Dreamtime Damsels: Character Interviews

Courtesy of Mary Woldering, some interviews from Dreamtime Damsels (of which we will explain more later) along with a recipe for lasagna and a history lesson on undergarments!

First Interviews


Second Interviews




Sunshine for a Sunday

Sunshine Blogger

Hello Dear Readers

I  was given a little spring in my step and a smile on my face last week when I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger award by the wonderful Soulitary Reaper to whom I offer immense gratitude.

For those of you not versed with this award, the details are here.

Here are the Rules of the Award:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger(s) asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award Logo in your post and/or on your blog.

And here within are the 11 questions I was posed and my answers to them.

1. Do you have a favourite family memorabilia/heirloom? What is it?

Sadly not. My somewhat peripatetic life has led me to exist with scant regard for physical possessions unless absolutely necessary. I did once possess my grandfather’s harmonica. He was by all accounts a musician of no small talent. Tragically, although he passed on the harmonica, he didn’t pass on the talent and my own efforts sounded like two asthmatic cats having an argument at midnight.

2. If you could go back in your own timeline, what would the ‘present you’ tell the ‘2008 you?’

Move to Switzerland and buy a top hat. Those two things between them have brought me all thats best in my life.

3. Which book character would you like to run away with?

I suspect I’m done with running away for a good while, but I would very much like to meet Otto from The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and have him around the house.

4. Do you like your job? What’s your dream job?

As a self employed artisan in my “day job” I would be forced to say yes to the first part. For the second, if I could wave a magic wand I would be a writer. With better teeth. And less grey hairs.

5. Which country would you like to travel to?

Japan – Ms Josephine Pichette organised a number of rebellions and revolutions there. She tells me the food is quite remarkable and the refuse collection unusually ornate.

6. What do you look forward to when you wake up each day?

Turning off the alarm clock. It’s really quite an irritating and jaunty sound and I don’t know how to change it. Making that infernal noise stop is definitely a highlight of the day.

7. If you can meet The Creator, what would you tell him?

I’d say – thanks awfully for existence and all that. But I wonder if you could do me  a favour. There seems to be some disagreement down here about exactly what you want, and some chaps are getting rather hot under the collar about it. Perhaps you could pop down in person, so to speak, and clear up any confusion.

8. What was your favourite show as a kid? (Why did Cartoon Network have to change…)

Scooby Doo – at least one of our stories has a non-too subtle reference to that show. And for absolute clarity, the series before the damnable Scrappy Doo.

9. What is the big announcement about your life that you’d like to give right now?

Unfortunately  I don’t have an announcement as such, but I do have a half baked idea I want to work on this year. I’m rather hoping to create some sort of a live entertainment cabaret for The Benthic Times. It would be a sort of Steampunk Kurt Weill. I suspect given my answer to question 1 I’m on a hiding to nothing, but you never know til you try.

10. Given a choice, which villain would you like to be?

Well none of mine for sure… they’re all awful in different ways. Perhaps Darth Vader as he is a fair swordsman, achieves personal redemption and manages to wear a cape with panache. Thats a rare talent these days.

11. How was your day?

It is just starting. So far I’ve had the joy of two coffees, answering these questions and I’m looking forward to an Italian meal for lunch. So full marks so far.

Thanks Padma for the lovely questions.

My nominated blogs for the award are (in no particular order)

Non Euclidean Sofa


Old Guv Legends

Daily Doodle

Little Fears


Steampunk Music Blog

Cogpunk Steamscribe

Vasa and Ypres

Slippery Edge


Dear Fellow bloggers, if you may permit me to trouble your busy day with a request to answer the following questions

  1. Why did you start to blog?
  2. Is that still the same reason and, if not, what has changed?
  3. If it was 1918, or even 1968, how would you “blog”?
  4. Which is your favourite post?
  5. Which is your most successful post (however you think of that)?
  6. Do you have a creative endeavour that came out of your blog, such as a book or other objet d’art?
  7. You host a dinner party with four other people, fictional or real, from any point in history. Who gets the invite?
  8. What do you cook?
  9. And what do you talk about?
  10. What is the question I haven’t asked, but should?
  11. And what is the answer to that?

Thanks all, have a marvellous Sunshine Sunday!

An Interesting Modern Device to Assist the Writer

Hansen Writing BallNot this…

Good afternoon, Dear Readers. This afternoon I’m going to take the unusual step of pulling back the curtain to reveal some of the gears and levers that go into producing the literary content of the Benthic Times. Pay not attention to the man, I want to show you something else.

