Tag Archives: Literary tribute

A tidbit from The ‘Prentices, the Puppets, and the Pirates

octopus black

“Twist! Look out!”
I spun and swung wildly as the crack of a Colt revolver split the air. Sluefoot Sue had both her firearms out and was shooting at something below me. To my astonishment tentacles rose out of the Thames and wrapped themselves around the Catfish. Each time one of Sue’s bullets struck them they disappeared under the water again, but when she paused to reload they re-emerged and began to reach for me, climbing the Catfish sub. I hastily winched myself over toward the dock but a tentacle grabbed hold of my leg just as I started to unhook the harness. It flung me down on the dock and started dragging me to the edge.
“Hey, boss lady!” Dobbs, Sue’s assistant, hollered out from inside the workshop. I was just able to see a pump-action shotgun cartwheel through the air and land in Sue’s gloved hands. Just before it began to blast me deaf, I realized that it was in fact no ordinary shotgun, rather had some sort of gattling action, and a bit more. I hoped I would get a better look at it rather than end up 20,000 leagues under in some sea monster’s maw.

Vote for your favorite Oliver! Comment below to make your choice: Curly-headed stalwart or figure of romance.

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Last Free Days for the Illustrated Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist

dodge ebook 10 illus
We have facebook friends all over the world, so I am posting all the store links Amazon has for the Illustrated Dodge, Twist and Tobacconist, which is free today, tomorrow and Wednesday. Merry Christmas!

US
http://amzn.to/S14DWe

France
http://amzn.to/12rTJgE
Germany
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UK
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Spain
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Italy
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Brazil
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Canada
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Japan
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India
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And in this special new edition you get a sneak preview of The Alexander Legacy Book 2: The ‘Pprentices, the Puppets, and the Pirate. Here’s a peek at the latest cover concept art:

redesigned legacy 2 10
 

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Still free today — Oliver Twist’s Image-making Machinery

I had felt so helpless, knowing a great evil had been done, and more might be contemplated, while this astounding woman had made sense of it all and fitted it into her quest. How had she known what transpired between myself and the drunken manager? She claimed she had not found me until yesterday. I could not give the matter any more thought, though, for Madame Phoebe spoke again.

“Doctor Twist, please give us your report next.”

“Hold on just a tick, Lady Phoebe.” Oliver Twist hunched his shoulders in a way that had already become familiar to me. “There. Got my imagework from Chancery up.” He nodded toward a blank wall, this one fitted with a large sheet of pure white fabric unlike the flocked brocades in the rest of the room. Everyone looked at him quizzically. He grumbled something inaudible and fiddled with the device again. I saw a ghostly image appear in his now opalescent hatband stone; the faint figure of a dirty, bent, elderly woman.

Then the whole assembled company gasped. I turned my head sharply back to the wall. A light shimmered and an image snapped into focus. It was no grainy, flickering celluloid film. It was as clear as if we all stood in the London Chancery’s squalid environs. A grimy, frizzle-haired old woman wearing a coarse, formerly red and gray-striped skirt, a black shawl and a grimy white shirtwaist, clutching a basket of washing turned abruptly and looked up toward the ceiling of the room. Long, finely-boned hands took possession of the basket and the woman favored the possessor of the hands with a smile.

“‘Allo, lovey. Lookey you, tricked out loik Saint George!” cackled the old woman as dawn broke over the black, huddled buildings behind her. She shuffled a little ways down the street. “Goin’ t’ save this loidy fair from a dragon?”

“Fair though you be, Lady Gertie, today my quest is to find someone else,” the voice of Oliver Twist replied. The conversation, clear and real as if the people were in the room, appeared to originate from the device in Twist’s hands just as Madame Phoebe’s voice had come from it last night. He twisted a knob to reduce the volume for a moment and spoke over his recorded patter of soothing words reassuring the woman.

http://www.amazon.com/Dodge-Tobacconist-Alexander-Legacy-ebook/dp/B009NV1DMG

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Visha’s Antidote

“What an amazing story! I had speculated that you must have saved his life.”

“I would give my life for his if I could. Do I need to save him from you?”

Visha bolted out of her chair and paced the room. “Do I need to give this back to you?” She held out the pouch. “I have not taken it yet. I have kept your secrets from Dodge. I have bared my soul to you. I have told you everything I am and everything I know about Dodge. But you still do not believe me. What must I do to prove myself?”

“Do you know where Dodge is? Can you tell me how to find him?”

“No to both questions. When he wants me he sends for me.”

“What will he do when he realizes you have betrayed him?”

