Thistledown Hiatus 5, Fatigue Fugue, #NaNoWriMo

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hello everyone. Before the Thistledown Rerun link, this is a brief update on National Novel Writing Month*.  It’s quick because there isn’t much to update. My word-count is still deplorable. 

I’ve always said this blog is my sanctuary, and that I want it to be that kind of refuge for everyone.  So I hope you don’t mind that this post is both low-key and honest… This time the sanctuary is a restful moment.

Image may contain: 1 person

The week has been stressful and disappointing.  I’ve been looking at a small property in Austin, TX and that didn’t work out. I was also disappointed in people in this blogging community. People I thought were enlightened spewed contempt, bigotry, and name calling for ALL southern Americans, not just those who did unconscionable acts, or disagreed with their politics. That disturbs me deeply. But let’s not discuss it here – no politics in my sanctuary.

Even though my car is less than a year old, I had to take it for a safety inspection.  That was physically uncomfortable and exhausting, not to mention that in the past I’ve been bullied — not this time, thankfully.  Even so, what should have taken 20 minutes took half a day.  (Sorry to anyone who disagrees, but Virginia will nickel and dime you to death.)  And of course, there was work.  ‘Nuf said about that. 

As you can see in the picture above (taken Friday morning), I drew three more slips from my “box of non-modern things” to help me write… Vanity, Savory, and Cosmos.  As I write/update this post, the clock has already inched to dinner time, and I still haven’t found the energy and focus to WriMo.  I guess I’m just tired, but I feel like I’ve wasted yet another day. 

However, I can’t let you visit without trying to make you smile.  I’m feeling about as energetic as Tim Conway’s “world’s oldest man.”  And maybe I’m that old if I remember it! So have a giggle.

For those of you who are new, or just want to review the faery serial, Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam, here is a link to episode five.

Thanks for visiting.  Hugs on the wing!

 

Copyright © 2017 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.  

Thistledown Hiatus 4, Research Tangents, #NaNoWriMo

Friday, November 10, 2017

Hello everyone.  National Novel Writing Month* has begun.  As you may have guessed, I wrote most of this post ahead of time, so I could give as much toward that nearly impossible word-count goal as I could. I’m a slow writer as it is.  Writing 50,000 in a month, when I am rarely able to write on a workday… Gulp.  So far my word-count is deplorable. 

This is my weekly update (along with a link to a past segment of Thistledown below.) As I wrote this I was researching away, in hope of preventing myself from jumping on a research-geek tangent when I should be writing.  That research would be because of my part-time narrator for The Skull of the Alchemist. 

Skull of the Alchemist Cover 1

Those who have read Atonement, Tennessee* know that Lilith the cat narrates the part of the story that the heroine can’t witness.  I want to take a similar tack for this new novel, with a part-time narrator.  To fill that role, I’ve chosen a fearsome critter!  A jackalope. 

He begins as a clockwork creature that Copper created, though she first meant him to be a cat.  I feel the need to connect him to the clockwork animal on the cover, and that looks like a cat to me.  So the jackalope, to his embarrassment, occasionally meows…

I spent last Saturday, figuring out just how I want this character to look for the majority of the story, how he came to look that way, and what to name him.  I’m also thinking about all fantasy, alchemy, and whatever else causes his existence and behavior to make sense to me — his clockwork workings.  So, now you’ve met one of the characters for The Skull of the Alchemist. Or at least you know him as well as I do at the moment.  Here’s his picture.

Jackalope Superstition Mountains

For those of you who are new, or just want to review the faery serial, Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam, here is a link to episode four.

Thanks for visiting.  Hugs on the wing!

 

Copyright © 2017 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.  

Jazz Age Wednesdays 9 ― Pip’s Friend Hank

young Lucy blue

Young Lucille Ball

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 

Wow, you’re the berries!  I’m glad to see you back at Jazz Age Wednesdays!  

When I posted a Halloween story, Pip in the Field of Fear, you got to meet Pip’s friend Hank Hertz.  Those of you who have read Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I also know Hank.  Awhile back, I collaborated on a post with Kirt Tisdale at The Wall Gallery.  Kirt also has a “sepia gallery” which is giving me a lot of inspiration for The Skull of the Alchemist (my National Novel Writing Month project). 

