New fiction live – “How Smoke Got Out of the Chimneys” – Historical Crime/Caper

A Victorian Orphan makes good.


How Smoke Got Out of the Chimneys (Smoke #1)

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads (reviews)

(still some links going up)

London, England. 1840.

Gangs of four- and five-year-old orphans are being used as “apprentice” chimney sweeps–they’re the only ones who can fit down the narrow chimneys, taking brushes and baskets down with them into upper-class Victorian homes to scrape out the creosote. 

It’s good for ‘em, don’tcher know?

Caroline, a.k.a. the infamous Smoke, is one of the older orphans, who help lift and lower the smaller ones, handle the customers, and keep the gang runner, Hasty Wallace, from flying off the handle. But rumor is, it’s time to shuffle the sixteen-year-old orphan off to other business ventures. Ones with mattresses. Lots of mattresses. If it were up to Hasty (and it is), Caroline will disappear into a brothel in Whitechapel…or a ditch. Honestly, he doesn’t care which.

It’s time for Caroline to get out of the chimney business. And maybe it’s time that Hasty Wallace learned a thing or two about orphans…

(For teens and up – crime/caper – some violence)


The sequel, “How Smoke Delivered a Christmas Present” is in the Very Merry Christmas Bundle, full of Christmas cheer.  I’ll put the next story up on other sites after a bit – right now it’s exclusive to the bundle 🙂


How Smoke Delivered a Christmas Present

Exclusive at the Very Merry Christmas Bundle

London, England. 1840.

The Chimney Sweep Act has just been passed by Parliament, forbidding the use of underaged orphans as chimney sweeps’ assistants—four- and five-year-olds are being sent down into chimneys with wire brushes to scrape out the creosote. The government means well, but has instead put hundreds or even thousands of little kids with no real protectors out of work. Right before Christmas.

Caroline, a.k.a. the infamous Smoke, has been trying to rescue them all.

Three of the orphans are staying at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Croft, well-off mill-owners from Yorkshire. The first night, all seemed to be fine—but the next time Caroline checks on them, they have left the sign for trouble in their window. All three of them are missing, and their belongings are still nailed up in the crate they were delivered in.

Caroline breaks into the house, fearing the worst…

(For teens and up – crime/caper – some violence)

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