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Hi all:

It’s Friday and as you know I like to bring you guest authors and/or new books in this spot. For the last few weeks I’ve brought you the books, and a bit of information, about some of the blogger authors I follow, as I suddenly realised that after exchanging comments on everything (from recipes, to travelling, diets, healthy lifestyle, funny videos, mediums and magic) with them, I had never brought them to my blog and talked about their books. And it was about time.

Today I bring  you Teagan R. Geneviene. I discovered her wonderful writing blog, where readers make suggestions of ingredients, and with her new serial, also magic elements, for each week’s installment, and Teagan delights us with a new chapter every week. Her stories are full of wonderful characters, wit, fun, imagination, and she always finds fabulous illustrations.

We were recently talking about dreams, and what important role they can play both in life and in creativity, and from there came this interview. Here I leave you with Teagan (ah, and the images provided are also her choice!):

Teagan Geneviene

Teagan Geneviene

 

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before…”  Edgar Allan Poe

Learn to Dream

If we tried to describe Teagan’s background, the things that made her who she is, it would take much more than an interview.  She joked that the psychiatrist in me could write volumes about it.  Actually, Teagan has made many new beginnings in her life – new volumes (not just new chapters).

“Back then a friend looked at me in amazement and said ‘You don’t mind shaking things up, do you?’  More than 15 years later, she still lives in the same place and works at the same job. I sincerely admire her stability.  But that wasn’t in the cards for me.”

One of those new volumes began when she changed careers.  After a divorce Teagan left low-paying low-level office jobs to become a technical editor. She started at the bottom, earning a Bachelor of Science degree related to information technology (IT).  She wanted a solid foundation to launch her career in technical writing and editing.  Over the years, she carefully plotted that new profession, making sacrifices that most would not consider, and became a successful and well respected technical editor and writer.

Her most recent “volume” was relocating to the east coast of the USA.  Before she moved to her nation’s capital, Washington, DC, her work focused on the combination of IT and healthcare.  However, now her 9 to 5 job has more of an analytical and organizational application.

“It was a way to keep a roof over my head, while still working with what I enjoy most – words.”

During all those years she used her spare time to write fantasy stories and novels, honing her skills as a completely different sort of writer and editor.

Dare to Dream

“A friend in New Mexico once shook her head and said, ‘You’re like an onion. Every time I think I know who you are, I see another new layer!’  I took it as a big compliment.”

Teagan suggested that we give this interview a theme, that of dreams.

I used to be very attuned to all manner of metaphysical things, particularly dreams. However, since I’ve been in DC, I’ve felt very disconnected from all that.

I asked Teagan why that would be, and she described one idea about how each person has different physical reactions to various things. She used her egg allergy as an example. One person might enjoy eggs as a healthful food.  Another might have a problem with the cholesterol, while another might have a horrible allergic reaction.

“Similarly, maybe locations can have different effects on various people.  You might find a place stimulated your interest in everything around you. Another person might feel overwhelmed while in that location, while another feels spiritually disconnected.  That kind of thing.  Sorry.  I enjoy going down these “What If” tangents. We can go back to “dreams” now.”

Atonement, Tennessee by Teagan Geneviene

Atonement, Tennessee by Teagan Geneviene

Teagan told me she wishes to reconnect with that aspect of herself, — with dreams and interpreting them, and with what she callsall sorts of new-agey things.”  Dreams figure into much of Teagan’s writing.  Her debut novel, Atonement, Tennessee, has a couple of scenes where dreams play an important part.  There is even a chapter called “Bras Bed Dreams,” with an antique bed that causes people to have dreams of the past or even past lives.

Brass bed 1

It’s not surprising to me that Teagan dreams of being able to make a living from her novels.  I finally “escaped from psychiatry” so I understand that wish and how hard it is to make it real.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams…” Eleanor Roosevelt

Writing Dreams

If you could see how animated Teagan gets when she talks about writing, you’d know it really is her dream.  I asked if she ever dreams her imaginative stories, and she didn’t really think so.  However, she often visualizes them and the characters, rather like a daydream.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them…”  Walt Disney

She has a few works in progress, if no time to devote to them.  However, she does find time each week to write an episode of the interactive culinary mystery serial that is featured on her blog, Teagan’s Books.  It’s a 1920’s story, and a big departure from her novels.

Old House_dreamstime_xs_22975594

“I’ve been influenced by several authors, mostly fantasy writers.  However, my debut novel — ‘Atonement, Tennessee’ is different from the quest-type fantasy (as I like to call it) that I usually write.  I call Atonement an urban fantasy with a side order of mystery.  I would never compare my work to someone as talented and successful as Charlaine Harris, but if you like her Sookie Stackhouse books, I think you would like my ‘Atonement’ stories.

Teagan always aspires to work on book-two in the Atonement series, and kicks herself for not managing to do more on it.  Right now it looks like the only way she will be able to finish “Atonement in Bloom” this year is to take a sabbatical from the blog serial.

