A Bloomin’ Good Week in Atonement TN – It’s Catnip!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Cat silhouette Tree_saso-tusar-130051

Unsplash

Welcome, to my sanctuary.   Could I offer you some coffee or tea, and a pastry or maybe a breakfast biscuit?  Something more unusual — perhaps herbal tea… maybe even catnip tea? 

I had a few days away from my job, and other than a migraine and snow (both on Thursday), it’s been great.  Of course there was a lot going on, just the same — and stressful as you might guess by the migraine.  But it’s all good now.  I’m finally relaxing a bit.

My head is still in my Atonement, TN universe because Atonement in Bloom got two reviews this week!  I’m really excited about them.  Thanks to Barb Taub for sharing her review of Atonement in Bloom.  I’m thrilled that she enjoyed my latest release. 

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Dreamstime

If you haven’t read the first book (Atonement, Tennessee) you might want to stay here though, if you’re hyper sensitive to finding things out anyway. 

Teri Polen also did a marvelous review.  Teri’s post and the comments got a conversation started about Atonement’s part-time narrator, Lilith the calico cat.  At Teri’s the kind and fun suggestion that Lilith should have her own book became a catalyst when it mixed with an idea that’s been catnapping in my brain.  I think I’ve figured out how to tell book-3!  I had been stumped as to how I should go about writing that story, but now I have some ideas simmering.

Speaking of that catnip loving feline, with the the first book I did a character interview with Lilith

Sorry if I seem like a cat with a bowl of cream, but I’m so pleased with these, and all the reviews “Bloom” has gotten.  …Do you detect a feline feeling with this post? 

Catnip flowers.jpg

Wikimedia Commons

Many people are familiar with the effect catnip has on most cats.  In the Atonement universe, Lilith the calico is no exception.  Moreover, Gwydion is sort of Lilith’s “catnip” figuratively too.  That leads the calico into a bit of trouble in “Atonement in Bloom,” but I don’t want to spoil anything by telling you about that. 

Gwydion has flower magic.  Cats might act like they’re under a spell when they get some “nip” but there’s science behind it.

Old meanings associated with flowers (or the language of flowers) are mentioned in the Atonement novels.  I didn’t think catnip was included in that, but I found something for it today.  Some say it symbolizes love, beauty, and happiness. It certainly tends to make cats happy! 

If you are concerned about the origins of store bought nip, you might grow your own.  You can use it yourself too (if you can get it away from your cats).  For humans, catnip tea is supposed to “provide a mild euphoria” but in my experience, the effects are so mild as to be barely noticeable.  However, it is reputed to have other benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, and as an insect repellent.  You might find you have helpers when you harvest it.  Here’s a fun video about growing your own catnip.

♣ — ♣

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you’ll join me Wednesday for Hidebound Hump Day and another chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  If you missed the last chapter, here’s a link to Crinoline, Lye Soap, and Caterpillar.  The random “things” driving the next week’s episode are Pen Knife, Indian Head Penny, and Brocade of a White Lion.  Yes, somebody actually got that detailed with the random “things”… but I managed to continue the story. 

I’ll be looking for you at the station!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Remember, book-1, Atonement, Tennessee is on sale for 99¢ for the e-book.

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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 © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

 

Book Review: Atonement in Bloom

Blue-Rose-Orb-52327

I feel like everything is coming up roses for “Atonement in Bloom” (you know I couldn’t resist the pun). I’m tickled pink that Diana Wallace Peach hosted me at her Myths of the Mirror blog. She gave me a one question interview. Then she added a review of “Bloom” that made me positively giddy! Click on over to visit Diana. I’ve disabled comments here, because I want you to visit her amazing blog. Hugs!

Myths of the Mirror

I’ve been aboard Teagan’s tour bus for a few days and just hopped off for some biscuits and gravy in Atonement, Tennessee. While I’m at it, I’ll attempt a little magic for Teagan and share my review of Atonement in Bloom.

