Thriving Thursdays: What if I Fall – 2

To read “What if I Fall -1” just click here.

Welcome back.  I’m playing catch-up again, re-posting some of the Thriving Thursdays mini-posts that The Story Reading Ape has so generously allowed me to do from his tree-house.

Thriving Thursdays: What if I Fall – 2

What if I fall?  What if someone laughs?  What if it’s expensive?  What if it’s a no return ramp exit?  What if—?

Are you afraid you’ll fall?  Yet you don’t want that nagging fear to hold you back, right?  Well, sometimes we just have to redefine our perception of things.  Would you really be falling?

“Did you just fall?”charlie-chaplin-fell-down

“No.  I attacked the floor.”

Go ahead and attack the floor.  If you even got up and tried — the truth is, that’s more than most people do.  That alone means you didn’t really fall.  Did you learn something from that failed attempt?  About yourself, or about how you’re doing things?  Then you didn’t truly fall.

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
― Erin Hanson

Flying man w umbrella

Wishing you a thriving Thursday,

Teagan

Copyright © 2015 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.

Thriving Thursdays: The Value of Nonsense

If you have already seen this post, forgive me.  It is one of a series of monthly guest spots I’ve been doing at The Story Reading Ape’s blog.  I’m adding it here to my Motivational section.  Since it’s “been done” be sure to pay a visit to the Ape.  Just click here.

Thriving Thursdays:  The Value of Nonsense

Batman Elephant purple

There used to be a list of jokes about keeping a healthy level of insanity.  A good sense of whimsy, an active imagination — those things will help you thrive.

“I like nonsense —
it wakes up the brain cells…”  Dr. Seuss

Here’s one more whimsical quote.

 “My alphabet starts with this letter called yuzz.  It’s the letter I use to spell yuzz-a-ma-tuzz.  You’ll be sort of surprised what there is to be found once you go beyond “Z” and start poking around!”
Theodor Geisel  (aka Dr. Seuss)

From Yuzz to Z, make it a thriving Thursday!

Mega hugs,

Teagan

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

Thriving Thursdays: What if I Fall – 1

My heartfelt thanks to Chris Graham, the one and only Story Reading Ape, for hosting me at his terrific blog on the third Thursday of each month.

In order to build my “Motivational” section, I’m posting it this way (rather than the standard re-blog).  However, please visit the Ape to leave a comment at the link below.  Have a thriving Thursday! 

https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/01/19/thriving-thursdays-what-if-i-fall-1-guest-post-by-teagan-riordain-geneviene/ 

Thriving Thursdays: What if I Fall – 1

man-mountains-jumping-or-falling

UnSplash.com

I strive to be positive, otherwise I can’t thrive.  However, the ugly head of reality continually rears up in my face.  So I know that many times I’m actually going to fall.  But no matter how many times — or how hard I fall, the only choice is to drag myself back up and start climbing again.

Of course my self-talk takes a negative turn after a fall, and I ask myself
“What if I fall again?”

Then on the breeze I hear the faintest whisper… “But what if you fly?”

“There is freedom waiting for you,

On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask “What if I fall?”

Oh but my darling,

What if you fly?”

― Erin Hanson

Flying man w umbrella

Wishing you a thriving Thursday,

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.

Thriving Thursdays: Garbage Thinking

Garbage Truck Law

Photo Credit: Proctor Gallagher Institute

I give my heartfelt thanks to Chris the Story Reading Ape for hosting me at his tree-house every third Thursday of the month for these Thriving Thursday posts.  Kindly click on the link below to leave your comments at his blog.

Thriving Thursdays: Garbage Thinking – Guest Post…

Thriving Thursdays

Garbage Thinking

You’re getting ready for work and you spill your coffee.  Cleaning it up, you see that it’s all over your shirt.  You have to change the shirt, and then your pants don’t match the next shirt.  Late for work, you get stuck behind a garbage truck.  It smells.  Bad!  And that’s when the day really turns to garbage… “Murphy’s Law” becomes the law of the garbage truck.

We’ve all had days when one small bad thing sends the day into a tailspin.  Did you notice that as you became focused the first unfortunate thing, the more the little bad things piled up, one after another? 

Shift your focus to something pleasant, something positive.  Do it fast — before the law of the garbage truck kicks-in!

Have a thriving Thursday,

Teagan

Garbage Truck vintage cartoon

Have a thriving Thursday!

 

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.

 

Guitar Mancer — Episode 14: Beguine

1960 Lincoln Continental white ad

Lincoln Continental ad 1960

Welcome back everyone!  This time I thought I might engage in some shameless self-promotion and compare this story to one of my others.  I’m glad that I can say I’ve written a number of different novel-length stories (if you include my serials here).  They have different settings, concepts, and characters.  It’s my opinion that this one, The Guitar Mancer is especially unique.  Well, my intro idea fell flat — because The Guitar Mancer actually is singular.  I can’t think of a relevant way (for Episode 14) to compare this story to any of my others.  In a strange way that pleases me.  So I’ll just move along. 

