A new book cover?

This is for one that I’ve been calling “Stone circles on the tor” or “Dartmoor story”.  It’s actually science fiction, set in Victorian time, within the same universe as “Cynthia the Invincible.” I’m trying for a bit of a Victorian vibe with it.

The Divinity School 2.

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda has just asked if she must attend the assembly.


Her mother echoed her, almost mocking her question, “Must we go to the assembly?”
“Yes; It’s only in Chipping Sodbury.”
Her mother took a deep breath and tried, once more, to explain, “Amanda, dearest; dearest Amanda … do you want to be an old maid, a burden on your brothers and an embarrassment for your sister?”
Amanda gazed over her mother’s shoulder, “No, not as such, but the company … In Chipping Sodbury of all places … it is vulgar.”
“Not half as vulgar as the hatters in Frampton,” Her mother paused, “Nor as vulgar as the iron master I married.”
“Don’t you love father?”
“I do, but he can be so … so annoyingly common.”
“Rich, wasn’t that enough?”
“For my father, yes; however, not for us; you should marry a gentleman.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

While she seems strict, Amanda’s mother has her head screwed on the right way. The alternatives to marriage for an unmarried woman, even a mathematically inclined one, were bleak.

To set the scene, this building in Lacock abbey is fairly typical of village buildings.

You’ve seen it – Lacock abbey is the background in many films – ranging from Pride and Prejudice to Harry Potter. The Red Lion pub (I don’t have a good picture of it but it’s in the centre in this picture) is a dead giveaway.

Main street Lacock Abbey.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. In the end, the way to fix my mistakes was to issue a new edition. I still used kindle create but in a more native way to produce a “reflowable” book.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Divinity School

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception.


Amanda looked up from her stitchery at the noise; her parents were arguing; they always were arguing. This time it seemed to be about the assembly tonight; her father did not want to attend it. She thought, “Perhaps they love to argue,” and with them distracted, put down her stitchery. She rose and slipped away to an upstairs room; a room away from the noise, but more important, it was where she hid her books. The ones that were too exciting for a mere female.
Ignoring the distant cries of battle from her parents, she sat in the window. She opened her book, a tattered copy of Hutton’s ‘Course in Mathematics’ and re-read the inscription, “To my darling sister, better you than me, Freddy.” She paged through the book to find the section, on symmetric polynomials; it was hard going, but interesting.
A gentle knock, on the door frame, disturbed her. Mary, her maid, said, “Miss, your mother is asking for you; remember, there is an assembly tonight.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

As a bit of a hint, symmetric polynomials were the basis for Galois’ investigations into polynomial groups. Groups form the basis for much of modern cryptography – including the https you don’t see at this website. Amanda won’t go there, but … well you’ll see. Any road, Dr Hutton’s book was state of the art for 1809, and her brother has done her a great favour by sending it to her. Mind you, he wants to be a poet – a much more suitable occupation for a gentleman.

Chipping Sodbury today

The assembly takes place in Chipping Sodbury, a small town near Coalpit Heath, which is near the villages of Frampton and Cotterell. Not to mention the thriving iron works at Iron Acton. It doesn’t look it today, but the area was a hotbed of coal mining and iron working in the early 19th century. Mind you, Frampton was an industrial centre for making hats. Today they’re all suburban communities on the outskirts of Bristol. The featured image shows how some of the area looks today – the buildings in the foreground would have been there, but those on the hill were built mostly after the second world war.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. In the end, the way to fix my mistakes was to issue a new edition. I still used kindle create but in a more native way to produce a “reflowable” book.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

Illegal Aliens XX

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

One of a somewhat menacing pair of visitors finished last week with “that is irrelevant.” Maybe for them.  The visitors found a mysterious note in what looks vaguely like Arabic, in a somewhat illegal search. Roland, in a mixture of embarrassment and pride read it (or at least its summary) last week. Another element from Roland’s past and a cat show up.  Last week we met Roland’s old post-doctoral supervisor. Roland continues translating (and the cat is back). The cavalry arrives this week, in the form of a DI who worked on Roland’s missing wife and child.


The last image provoked a derisive laugh, “Are you sure, Dr Welchmann, that you can’t read it … the passage is from the book of the dead, a blessing … I mean, it’s in the textbooks;  even your books.”

The doorbell interrupted the readings; the woman went to the door, and after a heated discussion at the door, reluctantly escorted someone in; the man she escorted said, “Ah, Roland, I see you’re entertaining the funnies … what happened?”

“Apparently they’re worried about that explosion in London; think I had something to do with it.”

The man studied the two people for MI6 and then asked Roland, “Did you lay gas lines in 1950, and not bother to put them on the map?”

“No.”

“Then it’s hard to see what you have to do with it; it wasn’t a bomb, it was a gas leak … small comfort to the injured, but nothing to do with,” he nodded at the MI6 agents, “that lot.”

“Thank you John; I’m sure you didn’t visit just to tell me that.”

“No, this is … official … about Janet and Thomas.”

“News,” Roland’s attention focused on him.

