Jazz Age Wednesday — Pip & Artie, Epilogue

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 

Fone_Bone

Fone Bone for Get Caught Reading

It’s still May and #GetCaughtReading Month!  Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape, and I got together to support this initiative that promotes the fun of reading for all ages.

I meant our short story last week to be a single episode.  However, with an ongoing (and itchy) allergy problem distracting me, I’m having trouble getting my head into the Pip-verse so that I can finish preparing A Ghost in the Kitchen for launch.  So, I hoped writing a little more on this story would help. 

Artie, the genius time traveling chimpanzee is back today.  If you missed Pip and Artie Aghast at a Ghost, click the link.   I hope you Get Caught Reading this!  All right then, let’s get a wiggle on and head to the Jazz Age!

Pip and Artie — Aghast at a Ghost

Part 2 Epilogue

Artie sketch thinking color steampunk

Artie, courtesy of Chris Graham

Nothing ever kept my grandmother down for long.  Arty looked brooksy in his time-travel uniform.  That and his kind eyes won Granny Phanny over pretty quick.  Although she persisted in a profound denial about the prankish poltergeist.

“A bird got in the kitchen,” she insisted.  “I chased it outside with my broom, but I slipped and hit my head when I fell. What?  I beg your pardon!  Why of all the gall, Paisley.  I have never swooned in all my days.”

Phanny Irene Peabody was determined to introduce Artie to southern cooking.  Granny was so caught up in showing off that she barely let me help her, suspending my cooking lessons for the day. 

She limited the meat in her dishes when Artie admitted that it wasn’t his favorite thing.  However, Granny laid out a mouthwatering spread with cornbread-dressing, collard greens, light-as-air biscuits, chicken and dumplings (easy on the chicken), mashed potatoes, and some fried chicken for Andy and me.

Even though it didn’t fit with the rest of the meal, she made some hushpuppies.  You see, Artie had asked about them, wanting to know if they really included puppies.  Andy and I were too surprised to completely hide our laughter.  Granny, however, was downright professorial as she explained that hushpuppies were only bread, with no meat of any sort.

When Granny had us all move to the parlor for dessert, Andy and I saw the ghost sneak back into the kitchen, but we kept our lips buttoned.  I knew the spirit wouldn’t beat it for long.

1920s Kitchen Bouguet ad

Then my grandmother ensured future visits from Artie by producing one of his favorite desserts – a Mississippi mud pie.

When he laid eyes on the chocolaty confection, Artie couldn’t help showing a big toothy grin.  Granny’s smile faded for a second when she saw the length of his teeth, but a look at the genius ape’s delighted eyes put her at ease.

Artie offered Granny Phanny one quick time travel adventure.  At first, she protested that it was too great a gift.  Yet an imploring gaze from Artie caused her to relent.  However, Granny swore him to secrecy about where and when she wanted to go.

Phanny Irene Peabody hopped onto the back of the motorcycle-looking time machine.  She moved as if she was an old hand with motorcycles.  Then I remembered the time she and Dr. Vincent Vale (and everybody else I knew in Savannah) went looking for me on his vintage vehicle.

The traveling duo returned about twenty seconds after they left.  Granny was misty eyed.  She gave Artie a tight hug as he bade us farewell.

The end.

Heartfelt thanks to Chris Graham for being such a willing participant in these shenanigans.  Our Story Reading Ape is a marvelous storyteller.  If you want to get caught reading another treat, check out his mom’s book.

Chris Graham (for Agnes Mae Graham)

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

Don’t forget my mysterious new serial, Brother Love.  Chapter 5 will go live on Saturday. 

I’ll see you at the crossroads! 

***

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

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USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

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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 and Christopher Graham

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.

 

Do No Harm — Box Set Launch

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

It’s Get Caught Reading Month, and look what you’ve caught me reading!

card christoph

I’m honored to promote a new collection of medical thrillers. You may have seen it making the rounds. 

This boxed set includes a novel from one of the first followers of this blog — Christoph Fischer.  You couldn’t meet a more generous person than Christoph.  He is also my “birthday sibling.”  So how could I resist jumping on this bandwagon?

DO NO HARM is an extraordinary, limited collection of medical thrillers written by USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Amazon best-selling authors. 

You can order it now for .99!

