Meet Guest Author Teagan R Geneviene

teagan geneviene:

What a terrific start to my Tuesday! During NaNoWriMo, Chris the Story Reading Ape interviewed me — and he has it posted on his website today!
Chris is an extraordinary promoter of writers, and I am sincerely honored by his interview request.
What many people don’t realize is that he is also a gifted artist, and creates book covers! So I hope all you writers will think about gifting yourself with one of his book covers this holiday season. There’s nothing wrong with a little “to me – from me.” (Grins)
Mega-hugs my friends!
teagan

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog..... An Author Promotions Enterprise!:

OrangeHi Chris. I’m Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene. Thanks so very much for having me here at your blog. I’m quite humbled. As for introducing myself to your readers… how do I begin? I guess I’m who I am because of the many changes I’ve been through. If my life were a book, there would be several volumes.

Nearly 20 years ago, a friend looked at me in amazement and said “You don’t mind shaking things up, do you?” She still lives in the same place and works at the same job. I sincerely admire her stability. But that wasn’t in the cards for me. Lots of changes were ahead.

One of my “new volumes” began when I changed careers. After a divorce I left low-paying low-level office jobs to become a technical editor. I started at the bottom, earning a Bachelor of Science degree related to information technology (IT), because I…

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Three Things 25 & Character Recap

1920s Vaudeville Cats Postcard

1920s Vaudeville Cats Postcard

Welcome back to our whimsical version of the Jazz Age.  You’re just the cat’s pajamas for coming back to this flapper tale.

I hope the characters in this 1920’s serial have wiggled into your mind so comfortably that you have your own ideas of how they would look or sound.  However, I thought it might be fun to show you how I imagine them. So in no particular order, please meet the cast of The Three Things Serial.

Paisley Idelle Peabody

Better known to you as Pip

Young Lucille Ball

Young Lucille Ball

The moment I saw a picture of a teen-aged Lucille Ball she became my Pip. In my imagination the voice of a grown-up Lucy narrates The Three Things Serial, looking back on the adventures of her youth.

Pip might be a tad conservative, naive, or innocent as flappers go, but that allows her to take people as they are, without judgement.  Time and “things” will tell if that open hearted naïveté gets her into a pickle — or maybe a barrel of them!

The heart of a true flapper beats in Pip, and she is determined to be what she thinks of as a modern woman.

*

Pops

Pip’s Unseen Dad

Thus far I’ve done three incarnations of this “interactive” serial.  Pip’s father has been mentioned many times, and he’s made a phone call or two. However, he has never actually made an appearance. It started to remind me of the 1970’s television series, Charlie’s Angels, with John Forsythe phoning in as the never-seen Charlie.

John Forsythe 1958

John Forsythe 1958

*

Mona the Movie Star

 Pip enjoyed giving everyone nicknames, usually based on their occupations or their aspirations.  Her friend and neighbor, Mona, had big dreams of being an actress, but little chance of seeing them come to fruition. Mona is something of a flirt, but you won’t see her “lead anyone on.” It’s just that people (particularly men) jump to do things for her.

 In my imagination, the original “It Girl” — Clara Bow plays Mona.

Clara Bow

Clara Bow

*

Andy the Astronaute-man

Andy Avis

The “things” for Episode-2 required me to write about a ballerina, a fireman, a movie star, and an astronaut. Have I mentioned that I’m a research geek? I had to make sure the word “astronaut” was actually used in the 1920’s. I got conflicting information, but the greater consensus said “no.” However, I learned the term Astronaute was used in France at the time. So Andy Avis is also of French descent.

Willie Garson

Willie Garson

Andy is a science fiction writer, hence Pip’s nickname for him Andy the Astronaute-man.  Despite the heroic stories he writes, Andy is not the bravest bean in the bunch. Discretion is pos-i-lute-ly the better part of valor with him. To his credit, sometimes Andy overcomes his big fears and takes action. Doesn’t it take a lot more courage to do something when you’re afraid than if you are just naturally brave?

Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton

Right away I saw a younger Willie Garson as my Andy.  (You might know him from “White Collar” or Sex and the City.) I could see the friendship between him and Mona. Although unlike Stanford, Andy hopes the friendship will become a romance. On the other hand, Andy could easily look like Buster Keaton with those sad eyes.

*

Ca’ d’Zan

The Ringling Mansion

Although it is not truly a character the Ca’d’Zan mansion is an important part of this story. Learning about this amazing place was so much fun that I had to include it here. I hope you’ll do some research of your own about the home of John and Mabel Ringling.

