Magically Distracting

First off:  thanks to everyone who commented on yesterday’s picture, which, if you weren’t aware, was from the movie The Craft, which brought to life the notion that if you wanted to do magic, you needed to be an emo-goth girl and learn how to do the sexy walk in slo-mo.  Most of the comments were to remind me that there was a show with witches on television called Charmed and that I could have showed them some love as well.  Guess what?  I am.  Here they are.

Though it took me a while to find a picture that didn't have them magically keeping their breasts inside their silky tops.  I kid.

Though it took me a while to find a picture that didn’t have them magically keeping their breasts inside their silky tops. I kid.

Actually, I’m pretty sure there are a few witches like these ladies at my fictional school.  You know:  driven women who won’t take crap from anyone once they discover their powers.  And since my school is pretty much a school for young girl run by the Matriarchy, they grow up fully in charge of their lives, ready to not only take on the world, but to reshape it to become a better place.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to write as much as I would have liked last night.  There was a friend who was having a problem, and I was there lending as much of a hand as I could, while I was also conversing with a couple of other people at the same time.  This kept my word count to just under five hundred words, most of which I present to you below:

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

In many ways the hall didn’t look much different from a normal Saturday night leading into the Midnight Madness. There was sofas, love seats, chairs, and tables everywhere, though the beds were away for the night. The instructor’s area was, for the most part, missing, and the podium before the fireplace supported a table with a mixer and three computers feeding music to unseen speakers. The center portion of the floor in front of the music podium—an area maybe twelve meters by fifteen—acted as the dance floor, where currently maybe forty students moving to a song Annie didn’t recognize.

Everyone visible was in costume, even the instructor. Annie saw Professor Semplen, wearing some kind of older military uniform complete tall hat and sword, chatting with professor Salomon, who was dressed in something hard and futuristic that Kerry pointed out looked like powered armor. Headmistress Laventure was decked out like a cross between a Victorian lady and a person with mechanical parts. Wednesday and Isis Mossman were dressed casually, almost like high school girls, though Isis—who was now blond instead of her normal brunette—wore a pouch with sharpened stakes around her waist, and Wednesday’s hair was auburn, her top had long, flowing sleeves, and she wore a pentacle necklace. Kerry whispered that he thought they were Buffy and Willow, which meant nothing to Annie, but she thought they did look nice.

They had managed to walk to the far end of the dance floor when they were approached by Nadine, who was wearing a dark pink bodysuit, lighter pink leggings, dark pink boots and gloves, and what looked to Annie to be an incredibly uncomfortable head band. They stopped before each other and spend a few moments looking each other over—though it seemed most of the looking was occurring between Kerry and Nadine.

He was the first to break the silent stalemate. “Having a good time, Wanda?”

Nadine nodded. “As best I can, Captain Tight Pants.” She turned to Annie, a big smile on her face. “Annie, I love that gown. You are simply gorgeous.”

She blushed, because even though she knew she might receive complements, she wasn’t used to hearing them. Even though she knew they were true . . .

Her gown was satin, the color of soft, creamy gold. It was sleeveless with keyhole shoulder pads, and she wore matching fingerless lace gloves on each hand. The gown pulled in slightly at the waist and spread away in a modified semi-tight A line. The original design of the gown has a plunging V line in the front and a scoop back; the back on this gown was normal, which the front dropped only low enough to allow her heart pendant to rest against bare skin. “Thank you, Nadine. I . . .” She leaned against Kerry. “It was all his idea, really.”

 

Yes, she is.  And I hope you picked up on the clues for their costumes.  I’m sneaky that was.  Extra points if you can figure out the Headmistress’ costume.

I’m hoping to get re-energized tonight, to get into the dance an rip off a thousand words.  Then again, I did write up a two thousand word blog post yesterday–that you can find here–so I suppose I can’t be blamed for only getting down five hundred words in my novel.

Dammit, though:  I need to do better there.

Here I Am, Speaking Wise Stuff

Today I’m doing something I haven’t done in long time:  I’m speaking on another blog!  Yes, I did a guest post over at My Write Side and I am giving Wednesday Writers Wisdom–which you can probably take or leave.

