All Shiny and New

June 27, 2015 at 12:03 am (Events) (, , , , , , , )

The Bookshop Hotel has a new face! And back. And inside for that matter.  It’s been re-edited and fine tuned and re-published by the marvelous Grey Gecko Press.

9781938821905-Perfect11391781_10152864165140583_8634856621779098009_n

And right now, you may download this updated version for FREE: http://store.greygeckopress.com/products/the-bookshop-hotel

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Bones of My Bones

April 8, 2014 at 8:51 pm (In So Many Words) (, , , , , , )

Below is a very small piece out of a decently long series that is not yet published, but still lurking about on my computer.  The story is from ages ago, an angsty sci-fi piece I started writing when I was 14.  Things change and flesh themselves out when they see the light of day – or the eyes of others.  So periodically I like to post excerpts of things still in progress.

If you like this and you haven’t yet purchased my book, The Bookshop Hotel, please do.  Again – This is not from that book, but it is a sample of my writing.

She often wondered what her bones would look like after death. Bones tell tales. Bones are the memory book of all our scars, all our aches and pains, all our wounds. An autopsy would show her broken ribs, her smashed fingers, conditioned arms and legs… but would it also show the bruising on the inside? All the times her heart nearly burst and beat her sternum in anger and sadness from the inside?
They say that if old lovers can be friends they either were never in love or they still are. She wondered if that could be true, and if it was true then which was the case now? What would be worse? Thinking none of it was real before, or thinking there was still something there that neither one could acknowledge? Worse yet: if old feelings could bubble to the surface at any moment and disrupt the fabric of her current reality.
Then again, what defines lover? The problem with the world is that they apply emotional concepts to physical acts. By doing so, does that make the emotions with non-physical acts irrelevant? You can love someone and be loved by someone, you can be in love with someone, and never cross the line into the realm of ‘lovers.’ Lover implies physical contact, lover implies intercourse, lover implies bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh sort of contact.
It either takes serious emotional bonding or a vivid imagination to feel like you’re one flesh with someone you’ve never touched. To feel their absence like a stab in the gut. To feel their loss like a loss of your own limb. What if she just had the most vivid of imaginations? What if none of it had ever been real?
After death, would they see that too? Would her delusions be written on her bones? In her muscle mass… in her muscle memory. The heart having expanded too much, too quickly. Would they see that?

Copyright A.K. Klemm

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March Events 2014!

February 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm (AJ and Ivy's Bookshop Hotel, Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

LJayHortonDr SuessDallas Book Signing

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She Belongs to the Woods

December 4, 2013 at 4:54 am (In So Many Words) (, , , , , , )

A Short Story by A.K. Klemm

The fawn folded its new legs beneath the soft tuft of its under belly, collapsing ever so gently into the pallet of leaves under the shadow of the thicket.  It was vulnerable, but strangely content, hidden from the dangers of the world beyond the green. The chin rubbed against one of its three hundred white spots, the eyes drooped closed, and the fawn went to sleep.

The doe left her baby tucked in the thicket, confident it would be safe but leery nonetheless.  A mother could never be completely sure their babies were safe, but she’d done this before and this was the routine.  She wouldn’t be more than a hundred yards off and the fawn would be asleep while she was away, so it wasn’t likely that it would make any noise that would give away its location.

The mother darted off, never to return, unwillingly surrendering her offspring to the woods.

When the fawn awoke, each sound, each danger, the wind, the rain, and all other possible threats forced the deer’s ears to flicker and head to lie flat against its own back. Eyes peered through the foliage, searching for its mother, longing for some kind of nurturing love, while the world outside continued to call its name.  Here, little deer, come, come, now little deer…

            Leaves rustled, dark turned to dawn and the sun shining through the thicket lent itself to flickering shadows and tricks of light.  The spots were an effective camouflage, something to help keep it hidden from the world, but it didn’t fool the eyes of the seasoned hunter.

            He approached the thicket in the early light, hoping a doe would dart out so he could shoot.  He needed something to bring home to his family, and he was here hunting with others.  They were off in the distance, sticking to the trails and paths to the water, following tracks.  He was different, he sought out the ones hiding in safety, tucked away.

Quickly, he realized there was no doe.  He saw only a small baby deer, shivering in the fog.  The shake of the skin rippled up its back, causing the spots on its back to look like a flicker.  These spots may seem to be a blemish to such a smooth finish, a lovely coat, but they generally kept the creature preserved for the future.  Out of sight.  Safe.