Ca'd'Zan Mansion

Ca’d’Zan Mansion

*

John and Mabel Ringling

The Ringlings don’t play huge roles in the story, but they were important nonetheless.  Pip and company are invited onboard a yacht that they don’t at first realize belongs to John Ringling. Countess Bepa is old friends with Mabel Ringling.  The entire gang ends up at fabulous Ca’d’Zan where the mystery concludes.

Mabel and John Ringling

Mabel and John Ringling

*

The Fabros

Frankie Fabro and His Cousins

Frankie the Fireman and his cousins Flavio, Fedel, and Frediano. First we meet Frankie. He’s taller and a little bigger than his cousins, but all four of the young men look a lot alike. Elder brother Flavio looks out for twins, Fred and Fedel. Pip has a crush on Frankie. Flavio, like most men seems to think Mona is the berries.

Oddly enough I never had an image in my mind of Frankie the Fireman. So he is included here with his look alike cousins.

1920s 4 Look-alike Guys

*

Countess Bepa Babikov

The mysterious white-haired woman… turns out to be not only the grand mother of Boris the Ballerina, but a real life countess. It was after Bepa Babikov came along that I saw a photo of Countess Von Hartenau that was simply the vision of Bepa’s elegance, as well as her fierce determination.  She instantly replaced any other image I had of Bepa.

Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

*

Boris Babikov

Boris the Ballerina

Retired from the Ballets Russes after a career-ending injury, Boris gives the occasional dance lesson to earn a living. Mona is infatuated with Boris, but also conflicted. She has some ways of thinking to outgrow.  Boris is the strong silent type. His friends have to work at it to get to know him. When I saw a photo of Fred Astaire, in a rather sulky pose, it made me think of Boris Babikov.

Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little break from the serial.  Next weekend I’ll be back with…. What’s that? Stop screaming so I can tell what you’re saying. No episode this week? Oh… Well if that’s what you really want.

Let’s get a wiggle on and round out this character recap with Episode-25.

25.  Kitten, Fake, Comfort

My eyes strayed to the Art Deco pottery jug into which Ringling had casually dropped the bent key. 1920s  Ben Key Had he been a little too offhanded when he did that?  What if his nonchalance was fake?  I shifted my gaze to the circus millionaire and found him looking at me.  I knew it might be foolish of me, but I couldn’t stop myself from blurting out my thoughts.

“That’s no ordinary key,” I said.  “It might be to Ca’d’Zan, but it’s no door key.”

Everyone became silent, except for Pear the hedgehog, scrabbling inside his lunch pail carrier.  I turned to Countess Babikov.  By the expression on her face, I knew the direction of my words didn’t give her any comfort.  It was obviously meant to be a distraction when she turned to Mona and indicated the tin lunch pail.

“Dear!  What have you in that box?  I hear a tiny creature moving around.  Is it a kitten?” she asked Mona.

It was a feeble attempt at diverting me and the white-haired woman must have realized that, because she blushed and glanced over at me.  However, I was not diverted.  My mind went to that very eventful night when the hedgehog in handscountess was abducted, and later the group of us returned home to find Boris’ place being burglarized.  I remembered the broken vase and speculating that a key might have been hidden inside.  At the time I wondered if Boris had a key to match the bent one that was dropped from the getaway car.  Once again I considered the same idea — and I voiced the thought.

Ringling and the countess looked at each other in a silent exchange.  She drew an unsteady breath and looked up at him from her spot on the beautifully upholstered sofa.  “John, I am more worried than ever for my grandson’s safety.  If these young people can tell us where to find him…  Can you bring him here?  Please?”

I couldn’t imagine anyone refusing the tortured look in the woman’s eyes.  The circus magnate was not immune to her gaze.  Frankie shifted his feet in a nervous way.  Mona sat in silence.  She licked her lips and looked from the fireman to me.  After all, these people were strangers to us.  Boris kept us at arm’s length, but he was our neighbor and a friend, if not a really close one.  We had already concluded that he was in some kind of trouble.  But did these people have his best interest at heart?  And why did my friends seem to want me to make that decision, I wondered in dismay.

***

Tune in again next weekend. Same flapper time, same flapper channel. You’re pos-i-lute-ly the cat’s pajamas!

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.

Rewind – Three Things Episodes 22 – 24

Three Faces of EveI started to say, “Just call me Sybil.” Because I have too much going on — a few different works in progress, and the next serial for this blog simmering on the back burner. However, I don’t think it quite adds up to Sybil’s 16 personalities.  Although with two distinctly different stories actively evolving in my mind, and my real job, you might go ahead and call me Eve

Suffice to say there are a lot of ideas competing for attention in my head.

Book-2 of Atonement, Tennessee continues to Atonement Video Cover copygerminate.  That’s appropriate since the title is Atonement in Bloom.  Little seeds to develop the story sprout into ideas.