You’ll find me here on this link, so come on over and share the love, and see what I have to say.

I'm even having coffee.  Come join me.

I’m even having coffee. Come join me.

Enter Samhain

You know the hardest part of doing today’s post?  Trying to find pictures of witches that are, you know, sexy, or taken from movies where the witches are, you know, sexy.  And not named Hermione.  It’s a pain, I tell you.

Like this. Annie could kick the asses of all these poseurs now.

Annie could kick the asses of all these poseurs right now.

One of the interesting things about writing up a scene at a Samhain dance is figuring just how crazy you can get.  You’ve got your normal witches, you have people with “super powers”–haven’t seen many of them, but there are a few, like Isis, who can fly without invoking magic to do so–you’re got a fair number of great sorceresses . . . and then you have the transformation experts who are making the costumes and changing the bodies.  If you’re a master transformationest, like Jessica, you’ll find yourself pretty busy for the few days leading up to the dance.  At Salem, when you say you want a makeover, you’re liable to come out the other end a whole new person.

And it’s not just the dance, but a busy day all around . . .

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Growing up Annie had heard many stories about Salem’s Samhain celebrations. She heard about how all the students participated in a fall cleaning of their rooms, which involved dusting, sweeping, and changing of their bed sheets, which was something usually left to housekeeping. As much of the dirt and dust was bagged, and the students were required to take the small bags and leave them outside the coven tower entrances, where they were collected and sent off to be consumed in the two huge bonfires in Selena’s Meadow.

Breakfast and lunch were turned into a brunch starting at seven-thirty and lasting until ten-thirty. This was due to the Samhain Races, which started at noon and usually went on for three hours. Unlike other race days, all coven teams paired off to race each other for five lap heats on the Blue Line. Since there were five covens, most of the races were elimination heats that continued until the two teams that had won the most heats finished with a ten lap race alternating between the Green and Blue Lines. Not only was it a huge day for compiling team points, but many pilots saw their individual point standing change for the better—or worse.

The Samhain Feast began at sixteen sharp and went on until seventeen-thirty. After that the students hurried back to their towers and prepared their costumes for the Samhain Dance, which many saw as a glorified Halloween dance, but as the tradition had been in place since the nineteen-thirties—when the dance was then known as the “Guiser’s Celebration”—it was felt there was little need to change things now.

 

No trick or treating here; it’s all serious business, and probably a lot of quick healing at the hospital when someone crashes and burns, which tends to happen when you’re racing Class 1, 2, and 3 PAVs and a racin’ deal goes bad.

Though I managed almost seven hundred an fifty words I didn’t get into the dance proper.  That’ll start happening tonight.  I did get as far as this:

 

They stepped into the room and were greeted by Head Chef Agnes Piña, who’d transformed herself into a beautiful silver android. She turned to the assembled crowd and made the announcement that Kerry had emailed into the staff earlier in the evening. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Annie Kirilova and her escort, Kerry Malibey.” She nodded at Kerry. “Mr. Malibey, I need you to surrender your weapon.”

Annie watched Kerry undo the heavy belt around his waist and hand it over with the authentic looking pistol still in the holster. “I’ll need a receipt for that.”

 

Kerry with a pistol:  that’s a dangerous situation.  At least he checked it at the door . . .

No matter how crazy you think you can get things, a lot will be left to the imagination.  I’ll do my best to channel the madness, but the real focus is on my two main characters, and a few interlopers here and there.

There’s a lot more magic going on here than meets the eye.

Twilight in the Night Ward

It is done:  Chapter Seventeen is done, finished, first drafted.

See all those "First Draft" labels?  I don't lie.  Much.

See all those “First Draft” labels? I don’t lie. Much.

In the last scene written Annie got caught, but the punishment . . . well, it’s not all that hard.  Really.  Nurse Coraline is a big softy.  Not only that, but Annie admitted something that she wouldn’t tell Kerry–probably not ever–but she would admit to another woman.

