via An Interview with the wonderful, Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Author and musician, Kevin Cooper (and his feline friends) invited me to his place to talk about my urban fantasy town, Atonement, Tennessee and the books that are set there.   Of course they also wanted to know more about the calico of the novels, Lilith.

Lilith in snow

Dreamstime

I’ve closed comments here, but hope you will visit Kev.

If you are looking for the latest episode of Brother Love, click the link for

Chapter 9 — A Hallelujah!

Brother Love 9 — A Hallelujah

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Collage featuring hymnal by Dan Antion. Tomfoolery by Teagan

Collage featuring hymnal by Dan Antion. Tomfoolery by Teagan

Welcome back to the crossroads.    

I think this is an upbeat chapter.  You could say it has a good gospel beat.  (Winks.)  However, the characters experience some uncertainty.  Hence the melody in this introduction.

In Chapter 7 — A Lament,  Birdie Devovo was reluctant to go to the revival service, even though Dough Armstrong asked her to be there for moral support.  When they arrived, we saw Birdie had good reason for not wanting to go.  This time Doug has to struggle with something. 

Those struggles put me in mind of one of my favorite songs, Hallelujah, written by Leonard Cohen.  The song is not about religion, and neither is this story.  Even though the song is from a later era, it felt like a perfect fit.  I love hearing Cohen sing it himself here.  However, my favorite version, the one that cuts to the core of my soul, was sung by Jeff Buckley.

Those of you who know the lyrics to Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show will see that in this chapter I had a lot of fun with the words to the song.  If you want to play (or sing) along, here’s a link to the lyrics

Also, because some of you asked so nicely, I made another narrated snippet. It’s rough, done on the fly, and I make no pretense that it’s professional.  Keep an eye out for it during the revival service.

Photos & Things.  Of course, Dan Antion, let me use his photographs to illustrate Brother Love.  Remember I started naming the businesses in Parliament, Mississippi after readers?  This week you’ll find Ginger’s Galley, a seafood restaurant, named in honor of Ginger, aka Murphy’s Law

This time all the random “things” that drove the episode were from readers.  JoAnne Macco sent Bow TieRob Goldstein gave us Speaking in Tongues.  I haven’t gotten a comment from her since, but Maggie McLeod left a terrific thing for this setting, Cardboard Fan.  Now what the Sam Hill am I going to do with those things?  Read on to see!

Chapter 8 — A Confession.  Ruth Leiber admitted she is not Tammy’s mother.  Then she tried to blackmail Doug Armstrong about his stent in prison. Unluckily for her, Doug’s an open book. However, Ruth wasn’t ready to give up so easily.  She insinuated that Tammy isn’t really a “free bleeder” and that the child’s father wasn’t the man who was married to her mother.  Can we believe Ruth’s inference? After all, she’s a con artist and skilled at innuendo.  Although, even if we can believe her, what does it mean?

Chapter 6 — A Ring.  Then there’s that infernal telephone ring.  Every time we turn around, somewhere there’s a telephone that rings just once.   Jinx had noticed the tone of the ring matched the note of the guitar when the mysterious musician played Crossroad Blues.  It also seems to ring when someone makes a decision… 

Vintage rotary phone, photo by Dan Antion

Vintage rotary phone, photo by Dan Antion

Here’s where we left the story.  Abruptly the heat of the August night was broken by a gust of wind that blew through the tent.  The pages of hymnals and Bibles rustled.

Then to Birdie’s astonishment, Jinx glided down the center aisle.  The magpie swooped down to alight on the pew in front of her. 

Jinx imitated the sound of a single telephone ring. 

Jinx is waiting for us at the crossroads. 

Brother Love

9 — A Hallelujah 

Bow Tie, Speaking in Tongues, Cardboard Fan

Church pews from back with hymnals, by Dan Antion

Church pews from back with hymnals, by Dan Antion

The magpie looked right at me.  Jinx shifted foot-to-foot where he alighted on the pew in front of me.  He whistled and bobbed his head to make sure I was paying attention.  Then he imitated the sound of a ringing phone.

That single ring happened at the payphone the day Tammy fell on the sidewalk.  Doug was there.  He said he had been undecided, but that was when he decided he would preach at the revival.

Then I remembered the pay phone had done the single ring a few minutes earlier that day.  It was right after Tammy ran out in front of that car, and tripped.  I was sure she would have skinned her knees.  With her being a free bleeder that could have been a disaster.

However, the phone rang once and when I turned back to the child, that strange man was there, helping Tammy up and drying her tears.  All I could think about was how dark his eyes were.  They were black as coal.  Then he seemed to disappear the moment I looked away.

Birdie Devovo, photo by Martinlee at Dreamstime

Birdie Devovo, photo by Martinlee at Dreamstime

Next, my own telephone rang just once, when I was getting dressed earlier that evening.  I had almost backed out of coming, but made myself go through with it.

If the single ring indicated a decision, then what about that first instance.  Had someone besides Doug and me made a decision ― insignificant though the choices seemed to be?

I had the kind of strange feeling you get when you glimpse movement at the edge of your vision, but you don’t see anything when you turn.  Or you hear a song that you’re sure you know, but you can’t put a name to the tune.

The magpie gave low whistle and bobbed his head.  Jinx made a single ring sound, and then flew high up into the tent trusses where he settled.

Tent trusses by Dan Antion

Tent Trusses, by Dan Antion

I looked from Jinx to Doug, to Tammy and the woman.

Everything became suddenly still.  It was so quiet I could almost hear myself sweat.  The expression on Doug’s face changed.

“Now that’s nervous,” I thought.  “No maybe about it this time.”

