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.

Pip Sees a Pug – in the Kitchen

Note:  I’m having persistent computer>Internet problems.  So my availability to return comments may be limited.3-things-cover_3-2016

Some of you have already seen this post at Suzanne’s blog, A Pug in the Kitchen.  However,  I wanted to share it here too.  I have done a few collaborative blog posts with her, and we have a ton of fun.  Thanks for doing another joint post with me, Suzanne! 

When Suzanne said she could do a dog treat recipe, I thought of my character, Wriggles. What serendipity that the pug character was inspired by Suzanne’s blog!

However, first I want to share the wonderful recipe Suzanne provided, and her ever so kind introduction.  Homemade dog treats — Percy is one lucky pug!  I’m going to hand this over to Suzanne (and Percy) at A Pug in the Kitchen.  Take it away Suzanne!

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I LOVE collaborating with Teagan on a blog post, it’s fun and I truly love her work.  The recipe for dog treats is a copy cat version of Sherman’s Barkery’s Cheesy Num Nums. Percy gives these two paws up.  That says a lot since he is Mr. Picky!  There are only a few simple ingredients.  They are super easy to make and are a great treat for our fur kids.

Blogging should be fun otherwise it becomes work, and integrating Teagan’s whimsical and delicious writing with my food is exactly that. Thank you Teagan for the story, giving me a creative boost and making blogging fun!!

Copy Cat Cheesy Num Nums

Makes approximately 2 dozen depending on size

1 cup oat flour

1 cup barley flour

1/2 cup whole oats

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/3 cup +1 tbs spring water

Mix all the ingredients together until it is a cohesive dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Roll or press the dough to about 1/2 inch thick and cut into the shape desired. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan on top of each cookie and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Thank you, thank you Suzanne!  You know… those dog treats look awfully good.  I wonder if I could talk Percy out of a few…  Probably not!

Wriggles was introduced in the third of my blog serials, A Ghost in the Kitchen, Three Ingredients-II.  In that story he was a new dog for the character, Arabella Wong.  However, this vignette takes place prior to that story.  So I made Wriggles a puppy and gave him a different owner.

Only the first serial is available as a novella right now, The Three Things Serial, a Little 1920s Story.  I’m still on track for springtime “book-ization” of  Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients I.

Anyhow, once again here’s a story from the Three Things “universe” with Pip as narrator.  Did you ever get the feeling you’d have to be “hit over the head” with something before you finally got the message?  Well, that was true of Pip.  I hope everyone enjoys this tidbit.

Pip Sees a Pug… or Four

“Floyd?  Hey, Floyd!”

That was definitely him.  The last time I saw Floyd — which was also basically the first time I saw him, the police were putting him into the paddy wagon when they arrested some bootleggers.  Yet there he was on a side street in Savannah.

Maybe it had all been a mistake, I thought hopefully. 

After all, Floyd was as sexy as the Sheik of Araby.  Then I remembered how rude he had been to me and Alastair Wong.  He didn’t seem sexy at all before that thought even got halfway across my noodle.  However, he heard me and looked over his shoulder.Sheik of Araby

“Well now, aren’t you a choice bit of calico,” Floyd said as he turned to walk toward me.  “Oh, it’s you!  You’re a real bearcat, but you’re bad luck,” he said.  “Go chase yourself,” he told me and spat on the sidewalk.

I know.  I should have ran the other way and not even called out to him.  However, in the small Florida town where I grew up, if you saw somebody you recognized, then you said hello to them.  I don’t remember what I meant to say to Floyd when he started to continue on his way, but I opened my mouth to speak, taking a step toward him.

Floyd shoved me and kept going.  Unfortunately I also kept going — backward.  I slipped, fell, and cracked my head.

pugs-4-smoking-vintage

I think I was actually unconscious for a minute or two.  Then I felt something wet wiped across my face.  When I opened my eyes, the world was a spinning blur.  I saw a little pug dog.  It licked my face.  It was wearing a top hat and bow-tie, and smoking a cigar.  As I gazed at it uncomprehendingly I realized there were four of them.  However, when I held my hand out toward the dog, I seemed to have an uncountable number of fingers.  So I figured there was only one dog.  I wasn’t sure what to think about the hat and cigar.

The sound of a police whistle prompted me to try and sit up.  There hadn’t been any “mistake” about the coppers hauling in Floyd.  He had probably escaped and they were after him again.  A voice intruded on my thoughts.  I realized it had been trying to get my attention for a while, but it was hard to hear it over the bells ringing inside my head.

“Huh?” I mumbled, looking for the source of the voice.

“Young lady are you hurt?” asked what must have been the world’s oldest woman.

Her face was so covered in creases and crow’s feet that it was impossible to imagine what she must have looked like in youth or even in middle age.  Even so, bright eyes shown sharply from between the wrinkles.pugs-2-vintage

Despite her fragile appearance she took my arm in a vice like grip.  She put her walking-stick in my hand.

“Wriggles, get off the poor thing!  That’s a good boy.  I’m sorry, he’s still a puppy.  Here dear.  Use my cane to help yourself up,” she said but proceeded to help me up with unexpected strength.