The hunter watched for a moment.  He and the baby deer made eye contact, taking each other in.  She was frightened, of course, but as he lowered his gun she seemed to relax.  Somehow she knew what the hunter knew, no harm would come to her while he was present.  The hunter’s brow furrowed as a shot cracked in the distance.  The fawn ducked her head low with a squint.

For most, a fawn alone does not mean it has been abandoned; its mother is always within earshot, there to protect and guide.  Fawns are supposed to learn from their mothers.  Sure, like any mammal, they are born with innate survival skills, but their mother is the one that shows them the way.  They rely on them completely.   But this fawn’s mother was gone.  Both fawn and hunter knew that she was suddenly alone.  Very alone.

Tiny and frail and being sought out by predators in the wood, the hunter winced at his own involvement.  He wanted to protect this tiny thing and here he was – part of the problem.  He moved a branch, tucked a few sticks around the opening, and ensured no one else would see what he had seen.  No one else would be led here, no one else could spy on his baby deer.  Because she was his now.  He became territorial.  He loved her.

He went home with his party, hung his gun above the mantle, and sat with his family by the warmth of the fire.  He didn’t share his adventures in the woods with them, he didn’t tell them what he saw there.  The fawn was his secret.  He heard a howl in the night and thought of the wolves in the dark.  They were rabid and forbidding, the hunter’s mind raced, they’d be looking for meals for their own young.  The hunter looked out the window and saw the telltale signs of ice soon to fall from the sky.  He imagined what would happen when his friends went out the next morning… Boots tromping down trails, crunching leaves and snow drift, breaking icicles off limbs, destroying what was essentially the little mammal’s front porch… and he vowed to go check on her.  The weather itself was a threat.  No one is there to keep the baby warm, it must rely on burying itself in leaves, its nest, its nook.

The Hunter’s lover called from another room and, distracted, he left the window, forgetting the baby deer and his promise to himself to check on her.  His mind was on more important matters of the heart and she was forgotten.

            Despite all that, despite being unguarded, an easy target, improperly instructed on the ways of life… this fawn did not lack instinct.  Instinct that told her to lie low, to blend in, become one with its environment and do her best to not raise a fuss or get noticed.  She belonged to the woods, and ultimately, she knew that the woods were her threat and her home, her danger and her safety.

It takes a strong backbone to wait so patiently, and the little fawn indeed had a strong one.

            Storms raged all around the wood, but the deer had found shelter.  Through rain and wind, through lightning storms, and crashing tree limbs, through fires erupting from natural electricity, she knew when to wait… when to hunker down and muster up calm when terrified.  The deer, alternately, also knew when to stick her neck out finally and forage for sustenance; and as a three week old could already out run most the dangers the woods threatened.  Once fed, she kept a steady habit of retreating back to her nest to rest and save energy to grow.  So that she would continue to survive.

            The hunter had a caring heart and between distractions would come back to the deer in the wood.  He found her nesting place undiscovered by foes and kept a periodic eye on this seemingly timid creature.  Every now and then he thought he should try to save her, momentary lapses in judgment urged him to want to take her home.  Feed her warm milk, offer the nurturing she had always lacked.  Loving souls long to save and be needed, to protect small animals from the scary evils of their existence.  Loving souls long to offer shelter, to provide consistency and warmth.

The deer would appreciate comfort and protection; it missed the nurturing it never received.  But both hunter and deer knew removing the deer from the wood would be unwise.  Left alone she would still manage to grow into a strong force of the forest.

Over time, she found other deer; a herd, a few who accepted her and looked out for her, some of her own kind who she could also look out for.  They helped each other the best they could, as a herd will do, though the moment a sound startled them it was always every one for themselves, rather than one for all and all for one.  Instinct required this.  Survival of the fittest ensued.

To be rescued would have been lovely.  To grow up as a pet near a fireplace, cozy and well taken care of, patted and loved like a hound.  But then the deer would have been denied the strength gained from stretching her legs.  She would have never found her herd, really grown into the doe of the forest she was meant to be.  She would have never worked her muscles and grown keen eyesight from fighting for her life every day.

She thrived in the treachery of the forest.  She taught herself what was edible and what was not, she watched and learned from the herd what she could when her own experience was lacking.  She found her own streams; she frolicked in her own meadows.  She found coziness where there seemingly was none.  She dodged the bullets of the other hunters and the sharp teeth of the wolves.  Time and time again she escaped the terror, found her way to safety some how.

