Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January Secret Agent #11

TITLE: Molly Watkins - Soap Powder Chronicles
GENRE: Steampunk Fantasy

Only two things would bring a thinking man to Whiskey Falls in January; money and women- or the prospect of either. Since Molly Watkins didn’t have much in the way of the first, she supposed the filthy scoundrel in her front yard must have come for the latter.

“You best take your grubby paw off her bosom and get the hell out of here before I make a hole in you,” Molly Watkins aimed her modified Henry directly at him.

He held up a nickel that sparkled in the moonlight. “I got my money right here. Sign says five cents.”

“That’s for the laundry, you fool.”

One of Molly’s hired helpers stood motionless next to the scoundrel. “Why don’t you go inside, Mercy. This won’t take but a minute.”

She waited for the young girl to close the front door behind her before she continued with her tirade. “And you’re sadly mistaken if you think this is the kind of place where you can borrow a woman for your own satisfaction.” Molly shivered beneath her dress and two layers of thermals. “This is a Soap Parlor. That means we have a steam laundry and hot soapy baths for our paying customers.”

He turned his head to observe the white porcelain tub percolating behind him. Molly’s latest invention, a laundry machine she had constructed mostly from discarded machine parts, was silent now after a long day of repetitive use.

“What? That pile of junk? Your machine ain’t nothing but a bunch of nuts and bolts.”


  1. I'm not usually one for steampunk, but I'd continue reading because Molly's got some spunk. And I love the idea of laundry and baths in the same place. Hah!

    There's a punctuation issue in your first sentence; consider reworking.

  2. This is nice. Well written good job.
    My only pet peeve is the word observe, but that's just me.

  3. Maybe change the word "observe" to "eye". He's a scoundrel, and the words observe just seems too gentleman-like.

    I also think it would help to state who's bosom he had his hand around. We get a few paragraphs later that it was with a hire helper, but until that point, I had no idea who he was holding on to. Maybe something like...

    "He held up a nickle that sparkled in the moonlight, his other hand firmly around a young woman named Mercy."

  4. I thought the first line was awkward. I think you can drop "or the prospect of either" and the statement stands on its own. I love the dialogue, and am intrigued by the idea of Molly inventing a washing machine. I'd read on.

  5. This is good. You give a clear picture of the protagonist. A few things I might modify- change motionless to terrified, borrow to buy(since he is holding a nickel), and how can she tell the wanderer is a 'thinking' man?

  6. Love it! Funny and engaging.

  7. Your title grabbed me instantly - good work.

    I loved how you introduced SP elements right away, and that Molly is a great character.

    I'd definitely keep on reading:)

  8. Just chiming in to say I thought this was a lot of fun. I love that the main character is a laundress, rather than a lady or scientist or something more expected.

  9. This is one of my favorite excerpts I've read in the secret agent blog enteries. Strong writing and great dialogue. I don't gravitate toward steampunk because it's usually too overwritten for my taste. This totally isn't. Nice work!

  10. I love this. Molly is my kind of woman, and the fact that she is an inventor makes her even more interesting.

    I think you should let us know who's bosom he has aholt of, just for clarity.

    Definitely worth reading. Best of luck with it.

  11. Great job! Molly is a character I already love--she's spunky and resourceful.

    My only recommendation is to follow Rebecca's advice about clearing up whose bosom he's got his hand on.

  12. What a great opening! I'd definitely read more. And I liked the fact that she was a laundress with some talent at mechanics than the typical flyer, scientist, etc.

    I don't know where you're taking it, but I'd keep reading to find out.

  13. Clever, playful, patient, and all sorts of good stuff...the man's "What? That pile of junk?" line felt a bit run-of-the-mill to me, but the rest was sharp and perfectly enjoyable...excellent work!

  14. I've been reading through all of the entries, and though I've found several that I really liked, this is the first one I feel compelled to comment on and say that I would totally read this. I hope the rest of it is as good. :-)