WIP vs LIP? Or Glowing Pigs and the Batmobile

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Welcome, to my sanctuary.  Come on inside and relax for a while.

Glowing mushrooms dark tree_jay-ma-304046

Unsplash.com

Writers are always talking about their WIP — or work in progress.  At my “real job” I frequently have to ask executives and tech guys to “spell out” acronyms.  I’m drowning in alphabet soup!

So, I just now laughed when I thought to myself that my WIP keeps getting pushed aside by my LIP, or my life in progress!

Maybe I’m the only one who sees the humor in that… but since they seem to think I’m “giving them lip” (mouthing off) when I ask for clarity or correction…  Yeah, okay… I kill me.  (Insert eye roll.)

Blue-Rose-Orb-52327

The editing and proofing of Atonement in Bloom continues to limp along. 

However, back to the first book, Atonement, Tennessee, I will soon be offering it in Spanish!  That’s thanks to the talented Olga Núñez Miret, who did the translation.  Stay tuned for more on that. 

Since my head is in that quirky town, on a whim I decided to write an all new short story to share today.

As the world-building of Atonement progressed, some small, glowing, otherworldly pigs made their way into the Atonement-verse.  They stole my heart.  So they pop in for a visit now and then.

Without further ado here’s the snort — I mean short story.

2 Pigs

Deme, Honeybell, and the Batmobile

Sunlight dappled the ground.  It made shaded spots on her book, but Honeybell didn’t mind.  The sun felt pleasantly warm on her white fur.  Loud snuffling distracted her from the pages of the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi.

“You do realize that they got half of that story wrong, don’t you?” Deme commented derisively.

“Of course they did.  They’re only human after all.  But that’s what makes it so interesting,” Honeybell defended the ancient tome.

She knew that her friend’s snarky manner meant Deme was up to no good.  Although she had to admit that Deme used her bright blue eyes to great effect when she got caught doing something that wasn’t allowed.

Honeybell secretly wished she was as bold as her friend.  However, it wouldn’t do to let Deme know that.  There was no telling what mischief she’d get dragged in to by the blue-eyed pig if Deme knew Honeybell quietly longed to misbehave.

“The things Gwydion did in this story,” Honeybell began, shaking her head reproachfully at the antiquated book.

Gwydion Conquers Pryderi by E Wallcousins 1920s

Gwydion Conquers Pryderi by E Wallcousins circa 1920

“We could visit him!  Wouldn’t that be fun?” Deme interrupted brightly.  “I know you love to go to Atonement, Tennessee just as much as I do.”

“Deme, you know we’re not allowed to go to human places without permission.  Besides, Gwydion is always getting into trouble.  We’d end up getting over our hooves into it with him.”

“Come on, Honeybell.  We could be there and back before dark.  You know the main reason for that silly rule is because we’ll glow after sundown.  We have plenty of time to go for a romp and be back before twilight.  None the wiser!”

Drat that Deme, she’s always got an answer for everything, Honeybell thought, knowing full well that she had just given in to temptation — and that easily.

“What if we just go check on your sheriff.  Just to make sure he’s okay,” Honeybell relented.  “Goewin wouldn’t get upset with us for that… I don’t think,” she added somewhat doubtfully.  “But we mustn’t let him see us!”

The drift of small white otherworldly pigs answered to Goewin.  They loved her and would do anything for her. 

Deme pranced in place excitedly.  Honeybell knew her friend adored Robin Warden, the sheriff of Atonement, Tennessee.  Deme’s enthusiasm was contagious.  Honeybell suddenly caught it.

“I’ll race you to the big split tree.  I bet I can get through the portal and to Atonement before you!” Honeybell dared her friend.

Abruptly Honeybell stopped with one hoof off the ground.

640px-2016-366-267_Sunset_Glow_Through_a_Split_Tree_(29775743022)

Public Domain, Wikimedia

“Wait,” Honeybell said.  “Robin sometimes visits the tree.  That’s where he last saw Goewin.  We’d have to be careful when we come out, in case he’s there.  I don’t want him to see us.  It might make him sad.”

Deme’s blue eyes sparkled.  Her lopsided smile was evidence that she had mischief in mind.

“There’s another way,” Deme suggested.

With her right front hoof, Deme began scratching a design in a barren patch of ground.  It was quite intricate.  It reminded Honeybell of a Celtic knot design she had seen somewhere.

