Pip & Pancakes with Dan

Great news everyone — we have another guest!  Dan Antion at No Facilities agreed to be my next co-conspirator collaborator.  This post is already live at his blog for his One-Liner Wednesday feature.  So I’m handing things over to Dan to explain.  (I also think he should consider a career change to TV announcer.  He gave me such a nice introduction, I’m still blushing.)

A One and Three Twofer

It’s One-Liner Wednesday, the series brought to us by Linda G. Hill, and many of you will be surprised by how close to one line I am going to come. That’s because I am joined today by Teagan R. Geneviene who will soon release her 1920’s novel. If you’re not familiar with Teagan and her three-things stories, you’re in for a treat. If you are familiar with Teagan’s work, you know exactly what kind of treat you’re in for.

My one-liner is all about a treat too. A few weeks ago, when I woke up in Florida with the task making, changing and cancelling flights on a day the airlines were struggling with a blizzard in the Northeast, I wasn’t eager to get out of bed. I talked myself into action with the following thought:

When you know you’re going to have a bad day, make it better by starting with pancakes.”

Teagan told me that Pip could have some fun with pancakes, so let me get out of the way (after a few pictures for the foodies).

Now, while I finish my breakfast, please enjoy Teagan’s story. Try to imagine my best Ed McMahon voice, as I say:

Heeeeeer’s Teagan!

Thank you again, Dan, for agreeing to collaborate on a post with me.  I hope everyone will visit his blog.  Dan uses several post themes and they’re all terrific.  I had a great time at No Facilities.  His picture of the crow was pos-i-lutely inspired.  You’ll see why in a second.

Now for my part… This vignette is set in the Roaring Twenties world of my flapper character, Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip.  (For more about Pip, see The Three Things Serial Story click here.)  Pip’s father and grandmother decided to “settle her down” by having her live with Granny for awhile.  That’s where this tidbit picks up.  Also, as you guessed, the prompt Dan gave me for this tale was pancakes.  I hope you enjoy it.

Pip and Pancakes

1925 La Vie Parisienne woman pancake cooking

La Vie Parisienne, February 1925

Horsefeathers!  I think I sprained my wrist,” I complained as the iron skillet plopped back onto the stove with a loud clang.

Outside a crow made a cawing sound that might as well have been the bird’s laughter.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody, you will mind your language while you’re in my kitchen,” Granny Phanny warned me.

My grandmother hefted the heavy skillet with a quick motion.  A perfectly round pancake sailed high into the air.  It landed majestically, golden side up, in the pan.  I heard the crow again.  If it had a human voice, I was sure it would be saying “Ha!  Let’s see you do that.”

Granny must have biceps made of steel under her shirtsleeves.  She handled that heavy skillet like it weighed nothing.

The clear blue sky beyond the kitchen window distracted me.  I imagined being back in Florida with my friends, watching the boats on Santa Rosa Sound.  However, I was in Granny’s kitchen in Savannah, Georgia.  Pops had not appreciated the fact that I was a modern woman, a flapper.  It was an appalling sentence to be given, and it pos-i-lutely did not fit my transgression.  Why it was just a little yachting adventure.  Nonetheless, Pops and Granny contrived for me to stay with her and learn to cook!

Pillsbury Home Journal Pancake flour ad September 1920

Pillsbury ad, Home Journal, September 1920

Of course the crow chose that moment to caw some more.  It really did seem to be laughing at my predicament.  Or at least at the idea of me cooking.  I was ready to stick my tongue out at the bird.

Honestly, I only looked away for a moment.  Maybe it was my sigh that told Granny my attention had wandered.  Her lips curled in, which meant she was impatient.  I grimaced, knowing I wouldn’t get any sympathy there.  However, Granny gave a sigh of her own, and moved the skillet away from the burner.

“Pip, do you already miss your friends?  You’ve just gotten here.  This was supposed to be something fun for us to do together,” my grandmother told me.

I blinked in surprise.  Granny wanted to do something fun?  Applesauce!  If I had known it was meant to be fun, I might have put some effort into enjoying it.  I cringed when I realized I had said as much out loud.

Granny Phanny gave a snort.  “Maybe I’m not as old as I thought, because that actually made sense to me.”

“In that case, let me try again,” I told her with a grin.

I tried to imitate Granny’s motion and give the pancake a flip.  It only came halfway out of the pan and landed in a folded messy lump.  My grandmother gingerly picked up the half-cooked goo and set it to rights.  She told me to try again and give it some body English.

A tight-lipped grimace settled on my face as I picked up the iron skillet.  I heaved it just so.  The sloppy remains of the pancake lifted into the air.  It sailed up and flipped, and then flew even higher.  It made a wet thwack when it hit the ceiling… and there it stayed.

With a gulp, I looked at Granny, wondering how mad she would be.  Her expression was blank as she stared upward.  She cast an evaluative gaze on me, making me wonder if she thought I’d done it on purpose.

“Pip…  Well, that was right impressive,” she said, with the riotous squawking of the crow in the background.

Bye Bye Black Bird sheet music 1920s

Hurriedly I stirred the batter and poured a puddle of it into the skillet.  I didn’t want to give her time to consider in what way a pancake on the previously spotless kitchen ceiling was impressive.

