Mini Series — The Senses — Smell

Hearing, Sight, Smell, Taste, TouchNose-Smell

Welcome back to my mini-series on the five senses.  This time we’re working with Smell.  I hope today’s post doesn’t turn out to be a stinker.  (Okay… sorry. You know I can’t resist a play on words.)

I meant for this installment to be extremely lighthearted, and a scene from Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers quickly came to mind.  Descriptive as it may be, it doesn’t really exemplify the point I wanted to make, but for fun, here’s the tidbit from Episode 20 anyway.  In this snippet, Felicity, the woman in trousers, is tipsy from the physical reaction Absinthe (the Green Fairy) had when he was abruptly frightened.

Green fairy skunk

Absinthe, the Green Fairy

It was no accident, I thought to myself, that the Green Fairy looked like a tiny green skunk, albeit one with gossamer wings.  Much like a frightened skunk could spray a noxious odor from special anal glands, Absinthe produced a vapor that was the equivalent of highly concentrated absinthe liquor; an already potent potable in its pure form.  That such a petite personage could produce so powerful a poot was positivelyOh my, what a lot of P words, I thought.  Perhaps I’m not fully sober.  I’m glad I kept that ramble to myself.

“Felicity,” Cornelis said raising one bushy blonde eyebrow.  “You did say that out loud darling,” he added and I cleared my throat, looking around suspiciously.

As I mentioned, that tidbit just didn’t illustrate the kind of reader-reaction I had in mind. Then, in looking through my work for another comical scene to share, I came across a snippet of suspense that fit the bill for “Smell” perfectly.  It doesn’t mention a variety of odors, or go into great detail describing them — but that is my point.Clothespin on Nose

Smell is a powerful sense.  The memory of an odor or aroma, whether good or bad, can stay with us for a lifetime.  Sometimes the mere mention of a smell is evocative enough to set the entire stage, with very little added description.  I hope I did that with this snippet.

This example for smell comes from the second interactive serial I published here, Murder at the Bijou: Three Ingredients, Cookbook-1.  This tidbit is from Episode-13 of the serial.  Once again the young flapper, Pip, is the narrator of this Roaring Twenties tale.  She rushed to the aid of her “crush” and came upon a  terrible scene.

***

1920s PhotoPlay

I don’t remember getting out of the Model-T.  I don’t remember Granny Fanny shouting the words “No, Pip.  Don’t look!”  I don’t remember the young policeman taking my arm to hold me back.  And I don’t remember pulling free of his grasp to approach the tall bloody form stretched out on the ground with a hat covering his face.  All I remember is smelling the coppery odor of blood, and seeing the fedora that belonged to Detective Dabney Daniels covering the face.

The hat was still rumpled from where Dabney crushed it in his hands when he told Granny and me about Marshal Moses Myrick being ambushed.  The young copper caught my arm again, more firmly that time.  Granny had my other arm.  “I have to…” was all I could manage to say.

A Ford that vaguely resembled the one belonging to the marshal sat with steam coming from the radiator.  Its front tires were flat, the windshield shattered.  The metal was so riddled with bullet holes that it hardly looked like the same car.Speakeasy_Stories-July

Several pigeons sat on the roof of a small building, looking on curiously.  I noticed the birds in a dazed sort of way.  They fluttered off as two more police cars roared up to the place, sirens blaring.  But I barely saw or heard the commotion.

“Miss, please.  You don’t want to look.  It wouldn’t help you!” the young officer said, seeming almost frantic to find the right words.  I guessed that this kind of scene was as new to him as it was to me.  As I tried to pull away from his grasp the young man spoke in a horrified strangle of a voice, “His face is a mess!”

Granny took in a sharp breath.  She froze next to me.  She tilted her head the way she did when she was unraveling a puzzle of one kind or another.  Then her shoulders relaxed minutely.  She was saying something but I wasn’t listening.  Finally a sharp “Paisley Idelle!” pierced the fog of my overwhelmed mind.

“It’s not Dabney!” she said in a tone that suggested she had already said the same thing three times.  Three was sort of a magic number with Granny.  She’d repeat herself, but if she had to say something a third time… well, she didn’t appreciate it.