Do you crave reading books with nail-biting suspense, twisted plots and great characters who get caught up in whirlwinds of crime, deception and lies? Do you love sitting on the edge of your seat, wondering who will survive…and who won’t?

background 1 vv.

From the mountains of West Virginia, to acute care hospitals, the battlefields of the Middle East and the hallowed halls of our educational system, join us for these incredible stories of healthcare gone wrong.

If you like Robin Cook, David Baldacci and Patricia Cornwell, this collection is for you! Do No Harm is a binge-readers dream – 14 medical thriller books in one! And you can only get this collection of books from this group of authors here!

Grab your copy today and find a comfortable chair!

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131032041
 https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/do-no-harm-21
 https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1457771385

No Harm puppy
So there you have it. That’s a huge collection — a great way to discover new authors!  It’s still Get Caught Reading month — let us catch you reading one of these. 
Click over to Christoph’s blog and say hello too.  Hugs!
 

Brother Love 4 — A Domino

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Note:  Last week I mentioned Dan was working on his own post about his part of the inspiration for the Doug Armstrong character.  That is Dan’s Saturday post this week at his blog, No Facilities.

Various names on different colored cards in fancy text

Chuttersnap at Unsplash

Welcome to my sanctuary at the crossroads.  Relax and sit for awhile.  It makes no difference what your name may be.  Although there is oh so much in a name. 

I tend to obsess about character names.  In stories with a real world setting (even if they are also fantasy) I try to add authenticity through the names of some characters.  With Atonement, Tennessee and Atonement in Bloom, I consulted a (public) government database that will show the most popular names, for a state, in a given year. 

Last time in A Hymn, we met two new characters, a woman and a little girl.  I had to give the girl a first name.  To my those ever so handy databases I went.  I chose four names from the 100 most popular names in Mississippi in 1960.  (Since I haven’t established an exact year for the story, that’s smack in the middle of my range of when the story might take place.)

Then I sent my top choices to Dan Antion and asked if he’d mind choosing the name.  He chose from Dorothy, Shirley, Sandra (Sandy), and Tammy.  As you know, he picked Tammy. 

One of Dan’s “things” for Chapter 4 is the number nine.  This song came into the story.  It also inspired a couple of street names.

For Chapter 4, the “things” from Dan are Round Domino and Nine (the number).  The third thing is from V. M. Sang, Faberge egg.  She had not left a comment before my “call for things,” but that’s perfectly fine.

This time I apologize and request your patience.  I was barely able to get this chapter posted in time.  It’s raw.  You’ll undoubtedly see a lot of mistakes, but at least I managed to get it here.

It’s time to go to the crossroads.

Chapter 2.  Doug Armstrong stopped at Birdie Devovo’s house at the crossroads moments after the lights went out.  He said he saw someone moving around on the porch.  Birdie certainly thought someone was inside.   Yet, was it odd that Doug should be there at that specific moment?  Was it random chance?  Or did it happen by design?  If so, then whose design?

Chapter 3.  An unknown woman and a rather odd little girl stopped at the house at the crossroads asking for directions.  They were looking for Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.  The woman said she believed Tammy could be healed of her hemophilia there. 

Brother Love

4 — A Domino

Round Domino, Nine, and Faberge Egg

Round Dominoes, by Dan Antion

Round Dominoes, by Dan Antion

Even after I could no longer see or hear the Ford, I stood there, pondering the strangeness of the child.

Jinx fluttered down near my feet.  He started pecking at something amid the gravels of the drive.  I noticed a small black disk.  With his beak, he tossed it into the air.

Sometimes when the magpie found bottle caps, he liked me to throw them for him to find.  However, that was no metal cap.

I bent down for a closer look.  A black disk with white dots.  It was right beside where the woman had stopped her car.

While she had called the child by her name, Tammy, the woman had not given her own name.  She was awfully nervous.  I guessed that getting lost made her too flustered to think of social niceties.  Although I didn’t feel she had been rude.

Jinx pecked at the disk again.  I picked it up to investigate before he could fly off with it.

Magpie on ground listening_PicturesofScotland Pixaby

Magpie, Pixabay

“Oh,” I felt so foolish that I said it aloud.

I had never seen a round domino.  The game behind the regular kind mystified me.  For the longest, I didn’t even know there was a game.  Dominoes were just something you stood up to watch each one knock down the next.  I wondered what you were supposed to do with round ones.

