#GetCaughtReading 2018 — The Books & A Hullaba Lulu Extra!

Saturday, May 19 2018

Hello, one and all!  Thanks for being part of my Get Caught Reading Month.  Chris Graham – the Story Reading Ape and I had a great time with the mini-series.  

You’ve caught me reading again. This time it’s The Sorcerer’s Garden by D. Wallace Peach.  Diana calls her blog Myths of the MirrorD Peach Sorcerers Garden

I got this book on my Kindle recently, and I finally found a moment to open it.  I can tell you that it did not disappoint.  Diana is an amazing talent with “high” fantasy.  She’s easily as good as Terry Brooks or Robert Jordan (my long-time favorites). Her world-building and prose are superb in this and everything I’ve read from her. And she’s written so many books!  Just pick one and see if you can stop. (As the old potato chip commercial used to say, “You can’t eat (read) just one.”

I asked everyone to let me know what I had caught you reading.  Your selections were so wonderful that I wanted to share the books here.  I’ve included purchase links too.  (Unfortunately I’ve only included Amazon, because… I have a real-world job and little time.) In no particular order, here’s what I caught you reading:

Caught You Reading!

The Contract    John Howell and Gwen Plano (soon to be released)

Return to Hiroshima     Bob Van Laerhoven

Mazie was Crazy         Bradley Lewis

Dead on Arrival       Karen Vaughan (Laura and Gerrie Series, Book 1)

Shopaholic and Sister      Sophie Kinsella

Circumstances of Childhood   John Howell

Ludwika        Christoph Fischer

Three Against The World      Sarah Stuart

The Bone Curse     Carrie Rubin

The Hidden Life of Trees     Peter Wohlleben

A Dead Guy at the Summerhouse    Marian Allen

The Golden Serpent    Luciana Cavallaro

Versions of the Self       Christy Birmingham

Thank you kindly to Robbie Cheadle, author of the Sir Chocolate Book Series for mentioning that she’s reading my The Three Things Serial Story.

Robbie Cheadle

***

Hullaba Lulu Extra!

Ferris Wheel Valentino alone

Valentino surveys the situation from atop the Ferris wheel, by Rob Goldstein

For those of you who are not “on the train” for my Jazz Age Wednesday feature, Hullaba Lulu… I’m collaborating with virtual reality artist, Rob Goldstein.  Rob sends images and videos to illustrate this series, and he’s sending me “three things” to spontaneously drive each chapter of this pantser story.  (You can see the entire collection of videos here.)

Ferris Wheel Lulu Valentino Light-3

Lulu and Valentino on the great Ferris wheel, by Rob Goldstein

The characters have landed in a strange version of Atlantic City, in a nearly empty amusement park where your entry fee is paid in cheeseburgers, and the rides do frightening things.  As I pantsered away to the action, I didn’t get to show Lulu and company on the rides.  So here are some images from Rob to flesh out that aspect of the story. 

Ferris Wheel Bot Lulu-6

A couple of angel-bots followed Lulu from the train to the park.

When the characters finally got onto Valentino’s diesel-punk train, I added some angel-bots to the cast.  Rob let them get off the train to enjoy the Ferris wheel. 

Ferris Wheel Valentino Bot Lulu-5

Valentino, angel-bot, and Lulu having some fun, by Rob Goldstein

I hope to see you at Jazz Age Wednesdays for more Roaring Twenties fantasy excitement with  Hullaba Lulu.  You’re the cat’s pajamas!

 

Now, promoting my “partner in crime” for this year’s Get Caught Reading story — Chris Graham.

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

A lovely book of poetry by Chris Graham’s mom

Amazon

Amazon UK

***

And my own shameless self-promotion…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

Artie Meets the Alchemist Conclusion — #GetCaughtReading 2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Hello, everyone!  I’m back for more Get Caught Reading Month festivities.   Chris Graham – the Story Reading Ape and I collaborated for a mini-series in honor of this event.  

Artie Meets Alchemist promo 1

But first…

Odd Job Girl Sally Cronin

You caught me reading another great book.  This week, you’ve caught me reading one of my favorites by Sally Georgina Cronin Just an Odd Job Girl.

