What to Wear?

Welcome everyone.  I’m glad the weather does not usually effect our ability to have these virtual visits, but horse-feathers, it’s cold out there!  Or at least it is cold for a lot of us.  The question of what to wear is answered by “A coat!”

Life October 1929

Life Magazine, October 1929

Have you guessed that I’m leading into another writing process post?  Some people don’t like “descriptive writing” but I find some level of description helpful, whether I’m writing or reading.  An occasional mention of a character’s clothing can help in several ways.

To me describing a garment is particularly helpful if the story is set in a different era, or an entirely different world.

I enjoyed Robert Jordan’s descriptions of the clothing of the various cultures he built in to the world of his “Wheel of Time” series.  The garments helped define the nationalities. They also helped me keep up with the vast array of characters in that voluminous high fantasy series.

Also a quick mention of clothing can firm up the physical environment or climate.  Your character might wear a tank top or a cozy sweater, sandals or fur-lined boots.  Regardless of the garment it can help the reader feel your fictional world.

“What to wear?” can help develop a character’s personality.  I don’t mean just the items of clothing you choose to dress them, but what they pull out of their closet and why.  For instance, Ralda Lawton, the heroine in Atonement, Tennessee (© 2012) has a tendency to feel frumpy.  Ralda’s “go to” at-home garment is a tattered sweat jacket.  It also shows up in book-2, Atonement in Bloom, (currently in progress).  Meanwhile her friend Bethany (© 2012) consistently wears black.

Also in “Bloom” a new character is easily identified when the townspeople discuss him — because of his bowler hat and suit.  That’s not something one often sees in quaint Atonement, TN.Lew with hat

In writing a series, describing attire can serve as a reminder about aspects of a character.  Bethany’s affection for hats is brought out in “Bloom.”  I used the sequence to let you see the playful side of my Goth accountant.

The sound of a squishing footfall told me I was not alone.  I didn’t have to look to know it was Bethany Gwen.  Maybe it was logic, maybe it was intuition, but I knew it was her. 

Bethany lived farther up the street in the opposite direction.  She was an early riser, an accountant, and a Goth. She was a study in contrasts. 

A vivid color caused me to look down instead of up when I turned toward her.  Bright pink flame and swirl designs covered her shiny black galoshes.  On each boot, amid the pink flames a scull rested atop crossed cutlasses.  I shook my head.  In all of Atonement, only my friend would wear such foot-gear.

“Those are great,” I said of the galoshes, giving her a lopsided smile.

As was her usual habit, nearly everything else she wore was black, including an antique top hat and the ruffled umbrella she carried.  Bethany had tied a hot pink ribbon around the hat to match the boots.  The black garb made the galoshes seem even brighter.

“You like?” she confirmed and stuck one foot out in a precarious way.  “I couldn’t resist when I saw them online,” she said.

“Oh yes,” I said with a chuckle.  “Hey, wait a minute, you’ve cut your hair,” I commented moving a step closer to be sure, since she wore a hat.

Bethany doffed her top hat and bowed.  Then she stood and ruffled her new pixie cut.hats-vintage-magazine-red

As you see, that scene was not really about clothes.  It lets you know about the character’s personality.

Do you have a favorite book that makes use of clothing descriptions?  Or is there a character you enjoy who has a signature item of clothing?  If so, then be sure to mention it in a comment here.  You know I love hearing from you.

Mega hugs!

PS:  My apologies if you can’t get the videos in your location — or if commercials have been added.

Also known as “The Way You Wear Your Hat…”

The Smorgasboard Features Adelle’s Teapot, an Atonement, TN Story

Hello everyone. Thank you very much for visiting.  I know you are not used to seeing daily posts from me. However, I wanted to show my gratitude to the people who have been so generous in supporting me this week.  Yesterday, it was Chris, the Story Reading Ape.  Today it is Sally.  I promise to go back to my usual schedule at midnight Saturday (Eastern).

Sally Cronin Photo

Sally G. Cronin

When the multi-talented Sally G. Cronin asked for holiday short stories to post at her wonderful blog, Smorgasboard, Variety Is the Spice of LifeI asked her if she’d use a story that had already been posted. She graciously agreed to use one of the stories from my “Atonement universe” called Adelle’s Teapot.  It’s not really a holiday story, but the setting is at the right time of year.  

As most of you know, for the longest I’ve been working on book-2 in the “Atonement” 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.)

