Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 2

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

Thistledown Girl

Alex Iby, Unsplash

Writing Process

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

So before anyone asks…  When writing fantasy, I’m fond of using archaic forms of words.  Hence my spelling of “faery.”  I followed the lead of Brian Froud.  Many people see him as an expert on fairies/faeries/fae.  If you want to know more about the topic, click here or here.  

I had expected to reveal Bedlam’s vision in this episode.  However, I’m flying by the seat of my pants.  It didn’t work out that way.  That’s all part of pantsering.

About the Episode

The mystery folk from the first episode return for this one.  However, several new characters are introduced.  Be sure to click the links (like this) to reveal the mystery folk behind the character names.

This time we get an idea of what sort of gifts, talents, and magic the faeries of Thistledown might have in their daily lives.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Trumpet Vine, by Manu via Wikimedia Commons free media repository

In the Kitchen

Smoke curled from the twin chimneys of the cottage where  Peaches Dragonfly lived.  I could see it a short distance away.  The warm breeze brought the aroma of tarts Peaches had cooking in the oven.  Even though my mouth watered, I couldn’t get my feet to move.

“Come on!” Peaches encouraged.  “Bedlam Thunder what’s wrong?” she asked, letting go of my arm and giving me a concerned look.

My eyes had found the bright yellow flowers of the trumpet vine.  A horrible idea sprang to my mind when I saw the blossoms.  The vine bore the local news.  I touched a petal, fearing it would shout my name.

Extra!  Extra!  Get the Thistledown Trumpet here!” the flower cried.  “Get the time and place of all the best Midsummer parties!  Take a leaflet,” the blossom added encouragingly.

“Oh good,” murmured Peaches as she reached to pluck a curled leaf.  Unrolling the leaf she read the list of parties before commenting, “Good, they got my information right.  They mentioned that Pick is visiting.  They even included that Holly Songbird will be singing!  I had to ask them to update the announcement for that.  I didn’t think I had given them the information in time.  Perfect!”

I was relieved at not hearing my own name or anything about my awful vision.  However, I still couldn’t manage to raise my eyes to look higher than the ground, or lift my feet to follow Peaches.

Crystal Ball Hand_yeshi-kangrang-258234

Yeshi Kangrang, Unsplash

“People are saying that the things in the vision I had will happen because of me — as if I’m going to make them happen.  That it’s my fault.  Or they just make fun of me.  I haven’t been around much of anybody since River Mindshadow and I were suspended.  That was so humiliating…  I just haven’t wanted to deal with seeing anyone,” I explained, eyes still firmly fixed on my feet.  “And I just can’t face River.  It’s all my fault that she got suspended with me.  I should have done something to stop it.”

It was hard to hold back tears.  I was overwrought, I had been for days.  Stellar the cat twined around my ankles consolingly.  However, it took all my concentration to keep my composure, so I didn’t pet her.  I sniffled and swallowed and sniffled some more before I could finally hold up my head.

Both Peaches and River stood watching me impatiently, fists planted firmly on hips.  I was startled because I hadn’t even heard River come up to us.  Peaches was tapping a foot.  River’s wings were unfurled, so I knew she was about to leave.

“Bedlam, I’ve been given a curfew, a truly unreasonable one too.  So I can’t stay, but I want you to know that none of this is your fault!” River told me in a firm voice.  “Especially me getting suspended, or this curfew.  If you say that again, I’ll be insulted.  My analysis of your vision was mine to state.  I made my own choices.  You didn’t make them for me.”

I drew back.  River’s reaction was not what I expected.  I started babbling an apology, but she cut me off with a smile and a wave of her hand.  Then she nudged me with her elbow.

“It’s alright.  Go on inside and get a slice of tart.  Pick Dragonfly already had two slices,” River said in a kinder voice before she zipped into the sky.

“Ha!  My cousin has been accused of having hollow legs, a slim guy who is always hungry,” Peaches commented fondly as she waved to River.  “He’s actually a good cook.  That more than makes up for it.”

Bird Cherries tree vincent-van-zalinge-38365

 Vincent Van Zalinge, Unsplash

Peaches drew me toward her cottage.  Blackberry vines covered the roof.  It was dotted with berries in various degrees of ripeness, white, red, purple, and black.  The kitchen windowsill was lined with bread and pies set there to cool.  The aroma of desserts in the oven was irresistible.  The pink haired faery did not spare the ovens for her solstice celebrations.

As we neared her home, we had to stop for something most people would find unusual.  A long line of red cherries rolled from the other side of the orchard.  The cherries tumbled along, in single file across our path and through the open front door of her cottage.

Peaches shook her head and made a wry face.  That was how her cousin Pick took care of the cherry picking chore when he visited.  It was part of Pick’s gift, convincing the cherries to leave the tree and come to him.

“If I find a single bruise on those cherries…” Peaches muttered.

Different faeries had different talents or magical abilities, and to varying degrees.  The school was meant to help us, from an early age, to develop our apparent talents, and to uncover hidden gifts.  Some faeries had hardly any magic at all.  Like me.  I didn’t see my visions as any sort of talent, and they certainly weren’t magic.

I had hoped that going to the school would cause me to manifest a better talent.  However, before my freshman term of senior level was finished, my visions got me suspended.  I sighed without meaning to make a sound.  Peaches gave me a sympathetic look before we went inside her home.

Her cottage had a huge kitchen — the largest room in the house.  The way Peaches baked, that was a necessity.

Across the room, the first thing I saw was a uniquely lovely flower arrangement.  It contained the most unexpected combination of things, with all manner of wildflowers, and even stems of cotton bowls.