Following a marvellous tweet from the equally marvellous Gail Carriger, I started to utilise a most interesting thing called Trello. This works rather like a card index system and allows me to create one card per scene and hence organise the forthcoming Paris Awakening novel. One can also create boards that can function as different sections (for example, Act 1,2,3, or even chapters) and so the scenes can be put in the correct section. One can also re-arrange them at will and add labels (such as characters, locations and so on). My most favourite function of all though is that it allows me to use it via a so-called “app” on my portable telephonic device (the Queen has one, I believe). This rather wonderful thing allows me to carry out plotting at a bus stop. All the more remarkable given I never take the bus.

As I am neither a full on “pantser” nor a meticulous “planner” but some horrible chimeric writer (a “panner” I suspect) who starts writing to get the location, atmosphere and characters, then plots on bits of paper, this is a sheer joy for me. And as the actual financial outgoing is very reasonable (it’s free), I can recommend it to anyone with a reasonably sized writing project on the go.

Wishing you all a pleasant Sunday

Paul Michael

Top Hats and Tentacles

Dear Reader

As I am sure you are aware, here at the Benthic Times we are extremely keen on cephalopods and crochet. We were therefore delighted to find on Messers Smith and Skarry’s most marvellous site a post combining these two topics, namely a televisual instruction on making a Crochet Octopus Mask:

Smith and Skarry: Crochet Octopus Mask

As the winter nights draw in and our thoughts turn from spending sunny days promenading under parasols to wintry days walking rapidly under umbrellas, one needs a hobby or project to while away the time. We are indeed most interested in crafting such a mask.


To show we are neither “slackers” or “amateurs” in the world of tentacular head gear, I present above a picture of a “Steampunk Styled” hat that we have. We have taken the traditional approach of attaching everything we like to a top hat, including our much loved “cuddly” Cthulhu. We hope this shows our dedication to this cause.

Incidentally, the background to this daguerrotype is a small snippet of a piece of art by the wonderful Angela McFall, whose work is also much recommended.

On the Origins of Admiral Isaac Cadwaddler

victorian-name-generatorA Random Name Generator – as we imagine it to look

During an interesting writing session this week, the Benthic Times found itself uncharacteristically stuck for a name for one of our characters. Whilst a ten-mile walk through the countryside would be the normal cure for this malaise, time was of the essence. As such, we turned to that modern miracle, the internet and found this little gem:

Victorian Name Generator

Amongst the many humorous names that we derived is the one that currently graces the title above.

We wish you a most pleasant weekend.

Hermine Moriarty, Temporary Editor

Patronage and Other Charming Things

I think its fair to say that an artist likes nothing more than to be patronized. Thanks to the miracle of the modern “internet” craze, it’s now possible for artists to be patronized by not just the wealthy, but also by the hoi polloi. One artist whose work we admire greatly here at The Benthic Times is Professor Elemental. Whilst we’ve never been entirely clear on the educational establishment that granted the gentleman in question his title, we are nevertheless tremendously fond of his musical utterances. The good Professor has recently made use of this “internet” to invite people to support his work. Dear reader, we commend this to you.


Please Patronize Professor Elemental!

For those of who you expecting another episode of our ongoing series, The Fulham Fiend, we need to explain the wide-ranging and radical changes we merely hinted at last week. I shall elaborate here. In short, the regular Tuesday posting of a chapter will continue as is. What was the “Friday post” on a more miscellaneous topic (and which occasionally lapsed into Saturday and even Monday) will now float freely through the week according to the whims of the creators (and possibly The Creator). The second chapter each week will be presented here each Saturday. We trust this is clear and has not unnecessarily inconvenienced you on this fine Friday evening.


The Staircase Mystery

Following our recent transatlantic travel, the Benthic Times are a little airship-lagged and so our regular Friday post is appearing on Saturday. The ink in our well is a little dry as well, so I’m afraid we merely have this picture of a staircase from our pleasant stay at Hôtel St Jacques, Paris. We can wholeheartedly recommend this hotel for its location,  its staff, and for its collection of Victorian ephemera.



Complimentary Literature

“Nice hat, it’s really rather fetching.”

Alternately, there is this…for modern devices.



Now, Writer

Charles_Dickens_3A writer, most likely awake at night

Dear Reader

We believe that some of you are also dear writers, so we’d like to introduce you to a web community that an acquaintance of ours is hoping to build. It is aimed at wordsmiths willing and able to critique each others work. The idea, if we have it correctly, is to move beyond the usual grammatical and typographical commentary into an analysis of the more ephemeral side: tone, character, voice and all those other marvellous things that keep a writer awake at night.

Here is the link to this venture – Now Writer

Kind Regards

The Jennings