Using Leftovers — Research

Welcome back everyone.  I’m happy to see you.

Today let’s discuss leftovers.  How do you (or could you) use leftovers in any of your creative pursuits?  Yes, it could be leftover food — and even better if you post a recipe about it!  However, I mean leftovers in a much broader sense.  Apply it to any craft or process or activity you choose.

Leftover Research — Blue John

3-things-cover_3-2016

My editor brain often serves me leftovers — leftover research.  There have been more than a couple of times when I get so intrigued by a research topic that it comes back, not yet finished with me.  One was the mythology I found while researching The Dead of Winter.  (You can find a few old posts about that epic nestled away in this blog.)  Myths from ancient Wales had little part in that novel, if any.  However the leftover research inspired some characters in Atonement, Tennessee as well as the work in progress, Atonement in Bloom.

Then there was the little feast author  Lord David Prosser provided when he left the gemstone, Blue John as one of the “things” for the original Three Things Serial Story.  Of course I had to Goggle the name, and as research topics sometimes do, it stuck with me.  (You can read the first episode involving Blue John here.)

Years later when I began a steampunk story, The Delta Pearl, as my 2016 National Novel Writing Month project, I needed several character names that were gemstones.  That time Blue John gave me more than a name — it created an entire character.  He even got the area where the gemstone is found as his home, not to mention his accent.delta-pearl-cover-1

So today I thought I’d share a snippet that used this leftover research.  I’m still working on the middle of The Delta Pearl, but here’s one the scene that includes Blue John, the First Mate of the Delta Pearl, and the heroine, Émeraude Perlezenn.  It’s just a slice of life aboard the strange riverboat in this steampunk tale.

***

The Mate looked positively frazzled as he rolled charts and tidied up the bridge.  Onyx, the clockwork owl perched on a sexton, and hooted at me as I entered.

“Who-who?” the owl vocalized.

I knew that was the owl’s version of “Who goes there?”  At one point, Captain Cecil Perlog fancied teaching the owl to talk like a pirate.  Granted, the normal rules of nature did not apply to clockwork creatures.  However, the Mate and I managed to convince him that human-like speech was more the province of parrots than owls.

“Oh really, Onyx.  It is not as if you don’t know who I am,” I chided the unrepentant owl.jenna-coleman-as-emeraude

“Who-who?” the owl asked again, but I ignored him.  “Blue, are you all right?” I asked the flustered Mate.

Blue John Boulton had been the first mate of the Delta Pearl for as long as I had been aboard the riverboat.  Born in Derbyshire, he still had the particular English accent of that area.  His dialect produced more than a few unexpected and often archaic sounding turns of phrase.

Though his eyes were the most magnificent shade of blue that was not how he came by the name Blue.  His parents named him for a unique form of fluorite mined in their area — Blue John.  However he was usually called the Mate, or simply Blue.

Blue was typically cool and composed, but seemingly random events could sometimes agitate him.  Some might even say he was paranoid.

“You know how the Delta Pearl can get finicky about such things as borders and boundaries.  I don’t know why it should matter to her…  But I’ve seen it a time or two, when she reacts strongly to crossing a line of demarcation, like the borders between states.  And that’s nothing compared to how she gets with time zones.”

It was not the first time I had seen him in a tizzy.  “When will we reach the boundary for the state line?” I asked.steamboat-mississippi

“Right about dinnertime, all factors remaining constant,” the Mate told me.

“Well, there’s no need to run around like a chicken with its head cut off.  There’s plenty of time.  What can I do to help?” I asked with the sudden realization that the Mate probably took precautions of which I had been unaware.

“Is that another of your grandpa’s sayings?  I love it when you talk like a southern belle,” he told me with a saucy wink, seeming more like the Blue John I knew rather than the frazzled mess that stood before me.

“Just make sure any artifacts,” he began but paused when he saw the perplexed expression on my face.  “That’d be anything, any item, decoration, or furnishing onboard that you just knew was dodgy somehow.  You know, anything that’s ever given you one of those strange feelings.  Anyhow, make sure anything like that is properly secured.”

