here is a guest Post from Charlotte Babb, author of 30 Hours To Charles Town. Check it out.
Excerpt of my WIP: 20 Hours to Charles Town due for release in late spring 2015
When an airship madam arranges a secret meeting, can she trust her crew and a rogue operative to keep her clients safe from his handlers, her allies, and an anarchist?
Jonas wanted more of the tonic to stay awake. Most of his section focused on client rooms, all empty and quiet now. Sitting for long periods of time doing nothing was not his style. He stretched his neck and suppressed a yawn.
He had been keeping an eye on Coontz/Golden at their table in the gallery, the only one he could see, but so far nothing out of the way happened. A few signs passed between the women, but they kept their faces so calm that he could not make out the exchange.
As he worked, he began to see the communications pattern, who was in charge. She did not wander behind the workers, but stayed at her station, glancing up when someone tapped a certain rhythm on the table. Then there would be an exchange of hand signs, or she would go to the woman to read her notes. The room stayed as silent as possible so that each of them could hear their section.
Jonas looked at the periscopes in front of him. Not much going on, empty rooms with low lighting. The gallery was not much more interesting, chitchat and innuendo. He noted one room was completely dark, not just dim. He plugged his ear piece into that room, but it was dead silent. He tried another room, and while he could see that it was empty, there was some sound—the thrum of the engine, the wind outside the ship. Something was wrong, He tapped to the woman in charge and beckoned her to come to him, since he did not know the signs.
“Someone needs to check on this room,” he whispered. “I think the periscope has been covered or disabled.”
She looked at the room listings. “That’s Mr. Golden and Savannah.”
“His name’s not Golden,” Jonas said. “It’s Coontz. I worked with him from years ago. He can be dangerous.”
“They are probably still in the gallery.” She made a sign to one of the others, who shook her head in answer.
She listened for a second through the ear piece.
She went back to her station and spoke to someone to come to the surveillance.
She turned to Jonas. “Come with me.”
They went up a half flight of stairs to another hallway.She knocked on Room 15, but got no answer. She opened the door to peer inside then rushed in, Jonas right behind her.
On the bed lay Savannah, unconscious and tied up. Her face was bruised, but she was breathing.
They cut her loose, massaging her hands and feet. Jonas scouted the room, where he saw the wires from the microphone hanging lose under the bed. Coontz clearly knew he was being watched, and had taken preventative measures. Where was he now, and what could Jonas do about it?
“We have to tell Zulie. He is a threat, and while I don’t know what he is up to, it can’t be good. Robbery perhaps of diplomatic materials, or something more sinister. Is there a lot of money aboard?”
“No, we wire it ahead. Safer that way. There are other valuables, but Plato and his crew have them secured.”
“Coontz may not know that.” He’d been pondering how Coontz had become Golden to make this trip. A change of identity was not that much of a challenge, but who was bankrolling him? “The man with him, Lockhart, is a grifter. He may be in on the plan or he may be a fall guy.”
“In either case, he needs to be watched too.” She paused. “Thank you. Stay here while I fetch the doctor. ”
Savannah was breathing regularly and her color was good, except for the bruise. If she were as well-trained as Reba, how had Golden been able to knock her out? An unexpected attack could cause one to be overcome, as he had reason to know from recent experience.
He checked out the room as he waited for the doctor to see about Savannah. He did not want to move her for fear of injury, and she was safe enough where she was for the moment. He tried the wall to find the panel that hid the dumbwaiter. The opening was about two feet square and deep, enough for a carpetbag or diplomatic pouch—or supper, but not much else. He looked for a signaling device for sending orders or retrieving the contents from below. He found it—a simple bell like any servant bell.
He pictured the shafts for the waiters, one for every room, probably back to back between rooms, which meant that the walls were much thicker than they appeared to be—good for sound dampening, but also good for secret passageways and hiding places. He wondered how well they were watched. He was searching the opposite wall when the doctor came in.
“Return to your post, Mr. Jones,” the the woman in charge said. “We will take care of this. Can you find your way?”
“Yes.” He said. He might take the long way around, however, to make sure that Zulie saw him, so he could tell her himself what he knew.
How had Coontz—Golden moved into the ranks of the elite to be able to get passage on the ship. Was he working for Elvira?
It didn’t seem likely—she was known for her treatment of her women, and Coontz was a bruiser. If Golden had inherited his father’s wealth—possible, if improbable—maybe his disposition had mellowed.
The unconscious woman in the room said that was not the case. Madame was in danger along with the cruise and whatever other mission she had planned. Zulie needed to know she’d been duped, and he was sure that he could not get as close to Madame as Golden would.
He took a wrong turn, away from surveillance and toward the engine room, thrumming under his feet.
He hadn’t taken ten steps before Zulie appeared before him, frowning, tense, and threatening.
Maybe this wasn’t his best plan ever.
Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil
A dead cellphone calls with a job offer and a promise of dragons.
Giving up what’s her self-esteem for coffee, her last chance to redeem her life comes as a job offer to be a fairy godmother. But Faery is shrinking, the other fairy godmothers have disappeared, and nothing she does turns out right.
How can she put together the happily ever after each of her clients wants with her boss standing in her way?
$5.95 Kindle $15.99 Paper
Maven’s Fractured Fairy Tales
Fairy Godmother Maven Morrigan has her own way of making the happily ever after come true for The Frog Prince, Rumpelstiltskin and Beauty and the Beast. Three fractured fairy tales to bring you a smile
$2.99 Kindle $5.99 Paper
Separate stories also available $0.99
Bubba and the beast: http://bit.ly/BubbaBeast
Fairy Frogmother: http://bit.ly/FrogMom
Just a Smidgen of Magic: Enchantment at the Edge of Mundane
Five flash fiction stories of magical encounters in the modern world.
$2.99 Kindle, $5.49, Paper
Walking Off Heaven’s Shore
A ten-piece bucket of Southern fried flash fiction.
$2.99 Kindle $5.99 Paper
A short-short about a cup of coffee on a sunny morning and a decision about changing one’s life.
Brief bio of Charlotte Henley Babb, Author
Web designer, social networks manager, blogger, novelist, and online writing instructor, Charlotte Henley Babb has been writing since she was four, and now makes up fractured fairy tales for people who have survived beyond the love’s last kiss. Where the stories are for people over 20 who have survived marriage, divorce, child-rearing, post-graduate education, bankruptcy, empty nest, and widowhood?
Charlotte Henley Babb writes them.
Her first novel, Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil, was published in 2012 and was awarded the Sharp Writ First Place in Fantasy and Science Fiction. It also received an honorable mention in the 2014 National Federation of Press Women communications contest for adult novels.. She has self-published short stories in ebook and print format, doing the technical work, cover design, and layout herself.
Charlotte has taught English in high school and junior college, written procedure manuals, and edited association newsletters. She has presented at education and writing conferences on using the Internet, blogging, and writing science fiction. She brings to any project a number of experiences: technical writer, gasket inspector, wait staff, fabric and craft retail associate, craft artificer, secret weapon, and telephone psychic. Currently she manages the website, social media presence, and monthly newsletter for Sherman College of Chiropractic.
Connect with Charlotte Henley Babb