Thistledown Hiatus 5, Fatigue Fugue, #NaNoWriMo

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hello everyone. Before the Thistledown Rerun link, this is a brief update on National Novel Writing Month*.  It’s quick because there isn’t much to update. My word-count is still deplorable. 

I’ve always said this blog is my sanctuary, and that I want it to be that kind of refuge for everyone.  So I hope you don’t mind that this post is both low-key and honest… This time the sanctuary is a restful moment.

Image may contain: 1 person

The week has been stressful and disappointing.  I’ve been looking at a small property in Austin, TX and that didn’t work out. I was also disappointed in people in this blogging community. People I thought were enlightened spewed contempt, bigotry, and name calling for ALL southern Americans, not just those who did unconscionable acts, or disagreed with their politics. That disturbs me deeply. But let’s not discuss it here – no politics in my sanctuary.

Even though my car is less than a year old, I had to take it for a safety inspection.  That was physically uncomfortable and exhausting, not to mention that in the past I’ve been bullied — not this time, thankfully.  Even so, what should have taken 20 minutes took half a day.  (Sorry to anyone who disagrees, but Virginia will nickel and dime you to death.)  And of course, there was work.  ‘Nuf said about that. 

As you can see in the picture above (taken Friday morning), I drew three more slips from my “box of non-modern things” to help me write… Vanity, Savory, and Cosmos.  As I write/update this post, the clock has already inched to dinner time, and I still haven’t found the energy and focus to WriMo.  I guess I’m just tired, but I feel like I’ve wasted yet another day. 

However, I can’t let you visit without trying to make you smile.  I’m feeling about as energetic as Tim Conway’s “world’s oldest man.”  And maybe I’m that old if I remember it! So have a giggle.

For those of you who are new, or just want to review the faery serial, Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam, here is a link to episode five.

Thanks for visiting.  Hugs on the wing!

 

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.  

Thistledown Hiatus 2, #NaNoWriMo

Friday, October 27, 2017

Welcome everyone.  The faery serial, Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam is on hiatus until December.  However, I’m reblogging past episodes for new readers and for those who want to review or catch-up on missed chapters.

First a little business. With November 1st, National Novel Writing Month* (NaNoWriMo) begins.  I promised updates and last week I left you a teaser about my novel-to-be’s title.  Throughout October I’ve been happily doing planning of various types.

Those of you who have been following Teagan’s Books for a long time will remember a “steampunky” serial I did, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  One of the main characters was my fictionalized version of real life inventor, Cornelis Drebbel*, another was a young girl named Copper.  For my NaNoWriMo novel I’m bringing them back.  However, this time Cornelis ends up in a parallel world and Copper is a young woman there.  Here’s the cover I made for (drum roll…)

The Skull of the Alchemist 

Skull of the Alchemist Cover 1

If you’re here for a dose of faery foolery, here’s episode 2 of Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam.

Teagan's Books

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

Thistledown GirlAlex Iby, Unsplash

Writing Process

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

So before anyone…

View original post 2,332 more words

Get Caught Reading — The Sign of the Ape 4 (2016 Rerun Conclusion)

Atonement bookshelf

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

     Welcome, one and all — to this re-run of last year’s Get Caught Reading mini-series.  Without further ado, here’s the conclusion!

***

It’s been fun participating in Get Caught Reading Month.  I hope my zany and bizarre story encouraged people of all ages to read.  Last week my real-world schedule caused me to put blogging on the shelf.  But look what grand company I had, thanks to Chris Graham!  

When we left our heroes…

As many of you know, a few elite bloggers (and their pets) banded together with one quest — catch the Story Reading Ape reading.  During the first chapter, I found a shimmering airship outside my window.  The pilot looked suspiciously like Cornelis Drebbel.  Before I knew it, I was in Time Square beginning a chase to “catch” the Story Reading Ape in the act of reading.

In Chapter 2  Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen and I met a number of author-bloggers (and their pets) who joined the quest to catch the illusive Ape. Mary J. McCoy-Dressel , Christoph Fischer, John W. Howell, and blogger Dan Antion.

Then last time a new duo was added to the intrepid band of bloggers –  Hugh Roberts and adorable Toby.  But to the astonishment of our intrepid band, everyone became anime characters when Cornelis Drebbel’s alchemy went wrong.  Now for the conclusion of The Sign of the Ape.

Sign of the Ape 4

Ape London Atonement

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

Toby barked frantically at the pavement and scratched at it with his little paws.  Doubtless, the dog could hear  John W. Howell, Dan Antion, and their pets in the tunnel beneath the street.  Finally, Hugh couldn’t take seeing the Corgi so upset. He jumped back onto the big construction loader and started digging a hole in the road — much to the dismay of the drivers in the area.

Annette Abens Cats

My phone buzzed at me.  When I answered, I was greeted with a loud chorus of meowing from  Annette Rochelle Aben’s cats.  I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.  And yes, that did remind me of the fuzzy ears and long tail that came with the anime version of me.  I shot Cornelis Drebbel a nasty look and muttered that I’d get him for it.  Then a second call got patched onto the meow-wow.  The four naughty chimps  translated for Annette’s kitties via text message.