***

young Lucy blue

Young Lucille Ball

I hope my mention of the “coppery odor of blood” woke up your nose and caused you to smell other things in the scene. Perhaps engine oil leaking; a hot odor from the newly bullet riddled car, steam from the radiator…  It did that for me when I wrote that passage, so I hope I successfully conveyed it to you. If I fell short, well… both of these snippets were from spontaneous, unedited “pantser” stories. 

Your Turn!

Look at the image below.  What do you smell?  This image is from an unidentified spot in New York City. The characters in your (pretend) story are going to spend some time on this street.  Use the sense of smell to bring the story to life. The street is nearly deserted, perhaps that indicates a time of day. There are a few trees.  Many of the windows are barred.  There are fire escapes, window-unit air conditioners, a manhole cover.  There is sunlight down at the street corner, but it either has left, or has yet to reach our street.  Put yourself into this image.  Nose around with your imagination.  Now tell me what you smell.

NYC empty street

What did you smell?   

Open Invitation:  If this inspired you to just write something or otherwise create anything according to the sense featured today, that’s even better!  If you want, you can use the comments to leave a link to your story or blog post.  Kindly link back to this post if you blog about what you wrote, cooked, painted, or photographed.

Thanks for visiting.

Mega hugs,

Teagan

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

Mini-Series — The Senses — Sight

Hearing, Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch

EyeWelcome back to my mini-series on the five senses.  Last weekend’s post on the sense of hearing was so well received that I am happy to do the second installment — Sight. 

Originally when I asked you for a few words about “what you heard” I expected simply words or phrases, similar to what we did for the Three Things serials. I was delighted to see that everyone left little stories! You’re all so creative.

You’d think sight would be the easiest of the five senses for this mini-series.  I guess it’s too simple.  I think everyone primarily writes, paints, or photographs based on what they see.  Any of you chefs might be the exception.  I expect the senses of smell and taste tend to propel your creations.

Yes, maybe it’s too simple.  Or maybe I can’t see how to do this post because I’m blind as a bat!  (Sorry bats, no offense.) So here goes…

The obvious way to handle a post about “sight” might be to suggest ways of vividly describing the details of a setting.  But let’s look at it a different way.  I want to get you to visualize the setting in a way that influences how you see a character.  That’s right; the way the setting is described influences how the reader/viewer sees the character or the situation.

Early Lucille 3 copy

Young Lucille Ball as Pip

I might see something perfectly clearly in my imagination.  However, subtitles in describing what I see can have a big impact on your overall perception.  For instance how do you see a setting where a ghost was about to appear?

You’re most likely thinking of something eerie, seeing shadows, hearing creepy music, maybe even feeling goosebumps on your arms.  Ah, but what if my ghost story was lighthearted, almost a comedy?  How can I get my reader to see that without giving up all the spookiness?  I want to lend some spine-tingling suspense, but I also want the contrast and irony of a not so threatening poltergeist.

For this I’m using one of the “interactive” serials I’ve provided here at this blog. Click the button at the top of the page if you want to know more about this serial.  This tidbit is from episode-1 of A Ghost in the Kitchen — Three Ingredients, Cookbook-2. All the episodes are together and in chronological order on the serial homepage.

This serial is a culinary mystery-fantasy set in the 1920s. It’s narrated by Pip, the young woman who is central to the story.  In this scene Pip and her friend Andy first encounter the ghost of the cursed chef.  I try to help you meet the ghost in a way that hints at his personality through the thing Pip sees.  Here is my humble attempt with the sense of sight.

***

Skull Ghost Bottle

I didn’t realize that I was humming as I carefully cleaned the bottle, until Andy asked me what I as singing.  Suddenly puzzled, I stopped because I had no idea what the song was.  It was a tune I wasn’t even aware of knowing.  I hummed it louder for Andy, but he didn’t recognize it either.  I shrugged it off.  Obviously I must have heard the tune somewhere.

Turning the bottle this way and that, I admired my handiwork, as well as the beautiful design.  Only then did I notice that the top of the bottle’s neck was shaped like a skull with two swords beneath it.  I made a face and showed Andy.

