Whispers and rumors of collaborations and Nanowrimos derailed

So, Nanowrimo this year is going well enough despite a hectic work schedule, though a friend threaten to derail both my project and hers with an idea that struck her.  She shared it with a mutual friend and then with me, and let me tell you.

I’m kind of stoked.

It’s a collaboration of a particularly epic order of magnitude, assuming we all agree to launch it.  If we do, it’ll be pretty awesome.  If we don’t, I’ll be a little (okay, a lot) bummed.  We’ve done a lot of talking over the past few days (I haven’t seen our third online since the conversation, so I haven’t been able to pick her brain yet, but I’m looking forward to the moment I can), and I’m just getting more and more excited.

So between writing Epsilon: Redeemer and working, I’ve been talking about this stuff.  And thinking about this stuff.

And thinking about the UNSETIC Files, cleaning up some stuff.  In doing so, I came across this little scene that was part of a narrative about how Tim McConaway and Brigid O’Connell, featured in a previous post (the first entry of Doc’s Writercraft), became partners in UNSETIC.

I can remember thinking that they probably should have hung a sign on the door that read X-Files in here.  As it was, the office behind the steel door was small, windowless, spartanly decorated but not necessarily uncomfortable.  What made it uncomfortable was knowing that I’d volunteered for this.

Of course, I hadn’t had many alternatives.

I sat in the hard wooden chair in front of the desk, staring at the fifty-something man behind it, his hands folded in front of him.  He didn’t smile.  “We’re waiting on another.”

“Oh.”  I folded my hands, staring at them.  What am I doing here?

The door behind me opened.  I looked over my shoulder toward the door.  The man that walked in was slightly older than I was, eyes haunted, face gaunt, a healing cut on his lip and fading bruises on his jaw and neck.  I knew him.

He was in the Gulf with us.  I thought he died.  That was years ago.  He moved stiffly, sat down slowly in the chair next to me.  He didn’t look at me, just stared straight ahead as if I didn’t exist.  Stared at the man who was our new boss.

Why did I volunteer for this?  It was simple, though.  I was a part of this because I’d seen someone turn a mortal wound into a minor wound and gone looking for answers.  It was all downhill from there.

“You’ve been working for us already for the past three years, Lieutenant O’Connell,” Paul Ballard said quietly.  “You just didn’t know it.”  He looked toward the man next to me.  “Are you sure you’re up to this, Lieutenant McConaway?”

He’s out of uniform.  The man next to me nodded slightly.  “Yes, sir.”  His voice was quiet.  “I’d assumed I’d be assigned someone from the Air Force to work with, though.”

Ballard inclined his head.  “That was the intention, but Lieutenant O’Connell’s potential partner tried to get himself blown up and yours is dead.  The assignment can’t wait for us to find a new partner for either one of you, so you’re stuck with each other.”

“What’s the assignment, sir?”  I asked quietly.

“You haven’t reconsidered volunteering, then, Lieutenant?”

I glanced toward Timothy McConaway, studied him for a long moment.  There were rumors about what had happened to him in the Gulf.  From the look of him now, whatever had happened then hadn’t left him whole.  But he’s still in the service, apparently.  Maybe.  I nodded.  “Yes, sir.  I’m in.”

“Very good.”  Ballard stood from the desk and took out a pair of files from the cabinet in the corner.  “There’s an installation in theArctic Oceanthat we need you to take a look at.”

“…that’s all?”

“You sound surprised, Lieutenant.”

McConaway frowned.  “Sir, what is it, exactly, that we’re supposed to ‘take a look at’ out there?  I was led to believe that what I was going to do for this agency was going to make a difference.”  He didn’t flinch under Ballard’s stare, but added, somewhat belatedly, “Sir.”

“Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you won’t be, Lieutenant.”  Ballard slid the files across the desk.  I leaned forward and took one.

We’re going to freeze our tails.  I thumbed through the folder slowly.  “As ourselves, sir?”

“You are, Lieutenant.”  Ballard eyed McConaway.  “He is not, but I think that’s par for the course, isn’t it, Mr. McConaway.”

“Yes, sir.”  McConaway’s gaze never wavered.  He took the folder almost mechanically and was quiet.

