Whose Line Is It? Mine?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Welcome, everyone. There was an improvisational comedy show (1998 – 2004 or so) that always cracked me up.  I thought it was the best exercise in creativity that I’d ever seen.  It was “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”  Drew Carey, Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady, and Colin Mochrie could take any “line” and work hilarious magic. 

Those guys created characters, scenes, and songs on the spot, based on a line they were given.  Yet here I am… I already have the characters and scenes, sometimes even a song — all I need is that line…  That illusive opening line!

Why should that be so difficult?  Horsefeathers!  It’s worse than dating, or meeting the CEO of a big company for the first time.  I struggle with the opening line for days  weeks forever.  Then I wonder how important it actually was. 

Today I thought I’d share what I came up with for my Atonement, Tennessee series.  For the first book I began the prologue with this: Dawn’s light cast shadows that shifted amid branches of magnolia and mountain laurel, and danced upon statuary and grave stones. 

Lilith standing on stone

Lilith explores the Sunhold cemetery in “Atonement, Tennessee”

However, my wrongly wired brain complained, that was the prologue!  Did that qualify as the opening line?  So, I struggled all over again with a line for Chapter 1.  It’s hard to sound all fancy-dancy when writing in first person so that was even harder.  I finally settled on this:  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, ready to savor the moment.

Of course, when I started writing book-2, I went through all that self-torment again.  Worse, I needed to be consistent and keep the magical prologue.  That meant I would go through that double wringer again for Atonement in Bloom.  The prologue begins: Lilith sat bathed in moonlight atop the stone wall, watching small bats dart about, high overhead. 

Then Ralda Lawton, takes over as narrator. Chapter-1 starts like this:  It had seen better days, but who hadn’t?

If I don’t enjoy writing that opening line, then what is my favorite line to write?  “The end.”  Naturally I enjoy writing every line in between.  It’s just that the first one’s a doozy. 

atonement-abandoned-moon

Image by Chris Graham

Reviews!

Frankly, I’ll never be satisfied with an opening line.  So, I’m going to focus on the positive.  Even though it’s been a few years since I published “Atonement” I still get excited about lovely reviews.  I’m downright giddy because recently it has gotten two!  Romance author, Jacquie Biggar posted a review from her blog. 

Author of mystery and suspense, Mae Clair posted this review at Amazon.

Like odd? Like quirky with a generous dollop of magical realism and whimsy thrown in? Then you’re going to love the little town of Atonement, Tennessee and the people (and others) who populate it. Vividly imagined, this is a light but intriguing tale filled with eccentric characters and imaginative plot lines. The shifting narrative between the main character, Esmeralda, and her cat, Lilith (told in 3rd person POV) works surprising well. A truly delightful and “magical” story!

By the way, Mae and Jacquie both have new releases.  Be sure to visit their blogs to learn more!

If you have any questions about the “Atonement-verse” feel free to leave them in a comment.  Also, do you have a favorite opening line from a book you love?  Leave that in a comment too.  I love to hear from you.

***

Here’s my own 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. 

Hats Off to You — from Atonement TN

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Lilith and mirror

Lilith ponders her reflection, unconcerned about what to wear

Welcome everyone.  While I’m finishing edits to Atonement in Bloom, I chose to make things easy on myself and recycle a “writing process” post. 

Hats Off to You — What to Wear in Atonement, TN

But first, a plea…

What is your blog wearing?

Yes, this is selfish of me.  I see more and more blogs using gray text (like this) in the body of the post.  Even when I “zoom” up to 200% I am unable to read it without difficulty.  Lately I’ve noticed an even lighter tone of gray (like this) — which is flat out painful for me.  I realize other people’s blogs are not “about me” so please don’t think I’m criticizing you.  I’m just letting you know that if I’m not there (and your words look like these), then it’s probably because I simply was not able to read your post.  I’m not complaining, just explaining.  Moving on now.

My Writing Process — Characters & Clothes

Jordan 3 WoT covers

Character’s clothes described to “show” changes in the story

Some people don’t care for “descriptive writing,” but I find some level of description helpful, whether I’m writing or reading.  An occasional mention of a character’s clothing can help in several ways.

To me describing a garment is particularly helpful if the story is set in a different era, or even a different world.  It helps set the entire scene.

I enjoyed Robert Jordan’s descriptions of the clothing of the various cultures he built in to the world of his “Wheel of Time” series.  The garments helped define the nationalities. They also helped me keep up with the vast array of characters in that voluminous high fantasy series.

Also a quick mention of clothing can firm up the physical environment or climate.  Your character might wear a tank top or a cozy sweater, sandals or fur-lined boots.  Regardless of the garment it can help the reader feel your fictional world.

