Featured Blogger: Teagan’s Books

This is a re-boot of a monthly feature on Art by Rob Goldstein, the Featured Blogger.

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

Marketing Graphic for Thisledown
Thisledow

When did you start writing?

Answer: 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?

Answer: I’m sure you’ve seen the same advice I always see for us IndiesYou 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?

Answer: 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?

Answer: 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

Answer: 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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Felique Dupré in the Haunted World: Fellini Characters with Hitchcock Touches

A chill settles over Jamaica Plains as the F Train winds
its way to The Village.

“New Haven. Miss?” sang the conductor.

Persephone sits quietly with an old bag between her knees.

Surely, Hades will ignore the weather and see her; but she has
no guarantees.

Her stomach grumbles as she examines the other passengers.

They look like Fellini characters with Hitchcock touches.

To her left is the slave boy from The Satyricon, but, he also looks like
Grace Kelly: and she’s sure she’s seen that whore in La Dolce Vita
and The Birds.

Animated gif of Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni from Federico Fellini's 'La Dolce Vita'
La Dolce Vita

The E screams to a stop.

“Penn Station. Miss?” sang the conductor.

Persephone quickly rises and says her good-byes.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

Animated gif found on Giphy

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Body Blast Me, Baby!

from Living a Beautiful Life

Living a Beautiful Life

“Challenge yo’self!”

I am!

Has it really only been fifteen minutes??

“Faster!  Higher!”

Okay!  Okay!

Ohmigod, when is the last time I participated in an exercise class?  Hmm.  Hard to say… lol.

Come on princess

Now the weights!

If I don’t make it will someone please feed Hank the Hedgehog?

Now the steps!

Another hour??

Now the mat!

A wave of nausea

Probably unrelated

Weights again!

Should have brought water

Steps again!

Should have put my hair up

Mat again!

Go, go, go

More weights!

“Challenge yo’self!”

More steps!

I’ve got the rhythm, baby

More mat!

“Feel it in yo’ core!”

Weights!

“Challenge yo’self!”

Steps!

What song is this?

Mat!

I should be disco dancing

Weights!

Oh-

Steps!

-mi-

Mat!

-god!

Weights!

Ten more!

Steps!

Higher!

Mat!

One push up!  Just one!  Half — okay, get back up!

Faster!

Jump rope!

Weights again!

Slow, hold, back

Steps again!

Higher!

Mat again!

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A Minute Made Mystery

‘Why does Scott chant if he’s such a devout Christian?” Phil asked

I didn’t know.

My soul was pained.

I loved Scott but wanted to be fair to the ‘family’.

I suspected Scott’s relationship with me was a ruse to embarrass Phil
and the Charleston chapter of Nichiren Shoshu.

I asked Scott that night as we drove across the Cooper River Bridge to
the Isle of Palms.

“He thinks we’re queer,” Scott said.

I was puzzled by Scott’s reply. “Do you love me?” I asked.

Scott replied. “I love the Lord and the Lord says to love you.”

“Who’s Lord? Why me?”

Scott was precise: “You have the soul of a woman! We are not queer!”

“The Lord says I’m not a man?”

“Jesus says! “

“Where?”

“I know these things,” Scott’s tone was soothing. “Now hush your pretty
mouth and trust me.”

We parked on a secluded road at the Isle of Palms; waves of the Atlantic
roll in.

Scott reached over and stroked my hair.

“My pretty little Jew boy; Jesus was a Jew boy, I bet he looked like you. They
killed Jesus, didn’t they?”

I was suddenly afraid.

‘Scott, take me home,” I said.

Scott opened the dashboard and smiled: “we gotta make it real is all.”

(C) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved