as thick as
as short as
this mind: fritz!
dreams of me
on the young
(c) Rob Goldstein 2014-2019
as thick as
as short as
this mind: fritz!
dreams of me
on the young
(c) Rob Goldstein 2014-2019
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Atonement, Tennessee Amazon Kindle and Paperback
You can also connect with Teagan at:
The ‘Digital Doily’ made by layering textures made with an online drawing app
‘A Digital Doily’ Rob Goldstein 2018
Gay men are telling their stories for National Coming Out Day.
This is mine.
I was born in South Carolina.
My family lived in a housing project in downtown Charleston.
My Mother was a night shift waitress at a local greasy
spoon: The Coffee Cup.
Unknown to me, she was a ‘Mother’ figure to some of the
younger gay boys who hung out at the gay bar.
In 1967, when I came out at the age of 16, my Mother took me
dancing at the Stardust Lounge, Charleston’s only gay bar.
In writing The Stardust, I’ve used the accent I had at the time.
I wrote ‘The Stardust’ in 1984 as theatrical piece and used poetic
form to shape the lines.
My goal was for the piece to work as performance on the page.
The Stardust is an excerpt from a monologue named,’ Bobby’.
There was only one queer bar in Charleston.
It was off on a musty alley behind the Old Slave Market.
You had to kiss the doorman the first time you went in to prove you
There was this narrow strip of stage of stage behind the bar where the boys would dance when the drag queens wasn’t doing a show.
The first time I went to the Stardust Momma brought me so I didn’t have
to kiss no one.
Momma lent me some creamy Peach Cover Girl and a hot pink blouse.
I sipped my Pepsi and watched the queers gawk.
Aretha Franklin was on the jukebox wailing Respect and I
said: “Hey Momma. Let’s dance!”
Well she hauled me up on that stage and we did the dirty dawg.
There was this one dyke named Roxie.
She sometimes worked the door.
She was so butch she could give the kiss test.
When I went to the bar alone she’d let me in; if the cops came I’d have
to hide in the lady’s room or get “discovered” and get throwed out.
Sometimes the cops came and didn’t do a bar check.
Sometimes the cops came and took money and left;
Sometimes the cops came to watch the ‘dirty little faggots’ play: three
straight white dudes with mean little smiles on their faces.
One night I was cruising the Battery when this cop stopped me and
ordered me into his car.
“Whatcha doin’ out all gussied up?” he asked, “solicitin’?”
“Sellin’ yer ass to the fags!” he replied.
“Oh that ain’t what I’m doin’” I said. “I gotta little Sister at home and Momma
says I gotta set a good example by screwin’ every girl I see!”
Well, he drove me around, tryina get me to say I pushed drugs.
“I bet you’re gonna turn that little Sister of yours into an addict!”
“Oh I wouldn’t do that at all sir! I warn her every day against such wickedness!
God strike me dead if I don’t!”
I guess we wore each other out.
The cop took me home to the projects. “Keep up the good work with yo’ Sistuh!” he sneered.
At the Stardust a drunk ex‑priest named Mother Rachel did the weddings.
One guy dressed like the bride and the other wore a tuxedo.
At the Stardust the Queen of Hearts drag show was the major event.
The drag queens wrecked every dress shop on King Street.
On the big night the butch dykes wore three-piece suits and their women wore gowns.
There was one drag queen named Miss Tillie who always did My Life.
At the end of the song where Shirley Bassey screams,’ This is myyyy liiiiife,’ Miss Tillie ripped off his wig and thew it at the crowd.
Then at the close of the show, everyone in the Stardust joined hands and sang There’s a Place for Us.
The Stardust and all other artwork (c) Rob Goldstein 2017 – 2018 All Rights Reserved