7 Quick Takes About The Usual, The Unusual and The Moving Back

Join us over at ConversionDiary as we recap our weeks.

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about cool vintage books, a radio studio in my home, and the only five things that really matter when you host a party


Hullo. I travel back to uni tomorrow *sad face* So I expect the posting to become more sporadic again as I try and find my feet and help out with the freshers. On the other hand, that means I’ll have more to talk about every week! 😛


On the blog this week, I mainly talked about my trip to Lincoln and the annual Steampunk convivial held there. And it was amazing! Although I didn’t make as many of the panels, talks and workshops as I would’ve liked, and I didn’t buy any of the things I set out to, it was great to experience the British side of Steampunk lifestyle, which is, sadly, not talked about or videoed as much as US meets. We have more conventions in the UK than first appears, so it seems.


I finished a mystery book I’ve been reading – will get at least a mini review to the blog soon. I’m also munching my way through the biographical book about Agatha Christie, which is quite easy reading, but still detailed. I’m currently on the section about Poirot.

Poirot x2
Poirot x2


Music-wise, I’ve been learning to play some jazz pieces (as well as upping the tempo of I’ll Rust With You, which I am enjoying so much that I’m no longer following the twins strumming patterns and melody line, respectively) for the big Swing event we’ve got on the second week of October. Peggy Lee’s Fever is fun to play because of the jazz strumming patterns:


I’m CP for four-ish writers at the moment. Unusually, I managed to get some non-YA CPs, so, though all of stories I’m reading at the moment are fantasy, they are a variety of sub-genres, from steampunk NA retelling to time-travel to epic fantasies. Cool stuff.

On the other hand, with everything going on, I’ve not had so much time for editing. I tried to finish the rewrites of the first Craig house scenes, and I think I am almost satisfied with the details I’ve removed from that scene. As those things are important (to me), I hope to get the information squeezed into later chapters. I’ve also been thinking more about the use of cipher across the trilogy, and its fingertips in OJAP.



I’ve been thinking about the companion story to Horology, and whilst I want it to exist, I have my reservations. There is, for starters, the fact that having it set in Egypt isn’t anything new, and this could be/is problematic in terms of plot. Sure, Amelia and Cathy’s world has The Passing of spectres, but what else can I add that’s not your stereotypical “let’s dig up this pyramid/dune; oh, look, weird artefact; oh, look, dead body…”?

The simple answer is “don’t write an excavation book”, but if I ever write a solo Amelia book, I intend to have her in old Dubai, which, according to the history I read when I was there, used to be all sand. She may be a cartographer, but Amelia learnt a lot living in Italy.

At the Lincoln writing workshop, the general reaction I got when I read it out was that the setting was very clear, the MC was more upper-class (good, I think), and it reminded people of the 30s. I guess that’s good. However – I hadn’t planned to write dieselpunk…even though the airship is powered by paraffin. I wanted an almost smoggy chemical to be polluting the air from the ‘ship, but I hardly had access to the internet to Google an elaborate-named simple compound.

Also: Mummy on the Orient Express. I think we’re going to see Egypt and archaeological stories come back into fashion soon.

Hence, I’ve planned it as a novella. I’ll aim for 40,000, but I believe that’s the upper boundary, and I’d be happy with 25 or 30,000.


This is the beginning as it stands so far. Actually, for me, I’m pretty proud of this beginning. It has setting, genre and conflict, and the writing is pretty spiffing in any case.

Amelia stared at the academic as he scrubbed sand from his duffel coat. The skyship had barely left a trail of ash and paraffin across the sky, and he was already complaining.

“Damn scarab bites. Almost as bad as horse-flies.”

Amelia straightened her under-corset and cleared her throat. She was already getting the feeling that Dr. Rathburne would be the one man here to rattle her nerves.

“Welcome to Egypt, Dr. Colonel Reynold and my team are arranging the newest artefacts in tent F.”

Your team?”

Ah. Only a matter of time.

Amelia caught the end of her blonde plait as it swung towards her face, and retied it with a tough tug.

“Reynold didn’t tell you? I’m the one leading the expedition. After Italy, that’s the least I can do, don’t you suppose?”

The doctor of Archaeology – the Institute of London’s finest, apparently, and she should know – grunted. He shuffled his satchel over one shoulder, avoiding her eyes with flail, and set off across that ‘damn sand’.

Personally, Amelia liked it.

Thoughts on the beginning? I’m still not sure what I think of the changes, especially in Amelia’s line. It’s less telling, but… Also, I have a friend whose allergic to horse-fly bites. They are cruel.


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