Jinx acted like he wanted it back.

“I know you found it, Jinx,” I told the bird.  “It must belong to that strange little girl.  If I see them again, I’ll give it to her.”

The magpie made a series of noises then started singing one of his favorites.  He usually just repeated the simple chorus over and over again, but that time he sang most of a verse.

“When I kissed a cop on Thirty-fourth and Vine.  Broke little bottle number nine,” he sang, getting most of the words.

“That’s a much better song than what you sang yesterday.  Come on back to the house and I’ll give you another strawberry.”

That got his attention.  For the next half hour, the magpie serenaded me with Love Potion Number Nine.

***

Church reflected in river Dan Antion

Church reflected in the river, by Dan Antion

The song wouldn’t leave my head.  I was still humming it the next morning when I got dressed to do errands.

I hated going into town.  It didn’t matter whether people were uptown or down, or which side of the tracks, rich or poor, they…  Well, let’s just say they didn’t approve of me.  It’s hard to say which was worse, the spiteful remarks, or the cold, aloof behavior.

Granted, my mother had given them enough fuel for gossip to last several generations.  They speculated about my parentage and then about whether I was legitimate.  They cast doubt on my race, and even my sanity ― all knowing I could hear them.

Other comments spoken in hushed, sometimes fearful tones made me wonder if people really did think I was some sort of devil, just because I lived at the crossroads on the outside of town.

People could be so foolish.  As if there weren’t crossroads all over town.  As if there wasn’t a crossroad anywhere two roads met, I thought.

Regardless, I had things to do that wouldn’t do themselves.  So, I got up and pulled my brown ringlet curls into a ponytail and got dressed.

1948 Nash Rambler-a1-Rex Gray-2-

Birdie’s old 1948 Nash Rambler, by Rex Gray

Women in cities might have started wearing slim cigarette or capri pants out in public, but that hadn’t become acceptable in Parliament, Mississippi.  I already attracted enough frowns and gossip, just from my mother’s reputation, so I didn’t wear those out in public.

I tried to banish the thoughts as I put on a yellow gingham, shirt-dress.  It had a little bow at the neck from the same check fabric.  Then I tied on my blue denim Keds.  New white laces kept the wear and tear from being as noticeable.  Nobody would know the soles were worn slick.

When I drove the old Nash Rambler wagon into Parliament, I turned onto Fourth Street.  That took me past the First Methodist Church.

I noticed several cars in the parking lot.  Among them was a late model Ford.  When I saw a bleached blond head, I knew it was the car from the evening before.

Then I gave myself a mental kick for the uncharitable sound of the word.  Describing a woman’s hair as bleached was insulting, even if that was obviously the case.  I never wanted to treat others the way I was treated.

I saw Tammy getting into the car.  The woman stood near the vehicle, talking to the preacher and some other people.  One of them handed her an envelope.

1950s Hat Purse Gloves ad

Pattern ad circa 1950

For a moment I considered stopping.  I was sure the domino must belong to Tammy so I had put it in my pocketbook just in case I saw them again.  What good was a game with a missing piece?

As the woman put the packet into her white handbag, I realized it contained cash.  She had mentioned Tammy’s medical bills taking all their money.  It was not unusual for families with a sickly child to go to churches in their area for donations.

But they aren’t from around here, I thought.  She must be in terrible need to ask for help outside their own community.  It would embarrass them if they knew I saw.

So, I continued on my way.  I stayed on Fourth Street to stop at the bakery.  A loaf of freshly baked bread was my reward for going into town.  Then I headed to the Post Office on Vine Street.

At the corner I noticed they had put up a street sign for the intersection of Fourth and Vine.  The visual of the sign made me think of Love Potion Number Nine again.  Parliament, Mississippi was nowhere near big enough to have a 34th Street, as in the song.  However, Fourth and Vine was close enough to make me chuckle.

The Post Office was one of the prettiest buildings in Parliament.  It was also one of the oldest.  I liked the cooling marble floors and arched doorways.

"The Hub" at Iowa State University was a post office until 1963. Dan Antion

“The Hub” at Iowa State University was a post office until 1963. Dan Antion

Inside, a policeman removed a picture from the “most wanted” wall.  When he looked up I saw it was Lamar Poole.  He wasn’t originally from Mississippi, but he had been with our police force for many years.