But where? Honeybell wondered worriedly.

Honeybell’s eyes widened when she remembered where she’d seen that design.  It was on the silver locket that Ralda-Esmeralda always wore.

Sun falls on an antique locket, which sits atop an open book

Olsztyn, Unsplash

“Deme, we’re not supposed to use that kind of magic!” Honeybell cried.

“Says who?  Look it up in your books.  This exact kind of magic is not specifically forbidden anywhere,” Deme said with a sharp nod of her head.

Deme used her back feet to kick a fine dust across the complicated design, giving it a finishing touch.

“There!” Deme stated with a satisfied shake of her curly tail.

Deme kicked her back feet into the air and clicked her hooves together.  With her mouth she grabbed Honeybell by an ear.  The two otherworldly pigs glowed brightly.  Then they vanished.

***

An owl hooted from the branch of a nearby tree.  Robin Warden gave it a suspicious look.  Then he bent over the front-end of a black and white automobile.  The hood was up and odd looking metal parts lay on the ground around the vehicle.  The sheriff’s hands were covered in black grease.  There was a smudge of it on his forehead too.

1956 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Engine used in Batmobile.jpg

Wikimedia Commons

“What is Robin doing to the Batmobile?” Deme asked and started toward the sheriff.

“Deme!” Honeybell hissed at her friend and grabbed the other pig by the curly tail.

“Hey!” Deme complained in an offended tone.

“We can’t let him see us,” Honeybell reminded her friend in an intense whisper.  “And it’s not really called the Batmobile.”

“Oh you take the fun out of everything, Honeybell.  I know it’s a police car, but it’s more fun when Bethany calls it the Batmobile.”

“The fact that you know all that is evidence that you sneak off here more than anyone realizes,” Honeybell replied.  “I think he’s trying to make it run faster.”

I couldn’t resist this 1947 Plymouth. (Wikimedia Commons) Robin might have a souped-up vintage sheriff’s car.

Robin sat down inside the vehicle.  Honeybell could tell his leg moved.  He seemed to be doing something with his foot.  The sheriff’s car made a loud roaring sound.  A dissatisfied expression came to his face and he got out and went to the front of the automobile again.

“Looks like it didn’t work,” Deme commented.  “Whatever it was.  We could help…” Deme began with a sly look at Honeybell.  “But we’d have to get closer.”

Honeybell raised her eyes heavenward and asked for patience.  Before she could reply, Deme trotted over to the black and white automobile.  Honeybell hurried to catch up, but before she got near a flash and an electric pop came from the mechanical innards of the car.  A whiff of ozone reached the pig’s snout.

Robbin warden jerked up at the bright light and sound.  His head banged against the metal of the raised hood.  The sheriff looked around in a startled manner.  After a moment he went back to his work, but appeared to check and recheck everything carefully.

While he was busy reexamining the machinery under the hood, Honeybell and Deme softly tapped their hooves on the various parts that lay on the ground and even on the tools Robin would be using.  They gave each one a tap and a snuffle-snort-grunt.  Then they darted back to their hiding place.

Deme fantasizes about helping Robin catch bad guys. Pearl White, circa 1916

“I think that should help him catch bad humans,” Deme speculated.  “Goewin would not object to us doing that, because it’s related to keeping him safe and well.”

“Do you think it worked?” Honeybell asked?

The sheriff wiped his hands on a dirty rag.  He sat down inside the car and did something to make it roar again.  Abruptly the vehicle zoomed away from its place.  It skidded and swerved like a fish as it went onto the street.  Robin’s eyes bulged in astonishment, but he gave a loud “Whoot!” as the car sped away.

“Yes.  I’d say it worked pretty well,” Deme replied in a grunting chuckle.  “Come on, let’s go after him!’

“No, Deme!  You’re starting to glow,” Honeybell refused with a look at the darkening sky.  “I’m glowing too.  We have to go back home.”

“You’re such a spoil sport,” Deme complained.  “I’ll race you to the split tree in the graveyard!”

Honeybell knew that was the long way home.  She sighed but hurried after her friend.

The sheriff turned the supercharged police car around at the end of the road.  As he headed back to his driveway, two small white, glowing shapes darted across the street.

pig

***

The End.

***

If you have any questions about the “Atonement-verse” feel free to leave them in a comment.  I love to hear from you.  Hugs and glows!