But, oh, not so fast. First I had to delve into Teagan’s amazing technicolor pantser brain and find out how she does it! Here is my question:

I know that you’re a pantser, Teagan, and I assure you that this is foreign territory for us dedicated outliners. Your stories are full of magic – people, objects, places, lore – and they all converge on the small town of Atonement in a zany adventure with eight plot threads whirling around at once. How do you keep this literary cyclone straight and make sure that it arrives at “the end” in one piece? I’d love to learn about the method to…

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What If I Take a Break…

Saturday October 27, 2018

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who got on the party bus for the launch of Atonement in Bloom.  I can’t describe how much I appreciate everyone who shared and contributed to the launch.

Deme and Honeybell are still in a party mood

I don’t seem to know how to really take a break.  I lightened my workload by rerunning Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers (latest episode here).  Yet somehow doing the posts still takes a good deal of time.  So today, I’m trying harder to take a break.  This post re-shares a bit of whimsy I wrote a few years ago — even then I was working on Atonement in Bloom.  

Here I explained what I call my “What if?” game.

 

What Would Happen If There Was a Character Like…

 

Flower Woman spencer-dahl-796539-unsplash

Come on out to play!  Are you ready for a little game? It doesn’t require a special arena, equipment, or athletic ability — and it doesn’t cost a cent.

How My Writing Process Begins a New Story

Have you ever played What If?  Probably not, since that’s my own little speculative free-thinking game. If I heard something quirky in the news, or if I heard about some “breakthrough” that left everyone scratching their heads as to its usefulness, I liked to use it to start a conversation with a friend.

Meadow_frameI’d take the headline a step further and ask, “So what if…” this or that.  The other person would throw out a potential next step, and we’d go on with the “what if” getting wilder and more imaginative as we went, although it would still trace back to the original headline or concept.  I even did a post about very early in my “blogging career.” It created some fun conversations — some bubbles of what-if.

Ultimately, “what if” is how all of my stories start, from short story to epic fantasy.  When I was ready to lay the groundwork to build book-2, Atonement in Bloom, I again read the Celtic/Welsh mythology that loosely inspired book-1.  As I read about something the mythological Gwydion fab Don did for another person in that myth, the image of a new character came into my mind. Stone Planter Flowers Face

What if there was someone like the character that came to mind?  The first what if bubbled into more questions.  What sort of person would she be? Would she be bad, good, or just a sort of device to drive the new plot?

The chain of what if had begun!  What if her presence effected the town? How?  If she did have some sort of magical influence, who would be effected and who might be immune? Why?  What would be the result of either?  As I progressively answered each of the questions that rose from my first “what if,” the character became real to me.  

Because of the what if, some existing characters from Atonement, Tennessee grew in depth — in good ways and in bad ways.
Cherry blossoms snow 2The initial “what if” added two other new supernaturals to the cast of characters.  The chain of what if also brought a character from the short story, An Atonement, Tennessee Valentine, and the short became tied securely to Atonement in Bloom.  I sure wasn’t expecting that to happen!

Most importantly, early on that first what if led me to see the most significant what if of all…

What if, in the midst of a December snow — Atonement, Tennessee came into bloom?

Halloween was always my favorite holiday.  I know it’s not quite here yet, but I’ll wish you a happy one anyway.

Thanks again for visiting Atonement, TN.  It was wonderful to see you. Come out to play What If by leaving a comment!

I’m so grateful to everyone who hosted the Bloomin’ Party Bus that I’m repeating the Atonement TN Book Fair, beginning with my own shameless self-promotion.

Long awaited sequel to Atonement, Tennessee

Where “atonement” begins

It’s best if you read the first book first.  So, for the launch of “Bloom,” Atonement, Tennessee is on sale for 99¢ (e-book). Click Atonement book covers for purchase links.

Includes the prequel

Atonement, TN Book Fair!

Click the author names for more info on the books.

D. Wallace Peach

Image result for legacy of souls d wallace peach

Chris Graham (for Agnes Mae Graham)

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

Olga Núñez Miret    For info about this book click here. 

Angelic Business 1. Pink Matters Now available as an audio book too

D.L. Finn 

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Jan Sikes

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Mary J McCoy-Dressel

Mary J McCoy-Dressel, western romance author, Book Three Canyon Junction: Hearts in Love Series, Blog Post Cover Reveal I think Marge and Ralda would vote for Mary’s cowboys to visit Atonement, TN… Just sayin’…

Sally Cronin

Jacquie Biggar has a sheriff too…

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Valentina Cirasola will help you tour Atonement, TN in style.