“You’ll get full briefing on the way out,” Ballard said, mostly to me, it seemed.  “You leave in two days.  You’re dismissed, Lieutenant.”

I stood up, saluted him, and slipped out.  I considered lingering a moment outside the door so I could maybe catch McConaway on his way out, to talk to him, but something made me think better of it.  I left that basement office and headed home.

I forget sometimes how much I really like these characters.  I’m not the only one, too, and that makes me feel fantastic.

You can find Erin on GoodReads these days @ http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5211226.Erin_Klitzke
And on Smashwords @ http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/EMBKlitzke 

Some Halloween treats (UNSETIC Files excerpts)

In the spirit of Halloween and the veil between worlds being a bit thinner in the autumn, I’m celebrating by throwing up some brief segments of work in the UNSETIC Files universe (still under development as a collection).  Then UNSETIC Files are a series of paranormal and supernatural stories set in a present and future much like our own world, but darker, with deeper secrets and an unseen world that some realize is very, very real.

Excerpt #1 is a freewritten background sketch for a college professor in 2030s Manhattan who runs a little esoteric shop and bookstore.  Back in her (much) younger years, she found herself in Alberta, Canada…

The tribe was singing a mourning song, beautiful and haunting.  It sent shivers down her spine, though not because of its beauty.

“Who died?”  She whispered.  No one had been out hunting today, she’d thought.

His arms tightened around her waist, breath warm against her ear.  She could feel his heartbeat as she leaned against his chest, heard him take a deep, almost ragged breath before he spoke softly.  “No one yet,” he said.  “But they’re playing it for us.  For the pack.”

Rebecca stiffened, staring up at him.  Ioan was staring back at the fire, at the circle of singers clustered in its flickering light.  His jaw was set, but it quivered a little, betraying him.  It was weakness he’d never show to anyone else.

But they belonged to each other, and she’d have seen it where no one else would have.

“Ioan, why would they do that?”

“I have to ask you something,” he whispered, ignoring the question.  “To do something, but you’re not going to say no this time.”

Her brows knit as she stared at him.  “What is it?”

He hesitated, closing his eyes for a moment before he looked at her square.  “You need to stay behind this time.”

What?”  Why would he–  “I’m the best shot the pack has, Ioan, and you’ve said yourself that without my cover fire, half of what you’ve accomplished wouldn’t have been possible.  I’m not letting you guys go into that place without me.”

“I’m not risking you,” he growled, letting go of her waist.  He took her face in his hands instead, scarred, calloused thumbs stroking her jaw.  “You’re staying here.  So I have a reason to make that music into a lie.”  He nodded toward the fire, to the singers and their mourning song.  “They don’t expect us to live through this.  It’s a suicide mission.”

“And you volunteered for it anyway,” she said softly, eyes widening.  “Ioan, why?”

His expression softened and he rested his forehead against hers.  “Because someone taught me that there are things that need doing, no matter how dangerous, for the good of the whole.”

She slumped.  “My father.”

He shook his head slightly.  “No.  You.”

Excerpt #2 is from something I featured in an earlier post–about a certain vampire.

 She drummed a pencil against the blotter, brooding out the window in front of her, at the coastal view.  The city glittered like a jewel in the night, vibrant and lovely.  It was almost easy to forget how dangerous her streets were, especially by night.


The phone at her elbow started to ring.  She would have ignored it, but it was Rebecca calling, and she was the only person she trusted implicitly—and still had as eyes and ears inside of the city.

So she answered it on the third ring.  “Becca?”

“Cameron.  Are you all right?  Is he staying?”

Her pencil fell still against the blotter.  “Yes,” she said quietly as she got up to make sure the door to her study was closed.  “Yes, he’s staying, though I don’t know for how long.  He chose to live, though, instead of following him to his grave.  I’m not sure if it was cowardice or hope that did it…but who wants to die?”  I didn’t want to die.  I chose existence over lack thereof, when I was offered the choice.  Maybe it wasn’t the right one to make, but I picked the bed and now I have to lay in it.

