What If — Features from Atonement, TN

What Would Happen If There Was a Character Like…

woman purple flowers bubbles

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

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

How My Writing Process Begins a New Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring Flower Lollipops

Spring Flower Lollipops

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

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

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

Mega hugs,


Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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


Adding Suspense — Features from Atonement, TN

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

Hamster head xray

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

My Writing ProcessRed Dragon Eye

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

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

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

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

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

Cat Eyes Watching

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

Artist, Cheryl Rose Hall

Beira; Artist: Cheryl Rose Hall

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

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


Snippet from the prologue of “Atonement in Bloom” 

Lilith in snow

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

“It must be gigantic,” Lilith thought.  

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

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

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


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

From “Like Mother Like Daughter

Owl Cupcakes…

Owl Cupcakes


Thanks for visiting Atonement, TN.  Don’t be shy — leave a comment to say hello.  See you next time.  

Mega hugs!

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.



In deepest sympathy… Paris

Paris hearts

Just a note of sympathy, love, and hugs.

(My blog is my sanctuary. I insist on keeping it separate from topics of religion, politics, or any controversial issues.  So I have disabled comments even though I felt the need to post this memorial.  My regular post will be up soon.  Thank you for respecting my sanctuary.  Mega hugs.)


Mysterious Lodge — Features from Atonement, TN

Building a House with Magic — The Mysterious Lodge

Lous House in Snow-2

Sometimes things don’t go as planned — as you saw last weekend. Thank you so much for coming back again.  I’m also sorry you missed the Halloween treat from Isabel at Cakes and More 101.  I was going to feature a recipe from her last weekend.  Isabel has a beautiful blog, so I’m sure I will get to feature her again soon.

Update: My Writing Process

Atonement in Bloom

First an update, and I cringe as I tell you this…  For months I’ve said I will then I won’t, and I will, and then Are you crazy? There’s no way!  I was talking about National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo.  It’s a huge, all absorbing effort to write a draft novel (of at least 50,000 words) in a single month — that month being November.  Yet my first NaNoWriMo effort produced Atonement, Tennessee.

My big novel writing push was going to be October.  But I didn’t accomplish nearly as much on book-2, Atonement in Bloom as I hoped.  So I’ve made NaNoWriMo part of my writing process.  (I’m not technically doing it, because I had already started the novel months ago.) Rather than reach for a certain word-count, my goal is for time spent writing each day. So far I’m doing better than expected.  However, part of doing NaNoWriMo is letting everything else slide in favor of writing. So there are important things that I’m not getting done.  Sigh… It’s just impossible to do enough of everything.

About That Mysterious Lodge

Lous House Inside ViewRecently Suzanne at Musings on Life and Experience commented that I was building a whole town. Her words prompted me to let this post relate to one of my favorite parts of writing fantasy — world building.  However the Atonement books are not on the scale of what they call “high fantasy,” so I really liked it when Suzanne said I was building a town. That seems perfectly suitable for my urban fantasy!

Of course an important part of creating a town in the minds of my readers is to help them see the businesses, official buildings, and the houses of the people who live there.

I needed a house for a new supernatural character.  What, I pondered, would a house look like that was built by magic?  Furthermore, what if that magic was nature-based? Finally, what if the character who would live there was very flamboyant?Lous House Inside Pool

The perfect illustration eluded me, but the grand lodge pictured at the top of the page will do nicely.  It’s a new house in Atonement, TN and it went up practically over night.  Hmmm… do you think there was magic involved?Lous House Inside Fireplace

This house is an important setting in Atonement in Bloom, so it needed to be very real to me.  I made quite a few “pins” for it on my Pinterest board for the novel.

My Pinterest pins are also part of my writing process.  Some times when I can’t get started writing, I choose one of the pictures I’ve saved and start writing about it. I may begin by simply describing what I see in the image, but it usually turns into a story.

Lew or Patrick Macnee as John SteedThe character who lives in it is flamboyant, but quirky. (Whether this character is good or bad, I’ll leave to you to decide.)  I see him as looking like an odd cross between Austin Powers and John Steed of the 1960’s TV series The Avengers.  However, he is not a secret agent or any sort of spy.  No, he’s just a supernatural being — one with his own unique fashion sense!  But I digress… More on this guy another time.

Back to the magically created house. Because of the type of magic involved I knew it had to be made of wood.  Some of you who enjoy woodworking will like this place. For this character the house had to be audaciously impressive, but also sort of… raw.  Lous House Inside Stairs

There will probably be a holiday party at this house because “Bloom,” as another Suzanne, at A Pug in the Kitchen, nicknamed my novel in progress takes place during December.  (Suzanne DeBrango has followed this blog since its early days, and I really appreciate her unfailing support.)  Anyway, I thought they might serve something like Suzanne’s hot cider recipe.