The Road To Top Of The World: Short Stories In The Land Of Puglia

Barb Taub will keep you laughing the entire way.

Staci Troilo

Tortured Soul

Mae Clair

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weeds

John W. Howell

Annette Rochelle Aben

Image result for booku Annette Rochelle Aben Whimsical poetry from Annette.

Donna Parker will keep your smile alight and whimsy in flight at Yadadarcyyada, Vague Meanderings of the Broke & Obscure.  But there’s nothing obscure about delightful Donna.

Robbie Cheadle

Image result for robbie cheadle while the bombs fell

Chuck Jackson

Image result for chuck jackson what did i do

Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Teri Polen 

Image result for teri polen sarah

Patty L. Fletcher of Campbell’s World

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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 © 2015 and 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

A Pause & a Review — (Cornelis will be back)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Red neon party bus

Straightlaced Saturday will not be at the steampunk train station today.  This weekend I must not blog, no matter how much I miss visiting with you.  Why?  I have a ton of work to do before the Atonement, TN Party Bus is road worthy!  So I’ve disabled comments today.  

However… Deme and Honeybell were so excited about this lovely review of their Snort Stories from Dyanna at Ravenhawks’ Magazine that I have to share it with you before the launch party for Atonement in Bloom!

Pigs collection cover banner

Dyanna’s review:  Fun and funny. Glowing pigs visit the little town of Atonement, Tennessee bringing their own brand of quirky magic to a town already steeped in magic. This wonderful little book give you a glimpse of the magic that Deme and Honeybell create and a quick peek at some of the residents of Atonement. It is a quick entertaining read guaranteed to bring a smile a short and even giggle.

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers will continue on Wednesday for Hidebound Hump Day.

Bloom bkgnd text flowers

I will be busy making sure that everyone who promised to help with the book launch of Atonement in Bloom is represented on the party bus and the Atonement, TN book fair.

Some of the characters from my quirky town of Atonement, TN are helping me prepare the bus.  Lilith the cat is your driver, and the otherworldly glowing pigs, Deme and Honeybell are hostesses.  They wanted to show you the inside of the party bus.  (I’m channeling my Meadow character, who has green hair.)

Inside Party Bus 2 pigs me

The party bus/book launch will go live October 20. 

The party bus will be making stops all around the town as we pick up readers and bloggers.  

Party Bus inside Lilith

Roll on party bus!  I’ll see you soon!  

***

Now some more shameless self-promotion.

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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 © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

Atonement Doors – #ThursdayDoors

Beyond my wildest dreams! That was the result when I asked Dan Antion if he would be interested in doing a Thursday Doors post — using my fictional town of Atonement, TN. I told Dan just run with it — wherever his imagination took him, and I’m so glad he did. I’m still gawking at his post, I love it that much.
The way he described everything made his post wonderful — I felt like I was living in a chapter of the book.

Some of the photos he chose look exactly as I imagine the town. I had hoped that I made Atonement an “any town” so people could relate to it. Dan made me think I got it right. I hope everyone else thinks so.

I managed to get through the publication process with Atonement in Bloom (click here!). While the launch is not until the 20th, I’ve already made it available on Amazon. Also, the first book (Atonement, Tennessee) is on sale for 99 cents (e-book) for the launch.

Dan, heartfelt thanks for this amazing Atonement, TN Doors post. I’m humbled and honored.  I’ve disabled comments here, because I want you to visit Dan’s fabulous blog.

Hugs! 

No Facilities

Think of this cover as the door to a wonderful book.

Today is a very special edition of Thursday Doors – I am sharing doors from Atonement, Tennessee, the charming and very mysterious town created by Teagan R. Geneviene in her series of novels. If you enjoy reading Teagan’s serial stories, you will love these novels. Horsefeathers, (as Teagan would say) get on with the news, boy!

Teagan has recently revealed the cover of “Atonement in Bloom” the long-awaited second book in the Atonement series. I had the pleasure of reading an early edition of this book, and I’ve been sitting here ever since, silently chanting “finish the edits, finish the edits…” Well, the edits are finished, Teagan is loading-up a party bus and you should join me in making plans to purchase a copy of this bloomin’ book, later this month.

One of the things…

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Another Bloomin’ Cover Reveal — But this time it’s mine!