Once I was on my feet, if shakily so, I looked at the pug.  There was only one of him.  The hat and cigar were gone.  That much was a relief, but he still wore the bowtie.  It bothered me that I wasn’t sure whether or not the tie was really there.

Moments later I sat at the kitchen table in her tiny home.  It was a good thing she lived right around the corner.  I was dizzy and my head felt like it had gotten in the way of a sledgehammer.

A young boy “helped” us get inside her backdoor on the pretext of getting a cookie.  However, she gave him an errand.

“What’s your name, dear?” she asked me as she handed me a cup of tea. 1916-good-housekeeping-woman-tea-cup

I noticed the cup had been cracked and repaired.  The one she used for herself had a chip in the rim.

“Pi… Paisley Peabody,” I stammered, still shaken.

“Peabody?  Would you be kin to Phanny Peabody?”

“Yes ma’am.  That’s my granny.”

“Billy,” she addressed the little boy.  “Take another cookie and run down to Miss Phanny’s house.  Let her know her granddaughter is here.”

Billy’s eyes lit up at the prospect of helping.  Although the extra cookie didn’t hurt.  He took off like a rocket before I could protest.

“Yes ma’am, Miss Olive,” Billy exclaimed as he disappeared.

The pug, Wriggles barked as if he picked up and shared the boy’s excitement.  I reached down to pet him and the little dog wagged his tail so hard that his entire back half wagged along with it.  The woman handed him a treat which was gone before I got a good look at it.

studebaker1920_2

“Paisley, I know you’re from a small town,” Miss Olive began.  “You come from honest, trusting folk.  But in this day and age, a young lady alone has to be careful.  Now, you tell Miss Olive if that man did anything he shouldn’t, you hear?”

I shook my head and immediately wished I hadn’t.  “No.  I recognized him and just meant to say hello.  It would have been rude not to,” I replied and was rewarded with a smile.

The elderly woman patted my hand.  I put my nearly empty teacup on the table and thanked her.  Miss Olive took my cup and swirled the dregs looking at the contents curiously.

“You haven’t gotten off to the best start here in Savannah, have you Paisley?” she commented consolingly.  “But you will make good friends here,” she swirled the tea again and a smirk, a smile she seemed to try and suppress came to her lips.  “And you will have grand adventures.”

I heard the sound of Granny Phanny’s Model-T outside.  Wriggles lived up to his name as he yapped to make sure his lady knew she had company.  Miss Olive put the tea kettle back on the stove.  I felt comforted by the entire scene.  Safe.

The End

***

Thanks for visiting — from Suzanne and Percy, and from me too.  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.

Get Caught Reading — The Sign of the Ape 3

 

Crystal Reading Atonement

Crystal pointing to a clue

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.

A Teagan in the Kitchen — Adelle’s Teapot

Welcome back to Atonement, TN!

I was sincerely honored when Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen asked me to do a guest post for her wonderful blog’s anniversary.  We had a great time. Here’s a link to Suzanne’s blog and my guest post (along with a lovely tea recipe and Suzanne’s beautiful photos).

Suzanne is an accomplished chef and blogger (not to mention her real estate career and still more activities).  Take a look at her recipes featured at Fiesta Friday and at Food 52.
atonement-video-cover-copy

As most of you know, my current novel in progress is actually book-2 in an urban fantasy series that began with “Atonement, Tennessee.”  The title is the name of my fictional town where supernaturals secretly live among the residents of this seemingly quaint town.  (Book-2 will be called Atonement in Bloom.)

For her blog anniversary post, I told Suzanne about a few different settings in the series that would involve food.  She picked a locale that will be new for book-2, Adelle’s Attic Tearoom.

What I’m sharing with you was originally posted at A Pug in the Kitchen earlier this week.  It’s a scene with two minor characters in my Atonement, TN universe.  This may or may not appear in the novel. For reasons I won’t go into, it would be “mechanically” difficult. However, I might make it part of a short story.  At any rate, I think it’s fun to get to know the characters who only play a small role.  I hope you enjoy this tidbit.

Adelle’s Teapot — Features from Atonement TN

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

1924 Good housekeeping 2 girls tea

The inventory notes Annie recorded were part of an ancient list, passed down through the Metatron clan.  For the most part, the older theitem, the more power it held.  The kind of power varied widely.

The Mirror of Truth and Justice Most Poetic could show one’s true self.  The mirror could be playful, cryptic, devilishly mischievous, or brutally honest.  It almost seemed to have a mind of its own.  In age and in power, that mirror ranked about mid-way on the inventory list.  Annie shuddered to think of the havoc she had known the mirror to wreak.

She kept many of the items hidden in plain sight in her antique shop.  It had been easy enough to steer Ralda Lawton away from a special quilt.  Ralda, the new owner of the Sunhold estate, did not need that star design quilt, but someone else would.  However, the brass Bed of Dreams was meant for her.  The bed wasn’t strong in power, but it was effective.

ad 5 Oclock TeaAnnie looked down at the ancient list.  Something glowed through several layers of paper.  She knew the glow came from the script identifying a very old item.  The glowing writing meant an item awakened.  Her hands shook as she leafed through the pages to the very beginning of the catalogued inventory.