Though I met the requirements with a draft novel to achieve a “win” with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), The Guitar Mancer needs a lot of fleshing out.  (By the way, the introduction to the “rewind” for Episode -23 below is a flashback for me to a previous NaNoWriMo. I must be a glutton for punishment…)

Don’t give up! I will finish both of these novels or it will finish me. Then I can go back to re-working Tatterdemallian: The Electric Zucchini.  And maybe even figure out how to divide The Dead of Winter into two (or three) books.

Applesauce!  Suddenly my brain is tired… So here’s another rewind of the original interactive blog serial, Three Things.  

Don’t loose heart my foodie friends! Episode-24 gave us an “ingredient” so look for a recipe at the end of the rewind.  Now, let’s get a wiggle on!

Tall Animal Tales for Toddlers & UpIntroduction for Episode-22

 Lord David Prosser, an author in the UK, set me quite a challenge with these three things.  If you are acquainted with David, you won’t be surprised that he managed to sneak in a fourth thing by relating one to Art Deco.  (David, I’m kidding you.  :)   )  It was an adventure to do the research for this set of things.

Please join me for episode 22 of our little 1920’s serial.

 

22. Blue John, Clarice Cliff Pottery, Art Deco, Silk

Before I could stop him, Frankie told Countess Babikov about the burglary at Boris’ apartment — I mean office.  I was worried about that episode upsetting her.  The white-haired woman had clearly been abducted and roughed up, so she seemed fragile.  There was that cut and bruise at her temple, plus her expensive sheer silk stockings were badly torn.

However, the look of frailty was momentary.  Countess Babikov got a steely, protective look in her eyes.  I was almost worried about her kidnappers.  She took another sip of the brandy I had gotten for her, but I could tell she was thinking.  You could practically see the wheels turning in her mind.  She blinked as if something had interrupted her thoughts.

“Frankie my dear, would you bring my coat?” she asked pointing to a chair where the coat with the fox collar was draped.

English: Ballets Russes, scene from Apollon mu...When the fireman handed her the coat she thanked him, then quickly searched through it.  “Ah!  It is still there.  Thank goodness,” she said in a pleased tone as she withdrew a small silver jewelry casket.  She opened it to display a beautiful dress clip, shaped like a butterfly.

She smiled warmly and held it out to the circus magnate.  “I saw this when the Ballets Russes last performed in England.  I could imagine the butterfly in Mable’s rose garden, and I knew she must have it… my dearest friend, Mable.”

The butterfly was made from a lovely blue banded gemstone.  I asked if it was fluorite, but it didn’t really look like any I had ever seen.  In answer Countess Babikov described her visit to Castleton and the shop where she found the dress clip made from a rare stone she called Blue John.

“Jeepers, I almost forgot!” I exclaimed and started fishing in my pocketbook.  When I looked up, I was uncomfortable to find all eyes on me.  I felt a little foolish, but I produced the bent key and grinned.  However, I wasn’t sure to which of them I should give it.  I tried to look at John Ringling and the Countess both when I explained.

Ringling-Zalophus-Ca-d-Zan

Ringling’s yacht, Zalophus docked at Ca’d’Zan

“This fell from the getaway car back at the Nickelodeon Theatre when they nabbed you, Countess Babikov.  I think the engraving says Ca’d’Zan,” I told them.

“It’s seen better days, hasn’t it?” commented John Ringling as he took the key and inspected it closely.  “It’s for Ca’d’Zan alright.”

Then he dropped the damaged key into a lovely pottery jug.  The sound made everyone look at the piece.  Leaning closer to look at the pottery Frankie asked, “Is that what they call Art Deco?  The style, I mean?”

Mr. Ringling wore a rather distracted expression, but he answered, “I believe so.  I haven’t heard the termEarly 'Original Bizarre' pattern on an Athens ... until just recently.  Mable, my wife, took a shine to this stuff during one of our travels.  The young lady who painted it is called Clarice Cliff.  I think she called that pattern Bizarre.

“Tell me everything about Boris,” the Countess said imploringly, and changed the subject.  “When he left the Ballets Russes, he had begun acting strangely.  At first I thought it was because of his injury — you know?  That he was depressed because he could dance no longer.  Yet strange men began to come to see him.  I thought I saw one of them, when I started making inquiries here about my grandson.  Then the other men abducted me, making a ransom demand of my most kind friend here, John,” she said with a look of gratitude and a motion to the circus magnate.

“What can be going on to cause these strange events?” she said as if to herself.  The same question nagged me as well.