Friday, October 5, 2018

I debated when to run this post.  I worried that it wouldn’t be seen between my serial posts — so I scheduled it as my Saturday post. Then I worried that you’d lose track of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers… 

Have I ever mentioned that Springsteen was born to run, Steppenwolf was born to be wild, and I… well, I was born to worry?  The short story is I changed my mind this morning and decided to post the cover reveal now!

First came Atonement, Tennessee — my debut novel.  For years, as time, life, and my job permitted (which wasn’t nearly often enough) I worked on the creation of a sequel.  Eventually, I started my editing process.  That was made more difficult because of all those years of start and stop writing.  And then, the editing was almost as stop-n-go as the writing.  (I could have had my own convenience store. Snort!)

I’ve talked about book-2 for so long that it’s embarrassing.  I feel like I’m going out on a flower laden limb by (again) saying that I will release the book soon.  Even so, I present to you, the cover of Atonement in Bloom.

Bloom bkgnd text flowers

A Review!

The inimitable Donna Parker received an advance copy of “Bloom” and did a review here.  Donna did some fabulous casting for a movie version.  I loved her choices of actors.  Be sure to visit her post.

The book launch will be soon.  I’m aiming for October 20th, if everything goes well with the publication process.  However, you know me — I have to be different.  It won’t be your everyday book launch.  It’s going to be a blog party bus!

Yes, there are some of the characters from my quirky town of Atonement, TN already on the bus.  Lilith the cat is your driver, and the otherworldly glowing pigs, Deme and Honeybell are hostesses.  If you want to participate in this Party Bus Book Launch let me know by October 13th, because I need to add you to the story

Atonement Blog Party Bus Loaded

What do I mean? If you want to be mentioned in the blog party (along with your link), I’m asking you to promote the book launch from your blog in return.  I can send you an HTML file of the entire post, or you can reblog it.  Any takers? 

Update: Again… if you want to be featured on the party bus, you must leave me a link (to what you want to show) in your comment.  In return, I ask that you please reblog my launch (party bus) post — or let me know you can work with an HTML post and I will send you the entire post. 

The party bus/launch will go live October 20.  Feel free to post that day, or any day afterward.

I announced this on Facebook earlier. Thanks to Carol Taylor, Jacquie BiggarValentina Cirasola,  Gerlinde de Broekertand Barb Taub, who have already offered to share the party bus launch.  Special thanks to Dan Antion who will promote the cover reveal at his place, with very short notice.  If I have enough time I’ll make an Atonement TN bookstore, so leave a link to a picture of your book.

The party bus will be making stops all around the town as we pick up readers and bloggers.  So if you want to participate in this off-the-wall book launch, then have your links ready. Remember, I need them by October 13th.

Roll on party bus!  Mega hugs! 

***

Now some more shameless self-promotion.

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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 © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

Matchmaking Pigs in Atonement, Tennessee

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Pigs Road Moon unsplash composite

Deme & Honeybell, looking for adventure again

Deme and Honeybell, the otherworldly glowing pigs of Atonement, Tennessee had so much fun visiting with you recently that they talked me into letting them have the spotlight again today.  Yes, it’s another snort story.

If you’ve been following me for awhile, please forgive me for another rerun.  The past couple of work-months have been so “over the top” that I’m surprised I’ve managed to post at all.  I ran this as a Valentines story last year, but it doesn’t have to be about that.

Last week you met a much younger Marge Tipton.  She is a minor character in the “Atonement” books.  I enjoyed giving her extra life here on the blog.  She owns the local diner and she’s suitably quirky for the town.

It’s fewer than 2,500 words.  I hope this snort story leaves you with a happy glow

Deme and Honeybell — Matchmakers

Unsplash

Silver light washed down from the moon to illumine the sidewalk.  Earth’s lone satellite was just past full.  The clock in the town square struck midnight on February 14th.

The moon wasn’t the only thing that glowed that night.  Two friends also emanated an ethereal radiance of their own, as they walked the deserted street.

Honeybell gave a surreptitious glance over her shoulder toward the second of two traffic lights on the main street of Atonement, Tennessee.  She grunted softly, fascinated by the slowly changing colors, red to green to yellow to red. 