I turned to follow Doug’s gaze.

He walked in ― the man I had briefly seen on the sidewalk.  The man who helped Tammy up and dried her tears.

As he swaggered closer, I could see his eyes, black as coal.  I noticed a guitar was slung across his back.

A name ran through the congregation like wild fire.

“Brother Love!” the murmur cascaded down the pews.

Guitar head stock BW_Simone Pixaby

Simone at Pixaby

Other than the tide of his name, the people were silent.  It was as if they waited for permission to breathe.  That included Doug.  The preacher looked like he knew that feeling well.

“But you don’t have to invite them to dinner,” Doug’s words seemed to hang in the humid air.

However, every ear in the place was on the newcomer.

Abruptly the man spoke in a rousing voice.

“Come and dine, my children!  Come and dine!  ‘Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine.  And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou?’  Come and dine!” his voice boomed across the tent.

I wasn’t sure if his words were meant to contradict or complement the puzzling statement Doug had just made.  Either way both his words and presence clearly pleased the audience.

The pianist began playing the old hymn, Come and Dine.  The choir hurried back onto the stage.  They hummed to the music.  However, the choir director motioned them to quiet when the man started to speak.

“Would you come and dine, dear sister?” he asked in a respectful tone as he paused his strut and bent over an elderly woman.

Feebly she raised her hand heavenward.  Filled with the Spirit, she waved a handkerchief with crochet trim she surely made herself and shouted something that may have been “Praise Jesus!”

Old lady hands gingham cristian-newman-unsplash

Cristian Newman, Unsplash

Doug stepped back as the man with the guitar lithely hopped up to the pulpit.

“Hallelujah,” came a ripple of shouts from the congregation.  “Hallelujah!”

“Brothers,” he started soft and slow.

The choir swayed in perfect rhythm to unheard music.

“I said brothers,” he emphasized as if there was anyone in the tent who wasn’t listening.

The choir began to softly clap their hands in time to the song only they could hear.  The congregation started to clap along.  Brother Love smiled and held out his hands, palms up, toward the people.

“You got yourself two hands.  They’re both good hands.  Now I want everybody to shake the hand of the person on their right,” he said.

As the congregation turned and began shaking hands and hugging one another, I was relieved that there was no one on my right.  It would have been too awkward if the person who was supposed to shake my hand refused.

I looked across the aisle.  A man wearing a short-sleeved shirt and a bow tie awkwardly met my gaze.  The man next to him whispered something with a sidelong glance at me.  The bow tie bobbed as the first guy gulped and quickly turned his back to shake the hand of the person next to him.

Revival_meeting_George R. Brunk II in Goshen IN 1950s_Theron F Schlabach Photos at Wikimedia Commons

Revival_meeting_George R. Brunk II in Goshen IN 1950s_Theron F Schlabach Photos at Wikimedia Commons

I didn’t realize that Doug had stepped back down to his seat in front of me where the other preachers sat until he tapped my shoulder.  His gaze fell briefly on the man who had just turned his back.  Doug looked like he forced himself to smile as he shook my hand.  I wondered what had him so upset.

“Now when your brother ― or your sister is troubled,” Brother Love went on just as Doug took my hand.  “You got to reach out your one hand to give him.  Cause that’s what your hand’s there for,” the soft slow voice continued.

“Bless Jesus!” an old lady shouted, as tears streamed down her face.

Brother Love jumped down from the stage and took the woman’s hand.  He helped her sit as he knelt down beside the pew to pray with her.

However, she was determined to go to the altar a few feet away.  Two of the preachers helped her to kneel.  Half a dozen people hurried to the front to pray alongside her.

In a flash Brother Love was at the pulpit again.

“Yes, my children, and when your own heart is troubled, you got to reach out your other hand,” he proclaimed with the building intensity of a small earthquake.

“Reach it out to the man up there!  Cause that’s what He’s there for!” he instructed amid more shouts of hallelujah.

The congregation erupted in chaos.  There was singing and shouting, people jumping up to testify.  There was everything short of speaking in tongues.

The passion of it all was overwhelming.  I felt the vibration of all the sounds.  I thought half the valley would shake.

Then Brother Love abruptly down-shifted his pace.  He picked up his guitar and started to sing.

Take my hand in yours
Walk with me this day
In my heart I know
I will never stray

***

A completely on the fly, narrated snippet.

***

Swaying and clapping, the choir joined in for a hallelujah-filled chorus.

I saw Tammy in her shining white dress move toward the center of the stage.

Doug’s transfixed gaze was on the child.  Then he turned around to me as if he would speak.  An expression of epiphany came to his face.  He stood and moved toward the pulpit.

Cardboard fans fluttered throughout the tent.  They bore a picture of large fishing boat.  The fans were advertisements for a local seafood restaurant called Ginger’s Galley.

There’s definitely something fishy going on with Ruth Leiber,” I thought.

Ruth and Tammy both held fans.  Ruth was saying something to the other preachers who still stood nearby.  The woman seemed impatient.  I heard several voices whisper the word healing.

The little group of preachers began to talk among themselves.  They first looked at Doug and then at Brother Love.  It looked like they expected Brother Love to do something, presumably the healing.

Meanwhile Ruth drew Tammy away from the men.  The woman’s face was fierce as she whispered to the girl.  Tammy shook her head “No” in a stubborn looking way.  Ruth’s eyes flashed and she put her mouth very close to the child’s ear.

I don’t know what Ruth said, but Tammy’s face bore a frightened expression.  She gave a stiff nod.  Ruth put her hands on the girl’s shoulders and pointed her toward the pulpit.  Then she gave her a gentle, barely noticeable push.

