Trina: ‘In the Land of Tall Thin Shadows’

Trina liked empty cities the best and this is her best memory of New York.

She looked up, the Sun rose, partially eclipsed by a big black Moon.

Trina sat primly on the only bench on Queens Boulevard when she saw the shadow of a little boy skipping rope.

She quickly opened her journal and wrote, ‘In the land of tall thin shadows’

Then she pulled a piece of chalk from her skirts, dropped to her hands and knees, and drew a hopscotch court.

The shadow boy stopped skipping rope and came closer.

Trina stood. “Hello,” she curtsied.  “I’m Trina, and you?”

“I am a child of the Universe,” replied the shadow boy.

“I see.” Trina searched the ground for a small stone to use as a marker. “You have a right to be here?”

The shadow boy shook his head, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

Trina laughed: “Did you lose your boy?”

“I think so. Have you seen him?”

“This is my world. No one comes here, not even shadows.”

“I don’t have a right to be here?”

“Strictly speaking, no.”

Trina found a stone and tossed it onto the court.

“What happens when you vanish?” she asked.

“I don’t exist.” The shadow boy replied.

Trina was appalled. “You stop thinking?”

“I think so.”

“How awful!”

“But I always come back when the little boy goes out to play!”

“Always?”

“Yes.”

Trina reached up and hid the Sun behind her big black moon.

Queens Boulevard went black and the shadow boy was gone.

Trina was sad.

She reached into her skirts and found a torch, then she opened her journal and wrote, ‘They sleep without dreams’

An Illustration of the Shadow Boy at play in a Bird Cage in Virtual Reality
The Shadow Boy

‘In the Land of Tall Thin Shadows’ (c) Rob Goldstein, March 2019

‘Shadow Boy’ (C) Rob Goldstein March 2019

Header Image from pixabay

I wrote this for the March Speculative Fiction prompt on Myths of the Mirror. You can join here: https://mythsofthemirror.com/2019/03/01/march-speculative-fiction-prompt/

 

Dolls: A Nice Little House

Peter draws a skinny little boy named Tony and puts him in a cell.

Tony is more like his Mother than his Father.

Tony is more like his Mother than his self.

A doll’s eye fades to black.

Tony’s cell is really a nice little house in a forest of pink trees.

These things sometimes happen:

A garden of morning glories never opens.

A dead bee stabs the sole of your foot.

A giant toad leaps on your chest at midnight:

all the months of August in a row.

Rob Goldstein 1985-2019

February’s Speculative Fiction Prompt: Anjana and Trina

Each month Diana Wallace Peach issues an image as a prompt at her
blog, Myths of the Mirror. This is my SOC mashup of a response.

February’s Speculative Fiction Prompt from D. Wallace Peach
February’s Speculative Fiction Prompt

***

Anjana and Trina

Anjana the elephant wanted to know who caused the snow.

He hated snow and wanted it stopped.

In the distance, he saw a house resting lopsided in a baobab tree.

“Is that house crushing my tree?” Anjana muttered to himself.

He lumbered through the snow until he reached the house and peered
inside.

A little girl sat cross-legged on the floor with a notebook and pen.

The little girl looked up and smiled at Anjana.

“Hello…I’m Trina.”

Anjana stepped backward and bowed.

“I am Anjana,” he said.

Trina wrote his name in her notebook.

“Are you a munchkin?” she asked.

Anjana scratched his head with his trunk.

“No, I’m a demigod.”

“Pan?”

“NO!”

“I see.” Trina smiled. “If you had fingers you could snap them
and fix my house.”

“I don’t need fingers to fix your house!”

Anjana lifted the house from the tree with his mighty trunk and
set it gently on the ground.

“Oh thank you!” Trina said. “Where am I?”

“Milwaukee.”

“Do you have other powers?”

“Well…No. I used to hold up the World, but that was when it was flat.”

“Silly elephant! The World was never flat!”

This annoyed Anjana. “People thought it was flat, so it was flat!”

“That’s a good point!” said Trina.

