A Bucket-full of Leftovers

Recently when we talked about “Using Leftovers,” I had no idea that I’d basically be using leftovers for then next few posts.  This round of leftovers started with the “My First Blog Post” challenge.  I first saw this challenge over at Geoff’s blog.  Then Tess dared me to do it.  If you want to play by the rules (which I never do) visit Tess — she has all the details at her post, which by the way, is superb even if it had been the 500th post rather than her first.   Crystal Reading Atonement

The first time I did a post, I knew nothing about blogging.  All I knew was that having one was the chief advice for independently published novelists, and I was getting my nerve up to self-publish Atonement Tennessee.

Mine is not much of a post, but here’s my humble blast from the past, published December 28, 2012.  Even as I write this, that inaugural post has all of four likes and zero comments. (Thank you Christoph Fischer — I don’t know how you found it, but I appreciate you.)

Here’s My First Blog Post

My First Blog Post: Atonement, Tennessee:  Draft Complete

This year I participated in my first National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  The challenge was to write a draft novel, of at least 50,000 words, just during the month of November.

I didn’t think I could do it — but I did!  Now I’m a NaNoWriMo winner with Atonement, Tennessee.  It was quite a journey.  I’ll tell you more about NaNoWriMo and Atonement, Tennessee later.

***

There you have it.  Short, huh?  That is because I knew I was mostly talking to myself.  Looking at that post has spoken loud and clear to me of all the wonderful friends I have today at this blog.  I cherish each of you!

So, what’s happened since December 28, 2012?  As you know, Atonement, Tennessee is available.  I’ve been working on book two, Atonement in Bloom, ever since…

3-things-cover_3-2016

More Leftovers 

Leftovers seems to be a recurring theme.  In November 2016, I “book-ized” the first of the serial stories that built this blog — The Three Things Serial, a Little 1920s Story.  

Still using leftovers, this spring I expect to book-ize the second serial.  That one is a culinary mystery, still in the 1920s and starring Pip.  What’s it called?  Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I.  Or maybe I’ll say it the other way around, not sure yet…

I could put all my leftovers in a bucket, I guess.  Recently on Netflix I watched the Bones TV show.  It was called “The Lady on the List” and there was a lot of talk about bucket lists. (I apologize for the low video quality.)

It made me wonder why I never had a bucket list.  I guess, before I left the southwest, I had all I cared about.  Aspen and Crystal were healthy and happy.  I had a small house built in a safe and quiet neighborhood. I had a small circle of great friends. At work I was respected and considered an expert in my field.  But the job wasn’t all that secure, so I left all that for one that was.

Wow, how completely things can change with just a few greedy and/or jealous people putting their evil little hands into things.  But I don’t talk about that here.

Then I realized that I do have a bucket list.  My bucket list is full of my leftovers, all the un-finalized and unfinished novels.  That’s basically all I want now… to be able to be free of the creativity-drain (all its components) that prevents me finishing them.  

Edit and redo a few things that I’m unhappy with in three years and 700 pages of writing the epic fantasy, The Dead of Winter.  (I did that before I started this blog.) And if I’m honest, to see it as an anime series too.

Visualize fully the story of the three Harlequin races, a trilogy I envisioned to begin with Tatterdemallian:  The Electric Zucchini.  That’s the least finished of all my works. I hate to even call it a draft.

Finish up and polish the ending of  The Guitar Mancer.  

And thanks to NaNoWriMo 2016, to flesh-out the middle of The Delta Pearl.

Those are my impossible dreams, my bucket list.  Do you have a bucket list?  If so, then what’s on it?

May all of your happy, impossible dreams come true.  Have a wonder-filled, hug-fulled weekend.

My Bucket List — My Impossible Dream

Atonement in Bloom Atonement_in_Bloom_1_03-24-2014

The Dead of Winter

dow-06-15-2013

Tatterdemallian:  The Electric Zucchini

zucchini-cover-1-copy

The Guitar Mancer

Guitar Mancer Cover final 05-04-2016

The Delta Pearl

delta-pearl-cover-1

 

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.

 

 

Using Leftovers — Research

Welcome back everyone.  I’m happy to see you.

Today let’s discuss leftovers.  How do you (or could you) use leftovers in any of your creative pursuits?  Yes, it could be leftover food — and even better if you post a recipe about it!  However, I mean leftovers in a much broader sense.  Apply it to any craft or process or activity you choose.

Leftover Research — Blue John

3-things-cover_3-2016

My editor brain often serves me leftovers — leftover research.  There have been more than a couple of times when I get so intrigued by a research topic that it comes back, not yet finished with me.  One was the mythology I found while researching The Dead of Winter.  (You can find a few old posts about that epic nestled away in this blog.)  Myths from ancient Wales had little part in that novel, if any.  However the leftover research inspired some characters in Atonement, Tennessee as well as the work in progress, Atonement in Bloom.

Then there was the little feast author  Lord David Prosser provided when he left the gemstone, Blue John as one of the “things” for the original Three Things Serial Story.  Of course I had to Goggle the name, and as research topics sometimes do, it stuck with me.  (You can read the first episode involving Blue John here.)