Read the reviews of Sally’s books (and buy them) via a number of distributors. However, for my convenience in creating this post, here’s Amazon (click here), and Amazon UK (click here).

***

Now back to the 2018 Get Caught Reading mini-series…

Previously in Artie Meets the Alchemist…

Artie was testing how fast his motor cycle/time machine could go down Route 66.  Meanwhile Cornelis Drebbel was taking his road locomotive down to investigate, because the civilization alarm in the alchemist’s dirigible went off…

Over to Chris Graham…

Artie Meets the Alchemist

Conclusion

Artie Portable Time Machine cycle

Artie’s portable time machine, image courtesy Chris Graham

Using all his strength, skill and a sizeable amount of good luck, Artie managed to avoid a collision with the rapidly approaching road locomotive.  He basically ran off the road, over an embankment, somersaulting, while doing a 180 horizontally, and abruptly stopping on top of an unfortunate bush, (the only one for miles in any direction), miraculously still on his seat and gripping the handlebars…

From his vantage point, now facing the road, Artie watched the road locomotive stop with much clanking, squealing and copious clouds of steam.  A tall man in formal attire, complete with top hat, and impressively bushy eyebrows, stepped down and hurriedly walked towards him, appearing to be asking questions.  What the questions were, Artie didn’t have a clue at that time — he was still deaf and dazed by the unexpected acrobatics and abrupt stopping manoeuvres…

640px-Road_locomotive__John_boy__(5605531950)

Wikimedia Commons

Then, the man disappeared as the embankment quickly rose.  In fact, the bush had decided it had had enough and collapsed, depositing Artie and the time machine back onto the ground.

The man scrambled over the embankment and after a quick check for broken bones (there were none), helped Artie remove his safety helmet.  He barely paused at Artie’s simian features.

“Are you injured old chap?” he inquired in quaintly polite Teutonic English.

Artie shook his head, wondering at the stranger’s lack of reaction. 

“Yes, I’ve met chimpanzees similar to you before.  I’m terribly sorry to have suddenly materialised in front of you, old boy.  You did a terribly good job avoiding a collision.”

Artie grinned his appreciation of the compliment.

“Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Cornelis Drebbel, and you are…?”

Cornelis Drebbel Alcmariensis

Cornelis Drebbel

Artie put out his gauntlet clad paw, “Aristotle, but please just call me Artie.”

”Your machine looks quite impressive Artie, some kind of motorcycle, but not one I’ve seen before, did you build it?”

”Yes, I did, and your road locomotive is the best I’ve ever seen.  Regarding your sudden appearance, may I ask if you are a time traveler too?”

(Back to Teagan)

“A time traveler?  Oh, my goodness no.  Or well, I suppose you could say that I am.  My companions and I were out for a jaunt in my dirigible and it came to my attention that they had not brought any books along.  The jackalope has some but they were only about weather and empirical data.  So, I set the civilization alarm in hope of finding a library.  Do you happen to know of one?”

Artie sketch thinking color steampunk

Artie, courtesy of Chris Graham

Artie ponderated for a moment, thinking it was good that they had both landed in that world and time.  He gave Cornelis a big toothy grin.

The genius chimpanzee showed the alchemist an app specially adapted for his mobile time machine. 

“This will show us the libraries around the world,” Artie told him.

Library map

“Oh, that’s quite amazing.  Why there are more than two million libraries!  We should find mechanical engineering periodicals for Copper, and weather science volumes for Jack, and romance novels for me,” Cornelis enthused.  “Erm… I mean, history and science books for myself.”

“Indeed!” Artie agreed with a wink.

Then the very remarkable chimpanzee zoomed away on his converted motorcycle / mobile time machine.  With a burst of rainbow colored light, he disappeared.

Cornelis Drebbel shook his head in admiration.

“Copper will never believe this,” the alchemist murmured to himself as he turned on his communication device.  “Jack?  Copper?”

“Yes, Alchemist?” the jackalope answered.