It seemed an odd decoration.  It made her nervous.  This was all Deme’s idea.  Honeybell hoped her friend wouldn’t land them in trouble.  Deme could be something of a prankster, and Honeybell was getting the same reputation.  Still looking over her shoulder at the lights, Honeybell gave a loud snort as she bumped into Deme.

2-pigs-traffic-light

Deme & Honeybell, composite image by Teagan

Pay attention and stop acting like an unsophisticated pig,” Honeybell silently scolded herself.

Deme had stopped.  Her eyes were closed in concentration.  When she opened them, her sapphire orbs were bright with excitement.  She reared up to point at the sign, Annie’s Antiques and Consignment Shop, and her front hooves came back to the sidewalk with a sharp clip.

“It’s still here!” Deme quietly exclaimed.

Honeybell wagged her curly tail happily.

“What about the woman?  Is she close enough?” she asked Deme, concerned about all the details coming together properly.

“The woman lives near the first red-green-yellow light.  It is an easy run from here,” Deme replied in a satisfied tone.

The glow from the two otherworldly pigs brightened a as they stared at the door of the antique shop.  Grunt, snuffle, snort.  Grunt, snuffle, snort,” they vocalized in unison.

Annies antiques

Annie’s Antiques

The door swung open, shop-bell chiming in welcome.  Deme and Honeybell walked inside.

“I feel it!” Honeybell cried.  “I feel the rose quartz.”

Honeybell made a beeline to the back of the shop and a glass case.  As the pigs drew near, a necklace inside the case illuminated.  The filigree setting was polished brightly and held a large heart-shaped gem.  The pastel pink rose quartz stone pulsed softly in ruddy radiance.

“It’s as if the heart is beating,” Honeybell said in awe.  “What a lovely gem.”

Deme agreed, her sapphire blue eyes wide.  “Rose quartz helps us accept and love ourselves,” she replied agreeably.

Honeybell nosed at the necklace until it fell from the glass shelf to hang around her neck.  Deme made a sardonic grunt at her friend.

“The most practical way to carry the necklace is to hang it around my neck,” Honeybell explained in a very indignant tone.  “Oh look!  That light over there is not earthly,” she quickly changed the subject, and was happy when Deme followed her gaze. (More about Annie’s Inventory Notes here.)

The otherworldly pigs went to investigate the luminescence near the cash register at the front of the store.  The light shone through several layers of paper in the special inventory notes kept by Annie, the shop owner.  If the writing glowed, that meant an item had awakened.  Deme and Honeybell looked at the rosy sparkle of the necklace and nodded to each other in approval.

***

Unsplash

After a briskly refreshing run, the two otherworldly pigs entered the home of bacehlorette and local diner owner, Marge Tipton.

Deme looked around the spotless kitchen.  She saw a local newspaper and an advertisement on the table.  There was also a deposit receipt from the local First Bank & Trust.

Honeybell snuffled as she scented the air and listened to the vibrations of the house.  “I feel a lot of hidden sadness,” Honeybell murmured, eyes brimming with tears.

“So do I, but get ahold of yourself.  We can’t afford to let our own emotions get mixed in with what we’re about to do,” Deme told her firmly.  “Things could go quite badly if we did.”

The small pigs moved toward the bedroom where they could hear the regular breathing of Marge Tipton.

“She is soundly asleep,” Deme whispered.  “Honeybell, you seem better attuned to this woman than I am.  Do you detect anything in this house that can be used to work with the rose quartz necklace?” Deme questioned, delegating some of the authority she had bestowed upon herself.

A collection of old vintage photos, postcards, and envelopes from Europe.

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Honeybell snuffled and grunted quietly.  She went to a box in the closet.  A broad satin ribbon was tied around the box.  Honeybell pulled the ribbon, untying the bow.  Inside was a stack of old postcards, with postmarks in the 1980s. 

One postcard had been torn in half and then taped back together.  Honeybell noticed the scribbled writing said “I can’t wait to get back to Phoenix to see you.  Love, Chad.” 

Some of the cards were marred by tear-stains, particularly one that was addressed to “Marla” with the name crossed out and “Marge” written next to it.  Most of the words were rendered illegible by the long dry tears.

With an excited snort, Honeybell scampered back to the kitchen.  Deme followed curiously.  The checkered cloth muffled the clatter of Honeybell’s hooves when she bounded onto the kitchen table.  Her twisty little tail wagged at a quick pace as she inspected a colorful sheet of paper.