***

Introduction for Episode-23

LifeFlapper1922I’m finally here with another episode of our little 1920’s story.  The characters have been nagging at my thoughts.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with them during November, while I’m trying to write an entire (new) novel in a few short weeks, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! Maybe I’ll skip the fun part of decorating the post and looking up historic links, because I spend a good deal of time with that.

There’s bound to be some “thing” that pulls me back to the story.  Sometimes a single word conveys so much feeling or imagery.  Flapper is that kind of word.  Wasn’t your mind filled with images the moment you read the word?  Provincial Lady has a talent for thinking of those words.  She supplied three evocative things for today’s post.  As always you can find all the episodes in one place at the Three Things Serial page.

Episode 23 causes Pip to contemplate the unusual events that she and her friends have recently experienced.  Can she put the pieces together?

23.  Dissolute, Rocky, Bonehead

An expression of warmth and kindness came to the white-haired woman’s face when she looked at Frankie and me.  “I worried that my Boris squandered his talents in some dissolute existence,” she began, her accent becoming heavier.  I had to focus to understand some of her words.  “But if he has friends such as you, then I know that fear is unfounded.”

Countess Babikov seemed to be wilting from her burst of energy.  I poured another splash of brandy into her glass.  Mr. Ringling helped her sit back on the sofa and put her feet up.  I spotted a decanter of water

Clara Bow as Mona the Movie Star

Clara Bow as Mona the Movie Star

and used some to wet my handkerchief and then gently cleaned the cut at her temple.

A plaintive call reached my ears.  “Pip?”

I opened the door to find Mona looking for me.  She held the tin lunch pail that she’d used for a home-away-from-home for Pear.  However, other than the little hedgehog Mona was alone.  “Where’s Flavio?” I asked.

“He was feeling a little rocky, and went back ashore,” she said with an expression that suggested she was pleased with herself for using the term.  “I don’t think he’s a very good sailor, but he’s a sweet guy.”

Frankie gave me a lopsided grin and commented, “Nah, Flavio’s a bonehead.”  I shot the fireman a skeptical look and his grin was unrepentant.  “Okay.  He’s a good bonehead, but he’s still a bonehead.”

“Oh, Pip!” Mona exclaimed, still in the corridor, but walking toward the door.  “You’ll never believe who I heard this yacht belongs to.”

“Pip, dear,” the Countess said with a twinkle in her eyes.  “Do invite your friend inside.”1920s Dime Mystery

I heard the circus millionaire inside, cautioning Bepa or Faith — she asked us to call her one or the other, but I wasn’t quite comfortable with that.  Holy Hannah!  The woman was royalty for goodness sakes!  Anyhow, he was worried about her exerting herself after the ordeal of her kidnapping.

A thought struck me.  No one had ever said what the kidnappers wanted with her…  Of course there was the ransom, but I had a strong feeling that money wasn’t everything they were after.  I was also sure it had an awful lot to do with Boris.   I felt like I was working a jigsaw puzzle and some pieces were missing.  I didn’t like that feeling.

***

Introduction for Episode-24

Tommy-n-Tuppence

Illustration by Arthur Ferrier of Agatha Christie’s detective pair Tommy and Tuppence, from the December 1923 issue of The Grand Magazine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’d think I would have thought of Agatha Christie the minute the Three Things Serial became a 1920’s story.  She created so many memorable characters.  Two of my favorites are not as well known, but they showcase the spirit of the 1920’s for me — Tommy and Tuppence.  The first novel in which they appeared was The Secret Adversary.

At any rate, I didn’t think of Tommy and Tuppence until recently, although they could easily have inspired our little story.  With a nod to Agatha Christie, today’s Three Things come from the opening of that novel:

“TOMMY, old thing!”

“Tuppence, old bean!”

The two young people greeted each other affectionately, and momentarily blocked the Dover Street Tube exit in doing so.

Now I give you Three Tommy and Tuppence Things.

24.  Old Thing, Bean, Dover Street Tube Exit

Frankie had already caught on to the mischievous twinkle in Countess Bepa’s eyes.  Mona would probably faint when she walked in and saw a big cheese like John Ringling — not to mention a for-real countess!  He blocked the door for a second so he would get a good look at her face when she saw the occupants of the cabin.

Clara Bow 1927

Clara Bow 1927

“Frankie, old thing,” she said.  “I wondered where you’d gotten to.”

The fireman stepped aside and Mona saw the countess.  Even in her disheveled state, right after having been ransomed by dastardly kidnappers, the older woman exuded easy elegance and confidence.  Mona’s face registered recognition, and I knew she was thinking of the night at the Nickelodeon Theatre when we all saw the white-haired woman pulled into a car that careened away.

“Aren’t you the…” Mona began, but then she noticed the owner of the yacht, and she simply stopped, open mouthed.