Featured Re-Blogger TSRA reads Atonement

I’m absolutely honored that people consistently “get in the car” by re-blogging these installments of my novel. I sincerely appreciate all of you. So I’ve decided that, for a while, I’ll switch this segment from “Featured Blogger” to Featured Re-Blogger!

Breaking news from The Story Reading Ape — New Book!

Chris Graham (aka The Story Reading Ape) has long been one of the most loyal supporters of my blog and my novel, Atonement, Tennessee.  Not only does Chris support a multitude of other writers, he uses his blog as a platform for resources, book promos, and more.  Chris also does book covers and trailers.  Be sure to check out his blog.

Back when I asked everyone to leave comments with “things” to add to these installments, Chris/Ape mentioned his Naughty Chimpswashed the plates with their tongues.”  Believe it or not, this segment had the perfect place for me to add that as a thing.  The luxury automobile featured at the top of the page is also mentioned.

About This Episode

You already know The Guitar Mancer was originally an unfinished fantasy novel that I started in the 1990s.  Last time in a comment I mentioned that the sequence about the private club is one of the few untouched parts from that original.  When I wrote the original chapter (episodes 13 and 14) I had the old Cole Porter song, Begin the Beguine in my mind.  A beguine is actually a dance. 

In this video Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire do a tap dance to Begin the Beguine.  It’s a good deal different from the swaying rhythm of the Artie Shaw orchestra version I featured last time.  However, it is fitting for the “dance” Tam is about to do (so to speak).  Our hero is dancing as fast as he can too, as he tries to break the spell of drug enhanced mancer-magic Yamata Orochi cast on Luci.

This is another longer installment, but I hope you won’t even notice.  The vintage Cadillac is revved up now!  So just get in the car!  It’s ready to pick up this road trip where we left off with Episode 13.  Freyja provided aerial guidance as Tam (with Lychnis in the seat next to him) drove the vintage red Cadillac in search of Luci.

Episode 14 — Beguine

Full Moon Rising

The golden light of evening reluctantly gave way to twilight.  Tammarand Ben Taliesin flexed his hands.  They had been clinched in a death grip around the steering wheel.

What was it people said — cold hands mean a warm heart?  The thought flashed across Tam’s mind.  He had known his hands were like ice before it occurred to him to turn on the heater in his pristine 1959 Cadillac.  Splashing through a mud puddle would ordinarily have made him curse, but he drove through three of them without noticing.  Such was his determination. 

The windows were rolled up, to discourage the kit from jumping out of the car, but the top was down.  Tam needed to be able to see the sky.  However, there were enough evergreens lining the narrow road that it wasn’t always possible.

Cold wind blew through his sandy hair.  His breath froze as he exhaled.  The Caddy’s heater blasted out warm air, but it was January and with the convertible top down, it was bound to be cold. Hawk in flight from below

With occasional glimpses of Freyja, the big red tailed hawk flying above and that totem enhanced intuition, his route took them through wooded lanes up to Old Hickory Lake.  Tam had a hunch that the dirt and gravel roads were leading them by a back way to a little-known, exclusive area on the shores of the lake. 

A shrill cry caused him to look up again.  That was why he had the top down — so he might see the hawk.  Rounding a bend, he saw a tiki torch that marked a dirt road.  It had been years since he’d been with that crowd, but he remembered the torch marking the turn.

Domhnall Gleeson outside

Domhnall Gleeson as Tam

After a time the only sounds were the hum of the Caddy’s engine and a soft growl the lynx totem had started to utter under his breath.  Tam glanced at Lychnis curiously and somewhat expectantly, but the kitten made no other move. 

Once again Tam looked skyward but in the dimming light it was hard to spot Freyja.  A few stars winked to life as the sky shifted to a darker blue. 

Lychnis looked up at the full moon and gave a guttural sound.  A lynx didn’t roar like a lion, but the sound was a far cry from the mew of a kitten.  It caused Tammarand to jump half out of his skin.

“Why your voice is changing, kit!” he told the totem with a grin.

Lychnis did in fact seem rather pleased with himself.  Though, he looked a bit puzzled by the change in his meow.

Tam couldn’t see Freyja, but the big hawk gave a loud piercing cry.  He slammed on the breaks, causing the Cadillac to fishtail on the dirt and gravel road.  In the rearview mirror Tam saw the driveway he had just missed.

“I can’t tell if that’s the turn or not,” he muttered to Lychnis.  “It should’ve been marked with one of those party torches if it’s the place I expected.  People are always saying I jump to conclusions…  Maybe Freyja is taking us to a place I don’t know about.”

The anxious feeling of being woefully insufficient for the task at hand flooded back to Tam’s mind.  He dug in his jacket pocket and found a piece of hard candy, which he popped into his mouth.  He took a deep breath to steady himself.  As he looked around to get his bearings, he spotted the tiki torch.  It had been knocked almost to the ground, and the flame had gone out.  Tam smiled and turned onto the long driveway.