“You don’t truly think there is that much cause for alarm, do you?” I asked, trying to keep the incredulous expression off my face.

“Better safe than sorry, Émeraude.  Better safe than sorry.  That includes the clockwork creatures,” he replied.Edwardian man

Onyx gave a triple hoot of protest at Blue’s words.  “Nen mate, now then old boy.  I’m sorry about that,” the Mate told the owl.  “It will only be for a short time,” he added consolingly before turning back to me.  “Em, if you can possibly find Amethyst it would be best to store the spider somewhere safe and secure.  I know she’s a hard one to find when she doesn’t want to be seen.  So just give it a try.”

I turned to go, but Blue stopped me, his eyes wide.  “Oh, and that portrait of the woman wearing the cameo like yours — make sure you cover it up!  The whole thing, just hang a sheet over it, or anything you can get your hands on quick.  That’d be the main thing right there.  Cover that portrait.  Thou art kind, Émeraude.  I appreciate the help.”

***

Nothing exciting… as I said, it’s more of a slice of life aboard the Delta Pearl.  However, I hope you enjoyed visiting the mystical riverboat.  Have a wonder-filled, hug-filled weekend.

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.

 

Rewind – Three Things Episodes 22 – 24

Three Faces of EveI started to say, “Just call me Sybil.” Because I have too much going on — a few different works in progress, and the next serial for this blog simmering on the back burner. However, I don’t think it quite adds up to Sybil’s 16 personalities.  Although with two distinctly different stories actively evolving in my mind, and my real job, you might go ahead and call me Eve

Suffice to say there are a lot of ideas competing for attention in my head.

Book-2 of Atonement, Tennessee continues to Atonement Video Cover copygerminate.  That’s appropriate since the title is Atonement in Bloom.  Little seeds to develop the story sprout into ideas.

Though I met the requirements with a draft novel to achieve a “win” with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), The Guitar Mancer needs a lot of fleshing out.  (By the way, the introduction to the “rewind” for Episode -23 below is a flashback for me to a previous NaNoWriMo. I must be a glutton for punishment…)

Don’t give up! I will finish both of these novels or it will finish me. Then I can go back to re-working Tatterdemallian: The Electric Zucchini.  And maybe even figure out how to divide The Dead of Winter into two (or three) books.

Applesauce!  Suddenly my brain is tired… So here’s another rewind of the original interactive blog serial, Three Things.  

Don’t loose heart my foodie friends! Episode-24 gave us an “ingredient” so look for a recipe at the end of the rewind.  Now, let’s get a wiggle on!

Tall Animal Tales for Toddlers & UpIntroduction for Episode-22

 Lord David Prosser, an author in the UK, set me quite a challenge with these three things.  If you are acquainted with David, you won’t be surprised that he managed to sneak in a fourth thing by relating one to Art Deco.  (David, I’m kidding you.  🙂   )  It was an adventure to do the research for this set of things.

Please join me for episode 22 of our little 1920’s serial.

 

22. Blue John, Clarice Cliff Pottery, Art Deco, Silk

Before I could stop him, Frankie told Countess Babikov about the burglary at Boris’ apartment — I mean office.  I was worried about that episode upsetting her.  The white-haired woman had clearly been abducted and roughed up, so she seemed fragile.  There was that cut and bruise at her temple, plus her expensive sheer silk stockings were badly torn.

However, the look of frailty was momentary.  Countess Babikov got a steely, protective look in her eyes.  I was almost worried about her kidnappers.  She took another sip of the brandy I had gotten for her, but I could tell she was thinking.  You could practically see the wheels turning in her mind.  She blinked as if something had interrupted her thoughts.

“Frankie my dear, would you bring my coat?” she asked pointing to a chair where the coat with the fox collar was draped.

English: Ballets Russes, scene from Apollon mu...When the fireman handed her the coat she thanked him, then quickly searched through it.  “Ah!  It is still there.  Thank goodness,” she said in a pleased tone as she withdrew a small silver jewelry casket.  She opened it to display a beautiful dress clip, shaped like a butterfly.

