Wednesday Writing — Valentine Pondering

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The second month of the year has already begun.  I feel like I completely missed Christmas and New Years… and the whole month of January for that matter.  I guess a long collie shangle with the “everything flu” will do that to you. It tore me down physically and emotionally.

heart-red blue Pixaby

Despite the speed with which February arrived, somehow (for once) I managed to remember Valentine’s Day soon enough that I should be able to write a story for it. Several years I wrote a short-short story for the occasion. Other years I didn’t think about the day in time to do even that. Admittedly, I’m not a romantic person…  Ha! I suppose my so-called Valentine’s stories have attested to that fact.

Anyhow, last week I got ambitious and started what I hoped would be a short novella for my Fiona Finch steampunk character.  She has been waiting for her own book for a couple of years now. But you know me and my false starts — I’ll be lucky to make a short story of it, forget about a novella.  I’m only around 2500 words into it.  So, I made a book cover to encourage myself. 

I didn’t think I would be up to doing a post today, and I can’t truthfully say that everything is ducky.  However, I suddenly decided to share a snippet from this work in progress (and hope that I finish it).  Here’s the beginning…

Fiona Finch n the Pink Valentine
Fiona Finch & the Pink Valentine, Cover also by Teagan R. Geneviene

In the Pink

Frothy pink bubbles boiled merrily as the cherries cooked. The kitchen was usually the domain of my adopted brother, Steele. Contrary to what was expected of my gender, I had no interest in being domestically proficient. However, I was feeling inspired.

I tied-on my pink gingham apron and pinned back the pink ruffled sleeves of my gown. Then I settled myself, bustle and all, onto a brass swivel stool. My mouth twisted as I noted the uncomfortable height of the counter.

Of course, Steele was the last to use the stool and he was quite tall. I pressed the foot-pedal to raise the seat to a height that fit my much shorter person. Steele had a knack for tinkering-up unusual things and was the creator of the stools and many other little marvels in our home.

The liquid was ready to be strained off the cherries, but the pot was heavy for me to lift and I feared dropping it. Inspiration struck when I noticed the octopod Steele had just repaired. It was a metal sphere with eight legs, some of which ended in movable pincers. He created it to pick up things from the bottom of the koi pond in the garden.

I giggled as the octopod bubbled around the bottom of the pot, collecting cherry pits.  Steele might not like my use of his clockwork octopus, and he would complain that I had ruined the fruit. All I wanted was the beautiful blushing liquid. 

Yes, I have a penchant for pink. I simply can’t get enough of it.

Peking Duck Hausente Wikipedia
Peking Duck, Wikipedia

“All anyone can think about is mauve and mauvine,” I complained to myself. “It’s getting hard to find a perfectly pretty pink.”

A loud quack answered me. I jumped half out of my skin. It was Steele’s dratted duck. Damfino what possessed his mentor, Professor Quirinius Quelch, to give the duck to my brother. She was a nuisance as far as I was concerned. She was always following one of us, and all too often that “one” was me.

My brother had taught her a few tricks. She’d do anything for a treat. However, teaching her to open drawers was just asking for trouble. She was always getting into things and places where a duck had no business being.

Although I admit that a duck fetching the mail was cute, but it was unnecessary. Steele had invented and installed a system of pneumatic tubes throughout the house. The tubes propelled cylindrical containers (and whatever they held) by compressed air.

Land sakes, Steele! Your duck is loose in the house again. Get this nasty bird out of here!” I yelled, but got no reply.

“Shoo, Quellie! Shoo. Get out from under foot,” I told the duck, and shook my skirt at her.

I had mischievously named the quacker “Quellie” after the professor. However, the moniker stuck.

“Fiona, what have you done to those wonderful cherries?” my brother demanded in a resigned tone. “And where is Quellie? I thought she had caused your caterwauling.”


The chapter continues, but that’s the end of the snippet


Now, if you know me at all, then you already expect some kind of hijinx from that duck.  No, I don’t intend this to be another serial. I’m not sure what I plan, but I shared part of it anyway…

Thanks for visiting.  Hugs on the wing!


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 2020 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.


