The Sequel to Alchemists of Time is on the way

This year I have been working hard on the sequel to Alchemists of Time. I spent so much time on it that I delayed publishing Dressing the Dead for months because I didn’t want to leave Alchemists. I can now report that the first draft of the new book, provisionally titled Nine of Swords, is finished and I am now in the process of rewrites and editing with the intent of getting it out there before the end of the year.

This time around it’s 1869, ten years after Alex Harrison was transported from the future. Alex has learned to love his life as a Victorian and settled down and has lost his desire to return to the future. Meanwhile in 1969 Maxine Silver can barely remember Alex and is living a mundane life until some old friends and foes come back into her life.

Everyone thought that Bella Nightingale was dead and time was safe again but they were wrong on both counts. Bella’s acolytes have been working tirelessly to bring her back and this time Bella’s got a new body, that of a swinging sixties woman and she’s going to enjoy every minute of it.

Nine of Swords introduces several new characters and new locations. Expect to be plunged into the Victorian worlds of trains, sport, prisons and stage performances. Meet Isis, Queen of the Night, as she performs her daring magic act and puts her knowledge of creating illusions in the service of defeating Bella. Meet Ezekiel Lee, leader of a modern coven in thrall to Bella. Meet Lenora Barratt a young girl living in a house haunted by Bella. Find out about the true origins and purpose of the camera obscura.

Things have changed in the ten years since Alchemists of Time but some things have remained the same. Bella is still out there and the stability of time is still in doubt. Can she be stopped before it’s too late for everyone and what price are they willing to pay to stop her?

400 Vintage Dancing Girls and counting

The collection of “vintage dancing girls” that I began as a flickr album in 2012 has now passed 400 entries. I’ve no doubt the album title will be considered non-PC these days though, as I have previously written, the term “girl” has been applied very widely and has included men who cross dress. (I haven’t included Vesta Tilley, a very famous male impersonator. Would she be classified as a dancing girl anyway? There are many postcards of her to be found on the internet and a biography by Sara Maitland if you are interested).

As you can see here’s an example of men cross dressing though why and where I do not know. Possibly from an ENSA or other wartime show.

The number of studio posed girls in dance dress is almost impossible to guess but I wouldn’t be surprised if it ran into the hundreds of thousands. This is a good example of the genre.

Another source of material comes from dancing schools. This for instance comes from an album of photographs and articles about amateur productions put on by Raybury Dance school sometime in the 1930s and later.

There have been many dance troupes that performed in variety and where this is clearly the case I have also included them in an album featuring variety, music hall and theatre performers. Again the numbers of these troupes is staggering and it’s very difficult to track down information on them to identify when and where they performed.

This last photograph comes from the famous Windmill Theatre. There are many collectors of material from the Windmill and some of the performers are still alive. This particular photograph lists the performers on the reverse and I was amazed to be contacted by another flickr user who told me one of them was his mum!