Whose Line Is It? Mine?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Welcome, everyone. There was an improvisational comedy show (1998 – 2004 or so) that always cracked me up.  I thought it was the best exercise in creativity that I’d ever seen.  It was “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”  Drew Carey, Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady, and Colin Mochrie could take any “line” and work hilarious magic. 

Those guys created characters, scenes, and songs on the spot, based on a line they were given.  Yet here I am… I already have the characters and scenes, sometimes even a song — all I need is that line…  That illusive opening line!

Why should that be so difficult?  Horsefeathers!  It’s worse than dating, or meeting the CEO of a big company for the first time.  I struggle with the opening line for days  weeks forever.  Then I wonder how important it actually was. 

Today I thought I’d share what I came up with for my Atonement, Tennessee series.  For the first book I began the prologue with this: Dawn’s light cast shadows that shifted amid branches of magnolia and mountain laurel, and danced upon statuary and grave stones. 

Lilith standing on stone

Lilith explores the Sunhold cemetery in “Atonement, Tennessee”

However, my wrongly wired brain complained, that was the prologue!  Did that qualify as the opening line?  So, I struggled all over again with a line for Chapter 1.  It’s hard to sound all fancy-dancy when writing in first person so that was even harder.  I finally settled on this:  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, ready to savor the moment.

Of course, when I started writing book-2, I went through all that self-torment again.  Worse, I needed to be consistent and keep the magical prologue.  That meant I would go through that double wringer again for Atonement in Bloom.  The prologue begins: Lilith sat bathed in moonlight atop the stone wall, watching small bats dart about, high overhead. 

Then Ralda Lawton, takes over as narrator. Chapter-1 starts like this:  It had seen better days, but who hadn’t?

If I don’t enjoy writing that opening line, then what is my favorite line to write?  “The end.”  Naturally I enjoy writing every line in between.  It’s just that the first one’s a doozy. 

atonement-abandoned-moon

Image by Chris Graham

Reviews!

Frankly, I’ll never be satisfied with an opening line.  So, I’m going to focus on the positive.  Even though it’s been a few years since I published “Atonement” I still get excited about lovely reviews.  I’m downright giddy because recently it has gotten two!  Romance author, Jacquie Biggar posted a review from her blog. 

Author of mystery and suspense, Mae Clair posted this review at Amazon.

Like odd? Like quirky with a generous dollop of magical realism and whimsy thrown in? Then you’re going to love the little town of Atonement, Tennessee and the people (and others) who populate it. Vividly imagined, this is a light but intriguing tale filled with eccentric characters and imaginative plot lines. The shifting narrative between the main character, Esmeralda, and her cat, Lilith (told in 3rd person POV) works surprising well. A truly delightful and “magical” story!

By the way, Mae and Jacquie both have new releases.  Be sure to visit their blogs to learn more!

If you have any questions about the “Atonement-verse” feel free to leave them in a comment.  Also, do you have a favorite opening line from a book you love?  Leave that in a comment too.  I love to hear from you.

***

Here’s my own shameless self-promotion…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise. 

Hats Off to You — from Atonement TN

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Lilith and mirror

Lilith ponders her reflection, unconcerned about what to wear

Welcome everyone.  While I’m finishing edits to Atonement in Bloom, I chose to make things easy on myself and recycle a “writing process” post. 

Hats Off to You — What to Wear in Atonement, TN

But first, a plea…

What is your blog wearing?

Yes, this is selfish of me.  I see more and more blogs using gray text (like this) in the body of the post.  Even when I “zoom” up to 200% I am unable to read it without difficulty.  Lately I’ve noticed an even lighter tone of gray (like this) — which is flat out painful for me.  I realize other people’s blogs are not “about me” so please don’t think I’m criticizing you.  I’m just letting you know that if I’m not there (and your words look like these), then it’s probably because I simply was not able to read your post.  I’m not complaining, just explaining.  Moving on now.

My Writing Process — Characters & Clothes

Jordan 3 WoT covers

Character’s clothes described to “show” changes in the story

Some people don’t care for “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 even a different world.  It helps set the entire scene.

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.

Jonathan Daniels, Unsplash

“What to wear?” can help develop a character’s personality.  Here on this blog, I can show you a picture.  In a novel I have to show you by describing.  If I wrote about the clothes the woman in the above photo wears, you would build her personality in your imagination.

Also, I don’t mean simply the items of clothing you choose when you dress the character.  If I tell you what they pull out of their closet and why, then it helps define their personalities.  

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 undergoing edits) where the jacket meets its demise.  Meanwhile her friend Bethany (created 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. 