1959 Cadillac nightAfter traveling half the length of the driveway, he turned off the Cadillac’s engine.  In the silence Tam could hear the water lap against the shores of Old Hickory Lake.  Then he heard faint strains of music.

Listening closely, Tam felt traces of spells hidden in the music that drifted out to the road.  It was mancer magic.  He pulled the Caddy behind some concealing cedar trees.  With the rowan staff in hand, he headed up the driveway on foot.  Lychnis padded quietly alongside.

Moonlight reflected patterns on the lake.  Tam looked from the lake to the expensive cars that lined the parking area.  A long and luxurious Lincoln Mark IV sat beside a Mercedes-Benz 280SE, a Corvette, and those were just the first statements of wealth he saw parked outside the private club.

Chauffeur_Downton Abbey Branson

Allen Leech

Some limousines also waited, the bored drivers passing the time in idle conversation.  One voice had the accent of a very far away land.  It wasn’t from any part of the USA or even Europe.

Admission to the club was by invitation only.  Tam had been there once.  After a moment spent looking around and remembering the layout of the place, he crept toward the kitchen.

Abruptly Tam realized that Lychnis had vanished.  He muttered a curse that would have had any grandmother scrubbing out his mouth with soap.  He took a deep breath.  He’d have to rely on Freyja to keep a hawk’s eye on her fellow spirit animal.

Tam whistled a few notes, casting a spell of disinterest around himself.  It had been useful for exiting concert venues to escape groupies when he had toured with bands.  He figured it would work as well in his current situation.

The kitchen door was ajar.  The expected sounds of pots and dishes met Tam’s ears.  He gently opened the door a little wider and the mingled aromas of different dishes being prepared tickled his nose.  He patted and shushed his stomach when it growled.

Acting as if he belonged, Tam stepped into the kitchen.  The room bustled with busy cooks and various other workers.  He walked purposefully across the kitchen. 

No one had noticed him as he reached the hallway.  He could hear the sounds of someone gargling from the men’s room.  At the doorway to the ballroom, he passed a busboy without incident.

An orchestra played big band style music.  Tam could easily feel a mancer’s support being leant to the musicians, making slight alterations to their music unbeknownst to them.

Glen Miller Orchestra

Glen Miller Orchestra

He looked at the ballroom from the concealment of the doorway.  First he looked among the tables and then he shifted his gaze to the dance floor.  Finally he spotted Luci, though he hardly recognized her.

Tam liked Luci the moment he collided with her at Blaylock’s studio.  That was why he teased her by calling her Wee Mouse.  He thought her shyness charming.  After getting to know her, he felt a genuine friendship for Luci.

For a surprised moment Tam stood just looking at her.  Luci wore a sophisticated gown of beading and satin.  She’d put her hair up in an intricate style.  Suddenly his adorably shy little mouse had become beautiful and dazzling woman.

Jean Shrimpton spider web

Jean Shrimpton as Luci

“Wee Mouse,” he whispered to himself in astonishment.  “I didn’t know you could be so glamorous.”

She truly was beautiful.  Beautiful and fragile, he thought.  Luci’s face was deathly pale.

The man Luci danced with wore a tuxedo so his arms were covered.  It didn’t matter.  Even without seeing the tattoos, Tam knew him for Yamata Orochi. 

What Tam didn’t expect was the sudden ball of fear that dropped into his stomach.  Luci seemed very breakable as she danced in the arms of the evil sociopath.

Tam smirked when he realized that if Luci could hear his thought about her looking so fragile that she would either throw something at him or punch him in the arm.  He could tell that Luci didn’t think of herself as some delicate little flower.

Then he noticed the unfocused glaze of her eyes.  She stumbled.  Tam muttered a curse.  He was certain she had been drugged.  That was unexpected.  A mancer as powerful and egotistical as Orochi using drugs as a crutch for his magic?

Even so, it gave Tam a sense of hope.  Whatever had caused Yamata Orochi to rely on drugs, rather than on his mancer power alone might be helpful to Tam.  Just as the drug made it easier for Orochi’s magic to control Luci, she might also be freed from the renegade mancer’s spells with less difficulty in her intoxicated state.

Davis de Havilland

Davis, de Havilland

Tentatively he reached with his mind to feel the spell around Luci.  It wasn’t that strong.  Tam was sure he could break it.  However, if he broke Orochi’s spell, he would be detected immediately.  They’d both be slaughtered before they could even get out of the club.

Tam eased back to the doorway.  He wanted to understand his opponent’s reasoning for using the combination of drugs and spells, when he commanded so much power.  Tam sorted his frantic thoughts into different mental boxes.

Was Orochi overconfident and lazy?  Were his powers not yet fully restored?  Or had he laid a trap with the weak spell as a lure for other mancers, and Luci as the bait to draw them.

