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

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Cat silhouette Tree_saso-tusar-130051

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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. 

feline-calico_xs_3280429

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.

 

Superstitions You Might Find in Atonement TN

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The amazing Sue Vincent recently hosted me at her Daily Echo blog.  We were talking about superstitions and I shared some from my youth.  I had a great time at Sue’s and I hope you’ll click over to visit her.

I expect the townsfolk in fictional Atonement, TN would tend to be superstitious.  How could they be otherwise with all the strange goings on and supernatural beings?

The first writing advice I heard was something I took to heart ― Write what you know.  When I wrote Atonement, Tennessee I followed that guidance and created a fictional southern town where the urban fantasy takes place.  Of course, the second novel, Atonement in Bloom, is also set there.

I made it a very small, rural town so some of the manners and personalities I grew up with would not seem out of place.  The townsfolk would be familiar with the old superstitions that were often quoted to me.

tilt shift photography of yellow flower plants with spider web

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I’ve always wanted to collect old southern superstitions.  I wish I had written them down back in the day, because I’m sure I’ve forgotten many.  I agree with Sue that so much of that kind of thing is lost.  Some of them are fun or charming.  Others, not so much…

From my grandmother:

  • If a young woman left her handkerchief outside overnight, a spider would weave a web on it. The next morning the dewdrops on a spiderweb would reveal the name of her future husband.
  • A dream dreamed on Friday and told on Saturday will come true, no matter how old.
round copper-colored coins

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  • Never give anyone a purse or wallet without adding at least a penny to it. Else you will be made poor.
  • Never give someone a knife without also giving them a penny. Else they will harm you with it (whether or not they mean to).
  • If dogs howl three nights in a row, someone will die.  (Wasn’t she full of cheery thoughts?)
  • Dogs and cats attract lightning. She warned me that I should put my pets outside in a storm rather than cuddle them.  I refused to do so and held them tighter every time it thundered.  As you might guess, I didn’t exactly have the happiest childhood…
black dog wearing blue denim collar

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From other relatives:

  • If your pets are extra playful, there’s going to be a change in the weather.
  • Bees won’t sting you during a month with a name that has an “R” in it.  (I refuse to test that one – I have anaphylactic reactions to bee stings.)
  • It’s too early in the year to go barefoot outside if the whippoorwill hasn’t begun to call.
  • Any chore that you do on New Year’s Day – you will be doing all year.
  • For every black-eyed pea you eat on New Year’s Day, you’ll get a penny. (The dads would give the kids the penny for each pea – as long as they didn’t eat too many.  Although I like them now, I didn’t like black-eyed peas back then.  I asked if I could have a dollar instead.  That was not well received.  I didn’t even get the pennies for the five peas I ate.)
    That’s actually more of a tradition. The superstition was that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brought good luck, and the good luck meal for that day was black-eyed peas, turnip (or collard) greens, and ham, preferably with a side of cornbread (no sugar in that bread!). 
  • If your nose itches, company is coming.
  • If your ears are burning, somebody is talking about you.
  • Don’t cut your hair on the new moon, because you won’t get your money’s worth from the hair cut — it will grow too fast.
  • Don’t have teeth pulled when the “Signs” are in the head.  This refereed to a anatomical Zodiac chart in the Old Farmer’s Almanac — however it had nothing to do with that hippie astrology stuff. It was just the Signs.
assorted-color umbrella hanging on gray wires

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From my playmates:

  • Never open an umbrella indoors.  (I didn’t understand that one.  Was it going to rain inside if I did?  That rather appealed to me, so I tried several times with no effect.)
  • Hold the stem of an apple. Twist it once for each letter as you recite the alphabet.  The letter on which the stem breaks will be the first letter of your boyfriend’s name.

My little friends and I used that one a lot. It gave us fits, trying to make the stem break on letters that were very early, or later in the alphabet. Based on my former husband’s name, the apple was right.  I recommend eating pears in stead. 

red apple in person's palm

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All those superstitions reminded me of the very naughty mirror Ralda Lawton discovered in the old estate house she bought.  Here’s a snippet about the Mirror of Truth and Justice Most Poetic.

Lacey Hampton led me down the foyer in her home.  I stifled a gasp when I saw the mirror I had sent to the consignment store the day before.