“Good and bad … something’s been found, but …”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

I’m getting a bit ahead but these images will be useful next week.

The Black Mountains of Wales are stark and beautiful. This picture shows the dense heather that covers their flat tops. Sugarloaf mountain is that peak to the right of the background.

Grwyne Fawr is on the other side of the mountain in this picture.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. In the end, the way to fix my mistakes was to issue a new edition. I still used kindle create but in a more native way to produce a “reflowable” book.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

Make Mercia Great Again – Offa’s Dyke.

I had a chance to walk on Offa’s dyke. About 800 AD (or CE if you’re a stickler), Offa, the king of Mercia built a wall along the border with Wales. Parts of it still survive.

It was rather dark under all that growth, so the picture isn’t quite as clear as ideal. It wasn’t really a fortification, but more of a definition of the boundary between the two kingdoms, and no the Welsh didn’t pay for it. You can see where the Mercians dug stone and earth from the English side to build it up – usually on the edge of a ridge where there wasn’t room to grab soil from the Welsh.

The trail follows the wall for about four kilometers. We came back through Beech’s farm (a good looking campsite) and down “Miss Graces’ lane.”

There’s a ‘goddess’ offering near the Devil’s pulpit (since Tintern Abbey is in ruins, I guess he’s winning).

The pulpit, itself, with the ruins visible in the haze below. The Devil was supposed to preach to the monks from here.

English Robbins have set up near here. There were at least to male birds, both begging and chirping loudly to each other. (Get off my lawn?).

Long-horned cattle that reminded me of Aurochs as they moved through the forest were in the woods near our car.

A few places from Illegal Aliens #avebury

When I write set in modern day Britain, I’m careful about the settings.

The Red Lion is a real pub, with a real well inside it, and (according to my researcher) good food and great beer (Avebury Well Water was an awesome bitter by his report).

Avebury itself is full of tourists this time of year (the Equinox well past). Tourists, sheep, and stones.

There wasn’t a guided tour at the long barrow – the kind of thing Roland did for fun and spare cash – though my researcher passed one on the way back to the car.

Illegal Aliens XIX

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland awoke after bringing an attractive young woman home, alone. Something of a surprise, and in some ways a shock. His mobile chirruped into life and the works manager – where he’d been called to examine a mysterious block of Roman concrete – told him the “bloody German bomb, it went.” A knock on the door interrupts their conversation just after Mr Shah explains that one of his workers couldn’t even stand the firecrackers on Guy Fawkes.

One of a somewhat menacing pair of visitors finished last week with “that is irrelevant.” Maybe for them.  The visitors found a mysterious note in what looks vaguely like Arabic, in a somewhat illegal search. Roland, in a mixture of embarrassment and pride read it (or at least its summary) last week. Another element from Roland’s past and a cat show up.  Last week we met Roland’s old post-doctoral supervisor. This week Roland continues translating (and the cat is back).


The man handed Roland his phone, there was an image, a scan of a fragment on it.

Roland started reading, darkness, despite the sunny morning, surrounded them and ‘his’ cat hissed; Roland stopped and the room lightened; the cat resumed her purr, “It’s a curse … not to be read aloud, at least not if you don’t mean it; it invokes Apep and Set among others … they’re the least obscure of the deities.”

“Who?”

“Apep, the God of Chaos and Evil, not to mention destruction; Set … basically the model for Satan the Bible, much as Osiris’s life and resurrection were models for Jesus or Mithras.”

“You don’t believe that tripe, do you?”

Roland shook his head, “No, not really, but it’s been such a strange last few days … I’d rather not tempt fate.”

He read further, silently; after looking at the wall for a moment, he turned to the agents and said, “It invokes them as protection; protection from something else; something far worse.”

The next image was spray-painted on a brick wall, “It’s from here, painted on the new biochemistry building, off Sherrington Road … keeps coming back, no matter what they do to clean it.”

“It’s a warning, about transgenic animals … bringing a curse from Bastet upon their efforts.”

His cat purred louder.


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. In the end, the way to fix my mistakes was to issue a new edition. I still used kindle create but in a more native way to produce a “reflowable” book.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

I’ll be off exploring Exmoor next week. High open and wind-swept hills with unbelievable views (when it isn’t raining) and sea nearby (wet suits are a good idea if you want to actually bathe). Horses and horse-flies.

Horses on Exmoor Down

The ordnance survey maps show stone circles and other neat neolithic monuments. One has to be careful, however, the last time I was there I used the British Grid and a GPS to find one. It was literally a circle of small stones (about 2Kg each) in a field of heather. Unlike Stonehenge of Avebury, it wouldn’t have been a difficult feat of engineering.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is available for preorder. You can get the first part here.

On Kindle Create

I tried using Kindle Create on Illegal Aliens – you can, from pdf, include all sorts of neat fonts and things like that.

Don’t.

I repeat, don’t.


You’ll get a non-reflowable book and one that is too large to set to 0.99 (and thus misses promo’s).

