Snippet Sunday: When All’s Said and Done (work in progress)

This week’s snippet is from the sequel to What Angels Fear, a work in progress entitled When All’s Said and Done.  The story is told from the point of view of Ky Monroe, who escaped the Institute when she was fifteen years old and eventually found her way to Matthew Thatcher, who’s got his own bone to pick with the Institute.

The story of When All’s Said and Done picks up almost precisely where What Angels Fear left off–with an expanded cast and a shift in narrator.

Folks who have read Between Fang and Claw will also notice another familiar face in this snippet below the break.

Continue reading “Snippet Sunday: When All’s Said and Done (work in progress)”

Preview: UNSETIC Files: Bering Songs and Silence

UNSETIC Bering Songs and SilenceI’m thrilled to announce that Bering Songs and Silence is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords as an ebook!

Here’s a taste of what’s in store when you step into Naval officer Brigid O’Connell’s head and hear her story about her first mission with UNSETIC…

Click below the cut to catch a preview from the first chapter of Bering Songs and Silence, the story of Brigid O’Connell and Timothy McConaway’s first mission together…

Continue reading “Preview: UNSETIC Files: Bering Songs and Silence

Schedule updates – scrapping the schedule

I’m scrapping the schedule–again.  We’ve been without a full time manager at the store, which meant that the other part time and I have been picking up a lot of slack (it’s a lot of store to run on three managers, let me tell you that much).  Instead of a full-on schedule, I have some deadlines roughed out, which now include some print versions of some already-released work.

Currently on tap:

  • Print version of What Angels Fear (including a brief essay on writing the work) – hopefully by the end of March.
  • Finishing up Epsilon: Redeemer, Girl from a Brigadoon, and When All’s Said and Done.
    • Tentative release time frames (all of these are subject to change and are for the ebook release; trade paper/print versions are a little later than the ebook release):
      • April – Girl from a Brigadoon
      • May – Epsilon: Redeemer
      • June – The Last Colony

I’ve got a couple of projects kicking around that will be released under a psuedonym that (for the moment) shall remain unrevealed.

[progpress title=”Epsilon: Redeemer” goal=”80000″ current=”65201″ label=”words”]

[progpress title=”When All’s Said and Done (a Lost Angel Chronicle)” goal=”85000″ current=”20018″ label=”words”]

[progpress title=”UNSETIC Files: Girl from a Brigadoon” goal=”45000″ current=”23642″ lable=”words”]

For anyone following the word count meters, they’ve probably noticed that I’ve been making good progress largely on Girl from a Brigadoon, though this past week I’ve put in some work on When All’s Said and Done and Epsilon: Redeemer.  The latter is probably going to significantly eclipse its word count goal and be longer than Epsilon: Broken Stars.

Speaking of Broken Stars, stay tuned later this week for a post revealing what my sales have looked like the past few months since I started releasing ebooks.  I’m still waiting on some numbers (Kobo, etc.) from some of the Smashwords distribution channels, but I can show off some preliminaries.  They’re not that impressive, but they’re “whole dollars!” as my brother puts it.


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.

 

When projects attack…

Anyone who follows me in any social media venue knows that I’ve got a new project chewing on my synapses lately.  I’m one of those unfortunates who can’t shove ideas away because they just keep coming back again.  They become relentless and won’t let me work on anything else, regardless of how much I may need to.  This was the case a few weeks ago, when I started working on an UNSETIC short.

At least, it was supposed to be a a short.  It was also supposed to be freewriting, something to just get the tale out of my system so I could get back to work on Redeemer, When All’s Said and Done, and other various projects.  Instead, it’s become all-consuming.

It all began with this:

            “There are places in the world, Doctor, that we leave off maps because no one can get inside in the first place,” the Canadian G-man shouted over the sound of the wind.  “You try to drive into them and suddenly pop out on the other side.  We don’t understand how it works, we just know it happens.”

            “I’m aware of the phenomenon,” El Stone yelled back over the sound of the rotors.  The former crime scene investigator held on to one of the oh-shit bars as she peered out the helicopter’s window at the trees below.  “But that doesn’t tell me why I’m here.”  Here was the ass-end of Alberta, somewhere up in forests so damned thick that no one would’ve noticed if they’d missed a twenty-mile stretch even if they’d been looking for the gap.  The sort of places they were discussing were rarely that large–mostly, the places omitted from the maps were two to five square mile areas, tops.  In the business, they called them Brigadoons when they reappeared, for the musical.  She knew that because she’d read the files on the flight up to Edmonton from the States.  There had been little else to do on the flight.

            The G-man pointed to a clearing that hosted a small village and a narrow roadway that spiraled out of the forest.  It hadn’t been on the maps she’d seen before they’d left the RCAF base.  Her heart began to beat a little faster.

            “One of them just opened up.”

Now, let’s be honest, I’ve tweaked it a touch since I wrote that first bit, but that’s literally how it began.  The dialogue and the images caught me in the side of the head, much like the idea for What Angels Fear did a couple years ago.  Unlike What Angels Fear, however, I knew fairly quickly who the story was actually about.  It took me until this past weekend to come up with a title, however, and the title is Girl from a Brigadoon.