The characters in this story only play a small part in the novels, but I think it’s fun to get to know them as well.  I hope you enjoy this tidbit.  If you do, please click over to Sally’s blog to comment. (I’ve disabled comments here.)

Adelle’s Teapot — Features from Atonement TN

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 the item, 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.  (And when I finally finish Atonement in Bloom, you will meet Beira the Crone.)  I hope you enjoyed this visit to Atonement, Tennessee.  Be sure to visit Sally too.  I’m grateful for her ever generous support.

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.

The Sleigh: Annie’s Inventory Notes — Features from Atonement, TN

Welcome back to Atonement, TN!
I hope everyone has had a wonder-filled week.  I’m delighted that you’re spending a moment from the holiday weekend here.

1940-Dec Womans Day Sleigh SnowSometimes I get a few posts prepared ahead of time (and that’s nice for me). However, that hasn’t been the case for awhile. Anyway, just as I was wondering what I could possibly do for this weekend’s post, I got a lovely holiday wish from the very talented Inese.  So I went to her beautiful photography blog looking for inspiration.  I found so many things to trigger my imagination that I couldn’t decide.

Then I remembered something about a joke Hugh had made about a sleigh ride in Atonement, and I had replied with a James Bond-like idea-joke.  Well, one of Inese’s photos had a sleigh in it… But we don’t have to worry about how Mr. Bond likes his martinis. I don’t think it will play out like that. At least not this time.

If you’ll recall, I’m using these blog “features” to give you bits of lore, back-stories, and even secrets that might never appear in one of the novels. Inese’s sleigh photo inspired one such edition of “Annie’s Inventory Notes.”  I hope you enjoy it.  Also, here’s a link to the magical moment Inese captured with her camera.

Annie’s Inventory Notes — the Sleigh

1908-Jan Success mag Sleigh CoupleTiny white holiday lights reflected in the windows of Annie’s Antiques and Consignment Shop.  Annie absently watched the lights.  The twinkling reminded her of ice crystals, despite the unnaturally warm December.  With thoughts of ice and snow she glanced toward the sleigh.  It was another of the “secret” items on her ancient inventory list.

The sleigh was hidden in plain sight.  She used it as a large display stand for various antiques.  At that moment the sleigh held two bedside lamps and a collection of quilts.  All the quilts were sewn over generations in Atonement, Tennessee.

Annie walked to the sleigh and caressed wood smoothed by centuries.  Her tale of the sleigh was a favorite bedtime story of her sons when they were small.1905 Horseman mag Sleigh horses couple

She told them of how it could glide over hill and dale with magical speed.  Once the sleigh had been pulled by a team of magnificent matched horses.  The shaggy white hair at their feet and their flowing white manes glowed in the night with the enchantment of the sleigh.

The sleigh could go places no other vehicle could reach.  Any where.  Any when.

When Annie told her boys the stories they always begged for more.  Sometimes she gave them tales of amazing places where the sleigh had taken her and their aunt Adelle.  Her sons giggled and gasped at the stories of their mother and her sister.  There was one thing Annie did not tell her sons.  The tales were true.

***

Now that I’ve given you a wintry tidbit, I hope you’re in the mood for a lovely hot drink.  My search of WordPress led me to this treat at blog called “Milliemirepoix,” so check out the intriguing recipes at this site.

Hot Milk, Honey & Nutmeg

Hot milk honey nutmeg

Click the picture for the recipe

I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit to Atonement, TN. Leave a comment to say hello.  I’ll look forward to seeing you again next time.

3 Bloom Things — Features from Atonement, TN

Welcome back everyone.  Thanks for coming to Atonement, TN!Good Luck road sign

It’s great to see you again  — I know it can be hard to find your way to a fictional town.

I’ve been delighted with everyone’s support of my “pantser” serial stories.  As most of you know, those stories resulted from a writing exercise I created for myself long ago, and I turned the exercise into something to use on my blog.  The serials are propelled by three things sent by readers.   You can find links to them at the top of this page.  I like to say they are pure pantser fun.

My Writing Process

I’ve used the same spontaneous method to “at least keep myself writing” on my novels.  However, my books are planned (at least to a degree) so the spontaneous exercises aren’t always usable for the novels.  It’s a “That’s Good, That’s Bad” sort of thing.

(My dad liked this skit, and the good-but-bad concept stuck with me throughout my life.)