“None of us, I suppose,” Becca said.  “I’m sure he’ll come around, Cam.  He’s just upset, that’s all.  Andras’s death is a lot to take.  You told me how long they’d been together.”

“He’s not just upset, he’s bloody well pissed with me, Becca.”  She sighed, slumping back into her chair.  “And he has every right to be.  I abandoned them.”

Becca snorted derisively.  “You did no such thing.  You left, yes, but it’s not like you didn’t tell Andras you were leaving.”

“In a note, Becca.  I left him a note that said I couldn’t stay, I had to go.”

“You called him after, and you wrote.  You stayed in touch.”

“It’s not the same.  Not enough.”  Her eyes focused distantly, staring at the city lights, at the chop on the water.  “Maybe I never should have left,” she whispered.  “Maybe this wouldn’t have happened.”

“Cameron Beckett, don’t start that load of shit.  You wouldn’t let me wallow in what-ifs and I’m not about to let you do the same thing.  None of this was your fault and you had no control over what happened.”

Beckett growled low in her throat, glaring at her vague reflection the glass now.

Becca sighed at the other end of the line.  “Cam, I know they’re your demons and they’re your demons to fight, but I’m not going to sit still and let you beat yourself up for something that wasn’t your fault any more than Ioan going missing was mine.”

“What would you say if I told you I promised that I was going to avenge Andras?”

Silence answered her at first, long minutes ticking past before Becca answered.  “Is it something you need to do?”

“He made me, Becca.  In more ways than one.  I owe him at least that much, and I owe it to Elijah.  He can’t avenge him and someone’s got to.”  She paused.  “Besides, there’s the distinct possibility that the primarch of New York and his innermost circle know the truth about me.”

“You mean about your age?”

“Yes,” she whispered.  “I think they’ve figured out that Andras and I were closer than just friends or acquaintances.  Perhaps they only suspect we were blood-bound.  That would be the best case scenario.  Perhaps they think I made him, but I suspect they know it’s the other way around.”  It was a rare thing for her to admit a fear that deep, that close to her core, that mortal.

But if she couldn’t say it to Becca, who could she ever say it to?

Elijah, once upon a time…

She smothered a wince, even though there was no one there to see it.

“That…is a very valid concern,” Becca said slowly.  “So is that part of the reason you’re going to do something more stupidly dangerous than any stunt I’ve ever pulled?”

“Part, yes.”  She leaned back in her chair, the old wood and springs creaking.  “But it’s more than that.  It’s about making sure others are safe—you, Elijah, my sisters and everyone else that they might call down a hunt on.  They’ve already called one on Elijah.  It’s only a matter of time before they decide its safe to reach further.”

“How much time do you think we’ve got before that happens?”  Becca asked softly.

She rocked upright in the chair.  “No, Becca.  This isn’t your fight, it’s mine.  You need to stay out of it.  Vampiric power plays are not something you need to get involved in.  All I need for you to do is to make sure Elijah’s okay if something happens to me—hell, even if nothing happens to me.  I just need you to take care of him.  He won’t talk to me right now.  I shouldn’t talk to him right now.”

“Why not?”

“I’m afraid of what I’d say,” Beckett sighed.  “Something tells me he knows a lot of the truths I realized a long time ago, the truths that the elders want you to think are just figments of our imagination.”

“Like what?  Like love, you mean?”

“Mm-hmm.  That thing we’re not supposed to be able to do, to really feel.  We’re dead, after all.  The dead can’t love.”

“Except when they can.  Are they really trying to sell you on that bullshit?”

“A lot of us are buying, Becca.  There’s something twistedly reassuring about it.”  She shook her head, staring at herself in the glass.  “Can you imagine knowing that you’d have to live with all of your pain for the rest of your relative immortality?  Every mistake you’ve made, every minor or major wrong you’ve done?  It would drive about half of my kindred insane before they made it six months.”

“So how do you live with it?”

“I cope,” Beckett said.  “I hang onto what’s good, learn from the bad and try to right the worst of the wrongs I’ve done.  I find balance between woman and monster.”

“Mmm,” Becca said.  “We’ll have to continue this discussion later.  I’ll call you tomorrow night.”

She must have just looked at the clock.  “You have a class to teach in the morning?”