“You’ve got to figure out how to get to London. The Story Reading Ape is there.  He left Tokyo before your airship even touched down!” came the message from the chimps.

London?  Well the chimps should know.  They were tight with the Ape.  But London?  I hadn’t figured out how to stop being an anime yet!  How could I possibly get to London?  I sure couldn’t go as an anime — and especially not in that horrid schoolgirl uniform!

Although I was rather shocked that  Mary J. McCoy-Dressel  and Suzanne DeBrango  seemed to take their cartoon situation in stride.  Their dogs, Kasha and Percy, didn’t seem to think it was worth barking about.  Maybe I would feel differently if I were a beautiful goddess or a cute giant-robot-driving future girl, I thought.  I steamed and stewed… I’d never forgive Cornelis for putting me in such an outfit.

Toby reading Hugh

Toby caught reading

Toby gave an excited yip and Hugh turned off the loader.  Once again I heard that crazy, funky guitar music of the original James Bond theme.  Then a sports car roared up through the big hole dug by the construction loader.

Atonement Hot Rod

Thanks again Chris!

John W. Howell  and Dan Antion, along with dogs Lucy and Maddie, and MiMi the tuxedo cat were in the sports car.  Oddly I could have sworn I saw the Boxer, Lucy driving the car.  But who am I to say that was strange. After all, I was an anime schoolgirl with cat ears and a tail…

Lucy close up_John

Lucy, who owns John W. Howell

I could see Dan wave from the back seat that everyone in the car was okay.  John leaned out of the passenger window.  He had a weird looking guitar.  I asked where he got it.

maddie_26502383972_o

Maddie who owns Dan Antion

 

MiMi reading_Dan

MiMi caught reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A strange taxi driver with bushy eyebrows gave this guitar to me,” John told me.  “But no matter what notes I strum, it will only play that James Bond theme,” he added and played the chorus to demonstrate.

However, the music abruptly changed to the Goldfinger theme.  Glittering clouds of golden dust formed in the sky.  John put down the guitar, but it continued to play.  The golden dust settled on everyone (and every pet) who had become anime.

I felt my stomach expand and contract like the beginning of a very unfortunate gastritis attack.  The most embarrassingly loud belch escaped my lips.  However, everyone else produced similar burps, so I was a little less mortified.  We were anime no longer, but the dratted costumes remained.  I muttered a new curse to Cornelis Drebbel about my uniform.

“Thank heavens you’re a redhead again,” John Howell commented.  “The raven locks were nice, but it just wasn’t right.”Animated Teagan book

Then with sharp popping sounds, one by one, my friends began to disappear. Frightened beyond reason, I screamed at the alchemist for an explanation.

“My dear, do calm down,” he said in that droll voice.  “Everyone is perfectly safe.  I sent each of them directly to their homes,” the alchemist explained as I stammered and tried to ask why.  “Darling, remember it is Get Caught Reading Month.  May is almost over!  How can they read anything if they are trotting around the globe with you?  And you still haven’t finished “The Sign of the Four” for that matter,” he told me, adding a tsk-tsk sound for good measure.

Cornelis took my hand and suddenly we were inside the giant robot.  “I’ve always wanted to pilot one of these,” he confessed with a giggle.  “Next stop, London!”

As Cornelis flew the alchemically powered robot, I wandered, exploring the many nooks and crannies.  It was more spacious than I expected.  The sound of deeply pitched chuckling caused me to stop in my tracks.  I strained to hear.  It seemed to be only one voice, like someone talking on the phone.  Ever so carefully I moved closer.Naughty Chimps

“You four truly are naughty,” the voice rumbled.  “Sending all those bloggers on such a wild goose chase.  Although I must admit, a free ride back to London in a magical giant robot is a memorable adventure.  I will see you naughty rascals when I get home, but for now I have reading to catch up on.  I think Gwydion may have just gone too far for Ralda to forgive him.  I really must see what happens next in Atonement, Tennessee

With a silent gasp I realized the Story Reading Ape was hiding right under my nose!  I removed my cell phone from my skirt pocket and switched on the camera.  I crept around the corner… Gotcha!

Ape Caught with phone

As I checked the image, the spoils of my victory, my long tail swished in a self-satisfied rhythm.  

…Tail?  I looked behind myself.  The tail was still there…

“Cornelis Drebbel!”  I yelled.

Here ends The Sign of the Ape.

***********************

Thanks to all of you for tuning-in for this zany chase.  I’m glad you were “caught reading” here at Teagan’s Books.  As you know, this is a workday, so I might be delayed in answering comments.

Special thanks to all the bloggers who participated in this madcap adventure — and to their pets as well!

 

GCR pets

The Sign of the Ape, furry family cast

Row 1:  Percy, Crystal, Lucy, Kasha

Row 2:  Claudius, Oh Kitty, and Sweeney, and Toby

Row 3:  Wilma, Greta, Maddie, MiMi

 

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.