Homer and Jethro – That’s Good, That’s Bad – 1960

However, I realized Three Things would be a good way to share something from my “Atonement Universe” — something that wasn’t another snippet from either book.  With “Annie’s Inventory Notes”  I told a “secret” part of the story that might not even be in the books.  So I’m using Three Things in a similar way.

To get my “things” I went to the first three comments from last weekend’s blog.  (Besides, you know I love to give a shout-out.)  I’m taking one thing from the title of each of those blogs.  Those commenters were from the following:

Writer Christoph Fischer

No Facilities (Dan Antion)

Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel ~ ~ Contemporary Western Romance

As I write this introduction, I have no idea where this Three Things exercise will take me.  Here goes…

Three Atonement, TN Things:  Writer, Facilities, Western

The voice on the radio crackled as she drove through another area with little reception. The DJ counted down the top hits of 1974. Marge pushed her big glasses back on the bridge of her nose and hoped she wouldn’t lose this channel before hearing a favorite song. The glasses were very similar to a pair she’d seen in a picture of Elton John. She his flamboyance. 

Elton John 1974 Madison Sq

Elton John 1974, Madison Square Garden

You see, Marge Tipton wanted more than anything to be a wild child, a rebel, antiestablishment. However, the truth was she just didn’t know how. So she left her southeastern home and as her family put it, ran off out west.  She stopped running just after she crossed the Texas state line. Marge lived there for ten years. Then the post cards started coming.

The writer of the cards was her brother, Tracey. She didn’t know why her brother moved to the strange sounding Tennessee town a year before. It sounded like he didn’t have much choice in the matter. With each post card Tracey’s state of mind seemed to get worse. He was not pleased with his life there, yet he refused to leave. In his last missive Tracey begged his sister to come to Atonement, Tennessee.

Marge was not happy about the situation. She rebelled against anything she felt she was “supposed” to do, and she knew that everyone would say she should help her brother, regardless of whether he deserved it or whether it ruined her own life. Marge had been perfectly satisfied in her western home. However, Marge had a sense of duty that was as strong as her wish to defy the establishment. So she got into her pickup truck, leaving Texas in her rearview mirror, and headed to Tennessee.

1972 Chevy C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

Chevrolet 1972, C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

 

The gas gauge in the truck steadily crept toward empty. Just as Marge was getting worried she spotted a sign for a gas station. At first she was relieved in more ways than one, but when she got closer, she saw the smaller sign below the oil company’s logo. “No facilities.” Marge grumbled to herself. Maybe, if she was real polite, they’d let her use the employee restroom.

***

Lolas inside diner

L.O.L.A. Lola’s

Okay… As you see, I ended up writing about a minor character who appears in both book-1 and book-2, Marge Tipton.  Previously I hadn’t given a moment’s thought to the back-story for Marge.  However, the spontaneous exercise led me to write about her relocation to Atonement, TN back in 1974.  That’s good.

No, this snippet is not something I can use for “Atonement in Bloom.”  That’s bad.  Also I doubt that the part of Marge Tipton will grow as a result.  Even so, as a writer I feel good to have a fuller sense of this character, minor though she may be.

Marge Tipton eventually opened “L.O.L.A. Lola’s Bar and Restaurant, the diner frequented by my characters.  One of Bethany’s favorite menu items is the Cobb salad.  So I searched the WordPress countryside for a recipe.  That led me to Sherri at the Eden Market blog.  Her photos are beautiful and I think you’ll enjoy visiting there.  Click on her photo below for the recipe.

Cobb Salad

cobb salad

***

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.

When the Greatest Is the Smallest — Features from Atonement, TN

It’s My 3rd Blogiversary!champagne n glasses 2

The second day of December marked the third anniversary of this blog.  Like some other things, to me it doesn’t seem nearly that long — yet it also feels like something I’ve always done.

To many bloggers and readers three years and 295 posts truly is not much at all.  I recognize that it’s not exactly a great achievement. However, great or small, it feels pretty good to me.  So cheers!

At Once Great and Small — and the Challenges

Meadow_frameWhen an urban fantasy story becomes a series, usually new characters are added with each volume.  As the story-line for Atonement in Bloom took shape, a few new supernatural characters came along.

 (I don’t mean to be a tease… Who knew it would be such a challenge to share about a novel in progress without giving spoilers?)