Tammy quietly climbed the few steps to the stage.  Her eyes were fixed on Doug.  She used the fan she still held to wave at him.  Then she turned to Brother Love, who apparently had not noticed her come onto the stage.

Girl white dress road trees timothy-eberly unsplash

Timothy Eberly, Unsplash

The child gasped and stretched her hand toward Brother Love.  Suddenly a dark red stain seeped across the bodice of her pure white dress.

Her hand went to the rapidly spreading stain.  Tammy sank to her knees.

The end.

***

Real World Notes — Bow Ties

Jinx models a bow tie while perched on Dan's birdcage

Jinx, on Dan’s birdcage, models a bow tie

Bow ties have an unexpected origin.  We can thank Croatian mercenaries of the 17th century for them.  The Croat mercenaries basically tied a scarf around their necks to hold together the opening of their shirts.  Anyhow, they’ve gone up and down in popularity ever since.

Bow ties resurged as a neck-wear choice in 1957.  They were often formal.  However, they were also fun, especially since they were available in textured fabrics and modern prints.  Those artistic patterns were inspired by the atomic age and by Art Deco styles.  Square ends ties, two tone, and butterfly bow ties were all fashionable.

.

***

I’m glad you could make it to the crossroads for Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show!  I hope you’ll say hello in a comment.   

I’ll meet you at the crossroads again next Saturday!  Hugs on the wing.

***

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

Photos Copyright ©  2019 by Dan Antion

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.

 

Kevin Cooper #Reviews “Atonement in Bloom”

June 26, 2019

#BookReview! My heart is bloomin’ full!  Musician and author, Kevin Cooper shared his review of the second book in my Atonement, Tennessee series, “Atonement in Bloom.” 

Here’s a link to Kev’s review of Atonement in Bloom.  He was away from blogging for awhile, so please click over to visit Kev for the review — and many other lovely posts about books and music.  Please click over to visit Kev’s blog to see what he had to say about…

Atonement in Bloom

Atonement in Bloom by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Atonement in Bloom

Here’s a snippet of what Kev had to say, but please visit his blog. Click here for Kev’s review.

“… I feel strangely drawn to the little town of Atonement Tennessee, it’s people, and the strange goings on there. It all seems so real to me unlike the places of so many other books I’ve read. I cannot help but ponder, is it the characters and the small town gossip that captivates me or is it something more?….

Anyway I think about it, I find myself wanting more and sincerely hope there will be at least one more book to come in this truly unique and compelling series. I simply don’t want it to end…”

I hope you’ll visit Kev’s blog for the review.  Here are some trailer videos about my Atonement, TN books. 

Book 2 — Atonement in Bloom

Book 1 — Atonement, Tennessee

And the otherworldly glowing pigs even have a small collection of whimsical snort stories.

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

***
Pigs collection cover bannerUSA:  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.

Brother Love 8 — A Confession

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Welcome back to the crossroads.    

Brother Love promo image

Image collage by Teagan, featuring a photo by Dan

This chapter has two things from  Dan Antion, who shares his photographs to illustrate Brother Love.  Read on to see how I used Bubblegum and Newspaper in this episode.

The third “thing” that is used to drive Chapter 8 is from Fraggle, aka C. J. Hyslop, who is a marvelous photographer.  It’s easy to see what a terrific imagination she has at Fraggle’s Other Place.  What was Fraggle’s thing?  Camera, of course!

I have to give Dan credit for a line in this chapter.  In our discussion about the two evangelists who inspired my Doug Armstrong character, Dan talked about something the preacher from his past said about not inviting people to dinner.  Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean. 

Chapter 7 — A Lament.  Birdie saw a picture of that movie star again, but she had blond hair.  Later she saw another blond.

Meanwhile at the revival meeting, the other preachers tried to pressure Doug Armstrong into doing a “healing.”  Honest man that Doug is, he resisted, but he saw little Tammy waiting in the wings.

Jinx is waiting for us at the crossroads. 

Brother Love

8 — A Confession 

Bubblegum, Camera, Newspaper

Bubblegum, by Dan Antion

Bubblegum, by Dan Antion

Bright pink, the ball of bubblegum distracted Jinx.  When he picked it up to investigate, it stuck to his beak.  The magpie gave a violent shake of his head, and nearly knocked himself over.  The gum came loose. 

The music stopped and the guitar player chuckled at him.

He turned back around, but the man had disappeared that quickly.

Jinx flew to the revival tent.  Even though he couldn’t see the mysterious figure, the magpie was sure that was where the musician was headed.

The bird watched as an old school bus pulled up to the ragtag tent.  A man hurried out and met the driver as he climbed down from the vehicle.

The dirty bandana, by Dan Antion

The dirty bandana, by Dan Antion

“You’ve missed half the service,” the usher said.

“Man, it’s hotter’n the hinges on the gates of Hades!” the driver grumbled.

He held his cap with one hand, and used the other to wipe sweat that glittered on his bare pate.  The red print bandana he used as a handkerchief was smeared with black grease.

“Fan belt broke,” he added in belated answer.  “Fixin’ that thing wore me slap out.”

“Shame.  Well, grab the old ladies and help them down to the front row.  They always get in the Spirit and help get the crowd going.  I’ll help pack up the babies and get them to the front too.  You never know who might need healing,” the usher added with a wink.

“We all go to the front?” a man with a camera asked.

Yessiree!  Everybody goes.  You know Brother Love’s show.  Now you be sure and take plenty of pictures for your Gospel Times.

