Chapter four of The Turn (aka Trent’s Dad)

Chapter five will be available next Tuesday . . .

The Turn
by
Kim Harrison

Chapter four

     Kal’s steps were silent as he walked up the stone-paved path to the large ranch home snuggled between rugged palms and dunes held down by long grasses. Cocoa Beach was a ten-minute drive, the Atlantic an easy five-minute walk. The house afforded him a large private yard that kept his neighbors at arm’s length. It had been remodeled only a few years ago and had all the bells and whistles, not that he used the modern kitchen much. It was the walled garden that had attracted him. With mature fruit trees and a shallow koi pond, it had spoken to a part of him he hadn’t known he possessed. Turned out he wasn’t the only one it spoke to.

His parents thought he’d been crazy for wanting the solitary living space over the condo with a communal pool and private beach, even as they’d bought it for him as a graduation present, a consolation, he’d always thought, for having to work at a secondary lab in the hopes of someday transferring to the nearby NASA facility.

A tiny lizard skittered from his front door, and Kal juggled his keys with a doggie bag sporting the Sandbar’s logo. He hadn’t gone back to his office after lunch. He was debating if it was worth the hit his pride would take to go back at all. His colleagues had likely known before he left what he was walking into, and if they hadn’t, they soon would. It was obvious he had been given this task so they could shut down his research, send him to learn at the elbow of a classmate. But the chance to reclaim his family’s status kept his mouth shut and his resolve firm.

Dr. Trisk Cambri. Enclave security and their own private genetic engineer, he thought, grimacing as the key smoothly turned and he entered, shoes scuffing on the stone entryway. Her dark complexion and ebony hair made it easier for her to move freely in the human world than the fair, almost white hair that most elves were born with. Some said dark elves were the originals, and that the light hair and green eyes their race now almost exclusively possessed was a result of generations of captive, selective breeding by the demons. That dark elves usually had a stronger genome supported the theory. Kal didn’t care, but he couldn’t help but wonder if Trisk’s thick hair would be coarse or fine in his fingers.

He shut the door behind him, tossing his keys into the empty flowerpot on the table beside the door. “Orchid? You around?”

The clatter of dragonfly wings pulled his head up, and he smiled as a glimmer of light barely visible through the expansive, open floor plan flew from the distant living room and adjoining patio to him in the entryway.

“Hi. What’s up? You’re home early,” a high-pitched feminine voice called as Orchid came to a silver-dusted halt before him. The pixy was a dangerous secret, his friend and confidante, an attentive ear at the end of a difficult day, a way to feel special when the darkest hours of the night insisted he wasn’t. The entire species was on the brink of extinction, and he was honored that she trusted him. Most pixies lived in the deepest wilds, where predation kept their numbers low but their existence a continued secret. He’d risk everything for her, and he didn’t know why. She was like a piece of him he hadn’t known was missing.

“I brought you a flower,” he said, but she’d already spotted it, her tiny angular face lighting up with avarice.

“For me?” she said, wings blurring to nothing as she darted to his hat, now in Kal’s hand. A bright silver dust spilled from her, vanishing before it hit the polished floor. “Oh my God, look at the stamens on that thing. Thank you, Kal! I’ve not had hothouse lily pollen since Easter.”

“Then I’ll steal you another tomorrow.”

Head to the website for the rest of chapter four.

Chapter one / Chapter two / Chapter three

9 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

While you wait

daysWe are 19 days from THE TURN hitting the shelf. Chapters one, two, and three are out. Chapters four and five will be available soon. What can you do between now and then?

Check out Peri Reed! She’s been out for a while, and the price has dropped on Kindle and Nook. Mass markets are out, and though Peri is not Rachel, (older, wiser, more jaded, less forgiving, harder to understand) she has her own brand of “magic.”

Gallery will have a free-read of  the Rachel/Peri mash up short soon, so now is a good time to catch up.

Links to get you started:

Amazon

B & N

 

10 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

Getting close to last call on the shirts

the-turn-backWe aren’t there yet, but because Tim and I are’t actually doing the T’s out of our living room anymore, I want to warn anyone who is thinking of getting a shirt for a signing or just to wear on release day that we’re getting close to the cut off.