“I hope you don’t mind,” Lacey said sheepishly.  “I was quite taken with it.  Oh shoot!  That’s the second time,” she said stooping down and frowning.

When I looked down, I saw the reason for her reaction.  There were several red droplets on the floor beneath the mirror.  I had the morose thought that it looked like teardrops of blood.  I felt a chill along my spine.  It made me think of the reddish stain the wardrobe where I found the mirror.

Lacey speculated aloud that it was rust.  After all, the frame was metal.  Annie must have cleaned the frame and it had not dried properly.  I didn’t make any comment.  Looking at the smear on the napkin I would have said it looked more like blood than rust, but that was a ridiculous thought.

Ornate Mirror autoestima-cidada-682096-unsplash.jpg

Autoestima Cidada, Unsplash

***

Would you risk several years of bad luck to smash that creepy mirror and get rid of it?  Somehow I don’t think it would be that easy to do away with the Mirror of Truth and Justice. 

I’ll see you at the station to catch the #SteamPunk train for the next chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers on Hidebound Hump Day this Wednesday.

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

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 © 2012 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.

 

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

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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.

***

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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.

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“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)

 

***

Here’s the requisite 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.

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

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.

 

Marge Tipton — Characters from Atonement, TN (& a Cover Reveal)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Marge at LOLAs

Marge Tipton at L.O.L.A. Lola’s

Welcome everyone.  You’ve entered my sanctuary.  Today we’re visiting Atonement, Tennessee.  I know it can be hard to find your way around in a fictional town.  So, let’s have lunch at the local diner, L.O.L.A. Lola’s.  I want you to meet the owner, Marge Tipton. 

Marge’s part in Atonement, Tennessee is quite small, but she comes back for book-2 with a somewhat bigger role.  I thought it would be fun for you to meet some of the residents of the quirky town.

Actually, I wrote this vignette a few years ago.  So while I try to finish the edits to Atonement in Bloom (I know you must be as tired of hearing me say that as I am of saying it but…) I’m giving you a rerun.  I hope you don’t mind.  This little slice of life was done in my “three things” style of pantser writing and I took the things from names of three blogs. Thanks to those folks for following me then and now!

Writer Christoph Fischer

No Facilities (Dan Antion)

Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel ~ ~ Contemporary Western Romance

Writer, Facilities, Western

Cowgirl to the Rescue

Young Marge painting

Young Marge Tipton.  Dreamstime

The voice on the radio crackled as she drove through another area with poor reception.  The DJ counted down the top hits of 1974.  Marge pushed her big glasses back on the bridge of her nose and hoped she wouldn’t lose this channel before hearing a favorite song. The glasses were very similar to a pair she’d seen in a picture of Elton John.  She loved his flamboyance. 

You see, Marge Tipton wanted more than anything to be a wild child, an anti-establishment rebel. However, the truth was she just didn’t know how.  So she left her southeastern home and as her family put it, ran off out west.  She stopped running just after she crossed the Texas state line. Marge lived there for ten years. Then the post cards started coming.

The writer of the cards was her brother, Tracey. She didn’t know why her brother moved to the strange sounding Tennessee town a year before. It sounded like he didn’t have much choice in the matter. With each post card Tracey’s state of mind seemed to get worse. He was not pleased with his life there, yet he refused to leave. In his last missive Tracey begged his sister to come to Atonement, Tennessee.

1972 Chevy C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

Chevrolet 1972, C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

Marge was not happy about the situation.  She rebelled against anything she felt she was “supposed” to do.  She knew that everyone would judge her and say she should help her brother, regardless of whether he deserved it, or whether it ruined her own life. 

She adopted the cowgirl style that she would continue throughout her life.  Marge was perfectly satisfied in her western home.  However, she had a sense of duty that was every bit as strong as her wish to defy the establishment.   So cowgirl Marge got into her pickup truck, left Texas in her rear-view mirror, and headed to Tennessee.

The gas gauge in the truck steadily crept toward empty.  Just as Marge was getting worried she spotted a sign for a gas station.  At first she was relieved in more ways than one, but when she got closer, she saw the smaller sign below the oil company’s logo. “No facilities.”  Marge grumbled to herself. 

Maybe, if she was real polite, they’d let her use the employee restroom.