“Hey, Movie Star, did somebody just bean you?” Frankie asked with a lopsided grin.

The countess chuckled, and even the circus magnate, still worried about his recently kidnapped guest, smiled.  Introductions were made to the astonishment of Mona the movie star.

“I heard you refer to this charming young man as ‘old thing.’  That’s a term I’ve rarely heard since I arrived in this country,” Countess Babikov told the aspiring actress.  “Are you perhaps from England?”1920s subway crowded

“Oh no,” Mona said with an attractive blush.  “But I did go to school in London for a couple of years.  It was near Dover Street.”

The countess looked shocked.  She turned to Mr. Ringling.  “John… I just remembered.  That is where I first saw those men.  I had just parted company with my Boris at the Dover Street Tube exit.  That is where I saw them!”

 

***

Recipe – Video

Now for the promised recipe! Have you guessed the ingredient?  Of course it is “Bean” from Episode-24.

Slow-Cooked Green Beans – Amazing Southern-Style Green Beans

***

 Tune in again next weekend to see what happens because of the next set of Three Things. Same flapper time, same flapper channel.

 

 

New Release: Tristan’s Destiny, Bonus Book 1.5 Double Dutch Ranch Series: Love at First Sight

teagan geneviene:

Celebrating a new book release from another indie author! Take a look. :star:
Hugs all around!

Originally posted on Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel:

Tristan’s Destiny, Bonus Book #1.5

This “bonus book” to go with Cowboy Boss and his Destiny is available.

Double Dutch Ranch Series: Love at First Sight #1.5

TristansDestiny_LRGHow about I send you right to the PAGE for all the information you need about this book. The link is also in the menu at the top.

Visit my WEBSITE for much more information on all my books.

DD Ranch 3 books

Double Dutch Ranch Series: Love at First Sight

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Rewind – Three Things Episodes 20 – 21

Welcome back my friends. To those of you in the USA, I hope you enjoyed a Thanksgiving Day filled with gratitude and happiness.

Winner-2014-Web-Banner I would use huge letters to say “Ta-dah!” but I’m exhausted from a full month of squeezing every minute of novel writing possible from each day and night.  My ta-dah is more of a whimper.  But I say it with a smile of satisfaction.

Guitar Mancer Cover 11-28-2014It was my fervent hope that my draft of The Guitar Mancer would be so complete and clean that I might actually be able to publish it this year. Wow — I am a true dreamer!  To “win” National Novel Writing Month, I needed a draft of at least 50,000 words. By the time I was half way into the month it became clear that the finished novel will be twice that length — easily!  So I have a long way to go yet for a finished novel.

So now I’m torn by the question of how to find time to finish the novel and do a new serial here on this blog. As I continue to ponder my predicament, here are more episodes of the first serial, Three Things.

Another conundrum has been how to give a recipe treat to my foodie friends.  So for the remaining “rewinds” I plan to work a recipe into this non-culinary mystery.  Because of the first set of “things” in this rewind, look for some Military Eats at the end of the post.

Now let’s get a wiggle on with the rewind!

20.  Medical Bill, Confirmation, Military

The man had an authoritative manner and was dressed in very 1920 Flu Epidemic nurseexpensive looking clothes.  He had what they called presence.  The white-haired woman murmured something that was lost in a sob.  “Don’t worry about that either,” the man told her in a kind voice.  “Besides, there won’t be any medical bill.  There’s more than one doctor here today.”

A teenager with an alarmed expression on his face came running toward them.  Clearly he’d heard all the ruckus.  At first I thought he wore a military uniform, but then I realized he was some kind of servant, dressed in livery.

In a calm voice the man instructed, “Go fetch a doctor.”

“Yes, Mr. Ringling,” the young man said, and ran away.

Frankie and I exchanged astonished looks.  Even though we had just seen a picture of this very yacht moored at the Ca’d’Zan mansion, I was amazed to think I was standing a few feet away from a celebrity like John Ringling!

Irene Castle

Irene Castle

The white-haired woman lifted her head and stood a little straighter.  I could see her profile.  The first thing I noticed was a bit of blood and a bruise at her temple.  I was sure that bump to the head didn’t come by accident.  Then my eyes just about popped out of my head.  Her profile — it was the spitting image of Boris!

No wonder the “ballerina” had acted so funny back at the Nickelodeon Theatre, when he saw this woman and the group of Russian dignitaries.  Even then I wondered if Boris was connected to that group, though he refused to discuss it.  Right then and there I was sure I had confirmation.  The white-haired woman had to be a relative; probably a close one.  I wondered if she might be his grandmother.