She smiled warmly and held it out to the circus magnate.  “I saw this when the Ballets Russes last performed in England.  I could imagine the butterfly in Mable’s rose garden, and I knew she must have it… my dearest friend, Mable.”

The butterfly was made from a lovely blue banded gemstone.  I asked if it was fluorite, but it didn’t really look like any I had ever seen.  In answer Countess Babikov described her visit to Castleton and the shop where she found the dress clip made from a rare stone she called Blue John.

“Jeepers, I almost forgot!” I exclaimed and started fishing in my pocketbook.  When I looked up, I was uncomfortable to find all eyes on me.  I felt a little foolish, but I produced the bent key and grinned.  However, I wasn’t sure to which of them I should give it.  I tried to look at John Ringling and the Countess both when I explained.

Ringling-Zalophus-Ca-d-Zan

Ringling’s yacht, Zalophus docked at Ca’d’Zan

“This fell from the getaway car back at the Nickelodeon Theatre when they nabbed you, Countess Babikov.  I think the engraving says Ca’d’Zan,” I told them.

“It’s seen better days, hasn’t it?” commented John Ringling as he took the key and inspected it closely.  “It’s for Ca’d’Zan alright.”

Then he dropped the damaged key into a lovely pottery jug.  The sound made everyone look at the piece.  Leaning closer to look at the pottery Frankie asked, “Is that what they call Art Deco?  The style, I mean?”

Mr. Ringling wore a rather distracted expression, but he answered, “I believe so.  I haven’t heard the termEarly 'Original Bizarre' pattern on an Athens ... until just recently.  Mable, my wife, took a shine to this stuff during one of our travels.  The young lady who painted it is called Clarice Cliff.  I think she called that pattern Bizarre.

“Tell me everything about Boris,” the Countess said imploringly, and changed the subject.  “When he left the Ballets Russes, he had begun acting strangely.  At first I thought it was because of his injury — you know?  That he was depressed because he could dance no longer.  Yet strange men began to come to see him.  I thought I saw one of them, when I started making inquiries here about my grandson.  Then the other men abducted me, making a ransom demand of my most kind friend here, John,” she said with a look of gratitude and a motion to the circus magnate.

“What can be going on to cause these strange events?” she said as if to herself.  The same question nagged me as well.

***

Introduction for Episode-23

LifeFlapper1922I’m finally here with another episode of our little 1920’s story.  The characters have been nagging at my thoughts.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with them during November, while I’m trying to write an entire (new) novel in a few short weeks, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! Maybe I’ll skip the fun part of decorating the post and looking up historic links, because I spend a good deal of time with that.

There’s bound to be some “thing” that pulls me back to the story.  Sometimes a single word conveys so much feeling or imagery.  Flapper is that kind of word.  Wasn’t your mind filled with images the moment you read the word?  Provincial Lady has a talent for thinking of those words.  She supplied three evocative things for today’s post.  As always you can find all the episodes in one place at the Three Things Serial page.

Episode 23 causes Pip to contemplate the unusual events that she and her friends have recently experienced.  Can she put the pieces together?

23.  Dissolute, Rocky, Bonehead

An expression of warmth and kindness came to the white-haired woman’s face when she looked at Frankie and me.  “I worried that my Boris squandered his talents in some dissolute existence,” she began, her accent becoming heavier.  I had to focus to understand some of her words.  “But if he has friends such as you, then I know that fear is unfounded.”

Countess Babikov seemed to be wilting from her burst of energy.  I poured another splash of brandy into her glass.  Mr. Ringling helped her sit back on the sofa and put her feet up.  I spotted a decanter of water

Clara Bow as Mona the Movie Star

Clara Bow as Mona the Movie Star

and used some to wet my handkerchief and then gently cleaned the cut at her temple.

A plaintive call reached my ears.  “Pip?”