Special mention to Christopher Graham for the marvelous “Atonement, Tennessee” images.

Get Caught Reading — The Sign of the Ape 3 (2016 Rerun)

 

Crystal Reading Atonement

Crystal pointing to a clue

Hello everyone.  Welcome back to my rerun of last year’s mini-series, in support of Get Caught Reading Month.  It’s about the escapades of our intrepid band of bloggers and their pets.  Who could resist those fur babies?  

If you were here last year, I’m delighted that you’ve stuck with me.  If this is new to you, then hang onto your hats, because it’s a wild ride!  I hope you’ll visit the bloggers included in this post.  Now for the rerun.  Enjoy!

***

Wow! May is nearly half over already.  However, it’s still  Get Caught Reading Month.  Welcome back to the zany and bizarre story I’ve been writing to encourage people of all ages to read.  As many of you know, a few elite bloggers (and their pets) banded together with one quest — catch the Story Reading Ape reading.

When we left our heroes…

During the first chapter, I found a shimmering airship outside my window.  The pilot looked suspiciously like Cornelis Drebbel.  Before I knew it, I was in Time Square beginning a chase to “catch” the Story Reading Ape reading.

Last time  Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen and I met a number of author-bloggers (and their pets) who joined the quest to catch the illusive Ape. Mary J. McCoy-Dressel  (Cowboy Boss and His Destiny), Christoph Fischer (The Gamblers.), John W. Howell (John J. Cannon Trilogy,) and blogger Dan Antion.

This time a new duo gets added to the intrepid band of bloggers –  Hugh Roberts and Toby.  Now, let’s join our adventuring bloggers.

Sign of the Ape 3

Ape in Tokyo

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

I couldn’t see anything when I looked out the portholes of the dirigible.  No, I don’t mean that it was nighttime.  There was nothing to see, just flat blackness.  I supposed it was just as well.  The airship was traveling outside the laws of nature with the alchemist, Cornelis Drebbel, at the helm.

That gave me a very unsettling feeling.  However, the steady whir of the engines was comforting.  The sound was almost hypnotic.  I wondered aloud how long it would take us to get from New York to Tokyo, even with the magic Cornelis used.Kasha reading

“I don’t feel very well,” Mary J. McCoy-Dressel  murmured, and her fur baby, Kasha, put her head on Mary’s knee.

“Air sickness, Mary?” Suzanne DeBrango asked the author in a concerned voice, but Percy the Pug barked a decisive yip.

Tilting my head, I studied the little dog.  It seemed like he sensed something, but we humans were not picking up on it.

Suzanne made a face.  “Now that you mention it, I don’t feel quite right either.  Maybe it was the hors-d’oeuvres back at the Fictional Heroes exhibit,” the blogger-chef suggested.  “My stomach feels all wrong, but then so does my head.”

Abruptly we experienced a sharp bump, an air pocket, I thought.  However, the pressure inside my ears immediately did something strange, causing me to shake my head.  With a sinking feeling I knew that was no air pocket.  It was the blasted alchemy going awry.

“Cornelis Drebbel!” I shouted, much as Felicity, the woman in trousers, would have.  “What have you done?”

Before the words had left my mouth, I felt the sensation of horrible pressure.  It was like having a giant vice in front and in back, pressing hard against me from both sides.  I thought my head might explode, but my ears finally popped, giving me some relief.  It effected my eyesight as well.  Everything blurred and twisted.  Then my eyes bulged painfully, so I squeezed them shut.Anime eyes Kagome

After a moment I the dirigible bumped lightly.  I heard soft groans from my companions.  Snuffling sounds told me Kasha and Percy were sniffing everything excitedly.  My eyes were still closed against all the unpleasant sensations I had just experienced, but I felt a little paw on my knee.  I put my hand out and knew it was the Pug’s sturdy little body, so I petted him.  Then he ran back to Suzanne.

Finally I opened my eyes, but I had trouble focusing.

“Teagan, are you okay?” Mary asked.  “You know, I never realized how huge your eyes were before,” she commented in a puzzled tone.

Or at least it sounded like Mary.  Her hair was blond, but there was something different about it.  When she moved I realized that her hair flowed almost to the floor.  Something else wasn’t wright, but everything was still blurry.

“I think I’m okay,” I told Mary.  “I’m having trouble getting a deep breath though.”

She and Suzanne helped me stand.  Suzanne led us to the portholes.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis 2

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

“Look at the lights,” Suzanne exclaimed.  “It’s Tokyo!  We’re there.”

Cornelis called out that we should sit down.  The airship was about to land.  The three of us staggered to our seats.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one experiencing my unfortunate symptoms.

“Teagan, could I ask you something?” Suzanne began hesitantly and my affirmative came out as a groan.  “Oh, here – these might help,” she added handing me my glasses.  “Are you feeling a little… deflated?  Because I sure am.”

Putting on my glasses I looked at Suzanne.  I was speechless.  Her hair was suddenly short and bluish-green.  She was dressed in a turquoise metallic futuristic outfit with matching tall boots.  There was one other thing.  Suzanne was flat.  So was Mary.  So were the dogs!  They all looked like anime characters.  I started to hold my hand up in front of my face to see if I had been effected, but I was afraid to look.