Cotton plant painting 1901

Cotton plant circa 1901, Wikimedia

However, I stumbled to a halt the moment I stepped through the doorway.  The cherries continued to roll until they went into a basket beside the sink.  Pick Dragonfly carried not just one, but three plates to the sink.  Yet none of those things were what caused me to stop in my tracks.

I faced the long kitchen table, mouth agape.  All of the people I admired most in Thistledown were gathered in my friend’s kitchen.  They weren’t the official council, but they were highly respected people.

The fae at the other end of the table sat head and shoulders above the rest.  He was known far and wide as the furry faery, Field Yewwasp.  The huge table looked ordinary next to him.  I knew the large top hat on the coat rack had to belong to Field.  Wire rimmed spectacles with rose colored lenses sat on his nose.  The red jacket he wore was perfectly tailored for his large frame.  I supposed that if your size and hair automatically drew attention to you, then you would want to be well dressed.

Ember Beamwitch sat at Field’s left.  The flowers in her hair bobbled when she looked up at us.  The fiery colored print of her dress had a soft radiance even in the daylight.  After dark it would give a fanciful glow.  A voluminous sleeve swayed gracefully when she raised her hand to wave at me.  Ember would judge the dance competition that Peaches planned to include in her Midsummer celebration.

One of the spectacles of the Midsummer gathering would be worked by Catseye Glimmer.  From practically nothing, Catseye could create fun and useful things.  I suspected that he would somehow make the dance floor, and that his creation of it would kick-off the party.

At seeing these enormously respected fae, I was a nervous wreck, on top of being an emotional basket case.  My eyes were wide with shock.  I stood speechless even when someone bade me sit down at the table.  That’s when I had one more shock than I could handle.  I dazedly realized the person offering me a seat was Calico Rainbowforest.  She ran the Thistledown Trumpet News!

Oh no, I thought.  This is horrible.  What if she puts my vision in the news?  She’ll probably agree with everyone else.  What if she blames every bad thing on me, like some people are doing?

“Oh dear.  You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Calico spoke in a kind voice.  “Poor Bedlam, I know what you’ve been through.  Did you know that the Readings Master suspended me once too?”

That admission got my surprised attention.  I couldn’t imagine Calico Rainbowforest getting into trouble at school, but she grinned and nodded.

“It wasn’t that long ago, you know.  I believe you and I are more alike than you’d expect.  That man just seemed to take an instant dislike to me.  Anyway… I would very much like to hear the story in your own words,” she requested and paused as if waiting for my answer.  When I didn’t speak she continued, “Whenever you’re feeling ready to talk about it.  I’d just listen, mind you, nothing more.  Then if everyone here agreed that it was safe to share with Thistledown, only if you approved would I put it in the Trumpet.

At that moment I knew Calico was saying something, because I could see her mouth moving.  However, I was already intimidated by the individuals who sat around Peaches’ table.  Plus I was downright paranoid about the Trumpet.  I was slow to absorb Calico’s words.  It seemed like I heard her voice from far away.

Fairy_Islands_1916_by_Ida_Rentoul_Outhwaite

Fairy Islands, 1916, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, Wikimedia

Faeries have a fight or flight reflex — quite literally.  Mine abruptly kicked-in, and my wings unfolded before I knew what was happening.  My wayward wings knocked a honeydew melon off a sideboard.  The honeydew hit the floor in an explosive crash of seeds, juice, and melon flesh.  It splattered half the people at the table.

I jumped backward in my agitation.  One of my wings caught painfully on the doorjamb.  I gasped and turned, not understanding what was causing the pain.  My wing started to tear as I moved.

In the recesses of my mind I heard more than one person scream “No!”  They could see what I was too distressed to understand — that I was about to do serious harm to myself if I moved.

I was vaguely aware of seeing Catseye Glimmer stand.  He turned to the unique flower arrangement behind his seat.  Quickly he picked a stem with several cotton bowls.  He whispered to the plant and flexed his fingers in an impossible looking motion.  Then he threw it toward me.

The stem sailed past, an inch from touching me.  It transformed to a soft cushion the size of the doorway, gently preventing me from moving or doing serious damage to my wing.

“Goodness, she looks like she’ll swoon!” Ember Beamwitch exclaimed.  “Here Bedlam, sit down.”

As if he had the same thought as Ember, Pick Dragonfly handed me a glass of chilled water.

Ember put the first two fingers of her right hand to the “third eye” area of my forehead.  A soft glow emanated from her hand.  After a second I felt a wonderful cool sensation and I no longer felt faint.

I was suddenly aware of Field Yewwasp bending over me.  Everyone else had been between the furry faery and me.  How could someone so large move so fast that I didn’t even see him?  As I looked at him in confusion, he asked if I was all right.

“You’d best stay earthbound, rather than fly, until that heals,” Field advised.

The big pain in my wing seemed disproportionate to what was actually a small tear.  Calico unexpectedly drew a tiny jar of ointment from her pocket.  She gave me a sardonic smile.

“Bedlam, my flight skills aren’t any better than yours.  I’ve learned to keep first aid with me,” Calico confessed.  “May I?” she asked indicating the ointment.

I nodded, still mute.  The ointment did lessen the pain.  I drank from the water Pick gave me.  Wide-eyed, I gazed in amazement at the kindness of the people around me.  However, a most unpleasant sensation reverberated through my head.  I shook my head to clear the ringing, but it wouldn’t stop.

Fairfacefairy_2

Wikimedia

***

I hope you clicked the links to reveal the mystery folk. Additions to the cast for this episode include characters named by Hollyberye, Colleen Chesebro, Chris Graham, Mary J. Mccoy-Dressel, and Tim Price.

Fly back to Teagan’s Books next time to reveal new mystery folk and see what happens in episode three. 