“You don’t think that means it’s poison do you?” he asked.  “I’m sure the label doesn’t say that. And the seal hasn’t been broken.”

I had really been excited about that gorgeous bottle of wine.  I didn’t want to think it was anything other than what the label said. 

“Wait.  For poison they use a skull and crossbones.  Those things look like swords — not bones.  Isn’t that the pirate symbol?” I commented and Andy nodded and grinned.

Andy_Willie Garson_Hat

Willie Garson as Andy

“Maybe that means it really is a pirate’s bottle!” he offered.  “This wine could have been made before the Civil War.  Or even before that.  It could date back to the American Revolution — or who knows how far!”

I handed Andy the corkscrew and told him to do the honors.  However, the cork was stubborn.  Finally I held the bottle with both hands, while he removed the cork.  It came loose with a reverberating pop, which I felt inside my teeth and eardrums.  The harmonic sound shifted into the melody I was humming a moment before.

“Holy Hannah,” Andy commented quietly.

For a moment I thought the bottle must have been mislabeled.  I thought it must contain Champagne rather than marsala.  A sort of fizzy purple vapor filled the air, expanding wider and taller.  I started waving a napkin, trying to clear the air.  Then I sneezed.  It was a big bend your neck, eye-squinting, bless-you-and-everybody-around-you sneeze.  Like I said, the vapor was weirdly fizzy.

I was about to make a smart-alecky remark to Andy about the fact that he didn’t say “Bless you.”  But as I raised my head and opened my eyes I saw a man standing where the vapors had been.  He wore a white apron, but his clothes were from an era long past.  When I looked closely, I realized that he wasn’t particularly… well… solid.

He bowed quite formally.  “At your service, Signorina,” the ghost said.

Vintage kitchen bouquet ad

***

Your Turn!

Now it’s your turn.  Look closely at the image below.  How you see it is unique to you. On what special element in the photo would you focus to bring out the setting you see (or want others to see), or the personality you see for one of the people (or even the horse, buggy, or building!)?  Now, with only a few words, leave a comment and tell me what you see.

Olde Pink House

Olde Pink House — Savannah, GA

 

What did you see?   

Open Invitation:  If this inspired you to just write something or otherwise create anything according to the sense featured today, that’s even better!  If you want, you can use the comments to leave a link to your story or blog post.  Kindly link back to this post if you blog about what you wrote, cooked, painted, or photographed.

Thanks for visiting.

Mega hugs,

Teagan

 

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

Mini Series — The Senses — Hearing

Hearing, Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch

Brain tonic Coke vintageTraditionally those are the five senses.  I thought it would be a fun change of pace to do a mini-series on The Senses.

In novel writing I try to involve all your (the reader’s) senses.  Today I want all of us to begin building a story together.  One by one, we’ll use all the senses.  More about that in a minute…

That’s not all.  I’m inviting all you bloggers to join this mini-series with me and post about the senses.  If you’d be so kind, link back to my post.

Your blog doesn’t have to be about writing.  My young friends at Faraday’s Candle participated with a science post.

Wait, there’s more!  With each of these posts I’m asking you to please leave a comment with one or two words that my image-prompt for the featured sense brings to your mind.  (Not the vintage ad here, but the train below.)

Now calm down; I’ll explain.  At the end of the mini-series, I plan to use your “sense comments” to build a spontaneous story. So it’s important that you play along each week.Ear

To begin this mini-series, I will select the sense of — hearing.

Part 1 — Hearing

All the senses can work together.  Descriptions of sounds can help readers see your story.  For example, here’s a snippet from Atonement, Tennessee.  I’ve shared it before.  I told this from Ralda Lawton’s point of view.  She was in a position where she could not see what was happening, but she could hear.  This happens early in the novel, before Ralda knows about any of the “supernaturals” in the town.  She’s just moved, and her cat gets outside.  Of course she follows the calico — to the cemetery.