For that tale, Kirt’s photo (below) inspired me to write.  However, it didn’t make me think of Pip.  Rather it brought me a backstory for Hank Hertz.  Without further ado, meet Hank.

On the Radio — Meet Hank 

Photo by Kirt Tisdale

No harm in trying one more time, Hank Hertz thought as he stacked all manner of electronic components on the counter.

“Hi, Mr. Hardscrabble,” Hank mumbled, trying to avoid eye contact with the hardware store’s proprietor.

“Hank, I already told you.  Your ma told me not to sell you any of this gadgetry tomfoolery.  You might as well put all that stuff back on the shelves, son.”

Hardscrabble put a hand to his balding head in a frustrated gesture.  He found his spectacles there and smiled because he’d forgotten where he put them.  However, he brightened when the door opened.  One of “Savannah’s finest,” Detective Dabney Daniels strolled into Hardscrabble Hardware.  His finely chiseled features remained neutral, but he raised an eyebrow at the tableau at the counter.

“Now get on with you, boy.  Put everything back.  I can’t take your money,” the store owner repeated before turning to a real customer.  “That boy gets more like his granddaddy every day.  Detective, what can I do for you?”

1928 Detroit police radio Blue

“No need to rest on formality, Homer.  I can’t find my flashlight, so I’m here for another one,” the detective replied then looked sheepish.  “Go ahead and laugh about things going missing at a police station.  I can tell you’re holding it back.”

Hank watched the exchange between the tall detective and the portly shopkeeper as he reluctantly made trips from the sales counter back to the shelves.  He could have carried more things at one time, but he delayed the inevitable, hoping Mr. Hardscrabble would change his mind.  As he picked up a few more items to return to the shelf, the detective stopped him.

“What is all that stuff, son?  If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were building a ham radio.  Or at least intended to before Homer shut you down.”

For a moment Hank’s face lit up at the mention of his passion — all things electronic, especially radios.  He looked dejectedly at his feet.

“Momma wants me to study law.  She says electronics and inventions are a distraction.  She even said they were toys!”

“So all the old fogies are conspiring against you, huh?  Well, you’d better ankle all that stuff back where it came from, like Homer told you.”

***

1920 Radio News

After supper Hank got an armload of books and headed out the kitchen door.  His mother looked at the heavy tomes and gave a satisfied nod.  Hank knew she was watching from the window above the sink as he walked to the little red barn.  Vines of Cherokee roses ran riot over the building.  The Hertz family used the barn for storage, but Hank made it his personal spot to study or just hang out.  He also had a workbench tucked in one corner where he discretely kept his radio equipment.

The horizon blazed red with sunset when Hank slipped out of the barn.  He pedaled the motorized bicycle he had made until he was far enough away that his parents wouldn’t hear the noise of the motor.  Dusk descended as he rode into town.

Hank didn’t pay any attention to the dark Ford parked on the corner, or to the fact that someone sat inside it.  He rode down the alley and came up behind Hardscrabble Hardware.  The back door was locked, but he found a window he could open.  He took his flashlight and climbed into the store.

He knew exactly where to find everything he wanted.  So it didn’t take Hank long to gather all the electronics he tried to buy that afternoon.  He stood at the sales counter and added up all the prices.  He figured the tax.  Then he left the full amount of the purchase, plus two cents, because he didn’t have enough pennies to leave the exact change.

Putting everything into his bag, Hank turned toward the back of the shop.  It felt like an electric charge shot from his neck down his arm when he heard a cough behind him.  Hank jerked around to face the sound.

1920 Victoria motorcycle ad

The boy thought he’d lose everything he ate for supper when he saw the police detective standing there, arms folded.

“So you actually broke into the store and paid for the things Homer wouldn’t sell you?  Son, I don’t know what to make of that.”

Hank stumbled back a step.  He wanted to run, but the copper knew who he was and where he lived.  Besides, Hank had a pretty good idea that those long legs could catch up with him before he got to his bicycle.  His breath caught in his throat.  Hank couldn’t have spoken even if he’d known what to say.

The detective closed the distance to the counter in a single step.  He pointed his new flashlight to the paper where Hank had added up his purchase.  Then he pursed his lips as he thought.  He stared at Hank as if he could see every fib the boy had ever told.  Hank gulped.