How likely was it that Orochi knew there were other mancers in the area?  Tam wondered.  Would his powers of divination show him?  Maybe he had spies, like a whole network of humans doing his bidding, Tam thought.  That was how Yamata Orochi had operated long ago. 

What was the psycho really doing?  Tam could only guess.  Look at yourself, boyo.  You’re trying so hard not to “jump to conclusions” that you’re over-thinking everything! Tam told himself.

Then he saw the self-satisfied expression on the rogue mancer’s face.  Judging by what Tam knew of the maniac’s ego and modis operandi, Orochi was probably toying with Luci.  Everything was a game to a nut job like him.  Contempt filled Tam’s heart.  Orochi would enjoy Luci’s fight to break free of his hold.

Johnny Depp Italian Job 2010

Johnny Depp as Yamata Orochi

“Playing with his food before he eats it,” Tam hissed under his breath.

That made him think of Lychnis.  Luci would have his hide if anything happened to the kit.  He wondered what kind of trouble the immature totem might find for himself.  It caused Tam no small amount of concern.  However, the clear and present danger was to Luci.

“There’s naught I can do about the kit right now.  Hopefully he’ll act with common sense,” he muttered.

Backing up a step, Tam collided with a musician who was leaving the restroom.  He was sure it was the man he’d heard gargling earlier.  Tam also noted that the man was dressed like the musicians on stage.

“Pardon me,” Tam apologized for bumping into the man.

There was no way the disinterest spell Tam put on himself would hide him when he had literally ran into someone.  The man glanced at the torn front of Tam’s leather jacket.  His presence would certainly be questioned if his now shabby coat was noticed.

When the musician returned the apology in a very scratchy voice an idea came to Tam.  The mancer raised his eyebrows and whistled a string of notes.

“Not feeling so well, are you lad?” Tam asked the musician.  “Why don’t I take over for you so you can go home and take care of that throat?  I don’t mind covering for you this once,” Tam told him.

Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman

For a moment the man looked puzzled.  Tam whistled a few more notes and saw the faint aura of mancer power attached to the sound drift toward the musician.  Then the man’s expression changed to one of relief and gratitude.

“I’ll be needing to borrow your instrument,” Tam added as an afterthought.  “What is it you play anyhow?” the mancer asked though it didn’t really matter — Tam could play almost any musical instrument.

Tam went onto the stage with the musicians, wearing a borrowed jacket and carrying a clarinet, with the rowan staff tucked inconspicuously at his side.  Tam hummed a little tune as he seated himself.  No one mistook him for the musician he replaced.  However, with a bit of Tam’s power influencing them, they simply didn’t care.

He didn’t dare use more than a scant trace of the power in Orochi’s presence for fear that the rogue mancer would detect it.  Hopefully Orochi was preoccupied with the deadly game he played with Luci.

Putting the clarinet to his lips, Tam played a few bars of the melody the band performed.  He focused his thoughts and intent on Luci.  She didn’t look as bad as she had earlier.  Tam hoped the drug was beginning to wear off.

Emboldened by her improvement, Tam gradually eased what he played into a complementing countermelody.  He played so quietly that his notes could barely be heard.  However the soft notes drifted to Luci, easing around the edges of the spell cast by Yamata Orochi.

From the corner of his eye, Tam kept a careful watch on Orochi, fearing detection.  Orochi did not appear to notice the presence of the small amount of power Tam used.Domhnall Gleeson suit

His hands shook a little as he nervously added more power to the thread of mancer magic.  Tam continually twisted the spell, making it become an irritant to Luci.  He hoped it would prick at her until she was so generally annoyed that it caused her to shake off the dissipating effects of the drug.

If she could recover from the effects of the drug, Luci was more than strong enough to break the light spell Orochi put on her.  Tam was sure of it.

As the musicians played the big band tune, Tam continued to play the countermelody.  He saw Luci begin to shift uncomfortably in Yamata Orochi’s arms while they danced.  She stumbled over her own feet and dropped the rose she carried.  Orochi let go of her to retrieve the rose and Luci’s eyes immediately cleared.

Tam filled himself with power.  He was ready.  Luci took a wobbling step back from Orochi.  So Tam ceased the opportunity and cast a magical wall, a shield between Luci and Orochi.

Tam’s wall sizzled and disintegrated at Yamata Orochi’s touch.  Yet the shield held long enough for Luci to finish freeing herself of the renegade’s influence.  However, Luci moved awkwardly, as if some of the drug was still in her system.

Orochi stepped toward Luci, ignoring the sound of a waiter’s tray crashing somewhere behind him.  He grabbed for Luci’s wrist.  She eluded his grasp, but Tam thought she looked woozy.

Russian Caviar ad vintage

Vintage caviar ad

Luci stumbled and fell backward, pulling the tablecloth and all the dishes to the floor with her.  A dish of caviar landed inches away from her.  Remarkably most of the expensive contents stayed in the silver plate.

