ton of damage when they get inside a house.  Plus, I’m worried about what might happen if it gets into a part of the house that my cat, Lilith, can access.  Such a little creature can cause such a big problem!”

“Ha!  I understand.  There’s a saying,” he began.  “Don’t tell Ganesha how big your problem it.  Tell the problem how big your Ganesha is!” Bheema said with a motion to the elephant painted on his van.

I chuckled as I looked into his soulful, reassuring eyes.  The om tattoo showed again when he tossed back that mane of black hair.  I looked from the symbol to the odd scar that marred one side of his long-ish nose.  I looked at the shoes that lent a fanciful illusion of mice carrying him.

Siddhi and Riddhi gazed at me from their carriers and gave affirmative sounding meows.

two brown tabby cats lay on wood planks

Nathalie Jolie, Unsplash

The end.

***

 

There you have my response to Diana’s image-prompt.  What do you think of Bheema?  Would you like to see more of him in my Atonement, TN universe? 

The #steampunk submarine will be at the port on Wednesday for Hidebound Hump day and the next serial episode of “Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.”  Then Straightlaced Saturday will be back with another Victorian novel next weekend. 

Thanks for visiting.  Mega hugs! 

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

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

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

Amazon UK

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 © 2019 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.

Coming in Spring — Back to the 1920s

Friday, February 9, 2019 

We went back in time, from the Roaring Twenties to the Victorian Era. This spring, it’s time to get back to the future, if by the future you mean the days of flappers.

Coming in Spring…

An Uninvited Guest…

In Granny Phanny’s Kitchen!

 Here’s a hint.  What “thread” ties this story to Murder at the Bijou?

Daisy thread ad

Ad for sewing thread, circa 1895

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

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

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

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

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 ©  2019 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 29

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Not to repeat myself from my Saturday post, but…

Happy Chinese New Year.  Happy Year of the Earth Pig!

Porthole Cornelus-The Sub

A portal in Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine, Art by Rob Goldstein

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system.  My chuckaboos, it’s time for Hidebound Hump Day!  Our heroes are in a strange purple world.  It reminded me of this image Rob Goldstein made for the virtual art show I held for him.

This chapter has Felicity pondering some issues of the heart.  Some of you might think back to earlier chapters, and whether or not you were on “team Ignatius.”  If you ask Cornelis, he’d say the Woman in Trousers was smitten.  (Chapter 16)

People have always encouraged me to write romances, but I leave that to the experts — like Mary.  The “random things” that drove today’s episode were sent by Mary J. McCoy-Dressel.  She writes novels about “sweetly-sensual contemporary western romance with strong family ties.”

Cornelis Drebbel’s magical submarine is at our port.  The klaxon sounds as the vessel rises to the surface, and we’re ready for another chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers! 

Cornelis Drebbel inside sub _001

Rob Goldstein’s vision of Cornelis in his submarine

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

Our trio was on the run from three different groups of bad guys, including huge and dangerous trained chimpanzees, one of which gestured in sign language the word daddy.  Felicity recognized the leader of one group by her voice as a woman from Copper’s town, but she couldn’t recall which woman possessed that voice.

They hid out at the pavilion of Alastair Wong, where alchemy gone awry gave them a map with a clue to where they might find Copper’s missing father. Still on the run, they boarded Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine where they met Absinthe, the Green Fairy.  Subsequently the submarine ran aground in an amethyst world.

Chapter 28  Our bricky friends met a very gentlemanly, large, chimpanzee. He also happened to be dressed in a suit and hat.  Oh, and he was undeniably purple.  The words of the “amethyst ape” stunned everyone when he met Cornelis Drebbel.

“Cornelis Drebbel, Lord of Alchemy, I welcome you to these shores.  Please accept my humble apology for not recognizing you.  No one has seen you for decades.  It was feared that the purple people eater had… well…  But how foolish of us to think you would have been bested by any beast, no matter how fearsome.”

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

29 — Straitlaced, Queen Anne Style Architecture, Harper’s Bazaar

Copper lavender

The suited, bespectacled purple primate was a willing listener for Cornelis Drebbel.  I wouldn’t have expected an ape to speak our language, even if he could talk.  Nor would I have thought we would understand him.  When I was about to ask, a significant look from Cornelis caused me to realize it had to be one of the Dutchman’s tricks at work, allowing us to communicate with one another.

The alchemist gave the primate a full tour of the submarine.  The amethyst ape soaked up every detail as Cornelis explained how the many inventions onboard were used in the navigation and other workings of the submarine.  The ape seemed to have an astonishing scientific comprehension of what the Dutchman said in describing his inventions.

Cornelis had gone on about doppelgängers and was genuinely concerned about the consequences if one of us met our double in this perplexing purple place.  I remembered Copper’s giggling exclamation comparing the straitlaced ape to her father. 