The two pigs went over every inch of the flyer and the newspaper article that lay next to it, and the bank slip too.  The ad was from the Rowdy Rooster, a large redneck bar outside the town of Atonement.

“Hit recording artist and 80s TV star of The Medical Files, Chad Allen to perform!” Deme read the flyer.

Medical Center, Wikimedia

“The postcards were to Marge from Chad Allen,” Honeybell whispered then looked at the newspaper.  “They were lovers when she was a young woman.  Marge had a happy life then in Adrian, Texas.  But he left her to travel with the rodeo and got famous.  Then he recorded a hit song and did that television series and became a big star — for a while anyway.”

“He lied to Marge for years before she could admit the truth to herself.  She felt so betrayed and so ashamed that she never forgave herself for being foolish.  Then she came here when her brother begged her, saying he needed her,” Honeybell commented knowingly.

“So she is not in Atonement, Tennessee to atone,” Deme commented in a speculative tone.  “Her brother is.”

“Perhaps she actually is atoning too,” suggested Honeybell.  “Because she would not love herself enough to say no to those who did not deserve her love.”

The glowing pigs looked at each other for a moment.  They seemed to come to a silent agreement.

Unsplash

“Help me put everything back the way we found it,” Deme said and they put the newspaper, flyer, and even the bank receipt in place.  “Let’s leave the rose quartz laying on these papers.  That should be enough to get things started,” Deme said.

Honeybell dropped the necklace onto the papers.  There was a tiny spark when the gem touched them.  Then the rosy radiance filled the entire room before dying down.

*** 

“Come on Marge!  So what if you don’t care about seeing a washed up TV star.  It’ll be a night out with the girls.  We’re both scheduled to be off,” Jenny, the lead waitress at L-O-L-A Lola’s Bar and Grille, pleaded into the phone.  “When you turn loose, you’re the life of the party!”

“Good gravy, Jenny.  It’s too early in the morning to be planning a night at a bar,” Marge grumbled sleepily.

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However, Jenny saying Marge was the life of the party brought a reluctant smile to the woman’s lips.  She had never told a soul in Atonement, Tennessee about the Chad Allen episode, as she thought of it.  She told her brother Tracey once, but he was too drunk to remember, so that didn’t count.

Jenny was still talking, but Marge had slipped into the past.  Every time she thought of her home back in Adrian, Texas she became melancholy.

Marge shook her head thinking of that evening of inebriated confessions with her brother.  They both sure had tied one on.  She thought it was such a shame that her brother couldn’t get past his drinking.  Tracey had a good heart and was surprisingly generous.  Once he gave her a diamond tennis bracelet for no reason at all.  She knew he must have saved his money for years to buy it.

“It won’t be half as much fun without you.  All the girls still love Chad Allen,” Jenny went on, and for a second Marge thought she might change her mind.

Opening the refrigerator door, Marge took out a container of milk.  The coffee was done.  As she poured the steaming liquid into her mug, she wondered what it would be like to see Chad again, even from across the big room of the Rowdy Rooster. 

Cappuccino in a white cup on a saucer with foam art and a small spoon

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Then all the scenarios of what people would tell her she should do, what she should feel blasted into her head.  Maybe Chad had changed.  His star had risen and fallen.  What if he had actually become the person he made her think he was back then, before she learned what a lying, philandering jerk he really was.

Marge was sure anybody she knew would tell her she should — no she had to go and see him.  She gave her head a shake.  Would she feel vindicated or sad if the years had been unkind to him?  She told herself that he’d never recognize her.  If he did, he’d likely cringe at her appearance and pretend he didn’t remember.

She took a deep breath and brought her attention back to Jenny on the phone.  Making up an excuse, Marge turned Jenny down in a firm “boss” voice.  Jenny had worked for her long enough to know that tone brooked no argument.

Marge hung up the phone.  Coffee mug in hand, she went to the kitchen table to finish reading the newspaper.  That was when she noticed the beautiful antique necklace laying there.

“How?  Who?” Marge stammered.

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She picked up the rose quartz necklace with a sigh at its beauty.  “Tracy,” she murmured thinking her brother must have left it there to surprise her.  It couldn’t have been anyone else.