Tam’s attention was locked on Luci as she gazed blankly at the plate of caviar.  He wondered if Luci’s fall and the distraction of the contents of the table tumbling to the floor was enough.  Would it be enough to divert Orochi if Tam used just a wee bit of power?

“You’re a voice mancer,” Tam reminded himself.  “A mancer whisper should be enough.”  With his intent completely focused on Luci he directed a thread of power.  “Snakes,” he whispered the single word.

As Luci beheld the caviar she gasped and drew back.  “It looks like tiny eyes… eyes watching me,” she said thickly.  “Why do I feel like I should remember snakes?” she murmured in a voice Tam could barely hear.

Luci shook her head as if lucidity struggled to come back to her mind.  Unfortunately, Yamata Orochi spoke her name.  At the sound of his voice, her expression dulled.  Tam could imagine the fog of Orochi’s spell rolled back into Luci’s mind just as she was about to break free.

The carving chef screamed when something large and furry grabbed the slice of roast he had just cut.  Orochi turned in the direction of the scream.  Suddenly the villain was rammed in the chest by the full force of Lychnis making a running pounce.

It was evident that the kitten had grown again in the short time that Tam was separated from him.  At a glance, Tam thought the lynx weighed about forty pounds.  The impact of that furry bullet slamming straight into Orochi’s chest knocked him backward so hard that he landed with an “Oof.”Lynx young dreamstime_m_26595511

The totem was too young to have developed his defensive instinct to the point of killing an attacker.  He only followed his bonded need to be near and his mancer.  After knocking down Yamata Orochi, the lynx stopped to stand directly over Luci where she had fallen.

“Kitten-ness?” she choked out in astonishment at the ever growing lynx cub.

The oversized kit leaned toward the dish of caviar without budging from his protective stance over his mancer.  Lychnis washed the plate clean with his tongue, as Luci continued to gape at him.

People milled around the ballroom in uncertainty and fear.  Tam played notes on the clarinet that enhanced the agitated response of the crowd.  The people became completely unsure of what they should be doing.

His eyes locked with the pale heartless gaze of Yamata Orochi.  Tam didn’t have to feel the power Orochi gathered in that instant.  It was so strong he could see the mancer magic.  The power built with sickening green light all around Orochi.

Tam hoped that Orochi was not foolish enough to waste that kind of energy by accidentally hitting the wrong target.  So Tam used all the people moving around, to make sure there was no clear path between himself and the renegade mancer.

With a glance at Luci, Yamata Orochi moved his focus away from Tam.  To Tammarand’s surprised, Orochi used part of the power he had leashed to drive a shield between Luci and Lychnis.

1960s Bellas Hess formal wear adTam ran, blowing the clarinet as he went.  His music encouraged a woman to grab the arm of a busboy, causing him to spill a tray that held an untouched bowl of soup.  The soup splashed across the floor at Orochi’s feet and he slipped, just as he hurled a bolt of energy at Tam.  The wild shot shattered a chandelier, which rained bits of glass onto the already frightened crowd.

Lychnis let loose a piteous wail, having been separated from Luci by the magical shield.  He had developed a powerful voice and that sent the fear level of the people to full-on panic.

As Yamata Orochi struggled to his feet on the soup slickened marble floor, a portly man and woman who hastily made for the door slid in the same soup and fell over Orochi.  The three of them were a tangle of arms and legs.  Tam didn’t need to understand the language to know Yamata Orochi was cursing fluently in some foreign tongue.

When the couple fell on him, Orochi lost his hold on the shield he had cast between Luci and her lynx totem.  Given the change in the kit’s appearance Tam was surprised Luci recognized him.  However, a mancer-totem bond was strong, even one as new as the binding between those two.  Luci’s arms were around the overgrown kitten.

Tam bullied his way across the confusion created by his music.  He still played the clarinet.  Sometimes he used the rowan staff to encourage people to get out of his way.

He helped Luci to her feet.  Seeing that she was still unsteady from the drug he handed her the rowan staff.  Even so, they had to hurry.  He pulled her along with him as they ran out the front door of the elegant club.

“Wait!” Luci cried.  “Where’s Lychnis?”

Bogart Bacall Sinatra

Bogart, Bacall, Sinatra

Tam looked over his shoulder and saw the totem attempting to drag the huge roast with him.  The carving chef had abandoned it.  Tam blew a note on the clarinet and the feline looked up from his booty.  A large chunk of torn beef hung from his teeth as Lychnis bounded across the room to catch up with them.

They rounded the corner of the building where the red Caddy was parked.  Suddenly Yamata Orochi was between them and the car.  Lychnis snarled, bearing long fangs.  Apparently the totem had realized his own capabilities, and Lychnis lunged for his enemy.

Orochi gave a negligent wave of his hand and the lynx froze in mid-air.  Then the totem fell to the ground paralyzed.