The only solution is to republish as a second edition. The kindle creator, starting from docx, etc files, can handle text dividers and things like that easily. It does a surprisingly good job of formatting and is worth using.

Illegal Aliens XVIII

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland awoke after bringing an attractive young woman home, alone. Something of a surprise, and in some ways a shock. His mobile chirruped into life and the works manager – where he’d been called to examine a mysterious block of Roman concrete – told him the “bloody German bomb, it went.” A knock on the door interrupts their conversation just after Mr Shah explains that one of his workers couldn’t even stand the firecrackers on Guy Fawkes.

One of a somewhat menacing pair of visitors finished last week with “that is irrelevant.” Maybe for them.  The visitors found a mysterious note in what looks vaguely like Arabic, in a somewhat illegal search. Roland, in a mixture of embarrassment and pride read it (or at least its summary) last week. Another element from Roland’s past and a cat show up. The cat isn’t in today’s post, but hasn’t gone away (yet).


 

Roland sighed, Welchmann wasn’t his favourite person, not since that time when he was a post-doc and the professor had made a pass at Janet; more than a pass in fact, but the police hadn’t been very enthusiastic about pressing charges; not against an eminent and well-connected scholar when the charges were based on the word of a grubby post-doc and his wife.

He took the phone, “Yes,”

“Ah, Roland, I hear you’re reading Demotic now; quite fluently if you translated that – fairly obscure.”

“Yes.”

“Not a lot of call for that in Roman Britain, so I’d think.”

“You’d be surprised, besides I was thinking of a trip, need a change of scene.”

“No news about the lovely Janet … or your boy, whatshisname, then.”

“No.”

“Sorry, anyway there are a few cryptic inscriptions I’d like you to look at,”  Roland looked at his male guest; the man’s mobile buzzed and he jumped.  Welchmann continued, “I’ve sent them to our mutual acquaintance.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

It’s a little difficult to type them in wordpress, but you can get the appropriate fonts for hieroglyphics from psifer.com.  Hieroglyphic writing is an interesting mixture of more or less alphabetic approaches, combined with determinatives (shades of meaning) that make it something like a rebus. A reed might be the symbol for ‘i’ and a cup for “i’b” – but a cup could also mean that this word is an offering and not be part of the sound of the word at all. The Semetic people who developed the ancestor of our alphabet took the idea of pictures for sounds, but (fortunately) left the determinatives behind.

The hieroglyphs for Bastet (Bst) show how this works. The unsealed olive oil jar (Gardiner sign w2) is ‘Bs’ and the loaf of bread (it looks like a rising sun to me, but it’s a loaf) is ‘t’.  Sometimes you’ll see it with two ‘t’s to make it clear that it is bstt. The final sign is a determinative for a female god. Just for the heck of it the sealed olive oil jar (Gardiner sign w1) has a different sound.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. I tried using kindle creator on it to control dividers and formatting, and worked from a pdf file. The results are not as good as I’d hoped, but Amazon – in its wisdom won’t let me change it now that the kindle create program actually works from word files. It has, as usual, laid an egg.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is available for preorder. You can get the first part here.

Illegal Aliens XVII

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland awoke after bringing an attractive young woman home, alone. Something of a surprise, and in some ways a shock. His mobile chirruped into life and the works manager – where he’d been called to examine a mysterious block of Roman concrete – told him the “bloody German bomb, it went.” A knock on the door interrupts their conversation just after Mr Shah explains that one of his workers couldn’t even stand the firecrackers on Guy Fawkes.

One of a somewhat menacing pair of visitors finished last week with “that is irrelevant.” Maybe for them.  The visitors found a mysterious note in what looks vaguely like Arabic, in a somewhat illegal search. Roland, in a mixture of embarrassment and pride read it (or at least its summary) last week. Another element from Roland’s past gets introduced this week.


A cat scratching at the outside door interrupted them;  the woman rose, “I’ll get it,” and let an animal in; a sleek, dark black animal, with glossy clean fur shot in and jumped into Roland’s lap; she, for it wasn’t a tom, purred; after inspecting the room as if she owned it, she turned and hissed at his two visitors.

“Did you own a cat … it’s not in your files, and I don’t see any cat dishes.”

“I guess I do now,” Roland stroked the cat, which had resumed purring and nuzzling him; he asked his uninvited guests “Are you done with me?”

The woman said, “Not yet;” then her mobile chittered away, playing ‘Rule Britannia’ as a ringtone.

“Not exactly subtle,” Roland said.

The man replied, “We’re not undercover.”

Roland and the man both listened to half of the conversation.

“So it really is Demotic.”

“A love note … that’s what he said too; read it to us.”

“No … it’s to Roland Stevens, he’s a lecturer at the local,” She handed the phone to Roland, “I’d sent a copy to our specialist, at Oxford. Professor Welchmann.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. I tried using kindle creator on it to control dividers and formatting, and worked from a pdf file. The results are not as good as I’d hoped, but Amazon – in its wisdom won’t let me change it now that the kindle create program actually works from word files. It has, as usual, laid an egg.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is available for preorder. You can get the first part here.