The story, of course, is about the titular girl–a woman, actually–who’s been missing for fifteen years.  It’s a paranormal yarn, a mix of mystery, fantasy, and suspense.  In other words, it’s something that I’m a bit out of my depth trying to write, since mysteries have never been my bag.  I don’t tend to read them and I’m feeling a bit beyond my ken trying to write one.  But the idea has been persistent and it won’t let me not write it.

I keep having to revise my word count goal upward as the ideas trickle in, because there’s no way it’s going to be anything under 40k words at this point.  I’m already nearing 14k words, and it’s only chapter three.  It’s going to be some hard work, but it feels right.

For people who have known me for a long time–as a writer and as a gamer both–there will be some familiar faces in the text.  Brigid O’Connell figures prominently in the story as one of the investigators and AJ McConaway is playing quirky, perky sidekick every so often, thanks to an (annoying) absence of her twin brother Tim.  Then of course, there’s Rebecca Reid, who the story really belongs to.

She is, after all, the girl from the Brigadoon.

Keep an eye on Twitter and such for ranting, whining, and occasional progress updates.


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.

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 

Doc’s Writercraft: Developing fictional characters through roleplay

Every author, from the rookie to the seasoned pro, has their own tried and true methods of creating believable (or not-so-believable) characters.  For me, developing characters has gone hand in hand with roleplaying.

I’ve been a gamerchick almost as long as I’ve been writing (I started out on AOL chats when I was twelve years old; moved to IRC in 1997 and picked up ISRP around the same time I started playing serious tabletop games in 2000), but it wasn’t until I was in my later college years that I began to notice the overlap between characters I created to play and characters I created to tell their stories in print.  Somewhere in the middle, it all began to merge.

A prime example of this is the pairing of Tim McConaway (created solely for an RPG–as a background character, no less) and Brigid O’Connell (originally part of a now-defunct set of stories).  I hit upon the idea to combine them almost by accident, since they each needed a longtime friend that wasn’t a romantic interest.  They further developed as characters during my time with ISRP and their through-line is an anchor for the UNSETIC Files.

Tim McConaway started out as a cardboard cut-out, an Air Force officer whose parents had been murdered and was raised (with his sister and best friend) by a pair of uncles in Chicago.  His sister, originally, was the focus of my roleplaying efforts, but I later became attracted to her quiet, intense, tragic brother, unlucky in life and in love.  So I started roleplaying him, and he became increasingly complex as a character.  He found his way into a set of afternoon scribbles about a year and a half ago, depicting his first “mission” for UNSETIC with a woman who would become his lifelong friend, Brigid O’Connell.

Brigid originally popped up–surprisingly enough–as a character that should have been in the Epsilon universe (the set of stories that would have been wrapped up into that universe, set in the mid-21st century, have since been scrapped).  She was a retired military officer (honorable discharge due to medical issues) who bought a bar in Virginia.  I began roleplaying her purely by accident–I needed a character without any connections for a very specific reason, one with a particular level of authority, and she fit the bill.

Of course, she got away from me and started changing and developing all on her own.

That’s the one thing that no one tells you about roleplaying: if you’re doing it well, with the right people, your characters become very, very real, very very quickly.  Things happen that you don’t expect, things that you never would have imagined.  I’ve found it to be sometimes incredibly helpful.

Have you ever thought about asking one of your test readers–if they’re so inclined–what they think a conversation with one of your characters would be like?  Have you ever tried talking out that conversation?  Try it!  Let them ask hard questions that you might not know the answer to.  It’ll help you figure out who some of these characters really are and you might even find that they surprise you.  Who knows?  You might end up coming up with whole new subplots.

If you’re really brave, you might even try them out somewhere in the ether or in a tabletop game.  Sometimes, the best characters are the ones that you don’t expect to become your favorites.

Tim and Brigid were like that for me.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

            “Do you ever wonder what it would’ve been like?”  Tim asked suddenly as the subway car clacked and swayed its way uptown, toward Central Park.

Brigid frowned, watching the tunnel lights flash by out the windows.  “What what would have been like?”

“If this never happened.  You and me, partners.  You ever wonder what life would’ve been like?”

Simpler.  Less exciting.  “What the hell kind of question is that?”

He shrugged.  “I don’t know,” he said, starting to get up as the train slowed, pulling into their station.  “I was just curious, I guess.”

“Be more curious about your Corps problem and less about what life would’ve been like in an alternate reality,” she said, heading for the doors as they slid open.  He was right behind.  “It’s probably a better use of what few brain cells you’ve got left.”

He grinned at her teasing as they fought their way through the sparse early morning crowds on the platform.  “Probably right about that.”

They were mounting the stairs up to street level when she said, “I’ve never wondered, Tim.  I can’t imagine life any other way.”

He smiled at her over his shoulder.  “Me neither, B.  Me neither.”

Excerpt 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