The lawmen weren’t as bad as most of the rest of the people.  Maybe it was because they had seen some truly bad people.  Anyhow I felt comfortable enough to say hello.

“Caught one!” I said in a go-team sort of way.

“Unfortunately, there’s always at least one more to replace the ones that get caught,” Sargent Poole replied in a friendly voice.

He held out a newspaper with an article about “grand larceny” and a valuable Faberge egg.

“Are those things really worth that much?” I exclaimed.

Lamar’s expression showed skepticism, but he nodded.  Fancy baubles were apparently not to his taste.

My mouth dropped open when he showed me the wanted-picture of the criminal.

I knew that face.

End Chapter 4.

***

Thank you kindly for reading Brother Love!  If you want to participate by leaving a “thing” to be included in a future episode, please make a comment.  Remember this is a mysterious story, set in rural Mississippi of the late 1950s to early 1960s. 

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

Amazon UK

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USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright ©  2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

An Extra (Special) Story — Trina Woke from a Dream

May 16, 2019  

Usually I only post twice a week, but this is a special occasion.  Recently, Rob Goldstein and I were sending emails back and forth, basically goofing around.  I sent him an image by artist Michael Whelan and and added a whimsical line.  And then another, and another.  Suddenly Rob said, “Let’s make this into a story.” 

One of the images I showed Rob is called Integral Trees.  You can see it by clicking this link to Mr. Whelan’s work.  The other paintings were Rimrunner (2011) and Erosion (1999).  You can search the website with those names to view them.

Rob created a special image for our story.  Since it began with his character, Trina, the story is in what I call his poetic format. 

Trina Woke from a Dream

Trina and the Moths-4

Trina with Madison and moths, by Rob Goldstein

The Shadow Boy was on his way to visit while she languished above
a labyrinth of verdant shrubs.

He saw a blond child levitating outside the window of the monorail. 

Shadow Boy was intrigued.

Was the blond child looking for his shadow?  Could he catch it with his arrow?

The Shadow Boy examined the boy for clues.

The “boy” had pixie ears and breasts.

This wasn’t his boy.

Trina waved at the Shadow Boy and motioned for him to join her.
The boy hesitated. Trina wondered why.  Perhaps because the sun was going down.

The Shadow Boy shouldn’t be afraid of the dark.  Besides there’s a streetlight. 

Trina close

Trina looked so lovely, I wanted you to see this close up of her.

She decided it made no difference.  She still had Madison, but wait, where had
Madison got to?

She was chasing a few moths drawn to streetlight.

Madison chasing moths? This was out of character.

“What’s wrong with you?” asked Trina.

“Nothing!” Madison scowled.

“You’re chasing moths.”

“They’re chasing me.  Look at these holes!”

It was true; Madison was full of holes.

The end.

***

Please visit Rob and his post of this story.  (Like many other bloggers, we are having issues with the “reblog button.”)  Trina Woke from a Dream.

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

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USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

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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 Rob Goldstein and Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Images copyright ©  2019 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.

 

Jazz Age Wednesday — Pip & Artie, Aghast at a Ghost

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

Author Neil Gaiman for Get Caught Reading

Author Neil Gaiman for Get Caught Reading

May is #GetCaughtReading Month!  Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape himself, and I are together again to support this initiative that promotes the fun of reading for all ages.

Chris and I have collaborated on several short stories that include his character, a genius ape named Artie and my first flapper, Pip.  It all started with Time Travel Esc-Ape.  Then there was Pip in the Corn Maze, followed by the three-part Pip and Artie Meet Again.

I hope you Get Caught Reading our new story!  It is set during the time-line of my upcoming novel A Ghost in the Kitchen.  All right then, let’s get a wiggle on and head to the Jazz Age!

Pip and Artie — Aghast at a Ghost

Fearful man and woman circa 1926

Ghost Stories Magazine circa 1926

“Hello,” I answered the telephone.  “Andy, tha―”

“Paisley Idelle Peabody, where are your manners.  That’s no proper way to answer the telephone.  Give me that,” Granny Phanny demanded as she took the receiver away from me.

“TREmont 3332, Peabody residence,” my grandmother spoke into the receiver as I turned my head so she wouldn’t see me roll my eyes.  “Why yes Andy, you may.  One moment please.  Paisley, Andy is calling for you.”