The teapot.  Annie took a shuddering breath.  It was simple and unassuming looking, but the teapot was the oldest item listed in Annie’s inventory notes.  It was also arguably the most powerful.  Because of its unique properties the teapot had always been kept separate from the other items.  Adelle, Annie’s sister was the teapot’s custodian.  It was safely tucked away in the attic of the Victorian house that was Adelle’s tearoom and home.

A brew had not been made from that teapot in living memory.  But what else could awaken the pot but the alchemy of water, heat, and the right combination of herbs, flowers, and leaves?

“No Adelle,” Annie muttered as she put away the ancient ledger.1937 Look Shirley Temple Santa tea

Annie ran out of her shop, the door banging shut behind her.  Her platinum hair shone in the moonlight.  She skidded around the corner and ran down the town square.  Annie stumbled to a stop.  She gazed at the night sky in open mouthed astonishment.

Above Adelle’s tearoom the sky shimmered in a golden aura.  When Annie looked farther up into the sky, she saw an even more astonishing sight.  The entire town of Atonement rested unaware beneath five columns of light pillars.  The columns of light pulsed through the clouds.

“Adelle,” Annie gasped.  “What have you done?”

With a hand to her chest, Annie continued toward her sister’s home.  She fell going up the front porch stairs.  As she righted herself, Annie saw that the front door stood open.  Then she realized that every door and window in the Victorian house was wide open.

“My God, Annie!  Are you all right?” Adelle exclaimed as she helped her sister to her feet and guided her inside.

Annie allowed her sister to guide her, gasping for breath and shaking with fright, to the kitchen table.  There Adelle poured a cup of tea.  Annie turned horrified eyes from the teacup to her sister.

1940s Home Notes Girl tea party“Oh don’t be silly,” Adelle chastised.  “It’s not from that teapot.”

Annie took a sip of the tea her sister pressed upon her.  She took a bite of cake or scone or some baked treat that would ordinarily have been delicious.  However it might as well have been cardboard in her mouth.  Without even realizing what she was doing Annie crumbled the rest between her fingers never looking at it.  She stared blindly out the kitchen window into the darkness, too stunned to process the thousand thoughts in her mind.

“Why in heaven’s name would you let the teapot awaken?” Annie finally asked.

“It couldn’t be helped.  I needed to talk to our grandfather,” Adelle replied.

“That wouldn’t be difficult for you,” Annie said.  “Why would you use the teapot for that?”

Her sister’s mouth curved to that self-satisfied, cat-with-a-bowl-of-cream smile that Annie knew all too well.

“Which grandfather,” Annie asked, closing her eyes and bracing herself for the answer she already knew was coming.

Adelle pursed her lips then made a reluctant, sardonic grimace.  “The one quite a few times removed.  Maybe a few hundred times.”1905 Sunday Mag Tea Woman steam kiss

Annie groaned and dropped her head to the kitchen table, her pale hair falling to cover her face.  Forehead against the polished wood, she rocked her head side to side.  Finally she looked up at her raven haired sister.

“Tell me this is not happening,” Annie pleaded hoarsely.

“It really couldn’t be helped, Annie.  I had to consult Enoch,” Adelle said apologetically.

“What could possibly be that important?” Annie demanded.

The sardonic twist left Adelle’s mouth.  She looked into her sister’s eyes, coldly serious.

“Cailleach Bheur,” Adelle said.  “Beira the Crone.”

***

As you can see, my odd little imaginary town has its quirks.  I hope you enjoyed this visit to Atonement, Tennessee.  Be sure to visit Suzanne too.  It’s still her anniversary week.

Hugs,

Teagan

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.

Mysterious Lodge — Features from Atonement, TN

Building a House with Magic — The Mysterious Lodge

Lous House in Snow-2

Sometimes things don’t go as planned — as you saw last weekend. Thank you so much for coming back again.  I’m also sorry you missed the Halloween treat from Isabel at Cakes and More 101.  I was going to feature a recipe from her last weekend.  Isabel has a beautiful blog, so I’m sure I will get to feature her again soon.

Update: My Writing Process

Atonement in Bloom

First an update, and I cringe as I tell you this…  For months I’ve said I will then I won’t, and I will, and then Are you crazy? There’s no way!  I was talking about National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo.  It’s a huge, all absorbing effort to write a draft novel (of at least 50,000 words) in a single month — that month being November.  Yet my first NaNoWriMo effort produced Atonement, Tennessee.

My big novel writing push was going to be October.  But I didn’t accomplish nearly as much on book-2, Atonement in Bloom as I hoped.  So I’ve made NaNoWriMo part of my writing process.  (I’m not technically doing it, because I had already started the novel months ago.) Rather than reach for a certain word-count, my goal is for time spent writing each day. So far I’m doing better than expected.  However, part of doing NaNoWriMo is letting everything else slide in favor of writing. So there are important things that I’m not getting done.  Sigh… It’s just impossible to do enough of everything.

About That Mysterious Lodge

Lous House Inside ViewRecently Suzanne at Musings on Life and Experience commented that I was building a whole town. Her words prompted me to let this post relate to one of my favorite parts of writing fantasy — world building.  However the Atonement books are not on the scale of what they call “high fantasy,” so I really liked it when Suzanne said I was building a town. That seems perfectly suitable for my urban fantasy!

