Snippet Sunday: What Angels Fear

Apologies for having missed last week’s Snippet Sunday–I had intended to post something while on my flight back from Phoenix, but the Wi-Fi on my plane was sadly malfunctioning.

What Angels Fear print coverThis week’s snippet is from What Angels Fear, the first story of The Lost Angel Chronicles.

From the outside, Andover Commonwealth looks like a normal town, but when Julia Kinsey takes over her late uncle’s shop, she discovers that the tiny Michigan community has a far darker side than she ever imagined.

Julia used to spend summers with her aunt and uncle in Andover and she’s no stranger to its more run-of-the-mill oddities, including the local preacher who’s always given her the creeps.  From the moment she first sees the Reverend’s ward, Darien, her life is turned upside down as she’s driven to dig deeper into the community’s darkest secrets.

And Darien might just be the key to it all.

It’s all connected to the place outside of town, the Institute, the focus of most of the town’s activities–religious and otherwise–and Darien knows something about that place, something he can’t or won’t talk about.  All Julia really knows is that she needs to get him out of town before it’s too late.

Snippet below the break.

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Breaking blocks – Institute Universe / Lost Angel Chronicles

To expand on a recent Twitter post and my last update (in which I complained about how much trouble I was having with What All’s Said and Done), I think I’ve maybe, finally solved a rather tricky quandry that I’d run into.

Here’s an excerpt from me clawing my way out of that quagmire:

            “Ky,” Ridley murmured, fingers tangling in my sleeve and face pale as death as he looked away from the tinted windows of the minivan.  Matthew had borrowed from the FBI pool to transport Ridley and Julia to a safehouse a few blocks away from Damon’s apartment.  I’d tagged along for moral support at their mutual insistence.
            We’d faked their deaths the day before—more to the point, the FBI had faked their deaths.  It had been on the evening news, though they hadn’t released the names of the dead, pending notification of the families.  I didn’t envy the person who’d have to lie to Julia’s parents about their daughter being dead.  I wondered if the person doing the informing would actually know the truth.
            When I didn’t answer him right away—in truth, I hadn’t heard him—Ridley tugged on my sleeve, his tone turning urgent.  “Ky, look out the window.  Look out there, at the coffee shop across the street.  The red-head on the patio.”
            I looked and my heart started to beat faster.  Is that Allyson?
            “What’s wrong?” Julia and Matthew asked in the same voice.
            “You weren’t in contact with anyone, were you?” I asked him.
            He shook his head quickly.  “No, no one.  Laren was the only one after they released me from the facility, and I haven’t talked to her since the motel.”  He shot a glance at Julia, whose gaze bounced between he and I.
            “What’s going on?” she asked, a hint of urgency to her voice.  “The only person I talked to back in Andover was Paul and I haven’t heard from him since.”
            “Ky.”  Matthew didn’t look back at me, but his tone insisted I answer, and quickly.  I tamped down a mixture of annoyance and fear.
            “Ally’s a mimic.  She can do whatever the hell she wants.”  I gave Ridley a long, hard look.  “Did they try to pair you up after what happened?”
            “Who are we talking about?”  Julia asked, sounding desperate now.
            “The girl at the coffee shop,” I said.  “With the red hair.”
            Julia looked and gave a little gasp.  Matthew growled and instead of slowing down, sped up, driving up the block before he swung the van around a corner and parked it on the side of the street.  He twisted in the driver’s seat and glared at all three of us.
            “All right, what the hell is going on back here that no one decided to the guy with the badge and the gun about?”
            Stupid as it might have been, I held up a hand to forestall further comment from him, staring at Ridley and waiting for him to answer me.  Dammit, Ridley!  If they tried to pair you two up, she’s got a link to you that she can use.  She may not have a lot of power in that direction, but it’d be enough for her to track you.
            He stared at me for a few seconds that felt like hours before he nodded, looking away.  “Yeah,” he whispered.  “It took them two months to figure out it wasn’t going to work.”
            “But long enough for her to learn your tricks,” I muttered.  Damn.”
            Matthew reached back and grabbed my arm, squeezing so hard it hurt.  “In English, Kyle.”
            I jerked my arm out of his grip, rubbing it and glaring at him.  “We think we saw Allyson.”
            “I gathered that much.  What does it mean?  She works for the Institute, doesn’t she?”
            I glanced at Ridley, who winced and whispered, “Yes.”
            Julia stared at him and shook her head.  “No.  I don’t think so.”
            Matthew stared at all three of us for a few seconds, then started to get out of the van.  “One way to find out.”
            “Wait one goddamned second here!”  I got out after him, leaving Ridley and Julia in the van.  “You have no idea what you’re up against.”
            “A teenager or a twenty-something that both you and he knew on the inside, which means she’s got some kind of ability that I may or may not be able to combat.  Sound right?”  Matthew checked the clip on his sidearm and slid it back into its holster, then adjusted his sport coat.
            “What are you going to do?”
            “Get a cup of coffee and watch,” he said, slamming the van door shut.  Julia and Ridley piled out behind me.
            “We’re coming with you,” Ridley said firmly, positioning himself at my shoulder.
            “Absolutely not,” Matthew said.  “Get back in the van and wait for me to come back.”
            I shook my head.  “Somehow, I don’t think that we’re going to do that.  You don’t know Ally.  Ridley and I do.”  Though what would make Julia think that she’s not working for the Institute is something I’d certainly like to know.  I glanced sidelong at Julia, whose hand was wrapped tightly around Ridley’s.  “You said you don’t think she works for the Institute.”
            She shook her head quickly.  “No, I don’t.  I’ve seen her before.”
            Ridley paled again, turning toward her and taking her by the shoulders.  “When?” he asked hoarsely.  “How?”
            Julia reached up, cupping his face in her hands.  My pounding heart began to ache at the tenderness of her gesture; I had to shove the thoughts of Hadrian that swarmed up back down again so I could concentrate.  Soon, Ky.  Soon.
            “I went to have a look at the installation outside of Andover, remember?  That’s when I saw her,” she said softly.  “She told me to go back to town.”  Her gaze flicked momentarily to Matthew.  “And she left me a note to Google him.”
            I was stunned, and from the look on his face that he couldn’t quite smother, so was Matthew.
            “Why would she tell you to do that?” he asked.
            I stared at my sneakers.  “Because she loved Tim and she knows why he was there.”