Hot Buttered Spiced Hard Cider

Hot buttered spiced cider

I hope you’ve enjoyed this visit to Atonement, TN.  Please come back again soon.

Mega hugs!



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.

New Release — His Revenge by John W. Howell

Hello everyone.

One of my favorite authors is ready with a new book, and it is my pleasure to share this publication launch with you!  Please welcome John W. Howell and His Revenge.  Be sure to drop by John’s blog and wish him the best.

Mega hugs,


Announcing…   His Revenge by John W. Howell is now available in paper and ebook on Amazon.

His Revenge front final

The sequel to My GRL titled His Revenge is available and a new story continues where My GRL left off.

His Revenge is available in the US in Paper and Kindle editions

In Canada in Paper and Kindle editions

In the UK in Paper and Kindle editions

Here is the blurb:

America loves John Cannon, its newest hero, and the President wants to present him with the highest civilian medal for bravery for saving the Annapolis midshipman from a terrorist plot to destroy them. While in Washington for the award ceremony, John unwillingly becomes an accomplice in another plan by the same group to attack the credibility of the US President and the stability of the worldwide oil market. There is no way out as John either becomes a traitor to America or causes thousands of innocent people to die if he refuses.

The second John J Cannon Thriller moves from a barrier Island off the coast of Texas to Washington DC, then to Northern California, and finally to Ecuador. John is on the receiving end of an offer he cannot, refuse. His avowed enemy Matt Jacobs now wants John to help him shake the reputation of the US in the world political arena and disrupt confidence in the government at home. If John refuses, Matt plans to murder innocent Americans including John’s latest relationship. John’s only way out is to pretend to go along with the plan and hope for a miracle.

Excerpt from Chapter One

The water rushes over my head. I’m sinking and don’t know why. With my breath held, I have trouble stopping the air from escaping since the pressure drives the air up and out. I try to keep my mouth closed, but the water pressure pushes the air out more and more. Will I pass out? In the distance, the light is dim. To rise to the surface in time might not be possible─I need to breathe right now. Toward ending the pain in my chest, my rambling mind rationalizes taking a deep breath—even knowing it will end my life. In conflict with the irrational thought of ending it, my body won’t let me suck in the water, as it fights to retain the little bit of oxygen left to fuel my brain.

The despair is nearly overwhelming, and my mind considers other ways to battle the feeling. What more could I have done with my life? The pressure becomes more intense, and I’m about to lose it all, and I decide I’ve lived the way I wanted and have no regrets. I close my eyes and hear only the roar of the sea. I’m so tired. Exhausted. Sleep will fix everything, and I want to give in.

Photo by Tim Burdick

About the Author

John’s main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes fictional short stories and novels as well as a blog at http://www.johnwhowell.com. John lives on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of south Texas with his wife and spoiled rescue pets. He can be reached at his e-mail johnhowell.wave@gmail.com, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241 or Twitter at @HowellWave

My GRL_johnwhowell

His first novel, My GRL is available on Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.



Mirror of Truth — Features from Atonement, TN

Welcome back to Atonement, TN!

Annie's Antiques

Annie’s Antiques

Yes, this is my warped idea of taking a break — still making a weekly blog post.  However, the interactive serial stories really are much more labor intensive than these posts.  I actually am getting some writing done on Atonement in Bloom, my main novel in progress!

Update — Writing Process and ProgressAtonement_in_Bloom_1_03-24-2014

Previously I said I realized that I needed to divide and move around my chapter length magical prologue.  As “Racine” might say, Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit!  Did that ever make a lot of work. I’m happy to say that things are moving and shaking to my satisfaction. I expect to finish that work this weekend.

During that moving-around last weekend I wrote some new material.  I didn’t think it was much though, until I went back to check.  In addition to that arduous editing, I wrote 3,000 words of new story-line.  Since I write at a snail’s pace, I was very pleased with that.  Now I’m crossing my fingers that I make as much progress this weekend.

A New Feature — Annie’s Inventory Notes

Antique store front

Part of my purpose in these doing these posts is to make the setting and characters in the “Atonement” books more real to everyone. So each week I’ll share something about the town and/or its residents.

I had the idea for this “feature” when we did the opinion poll.  This post provides the first installment of Annie’s Inventory Notes.

Annie, the proprietor of Annie’s Antiques and Consignment Shop had a very minor role in the first book, Atonement, Tennessee.  I wouldn’t even describe her as a supporting character, the part was so small.