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“It’s not just that, Nurse Coraline—” Annie hated to admit to anything bothering her; it wasn’t her nature. And it wasn’t like what she was about to admit to bothered her a lot, but given her current situation, she knew what she was about to say wouldn’t go beyond the person listening. “Kerry always sees me to my room. He’s the last person I see before getting ready for bed. And . . . we’re the only ones on the floor. Even though he’s on the other side of the tower, it’s comforting to know if I needed him, I only have to knock on his door.”

 

Now we know that there’s always a “Good Night” given somewhere on the First Floor of Cernunnos Tower, and that Annie had to go to the hospital to get hers that night–but that’s not the same, is it?  Doesn’t really have the same, loving impact that holding hands and giving someone a kiss and telling them “good night” before heading into your room to fall asleep has. Which is probably why Annie is back on the ward because . . . well, she has her reasons.

And Coraline has to lay down the law.

 

“Okay, Annie.” Coraline patted the girl’s shoulder. “Here’s what’s going to happen: first, consider this a warning. The rules I have about sneaking into my hospital are there for a reason, and I don’t like seeing anyone break them—even people I like. Should this happen again, there’s gonna be detention.”

Annie glanced down and nodded once. “It won’t happen again.”

“That’s good, because you don’t want detention from me.” She didn’t bother waiting for the question from Annie. “It’s always the same: you’re sent to clean up the morgue. In the lower levels. At night.” She slowly raised her eyebrows as she smirked. “No one ever wants a second detention from me.”

Annie met Coraline’s stare. “I don’t want a first.”

“Then don’t sneak onto my ward again.”

“I won’t.”

 

Yeah, girl, this is crazy, but you just snuck onto my ward floor, so how about heading down to the morgue at eight-thirty PM and doing a little dusting maybe.  No bodies lying about, but that doesn’t mean the place hasn’t been used.

But the Head Doctor/Nurse isn’t a total meanie:

 

“I believe you.” She slid her hand behind Annie’s shoulders and directed her back down the ward corridor. “Now, second: I’m gong to to walk you back to your tower—” She felt the girl stiffen under her fingertips. “I’ll see you into your commons, and I’ll give you something that will help you sleep. And I’ll watch you take it, just to make certain you have—”

Annie hung her head. “Yes, Nurse Coraline.”

“—after you spend some time with Kerry.”

Annie looked up, absorbing what she’d just been told. “Really?”

“Did you think I wasn’t going to give you at least a little time with him?” Coraline stopped in front of Kerry’s curtained-off bay. “Like I said, Annie, I’m a romantic, too. If I’d had a boyfriend in the hospital when I was an A Level, and I felt about him the way you feel for Kerry, I’d have probably risked detention to see him.”

“Thank you, Nurse Coraline.” Annie was genuinely touched. She knew Coraline was upset with her rule breaking, but she also sensed the honesty behind her actions. “How much time do I get?”

“I’ll give you thirty minutes.” She half way slid back the bay curtain and spoke softly. “I’ll come and get you when time’s up. No one will bother you, so Team Annie—” Coraline grinned broadly. “—can have enough time to comfort her sleeping boy.”

 

Team Annie.  Because only pervo vampires sneak into someone’s place of rest and sit their watching them while they sleep.  Nurse Gretchen already called Annie out on this, saying she was getting into some “strange Twilight stuff” with that, but that’s okay with Annie, because . . .

 

Annie sat and moved the chair as close to the bed as possible without scrunching her legs against the frame. She knew it likely seemed strange to both Gretchen and Coraline that she wanted to sit and watch Kerry sleep, but she felt that since she couldn’t share their dreams together—for whatever reason—this was the next best thing.

 

If I can’t see you in my dreams, I’ll do the next best thing.  Which means it much torture her to sleep across the tower from Kerry and not be able to do the same.  You can draw any conclusions you like . . .

But do it fast, because Samhain is up next, and believe me:  Halloween dances at a school full of witches and gifted kids might just be a lot of fun.