I opened the door to find Mona looking for me.  She held the tin lunch pail that she’d used for a home-away-from-home for Pear.  However, other than the little hedgehog Mona was alone.  “Where’s Flavio?” I asked.

“He was feeling a little rocky, and went back ashore,” she said with an expression that suggested she was pleased with herself for using the term.  “I don’t think he’s a very good sailor, but he’s a sweet guy.”

Frankie gave me a lopsided grin and commented, “Nah, Flavio’s a bonehead.”  I shot the fireman a skeptical look and his grin was unrepentant.  “Okay.  He’s a good bonehead, but he’s still a bonehead.”

“Oh, Pip!” Mona exclaimed, still in the corridor, but walking toward the door.  “You’ll never believe who I heard this yacht belongs to.”

“Pip, dear,” the Countess said with a twinkle in her eyes.  “Do invite your friend inside.”1920s Dime Mystery

I heard the circus millionaire inside, cautioning Bepa or Faith — she asked us to call her one or the other, but I wasn’t quite comfortable with that.  Holy Hannah!  The woman was royalty for goodness sakes!  Anyhow, he was worried about her exerting herself after the ordeal of her kidnapping.

A thought struck me.  No one had ever said what the kidnappers wanted with her…  Of course there was the ransom, but I had a strong feeling that money wasn’t everything they were after.  I was also sure it had an awful lot to do with Boris.   I felt like I was working a jigsaw puzzle and some pieces were missing.  I didn’t like that feeling.

***

Introduction for Episode-24

Tommy-n-Tuppence

Illustration by Arthur Ferrier of Agatha Christie’s detective pair Tommy and Tuppence, from the December 1923 issue of The Grand Magazine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’d think I would have thought of Agatha Christie the minute the Three Things Serial became a 1920’s story.  She created so many memorable characters.  Two of my favorites are not as well known, but they showcase the spirit of the 1920’s for me — Tommy and Tuppence.  The first novel in which they appeared was The Secret Adversary.

At any rate, I didn’t think of Tommy and Tuppence until recently, although they could easily have inspired our little story.  With a nod to Agatha Christie, today’s Three Things come from the opening of that novel:

“TOMMY, old thing!”

“Tuppence, old bean!”

The two young people greeted each other affectionately, and momentarily blocked the Dover Street Tube exit in doing so.

Now I give you Three Tommy and Tuppence Things.

24.  Old Thing, Bean, Dover Street Tube Exit

Frankie had already caught on to the mischievous twinkle in Countess Bepa’s eyes.  Mona would probably faint when she walked in and saw a big cheese like John Ringling — not to mention a for-real countess!  He blocked the door for a second so he would get a good look at her face when she saw the occupants of the cabin.

Clara Bow 1927

Clara Bow 1927

“Frankie, old thing,” she said.  “I wondered where you’d gotten to.”

The fireman stepped aside and Mona saw the countess.  Even in her disheveled state, right after having been ransomed by dastardly kidnappers, the older woman exuded easy elegance and confidence.  Mona’s face registered recognition, and I knew she was thinking of the night at the Nickelodeon Theatre when we all saw the white-haired woman pulled into a car that careened away.

“Aren’t you the…” Mona began, but then she noticed the owner of the yacht, and she simply stopped, open mouthed.

“Hey, Movie Star, did somebody just bean you?” Frankie asked with a lopsided grin.

The countess chuckled, and even the circus magnate, still worried about his recently kidnapped guest, smiled.  Introductions were made to the astonishment of Mona the movie star.

“I heard you refer to this charming young man as ‘old thing.’  That’s a term I’ve rarely heard since I arrived in this country,” Countess Babikov told the aspiring actress.  “Are you perhaps from England?”1920s subway crowded

“Oh no,” Mona said with an attractive blush.  “But I did go to school in London for a couple of years.  It was near Dover Street.”

The countess looked shocked.  She turned to Mr. Ringling.  “John… I just remembered.  That is where I first saw those men.  I had just parted company with my Boris at the Dover Street Tube exit.  That is where I saw them!”