Polaroid Land Camera circa 1960, by Dan Antion

Polaroid Land Camera circa 1960, by Dan Antion

Jinx flew across to the back side of the tent.  The bird settled on a tree limb when he saw Sinnerman below.  The big man had just stepped out of the large tent, having followed the woman who wore little glittering balls dangling from her ears.

With his sharp hearing, it was no effort for the magpie to hear their conversation.  However, making sense of humans and their words was not always so easy.

“You don’t need any gift of healing,” the woman began heatedly.  “Just put your hands on her head and yell ‘Healed!’ or something,” she demanded.

The man’s eyebrows flew down into a V fit for a migratory formation of birds.  He didn’t seem to like the woman’s words, no matter how shiny her earrings were.  She seemed to realize that too, because her voice quickly changed.

“Please, Brother Armstrong,” she started over, placing a hand on his bicep and murmuring approval.  “If you will please just try.  I’m desperate for Tammy to be healed.  But we can’t stay here any longer.  I don’t know how I can ever pay the doctor, but she has an appointment with a specialist that took six months to get.  So, we need to leave in the morning,” she added without looking at Sinnerman.

The big man’s shoulders drooped in a defeated way.  He turned back toward the tent.  The woman smiled behind him.  Then he turned back to her, eyebrows making the V again.

“Why would you ask me to heal her, even though I’m not able, when you are planning on going to a doctor?”

Ava Gardner in The Killers, 1946

Ava Gardner in The Killers, 1946

The buttons on the front of her dress weren’t as sparkly as her earrings, but the pearl-like beads had a sheen that Jinx liked.  He noticed when for a quick second she turned her back and undid a few of the buttons at her neck.

The woman wriggled up onto a picnic table and crossed her legs.  Jinx liked the gold buckles on the ankle straps of her high-heeled sandals.

“Look,” she began.  “There’s no need to pussyfoot around.  I reckon we can help each other.  I know all about you and the time you did in prison.”

The magpie leaned closer on his hidden perch.  The big man’s face had turned the same bright pink of the bubblegum that had stuck to his beak.  Jinx thought humans must be the strangest species in the world.

“The haul will be bigger if there’s a healing.  It always is,” the woman continued.  “I just need one more score so I can get out of the country.  I’ll split it with you.”

Her lips tightened when she looked at the expression on the big man’s face.  He moved as if he meant to walk away.

“Now, listen here.  I know you got out of prison early.  If you try to turn me in, one word from me will get your parole revoked,” she threatened Sinnerman.

“My prison time is no secret.  You can’t blackmail me with it.  And I’m not on parole.  My sentence was commuted,” he said.  “Yes, I killed a man in a fight.  He got a cut on his head.  That was all.  It turned out he was a free bleeder.  He wouldn’t have died otherwise.  That’s why I got out early.”

Newspaper in the rain, by Dan Antion

Newspaper in the rain, by Dan Antion

“I know.  That’s why I came here,” she told him and was rewarded with his surprised look.  “The kid with me is his daughter.  Her mother died in a car wreck a couple of years back.  I read a newspaper article about it.”

Sinnerman’s mouth moved but no words came out of it.  Jinx knew it was hard to make new words.  He gave a soft whistle of encouragement, but the humans didn’t notice.  The woman kept talking.

“Bless her heart, I couldn’t let her end up in foster care.  You know, that mother instinct kicked in.  I was able to persuade a judge to let me have her,” she went on and leaned back to look at the sky.

“I tell you what, the money the state gives a poor foster mother isn’t enough to get by on,” she added.  “The newspaper articles I found about Tammy being orphaned ― those are good.  But the ones about her father having hemophilia?  They’re a gold mine!  Everybody assumes that the kid has it too.”

She paused and leered at Sinnerman.

“But she doesn’t, does she?  And we both know why,” the woman finished with a vulpine smile.

She winked and swung her legs where she sat on the picnic table. 

The V returned to the big man’s eyebrows.  His mouth again looked like he wanted to say a new word.

Several humans came out, asking them to come back inside.  Whatever word the man wanted to make remained unsaid.

***

Church pews from back with hymnals, by Dan Antion

Church pews from back with hymnals, by Dan Antion

***

My hand lifted toward Doug Armstrong, but the group of men hurried him out the side entrance.

I had to tell him that I recognized the woman.  She was the spitting image of the blond Ava Gardner on the magazine I saw the girls drop outside.  She was also a bleached version of the face on the fugitive poster ― Ruth Leiber, wanted for grand larceny.

What should I do?  Call the police, I answered myself.  A church would have an office, and possibly a phone, but that wasn’t the case for a temporary tent.  So, that wasn’t an option.

Standing, I turned to scan the crowd.  I was relieved to see a policeman in the audience.  At first, I didn’t recognize him out of uniform, but I spotted Sargent Lamar Poole.

I started side-stepping to get to the aisle.  Then a group of people, followed by Doug came back inside.  They stood almost protectively around Ruth Leiber and Tammy.

The preacher who had pressured Doug about trying to heal the child addressed the congregation.

“Sister Ruthann Lear traveled far to ask assistance from the church on behalf of her child here.  Just look at the lights shining on those two golden heads ― this angelic mother and daughter.  It looks like they’re already awash in the blessing of the good Lord,” the preacher told the crowd.

Audience looking at stage with lights

Stage Lights by Dan Antion

Ruth batted her eyelashes at him, and then demurely looked down at her hands.  The preacher sent the ushers around with plates to collect a goodwill offering.

Not a sound came from the congregation.  Everyone seemed to expect Doug Armstrong to do something.  The other men stepped back away from Tammy.

The child in her pristine white dress all but glowed as she stood under the lights.  A murmur arose from the crowd when Doug went up to the podium rather than to the girl.

