The Revise Side of Life

I know some of your are thinking you’re going to pop in here and discover a whole lot of stuff about these rune dreams I’ve been playing up the last couple of days, and that I’d have a whole lot of stuff word counted and ready to go for NaNo.

What I do have is a whole lot of almost nothing.

You see, it’s like this:  first, I had a hook up with some of my online friends.  They just happened to be in the area where my Panera is located (and should I be saying “my Panera”, but that makes me sounds like too much of a regular.  Well, the woman taking my order did have my ice tea glass ready to go . . .), and I couldn’t say no.  Right?  Right.

They even brought me a scarf.  Can't say no to that.

They even brought me a scarf. Can’t say no to that.

We were talking and talking and having a great time, and by the time they left for home I was there started to write–oh, and I had to post picture to the Internet.  I had to.  Don’t try to say no, Cassie, you didn’t have to, because you don’t know how the Internet works, do you?

So I make it home and someone I used to work with calls.  She needs someone to talk to because she’s suffering from depression and she’s looking for advice, looking for some comfort, looking for a hand to hold.  Given my life and my struggles, I’m not gonna say no, I gotta get to work on my novel.  I listened and we chatted and that was all there was there.  It’s an obligation one has to the human race that when you’ve received help from one person, you pay it back in kind for another.  That’s what I did, and I do hope I was able to help, and that the advice I gave put my friend’s mind at ease.

Now, I have been writing, but not a lot.  I mean, I hit five hundred words at Panera before I shut things down, but that’s not even NaNo Stylin’, if you know what I mean.  I’ve got maybe forty minutes to get my butt in gear and at least pop the word count over a thousand, perhaps get Annie’s rune dream written and get the kids talking about what it means.

Nope.  There’s a frantic PM waiting for me on Facebook . . .

Without going into any great detail again, a project for a group I’m part of went belly up due to someone’s sick computer.  Well . . . guess who was asked if they could step in and get the project going once more?  If you said, “Peter Capaldi”, because right now he’s got free time on his hands and would probably enjoy something like this, you’re wrong.  Oh, so wrong.

Tonight I have a lot ahead of me.  I need to start getting this new project together, which I can do while I’m waiting for dinner to cook.  Nothing fancy, just collect the data and getting into a Scrivener file.  Then, after I eat, jump on the novel and start getting the word count up.  I’ve less that fourteen thousand words to go to hit my fifty, I have ten days to get that done–and I’ll probably lose two of those days to travel to and from Indiana.  That means for the remaining days I need to get my two thousand words a day in, while also getting the new project edited–

Good thing I’ll not be doing much when I’m home.  Except seeing my therapist on Monday.  And visiting with a friend on Tuesday.  And Thanksgiving.

Yeah, I can do it.

And since you’re all so nice to me, here’s the opening scene for Annie and Kerry getting ready to rune.  Enjoy.

 

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

Kerry flew his Espinoza over the southeastern shore of Lake Lovecraft, quickly cleared the body of water, and brought his broom to a hover in the clearing forming the northern shoreline. Annie hopped off as soon as her toes made contact with the ground, with Kerry joining her a few seconds later.

As he was propping his PAV against a nearby tree, Annie considered how accurate Deanna’s instructions had turned out. Kerry had asked about what happened with her, and he grew quiet when she told him they’d speak on the way back to the Great Hall. He’s listed to Annie when she told him what she was told about discussion the rune dreams, and offered the suggestion that he fly them there rather than walk. Since Annie knew his Espinoza could carry two people, and that he was a good enough pilot to have her ride passenger, she agreed to his proposal. And given that it was unseasonably warm—even now, a little after seventeen hours, it was twenty-seven Celsius—there was no need for them to change out of their uniform into something warmer.

Annie still felt uneasy about discussing her dream, but the more she considered the news that Kerry had a vision—one that Deanna said would tie into her dream—the more she agreed with the seer that a dialog was needed. In six month Kerry and she had progressed greatly in their relationship, but something remained between them, and Annie knew it was her unanswered questions about what they’d had together for years before—well, whatever it was happened in June last summer.

She wanted Kerry back—all of him. She wanted him to remember everything. Though it was possible her dream and his visions might push him away, the possibility existed that it would bring him closer—

She’d know in a few minutes.

Kerry stood facing Annie, positioning himself so she would have been on his left were they side by side. Even Annie had come to do this without thinking, keeping Kerry to her right. She didn’t think it strange or unusual that they did this, though she was aware that it was another thing that others spoke of often . . .

“Well, here we are.” Kerry looked around as if he expected someone to pop out of the tree line. “All alone.”