 

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 © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

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

Tuesday Book Blog – Three Things Serial Story

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-authorRecently author and translator (and now professor) Olga Núñez Miret reviewed my novella, The Three Things Serial Story at Riffle.  Now she has shared it at her blog.  (I would have simply reblogged, but I’m rushing for work, and didn’t see the reblog feature, though I’m sure it’s there.)Olga Núñez Miret

I love and appreciate everyone’s comments. I know I’ve had several busy blogging days of posts, when I usually post just once a week.  Since I’m thanking Olga with this post, I’ve disabled comments to send you to the original post.

This review left me giddy!  I’m still blushing. Be sure to check Olga’s other reviews at her blog and at Riffle, just two of the sites where she generously shares reviews. AND check out the fabulous books she has written.

3 books OlgaNM

Wishing everyone a terrific Tuesday!

Mega hugs,

Teagan

 

Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 1

Midnight moon farie

Welcome everyone, to the beginning of an all new serial here at Teagan’s Books!   This one is not a “three things” story, but it is still a pantser tale.  I’m flying by the seat of my pants again!  As I’ve done with other serials, I will promote bloggers each week.

Many of you will know that last weekend I issued a call for characters (for bloggers who wanted to be associated to a character), here and at Facebook.  Well, let me state a big disclaimer about that part.  The characters do not represent the person for which they are named. That is only a means of promoting the person.

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.

Each week, you will see brightly colored faery names (like this) which will be links.  Click on the link to reveal a mystery blogger.  

Here’s a little extra to get this premier rolling:

Now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, I present to you the opening episode…

Thistledown Girl

Alex Iby, Unsplash

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam

Beginning

Fragrances whispered to me of the past as they wafted on the twilight breeze.  Above, clouds from a distant storm moved aside, no longer obscuring my view of the stars. 

Moonstones mirrored in the reflection pool. I gazed at the images reproduced in endless repetition.  It was the memory of a long ago Midsummer.  Could such a time happen again?  I shuddered.

A faraway rumble came to my ears, reminiscent of my name.  Bedlam Thunder How, could anyone have expected me to fit in with such a name?  However, my grand-uncle had a vision and insisted that I bear a name of chaos among a race of people who were known for being goody two shoes.  My grand-uncle was a seer, so even his whims carried weight.

He insisted that I had the sight.  Some of the oldsters agreed with him, though they shook their heads and tut-tutted at the mention of my name.  They weren’t wrong, but I wasn’t the same kind of seer as my grand-uncle.  I could see around the odd corner or three, but I never saw anything good.  I never saw the healthy birth of a babe or who someone would marry.  I didn’t see anything anyone wanted to know.  Instead I saw things the existence of which my people denied.  Paranormal things — impossible places, creatures, and events.

However, in my younger days I had yet to fully realize those gifts.  When visions randomly bubbled to the surface, so to speak, they were more curse than gift.

My eyes shifted again to the reflection pool.  The vision remained.  Heaving a sigh, I sat down beside the pool to watch the mirror image of the stars gliding into place for the summer solstice.  It seemed that I must endure the replication of the past.  Perhaps I would find some enlightenment in it.  I allowed the reflection to flow into my consciousness, and my mind to merge with the vision.

Crystal Ball Hand_yeshi-kangrang-258234

Yeshi Kangrang, Unsplash

***

Morning’s blush still pinked the sky, but the fae of Thistledown were early risers.  The Opal siblings hurried past me, calling cheerful taunts at one another about who would get into the most trouble for being late for school.  I didn’t think their grand-aunt Willowtree would be too upset with them.

Folk of my age were on their way to school, beginners, intermediates, and seniors alike.  Except for me that is.  A week before the end of first term my friend, River and I had both gotten thrown out of freshman studies.

River Mindshadow was a free thinker.  That wasn’t something the schoolmasters appreciated.  The fact that she had no compunction whatsoever about sharing her thoughts and questions was the bane of their existence.

Me?  My visions were beyond the reckoning of the masters, or anyone else for that matter.  I had stopped presenting them in class, pretending that I’d had none.  Then came the day the Readings Master knew full well I’d had a vision and he demanded that I share it for the class to interpret.

The vision had been particularly chaotic and disturbing.  Knowing the contemptuous reaction it would receive from my classmates and the master, my face heated.  I begged to be excused, but the Readings Master would have none of it.  So I described my frenzied revelation as well as I could.  The class erupted in disorder, but the master brought everyone back to point.

River chose that moment to voice her thoughts.  The Readings Master interrupted her.

“Miss Mindshadow,” he began but turned to include me in his warning,  “and Miss Thunder, I’ve had more than enough of either of you.  Think twice about challenging common sense in my classroom!”

At his words, I tried to shush River.  She rolled her eyes at me and relentlessly continued.  River’s analysis of my vision was creative yet logical.  Of course the “creative” part was not well received by the master.  The sniggering from the other students brought the classroom to the edge of disruption.  

We might have come out of it unscathed if she had stopped there.  However, River closed her interpretation with a dire warning of what the vision represented.  Her reading resonated with me, and I vehemently defended my friend’s analysis.  Everyone else objected.  Then, suitably for my name, bedlam thundered in the classroom.

The Readings Master practically dragged River and me to the Headmaster’s office. 

“The loyalty of friendship is a beautiful thing, but…” the Headmaster said before I interrupted her.

We were in her office for all of five minutes before we both were suspended for the rest of the term.  River unfurled her wings and zipped away in righteous indignation.

River did will in flight class.  I was not so proficient.  My wings remained smoothly tucked away.  (Wings of the faeries of Thistledown were not apparent until needed.  It was a matter of convenience that became custom.  Imagine the amount of space that would be taken up by roomful of faeries in full winged glory.)  I was better off on the ground, so I contented myself by leaving at a slower, dignified pace.