His facial expression was impossible for me to read.  He began to speak of forgiveness and of hypocrisy.  My cheeks burned because I thought he was about to say something about the spiteful remarks people made about me when we came inside the tent.  I had hoped he didn’t hear them.

However, his ideas seemed disjointed.  His train of thought was unclear.  Abruptly, I wondered if he was nervous.  Or perhaps he was confused about something.

For a moment I wondered if he had also seen a wanted poster of Ruth Leiber, but it didn’t seem likely.  Yet he gave the woman a look so hard it made her twitch.

Last-Supper_Carl Bloch wikipedia

The Last Supper, by Carl Bloch, late 1800s, Wikipedia

“Listen to me, brothers and sisters in the Lord,” Doug said as if trying to explain his fragmented speech.  “You have to forgive people who have caused problems for you, but you don’t have to invite them to dinner!” he stated emphatically.

I tilted my head in confusion.  What could have rattled Doug so?  He had been a good speaker earlier that evening.

Abruptly the heat of the August night was broken by a gust of wind that blew through the tent.  The pages of hymnals and Bibles rustled.

Then to my astonishment, Jinx glided down the center aisle.  The magpie swooped down to alight on the pew in front of me.

Jinx imitated the sound of a single telephone ring. 

The end.

Mabel Amber at Pixabay

Mabel Amber at Pixabay

***

Real World Notes — Bubblegum

Bubblegum was also a “reader thing” in my Hullaba Lulu serial.  It has such a cool history, that I didn’t mind using it again here. In 1928, an accountant invented bubblegum. Walter Diemer, was experimenting with new gum recipes. One recipe was less sticky than regular chewing gum, and stretched more easily. The original bubble gum was pink in color because that was the dye that Diemer had most on hand at the time.

***

I’m glad you could make it to the crossroads for Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show!  I hope you’ll say hello in a comment.   

I’ll meet you at the crossroads again next Saturday!  Hugs on the wing.

***

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

Photos Copyright ©  2019 by Dan Antion

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.

 

Brother Love — A Question for you, dear reader

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Here’s something extra at the crossroads.    

(Don’t fret, you can still read Chapter 7 of Brother Love, by clicking that link.)

The Brother Love serial is nearing a writer’s crossroads. 

Within a few more chapters there will be a major revelation.  Although some mystery will remain, I’m undecided about whether it is enough to continue the story. 

Since this serial is “interactive,” with readers taking some part, I wanted to share that decision with you.  So, I’m conducting a poll with this post.  Your votes will influence my decisions.  (Yes — before you say it, of course I’ll do what I think is best, but I’d like to know your thoughts.)

***

If you haven’t read Chapter 7 of Brother Love, 

that is a link to the episode that went live yesterday.

Please use the poll above and vote.

I love to hear from you, so comments are encouraged.   

I’ll meet you at the crossroads again next Saturday!  Hugs on the wing.

***

Collage by Teagan featuring two of Dan's photos

Collage by Teagan featuring two of Dan’s photos

Brother Love 7 — A Lament

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Crows by Dan Antion

Crows by Dan Antion

Welcome back to the crossroads.    

This chapter turned out to be for the birds — or rather for the magpie.  If Brother Love was a television series, then this would be the quirky musical episode.

I was already working with music because of the “thing,” Elvis Presley, from Mary J. McCoy-Dressel.  That’s when Jinx, the magpie, got in on the act.  Then John W. Howell commented about the Buddy Holly song, That’ll Be the Day.  Of course that became another “thing.”  At that point, I just went completely off the rails.  Yes, there’s more punishment — I even narrated the ending with a new sound-bite… That’s supposed to be my scary voice, but whatever.

John specified the Buddy Holly version of That’ll Be the Day.  Mr. Holly wrote the song during the general time-frame I’ve given this story.  Although I confess that Linda Ronstadt‘s cover of this tune is my favorite.  Which is yours?

Vintage portable record player, by Dan Antion

Vintage portable record player, by Dan Antion

As for the remaining thing, two readers left the same item — matryoshka.  Like they say, great minds think alike.  Olga Núñez Miret and Staci Troilo thought of the same thing!    

As you know, Dan Antion shares his photographs to illustrate Brother Love.  I make the serial “interactive” by letting things left by readers drive everything about the story.  

If you’ve missed a chapter, I posted links to the first five installments in “Get to the Crossroads.” 

Chapter 5 — A FaceBirdie Devovo saw a wanted poster.  The person being sought for grand larceny looked like Ava Gardner, the movie star.  However, Birdie had seen that face somewhere else — she just couldn’t place it.

Chapter 6 — A Ring.  The mysterious stranger took Tammy’s hand so she could stand.  Amazingly, Birdie found the skin wasn’t broken when the child fell onto the sidewalk.  Also, Doug Armstrong reluctantly agreed to preach at Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.  He asked Birdie to attend as his moral support. 

All the while, it seemed like a telephone gave a single ring, whenever anyone made a decision.

Jinx is waiting for us at the crossroads. 

Brother Love

7 — A Lament 

Elvis Presley, Matryoshka, and “That’ll Be the Day”

Laundry, by Dan Antion

Laundry, by Dan Antion

Jinx sat on the perch in his birdcage.  The cage door was open as always.  He shifted foot-to-foot as Birdie came into the kitchen carrying a laundry basket and a small container of blueberries.

“How-deee!” Jinx chirped his Minnie Pearl voice.

That usually made Birdie laugh, but she barely noticed.  So, he flew to the top of his cage and made some sounds.  She looked his way and tossed him a blueberry.