“I’m ready to bring the road locomotive back up to the dirigible.  Could you give me a hand, old thing?” Cornelis asked.

Atonement Airship

Image by Chris Graham

“Of course, Alchemist.  Were you able to find a library?” Jack eagerly inquired.

“Millions of them!” Cornelis cried.

“Conrelis Drebbel,” Copper began.  “Why do you need help getting the road locomotive back up?  You better not have damaged it again.  I only just finished the repairs to it.”

Cornelis cringed momentarily.  He really didn’t mean to abuse Copper’s mechanical talents, but it was certainly a relief that she was so capable.  Besides, the main thing was he had found millions of libraries and there would be no shortage of reading material.

“Dear girl, you are going to be astonished at all the books you’re going to get,” he told her instead of answering.

“You wrecked the locomotive again, didn’t you?” Copper said in a resigned voice.

Cornelis wriggled his bushy eyebrows and smiled to himself.

***

The End.

Who won the drawing for a book from Teagan?

This month is all about encouraging people of all ages to read.  Last week I offered a Kindle version of one of my books to the winner of a random drawing.  I asked anyone who wanted to participate to leave a comment with the title and author of the book I’ve caught you reading.  And the winner is… (drum roll…) Viv Drewa the Owl Lady! 

Viv chose my 1920s stories.  Since The Three Things Serial Story is only a dollar, I threw it in with Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients 1.  Thanks to Viv and everyone who came out to play.

Next weekend I’ll show you all the books I’ve caught people reading.  Meanwhile, ankle over to Jazz Age Wednesdays for my current Roaring Twenties serial.  

Just because I can’t resist, here’s Rob Goldstein’s latest video for my Jazz Age Wednesday series, Hullaba Lulu.  

Thanks for visiting.  Mega hugs!

***

Now, promoting my “partner in crime” Chris Graham.

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

A lovely book of poetry by Chris Graham’s mom

Amazon

Amazon UK

***

And now my own shameless self-promotion…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene and Christopher Graham

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.

Artie Meets the Alchemist Video! — #GetCaughtReading 2018

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Hello, one and all!  It’s Get Caught Reading Month.  I couldn’t resist making a video for the mini-series  Chris Graham – the Story Reading Ape and I are doing in honor of this event.  Please click here for episode-1 of Artie Meets the Alchemist*.  Video trailer follows.

 

Learn how to win a free Kindle copy of one of my books!

***

Artie Meets Alchemist promo 1

Now, promoting my “partner in crime” Chris Graham.

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

A lovely book of poetry by Chris Graham’s mom

Amazon

Amazon UK

***

And my own shameless self-promotion…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene and Christopher Graham

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.

Artie Meets the Alchemist 1 — #GetCaughtReading 2018

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Hello, everyone!  It’s Get Caught Reading Month.   Chris Graham – the Story Reading Ape and I are together again for a mini-series in honor of this event.  There’s also a free Kindle book to be had — read on to learn about that.

Artie Meets Alchemist promo 1

But first…

Escaping Psychiatry beginnings

Every week, you’ll catch me reading a different book.  You might catch Chris too, but you’ll have to ask him what he is reading.  Kicking off this series, you’ve caught me reading one of my favorites by Olga Núñez Miret from her Escaping Psychiatry series — Beginnings the prequel.

Read the reviews and buy the books Amazon (click here), and on Amazon UK (click here)

Now here is the premier of the 2018 Get Caught Reading mini-series…

Artie Meets the Alchemist

Part 1

Man Sun gears Steampunk Eugene_Ivanov_2442

Eugene Ivanov, Wiki Media Commons

“What is that infernal clanging?  Ugh… It’s unbearable!  Where are you, jackalope?”

“It’s the civilization alarm, Miss Copper.”

“Jack, thank goodness you’re here.  Could you please shut off that noise?  My hands are full with the omniscope.”

“Of course, Miss Copper.  There.  Is that an improvement?”  

“Thank you.  You are the world’s most wonderful jackalope.”