In my haste I had the heat too high, and the hotcake began to smoke.  Granny moved toward the window.  She told me to just get the spatula and turn it before it burned.  I was more than simply nervous by then.  I don’t know what possessed me, but I tried to do a combination, turn and toss, with the spatula in one hand and the skillet in the other.

Just then Granny shrieked.  The crow cawed even louder.  I whirled around.  The bird was right outside the window. 

My one-handed grip on the iron skillet was too loose.  When I moved so suddenly, the skillet flew from my fingers.  The shining black pan could have been the cousin to the cawing crow, the way it soared across the room.

I gazed in amazement at the flying frying pan.  It spun as it sailed cleanly through the open window.  The skillet crashed into the lilac bush just outside.

The crow’s clamorous cawing abruptly choked.  I might have chuckled to have gotten the last word on the bird, even if by accident.  However, the sound of Granny’s scream was still in my ears, so I didn’t savor that victory.

I spun back toward Granny Phanny to see what was wrong.  She stood stock still.  Her hands were in fists at her side.  My magnificently tossed pancake no longer littered the ceiling.  It draped and dripped over Granny’s forehead.

What’s that they say about the better part of valor?  On pretext of retrieving the skillet, I ran from the kitchen.  The crow alighted on the lilac bush and looked at me accusingly.  It fluttered to the windowsill.

“You won’t go in there if you know what’s good for you,” I told the bird.

Granny appeared on the porch, picking batter from her hair.  She gave me a look that I couldn’t define.  The crow made a brazen cackle.  After a moment Granny burst out laughing.

“Pip, go inside and let’s get cleaned up.  You haven’t been to the Georgian Tea Room.  I’ll treat us to brunch there.  If we stay here we might be eating crow — literally,” she said with a meaningful glare at the bird.

With a last disgruntled caw, the crow flapped away.

Georgian Tea Room in The Olde Pink House 1929

The Georgian Tea Room in the Olde Pink House;  Savannah, GA circa 1929

***

The end.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the cat’s meow.  Mega hugs!

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.

Back to a Pug in the Kitchen — Granny Phanny & the Giant Rabbit

Update

I finally got around to making Suzanne’s “Creamy Spring Turnip Soup.”  I know anything from A Pug in the Kitchen is going to be delicious, but I confess to being lukewarm about turnips.  I say that for the non-turnip lovers in the crowd.  I always take shortcuts in cooking, so I know my versions won’t be as good.  So imagine my pleasure when, even in my clumsy hands this soup was stand-up-and -cheer delicious! 

Preparing to Launch…

This spring I plan to book-ize the second serial story, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients I.   As I get ready for the takeoff, I’m doing a few collaborative posts with people who blog other topics — combining my stories with their respective talents.  Since Murder at the Bijou is a culinary mystery, I am particularly happy to do another joint post with the fantastic chef, Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen.

The post is already live at her blog.  Click here.  I appreciate those of you who have already left comments there.  pug memorial candle

First, here’s Suzanne to introduce our special purpose with this collaboration.  Go ahead, Suzanne…

Another delightful installment from the joint collaboration with writer/author extraordinaire Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, we planned this post to occur in March, Women’s History Month.  We’ve come a long way baby and every month, week, and day should celebrate women and our contribution to society, this country, our families, and communities. I am woman hear me roar.  Well that is a little cliché I know, but we are empowered and accomplished and strong and proud of how far we have come.  It amazes me that at one time women didn’t even have the right to vote.  In some countries women are still considered objects of disdain, almost subhuman, and of less importance than their male counterparts.

I also am including a recipe that I posted years ago for a spring turnip soup.  You may turn up your nose when you read “turnips” but honestly this soup is delicious.  I use Hakurai turnips, which appear late winter and early spring at the local green markets. They are crisp, sweet, and mild — making an outstanding soup!  The soup is topped with some crumbled bacon and the turnip greens, which are sauteéd in the bacon fat. For vegan and vegetarian option all you do is eliminate the bacon and use vegetable broth or water. For vegan option of course you would not use the cream but you can sub a non dairy option of your choice.

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup With Wilted Greens And Bacon

(Bacon is optional for my vegetarian friends)

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

4 heaping cups turnips peeled and quartered (Use the small spring turnips if possible)

1 potato peeled and quartered (I used Yukon Gold and it’s Optional to use a potato)

2 cups leeks (cleaned well and sliced) or use a medium size onion or 2 shallots

4 1/2 cups broth (chicken, vegetable or water)

2 tbs butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg (optional)

4-6 slices bacon

Turnip greens cleaned VERY well

In heavy sauce pan heat a little olive oil, add the leeks or onion or shalot and sweat, cook just until tender don’t brown. Add the turnips and potato, now add the liquid (broth or water). Cover and cook until the turnip and potato are tender. Let cool for about 30 minutes and blend either in your blender or use the immersion blender. Note: If using an immersion blender remove some of the liquid you don’t want the soup too thin, you can always add it back in. Add the butter and cream and season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.

Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from the fry pan and add the greens to the bacon fat, season with salt and peppper and saute until the greens are tender and wilted.

To Serve:  Garnish the soup with the wilted greens and crumbled bacon.

suffragettes-in-white

When I asked Suzanne for an ingredient to use in a story for this collaborative post, right away she said turnips.  Every time I hear that word I think of the “Cinnamon Bun” character from my serial, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-1 (which I mentioned at the beginning).  That story is in the timeline right after The Three Things Serial Story.

