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

Monday 30 November 2015

Out of a Dark Reflection - out now!

The most curious sensation of being watched …

Letho, Fife, 1816: Murray and his guests all have good reasons for not attending Edinburgh’s winter season, even down to the new maid. But then an old woman is found dead in the village, and murmurings of witchcraft are abroad. Suddenly everyone seems to have secrets – but who would kill to keep theirs?

The eighth Murray of Letho book is out now - and it's only 99p on Kindle for the month of December. 

Paperback available soon (having a bit of an issue with uploading files and I don't know if it's my laptop, my broadband or Amazon, but no doubt it will sort itself out before, er, Christmas?).

Thanks again to Kath and N for their readings, and to Helen Braid at www.ellieallatsea.com for her lovely creepy cover!

If you want to see the presbytery minutes which Murray and Blair read in the course of this book (the series is held in St. Andrews University Library), you'll find they're missing - presumably Mr. Helliwell never got around to taking them back to Cupar.

If, however, you want a little printed background reading on this topic (pay attention at the back, please), then try Witches of Fife, by Stuart Macdonald, or An Abundance of Witches, by Peter Maxwell-Stuart. Otherwise just read the book - I hope you enjoy it! (now the underlining's gone bananas - who understands technology?).

Wednesday 25 November 2015


Not the most brilliant photo in the world, but not too bad for a point-and-press at dusk with the bus coming!

I was waiting in the dregs of snow at a bus stop when a little murmuration of starlings, only 120 or so, met in the tree on the right. They paused, formulating their plans, then burst out in a bubble, bouncing around the sky. Then they established their sequence: they spread themselves out to the left, across the road beside me, losing a few tens of them as they went. Then the great sausage shape sprang back into a ball and gathered up some of the strays like blutac quickly rolle around a student's bedroom wall.

The building on the left has an ivy covered wall at the back: the ball of starlings hurled itself towards the ivy again and again, scraping off a few more starlings on each circuit to rest in the ivy, until the whole ball had vanished into the wall. They waited there, and the rest of the strays gradually joined them. There was a pause for breath, then out they shot and started all over again, spreading out, rolling up, and gradually roosting.

Book launch on Tuesday! I think I'm ready!

Friday 13 November 2015

International Drabble Week - my final contribution

Here's one some may have seen before:

If Only


If only my best mate Dennis hadn’t given me a bad tip on the markets, it wouldn’t have happened.

If I hadn’t been broke, I’d have had a phone, a car. A jacket without a dodgy zip.

If it hadn’t been windy, we wouldn’t have gone kite-flying. Obviously.

If Dennis hadn’t had a bigger kite than me, he wouldn’t have gone showing off.

If he hadn’t been showing off, he wouldn’t have tripped on that loose rock and bust his leg.

If he hadn’t bust his leg, I wouldn’t have gone back to his car to use his phone to call an ambulance.

If I hadn’t used his phone, I wouldn’t have seen the texts from my missus. Very intimate.

If I hadn’t seen the texts, I wouldn’t have gone back and done him in with that loose rock.

If I hadn’t thought I could get away with it, I wouldn’t have gone back to nick his car. Never there, was I?

If it hadn’t been windy, the door wouldn’t have slammed, on my jacket. Locked. Keys inside.

If it hadn’t been a dodgy zip, stuck closed, I’d have slipped it and gone.

Ah, there’s the siren. Ambulance? If only.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

International Drabble Week No.3

That's if you count yesterday's bonus story. Today's is inspired by a recent stay in hospital waiting for someone else to be treated, a brain-draining situation.

No Time at All

There is no time in hospital. There are time words: half an hour, ten days, tomorrow morning. But they mean nothing.

She looked at her watch. The consultant had said an hour – unless there were complications. Surely it was well over an hour? What time had she been wheeled away?

They sat either side of the bed space, silently anticipating its return. The floor gaped between them. Machines ticked meaningless seconds.

The nurse came.

‘She’s in recovery. It’s time to go down.’

She gazed groggily at them. The consultant smiled.

‘Everything went perfectly. And it took no time at all!’

Next drabble to follow on Friday, unless I feel inspired in between!

Monday 9 November 2015

International Drabble Week - bonus drabble

Street Scene - a true story

I’m roused from my work by a tremendous clattering, rushing along the street outside. What on earth? I drop my pen and strain to see out of the window. A large golden dog lopes past, ears panicking, his leash trailing behind him – and attached to the leash a metal chair from a street cafĂ©. The chair chases him off along the road. A minute or so later there comes a middle-aged man, red-faced, panting, and disappears after the dog. There’s a long pause. Then the man returns, clutching the metal chair, his face thunderous. But what has happened the dog?

International Drabble Week est ici!

Here we are - the week we've been waiting for, the week which will be sprinkled with thousands of glittering little drabbles, each just one hundred words long! Well, I'm not saying my contributions will glitter, but I'll try: if you want to read some good ones, either go to Beyond 100 Drabbles by Jonathan Hill and Kath Middleton, or to the blog of this week's organiser, Michael Brookes, which is a fine place to go in its own right and will guide you to some excellent stories of all lengths.

Meanwhile here is my first contribution for the week (it was supposed to start with a dinky little illustration but the cat bite mentioned earlier has rather put paid to my fine motor skills for now).

What James Bond Leaves Behind

Glamour-boys, that’s them. I could have been one of them. Serve your country, see the world …

One remit’s placating local police. The murder squads are fine, but the traffic-cops! Small-minded paper-pushers. That tank in the streets of St. Petersburg did it for me. When Mr. Glamour-Boy motorbikes over the rooftops, it’s me up there with the trowel, making repairs.

The barrowloads of fruit and veg I’ve had to clean up! And fork out H.M.’s dineros for. I don’t like waste, so I’ve got clever with soups and salads.

So that’s who we are: MI6’s Refuse and Reparation Squad. Glamorous.

Friday 6 November 2015

He looks so innocent ...

No.2 Cat's turn this week, off to the vet for his annual check up and jabs. No.2 Cat leads an unpredictable life so the catflap was locked last night, the result being that he was completely stir crazy by half eight this morning. We locked him in the bathroom while we negotiated the wheelchair-through-narrow-hallway manoeuvre to let those heading to work leave, but somehow he broke out (I suspect I need to check for a large hole broken through the door - note to self that No.2 Cat requires steel-lined doors) and shot across the road in front of a car. Not his usual streetwise self. He was recovered fairly fast, and the bleeding has mostly stopped (mine, that is). Stuffed into his cat carrier he set up a howling that had othe pedestrians removing their earphones to investigate the noise, and one poor girl nearl fell off her bike. Returned safely at last he delayed leaving the cat  carrier in order to show his feelings by vomiting copiously over the inside of it. No.3 Cat's turn to look superior.

Yesterday I began to look at The Necessary Tale, the stand-alone. I find I've written about half of it, and made detailed notes about the rest, which is comforting. I don't know when it will come out, though. Kind readers have received the draft of Out of a Dark Reflection and the cover artist has done her lovely work, so we'll see how things go. In the mean time I ought to do some real-life work!

Drabble Week next week: I'm hoping to post three drabbles in the course of the week, so drop in for a very quick read!