Hand Rock BW_brina-blum-112497

Brina Blum, Unsplash

I stumbled over a rock.  That brought my young thoughts back to the moment.  It seemed I wasn’t much more graceful on the ground than in the air. 

A group of children laughed at me.  The adults minding them whispered to one another and smirked.  Word of my suspension from school got around almost as fast as the tales told about my chaotic vision.

“You’re a fine one to laugh, Sprite.  You fell out of your own bed last night,” a woman told him.

The boy glared at me, but looked suddenly inspired.

“It was because of her!” he accused, pointing at me.  “She sees bad things.  She must make them happen too!”

The woman made an exasperated sound at Sprite, and made an admonitory face him.  However, she turned a speculative look at me just the same.  It was not the first time I had seen that kind of expression on a faery face since my suspension.

Part of me knew it would only make them laugh harder, but in a fit of youthful emotion, I unfurled my wings and jumped into fumbling flight.  It wasn’t the first time I had been blamed for things that went wrong, things beyond my control.  However, I had the feeling this time it was going to get a lot worse.

I had no idea where I meant to go.  Even if I had, I wouldn’t have been able to see the way through my tears.  After a while, I managed to get myself tangled in the branches of an exceptionally large plumb tree.  A surprised cat, lounging on the next branch, meowed at me. 

Stellar?” I asked the meowing feline.

Even if I had not recognized the cat and the unusually big plumb tree, the delicious aromas of baking would have let me know where I was.  It was the orchard that belonged to Peaches Dragonfly.

“Bedlam?” I heard the astonished voice of the baker, just before I tumbled to the ground.

As Peaches pulled me to my feet, I noticed the ground was littered with plumbs.

“What’s all this?” I asked even though I was afraid to hear the answer.

She pushed her lovely fluffy pink hair away from her forehead, and looked wryly at the plumbs.

“Rotten,” she said, shaking her head.  “This season half the fruit is rotting as it grows.”

“Oh Peaches, I’m so sorry!” I apologized, as my tears flowed again.

Peaches started out in the same class as River and me.  However, Peaches proved to be a prodigy in persuading fruit trees to produce.  What she did in preparing the fruit was pure magic, even when no magic was involved.  She graduated three full terms early.

“What?  Oh, I see.  You’ve been listening to the wrong people, my friend.  River told me all about your vision, and her reading of it.  I’m in complete agreement,” Peaches said to my great relief.  “I have some free-thinking friends coming to lend a hand with my solstice preparations.  They will want to talk to you, hear what you have to say first hand.”

I gave Peaches a wide-eyed, doubtful look and murmured that I wasn’t so sure that was a good idea.

“All of Thistledown is already talking about your vision.  It gets more twisted with every telling.  So don’t you think you should discuss it with a few people who are willing to listen?  Tell it the way you saw it?  Now, come with me.  You need pie,” she told me.  “Come on, my cousin Pick is back.  River is here too.”

Pick Dragonfly was the only person I knew who had traveled beyond Thistledown.  He was almost a legend locally.

“Oh!  I should have known Pick was back when I saw Stellar in the tree,” I commented, feeling a touch better about the situation already. 

Cat silhouette Tree_saso-tusar-130051

Saso Tusar, Unsplash

***

End Episode 1

I hope everyone clicked on the links to reveal this week’s mystery bloggers.  Pay them a visit and leave a comment.  We love comments.  

Thanks to the mystery folk of this episode:

  • Barbara Murray (along with Zen and Zasha)
  • Olga Núñez Miret
  • Suzanne DeBrango
  • John W. Howell

Stay tuned to learn just what kind of disturbing vision Bedlam had.  I hope to see everyone again next week in Thistledown.  Mega hugs,

Teagan 

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

 

Three Things Serial Shout-Out

3-things-cover_3-2016

#TuesdayBookBlog at Olga, Author Translator

Please click this link.

My little 1920s novella, The Three Things Serial Story, just got a lovely endorsement from Olga Núñez Miret.  Of course I couldn’t resist sharing!Olga Núñez Miret

Please drop by Olga’s blog to say hello — comments are there.  Check out her extraordinary collection of books too. 

Stay tuned here as well.  You’re all cordially invited to a 1920s party. It begins here on Friday.

You’re the berries!3-things-back-cover_2-jpg

 

 

The Art of Taking a Break: Slow Ride

steamboat-mississippi

Welcome everyone!  To most sane people it would seem like the intense challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) would be the last thing anybody who desperately needs to decompress should add to their endless pile of stress.  However, it seems to be the monumental distraction that I needed.

For anyone who is participating in NaNoWriMo along with me, here’s a song to keep us chugging along.

I’m trying hard not to let my woefully inadequate word count bother me.  The Delta Pearl is an old-time paddle-wheel riverboat.  It’s only fitting that the creation of the novel should be a slow ride.

Since I had not planned to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, I had no story in mind.  So I asked everyone to send me three random things, to move the riverboat along.  The response was great, and so were your “things.”  I’ve been using them.  This week things from author and translator Olga Núñez Miret added to the story. (Olga’s Amazon author page here.)  She sent “Ace of Hearts, Small Pistol, Camera” which made me think of the inventor character I had recently created…  My narrator already found him appealing, but Ace of Hearts?  Look out Émeraude! audio-collection-olga

Olga has a sensational collection of her own books, so be sure to click over and take a look.  She is also promoting a multi-author event (details here) for audio books!  Specials run from November 20 — 22, 2016.