Then she stood and shook her pen until it stretched and became
a wand.

“Shall I stop the snow?”

Anjana stared at Trina with wide eyes and slowly shook his head yes.

Trina waved her wand and shouted: “Snowmobilus! Stoppus!”

Anjana looked way from Trina and watched in awe as the snow slowly
stopped.

When he turned to thank Trina, she and the house were gone, replaced by
seven white mice dressed as elves.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2019

 

February’s Featured Blogger: Teagan’s Books

I was unwell for most of December and January and did not find a featured
blogger for February so am re-posting my feature of friend and sometimes collaborator, Teagan Geneviene.

Since the first publican of this interview, Teagan released Atonement in Bloom.

Lilith and the Blue Rose of the Impossible

The quaint town was stranger than Ralda Lawton could have imagined.  The local population included supernatural beings.  Yet only she and a few others knew about that.

Although she didn’t know the details, in a past life, Ralda ― Esmeralda had been involved in something with those supernaturals and it had carried into her present life.  In Atonement, Tennessee, that almost got her killed.  Now she has new problems, and new supes to complicate matters.

Atonement in Bloom continues the misadventures of Ralda, her friends, and neighbors in the small (but far from peaceful) town of Atonement, Tennessee.  Her old house and cemetery are still there, along with Lilith the cat, quirky townsfolk, and assorted supernaturals.

Now Lilith the calico sniffs out a strange beast.

Fae foolery backfires.

A friend is abducted.

On a cold December day, Atonement, Tennessee comes into bloom.
Atonement in Bloom.

This month I’m honored to feature Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene of
Teagan’s Books.

Marketing Graphic for Thisledown
Thisledow

When did you start writing?

My seventh-grade teacher gave us an assignment that truly inspired my young mind — Write a story.  However, we only had two options about the story 1) Write it from the point of view (POV) of a cartoon character, or 2) from the POV of the shoes of a famous person.  Well, 12-year-old me watched talk shows after school, not cartoons.  So, I saw plenty of “famous people” and “used to be famous” ones too, on Merv Griffin’s TV show.  I liked the ones who talked about their pets.  So, I wrote my story as a pair of red pumps belonging to actress Doris Day.  (Back then I don’t think she was still making movies, but she was known for all her dogs.)  I had so much fun that I also gave half the class verbal outlines for their stories.

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I did a few stories on my own.  My teacher wanted to see them.  She said good things about the one for the assignment so (not that I thought I had any choice) I let her have the stories.  They were Twilight Zone-ish stories and one was about child abuse.  They got a lot of attention…

My teacher spoke to my parents. 

My parents told me very sternly to never do that again!

That said, I guess I started writing in my late thirties.  Throughout my life novels were my only escape from the personal difficulties (yes, abuse too) that I faced each day.  I had read a couple of interviews with writers, and decided to write a fantasy novel.  I did a lot of research and work, read more interviews, and then I dove into it.  With that start, I never stopped.

Marketing Graphic for Teagan's Books
Teagan’s books

You started your blog as an adjunct to self-publishing, how do you define your blog now?

I’m sure you’ve seen the same advice I always see for us Indies – You must have a blog to promote your work!  Well, I couldn’t bear the thought of droning on about my novel with every post.  Instead, I modified a writing exercise I created for myself long ago.  I brought that exercise to my blog (Teagan’s Books).  I had the readers send me three random things.  I let the random things drive every detail of a serial story, setting, plot, and characters.  That resulted in  The Three Things Serial Story, which gave birth to my current release, a culinary mystery.  However, this time the “things” are food related — or ingredients.  So that one is Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I.  I’ve published both of those serials in book form.

That “pantser” style of writing, combined with engaging my audience (having them send “things” or otherwise promoting them) seems to have defined my blog.

I also mean for my blog to be a sanctuary for everyone.  I keep it free from religion and politics, even though there are issues about which I feel strongly.

Where were you raised and how does that affect your style?

