The Sorting of the Secret Post


Currently available only as a SnapBook, Jeremiah Willstone and the Sorting of the Secret Post is a direct prequel to Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine! Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll find within:

On the dark, misty streets of Providence, the night dispatcher of the Secret Post at first thought he’d found an obsolete computer—her worn crinoline dress frayed to the point of tatters, her ill-fitting corset losing its ribbing, her aging vacuum-tube crown cracked and battered.

But as she staggered closer, her disheveled hair, her addled gaze—and the basket of illicit coca puffs crooked in her elbow—told the night dispatcher he’d found the perfect thing to warm his cold watch on the dockyards: a tube junkie desperate for her next fix.

Her next words did not disappoint: “Sweet treats to keep ya on your feet,” she cried, hefting her basket demonstratively as she approached the loading dock, her gaze flickering over the dispatcher and his two guards, her shifty eyes hungry for returned interest. “Sweet treats—”

“Well, aren’t you a sweet treat yourself,” said the younger guard, leaning in to look.

“Shove off, tubie,” snapped the elder guard, barring her way. “What are you after—”

“Oh, help us get a spark, love,” she said. “A girl just wants an honest livin’—oi!”

Pushing between the guards, the dispatcher darted a hand into the basket and popped a puff in his mouth. The fizz on his tongue quickly spread through his body—but the puffs were weak. “Oi yourself. Shillin’ puffs? You’ll never scratch together a spark sellin’ this lot.”

“A girl does what she has to,” she said, leaning towards him—smelling of faded perfume, not grime. Her hair was greying, but a few gleaming copper threads still poked out of the thick mass, and the face beneath it, while dirty, was not too lined—pretty, for a worn street beggar.

“Does she? We’ll buy the lot,” he said, lifting her basket out of her arms. Not hearing him at first, her hands went after the basket, her eyes going wild—then her face turned crafty when he said, “And no worries, love, I’ll see you get a full charge. Search her.”

The computer laughed as the older guard took her arm, wobbling unsteadily on her feet as the younger swept a coil-wand over her. It zzowed as it swept over her corset and crown, but other than that, the most metal she had on her body were her copper bracelets.

“Well, now,” she said, looking at the wand. “That’d get a girl’s attention—”

“You’re a feisty tart,” the younger guard said, popping a puff. “She’s clean.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” the older guard said, looking disgusted—but also popping a puff.

“Just keep your eyes out for the Expeditionaries—we’ve paid off the watch,” the dispatcher snapped, taking the computer’s arm and steering her inside. “No excuse for falling asleep on the job, not with that fizz in you. You need more, come in and get some.”

The guards laughed. The laughter continued inside the Secret Post’s warehouse, even when the dispatcher gave the basket of fizzy stimulants to the men guarding the pyramid of wooden crates. “Stay sharp! The delivery gets loaded five minutes after the boat arrives!”

To read more, visit Anthony at conventions, or ask for it from Thinking Ink Press!

A Choir of Demons


Like science? Like adventure? Like seeing liberated women kick ass? Well, for all of the above you’re in luck, because Aurora Wolf magazine has published “A Choir of Demons”, Jeremiah Willstone’s very first adventure out of Academy! Here’s a preview:

“Well, Lieutenant,” he said, handing the dispatch to her. “Looks like your bailiwick.”

“A … police matter, sir?” Jeremiah said, her voice unexpectedly rising; most unbecoming in a soldier, but she hadn’t expected to be sent on a formal mission on her very first day. Navid clearly had talked her up too much! “With respect, sir, I’ve not even completed orientation—”

“You’re wearing the tailcoat,” Lord Bharat said firmly. “Aquit it well. Dismissed.”

Jeremiah clicked her heels, whirled and marched off, her head positively spinning. What were the protocols? Who were the players? She was going in blind! She tried to pump the dispatcher for details, but he sternly sent her on her way: the plea was urgent.

And so, within the hour, Jeremiah found herself halfway across Boston standing beside a detective policeman opening the bloodied front door of an artisan’s shop. Even as the hardbitten woman’s shaking hand cranked the passkey, Jeremiah steeled herself.

“Not sure whether this is an Incursion,” the detective muttered, “but it sure as hell looks like Expeditionary business.” The lockpick engaged, and the spattered door swung open with an ominous creak … revealing a dark red arc on the floorboards. “We left it just as it was.”

“Oh, you didn’t have to,” Jeremiah whispered. Within the brassworker’s shop, the artisan sat sprawled in his work chair, head lolled back, staring at the ceiling, eyes wide open in terror, dried blood running from his ears. Up and down his whole body—indeed, over much of the shop—were carved rough pentagrams.

“Bloody hell,” Jeremiah said.

“My thoughts exactly,” the detective said, walking inside.

Wow! Hell of a first day on the job. Me, I just had to sit through an orientation seminar and locate the microkitchen. I guess Victoriana really is a different world! Good luck, Jeremiah, and may Victoriana prevail!


-the Centaur