Now back to my slow ride on what is supposed to be a NaNoWriMo whirlwind…
Mega hugs!

delta-pearl-cover-1

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 26

3 Things, 3 Tags, & 777

An Author Spotlight

The steam locomotive to the Victorian Era is on the way, but it has to make an extra stop.  It’s too difficult for me to post more than once a week, so please forgive me for doing a combination today. Before the engine reaches our Steampunk platform it’s going through the 777 Switching Station.

Locomotive at Switching Station

The train is at the switching station because I was triple-tagged for the 777 Writer’s Challenge.  I was tagged by three delightful blogger-authors.  I hope you’ll enjoy their blogs.

The Rules:  Go to page 7 of your work‑in‑progress, scroll down to line 7, and share the next 7 sentences in a blog post. (Rather than tag anyone, I’m opening the challenge to all.  Anyone who wants to take up the challenge is welcome to do so.)

Guitar Mancer Cover 11-28-2014A few times recently I’ve promoted my novel (Atonement, Tennessee), and the sequel that’s in the works. So for this challenge I’ll share a snippet of another work in progress (WIP) that I put aside in favor of finishing Atonement in Bloom(It doesn’t really matter, since I haven’t had time to work on any novel…)  Admittedly, I tried to manipulate the rules, but I still didn’t come up with a snippet that I was satisfied with sharing… Such as it is, here is my “777” from “The Guitar Mancer.”

Set-up:  The Guitar Mancer is a quirky urban fantasy. It opens on New Year’s Eve, 1969 in Nashville, Tennessee.  My 777 comes from the prologue, which centers on the villain, an evil supernatural being who is able to access power through music… (And put Chuck Berry in the back of your mind. I said it’s quirky.)

“I am still weak from countless years underground — obtaining an instrument that is well bonded to a mancer would restore me completely,” the man who called himself Yamata Orochi murmured.

Stepping outside his cell, Orochi bent to touch the incapacitated guard’s face.  “What was the instrument?” he demanded roughly, and the injured guard arched his back in agony as the answer was dredged from his mind.

“A strange concept for an instrument,” Orochi murmured.  “An electrical guitar?  Yet this electrified guitar invoked the power quite well in the music that renewed me.  Now, where do I find this place, Deep-Down Louisiana close to New-Or-Leans… among the evergreens?” quoting from the song, he compelled the poor guard to answer.

Okay… with that bit of blog-keeping out of the way, on to the serial!  The three things that fueled the steam locomotive for this episode are from an author who is a great supporter of this blog — the outstanding Olga Núñez Miret.  She has a newly released Young Adult series called Angelic Business.  For a limited time, book-1 is free!

Angelic Business trilogy

Now, without further ado… All aboard!

From last time…

“Hurry!  Get inside,” Cornelis ordered pointing toward the building that was the laboratory of the version of him that inhabited this world. “Quickly,” he added with a sharp pat to the goat’s rump.  “Hang on tight, Copper!” he called.

The lavender goat bolted toward the laboratory, carrying Copper on her back.

“What was that?” I exclaimed.

Cal Hicks came to himself as we all ran behind the goat.  “I was so sure it was dead,” the amethyst ape said.  “That was the hunting call of the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!

Lovers Eye Brooch

26.  Glass Eye, Silver Vinaigrette, Sextant

“I feel funny,” Copper said and indeed she looked pale.

The one eyed one horned flying purple people eater roared a terrible screech a moment before, though the creature was not within our sight.  I thought all the excitement must be too much for the girl.  Copper, Corneils, Cal Hicks, and I hurriedly hid from the beast in the huge laboratory that belonged to the amethyst world’s duplicate of Cornelis Drebbel.Copper pensive

Copper got down from the lavender alpine goat that had playfully carried her into the building.  She really did seem unsteady.  Absinthe had been concerned about us consuming the water of this strange place.  I wondered if something she ate or drank at tea disagreed with her.

Frantic cries from outside caused Cal Hicks to dash to the door.  When he opened the door, the violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper rushed inside.  She was in a terrible state, having heard the roar of the flying beast.  She sank to a stool that was nearby.

“Viola!  Whatever brings you out here?  Were you hurt?  Did you see the beast?” Cal Hicks asked in a single breath.

Reading Ape purpleThe housekeeper shook violently.  I stooped down to see if she was hurt or unwell.  That was when I first noticed that she had a glass eye.  (Of course the eye was purple.)  It was also the first time I realized that she must be elderly.  There were broad strands of pale lavender in her reddish purple hair.  It was not until that moment that it occurred to me that those pastel streaks would be the same as gray hair in our world.

Cal Hicks turned to us and described how the purple people eater had attacked the village where Viola grew up.  She had been among the casualties.  He discretely indicated that her eye had been one of her wounds.  It was no wonder just hearing the creature frightened her to such an extent.

The amethyst ape seemed to know his way around the laboratory quite well.  I thought he must have worked closely with the purple version of Cornelis Drebbel.  He went directly to a table that held many intriguing devices.  Cal opened a drawer and removed an intricately designed silver vinaigrette.  An invigorating scent drifted over to me when he took the vinaigrette to Viola.  The aroma seemed to revive her.silver vinaigrette

Smelling salts?” I inquired.

“No, not precisely.  Rather than ammonium, it’s a restorative herb,” Cal explained.

Assured that Viola was only over-excited and not injured, I stood up again.  As I moved I felt suddenly lightheaded.  There was also an odd hollow feeling at my heart.  My ears were ringing.  I closed my eyes, placed my hand to my solar plexus and took deep breaths.  When I looked up I noticed Copper sitting on the floor, the lavender goat nuzzling at her hair affectionately.

I tottered a little as I stood.  Viola handed me the vinaigrette and patted my arm in a grandmotherly way, but I wasn’t experiencing the vapors  as she had.  Whatever I was experiencing it was not from the emotional response that upset the housekeeper.  She nodded, encouraging me to inhale the scent.  I found that it actually did help.  I took it over to Copper, suspecting that whatever had overcome me was also the cause of her discomfort.