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.

Eunice Stahl, Unsplash

“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.

As you see, that scene was not really about clothes or hair.  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.

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…”

I hope you’ll come back to this “station” Wednesday for the next chapter of Hullaba Lulu, my diesel-punk collaboration with San Francisco artist, Rob Goldstein. 

***

Of course here’s my shameless self-promotion.  Unfortunately no hats involved…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise. 

Books set in TN & Atonement, TN Revisited

Saturday, June 23, 2018

I can’t believe that it was way back at Christmastime, 2012 when I published my urban fantasy novel Atonement, Tennessee.  That makes it downright embarrassing that I still haven’t released the second book!  It’s written, but I have little time to give the editing and proofing process.  Although I’m getting closer.  

Marketing Graphic for Teagan's Books

Image by Chris Graham

It might not be okay for me to mention it outright, but if you miss the “Sookie” books, now that the well loved series set in a small Louisiana town (with HBO series based on it), has come to an end (wink-nudge-wink), then I think you will like my Atonement, Tennessee series.  There are no vampires (not that I know of), rather there are characters loosely inspired by ancient Celtic mythology.

I wanted this post to be about more than me.  I was surprised to learn how many books had the (USA) state of Tennessee as their setting.  Here’s a Goodreads page listing amazing books that are set in Tennessee

Many of you are new and not familiar with my novel.  So while I’m scrambling to get Atonement in Bloom (book 2) out there, I thought I would use my Saturday posts to revisit that… erm, let’s say unique little town.  Today we’ll get reacquainted with the the heroine and narrator, Ralda (Esmeralda) Lawton.  Here are some fun (I hope) facts about her.

1.  Is she fictional or a historic person?

Ralda-in-car_dreamstime_xs_28934268

Ralda Lawton, Dreamstime Image

Ralda (Esmeralda) Lawton is a fictional character.  Atonement, Tennessee, the first book in the series, was a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novel.  I designed everything about that story to be something I could do in the single month of NaNoWriMo — in other words, fast.  Typically none of my characters are based on real people.  However, with the need for speed in mind, I let Ralda share some of my outlooks. Plus her profession is similar to mine.  But she isn’t me, I promise.

Ralda is the narrator for all the Atonement books.  However, her cat, Lilith, takes a turn for important scenes that Ralda could not witness.

Lilith and mirror

Lilith, Dreamstims

2.  When and where is the story set?

Following the advice “Write what you know,” I wanted a small southern town as the setting.  I chose Tennessee for the state of my fictional town.  (Even making up a fictional town was also intended for speed – it wouldn’t need as much research!)  Yet what to name this town?  I was thinking about what kinds of people might live there, their attitudes and opinions.  Suddenly “Atonement” popped into my mind as the name for the town.  So my setting is the fictional town (and the title), Atonement, Tennessee.

3.  What should we know about the heroine?

That’s really hard to say without giving away parts of the story.  I don’t want to spoil anything for people who have not read the book.

3 friends oval

Neighbors & Friends, Dreamstime

I’ll tell you that Ralda has been hurt badly in the past, and more than once.  She’d like to keep an open mind about things like relationships, but she’s afraid to try.  Besides, she doesn’t think the “pluses” outweigh the “minuses.”  On the other hand, she makes friends readily.  If she cares about someone, she’s fiercely protective.

She’s highly intuitive, and smart.  Those assets lead her to unravel the mysteries that surround her in her new mysterious old house, in Atonement, Tennessee.

4.  What messes up her life?

Ultimately, that would be (repeatedly) the supernatural beings that either live in or frequent the strange little town and the old estate house in which she lives — and its graveyard.   Yes, I said graveyard. 

5.  What is the personal goal of the character?

Ralda Lawton just wants a peaceful life in her new town.  She succeeded in getting away from the big city by moving to quaint Atonement, Tennessee.  However, so far, her new life has been anything but quiet.  How could she know the tiny town rests on a very powerful ley line?  It seems to draw mythological entities like a magnet.  (I took creative license with the ley line idea and their actual locations.)
TN_Ley-Lines

6.  Do the same characters return for book 2?

You’ll meet many familiar characters in book-2, Atonement in Bloom.  There are also several new supernaturals in town for the sequel.  And yes… I do intend a third book for the series.  Eventually I plan to do a “three things” type serial for it here on this blog.  That seems to be the only way I have time to write. 

 If you have any questions about the “Atonement-verse” feel free to leave them in a comment.  I love to hear from you.

***

Here’s my own shameless self-promotion…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2018 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise. 

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

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