“Yes, we are.” Annie knew they were alone, and only one person mattered to her. “I don’t see any reason to delay this—”

“I don’t either.” He reached into his pocket and withdrew his rune. “I guess I’m as ready as I can get.”

Annie pulled hers from the small purse where she’d kept it since their first weekend at school. “As am I.” She transferred it to her left hand and slowly held it out for Kerry. She watched him do the same, ready to drop it in her right hand. “Ready?”

“Yeah.” He opened his hand and let his rune fall into her hand as Annie’s did the same. There was a moment where nothing happened—then both children recoiled a step as the enchantment that had held their tongues in check for six months vanished.

Annie closed her eyes for three seconds and let a wave of vertigo pass, while Kerry shook his head several times. Annie feared there was more happening with Kerry than losing the enchantment. “Are you all right?”

“Yes. Just—” He held the back of his hand against his forehead. “That was pretty strange.”

“Yes, it was.” Annie waited until Kerry appeared to return to normal. “Do you—remember anything?”

He shook his head as he stared at his feet. “It’s like it just came to me. Like it’s always been there.”

“I feel that, too.” Annie swallowed hard. “I suppose we should . . . start.”

Kerry chuckled. “How do we do that?” He gazed off over the calm lake. “Who goes first?”

It was a point that Annie hadn’t brought up during their walk from the Witch House. “I was told to go first.”

Kerry noticed Annie wasn’t her normal assertive self. “You okay?”

Annie wanted to admit she wasn’t comfortable, but she knew that wouldn’t help the situation. “You’re going to keep an open mind?”

“I always have for you—” He tightened his grin. “Haven’t I?”

“You have.” She let out her breath slowly. “This is what I saw . . .”

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/19:  736

NaNo Total Word Count:  35,464

A Boy and His Dreams

First off, let me preface this by saying everything was written after getting back from a three-and-a-half hour manicure and pedicure touch-up, and after eating.  It was a great time writing, probably because I’ve had this particular scene in my head for about, oh, three years.  Yeah, these things happen, and they’re strange, I’ll tell you.

Also, last night’s scene ended up being longer than all of Chapter Thirty-One.  Ah, but there was so much more to cover, and a lot more interesting things happened.  The same can be said for nearly every scene in this chapter, but this is the set up for something important–

And lastly, if you don’t want to read something that will, frankly, come across as somewhat adult, then you might wanna go read something else.  If you are interested in what’s going on, read on–but I warn you, there is the possibility you could be shocked.

That said, onward.

 

It’s a few days after Ostara, and Coraline is summon to the hospital close to midnight.  Why?  Well, I think this might offer a clue . . .

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

Coraline stepped into the doorway of her office just as Nurse Gretchen looked up, as she always did whenever Coraline was called out in the middle of the night and checked in with her staff first. The chief medical officer of the School at Salem always wondered if her night nurse picked here up on their magical sensors, or if she used her enhanced sense to determine the exact moment someone was going to darken this doorway.

In this case Coraline already knew why she was called out, so it was a simple matter to skip the preliminaries and go right to business. “Where is he?”

“Where else?” Gretchen got up and came around the desk. “Bay One, Bed Two.”

Coraline looked over her shoulder and chuckled. “The good ‘ol One-Two.” She lowered her voice in case their visitor was listening. “You pick up anything out of the ordinary on the prelim scan?”

“Only one thing—” Gretchen filled in a specific piece of missing information. “Other than that, everything seems fine.”

“Yeah.” Coraline nodded as she turned. “I kinda figured it might be that. Back in a bit.” She headed straight for Bay #1 and knocked on the curtain frame. “Kerry?” She slowly opened the curtain and peeked inside.

 

Gee, who spends all their time at this hospital in Bay #1, Bed #2?  He’s a little out of it, and he’s feeling down in the dumps, it seems . . .

 

“Hey, Red.” Coraline stepped in and locked the curtain behind her, activating the enchantment that would keep their conversation unheard outside the bay. “How you doin’?”

“I’m okay.” Kerry slowly sat up and dangled his legs over the side of the bed.

He’s not looking at me—so unlike him. “Nurse Gretchen said you came in all upset. You wanna talk about it?”

He glanced up for just a second. “Yeah.”

“You sure?” She positioned herself so she was right in front of the boy. “If you want you can just rest here for a while—”

“Naw.” He finally looked up with tired eyes. “We can talk.”

“Okay.” She pointed at Bed #1 behind her. “You want me to sit over here?” She motioned towards Kerry. “Or would you rather have some company?”

Kerry scooted a little to his left and patted the bed with his right. “You can sit here.”