Of course an important part of creating a town in the minds of my readers is to help them see the businesses, official buildings, and the houses of the people who live there.

I needed a house for a new supernatural character.  What, I pondered, would a house look like that was built by magic?  Furthermore, what if that magic was nature-based? Finally, what if the character who would live there was very flamboyant?Lous House Inside Pool

The perfect illustration eluded me, but the grand lodge pictured at the top of the page will do nicely.  It’s a new house in Atonement, TN and it went up practically over night.  Hmmm… do you think there was magic involved?Lous House Inside Fireplace

This house is an important setting in Atonement in Bloom, so it needed to be very real to me.  I made quite a few “pins” for it on my Pinterest board for the novel.

My Pinterest pins are also part of my writing process.  Some times when I can’t get started writing, I choose one of the pictures I’ve saved and start writing about it. I may begin by simply describing what I see in the image, but it usually turns into a story.

Lew or Patrick Macnee as John SteedThe character who lives in it is flamboyant, but quirky. (Whether this character is good or bad, I’ll leave to you to decide.)  I see him as looking like an odd cross between Austin Powers and John Steed of the 1960’s TV series The Avengers.  However, he is not a secret agent or any sort of spy.  No, he’s just a supernatural being — one with his own unique fashion sense!  But I digress… More on this guy another time.

Back to the magically created house. Because of the type of magic involved I knew it had to be made of wood.  Some of you who enjoy woodworking will like this place. For this character the house had to be audaciously impressive, but also sort of… raw.  Lous House Inside Stairs

There will probably be a holiday party at this house because “Bloom,” as another Suzanne, at A Pug in the Kitchen, nicknamed my novel in progress takes place during December.  (Suzanne DeBrango has followed this blog since its early days, and I really appreciate her unfailing support.)  Anyway, I thought they might serve something like Suzanne’s hot cider recipe.

Hot Buttered Spiced Hard Cider

Hot buttered spiced cider

I hope you’ve enjoyed this visit to Atonement, TN.  Please come back again soon.

Mega hugs!

Teagan

 

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 31

Three Things & Three Blogs

I hesitated to ask for more “things” to fuel the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era, because the serial is nearing the end of the line.  What if I got more things than I could use?  I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  However, I still had to have the three things.  So as a way of showing my appreciation for your comments, I took one word from the blog names of the first three commenters on Episode 30!  (I was rather pleased with that idea, if I say so myself.)

So we have (drumroll please)…

3 locomotives

 

Purple from Melinda at Purple Slob in Recovery https://purpleslobinrecovery.wordpress.com/

Diary from Lord David Prosser at The Barsetshire Diaries https://barsetshirediaries.wordpress.com/

Kitchen from Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen, Good Food with Simple Ingredients http://apuginthekitchen.com/

It’s a rather noisy episode. I didn’t even hear the locomotive pull up to the platform.  However, I see the conductor waving, and now I can hear his voice.  All aboard!

31.  Purple, Diary, Kitchen

My finger traced the edge of a purple leather portfolio I found.  Now the case held the priceless drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, which were previously hidden in the owl-shaped lamp.  I nearly dropped the folio at the sight before me.

In open-mouthed wonder I stared at the riot of possessions and the general confusion of what might have been the alchemist’s bedroom.  It was such a mess that I wasn’t completely sure it was a sleeping chamber.  I thought that was a bed under a stack of shoeboxes and a pile of clothing, though I couldn’t imagine anyone managing to sleep on it.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

I came to the conclusion that the meticulously way in which the laboratory was organized was not the doing of the alchemist — or I should say the version of Cornelis Drebbel that inhabited the amethyst world.  I shrugged.  After all, our Cornelis kept the most haphazard scheme of things, whether on his submarine or anywhere else.  So I expected it was only natural that his doppelgänger would be a slob.  Alright… that wasn’t very generous of me to use such a word to describe my traveling companion.  Shall I say untidy?

Thank goodness his skull, which was safely in my hatbox, wasn’t capable of disarranging things too.  Then I had an uneasy thought.  What if the skull had capabilities of its own?  I firmly pushed that idea into a dark corner of my mind.  There was more than enough trouble at hand, without borrowing even more.  But I digress.

No, I thought, the orderly one must be Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape of the strange purple world of doppelgängers where we’d run aground.  Cal was also the double of Copper’s father, Calvin Hixon.

I tapped my foot in a restless rhythm, annoyed with myself for wasting time, yet drawn to the room nonetheless.  My intuition had become a feather, tickling a sleeping notion in my mind.  That feather suddenly woke the notion and in the full light of thought, it quickly morphed into a certainty.Victorian w purple feather hat

“Ooooh…” I murmured aloud, stretching out the word.

Abruptly I was sure that the alchemist of the amethyst world was with Copper’s missing father!  However, the question remained — where?  How they got together in the first place was a secondary matter.  I hoped to find some sort of clue in the personal quarters of amethyst world’s version of Cornelis Drebbel.  Unfortunately I had no idea what I sought, and the disarray of the room didn’t help.

A soft snuffling sound alerted me to the presence of Absinthe, the Green Fairy.  He fluttered around the eyesore of a room before perching on a shoebox.  Absinthe looked at me and gave a derisive snort, clearly an opinion about the state of the bedroom.  I laughed.  For once I understood the little fairy.