By the end of summer, the deer stood proud.  She had lost her spots and earned the right to stand there so tall. She never became the most beautiful – she did not stand out from the forest or her herd; she did not grow to be the strongest – having missed out on important protein from her mother’s milk.  But the deer made it.  She learned, she grew, and she can protect herself now.  She has strong hooves, powerful kicks and she can keep predators at bay.

One day the hunter spotted her in a clearing.  She saw him see her, she knew him by his scent.  She found a way to both stiffen and relax, comfortable with his presence, but terrified some day soon he wouldn’t lower his gun the same way.  There would be mouths to feed, the lover who distracted him that night in the cabin would take priority, something or another would simply be different.  They made eye contact, two souls lost in a moment…

She was never rescued, but after all she didn’t need to be – not really.  She belongs to the woods.

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I am a Published Author!

October 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm (AJ and Ivy's Bookshop Hotel) (, , )

The Bookshop Hotel is available for purchase!

my book!

“Why was I angry after reading A.K. Klemm’s The Bookshop Hotel? Because Klemm managed to do in a novella what all writers aspire to – I wanted to know more about these characters and the hotel. I wanted to follow them around for the rest of their days and listen to their conversations and attend their parties and eat dinner at Sam’s Deli. I wasn’t ready to end my time with her characters.” – Melinda McGuire, Author of the Hefner Falls Series

Good thing I’m currently writing a sequel!

amazon q r code

The Bookshop Hotel

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The House Sitter

August 21, 2012 at 9:48 pm (The Whim) (, , , , , , , , )

A Short Story by A.K. Klemm

It truly was the best job in the world, he thought, watching the flames lick the shutters of the windows from the inside.

Typically, a man watching a house the size of an elaborate inner city train station burn would have been excited.  At least, one would think a twenty thousand square foot house burning to the ground would draw some sort of anxious emotion from the one who lit the match.  Instead, the entire occasion was rather dismal.  Bland.  Boring.  Anti-climactic.

For three years Michael had been a professional house sitter.  Most people looked at him and saw an entrepreneur, a self-made man.  If were asked to spot him in a crowd, you’d be told to look for the fashionably not-so-handsome one, the guy who’s suit may not be worth a thousand bucks, but he managed to make it look like one worth twice that amount.  You’d be told to keep an eye for ironically unkempt hair, the kind teen-aged boys spent hours in the mirror trying to mimic.  If clients were to describe Michael to other clients, they would say, “He’s not that good looking, but I’m just drawn to him.  I trust him with my house, my pets, well, my whole life when I’m away from home.”  People would tell you that the sun rose and set to his reliability, his good character, and his quiet smile.

What people would never tell you, is the truth: Michael was homeless, and the only things he owned were kept in the one suitcase that stayed with him at all times.

It had all started with Sarah.  He’d gone home with her after a firework display and she’d started kissing him lightly on the cheek.  They were leaning against a gate to a large estate they were walking by.  It wasn’t until Sarah leaned into his ear and said, “Hey, let’s go inside,” that he realized it was her house.  They went through the gate and meandered along a garden path, someone had spent good money to get landscaping of this quality. It was quiet in the gardens aside from the trickling of water from a nearby, dimly lit fountain.  Once they were inside the house, however, they’d found themselves in the midst of a full throttle 4th of July party.

“Who’s this?” a woman in high heels, a NuvoCig hanging out her mouth, and a glass of champagne dangling from her fingertips.  So classy, he had thought, she couldn’t even smoke real cigarettes.  Sarah looked briefly shell shocked, but quickly reasserted herself.

“This is Mr. – Orowitz. My father’s house sitter.”

Freshly waxed eyebrows arched.

“He’s the House Sitter Pro, I’m surprised you haven’t heard of him.  It’s the latest thing to hire a professional.” Sarah gave Michael a stern look.  He didn’t know her well, but he knew people.  So he took his cue.

“That’s right.  I’m Michael Orowitz.”  He had no idea where Sarah had pulled that name out of her ass from, but he liked it.  The name slid over him like a glove and immediately he felt like an entirely new person.  “House Sitter Pro, Inc.  I just graduated from Princeton with a degree in business.  I’m hoping this little company of mine will entertain me through grad school and –“

Sarah cut him off, “We’re going to Paris tomorrow, as I’m sure Daddy told you,” she eyed the woman with meaning.  Michael wondered if this woman was her father’s mistress.  “We’d like to leave the house in the best of hands.  Anybody who’s anybody has a proper house sitter these days.”

The woman was intrigued, and now of course, so was Michael.