“You are welcome, Miss Copper.  The sensors detected a group of lifeforms.  Ah, Alchemist ― good, you are here.  We’ve found sentient life.  It appears to be an established community.  Shall we land your dirigible?”

“Jack, old thing, you are a marvel!  Let’s see what we can from up here first.  That looks like a highway over there.  Copper, do you see anything though the telescope?” Cornelis said.

“It’s an omniscope, and yes.  I see apes.  Or rather chimpanzees.  A bunch of them!  Jack, is that what you meant by an established community?” Copper wanted to know.

Chimps Nitpicking sketch

Image courtesy Chris Graham

“No, no, no… That’s altogether verneukt!  They aren’t purple apes by any chance?  We need to turn this ship around!” Corneils exclaimed.

“No, Cornelis.  Of course, the chimpanzees are not purple.  What an absurd thing to say.  Relax,” Copper assured him.

“I’m sorry, Copper.  It’s just that it wouldn’t be the first time.  I told you about the purple world where everyone had an ape doppelganger.  It was an interesting experience but not one I’d want to repeat.  Although I admit it was difficult enough, landing in a world where you were a young woman, rather than the little girl I knew.”

“Keep your hands to yourself, Cornelis Drebbel.  If you ruffle my hair like I was a small child one more time, then you’ll draw back a nub!”

Miss Copper!”

Copper crop 1

Dreamstime

“Oh, calm down Jack.  You know I wouldn’t really do that.  Although there hasn’t been an un-interesting day since Cornelis Drebbel showed up, claiming that he knew me as a small child ― in a similar but different world.  He might get into only half as much trouble with one less hand.”

“I’m going to take my road locomotive down and investigate.  Copper and Jack, you two should stay up here for now.” 

“That’s fine by me, Cornelis.  Apes make me uncomfortable.  Jack and I have plenty of work to do.  But try to stay out of trouble.  Please!”

***

Artie Formal Dress

Image courtesy Chris Graham

 

Now over to Chris Graham

Since his adventures with Pip and Mona (see: Pip and Artie Meet Again Parts ONE, TWO & THREE), Artie had been busy refining his converted motorcycle / mobile time machine, and even incorporated an inter-dimensional shift facility (IDSF) so he could not only travel through time, but also visit alternative dimensions, or realities, as he preferred to call them.

All this had, of course, involved many periods of deep ponderating, to the extent that he would often jump up (waken himself and half the neighbourhood) with sudden loud exclamations of “Of course!” which sounded suspiciously like loud snoring snorts…

In any case, after each addition, or adjustment, Artie would go off on a test run, to make sure everything worked as he intended, relying on his trusty Emergency Visit Duration Countdown Alarm (EVDCA) to get him safely back home again if all else failed (he hoped)…

During one recent test run, Artie was testing how fast the machine could go down an alternative reality version of Route 66 after his latest adjustments (i.e., too fast) when, with a bright noisy flash, a steam tractor-like road locomotive suddenly appeared about a hundred yards in front of him!

 

***

End Part 1

(For related stories see: The Sign of the Ape series and Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers serial in the blog Categories on the right side of the screen.) 

Drawing for a book from Teagan!

May 9, 2018:  The time period for entering the contest is now over. I’ll announce the winner this Saturday.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first part of our Get Caught Reading offering.  This month is all about encouraging people of all ages to read.  So I’ll do a random drawing to give away a Kindle copy of one of my books (winner’s choice). 

Here’s how you participate.  To enter, leave a comment telling me the title and author of the book we’ve caught you reading!  You must leave the comment by Tuesday to be included.  I’ll email the winner an Amazon Kindle copy of one of my books — you get to choose which one.

Tune in next weekend for more of Artie Meets the Alchemist.   Hugs!

***

Now, promoting my “partner in crime” Chris Graham.

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

A lovely book of poetry by Chris Graham’s mom

Amazon

Amazon UK

***

And now my own shameless self-promotion…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene and Christopher Graham

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.

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.