Then Aubrieta, his mate, flew into the room.  Her purple wings missed a beat when she beheld the mess.  Aubrieta gave a little scream before recovering herself.  I had to agree.

I felt a moment of comradery with the two fairies.  They seemed to understand everything I said, but I could not interpret their snorts, grunts, and snuffles at all.  However, emboldened by that friendly feeling, I told them my thoughts about the alchemist of the amethyst world and Calvin Hixon being together somewhere.  I opened the portfolio of Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanical design drawings, and said that I felt one of the designs might also be involved.Aerial Screw drawing
When I added that I thought there might be a clue somewhere in the disarray of the bedroom, the fairies went quickly to work.  They busily looked through every pile and opened every box, cupboard, and drawer.

While they looked through the room, I turned to the closet.  When I opened the door I almost shrieked like Aubrieta.  Boxes and all manner of other things toppled out of the closet as soon as I opened the door.  Cases and trinkets continued to tumble for what seemed like an unnaturally long time.  A purple feather boa draped across my shoulders as it fell.  Aubrieta snuffled appreciatively.  Apparently the little skunk-looking fairy thought it looked good on me.

“So you like this?” I asked Aubrieta of the boa and she chirped enthusiastically.  “Well, it is your color,” I conceded with a smile.Woman in purple boa

As I held out the purple feather boa, Aubrieta wriggled the single eyebrow that was between her one eye and her golden unicorn-like horn.  Static ran through the feathers and with a spark the boa was transformed to a much smaller size — just the right length for the Purple Fairy.

By the way, I never mentioned that the Purple Fairy is a title for Aubrieta, just as Absinthe is the Green Fairy.  Though I had yet to meet them, there were other purple and green fairies, but our tiny companions held some particular distinction among their kind.

I bent down to pick up a full sized feather that was dislodged from the boa.  That’s when I saw the corner of a book.  Its cover was made of tooled lavender leather.  In the center elaborate script spelled the word diary.  It should be the journal of the Cornelis Drebbel doppelgänger.  Shouldn’t it?  Although, the Dutchman was a wily fellow.  It might belong to someone else.

Though it didn’t really help, I took a deep breath to steady my nerves.  Cautiously I opened the lavender tome.  The handwriting inside was a match for that of the alchemist of my world.  I surreptitiously looked over my shoulder.  I bit my lower lip, as with a bit of apprehension I began to read the diary.

However, the journal didn’t seem to be terribly personal.  (I admit I was a little disappointed.)  There were a lot of what I supposed were alchemy related notes, and symbols I didn’t understand.  Then I found a section of spells.  At least I could understand the language with those.

Lady writing lettersTurning the pages faster, I focused my search.  I hoped to find some mention of Cal Hicks, or even better, Calvin Hixon.  Unfortunately I hadn’t found either name.  However, I was skimming the pages awfully quickly.  I could easily have missed something.  I began to notice repeated references to “Cu” but that made no more sense than the rest of the text.  It seemed to be more of a name than initials.  I shrugged.  The inhabitants of the amethyst world did seem to be fond of very short names, like Cal and Von.

As I turned pages I also saw drawings and diagrams.  Some of the sketches reminded me of the da Vinci drawings.  I slowed down, paying closer attention.

My focus was broken by a commotion elsewhere in the laboratory.  It sounded like an argument.  Yes, there was some sort of disagreement.  Aubrieta made an impatient snuffling sound and winged away in a blur.  I figured the situation was safe in the Purple Fairy’s capable hands — or should I say wings?  Paws?  Whatever, I had no doubt that the one-eyed, erstwhile dragon could use that pointy horn to good effect.

I could hear the raised voice of Cornelis Drebbel, though I couldn’t make out his words.  I stood, placing my finger in the diary to hold my place.  I knew I’d best go see what the trouble might be before things got out of hand.  Then I heard Absinthe shriek an irritated noise.

As I walked quickly down the hallway I tried to determine where the commotion had come from.  Beyond the long workroom, the laboratory was a warren of hallways and alcoves.  I hesitated when I came to an intersection of corridors.

Jamie Murray as Felicity

Jamie Murray as Felicity

A teeth jarring screech of unused metal was followed by a crash.  The noise came from the kitchen.  The shouting was louder, but not coherent until I heard clearly the voice of Cal Hicks.  “Lord of Alchemy!” the amethyst ape cried.  “No!  Please wait!”

I broke into a run.

The “kitchen” of the laboratory was a combination food preparation area, dining room, and relaxation area, with several chaise lounges.  Above the wide open room was a clear crystal dome which let in the sunlight.  The dome was divided into sections, much like one would cut an orange.  The sections were held in place by brass strips.

Earlier, after a meal, I had stretched out on a chaise and gazed up at the pastel clouds drifting in the sky beyond the dome.  It was tranquil.  However, the sounds coming from the kitchen were anything but calming.

When I reached the kitchen I found Copper and Aubrieta perched on an open wooden packing crate.  Another metallic screech caused me to look upward.  The sections of the crystal dome slowly spread, opening to the sky.  It was a fanciful idea, but it made me imagine a clear flower bud with petals opening to the sun.