The next day he’d found himself sitting in a ten million dollar home, watching day time television and eating sushi.  Sarah’s parents had given him a pre-paid Visa “in case of emergencies” and a promise of $50/day upon their return.  Sarah slipped him her credit card when they weren’t looking and told him to go buy new clothes, a suitcase, and hire a web designer.

Word spread like wild fire.

By the time they returned from their month long holiday in Paris, Michael Orowitz President and Owner of House Sitter Inc. and Princeton graduate was booked through December.  He had a professional website, a proper email address, and a pre-paid phone.  He had one designer suit he’d got off a clearance rack, and a Pratesi genuine leather suitcase.  The sales clerk had also talked him into a nice watch.

Watch enough day time television, spend a few hours reading Martha Stewart Living, and hang out with professional maids, you start to learn a thing or two about ritzy households.  After a few jobs, Michael knew how and when to make messes, how to clean up after himself so that his clients didn’t care, and how to properly snoop.  He found panic rooms, secret closets, book shelves with hidden safes.  He spent days rifling through the nitty gritty top secret belongings of the wealthy – the things of soap operas and spy films.  A few dirty pictures here, a secret bank account there…  When all was said and done, Michael was no longer concerned about the possibility of getting caught, of someone finding out he’d never stepped foot on Princeton soil much less graduated there.  If they hinted at any suspicion they might have, he hinted at the love letters he’d found in Mrs. So-and-So’s secret shoe box.  No one’s spouse’s needed to know about those, did they?

It was a cozy life.  No bills.  No worries.  He drove a different car every other week, the best of the best too.  Fast, beautiful cars, owned by the fast and the beautiful – driven by him.  Over time, he’d collected quite an assortment of pre-paid credit cards and a few piles of cash hidden in the lining of his suitcase.  He kept some clothing, but many times was able to wear that of whoever he was house sitting for, he was an average build, somewhat fit.

Sarah left town.  She had an apartment somewhere on the other side of the country, some blither about trying to get away from Daddy’s money, even though her Daddy was paying for everything.  He’d kept her credit card.  With a wave of her hand she’d told him to keep it and then disappeared.  He used it to buy her something nice, flowers, when he was called to pick her up at the airport the few times she had come to visit.  He was a house sitter, but so often people trusted him so well, they used him for all sorts of errands they didn’t trust “the help” doing, like picking up dramatic daughters who refused limo services from the airport.  After all, a father wouldn’t be caught dead picking his own child up from the airport… that was beneath him.

She seemed to forget she invented the whole thing altogether.  Just kissed him on the cheek and said, “Hello darling, so good to see you,” once a year.  Sometimes she’d ask him to take her to dinner, for the sole purpose of telling her father she wasn’t hungry when he offered to do the same.  She’d fly through a weekend, holding his hand, taking him shopping, and then disappear into the night, leaving him to sit at whoever’s mansion he belonged to that evening – alone.

Then, one night it happened.  “I have to go now, let’s go home, and I’ll just take a taxi.  I don’t want you being my cheuffer all the time.  It’s demeaning.  It’s below you, darling, you’re better than that.  You’re a house sitter, you’re a president.”  She smiled at him as he drove to his client’s estate.  It was the largest yet.  When they pulled up to the house, she finally looked ahead of her, instead of at him, and her face fell.

“Oh.”

After she left in a yellow cab, he tore the house apart, searching for the meaning of that ‘oh.’ And boy did he find it.

His client was a single man, about fifteen years older than Michael and Sarah.  Like everyone else in this little private world Michael had found himself a part of, the client had money and lots of it.  With no family, that money was mostly spent throwing parties and making female acquaintances.

Michael stared at the pictures for hours.  Sarah and his client in passionate kisses, dodging into shady movie theatres in broad daylight, eating out at nondescript restaurants.  The photos were in an envelope mailed via a private eye.  They looked like images from a bad film.

Michael had taken advantage of this opportunity when it was thrown in his face.  Who wouldn’t? At the time he’d been sharing an apartment with four other guys blocks away from a state school he rarely attended.  His gpa had been so low most students weren’t aware those numbers existed, and he was steadily running out of the money needed to pay tuition and pitch in for groceries.  His name wasn’t on the lease for the apartment and he slept on the couch anyway, so who would miss him? No one.  It was genius, it was perfect.  But mostly, he really liked that girl – the one at the fireworks display – the one who created this lie with such ease and finesse that he had fallen in love with her on the spot.

So for the first time in three years, Michael did something truly unreliable.  What he did was irreversible.  He would never be able to go back to this life again.  But the decision came easy, like turning on a light switch in a dark room; the idea was not there and then it was.

Michael burned down his client’s house.

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