The Delta Pearl — Prologue. A New Serial Begins!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

A New Serial Begins!

The Delta Pearl book cover created by Teagan R. Geneviene

Welcome, my chuckaboos!  If you are new around here, “chuckaboo” is what the Victorians called a dear friend. 

Changes abound!  Those of you who visited my midweek post already know I’ve changed things.  If not, then you see that I’ve redecorated my sanctuary.  After many years of the same blog-look, I decided to use the steampunk banner to reflect the new serial.

Another change.  In the race between Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine and the Delta Pearl, the riverboat won the voting poll.  The new serial starts today!

Some things didn’t change.  Wait, there’s more good news.  Dan Antion, who illustrated Brother Love, is letting me use his photographs for The Delta Pearl!  Although because it is a steampunk story, I will have to use other illustrations as well, but I’m using as many of Dan’t photos as I can.  Thank you so much, Dan.

Original photo by Dan Antion. Tomfoolery by Teagan.
Original photo by Dan Antion. Tomfoolery by Teagan.

Another similarity.  This serial is also driven by random “things” left by readers.  Everyone is welcome to leave a Victorian-ish or non-modern thing in the comments.  If knowing the background on The Delta Pearl helps you pick a random thing, then click to the previous post.

The “things” for this installment are Peaches from Dyanna Wyndesong, Guess from Jennie Fitzkee, and Downstream from Mary J. McCoy-Dressel

The story begins with our heroine (and narrator) as a young girl.  The rest of the story will be told from her adulthood.  Nuances are difficult to remember with weekly serials, so I’m pointing out that the circumstances of the prologue play into the story later. 

Now, let’s skedaddle to the riverbank.  There was one thing that I missed while posting the Brother Love serial.  Now I can say it again…  All aboard!

The Delta Pearl


Delta Pearl announcement. Composite of Pixaby images by Teagan R. Geneviene
Delta Pearl announcement. Composite of Pixaby images by Teagan R. Geneviene

The first time I saw the Delta Pearl, I was eight years old.  I wondered if the legends were true, because my grandfather died three days before.

I asked Moma if Peepaw had seen the riverboat.  Maybe seeing it had “marked him” like folks said.  I didn’t see what was wrong with the question, but apparently something was.  It made her so angry she threatened to give me an anointing.

Even though I knew it was unlikely that Moma would bother to follow through on the promised beating, I skedaddled out of the room.

I carried my stool to the back yard so I could reach the clothesline without letting anything drag on the ground. Hurriedly, I took the laundry down from the line and folded it.

Soon relatives descended upon our house bearing all manner of food.  There was some hugging and handshaking, but eyes were dry of tears.  They didn’t cry much, my family.

Moma and Meemaw used every flat surface available as they tried to sort all the food into some kind of edible order.  They got creative about how to make room for every cousin’s best cooking.

Photo by Dan Antion
Photo by Dan Antion

For the most part, the women gathered in the kitchen.  Menfolk came in and out to get food, if it wasn’t carried to them.

The aroma of peaches made my mouth water.  I reached toward a dish with a golden-brown cobbler crust, but I wasn’t allowed to have any yet.  So, I moved toward the back, and the refuge of solitude that waited beyond the screen door.

“She’s got no emotions,” Moma told a scowling aunt I didn’t remember ever meeting before.

I supposed hunger had no place with grief.  Moma frowned disappointment at me.  Her comment didn’t seem to get the desired amount of attention.  She kept talking.

“She’s a goop, not all there you know,” she added with a self-sacrificing shake of her head, as if I wasn’t standing right there.  “It makes so much more work for me.”

Moma sank into a wooden chair that a cousin-in-law hastily vacated and offered to her.  She lowered her eyelids.  With a sidelong look she smiled brightly at the young man in his late teens.

Image by Pixaby
Image by Pixaby

Everyone else turned expressionless faces toward me.  An adult cousin that I half-remembered commented fondly.  She said something about how children would always eat sweets and play and the world kept turning.  I guess she meant to be reassuring to everyone.  However, I wondered if anyone agreed with her.  She was the only one who smiled.

In that moment the realization finally sank into my young mind.  Not only was Peepaw gone, so was the only buffer between me and Moma and Meemaw, and the things they said and did.

They had told me that Peepaw didn’t love me, and they were surprised that he had anything to do with me.  I had to admit that he wasn’t affectionate, although I refused to believe it.  I loved him anyway.

I kept walking toward the door.  I wasn’t mature enough or sophisticated enough to process the conflicted thoughts that came when my mother told people something was wrong with me.