“Viola, you must have run to catch up with us,” Cal said.  “Whatever was so important?”

Victorian Ape Couple“It’s the family.  They’ve returned.  I wanted to make sure they got to meet your extraordinary guests, but I wanted it to be a surprise for them.  So I hurried here, only telling them that I was going to fetch you,” Viola explained.  “Then I heard that horrid beast.  I’ll never forget that awful day!” she cried, tears leaking from her good eye.  “So I ran the rest of the way, fearing for your safety — for all of you.”

When Viola uttered the word “family” Cornelis paled.  He looked from me to Copper.  “You’re not feeling well,” he said and it was a statement not a question.  “They are too close,” he muttered worriedly.

“Who do you mean?” I asked unsteadily.  The dizziness was making it hard for me to think.

“Your doppelgängers!  They are too close.  That’s why you feel ill.  A hollow feeling?  Dizzy, ears ringing?  Am I right?” Cornelis demanded and I nodded apprehensively.  “You must not get any closer to your doubles from this world!” he said, including both Copper and me.

At the excitable tones from Cornelis, Absinthe poked his head up from the alchemist’s jacket pocket.  The tiny fairy stretched his wings and then fluttered to a long worktable that was covered with charts, maps, and scientific looking implements.  The Green Fairy inspected the maps and drawings carefully.  He was just as thorough when he began to examine the contrivances scattered across the table. Sextant

He was also remarkably silent.  Though I’d never heard him utter an actual word, the tiny skunk-looking fae usually muttered, chirped, or grunted most of the time — especially if he was intrigued by something.  However, Absinthe seemed quite serious as he investigated the strange implements on the long table.

He stopped abruptly when he came to a gleaming brass sextant.  It was beautifully decorated with amethyst cabochons.  The navigation instrument was supported by two exquisitely formed gold mermen.  The apparatus sat on a wooden base of purple streaked mahogany.

Absinthe checked the sextant closely, finally muttering very quietly.  However, he still didn’t seem to be himself.  For a moment I wondered if he had a doppelgänger nearby as well.  Then the Green Fairy sighed resignedly.  He looked up at Cornelis and chirped something that the alchemist seem to understand.  They exchanged a sad look.

The Dutchman moved to examine the sextant.  He muttered in much the same manner as Absinthe.  Finally he nodded.  “Yes.  This should do the trick,” Cornelis said with a decisive nod.

He turned gravely to Absinthe.  “Can you take care of the err… the Purple Fairy?” Cornelis asked the tiny Green Fairy, and Absinthe nodded, again with that sad resigned attitude.

green skunk palmThen with a sharp pop Absinthe disappeared.

“What Purple Fairy?” I wanted to know.

The amethyst ape seemed to grasp the fact that was eluding my dizzy noggin.  I struggled to catch up to their thinking, but I felt so woozy.  I vaguely remembered the amethyst ape calling the purple people eater a fae — a fairy.

“Oh you don’t mean?” Cal Hicks gasped with a horrified expression.

Viola echoed Cal’s sudden inhalation, putting a hand to her mouth.  “No.  You can’t mean that very small green creature is going out to confront the giant one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!” the violet chimpanzee housekeeper exclaimed.  “Why the poor little thing won’t last a minute.  Please! Can’t you call him back?”

***

Will the doppelgängers of Felicity and Copper come any closer?  What will befall our heroines if they do?  

Absinthe and Cornelis seemed so sad. Could it mean that the tiny Green Fairy means to sacrifice himself?  What will become of Absinthe if he confronts the purple people eater?  And what about that sextant — what might it do?  Or perhaps I should ask, what kind of trouble can it cause?  Be sure to be at the train station next time!

***

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 11

Location Revealed!

When my friend Olga at Just Olga offered “things” for an episode of this “interactive” serial, I knew they would be rich in detail. What I didn’t expect was for those things to reveal the location of the story… well, sort of.  It’s not an exact location, but a general one.

The Flying Scotsman

The Flying Scotsman

You see, that’s how my Three Things serials work.  The “things” (or sometimes “ingredients”) you readers send inspire everything about the stories — even important things like the characters and the setting. Although we’ve already reached Episode-11, I was still waiting for the things to reveal the location. And when author Olga Núñez Miret sent her three things, one of them did just that.

Which of “Old Family Bible, Carved Whale’s Tooth, and Vine Leaves” do you think gave me the location? Read on and find out.

Olga has published such an impressive and varied collections of books — whether mysterious, suspenseful, or romantic.  She publishes in both English and Spanish, and some works are in audio books too.  I’m in awe of people who can write (or for that matter even read) so fast.  Today I’ll share three of Olga’s books with you, since there are three things. Click on the image for purchase information.

3 books OlgaNM

Our steam locomotive is right on schedule.  It just arrived at the station.  All aboard!

From last time…

Ignatius Belle seems a little too intent on getting Copper to visit his paddle steamer, anchored at the riverside near the abandoned church compound where our trio took refuge.  Or is it just that he believes the girl is the niece of the woman in trousers, and he wants to get closer to her?

However, Cornelis invented “old family friends” who are on the way to transport the trio to a fabricated holiday. So the handsome innkeeper will surely have to part company with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  Or will the “things” create more complications? Read on and find out.

***

11.  Old Family Bible, Carved Whale’s Tooth, Vine Leaves

There was a ragged hole in the roof of the old church.  Sunlight poured through the opening, engulfing Ignatius Belle.  He had taken off his coat and his white shirt caught the light so that it almost glowed.  The effect made him look tall, safe, and… angelic.