I’m a southerner by birth, but I was “enchanted” by the desert southwest of the USA when I moved to New Mexico.  Like the old John Denver song, I had come home to a place I’d never been before.  The truth is, I wish every day that I had never left.  However, many things about the southeast – the deep south made an impact that remains with me.  Following the advice, “Write what you know,” many of my stories have a southern setting.

What writers give you inspiration?

Robert Jordan (the Wheel of Time series) inspired me with his detailed world-building.  Charlaine Harris influenced me with writing in first-person.  That was something I never cared to do until I did my first National Novel Writing Month and created my début novel, Atonement, Tennessee.  To my surprise, all the serial stories at my blog turned out to be written in first person as well. David Eddings influenced me with the way he showed his sense of humor, particularly in the Belariad series.

What are your top 3 tips for new bloggers?

Reciprocate.  Answer every comment, and try to do so with more than just “Thank you.”

Don’t “act/look like an expert” if you are not.  If you have credentials then say so – and make that information something the reader can find without digging.  If you found useful information, and you just want to share it, then say so.

Make it easy to read.  Light colored (or splotchy, speckled) backgrounds with medium colored text are hard to read, no matter how good your content.  Also, those horrid pop-ups, soliciting subscriptions.  If I’ve barely started reading and one of those things blocks me from that read, I don’t care to continue.

Thank you Teagan! A short section from one of your books would be great way to close the interview.

Marketing Graphic for Teagan's Books on Amazon
Teagan’s Books Header Image

Since I’ve been promoting the release of Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I,  I want to share a short story.  It is not in the book, but it’s still from that “universe,” and features the heroine of that 1920s series.

Here goes:

Pip’s a Chicken

“Bock, bock-bock.  Bock!  Baaawk!

Of all the nerve!  My mouth dropped open.  I was speechless.  Granny Phanny bocked at me like a chicken.  She bocked.  She put her fists under her armpits and flapped her boney elbows — and she bocked at me!

Then, to make matters worse, she laughed.

Why that banty little old woman.  Of all the self-important, cockalorem…

“Oh Pip, if you could see the look on your face,” she said, still chuckling.  “It’s not like you to chicken out.  Now tie on your apron and we’ll look at this recipe together.

Granny hung an apron around my neck, and then put her hands on my shoulders to forcibly turn me around.  She tied a bow in back that I knew without looking was perfectly symmetrical.

“But Granny, I nearly set the kitchen on fire last time,” I complained, sincerely afraid of what damage I might cause.

“Hush that nonsense right now, Sweetpea.  We’ll not be having any fires.  Just because your fried chicken turned out as tough as an old rooster doesn’t mean you can quit.”

“An old rooster?” I exclaimed, mortified.

I looked at the recipe card.  “Chicken Fricassee…” I read aloud.  “Dredge chicken pieces in the flour mixture; coat well.  Oh Granny, this sounds pos-i-lutely like a repeat of the fried chicken disaster.  Granny?”

Phanny Ilene Peabody was gone.  Her purse was missing from the corner table.  I called out again and she hollered from the living room.

My eyes fell on the calendar that hung on the wall.  Wong’s Chinese Restaurant made one annually for Chinese New Year.  Granny was going to an early dinner with friends.

“No wonder she wasn’t worried about me ruining dinner again,” I grumbled.  “Granny!” I yelled.

“I’ll be back this evening, Pip.  Just keep the stove set to low while you fry that chicken, and follow the instructions for the fricassee.”

I blew a raspberry as the front door closed with a thud.  My hand plopped down on the plump poultry with a smacking sound.

“Old rooster, huh?  I’ll show her,” I muttered and went back to the recipe card.

***

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

The Three Things Serial Story

Amazon USA, Paperback and Kindle

Murder at the Bijou

Amazon USA Paperback  and Kindle

Atonement, Tennessee Amazon Kindle and Paperback

You can also connect with Teagan at:

Amazon:    https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM
Twitter:     https://twitter.com/teagangeneviene
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TeagansBooks
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/teagangeneviene/
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoM-z7_iH5t2_7aNpy3vG-Q
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/teagangeneviene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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