“Linguistics 101.  McConaway’s on sabbatical.”  Becca paused, quiet for a moment.  “Look, Cam, I’ve got my next sabbatical coming up in the winter semester.  If I asked you to come with me to Alberta—”

“I would come, but do you really want me to?”

Her friend let out a frustrated sigh.  “I don’t know.”

“When you decide, tell me,” Beckett said, starting to get up.  “Go get some sleep.”

“G’night, Cam.  What’re you going to do?”

“Plan my vengeance.  It’s going to be a process, I think.”

There was another silence on the other end of the line, then, “Good luck.”

Becca hung up, leaving her alone in silence.

At some point, perhaps both of these projects will amount to more than just scribblings and half-written plots. Whether or not that’s the case certainly remains to be seen.  Both of these characters–Rebecca Reid and Beckett–are figures in the shadows of New York, supernatural players in the world known to be real by only a few.

The men and women of UNSETIC are among the ones who know the truth.

Excerpts copyright 2011 Erin M. Klitzke.

You can find Erin on GoodReads these days @ http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5211226.Erin_Klitzke
And on Smashwords @ http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/EMBKlitzke 

New release ramblings

Good news!  What Angels Fear, a Lost Angel Chronicle, is now available on Smashwords, Amazon (UK, DE, FR), and Barnes and Noble.  It is the first installment of the Lost Angel Chronicles, a universe that includes my once-touted When All’s Said and Done.  I had anticipated releasing it after Epsilon: Broken Stars, but that’s tied up in editing this week (the people I tapped couldn’t look at it until this week).  The editing on What Angels Fear was faster–thanks again, Krinny!–and so I was able to start publication on Monday.

The end result was it being fully available on the three front-line venues as of this morning.  It will hopefully be distributed to Kobo Books, the iBookstore, Diesel, and other ebook retailers soon (through Smashwords wonderful Premium catalog, which Falling Stars is already available through).  It’s also already on GoodReads, where I appreciate reviews and shelf-adds.

So what does this mean?  Simply that I’ve gotten a third “world” of my writing established in digital ink.  Anyone who’s read back on this blog a little bit knows exactly how many things I’ve developed over the years and either abandoned or simply shelved for later.  There have been two women in my life (incredibly supportive best friend type women, one mostly during my teenage years and one during my adult life) who have urged me to go back to certain projects over the years, or not to completely abandon something, and occasionally told me to focus down on one thing, finish it, and only move on after that’s done.  As a general approach, that only occasionally works for me.

Of course, sometimes it does work.  This was one of those times.

I finished off What Angels Fear after I wiped out the final of Broken Stars.  I didn’t dare touch it while I was in the final push, largely because the scenes I was working on for Broken Stars were so difficult and because Julia Kinsey and Ridley Thys are very, very different characters from Aaron Taylor, Sam Cooper, Mac Desantis, and Lucas Ross.  Their worlds are also very different.  I’ll admit that at one point I’d considered making it all the same universe, but my conclusion was (and still is) that it just wouldn’t work, due to the number of supernatural elements extant in the Lost Angel universe, elements that don’t exist in the Epsilon universe (or any of my science fiction universes as of this writing).  Turning back to Julia and Ridley’s world, and by extension Ky Monroe, Matthew Thatcher, and Hadrian Bridger’s world, was a welcome shift.  Of course, it was helped by the sudden desire to write something with vampires that seized me.

No, What Angels Fear doesn’t involve vampires.  But they’re in the world, right along with secret agents and people fighting the good fight.  More of that will come up in When All’s Said and Done, which features Angel Kyle Anne Monroe as its narrator.  I anticipate turning to that project in the near future.

Unfortunately, Nanowrimo is looming, and while When All’s Said and Done was my inaugural Nanowrimo project back in 2004 (coincidentally, also my first win), I can’t exactly turn around and redraft it for my project this year.  Instead, I’ll be working on the second book of the Epsilon series, Epsilon: Redeemer.

My retail job looks like it might keep me from traveling this November, so I might just have a shot at getting something done.

Wish me luck.