Granny gave me a stern look and handed me the card she kept beside the telephone.  It was titled The Telephone Pledge

“I believe in the Golden Rule and will try to be as Courteous and Considerate over the Telephone as if Face to Face.”

It continued with such advise as telephone manners are as important for voice-to-voice courtesy, as face-to-face politeness.  Instructions to speak directly into the mouthpiece with lips a half inch away, and keep mustache out of opening were included.

I got caught reading it aloud to my pal Andy.  It wasn’t the reading that annoyed Granny, but my laughter.

Blue Lucille Ball Stage Door Trailer

Young Lucille Ball as Pip

“You’d best take that seriously or they might discontinue our service,” she warned.

“Oh Granny!  They wouldn’t really do that,” I defended as she walked away with her best bluenose attitude.

My grandmother had distracted me to the extent that I forgot to put the finishing touches on my glad rags before Andy came to pick me up in his old jalopy.  I had a special pendant with a beautiful labradorite crystal that I meant to show him.  I had recently told him the story behind that gem and he was keen to see it in person.

Andy and I weren’t gone long before we went back for the pendant.  However, during that short time a lot happened.  I only wish I could have seen it firsthand.

You see, my friend Aristotle, also known as Artie, dropped in at Granny’s cottage.  That wouldn’t have mattered if Artie was an ordinary guy.  Unfortunately for my grandmother’s state of mind, Artie was a time traveler.  Not only that, he was an ape!  He was very polite, and a genius to boot, but an ape nonetheless.  He was also the one who gave me the labradorite pendant. 

This is how Artie described what transpired.

***

Artie sketch thinking color steampunk

Artie, courtesy of Chris Graham

When she went into town with Andy, Pip carelessly left the labradorite crystal pendant laying out on her dressing table, instead of in her jewelry box.  That wouldn’t have mattered with an ordinary necklace, but the pendant acted as a transponder which allowed Artie to find Pip when he went back in time.

As fate would have it, Granny found the labradorite crystal while tidying up.

She was strangely drawn to the pendant.  Phanny Irene Peabody picked up the crystal and held it, soaking in its gentle glowing warmth.

A loud “pots and pans” type of crash startled her.  The commotion was followed by a shouted string of words that sounded oddly foreign, but were obviously from someone who needed their mouth washed out with soap.

Granny, still gripping the pendant, hurried angrily towards her kitchen.

Meanwhile, as Granny ran toward the ruckus in her kitchen, Aristotle, the genius ape was summoned to his time machine by the labradorite crystal that Granny Phanny had unknowingly activated.

The pendant had sent a distress call.  So, he dropped what he was doing, hastily donned his time travelling gear and activated his portable time machine motorcycle.

Artie Portable Time Machine cycle

Artie’s portable time machine, image courtesy Chris Graham

Artie arrived in Savannah, Georgia of the Roaring Twenties.

Artie took off his helmet and gave a huge pointy fanged grin of satisfaction.  He was excited at the prospect of seeing his friend Pip again, but of course he was also worried because of the distress signal.

The labradorite crystal pendant locator had worked a treat, bringing him just outside the cottage where Pip lived with her grandmother.

The link between pendant and locator had brought him within 30 seconds of the time when the pendant had sent the alarm.

As Artie hurried over to the cottage, the kitchen door burst open and what at first glance appeared to be a rotund man in Renaissance garb rushed out, ducking and weaving in an attempt to avoid the pots and pans flying behind him.

Artie bounded over and brought down what he presumed was an intruder in Pip’s home.

Granny appeared at the kitchen door and clapped her hands, applauding Artie’s heroics.

“Why thank you so very much!  That strange looking man was in my kitchen.  Bring him over here, so I can give him a piece of my mind.”

Dangling the figure by the scruff of his neck, Artie obliged.

Granny was so engrossed in seeing who had spilled her kitchenware, she didn’t notice that Artie wasn’t a man, until she looked up to thank him again.

Artie was careful not to grin, it showed his fangs too much for many humans and frightened them, so he gave a broad, but closed-lip smile instead.

Granny sank down to the ground in a fit of the vapors.

As she recovered, responding to the cool compress on her forehead and the muttered entreaties from two male voices, Granny slowly opened her eyes – and wished she hadn’t.