Directly beneath the dome I saw Cornelis and Absinthe.  They argued.  Cal Hicks stood between the two, urging them to be reasonable.  I got the feeling that the tableau might go on for a while.  There was nothing I could do to improve the situation, and no need for me to be agitated.  I leaned against the crate and turned to Copper who dangled her feet from the top of the wooden box.

Copper

Copper

“What was inside?” I asked her as I stuck my head into the empty container.

“That top thing Cornelis has.  I think Absinthe wants to play with it,” Copper said knowingly.  “Cornelis is too big for it.  He really ought to give it to Absinthe.”

Aubrieta snorted in a derisive tone and shook her purple head.  She didn’t seem to think Absinthe should have anything to do with it either.  I noticed the purple feather boa had returned to full size and was draped across Copper’s shoulders.  The little fairy must have wanted the boa so she could give it to the girl.  I was fascinated by the way both of the fae took to Copper.

“What top thing?” I wondered aloud and stretched in attempt to see around Cornelis and Cal Hicks.

The ape and the alchemist finally moved and I saw a working model of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw.  It stood about waist high.  The “threads” of the screw were made of linen, and it rotated slowly.

“It’s only a model,” Cornelis told Absinthe.  “I need firsthand experience of it before we make a full-sized machine,” he said as the Green Fairy snorted and chirped.

Abruptly, Cornelis snapped his fingers.  A yellowish green glow surrounded the aerial screw and it gently rose from the floor.  With a last whine of metal, the dome finished opening.  The aerial screw continued to rise.  The alchemist schooled his face to a bland expression and he looked from Cal to Absinthe as the rotating machine rose above their heads.

“If the tiny fae thinks the device is unsafe,” Cal Hicks began, apparently understanding the sounds Absinthe made — was I the only one who didn’t understand fairy-speak?  “Don’t you think it would be wise to listen?  It needn’t be a long delay,” the ape offered in a reasonable tone.

With a mischievous glint in his eyes, Corenlis grinned.  He leaped up and grabbed onto the bottom of the aerial screw.  A green glow surrounded the contraption and the alchemist.  The device quickly moved up into the opening of the crystal dome.  Absinthe gave an angry scream.  He fluttered up to Cornelis and pointed his bantam backside at the alchemist’s face in a very threatening posture.  A poot of super-concentrated absinthe vapors would surely cause Cornelis to fall, and he was many feet above the floor.

“Well, climb on, old boy!” Cornelis told the Green Fairy.  “There’s room for one more,” Cornelis invited as he dangled high in the air.Green fairy skunk

However, Absinthe flew in circles around the aerial screw.  The Green Fairy jerked his head around, as if he heard something.  He screamed again and pointed.  The sound came again, loud enough for me to hear.  The linen “threads” of the screw ripped loudly.  The aerial screw lurched.  Cornelis struggled to keep his grip as the machine darted wildly.

***

Now what has Cornelis Drebbel gotten himself into?  Be at the train station next week to catch the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era.

Since one of the three blogs I used as this episode’s three things is a chef’s blog, I’m taking the recipe from it.  How could I resist this beautiful lavender colored cake to go with the amethyst world?  Thank you Suzanne, for letting me use one of your recipes.  Suzanne is a marvelously talented chef.  So be sure to take a look at her blog.

Recipe:  White Cake With Whipped Cream Icing and Blackberry Lemon Cream Filling

Suzanne lavender cake

Recipe and photo credit: Suzanne Debrango at “A Pug in the Kitchen”

http://apuginthekitchen.com/2012/03/28/white-cake-with-whipped-cream-icing-and-blackberry-lemon-curd-filling/

 

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 24

Choices

Couple boat pug

One of my favorite bloggers, Donna Parker, wrote about choices. Her post got me thinking — as it often does. Eventually my pondering turned to choices about writing. Despite the fact that writers are advised to choose one genre and stick to it, I think most of us like to dabble in various types of storytelling. I continue to dally with different styles, but my stick-to-it choice is fantasy.

I’ve been encouraged to write romances, but I leave that to the experts — like Mary. This time, the three things that fueled the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era were sent by Mary J. McCoy-Dressel.

Mary’s latest book, Of the Cowboy’s Own Accord, took off like a rocket. It reached #1 in Amazon’s ranking of best sellers in Contemporary Western Fiction.  She describes herself as an author of sensual Contemporary Western Romance with strong family ties. I’m fond of calling it her dynasty of cowboys, but it would be more correct to say (as Mary puts it) she specializes in “gentlemen cowboys (with a touch of bad) & their feisty heroines.”

Mary_Double Dutch Ranch Series

Our steam locomotive is rolling ’round the bend. Again, I’ve included some fun informative links in text and images. This time I’m also giving you a menu for a Victorian afternoon tea.  All aboard!

 

As you’ll recall…

Our trio was on the run from three different groups of bad guys, including huge and dangerous trained chimpanzees, one of which gestured in sign language the word daddy.  Felicity recognized the leader of one group by her voice — she was a woman from Copper’s town, but the woman in trousers couldn’t recall which townswoman possessed that voice.

Our heroes hid out at the pavilion of Alastair Wong, where alchemy gone awry gave them a map with a clue to where they might find Copper’s missing father. Still on the run, they boarded Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine where they met Absinthe, the Green Fairy.  Subsequently the submarine ran aground in an amethyst world.