You can find Erin on GoodReads these days @ http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5211226.Erin_Klitzke
And on Smashwords @ 

Sometimes a scene just won’t let go…

This scene came to me late last night after I got back from the hockey game (Red Wings topped the Canucks 2-0; we had seats behind the visitor’s goal at Joe Louis, so all in all, pretty awesome stuff), but I didn’t write it down until this morning.  I figured I’d post it, just in case it never actually develops into anything more (or much more), though I suspect it might.

She grabbed his sleeve, wouldn’t let him leave as her fingers tangled in the fabric.  She jerked him back, spinning him toward her chest.  “Just because I left doesn’t mean I didn’t care about him, because I did.”

He jerked his arm away and stepped back.  “You could have fooled the rest of us.  You abandoned us when we could have used your help, Beck, and you show up now?  It’s way past the eleventh hour.  It’s over—too damn late and too damn bad.”

He went to the window and stared out at the city across the water, the dim glow of faraway New York.  His fingers curled tightly around the sill, jaw set into a line.  He looked older now, but it had been almost fifteen years since she’d seen him last—of course he looked older.

More than that, though, he looked tired and broken, and that was enough to make her cold, still heart crack in half.


He shook his head, not looking at her.  “It’s too late, Beck.  He’s gone and I’m soon to follow and there is no one left to avenge him.”

“Wrong.”  She came up behind him, unbuttoning one sleeve at the wrist.

“What do you mean, wrong?”  Elijah turned, then, dark eyes angry and accusing as he met her gaze.

“Yes, he’s gone, but you don’t have to follow him to the grave,” she said softly.  She didn’t touch him, not yet, even though she wanted to.  “And there’s someone left who cares enough to avenge him.”

His angry stare hardened into a glare.  “I can’t avenge him, Beck.  They’d destroy me inside of fifteen seconds.”

“They won’t destroy me,” she said softly.  “They’ll never see me coming.”

He went rigid, staring at her as if he’d just seen her for the first time.

She smiled briefly and cupped his jaw with one hand before she brought her wrist to her mouth, biting down hard enough to expose the vein.  She offered it to him, nodding to the blood.  “Go on.  Once isn’t going to hurt and it’ll buy you another six months to decide what you want to do.”

Elijah just kept staring at her for a few long moments.  His jaw quivered and then he looked away.  When he took her arm and lifted her wrist to his mouth, he cradled it like something fragile, precious.

She’d been neither for twenty years.

Beckett smiled sadly and watched him, forcing her free hand to be still at her side.  She wanted to touch him again, to feel how soft his hair was, to know what the muscles of his back felt like under her hands.

He wasn’t ready for that, though, and she knew it.

It was a few minutes before he finished, fingers tightening on her hand briefly before he let go, straightening and turning away.  She swallowed and took an unnecessary breath, willing the healing to start.

“You can stay here as long as you’d like,” she said softly.

“Thank you,” he whispered, staring out the window.

She lifted her hand to touch his shoulder, thought better of it, and let her hand drop.  She left him standing there without another word, the click of a door closing marking the end to their conversation with too many things still left unsaid.

Copyright 2011, Erin M. Klitzke

In part, I can blame longtime friend and fellow gamer/GM Dave Kiser for this one.  One summer he ran this wonderful but short-lived Vampire: The Masquerade game because I asked him to teach me the system.  There were aspects of the story of Cassidy Beckett, the vampire I played, that never quite left me and have come up time and again (at ISRP and elsewhere).  Reading a little too much modern paranormal fiction and urban fantasy (The Cheshire Red Reports by Cherie Priest, Black London series by Caitlin Kittredge, The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens, and the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, among others) and getting back to doing some World of Darkness roleplaying online has put me in the mood to write the same, now that I’ve got a little bit of a break from the Epsilon universe.

So when this little scene struck me, I had to get it down on digital paper.  Which of course meant I was further compelled to share it.

Comments and thoughts are deeply and fully appreciated!

