Jazz Age Wednesdays 24 ― Pip Meets the Master

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hello, everyone.  It’s Jazz Age Wednesdays here at Teagan’s Books.  I’m blessed to offer you another joint post!

I have actively sought out collaborations with bloggers who work with subjects that are different from my whimsical fiction.  So, I was delighted when Dr. Glen Hepker* agreed to work with me on a post.  Glen is the author of A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health*.  I have this book and it’s a real gem. 

Dr Glen Hepker

Glen is sharing instructions for breathing exercises, which you’ll find after my new vignette from the Pip-verse.  I worked a bit of of it into the story.  So let’s ankle back to the Roaring Twenties, for the story Glen inspired.

Pip Meets the Master

Lucille Ball teen blue

Young Lucille Ball

“Come on Pip, this scavenger hunt might turn out to be a real shockdollager.  Plus, it could be some free publicity for Wong’s Chinese if we can get the newspaper to do a story about it,” my friend Alastair Wong pleaded.  “Even my cousin, Victoria, is excited about it — and she’s pretty hard to impress.”

“Traipsing around the riverfront in the dark just doesn’t sound like fun to me,” I told him.  “And your cousin isn’t likely to be tromping through the fog with us.”

I had only met his cousin once.  That was in Alastair’s family restaurant.  For a moment, I thought she was a doll in an embroidered blue satin dress.  You can imagine my shock when the “doll” spoke.  Victoria Wong was a very tiny, very ancient woman.  She had to be well under five feet tall, and Lord knew how old. 

“Hey, if you’ve been hearing all those stories about the haunted part of Savannah, just forget them,” Alastair said with sudden insight.  “That’s all bushwa! Savannah is not a haunted city.”

“Alastair Wong, I’ll have you know, I’m no chicken,” I told him defiantly.

Attagirl!  So, you’ll come?” he encouraged and I finally agreed.


1920 Henricis Chicago IL

The turn out for the scavenger hunt wasn’t as great as Alastair hoped, but I thought it was pretty good.  It was supposed to finish at Wong’s Chinese with a free dinner.  That meant Alastair was extra busy.  After all his fuss talking me into going, he had to leave and go back to the restaurant halfway through the hunt.

Several people remained in the group, but I wasn’t well acquainted with anyone.  Before long I ended up getting separated from them.  It was my own fault.  I wandered away, distracted by a light that seemed to jounce and bounce along in the mist near the river.  The next thing I knew, I was alone in the dark, foggy night.

I shivered, suddenly very aware of the cold.  I called out to the group.  No one answered.  The fog got progressively thicker.  It seemed to muffle the sound of my voice.  Then my flashlight went dim.  The faint light slowly extinguished.  That’s when I got scared.

Worried about looking like a dumb Dora, I held back the scream that I really wanted to let loose.  I choked on my fear.  Breathless, I turned when a flicker of light came to my peripheral vision.

The light bobbed but came closer.  It was a lantern, so bright that at first, I couldn’t see anything else.  Then I saw the strange man who carried it.  He wore a robe that left one shoulder bare, although he didn’t seem to notice the cold.  His face was in shadows.  The fog swirled around his feet as he walked.

Savannah GA Isle of Hope circa 1930

Gasping with relief at no longer being alone, I moved toward him.

Applesauce!  Am I glad to see you!” I exclaimed.

He reacted with a bemused smile, but it faded when I sank to the ground in a near swoon.  In my panicked state, my breathing had become so erratic that I was dizzy.

He stooped beside me to help me sit up.  The man’s single long flowing sleeve fell back as he put two fingers to my forehead.  His touch was cold.

It seemed just as strange to me at that moment as it does now, but the instant I looked into his eyes I trusted him.

“You are near to hypothermia.  We must get your breathing back in order, yes?” he said.

Shivering, I nodded.

“First you must imagine that there is a sparkling furnace inside your belly,” he instructed in a carefree tone that made me chuckle.  “Now relax your shoulders, as you pull your abdomen in ― while breathing in.  Good.  Now push your abdomen out when breathing out.”

He continued to talk and lead me through his way of breathing for several minutes.  The simple fact that I was no longer alone made me feel better.  The breathing helped a lot.  I felt a new energy.