Many of you are familiar with my flapper character, Pip.  However, this time the story is told from the point of view of Pip’s grandmother, Phanny Irene Peabody.  (Yes, Granny was also a Pip.)  I thought that was appropriate since March is Women’s History Month.  Granny lived during the height of the suffragette era, and she was a woman to speak her mind.  It’s also something of a back-story for Cinnamon Bun.  I hope you enjoy the story as much as Suzanne’s recipe!  Although that’s a lot for me to live up to…

Granny Phanny and the Giant Rabbit

“The only true woman is a pious, submissive wife and mother, concerned exclusively with home and family!”

Even more irksome than the words themselves was the fact that they were uttered by a woman.  I was glad that I had already left the building.  Otherwise I might have lost my temper.  What business did anyone with that opinion have at a women’s meeting in the first place?

suffragettes-marching

In 1920, Georgia was the first state to “reject” the Nineteenth Amendment, which assured women the right to vote.  It was two years later before women actually got to vote in my home state.  Long after that, we were still suffragettes, working for equal rights.  We still wore suffragette white to our meetings.

That intolerable statement was immediately followed by the resounding crack of a slap across the speaker’s face.  I cringed, knowing full well who had likely delivered the smack.  I turned on my heel and hurried back inside.  Veronica Vale was no meek little lamb.  She was a force of nature when her righteous wrath was incurred.  I tried to make my way through the pandemonium to my friend.

1920s woman scientist-microscopeBy the time I got to Veronica, I could hear police sirens.  A quick look around told me several attendees had slipped quietly away, including the woman who spoke the words that started the trouble.

“It was all planned,” I muttered.  “That bunch wanted to make trouble from the minute they asked to join.”

Not much later a handful of us — enough to make an example, but not so many as to cause the coppers much trouble — were hauled down to the police station.  A group of men stood laughing and cat calling while we were hustled outside.  My cheeks heated in a blush.

Detective Dabney Daniels of the Savannah Police got a tip that something was going to happen.  By the time the paddy wagon reached the station, he was already diffusing the situation.

“Miss Phanny,” he began with a smirk and a shake of his head.  “I wish I could say I was surprised to see you,” he told me before turning to Veronica Vale.  “Mrs. Vale your husband is already here.  You’ll be released into his custody.”

I knew that “custody” statement wouldn’t sit well with Veronica.  She was a doctor and a scientist, not some man’s property.  No matter how good the man.  For years Veronica Vale had worked at a hospital in England called Clapham Common.  It had an all-female staff.  She retired and returned to Savannah.  Then she met the widowed Vincent and partnered with him in his veterinary practice.

Before she could complain, I blurted out my puzzlement.  “Dabney, how could you know…?”

“I’d like to claim powers as a mentalist, Miss Phanny.  However, Dr. Vale had just arrived to pick up someone else,” the handsome detective explained as chaos erupted elsewhere in the station.JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar ad

Detective Daniels quickly excused himself and walked toward the sounds of people shouting.

Veronica gave a downright evil chuckle.  I looked a question at her and she laughed out loud at the expression on my face.

“Phanny Irene Peabody,” she said.  “You are indeed a Pip.  I suppose you’ve never noticed the way that young man looks at you.  He probably doesn’t care a whit for the turnips  you’re always giving him, or the meals he gets in return for fixing one thing and another at your cottage.  Tsk-tsk.  Phanny, that young copper is smitten with you.”

“Veronica, don’t be ridiculous.  You couldn’t be more wrong.  Dabney is just a goodhearted young man,” I told my friend most emphatically.

Another crashing sound and men shouting prevented her from talking more of that nonsense.  How absurd.  I was old enough to be that boy’s mother.  We might enjoy one another’s company, but there was nothing more to it.

“Hi, Honey.  Are you hurt?” Vincent Vale asked his wife as he skidded to a stop.  As Veronica shook her head he turned to me.  “Mrs. Peabody, are you well?” he greeted me politely.Christopher Timothy as Vincent Vale

Veronica assured her husband that neither of us had come to any harm.  I noticed Vincent held some kind of harness.  There was more shouting, and then the veterinarian pelted away toward the commotion.

A moment later we heard Vincent shout.  “Got ‘em!”

However there was another crash.  I heard dull thumping noises.  The sound was quite rhythmic, and coming closer.  Veronica and I exchanged puzzled looks.

I stuck my head around the corner and gasped loudly.

“I must be seeing things.  Else I’m just plain zozzled,” I murmured.

Veronica craned her neck to see what had stunned me.

“Well horsefeathers!  In all my born days…” she began.  “A Flemish Giant.”

“Flemish?  Bushwa!” I exclaimed.  “You’re hallucinating too,” I mumbled.  “Somebody spiked our tea a little too much at the women’s meeting.  Or else I’m looking at a cinnamon colored rabbit that’s three feet tall, sitting on his haunches.”

I crouched down, befuddled.  The big bunny hopped over to me and nuzzled my hand.  I scratched between his impossibly long ears.  I helped hold the big bun still as Vincent got the harness around him.

