I had the pleasure of choosing the image for February’s Ekphrastic prompt, and then struggled mightily to write for it! This poem is a Crown Cinquain, five stanzas, each with syllable count of 2/4/6/8/2.
The weekly #TankaTuesday syllabic poetry challenge is the brainstorm of Colleen at Wordcraft Poetry. Think about joining in. It’s great fun.
I’m taking a break from my break to bring you a highly recommended series and new release from blogger and writer, Kennedy J. Quinn (aka Sheri). I’ve read the first two books in The Unwitting Journeys of the Witty Miss Livingstone series and bugged Kennedy for a year regarding the third. Finally it’s out. My review is below, but before going there, I was curious:
My Question for Kennedy: One thing that I noticed (and loved) in the very first book, as well as in subsequent reads, is Miss Livingstone’s distinctive voice. I’d swear a proper and very witty young lady was whispering her thoughts and dialog into your ear. Where did this voice come from and why does it feel so authentic? Are you secretly Miss Livingstone?
Kennedy’s Answer: This question (or questions) made me laugh. I’m delighted Miss Livingstone comes through to you with the unique verve I feel from her as I write. I confess most of my characters live vibrantly for me. They appear to me fully formed with vivid personalities, and I usually know their names without hesitation.
But Miss Livingstone is special. In a sense she does whisper to me, because if I struggle to write her lines here and there, she instantly demands correction when I stray – as forcefully as her in-story character demands everything else. She abides no weakness, though she gives room for innate faults and quirks with no need for apology. Her wit surprises me – perhaps as much as it surprises you – jumping out from all directions as I’m writing (or you’re reading) along. She doesn’t miss much and, again, demands I add in her brilliance.
Where her voice comes from, you may think you know at this point… sheer lunacy on the part of the writer, perhaps? But no, I think I’m as sane as any other fiction writer who ‘hears’ their characters. That leaves plenty of room for speculation on where any story originates in human psyche.
But a bit of insight on my background: My Canadian mum raised my brother and I with proper manners infused into daily living. My household was atypically quiet, and we did a lot of reading, art projects and other creative things – so imagination always loomed large and clear for me. Conservative values fused with dry or absurd humor. My well-read family thrived on astute observations and witty turns of phrase. I came to love British literature, music, drama and humor. I read mostly classics as a child and often still choose them for ‘light reading.’ So older style English and grammar come naturally. Though I purposely fuse simpler, more direct phrasing into the Miss Liv Adventures series while working to maintain a classic-nostalgic feel to the style.
So am I secretly Miss Livingstone? Her respect for proper behavior, yet inability to fully abide within it, lives in me. And I’d like to think I carry her boldness of spirit lit with a genuine heart. But I wouldn’t do some of the things she does… What fun to imagine I could! This boisterous, impetuous Miss Caprice Livingstone has a life of her own that bursts from the page and keeps me wanting to turn the next one. I’m thrilled to present Book III: Dreams Key. And I can’t wait until she tells us all more!
Thanks for asking, Diana! I’m pleased you enjoy the books, and it’s my pleasure to be spotlighted on your blog. Much appreciated!
Miss Livingstone’s steampunk world includes time travel as well as dimensional travel, and the butterfly-effect gets everything incredibly tangled. Hold on to your petticoats! Lizzie’s access to magical gemstones and keys drops her into her past and future as well as into other versions of her life. Imagine her shock at suddenly finding herself in Scotland, about to give birth.
Several things stood out for me with this read. One is the complex plot created by the time/dimensional travel. Miss Livingstone might be witty, but she also has to use her wits to avoid causing a mess. She’s not the only one traveling which adds layers to the mysteries and shenanigans.
As in all the books, the characterization is fun and beautifully authentic. I enjoy Miss Livingstone’s personality which is genteel while it pushes at the boundaries of propriety with her sneakiness, guffaws, and occasional snorts. In voice, language, and good manners she is straight out of 1910. The same authenticity applies to the secondary characters though she is the most entertaining as she barges full steam ahead into any and every situation.
Book 3 picks up at the moment Book 2 ends, and Quinn doesn’t waste any pages catching the reader up. I’d recommend reading the books without too much time between them in order to avoid confusion. Recommended to readers who enjoy steampunk and fantasy with a turn-of-the-century flair.
I’m so pleased to welcome Teagan to the Mirror to share her latest book. I haven’t read this one from end to end yet, though I caught a lot of episodes on her blog. Now I can read the whole novella without interruption! Teagan has a wild imagination and this one promises to be another zany, fantastical read. Take it away, Teagan:
Lulu and Friends by Teagan R Geneviene
Hi, Diana. Thanks so much for hosting me to announce my novella, Hullaba Lulu, a Dieselpunk Adventure. I know you already have a lot on your plate. Congratulations on a superb launch for your latest, Liars and Thieves.
Even though this story was a blog serial in 2018, it will have a different “feel” to sit down and read it as a book. Plus there are plenty of people who weren’t on the dieselpunk train back then.
What is “dieselpunk” anyway? Hullaba Lulu has a 1920s aesthetic with retro-futuristic technology, a dash of magic, and some creepy settings, along with a crew of misfit characters. Lulu is a snarky, but good-hearted flapper. She and her friends get into all sorts of trouble (often due to Lulu’s clumsiness). They travel on a magical train to a lot of “sideways” places.
At the back of the novella I included a list of Real-World Things. The one I’m sharing here is the Tesla Coil, which was also known as a lightning machine. I’m including a related snippet from the novella.