Abruptly he stood and looked around.  With a smile he looked down at me, and placed a lotus blossom in my hands.

“Your friends will be here soon.  You are safe.  Just stay here, keep breathing as I taught you, and all will be well.”

An Art Nouveau lotus blossom frieze, circa 1915

My eyes followed his and I looked into the night.  Not too far away, a small cluster of lights swayed and dipped, drawing closer.

He clapped his hands and my flashlight flickered.  Then it came back on with triple brightness.  Of course, I was looking directly at it.  After that bright flare, the torch went dead again. 

For a moment I could only see spots.  When my vision cleared, he was gone.

Hearing familiar voices call my name, I yelled back to them.  I got to my feet, still holding the lotus blossom.  Soon Alastair and his diminutive cousin were at my side. 

Alastair looked relieved, and Victoria chided me for always getting into some kind of predicament. 

Victoria gasped softly as she beheld the flower in my hands.  She held her lantern and slowly walked around me.  The light illuminated the ground.  More lotus blossoms made a circle around the area where I stood.

She turned to Alastair and whispered something that sounded like, “My boy, only a fool would let this one get away.”

“I see you have met my old master,” Victoria told me.

All I could think was nobody could be older than her, but I remembered my manners.  I told them about the man who had been there helping me a moment before.

“He left so suddenly,” I added and described him.  “Would that be him?”

Victoria nodded with a knowing smile.

“The lotus blossoms were enough to tell me it was the Master.  I studied under him when I was a young girl.  You are blessed to have been visited by him.”

I gave my head a shake, trying to make Victoria’s words fall into place and make sense.

“You don’t mean…”

The End


Now back to Dr. Glen Hepker

Glen is also a master instructor of Tai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung, Kung Fu, as well as refined meditation and guided imagery.  But I see him blushing, so I’ll stop listing his credentials. You can learn more about him at his blog, Facebook, and Amazon Author Page.  If you’re lucky enough to be in Iowa, you can find him at Mason City Tai Chi and Wellness Center*

As promised, here is the write-up from Glen, in his own words.  Relax, learn, enjoy.

Reverse abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing, also know as ‘winter breathing’ or Taoist breathing in TCM/acupuncture theory, warms one up significantly. It also energizes people who suffer from lethargy, or anyone who is tired or sleepy. The opposite breathing practice (more commonly employed in modern times, i.e., people are more likely to be hyper and anxious these days), is coined ‘advance breathing’ or summer breathing/Buddhist breathing. It cools one down from actual heat and/or the heat of anxiety and stress.

No automatic alt text available.

In reverse abdominal breathing keep one’s shoulders relaxed as one pulls one’s abdomen in while breathing in, and push one’s abdomen out when breathing out. The simplest congruent guided imagery/visualization, is imagining that there is a sparkling furnace just behind one’s navel (CV8 in acupuncture). Imagine that the breathing fans the sparkling furnace more and more skillfully, until one can feel the sparkling furnace at will.

One imagines that one is fanning the furnace primarily with the energy coming in while breathing in, and that once one feels the warmth, one guides the warmth throughout one’s body during the breath out. The “sparkling” feeling of the furnace feels not unlike those sparkling spine-tingling/shivering feelings in sentimental and sweet and innocent loving moments, and also that which many people seem to get sometimes when urinating. In acupuncture theory, this is coined the ‘original chi’ (that which we were born with), which resides in the kidneys in healthy individuals. But the goal is to abundantly strengthen the furnace, and then learn to circulate the splendid energy, using the healthful logic of acupuncture theory. 

The key to success in this reverse breathing is to absolutely keep doing it (in each instance/setting) until it works, nothing less than realization of the success of warmth. When successful, one will still feel and be aware of the cold, but it becomes less and less of an agitation. Having faith in this practice is of help – our psychological outlook is important, i.e., to not hinder a positive placebo effect. But any placebo effect only complements the practice, vs. in any fashion implying that the practice doesn’t, unto itself, really work.

One of the most important things to remember is that these arts/practices are true skills, i.e., taking time and effort –AND there is always room for improvement (which may the greatest of blessings, IF we embrace the notion).