I thought it simply childish fantasy, but then I recalled how the Dutchman reacted to her words.  He curled his lips inward in a rueful grimace and raised his bushy blonde eyebrows.  Then he pursed his lips and inclined his head pointedly toward the purple primate.  At that moment the ape reminded me very much of the portrait of Calvin Hixon.

I studied the primate’s face and tried to imagine a human version.  My eyes grew wide.

Reading Ape purple

Cal Hicks, the Amethyst Ape

Daddy, but not Daddy,” I thought.  “Well dash my wig!  The amethyst ape is Calvin Hixon’s doppelgänger!”

Cornelis was quite adept at reading facial expressions, no matter how fleeting.  When he glanced my way, he raised one eyebrow and gave half a nod to indicate he knew I had finally caught on to what he had figured out the first moment he saw the ape.  It was no wonder he’d frozen in amazement when Copper and I had gotten out of the submarine.  I finally understood why.  I tried not to stare at the ape version of Copper’s daddy.

After Cornelis had shown off his favorite inventions, the ape invited us to tea.  Cornelis wasn’t quick enough to hide his reluctance to disembark the submarine. 

The ape tried to encourage him by describing the setting and the Queen Anne style architecture of his charming home.  I couldn’t help wondering if this amethyst world had held a purple primate version of Queen Anne, and suspected that it actually had.

Though Cornelis was disinclined to accept the invitation, Copper was beside herself with excitement.

In a very discrete way, the alchemist worked the conversation around to inquire about the ape’s family life and whether he lived alone.  Abruptly the purple primate puckered his face, looking very contrite.  He bumped his palm to his brow and apologized profusely.

“I was so amazed and excited that I forgot to introduce myself.  Can you ever forgive my lacking manners?  Cal Hicks — at your service,” he said with a bow.  “Penny will be devastated not to have met you.  That’s my daughter.  She’s away for the week, visiting her brother Nate and his wife.”

Queen Anne Style House

Queen Anne Style House, Wikimedia altered image by Teagan

When the ape — or I should say Cal Hicks, mentioned his daughter-in-law he gave me the strangest, quizzical look.

“Something in your manner puts me very much in mind of my delightful daughter-in-law,” he told me with a twinkle in his eye.

I was speechless.  Could there be a purple ape version of me?  And was she married to simian version of Ignatius Belle?  Surely not, it was incomprehensible!  Even one of those ideas was too much, but both?  I suddenly had a headache.

Was my future preordained?  Ignatius Belle was a dashing figure of a man, but he was exceedingly proper.  While I, on the other hand, liked to wear trousers, and flatly refused to wear a corset. 

However, as the purple primate spoke about his family, I realized the doppelgänger had made different choices than Calvin Hixon.  The course of his life did not predict or ordain the path of his human counterpart.

The ape didn’t know the reason behind the alchemist’s concern, but what he disclosed about his family reassured Cornelis that it was unlikely for any of us to run into our doppelgängers.  With a little more please-pretty-please urging from Copper, Cronelis finally agreed.  So we set out with Cal Hicks, the primate equivalent of Copper’s daddy, to have tea at his home.

***

 

Image of teacup and saucer with lavender flowers

Mareefe, Pixabay

The facial expression of a violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper attested to even more astonishment than Cal Hicks showed at our arrival.  However, she graciously served tea with all the trimmings.  She seemed delighted to have a chance to show off her skills, and served the perfect pot of tea to complement each course.

“Thank you, Candy.  It looks as delicious as ever,” our host told her.

The aromas of the food arranged before us abruptly brought to mind Cookie, the cook at the Belle Inn.  I turned my gaze to the well-rounded form of the housekeeper.  Seen from behind, she looked remarkably like Cookie.

Such an afternoonified setting, hosted by primates wearing human clothes, and speaking proper English… Quite frankly, it unnerved me.  I was ready to call it call it eight bells! 

My cup rattled against its saucer.  I was embarrassed to spill my tea.  Charming and hospitable as Cal Hicks was, I almost wished I had stayed behind at the submarine with Absinthe.  Cornelis was downright twitchy — probably still worried about doppelgängers.  Copper was the only one who took everything in stride.

After we finished tea, I noticed several portraits hung in the hallway.  The life of Cal Hicks truly did seem to include a much happier, devoted family life than Calvin Hixon experienced.  The son was presumable born out of wedlock, since this place seemed to reflect our own world.  But unlike Ignatius Belle, Nate Hicks agreed to become a true part of the family.  Since Penny was visiting Nate and his wife for a week, I assumed that she did not share Copper’s dislike and mistrust of her half-brother.

Victorian Ape Couple

Wikimedia Commons

A purple primate version of Harper’s Bazaar magazine lay on a beautifully crafted mahogany table.  The deep color of the wood had dark purple highlights.  On the magazine cover was a woman-ape wearing a fashionable ensemble.  A painting hung above the table.  It was a portrait of Cal Hicks’ son and daughter-in-law.  I had to admit the young ape in the portrait bore a vague resemblance to Ignatius Belle.  However the female looked nothing like me whatsoever.