The man in the clothes of a Renaissance Era chef winked at her flirtatiously.  Then with the sound of a fizzing pop, he disappeared into thin air! 

The huge leather clad ape was still there. 

Granny swooned again.

The end.

Heartfelt thanks to Chris Graham for being such a willing participant in these shenanigans.  Our Story Reading Ape is a marvelous storyteller.  If you want to get caught reading another treat, check out his mom’s book.

Chris Graham (for Agnes Mae Graham)

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

Don’t forget my mysterious new serial, Brother Love.  Chapter 4 will go live on Saturday. 

I’ll see you at the crossroads! 

***

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 and Christopher Graham

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 3 — A Hymn

I had a technical problem when I posted last night. Please click through to Chapter 3 if you missed it. I will see you at the crossroads.

Teagan's Books

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Brother Love promo imageBrother Love composite by Teagan R. Geneviene

Welcome back to the crossroads everyone!   

 I should probably begin with a disclaimer.  This story is not about religion, nor is it a social commentary — that’s just part of the setting.  I also want you to understand that I approach this aspect of the story carefully.  While the story includes ways that I knew well and was involved in as a child, as an adult I acquired my own unique spirituality. 

That said, last time in A Shadow, now you learned some of the backstory for the Doug Armstrong character.  Today I wanted to tell you how his character came to be. 

You already know that Dan Antion provides photos to inspire me and illustrate this story —  and that he gives me two of the “three things” that drive each episode of this…

View original post 2,223 more words

Brother Love 3 — A Hymn

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Brother Love promo image

Brother Love composite by Teagan R. Geneviene

Welcome back to the crossroads everyone!   

 I should probably begin with a disclaimer.  This story is not about religion, nor is it a social commentary — that’s just part of the setting.  I also want you to understand that I approach this aspect of the story carefully.  While the story includes ways that I knew well and was involved in as a child, as an adult I acquired my own unique spirituality. 

That said, last time in A Shadow, now you learned some of the backstory for the Doug Armstrong character.  Today I wanted to tell you how his character came to be. 

You already know that Dan Antion provides photos to inspire me and illustrate this story —  and that he gives me two of the “three things” that drive each episode of this unplanned serial.  Shortly after I asked Dan to collaborate with me, we had a conversation about the Brother Love preacher of the Neil Diamond song.

Dan told me about an evangelist who made an unforgettable impact on him as a young man.  The preacher had a past.  Well, that didn’t fit with my idea of the title character.  However, that preacher inspired my “partner in crime” so I wanted to use it somehow. 

Church reflected in river Dan Antion

Church reflected in the river, by Dan Antion

Our discussion reminded me of a visiting preacher I encountered as a little girl.  He was youngish, and a little doughy, with a ruddy complexion.  He was also a very large, long legged guy.  The man would preach so hard that sweat just rolled off him.  He always had a big white handkerchief to mop his face.  Then when he really got excited, he would go to the back of the church and run across the tops of the pews, sometimes even skipping one, to the front, as the congregation shouted praise!

The Doug Armstrong character is inspired by a combination of the evangelist with a checkered past who made such an impression on Dan, and this astonishing figure from my childhood.  One day soon, at his blog, No Facilities, Dan will do his own post about his inspiration.

For Chapter 3, the “things” from Dan are Fog and Fox.  The third thing is one Olga Núñez Miret suggested, “Hymnal.”

Fog, by Dan Antion

Fog, by Dan Antion

It’s time to go to the crossroads.

Chapter 2.  Doug Armstrong stopped at Birdie Devovo’s house at the crossroads moments after the lights went out.  He said he saw someone moving around on the porch.  Birdie certainly thought someone was inside.   Yet, was it odd that Doug should be there at that specific moment?  Was it random chance?  Or did it happen by design?  If so, then whose design?

Brother Love

3 — A Hymn

Fog, Fox, and Hymnal

Rusted old tractor, photo by Dan Antion

Rusted old tractor, photo by Dan Antion

Jinx soared along a current of air.  Dawn’s light touched his feathers, making the magpie seem to glow.  Watching fog roll into a low area, he knew it would be another hot, humid day.

He alighted on the rusted out remains of an old tractor.  Keen eyes watched for the first morsel of the morning, a beetle, maybe a caterpillar.