Advance abdominal breathing is simply like pretending one’s lungs are in one’s abdomen, i.e., with the shoulders relaxed, breathe in push one’s abdomen out, breathe out pull it in. As I said, most people benefit more from this, in our modern times it is succinctly believed that more people than not, are anxious, stressed, and tense, vs. the opposite. Anxiety is like heat, and overt heat can be damaging as such, i.e., as viewed in TCM/acupuncture theory.

The most basic complementary guided imagery for this breathing, is similar. One imagines that one fans the sparkling furnace and learns to feel the furnace at will. (Through regular practice over a couple of months, most people can learn to have all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing – nothing more helpful and healthful.) With this breathing, one imagines bringing fresh cooling energy in with the breath in, and sending the stagnant inflammation/heat out with the breath out.

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Everyone always has some level of stress, no matter how relaxed, but advance breathing can abbreviate the stress to next to nothing, especially congruent with one of our types of guided imagery, of which there are more than a dozen of these ages-old techniques. Tongue-in-cheek, we traditionally say, that one can never learn to levitate, walk through walls, be two places at once, or be invisible, without all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing and fanning of the sparkling furnace, learning to feel the furnace at will.

Brightest of blessings, Glen


 I appreciate your visit.  You are pos-i-lutely the cat’s pajamas!

Now, for my own shameless self-promotion… Here are the links to the books about Pip and her friends. 

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 



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.


Jazz Age Wednesdays 15 ― Pip’s Lemony Christmas

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hello, everyone!  It’s Jazz Age Wednesdays here at Teagan’s Books.  I know how busy you must be at this time of year, so I’m even happier to see you.

These midweek posts have been a mix of new and re-shared vignettes.  Since several of you sheiks and shebas are new here, I hope no one minds that I’m doing a repeat of my story from a year ago.  As for the “Pip-verse” time-line, this one happens after Pip’s adventures in The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story but before she went to Savanna to live with Granny Phanny.

Pip’s Lemony Christmas


Pip Christmas Frame Green

It had been a grand and glorious year.  However, it pos-i-lute-ly had ups and downs.  At that moment I was in one of the downs.  Even the long distance telephone call from my best friend Mona failed (miserably I might add) to cheer me.  She might not be sure where she wanted her future to go, but at least it was going somewhere.  All my friends were moving forward, going somewhere.  Me?  It didn’t look like I would ever get anywhere.

Not only was I going nowhere, I seemed to be going there all by myself.  Worse, it was Christmastime.  Even my Pops suddenly had to go up north on business.  I offered to go and keep him company…  Okay, so I begged.

“Young ladies have no place at business meetings,” he told me in the stern, no nonsense voice that meant I wouldn’t get anywhere with my plea.

Idly, I looked at the lace covered table, lemons artfully arranged as a centerpiece.  I took one of the tangy fruits, tossed it in the air and caught it.  I pondered as I tossed the lemon.

What would any self-respecting flapper do in such a situation?  Refuse to be a sourpuss, that’s what a flapper would do!

I decided as I tossed the lemon.  If all I had for Christmas was lemons, then I’d make lemonade — so to speak, especially after I found the bottle of hooch Pops had squirreled away.  I would have rather had the champagne I knew he hid some place, but that had been ages ago and I couldn’t remember where I saw it.

Gin will do just fine, I told myself.

Suddenly inspired, I gave the yellow fruit a final toss.  I went to the shoebox that held Granny’s recipes.  She had given me instructions for all sorts of citrus treats, and I was a sourpuss with a sweet tooth.


A little while later I was cleaning up the kitchen as it filled with citrusy baking aromas.  Just as I picked up the remains of my lemons, a loud knock pounded at the front door.  It startled me so badly that I ran to the door with barely a wipe to my juice drenched hands.

“Delivery!” the words came with another thunderous knock.

I threw open the door and the cool December air hit my face.  It was downright brisk, for Florida anyway.  There was a truck in the driveway and a young man with a name embroidered on his jacket — Ronny.  I took the package, barely looking at the guy who handed it to me.  My hands tore at the twine excitedly, even before I went inside.  Meanwhile Ronny the delivery man wrote something on the receipt clamped to his clipboard.