However, this old woman looked like she was well off.  Boris wouldn’t be living in the building with the rest of us if he was from money.  The building owner had a soft spot for people trying to better themselves.  Even though the building was supposed to be for office space, he let us live there if we at least went through the motions of having our own businesses.  It wasn’t the nicest place to live, but he let us rent the suites for a song.

Despite her wealthy appearance, the woman appeared to have said 1920s flapper thinkingsomething to indicate she didn’t have the money to pay a doctor.  Maybe, I speculated, she had been wealthy but had fallen on hard times.  There was plenty of that going around with the land bust.  Or maybe Boris had a falling out with his family and they’d cut him off.

My speculation was cut short when the yacht’s owner, John Ringling, turned and looked at Frankie and me questioningly.

***

Introduction to Episode-21

When I researched ways to illustrate this episode I noticed that media topics of interest in the 1920s were much the same as they are now. I saw headings about sex, diet, scandal, fashion, and other things that you’d see today.  Like they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The “things” for episode 21 come from a friend in the southwest who is positively gifted at refurbishing things.  I think she could give new life to any old item she might find.  When I saw “underwear” as one of the things, I really hoped I’d do something funny with it.  But everything that came to mind was just “tasteless.”  Har-dee-har… a play on words or rather things.  However, I admit that I had to put some thought into “limestone.”

21. Underwear, Tasteless, Limestone

1920s Girdle adI swallowed hard, unable to escape the feeling that I had been caught doing something that I shouldn’t.  That was silly of me, I know.  After all, we had been invited onboard.  Just the same, I was as uncomfortable as somebody with twisted underwear.

The white-haired woman turned to us with a haunted expression in her eyes.  “These children,” she began, speaking to Mr. Ringling in an accent I recognized.  “They are familiar.”  She took a trembling step toward Frankie and me.  Her bright eyes zeroed in on me.  “You were there when I was taken.  You were there with my Boris!”1920s Underwear for Men ad

Then she paled and swooned.  Frankie Fabro, fireman, rushed forward and scooped her up as if she weighed nothing at all.  John Ringling, circus magnate, motioned him into the cabin.  Me?  Paisley I. Peabody, palmist?  I stood in mute astonishment for a second, but I snapped out of it when Frankie called my name.  “Pip?” came the fireman’s anxious voice.

I hurried into the beautifully appointed cabin.  I still thought my suite back at the office building was the cat’s meow, but that room made it seem tasteless in comparison.  The woodwork alone was stunning, and brightly polished brass reflected light from a small but glorious crystal chandelier.  An ornately carved table had a red marble top.  But no… that would be travertine, not marble.  I remembered travertine was actually a kind of limestoneHorsefeathers!  Why was I thinking about something like that during all the drama?

With a shake of my head, I gathered my scattered wits.  An etched glass decanter of what looked like brandy stood on the tavertine table.  Picking up the first glass I saw, I poured a little and held it to the elderly woman’s lips.

Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

Inspiration for “The White-haired Woman,” Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

“John, kindly introduce me to these lovely young people who know my Boris,” she said with a weak smile.

Frankie cleared his throat awkwardly, knowing we were strangers to that gentleman as well.  He introduced himself and then me to both of them.  “I’m John Ringling,” the man said, but of course we’d figured that out already.  “It’s my pleasure to welcome two clear headed young people aboard.”  Then he made a bow to the white-haired woman.  “I present the Countess Bepa Babikov.”

I bounced in place before I caught myself.  Then I blushed at my childishness.  But I had been right!  Boris’ last name was Babikov.  Maybe it was too forward to be polite, but I blurted out the question.  “Are you his… grandmother?  I mean Countess… ma’am…”

The woman nodded her head and smiled a hopeful looking smile.  “Please, dear one.  Call me Faith.  That is what Bepa means — faith.  If I may call you Pip, as this strong young man does.  The sound of the name pleases me.  It is like a little bird chirping.”  I nodded, speechless for once.  “Yes my dear Pip, I am his babushka.  Please tell me.  My Boris, he is well?”

***

Don’t go away yet.  I promised you a recipe!

Seafood Normandy

Recipe credit: Food Network

Total Time:  40 min

Prep:  20 min
Cook:  20 min

Ingredients
5 scallops
4 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon chopped spinach
1 teaspoon diced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped celery
6 ounces dried fettuccini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 ounces whole baby clams
6 mussels
4 ounces Alfredo sauce, recipe follows
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
Freshly ground pepper
Salt
Lemon twist, for garnish

Alfredo Sauce for Seafood Normandy:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
Ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions
Combine scallops, shrimp, chopped spinach, and diced red bell pepper.