“Where’d you get the money for this stuff, son?  Allowance?  Money for odd jobs?”

Hank only nodded, still unable to talk.  Finally he found his voice and croaked out a reply.  “It’s my money sir.  Fair and square.  I wouldn’t steal anything.”

“I guess I’m going to have to have a talk with your parents,” Dabney Daniels said, slowly shaking his head.

Poor Hank felt like he might sink through the floor, right then and there.  His knees felt weak.

“But this,” the copper motioned at Hank’s bag full of stuff.  “I don’t see as any law has really been broken.  After all, I walked in through the front door, which was unlocked.  I know Homer leaves through the back door and forgets to lock the front.  But being as you’re here, I assume he left it open for you.”

Hank gazed at Daniels in wide eyed confusion.

“Besides, I hate doing paperwork.  If you had actually broken into this store, I’d have to haul you to the station and spend the rest of the night writing up the report.  I do have to talk to your parents though,” he added causing Hank to sink further.

The young man managed a groan.

“You know, I really need an intern down at the station.  I think your mother will see that working for me would be a good learning experience for a future lawyer.  In a way, that’s where law starts isn’t it?  With the police?  Meanwhile you can put your talent with radio gadgetry to use.  How does that sound?”

The end

***

I hope you enjoyed this backstory for one of the Murder at the Bijou characters.

Now you know what I have to do next… I must do the shameless self-promotion…  Here are links to the books about Pip and her friends.

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 

Thanks so very much for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas! 

 

Copyright © 2014 and 2017 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.  

 

Thistledown Hiatus 3, #NaNoWriMo Is Here

Friday, November 3, 2017

Welcome back one and all.  National Novel Writing Month* (NaNoWriMo) started Wednesday.  I made the conscious choice to be really excited about it this year.  (Sometimes you have to actively choose your attitude…) Part of me knew it might happen — that work would overshadow my progress, but I refused to think about it.  Alas, as of November 2, my low word-count is zero…  I remind myself that I’m not fast and that’s fine. I’m just in it for the “rah-rah!” as I call it. (The objective is to write a draft novel of at least 50,000 words in November.)

This is my weekly update (along with a link to a past segment of Thistledown below.)

About that abysmal word-count — one thing that slowed me down… I had outlined my plot. Really I did! I was not going to be completely unplanned.  Then I saw a movie I had never heard of before.  Sadly it had exactly the same plot I had imagined, from the steampunk to the evil scientists kidnapping the good ones…  Akkk! Yes, it had been done (and quite well at that), “April and the Extraordinary World.”

Needless to say… I won’t be using that plot.  So I will have to shift into full-on pantser mode.  It’s a good thing my box of “non-modern” things is ready and waiting for me.  It was intended to be used to keep me from getting stuck.  Now it will be a primary writing tool.

No automatic alt text available.

Box of steampunky things to write about

Friends on Facebook sent me those random “things” so I can use my three things method to keep me writing.  The half-empty box you see above is now full of things from friends as well as things from my own head. (Somehow I’m more likely to keep my momentum up if the “things” come from someone else, but I mixed them all together.)

No automatic alt text available.

Matrix waiting for characters

I got my story matrix set up and ready to populate with characters and characteristics.  Also I use a template I created for print novels from the very beginning, which is helpful to my writing process.  (There’s a little hint about what I’ll be writing in the matrix above, although I haven’t been keeping it a secret.

Enough of that.  Let’s get on with the thing that brought you here — Thistledown! 

Boy field smoke-ball aziz-acharki-290990

Aziz Acharki, Unsplash

For those of you who are new, or just want to review the faery serial, Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam, here is a link to episode 3.

Thanks for visiting.  Hugs on the wing!

 

Copyright © 2017 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.  

Book of the Month Update to Jazz Age Wednesdays 8 ― Pip and the Potent Poltergeist

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sheiks and Shebas, welcome to Jazz Age Wednesdays! 

(I’m probably causing frustrations by doing this… but I had something special to add, and I had already launched this mid-week post… So bear with me.  Thanks to Dan AntionOIKOS™-RedaktionVicto Dolorefragglerocking, and Olga olganm who had already commented.)

cropped-img_6396.jpgMy November is off to a pos-i-lutely neon-bright start!  I’m so giddy, people will think I’m zozzled, but get this — Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I  is the featured book of the month* for November at Hugh’s Views & News!  I hope you’ll click on over and visit Hugh’s blog.  It’s the bee’s knees, and so is Hugh! 