“This big ole boy decimated Godfrey Gilley’s garden.  Dug up every turnip he had,” Vincent commented.  “When the big bun headed toward his grocery store, Godfrey was so upset that he called the police saying there was a bear in his yard!” the veterinarian laughed.  “Trouble is, I’m not sure what we can do with him.  We’ve taken on so many animals lately,” Vincent admitted, but cast a pleading look at his wife, who gave a resigned sigh.

My face ended up against the giant rabbit’s soft hair as Vincent adjusted the harness.  I found that I didn’t want to move.  My fingers sank into the plush fur.

“I’ll take him,” I spoke up, and questioned my own sobriety again.  “Oh good lord, but I need a hutch for him.”Vintage rabbit driving

I hadn’t noticed that Detective Dabney Daniels was standing beside us.

“Don’t worry, Miss Phanny.  I can take care of a rabbit hutch in a jiffy,” Dabney said.  “Even one big enough for this miscreant,” he added with a grin.

Veronica elbowed me sharply in the ribs.  She gave me an I told you so look and winked.

“He’s sweet on you,” she whispered into my ear.  “So what if he’s younger.  He’s a damn fine figure of a man!”

“Absolutely no!” I told her so fiercely that everyone looked askance.

Fortunately I was spared from an explanation because of Veronica’s loud bark of laughter.

The Vales offered to drive me home.  I got into the automobile with Vincent and Veronica, and of course the rabbit.  Dabney bent down and promised to come by to start on the rabbit hutch that evening.  Veronica wriggled her eyebrows at me.  I gave her a withering look, then turned and smiled at the detective as I thanked him.

“What was all that about?” Vincent wanted to know as we drove away.

Veronica had no inhibitions about sharing her embarrassing speculations to her husband, despite my denial. 

“It simply will not do!” I told her, my patience close to its end.

“She means that dear,” Vincent said.  “You might want to leave it alone before your sense of fun hurts your friendship.”

“You’re right,” she agreed with a sigh.  “I’m sorry Phanny.  I just want to see you happy.”

“I am perfectly happy as I am.  Besides, I told you that my granddaughter, Pip, is coming to live with me.  I’ll have my hands full, teaching her to cook,” I reminded my friends.  “I can’t wait for you to meet her.”

The End

***

Thank you all for visiting. If you’ve already been to this post at A Pug in the Kitchen then double-thanks.  Happy St. Patrick’s weekend.  I’m still wearing my green!

St Patricks Day Vintage

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.

3-D: A Party for the Story Reading Ape

Naughty Chimps

Hello everyone. The Four Naughty Chimps are back and it’s time to get jiggy!  None other than the one and only Chris Graham, better known to you as The Story Reading Ape, is here today.  And I’ve decided to throw him a party.  Woot!

Chris/Ape is such a multi-talented individual, making book cover designs and promo trailers.  Not to mention his tireless promotion of Indie authors.  I’m going to start this party by showing you a sample of something new he’s doing — 3-D images of book covers.  I was so excited to see Atonement, Tennessee in 3-D!

 

3-D Atonement Cover no background

The Prices, etc, can be found at: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/tsra-3d-books/

It wouldn’t be a party if I didn’t invite everyone to come out and play.  When I saw the wonderful 3-D image, on a whim I challenged our Ape/Chris to write a quick story relating to 3-D.  Not only did he go 3-D, he put three “D” names in the story.  Now that’s jumping into the game!

Then I realized it was a little unfair of me to ask the Story Reading Ape to write a story if I didn’t take the same challenge.  (I freely admit that his story is better than mine though.)  Of course he had upped the ante by adding the three “D” names.  Chris TSRA

Now, since this is a party, you know that I want all of you to come out and play too.  Leave something in the comments that the thought of “3-D” inspires in your imagination.

First we’ll have the story from Chris, and then you’ll see mine.

 3-D

By Chris Graham

Davy, Don and Duke had apparently not only painted the town red last night, they’d applied three coats of primer and varnished over two coats of waterproof emulsion judging by they way they felt this morning.

The alleyway they woke up in didn’t look familiar; it was wet and kinda flat looking; even when they forced their eyelids wide open.

As the others watched in befuddled disbelief, Duke slowly peeled himself off the wall and flopped around for a while before draping over a nearby garbage can.

“God – I feel so FLAT!”

“You are!” slurred Don.

“Don’t ya mean – “You Do?””

“Nope, he was making a statement of fact Duke”, a stunned looking Davy slurred in agreement.

Flat Stanley“Waddya mean by that?” grunted Duke as he tried to push himself upright.

“Because you ARE flat” Don slurred more clearly.
“As a pancake” Duke clarified.

Duke looked down at himself, slowly turned his hands and arms around a bit, repeated the action on each of his legs and looked back at his two buddies, still sitting propped up against the alley wall.

“As paper…” his buddies screamed in unison when Duke momentarily disappeared from the waist up as he turned.

Silence gripped the alleyway as all three of them fainted.

Some hours later, when they woke up together, a trio of voices shouted “Hey Guys, I’ve just had the weirdest dream.”

The alleyway still looked as flat as they did.

The end.


My Turn

Okay… that’s hard to follow, but I’ll at least participate.  Here’s my spontaneous 3-D story.  But since I can…  I’m going to put the title at the end, to avoid spoilers.  Here goes…
1930s bedroom elaborate

“Well, Dinah…  It’s a little bit, I don’t know, Gothic looking,” Daisy said thoughtfully as she looked at a picture of a bedroom design her friend wanted to use.