I turned to Mary, who was shifting uncomfortably in her seat.  Mary made a complaint to that effect.  She wore a flowing airy gown.  Indeed there was something that prevented her getting comfortable.

“Erm… that might be because of your wings,” I told her.  “I think maybe you’re some sort of goddess character.”

Mary reached frantically behind her and gasped when her fingers came into contact with her wings.

For a moment I studied Suzanne in that futuristic outfit.  I asked her if she thought perhaps somewhere nearby there was a giant robot that belonged to her.  The oddest expression came to her face.Eureka

“I know it sounds crazy,” Suzanne admitted.  “But I think maybe there is!”

“Don’t you all look delicious?” Cornelis exclaimed as he strolled into the area. 

He was dressed as a Victorian gentleman, but that would not be unusual for him.  However, it was certainly odd that he looked like an anime Cornelis Drebbel.  He reminded me of one of the male characters I might see on the Black Butler series.

“Am I supposed to be some kind of goddess?” Mary asked the alchemist.  “These wings!” she added, still uncomfortable in the seat.

“Darling Mary, all women are goddesses,” Cornelis replied slyly with bobbing eyebrows.

“But what about you, Teagan?” Suzanne asked worriedly.

Inuyasha vol-1 1997

Inuyasha (& Kagome) manga, v. 1, 1997

Looking down, I saw that I wore loafers and knee socks.  I was dressed in a pleated skirt, and white blouse with a sailor collar.  It was like an anime schoolgirl uniform.  I groaned even louder than I had when the air was squeezed out of me.  I was barely aware of hearing a rhythmic thumping sound.

“Cornelis Drebbel,” I growled pushing my skirt into place.  “You’d better be glad this skirt was not a mini!  Else you’d be a dead man.”

“I don’t mean the outfit,” Suzanne told me as she gestured to her head, just above her ear. 

Moving a strand of my hair, I realized it was long and black.  I gasped, but apparently that wasn’t the full extent of my transformation.

Finally Suzanne added, “Ears?  Tail!

I put my hands to the top of my head and felt two soft furry ears.  The thumping sound grew faster and louder.  I put a hand to my backside.  The noise was coming from my anxiously swishing, thumping tail!

“Your character may have gotten a little… crossed,” Cornelis said in a droll voice.  “You were actually supposed to be a Neko character.”

Percevil Ulysses Holmes

Percevil Ulysses Holmes

“Come along.  There’s a city square we must get to.  It has a number of billboards bearing images of our quarry.  We can take the giant robot as transportation, if Suzanne will kindly drive him,” Cornelis told us all, with a bow to the blogger-chef.

The turquoise anime version of Suzanne scrambled to the porthole and gasped in excitement.  I followed and my tail swished, knocking over a small table.  Mary glanced at her wings, murmured something about what damage she might do with her wings, and stayed in her uncomfortable seat.  When I reached the window, I saw a huge flatbed being pulled by a heavy duty construction loader.  Stretched out on the flatbed was a giant flying robot.

Cornelis moved to help Suzanne and Percy as they disembarked the dirigible, though they both scampered down the gangway without need of assistance.  Mary’s wings presented more of a problem.  A gust of wind caught her and she was lifted into the air.

“Mary!” I screamed and Kasha barked.

A thread of magical glowing green shot from the alchemist’s hand and wrapped around Mary’s ankle.  Cornelis and Kasha walked down the ramp, with the anime version of Mary in tow via the magical lead.  Once safely on the ground, Cornelis helped her touch down.

My tail swayed as I descended.  It was amazingly useful for balance.  Then my cat ears picked up a familiar voice and barking.  Kasha and Percy also heard it and barked their replies.  A man and a Corgi hopped out of the construction loader.  It was Hugh Roberts and Toby.

Toby reading Hugh

Toby caught reading

Moments after I introduced everyone, my new cat ears picked up muffled sounds.  It was the same music I’d heard back at the wax museum.  I heard the funky guitar music of the original James Bond theme, and I remembered the tunnel back at Time Square into which John W. Howell, Dan Antion, and their pets had gone.  It seemed impossible that it could be them.  Then I heard two dogs barking and a cat’s meow.  It had to be Lucy, Maddie, and MiMi.

Finally the sounds grew loud enough for the other humans to hear. 

“Isn’t that ruckus coming from below ground?” Hugh commented in surprise.

“Yes.  It sure is,” I replied, feeling very worried.

End Chapter 3, The Sign of the Ape

I begin to think the Ape won’t be caught until he simply allows us to do so.  Now that I’ve seen his image all over billboards in Tokyo I think maybe he’s in charge!  Stick around to see what happens to our intrepid bloggers next week!

By the way, it is a work day, so forgive me if I’m slow to answer comments.

GCR pets

 

The Sign of the Ape, furry family cast

Row 1:  Percy, Crystal, Lucy, Kasha

Row 2:  Claudius, Oh Kitty, and Sweeney, and Toby

Row 3:  Wilma, Greta, Maddie, MiMi

 

 

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.

