Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Currently reading ...

I'm having difficulty at the moment tearing myself away from P.F. Chisholm's Sir Robert Carey books (I'm on the fourth, A Plague of Angels, just now) and Marsali Taylor's Shetland books (on the third, A Handful of Ash, now). It's a shame because apart from Job 1, which is urgent, Job 2, where there's a panic, Job 3, which is well-mannered and not urgent and therefore gets pushed to the back, inducing guilt, Job 4, drawing to a close which I hope will be tidy, Jobs 5 and 6 which lurk in the background, and Job 7, which keeps popping up with tedious regularity, I'm trying to write Chapters Twelve and Thirteen by the end of August which is (oh, help) four days away ...

Monday 24 August 2015

International Drabble Week - coming soon!

Date: November 09, 2015 09:56AM
Venue: Facebook
Location: The United Kingdom 

The first Festival of Drabbles will start on November 9th and run until the 15th. It will be a week long celebration of drabbles and the art of drabble writing including some of the finest drabblists in the world.

If you’re new to drabbles then they are a form of flash fiction in which the story is told in exactly 100 words. They were introduced as a daily feature in the Indie Book Bargains newsletter (now Book Hippo) a few years ago. 
For a writer it’s a challenge of economy and editing to tell a story in so few words. It’s also an excellent way to play with new ideas and to explore areas that you normally wouldn’t. Readers, too, enjoy a bite-sized tale in those few quiet minutes in the day. They’ve also introduced new authors whose work might otherwise be missed. I find them pretty challenging (being a long-winded sort of person), but I hope to publish one here during the week.

It’s a form that deserves greater recognition and so Michael Brookes is organising this week of drabble related reading and activities, and his blog, The Cult of Me, will contribute to International Drabble Week and include a drabble competition.

By the way, when you wander over to Michael's blog, take a look at his novel Faust 2.0 - a great read!

Thursday 13 August 2015


Found myself walking along the street this morning carrying a hedgehog in a washing up bowl.

I consider this to be an improvement on the previous outcome to a similar situation. This morning, quite early, my neighbour rang to say there was a hedgehog in her yard, and could I possibly come and remove it as her dog wouldn't stop barking at it. This was a two-person job as although her dog is small, she's determined, and the hedgehog was a well-developed specimen. I happily removed said hedgehog, provided cat food and shelter, and left it to get over the shock. The last time she found a hedgehog in her garden, she picked it up on a shovel and flung it over the wall into our garden - she assures me she checked first to see there was no one there, but I can't help feeling it was a bit harsh on the hedgehog, even if it fell into a leafy wilderness!

Cat and kitten have presumably not encountered the hedgehog: it would no doubt be an educational experience for the kitten, though who knows what monsters No.2 Cat has already found in our jungle?

Sunday 9 August 2015

New distractions

No.3 Cat, who prefers (at present) to spend much of his time at unnatural angles, makes writing difficult - and almost everything else, too! After the much lamented death of No.1 Cat in May, just short of his nineteenth birthday, we felt there was a cat vacancy. No.2 Cat, it has to be said, does not feel the same way about the situation, particularly as No.3 Cat creeps up on him while he's eating - I think he's just trying to work out if he himself will ever be that enormous, or that ginger.

The house seemed very full of both people and animals yesterday, suddenly, and I ended up writing on the stairs for oh, a full ten minutes or so until someone came to tell me that No.3 Cat had mistaken the degus' dustbath for a litter tray, and the degus were telling him what they thought of it. Ho, hum, and out with the disinfectant again.

I'm on Chapter Eight but I'm supposed to finish Chapter Twelve by the end of this month. Unfortunately there are many things other than writing that I'm supposed to be doing, too, as usual, but I must get the writing done because September is always a complete whirlwind and I really want to get this one out for Christmas, so I can't fall behind!

I'm giving a talk this week on Regency Aberdeen: there will, at some point, be a time when Murray comes to Aberdeen (I think it's 1819) so it's as well to be prepared! At the moment I'm fretting very slightly as I have 28 slides on a Powerpoint and I have a niggling feeling that the equipment where the talk is taking place is Mac, while I'm PC. Fretting is about all I can do - I shall leave the technical side to someone more competent or the wheels will definitely fall off. A friend of mine once gave a talk in Sussex. He had a full carousel of slides, and opened his mouth to speak, when a woman in the front row moved to take her jacket off and the whole lot spilled on to the floor in complete disarray. I was halfway through a talk at the university with about 80 slides on Powerpoint a few years ago when the whole system shut down - it was half past eight at night, after all, and all the systems shut down then unless (crucially) you've remembered to override them for an evening talk. The trouble is, you have to wait for everything to cool down and then boot up again before you can restart! Why on earth do we bother?