Tesla tower. Illustration by Teagan R. Geneviene
Tesla Coil (Lightning Machine)is an electrical resonant transformer circuit designed by inventor Nikola Tesla in 1891. Tesla used these circuits to conduct innovative experiments in electrical lighting, phosphorescence, X-ray generation, high frequency alternating current phenomena, electrotherapy, and the transmission of electrical energy without wires. Tesla coil circuits were used commercially in spark-gap radio transmitters for wireless telegraphy until the 1920s, and in medical equipment such as electrotherapy and violet ray devices.
The Tesla coil comes into the story several times. Here’s a snippet:
I moved to a device with a sphere and lightning bolts that ran steadily to another machine.
“Hello, Miss. Your friends are looking for you,” an angel-bot commented as he entered the control room. “Do be careful. All the instruments are precisely set and require delicate handling,” he added in the typically matter-of-fact way of the clockwork creatures.
“What’s this thing?” I asked of the lightning bolt device.
“Ah! The Tesla Coil. It was made by Nikola Tesla himself and gifted to Valentino,” the angel-bot explained with a tone of awe.
I had heard of Nikola Tesla. He sounded like a real grouch. No wonder Valentino knew him. Grouches of a feather… Maybe Tesla wore those pointy toed shoes too. Those dog kennels would make anybody grumpy.
“Something seems rather off about the devise,” the angel-bot said with an inquisitive tilt to his bluish gold head. “I should—” he stopped talking and blinked at me as if I were suddenly the object of his curiosity...
Video Book Trailer
Diana, thanks again for letting me visit. You’re the caterpillar’s kimono!
Here’s the rest of the information for Hullaba Lulu, a Dieselpunk Adventure.
Cover and Blurb
Hullaba Lulu cover by Teagan R. Geneviene
Hullaba Lulu, a Dieselpunk Adventure is a wild and wooly 1920s fantasy story. Lulu, the heroine is inspired by the song, “Don’t Bring Lulu,” from 1925 ― so are her pals, Pearl and Rose. My Lulu loves to dance, and freely indulges in giggle water. She snores and burps and says whatever she wants. Lulu is a snarky but good-hearted flapper. The song’s inspiration stops there, but the story is just beginning.
Travel with Lulu and her friends on a magical, dieselpunk train that belongs to the smolderingly handsome and enigmatic man known only as Valentino. They get into all sorts of trouble, usually due to Lulu’s clumsiness. It’s an intense ride through a number of pos-i-lutely creepy settings, including “sideways” versions of Atlantic City and the Cotton Club. At every stop and in between, Lulu ends up creating chaos. There’s no telling where they’ll end up. No, Lulu! Don’t touch that!
Lulu’s the kind of smarty, breaks up every party,
Hullabaloo loo, don’t bring Lulu,
I’ll bring her myself!
Throughout October, Hullaba Lulu is at an introductory price. The eBooks are only 99¢. For those who boycott Amazon I made a Kobo eBook too.
Hullaba Lulu promotional image by Teagan R. Geneviene
While it is not exactly a companion volume to any of my Roaring Twenties stories, I’ve written a 1920s slang dictionary. I’m careful to use slang in a context that makes it understandable, but you might enjoy having Speak Flapper. It debuted at #1 in its category at Amazon. Here’s a review from Annika Perry atGoodreads.
Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene’s work is colored by her experiences from living in the southern states and the desert southwest (of the USA). Teagan most often writes one kind of fantasy or another, including the “Punk” genres, like steampunk, dieselpunk, and atompunk. Whether it’s a 1920s mystery, a steampunk adventure, or an urban fantasy, her stories have a strong element of whimsy. There are no extremes in violence, sex, or profanity.
Her talents also include book covers and promotional images. She makes all of her own. Teagan is currently exploring the idea of offering that service to others.
All of the books by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene are available at her Amazon Author Page.
Another month of great stories! Thank you to everyone who participated. And to those who stretched their imaginations, congratulations. Below is the round-up of all the May poems, flashes, short stories, and some artwork too! If I missed yours for some reason, please add a link in the comments and I’ll happily reblog. I invite everyone to enjoy some unique stories and meet some wonderful writers.
For visually challenged writers, this is an image of a man who is part human and part machine. Behind him are gears and wires as well as a hint of fire or electricity.
Yay! It’s that time again, finally. Thank you to everyone who responded to March’s prompt (we skipped April due to my travels). Now, we’re heading in a new direction once again!
Above is May’s image. If interested, you have until May 23rd to submit a response. Happy Writing!
Note:WP seems to be sketchy with pingbacks lately. Please take a moment to add your link to the comments below. Then I’ll be sure to get it. Thanks!
Here’s how it works:
On the first of every month, I’ll post a speculative fiction prompt from Pixabay. These images are attribution free so you can use them on your blog without worrying about copyright restrictions.
Throughout the month, in order of receipt, I’ll reblog as many of your prompt-inspired creations as I can. And on the last day of each month, I’ll share a complete round-up of ALL contributions with links to the original posts. Visiting the blogs of participants is a great way to meet other speculative fiction writers.
Post your response on your own blog and link back to this original post (not to WP Reader) with a pingback, so I can reblog your post as well as include you in the month-end round-up. If you’re unsure of how to create a pingback, Hugh has an excellent tutorial here. If you prefer, you can copy and paste your link into the comments of this post.
There are no word limits or style restrictions, but please keep it somewhat family friendly.