Daisy actually thought the décor bordered on tacky, with all the ruffles and lace.  However, that kind of thing did suit her romanticizing friend.  She moved to a spot where the light was better.  The two young women had slipped into the copy room of the university’s Advanced Technologies lab.  It was the closest place to make a photocopy.

“Where did you find this photo?” Daisy wanted to know.

“It was in the research materials my cinematography professor let us use,” her friend replied.  “Oh I can’t afford to be late for class.  Give it back.  Let me just make a copy of it.  This machine looks like it’s already warmed up,” Dinah said as she put the photo into the machine.

“Cinematography?  Dinah, wasn’t your assignment in that class about a director named John Badham and Frank somebody-or-other?  Hang on a minute.  That’s not a copy machine!  It’s a 3-D printer.”

The lights flickered and went out as all the power was diverted to the 3-D printer.  The machine clicked and chugged.  With a groan it spat out a ruffled pillow.  Shrill whirring whistling sounds filled the room.  The printer shook and belched out a lacy curtain.

Smoke Blue Horizontal

“Turn it off!” Daisy cried, worried that the printer would explode with all the noise it was making.

Dinah frantically and repeatedly pressed the off button.  When that had no effect, she began to slap every button on the control panel.

“I can’t!  It won’t stop!” Dinah yelled above the noise.

The printer screeched and hissed.  Smoke filled the room.  The girls coughed and tried to see through the vapors as they felt their way toward the door.

The sound of soft footfalls reached their ears.

“Who’s there?” Dinah cried.

With the grace of a cat a dark silhouette strode toward them.

With a shaking voice Daisy whispered to her friend, “You don’t suppose that’s D—”

Dinah finished the name in a shaking voice, “Dracula?”

3-D Dracula

Daisy and Dinah Meet Dracula

The end.

Your Turn!

Okay, now it’s your turn.  Think 3-D and all the advancements, or all the science fiction, or even the goofy red and blue 3-D movie glasses.  Give your imagination freedom and leave a comment about 3-D.

Open Invitation

If this inspired you to just write something or otherwise create anything related to 3-D, that’s even better!  If you want, you can use the comments to leave a link to your story or blog post.  Kindly link back to this post if you blog about what you wrote, cooked, painted, or photographed.

Thank you from my heart for “coming out to play” at my party for the Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape.  Drop by his tree house to say hello.

Mega hugs,

Teagan

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

Book Launch Feature — Tales from the Garden

Book Launch Feature — Author Sally G. Cronin

Hello everyone.  In case you aren’t familiar with her, let me just say that blogger and author Sally G. Cronin is one of the world’s most generous and supportive people.  When I saw that she had a new collection of short stories coming out, I volunteered to participate in the book launch.  So without further preamble, here’s Sally to introduce her hew book with a little “behind the scenes” look.

Take it away Sally!Sally Cronin Photo

Tales From The Garden – Behind the scenes – by Sally Cronin

 I have been overwhelmed by the support of fellow bloggers and writers during the launch of Tales from the Garden and was delighted to be invited by Teagan to be a guest and to talk about some behind the scenes background on the book.

ellie_close-up

As I progressed through the stories it became clear that I would need some more creative input, and when I visited my sister in Portsmouth in the summer I took advantage of her lovely garden to take photographs. Diana and her late husband had spent many years creating inviting and beautifully stocked areas of the garden to sit, catch the sun or inhale the scents of the many flowers they had planted. Miss Ellie who is a black Staffie brought another element to the story Trouble in Paradise and she became the guardian of the fairy king as he lived out his exile.  He too originated in Diana’s garden, in a lovely sunlit courtyard at the back of the house.

Writing this book of fairy tales has given me a new perspective on gardens. I have never had a particularly green thumb despite my best efforts. I now have become addicted to sites on flowers and plants and my next garden will be lavished with a great deal more love and attention.

Tales From the Garden - Cover

Tales from the Garden is a collection of fairy stories and 80 illustrations, for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden forever.

The tales reveal the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees and you will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.

The guardians who have kept this sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.

The book is available in print and Ebook at a substantial discount via my own website: http://moyhill.com/tales

Also at Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0180Q6CKM

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0180Q6CKM

 

About Sally Cronin

Sally Cronin spent a number of years in each of the following industries – Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, Radio & Television; and has taken a great deal of inspiration from each.

She has written short stories and poetry since a very young age and contributed to media in the UK and Spain. In 1996 Sally began studying nutrition to inspire her to lose 150 lbs and her first book, Size Matters published in 2001, told the story of that journey back to health. This was followed by another seven books across a number of genres including health, humour and romance. These include Just Food For Health, Size Matters, Just an Odd Job Girl, Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, Flights of Fancy anthology, Turning Back the Clock and Media Training.

All these can be found on Amazon or Smashwords.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

 For the last two years Sally has written a daily blog covering the subjects close to her heart including writing, health and music: Smorgasbord Invitation – Variety is the Spice of Life. You can link to it from here: smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com.