If you’re not familiar with the T’s, Tim and I have been doing them since Outlaw Demon Wails, and wearing one will get you into the “family photo” that we take at ever stop. This year, it features Trisk holding her T-4 Angel tomato, rotting in her hand. The shirt itself is a soft cotton, and Bedo has been getting compliments from people who have already purchased theirs. (They love this, by the way.)

the-turn-front

bedo

 

The link here will take you to their site to order. Bedo

Cities I will be visiting this year are:

2/6 – Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI – 7:00 pm
2/ 7 – University Bookstore, Seattle, WA – 7:00 pm
2/ 8 – Powell’s, Portland, OR – 6:00 pm
2/ 9 – Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA – 7:00 pm
2/10 – Barnes & Noble, Sacramento, CA – 7:00 pm
2/11 – Joseph-Beth, Cincinnati, OH – 7:00 pm

Venues and more information

Can’t make it and want a signed book? Nicola’s is your answer.

 

10 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

The Turn: Chapter Two

tthccoverChapter Two for you today! If you missed the first one it can be found here

The Turn
By
Kim Harrison

Chapter Two

    Stifling a yawn, Trisk confidently made her way deeper into the underground labs of Global Genetics. It was nearing noon, and she could feel her body slowing down, forced to stay awake to hold to a human schedule. After three years, she no longer nodded off over lunch, but it was hard to fight the urge for a four-hour nap when the sun was at its highest. Elves were most alert at sunrise and sunset, but it had been ages since she’d allowed herself the luxury of her natural inclination to sleep at noon and midnight.
Her low-heeled baby-doll shoes were eerily silent on the polished floor, and the faint smell of antiseptic was a familiar balm, pricking the back of her nose. After noticing a few high eyebrows this morning, she’d closed her lab coat to hide her short, bright yellow skirt, but the matching hose still made a colorful statement. Her lab assistant, Angie, said the outfit was fine, but getting the new look past the stuffier old men she worked with was proving to be difficult.

“Hi, George,” she said to the man at the glass double doors, and he rose from his desk to open them for her. There was no need to show her ID, and she didn’t even bring it out from behind her lab coat.

“Good afternoon, Dr. Cambri. Save me a piece of cake?”

His smile was infectious, and her mood brightened. “One with a rose on it. You got it,” she said as she crossed into the restricted zone.

Immediately the drier air and tang of ozone from the massive com- puters under her feet made her long hair float, and she impatiently tried to corral the strands that had escaped her hair clip at the back of her neck. If she were at the elf-run NASA facility, the computer needed to comprehend the genetic code of just one organism would fit into a room. Here, with human-only equipment, it took an entire floor—at least until someone leaked the technology and humankind took another leap forward.

Trisk heard the building’s head secretary before she saw her, the woman’s trendy thigh-high vinyl boots clicking on the hard floor. “Hi, Trisk,” the bubbly older woman said as she turned a corner and came into sight. “Are you getting him now?”

“Right this minute,” Trisk said, and Barbara beamed, her eyes alight as she took Trisk’s hands for a quick second.

“Outta sight! I’ll make sure everyone is in the lunchroom,” she said, the click-clack of her boots quickening as she ran in prissy, mincing steps to the security door and the elevators beyond. Her colorful dress rode high, and her hair was tall, but the day planner tucked under her arm had everyone’s schedule in it, and the self-appointed mother of them all knew more than anyone about how to keep the small facility working, even if she did look and act like an aged stand-in on American Bandstand—which raised the question: If Barbara could get away with flaunting the new styles exploding into the shops this summer, why couldn’t Trisk?
     Because Barbara isn’t helping design tactical biological weapons, Trisk thought as she passed her lab, still proud of her name on the door. 

Click for the rest

Leave a comment

Filed under Drama Box

The Turn ARC winners from the pumpkin contest

pumpkinAt long last, I have the three winners chosen for the “How many pumpkins did Kim get from her garden” contest. If you remember, I gave everyone multiple chances to send me their guess, and from those emailing Tim the correct answer, I randomly chose three (and two runner ups.)

We had over 3000 entries, 161 of them coming up with the correct answer of 22 pumpkins.

The three winners who will receive a signed THE TURN ARC are:

Brenda Rorie- Baety
Helen Wawrejko
Sara Kline

tthccoverLadies, please email Tim back at coldtoastwritingsLLC@comcast.net on or before Monday, January 9th, with your mailing address, and he will pop your copy in the mail. We ask that you please email him from the same email you entered from so we can be sure it’s you.

Our two runner ups will get a signed copy of THE HOLLOWS INSIDER unless one or more of the ladies above fail to respond on or before Monday January 9th, and it that case, one or both will get THE TURN ARC instead. So please email Tim with your mailing address as well before Monday, January 9th. Again, email Tim from the same email you entered from so we know it’s you.

Lucky runner ups are

Richard Nagy

Michelle MacEnroe

Thank you again, everyone who played along, and if you didn’t win, don’t forget that I will be releasing chapters early here and at facebook (about one a week) until publication day. If you missed chapter one, you can find it at the website. Chapter one, The Turn

9 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

Chapter one – The Turn

tthccoverPlease share! I’m terribly excited about this coming out –Kim

Trisk ran a hand down her Jackie Kennedy dress, not liking how it hampered her motions even if it showed off her curves. Grades and accomplishments were her primary weapons in the battle to attract an employer, but appearance came in a close second. Her long dark hair was pulled back into a clip, and an unusual whisper of makeup highlighted her angular cheekbones and narrow chin in the hopes of finding a businesslike mien. She was dressed better than most on the noisy presentation floor. Not that it matters, she thought sourly.
Anxiety pinched her eyes as she sat attentively at her booth, surrounded by the accomplishments of her past eight years. They suddenly seemed dull and vapid as she smiled at an older couple while they passed, their clipboards in hand as they shopped. “How are we for security?” one asked, and Trisk’s face warmed when the other ran his eyes over her, making her feel like a horse up for auction.
“We could use someone, but how good could she be? She’s in with the geneticists.”
“That’s because I am one,” Trisk said loudly, shoulders hunching when they gave her a surprised look and continued on.
Jaw clenched, she slumped in her chair, shifting it back and forth and frowning at the empty interview chair across from her.

Click for the rest of chapter one of – The Turn

http://www.kimharrison.net/BookPages/TT/TT.html

 

20 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

Going Home for Christmas

Get your tissues handy! I’ve got a gift from me to you today, written long before I found publication and was raw with the need to reach and connect and short on literary grace. You may have seen this last year, but it still makes me cry, and like the best gifts, please feel free to share it.

However you celebrate the season, I hope you find joy, warmth, and a feeling of completeness.

Kim, Tim, and the boys

Angel’s Song
by
Kim Harrison

Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright. . . .

Humming, Kaylin held her coat close against the cold, more from habit than anything else as she dodged through the unseeing, evening shoppers. She was anxious to get home. Her work had seemed to stretch forever today, but finally The Boss had let her go. She couldn’t wait to see her daughter–it had been too long since the entire family had been together.

Slipping at the bus stop, she grasped the door to the bus, just making it on behind two tired women as the doors closed. The sound of their money jingling into the box chimed like bells, and the bus jerked into motion. Kaylin stood where she was, gripping the ceiling support as the gears shifted. Her gaze rove over the heads, looking for acknowledgment she existed. There, at the back where the heat didn’t reach, was a smiling face and a beckoning hand.

Though she didn’t recognize him, Kaylin went to sit with the old man. She smiled shyly, the anticipation of her coming evening prompting her to be more bold than usual. “I’m going home for Christmas,” she said by way of greeting as she jammed her gloves into a pocket.

“First time?” the old man murmured, his brown eyes going sad in memory.

She nodded. “Since my accident. I can hardly wait to see everyone together.” Kaylin put her hands in her lap, glad she couldn’t feel the cold anymore.

The man met her eyes. “See that boy up there?” he said, pointing with his chin. “I’m spending Christmas with him. He’s a college student on his way home. He needs all the help he can get, and my family doesn’t miss me anymore.”

Kaylin bit her lip and fussed with the hem of her coat’s sleeve, uncomfortable with the idea she would eventually be forgotten. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. Make the most of the time they remember you. As it’s said, it came to pass.”

She didn’t know what to say. “This is my stop,” she said, glancing out the window to the colored lights.

“Best hurry. The door won’t wait for you.”

Giving him a hesitant smile, she hastened to the front, edging to the sidewalk past the three girls giggling about the presents they had gotten for their boyfriends.

Kaylin’s mood went soft as she took in the familiar street gray with twilight. The curb was jammed with cars. A noisy, joyful reunion on her front steps had the dogs barking. Excitement tingling to her toes, Kaylin waited on the walk, following the last of the children inside.

Her shoulders eased as she stood in the entryway, basking in the cheerful clutter and the too-noisy greetings. She waved as she spotted her grandmother in a corner, deep in the thick of it. The old woman’s eyes sparkled as they met hers. Her fingertips again had a rosy glow, and the blue tint Kaylin remembered was gone.