Bring large pot of water to boil and add chopped onion and celery for flavor. Add 6 ounces fettuccini to the boiling water and cook to al dente.

Meanwhile, put olive oil in saute pan and heat over medium-high heat. Then add shrimp, scallops, clams, chopped spinach, and diced red bell peppers. Saute for approximately 5 minutes.

When fettuccini is done, drain. Drop mussels in the boiling water after removing fettuccini. Cook until mussels are open and tender, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, then drain and combine mussels with ingredients in the saute pan. Add the Alfredo Sauce to the pan and continue cooking for about 2 minutes.

Add fettuccini to pan and toss until well combined. Plate, sprinkling top with freshly chopped parsley and garnish with lemon twist. Grind fresh pepper and salt if desired.

Alfredo Sauce for Seafood Normandy:
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the cream and simmer for 5 minutes, then add garlic, cheese, and cayenne and whisk quickly, heating through. Stir in parsley and serve.

For a lower fat version, substitute 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup flour separately, instead of heavy cream.

Recipe courtesy The Globe and Laurel

Buy a Book for Christmas – Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene – Urban Fantasy

teagan geneviene:

Sneaking in some shopping before black Friday? Sally G. Cronin featured my debut novel “Atonement, Tennessee” in her online Christmas Shop today. I’m absolutely tickled to be included.
I’m sincerely grateful for Sally’s unfailing support and encouragement — on multiple levels. As I write a Thanksgiving Day entry in my gratitude journal, I include all of you. Support from my “virtual” friends is a key part of every day. Sally — I am sincerely grateful. Whether it is a part of your country’s traditions or not, I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving… and mega-hugs!

Here is an additional review from the talented Christoph Fischerhttp://www.christophfischerbooks.com/author-interview-review-of-atonement-tennessee-by-teagan-genevieve/#comment-5081

Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:

Time for another Buy a Book for Christmas and I am delighted to say that the emporium is filling up very nicely.  I will post the new expanded shop tomorrow and there is something for everyone.  I am nearly at the end of my Sunday Show guests and will be now focusing on the other wonderful guests who have posted on the blog.  But there is still a few weeks to Christmas and I would love to hear from anyone who would like to be included in the Buy for Christmas series – Books, Art and Design, Jewelry, Photography etc.  Just leave a comment and I will get back to you.

2013 blazer

The author of today’s Buy a Book for Christmas is Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene. I first encountered this terrific lady in blog land whilst browsing for interesting posts for Reblog Saturday. It is very easy to become hooked on her…

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Rewind – Three Things Episodes 18 – 19

1970 Metropolitan Nashville Airport, Berry Field

Metropolitan Nashville Airport, Berry Field circa 1969

Welcome, my friends.  Have I told you how much I appreciate your visits? Well, I do — a lot.

Before I present Three Things, here’s the promised update on my National Novel Writing Month progress.

Well, there hasn’t been a lot of progress. As of right now, I’m barely on schedule to finish on November 30th, and the weekend is nearly over. Maybe more caffeine…

Today I’m showing you a few pictures from the late 1960’s of places my Guitar Mancer characters visit. One of the first scenes is in fictional Blaylock Sound Magic Studios. Here’s an example of equipment a recording studio of the era. All that could be on one tiny device now.

1969 Studio

I can’t say anything as spectacular sounding as top last week’s “I killed a basilisk.” However, most of my main characters had their first big confrontation with the arch villain. And our heroine, Luci, showed that she’s got plenty of spunk!

Old Hickory Lake campfire

Old Hickory Lake State Park

The Guitar Mancer will touch multiple locations. As I’ve mentioned, it begins in Nashville, Tennessee and the Old Hickory Lake area.  I don’t think this composite image is vintage at all, but with the exception of the stadium, most of the buildings would have been around in the era. From top left: 2nd Avenue, Kirkland Hall at Vanderbilt University, the Parthenon, the Nashville skyline, LP FieldDolly Parton performing at the Grand Ole Opry, and Ryman AuditoriumNashville Composite

One character I got to spend a lot of time with last week was Frejya, a red tailed hawk. She’s developing more firmly in my imagination than I expected and I enjoyed writing about her.

Frejya is a “spirit animal” and in the mythology I’ve created for The Guitar Mancer she is also a magical totem. Maybe I’ll tell you about her “person” next time — that’s Bodaway Thunder.  Though he’s not the main character, I beginning to wonder if he might not need a book of his own!  Bodaway is one unique guy.

Frejya Red Tailed HawkFrejya has been very hard at work this past week.  Ask her about B. B. King’s guitar, Lucille if you want, although I don’t think she’s talking about her part in that escapade. But she sure is being smug…

I’ve given all the important characters names with meanings related to their nature and/or capabilities. If you enjoy name meanings you’ll like that. If not, then it won’t bother you either way.