I was sheltered by a big clump of tall bushes of some sort.  I thought they might be mountain laurel.  I could see the broad side of the mausoleum from there.  Shadows lurched violently against the stone crypt.  Big shadows.  Reflexively I drew back into the concealing vegetation.  Then I heard a loud avian-like screech and realized that the shadow shapes might have been wings.  My heart hammered.Gate Ajar NightThe noise escalated.  It definitely sounded like more than one creature was causing that ruckus.  Then I heard the cat hiss. 

I dropped the box of food I had brought to lure Lilith back, and ran toward the sounds; ready to use the flashlight as a club, and wishing I had something more effective.  “Lilith!” I called.  Oh, let’s face it — I screamed!

As I ran out form the concealing mountain laurel a gust of wind buffeted me.  I tripped and fell on the uneven pavers of the path, just as the wind blew my hair, along with some dirt, into my eyes.  I couldn’t see at all for a moment, but I heard a lot of heavy rustling, scraping, shifting sounds.

Every time I thought I had half way cleared my eyes, the wind blew something into them again.  I struggled to my feet, desperately wiping my stinging eyes.  I heard soft footsteps coming toward me.

Your Turn!

Now it’s your turn.  Focus on the image below.  Really look at it.  Imagine yourself inside that image.  Look at the locomotive, the weeds.  Touch the surface of the metal.  Sniff the air.  Now, with only a couple of words, leave a comment and tell me what you hear.

Abandoned Locomotive 2

What did you hear?   

Open Invitation:  If this inspired you to just write something or otherwise create anything according to the sense featured today, that’s even better!  If you want, you can use the comments to leave a link to your story or blog post.  Kindly link back to this post if you blog about what you wrote, cooked, painted, or photographed.

Thanks for visiting.

Mega hugs,

Teagan

Here’s a Teagan update — the “snow storm of historic proportions.”  For those of you in other countries, or on the west coast USA, this news video (recorded Friday midday) shows the scope; just how big this storm is: https://gma.yahoo.com/everything-know-weekends-snow-storm-155411977–abc-news-topstories.html#  

2:30PM Teagan Update — Here’s my COVERED front porch (covered as in roof that should have kept it from being covered by snow. That’s all my back could manage… At this rate I’ll be to the sidewalk in June.  My car will be dug out next year.

2016 Blizzard covered front porch

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

 

 

 

A Teagan in the Kitchen — Adelle’s Teapot

Welcome back to Atonement, TN!

I was sincerely honored when Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen asked me to do a guest post for her wonderful blog’s anniversary.  We had a great time. Here’s a link to Suzanne’s blog and my guest post (along with a lovely tea recipe and Suzanne’s beautiful photos).

Suzanne is an accomplished chef and blogger (not to mention her real estate career and still more activities).  Take a look at her recipes featured at Fiesta Friday and at Food 52.
atonement-video-cover-copy

As most of you know, my current novel in progress is actually book-2 in an urban fantasy 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.)

For her blog anniversary post, I told Suzanne about a few different settings in the series that would involve food.  She picked a locale that will be new for book-2, Adelle’s Attic Tearoom.

What I’m sharing with you was originally posted at A Pug in the Kitchen earlier this week.  It’s a scene with two minor characters in my Atonement, TN universe.  This may or may not appear in the novel. For reasons I won’t go into, it would be “mechanically” difficult. However, I might make it part of a short story.  At any rate, I think it’s fun to get to know the characters who only play a small role.  I hope you enjoy this tidbit.

Adelle’s Teapot — Features from Atonement TN

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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 theitem, 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.  I hope you enjoyed this visit to Atonement, Tennessee.  Be sure to visit Suzanne too.  It’s still her anniversary week.

Hugs,

Teagan

 

Character Interview: Ralda Lawton — Features from Atonement, TN

veil_of_sky_open_1 copy

Available in paperback, Nook, and Kindle

Welcome to Atonement, TN everyone.

I’m giving myself a break this weekend and doing a rerun.

But first… I’m revising this post. I wanted to share something new with you, even though it has little to do with this post.  Monarch butterflies.

The butterfly is a symbol of transformation. One thing for which people who analyze books look is growth or transformation in characters. One particular character in Atonement, Tennessee changes, but that would be a spoiler, so I won’t go there. However, the heroine begins to grow, maybe even spread her butterfly wings.  Yet as in real life transformations are not always successful.

