NaNoWriMo and the Gilded Scarab

I’m not doing this formally this year – I haven’t signed up and I don’t belong to any of the support groups or virtual work camps – but I am intending to use the discipline of NaNo to break the back on the projected steampunk coffee-house Aegyptan-mystery m/m romance.  I made a slow start today though. 2,285 words, or just below 5% done. Not good enough!


Anyhow, I have made a start. I’m not sure about it, but here, as a little taster, is the opening:

The first time Ned Winter saw the stone crow and visited the Britannic Imperial Museum to see the Aegyptan mummies, was the day that someone tried to assassinate his father.

It was also Ned’s eighth birthday, something that almost got forgotten in his excitement at seeing the dead bodies in the Mummy Gallery and later, as they left for home, being bundled by one of the House Gallowglass guards into the doorway of a shop on Museum Street while people shouted and ran around in the narrow street outside. Ned hadn’t been able to see very much, squashed as he was into the doorway with one of the younger guards crowding him in and blocking Ned’s view with his broad, black-clad back. He thought he saw his father, steam all around him, raising his pistol and firing it toward the Oxford Road. The pistol gave out a little flash of light, and then his father was gone again. The guard didn’t allow Ned to move, so he had to content himself with the discovery that the lintel and doorposts of the shop were carved with monkeys, snakes and birds, peeking out at him between leaves and twisty tree trunks.

He trailed his fingers briefly over the round head and down the short curved beak of one particular bird in the jumble of wildlife; a crow, terribly lifelike, head tilted, clever eyes so beautifully carved into the dirty, sooty stone that Ned could swear that it was watching him. Its beak was just agape, but before Ned could wonder if the crow would caw at him, or even speak, the guard turned swiftly, caught Ned up and threw him into the cabin of their steamcar. His father and the other guard were already there. The guard looked worried.

Ned’s father gathered Ned in as the car lurched off with a burst of vapour and the smell of tar. “Well, that was exciting. All right, Ned? Not scared?”

 Ned beamed. “Weren’t the dead people in the bandages just lovely, Papa? Can we go back again soon?”



  1. 2,285 words of this is rather more than good enough – it’s wonderful! I am flailing with delight having read this extract and hope that you have had several productive days since because I am not prepared to wait too long for the rest of this. Just so you know.


    • Well, most of that has been added to considerably and detail added, but yup, it’s moving (although slowly). Ned is currently 21 and in Aegypt on his first dig – with Flinders-Petrie, of course – and falling in love with fellow Aegyptologist…


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