24.  Straitlaced, Queen Anne Style Architecture, Harper’s Bazaar

The suited, bespectacled purple primate was a willing listener for Cornelis Drebbel.  I wouldn’t have expected an ape to speak our language, even if he could talk.  Nor would I have thought we would understand him.  When I was about to ask, a significant look from Cornelis caused me to realize it had to be one of the Dutchman’s tricks at work, allowing us to communicate with one another.

Tea Gown by Charles Frederick Worth as seen in Harper's Bazaar, December 1891

Tea Gown by Charles Frederick Worth as seen in Harper’s Bazaar, December 1891

The alchemist gave the primate a full tour of the submarine.  The amethyst ape soaked up every detail as Cornelis explained how the many inventions onboard were used in the navigation and other workings of the submarine.  The ape seemed to have an astonishing scientific comprehension of what the Dutchman said in describing his inventions.

Cornelis had gone on about doppelgängers and was genuinely concerned about the consequences if one of us met our double in this perplexing purple place.  I remembered Copper’s giggling exclamation comparing the straitlaced ape to her father.  I thought it simply childish fantasy, but then I recalled how the Dutchman reacted to her words.  He curled his lips inward in a rueful grimace and raised his bushy blonde eyebrows.  Then he pursed his lips and inclined his head pointedly toward the purple primate.  At that moment the ape reminded me very much of the portrait of Calvin Hixon.

I studied the primate’s face and tried to imagine a human version.  My eyes grew wide.  The amethyst ape was Calvin Hixon’s doppelgänger!

Cornelis was quite adept at reading facial expressions, no matter how fleeting.  When he glanced my way he raised one eyebrow and gave half a nod to indicate he knew I had caught on to what he had figured out the first moment he saw the ape.  It was no wonder he’d frozen in amazement when Copper and I had gotten out of the submarine.  I finally understood why. I tried not to stare at the ape version of Copper’s daddy.

After Cornelis had shown off his favorite inventions, the ape invited us to tea.  Cornelis wasn’t quick enough to hide his reluctance to disembark the submarine.  The ape tried to encourage him by describing the setting and the Queen Anne style architecture of his charming home.  I couldn’t help wondering if this amethyst world had held a purple primate version of Queen Anne, and suspected that it actually had.  However, Copper was beside herself with excitement.

Carson mansion Queen Annd

The Carson Mansion located in Eureka, California is considered one of the finest examples of American Queen Anne style architecture.

In a very discrete way, the alchemist worked the conversation around to inquire about the ape’s family life and whether he lived alone.  Abruptly the purple primate puckered his face, looking very contrite.  He bumped his palm to his brow and apologized profusely.

“I was so amazed and excited that I forgot to introduce myself.  Can you ever forgive my lacking manners?  Cal Hicks — at your service,” he said with a bow.  “Penny will be devastated not to have met you.  That’s my daughter.  She’s away for the week, visiting her brother Nate and his wife.”

When the ape — or I should say Cal Hicks, mentioned his daughter-in-law he gave me the strangest, quizzical look.  “Something in your manner puts me very much in mind of my delightful daughter-in-law,” he told me with a twinkle in his eye.Jaime Murray-2

I was speechless.  Could there be a purple ape version of me?  And was she married to an ape version of Ignatius Belle?  Surely not, it was incomprehensible!  The ideas were a bit too much and I suddenly had a headache.

The ape didn’t know the reason behind the alchemist’s concern, but what he disclosed about his family reassured Cornelis that it was unlikely for any of us to run into our doppelgängers.  With a little more please-pretty-please urging from Copper, Cronelis finally agreed.  So we set out with Cal Hicks, the primate equivalent of Copper’s daddy, to have tea at his home.

A violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper graciously served tea with all the trimmings.  She seemed delighted to have a chance to show off her skills, and served the perfect pot of tea to complement each course.

(How to Host a Victorian Tea Party)

 

1920s Catering Menu-1Tea Menu

Sandwiches and Savories
Smoked Salmon with Dill Butter on Dark Bread, garnished with Dill (open face half-moon sandwich)

Ham and Chopped Watercress with Basil Butter on Rye Bread (finger sandwich)

Thinly Sliced Cucumber & Chopped Mint with Mint Butter on White Bread (open face round sandwich)
Chopped Egg and Diced Black Olives on Whole Wheat Bread (pinwheel sandwich)

***

Scones and Breads

*********

Enhancers

Devonshire Cream

Flavored Butters (Fruit, Herb & Spice)

Raspberry Preserves and Rose Petal Jam
***

Sweets

Served in a champagne or martini glass:

English Trifle with Heart-Shaped Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

***

Mauve teacup Wileman Co 1893

My cup rattled against its saucer.  I was embarrassed to I spill my tea.  Charming and hospitable as Cal Hicks was, the entire situation was unnerving.  I almost wished I had stayed behind at the submarine with Absinthe.  Cornelis was downright twitchy — probably still worried about doppelgängers.  Copper was the only one who took everything in stride.