This is a huge shift and departure from the original universe (Allyson wasn’t featured in the original draft–but then again, neither was Ridley, and Julia didn’t exist).  It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.


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

And Amazon @ http://www.amazon.com/author/erin-klitzke

She offers two free fiction serials @ http://www.embklitzke.com/e557 and http://awakenings.embklitzke.com.  Stop on by and check it out.

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 @ 
http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/EMBKlitzke 

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!

Mid-chapter three rambles

It boggles my mind how Ridley could have had no place in the original draft of this project and suddenly, he’s stepped up big-time.  He’s offered me a major opportunity, however, through his relationship with Julia, to explain the Institute, what they do, how awful they really are.  It also means Ky isn’t trying to sugarcoat things as much as she would if she was simply explaining matters to Reece (or foisting it off on Matthew, which was also a distinct possibility).

Ridley is amazingly protective at this stage, mostly of Julia, but also of himself.  It’ll be interesting to see how he works everything out, and if he works everything out enough to be helpful to Ky in her fight.  I have a feeling he will be, since that’s where it feels like it’s heading.  But we’ll see.  I never know when it comes to these things.

Brandon helped me through a quandry this morning regarding a later issue in the draft.  It was a question of who gets rescued when.  I think we’ve sorted it out.  Either way, Ky’ll be gut-punched.  I decided that gut-punched and functional was preferable to gut-punched and a mess, and that it would probably be better if Matthew was functional for at least a dozen chapters before I snap him in half.

Folks who have read the original draft know exactly what snaps Matthew Thatcher in half.

And now it’s off to work for me.  Six hours of bleh.  My father doesn’t seem to think we’ll be busy on account of the weather.  I think he’s crazy.  Last day for Real Women Dollars = bloody well insane at the store tonight.

The coming April insanity…

The thesis is done, turned in, and will be out for binding next week.  This means I suddenly have quite a bit more free time, and it’s high time I dedicated some of it to fiction once again.  Not just reading fiction, but writing it as well.  Since I’ve never been one for writing scripts, and April is Script Frenzy month from the OLL (the wonderful, crazy people who bring us Nanowrimo every year), I’ve decided it’s high time that I start redrafting my first even Nanowrimo project, When All’s Said and Done.  The characters have been on my mind of late, and it feels like it’s time.

There’s going to be major changes from the original draft to the second, in part due to the ramble I started scribbling last summer, one that’s brought a character that knows what’s going on inside the Institute into direct contact with Ky again, rather unexpectedly.  Because Ridley knows a lot of what’s going on inside, more than Hadrian ever could find out due to the rapid decline of his health, some of the twists in the original draft will need to be reworked.  It’s all Julia’s fault, really.  She brought him to Damon (her cousin who happens to be Matthew’s longtime friend), which means Damon called Matthew and everyone got involved with each other quite a bit faster than in the original draft, though I think that having Damon knee-deep from the start will work better.  He can still be a little annoyed with Matthew, but not nearly as annoyed as he was in the original draft.

Having Ridley there and able to tell Ky and Matthew things, however, does throw into question some plot twists, including the one that involves Tim Thatcher.  I suppose I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.  Before I do anything else, I need to decide what’s going to happen with the installation at Andover Commonwealth…whether they abandon it, or believe it’s secure in the wake of Ridley’s escape from the village with Julia’s help.

I imagine Reverend Stonard might pop up in When All’s Said and Done, too.  He seems as if he’d make a good villain.  And Laren, of course, trying to lay low.  The Tina character may disappear completely, since the new version will begin in August rather than November.

A lot to think about, and only a few days before I begin to redraft!  What fun will this be…