“Jasmine is in the kitchen!” her grandmother called over the noise. “Go on. We’ll talk later.”

Relieved her grandmother understood, Kaylin followed the smell of heated punch into the kitchen. She stopped in the open doorway as her heart clenched.

Jasmine stood on a chair before the counter, stirring a cup of green frosting. “I can’t do it, Daddy,” she complained, her high voice clear over the excited babble of relatives. “It’s too hard.”

Kaylin’s hands reached out, but she stood unmoving, forcing back the unexpected tears as her husband set aside his dishcloth and went to their daughter.

“Mommy always helped me, Daddy,” the child said around a sniff as his hand covered hers atop the spoon and they stirred together. “I want Mommy. I miss her.”

“Hush,” he said, the pain in his voice causing Kaylin’s throat to tighten. “I miss her too, sweetheart, but look. She’s everywhere, especially tonight.” Eyes bright, the man pointed to the dusty Christmas candles Kaylin had refused to burn, sitting on the kitchen windowsill. “There are her candles, right where she always put them. And the mistletoe above the doorway? She made that just last year. And the bow? Remember her spending an hour on that to get it to look just like the one in the store window? And you can smell her touch in the gingerbread men and taste it in the fruit punch. She’s everywhere.”

“No, Daddy,” the small girl protested. “It’s not the same. I can’t see her at all.”

“But I can,” he said, giving her a hug. “I can see her in you when you cut out your star cookies, I watched her hand move yours when you hung the ornaments on the tree, and I can see her eyes when I look at you. So, Jasmine, she is here.”

“I can’t see her,” Jasmine said, sniffing as she licked the frosting from a finger.

Kaylin ached. The Boss had warned her it would be hard, and she thought she could handle it. But this? This tore at her. Kaylin came close to stand behind her daughter and nudged a cookie, as if she could make the star any less lopsided. Perhaps . . . . Perhaps she could pretend.

And so she was a silent participant, each moment harder than the previous, a bittersweet mix of memories. She hovered in the kitchen while dinner was prepared, blowing on the gravy to keep it from boiling over until someone remembered it. She watched the rolls brown through the oven window with Jasmine, admonishing the child they weren’t done yet when Jasmine pronounced them finished. She stood in the archway to the living room and worried about the carpet as paper plates overflowing with food were balanced on knees. She sat at the kitchen table while the dishes were washed, catching up on the women’s gossip with her fingers curved around a forgotten cup until it was whisked away.

And then it was done. Kaylin knew the signs: the last swallows of coffee, the slowing conversation, the children collapsing in their mother’s arms. Kaylin sighed. She didn’t want it to be over.

Jasmine was slumped in her frills and white stockings in her father’s arms, too sleepy to be anything but content. Kaylin sat on the arm of the couch beside them, running her fingers unfelt over her daughter’s hair. There was one final tradition as yet undone, her most cherished part of the evening, and Kaylin’s heart fell when the first of the coats appeared. They had forgotten.

“Wait, Daddy.” Jasmine stirred as her father rose to say his good-byes. “We didn’t sing yet. Mommy always sings. Please?”

Kaylin waited, hoping.

“Of course, Jasmine,” her father said, giving her a hug. “You’re such a clever girl for remembering.”

Coats were dropped to the couch in the sliding sound of nylon. Her grandmother beckoned, and Kaylin joyfully edged closer to the piano. Jasmine wiggled down to sit on the long bench before the battered keys, her father standing behind her with his hands on her shoulders. Kaylin could see a glimmer of tears in her mother’s eyes as she took Kaylin’s usual spot before the piano and began to play.

“Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.

Tears pricked at Kaylin’s eyes. Her favorite. Voice quavering, she joined her voice to her family’s.

“Round yon virgin, mother and child.
Holy infant, so tender and mild.”

“Daddy,” Jasmine whispered, her face upturned as she pulled on his sleeve. “I can hear Mommy singing.”

Kaylin’s throat nearly closed, and tears slipped down her cheeks. Angels could sing. And on Christmas Eve, they could be heard by those who listened.

Her husband knelt and gave Jasmine a tight, fierce hug. “So can I, sweetheart,” he whispered, rocking her. “So can I.”

“Sleep in heavenly peace.
Sleep in heavenly peace.”

7 Comments

Filed under Drama Box