Mirror

 

Some of the magical artifacts that caused trouble in the first book will be back, including that bras bed I mentioned, and the mirror of truth and justice.  Many of the characters will return, including a “device” she used in book-1 — the cat.  The story is written in first person. So when Teagan needs to tell the reader about something the heroine can’t see, she writes that scene from the point of view of Lilith, the calico cat.

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“The supernatural parts of Atonement are loosely inspired by the ancient myth of Gwydion fab Don.  I bring in additional Celtic myths for the sequel and with it new trouble-making characters.”

So there you have it — the latest “volume” in the story of Teagan and a little about her books too.

Thanks so much to Teagan for her kindness and her great interview and images, thanks to you for reading, and you know what I always say, if you’ve enjoyed it, don’t forget to like, share, comment, and CLICK!

Dog-Cat-Cooking_dreamstime_s_24255835

 

Frederick_Douglass_mural_on_the_'Solidarity_Wall',_Belfast

Hi all:

You know on Fridays I usually bring you a guest author. Recently I went to watch ’12 Years a Slave’, like many people. The film reminded me of my studies in American Literature, slave narratives, autobiographies, and in the list of people that came to my mind, I kept thinking about Frederick Douglass. I read his autobiography years back, and is it one of these books that make you realise that human will is a force like no other and gives you hope for the human race. And I thought I might as well share why I think he was such an example and a man we should never forget.

Frederick Douglass portrait

Frederick Douglass portrait

I’ll leave you a short biography, some quotes, links, and I recommend you read his autobiography. It is not only inspiring but a great read.

Biography:

He was born into slavery, Frederick Washington Bailey, in Tukahoe, Maryland (7th February 1817 although the specific date is in question). He was the son of a slave woman (he only saw his mother a few times before she died when he was 7) and was brought up by his grandparents on a plantation. His father was white and he never knew him (it is suspected it could have been the slave owner).

When he was 8 he was sent to Hugh Auld in Baltimore. The wife of Auld taught him the alphabet (defying state law that slaves should not be taught to read) and he continued to learn from other kids. He returned to the plantation in 1833 and was sold to a slave owner renowned for his cruelty, until he confronted him when he was older. Whilst working in a shipyard at age 20 he managed to escape and went to New York City, where he changed his name to Frederick Douglass (name of the hero in Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake). He moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he worked as a labourer. He married for the first time Anna Murray, a free black woman, and had 5 children.

Always acknowledged as a leader by his peers, William Lloyd Garrison heard him speak at a meeting in 1841 and became his mentor. Douglass became an agent and lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society. He was very successful and with the help of the Agency he published the first of his autobiographical works The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1844).

Worried about the possibility of being recaptured by his former owner, he traveled to Britain and Ireland and lectured on slavery. While he was there he raised funds and established his own anti-slavery paper The North Star. This created a rift with William Lloyd Garrison who opposed such idea and this continued throughout the Civil War, despite efforts by Harriett Beecher Stowe. In 1855 he published My Bondage and My Freedom.

During the Civil War, Douglass tried to convince Abraham Lincoln that former slaves should be allowed to join the Union Army. After the war he continued his campaigns for full civil rights for former slaves, also advocating women’s suffrage and speaking on the Irish rule.

When his first wife died, he married his secretary, Helen Pitts, a white woman, causing controversy.

He held several public posts (and was proposed as vice-president in a joint-bill with a woman) including assistant secretary of the Santo Domingo Commission (1871), marshall of the District of Columbia (1877-1881) and U S Minister to Tahiti (1889-1891).  In 1881 he published The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

He died of heart failure in Washington on the 20th February, 1895. He has had bridges named after him, schools, stamps…

Frederick Douglass's gravestone

Frederick Douglass’s gravestone

Quotes:

The masthead of his newspaper The North Star once read:

Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color.

I will unite with any one to do right, and with no one to do wrong!

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.

People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get.

No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.

A little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but the want of learning is a calamity to any people.

The soul that is within me no man can degrade.

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.

America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.

It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.

Without a struggle, there can be no progress.

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.

I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.

Link to quotes page (Brainy Quotes):

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/f/frederick_douglass.html

Brief visual summary of achievements

Brief visual summary of achievements

Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Douglass

Biography.com (Includes a brief video of his biography):

http://www.biography.com/people/frederick-douglass-9278324

PBS:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p1539.html

His papers at the Library of Congress:

http://www.loc.gov/collection/frederick-douglass-papers/about-this-collection/

Spartacus school:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USASdouglass.htm

History.com (also brief video about Douglass):

http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/frederick-douglass

Documenting the American South:

http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/douglass/bio.html

Digital History:

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/exhibits/douglass_exhibit/douglass.html

His page in Goodreads;

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18943.Frederick_Douglass

Links to works (FREE):

In Amazon:

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0083ZQSEG/

Collected Articles of Frederick Douglass

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000JQV6NA/

His page in Project Gutenberg, including audios:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/34510

Link to his autobiography in American History:

http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/biographies/frederick-douglass/

Thanks for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, don’t forget to like, comment, share, and CLIC!

25 c. postage stamp

25 c. postage stamp

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