Then he heard a guitar.  The sound came from the graveyard.  All thoughts of the insect forgotten, he flew toward the music.  Jinx loved blues that much.

He perched tentatively on a spruce-pine branch.  Dawn’s light had yet to penetrate the fog to illumine the cemetery.  In the shadows below, he could make out a dark figure, sitting on a tombstone.  Long fingers reached intricate, but deeply mournful chords.

A single ray of light found a way through branches and fog to reflect on the polished surface of the guitar.  Coal-black eyes looked up at Jinx.  The musician winked.

“Here, there ain’t nobody going to care how bad you are,” he said with a motion of one hand to include the graveyard.  “So, go ahead and sing along.  I know you could if you wanted to.”

He shifted on his tombstone seat and strummed an upbeat tune.

Jinx swooped down to roost on the gravestone opposite the musician.

With a grin, he looked at the magpie.  His dark eyes never went to the frets or strings of the instrument as he played.  It was as if the guitar was part of him.  Then he started to sing.

Hot tamales and they’re red hot.  Yeah, she got ’em for sale, hey.  Hot tamales and they’re red hot.  Oh, she got ’em for sale…

*********

Morning light streamed through the kitchen window.  Motes floated along the sunbeam paths.

There’s nothing like sunshine to shake off a bad night, I thought, as I poured the last drop of Maxwell House into my coffee cup.

A pecking sound at the window caused me to turn.  I opened the window and the magpie flew across the room to roost on the open door of the birdcage.

“I thought something happened to you, Jinx.  I haven’t seen you in weeks,” I admonished the bird as if he could understand me.

Vintage birdcage, by Dan Antion

Vintage birdcage, by Dan Antion

There had always been a magpie.  My mother said his name was Jinx.  She said her mother gave him to her. 

Jinx came and went as he pleased.  Now and then he would disappear for a while, sometimes weeks or months.  Once he was gone for more than a year.

I knew magpies weren’t usually found in Mississippi.  I also knew it couldn’t be the same bird every time he came back.  The magpie would have been more than sixty years old if that was the case.  Yet he was always named Jinx.

A strawberry was leftover on my breakfast plate.  I saw Jinx eye it, so I gave him the berry.  He started the random noises that he usually made before trying to sing.  I figured he was pretty happy.

Are you washed in the blood?  Soul cleansing blood of the lamb,” Jinx sang.

“Where did you learn that song?” I asked in surprise, as if he could tell me.

I remembered it from the old church hymnal.  It was probably my least favorite hymn.

Pages of a Methodist hymnal, by Dan Antion

Pages of a Methodist hymnal, by Dan Antion

“But it’s better than the sound of hound dogs chasin’ down a hoodoo,” I muttered aloud.

A chorus of distant baying met my ears.  I got up to close the window and shut out the unpleasant sound.  The dogs probably thought they smelled a fox.  However, sometimes I thought the hounds just imagined it for an excuse to bark.

Hoodoo washed in the blood,” Jinx sang, mixing up the words.

“Maybe you should go back outside, Jinx,” I commented dryly.

The magpie flew to perch on the windowsill.

“All right, Jinx.  In or out.  What’ll it be?  I’m going to close this window.”

The magpie leaned out and looked toward the old road that ran behind my house.  Curious, I leaned as well, when I saw a Ford headed our way, on the seldom traveled road. 

It was unusual enough for anyone to take the back road, but that was also a relatively new car.  Most folks in Parliament, Mississippi couldn’t afford late model automobiles.

The car slowed and pulled into the gravel driveway.  A woman stepped out of the car.  She looked ordinary enough.  Her hair was short, curly, with thick bangs.  She walked toward the house, waving when she saw me at the window.

I went outside to see what made her stop.  Then I saw a little girl inside the Ford.  The child seemed to be struggling to get out of the car.

Fox, photo by Dan Antion

Fox, photo by Dan Antion

“Tammy, now I told you to stay in the car.  We can’t be bothering this lady,” the woman called over her shoulder.  “Thank goodness for seat-belts.  I nearly ran off the road when a fox ran out in front of me while ago,” she told me.  “Thank heaven and safety belts, Tammy wasn’t hurt.”

That situation seemed odd.  Not all cars had safety belts, and when they did, most people cut the uncomfortable things out and threw them away.