“He will get hold of me, try to make me tell him everything about you, and then kill me.”

“Have you endangered all of us by coming here?”

Visha stopped dead. She turned toward me, opened her mouth, shut it, and crumpled to the floor, knees hitting hard, hands lax on the carpet, eyes desolate.

“I have, haven’t I? It was such a clever plan I had, to pretend to Dodge that I was with Trevor. But he will know. Of course he will know. What am I to do?” She clutched the pouch. “If I take this, all of it, I can go to some alley and he will find me dead. He will never know I have been here, will he? He cannot know everything so quickly. Two or three hours. That’s all it has been. I just wanted to — I only thought — ”

She began to cry but made no sound. My side had begun to ache, but I got up and moved to stand over her. Once more I put a hand on her soft, shining black hair. She flinched a little but did not raise her eyes.

Still free for one more day. Currently #3 in SciFi Adventure in the Kindle Store. http://www.amazon.com/Dodge-Tobacconist-Alexander-Legacy-ebook/dp/B009NV1DMG

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At Fagin’s Final Rest Mortuary

The walls were patterned like glittering silver and black marble, with slender pillars spaced along the sides. Niches held blue flames behind ornate silver gratings cast in the shape of openwork doves.

Black benches cushioned with blue velvet, very like church pews, were arranged facing a black velvet curtain fringed with silvery tassels. We took seats at the direction of the same two assistants who had accompanied Jessica Fagin to get the body. At least, to my eyes they appeared the same. Fagin appeared from behind the curtain a moment later and the men faded off to the sides.

“Welcome,” Fagin said. “This place is for you. Grieve, celebrate, pray, praise — The official time when others may come has been published widely in newspapers, by wireless, and by posted bills. After the time of the public visitation has expired my attendants and I will leave. We will set the doors to lock automatically and unlock from the inside only, so that you may remain protected here or leave at any time you wish. Stay through the night if you desire to keep vigil.

“You will not be disturbed or interrupted before dawn, as the locks will be timed to deny outside entry. In the morning, my attendants and I will return to lay your friend to rest.” Fagin herded her attendants toward the back of the room. Two hours had been advertised for the visitation this evening. The curtain at the front opened of its own accord and we saw the barrow carrier behind it, curtains drawn to the back, fully exposing the fragrant, wrapped body of Charley Bates resting on it.

To our surprise, people began to arrive. Charley Bates had evidently been a popular fellow in London, but the class of people who began to trickle in paid no compliment to his own character or the company he kept. We of the Legacy Company immediately went on guard as these filthy, shuffling, shifty-eyed mourners filed in and passed by Bates’ body before finding seats. We managed to spread ourselves out among them and kept a careful watch.

Madame Phoebe stepped to the lacquered black podium and began to sing as more people entered the auditorium. Her glorious voice poured out prayer and praise and we saw wonder, discomfort, all manner of emotions, flicker across the faces of the newer arrivals.

We of the company had to force ourselves to remember that we were in this place, after all, for more than just the solution to a mystery. it was not so difficult, however, hearing this angelic voice reminding us that God controlled what seemed like madness and mayhem to our weak human vision. To their credit, this rabble quieted their whispers and cackles and snorts upon entering. Reverend Ferrars pointedly greeted and shook the hand of every stranger in that strange assembly, producing much more discomfort. After a half-hour the stream of mourners seemed to stop.

“We welcome you all here,” Madame Phoebe said. “This is not a church, but we who believe in Christ have brought Him here in our hearts. Do not harden your own hearts, but let Him do a work here tonight.” She seated herself. Edward approached the podium and set his Bible upon it. When he adjusted his half-glasses into place and opened the Book before him, some even bowed their heads as he began to pray.

“Gracious Heavenly Father,” he said in a clear, carrying voice, “You brought Charley Bates to us, though he thought he came of his own will, to do his own will. Instead he found Christ. You have now brought these others, people who thought they came of their own will, for their own reasons. May we see these find Christ as well. You have not taken Charley from us, but merely brought him home to yourself. In Christ’s name we have come, and in His Name we say Amen.

“The book of Job always comes to mind when I think of funerals,” Edward said, looking up and beaming innocently around on that very mixed multitude. “Think of the horrible incidents where Satan attacked Job. Think of all that he lost and all that he suffered. But remember that God said to Satan, ‘Spare his life’.

“And God did protect Job’s life. Not that it mattered to Job about his physical life. His wife nagged him to ‘Curse God, and die’, but Job said, ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust him’. We who take every precaution to protect, nourish, and cherish our physical bodies and lives cannot comprehend this. ‘Though this body be destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God,’ Job assured us.