However, when I had the thought to do Annie’s Inventory Notes, I also had the idea to make Annie something a little out of the ordinary.  I’m not sure how much of her “unusual nature” will be revealed in Atonement in Bloom.  But I thought it might be fun for us to share the secret, here on my blog, that there’s more to Annie than meets the eye!Shop door bell

Adding to this mystery and secrecy, last time I mentioned that an unexpected new character popped up for book-2.  That character is Adelle, who happens to be Annie’s sister. The sisters will lend a mysterious vibe to the story

If you opened the door to Annie’s Antiques and Consignment Shop, you’d hear the old fashioned tinkle of a little bell attached to the door.  It wouldn’t be unusual for you to smell home-baked cookies. Often Annie has a tray of delicious cookies by the cash register.  So look for a recipe at the end of this post.

Now, here is the first installment of “Annie’s Inventory Notes.”  The timeline of this would have been in book-1.

Annie’s Inventory Notes: The Mirror of Truth and Justice Most PoeticAntique Store Inside Annies

Annie carefully cleaned the antique mirror.  The engraved text seemed clear, but she wanted to make sure she didn’t miss so much as a syllable.  “See in your reflection, truth and justice most poetic,” it read.

A chill went down Annie’s spine as she read the words.  Then a wave of nausea assailed her.  Most people wouldn’t have a strong physical reaction to a mystically infused object.  Although Annie looked like an ordinary woman, Annie wasn’t most people.  And the Mirror of Truth wasn’t just any mystical antique.

“Lady Justice,” she murmured with a shudder for blind justice.Mirror

Annie made a point of not looking directly into the mirror before covering it.

Her thoughts rushed as she tried to consider the best thing to do with the mirror.  However, Annie’s burden was that of non-interference.  She was to be a record-keeper, nothing more.  Providing a normal life for her sons depended on her complete abstinence from intervention.  No one could know what she sensed.  Certainly no one could know the things to which she bore witness over her lifetime in Atonement, Tennessee.

The shop bell rang.  The moment she saw Lacey Hampton walk into her store, Annie knew any decision about the Mirror of Truth was already out of her hands.


Annie’s Cookies

I searched the WordPress countryside for cookies that Annie might bake and give to her patrons. I found a charming blog called The Little Blue Mixer.  Coincidentally, that blogger is Anna!  Now, how cool is that? Anna’s treats made me think of the kind of things my fictional Annie might bake. So check out her blog, particularly the cookies below.

Apple Maple Sugar Cookies

Apple-Maple Cookies



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.


79 Words & Duct Tape — Features from Atonement, TN

First an Update — My Writing Process

I began drafting Atonement in Bloom about a year ago (as I’ve already whined).  Last week I saw that a long “magical” interlude right after the opening needed to happen later in the story. You’d think that would be a simple matter…


However, delaying that part of the plot actually caused the weather in Atonement, TN to change, so I have to account for that. Plus moving half a chapter creates changes in other parts of the book.  Confused yet?  I am.

A fun side effect of all this moving and shaking is that it brought a new eatery (Adelle’s Attic; a tearoom) to the town, and a new character.  Adelle’s presence adds a new aspect to an existing minor character from Atonement, Tennessee too.  No — that’s all I’m saying about that (winks).  Right now I’m not sure how big Adelle’s part will be in Atonement in Bloom but it should add interest.

veil_of_sky_open_Lilith copyRecently I had an unexpected addition to my “process” — if you can even call it a process.  Blogger extraordinaire, Chris Graham posted a challenge to “write a short story of seventy-nine (79) words (not counting the title) with a plot and characterization.”  Thanks again to the Story Reading Ape (writer, promoter of authors, cover designer, and all ’round fantastic ape) for posting my offering.

Writing short anything is something I’ve never done well… but I thought that might be a good way to get my head back into my Atonement universe, so to speak.  So I did a little ditty for that. You’ll find it below.  Ralda’s calico cat, Lilith gets the spotlight.

Around Town in Atonement

Duct Tape

Creating Adelle’s tearoom got me thinking about details of the other things you’d see if you visited Atonement, TN.  Like Ralda’s duct tape masterpiece.  (She resorted to duct tape to seal off the cat’s escape route.) You’ll have to read the book to learn more about the duct tape, escape routes and the adventures that result.Duct tape

Do you have a bit of duct tape artistry you’d like to share?  Leave a comment if you do!


And now… Here are 79 words that have to do with Atonement in Bloom.  This may or may not show up in the book.  Should I keep them?

Lilith’s Decision

Lilith and mirror

Deliberating, Lilith watched the newcomer sleep.

“So strange,” the calico thought, “human shaped but garden scented.”  Lilith inhaled deeply and continued pondering.  “And too newly made to be good or evil.  So do I like you or not?”

Lilith sniffed the female’s long green hair and she stirred and put a delicate hand to the cat’s silky fur, but didn’t wake.  Lovely aromatic catnip suddenly grew from between the planks of the wood floor.  That made up Lilith’s mind.


Wishing you a good morning, afternoon, or evening from Atonement, TN!  See you next time.  Mega hugs!


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.