Anatomy of a Sneaky Girl

Well, now, it’s another day, it’s another Sunday, it’s another “The weekend is almost over” feeling.  We do this all the time, and it’s not a bad feeling–not as long as you do something with your time.

What did I do?  A lot.  Oh, yeah, writing, too, but I was doing a lot of other things as well.  So many that by nine PM I was falling asleep.  That’s an indication I was hard doing . . . something.  It’s not all just sitting on my butt in front of the computer.

Though it’s close . . .

If there’s one thing I have learned about Annie, it’s that she gets what she wants.  She’s explained that she’s been called “selfish” for this attitude, but she’s just a girl who knows what she wants, and she’ll keep at it until she gets it.  Or she just does whatever the hell she feels like doing, which is what she’s sort of doing now that she’s away from her parents and off to school with her Ginger Haired Boy.

What happens when he’s in the hospital and not sleeping across the tower from her?  What does she do when visiting hours are over?  What do you think?

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Pushing open the door to the hospital waiting room slowly, Annie peeked in to see if anyone was present. The room was empty, as she’d expected, so she used the moment to slip inside and eased the door shut. She stood still for almost ten seconds, waiting to see if Nurse Gretchen came out of Coraline’s office, or from out of the ward. When she found herself still alone she moved ahead.

Annie knew what she was doing was wrong, that it was after visiting hours and sneaking onto the ward was going to be frowned upon. She also knew that using the Light Bending spell she’d learned in Transformation Class to allowed her to enter without being seen was also going to be viewed in a dim light.

She was facing a lot of detention to do this.

She didn’t care. She wanted to sit with Kerry for a little.

 

 

Who needs an invisibility cloak when you can just bend light around your own bad self? That’s a problem with this school: witches be roaming the grounds at all hours, sneaking into places they aren’t suppose to be.

Then again, all the instructors graduated from this joint, so what do you think that means?

 

She decided to move the chair between the beds so she could sit next to him for a while. If Nurse Gretchen walked in she could always jump up and get out of the way before she moved the chair back into place, but Annie considered the possibility of the night nurse walking in on her slim. It wasn’t like Kerry was a specialty patient in need of constant observation; he had only a broken ankle and a damaged knee. Unless he woke up and called for the nurse—

There was a tap on Annie’s right shoulder.

She turned and found no one there. A moment later the dim outline of a taller woman appeared, and within seconds the outline constituted into the form of Nurse Coraline. She cocked her right index finger at the invisible and motioned for her to come along. Annie dropped her Light Bending spell and followed Coraline into the corridor and to the far end of the ward where she’d held her conversation with Professor Lovecraft weeks before.

 

Coraline, she don’t miss a trick, and seems to know the same magic. She also knows something else:

 

Coraline didn’t bother with a privacy screen; she went right to the chastising. “First off, I have to say you really mastered that Light Bending spell that Jessica showed you. She told me Kerry and you both had it down pat, which doesn’t surprised me one bit.” She crossed her arms, trying to look as stern as possible. “What Jes didn’t tell you is while you can hide your physical form just fine, it doesn’t do a thing to disguise your aura. Which means you pretty much stood out like a beacon to me.”

“You were waiting for me?” Annie was surprised that her presence was expected. “Did Professor Arrakis say something?”

“Annie, I didn’t need a seer to figure this one out. The first time Kerry did an overnight you were in to complain that you were having ‘trouble sleeping’, and, oh, can I sit with Kerry for a few minutes? Then you were in just after visiting hours were over because you told Gretchen that you had to ‘apologize’ for something.”

Coraline shook her head. “No, no way. I figured you’d show up and it’d be a good idea if we had a chat. Of course, I didn’t imagine you were going to sneak into my ward . . .” She twisted her mouth up into a scowl. “There’s a half-dozen ways we know if someone’s coming into the hospital; even pretty much invisible, you still set off three of them. Just for future reference, in case you want to try this again.”

 

Here’s a woman who’s serious about kids sneaking into her hospital. Haven’t written the part up yet, but you never want detention from Coraline, because she’s a bit twisted when it comes to handing out punishment. And it’s not scrubbing bedpans, because there aren’t that many in this place. At least not used . . .