Now, on with our 1920’s mystery “rewind” of Three Things!

***

18. Punctilious, Train, Diary

A beautiful phonograph stood in the corner.  It was surrounded by a little track with a clockwork train.  Frankie stooped down to investigate the train.  It was painted red with yellow trim, and the coal car had a Hornby logo.  In a second Frankie had it chugging around the little tracks.  His eyes lit up like a child’s.  He blushed in a cute way when he realized I was watching him, murmuring something about the workmanship.Hornby Clockwork Train Ad

I wanted to rib him about it so bad that I had to bite my lip to stop myself.  Frankie was really the cat’s meow, but I hadn’t known him that long, and I wasn’t sure how much teasing he could take.  So I played it as seriously as I could manage.  “Yes,” I agreed.  “The attention to detail is quite punctilious, isn’t it?”

Frankie tore himself away from the model and stepped over the tracks to get to the phonograph.  The fireman gave the handle a few cranks and the sound of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” filled the air.

Flavio was sitting next to Mona on the chaise lounge, whispering things that brought gales of giggles from her.  Frankie looked over at me and I made a derisive face at the other two.  This shindig was going to give Mona plenty to write about in her diary.

***

Introduction Episode-19

While I was browsing around the New York Times, I stumbled upon “The Janeiac Quiz.”  Since I’ve always enjoyed Jane Austen‘s books, I took the quiz — and failed miserably.  I’m sharing it because many of you enjoy those classics.  Emma is probably my favorite of Austen’s works and it is also the source of today’s Three Things.  I’ll take them from the first sentence of the book.

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”

And now, three Emma things.

19.  Comfortable Home, Happy Disposition, Vex

Ringling-Zalophus-Ca-d-ZanI told myself not to feel vexed with Mona for acting silly with Flavio.  Then I told myself again.  When I told myself the same thing for the third time Frankie chuckled.  There was no telling what kind of expressions had gone across my face.  He raised his eyebrows and made a mock-hopeful puckered face.  I grinned at him and said, “Sorry fella, the bank’s closed.”

“Dr. Banting said to make ourselves at home.  Why don’t we look around?  I don’t know about you, but I doubt I’ll ever be inside a yacht like this again,” he said with a smile.

He was right.  And I needed to get back to business.  Where was that microscope?  We left Mona and Flavio still giggling.  The next cabin we came to was open, but Frankie knocked on the doorframe just in case and called out cheerily.  The fireman really did have a happy disposition.  I squeezed past, under his arm.  Frankie actually was a very nice height.

Then I spotted it sitting on a table in the corner, all brass and shiny – the microscope.  It was hard not to look at the beautiful estate in the painting that hung above the device.  The place looked like a Venetian palace, and the yacht moored there looked like the one we were on!

Frankie gave a low whistle.  “That looks like a… comfortable home.”

Ca d Zan-1

“You’ve really got a gift for understatement,” I agreed.  The house in the picture was huge and in a beautiful setting.  “That place is the berries all right.”

I took the ornate but bent key out of my purse and carefully placed it under the microscope.  However, I couldn’t make out any words – and I was afraid to move any of the settings.  I could only guess how expensive the thing was; scientific things were always pricy.

The engraving looked like it might be just a pretty design, but with the damage it was hard to tell. I held my breath and barely moved one knob on the microscope.  A word came into focus, but it was hard to make it out amid all the swirls of the engraved pattern.  “Ring… Ringing?  No.  Ring-ling.  Does Ringling make any sense?”

“Ringling?” Frankie repeated in an incredulous tone.  “As in circus?  That Ringling?”

“Applesauce!” I exclaimed in an awed whisper.  “Do you think this key is for the Ca’d’Zan mansion in Sarasota?”

Our speculation was interrupted by the sound of a scuffle.  A man’s voice boomed.  “You’ve got what you wanted, now be off with you!  If you ever think to pull a stunt like that again, it will be your last!”

We hesitantly peeped out the door in time to see two men leaving right after those ominous words were shouted. There was a man in the doorway of a cabin, shaking his fist at the departing backs of the men.  Then someone shrouded in an old quilt pushed past the man.  I heard a muffled sob.

John Ringling

John Ringling

The man lowered his head and said, “Don’t worry.  They aren’t going to hurt anyone else.  We’ll see to that.”The quilt covered shape turned toward him.  The tattered covering fell back to reveal an older woman, who was still elegant despite her somewhat disheveled appearance.

It was the white-haired woman.

***

Tune in again next weekend.

 Same flapper time.  

Same flapper channel. 

Copyright © 2013 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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