***

The End

***

Lolas inside diner

L.O.L.A. Lola’s

It wasn’t really a story, just a vignette, but now we have a backstory for a younger version of Marge Tipton.  She stayed in Atonement, TN with her brother and eventually opened “L.O.L.A. Lola’s Bar and Restaurant,” the diner frequented by my characters. 

Marge wasn’t there to “atone” after all, but her brother was.  However, as you’ll see next week, Deme and Honeybell might argue that point.  Meanwhile, Marge has her hands full with Atonement in Bloom.  There’s something about a bear, but I won’t say more. 

Do you have a story about a fuel gauge and the big “E” for empty?  Leave it in a comment if you do.  Thanks for visiting.  Great big hug!

 ***

Now a Reveal!

You know I’ve been trying to finish the editing and publishing work for book-2, Atonement in Bloom.  (My real job makes that difficult.)  Well, the thing is… There is a short story (many of you have seen it) that is a prequel to everything else in the “Atonement universe.”  Always one to make more work for myself… I’ve decided to do a double release.  Along with the sequel to Atonement, Tenneessee I will publish a collection of snort stories, which includes that prequel.  Here’s the cover.

Pigs collection cover banner

Snuffling your way soon.

Here’s the rest of the requisite shameless self-promotion…

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 © 2015 and 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from the public domain unless stated otherwise.

Baby You Can Drive My (Novel’s) Car

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Robert Matthew Goldstein is my “partner in crime” illustrating the #DieselPunk serial that you’ll find on my Jazz Age Wednesdays posts — “Hullaba Lulu.”  Sometimes Rob also makes videos that parallel the Lulu-verse.  He just did a fabulous one featuring (fictionalized) Nikola Tesla and the electric car that I wrote into the serial.  That gave me the idea for today’s post. 

So, I scrapped the post I was set to run… It would have gotten me into sooo much trouble anyway — but I’ll probably use it eventually.  (Winks.)  Instead, I’m going to talk about using cars as vehicles (sorry, you know I can’t resist a play on words) to develop characters or stories.

My Writing Process — or Baby You Can Drive My Car

Chips 1971 Rally Nova

Chip’s 1971 Rally Nova in “Atonement, Tennessee”

They say that a person’s car reflects their personality.  Maybe it’s true.  Even though my imagination flies along the tracks until it goes completely off the rails, I’m generally a very practical person. I have to be.  That’s probably reflected in the fact that I’ve almost always driven a Toyota Camry.  When I wrote Atonement, Tennessee, I wanted the heroine to be an “every woman.”  To bring out that part of her character, I gave her a Camry.   

To quickly establish a very minor Atonement character (Chip the delivery boy), I decided to give him a yellow, 1971 Chevrolet Rally Nova, shown above.  Do you already have an image of Chip in your mind?

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Bethany Purple

Bethany’s purple VW Beetle in the Atonement stories

Another character in that series had a status conscious husband, so she got a big fully-loaded SUV.  My Bethany character is a Goth, an accountant — a bundle of contradictions.  I thought it would be a nice quirk to give her a purple VW Beetle.  Their vehicles helped firm-up their characters.

I guess I’m just a car girl…

Tail-fin-Red-Cadillac_dreamstime_m_30410578

Tam’s Cadillac in The Guitar Mancer (purchased at Dreamstime)

I went all out with the car-thing when I wrote the still unfinished Guitar Mancer.  Some of you will remember when I tried (and failed miserably) to finish that novel by serializing it.  The cars were almost characters.  It was set in the 1970s.  An extremely tall shaman drove a customized Vista Cruiser station-wagon, and a magical character had a vintage 1950s Cadillac.

Granny Phanny Model-T 1914 Speedster

Granny Phanny’s 1914 Model-T Speedster in The Three Things Serial Story

When I did my very first blog serial, I used to tell readers they were driving the story by sending “three things” and invite them to “get in the car!” That was my original Roaring Twenties stories, The Three Things Serial Story, and Murder at the Bijou (and coming later this year, A Ghost in the Kitchen).  I used automobiles to help set the era in your minds.

  Granny Phanny has the above cherished Model-T.  Andy, Pip’s friend and would-be screenplay writer, drives a backfiring Studebaker.  The copper, Dabney Daniels and G-Man, Moses Myrick both drive Fords.