Jonathan Daniels, Unsplash

“What to wear?” can help develop a character’s personality.  Here on this blog, I can show you a picture.  In a novel I have to show you by describing.  If I wrote about the clothes the woman in the above photo wears, you would build her personality in your imagination.

Also, I don’t mean simply the items of clothing you choose when you dress the character.  If I tell you what they pull out of their closet and why, then it helps define their personalities.  

For instance, Ralda Lawton, the heroine in Atonement, Tennessee (© 2012) has a tendency to feel frumpy.  Ralda’s “go to” at-home garment is a tattered sweat jacket.  It also shows up in book-2, Atonement in Bloom, (currently undergoing edits) where the jacket meets its demise.  Meanwhile her friend Bethany (created 2012) consistently wears black.

Also in “Bloom” a new character is easily identified when the townspeople discuss him — because of his bowler hat and suit.  That’s not something one often sees in quaint Atonement, TN.Lew with hat

In writing a series, describing attire can serve as a reminder about aspects of a character.  Bethany’s affection for hats is brought out in “Bloom.”  I used the sequence to let you see the playful side of my Goth accountant.

The sound of a squishing footfall told me I was not alone.  I didn’t have to look to know it was Bethany Gwen.  Maybe it was logic, maybe it was intuition, but I knew it was her. 

A vivid color caused me to look down instead of up when I turned toward her.  Bright pink flame and swirl designs covered her shiny black galoshes.  On each boot, amid the pink flames a scull rested atop crossed cutlasses.  I shook my head.  In all of Atonement, only my friend would wear such foot-gear.

“Those are great,” I said of the galoshes, giving her a lopsided smile.

As was her usual habit, nearly everything else she wore was black, including an antique top hat and the ruffled umbrella she carried.  Bethany had tied a hot pink ribbon around the hat to match the boots.  The black garb made the galoshes seem even brighter.

Eunice Stahl, Unsplash

“You like?” she confirmed and stuck one foot out in a precarious way.  “I couldn’t resist when I saw them online,” she said.

“Oh yes,” I said with a chuckle.  “Hey, wait a minute, you’ve cut your hair,” I commented moving a step closer to be sure, since she wore a hat.

Bethany doffed her top hat and bowed.  Then she stood and ruffled her new pixie cut.

As you see, that scene was not really about clothes or hair.  It lets you know about the character’s personality.

Do you have a favorite book that makes use of clothing descriptions?  Or is there a character you enjoy who has a signature item of clothing?  If so, then be sure to mention it in a comment here.  You know I love hearing from you.

PS:  My apologies if you can’t get the videos in your location — or if commercials have been added.

Also known as “The Way You Wear Your Hat…”

I hope you’ll come back to this “station” Wednesday for the next chapter of Hullaba Lulu, my diesel-punk collaboration with San Francisco artist, Rob Goldstein. 

***

Of course here’s my shameless self-promotion.  Unfortunately no hats involved…

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. 

Books set in TN & Atonement, TN Revisited

Saturday, June 23, 2018

I can’t believe that it was way back at Christmastime, 2012 when I published my urban fantasy novel Atonement, Tennessee.  That makes it downright embarrassing that I still haven’t released the second book!  It’s written, but I have little time to give the editing and proofing process.  Although I’m getting closer.  

Marketing Graphic for Teagan's Books

Image by Chris Graham

It might not be okay for me to mention it outright, but if you miss the “Sookie” books, now that the well loved series set in a small Louisiana town (with HBO series based on it), has come to an end (wink-nudge-wink), then I think you will like my Atonement, Tennessee series.  There are no vampires (not that I know of), rather there are characters loosely inspired by ancient Celtic mythology.

I wanted this post to be about more than me.  I was surprised to learn how many books had the (USA) state of Tennessee as their setting.  Here’s a Goodreads page listing amazing books that are set in Tennessee

Many of you are new and not familiar with my novel.  So while I’m scrambling to get Atonement in Bloom (book 2) out there, I thought I would use my Saturday posts to revisit that… erm, let’s say unique little town.  Today we’ll get reacquainted with the the heroine and narrator, Ralda (Esmeralda) Lawton.  Here are some fun (I hope) facts about her.

1.  Is she fictional or a historic person?

Ralda-in-car_dreamstime_xs_28934268

Ralda Lawton, Dreamstime Image

Ralda (Esmeralda) Lawton is a fictional character.  Atonement, Tennessee, the first book in the series, was a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novel.  I designed everything about that story to be something I could do in the single month of NaNoWriMo — in other words, fast.  Typically none of my characters are based on real people.  However, with the need for speed in mind, I let Ralda share some of my outlooks. Plus her profession is similar to mine.  But she isn’t me, I promise.