Seriously, I’m so excited! 

November 1st is also the kickoff of National Novel Writing Month* and yes, I opted in for that insanity again.  However, I’ll give an update on that this weekend, with the Thistledown Hiatus post, since that is the reason why the serial is well… on hiatus.

Now, let’s get to the Jazz Age!

Halloween was only yesterday and I’m still feeling that spirit.  So, I am sharing a ghostly tidbit from the not yet “book-ized” 1920s serial, “A Ghost in the Kitchen — Three Ingredients II.”

Pip and the Potent Poltergeist 

lucille-ball-1937-stage-door

The fizzy purple vapor dissipated and I found that my eyes had not deceived me.  A strange, semi-solid man bowed before me.  I was too stunned to think.  It seemed like the purple mist befuddled my head.  I gradually became aware of one other thing, a shrill unpleasant sound that went on and on…

“Andy!” I cried, suddenly becoming aware again.

My dear old friend Andy Avis, was screaming like a school girl.  I grabbed his arm and shook him.  He stopped screaming.  For five seconds.  Then he screamed right into my face.

I felt like slapping him — only partly to bring him to his senses.  However, riotous giggling shocked both of us to silence.  The ghost stood in the kitchen bent double with laughter.  Apparently he found Andy’s reaction most amusing.Casper cooking

As seems to happen to me in times of stress, one detail stood out to me more than anything else.  I turned to Andy but pointed to the apparition. 

“You can see him?” I said, and I wasn’t sure if it was a question or an accusation.

I had been told that though I hadn’t known it, I had the gift for seeing spirits.  I was also told that Granny Phanny could too, but my grandmother had suppressed the
ability.  However, as you might expect, not everyone could see ghosts.  So I was surprised that Andy was able to see the spirit sitting sprawled at Granny’s kitchen table.

Before I took another breath I whirled on the ghost and demanded, “How can he see you?”

The apparition who had materialized from the gaudy bottle of spirits sobered.  He stuck out his lower lip in an exaggerated expression of consideration that I had a feeling was a habit with him.

“Well, I am one powerful poltergeist, Signorina!” he said between hiccupping giggles.  “It’s no effort for me to let anyone see me, and sometimes they do whether or not I’m intending it,” the ghost told me.

I thought poor Andy’s eyes were going to pop right out of his head.

The spirit looked longingly at the food on the table.  Andy and I hadn’t even started our meal.  He licked his lips and sighed. 

“Signorina, a nice Stilton cheese would be beautiful with that,” he said wistfully.Vintage girl broken dish card

“Err… Would you care for anything?” I asked, knowing that after all, Granny would expect me to be a good hostess.  Then I gave my head a shake.  Had I really said that?

“I rarely partake.  Sometimes that doesn’t turn out so well,” he said, but his eyes never strayed from the food.  “But if I could just take a whiff,” he said leaning toward the table — and closer to Andy.

With a blanched face and panicked eyes Andy staggered backward.  There was nowhere for him to go, so he bumped hard against the table.  The ornate wine bottle wobbled precariously at the edge for a moment, and then it crashed to the blue and white tile floor.  It shattered into dozens of pieces.

The ghost shrieked.

Andy shrieked when the ghost did.

I shrieked at both of them to stop their shrieking!

However, I had an unexpected concern for the spirit.  “Are you all right?  I mean, I’ll bet you were bound to that bottle somehow.  Weren’t you?  Are you going to be okay?”1920s Owl Clock

“Yes!  No!  Both!” he replied, rapid fire in his strange accent.  Then he gave a giddy giggle.  “Thank God that gaudy bottle is no more!  Can you imagine making your home in such an ugly vessel?” he commented.  “However I must have something, or there will be… consequences.  Ah! Symbol of the wisdom I should have had in life!” he exclaimed when he saw the carved wooden owl clock.  “This will do,” he said even as he held the clock to his chest and then disappeared.

The clock dropped the short distance to the counter, landing with a wobble and a clunk.  Andy and I looked at each other in stunned silence.  A moment later the spirit remerged from the owl clock.  He sprawled into one of the white ladder back chairs my grandfather had made.  That was when I noticed the Renaissance era garb beneath his apron.

