Monthly Archives: October 2012

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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Review of Lord’s Love by Sophie Dawson

Lord's Love (Cottonwood)

The choice St John Lytton’s father gives him seems like a lose-lose situation. Even when he thinks he’s found an easy path with old acquaintances, he learns his father’s got a deeper plan. Culture shock doesn’t stop him from trying to have a little fun. But that’s when he begins to understand the seriousness of his situation. Will he risk losing his livelihood, home and heritage? And is it possible he still doesn’t understand what his father really wants from him? Could it be the beautiful girl he first pursued for fun is trying to teach him the same lesson? And if he doesn’t get it this time, will anything he’s planned or tried to accomplish really matter?

http://www.amazon.com/Lords-Love-Cottonwood-ebook/dp/B0095BJUCO

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New Release: Callie — the Women of Valley View Series by Sharon Srock

Sharon Srock

The Women of Valley View. Ordinary women using their faith to do extraordinary things.

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all.

Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin  still haunt her.

Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.

Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing. And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.

For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

Here are some questions I asked Sharon about her writing in general and Callie in particular.

1. Your book is published by Pelican, yet you are doing a blog tour and all this marketing and promotion yourself. Briefly, can you advise aspiring writers about some keys to promoting? 
 So much of the marketing and promotion is left to the author these days, regardless of the publisher. It’s sad in a way, I’d much rather be writing. Advice? Nothing new really. Get an Internet presence. Blog, tweet, facebook. I don’t know that any of these things, taken individually, make a lot of difference, but I’m hoping that as a whole my reach is increased beyond my circle of friends.
2. The brief teaser for your Callie story reminds me of the Classic Boxcar Children books — Children who may have thought they had to hide from their family. The circumstances may be different, but are there similarities?
Is it bad to say that I never read those stories? I can say that Samantha and Iris are hiding, but not from any family that they are aware of. I hadn’t thought of this till recently, but one of the first books I remember reading was a little story called Tomas Takes Charge. Cut to the basic plot, from my youngest character’s POV, yes there are similarities. When I realized that I was just amazed that God never wastes any experience in our lives.
3. Could you comment on the conflict people go through when deciding to ‘get involved”, especially in modern times, and whether that influenced your story?
How many times have you read a news story about someone trying to do a good thing and ending up sued or arrested? It’s a sad commentary on the world we live in. Did that trend influence my story? Not so much. Callie is hesitant more for personal reasons than anything to do with social trends.
4. Addiction seems to play a large part in your story. Was it hard to be realistic about someone recovering from addiction?
Well, I’ve never had an addiction unless you count chocolate. When Callie’s story opens Steve is well past his addictions, so I didn’t deal with that subject in more than just passing mention. The second in the series, Terri’s story deals more closely with that issue and in the first draft I got a lot of stuff wrong. Thank goodness I have people reading my stuff that have been delivered from these issues and could steer me in the right direction.
5. Is Callie your first published book? Do you write in any other genres, or do you hope to someday?
Yes, Callie is the first. Terri is set to release in April of next year. I’m planning six stories for The Women of Valley View series, Callie, Terri, Pam, Samantha, Kate, and Karla. These will all be women’s fiction with touches of romance. That isn’t by any specific design on my part, just the stories that God seems to be giving me right now. Who knows where He’ll lead me once these are done?
Sharon is offering a chance to win a gift package as part of her blog tour. Check out what will be included in the gift package.
They are:
A copy of Callie’s story
A certificate for Terri’s story when it releases in April
A 6 piece Cherry blossom bath set
A cosmetic bag
A Bath Wrap
A Cozy pink eye mask
A Pair of aloe infused booties
A Hair Turban
A Tennis Bracelet
A 25.00 Amazon gift card
 Leave a comment if you’d like to be entered in the drawing. I will send the list of everyone who comments to Sharon. Be sure to provide an email so she can contact you if you’re the winner.  A winner will be drawn Monday November 19th. The items add up to well over 100.00 in value.

Here’s where you can get the book Callie, or get in touch with Sharon.

Barnes and Noble — http://tinyurl.com/9ahy3tg

Amazon — http://tinyurl.com/9dreu8g

Pelican Books — http://tinyurl.com/8ncbjnl

The Women of Valley View: Callie, Available 26 Oct 2012
The Women of Valley View: Terri, Available April 12 2013

Visit my BLOG at: http://www.womenofvalleyview.blogspot.com/

Connect with me on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/SharonSrock#!/SharonSrock

Follow me on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/#!/SharonSrock

Find me on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6448789.Sharon_Srock

To view an on line AVON book please visit my website:  http://ssrock.avonrepresentative.com/?CUST_ID=0&SECURITY_TOKEN=&BRAND_ID=0&setlang=1#

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Faith and Victory Requires Searching with Heart and Sword A review of The Center Circle Two: Weapons of Warfare by Steve Biddison

The Weapons of Warfare (The Center Circle Chronicles)

What does Landru need to free his world from his conquering foe? Where can he look for allies when those he depended on shake his trust to its core? Will a journey to the Great Pyramid and Stonhenge give him the teacher he needs to understand his faith? Who will fight with him when the only army he has left is trapped on another world, in another time?

The Center Circle continues to promote division rather than unity in the second installment, but Landru and Brenna grow in understanding and maturity. The Weapons of Warfare are only part of what Landru has to search for, and Biddison’s success in this book is more in teaching readers how to deal with limitations than in tidily resolving all the problems. Not everything that was lost is found. Not everything that was broken is fixed. But the hope he gives as things begin to come together keeps the reader going.

There are no tidy resolutions, but that’s what Book Three is for, I think. In the meantime, just as our faith grows and our battles go on, the Center Circle characters show us glimpses of hope that we. too, can find victory through faith.

http://www.amazon.com/Weapons-Warfare-Center-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B008LEJC24

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