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 6

On Wings of WhimsyRocking chair

The four naughty chimps probably weren’t as much of a surprise to those of you who have been with Teagan’s Books for awhile.  I don’t think I can get more whimsical than a ghost cowboy riding a giant seahorse.  I really shouldn’t let those wings of whimsy sprout again, lest you think I’m off my Victorian rocker…

However, I was talking to Mary J McCoy-Dressel, when she provided the “things/ingredients” for this episode.  She made an off-handed, fanciful comment and… well… I ran with it.  I’ll let you guess which “thing” gave wings of whimsy to this episode.

I hope you’ll check out Mary’s blogs and books. I think of Mary as a romance writer extraordinaire.  She has a veritable dynasty of gentleman cowboys and “sensual, contemporary western romance” books.

Mary DD Ranch 3 bks

It’s time to get back on track with this weekend’s episode.  Be sure to take the train all the way to the end of the line for this weekend’s recipe.  All aboard!

From last time:

“What is it?” I asked once I could see Cornelis Drebbel properly again.

“There are people coming.  More than one group.  From more than one direction,” he said sounding like he was still trying to understand what he saw.  “We have to hurry.”

6. Soup Bone, Destiny, Ceramic Statue

“Copper!” I called.  “We have to hurry.  Where are you?”

I had climbed the narrow stairs up to the tiny room at the top of the turreted tower of the lovely Hixon estate.  I wanted to get the best possible view of the land around me, but I didn’t hold much hope of seeing anything in the dark.

The Empress of Little Rock

The Empress of Little Rock

Opening the window, I leaned out precariously.  Although I needn’t have been concerned about falling out — the wretched bustle on my skirt wouldn’t fit through the window.  I exhaled in exasperation at the convention of fashion I had to adopt.

When I looked to my right, I saw a small light.  At first I took it for a firefly, but it wasn’t.  It was too far away, I wouldn’t see a firefly at such a distance.  Then I saw another light near it — and two more.  Torches.  They moved steadily toward the house.

Bustle-CorsetI twisted my torso and looked to my left.  There I spotted more lights, coming from the west.  One lantern held still and several others moved toward it.  I had no doubt that the group of them would also begin moving toward the Hixon estate soon.

However, Cornelis detected three groups, each approaching from a different direction.  Quickly I walked across the round turreted room to the other window.  I stretched out as far as I could, but I didn’t see anything.

If only there were more stars, or a bigger moon, I thought.  Well then, if I couldn’t see, perhaps I could hear.  I held very still and strained to hear, isolating the sounds of nature, the insects and owls.  Faint and far off I heard growls and barks, but they were only canine.  Probably two dogs fighting over a soup bone.

Abruptly the dogs gave a startled yip.  Then I heard the familiar screeching and chattering of chimpanzees.  I still couldn’t see anything.  I wondered how far away they were.  Of the two groups with torches one seemed to be about as far away as the other.  I could only guess about the chimps.  Their cacophony might carry a long way in the quiet of the night.  Or for all I knew, they might be nearer than the others.

I hurried down the turret stairs and headed for the bedrooms to find Copper.  When I told the girl to only get the most important things, I’d meant clean nickers, stockings, and a change of clothes…  However, she struggled to carry a sizable carpet bag.  It was black with a floral design done in cheery shades of mauve and red.  It also looked too heavy to contain only the “important things” I told her to gather.Victorian knickers

Shaking my head I looked at the bag.  “Copper, there’s no time for me to sort through your bag and get the things you really need,” I said resignedly.  “I hope you chose well, because it certainly seems you chose enough.”

The girl tried to mollify me by holding out the harmonic tuner — the erstwhile silver dinner bell from the Belle Inn.  In truth I was pleased with her quick thinking.  No one told her to look for it.  I smiled despite myself.  I didn’t know what to do with a harmonic tuner, but Cornelis did.  It might prove very useful.

When Copper shifted the heavy bag I heard a muffled but pretty chime.  “That doesn’t sound like something ‘important’ now, does it?” I said and with a groan hefted the heavy carpet bag.

“Yes it is!” she insisted.  “Daddy gave it to me.  It’s the most important thing I have.”