Several portraits hung in the hallway.  It seemed that Cal Hicks enjoyed a much happier, devoted family life than had Calvin Hixon.  The son was presumable born out of wedlock, since this place seemed to reflect our own world.  But unlike Ignatius Belle, Nate Hicks agreed to become a true part of the family.  And since Penny was visiting Nate and his wife for a week, I assumed that she did not share Copper’s dislike and mistrust of her half brother.

Victorian Ape CoupleA purple primate version of Harper’s Bazaar magazine lay on a beautifully crafted mahogany table.  The deep color of the wood had dark purple highlights.  On the magazine cover was a woman-ape wearing a fashionable ensemble.  A painting hung above the table.  It was a portrait of Cal Hicks’ son and daughter-in-law.  I had to admit the young ape in the portrait bore a vague resemblance to Ignatius Belle.  However the female looked nothing like me whatsoever.

“Look Felicity!  She looks like you,” Copper enthused.

Looking away, I tried not to let the ape see how aghast I was at the girl’s comment.  With narrowed eyes I watched Corenlis.  His mouth twisted in any number of ways as he tried to stifle his laughter.  I knew it was our host he didn’t want to offend.  He certainly wouldn’t be concerned about my pricked ego.

To hide his mirth, the Dutchman tapped his fist to his breastbone, pretending to stifle a burp.  Then he asked our host if we might stroll around the grounds to help the fine repast he’d provided settle.  The amethyst ape was happy to oblige.

As we toured the property we came upon a church.  “That doesn’t look like it’s been used in quite some time,” I commented about the chapel.

“Ah yes.  That was indeed a tragedy,” Cal Hicks replied sadly, and Copper was quick to push for details on a topic we adults may have deemed too delicate.

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

“It happened during the last confrontation with the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater,” the ape said then turned to Cornelis as if concerned.  “Do you not remember it?”

“Err…” Cornelis hesitated, but a spark in his eyes told me he was about to dissemble.  “I must confess,” he said looking so sad and sincere that I almost rolled my eyes.  “An accident of alchemy brought my submarine back to these shores.  Sadly I have no memory of the events that happened here,” he explained.  “Oh now, there’s no need for concern, I’m sure the memories will return in due time.  Such is the way of alchemy,” he assured our worried looking host.

“Well, perhaps a refresher will help it along then,” Cal Hicks said with a hopeful nod.  “I mentioned that we had thought all of your species,” he said turning to me, but hesitating when he looked at Copper’s wide eyes.  “Well, um, that the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater had, um gotten them,” Cal said and seeing that Copper didn’t look frightened, he continued.  “However, there was one more confrontation with that huge purple fae creature.  You, Cornelis Drebbel, cornered the magical beast, and with your alchemy intended to transfigure it to something harmless.”

“Let me guess,” I said with a wry grin.  “The alchemy went awry.”

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis glared at me, but the ape remained perfectly serious, continuing his narrative.  “The Lord of Alchemy insisted that everyone take refuge in the chapel while he confronted the monster alone.  Meanwhile, I ran to retrieve his harmonic tuner.  It’s a magical device decorated with a carving of a trio in the classic mystic people pose — hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”

The ape suddenly looked overwhelmed with regret.  He moved his spectacles to wipe a tear.  “In my haste, I tripped.  The harmonic tuner flew from my grasp.  It rang as it flew through the air.  However, you, Cornelis Drebbel, caught it before it fell.  So I thought all would be well, and that my mishap had done no harm,” Cal Hicks told us in an apologetic voice.

The ape dabbed his nose with a silk handkerchief and took a deep breath before continuing.  “The purple people eater vanished, presumably vanquished.  You, Lord of Alchemy popped off, as was your habit, to make sure the beast was gone for good.  But you never returned,” he said, looking like a repentant child caught in mischief.  His expression gladdened as he looked up and added, “Until today that is.”

“And the church?” I prompted.1860s Woman Handkerchief tintipe

Cal Hicks turned somber eyes to the chapel.  He shook his head slowly.  “When the loud harmonic noise of the misused tuner dissipated, I realized there were no sounds whatsoever coming from the church.  To my horror, I found it empty.  Everyone inside had vanished along with the purple people eater,” he said.

I gasped despite myself.  The ape seemed to think I found his telling of the story that shocking, and he seemed gratified to have at least told it well.  Although it was obvious that he blamed himself to a degree for what happened.  So I tried not to let on that the story wasn’t the reason for my gasp.

“Cornelis!” I whispered to the alchemist.  “That army of chimpanzees back at the Hixon estate.  What if they weren’t trained,” I said but paused, looking for the right word.  “What if instead, they were actually translocated?”

***

Felicity has figured out at least part of the mystery of the “trained” chimpanzees, but we still don’t know who was using them.  Can the ape version of Calvin Hixon somehow help our trio reach Copper’s real daddy?  Will seeing the portrait of primate doubles of herself and Ignatius Belle influence Felicity’s capricious feelings about him?  I hope to see you at the platform for the train to the Victorian Era again next time. 

Hot and humid… day after day, night after night – it’s just that time of year here.  So when I saw a beautiful post from Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen for “Nicoise Salad,” it seemed like the perfect recipe to share with this episode.

Recipe:  Nicoise Salad

Nicoise Salad suzanne

Photo and recipe credit:  Suzanne Debrango

 

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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