Snippet time! (Into the Flames reborn!)

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Photo via VisualHunt

I don’t have a lot of time this morning. I want to get a little writing time in before I have to go deal with fixing breakfast. So you get a snippet of a VERY rough draft of the newly reborn version of Into the Flames.

The new blurb (so far – I know it’s long, I’ll shrink it later):

Fifty  years ago, the Core struck the weakened Colonies and won a war that they’d started over their need to conquer. Now, the Colonies were ready to strike back.

The Eleven have decreed they need a spy to watch the Core, to make sure they see nothing as the colonies prepare for a new war, one the Core will never forget. Eire Rezouac, a man born to the Core but now Colony through and through, asks his eldest daughter Fiera to take up the challenge. She agrees.

Given a new name, wealth beyond what she could ever imagine to place her among those who would know the doings of the Assembly, and the chance to go to the most prestigious university in the solar system, she accepts the danger and heads into Bouarus, unaware that she will encounter the person behind the current animosity for the Colonies and have to match wits with her.

Kuen Nakano didn’t want to leave the private academy he was attending, but when his mother called him home, he couldn’t refuse. Born to the wealthiest house in the solar system, he knew nothing of the social caste he was a part of or how to live a life outside the rigid structure of the world he’d existed in since he was three years old.

Thrust into the chaotic world of politics, university life, and social maneuverings, he does not expect to encounter a fiery woman who challenges his beliefs, his intelligence, and his physical prowess. He wants to defeat her in the beginning, but as time goes on, he wants more. When war rears it’s ugly head, and he discovers the truth about the woman he loves, he risks everything to save her and will come face to face with his mother’s obsession.

Fiera sighed. “I don’t know if I can do this. I still have the colony accent. You and Jacin have been pounding that into me for the past month.” Jacin Andreasan, one of her father’s oldest friends and the second most powerful man in the colonies that wasn’t a core worlder, had joined them on Sorus three months earlier just for the sole purpose of making certain Fiera was ready for her mission.

It’s not that pronounced unless you get angry, and you’ve learned to compensate for it even then,” Eire said. “Stop stalling. The Lusitania will be boarding in just a few minutes.”

Fiera rubbed sweaty palms on the elegant lemon colored pantsuit she was wearing. “Are you sending anyone with me? I’m going to look odd without a servant.”

No, I’m not sending you with a servant,” Eire said. “I thought about it, but you don’t need another liability to be used against you. Besides, do you really want to treat another colonist the way you’d be forced to?”

Fiera thought of the way she’d seen the wealthy core worlders act with their servants and shook her head. “I couldn’t do it. The first time I tried hitting one I’d be on the floor next to them asking them if they were okay and telling them I was sorry.”

This is why I decided that going alone was the best option for you,” Eire said. He glanced around to make sure no one was watching them closely and squeezed her hand. “You’ll be fine, Fury.”

Fiera managed a smile at the use of her familiar nickname. It was probably going to be the last time she heard it from her father’s lips. Neither of them spoke of the possibility of Fiera being caught, of her being killed. It was an instant death sentence for a colonist if they were found impersonating a core worlder. They both knew the risk was there and the longer Fiera was on Bouarus, the likelier it was she’d get caught.

Fiera blinked back tears. This was something she’d agreed to knowing full well what her fate was most likely going to be. She reached up and fingered the pendant hanging just above her collarbone. It was the final gift her mother gave her before she left Sorus. “This won’t look out of place, as such exotic treasures are valued in the core,” Alena said as she fastened it around Fiera’s neck. “It is something of home, to remind you of us and to help keep you safe.”

It was a tiny figurine, carved by hand instead of by machine, of a strange bird. Even Fiera hadn’t known what it was until her mother told her it was a raven. “I’ve never heard of those before,” Fiera said as she put her luggage into the skimmer. “What planet are they from?”

It is said they came from our world of origin,” Alena said. “Some people thought of them as ill omens, while others saw them as tricksters. They were intelligent and wise, if you knew how to speak to one in the right fashion. Or so the story goes in my family.”

Your mother and I are very proud of you,” Eire whispered, drawing her attention back to the space station.

First call, all those boarding the G.S.S. Lusitania please make your way to gateway four,” a woman’s voice said over the public address system. A few people broke off from their groups and drifted in the general direction of the named gate.

You need to go,” Eire said. “Be a good girl and don’t look back.” Fiera took hold of the handle on her grav pallet and hesitated. “Don’t look back.”

Fiera closed her eyes for a moment and then took opened them again. She took a single step forward. Then another. Then another. She let herself get caught up in the flow of visitors to the station. She didn’t look back.

 

Excerpt from the NEW Chapter 1 of Into the Flames

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I’ve been working on a major rewrite for Into the Flames because I wanted to try something different with it. Here’s a sneak peek at the newly rewritten chapter one. Enjoy!

Do you have everything?” Eire asked.

As far as I know, Dad. You’re the one who knows better about the core than me.” Fiera ran her fingers through her hair, making the spikes worse. “You supervised my packing so if I’m missing anything it’s because you forgot about it.”

True,” Eire said. He pulled her into a rough hug. “Call me as soon as you reach Bouarus, no matter what time it is. I’ll answer.”

It always felt odd hugging her parents. She was a few centimeters taller than them, standing at just over a meter and a half. She was also slender where the rest of her family was stocky. Her mother Alena called her a throwback to an earlier genetic ancestor.

It wasn’t only her height that she’d inherited. Her face was narrow and angular where theirs was round. Her nose was pointed where the rest of her siblings, other than her twin, had snub noses. Only the shape of her eyes, wide and almond shaped, matched theirs. Eire teased Alena often that Fiera and Phelix couldn’t be his because of their appearance. No one took that seriously of course. Alena and Eire were faithful to each other and everyone knew it.

Fiera drew several deep breaths, cementing in her mind the scent of her father’s clean linen shirt and the spiciness of the chemicals all the farmers used to keep the bugs off. “What if you’re asleep?” Fiera asked.

Then keep calling until someone wakes up and can get me.”

That’ll irritate mom.”

Yeah, well, she can just deal with it.”

Fiera snickered. “You know, the way you two act towards each other sometimes looks more like teenagers dating than adults who’ve been married for, what, over thirty years now?”

About that, yes.” Eire laughed, a deep hearty laugh that made everyone around them smile. “We were married six months before Keoni was born.”

I remember hearing the stories from Gma and Gpa,” Fiera said.

Yes, and they thought it was the funniest thing they’d ever seen, your mom and me racing to the courthouse when we found out she was pregnant,” Eire said.

Fiera chuckled. “I still don’t know how you two have managed not to kill each other all these years, not to mention how many of us there are now.”

With love, respect, and a healthy sense of humor.” Eire smacked her lightly upside the head. “Get moving or you’ll miss the shuttle up. If you do, I’ll be really put out. What I’ve set up isn’t cheap.”

Fiera rolled her eyes. “So you keep telling me.” She kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll call when I get there.”

Eire hugged her again, hauling her head down and pressing his lips to her cheek. “Remember: blend in.”