Studebaker blue 1920s

Studebaker, circa 1920

Now, my question to you is — did it work?  When I mentioned nothing more than the vehicle the character drives, did you have some sense of that person?  Or for a little fun, is there a famous person (real life or fiction) whose car exemplifies their personality? Let me know in a comment. 

I’ll close with one of my favorites — Janice Joplin’s Porsche.

Janice Joplin Porche

Honk (or comment) if you love cars!

My apologies if this video doesn’t work… but I had to try.

 

***

Here’s my shameless self-promotion…

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. 

The Atonement Glowing Pigs and Artie the Genius Chimp

Saturday, August 4, 2018

What a relief to be in my sanctuary.  Sit down and relax relax with me.  

Photo by Unsplash (I don’t have a room like this, so let’s pretend.)

Last time, I voiced my dislike of acronyms.  It inspired our marvelous Story Reading Ape to be a bit of a prankster.  He spontaneously created a slue of acronyms as he wrote a story (yes, he became the Story Telling Ape), which continued the adventures of Atonement, Tennessee’s otherworldly pigs. 

Please welcome back, Artie the Genius Chimp and creation of the Story Reading Ape.  I proudly present to you, an original story by Chris Graham.

You can read Deme, Honeybell, and the Batmobile here.  Without further monkeying around, here’s another snort story.

Artie Meets the Glowing Pigs

Artie sketch thinking color steampunk

Artie, courtesy of Chris Graham

Artie the inventor and TSA-RT (Time/Space/Alternative-Realities Traveller) Chimp was in a right fix…

LYEDS (Light Years, Eons and Dimensional Shifts) from home; the SbMCW (Smallest, but Most Crucial, Widget) in his MTSA-RTM (Mobile Time/Space/Alternative-Realities Travelling Machine), had broken, leaving him well and truly stranded in the back-end of NW2 (nowhere/no-when).

To make matters worse, he was so far out of the TSCL (Time Space Continuum Loop), there was no light in that part of the multiverse, apart from his machine’s main headlight, which couldn’t reach back into heart of the MTSA-RTM (see above) “engine.”

Naughty Chimps

The Naughty Chimps, courtesy Chris Graham

A thorough search of his EK (Emergency Kit) revealed the presence of an RW (Replacement Widget) and necessary tools, but the total lack of his H-T (Headband-Torch), probably “borrowed” by one of the other NGs (Naughty Chimps), so they could RTCiB (read their comics in bed), meant he couldn’t see to carry out the necessary repairs.

There was no other choice.  Artie had to go into DPS (Deep Pondering State) in order to send out a TDS (Telepathic Distress Signal) and hope that an SSF (Someone/Something Friendly) would hear it and come to help.

2 Pigs

Within nanoseconds, his DPS was interrupted by a loud PLOP (a short sharp noise) and two glowing piglets greeted him.

“Hello Artie, our names are Deme and Honeybell, we are your DRs (Designated Rescuers), how may we help?”

“Hello, Deme and Honeybell, so good of you to come so quickly.”

“If you could hover over this compartment and increase your GFs (Glow Factors) a bit more, I should be able to see well enough to fix my machine,” Artie suggested to the pigs.

Chimp Thinker Smirk

Ponderating Chimp, courtesy Chris Graham

In less time than it took to read this report, Artie removed and replaced the SbMCW (see above).

Being a well-mannered chimp, Artie gave Deme and Honeybell a lift back to their home, before returning to his.

The moral of the story?

Always check that everything is in your EK before leaving home.

Always practice your DPS, you never know when you might need to use it.

Always treat all creatures with respect, you never know when you might need their help.

TSRA

pig

***

The End.

***

If you have any questions about the “Atonement-verse” feel free to leave them in a comment.  I love to hear from you.  Hugs and glows!

***

Now, promoting my “partner in crime,” Chris Graham.

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

 

A lovely book of poetry by Chris Graham’s mom

Amazon

Amazon UK

***

Here’s the requisite shameless self-promotion of my own books…

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 

 

Original Artie Story Copyright © 2018 Christopher Graham

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. 

WIP vs LIP? Or Glowing Pigs and the Batmobile

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Welcome, to my sanctuary.  Come on inside and relax for a while.