Special mention to Christopher Graham for the marvelous “Atonement, Tennessee” images.

The Art of Taking a Break: Rolling on a Riverboat

In the USA the Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated this week.  I’m grateful for those of you who have continued to visit and offer encouragement even though I’ve stopped giving away episodes of a novel or serial.  I’m thankful for you.Crystal w-Story Jar 06-29-14

My National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) story, The Delta Pearl, is set on a very special riverboat.  It continues to roll on the river, often propelled by “three things” I’ve been given by you, or taken from my jar of random things.  It’s keeping the big wheel turning.

Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary 1971

Thanks to Sally G. Cronin for reminding me of that version of the song. (I hope it’s still available when this post publishes. The first recording I used was taken down.)  

This week some of the “things” I used were from two marvelous writers who have been wonderful sources of support for me.  I said I had been editing this post. I decided not to show you the snippet I first had in mind.  However I still want to give a mention to the two writers who left “things” that I used this week. 

Teresa (Tess) Karlinski  posts marvelous travelogues, allowing us to share in her adventures.  Her brilliant stories are also featured in anthologies.  Tess left Montreal, Harpsichord, and Soup for her three things. I’m sure you will enjoy her vivid stories and travels.

Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel has been with this blog since its very beginning.  She happens to have two new releases. Give yourself a romantic treat with Christmas at Love House and Whispers of Forever.  Mary’s things were Victorian, Engineering Drawing, and Peculiar.

My Writing Process1800s-riverboat

I just revised this post (thank goodness, else I wouldn’t have known about the first video problem).  I can’t decide whether to share with you a snippet from the prologue or the beginning of chapter-1…

You see, I wanted the opening to connect strongly with the prologue, even though time had passed and the narrator’s life had changed greatly.  So I think I’ll show you both so you can see how I’ve tied it together.  (In other words, I couldn’t decide, so I’ll show you both.)

Here’s a bit of The Delta Pearl:

Prologue

The first time I saw the Delta Pearl I was eight years old.  My grandpa had died three days before.  He was sick for a long time before that.  I asked Moma if Grandpa had seen the riverboat.  I didn’t see what was wrong with the question, but apparently something was.  It made her angry and she never answered me.

Later, relatives descended upon our house bearing all manner of food.  There was some hugging and handshaking, but eyes were mostly dry of tears.  They didn’t cry much, my family.

Moma and Nana used every flat surface available as they tried to sort all the food into some kind of edible order.  As they got creative about how to make room for every cousin’s best cooking, I made for the back door.wooden-porch-close-up

Pushing the door open, I stepped onto the little porch.  When the screen door banged behind me I cringed.  Moma always yelled at me about that.  It seemed impossible to close it without the bang.  However, when she called out she didn’t mention the door.

“Em!  Emerald Perlezenn!  You stay away from that river,” she hollered.

So of course I went to the river.  The gentle sounds of the water always helped me come to terms with things I didn’t understand.  The river comforted me.  At that moment, I really needed the river.  Besides, I thought, I might finally see the riverboat.

So I trotted down narrow paths Nana called pig trails.  Rounding curves, dodging brambles and tree roots, I eventually got to the riverbank.

The riverboat, the Delta Pearl, was a legend along that part of the river.  Few people had seen her.  As for the ones who claimed they had seen the riverboat, everybody seemed pretty sure they were lying.

Some said the riverboat was haunted.  Others claimed it was the river’s version of the Lost Dutchman, cruising the river for eternity.  Most had it that if you saw the Delta Pearl you were marked for death.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Of course the Delta Pearl is not real, Em.  It’s just a story,” Moma always said.  “There are too many places around here where a boat like that can’t go.  It couldn’t get through.  Now I’ve heard enough of that silliness, and I’d better not hear another word from you about it.”

I walked along the very edge of the bank.  Now and then my foot slipped, because I was so close to the edge.  I backed away to clean the mud from my shoe.

The fluttering sound of a bird taking flight came to my ears.  An odd clicking sound caused me to look up into the trees.  Pine needles showered down and I covered my eyes.  I spotted something brass colored as it streaked across the blue sky.

That seemed like a strange color for a bird.  It looked almost like metal, but that was too impossible, even for my active imagination.  My eyes followed the bird as it flew along the river.

As I sat there I listened to the music of the water as it lapped against the shore.  It gave me a dreamy feeling.  I gazed vaguely down the path the river had carved eons before.  Sunlight glittered the surface of the water.  I imagined the tiny reflections were diamonds and tried to count them.

Squinting at the brilliance, I thought of what it would be like to be a grand lady with strands of diamonds at my throat and in my hair.  I thought of her suitors asking for a dance.  So I stood and turned and turned, dreaming of the dance, while I spun around and around.

I staggered to a stop, enjoying the sensation of the dizzy world seeming to sway around me.  Stumbling, I held my arms out for balance as I faced the river.

That’s when I saw the Delta Pearl.