Bene!  What a relief!” he said and lifted his brimless toque to mop his brow, or at least I thought the chef’s hat was called a toque.

I leaned closer, wondering if ghosts could sweat. 

“If you didn’t like the bottle…” I began, but wasn’t sure how to ask what I wanted to know.  “Well, how come you’re — ” my words failed me so I pointed to the shards of the purple bottle.

“Ah Signorina,” the ghost began.  “It is a poignant tale.  I was chef to the Patriarch of Aquileia at the Vatican.  I always preferred the pun as a form of humor, and the Pope, he shared this with me.  However, one evening we served dinner to a plethora of patrons, speaking Punjabi, Parsi, and Philippine.  I presented a perfect prawn pasta…  Perhaps something went awry with the translations…  But — you see, the short of it is that I pissed off the Pope!  And this predicament is my fate,” the ghost said with a mournful expression.

I marveled at the poltergeist’s capacity to use the letter “P” so many times in one sentence.  I gave a hard blink to clear my mind.  Then I looked from him to Andy, with no idea what to say or do next.  However, Andy found his voice.

“You’re not a genie then?  You really are a ghost?” Andy asked.  “Too bad.  Granting wishes would have been a great ice breaker,” he joked, abruptly loosening up to my surprised relief.  “We don’t have to rub the owl clock’s belly to get you to come out, do we?”

1920s Vaudeville Cats postcard

1920s Vaudeville Furries Postcard

The poltergeist gave Andy that pursed lip expression, but then laughed heartily slapping his knee.  “No, young patron.  I can come and go as I please, so long as I bind myself to an object.  And mind you, I can’t be without one for more than a moment.  However, I tend to lose track of the time.  When I went into that gaudy bottle, I was in a great hurry, but that’s another story.  Anyhow, I think I was intoxicated on the noxious potion, so I did not wake for some little while.  Then you uncorked the bottle, and the rest, as you say, is history,” he said with a hiccup.

My nose wrinkled at the thought of being inside a bottle that smelled like that one had.  I said it must have been awful.  The apparition burped, blushed, and excused himself, making me think he might have become intoxicated from being cooped up in the wine bottle.

“Ah, one gets accustomed to the aroma,” he said affably.  “But now you speak of such… do you have any rum?  I do have a preference for the spirit, tee-hee!” he said with a giggle, inordinately pleased with his joke that a spirit would like spirits.

When I explained prohibition, he looked very downcast.  He somehow hiccuped and burped at the same time.  Then he made a shocked comment about the state of things that would allow such a law.  Andy and I agreed enthusiastically.

I finally found my manners and thought to introduce myself and Andy.  The ghost bowed again, with a slight wobble.  “My great pleasure, Signorina o Signore.  I present myself, Maestro Martino.  Please do me the honor of calling me Maestro,” he said with a flourish.

The end… or the beginning.  It depends on how you look at it.

***

I hope you enjoyed this snippet from A Ghost in the Kitchen.  Yes, you’re right — that means there’s another novel on the way for Pip!  As you see she is reunited with her pal Andy.

Now I engage in the requisite shameless self-promotion…  Here are links to the books about Pip and her friends.

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 

Thanks so very much for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas! 

 

Copyright © 2014 and 2017 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. 

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 8 ― Pip and the Potent Poltergeist

Please see the Updated Post.  I am sorry for any inconvenience.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sheiks and Shebas, welcome to Jazz Age Wednesdays! 

My November is off to a pos-i-lutely neon-bright start!  There is something in the wind about Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I  but that is all I can say right now… 

November 1st is the kickoff of National Novel Writing Month* and yes, I opted in for that insanity again.  However, I’ll give an update on that this weekend, with the Thistledown Hiatus post, since that is the reason why the serial is well… on hiatus.

Now, let’s get to the Jazz Age!

Halloween was only yesterday and I’m still feeling that spirit.  So, I am sharing a ghostly tidbit from the not yet “book-ized” 1920s serial, “A Ghost in the Kitchen — Three Ingredients II.”