Flimsy screen door on a shabby red wall
Photo by Dan Antion

The door opened with a light push.  I stepped onto the little porch.  When the screen door banged shut behind me, I cringed.  Moma always yelled at me about that.  However, when she called out, she didn’t mention the door.

“Em!  Emerald Perlezenn!  You stay away from that river,” she hollered.

Naturally, I went to the river.

The gentle sounds of the water always helped me come to terms with things I didn’t understand.  The river comforted me.  At that moment, I really needed the river.

Besides, I thought, I might finally see the riverboat.

I trotted down narrow paths Meemaw called pig trails.  Rounding curves, dodging brambles and tree roots, I eventually got to the river.

The riverboat, the Delta Pearl, was a legend along that part of the river.  Few people had seen her.  As for the ones who claimed they had seen it, everybody seemed pretty sure they were lying.

Some said it was haunted.  Others claimed it was the river’s version of the Lost Dutchman, cruising the waterway for eternity.  Most had it that if you saw the Delta Pearl you were marked for death.

Image by Pixabay
Image by Pixabay

Moma always complained when I asked about things.  Questions about the legendary boat were the ones that annoyed her the most.

“The Delta Pearl is not real, Em.  I don’t want to hear your foolishness!  It’s just a story,” she impatiently told me every time.  “There’s too many places around here where a huge boat like that cain’t go.  There’s too many shallow spots.  Now I’ve heard enough of that silliness, and I’d better not hear another word about it from you.”

I walked along the riverbank.  Now and then my foot slipped, because I was so close to the edge.  Finally, I backed away, and then sat down to clean the mud from my shoe.

An odd clicking caused me to look up into the trees.  The fluttering sound of a bird taking flight came to my ears.  I covered my eyes when pine needles showered down on me.  However, I spotted something brass colored as it streaked across the blue sky.

That seemed like a strange color for a bird, yet what else could it have been?  It looked almost like metal, but that was too impossible, even for my active imagination.  My eyes followed as it flew downstream along the river.

Photo by Dan Antion
Photo by Dan Antion

As I sat there, I listened to the music of the water lapping against the shore.  It gave me a dreamy feeling.  I gazed vaguely down the watery path the river had carved eons before.

Sunlight glittered the surface of the water.  I imagined the tiny reflections were diamonds and tried to count them.

Squinting at the brilliance, I imagined what it would be like to be a grand lady with strands of diamonds at my throat and in my hair.  I thought of her suitors asking for a dance.

I stood and turned and turned, dreaming of the dance, while I spun around and around.  Then I staggered to a stop, enjoying the sensation of the dizzy world seeming to sway around me.  Stumbling, I held my arms out for balance as I faced the river.

That’s when I saw the Delta Pearl.


Original photo by Dan Antion. Tomfoolery by Teagan
Original photo by Dan Antion. Tomfoolery by Teagan


 If you haven’t already done so — or even if you have, I invite you to leave  a random non-modern thing, to help drive the story.  Please limit your description of the “thing” to two words.  Remember any technology-thing you offer needs to be appropriate to the Steam Era.

Next weekend we’ll board the riverboat. I’ll meet you at the dock, my chuckaboos! 


Now for the obligatory shameless self-promotion…

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

Amazon universal link (Kindle/e-book) Brother Love — a Crossroad

Amazon universal link (paperback) Brother Love — a Crossroad

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

Amazon UK

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USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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USA:  Atonement in Bloom

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

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USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

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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.


149 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl — Prologue. A New Serial Begins!