***

Chapter 1:  Dance

jenna-coleman-and-rufus-sewell-as-queen-victoria-and-lord-melbourne

Jenna Coleman and Rufus Sewell

A silver thread glittered as the morning sun streamed onto the deck.  At the end of the filament was a purple clockwork spider.  It skittered across the wooden floor before vanishing behind a crate.

In the arms of a truly expert dancer, I twirled and spun until the world whirled dizzily with me.  My partner’s impeccable sense of balance never faltered.  We danced high above the river, on the hurricane deck.  Dozens of fluffy white clouds blurred into one as he twirled me rapidly around and around.

Like diamonds, I thought as sunlight reflected brightly on the strands of triangular waxed flags strung above the deck.  The sound they made as they fluttered in the breeze reminded me of startled birds taking flight.  It took my mind to the day, years before, when I first saw the Delta Pearl.

I missed a step.  The Dealer stopped our dance.  He looked at me with what passed for concern on his less than mobile features.  He blinked before speaking in his quasi French accent.

“Émeraude, are you well?  Do you tire?  Perhaps the sun is too much?” the Dealer asked.

One would never realize it just by looking at him, but the Dealer was compassionate and nurturing.  Sometimes I felt he was too consoling, though that quality had benefits in his occupation.  I had to admit that I seemed to receive more of his nurturing behavior than did the rest of the crew.louis-jourdan-as-the-dealer

Of course he had a name besides the Dealer.  He called himself Jaspe.  To my ears he pronounced his name ZASH-pah.  However, more often than not he was simply referred to as the Dealer.

I smiled and shook my head before speaking.  “I was merely distracted, Jaspe.  You are a much better dancer than I.”

“Ah, but cher, I am named for a rock — jasper,” he reminded me, using the English pronunciation to refer to the semiprecious gem.  “I claim no more talent than the rock whose name I bear,” he replied, self-deprecating as always.  “Besides, I have had so very long to perfect the steps.  You are much improved,” he complimented me with a graceful, sweeping bow.

The Dealer gazed at the horizon.  He raised a white gloved hand to shield his eyes from the bright sunlight.  I knew he saw much more than I ever could.  After a moment he spoke.  “We will be in port soon.  Best we get to work, eh?”

I couldn’t help watching his graceful movements.  I wanted to ask just how long he had been perfecting his dancing, how old he was.  His name, Jaspe was French for jasper, and his accent clearly bespoke New Orleans.  Yet, I knew he discussed neither his age nor his origins.  I was sure the Captain knew from where Jaspe hailed, but our skipper was not inclined to gossip.

However, the unspeakable, nagging question to which I most wanted an answer about the Dealer was not the number of his years.  Rather I wanted to know whether or not he was in fact a man at all.

***

The Delta Pearl is sedately rolling on the river.  It might never be a speedboat, but at least the big wheel is turning.  Mega hugs!

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

 

 

The Art of Taking a Break: Twilight Zone

Help! I’ve slipped into the Twilight Zone! 

I don’t talk work, religion, or politics here. So even though I’ve brought it up, let’s not comment about it. I’m just giving you my state of mind.  But I don’t think I have to talk about it for you to understand why I have a surreal feeling that I can’t shake off… one that is overwhelming each time I’ve looked at the television or read the news since the morning of November 9th.

Where do we go, now that we’ve gone too far?

My word count is still pathetic, but the only place I could go was farther into my NaNoWriMo novel, The Delta Pearl.delta-pearl-cover-1

It occurred to me that a riverboat needed passengers.  So I now have crew and passengers — along with a couple of other things that live on the boat.  That part was fun.  My character matrix has grown and gotten quite complex with all sorts of tabs for different things I’m prepared to track or use for my own reference.  Do you see that across the bottom of the picture? Each of those is a separate “worksheet” with all sorts of information. 

character-matrix-tabs

I’m falling down a spiral, destination unknown

However, this story is still full-on pantser.  I have no idea where I’m going.  Yet the voyage is becoming more interesting.  The other night I even dreamed I was aboard The Delta Pearl.  I don’t remember the dream, except that the water was rough, just like the scene I wrote that evening.  It may have had something to do with a bad food allergy reaction that had my stomach roiling right along with the fictional river… But when I awoke, I was laying across the bed, rather than vertically! That was strange. I’ve never done that before…  But then we are living in the Twilight Zone after all.

My beacon’s been moved under moon and stars

Sometimes it’s easier to see where a story should go, if you can put actual faces on the characters. I haven’t actively tried to do that with “Pearl” yet.  Even so, a couple have come to me.  Suddenly I saw one of the Doctor Who companions, Jenna Coleman as Émeraude.jenna-coleman_victoria-reflection

A taller version of Louis Jourdan as he was in Gigi could be The Dealer, Jaspe (ZASH-pah). That came to me… though I’m not sure.  Maybe.

louis-jourdan-as-the-dealer

So I’ve gotten that far with the story.  Me, here in the Twilight Zone, imagining different worlds, and pantsering a novel.  Trying not to worry about where we’ll all go now that we’ve gone too far.

Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far

“No Time Like the Past” Twilight Zone 1963

Soon you’ll come to know, when the WriMo hits the bone

Okay… so I couldn’t pull the ending together for this post… But maybe all the endings are catawampus here… in the Twilight Zone.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 33

Indies Agree…

Glenda Ozz

Billie Berk 1939

I love that “Indie” has endlessly different subjects, genres, and formats.  I’m happy that every indie author and blogger is unique.  Despite all that diversity, it seems that all indie authors agree on the importance of reviews – whether posted in a blog, magazine, or on a bookseller’s site.

Oh, I admit to my jaw-dropping awe when an author cheers that they’ve reached the milestone of 100 reviews… I have less than a dozen, so I’m quite impressed, as well as proud of their achievement.  So when one of my earliest author-blogger-supporters wished he had more reviews for his books, I wanted to do something… but I’m not a reviewer. I wished I could wave a magic wand for both of us… but neither am I Glenda the Good Witch.

Jump back a step, because the steam locomotive is roaring back toward the platform at top speed!

Since there was no new episode last weekend, here’s a link to the previous chapter. If you need extra catching-up, look to the top of your screen for this serial’s homepage button.

Yikes! The locomotive is moving so fast, I’m not sure it can stop — but the breaks are screeching and the the whistle blows as it stops on a dime, right at the platform.

The conductor gives you a mischievous wink.   All aboard!!!

33.  Toddlers, Queen, Superior

Billie Berk circa 1900

Billie Berk circa 1900

Cornelis Drebbel levitated above a much bigger version of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw.  It was attached to a large gondola that contained all manner of fantastical contraptions.  Brightly polished brass and crystals glittered in the sunlight that streamed through tall windows from the cloudless lavender sky.

One device looked just like the multi-armed thingamajig from the submarine.  I mean that term literally.  The device was the original thingamajig and such was its proper name.  This one looked newer.  The thingamajig on the submarine went through some rough treatment.  The one in the gondola didn’t show any wear and tear.  (Episode 22)  A malfunction in the contrivance was at least partly responsible for landing us in this purple place.

Cornelis waved down to a pair of mauveine complected chimpanzee twin toddlers who observed him in amazement.  A young female ape watched them from the corner of her eye as she delivered a basket of food to Cal Hicks.  She seemed remarkably unaffected by the floating alchemist.

“Why thank you Itsy,” Hicks told the woman as he took the heavy basket.  “This is enough for everyone.  Thank you so much, my dear.”

She quickly took each toddler by a hand and moved to meet one of the coverall clad chimps.  He seemed smitten by her.  She glanced surreptitiously over her shoulder as the chimpanzee handed her something that disappeared into the folds of her skirts.  Some token of his affections, I supposed.  It was hard to tell with the purple coloring but I thought both might be blushing.Victorian Magazine 1891

“Tsk, tsk,” Cal said with a shake of his head.  “That boy will never win Itsy’s heart.”

“Itsy?” I had to ask.

“Why yes,” Cal began. “She’s taken on the extra work of looking after the twins during the day. Both parents were injured in a carriage accident, and aren’t able to chase toddlers terrible well. Itsy was maid to my son Nate’s grandparents. When they passed on, she came to work for me,” Cal said and then cast an astute glance at me. “I take it Itsy has a counterpart in your colorful world.”

“I believe so,” I said, nodding.  “Bitsy is a maid in the inn that belongs to Ignatius Belle.  Their voices are rather similar.  And Itsy is just as unimpressed as Bitsy,” I added with a chuckle.  (Episode 2)

My own words bothered me in some indefinable way.  I suddenly felt uneasy.  It seemed like there was something I should remember.  However, I was distracted by Cal Hicks.  He was looking at me in a most curious way.  It made me think something was amiss.

“What is it?” I asked worriedly.

His eyes quickly scanned the worktable.  The amethyst ape picked up a mirror and handed it to me.  There was a smudge of soot on my cheek, and for a moment I thought that was what the straight-laced ape meant.  However, with one of his thick fingers he pointed to my hair.  A broad ultraviolet streak ran from the crown of my head down the length of my otherwise dark brown locks.  The irises of my eyes had taken on a violet hue.

Police NewsBefore I could stop my surprised reaction, I inhaled sharply.  I glanced at Copper.  I didn’t want the girl to notice my concern.  Fortunately she ran over to Cornelis, and tossed some tool up toward him.  The alchemist caught it with a glowing yellow-green thread of magic.

I was afraid to look at the measuring device that looked like a toothpick holder.  It already showed warning shades of violet.  But I forced myself.  I removed the device from the flowered carpet bag.  The thin rods were various shades of violet and purple.  Only one was still lavender.  None at all were colorless.  At least the crystal bird at the center was still clear.  Cornelis said it might be too late for us to leave the amethyst world if the bird turned purple.

Cal Hicks cleared his throat nervously and broke eye contact with me.  He called everyone to the basket of food, but hardly ate anything himself.  He turned back to work fervently on the improved aerial screw.  Though he couldn’t levitate like the alchemist he seemed to work almost as quickly.