You can find Erin on GoodReads these days @ http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5211226.Erin_Klitzke
And on Smashwords @ 

Broken Stars nearing completion; new tale soon in the offing…

[progpress title=”Epsilon: Broken Stars” goal=”70000″ current=”68374″ label=”words”]

[progpress title=”What Angels Fear” goal=”21000″ current=”18738″ label=”words”]


So, I know that I tweeted that I’d announce the actual name for SEKRET PROJEKT this weekend, and it was mostly that I didn’t get around to making a blog post to that effect–it was on the business cards I was handing out this past weekend at the Grand Valley Renaissance Festival, promoting my writing as much as I was selling other things (jewelry and sewing things).

The true name to SEKRET PROJEKT is What Angels Fear, and it’s the story that I talked about in this post last summer.  It’s a short work in the same universe as When All’s Said and Done, my first Nanowrimo project.  I hope to release What Angels Fear shortly after the release of the forthcoming Epsilon: Broken Stars, which is nearing completion.

Rather than a true science fiction piece, What Angels Fear is a paranormal yarn in which normal chick Julia Kinsey meets a boy named Darien who seems a little…off.  A chance encounter in the creepy little town of Andover Commonwealth sends her down a rabbit’s hole into a mystery that could put her life in jeopardy.  It is almost a direct prequel to the story in When All’s Said and Done (in fact, as the current draft of When All’s Said and Done stands, events that take place at the end of What Angels Fear take place during the first few chapters of When All’s Said and Done).

Here’s a little taste of Julia’s story:

            A flicker of movement caught my attention and I tore my eyes away from the building, peering through the gap in the inner wall.  The angle made it hard, but I thought I’d seen…

There!  A gaunt figure stared at me from just within my line of sight.  It was a man, dark-haired and scrawny, dressed in what looked like sweats.  Though I couldn’t see his eyes, or really make out the features of his face, I had the feeling he was looking right at me.

Something about him reminded me strongly of Darien, though I couldn’t say what.  I tried to beckon him over.

He just shook his head and looked down.

What’s going on in there?

Something jerked the figure back and out of sight.  The massive gate in that inner wall ground shut with the sound of metal against stone.  No iron bars there, just solid sheets of metal.

Whatever it is, they don’t want people to know.  My pulse quickened and I stepped back from the main gate.

A hand grasped my arm.  I jerked, reeling away from the touch.  The hand snapped open and I went down on my butt in the grass.

“Who the hell are you?”  I demanded before I’d actually seen who’d grabbed me.

A woman about my age stood over me.  She had bristle-short red hair and was dressed in a black jumpsuit that made her look like some sort of extra from The Matrix.  She stared at me for a moment, then said softly, “You need to get out of here before someone else finds you.”

Someone else?  I was a little worried about anyone finding me.

She offered me a hand up.  I stared at it for a moment as if it were a snake about to strike.

“Who are you?”  I asked again.

She shook her head slightly, stone-faced.  “You don’t want to know.”

Her expression reminded me of someone else.  Oh, shit.  Darien.  That’s who it reminds me of.  It was the same blank mask of an expression that he wore most of the time, though this girl seemed much, much more functional than he did.

I took her hand slowly and let her pull me to my feet.

“You should get back to town,” she said quietly as she released my hand.  “You’re missing the show.”  She turned back toward the wall and walked toward it, looking back at me for just a moment.  With that last long, measuring look, she walked through the wall and vanished.

What Angels Fear, © Erin Klitzke 2011


I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t think I’d want Julia’s life.

What Angels Fear should hopefully be out by the end of the year.  And speaking of release dates…

I still don’t have a solid one for Epsilon: Broken Stars, but I hit the 68k mark this morning, which means there’s less than 2k words left to write before I meet my 70k goal.  The tale will go a bit longer than that, however (I have at least two chapters yet to write, one in the section I’m working on now and one at the end of the book).  Price point will be $2.99 when it releases, and I’ll keep things updated here when it comes to release dates and the like.  I’m hoping for mid-month, but that’s going to depend on two factors: inspiration, and how fast I can get editorial turnaround from my volunteers.

This year’s nanowrimo project, however, will be the sequel to Broken Stars that focuses on Lucas Ross, leader of the Resistance and friend of Broken Stars narrator, Aaron Taylor.  There’s a few thoughts for that already bouncing around in the back of my brain.  Hopefully, that will take less time to materialize than Broken Stars has!