Jinx followed when Birdie went to the bedroom.  She opened a dresser drawer and removed a pair of white mesh gloves.  However, she shook her head and sighed.  The worn metal bed squeaked as Birdie plopped down on the edge of the mattress.

“I never should have told him I’d go,” she muttered.

Her mouth was a tight line.  Jinx liked it better when she smiled.  So, he tried hard to imitate the words without too many whistles and clicks.

One for t’money
Two for t’show
Three t’get ready
Go, cat, go!

Elvis Presley you are not,” she told him and finally chuckled.  “And if you’re suggesting footwear, I don’t have any blue suede shoes.”

Birdie took a deep breath.

Vintage rotary phone, photo by Dan Antion

Vintage rotary phone, photo by Dan Antion

“I guess Doug would be in my corner.  Nobody else probably would.  If he feels like he needs somebody on his side, then surely, I can deal with one evening, one revival service.  Especially since he offered to come and get me.  The Rambler only has one headlight and these roads are dark enough even with two,” she said, going back to her closet.

Just then the telephone rang.  Birdie had her hand on a circle-dress with a blue on white polka dot skirt.  The bodice had the print reversed to white on blue.

She turned, looking toward the phone.  It sat on a gossip bench between the kitchen and the living room.  However, it didn’t ring again.

“Humph,” Birdie muttered.  “Strange… the payphone was doing that earlier too.”

Jinx whistled.  Birdie misunderstood the sound.  She told him he’d have to leave the room while she changed if he was going to misbehave.

He fluttered to the chest of drawers.  Jinx tried to perch on a big Russian nesting doll, but he turned it over.  The doll hit the wooden floor and burst open.  Another doll rolled out of the first, also open.

“Jinx, no!  Nana’s matryoshka,” Birdie cried.  “There were only two of the dolls left.  If they’re broken…”

Cut-off jeans Birdie might have worn around the house, by Dan Antion

Cut-off jeans Birdie might have worn around the house, by Dan Antion

Birdie sat down on the floor looking at the doll parts.  She inspected each piece.  Jinx cautiously landed nearby.  The thing wasn’t shiny.  The magpie didn’t see its appeal.

She picked up the top and bottom of the bigger doll.  Birdie fitted the two parts together and expelled a relieved sounding breath.

“Oh no,” she muttered the phrase again.

The magpie thought it was a good sign that she didn’t shout it that time.  He waddled closer.  Birdie’s forehead wrinkled as she looked at the halves of the smaller doll.

“This one was never open before.  I didn’t know it could…”

Jinx pecked at a small folded paper that came out of the little doll.  Birdie snatched it away from him.

“That was inside.”

Birdie unfolded the paper.  It was still small.  A lot of ink scratchings covered it.  He watched Birdie as she turned it this way and that, tilting her head.  Jinx tilted his own head every time the human tilted hers.

Name Paper, photo by Teagan Geneviene

Name Paper, photo by Teagan Geneviene

“It’s written over so many times, I can’t make out anything,” Birdie murmured.  “Oh wait.  There’s my name.  Alberta Devovo.  I can’t tell what the rest of it says.”

Then she made a human sound of recognition.

“Ah!  Nana and her hoodoo…  It’s a name paper.  That explains why Nana always said to keep the doll near my bed.  It must be a protection spell, hidden inside the smallest of the dolls all these years.”

Jinx tried to get another look at the paper.  However, Birdie shooed him back.  She folded the paper even smaller and put it inside a shiny box on a chain, which she hung around her neck.

The magpie whistled his encouragement.

“You’d better be glad nothing was broken,” Birdie admonished him with a shake of her finger.  “Else you’d be chicken pot pie!”

The human wasn’t being any fun at all, so Jinx flew back to sit on top of his birdcage.  A short time later he heard a car out on the gravel road.

Birdie must have heard it too, because she strode into the room, full skirt flouncing.  She adjusted a pillbox hat her mother had left behind, securing it with a hatpin.

Birdie Devovo, Dreamstime altered image

Birdie Devovo, apprehensive about the evening.  Dreamstime altered image

The magpie made a disgruntled noise when she moved toward the door.  Birdie didn’t pay any attention.  She blew Jinx a kiss and left.

After Birdie closed the door behind her, Jinx shifted foot-to-foot, shook his tail feathers, and started to sing.

Since my Birdie left me,

I sit here on my perch,

Down at the end of the crossroad,

At heartbreak birdcage,

I get so lonely,

I get so lonely,

I get so lonely I could cry.

Then he whistled a couple of times and changed songs.

Sinnerman where you gonna run to, all along dem days.

***

Doug came around to open the passenger door of his car.  I politely took the hand he proffered to help me stand.

A woman called out in an exasperated voice as two teenaged girls hurried our way.

“Put those magazines back in the car right now, and get yourselves right back here!” she demanded.

The girls dropped the magazines, scattering them on the ground.  A bright green “Screen Stars” cover with a beautiful blond woman caught my eye.  The headline mentioned Ava Gardner.  I had never seen the actress with blond hair before.  I didn’t think it suited her.

The teens quickly gathered the movie magazines.  One was hurriedly rolled and tucked inside a purse.  Then they ran to a Chevrolet where they deposited the rest.

Metal folding chairs, by Dan Antion

Metal folding chairs, by Dan Antion

Doug and I walked into a large yellow and white stripped tent.  I started to sit in the first row of folding chairs ― in other words, as far to the back of the meeting place as you could get.  He asked if I’d mind sitting close to the front.

The truth was that I did mind.  I minded a lot.  However, I couldn’t refuse.  I agreed to be there for moral support, and I realized my presence wouldn’t be worth anything if I sat all the way in the back.

