Dear everybody, I have a slightly mad fiction thing out at the end of the month. To which end I will be doing a slightly crazy thing tomorrow to help people notice it. If you would like to get involved with the crazy thing, the information is all at the bottom of this post. But, before you rush off there, please do pause for a moment, because what comes next is the opening of said book, Intelligent Designing for Amateurs.
Anthropological observations of the curious habits of personages native to Barker Street
Hopefully there would be dead people next door. That would liven things up tremendously. Ever since the new tenant was first mentioned, Temperance had been trying to imagine what an archaeologist would look like, and had become stuck somewhere between the beard and the muddy boots. Granny said an archaeologist dug things up, which had formed most of her impression. Temperance had never encountered an actual archaeologist before, and until recently, hadn’t even met the word in person. It was one of those large, pleasing, hard to spell words that she liked to roll around in her mouth. There were others. Obsequious. Crepuscular. Epigrammatic. Meanings did not always excite her young mind, but a word that came with a person had more appeal. Granny told her something about digging up iniquities, or possibly aunties. Antimacassars? Digging up definitely suggested mud, and led Temperance to think from there about the likelihood of dead people. Dead people went into the ground, so it stood to reason they could come out of it again. What else was there to unearth aside from coal and ore?
“Nothing at all like a body snatcher,” Granny had insisted, when the subject came up at breakfast, but Temperance wasn’t sure. What else would anyone want to dig up, really? Treasure might be nice, she supposed, but that seemed more like pirate business.
Still, having a new neighbor would cheer the whole street up. The bigger, separate house next to their little terrace had been empty all winter. Seeing the dark windows at night always inclined her to feel sad.
“How’s that sweeping going, then?” Granny demanded from inside the house.
The sweeping had not, in fact, started, the girl having entirely forgotten about the broom in her hand. Pushing curls of escaping brown hair out of her face, Temperance surveyed the twig strewn path to her grandmother’s door. Sweeping seemed so pointless. The wind would bring it all right back in no time. She sighed heavily, feeling very sorry for herself.
Before she could start on the job, the sound of hooves and wheels drew her attention to the street again. All of the delivery people had already done their rounds for the day. Horse-drawn vehicles were otherwise unusual here. The inhabitants of Barker Street were all very decent people, but not equal to carriages, excepting for weddings and funerals. Temperance loved funerals, but the approaching wagon lacked the plumes and splendid display of misery. Instead she saw a neat little trap, followed by a heavily loaded cart where a great many things were piled up behind the driver and passengers.
With a little squeak, she dropped the broom and ran to the garden gate. Then, because she did not want the archaeologist to think her childish, she slowed down. Walking in what she hoped was a dignified way, she soon reached the next property just as the tired horse came to a halt.
The person inside the trap was carefully helped down, and then approached the front door. There was no beard whatsoever, and no obvious signs of mud. Perhaps there had been a mistake? The trap itself took off at a jaunty speed. Temperance wondered if this was the archaeologist’s wife, come on ahead to make their new home nice. The man himself would probably be in a hole full of bones at this very moment, Temperance reasoned.
One of the men got off the cart. He had wild hair and a big coat. On the whole he seemed a better candidate for the adventurous life, and Temperance watched him expectantly.
“All to be unloaded here?” he asked the woman.
“If you please.” She nodded to the girl who was sitting on the cart. “I assume you can find the kitchen, Mary?”
The girl nodded and hurried inside. The two men set about unloading items of furniture from the cart and taking them into the house. Temperance felt rather puzzled by all of this. There weren’t any bones being unloaded just usual, household things. Unless the bones were in one of the tea chests. She supposed that would make sense, even if it was a disappointment.
“Hello girl,” said the tall woman, with an accent that clearly came from another place.
Temperance had spent hours planning how to make her introductions to the new neighbor. She had already established herself as being absolutely essential to Charlie Rowcroft, Barker Street’s resident inventor. Now, she meant to impress the archaeologist, or for that matter his wife, with her clever, useful nature. Thus, she would gain free access to their home as well. Staring up at the new arrival’s face, she couldn’t remember any of the planned speech and found herself instead saying, “Have you got any dead people?”
Now available for pre-order here –
http://www.amazon.com/Intelligent-Designing-Amateurs-Nimue-Brown/dp/1780999526/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368608170&sr=1-1&keywords=Intelligent+Designing+for+amateurs and no doubt other places as well.
So, here’s the planned silliness. Reblog the post, or post the pre-order link and let me know. I can spot a reblog pretty easily, otherwise tag or message me on facebook, @brynneth_nimue on twitter, or drop an email to brynnethnimue at gmail dot com. I will then write a limerick or silly verse about you, and post it wherever the link went. That could be slow and messy with Twitter, but we’ll do what we can…