“My, my,” the renegade sneered.  “You’re of a size to make a nice vest.  Maybe I’ll trade my leather one for fur.”  Then looking at Luci he continued.  “And I’ll see you, my dear, begging me for the privilege of wearing that lynx fur vest,” he finished with a leer.

 

A glance at Luci showed that she was fuming.  In other circumstances Tam might have found her anger sexy.  Before he had any idea what was coming, Luci gathered power into herself and used the rowan staff to direct it. 

Face painted with fury, Luci swung the tip of the staff at a level with Orochi.  White light ran down her arm and down the length of the rune carved staff.  The symbols glowed with white fire.  Then power blasted into Orochi.

Jean Shrimpton 1961

Luci angry

Even in the thick of the confrontation Tam was puzzled.  Since Luci’s mancer talent had yet to emerge, she should not have been able to produce any sort of power at all.

Compared to a truly expert, seasoned mancer, Luci had not produced an extraordinary amount of power.  However, it was completely unexpected, particularly not by Yamata Orochi.

White light blasted the villain into the air and back several feet, where he slammed into the broad trunk of an oak tree.  There was an audible thunk when his head banged against the tree.  Orochi was dazed by the blow and his head lolled.

Tam muttered as he stepped closer to the fallen lynx, and moved to lift the feline.

Unexpectedly, Orochi’s driver ran from the back of the club toward them.  Hardly looking at the man, Tam stood and held out the clarinet in a contemptuous motion.  He clotheslined the chauffeur as he ran to his master.

The driver fell with a rasping breath, a hand to his collarbone.  When he tried to rise, Tam blew a series of notes on the clarinet and the man sagged insensible.

Tam looked at him and grunted.  “Ouch.  That’s going to be quite a bruise on his clavicle,” the sandy haired man said.

Lychnis twitched and then rose unsteadily.  When Luci blasted Orochi, Lychnis was freed from the spell.  The kit was unharmed, if momentarily unsteady.The Dance magazine

Bright strobe lights ran across the sky and flashed down on random areas of the property.  Tam looked around nervously.

“I should have known a commotion this big would have consequences,” Tam muttered.

The howling of nearby dogs heralded the wail of sirens.  Tam wracked his brain for what to do about the super powerful sociopath the three of them had managed to incapacitate.  He knew Orochi wouldn’t be out for long.

His car phone was ringing to beat the band.  It suddenly registered with Tam that it had been ringing for a while.  Of course it would be Bodaway Thunder.  Tam picked up the phone.  The shaman’s voice went from frantic yelling to self-enforced calm.

“I’ve got to do something about this hateful git?” Tam told his friend.  “It won’t be enough to hogtie and gag him, though I’d like to see him trussed up like that.”

“Just leave him!” Bodaway exclaimed, rankling Tam.  “Even together we aren’t strong enough to deal with him.  And it would be days before enough help reached us to keep him subdued,” his friend insisted, and Tam knew it was true.

“Hurry up!  This crap is all over the police band on the ham radio,” Bodaway urged.  “I’m on my way to Luci’s.  That’s the best place to regroup.  I think she’s shored up bits of power at her home, like a mancer would to a favorite instrument.  I’ll meet you there.”

Spotlights Night City

The spirit animal moved to Luci’s side.  Protectively leaning against her shins, the lynx tried to prevent her from walking toward Orochi.  It made Luci stumble when she moved away from her totem and walked to where the renegade was slumped against the tree.

Then to Tam’s astonishment, she whacked the dazed Orochi over the head with the rowan staff for good measure.  With a grunt he tilted over to the ground, completely unconscious.  Tam looked at the “Wee Mouse” and couldn’t stop grinning.

“Don’t ever mess with my cat!” Luci spat the words at Orochi.

***

End Episode 14

 

Recipe:  Black Caviar and Cucumbers

The “food-thing”mentioned in this installment was caviar.  I’m not sure whether Luci or even Yamata Orochi got to eat any, but Lychnis did!  From Black Caviar USA, this link includes two tempting appetizer recipes.  Bon Appetite!

Black Caviar and Cucumbers

http://www.blackcaviarusa.com/caviar-recipes/

 

Bonus — Since there’s been so much dancing…

Just for the fun of it…

Johnny Depp Dancing – Alice In Wonderland

 

 

Copyright © 2014 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.

Get Caught Reading — The Sign of the Ape 4

Atonement bookshelf

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

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

When we left our heroes…

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

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

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

Sign of the Ape 4

Ape London Atonement

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

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

Annette Abens Cats

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

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

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

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

Toby reading Hugh

Toby caught reading

 

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

Atonement Hot Rod

Thanks again Chris!

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

Lucy close up_John

Lucy, who owns John W. Howell

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

maddie_26502383972_o

Maddie who owns Dan Antion

 

MiMi reading_Dan

MiMi caught reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ape Caught with phone

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

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

“Cornelis Drebbel!”  I yelled.