Previously the Copper I had come to know was logical, creative, and resilient.  To my surprise the girl’s lower lip began to tremble.  How could I be so insensitive?  She really was just a kid.  Copper had been through enough in the past few days to make any adult a nervous wreck.  And now Cornelis and I were about to tear her away from her home and run headlong into parts unknown.

Feeling ashamed of myself, I put the bag down and put my arms around Copper for a hug, which she returned with a sob.  “Go ahead and cry if you need to,” I said softly.

She sniffled, shook her head, and wiped her nose on her sleeve.  “I’m fine,” she said.

Tiffany Arabesque bellCopper opened the bag.  I saw with relief that she had packed the owl-shaped lamp, the base of which held the priceless letter and drawings of Leonardo da Vinci.  She removed whatever made the chiming sound.  I didn’t get a look at it because she was quick to secret it inside her blue cape.  I felt like such a heel when I thought she must be afraid I’d take her father’s gift away from her.

“May I see it?” I asked, trying to make amends.

It was an ornate bell with detailed carvings of the fabled three mystic apes — see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.  After dealing with the real life chimpanzees, I could have wished the design was of anything but apes.  However, I wasn’t the girl whose father had made it a cherished gift.  Even so, it was artistically rendered in a style that made me think it was a Japanese antique.  It was likely quite valuable.

I nodded appreciatively.  “Of course you should keep it with you.  Put it some place safe, so you don’t drop it,” I said.

“You’re right.  We do have to hurry.  Those stinking naughty monkeys are getting close,” Copper added causing me to smile at her bravery.  “I mean chimpanzees,” she amended, no doubt remembering Cornelis correcting her.Wise Monkeys statues

With a chill I realized she was correct.  The chimps moved faster than I expected.  Their eerie screeching filled the night.

My suitcase and hatbox were sitting in the hallway.  Copper picked up my suitcase, which was less than half the weight of the carpet bag she had dragged through the house.  When she moved to get my hatbox too, I hastily said that I would get it.

“I need you to get the doors,” I gave my excuse.  “So you’ll need a free hand.”

The truth of the matter was I never let anyone carry my hatbox.  It contained the skull of Cornelis Drebbel.

We stepped quickly down the stairs.  I hesitated so I could adjust the heavy carpet bag and make sure I had a tight hold on the hatbox.  I saw Copper turn back to gaze at her house.  She looked up at the beautiful home with large sad blue eyes.

“I’ll bring you back as soon as everything is sorted out,” I assured her.

Copper shook her head.  There was something very grown up about the way she stood and the expression on her face.

Copper pensive“Daddy says that your destiny isn’t always what you expect,” the girl said.  “I didn’t get it when I was real little,” said the suddenly mature moppet at my side.  “But I think I understand now.”

A simian scream split the air.  It came from the far end of the lawn, from the shade tree where I had tied my borrowed horse when I arrived at the Hixon estate.  At that moment I could have wished for a fast horse, but Ignatius Belle had taken his dapple mare back into town with him.  I heard simian screeching in the distance, growing closer and ever wilder.  It made my skin crawl.

Two pinpoints of light seemed to stare at me from the high branches of the tree.  I shuddered when I realized it was one of the chimpanzees.  It must have come ahead of the others, like some kind of advance guard.  I was amazed at how well the creatures were trained.  Who could possibly train and control animals in such a remarkable way?

The chimp must have seen me looking back at him.  It started wreaking havoc in the branches of the tree, jumping up and down and screeching bloody murder.  His fellows in the distance screamed back excitedly.  It sounded like there were a lot of them.  I remembered nervously how strong they were.  I hoisted the carpet bag, putting its strap over my shoulder so I could take Copper’s hand.  I had to make sure we weren’t separated.Burrell Road Locomotive

An earsplitting screech made me look over my shoulder.  However, the noise was not simian; rather it was a metallic sound.  Then I heard the shrill whistle of escaping steam.  The doors of the outbuilding where Cornelis was working burst open.  The road locomotive moved toward us with a loud clickity-clack clickity-clack.  As it increased speed, the clicks and clacks blurred together into a continuous noise.