Ralda is the narrator for all the Atonement books.  However, her cat, Lilith, takes a turn for important scenes that Ralda could not witness.

Lilith and mirror

Lilith, Dreamstims

2.  When and where is the story set?

Following the advice “Write what you know,” I wanted a small southern town as the setting.  I chose Tennessee for the state of my fictional town.  (Even making up a fictional town was also intended for speed – it wouldn’t need as much research!)  Yet what to name this town?  I was thinking about what kinds of people might live there, their attitudes and opinions.  Suddenly “Atonement” popped into my mind as the name for the town.  So my setting is the fictional town (and the title), Atonement, Tennessee.

3.  What should we know about the heroine?

That’s really hard to say without giving away parts of the story.  I don’t want to spoil anything for people who have not read the book.

3 friends oval

Neighbors & Friends, Dreamstime

I’ll tell you that Ralda has been hurt badly in the past, and more than once.  She’d like to keep an open mind about things like relationships, but she’s afraid to try.  Besides, she doesn’t think the “pluses” outweigh the “minuses.”  On the other hand, she makes friends readily.  If she cares about someone, she’s fiercely protective.

She’s highly intuitive, and smart.  Those assets lead her to unravel the mysteries that surround her in her new mysterious old house, in Atonement, Tennessee.

4.  What messes up her life?

Ultimately, that would be (repeatedly) the supernatural beings that either live in or frequent the strange little town and the old estate house in which she lives — and its graveyard.   Yes, I said graveyard. 

5.  What is the personal goal of the character?

Ralda Lawton just wants a peaceful life in her new town.  She succeeded in getting away from the big city by moving to quaint Atonement, Tennessee.  However, so far, her new life has been anything but quiet.  How could she know the tiny town rests on a very powerful ley line?  It seems to draw mythological entities like a magnet.  (I took creative license with the ley line idea and their actual locations.)
TN_Ley-Lines

6.  Do the same characters return for book 2?

You’ll meet many familiar characters in book-2, Atonement in Bloom.  There are also several new supernaturals in town for the sequel.  And yes… I do intend a third book for the series.  Eventually I plan to do a “three things” type serial for it here on this blog.  That seems to be the only way I have time to write. 

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

***

Here’s my own 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. 

After Thistledown — #GetCaughtReading and More

Saturday, April 27, 2018

Thanks again to everyone who supported Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam.  I always like for my blog stories to be “interactive” with you readers, at least to a degree.  You were an essential element of that faery tale. 

What’s Now and What’s Next? 

Well, one thing that’s next already is… or the future is the present… or have I just boldly gone where no (wo)man has gone before?

Hullaba Lulu

Val hat Lulu trumpet expressions

Art by Rob Goldstein

What I’m trying to say is that for those of you who aren’t familiar with my Jazz Age Wednesday posts, I currently have a series in collaboration with artist  Rob Goldstein.  It’s a Roaring Twenties, diesel-punk fantasy called Hullaba Lulu.  Is that news to you?  No worries, click here* for a post that has links to all the past episodes.  It’s pos-i-lutely darb.  Get aboard the diesel-punk train!

What’s Next? 

Get Caught Reading Month — All New Mini-series with Chris Graham

May is  Get Caught Reading Month. Twice in the past, Chris Graham – the Story Reading Ape and I have collaborated on stories for this event.  Hold onto your hats, because we’re together again!  Premiering next weekend… (drum roll)…

Artie Meets the Alchemist!

Artie Meets Alchemist promo 1

Artie the genius chimpanzee is the creation of Chris Graham.  He has popped into several of my stories.  For our new story, a fictionalized Cornelis Drebbel is my character — he’s managed to wriggle out of the serial where I created him* and into some others too.  I wonder what will happen when those two run into each other?  Oh yes, this will be a steampunk story.

The Next What’s Next and Poll Results 

I haven’t completed the editing and proofing of Atonement in Bloom.  Although I still hope to finish before the summer arrives (as in solstice).  After “Bloom” is published I will start a new Saturday serial. 

A while back I polled you readers about what kind of “three things” serial you wanted next.  The results were overwhelmingly for a new Atonement, Tennessee story.  I’ve never done Atonement in a serial form.  However, I’ve always seen those books as a trilogy.  Blogging leaves me no time to write, so if there’s going to be a third book, it will have to come from a serial here.  That’s a while into the future, but stay tuned! 

This blog has always been about the readers, being interactive. I love your comments.  I appreciate your visits. You are a huge part of it, and I thank you.

***

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 Writer’s Reading Corner: Teagan Riordain Geneviene #IndieAuthor #fantasy

Thanks to Teri Polen for hosting me at her Writer’s Reading Corner!
We’ll have a fun and fabulous Friday the 13th. Click on over to Teri’s place. We’re talking about books that influenced us.  I’ve disabled comments here because I want you to get to know her wonderful blog. 