Here ends The Sign of the Ape.

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

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

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

 

GCR pets

The Sign of the Ape, furry family cast

Row 1:  Percy, Crystal, Lucy, Kasha

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

Row 3:  Wilma, Greta, Maddie, MiMi

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

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

Get Caught Reading — The Sign of the Ape 2

The month of May is a lovely time of year.  It’s also Get Caught Reading (GCR) Month.  As many of you know, I’m doing a midweek mini-series in support of this public service campaign.  The intention of GCR is to encourage people of all ages to read, and that is what bloggers do with every post.  So this fictional, fanciful story includes an intrepid band of bloggers.

Have you caught me reading any sort of novel?  Why yes you have — the novel that inspired the title of this mini-series, Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of the Four.  The plot has nothing to do with my story though. I was not ambitious enough to try and follow the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes.  You can get The Sign of the Four free here.

Last Time

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.

At Times Square I glimpsed something very large and very furry carrying a book.  He bounded around the corner.  I ran to the spot, but he was long gone.  Then on the sidewalk I saw a banana.  It had to be the sign of the ape.

The Sign of the Ape — Chapter 2The_Sign_of_the_Four-_in_Lippincott’s_Monthly_Magazine_1890

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of the Four Chap. 6, p. 111

 

“Percy and I will meet you at Madame Tussaud’s Celebrity Wax Museum,”  Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen had promised.

I had thought the blogger-chef was the only person in New York that I knew.  However, at the famous wax museum I entered a gallery with a marque announcing a new exhibit called Fictional Heroes. I saw familiar faces.

Kasha reading

Kasha reading about Michigan lighthouses

The first thing I noticed was a cowboy who seemed oddly familiar to me.  When I saw author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel  I understood why — it was Tristan Carlson, from Cowboy Boss and His Destiny. Or rather it was a wax version of him. 

Excited barking greeted me.  It was Kasha, Mary’s fur baby.  Kasha stopped for me to pet her, but then tried to run out to the hallway.  Mary of course caught her.

However, something four footed may have been what interested Kasha.  In came two large curly haired dogs.  Mary said she wondered what they were.  A smile slowly spread across my face as I recognized another statue — Ben Andrews of The Gamblers. 

“I believe those would be Laboradoodles, and I think you’re about to meet Christoph Fischer,” I told her just as the writer walked into the room.

Greta-Wilma

Greta and Wilma caught reading

Then I heard the funky guitar music of the original James Bond theme.  I looked back at the collection of wax heroes.  Was there a spy or thriller hero among them?  I didn’t recognize the statue at first.  However, Kasha was sniffing at one.  I saw the wax man was the hero of the John J. Cannon Trilogyby John W. Howell.

It was odd about the music… Was it my imagination?  I gave my head a shake.  However, I forgot about it when a moment later, Percy the Pug led Suzanne into the exhibit.  Seeing the blogger-chef reminded me…  The opening of the exhibit was shaping up to be such a great party that for a moment I almost forgot the strange events that brought me there.  

“Did you happen to see John W. Howell, out there?” I asked Suzanne, motioning to the hallway.

Lucy digging_John

Lucy digging

“Oh, that must have been the man with the boxer.  I thought he looked familiar,” she replied.  “They were just outside.  The dog was trying to dig up something.  She was really persistent about it.”

That was odd.  I knew John’s pets were well behaved.  I wondered what was going on with Lucy.  However, my thoughts were interrupted when all the dogs started barking furiously.  Suzanne deftly picked little Percy up in her arms.  The other dogs tore out of the exhibit, their author owners running frantically behind them.

As the dogs left, I noticed it on the floor near the wax figures.  The sign of the ape — a ripe yellow banana.  I picked up the banana, examining it carefully.  I saw nothing unusual about it.  There was no clue or suggestion of where the Story Reading Ape had gone.  I followed the sound of barking to another gallery.

A single display was far larger than all the rest, taking up an entire wall. Everyone was transfixed by that figure.  It was a wax exhibit of the Ape himself.  The dogs stopped barking, but Kasha, Greta, and Wilma sniffed every inch of the exhibit.  Percy struggled until Suzanne finally let him down to join the others.

“What has them so excited?” Christoph Fischer asked as he moved closer to Greta and Wilma to make sure they weren’t at risk.  

I explained to him about the chase to catch the Story Reading Ape reading.  Meanwhile I examined the display closely, or at least as much of it as I could reach.  Christoph, being taller than the rest of us inspected the higher portions.  However, we found no clues, nothing that would lead me to the Ape.  The dogs had stopped their sniffing.  Apparently they had lost his trail.  

Ape Gallery

Christoph’s Laboradoodles moved over to me.  I petted the dogs, amazed by their soft curly fur.  I wasn’t sure which was Greta and which was Wilma, but they were both adorable.  Soon the authors were called back to their exhibit.  I was able to quickly introduce Suzanne to Christoph and Mary before the authors had to return to their exhibit.