Jinx flew to the Ford and perched on the side mirror.  The girl trilled with delight.  The magpie stayed just out of her reach.

When the woman saw them, she screamed and ran toward the car.  Jinx made haste up into the branches of the magnolia tree.

“He wouldn’t hurt her,” I called as I ran behind the woman.  “He’s tame!”

“Where did he go?” the girl asked excitedly.  “He talks.  He’s a talking bird!”

“I’m sorry,” the woman apologized for her panic.  “Tammy is a free bleeder.  The least scratch and…  Anyhow, I’m sorry to trouble you, but I’ve made a wrong turn.  We’re trying to get to a revival meeting near Parliament, Mississippi.”

Hemophilia, I thought.  That would make any parent nervous.  I wonder if that’s her mother though.  They don’t seem to look much alike.

Tammy obligingly held out a copy of the same mimeographed flyer that was left on my door.  Inside the car I noticed the back seat filled with pillows and blankets, a drink box and other things.

Antique globe showing the Mississippi Delta, by Dan Antion

Antique globe showing the Mississippi Delta, by Dan Antion

I walked beside the woman when she went to open the car’s trunk.  She extracted a stuffed animal and handed it to Tammy.  I looked down at the license plate.  I didn’t recognize the county name, but I never did know much about the world beyond my home.

“You came a long way just for a revival service,” I remarked.

The woman looked at me with desperation in her eyes.

“They say Brother Love has healing hands.  Last year Tammy got hurt at school.  She nearly died from a cut that wouldn’t have needed more than a Band-Aid for another child.  The hospital bills took everything we had.  But I couldn’t sell the car for one without seat-belts.  I just couldn’t take the chance,” the woman explained through a nervous smile.

I was pretty sure those two were on their own, without much help from anyone else.  I certainly knew what that was like.  So, I invited them to come into the house for something cooling to drink.

Birdie Devovo's house as imagined by Dan Antion

Birdie Devovo’s house as imagined by Dan Antion

“Do you have any hot tamales?  They’re red hot!” Tammy asked a whimsical seeming question of which only a small child would think.

I laughed in surprise.

“What?” the woman turned to the child and asked.  “Honestly I don’t know where she gets these things.  She doesn’t even know what a tamale is.

Maybe Tammy could have seen into the kitchen window.  She looked at the house and then at me.

“I like July better than August too,” she told me.

The woman had the restless expression of someone who wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere else.  I had seen the look in my mother’s eyes all too often.  I wasn’t surprised when she declined my offer of refreshments.

Ready to Travel statue Dan Antion

Ready to Travel, by Dan Antion

I wondered if they had the same PanAm calendar that hung on my kitchen wall.  How else would Tammy come up with that comment about July and August?

As the Ford got back on the road, I looked toward my kitchen window.  The calendar wasn’t visible from the spot where the car had been.

From the branches of the magnolia tree, Jinx started singing Washed in the Blood again.

The sound of the Ford’s engine faded into the distance.  I liked the July calendar better than August, but how could the child know? 

I had an uncomfortable feeling that I couldn’t quite describe.  It was making me irritable.

“For pity’s sake, Jinx.  Sing something else,” I said.

Hot tamales and they’re red hot.  Oh, she got ’em for sale,” the magpie sang.

End Chapter 3.

***

I gave Dan the added challenge of choosing just the right image for Birdie’s house.  It needed to reflect the location, Birdie’s status, and her economic level.  Plus, since I had already mentioned her porch and screen door, that needed to be included.  Dan really rose to the challenge.  He did a fantastic job with the yellow house image you saw above. Kudos, Dan!

Here’s Dan’s Thursday Doors post about Birdie’s house.

Real World Notes — A Hoodoo

When used as “a hoodoo,” in this story the term does not mean a religion or practice.  “Chasing down a hoodoo” was a phrase John Fogerty used when he wrote the song Born on the Bayou.  Fogerty said, “(A) Hoodoo is a magical, mystical, spiritual, non-defined apparition, like a ghost or a shadow, not necessarily evil, but certainly other-worldly.”

***

Heartfelt thanks for reading Brother Love!  If you want to participate by leaving a “thing” to be included in a future episode, please make a comment.  Remember this is a mysterious story, set in rural Mississippi of the late 1950s to early 1960s. 

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

***

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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

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