Now that I’ve tied it to this post, here’s something lovely that Google brought to my attention; a news article and a video.

What Is the Mountain of Butterflies?”

Now, back to my re-run!

This character interview was also posted two years ago.  I had just released my debut novel, Atonement, Tennessee.  

I’m delighted that many of you have been with “Teagan’s Books” that long.  For those of you who are newer, I hope you will enjoy this interview with the main character.

Character Interviews:  Ralda Lawton

Teagan:  Welcome Ralda.  Thanks for stepping outside of Atonement, Tennessee for this interview.  Forgive me if I’m not great at this – I’ve never interviewed one of my characters before.  Help me avoid giving any spoilers in this!  (I laugh.)

Ralda:  That’s no problem.  I already know that you used assorted bits of yourself not just for me, but for all the women characters in Atonement.

Teagan:  Yes, that was the only way I could write an entire novel in thirty days – for the 2012 National Novel Writing Month.  However, you are your own woman.  You’re not my alter ego, even if there is a good bit of me in your character.  But this interview is about you, not me.  So, are you really a small town girl at heart?Ralda-in-car_dreamstime_xs_28934268

Ralda:  I should have known you wouldn’t let me get away with controlling the interview.  (She jokes.)  Not exactly.  I’m more of a city girl who prefers small towns.  I don’t think that’s quite the same thing.  Despite all the crazy things that have happened since I moved to Atonement, TN, I like the town and the people.  There is always more to the people than I expect.  Plus I feel like it’s the kind of place where I never know what might happen.  I mean, it’s interesting.

Teagan:  What do you think about Gwydion?

hero-position-6468259Ralda:  Ugh!  I knew that was coming.  I try not to think about him – or Cael for that matter.  Gwydion is undeniably handsome and charming, and sometimes I admit that I’m attracted to him.  But…

Teagan:  But you don’t trust him? 

Ralda:  (She sighs and slouches back against her chair.)  I’m not a trusting soul.  When I ask him a question… it’s not that I think he’s lying.  But I always feel like he’s leaving out something; like I’m hearing a partial truth.  So how could I trust him?  Besides that, it seems like odd little things happen when he’s around.  I don’t know how to explain that, but it doesn’t help me trust him.Gate Ajar Night

Teagan:  Speaking of souls…I understand your new home has a cemetery.  (She shakes her head as if she can’t believe that herself.)  How do you feel about having a graveyard on your property?  Also, is one of the graves that of your ancestress?

Ralda:  I admit it was a creepy idea at first.  But I was so drawn to the house, Sunhold, that I tried not to think about the cemetery.  I sort of ignored the fact that it was part of my new home.

Teagan:  I’ve noticed that seems to be how you handle things that bother you – deciding not to think about them.  (She looks at me archly, but then sheepishly.)  I’m sorry – please continue.

Ralda:  I realize that – thinking about something later, is not one of the traits I get from you.  Don’t even try to figure it out.  It’s old baggage.  Like I said, at first I thought having my own cemetery was creepy, and right off the bat I had a frightening experience there.  However, I quickly came to feel protective of the old place.  It was overgrown, and unthreatening.  It has a certain kind of beauty.  It seems contemplative, peaceful, and oddly vulnerable.  There is something special about that old cemetery.Lilith standing on stone

As you know, Ralda is a nickname I chose.  My given name is Esmeralda.  One tombstone in the old cemetery has the name Esmeralda Gwynedd.  My friend and neighbor, Bethany, is absolutely determined that it is an ancestress of mine.  We’ll have to see how that plays out.  You said not to give any spoilers.

Teagan:  True.  With spoilers in mind, maybe we should leave it at that.  At least for now.  Thanks Ralda.  I know you’d much rather be in Atonement, TN than in DC talking to me.

Atonement, Tennessee is available in the following formats:

 

Southernisms & New Year’s Resolutions — Features from Atonement, TN

Southernisms and New Year’s Resolutions in Atonement, TN
1908 New Yr ClownsWelcome back to Atonement, TN – and happy New Year one and all!