One of the new supernatural characters is Meadow.  Her existence helps give the story a whimsical tone.  In describing Atonement, Tennessee I often say that it doesn’t take itself seriously.  The same is true of the sequel. Atonement in Bloom has the same kind of humor.  Not a laugh-out-loud kind of funny, but an eyebrow-raising “Did she really say that?” funny.

Meadow’s character doesn’t actually do a lot (at least not at this point but who knows how that might change).  Yet despite the fact that she doesn’t shoot lightning bolts or save the day, Meadow is central to the story of Atonement in Bloom.  She is at once great and small.

One challenge ahead of me is to better develop Meadow’s character.  I’ll describe this character as an “inactive” cause of some events in the story.  She doesn’t take actions that cause events, but without her presence, they would never have happened.

Artist, Cheryl Rose Hall

Artist: Cheryl Rose Hall

Meadow is not alone in the “great but small” category. Beira the Crone, also known as Cailleach Bheur, is a new character inspired by Celtic mythology.  Her presence in the story is very small, yet her part is great; integral to the story-line.  My challenge with Beira is sewing her thread throughout the story, so it doesn’t seem contrived when she makes an appearance.

A Snippet from Atonement in Bloom

You already know I’m concerned about giving away any part of the story, so I won’t say when this tidbit takes place.  It’s part of a scene with Beira the Crone.  I hope you’ll enjoy it.

And now to restore the balance,” Beira said but then hesitated.  “But those two tricksters have definitely earned a lesson,” she said fiercely.

Beira looked at the calico and her expression softened.  “I see you are fond of him. So be it then, for your sake little heart. But there must be at least a small lesson.  The balance must be kept,” she added with a wink to Lilith.

Her dark green velvet cloak fell back as she extended both arms.  With the staff still grasped in her right hand she turned in a circle three times clockwise.  As she moved, the velvet cloak swirled about her ankles as if the wind moved it.  Her long lapis-blue braid lifted on the same invisible currents.  Her eyes shone brightly in the moonlight.  On the third circle Beira tilted her head back exultantly and smiled.

Blue Rose on Wall

The temperature plummeted.  Snowflakes floated to the ground.  Snow began to accumulate on the nearby stone wall.  Beira walked over to it and tilted her head as if considering.  “So it has grown here before, and spontaneously.  Ah, recently too.  This place is more interesting than I knew. Perhaps it bears further investigation,” Beira commented, rousing Lilith’s curiosity.

She gave the wall a light tap with her age darkened wooden staff.  Then she nodded once more.

Lilith’s feline ears heard an odd vibration within the stone wall, which a human would never have noticed.  In the light of the moon, the cat watched as a single rose sprouted from the top of the rock wall.  A single blue rose.

***

Coconut Snowballs Recipe

In keeping with the setting of the story snippet, I searched the WordPress countryside for a recipe with “snow” in the title. I found a blog called Whisk Away Your Worries.  The delightful Meaghan shared a recipe for Coconut Snowballs.  Click on the picture or the link for the recipe.

Coconut Snowballs

Thanks for visiting Atonement, TN.  Say hello by leaving a comment.

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.

What If — Features from Atonement, TN

What Would Happen If There Was a Character Like…

woman purple flowers bubbles

Welcome back to Atonement, TN everyone.  Come on out to play!

Are you ready for a little game? It doesn’t require a special arena, equipment, or athletic ability — and it doesn’t cost a cent.

How My Writing Process Begins a New Story

Have you ever played What If? Probably not, since that’s my own little speculative free-thinking game. If I heard something quirky in the news, or if I heard about some “breakthrough” that left everyone scratching their heads as to its usefulness, I liked to use it to start a conversation with a friend.

Meadow_frameI’d take the headline a step further and ask, “So what if…” this or that.  The other person would throw out a potential next step, and we’d go on with the “what if” getting wilder and more imaginative as we went, although it would still trace back to the original headline or concept.  I even did a post about it a couple of years ago. It created some fun conversations — some bubbles of what-if.

Ultimately, “what if” is how all of my stories start, from short story to epic fantasy.  When I was ready to lay the groundwork to build book-2, Atonement in Bloom, I again read the Celtic/Welsh mythology that loosely inspired book-1.  As I read about something the mythological Gwydion fab Don did for another personage in that myth, the image of a new character came into my mind.  (If you want more of a clue than that, you’ll have to read the myth.)  I’m talking about the same character you’ve read about in the 79 word story with Lilith the calico.Stone Planter Flowers Face

What if there was someone like the character that came to mind?  The first what if bubbled into more questions.  What sort of person would she be? Would she be bad, good, or just a sort of device to drive the new plot?