Years later when I began a steampunk story, The Delta Pearl, as my 2016 National Novel Writing Month project, I needed several character names that were gemstones.  That time Blue John gave me more than a name — it created an entire character.  He even got the area where the gemstone is found as his home, not to mention his accent.delta-pearl-cover-1

So today I thought I’d share a snippet that used this leftover research.  I’m still working on the middle of The Delta Pearl, but here’s one the scene that includes Blue John, the First Mate of the Delta Pearl, and the heroine, Émeraude Perlezenn.  It’s just a slice of life aboard the strange riverboat in this steampunk tale.

***

The Mate looked positively frazzled as he rolled charts and tidied up the bridge.  Onyx, the clockwork owl perched on a sexton, and hooted at me as I entered.

“Who-who?” the owl vocalized.

I knew that was the owl’s version of “Who goes there?”  At one point, Captain Cecil Perlog fancied teaching the owl to talk like a pirate.  Granted, the normal rules of nature did not apply to clockwork creatures.  However, the Mate and I managed to convince him that human-like speech was more the province of parrots than owls.

“Oh really, Onyx.  It is not as if you don’t know who I am,” I chided the unrepentant owl.jenna-coleman-as-emeraude

“Who-who?” the owl asked again, but I ignored him.  “Blue, are you all right?” I asked the flustered Mate.

Blue John Boulton had been the first mate of the Delta Pearl for as long as I had been aboard the riverboat.  Born in Derbyshire, he still had the particular English accent of that area.  His dialect produced more than a few unexpected and often archaic sounding turns of phrase.

Though his eyes were the most magnificent shade of blue that was not how he came by the name Blue.  His parents named him for a unique form of fluorite mined in their area — Blue John.  However he was usually called the Mate, or simply Blue.

Blue was typically cool and composed, but seemingly random events could sometimes agitate him.  Some might even say he was paranoid.

“You know how the Delta Pearl can get finicky about such things as borders and boundaries.  I don’t know why it should matter to her…  But I’ve seen it a time or two, when she reacts strongly to crossing a line of demarcation, like the borders between states.  And that’s nothing compared to how she gets with time zones.”

It was not the first time I had seen him in a tizzy.  “When will we reach the boundary for the state line?” I asked.steamboat-mississippi

“Right about dinnertime, all factors remaining constant,” the Mate told me.

“Well, there’s no need to run around like a chicken with its head cut off.  There’s plenty of time.  What can I do to help?” I asked with the sudden realization that the Mate probably took precautions of which I had been unaware.

“Is that another of your grandpa’s sayings?  I love it when you talk like a southern belle,” he told me with a saucy wink, seeming more like the Blue John I knew rather than the frazzled mess that stood before me.

“Just make sure any artifacts,” he began but paused when he saw the perplexed expression on my face.  “That’d be anything, any item, decoration, or furnishing onboard that you just knew was dodgy somehow.  You know, anything that’s ever given you one of those strange feelings.  Anyhow, make sure anything like that is properly secured.”

“You don’t truly think there is that much cause for alarm, do you?” I asked, trying to keep the incredulous expression off my face.

“Better safe than sorry, Émeraude.  Better safe than sorry.  That includes the clockwork creatures,” he replied.Edwardian man

Onyx gave a triple hoot of protest at Blue’s words.  “Nen mate, now then old boy.  I’m sorry about that,” the Mate told the owl.  “It will only be for a short time,” he added consolingly before turning back to me.  “Em, if you can possibly find Amethyst it would be best to store the spider somewhere safe and secure.  I know she’s a hard one to find when she doesn’t want to be seen.  So just give it a try.”

I turned to go, but Blue stopped me, his eyes wide.  “Oh, and that portrait of the woman wearing the cameo like yours — make sure you cover it up!  The whole thing, just hang a sheet over it, or anything you can get your hands on quick.  That’d be the main thing right there.  Cover that portrait.  Thou art kind, Émeraude.  I appreciate the help.”

***

Nothing exciting… as I said, it’s more of a slice of life aboard the Delta Pearl.  However, I hope you enjoyed visiting the mystical riverboat.  Have a wonder-filled, hug-filled weekend.

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.

 

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: Slow Ride

steamboat-mississippi

Welcome everyone!  To most sane people it would seem like the intense challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) would be the last thing anybody who desperately needs to decompress should add to their endless pile of stress.  However, it seems to be the monumental distraction that I needed.

For anyone who is participating in NaNoWriMo along with me, here’s a song to keep us chugging along.

I’m trying hard not to let my woefully inadequate word count bother me.  The Delta Pearl is an old-time paddle-wheel riverboat.  It’s only fitting that the creation of the novel should be a slow ride.

Since I had not planned to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, I had no story in mind.  So I asked everyone to send me three random things, to move the riverboat along.  The response was great, and so were your “things.”  I’ve been using them.  This week things from author and translator Olga Núñez Miret added to the story. (Olga’s Amazon author page here.)  She sent “Ace of Hearts, Small Pistol, Camera” which made me think of the inventor character I had recently created…  My narrator already found him appealing, but Ace of Hearts?  Look out Émeraude! audio-collection-olga

Olga has a sensational collection of her own books, so be sure to click over and take a look.  She is also promoting a multi-author event (details here) for audio books!  Specials run from November 20 — 22, 2016.

Now back to my slow ride on what is supposed to be a NaNoWriMo whirlwind…
Mega hugs!

delta-pearl-cover-1

 

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.