***

Here’s the requisite 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. 

Whose Line Is It? Mine?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Welcome, everyone. There was an improvisational comedy show (1998 – 2004 or so) that always cracked me up.  I thought it was the best exercise in creativity that I’d ever seen.  It was “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”  Drew Carey, Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady, and Colin Mochrie could take any “line” and work hilarious magic. 

Those guys created characters, scenes, and songs on the spot, based on a line they were given.  Yet here I am… I already have the characters and scenes, sometimes even a song — all I need is that line…  That illusive opening line!

Why should that be so difficult?  Horsefeathers!  It’s worse than dating, or meeting the CEO of a big company for the first time.  I struggle with the opening line for days  weeks forever.  Then I wonder how important it actually was. 

Today I thought I’d share what I came up with for my Atonement, Tennessee series.  For the first book I began the prologue with this: Dawn’s light cast shadows that shifted amid branches of magnolia and mountain laurel, and danced upon statuary and grave stones. 

Lilith standing on stone

Lilith explores the Sunhold cemetery in “Atonement, Tennessee”

However, my wrongly wired brain complained, that was the prologue!  Did that qualify as the opening line?  So, I struggled all over again with a line for Chapter 1.  It’s hard to sound all fancy-dancy when writing in first person so that was even harder.  I finally settled on this:  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, ready to savor the moment.

Of course, when I started writing book-2, I went through all that self-torment again.  Worse, I needed to be consistent and keep the magical prologue.  That meant I would go through that double wringer again for Atonement in Bloom.  The prologue begins: Lilith sat bathed in moonlight atop the stone wall, watching small bats dart about, high overhead. 

Then Ralda Lawton, takes over as narrator. Chapter-1 starts like this:  It had seen better days, but who hadn’t?

If I don’t enjoy writing that opening line, then what is my favorite line to write?  “The end.”  Naturally I enjoy writing every line in between.  It’s just that the first one’s a doozy. 

atonement-abandoned-moon

Image by Chris Graham

Reviews!

Frankly, I’ll never be satisfied with an opening line.  So, I’m going to focus on the positive.  Even though it’s been a few years since I published “Atonement” I still get excited about lovely reviews.  I’m downright giddy because recently it has gotten two!  Romance author, Jacquie Biggar posted a review from her blog. 

Author of mystery and suspense, Mae Clair posted this review at Amazon.

Like odd? Like quirky with a generous dollop of magical realism and whimsy thrown in? Then you’re going to love the little town of Atonement, Tennessee and the people (and others) who populate it. Vividly imagined, this is a light but intriguing tale filled with eccentric characters and imaginative plot lines. The shifting narrative between the main character, Esmeralda, and her cat, Lilith (told in 3rd person POV) works surprising well. A truly delightful and “magical” story!

By the way, Mae and Jacquie both have new releases.  Be sure to visit their blogs to learn more!

If you have any questions about the “Atonement-verse” feel free to leave them in a comment.  Also, do you have a favorite opening line from a book you love?  Leave that in a comment too.  I love to hear from you.

***

Here’s 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. 

Books set in TN & Atonement, TN Revisited

Saturday, June 23, 2018

I can’t believe that it was way back at Christmastime, 2012 when I published my urban fantasy novel Atonement, Tennessee.  That makes it downright embarrassing that I still haven’t released the second book!  It’s written, but I have little time to give the editing and proofing process.  Although I’m getting closer.  

Marketing Graphic for Teagan's Books

Image by Chris Graham

It might not be okay for me to mention it outright, but if you miss the “Sookie” books, now that the well loved series set in a small Louisiana town (with HBO series based on it), has come to an end (wink-nudge-wink), then I think you will like my Atonement, Tennessee series.  There are no vampires (not that I know of), rather there are characters loosely inspired by ancient Celtic mythology.

I wanted this post to be about more than me.  I was surprised to learn how many books had the (USA) state of Tennessee as their setting.  Here’s a Goodreads page listing amazing books that are set in Tennessee

Many of you are new and not familiar with my novel.  So while I’m scrambling to get Atonement in Bloom (book 2) out there, I thought I would use my Saturday posts to revisit that… erm, let’s say unique little town.  Today we’ll get reacquainted with the the heroine and narrator, Ralda (Esmeralda) Lawton.  Here are some fun (I hope) facts about her.