I detained them long enough to ask if any of them had met John Howell yet.  Apparently John never came inside the museum.  That made me uneasy, so I went looking for the Texas based author.

To my surprise, Percy followed me.  A moment later Suzanne ran behind the pug to catch him.  As I rounded a corner I all but collided with a tall man.

MiMi reading_Dan

MiMi reading for a clue

Dan Antion?” I exclaimed in surprise.

It turned out Dan was in New York to meet John W. Howell and see his John Cannon wax statue.  Dan carried a small kennel, from which I heard a meow.  I asked if he always traveled with one of his cats.

“MiMi has been acting really clingy and… just strange,” he confessed.  “I could have sworn I heard her meowing back and forth with some other cats, but she was alone.  Then she got one of my books.  She slapped my hand when I tried to take it away from her.  I thought it was best to take her with me.”

I suspected Annette‘s cats had called Dan’s for a meow-wow, just as they had called Crystal.  Then I heard barking from a new canine voice.  Dan looked around worriedly and muttered something I didn’t catch.  Suddenly I realized he must have brought his dog too.

Maddie sniffing_Dan

Maddie on the trail

“Maddie!” he called and then whistled as we all moved toward the barking. 

 Outside the museum was a small landscaped area.  Percy ran to a sizable hole in the ground there.  Dan’s Irish Setter had already gone into the hole, but she ran back out when Dan called her.  At that point I realized the hole wasn’t simply a hole, but a tunnel.

Then I heard it again…  It sounded far away and muffled, but I could hear the funky James Bond guitar music again.  The music seemed to move gradually farther away.  Percy wagged his little tail and gave a yip, as if he meant to say everything was as it should be.  Suzanne and I exchanged puzzled looks.  

“I think John and Lucy are down there,” I told them.

Before you could say boo, Dan along with Maddie and MiMi, went into the tunnel after John W. Howell.  Suzanne tightened her grip on Percy’s leash, but the pug didn’t try to follow the others.

“It might be dangerous — especially for just one person,” Dan called from the tunnel.  “I’d better go after John and Lucy.”

A taxi rolled up.  It was the same driver that brought me to the wax museum, the same driver who looked a lot like the pilot of the airship — I mean the man who looked an awful lot like Cornelis Drebbel.  Suzanne’s eyes widened.

Percy Tie pug hill

Percy reads Pug Hill

“It’s him isn’t it?” she exclaimed.  “It’s the alchemist.  How did you bring Cornelis Drebbel here?” she asked in astonishment.

I told her that he was actually the one who brought me.  At that point I had to admit to myself that the driver/pilot truly was Cornelis Drebbel.  Yes, I had been in denial.  As  Sherlock Holmes said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”  My driver and pilot had been Cornelis Drebbel, the alchemist.

 

Cornelis began to flirt outrageously with Suzanne.  The two were having such a good time, I didn’t mean to be a wet blanket.  However, all I could think about was the fact that I had no idea where to look next for the Story Reading Ape.  Then I realized I still had the banana, the sign of the ape.  I took a closer look at it.  There was a little sticker, a brand mark, but the writing was Japanese.

Cornelis looked askance.  I showed him the sticker.  

“Oh yes, I know this market.  It’s in Tokyo,” he said, but I gave him a blank stare.  “That’s your next clue.  Come along now.  Get in the car.  We need to take the dirigible to get there,” he added and I mutely got into the cab.

“Well m’lady?  May I have the honor?” Cornelis spoke to Suzanne and she and Percy eagerly got into the taxi.  

“Did you say dirigible?  That sounds like a slow way to get to Japan,” Suzanne commented.  “Cornelis, are you going to use magic?” she asked with a grin.

Cornellis merely wriggled his bushy eyebrows.  

I cringed.  This couldn’t be good.

“Where is that blond?” Cornelis asked hopefully.

“Do you mean Mary J. McCoy-Dressel?” I wanted to know.

“Well yes, we have a brunette and a redhead,” Cornelis said as if explaining to a child. “It would work better if we also had a blond too.”

That of course made no sense at all to me.  However, as if on cue, I heard barking and Kasha bounded up to Cornelis.  Mary ran after her dog, but looked at Cornelis Drebbel in shock.

“Is he?” she began and I nodded.

“Cornelis, what would work better?” I demanded as a queasy feeling formed in my stomach.  “Cornelis Drebbel, you’re not planning some complicated alchemy are you?”

The alchemist wriggled his bushy eyebrows again.  This really, really couldn’t be good.

***

End Chapter 2

If you remember Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers, then you know Cornelis Drebbel’s magic had a tendency to go awry.  Between the alchemist and the Ape, what will happen to our intrepid band of bloggers in Tokyo?  And what about John and Dan (and their pets)?  We left them in that tunnel.  Come back for the next midweek episode to find out.

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.