Connect to Sally on social media

http://moyhill.com/tales/

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
https://twitter.com/sgc58
https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
https://www.facebook.com/sallygeorginacronin
https://plus.google.com/+SallyCronin/about

Mega hugs to Teagan for hosting me today…

Mega hugs right back to you Sally.  I’ll be back with a new post of my own this weekend.  Hugs all ’round.

 

 

My “Sexy” Saturday

my sexy saturdayI’ve been a busy blogger this extended-weekend. This post was a bit of something extra I suddenly decided to do. I’ve been feeling a tad guilty over just “re-winding” the first serial for you…  And then…

Everything happened at once. There was no plan for me to re-blog that lovely post from Randstein, but how could I resist?  Then I was so excited to have a completely unexpected book review at Lit World — well I had to re-blog that too!

Betty Boop Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 1988

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Betty Boop balloon.

Back to topic – the original extra bit I actually planned to give you.  You may have figured out that I don’t exactly take this blog to “Sexy”…  But the folks at the My Sexy Saturday blog hop are very flexible about the definition of  sexy.  They were happy to accommodate the less than daring way in which I write. (Believe me you can find things there that fit a more traditional version of sexy!) Plus, they were so very nice to me the few times I’ve come out to play… I’ve always wanted to do more. However, my plate simply overfloweth… I can’t do everything just because I’d like to.

Then I saw that this weekend they have a “Thanksgiving and Families” theme. They even included characters who have no family.  That reminded me of two characters in my short story, Chocolate with Death. So I decided to rearrange my overfull plate.

Even though these characters are not romantically involved, their relationship has a little sex appeal, and they are thankful for one another.  You can read the full story if you want.

In accordance with the blog hop rules I am to post “7 paragraphs or 7 sentences or 7 words ONLY.”  So here are seven sentences from Chocolate with Death.

chocolate-strawberries

If I was startled by the pain in his eyes, which clearly spoke of endless solitude and loneliness, then I was truly astonished by his reply.

“Well yes, that was sort of the entire point when I chose to visit you,” he said.  “We are not strangers. Why do you think you felt that you knew me?”

I flopped back into my chair, confused and overwhelmed. One of my bunny slippers had come off and Death examined it curiously, and then began to refill the glasses with Spumante.

“I only came to visit you – I didn’t come for you,” he said, meaning my time on this earth was not yet over.

betty boop champagne

***

The blog hop’s Twitter handle is @MySexySaturday.

Atonement, Tennessee by Teagan Geneviene

Barnes & Noble Nook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/atonement-tennessee-teagan-geneviene/1117790203?ean=2940148918431

Kindle and Paperback

http://www.amazon.com/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A/ref=la_B00HHDXHVM_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412384486&sr=1-1

Amazon UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A

Amazon India

http://www.amazon.in/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/dp/1481826948

The Micro Story Challenge

Earlier this week a challenge showed up in my inbox.  It was already a month old, but it was part of a newsletter with various things from Amazon and Create Space.  I looked at for a minute… and decided to play.

The Micro Story Challenge

Tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end in a single, yet wholly satisfying sentence. If you are able to construct an entire story in one sentence, and that one sentence is compelling and absent of any structural phenomenon in order to cram in details, you will have stripped away what holds most writers back: a lack of knowing what their books are truly about.

My Answer to the Challenge

The morning sunlight brought pain from the past, laced with fear of escape, but pierced by the determination to create a future.

 

Tree circle limbs vines

I hope you’ll leave your own one-sentence stories in the comments.

My board of Magical Portals, Gates, and Doors at Pinterest might provide ideas.

Hugs,

teagan

 

Your Valentine from Atonement, Tennessee

AT Valentine 2

I thought it would be fun to post a Valentine for all of you — in the form of a short story.  I admit the idea of writing a story for everyone came to me a bit late, so I knew I’d have to scramble to get it finished in time, especially since I wanted to post it a day before the holiday.  I didn’t even know what it should be about, what setting, what sort of characters.  Then I thought I’d make an “Atonement” story, but one that is not in the novel at all.

This tale features one of the Atonement, Tennessee characters — the sheriff, Robin Warden.  If you’ve read the novel, you’ll probably think he’s an odd choice, but that’s what makes it fun.  The sheriff is not the most endearing citizen of Atonement.  This short story takes place quite a few years before the timeline of the novel, with a much younger Robin who is only a deputy sheriff. He has recently come to the town of Atonement and of course, strange things happen.

Forgive me if it gets just a little bit corny — after all, it is supposed to be a Valentine.

Hugs,

teagan

An Atonement, Tennessee Valentine

Hey Robin!  Where’s Batman?  He might let you drive the Batmobile if you’re real nice to him.”  The bullies hadBatmanRobin never outgrown their taunts.  Whether they were ten, twenty, or fifty, those jerks would harass him with the same old thing, Robin Warden thought as he landed on his chest with a thud.  Why had he thought of them?  He had been away from those guys for a month.

What was so wrong with looking like Burt Ward, or being named Robin?  Well, all right — he supposed he could understand how the jokes were tempting.  What he didn’t understand was why they got such a kick out of the same old jabs.

Robin picked himself up and continued looking for the pig.  He’d been chasing it all afternoon.  He couldn’t believe a stupid pig kept getting the better of him.  Maybe that’s why he had thought of the bullies he’d grown up with back in Asheville.  The pig was dragging his self-image through the mud. Literally.