Pip and the Potent Poltergeist 

lucille-ball-1937-stage-door

The fizzy purple vapor dissipated and I found that my eyes had not deceived me.  A strange, semi-solid man bowed before me.  I was too stunned to think.  It seemed like the purple mist befuddled my head.  I gradually became aware of one other thing, a shrill unpleasant sound that went on and on…

“Andy!” I cried, suddenly becoming aware again.

My dear old friend Andy Avis, was screaming like a school girl.  I grabbed his arm and shook him.  He stopped screaming.  For five seconds.  Then he screamed right into my face.

I felt like slapping him — only partly to bring him to his senses.  However, riotous giggling shocked both of us to silence.  The ghost stood in the kitchen bent double with laughter.  Apparently he found Andy’s reaction most amusing.Casper cooking

As seems to happen to me in times of stress, one detail stood out to me more than anything else.  I turned to Andy but pointed to the apparition. 

“You can see him?” I said, and I wasn’t sure if it was a question or an accusation.

I had been told that though I hadn’t known it, I had the gift for seeing spirits.  I was also told that Granny Phanny could too, but my grandmother had suppressed the
ability.  However, as you might expect, not everyone could see ghosts.  So I was surprised that Andy was able to see the spirit sitting sprawled at Granny’s kitchen table.

Before I took another breath I whirled on the ghost and demanded, “How can he see you?”

The apparition who had materialized from the gaudy bottle of spirits sobered.  He stuck out his lower lip in an exaggerated expression of consideration that I had a feeling was a habit with him.

“Well, I am one powerful poltergeist, Signorina!” he said between hiccupping giggles.  “It’s no effort for me to let anyone see me, and sometimes they do whether or not I’m intending it,” the ghost told me.

I thought poor Andy’s eyes were going to pop right out of his head.

The spirit looked longingly at the food on the table.  Andy and I hadn’t even started our meal.  He licked his lips and sighed. 

“Signorina, a nice Stilton cheese would be beautiful with that,” he said wistfully.Vintage girl broken dish card

“Err… Would you care for anything?” I asked, knowing that after all, Granny would expect me to be a good hostess.  Then I gave my head a shake.  Had I really said that?

“I rarely partake.  Sometimes that doesn’t turn out so well,” he said, but his eyes never strayed from the food.  “But if I could just take a whiff,” he said leaning toward the table — and closer to Andy.

With a blanched face and panicked eyes Andy staggered backward.  There was nowhere for him to go, so he bumped hard against the table.  The ornate wine bottle wobbled precariously at the edge for a moment, and then it crashed to the blue and white tile floor.  It shattered into dozens of pieces.

The ghost shrieked.

Andy shrieked when the ghost did.

I shrieked at both of them to stop their shrieking!

However, I had an unexpected concern for the spirit.  “Are you all right?  I mean, I’ll bet you were bound to that bottle somehow.  Weren’t you?  Are you going to be okay?”1920s Owl Clock

“Yes!  No!  Both!” he replied, rapid fire in his strange accent.  Then he gave a giddy giggle.  “Thank God that gaudy bottle is no more!  Can you imagine making your home in such an ugly vessel?” he commented.  “However I must have something, or there will be… consequences.  Ah! Symbol of the wisdom I should have had in life!” he exclaimed when he saw the carved wooden owl clock.  “This will do,” he said even as he held the clock to his chest and then disappeared.

The clock dropped the short distance to the counter, landing with a wobble and a clunk.  Andy and I looked at each other in stunned silence.  A moment later the spirit remerged from the owl clock.  He sprawled into one of the white ladder back chairs my grandfather had made.  That was when I noticed the Renaissance era garb beneath his apron.

Bene!  What a relief!” he said and lifted his brimless toque to mop his brow, or at least I thought the chef’s hat was called a toque.

I leaned closer, wondering if ghosts could sweat. 

“If you didn’t like the bottle…” I began, but wasn’t sure how to ask what I wanted to know.  “Well, how come you’re — ” my words failed me so I pointed to the shards of the purple bottle.

“Ah Signorina,” the ghost began.  “It is a poignant tale.  I was chef to the Patriarch of Aquileia at the Vatican.  I always preferred the pun as a form of humor, and the Pope, he shared this with me.  However, one evening we served dinner to a plethora of patrons, speaking Punjabi, Parsi, and Philippine.  I presented a perfect prawn pasta…  Perhaps something went awry with the translations…  But — you see, the short of it is that I pissed off the Pope!  And this predicament is my fate,” the ghost said with a mournful expression.

