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

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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.

 

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. 

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.