Happy weekend hugs!

Books and Such

Spring has finally arrived in western KY!  Yesterday was gorgeous and today looks to be the same.  I have a treat for you today – my guest is the infamous Teagan Riordain Geneviene.  Whether you’ve read her books or are a regular visitor to her blog, you’re familiar with the sparkling creativity that dwells within her mind (and if you’re not, here’s your chance), and today she’s giving us a glimpse at what has inspired her.  Welcome, Teagan!

Hi Teri. Thanks for letting me visit your Writer’s Reading Corner. Hello everyone. I’m Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene and I write whimsical stories. Whether it’s a cliffhanging blog serial, an urban fantasy, or a 1920s story, everything I write has a touch of whimsy.

I’m going to discuss an old favorite of mine – The Belgariad, a series by David Eddings. It’s a true epic, high fantasy. That was the style of…

View original post 271 more words

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Saturday, March 17, 2018

2018 Green

Image by Chris Graham

It’s not really St. Patrick’s Day as I write this, but it is my writing day for Thistledown.  However, I’m not up to continuing the story today, so I’m taking it easy on myself to some extent.  Hopefully I can do some more editing for Atonement in Bloom.

Here’s a snippet from Atonement in Bloom.  There are a couple of new “supernaturals” in the town of Atonement, Tennessee.  This excerpt comes from the middle of the scene where Lilith the cat encounters them.  The oddly warm December night saw the calico sneaking out and following her nose to the thing she hated — magic. She watched the actions of two supernaturals for a while.  Then she realized another stranger stood behind her.  The unknown woman’s anger had grown as she observed what transpired. 


Atonement AND Bloom

…“Now to restore the balance,” the strange woman said, yet she hesitated.  “But those two tricksters have definitely earned a small lesson,” Beira the Crone added with a wink to Lilith.

Her dark green velvet cloak fell back as she extended both arms.  With the staff still grasped in her right hand she turned in a circle three times clockwise.  As she moved, the velvet cloak swirled about her ankles as if the wind moved it.  Beira’s long lapis-blue braid lifted on the same invisible currents.  Her violet eyes shone brightly in the moonlight.  On the third circle Beira tilted her head back exultantly.

The strange pillar lights faded out of the sky, and the glowing nimbus became normal wintery clouds.  Then the temperature plummeted.  Lilith instinctively fluffed out her long fur. 

This can’t be good, the calico thought. 

Cat-upright dreamstime_xs_31062797

Lilith (Dreamstime)

Lilith watched in wonder as snowflakes floated to the ground.  Snow began to accumulate on the nearby stone wall.  Beira walked over to it and tilted her head as if considering.  “So it has grown here before, and spontaneously.  Ah, recently too.  This place is more interesting than I knew. Perhaps it bears further investigation,” Beira commented, rousing Lilith’s curiosity.

She gave the wall a light tap with her age darkened wooden staff.  Then she nodded once more.

Lilith’s feline ears heard an odd vibration within the stone wall, which a human would never have noticed.  In the light of the moon, the cat watched as a single rose sprouted from the top of the rock wall.  A single blue rose.

***

As I said, it would be nice if I could do some editing to “Bloom” today.  Although, Chris Graham (aka the Story Reading Ape) sneaked the idea for another story into my brain when he created the fun images for me.  Now I’m wishing I could also write The Chronicles of the Green Witch.  (Winks.)  So many unfinished novels… so little time.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

from Teagan’s Books

Me green 2018 Green beer

Image by Chris Graham

I hope you’re wearing your green!  See you next weekend for Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam. 

***

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 Yuletide Collection of Short Stories

December 25, 2017

Perhaps there are one or three of you who have a little time on your hands…  Okay, that doesn’t seem likely.  Maybe you just need to escape from the holiday bustle and crowds.  With that in mind I’ve listed (with links) some of the holiday-ish short stories and vignettes I’ve posted over the years.  First, greetings of the season to you and yours!

Stories from the Atonement, Tennessee Universe

Three Atonement TN Holiday Things*

Lilith and mirror

Annie’s Inventory Notes — the Sleigh 

1905 Horseman mag Sleigh horses couple

Adelle’s Teapot

1937 Look Shirley Temple Santa tea

Stories from the Pip-verse (Three Things)

I was thinking I had more than one holiday related story of Pip and her friends, but apparently not.  At any rate, here is the most recently shared short story…

Pip’s Lemony Christmas*

Christmas tree hat Modern Pricilla December 1920

Wishing each of you a magical holiday.  Yuletide blessings and hugs!

Teagan

 

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 © 2013 to 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.

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