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Friday, July 31, 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 was hearing music...

She grabbed the silver candelabra from the table at the head of the stairs, and tested its weight.
Yep, it’s heavy.  Hit somebody with this, and they won’t get up for a while.
She hurried toward the room, stopping just outside the door.  The melody was beautiful, sorrowful and haunting.  Her heart ached and tears welled up in her eyes as she listened.  The melody made her think of loss, something lost through tragedy.  It brought back memories of her parents, their deaths.  She squeezed her eyes shut, fighting against her tears as she listened for a few more minutes, her hand resting on the doorknob.  Then, she opened her eyes and eased the door open.  Her breath caught in her throat as moonlight streamed in through the skylight, illuminating a man sitting at the piano.
When she saw his face, a sudden calm filled her.  For some reason, she wasn’t afraid of him.  Curiosity raged through her, but no fear.  Some kind of link existed between the two of them, pulling her toward him, and she stepped farther into the room.  The man didn’t seem to notice her as he continued playing his melody.  The moonlight coated his light brown hair with silver.  He was dressed in a dark suit, but in place of a tie, he wore a blue cravat.  She frowned and bit her lip.  He looked vaguely familiar.  He suddenly stopped playing and looked at her.
“Alexis Conrad.  So, we finally meet.  How do you do?”  He crossed his arms over his chest, tilting his head slightly as he studied her.
She raised her eyebrows at him.  How do you do?  A man I feel I know breaks into my house, and one of the first things he says to me is, “How do you do?”  What is wrong with this guy?  Anger flared, warming her skin.
“Who are you and what are you doing in my house?”
“You know who I am, if you’ll think about it.  As for what I’m doing here, I came to you for help.”  Raising his eyebrow, he inclined his head toward her hand.  “I assure you, you have no need of that.”
She glanced at her hand and saw she was still clutching the candelabra.  She set it on the floor and took a deep breath.  She frowned, crossing her arms over her chest.  “My help?  What do you mean?”
“That’s a long story.  Won’t you sit down?  I’ll tell you a little more about this house.”
She hesitated.  She had to be insane to consider sitting down and having a chat with this guy.  She should run to her suite, lock herself in, and call the cops.  But somehow she knew he wouldn’t hurt her.
The ghost of a smile touched his lips, but shadows haunted his eyes.  “Please, Miss Conrad.  I’ve no intention of doing you any harm.  I only wish to talk with you.”
Something in his voice, something lost and lonely, called out to her.  Before she knew what she was doing, she pulled one of the chairs closer to him.  As she sat down, he smiled gratefully.
“Thank you.  I haven’t had companionship in quite some time.”
Alexis smiled and fiddled with the sleeve of her robe, twisting the fabric around her finger.  “I can’t imagine why.”
His face darkened.  “Oh, there are many reasons, which I will reveal to you shortly.  Now, Miss Conrad—”
“Please.  Call me Alexis,” she said, hoping her invitation would prompt him to introduce himself.
“Very well.  Alexis.  Forgive me, but I must wait until I’ve told you a little more about this house before I reveal my name to you.  Do you know who that young woman is?”  He gestured to the painting.
Her heart lurched painfully, as it did every time she looked at the similar face, and she shook her head.  “No.  I think she is one of my ancestors.”
“Yes, she is, although not a direct ancestor.  You look very much like her.  That young woman is Rebecca Eugenia Carrington.  She was a beautiful and astonishing young woman.  Her portrait hangs there because she was quite accomplished at the piano and this room was hers, where she played for friends and family alike.”
His gaze turned inward, thoughtful.  After a moment, it returned to her.
“You’ve already heard much of the story about the tragedy that befell poor Rebecca, have you not?”
“Yes.”  Her voice was soft, barely above a whisper.  “It was quite tragic.  I was also told her fiancĂ© was so overcome with grief he committed suicide in her room.”
“That’s not true!”  He sprang to his feet, startling her.  His eyes were wide.  The muscle in his cheek twitched, as if he were clenching and unclenching his jaw.


My thoughts: My first thought is that the dialogue between Alexia and piano man could be improved. One thing I find when I re-read my dialogue is that I often have extra words or phrases that don't quite jibe with the rest. For example, in this bit, piano man says he needs her help:
“My help?  What do you mean?”
“That’s a long story.  Won’t you sit down?  I’ll tell you a little more about this house.”
To me, that's not what should follow here. What should follow is him telling her how/why he needs her help. I assume that the reason has to do with the history surrounding Rebecca and shortly that turns out to be so. I'd consider cutting this sentence. My second thought is, Yay! A ghost! At least, I'm pretty sure he's a ghost. He didn't offer her his hand and I think that's why. Must read on to confirm...

Readers, any thoughts or comments for Angi?


Huntress said...

Again, note the sentence length. They seem about the same in the paragraphs.
Break them up into a beat. Waltz your way through.

Medium, medium, Long. short short.

Or as I love to say, listen to the lyrics of Dierks Bentley, LOL.
"What was I thinking."

Angela said...

LOL! I was worried about leaving the dialogue as it is. I was trying to convey Jonathan's time period, but it's obviously not working. I'll make sure I pay extra attention to the dialogue. I have other characters that are from even farther back in time than Jonathan, so I'm probably going to face some of the same issues in their dialogue as well. Thanks, Carol!