Copper squeezed my hand.  I followed her gaze.  The chimpanzees had amassed at the shade tree.  They milled curiously as they watched the road locomotive.  One and then another would chatter to the others.  I had a bad feeling that they were working themselves up for an attack.

1903 Girl 2 Horses postcardOne very large chimp moved far ahead of the rest.  Standing alone, he gesticulated wildly.  He paused, screeched and repeated what seemed to be the same set of motions.  It did seem a little odd to me, but the antics of angry apes were not something I had time to consider, not in those circumstances.

“Daddy…” Copper murmured.

Poor Copper, I thought, pleading for her missing father.  “Everything’s going to be fine,” I shouted to be heard above the chimpanzees and the noise of the approaching road locomotive.

Cornelis built up speed with the engine and charged directly into the group of chimps.  The apes scattered with wild complaints.  The accident of alchemy that left him in his strange state, also gave him some otherworldly powers.  When he blew the locomotive’s whistle, it belched a long gout of green flame with a sound so shrill and loud my ears rang long after the noise was gone.

“Don’t hurt them!” Copper shrieked, and I supposed she hadn’t grasped how strong and dangerous a pack of attacking and very large adult chimpanzees actually were.

“Those are no organ grinder’s monkeys!” I cried.

“Chimpanzees!” Cornelis corrected me.

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel

Yes, he corrected me at a time like that.  The alchemist could be absolutely insufferable with that kind of thing.

The Dutchman blew the locomotive’s whistle a second time and it went to an escalating pitch that climbed until I could no longer hear it.  However, I could feel that the awful sound was still there.  The chimpanzees screamed in pain.  The group of them scattered and ran away.  Or I thought they did.

The alchemist brought the road locomotive back around to where Copper and I stood.  He jumped down from the engine, grinning ear to ear.  He was quite pleased with himself.

“Isn’t it an amazing machine!” Cornelis exclaimed.

“How did you do that?  With the green flame and the sound,” I asked as I rubbed my fingers inside my ears.

“You liked?” he said with bobbing eyebrows.  “I could have done more if I’d thought to bring the harmonic tuner.”

At that comment, Copper retrieved the device that looked like a decorative silver bell and handed it to the Dutchman.  He bowed and thanked her effusively.  I saw that she also held the monkey bell her father had given her.Victorian gown bustle stripes

Cornelis lithely climbed back onto the locomotive.  He held out his hand for Copper but she couldn’t quite reach, so I gave her a boost from behind as I climbed.  Then I saw the apes.  Three of them remained, undeterred from whatever their mission was.  I had to assume they meant to capture Copper.

A very human-like, extremely strong hand grabbed my ankle before I could get onto the engine.  When I looked down, all I could see were the big chimpanzee’s bared teeth.

I struggled to hang onto the locomotive.  Copper grabbed my arm to try and help, but then I feared that if the chimp pulled me free, that she would be dragged down with me.  I was relieved to notice that Cornelis still had her other hand.

“Cornelis!  Go!” I yelled and he saw the three chimps.

The locomotive jolted back to life.  I was afraid I would lose my grip if I moved, but I kicked backward with my other foot.  My boot heel thudded softly against something and the chimp’s hold on my ankle loosened enough for me to dislodge him.

In the commotion our lantern fell to the grassy ground.  A small fire spilled around the torch, but it was slow to spread, as the weather had been damp throughout the week.

1924 Little Dipper Champagne adThe three chimps looked at one another and chattered.  One of them motioned with his simian hands.  I recognized him for the same chimp who had gestured so insistently before.  He fiercely looked right into my eyes.  Was that the same set of motions he made earlier?  I saw their muscles bunch as the trio of adult chimpanzees readied to jump onto the locomotive.  I knew we could not fight off all three of them.

The alchemist began muttering odd sounding words that I quickly recognized for the strange language he used when he was about to do something that would either end horribly or be extraordinary.

He held the harmonic tuner in one hand, but still held protectively onto Copper with his other hand.  The “bell” began to make that strange multi-level sound it had generated before.  I could see an aura vibrate around it.  The sound and sensation doubled.  I realized half of it was coming from a second source.