 

***

Recipe – Video

Now for the promised recipe! Have you guessed the ingredient?  Of course it is “Bean” from Episode-24.

Slow-Cooked Green Beans – Amazing Southern-Style Green Beans

***

 Tune in again next weekend to see what happens because of the next set of Three Things. Same flapper time, same flapper channel.

 

 

Three Things Serial: 22 – Blue John, Clarice Cliff Pottery, Art Deco, Silk

Barsetshire DiariesLord David Prosser, an author in the UK, set me quite a challenge with these three things.  If you are acquainted with David, you won’t be surprised that he managed to sneak in a fourth thing by relating one to Art Deco.  (David, I’m kidding you.  🙂   )  It was an adventure to do the research for this set of things.

Please join me for episode 22 of our little 1920’s serial.

Blue John, Clarice Cliff Pottery, Art Deco, Silk

Before I could stop him, Frankie told Countess Babikov about the burglary at Boris’ apartment — I mean office.  I was worried about that episode upsetting her.  The white-haired woman had clearly been abducted and roughed up, so she seemed fragile.  There was that cut and bruise at her temple, plus her expensive sheer silk stockings were badly torn.

However, the look of frailty was momentary.  Countess Babikov got a steely, protective look in her eyes.  I was almost worried about her kidnappers.  She took another sip of the brandy I had gotten for her, but I could tell she was thinking.  You could practically see the wheels turning in her mind.  She blinked as if something had interrupted her thoughts.

“Frankie my dear, would you bring my coat?” she asked pointing to a chair where the coat with the fox collar was draped.

When the fireman handed her the coat she thanked him, then quickly searched through it.  “Ah!  It is still there.  Thank goodness,” she said in a pleased tone as she withdrew a small silver jewelry casket.  She opened it to display a beautiful dress clip, shaped like a butterfly.

English: Ballets Russes, scene from Apollon mu...She smiled warmly and held it out to the circus magnate.  “I saw this when the Ballets Russes last performed in England.  I could imagine the butterfly in Mable’s rose garden, and I knew she must have it… my dearest friend, Mable.”

The butterfly was made from a lovely blue banded gemstone.  I asked if it was fluorite, but it didn’t really look like any I had ever seen.  In answer Countess Babikov described her visit to Castleton and the shop where she found the dress clip made from a rare stone she called Blue John.

“Jeepers, I almost forgot!” I exclaimed and started fishing in my pocketbook.  When I looked up, I was uncomfortable to find all eyes on me.  I felt a little foolish, but I produced the bent key and grinned.  However, I wasn’t sure to which of them I should give it.  I tried to look at John Ringling and the Countess both when I explained.

“This fell from the getaway car back at the Nickelodeon Theatre when they nabbed you, Countess Babikov.  I think the engraving says Ca’d’Zan,” I told them.

“It’s seen better days, hasn’t it?” commented John Ringling as he took the key and inspected it closely.  “It’s for Ca’d’Zan alright.”

Then he dropped the damaged key into a lovely pottery jug.  The sound made everyone look at the piece.  Leaning closer to look at the pottery Frankie asked, “Is that what they call Art Deco?  The style, I mean?”

Mr. Ringling wore a rather distracted expression, but he answered, “I believe so.  I haven’t heard the term until just recently.  Mable, my wife, took a shine to this stuff during one of our travels.  The young lady who painted it is called Clarice Cliff.  I think she called that pattern Bizarre.

Early 'Original Bizarre' pattern on an Athens ...“Tell me everything about Boris,” the Countess said imploringly, and changed the subject.  “When he left the Ballets Russes, he had begun acting strangely.  At first I thought it was because of his injury — you know?  That he was depressed because he could dance no longer.  Yet strange men began to come to see him.  I thought I saw one of them, when I started making inquiries here about my grandson.  Then the other men abducted me, making a ransom demand of my most kind friend here, John,” she said with a look of gratitude and a motion to the circus magnate.

“What can be going on to cause these strange events?” she said as if to herself.  The same question nagged me as well.