“If you’ll sign here, Miss?” he asked.

There was a card inside the package from my friend Mona.  The front of it said “I’m sorry you’re alone at Christmas.”  Hurriedly I stuck the edge of the note between my teeth and tucked the package under my arm so I could take the clipboard and sign the form.

Only then did I notice what a cutie the guy was.  He tilted his head all the way to his shoulder and read aloud the note while I signed.  As soon as I heard him speak the words, I blushed scarlet.  To make matters worse, he made a sympathetic aww sound that made me feel like a six year-old.

In my flustered flurry of motions, taking the note from my teeth, trying to stick it back in the package, and pushing my hair back… wouldn’t you know I touched a lemon coated finger to my face.  I yelped as the citrus stung my eyes.  It made tears stream down my cheeks.man_ray_tears

The guy sounded guilty when he pleaded to know what the matter was, as if he had caused it.  The only word I could manage to utter was, “Lemons!”

He pulled my hand away from my face and lightly sniffed it.  He gave a little chuckle that made me want to bean him.

“Yep, that’s lemons all right.  For a minute there I was afraid you got bad news,” he commented.  “But I guess being alone on Christmas Eve is bad enough.”

For some reason his comment made me lose my composure.  I burst out in real tears and sobs, no longer caused by the stinging citrus.  I plopped down on the porch and sat there with the package in my lap.  This upset poor Ronny.  He started blabbering apologies, clearly unsure of why he was asking for forgiveness.

“Look sweet cakes, you’re my last delivery.  Let me help you wash your face and get rid of that lemon juice before you put your fingers in your eyes again,” he offered in a contrite voice.

I insisted that it was okay, and with a sniffle, silenced my sobs.  Too embarrassed to look at him I turned my attention back to Mona’s gift.  Her card had fallen, but Ronny picked it up and handed it to me.  I took it from him and with a deep breath I spoke the words that humiliated me a moment before.

“I’m sorry you’re alone at Christmas,” I read the elegant script on the outside, and then opened the card.  “So you’ll just have to make your own party.”

1920s Champagne ad Calixtus

What?  Digging through the packing paper I found two sparkling etched crystal goblets.  I held up one of the glasses to watch the light play on it.  I looked at Ronny, feeling utterly bemused.  He returned my gaze with a twinkle in eyes that I suddenly noticed were a heavenly shade of blue.

Ronny picked up the other empty glass and playfully tapped it against the one I held.  I suddenly remembered where Pops hid the bubbly.

The End


 I appreciate your visit.  You are pos-i-lutely the bee’s knees!

Now, for that shameless self-promotion… Here are the links to the books about Pip and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 



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 © 2016 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.


Three Ingredients Serial – 8: Peas, Noodles, Lemon

1920s Flapper Driving

You’re Driving

Dear readers, it is time once again for me to bid you “Come and dine!”  But first, to keep the culinary story going, we need ingredients.  Don’t be shy.  The three food-related things you send drive the story, and the Three Ingredient cupboards are bare — so to speak.  Please leave a comment with three food-related “ingredients” that can become a part of the story.

Also remember that you can do catch-up reading where the story lives, the Three Ingredients Serial homepage.

Our interactive story continues with three ingredients from a reader and friend who knows how to write an entertaining story and prepare an extraordinary meal — the Provincial Lady.  So I give you Episode-8, with three simple but elegant ingredients.Parrot Menu Episode 8 copy

8.  Peas, Noodles, Lemon

Detective Daniels gave me a lift back to Granny Fanny’s cottage.  I had actually watched most of the autopsy Veronica Vale performed on the man who had died mysteriously at the Bijou theatre.  Okay… so I watched it from a distance.  As much of a distance as the large room could possibly allow.  I admit that I had to look away a few times.Motobloc cover

“Pip, I’m rather impressed,” the detective said as he drove.  “I expected to have to carry you out of Veronica’s lab, but you held up better than my men did.”