1.  Is she fictional or a historic person?

Ralda-in-car_dreamstime_xs_28934268

Ralda Lawton, Dreamstime Image

Ralda (Esmeralda) Lawton is a fictional character.  Atonement, Tennessee, the first book in the series, was a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novel.  I designed everything about that story to be something I could do in the single month of NaNoWriMo — in other words, fast.  Typically none of my characters are based on real people.  However, with the need for speed in mind, I let Ralda share some of my outlooks. Plus her profession is similar to mine.  But she isn’t me, I promise.

Ralda is the narrator for all the Atonement books.  However, her cat, Lilith, takes a turn for important scenes that Ralda could not witness.

Lilith and mirror

Lilith, Dreamstims

2.  When and where is the story set?

Following the advice “Write what you know,” I wanted a small southern town as the setting.  I chose Tennessee for the state of my fictional town.  (Even making up a fictional town was also intended for speed – it wouldn’t need as much research!)  Yet what to name this town?  I was thinking about what kinds of people might live there, their attitudes and opinions.  Suddenly “Atonement” popped into my mind as the name for the town.  So my setting is the fictional town (and the title), Atonement, Tennessee.

3.  What should we know about the heroine?

That’s really hard to say without giving away parts of the story.  I don’t want to spoil anything for people who have not read the book.

3 friends oval

Neighbors & Friends, Dreamstime

I’ll tell you that Ralda has been hurt badly in the past, and more than once.  She’d like to keep an open mind about things like relationships, but she’s afraid to try.  Besides, she doesn’t think the “pluses” outweigh the “minuses.”  On the other hand, she makes friends readily.  If she cares about someone, she’s fiercely protective.

She’s highly intuitive, and smart.  Those assets lead her to unravel the mysteries that surround her in her new mysterious old house, in Atonement, Tennessee.

4.  What messes up her life?

Ultimately, that would be (repeatedly) the supernatural beings that either live in or frequent the strange little town and the old estate house in which she lives — and its graveyard.   Yes, I said graveyard. 

5.  What is the personal goal of the character?

Ralda Lawton just wants a peaceful life in her new town.  She succeeded in getting away from the big city by moving to quaint Atonement, Tennessee.  However, so far, her new life has been anything but quiet.  How could she know the tiny town rests on a very powerful ley line?  It seems to draw mythological entities like a magnet.  (I took creative license with the ley line idea and their actual locations.)
TN_Ley-Lines

6.  Do the same characters return for book 2?

You’ll meet many familiar characters in book-2, Atonement in Bloom.  There are also several new supernaturals in town for the sequel.  And yes… I do intend a third book for the series.  Eventually I plan to do a “three things” type serial for it here on this blog.  That seems to be the only way I have time to write. 

 If you have any questions about the “Atonement-verse” feel free to leave them in a comment.  I love to hear from you.

***

Here’s 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. 

Truths Not as Unseen as Intended

Some of you figured something was up when you saw a mid-week post from me.  You were right.  I prepared the first episode of Truths Unseen, and scheduled it for this weekend.  Then I decided not to do that new, dark, unhappy story after all.  WordPress, ever monkeying around with things, wouldn’t let me unscheduled it.  So I became the monkey, trying to fix the schedule at a far distant date, because I didn’t want to delete the post… And you saw the result… Unseen was unexpectedly seenGirl Truths Unseen 1

However, your responses were so positive that now I’m even more torn about doing the story.  For years, many people have told me that the story needs to be told, that it might help someone.  But those people aren’t concerned about what effect the telling has on me.  I don’t know if I can bear living in that horrible dark place for the months it takes to write the story.  That’s why I changed my mind about telling it here…  Now it’s almost as if the story (or the monkeys) took itself out of my hands.

Kathryn Schulz said of The Great Gatsby, “It is the only book I have read so often despite failing—in the face of real effort and sincere ­intentions—to derive almost any pleasure at all from the experience.”  That’s what’s wrong with this story.  There is no pleasure.  The characters don’t grow.  There’s no happy ending.  At least that’s how it feels to me.

 

I honestly don’t know if I will be able to finish this story, so I decided not to start it… then the WordPress monkeys had their way with it.  So I guess I’ll give it a try.  I apologize in advance if I’ve started something I can’t endure finishing.

I’m linking this to the other post where the story begins.  I deeply appreciate the comments you’ve already made. Click here for the first installment.