Marge plopped down into a chair.  She glanced at the newspaper article and Rowdy Rooster advertisement about her old love, Chad.  She read both for the twentieth time.  With each reading she promised herself she would never be betrayed again.

It didn’t occur to her that she held the rose quartz necklace tightly in her hand, or that she didn’t want to put it down.  Then she fastened it around her neck.  Not only was the necklace the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen, she felt pretty just for wearing it.

***

That evening Marge tidied up the kitchen.  She picked up the newspaper and the receipt from First Bank & Trust.  It was a morbid attraction, but she couldn’t help looking at the flyer.  Taking a beer from the fridge, she read the article one more time.

“Marge Tipton,” she told herself aloud.  “Don’t you ever let your guard down like that again!” 

She had no wish to see Chad again.  She had firmly stomped on the imagined voices of everyone saying she should do.  So Marge wasn’t sure why she changed into some party clothes that evening, still wearing the rose quartz necklace.  Neither could she have said why she got into her mint condition 1972 red Chevy C10 pickup truck and drove way out highway 41 to the Rowdy Rooster.

Almost an hour later Marge got out of her truck and walked across the parking lot.  The noise of the patrons lived up to the name of the Rowdy Rooster.

Her footsteps became slower as she moved toward the door.  The sound of the crowd inside grated against her nerves.  She couldn’t imagine why she had come there in the first place, after flatly turning down Jenny’s invitation.  Marge didn’t realize she had stopped in the middle of the parking lot.

1972 Chevy C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

1972 Chevy C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

“Marge?  I mean, Ms. Tipton?” a voice intruded on her confused thoughts.

She turned toward the voice feeling muddled.  “I only had one beer before I left home.  What’s the matter with me?” she wondered and gave herself a mental shake.

He was barely recognizable in cowboy boots and a sport coat.  Marge had only seen Russell Skeen, the manager of the First Bank & Trust, in a dark business suit.

“Are you okay, Ms. Tipton?” Russell repeated.

“Oh, don’t mind me, I just suddenly felt a little out of sorts, that’s all.  And please call me Marge,” she stammered, feeling her cheeks heat with a blush.  “I should have stayed at home,” she murmured.

“I know what you mean,” Russell admitted.  “I do like the cowboy boots my daughter gave me, but I can’t say I care for this place.  I let my daughter pester me into agreeing to join her and her friends tonight.  Then wouldn’t you know, she just now called to say she won’t be coming,” he added in a bemused tone.  “She means to get me out more,” he said with a shrug.

Russell Skeen drew back a bit and looked at Marge curiously.  His hand rose toward her, but he stopped himself.  He shook his head and chuckled.

 

Marge at LOLAs

Marge Tipton at LOLA Lola’s

“For a second there I thought your necklace was glowing.  It must have been all those facets reflecting the light,” Russell told her.  “I see that you like antiques.  That one’s a beauty.”

Marge unthinkingly put her hand to the rose quartz necklace.  It felt very warm to the touch.  She looked at the unassuming bank manager as if she had never truly seen him before.  Marge was pleased with what she saw.

“You know, there are a few antique shops between here and Atonement.  I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather browse through them than be inside that noisy bar.  Do you think you could join me?  Maybe we could get some coffee somewhere too?”

Marge looked toward the Rowdy Rooster.  She thought about the flyer advertising Chad Allen.  She thought of the stack of postcards she kept even though he had betrayed her.

She picked up the rose quartz and held it so that she could look at it.  “Why did it feel so warm?  It actually does seem to be glowing a little,” Marge thought.

“Mr. Skeen, I think that sounds like a fine idea,” she told him.

“Only if you call me Russell,” he replied as he walked her back to her pickup truck and politely took her hand as she climbed up into the cab.

“Did you hear that?” she asked Russell.  “I could have sworn I heard a snuffling, snorting sound, like pigs.”

“There’s lots of farmland around here.  It could be that one got loose.  But you’d think all the bacon they serve in these places would scare a pig away,” Russell joked.

At the word bacon, a shrill startled-sounding noise was easily heard, but they still didn’t see any pigs.

The End.

White Pig ditry nose dreamstime_xxl_83059557

(Startled pigs from Dreamstime)

 

***

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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.

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Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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