My feet felt like lead as we stepped onto a carpet runner of faded red.  Doug looked down at me curiously and I realized how slow I was walking.  I made myself walk normally, despite the whispers that were easily audible.

“I’m surprised lightning didn’t strike when she came inside.  It’s a tent, but it’s still God’s house.”

“Blood will tell.  She’ll be no different than her mother.  Takin’ up with all sorts.”

“I heard tell her daddy was―”

My steps became quicker.

“You know her moma was sweatin’ bullets, when she was born, waiting to see what would come out.”

My cheeks burned.  I wanted to walk faster but I was already matching Doug’s long strides. 

Then I tripped on a tear in the carpet.  Doug caught my arm.  I put out my other hand, grabbing the wooden back of a pew to steady myself.

Church pews from back with hymnals, by Dan Antion

Church pews from back with hymnals, by Dan Antion

That’s when I noticed they had brought in a dozen real church pews, placed on either side of the center-front aisle.

“I guess they’re expecting me to get wound up,” Doug said dryly.

I was too uncomfortable to wonder what his comment meant.  It made sense later, after he began to preach.

Doug was such a dynamic speaker that I almost forgot how awkward I felt, sitting on the front row with a tent full of gossips behind me.

It was a hot August night and there wasn’t much ventilation in that ragged tent.  I was thankful that it had several rips to let in a little more air.

Doug used his big white handkerchief to mop his face.  Sweat poured off the man.  It seemed like the more he perspired, the harder he preached.

There were so many shouts of Amen and Praise Jesus that I barely noticed when he motioned to the ushers.  They quietly got everyone who sat near the end of the pews on the right-hand side of the tent to move over.

The congregation was so chaotic with people standing, waving heavenward and shouting praises, that I didn’t even see Doug move back, beyond the last row of pews.  The next thing I knew, Doug was running across the backs of the pews!

Revival_meeting_George R. Brunk II in Goshen IN 1950s_Theron F Schlabach Photos at Wikimedia Commons

Revival_meeting_George R. Brunk II in Goshen, IN circa 1950s, by Theron F Schlabach Photos at Wikimedia Commons

Long strides carried him from one narrow balancing point to the next.  As he jumped from the front pew to the ground, Doug made a jubilant exclamation.

The shouts from the audience were thunderous.

“Did he rally just run across the tops of the pews?” I heard someone ask.

“Praise God!” Doug exclaimed and mopped his face with the handkerchief again.  “I think I might have skipped one or two,” he said in answer to the unknown questioner.

I sat in stunned silence.

Doug sat down, directly in front of me, on a pew with all the other preachers.  He was still breathing hard.

He turned and said something to make sure I was okay.  I tried to give him an encouraging smile, but I wasn’t sure I succeeded.

Soon the choir came back to the stage to sing.  They sang a couple of upbeat gospel songs.  I  relaxed enough to tap my foot, but I didn’t sing along.

As the music continued, it occurred to me that no one had been introduced as Brother Love, whose “show” it was supposed to be.

Collage by Teagan featuring two of Dan's photos

Collage by Teagan featuring two of Dan’s photos

One of the deacons approached the row of preachers.  He whispered something that seemed to distress all the clergymen.  They were all shaking their heads negatively.  I leaned forward, curious to know the cause of their discomfort.

“Can you please do a laying on of hands, Brother Armstrong?” one of the preachers asked Doug.

“I don’t have the gift of healing!” Doug replied sounding shocked.

“Please, son.  Brother Love must have been delayed.  If you would just try.  That’s all we ask.  No one knows who the Lord might choose as his vessel to work a miracle.  Don’t let the good Lord down tonight,” the man urged.

Something bright caught my eye near the front exit that the choir would use ― something shinning white.  It was Tammy.

Then I saw the blond woman who was with her.  Anyone would have assumed the woman was Tammy’s mother.  Suddenly I knew that wasn’t the case.

1952 Screen Stars magazine, Ava Gardner

1952 Screen Stars magazine, Ava Gardner

I recognized the woman.  She was the spitting image of the face on the magazine I saw the girls drop outside.  She looked like Ava Gardner with blond hair. 

***

The golden fingers of evening stroked the August sky.  The heat had barely cooled any at all, even though the sun began its downward path on the horizon.

Foggy Cemetery, Dan Antion

Foggy Cemetery, Dan Antion

Jinx alighted on a tombstone and preened a feather, pretending to be at ease.  The dark figure sitting on the stone opposite the magpie played gazed into the fog, rather than at the instrument he strummed.  He played an unresolved tritone on the guitar, and then he abruptly stopped.

“Magpie, I heard you this afternoon.  Just a singin’ to beat the band, when your ma’ma left you ― and she left with a man taboot,” he told Jinx with a chuckle.

The bird made clicking noises that sounded a lot like “Tsk tsk.”  Then he flew to the branch of a magnolia and turned his back.

“Why, I do believe you’re jealous,” the musician replied.  “What do you mean, that’ll be the day?  All right now, magpie.  Now you just fly back down here.  We both know you ain’t goin’ nowhere.  What’s that you say?  Oh, do you mean the song?  And here I thought you liked blues better than anything.  That one?”

“Weeeeeell, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye 

Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry

You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie

‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die.”

The end.

***

Real World Notes — Music

Minnie Pearl. I started this chapter with a reference to Minnie Pearl.  I realize many of you haven’t heard of this comedienne, so here’s a sample.