101 thoughts on “Wednesday Writing — Valentine Pondering

  1. I love the snippet! Please check out the children’s book, Pinkalicious. It’s good, and it might be just what the doctor ordered for a bad case of the ‘everything flu’ and the winter blues. ❤️ We all need more pink! Best to you, Teagan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Michael. Comments were so encouraging that I’ve continued to work on the story. Initially I hoped to put it on Amazon for Valentine’s Day. I’m still not sure if I can finish in time to do that, but I will try.
      Yes, it gets very cold in this desert, especially on a winter’s night. The beauty of it is how nicely it usually warms up for the daytime. That particular day, the temperature never got above freezing — that is unusual. Thank you for all the time you’ve spent here, my friend. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Teagan, what a magical and eye-catching cover! How do you make these?! The snippet has me hooked and I love how you weave so many elements together in one short piece! I can’t help smiling at the duck in the story! I hope you’re much recovered from the flu, it’s horrid when weeks pass in a fug of illness … everything suddenly seems very far away and unreal! Take care, my friend and enjoy finishing the story! As for false starts … that’s where all art is formed! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anika. You made me smile with that explanation of false starts. The generous feedback about the story has definitely encouraged me to keep going.
      Thanks about the cover. ❤ I use a combination of Photoshop and PowerPoint to get the effects I want. Sometimes I buy images from Dreamstime, but mostly I use free ones from Pixabay and Wikipedia, occasionally from Unsplash. I try not to make the cover too complicated. So I look for a single image that has the "spirit" of my story. (The steampunk girl from Pixabay had the umbrella which comes into the story in a small way. I changed her clothes from blue to pink.)
      I try not to add more than one or two elements, and of course the text. In this one I added the heart and the duck. However, once I've selected images I do a ton of tweaking to make them the way I want and many steps to the overall cover image before I'm satisfied. I really appreciate your visit. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. I’m happy you think so. I’m sorry you’ve been unwell too, Jan. What I had really kicked my butt, and that made me depressed. Still working my way back up, but at least the flu is gone. I hope you kick your ailment out soon. Hugs on the wing!


  3. Teagan, already the duck has made you smile, and me too. The cover is extraordinary. Love your creative mind. Keep writing with the duck under foot, quacking away encouragement. Fiona has your quick wit already. This may be the writing therapy that helps get you back to feeling better and better. Hugs, my friend, 📚💚 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it would be cool to have DuckMail to go with the DuckDuckGo search engine and the CyberDuck FTP client I use. But Oregon State University has DuckMail and and a lot of other duck things, since they are the Ducks.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Miriam. I just found your comment in spam and retrieved it. o_O
      I’m delighted you enjoyed it, and double thanks about the cover. Yes, this “everything flu” as I call it, took everything out of me. The body is better, just trying to get the spirit into shape now. Hugs on the wing!


    1. Thanks so much Mary. You know my thing about names. I wanted the mentor’s “Q” name to evoke the gadget making “Q” of James Bond. The rather Robin Hood like aspect of Fiona’s character doesn’t come out in this story, but I still thought the Q would be beneficial to reinforce the steampunk-gadgetry aspect. Stay safe and warm. Hugs on the wing!


    1. Thanks Jacqui. Oh, I’m not ahead at all. This was just a way to help me decide whether to try and finish the story. I’ve been deep in the depths of “what’s the point” and “I can’t do anything right.” Having a wonderful group of regular commenters can be hugely beneficial to story development. 🙂
      Hugs on the wing.