Angel Statue male mossI stared at him without realizing it.  Apparently I gawked for so long that it made him uncomfortable, because he chuckled and looked askance at me.  I stuttered, trying to explain without embarrassing myself by telling the man that he looked like an angel.

“It’s just that— Your shirt is dazzlingly bright in the sun’s light,” I stammered, then I reached up and wiped a drop of the shepherd’s pie from his collar, pretending that was the only thing on my mind.

“You’re right,” he agreed. “This is a fascinating ruin, but it is much too fine of a day to be indoors,” Ignatius said and surprised me by taking my hand.

He led me toward the front doors of the abandoned church.  “Oh wait.  What’s this?” I asked, stepping into an aisle where something was left behind on a pew.

At first I thought it was an old hymnal, but it was too large.  I carefully opened the book and turned thin, fragile pages.  Dates were recorded for births, deaths, and marriages.

Ruins St Dunstan

St Dunstan-in-the-East

“Look, it’s an old family Bible,” I commented in fascination.

I turned another page and my eyes were drawn to a name.  “Agustus Belle wed Antigone Stewart—”

“Please, let me see that,” Ignatius said, gently but eagerly taking the antiquated book from my hands.

He squinted and moved back to the place where the sun shone through the damaged roof.  “Those were my grandparents,” he marveled.  “They eloped.  No one was ever sure where they went to get married.  I wonder who this Bible belonged to,” he murmured, delicately turning the pages.

“It doesn’t appear to belong to anyone now.  The congregation, and apparently whatever village was nearby, they’ve all left long ago,” I began, as I looked up into serious brown eyes.  “I think whoever owned this book would want you to have it.  A tie to your grandparents,” I affirmed with a nod.

Ignatius took my hand again, smiled, and led me outside.  He held the old Bible under one arm, and pulled me close to him with the other.  I looked up, with sun-dazzled eyes as he lowered his head toward mine.

Copper

Copper

“Aunt Miiiina!” Copper cried my alias on a sustained note as she ran toward us.

I gave my head a sharp shake to bring myself out of the drowsy, mauve-colored moment.  Of all the bad timing.  But it was probably just as well, I thought.

“Look what I found!” Copper declared excitedly.

There was dirt under her fingernails as if she had been digging in the ground.  Tiny bits of rich soil littered the front of her dress.  The yellow petals of a black-eyed Susan stood out against hair the color of a new-penny.  She had tucked the blossom behind her ear.  I imagined her accidentally pulling up the flower by its roots, and spraying herself with dirt in the process.

Ignatius bowed playfully to Copper.  “Miss, that is a lovely flower, but it beauty pales next to your own,” he told the girl in a whimsical tone.

Copper tilted her head to one side and looked at the innkeeper as if she didn’t understand.  “He’s paying you a compliment,” I told her and tried not to laugh.  “Say thank you.”1860 Carved Whale Tooth

She made a quick movement that might have passed for a curtsey and mumbled her thanks.  Then Copper held her cupped hands toward me.  I hesitated, wondering if she dug up a mole and made a pet of it.

“Look!  Cornelis said it might be magic!” Copper said in a whisper that could have been heard at the riverbank.

In her hands was an ivory figurine inlayed with abalone shell, and not quite four inches long.  It depicted a man reclining on two humpback whales.  The style of the piece reminded me of Aztec artwork.

Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle

Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle

“I found it in the ground when I picked my flower.  Cornelis said it was an amulet,” Copper explained, testing the sound of what must have been an unfamiliar word.

“May I see it,” Ignatius asked.

Copper drew back slightly.  My warning look encouraged her to give the figure to Ignatius.  “It might well be magic of a sort,” he agreed in the tone sometimes used by adults encouraging children to believe in the supernatural.

The girl’s eyebrows went up expectantly and she moved a step closer to the handsome innkeeper.  “You realize we’re not far from the Pacific coast,” Ignatius said turning to me before continuing his examination of the ivory.

“This looks like the work of a coastal tribe to the north of here.  You see the little man?” he asked Copper who nodded interestedly.  “He is a shaman, and he is resting on the backs of his spirit animals — these two humpback whales, placed end-to-end.  Their eyes are made of abalone shell.  Oh, and look here,” he added in childlike excitement.  “You see where the shaman rests his head against the whale’s head?  That connects them and his mouth is the blowhole for the whale!  So this is meant to be the shaman traveling to the spirit world upon his whales,” Ignatius said to Copper’s amazement.Boulet Spirit Animal Totems

“So then,” I began.  “Is the ivory actually a carved whale’s tooth?” I asked and Ignatius affirmed with a smile.  “Copper, I’ll have to find a ribbon for you so you can wear this amulet around your neck.  After all, that’s how magic amulets are supposed to be worn,” I promised to her delight.

A shrill whistle interrupted our examination of the little carving.  At first I couldn’t tell from where the sound came, but I wasn’t looking up far enough.  The sun glinted off polished brass, high in a tree near the river.

“Cornelis Derbbel, of all things!” I declared when I spotted the alchemist in the upper branches of the tree.

The Dutchman whistled again and motioned for us to come to him.  By the time we reached the place, he had climbed down.  Or at least he pretended to have climbed for the innkeeper’s sake.  The alchemist probably descended via a less mundane means.  His face expressed a combination of excitement and worry that only Corenlis could achieve.

“You won’t believe this,” he told me.  “It would be wonderful if it wasn’t so horribly wrong.  But we have to hurry.  They’re only ten minutes or so away!” the Dutchman babbled.Drebbel stamp

“Cornelis, what are you talking about?” I demanded.

He calmed down minutely and held up his brass spyglass.  “I saw them headed this way on the river.  And they’re using a hydrofoil!” he added almost dancing in his enthusiasm.  “I can’t tell who it is though,” he added before I could ask.

