Welcome to Scene-Snippet Sunday! Each week, I offer up a piece of a scene from a work in progress or recent release, and this week it’s from book three in the Sentinels series, Elysian Fields. I’m currently completing final revisions on this manuscript, but you have to wait all the way until August 13 for the book!
Next, a preview of the week ahead. Since it’s a holiday, I’m going to trot out some of the Sentinels short stories from the past year or so.
Monday: Look for “Santa, Baby,” a short-short that debuted over at the Rabid Reads blog week before last. (Looking for Reader’s Choice? I’ll be doubling up next Monday.)
Tuesday, Christmas Day, I’ll give you a break from holiday madness with “Intervention,” a story about Alex and Jake Warin set about two years before Royal Street.
Wednesday, it’s another Alex and Jake story, “Rivalry,” set when the cousins were teenagers.
Thursday, best-selling author Caridad Piniero will have a special guest blog talking about her new story–and all the proceeds will go toward Superstorm Sandy recovery at the Jersey Shore.
Friday, we’ll round out the week with Jean Lafitte in “Pirate’s Alley,” a story set about a year before Royal Street.
Hope you enjoy revisiting the stories! I’ll keep them all up (with tabs, as in “Chenoire,” above) through the end of the year.
Each day, I will choose one commenter to win a signed copy of one of my books, Royal Street (US or UK version), River Road (UK or US version), or one of my Susannah Sandlin books, Redemption or Absolution, in either print or audiobook. If you already have the books, I have some cool T-shirts available for both series.
Also, if you haven’t voted in the Grave Tells 2012 Reader’s Choice Awards, I’d appreciate your votes! I’ve been nominated (as Susannah Sandlin) for Most Promising New Author. You can find the ballot here. Voting runs through Friday, December 28.
After the scene snippet, I also have a few weekly winners to announce, so read on…
This scene involves DJ, Alex and NOPD homicide detective Ken Hachette. Ken was in Jake’s Marine unit in Afghanistan, and the two bought the Green Gator together a couple of years before the events of Royal Street. Ken has had minor roles in both Royal Street and River Road. In Elysian Fields, Alex has gotten permission to tell Ken about the world of magic and enlist his help in a new prete investigative unit being formed, the DDT (Division of Domestic Terror). In this scene, DJ and Alex are trying to break the news gently, and DJ is pretty sure they’re going to have to do some magic tricks and shapeshifting before it’s all over.
Alex thrummed his fingers on the table—his nervous tell. “You remember a while back I talked to you about a new FBI public-threat division based here in New Orleans?”
“Yeah…” Ken gave me a curious stare, probably wondering why I’d be part of this conversation. “I still might be interested in being the NOPD liaison if we can get it cleared through channels. Is that what this is about?” When he said “this,” he swirled a finger to indicate the three of us.
“Right.” Alex took another drink of his beer. If I didn’t have a dawning suspicion that most of the explaining was about to get dumped in my lap, I’d laugh at his discomfort. “Consider the channels cleared. Paperwork’s done. We’re a go, starting now, and there are things you need to know.”
Ken propped his elbows on the table and hunched forward—about as demonstrative as I’d ever seen him. “What do you mean ‘paperwork’s done’? My request for a change of duty hasn’t been filled out, and the process can take up to a month or two.”
“Well…” Alex looked at me, which made Ken look at me.
My former partner was so dead.
“What Alex is saying, and doing it badly, is that this new unit has top priority among high-ranking officials,” I said. Yeah, like the Congress of Elders and the FBI’s double-secret enforcer unit. “The usual channels get bypassed. It’s a done deal unless…” Unless Ken had a nervous breakdown or got so distraught that I had to modify his memories and send him home with a few missing hours. I had a vial of memory-erasure potion in my jeans pocket just in case.
I pushed my chair back, unprepared for this conversation. “We need some chips. You got any chips? I’m going to run next door and get some.”
“Sit down.” Alex grumbled a curse under his breath.
“Okay, you’re both acting like freakballs,” Ken said. “Spill. And nothing personal, DJ, but how does this concern you?”
“Here’s the thing, Ken.” I shot one last glare across the table. “I’m here to help explain some things about the special nature of this unit because I’ll be working closely with you guys.” “As a risk-management consultant?”
Ah, yes. My fake human occupation, which Ken still thought was true. “Um, not exactly.”
“Just tell me straight out if this has something to do with insurance-claim investigations. Because if it does, you can forget it.” Ken’s brows formed chevrons of confusion over his eyes.
I searched for the right words. “Sometimes, you’ve had cases where things didn’t add up, right?” I asked. “Where something defied explanation, or where you wondered if maybe things exist in this world beyond what you’re able to see?”
He gave me blank cop face. “What in God’s name are you talking about?”
I sighed. “Hell, Alex, call Gandalf and take off your pants.”