“In the New Testament, Christ says, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ He said this on his way to the tomb of a dead man. Do you know what He meant?

“Stop thinking you must serve a wicked master because only he will feed you, shelter you, protect you. Let God free you from domination. Charley Bates fell into our company from a great height and no doubt thought his life was over. Understand that you must lose your life to save it, by falling into the everlasting arms of God. Those arms are always underneath us, and they will catch us.”

Edward looked around. I put my arm around Kera because she began to tremble beside me. Madame Phoebe laid a comforting hand on Oliver Twist as he began to weep, overcome by his memories, his pain, and perhaps truly at the thought of Charley Bates having been so briefly his brother in Christ.

free today and tomorrow http://www.amazon.com/Dodge-Tobacconist-Alexander-Legacy-ebook/dp/B009NV1DMG

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Do Drop by Tomorrow for Tea and Mechanicals … Dodge Will Be Free

“This is where Doctor Twist said his professor’s workshop used to be located,” Kera said as we stood on the cobblestones before a large warehouse. The black-mouldy red bricks were faintly mirrored in the oily pools from an earlier rain and the sky showed fitful signs of clearing. I gazed around in the dreary shrouded full moon’s light escaping around a retreating mass of clouds and stubborn patches of fog. “I see no lights, hear no sounds, and have no idea how to get in.”

“Twist said the place is protected from intruders in some way.” My eyes cast about for the twentieth time. “Everything looks so ordinary. The workshop could be underground. There could be weapons set to kill automatically. Just when we need Twist’s brains most, we must go wanting.”

Kera and I prowled some more and located a lever and gear-and-chain assembly along the side. Both of us strained and worked it until a great steel and wood door swung upward with a heavy clanking and hissing. Thick clots of greasy mud and water dripped from the fouled wood and stone ramp beneath it. We ran around to the opening and saw a strangely-glowing figure haloed in the black interior. The short, bow-legged figure had its back to us and faced a far rear corner of the cavernous room.

“It’s Dodge,” Kera quavered. I stepped up onto the dock toward him at once, drawing my firearm, though Kera tried to hold me back.

“Where is Doctor Twist?” I demanded. Seeing I would not be stopped, Kera drew her pistols as well.

“Where is Doctor Twist?” I gritted again when the apparition turned to face us but made no answer, only began to retreat backward.

Free tomorrow and Wednesday. http://www.amazon.com/Dodge-Tobacconist-Alexander-Legacy-ebook/dp/B009NV1DMG

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Conversion of Visha Kanya

“Why was Archibald Campbell poisoned?” I snapped.

“First, please, about my soul … ”

I stared at her, trying to discern whether she only mocked me. To my astonishment, Visha bowed her head and tears flowed down her pale cheeks. She lifted her eyes to me.

“Do you not see that I have been taught there is no hope, no life, only power and death? I have heard that this God gives hope but I know nothing beyond the mockery I have heard all my life. They say I must beat my breast and say, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner,’ and then they laugh. I cannot tell if this is truly what I must do, or if God would strike me dead with lightning for speaking to Him.

“Does not God open the earth and swallow the proud alive? I have been very proud of my beauty, of my skill with the sword, of my poisons. Does He not chase those who worship idols with poisonous snakes? I have clasped the knees of Kali in prayer a hundred times. Is there not a plague that devours prostitutes? I have received many men into my bed. And do not murderers go into a lake of fire burning forever? I have been told at one time or another that all these fates await me. And then the teller laughs and laughs at my fear. But whether any of these things are real or not, I know that my fear is real.”

“But there was also a seditionist and a murderer who was pardoned, in whose place Jesus Christ was condemned and crucified. That man, condemned to death, went free, and Christ died instead. Another criminal hung on a cross beside Him, confessed himself worthy of death, but asked Christ to remember him and was told he would join the Lord in paradise that very day. The Lord is gracious, slow to anger, and of great mercy.”

“I have much need of mercy.”

“Will you acknowledge Christ as your Savior and turn away from your sin?”

“Yes.”

More tears flowed. I did not know what to do. Nothing had prepared me for this event. No killer I had ever faced had begged to accept Christ. I had long since ceased to expect repentance from the wicked people I pursued.

“Will you surrender yourself to the authorities to answer for your crimes?”

“Florrie, I should, and I am willing, but I have an idea that I had better help you stop Dodge first.” Visha flashed the first full, genuine smile I had seen on her beautiful face.

http://www.amazon.com/Dodge-Tobacconist-Alexander-Legacy-ebook/dp/B009NV1DMG

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