October’s Featured Blogger: Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

I am back from my break and the good news is I finished my project.

I’ll go into that project in another post.

October’s Featured Blogger is Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Teagan was my first Featured Blogger in 2017.

I asked Teagan to come back to give us an update because while I was on break, Teagan launched her third novel in the Pip series, ‘A Ghost in the Kitchen”.

 What have you been up to since your first feature?

Let’s back up this “time machine” to last October. 2018. That’s when I launched the second novel in the “Atonement” series,  Atonement in Bloom.

I am a big fan of Teagan Geneviene’s books as I find her stories to be highly entertaining and imaginative and, despite containing elements of the mystical and supernatural, to be believable and seem quite possible. I also find the author’s characters to be interesting and colourful and I enjoy the way she uses their actions, emotions and dialogues to weave her stories in a natural and heartfelt way. Roberta Cheadle, South Africa

I “bookized” my serial from spring 2019, Brother Love — a Crossroad.


Brother Love — a Crossroad,  a Twilight Zone-ish novella. I guess you could categorize it as speculative fiction.

Late this summer, at my blog, Teagan’s Books, I began rewriting a nearly finished steampunk novel — and making it into a weekly serial.  It’s called The Delta Pearl. A wide range of passengers and crew create a mystery, set on a fantastical riverboat.

I love Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene’s writing because she can transport the reader to the time and place of her story. Not that she is unique in this ability but she does it so well. John W. Howell, TX, USA

Then not long ago, I launched the third novel about Pip, a flapper and her friends.  It’s a whimsical, culinary mystery called A Ghost in the Kitchen.

I have been a follower of the author’s blog for several years.  Teagan Geneviene is a fascinating and versatile writer.  I have read her novels, and know that apart from an imagination that knows no bounds, and a love of period research and attention to detail, she has a way with words and can create magical characters that readers get to care for and make them live through situations that never fail to surprise us and keep us on tenterhooks.  Olga Núñez Miret, Spain

What is A Ghost in the Kitchen about?

The heroine in A Ghost in the Kitchen is Pip. She’s determined to be a “modern woman” — a flapper. The story is set in 1920s Savannah, Georgia, which is reputed to be one of the most (if not the most) haunted cities in the USA. So, it’s only to be expected that this time some ghosts get in on the act.  Pip sets out to unravel a spooky mystery.

On a personal note, I finally escaped from Washington DC, and parted company with my government job.  Since I’m very much an agoraphobic, it was the hardest thing I’ve done, but I managed to move 2000 miles and two time zones across the country.

I know several people who have relocated this year. I admire the progress they’ve made. I however, am still a long way from being settled in at my little home.  I haven’t even been able to finish painting the walls. Although those unfinished walls do have a couple of prints by my favorite artist — Rob Goldstein.

Wall mural in San Francisco by Sam Flores, Photography by Rob Goldstein
Mural by Sam Flores

Your three things approach to writing invites readers to collaborate
with you, but you also collaborate in a more direct way with other
bloggers. 
What have you learned from these collaborations?

It’s hard to answer “what do I learn” specifically.  The main thing I get from collaborating is strong sense of comradery — what I take away from the experience is different each time, but always hard to define and always priceless.  

Collaborating lets me learn new things and broaden the scope of my blog when I work with bloggers who have a different focus or topic than my own.  I’ve been privileged to work with artists, cooks, photographers, and meditation experts for short stories and serials. And yes, other authors as well.

What I learn is really what I feel and what I see in my mind when I brainstorm with someone. I see and feel those things differently with each collaborator.

It was wonderful to work with you on the Lulu 1920s fantasy stories, Rob. I think when you and I get together we take imagination to worlds no one else would explore. All the limits come off. Our “what ifs” are so vivid to me.

Blogger and photographer, Dan Antion has illustrated some of my stories. Dan’s remarkably encouraging.  He’s also really patient about letting me bounce ideas around, and stepping outside his comfort zone to reply with a counter-thought. Some of the thoughts he bounced back resulted in a character for “Brother Love — a Crossroad.”  That character was an evangelist that became half a person from my childhood, and half a different preacher from Dan’s youth. 

One of my earliest collaborators was Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape. We’ve done a number of stories together.  He brings in a real world foundation for the whimsy of his ideas.  I’m not sure whether it will already be posted when this feature comes out, but Chris and I are working on another short story that combines his character Artie with my Pip character.

One thing that has impressed me is the generosity of the people with whom I’ve collaborated. They always give more than I expect.

I guess you could say the main thing I’ve learned is don’t be afraid to ask someone to collaborate with you. Be up front and clear about defining each person’s role.  That avoids confusion and bumps in the road. But go ahead and ask. The worst they can say is “No.”

Will you share a section from A Ghost in the Kitchen?