I watched the attractive face of Ignatius blanch at the alchemist’s words.  “No.  It can’t be,” he groaned and paced a few steps as if torn.  “I should get you to safety.  But the hydrofoil can outrun my paddle steamer,” Ignatius fretted as he paced.

He seemed genuinely worried for our welfare.  I shot Cornelis a challenging look for his distrust of the dashing innkeeper.Burrell Road Locomotive

“We actually do have transportation,” I confessed.  “It’s just that we felt it had to be kept secret.  It’s one of Hixon— I mean my half-brother’s inventions, and I don’t think he was ready to show it to the world,” I told Ignatius a partial truth.

His eyes widened.  “Don’t tell me!  Do you mean to say that he finished the road locomotive?  That he actually got the steam engine working?” Ignatius cried.

I wondered how it was that the innkeeper knew so much about Calvin Hixon’s inventions.  “Well, mostly.  Cornelis put on the finishing touch, correcting a small problem with the design,” I said looking askance at the Dutchman who nodded with a wide grin.

“Then go!  Go quickly.  No, wait!” Ignatius faltered.  “The road locomotive makes a tremendous noise, does it not?” he asked and we all nodded emphatically.  “I’ll lead them away.  Hide and wait until they are well past.  I’ll make sure they see me.  If they think I have gotten the girl, they are sure to follow,” he said, and then inspiration lit his brown eyes.  “I can even make two bundles.  I’ll put hats on them or something so they can be you and Copper,” Ignatius said turning to me.Stripped Bustle Gown

“You can have my stripped gown,” I said catching his enthusiasm for the idea.  “It’s ruined anyway,” I justified my donation to the scheme.  When Ignatius looked like he would ask how it got ruined I added of my dive into the river to retrieve the skull of Cornelis Drebbel, “That’s a long story.  But there’s all manner of things in that large building,” I said pointing to the half ruined building where we hid the steam engine.  “I’m sure we can bundle up some things that will look like Copper and me, at least from a distance.”

“I’d love a look at the locomotive,” Ignatius said wistfully a moment later when we got to the building.

“Ah, but you realize there’s no time,” Cornelis reminded him with a sidelong look that made it clear to me that he still did not trust Ignatius Belle.

“I found this earlier,” Cornelis began in a sad tone.  “I meant to give it to Copper as the next thing to a playmate,” he told us as he presented a doll, about three feet tall, with hair the color of a new penny.  “But it’s better put to use to protect her,” the Dutchman sighed.Victorian Doll

“Oh what a shame,” I said.  Copper was a good deal taller than the doll, but from a distance it should be quite convincing. “She would love it,” I commented as I looked around for the girl.

I spotted her running back toward us, dragging my stripped frock behind her.  I reminded myself that it was already ruined.  She had also grabbed two ladies hats from that opened crate of accessories.  The hats didn’t match my gown or the doll’s dress, but that was of no importance.

Suddenly Ignatius pulled out a knife.  I gasped in shock and jumped back.  Cornelis had a green aura as he gathered his powers.  However, Ignatius didn’t see it because he was already running for the gaping hole in the wall of the abandoned storage building.  He shouted over his shoulder.  “I saw some vines growing just outside,” he called and he was gone.

Quickly he ran back inside, haloed in green vine leaves.  Ignatius used the vines to tie the bundles and they made passable human-like figures.

***

There was a cluster of bushes just far away enough from the riverbank.  Cornelis used one of his little tricks to make sure we wouldn’t be seen as we watched the paddle steamer pull away.  Just before it rounded a bend in the river, Ignatius gave a blast on the boat’s whistle.  He was making sure whomever piloted the hydrofoil didn’t lose him.

Forlanini hydrofoil

The HD-4

Ignatius claimed that he didn’t know who those people were.  He said the hydrofoil had changed hands a few times since all the chaos began.  I didn’t get to ask him about his involvement in the disappearance of Calvin Hixon, or any of the strange events surrounding it.  Neither could I ask him about his relationship with the man, Copper’s father.  But apparently there had been some level of interaction between the two men.  That might explain the girl’s distrust of the innkeeper.  However, there was no time for me to ask any questions.

Too soon a boat on feet-like skis that lifted it up out of the river neared our hiding place.  For the first time I wondered if Ignatius Belle was a hero or a traitor.  Perhaps he risked his life to lure villains away from Copper and myself.  Then again, he might be meeting them farther down the river, comrades in arms.

Cornelis Derbbel gave a soft surprised grunt.  He used one of his tricks to look farther than the human eye could see.  I raised the spyglass to see what startled the alchemist.  As the hydrofoil drew even with our vantage point, I saw a figure moving wildly on the vessel.  A very chimpanzee cavorted and gesticulated wildly.

***

Is Ignatius Belle now in jeopardy? The question remains as to whether the innkeeper is angel or aggressor.  And once again, who controls the chimpanzees?  Come back next time to learn where the “things” take our trio.

Next time our “things” are from delightful Christy Birmingham at Poetic Parfait. Stay tuned for her: one lone dandelion, free verse poem, and candle wax.

And now for this episode’s recipe.  My search of the WordPress countryside too, me to a lovely blog.  Though you are not likely in Cypress, you are sure to be intrigued – and it has a recipe page, Chef’s Choice Cypriot Recipes.  Bon appétit!

Recipe:  Stuffed Vine Leaves

Stuffed Vine Leaves

Photo and recipe credit: Cypriot Recipes at The Foreign Residents in the TRNC

 

https://tfrnorthcyprus.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/chefs-choice-cypriot-recipes-stuffed-vine-leaves-koupepiadolmades/

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.