That was when I saw that Copper held the cherished “mystic monkeys” bell her father had given her.  It was the second source of the harmonic sound.  A tri-colored aura made a rainbow around the bell and the girl.  The sound seemed to vibrate through the entire world.  Then I felt it inside my throat, and wondered if my voice would take on that dual harmonic sound when I spoke.

Copper

Copper

“Dear God,” I said in a strangely pulsating voice that sounded odd to my own ears.  Cornelis only glanced at me, so focused was he on his task.  “It’s another harmonic tuner!” I said just as the alchemist finished the magic he was working.

He looked at me with a wide eyed expression of shock at my words.  I was jolted and nearly fell from the engine as an aura that matched the one surrounding Copper quickly engulfed the three of us and the road locomotive too.  I felt more than saw something radiate out from the aura.  It stretched, expanded, and then contracted abruptly.

The harmonic sounds staggered as they dwindled.  The auras vanished.  The world was incredibly quiet after the bombardment of sounds.  Nature did not stir.  The noises of night were silent.  As I looked down from the engine the first thing that caught my eye was a shining spot of celadon green.  It was our lantern, it lay where it had fallen with flickers of what once had been flames in the grass around it.  The little fires were cold and unmoving.

I started to climb down from the road locomotive.  Cornelis reminded me to use caution.  I scanned the area, but I didn’t see the chimps anywhere.  Then I saw it.  I jumped down from the engine.  A large celadon green ceramic statue rested on the ground.  Three wise monkeys, see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil stood transformed.

“Are they still alive in there?” Copper wanted to know of the transmuted chimpanzees as she looked over my shoulder.

Cornelis and I exchanged a knowing glance.  Copper looked inexplicably dismayed, considering how the creatures had been attacking us.

Lewis Francis Hadley,  the Long-haired Sign Talker

Lewis Francis Hadley,
the Long-haired Sign Talker

“Possibly so,” the Dutchman told the girl and she looked less upset.  “Quite possibly so.”

She brushed a tear from her cheek.  “Daddy!” Copper cried.  “He was saying ‘daddy’ when he waved his arms around,” she said to my astonishment.

“Do you mean sign language?” I asked incredulous, but Copper nodded.

“I think so,” Copper said.  “He wasn’t doing it right, but it looked like he was trying to say daddy.”

The idea of an ape communicating through sign language was preposterous.  I thought it was wishful thinking on Copper’s part.  I could have thrown something at Cornelis when he made a comment that basically encouraged the fantasy.  I frowned and made a face when my next thought was that the trickster would just use one of his tricks to let anything I threw pass right through him.

“He likely wanted you to believe he could lead you to your father,” Cornelis said.  “But you know they were naughty monkeys, and you could not trust them,” he added and Copper nodded her reluctant agreement.

“Chimpanzees,” I said because I couldn’t resist turning the Dutchman’s correction on him.

His eyes narrowed but he didn’t respond to my taunt.  Instead, he looked past me.  “We’ve no time to doddle,” Cornelis reminded us.  “The other two groups are mere minutes away.”

When I turned to look I saw the torches again.  There were two groups, one larger than the other.  They still approached from different directions, but they were indeed much closer.

***

The question remains — who controls the chimpanzees?  Was it Copper’s fertile imagination, or did the chimp really try to use sign language to say something about her father?  Who are the other two groups of pursuers? Will our trio escape? Only the things and ingredients can say.

Don’t leave yet.  Here’s a point of interest for this episode:

Washoe and the family teach Loulis to use sign language

Since Mary’s food-related thing (ingredient) was soup bone, I couldn’t resist sharing a link to one of my two favorite soups of this winter.  Its creator is Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen.  Suzanne also sent “things/ingredients” for a future episode but it is a few weeks away.  Bon appétit!

Recipe: Cannellini Bean, Kale, and Bacon Soup

Cannellini Bean Kale Bacon SoupRecipe and photo credit: Suzanne DeBrango

I look forward to seeing you next weekend. Who knows where the steam locomotive will take us — only three things or ingredients can say.

 

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.