Yes, yes, I am still hard at work on Fury Book 3 (Black-Hearted Betrayal) and have the YA vamp on the backburner. But this steampunk story idea hijacked my brains this evening and I had to flesh out a bit of world-building and an opening. Since I have been lax in blogging the past few days and want to get another post up, I am sharing a snippet from what is tentatively titled Plague and Pestilence. Keep in mind that it is very rough and subject to much revision. Hope you enjoy!
It was a truth universally acknowledged–at least between the Austen twins–that being the daughter of a world-famous (and immortal) novelist could be a royal pain in the backside. Even if said mother did gainfully employ both daughters as research assistants. Perhaps especially because of that fact.
Miss Cassandra Leigh, elder sister by precisely fifteen and one-quarter minutes, stared at the latest telegram from the venerable Mrs. Jane Austen Austen with an expression more in keeping with someone who has just ingested a goodly number of sour pickles. Miss Elizabeth Henriette, not to be outdone despite her position as younger sister, wrinkled both forehead and nose in most unladylike fashion. Then, in that twin-like manner with which they so often dismayed polite society, the two exclaimed in unison, “Egypt! What can Mother be thinking?”
Their elder–and only–brother, George, flicked imaginary dirt from the lapels of his smartly-tailored but hideously-colored frock coat. “I believe the answer to that question would be that, once again, Mother is most assuredly not thinking.”
The sisters Austen exchanged a silent look that spoke volumes. George was certainly a fine chap–indeed, a diamond of the first order compared to most of the men in their immediate circle–but still, he was a man and prone to condescension toward the fairer sex. Which, considering that all three of the fairer sexed in his life could out-reason circles around him, tended to get beyond tedious.
As usual, Cassandra put their brother in his place. “Leave off, do, George. You’re still smarting over the fact Mother wouldn’t approve the funds for that ridiculous aether-powered bicycle you tried to buy last month.”
George narrowed piercing brown eyes identical to their mother’s and gripped putrescent green lapels with much vexation. “Motorcycle.”
Cassandra arched a dark red eyebrow courtesy of their Gaelic father. “I beg your pardon?”
“The moden-day marvel you speak of is called a motorcycle and it is not at all ridiculous.”
His sister waved her hand carelessly and turned her attention back to their mother’s equally-absurd communique. True that she had sent her three young research assistants hither, thither, and yon across most of western Europe during the past several years; but never had she given even the merest hint that she might send them someplace as far-flung–and war-torn–as vast and mysterious Egypt. Exotic birthplace of the thrilling–if newfangled–aether-powered technology British and Egyptian scientists had developed in tandem over the past decade since Britain’s conquest of the African nation in all but name. Queen Victoria’s name, to be precise.