Glowing mushrooms dark tree_jay-ma-304046

Unsplash.com

Writers are always talking about their WIP — or work in progress.  At my “real job” I frequently have to ask executives and tech guys to “spell out” acronyms.  I’m drowning in alphabet soup!

So, I just now laughed when I thought to myself that my WIP keeps getting pushed aside by my LIP, or my life in progress!

Maybe I’m the only one who sees the humor in that… but since they seem to think I’m “giving them lip” (mouthing off) when I ask for clarity or correction…  Yeah, okay… I kill me.  (Insert eye roll.)

Blue-Rose-Orb-52327

The editing and proofing of Atonement in Bloom continues to limp along. 

However, back to the first book, Atonement, Tennessee, I will soon be offering it in Spanish!  That’s thanks to the talented Olga Núñez Miret, who did the translation.  Stay tuned for more on that. 

Since my head is in that quirky town, on a whim I decided to write an all new short story to share today.

As the world-building of Atonement progressed, some small, glowing, otherworldly pigs made their way into the Atonement-verse.  They stole my heart.  So they pop in for a visit now and then.

Without further ado here’s the snort — I mean short story.

2 Pigs

Deme, Honeybell, and the Batmobile

Sunlight dappled the ground.  It made shaded spots on her book, but Honeybell didn’t mind.  The sun felt pleasantly warm on her white fur.  Loud snuffling distracted her from the pages of the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi.

“You do realize that they got half of that story wrong, don’t you?” Deme commented derisively.

“Of course they did.  They’re only human after all.  But that’s what makes it so interesting,” Honeybell defended the ancient tome.

She knew that her friend’s snarky manner meant Deme was up to no good.  Although she had to admit that Deme used her bright blue eyes to great effect when she got caught doing something that wasn’t allowed.

Honeybell secretly wished she was as bold as her friend.  However, it wouldn’t do to let Deme know that.  There was no telling what mischief she’d get dragged in to by the blue-eyed pig if Deme knew Honeybell quietly longed to misbehave.

“The things Gwydion did in this story,” Honeybell began, shaking her head reproachfully at the antiquated book.

Gwydion Conquers Pryderi by E Wallcousins 1920s

Gwydion Conquers Pryderi by E Wallcousins circa 1920

“We could visit him!  Wouldn’t that be fun?” Deme interrupted brightly.  “I know you love to go to Atonement, Tennessee just as much as I do.”

“Deme, you know we’re not allowed to go to human places without permission.  Besides, Gwydion is always getting into trouble.  We’d end up getting over our hooves into it with him.”

“Come on, Honeybell.  We could be there and back before dark.  You know the main reason for that silly rule is because we’ll glow after sundown.  We have plenty of time to go for a romp and be back before twilight.  None the wiser!”

Drat that Deme, she’s always got an answer for everything, Honeybell thought, knowing full well that she had just given in to temptation — and that easily.

“What if we just go check on your sheriff.  Just to make sure he’s okay,” Honeybell relented.  “Goewin wouldn’t get upset with us for that… I don’t think,” she added somewhat doubtfully.  “But we mustn’t let him see us!”

The drift of small white otherworldly pigs answered to Goewin.  They loved her and would do anything for her. 

Deme pranced in place excitedly.  Honeybell knew her friend adored Robin Warden, the sheriff of Atonement, Tennessee.  Deme’s enthusiasm was contagious.  Honeybell suddenly caught it.

“I’ll race you to the big split tree.  I bet I can get through the portal and to Atonement before you!” Honeybell dared her friend.

Abruptly Honeybell stopped with one hoof off the ground.

640px-2016-366-267_Sunset_Glow_Through_a_Split_Tree_(29775743022)

Public Domain, Wikimedia

“Wait,” Honeybell said.  “Robin sometimes visits the tree.  That’s where he last saw Goewin.  We’d have to be careful when we come out, in case he’s there.  I don’t want him to see us.  It might make him sad.”

Deme’s blue eyes sparkled.  Her lopsided smile was evidence that she had mischief in mind.

“There’s another way,” Deme suggested.

With her right front hoof, Deme began scratching a design in a barren patch of ground.  It was quite intricate.  It reminded Honeybell of a Celtic knot design she had seen somewhere.

But where? Honeybell wondered worriedly.

Honeybell’s eyes widened when she remembered where she’d seen that design.  It was on the silver locket that Ralda-Esmeralda always wore.

