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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kisses from Yesterday - continued...


Today I am continuing to critique the first chapter of Angi Kelly's Adult Urban Fantasy, KISSES FROM YESTERDAY. When we last saw Alexis, she'd discovered a portrait of a woman who likes like her...


Alexis stumbled back, and almost tripped over her own feet.  Then, she frowned as she studied the portrait more closely.
Not me, after all.  I’ve been watching too many horror movies.  She rolled her eyes.
The young woman’s face was a little fuller, but other than that, they could have been twins.  Dizziness swept through her and Alexis closed her eyes to steady herself.  After a moment, the dizziness passed, and she looked at the painting again.  She thought it was only natural there was some resemblance between the two of them.  They were related.
“Who were you?” She said aloud, as if expecting an answer.  Curiosity filled her, and she wondered what the young woman had been like.
She opened the door on the other side of the room, and another corridor stretched before her.  The south wing.  Closing the door, she left the room, pausing to glance back at the painting.  Through the skylight, she saw darkness was falling, so she decided to save the rest of her explorations for later.  She went back to her car and slid behind the wheel, tapping her fingernails as she gazed toward the cemetery she had seen when she arrived at the estate.  She wondered which of her ancestors were buried there.  She would definitely explore the cemetery and research the names she found there to discover where they fit in her family tree.  Or rather, where she fit in theirs.  She was tired of not belonging anywhere, but maybe this house would give her the stability and belonging she so desperately wanted.  Maybe she could belong here.  With another sigh, she started her car.
Time to meet the caretaker.
* * * *
The past two weeks had been busy.  She had moved and started settling into her new home, and had found surrogate parents in Albert and Amanda Jenkins.  They welcomed her with open arms and seemed to have adopted her as one of their own.  Their dinner that evening had been wonderful.
Alexis returned home full of Amanda’s excellent cooking, tired and overflowing with happiness.  She had quickly bonded with the Jenkins’ children and their grandchildren.  She hadn’t enjoyed herself like that since before her parents passed away.  She had made lifelong friends in the Jenkins family, and a warm, contented glow filled her.
A tingling sensation drifted across the back of her neck as she walked into her sitting room.  Goosebumps spread across her arms.  She looked around.  Was that something in the corner?  No, just a shadow.  She shook her head as she walked into the bathroom.
“New house jitters.”  She frowned, trying to convince herself that was what it was.  It had been happening a lot lately, this feeling of being watched.  It was something to be expected when someone moved into an old house, but it was really creepy.  Especially when she thought about the story Albert had told her about the deaths of Rebecca Carrington and Jonathan Crestwood, which had taken place in Rosedawn.  Rebecca had been brutally attacked a few days before her wedding to Jonathan was to have taken place and had died two days after the date of what would have been the happy event.  Sometime after her death, Jonathan had committed suicide on Rebecca’s bed, which was still covered with the bloody sheets she had died on.  After Jonathan’s death, the family hadn’t even changed the sheets on the bed before locking the room up.
“Maybe it’s the ghost of Rebecca.  Maybe she doesn’t like me being in her house.”  She grabbed a towel and set it on the marble counter.  Then, she stripped off her clothes and stepped into the tub.  She stood under the spray, relishing the way the water relaxed her tired muscles and soothed away the stresses of the day.
As she soaped her body, she decided she would go to the kitchen for something to drink, and then she’d curl up in bed with a good book until sleep overtook her.  She rinsed off the suds, and turned off the water.  She dried off, slipped into her robe and headed for the kitchen.
The faint notes of a piano greeted her when she reached the stairs.  Her heart skipped a beat as she turned and looked down the corridor.
The music room!

***

My thoughts:  My first thought is that even though darkness was falling I would've wanted to explore the whole house - assuming there was electricity of course! My second thought is that I'm not wild about the transition between her checking the house out and two weeks later. I'm fine with time passing but I think there's a better way to do it. I was also bothered by her sudden bonding with the Jenkins family. Maybe it's because we don't actually meet them or maybe I got the sense it happened too fast. The transition between that and her getting the tingling sensation is also a little jarring but I like that we're getting back to the house and all that's in it. What makes her think that Rebecca might not like her in the house? Can't wait to see who's playing piano...

Readers, any thoughts or comments for Angi?

1 comment:

Angela said...

Thanks, Marcy! The Jenkins become very important to Alexis, but you may be right in that she bonded too quickly with them. This convinces me that I definitely need to introduce Albert here. I think I also need to get across why she decided to wait until later to explore the rest of the house. There is electricity, but she's got a four-hour drive back to Atlanta ahead of her, which will put her getting back to Atlanta at roughly 1:00 am, since it's between 8:00 and 9:00 pm now.

In the original chapter that contained Albert, he invites her to their house to eat supper with them and to meet his wife, and this part took place after she went to their house. The two weeks later part was actually the beginning of chapter two, and it contained references to the fact that Alexis had been spending a lot of time with them over the course of those two weeks as she was moving in.

I definitely need to rethink the layout of the chapter and address the issues you've brought up. This manuscript is in extensive edits, and I wanted to see how well this chapter was working. You've helped me see that there are some areas that work, and other areas that don't work so well. I really appreciate all the time you've taken to look at this chapter!