"Nurse Coraline, I don't know if I like the idea of using others for magical experimentation . . . what do you mean, you didn't say 'others'?  Why are you looking at me that way?"

“Nurse Coraline, I don’t know if I like the idea of using others for magical experimentation . . . what do you mean, you didn’t say ‘others’? Why are you looking at me like that?”

The Moment of Forgotten Love

I’ve written about love before, both times in stories set in a science fiction world I created over twenty years ago.  Actually there was a third story set in the same world that dealt with love, wanted and unavailable, and getting through that novel was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, because in pulling that story out of whatever crevasse of my mind held the damn thing, I also pulled out a lot of feelings that I’d not touched upon for a while.

You may have noticed I’m doing the same thing here, only . . . it’s a different kind of love.

The new scene I added to the novel was finished last night, with only a touch fewer than six hundred words needed to bring it to a conclusion.  After Annie’s profession of undying love, there weren’t a lot of places Kerry could go in his mind, wondering just what the hell this Girl From Bulgaria meant.  If I can figure it out, I’m sure he can . . .

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“As would I.” Annie smooched Kerry on the right cheek, very near his lips. She lingered there for a few seconds, savoring the kiss. “Goodnight, my love.”

He folded his hands across his lap. “Night, Sweetie.”

She paused at the curtain. “See you in the morning.” She blew him a kiss, then departed.

Now alone, Kerry thought about the things Annie had said. He wasn’t all that interesting in her apology, or the information about her father—he continued going back to her talk of her love for him, and how she would love him—

He wanted to say “forever”, but it was more than that. And every day, as long as you live, you’ll hear me say those words to you. That was what she said. She wasn’t talking forever, not like someone would if they were talking about a long, indefinite period of time for which they didn’t know the end.

Annie said as long as I live. As long as I’m alive

From now until the day I die.

 

Yeah, dude, you’re getting it.  It’s easy to say, “I’ll love you forever,” because it’s a bullshit expression that runs out when the love does.  When you say, “As long as you live,” you’re setting a time frame for the object of the affection, saying you’re going to be their one and only until they kick this mortal coil, naturally or otherwise.  (Kerry needn’t worry that Annie’s gonna go all Dark Witch and plant his ass in the ground with some black magic–yet . . .)

Basically, she just set the limits for how long soul mates should exist.

And that brings out something else in Kerry . . .

 

But her saying that he deserved love—no one had ever said that to him before. Sure, his grandparents said they loved him, and when he was younger his parents told him the same, but it had been a long time—since leaving San Francisco—that he’d had anyone say “I love you, Kerry.” He’d not heard it from his father or mother. He’d not heard it from anyone else, because in all of Cardiff no one else was close to him.

The only person in the last five years who’d told Kerry they’d loved him was Annie. She was the only one who thought him worthy of her love—

Have I ever returned that love?

He lowered his head and a few stray tears dripped into his glass lenses. Why hadn’t he? Was it because he was unsure of his feelings? Was it because he didn’t know his feelings? Or was it because he knew his feelings, and he was afraid to express them? He’d told Annie he had trouble expressing his feelings, but there was a feeling deep within his self that told him . . .

There was a knock on the bay support. Kerry looked up and saw an outstretched arm reaching across the open curtain space. “Kerry?” Nurse Gretchen’s voice was soft, concerned. “Are you all right?”

 

It’s a kick in the brain pan when you finally realize that someone is madly in love with you, and you’re still uncertain about what you feel for them.  So what does he do?  Well, this is the event I called “First Night,” which means there are two other nights ahead, and during that time he’ll figure out what he should do–

Better hurry, Kerry:  Annie's waiting, and she'll probably wait another . . . five or six years for you to make up your mind.

Better hurry, Kerry: Annie’s waiting, and she’ll probably wait another . . . five or six years for you to make up your mind.

The Boy With the Long Emptiness

One of the maxims of writing is, “Write what you know”.  Which is a hard thing to do for this novel, because what do I know about witches and super science and secret organizations that run the world without us knowing anything.  Okay, for that last I have notes from last week’s meeting . . .