Coverall clad chimpanzees ran back and forth, fetching all manner of things that Cal requested.  Copper returned to stand at his elbow, handing him various small tools.  I suspected that sometimes Cal pretended to need something, just to let the girl think she was helping.Punch mag

Earlier Cornelis was utterly intense as he poured over an assortment of papers he’d gotten from Cal.  There were maps, magazines, playbills, and newspapers.  I couldn’t figure out what he could be looking for in such an assortment.

However, the alchemist saw links from one thing to another that I would never see without it being pointed out to me.  He seemed to make some alchemical sense of the stack of papers and abruptly levitated up above the flying machine.  Suffused by that yellowish green aura he began making enhancements to the aerial screw.

As I looked at magazines bearing images of well-dressed simians, all in assorted shades of purple, I was struck anew by how much like our own world this place populated by apes really was.  I couldn’t help smiling when I saw a magazine cover bearing the image of an elegant female ape wearing an intricate lace gown, jewelry including a tiara, and holding a scepter.

“Is this your queen?” I asked Cal Hicks in delighted surprise.

Queen Victoria 1859

Queen Victoria 1859

“Why of course,” Cal replied, as if I had questioned the obvious.  “That is Queen Triumphia,” he said, immediately recovering his perfect manners.  “Haven’t you a similar monarch in your world?”

I grinned at the name Triumphia.  “Yes, although it isn’t exactly my queen, the English queen is called Victoria,” I told the amethyst ape.

Cal grinned back at me as he compared the name Victoria to his queen’s name.

Cornelis gave a whoop of success.  “This is far superior to the first model!” he cried.

With a sharp pop he disappeared from his spot in the air above us.  An instant later he popped into the gondola of the aerial screw.

Itsy wandered closer.  She didn’t look excited or surprised like everyone else.  Rather, the maid looked worried.  “There’s no more time,” Itsy murmured.

She darted to the gondola and grabbed the multi-armed thingamajig.  Then I got a look at the secret-something that the chimp handed her earlier.  She had hidden it in the folds of her skirt, but it turned out to be the harmonic tuner.  Cal Hicks showed it to me previously.  Instead of the mystic monkeys tuner that belonged to Copper, this one had people in the poses of see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.  (Episode 24)  the Strand Magazine

Itsy’s actions were so sudden and so unexpected that everyone was too surprised to try and stop her.  She ran from the laboratory and out to the area that was scorched and depressed by the confrontation-reunion between Absinthe and Aubrieta.  (Episode 28)  Itsy held out the thingamajig and clanged the harmonic tuner against the contrivance.

The air in a large area before Itsy shimmered to a glowing hot pink aura.  The center of the aura took on a wavy mirror like appearance.  Then a wall of water rushed from the aura and poured into the burned out depression.  Itsy was swept away by the water but managed to grab hold of a fence post.

With a whoosh sound a hydrofoil sped through the opening created by the magical devices.  The moment I saw the craft I knew what had bothered me when I told Cal that Itsy and Bitsy had similar voices.

We had never gotten a good look at the woman leading the group on the hydrofoil.  I said her voice was familiar, but I just couldn’t place it, no matter how hard I tried.  The tone of the woman leader was commanding and harsh.  So it had been just different enough that I couldn’t connect it to the gentle tones I previously heard from that same voice.  At that moment I knew the voice belonged to Bitsy, the maid at the Belle Inn!

Harper's Bazaar 1899The hydrofoil rushed, out of control, down the length of the water that spilled from our world.  It crashed into a stand of tall bushes.  When the woman stood up, I was certain she was Bisy.  She bent over and vomited.  The nearness of her doppelgänger already affected her.

“Get her away from me!” Bitsy shouted to the men who accompanied her.

The men waded out to Itsy.  She seemed to think they were helping her and let them take her arms from the post to which she held.  However, when they helped her to dry ground one held a knife to her throat.  They spoke threateningly to her and she ran away as fast as she could, disappearing into the woods.

The hydrofoil held more passengers than I had realized.  There must have been ten heavily armed men, along with Bitsy.  They all moved toward us.

Cal Hicks had my arm.  “Quickly,” he hissed into my ear.  “Get into the gondola.”

When I turned I saw that Copper was already climbing into the aerial screw.  Absinthe and Aubrieta fluttered around her, touching various apparatus with their tiny paws.  I looked back at the interlopers from my own world.  They were looking right at me.

***

What will happen to Felicity, the “Woman in Trousers” of the serial title?  Her hair is already streaked with purple, suggesting she has stayed too long in the amethyst world.  One group of foes has caught up with our trio.  Will they grab Felicity before she can reach the gondola?  And will the aerial screw fly off without her?

Don’t leave yet!  Here’s a recipe.  Many times I’ve seen bloggers mention “curry chips.”  Now, I’m just not familiar with that dish. So I scoured the WordPress countryside and found a lovely recipe at “Lea & Jay.”  

Recipe:  Curry Chips

Photo and recipe credit:  Lea & Jay 

Curry Chips

https://leaandjay.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/curry-chips/

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.