Sun falls on an antique locket, which sits atop an open book

Olsztyn, Unsplash

“Deme, we’re not supposed to use that kind of magic!” Honeybell cried.

“Says who?  Look it up in your books.  This exact kind of magic is not specifically forbidden anywhere,” Deme said with a sharp nod of her head.

Deme used her back feet to kick a fine dust across the complicated design, giving it a finishing touch.

“There!” Deme stated with a satisfied shake of her curly tail.

Deme kicked her back feet into the air and clicked her hooves together.  With her mouth she grabbed Honeybell by an ear.  The two otherworldly pigs glowed brightly.  Then they vanished.

***

An owl hooted from the branch of a nearby tree.  Robin Warden gave it a suspicious look.  Then he bent over the front-end of a black and white automobile.  The hood was up and odd looking metal parts lay on the ground around the vehicle.  The sheriff’s hands were covered in black grease.  There was a smudge of it on his forehead too.

1956 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Engine used in Batmobile.jpg

Wikimedia Commons

“What is Robin doing to the Batmobile?” Deme asked and started toward the sheriff.

“Deme!” Honeybell hissed at her friend and grabbed the other pig by the curly tail.

“Hey!” Deme complained in an offended tone.

“We can’t let him see us,” Honeybell reminded her friend in an intense whisper.  “And it’s not really called the Batmobile.”

“Oh you take the fun out of everything, Honeybell.  I know it’s a police car, but it’s more fun when Bethany calls it the Batmobile.”

“The fact that you know all that is evidence that you sneak off here more than anyone realizes,” Honeybell replied.  “I think he’s trying to make it run faster.”

I couldn’t resist this 1947 Plymouth. (Wikimedia Commons) Robin might have a souped-up vintage sheriff’s car.

Robin sat down inside the vehicle.  Honeybell could tell his leg moved.  He seemed to be doing something with his foot.  The sheriff’s car made a loud roaring sound.  A dissatisfied expression came to his face and he got out and went to the front of the automobile again.

“Looks like it didn’t work,” Deme commented.  “Whatever it was.  We could help…” Deme began with a sly look at Honeybell.  “But we’d have to get closer.”

Honeybell raised her eyes heavenward and asked for patience.  Before she could reply, Deme trotted over to the black and white automobile.  Honeybell hurried to catch up, but before she got near a flash and an electric pop came from the mechanical innards of the car.  A whiff of ozone reached the pig’s snout.

Robbin warden jerked up at the bright light and sound.  His head banged against the metal of the raised hood.  The sheriff looked around in a startled manner.  After a moment he went back to his work, but appeared to check and recheck everything carefully.

While he was busy reexamining the machinery under the hood, Honeybell and Deme softly tapped their hooves on the various parts that lay on the ground and even on the tools Robin would be using.  They gave each one a tap and a snuffle-snort-grunt.  Then they darted back to their hiding place.

Deme fantasizes about helping Robin catch bad guys. Pearl White, circa 1916

“I think that should help him catch bad humans,” Deme speculated.  “Goewin would not object to us doing that, because it’s related to keeping him safe and well.”

“Do you think it worked?” Honeybell asked?

The sheriff wiped his hands on a dirty rag.  He sat down inside the car and did something to make it roar again.  Abruptly the vehicle zoomed away from its place.  It skidded and swerved like a fish as it went onto the street.  Robin’s eyes bulged in astonishment, but he gave a loud “Whoot!” as the car sped away.

“Yes.  I’d say it worked pretty well,” Deme replied in a grunting chuckle.  “Come on, let’s go after him!’

“No, Deme!  You’re starting to glow,” Honeybell refused with a look at the darkening sky.  “I’m glowing too.  We have to go back home.”

“You’re such a spoil sport,” Deme complained.  “I’ll race you to the split tree in the graveyard!”

Honeybell knew that was the long way home.  She sighed but hurried after her friend.

The sheriff turned the supercharged police car around at the end of the road.  As he headed back to his driveway, two small white, glowing shapes darted across the street.

pig

***

The End.

***

If you have any questions about the “Atonement-verse” feel free to leave them in a comment.  I love to hear from you.  Hugs and glows!

***

Here’s the requisite shameless self-promotion…

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.