True love heartHis breath froze on the air as he sighed… February in Atonement, Tennessee — “East Bumbles,” the back end of nowhere.  Then he realized that it was Valentine’s Day and he was even more annoyed.  Robin secretly had daydreams of a perfect Valentine’s Day, bringing flowers to a beautiful girl, romance, the whole hearts-and-flowers nine yards.  One year the guys had found out, and he’d never heard the end of it.  As if his unfortunate resemblance to the TV Batman’s sidekick didn’t give his tormentors enough fuel for their quips, they teased him about Valentine’s Day too…

He gave a derisive snort at the memory, and a porcine snuffle seemed to answer from the other side of a bush.  With a lunge he almost had the pig that time.  Almost.  It slipped out of his grasp like a magician, and it ran faster than anything that might someday become bacon had a right to run.  Robin patted his chest to make sure the deputy’s badge was still there.  At least he had that over the guys back home.  He was a real deputy sheriff.

“I’ll show those jerks,” he thought.  “I’ll be driving a real ‘Batmobile’ when I get my own police car, or close enough.  They’ll never match that,” he promised himself.  “And I’ll catch that dang pig or die trying too!”

Scrambling to his feet, Robin ran after the pig again.  He was amazed that his Valentine’s Pig ValentineDay was being spent that way.  He asked himself what difference it made.  He hadn’t made any friends in the tiny town of Atonement yet.  There weren’t many people his age period.  He’d only met a couple of girls, and they weren’t interested in him.  He let out an irritated breath.  The blasted pig might as well be his Valentine.

A glance at the cloudy sky told him night would come early.  He picked up his pace in the chase after the pig.  Leaves crunched as he pounded the twisting path, running, sliding, gaining, and losing.  Sometimes he wondered if the little porker intentionally let him catch a glimpse of it.  Once it actually seemed to be waiting for him to catch up.  Robin was so exasperated he could have screamed.

Until the unwanted memory of the bullies intruded on his thoughts, Robin had thought signing up for the Interstate Sheriffs’ Department exchange program had been the worst mistake of his life.  To think he’d believed he was bored living in Asheville, North Carolina!  It was a wonderland of excitement compared to Atonement, Tennessee.  However, after he thought about it, chasing livestock through rural Atonement was probably better than dealing with the bullies and jerks back home. Robin shook his head resignedly.

Gate Ajar Night

It was really clouding up, and it would be dark soon.  Robin thought uneasily that he wasn’t exactly sure where he was anymore; the pig had led him on such a chase.  That was kind of unnerving.  He’d only lived in the area for a matter of weeks.  The idea of being lost, in the woods, on a winter night was not something he liked to consider.

Then he caught sight of the little rascal running up a trail.  With a burst of energy Robin poured on the speed.  That sorry pig was not going to get away again!  It was headed straight for a tall iron fence.  The pig kept running.  So did Robin.  He finally had it cornered.  Or not…  Were some of the iron bars bent aside?

The young deputy cursed as the pig went through the gap in the fence.  However, Robin Warden wasn’t any bigger than Batman’s sidekick with the regrettably similar name.  He slipped through the damaged bars and made a heroic dive for the pig.  It complained loudly when he caught it by its back feet.

The wind kicked up as he tied a rope securely around the wriggling animal.  He was so intent on his task that he didn’t notice how threatening and dark the black clouds became.  Abruptly the pig became unexpectedly still.  That’s when Robin realized the earth was trembling.  A loud thump proved something heavy had fallen, but he didn’t see what it was.  An earthquake?  He knew Tennessee sometimes experienced very small quakes.

A sharp crack made him jump half out of his skin.  It sounded like lightning, but there was no flash, just the sharp, sudden sound.  Robin looked over his shoulder and saw that a huge old oak tree had a wide split down the center of its trunk.Split tree

The frightened pig huddled against him.  For a moment it didn’t dawn on Robin that he was holding the animal.  The ground stilled.  Robin and the pig looked at one another with wide startled eyes.  The pig looked as embarrassed as Robin felt.  At least the guys weren’t around to see that awkward moment.  He set the pig on the ground and stood up.

Robin took a deep breath.  “Oh crap!” he muttered when he saw that he’d dropped the rope.  However, the pig sat calmly back on its haunches, like a well-trained pet on a leash.  Robin quickly bent down and snatched up the rope before the animal could change its mind.

Mystified by the pig’s sudden change in behavior, he scratched it behind the ears.  It seemed to smile, but he guessed that was just the shape of its mouth.  He patted the pig’s head and said, “Good pig.”  Even as he spoke the words they sounded ridiculous.

Robin spotted the source of the heavy thud sound.  A tombstone was overturned.  He looked around at a very old and rundown Mausoleum_dreamstime_xs_20242963cemetery.  At least he knew where he was — the old Sunhold estate’s graveyard.

A snuffling sound drew his attention.  There was another pig behind the tumbled gravestone.  Then he saw a third pig a few feet away, rooting in the tall dead grass.  The more Robin looked around, the more pigs he saw.  There were at least a dozen.

Twilight descended and Robin stood in perplexed awe, looking at all the pigs.  As the light dimmed, the pigs seemed to emanate a pale glow.  The one he had spent most of the day chasing looked up at him with its smiling face and he took a reflexive step back.  The pig had blue eyes.  “What the—” he muttered, wondering how he had failed to notice that.