  4. I’m already a fan of this duck, Teagan! Fun cover, too:)
    I hope you are back to yourself soon. It can be hard to recover from these viruses. Sending healing hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so kind, Denise. I’m bound and determined, to get all of myself back in order. Although my back might disagree. LOL.
      I’m glad the duck has a friend in you. As with Lilith (the calico cat in Atonement, Tennessee), Quellie the quacker was a device to move the story. And as with Lilith, her popularity has taken me by surprise! I guess she needs a bigger part than I had in mind. 🙂 Great big hug right back.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Lavinia. I had fun with the rest of that opening, hopefully it is as funny as I felt it was. I hoped I could make a short-novella of it, but after being derailed all weekend, that feels doubtful.
      We got snow way down here last night! I’ll try to post a picture of my cactus garden in the snow this weekend. Hugs to you and Rick and the kitties. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The presence of the duck made me laugh right off, Teagan. The cover is fabulous and the snippet is great fun. Please, please keep going. I can’t wait to read this when it’s done. 🙂 I hope February is full of good health and Happy Writing. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Diana. I needed that encouragement. I’m glad Quellie seems popular with several readers. She might need a larger part than I intended! My physical health is improving after the everything flu. (Other than me repeatedly hurting my back weeding… rolls eyes.) Now if I can manage to bring the other kind of health back into line. Thanks for spending time here. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. Thanks, Brad. Quellie is certainly the comic relief. I hope the rest is “amusing” although it won’t be laugh out loud funny… I don’t think. Who knows, I’m not there yet. Thanks for taking time to comment, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That feedback means a lot to me, John. Thank you. I’m getting there (health). Some parts are slower to come back than others. And I’m not doing myself any favors killing my back with weeding — but not many viable options. I hope all is well in your Texas home. We got snow way down here last night! (Not nearly as unpleasant as snow in DC! LOL) Great big hug right back.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Priscilla. The duck was actually a sudden idea, a week after I started thinking about the story. I was struggling with a means to reveal the core “dilemma” of the story — then Quellie waddled into my mind. 😀 Hugs on the wing.


  6. I’m loving Quellie already! Very fanciful book cover. Yep, this is another winner. You may have to rethink “serial”. Quellie has too much potential for just one short story.

    Sending good wishes that you’ll be fit as a fiddle soon. These damn “bugs” seem to have a life of their own, and they can really sap the strength out of you, as you well know.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ginger. I’m so glad you like the cover. The steampunk girl with umbrella was perfect for the story (she’s from Pixabay), but her clothes were slate blue. I was happy that I managed to turn them pink. Then when Quellie waddled into my head, I had to add her, peeping around the skirt.
      As with Lilith (the calico cat in Atonement, Tennessee), Quellie the quacker was a device to move the story. And as with Lilith, her popularity has taken me by surprise! The duck has a big part in the first two scenes. Now, I think I need to work her into the rest of the story more. I appreciate this feedback. Hugs on the wing!


  7. Steampunk has always fascinated me, though I haven’t read much lately. Looks like I’m going to have to correct that right away! Love this snipped and the cover. HATE that you’ve been so sick. Here’s to feeling better and better in the days ahead, with more energy for creating good stuff like this! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Im sorry this year is off to a slow grumbly start, Teagan but by the looks of this snippet, your mental faculties are in tact. You have such a strong ability to draw us in quickly. I think you could go anywhere with this story. I know I’d follow.

    I hope this week gets better and better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You always manage to bring me a smile, Dan. Thanks for your encouraging feedback.
      We got snow way down here last night! I’ll try to post a picture of my cactus garden in the snow this weekend. To me, that’s downright Twilight Zone-ish. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good to see you, Mae. I’m trying hard to keep that mojo going. Thanks for helping that with your comment. I’m so glad you like the cover. I have such fun making them. The steampunk girl with umbrella was perfect for the story (she’s from Pixabay), but her clothes were slate blue. I was happy that I managed to turn them pink. When Quellie waddled into my head, I had to add her, peeping around the skirt. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jill. I know that you, very unfortunately, can relate. I hope you are back to full swing. Yes, I think I’m over the physical flu part. Now if I’d stop hurting my back… (rolls eyes). Thanks for an encouraging word. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Do lovely to catch and read your post almost in real time Teagan. And loved all that pink frothiness 💖, hope you are feeling better too and things begin to smooth out for you as February unfolds.
    I know only too well how those nasty viruses can drag us down.
    Take care my lovely friend.
    Love your way and mega hugs 🧡💚🧡

    Liked by 2 people

            1. That’s a new expression for me, but I like it — very apt. 🙂 You do a terrific job with your show. I am sure it will be great. More hugs, and a toast, maybe juice with a splash of huangjiu, in honor of the recent Chinese New Year. (I’m not familiar with huangjiu, but found it when I looked for something yellow to use a as toast. Perhaps not really yellow, but it translates as “yellow wine.” LOL.) Cheers!

              Liked by 1 person

  10. Love it! Pink is one of my favorite colors and love the gadgets and the duck. I look forward to read the full story, Teagan! Thanks for the update!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.