WordPress sent around the yearly stats.  I’m pleased to say that the numbers for Teagan’s Books went up a little.  However, the interactions with all of you here are immeasurable to me.  Thanks to each and every one of you for all the heartening comments.  You know I always need the encouragement.

Here’s a special shout-out and a big thank you to the most active commenters for 2015:

2015 Top 5 Commenters

I hope you explore other blogs and make new friends while you’re here.  Following are links to the fab five WordPress listed.

John W. Howell

Tess Karlinski

Donna Parker

Inese MJ

Sally Georgina Cronin

 

1916 Toasting

I’m not going to give any words of wisdom for the close of 2015 because I’ll make myself cry.  I hate crying as much as I hate getting sick, and 2015 gave me too much of both.  So to ring in this brand new year I’m giving you a whimsical bit of nonsense.

People usually laugh when I toss out a “southernism.”  So this New Year’s Day I’m listing some southernisms and the Atonement, TN characters who might say them — along with the character’s New Year’s Resolution.  I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Atonement TN Characters, Southernisms, & Resolutions1915 New Yr

When Racine Mabry said “Well Butter my butt and call me a biscuit!” it was endearing.  However, Racine can be a difficult friend.  Racine’s resolution was to stop being a victim of circumstance. Although her methods for achieving this might be questionable.

Of Chip, who delivers pizza and newspapers in his classic 1971 Chevrolet Rally Nova, they’d say, “He’s so skinny, his pants had only one back pocket.”  (Give Chip time – he’ll be a fine figure of a man one day.)  Chip resolved to keep saving his tip money… to get chrome rims for the Chevy.  (Come on… he’s young.)

Dale and Donny (Annie Metatron’s handsome sons) are regarded by the women of the town as being hotter than Hell’s pepper patch.  Both young men resolve to travel the world one day.  Although they’ve begun to wonder if some danger underlies the caution of their protective mother and aunt.New YR faeries

Marge Tipton, is the owner of L.O.L.A. Lola’s Diner.  Her employees say she could start an argument in an empty house, but they’ll admit she’s fair.  Marge gets madder than a wet hen when she has to bail her brother Tracey out of trouble.  She resolved to make Tracey stand on his own two feet… if he’ll stay sober long enough.

When Tracey Tipton ran his houseboat aground after one beer too many while out on the lake, they said he was about as sharp as a mashed potato.  Tracey might have a reputation as the town drunk, but sometimes it’s the impossible things he sees that make him run off the road – no alcohol involved.  Tracey resolved to get professional help – if he could find anyone who’d believe what he’d seen.

Not to speak ill of the dead, but most anyone in Atonement, TN who knew old Mr. Pickens would tell you:  He had a mind dirtier than two ticks mud-wrestling in an outhouse.  Mr. Pickens resolved to leave his wife for the unearthly dark-haired beauty he’d met one night in the cemetery across the road from his house – if he ever saw her again.Baby New Year clock-hands

Mrs. Pickens, may the good Lord rest her soul, knew that most folks also said Mr. Pickens was so ugly his mama took him everywhere she went so she wouldn’t have to kiss him goodbye.  Mrs. Pickens loved him despite all his flaws.  She lived a good many years after her husband went home to be with Jesus.  She resolved to keep their old house across the road from the Sunhold cemetery in memory of her husband, because he said he enjoyed looking at the peacefulness of the cemetery.  And she did keep it, even though the things she saw in the graveyard scared the livin’ daylights out of her.

Ralda Lawton moved into the old Sunhold estate and townsfolk were a little shy of anyone who’d willingly live there.  So they said she was citified.  If they had their druthers, they reckoned they’d rather see a local person take over the place.  But she didn’t seem like such a bad sort, once they got to know her.  Ralda resolved to make her “sabbatical from relationships” permanent.  Who could blame her after the things she’d experienced in Atonement, TennesseeWish you all you wish-moon-New Year

Here’s wishing you all that you wish in 2016.  Say hello by leaving a comment.

Happy New Year from Atonement, Tennessee.  Ya’ll come back now, ya hear!

 

 

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.

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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.