I blushed at the compliment.  Then I wondered why my cheeks colored.  Sneaking a glance from beneath my eyelashes, I saw his strong profile above the crisp white collar of his shirt.  Frankie’d had a chiseled nose and chin like that, though he was a little rough around the edges, not as dapper as the detective.  Frankie — the fireman who turned out to be something completely different from what I had thought.  Different in a very bad, dishonest way.

I was still kind of heartbroken about that.  I tried not to wonder if he was okay, somewhere on the lam from the law.  Granny told me that it was for the best that I learned the truth of what kind of man he was before I cared any more about him than I already did.  She promised that time would give me perspective.

Without realizing I had done so, I sighed.  Dabney Daniels gave me a concerned look.  “Are you sure you’re alright, Pip?” he asked with what looked like genuine concern.  It gave his eyes a soft JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar adpuppy-dog look that was an endearing contrast to his usual no-nonsense manner.

Applesauce!  I did not want to think of Daniels as more than a copper!  I had suddenly realized that he was a very attractive man and it was more than my poor overworked noodle could handle just then.  I plastered a fake smile on my face before looking up at him.  The grin faltered when I saw his deep blue eyes, and I sat looking at him like a dumbstruck fool.

Lucky for me we reached my grandmother’s home just then.  Another car had pulled up beside the cottage, under the big lilac bush.  The Ford was almost hidden by the bush, but the observant detective noticed it right away.  Dabney recognized the car.

“Hell’s bells, what’s he doing here?” he exclaimed.  “Oh!  I’m sorry, Pip.  Pardon the expression,” he hastily apologized.  “That car belongs to Moses Myrick.  He’s run more covert operations and put more rum runners and mobsters behind bars than any other Fed.  He even got a commendation from President Coolidge.  And he’s got a sour disposition that just won’t quit.  Barrie Craig adventuresThey joke that he eats lemons for breakfast, and I think it might be a fact.  But what’s he doing here?”

As we walked up the brick path to the front door, I noticed the lace curtains in the parlor part just enough for someone to look outside.  At the door I raised my hand to knock, even though I was living there now.  I guess that’s how uncomfortable I felt about a big-shot revenuer being at Granny’s house.

I wondered briefly if Granny Fanny really did have a stash of white lightning somewhere.  But no, I told myself.  The man’s car was practically hidden under the lilac bush.  He wouldn’t do that if he had something against her.  Actually, it seemed like he was being discrete about visiting my grandmother.  But why?

While I stood with one hand raised to knock and the other hand on the doorknob, Granny answered the door and told us to come on inside.  She led us into the parlor and introduced Marshal Moses Myrick.  He was very polite and all, but I couldn’t help thinking what beady little the-chinese-parrot adeyes he had.  Green eyes… like little peas!

To my astonishment, Cracker the parrot fluttered up.  Marshal Myrick held out his elbow, as if he wasn’t even thinking about it, and the bird perched on his arm.  Cracker looked at Detective Dabney Daniels, and he reflexively put a hand to the ear the parrot had taken a bite out of the last time she got a chance.  Cracker made a rude sound that was a lot like a raspberry.

Then the parrot nuzzled her head against the revenuer’s chin while giving Dabney a sidelong look that caused me to imagine she would like to say “So there! Jealous yet?”  Then she bobbed her head at the marshal and said “Who’s your daddy?”


Recipe – Pasta with Fresh Herbs, Lemon and Peas

Recipe credit:  The New York Times, Martha Shulman

Pasta With Fresh Herbs, Lemon and Peas


1/2 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, tarragon, mint and chives

Zest of 1 organic lemon, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely minced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

3/4 pound pasta, any type

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino


1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl or pasta bowl, combine the herbs, lemon zest, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.

2.  When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the pasta. Follow the cooking instructions on the package, but check the pasta a minute before the indicated time. A few minutes before the pasta is done, add the peas to the water. When the pasta is just about al dente, remove a half cup of the cooking water and add to the bowl with the herbs. Drain the pasta and peas, toss with the herb mixture and the cheese, and serve.

Yield:  Serves four.

Advance Preparation

The herbs can be chopped several hours ahead, but don’t combine the ingredients until you’ve put the water on for the pasta.

Nutritional information per serving: 460 calories; 13 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 70 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 123 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 15 grams protein