“Look Felicity!  She looks like you,” Copper enthused.

Looking away, I tried not to let Cal Hicks see how aghast I was at the girl’s comment.  With narrowed eyes I watched Corenlis.  His mouth twisted in any number of ways as he tried to stifle his laughter.  I knew it was our host he didn’t want to offend.  He certainly wouldn’t be concerned about my pricked ego.

To hide his mirth, the Dutchman tapped his fist to his breastbone, pretending to stifle a burp.  Then Cornelis asked our host if we might stroll around the grounds to help the fine repast Hicks provided settle.  The amethyst ape was happy to oblige.

As we toured the property we came upon a church.

“That doesn’t look like it’s been used in quite some time,” I commented about the chapel.

“Ah yes.  That was indeed a tragedy,” Cal Hicks replied sadly, and Copper was quick to push for details on a topic we adults may have deemed too delicate.

“It happened during the last confrontation with the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater,” the ape said then turned to Cornelis as if concerned.  “Do you not remember it?”

“Err…” Cornelis hesitated, but a spark in his eyes told me he was about to dissemble.  “I must confess,” he said looking so sad and sincere that I almost rolled my eyes.  “An accident of alchemy brought my submarine back to these shores.  Sadly I have no memory of the events that happened here,” he explained.  “Oh now, there’s no need for concern, I’m sure the memories will return in due time.  Such is the way of alchemy,” he assured our worried looking host.

Purple Stone chapel ruin stairs Pixabay

Pixabay altered image, Teagan

“Well, perhaps a refresher will help it along then,” Cal Hicks replied with a hopeful nod.  “I mentioned that we had thought all of your species,” he said turning to me, but hesitating when he looked at Copper’s wide eyes.  “Well, um, that the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater had, um gotten them,” Cal told us, and seeing that Copper didn’t look frightened, he continued.  “However, there was one more confrontation with that huge purple fae creature.  You, Cornelis Drebbel, cornered the magical beast, and with your alchemy intended to transfigure it to something harmless.”

“Let me guess,” I said with a wry grin.  “The alchemy went awry.”

Cornelis glared at me, but the ape remained perfectly serious, continuing his narrative.

“The Lord of Alchemy insisted that everyone take refuge in the chapel while he confronted the monster alone.  Meanwhile, I ran to retrieve his harmonic tuner.  It’s a magical device decorated with a carving of a trio in the classic mystic people pose — hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”

The ape suddenly looked overwhelmed with regret.  He moved his spectacles to wipe a tear.

“In my haste, I tripped.  The harmonic tuner flew from my grasp.  It rang as it flew through the air.  However, you, Cornelis Drebbel, caught it before it fell.  So I thought all would be well, and that my mishap had done no harm,” Cal Hicks told us in an apologetic voice.

The ape dabbed his nose with a silk handkerchief and took a deep breath before continuing.

“The purple people eater vanished, presumably vanquished.  You, Lord of Alchemy popped off, as was your habit, to make sure the beast was gone for good.  But you never returned,” he said, looking like a repentant child caught in mischief.  His expression gladdened as he looked up and added, “Until today that is.”

“And the church?” I prompted.

Cal Hicks turned somber eyes to the chapel.  He shook his head slowly.

“When the loud harmonic noise of the misused tuner dissipated, I realized there were no sounds whatsoever coming from the church.  To my horror, I found it empty.  Everyone inside had vanished along with the purple people eater,” he said.

I gasped despite myself.  The ape seemed to think I found his telling of the story that shocking, and he seemed gratified to have at least told it well.  Although it was obvious that he blamed himself to a degree for what happened.  So I tried not to let on that the story wasn’t the reason for my gasp.

“Cornelis!” I whispered to the alchemist.  “That army of chimpanzees back at the Hixon estate.  What if they weren’t trained,” I said but paused, looking for the right word.  “What if instead, they were actually translocated?”

***

Real World Notes

Harper’s Bazaar.  Harper’s Bazaar is an American women’s fashion magazine, first published in 1867.  Published by Hearst, it considered itself to be the style resource for “women who are the first to buy the best, from casual to couture.”  It was aimed at what it calls “discerning ladies.”  In this story those ladies included simians in tones of purple.

Victorian Vernacular

Olive oil:  Slang pronunciation of “Au revoir.”

On the make:  Flirting, making advances on people.  “She was really on the make last night.”

Orf Chump:  No appetite. 

***

Felicity has figured out at least part of the mystery of the “trained” chimpanzees, but we still don’t know who was using them.  Can the ape version of Calvin Hixon somehow help our trio reach Copper’s real daddy?  Will seeing the portrait of primate doubles of herself and Ignatius Belle influence Felicity’s capricious feelings about him?  