    1. Welcome aboard the Delta Pearl, Suzanne! I’m so glad you’re on the riverboat, my chuckaboo.
      Thanks — after so many years, I thought a change was in order for the blog look. The beginning of a new serial seemed like good timing for it. Great big hug!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad you are onboard, Lavinia, my chuckaboo!
      Please let me clarify. Is it a typo and you meant ancient tome? As in a large heavy book. Or you mean something like the “Solfeggio frequencies? An ancient 6-tone scale thought to have been used in sacred music.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, definitely “Ancient Tone”, as in how Bill Monroe described certain sounds in Appalachian mountain music to Peter Rowan, who talked about it in an interview of his time touring with Bill Monroe. I think it was regarding the song “Walls of Time”. If you search on Peter Rowan and listen to the song, you will know.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Lavinia. I keep going back to this very intriguing “thing” — I think I’m going to save it for The Guitar Mancer (whenever I can get back to working on it). I like how it could add to the mythology of that story. Awesome!
      I hope you and Rick and all the kitties have a wonderful holiday weekend. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Teagan, I will never know how you manage to be so imaginative and so productive and interesting. You’re a magnificent character who has come into my life and brought fun and friendship. Good to know you Teagan..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you kindly, my chuckaboo. I feel the same. 🙂 Oh, by the way, In another comment thread, I said I was taking “old pal” from your comment as a “thing”. As I was reworking chapter 1, I found I had used the phrase old friend. So I changed it to old pal. That means I’ll be giving you a shout out. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great start to this new serial! I’m already sucked in. The fact that The Delta Pearl is a ghost boat has me enthralled. I can’t wait to see what all will happen on board The Delta Pearl!!! I just had a vision of a cane with a decorative handle – maybe something like a human head or animal head. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooooo, that makes a terrific “thing”, Jan. I’m going to call it a “jeweled cane” since that’s short enough to go in a chapter header. We’ll gradually learn more about just what the Delta Pearl *is* as the story goes on. That will be an ongoing, underlying mystery.
      I’m so glad you’re onboard, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Rob. It’s great to see you. I appreciate your feedback about the dialect. There will be characters from many locations. I’ll be treading a fine line with dialect, because “not enough” loses its power, yet too much is overwhelming. I appreciate you visiting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. You just gave me a huge grin, Joanne. That emotional reaction means a lot to me.
      Next time you’ll also meet “The Dealer” of Jaspe, a tall Cajun drink of water who dances like a dream. (Not a romantic interest for Em though.) Have a good week, my chuckaboo! Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a new follower, Teagan. Thanks for introducing me to the fabulous new word, “chuckaboo.” I’m going to throw that one around a couple of times this week in general conversation just to see if others get the same satisfying feeling I get saying the word. Ha-ha!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Welcome, Pete! That is far and away my favorite word in Victorian slang. Batty-fang is second, though thrashing someone thoroughly isn’t quite as nice. 😉 Come back with a random thing, and I’ll give you a shout out when I use it. Have a sublime Sunday, my new chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How about this one? Abibliophobia—the fear of running out of things to read. That’s pretty random; I can’t say I know anyone who suffers from that affliction.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Woot! I’m delighted you are aboard, my chuckaboo! Exactly what the Delta Pearl is will be an ongoing question in the story, Jennie. LOL, I’m not sure I really know myself, but nothing new about that! 😀 Wishing you a sublime Sunday tomorrow. Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oooh such a great start to your story! I liked the sound of the screen door banging shut. I always did like that sound. Looking forward to hearing more, and finding out if the riverboat is real, or haunted. xx 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so very much, Barbara, my chuckaboo! Your comment means a lot to me.
      Isn’t it fascinating how strongly some very minor things stay with us, even decades later? I can remember how that kind of door felt in my hand when I would open or close it, the light weight, the way it swung out, even the way the old “hook” locks felt, and of course, the sound. Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Teagan, I’m totally on board with just the Prologue! This is going to be an incredible story. Already you’ve introduced hints of what’s to come. And I know there will be twists & surprises like Brother Love. That was a compelling series. I read the book twice on the flight to and from the east coast, just because I liked it so much. You are a master at crafting a story, hints along the way, and a build up to keep us reading. I love how your imagination creates scene after scene and ends with an striking, never guessed end. Brava, my friend! Huge hugs. 📚🎶💛 Christine

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Christine, my chuckaboo — you’ve made my weekend! Saying you liked my book so much that you read it twice is the greatest compliment I could get. Then to read both times so close together. I hope somebody will say similar on Amazon.
      I’m delighted you are onboard with this new serial. Yes there will be some bends in the river. Thank you again and again. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Teagan, I’ll write a review on Amazon and say much the same! Brother Love is really a great read! This new serial will be the same, I can tell just from the Prologue! Write away, my friend! Huge hugs, back! 📚🎶 Christine

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh, you are so very, very kind, Christine.
          There are so many stories I want to finish. I think reworking this one will do well as a serial. I put it on the shelf because the ending seemed to come too fast. It needed a middle. But I never had time to go back to it. Heartfelt thanks for all your encouragement. ❤

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Teagan, middles are the hardest, but they set up a ton of drama, conflict, and intrigue, then the story slides right to the end. You’ll be a success, just look at the start. Looking forward to more Delta Pearl! Hugs, my friend! 📚🎶 Christine

            Liked by 2 people

      2. Teagan, my Amazon review of Brother Love has been posted. Yay! 🎉🎶 It did state the kindle version, but it was the paperback. Don’t think I can change that, it was an automatic message. Hugs, my friend 📚🎶 Christine