But this novel isn’t all about witches and magic and fighting off some dark, unseen presence–though give me a few more scenes and you might be surprised.  It’s also about feelings.  It’s about my two main characters learning about stuff, you know . . . things.  That’s what happened earlier in the current scene I’m writing:  Annie came back in to see the laid-up Kerry, apologized, and told him a secret.  It’s all good, right?

Kerry’s got a few secrets of his own.  He tells Annie he understands strange relationships with you parents, because he has the same.  But he doesn’t stop there:  oh, no.  That would be too easy.  Because Kerry’s been hanging around Annie for almost two months now, and he’s discovered that, after all the years of being around his parents and experiencing an unaffectionate relationship with them, he really does have feelings.

Which leads to this:

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie nodded slowly, witnessing the emotions flowing across Kerry’s face. Something was bothering him, something that he wanted to say aloud, and she wasn’t about to leave him alone with feelings that seemed to bother him. “Kerry?”

He took two deep breaths before he quickly raised his head so he was looking directly at Annie. “A couple of years ago my mother told me she wished I wasn’t with them. I knew she didn’t mean that I wasn’t with them in Cardiff: she meant she wished . . .” He took a long, tortured breath as his gaze shifted away from Annie. “I wasn’t here.”

 

Write what you know–and I know that one.  Because my own mother dropped that bomb on me when I was ten.  Sure, I was probably driving her crazy with my depression and all the other baggage I was carrying, and this moment came after my parents pulled me out of therapy after two months–therapy that was suppose to help me learn how to “make friends,” because one of my mantras then was, “No one likes me.”  At that time in my life I never left the house except to go to school and places with my parents.  There was one point where I didn’t leave my room unless it was necessary for about two years.

I’m sure none of this had anything to do with the various sentences my mother threw at me from the time I was about six that always ended in, “Like a girl.”  Yeah, thanks.  Lots of help there.

Fortunately Kerry has Annie.  And while he might not understand everything there is to know about girls, he will understand this:

 

If she could have Annie would have taken Kerry and pulled him close and held him, but she couldn’t do that, not with him being unable to move. She moved as close to him as possible. “Do you remember when we had lunch in Russel Square?”

He didn’t look at her, but Kerry nodded. “Yeah. That was—”

“Do you remember telling me that you felt that no one cared for you, that you weren’t loved?”

Kerry gaze slowly returned to Annie’s hazel eyes. “Yes. I remember.”

She laid their hands upon her chest and held him tightly. “You’re wrong. You’re worthy of love, Kerry: you deserve love. You deserve to have someone tell you at least once every day that they love you. You deserve to hear those words and know them to be true.” Annie lightly, lovingly kissed his hand. “I love you, Kerry. I always will. And every day, as long as you live, you’ll hear me say those words to you.” She placed his hand against her right cheek and closed her eyes. “Every day.”

Kerry felt her warm cheek against his fingers, her skin against his. He started to smile, then the gravity of her words fell over him, and it was all he could do to stare opened mouth, his breathing coming in short, jagged bursts. As Annie opened her eyes and looked back into his, he finally found his voice. “Every day . . . That’s a long time.”

“Yes, it is.” Annie lowered his hand so it once more rested on the bed, though she refused to let it go. “Unless you keep letting Emma crash into you.”

He began laughing; Annie joined in a moment later. The seriousness of the moment was now in the past, replaced by their levity. Kerry coughed once. “Yeah, that could shorten my life considerably.”

“By more than a few years.” This time the lights across the ward were out for three seconds before coming back on. “And I think—”

“That’s your cue.” Kerry slid his hand from Annie’s. “You better get going before Nurse Gretchen throws you out.”

 

Of course he remembers, Annie:  it right there in that scene.

Of course he remembers, Annie: it right there in that scene.

The rest of the scene comes tonight, when Kerry starts to understand something important.  Something not just about Annie, but about himself.  Something that’ll bring another kind of hurt–

Don’t worry, kid.  You don’t have to stay empty forever.