The blue-eyed pig nudged Robin’s knee and swung its head toward the damaged oak as if it meant for him to look.  The rent in the tree trunk shown with blue light that reminded him of the cobalt vase his mother had, a deep rich blue.

The pig took a few steps toward the tree, as much as the rope would allow.  However, the animal didn’t tug at the leash.  Robin stood rooted to the ground.  As twilight deepened the glow from the pigs became more apparent.  The other pigs walked tranquilly toward the tree.  The one on his rope sat back down, seeming patient and at peace.John_Collier_Queen_Guinevre's_Maying

The cobalt blue radiance expanded beyond the tree.  All the pigs snorted and snuffled in a way that sounded… pleased.  Then a girl stepped out of the glow.  The luminous pigs continued to look peaceful, but somehow Robin could feel that they were happy and excited.

At first Robin thought the girl was little more than a child.  But as she approached, Robin saw that she was in fact a petite woman.  Long ash blond hair fell in waves like a river of moonlight that reached almost to her knees.  Pale blue flowers were scattered through her tresses.  As she moved the blossoms seemed to bob on the currents of the moonlit river of her hair.

Robin stood in open mouthed astonishment.  She was so beautiful that he couldn’t speak; so purely lovely that there was no room in his mind to question the strange circumstance of her appearing.  Finally the idea that he should say something tickled in his stunned thoughts.  He tried to talk, and managed to make some kind of sound, but the noise that came from his lips reminded him of a hog squealing.

The radiant pigs gathered in a half circle at her feet.  They became quite noisy as they looked at one another and then up at the tiny woman.  Grunt, snuffle, snort.  Grunt, snuffle, snort.  The porcine grunts took on a specific pattern and rhythm, and gradually came together as if the pigs were chanting.  They seemed to grunt the same three syllables repeatedly, go-eh-win, go-eh-win.  Finally the grunting chant flowed into the sound of a name, Goewin.

He gazed up at her in silent wonder.  No face had ever been so sublime.  No name had ever bQueen and knighteen so poetic.  Goewin.  She spoke his name and he thought he might die from the happiness the sound gave him.  Robin didn’t realize that he had dropped to the ground on one knee, amid the glowing pigs that clearly adored her.  He felt unworthy of her touch when she laid her hand on his head and told him to rise.  He was no better than the pigs… probably even less.  At least the pigs could glow.

With weakness in his knees, Robin struggled to his feet.  As he stood he looked into her eyes.  He was astonished to find that they were lavender and as bright as any faceted amethyst.  Then when Goewin returned his gaze, Robin felt so light of heart that he was surprised he didn’t float into the air.

She exclaimed in delight.  “Oh you found her!  Deme, you naughty pig!  Your brothers and sisters came right away, but you roamed the countryside in your game, getting this kind man to chase you,” she admonished the pig, but her voice was gentle.  “Robin, I really am sorry that Deme led you on such a chase.  She took an instant liking to you.  To her it was a great game,” Goewin told the young deputy.

It never occurred to him to question how she knew his name, or that he had been in pursuit of the pig all day.  Robin could barely string two words together.  She seemed to understand when she paused briefly.  Goewin continued to talk, but he was sure she meant to give him a moment to adjust to the strange situation and her presence.  By chattering she gave him time to find his voice.

“It truly is important that I get these pigs back where they belong.  Do you know that 2 Pigsthere has already been at least one war over these pigs?” she asked, but nodded as if answering for him.  “Yes.  And it was a very foolish prank that let them get away this time.  How very shortsighted of that trickster to do such a thing.  But you, Robin, have helped set things aright.  You have my eternal gratitude,” she said as she lowered her eyes and curtsied deeply.

She actually curtsied, he thought.  First she’d placed her hand on his head and told him to rise.  Now she curtsied to him.  It made Robin feel like he was a knight of Camelot and she was a princess.  Suddenly he felt strong and valiant, as if he wore the brightest armor.  Then when he glanced at himself he gasped.  He was glowing!  A little anyway — the light wasn’t nearly as bright as the radiance of the otherworldly pigs, but he was definitely glowing.

His reaction made Goewin giggle.  It was like chimes, he thought.  Her laugh made him smile.  Robin didn’t know how long he stood looking at her like a dumbstruck fool.  He didn’t even care if he was being silly.  They looked into one another’s eyes, they laughed, he thought they even sang.  Later he couldn’t say what they talked about, what they actually did, but he never forgot the bliss he felt.  Moreover, he realized he might never feel such things again, so he simply enjoyed it.

Midnight moon farieRobin remembered noticing the various changes to the sky as the hours passed.  Then as pink and gold clouds streaked the morning, Goewin left.  She didn’t ask him to come with her.  Robin was pretty sure that she knew he was afraid to venture that far from the world he knew, so she didn’t invite him.  The young deputy could have kicked himself for that fear, for not asking her to take him with her.  However, Goewin touched his face and her hand sent a vibration that reached from his chin through his scull.  After that all he could feel when he thought of her was joy and peace.

However, that happiness didn’t stop him from going back to that same spot in the old cemetery every Valentine’s night.

The end.

 Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

No part of this writing, blog, or book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, 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, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.