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Thanks, Teagan! Delta Pearl will be your best yet! You got the intriguing style down pat with Brother Love. Go for the next Delta Pearl chapter with unleashed creativity! Your gift! Huge hugs back! 📚💛🎶 Christine

            Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Mary. I appreciate you leaving such a perfect “thing.”
      I’m delighted you like Em. Chapter 1 makes quite a jump (in time) from the prologue, but it was necessary to the later story-line. Although that’s not an unusual way for fantasy novels to be told, I’m just concerned about it confusing the reader of a weekly serial…
      Have a peaceful evening, my chuckaboo. Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I appreciate that feedback, Mary.
          My air conditioner was out for most of a day. I has happy to find someone competent who repaired it fast. LOL, she thought she was giving me a long wait — but I would have had to wait several days in DC. I kept that to myself. It’s been awhile since I’ve stopped to look at a weather report. I hope you’ve had a good break in that horrible heat wave. Hugs.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Count me in, always. This started my weekend off well (and I needed it). Can’t wait for more, I will, of course, wait and watch and share and hope…
    Sorry I haven’t been around much, life got very very (did I mention very?) complicated, but I keep trying to get above the waterline and swim back to you all. 🙂
    Thank you for lighting up a dark day, you’re a wonder, dear Teagan.
    Mega will be waiting at the dock with life jackets (just in case) hugs dear friend xoxoxoxoxox

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s great to see you, Donna. Yes, I can relate to “complicated.” By all means, please keep swimming! Everyone here loves you, my chuckaboo.
      You didn’t leave a “thing” so I’m taking “life-jacket” from your comment. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Michael. I’m happy you like the new look. I think consistency is important (helps people find me or know where they are), but it’s also good to change and refresh things now and then. I’m delighted you enjoyed the beginning. I appreciate your feedback. A wonderful weekend to you too, my friend. Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Hahahah! I was going to mention Delta Dawn by Tanya Tucker, but another great mind beat me to it!

    Already love this story and Em. Her moma and meemaw leave a lot to be desired in the compassion department! I just know Delta Pearl is going to have more twists than that river!

    Teagan, I can’t swim, but I’ll stay aboard with you even if we hit rapids!! 😂

    This is an obvious ‘thing’, but I’ll suggest it anyway…..Paddle wheel.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ginger, my chuckaboo — I can’t swim either. We’ll keep life savers at hand. I’m so glad you’re aboard. I’m chuckling at myself because your comment sent me on a research trip. Now it doesn’t feel like an “obvious” thing at all (besides it was already terrific)
      Anyhow, I suddenly wondered why sometimes I got an error message for “paddlewheel”… I was sure I had always seen it that way. After considerable digging, I learned that the single word is correct when referring to the propulsion of a boat. I’m glad to find that info before some critic dinged me on it. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Em! I love her already. Moma and Meemaw not so much. Can’t wait to see what’s in store in the coming weeks. Not fitting for the time period but for some reason “Take Me To The River” as sung by the Talking Heads popped into my brain. Happy Saturday!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha! Jill, I love it! I have thought of Proud Mary many times, but that one is perfect too. You haven’t left a “thing” so I’m taking “Dub” from your moniker as a thing. That way I can give you a shout-out. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh Teagan. I am totally on board! I can’t wait to see where where this riverboat (with Capt Teagan at the wheel) takes us in the coming weeks. I am already hooked on so many levels. The river, the family, the boat. This is going to be a fun ride.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so very much, Dan. Your photos will certainly add unspoken volumes to the story and help everyone visualize it. I hope I’m going to take every reader to a world they could never have imagined. That’s a big hope, but that’s what’s in my heart. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi GP. Gramophone is a perfect thing for this story. Thanks for getting on the Delta Pearl and into the spirit of the story, my chuckaboo!
      Chapter 1 makes a big jump forward, but this prologue was necessary for later in the story. Em’s background factors into the details. Happy weekend. Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Fantastic beginning, Teagan. You’ve set the scene and told us how Em is viewed by others around her perfectly. I love it and am looking forward to more episodes. oh and I’ve got a thing “Button Boots”. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Adele. I appreciate your feedback. The rest of the story looks quite different from the prologue, but it was still necessary to the later story-line. Although that’s not an unusual way for fantasy novels to be told, I’m just concerned about it confusing the reader of a weekly serial… I worry too much. 😉
      Button boots is a perfect thing. Grown up Em will surely have some. Thanks again for visiting, my chuckaboo! Hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so very glad, Robbie. It’s quite a jump from the prologue to chapter 1, but necessary for the overall story. Although fantasy stories often do that kind of thing. I’ll be waiting for you at the riverboat dock next week, my chuckaboo! Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

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