My favorite part of this story is meeting Maestro Martino, a cursed ghost. Here he explains how his predicament came to be.

“Ah Signorina,” the ghost began.  “It is a poignant tale.  I was chef to the Patriarch of Aquileia at the Vatican.  I always preferred the pun as a form of humor, and the Pope, he shared this with me.  However, one evening we served dinner to a plethora of patrons, speaking Punjabi, Parsi, and Philippine.  I presented a perfect prawn pasta…  Perhaps something went awry with the translations…  But — you see, the short of it is that I pissed off the Pope!  And this predicament is my fate,” the ghost said with a mournful expression.

Find Teagan’s Books on Amazon, click the link below:

You can always count on Teagan to create eccentric and charismatic characters and an intriguing plot. Teri Polen, Kentucky, USA

Connect with Teagan on WordPress and Twitter.

All promotional images for Teagan’s Books belong to Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

“Mural by Sam Flores” (c) Rob Goldstein 2016-2019

(c) Rob Goldstein 2019

 

DID: Chronic Illness and Envy

A few days ago I told my partner I envy people who can live their lives without DID.

He asked how envy made my life better, and I said, ‘It doesn’t. That’s the point.”

No one wants to admit to feeling envy, yet learning to manage envy is crucial to successfully managing a chronic illness.

These days I struggle with an old demon: raised in a culture of disdain for intelligence, intelligent little boys were beaten for ‘showing off’.

The beatings were especially brutal when they came from my Mother.

I’ve spent most of my life avoiding attention and playing second fiddle.

I’m not afraid of succeeding, I’m afraid to be seen succeeding.

I’m most vulnerable to feelings of envy when I’m struggling.

Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.  Susan Sontag  1978

I’ve always had Dissociative Identity Disorder but I have not always been sick with it.

Prior to my diagnosis in 2009, I had a career, interesting friends, and an active life

One day I woke up and I was permanently too sick to go to work.

I told myself I hated the job, I told myself I’d find another job, I told myself I’d eventually get better, I told myself I brought it on myself, I did not have DID, I was burnt out and needed a rest.

Ten years later, it’s obvious that I’m not going to get well enough to work and I’m getting old, as in elderly.

The difference between fifty-seven and sixty-seven is like the difference between five and fifteen in reverse.

Whose body is this? Whose aches are these?

The problem is acceptance; I know I’m ill and getting old, but I still live in emotional denial.

I still expect myself to be healthy.

Knowing is not accepting and this is at the core of my envy and sense of frustration.

Accepting Envy

Envy is about someone getting ahead of you, someone doing better, someone possessing qualities that you wish you had. You think you are losing the race. You are falling behind. And you are feeling sad, angry, resentful, anxious and you just can’t accept it.  Psychology Today

It’s easier to be angry, or sad, to smother envy with somatic symptoms or to project it onto others.

We don’t want to admit to envy. We see it as a petty, selfish, sour-grapes emotion. So we hide it, we harbor it; we disguise it with claims of unfairness or with character assassination. And we may avoid the people about whom we feel envious. You might think, “I don’t want to be around him because it reminds me that they are doing better than I am doing.” Psychology Today

Finally, who wants to admit to wishing ill on the healthy?

Defusing envy is not as simple as not feeling it

Not letting yourself feel or validate envy makes it more toxic; repressed emotions express themselves in passive aggressive ways such as criticizing others, hostile and cynical comments, shaming and chronically feeling unappreciated.

The first step in defusing envy is acknowledging that it really does suck to be sick: life is already hard, and on top of it, you have a painful illness that saps your strength.

It really does suck to have an illness that interferes with your talents and goals.

The illness ends when you die; it’s a fact you have to accept.

In 2009, I could write a six-hour training presentation in less than a week while working full time.

That’s gone.

In 2009, I could walk for miles without panic attacks.

That’s gone.

In 2009, I thought I would be the clinical director of the agency I worked for by 2019.

That’s gone.

In 2009, I was still a young man.

Today I am old.

Acceptance is a daily practice.

Just for today, I can accept my life as it is, and I will let myself feel joy when others succeed.

Just for today, I can focus on my talents and take pleasure in my substantial accomplishments.

Just for today, I can forgive myself for being human and respect myself for having the courage to discuss my envy.

When are you most vulnerable to envy and how do you cope with it?

Rob Goldstein 2019

 

Twittering Tales: A Fresh God

A Fresh God

Charlie lives in a comic book. Superman says
everything is his; he can have the Fortress
of Solitude. Flash of blue. Swamp gas. A fresh
God pinches cheek and says, “I’m crazy baby,
you better believe it.”

177 characters

© Rob Goldstein 2019

This is an entry for Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tales #150 –– 20 August 2019

Twittering Tales Kat Myrman

 

Photo by Felipe Ribeiro at Pexels.com