Hi Chris. I’m Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene. Thanks so very much for having me here at your blog. I’m quite humbled. As for introducing myself to your readers… how do I begin? I guess I’m who I am because of the many changes I’ve been through. If my life were a book, there would be several volumes.
Nearly 20 years ago, a friend looked at me in amazement and said “You don’t mind shaking things up, do you?” 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. Lots of changes were ahead.
One of my “new volumes” began when I changed careers. After a divorce I left low-paying low-level office jobs to become a technical editor. I started at the bottom, earning a Bachelor of Science degree related to information technology (IT), because I wanted a solid foundation to launch my career in technical writing and editing. Over the years, I carefully plotted that new profession, making sacrifices that most would not consider, and became a successful and well respected technical editor and writer.
My most recent “volume” was relocating to the east coast of the USA, to my nation’s capitol, Washington, DC. However, since making that move, my 9 to 5 job has more of an executive advisory, analytical and organizational application. I don’t get to do as much editing or writing.
Because of the job above, I have little time or energy for my creative writing. Wouldn’t it be a dream come true to make a good living doing it full-time! Over the years, I’ve had four nearly finished novels. But with work, it took so long to write them… With the changes life brings, stress, relocating — you name it, I sort of lost the place inside from which those stories came. I often thought “If I could just finish one!”
Then I heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where during the month of November you write a draft novel – from scratch – of at least 50,000 words. Put huge emphasis on the word “draft.” I didn’t think I could do it, but I hoped that by participating I would teach myself something useful, maybe even something that would help me actually finish a novel. To my astonishment I did finish! You should have seen my excitement when I wrote the words the end on the last page of “Atonement, Tennessee.”
During that November (2012) and in the following months I learned about indie publishing and e-books. Years before I had tried to get short stories published; and I learned about traditional publishing – mostly about how impossible it is to get published (or even get an agent) without a great connection. Then I heard about such bad experiences from writers who had managed to get a coveted publishing contract… So I didn’t even try to go the traditional route for my debut novel.
I decided to do my “grand experiment” and self-publish “Atonement, Tennessee.” I already had the technical background, and I’ve been a professional editor for many years. I’ve worked with graphics enough to transfer that skill to cover design. I looked up the formatting requirements. Researched the publishing platforms, and restricted my choices to fit with the limited time I have for something outside my “9 to 5” – and away I went!
The only thing I didn’t dive head first into was the marketing. After I had the book ready to publish, I backed out of launching it two times, because I knew I had no time for marketing. Finally I decided that I had to do it for myself, for my own sense of accomplishment. I released my first finished novel on Christmas Eve, about a year after I wrote the NaNoWriMo draft.
Hobbies? Once upon a time I had hobbies. I don’t think of my writing or my blog as a hobby, even though I work a full-time job for keeping a roof over my head. I also spend a large amount of time each week, looking, networking, and applying for a job that will take me to a part of the country where I can afford to own my own home again. That’s not possible for me in DC. So I don’t have hobbies.
“Atonement, Tennessee” is a fictional town where a lot of strange things happen. This novel is the first in a series of urban fantasies. I’ve begun work on book-2, “Atonement in Bloom” which brings additional characters inspired by Celtic myth. Several of the townsfolk from book-1 will be back too.
All of my writing is what I think you call “family friendly.” I’m pretty moderate about descriptions of violence, sex, or profanity. I do consider “Atonement” a book for grownups, but that’s mostly because the characters are adults. Most teens read books that are much less moderate.
Since November I’ve been at work on a different quirky urban fantasy, set in 1969/70 called “The Guitar Mancer.” I give little hints about it in my blog. I think baby boomers in particular will get a kick out of it.
Of course there is the “interactive” serial that I publish weekly on my blog. I get readers to contribute three random things, or there “ingredients” (depending on which serial is live), and those things drive the plot and characters. It’s pure ‘pantser‘ fun. Even I have no idea what will happen from one episode to the next. However, now – during NaNoWriMo, I’m rerunning the very first series. So it’s not live. I’ll be back with a new interactive serial some time in December.
Chris, thanks so much for opening up the invitation that brought me here. I really do appreciate it.
An urban fantasy with a mystery on the side.
The story pulls in characters loosely inspired by the ancient Celtic myth of Gwydion fab Don.
It also features an ensemble of memorable southern personalities.
Esmeralda Lawton is sick of the big city. So it’s a dream come true when she buys an old estate, complete with historic cemetery. Okay, she isn’t excited about the cemetery, but she’s strangely drawn to the estate. Atonement, Tennessee, a quaint town, seems like the perfect place for her. However, her new life isn’t quiet.
The house is full of antiques. Some have extraordinary properties — a brass bed causes strange dreams, and a mirror shows the truth of who you are.
A mysterious neighbor secretly watches over the graveyard. There’s more to him than meets the eye, but what? Then there’s Gwydion, owner of Fae’s Flowers. She stubbornly resists her feelings for him.
Ralda suspects that people are drawn to Atonement to, well — atone. She wonders what wrongs could have led her there. However, it was her ancestress that made the mistakes.
Atonement is home to more than humans. Supernaturals go there too. Some have fallen far.
This urban fantasy, seasoned with Celtic mythology, comes with a side-order of mystery. Are you sad to see the “Sookie Stackhouse” stories end? Make a visit to Atonement, Tennessee!
I’ve used Pinterest to tell a story in pictures not just for “Atonement, Tennessee,” but for my works in progress as well.