The chain of what if had begun!  What if her presence effected the town? How?  If she did have some sort of magical influence, who would be effected and who might be immune? Why?  What would be the result of either?

As I progressively answered each of the questions that rose from my first “what if,” the character became real to me.  Because of the what if, some existing characters from Atonement, Tennessee grew in depth — in good ways and in bad ways.
Cherry blossoms snow 2The initial “what if” added two other new supernaturals to the cast of characters.  The chain of what if also brought a character from the short story, An Atonement, Tennessee Valentine, and the short became tied securely to Atonement in Bloom.  I sure wasn’t expecting that to happen!
Most importantly, early on that first what if led me to see the most significant what if of all…

What if, in the midst of a December snow — Atonement, Tennessee came into bloom?

Now, here’s one last what if… What if some flowers were edible?  How would you serve them?  Oh, but wait! Some flowers really are edible!  Pay a visit to the delightful Sprinkle Bakes, a Baking and Desserts Blog.  Follow the links to a recipe.

Spring Flower Lollipops

Spring Flower Lollipops

To those of you in the USA, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving.  I know many of you will be cooking things much more delicious and complicated than a bit of candy.

Each and every one of you has my heartfelt gratitude for reading and following my little blog. I’m thankful for you.

And thanks again for visiting Atonement, TN.  It was wonderful to see you. Come out to play What If by leaving a comment!

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.

 

Adding Suspense — Features from Atonement, TN

It’s Moving Too Slow — What Shall I Do?

Hamster head xray

As I grow my characters, and layer the elements of a new story, I’m always afraid that it is moving to slowly — because I’m doing precisely those things rather than something more exciting.  How do I cultivate both characters and suspense, and work on more than one level at a time, and still make the pages turn quickly? Well, here are some things I try to do.  (And hopefully it works!)

My Writing ProcessRed Dragon Eye

One way I try to create suspense from the outset of my novels is by always beginning with a prologue that is either magical (particularly if I’m writing urban fantasy) or is told from the point of view of an arch villain (for “high” fantasy).

The “Atonement” books begin with Lilith the calico witnessing something supernatural.

(Fairy EyeLest anyone think the novels are about a cat, I’ll explain that the Lilith character came to me as a device. I apologize to those of you who have already heard me say this.

Because it is told by my heroine, Ralda Lawton, from time to time I needed to use a character who could go about unnoticed, and witness things that Ralda wouldn’t be able to know.  That led me to the cat.  I was concerned that Lilith wouldn’t be well received. As it turned out, she was rather popular. )

So Lilith bears witness to the magical prologues that begin each of the Atonement books.  But how else to build suspense as I go?

Cat Eyes Watching

That is part of what I’ve been working on this week.  After I’ve written a good bit, I go back to the start and consider where else I might add something, some little detail that makes the reader at least a bit uneasy.

Artist, Cheryl Rose Hall

Beira; Artist: Cheryl Rose Hall

A positive side-effect came from that process this week — it better developed a minor character — one of the new supernatural beings that show up in Atonement in Bloom.  I think it also helped define part of the story.

In case you’d like to see something from my novel in progress, here’s a tidbit from the prologue.  Lilith gets an eye-full.

 

Snippet from the prologue of “Atonement in Bloom” 

Lilith in snow

The growl of a great beast sent Lilith jumping down from the rock wall and into the concealment of juniper bushes that were long ago left to run wild.  She trembled as the rumbling growl drew closer.  

“It must be gigantic,” Lilith thought.  

Lilith scented the air, feeling a bit confused.  She was unable to precisely define the scent.  Yet she had not mistaken the sound; some strange beast was out there. Black-GOLD_dragon-cat Eye

Magic, the thought sprang to her mind.  She laid back her ears, suddenly that idea made her more irritated than afraid.

The rumbling continued and its eyes rapidly came into view.  It had to be huge based on the size of the eyes and how far apart they were set.  Four eyes, she realized in astonishment.  It had two big wide-set eyes that glowed like white fire in the night.  Just below those were two more eyes, smaller and closer together, which gave off an ill-boding yellowish glow.

***

If you haven’t yet started to feel like someone might be watching you… Here’s a recipe for some cupcakes that might make you ask “Who’s there?” 

From “Like Mother Like Daughter

Owl Cupcakes…

Owl Cupcakes

 

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Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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