I marveled at the poltergeist’s capacity to use the letter “P” so many times in one sentence.  I gave a hard blink to clear my mind.  Then I looked from him to Andy, with no idea what to say or do next.  However, Andy found his voice.

“You’re not a genie then?  You really are a ghost?” Andy asked.  “Too bad.  Granting wishes would have been a great ice breaker,” he joked, abruptly loosening up to my surprised relief.  “We don’t have to rub the owl clock’s belly to get you to come out, do we?”

1920s Vaudeville Cats postcard

1920s Vaudeville Furries Postcard

The poltergeist gave Andy that pursed lip expression, but then laughed heartily slapping his knee.  “No, young patron.  I can come and go as I please, so long as I bind myself to an object.  And mind you, I can’t be without one for more than a moment.  However, I tend to lose track of the time.  When I went into that gaudy bottle, I was in a great hurry, but that’s another story.  Anyhow, I think I was intoxicated on the noxious potion, so I did not wake for some little while.  Then you uncorked the bottle, and the rest, as you say, is history,” he said with a hiccup.

My nose wrinkled at the thought of being inside a bottle that smelled like that one had.  I said it must have been awful.  The apparition burped, blushed, and excused himself, making me think he might have become intoxicated from being cooped up in the wine bottle.

“Ah, one gets accustomed to the aroma,” he said affably.  “But now you speak of such… do you have any rum?  I do have a preference for the spirit, tee-hee!” he said with a giggle, inordinately pleased with his joke that a spirit would like spirits.

When I explained prohibition, he looked very downcast.  He somehow hiccuped and burped at the same time.  Then he made a shocked comment about the state of things that would allow such a law.  Andy and I agreed enthusiastically.

I finally found my manners and thought to introduce myself and Andy.  The ghost bowed again, with a slight wobble.  “My great pleasure, Signorina o Signore.  I present myself, Maestro Martino.  Please do me the honor of calling me Maestro,” he said with a flourish.

The end… or the beginning.  It depends on how you look at it.

***

I hope you enjoyed this snippet from A Ghost in the Kitchen.  Yes, you’re right — that means there’s another novel on the way for Pip!  As you see she is reunited with her pal Andy.

Now I engage in the requisite shameless self-promotion…  Here are links to the books about Pip and her friends.

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 

Thanks so very much for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas! 

 

Copyright © 2014 and 2017 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. 

 

Thistledown Hiatus 2, #NaNoWriMo

Friday, October 27, 2017

Welcome everyone.  The faery serial, Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam is on hiatus until December.  However, I’m reblogging past episodes for new readers and for those who want to review or catch-up on missed chapters.

First a little business. With November 1st, National Novel Writing Month* (NaNoWriMo) begins.  I promised updates and last week I left you a teaser about my novel-to-be’s title.  Throughout October I’ve been happily doing planning of various types.

Those of you who have been following Teagan’s Books for a long time will remember a “steampunky” serial I did, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  One of the main characters was my fictionalized version of real life inventor, Cornelis Drebbel*, another was a young girl named Copper.  For my NaNoWriMo novel I’m bringing them back.  However, this time Cornelis ends up in a parallel world and Copper is a young woman there.  Here’s the cover I made for (drum roll…)

The Skull of the Alchemist 

Skull of the Alchemist Cover 1

If you’re here for a dose of faery foolery, here’s episode 2 of Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam.

Teagan's Books

Welcome back to Thistledown, everyone!  If you are joining this serial for the first time, or if you need to refresh your memory click here for the premier episode.  I also have a category button on the right side-bar of the screen for “Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam.”  However, these days I can’t make promises about WordPress behaving as it should. (For several days I found myself unable to comment on any blogs — including my own! WP just told me to email somebody else… Finally and laboriously got it fixed myself.)

Thistledown GirlAlex Iby, Unsplash

Writing Process

As a writer, I tend to reject rules. (Often things are presented as rules, but feel more like “formulas” than anything else.  I don’t care for formulas either.)  Although, when writing in a genre, (to a degree) I do try to follow some general expectations, for the comfort and understanding of readers.  

So before anyone…

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