Next time when the “three random things” are from Christoph Fischer.  Be at the steampunk submarine port to find out what happens when Babylon, Toothpick, and Alpine drive the chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers!  

My chuckaboos, it’s sure to be an adventure, and that’s no kruger-spoof! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

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

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

Amazon UK

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.

 

Happy Year of the Pig, and a Bloomin’ Character Interview

Saturday, February 2, 2019

chinese new year woman-lights thomas-despeyroux-1208133-unsplash

Thomas Despeyroux, Unsplash

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!  Yes, I realize I’m a little early.  However, Atonement, TN’s porcine residents, Deme and Honeybell heard it is going to be the Year of the Pig.  Those two glowing gals wouldn’t leave me alone until they got their own special post. 

Straightlaced Saturday will return next week with another Victorian novel.

Actually, I had been trying to write a Valentines story… and getting nowhere.  I gave up, but the glowing pigs started their grunt-snuffle-snort in my brain.  I was just as stuck when I tried to give them a new story for Chinese New Year.  I think my writer-brain accidentally got packed in one of my moving boxes…

Deme and Honeybell still wouldn’t leave me alone though.  When I asked how they might celebrate it being the Year of the Pig, one of them said something about “fortune cookies” and the other said “character interview.”

Chinese New Year ― the Year of the Pig

chinese new year pigs

Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Snuffle-grunt-grunt-snuffle.  Snuffle-grunt-grunt-snuffle.  Snuffle-grunt-grunt-snuffle.

What was I saying?  It’s getting noisy in here.  And what’s with all that strange light?

Teagan-writer-Teagan!  Teagan-writer-Teagan!

TRG:  Oh, of course.  Hi, Deme.  Or is it Honeybell.  I’m sorry that it’s hard for me to tell you apart.  Where’s that giggle coming from?  Under the table?

Deme pouncing out from under the table:  No, that’s Honeybell.  Really, you of all people should be able to tell us apart.  I’m just a little bit taller than Honeybell.

TRG:  So, ya’ll are pretty excited about Chinese New Year this time, huh?  I love all of your prancing around.  I wish I had as much energy as either of you.

Honeybell:  I’ve been reading about the Chinese Zodiac.  This isn’t just any year of the pig, it’s the Year of the Earth Pig.

TRG:  Oh?  It’s not an earth pig because pigs like mud?

White Pig ditry nose dreamstime_xxl_83059557

Dreamstime

Deme:  That’s an insulting stereotype.  (snorts)

Honeybell:  Deme, you know you won the mud wrestling contest at the last four gatherings.

DemeGrunt-snuffle-snort!  Okay, I admit it.  Mud is my guilty pleasure.  But that has nothing to do with the Chinese Zodiac.

Honeybell:  The Pig is the twelfth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar.  But they also use a cycle of the elements, so there are five different zodiac year pigs ― wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.  This year is earth.

TRG.  I was born in a Year of the Pig.

Deme and Honeybell together:  (Both squeal their enthusiasm)  Snuffle-grunt-grunt-snuffle!

Honeybell:  Do tell!  No wonder you thought of us and brought us to Atonement, Tennessee.

Deme:  This is so cool!  Which Pig are you?

TRG:  (Keyboard clicking.  Google search window opens.)

Honeybell:  (Looks over Teagan’s shoulder at computer.)  Our search engine is called Gruntle.

TRG:  You have your own search engine… wherever it is you go when you go home?

Deme:  (Snorts)  Duh.  Of course.  We even have Netstyes.  Have you seen The Walking Bacon?  That Daryl makes me sizzle!

Honeybell:  (aghast)  Deme!

Deme:  So, what kind of Pig were you?

TRG:  Wikipedia says I was… an Earth Pig.

pig

Deme and Honeybell togetherGrunt-snuffle-snort!  Oooh!  

Deme:  Wow!  There hasn’t been an Earth Pig in… well, in a long time.  You must be ancient.

Honeybell:  (Takes on wise manner and sage voice)  Maybe that means you’ve finished a long cycle in life.  Now you can start a better one.

TRG:  I hope you’re right, Honeybell.

Deme:  Oh, she is.  When Honeybell goes full-on prophesy-pig like that, she’s never wrong.

Honeybell:  Deme, you’re starting to glow.  That means it’s getting dark out.  We’d better go home.

Deme:  Race ya!  Last on there’s a rotten boar!  Grunt-snuffle-snort! 

Honeybell squeals, cloven hooves scrambling to catch up with Deme.

TRG:  Happy Year of the Pig, you two!

You can find a brief collection of Deme and Honeybell’s adventures in The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Happy Chinese New Year!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Crystal Reading Atonement

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

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

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

Amazon UK

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 © 2019 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.