“That’ll Be the Day” was a song written by Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison.  It was first recorded I 1956 by Buddy Holly and the Three Tunes.  The next year he recorded it with his band the Crickets.  Linda Ronstadt also recorded the song for her 1976 Grammy Award–winning platinum album Hasten Down the Wind.

***

I’m glad you could make it to the crossroads for Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show!  I love to hear from you, so comments are encouraged.   

I’ll meet you at the crossroads again next Saturday!  Hugs on the wing.

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

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

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USA:  Atonement in Bloom

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(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

Photos Copyright ©  2019 by Dan Antion

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 — Fiona Fights Back

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Fiona Finch Thief costume full length

Fiona Finch as imagined by Rob Goldstein

Rob and I are together again!

Last year I was kicking around a serial idea with Rob Goldstein,  Who did the beautiful illustrations for Hullaba Lulu.  I envisioned a steampunk satire of The Scarlet Pimpernel.  My heroine is Fiona Finch, the Pink Pimpernel.  Her story is one of foppish frivolity, sarcasm, and a load of alliteration.  She’s a cutie with curls and dresses all and only in pink.  Secretly she’s still all pink, but she’s also so much more, just as was the Scarlet Pimpernel, but with steampunk gadgets galore — and still more pink.  Now you know Fiona.  That’s part of the background for this bit of nonsense. 

Recently, Staci Troilo was saying how life could be too bizarre for fiction.  I hope her trip to Bizarro World wasn’t as bad as mine — but she’s right.  Staci had the common sense to keep her personal strangeness out of her stories. Me on the other hand, I have about as much common sense as Lulu. 

Burgers Lulu Recline

Lulu in the train’s automat… with cheeseburgers that were used as cash

I swear I’m getting to the point. Bear with me.

I’ve had my own Bizarro World with an unbelievable comic book villain, Creepy Crying Guy, across the street. When I said “No,” he stood on my porch bawling. I’ll save you descriptions of his admission of trying to manipulate me and the disgusting leer that accompanied those words before he went back to bawling half a second later.  Oh, sorry… I guess I told you after all.  Yes, yes, I’m getting to the point.

Well thank heavens for good friends who could make me laugh about it.  This vignette was inspired by whimsical remarks from Renita and Rob.  Renita remarked that in her experience old ladies with machetes are enough to scare anybody.  Then Rob took her joke a step farther…  So I made characters from the Fiona-verse into alter egos for Rob and me.  Now, to the “point.”

Fiona Fights Back

The Pink Pimpernel Sees Red

Fiona Finch Test Shot 1

Fiona Finch as imagined by Rob Goldstein

A hansom cab clattered down a lane in Victorian Era San Francisco.  Fiona Finch sat in the light of her window.  The noise distracted her.  The pink ruffled sleeve of her gown fell against the machete as she fingered the hilt.  She went back to her task, intently turning the pages of Darwin’s The Origin of the Species.

“He’s not in here,” Fiona grumbled.

Straight black hair fell to cover his face as a man in black tailed tuxedo placed the tea tray on the table beside the single pink lace glove.  He silently raised an eyebrow, as any attentive butler might.

The “butler” was Fiona’s adopted brother, Steele.  However, he was no servant.  He simply enjoyed wearing the costume and the excuse it gave him to make snide remarks.  He also seemed to think buttling allowed him to boss her around.  A fact of which he openly reminded Fiona whenever she complained that he shouldn’t act like a butler.

“Really, Steele, don’t be such a prude.  Wearing gloves inside, in the summer, with no guests in the house?  Why no matter how darling they are, it’s absurd.  Besides, I couldn’t turn the pages,” Fiona defended.

Fiona picked up the teacup with her delicately gloved hand and used the silver spoon to stir it with the brazenly bare hand.

Steele, by Rob Goldstein

Steele, by Rob Goldstein

“I told you that I would thrash him the next time he comes to the door,” Steele reminded his sister.

“I don’t want you to batty-fang anyone, Steele.  Imagine the trouble that thrashing could cause.  Besides, he only comes when you are away.  Plus, he stands there blubbering like a baby when I reject him.  He’s sure to use that trick if the police inspectors come, and he’d make you the villain,” Fiona added, returning to Darwin’s controversial tome.

“I suppose your souvenir from our voyage to Madrid would cause less of a collie shangle?  I believe his species is human.  I doubt you’ll find anything useful in that book,” Steele told her.  “Although I do have an idea.”

She glanced at the ghoul who watched her from his own window on the other side of the street.

scary Joker face in window_Pasja Pixabay

Pasja at Pixaby

“What good does leering from his window do him?  Is he hoping for a glimpse of my cupid’s kettledrums?” Fiona complained.

Damfino,” Steele replied.

Steele picked up the crystal pot of red currant jam and moved toward the parlor door.

“What, pray tell, are you doing brother dear?” Fiona queried.  “Where are you going with the jam?  I wasn’t finished!”

A moment later Steele returned, carrying a long white nightgown.  It was covered with the crimson contents of the jam jar.

“At least you didn’t ruin my pink nightdress,” Fiona muttered.  “What are you on about now?”

“I know you favor pink, but white is so much more dramatic,” Steele began.  “Maybe our neighbor’s diligence in watching you should be rewarded with a good look at you in your nightie.”

“What?  Don’t be absurd!” Fiona replied aghast.

“Red currant jam, red as blood and running down the front of this prim white gown.  Imagine the ghoul’s face if you answered wearing this, and holding the machete!” Steele explained with a purely wicked grin.

The Machete_Fiona-Teagan 0

Fiona pranking the creep, as imagined by Rob Goldstein

“I’ve been waiting for you…” 

The end.

***

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 and 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Images Copyright © 2019 and 2018 by Rob Goldstein

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.