Coraline remained silent for a few seconds before chuckling. “You’re gonna treat me like all the other girls . . .”

“What do you mean?”

She turned and gently set herself next to him. “You always have the girls sit or stand on your right if possible. The only one who’s ever on your left is Annie.”

 

This is really a habit of his:  Kerry always on the right, Annie on the left, and all the other girls get to sit or stand at his right.  It wasn’t spoken of in yesterday’s excerpt, but Natalie’s equipment was set up on Kerry’s right side . . .

So what’s going on here?  Let’s let him speak:

 

“Probably.” Coraline decided she needed to give the doctor-patent confidentiality speech: she was certain Kerry knew it, but she wanted to set his mind at easy. “You’re aware that as the chief medical officer here—as well as being a counselor—that anything you say to me stays with me. I’ll only speak to another doctor or counselor if you give me permission to do so—otherwise whatever we talk about stay with us.” She leaned forward so she could see his face. “Okay?”

He raised his head so he wasn’t looking at the floor, but he looked straight ahead; he avoided looking at Coraline. “Sure.”

She started using her “I’m Here For You” tone, the one that she knew worked well at getting troubled kids to open up. “So what brings you to us tonight? It’s not like you to come here in the middle of the night.” Coraline wanted to add Unlike your girlfriend but knew he wouldn’t find the comment at all funny, not in his present state.

Kerry continued starting at Bed #1 for about ten seconds before he allowed his head to drop slightly. “I had a dream.”

 

Yeah, a dream.  And he remembers.  That’s the scary part, that he’s admitting to Coraline that he remembers a dream–something he’s probably never mentioned to her, but that Annie knows.  So what happened in the dream.  Well, um . . .

 

Kerry cleared his throat. “It was about Annie.”

“Okay. Well, then: did something bad happened to her?”

He shook his head. “No.”

“Was it—” Coraline shrugged: even though she knew Kerry wouldn’t see it, she knew he’d feel the bed shake. “You know, was she in trouble? Was she having a problem and you couldn’t help her?”

This time there was no hesitation. “She was . . . sitting on a bed.”

“I see.” Coraline began picking her words carefully. “What was she doing?”

“Just sitting.” He shook his head. “Knelling, really. Sitting back on her heels.”

“Okay, I can imagine that. Was she, um—how was she dressed?” She leaned forward a little more, trying to get Kerry to look at her. “Was she in her uniform? Or like jeans and a pull over? Maybe her nightclothes?”

He shook his head. “She, um . . .” He coughed once. “She wasn’t wearing anything.”

 

Okay, then, as my daughter would say.  So where is this leading?  Well, some of your are like Kerry, and have figured it out–

 

Coraline saw no need to stretch things out any longer: it was time to help him understand. She softened her voice more, taking on the role not of the professional, but of the confidant. “Kerry, did something happen that brought you out of the dream rather quickly? Something unexpected?” She leaned far enough forward so she could see his face in three-quarter profile. “Something you couldn’t control?”

Finally Kerry turned his head and looked into Coraline’s face. “Yeah.” He shook his head twice, then turned back to his stare point.

She sat up and let a few seconds to pass so the moment and emotions could settle. Then she reached out towards the boy. “Hey, Kerry—” She wrapped her arm around him and pulled him into a side hug. “Come here. Come here.” She offered her comfort for about fifteen seconds before she released him. She continued speaking in her soft, relaxing tone. “You had what we in the medical business call a ‘nocturnal emission’.” She smiled softly. “You’re pretty smart, so it’s a pretty good bet you know it by another name.”

For the first time since Coralie came to speak with him Kerry chuckled. “Yeah, I’ve heard it called that.”

Of course he has. “Well, just to let you know, there’s nothing unusual about this: it’s all part of growing up and going through puberty.” She gave his right arm a gentle squeeze. “And you are definitely going through both right now. Just so you know, you’re not the first boy to show up here in the middle of the night that’s had this happened—” She tilted her head towards him. “Or the first girl, either.”

Kerry turned to her, his tone indicating he’d learn something new. “Really?”

“Yep. They may not talk about it much, but it happens.” Coraline leaned towards Kerry until their heads were nearly touching. “I can speak from experience on this one.” She winked before sitting up straight again.

His face lit up as a huge grin cracked across his face. “You?”

“Yeah. I wasn’t much older than Annie is now the first time it happened to me.” She tapped her fingers on her thigh. “That’s my point, Kerry: this can happen to anyone, and usually does at least one.” Her voice returned to a more professional tone. “Have your parents ever talked with you about this? Or, for that matter, any other stuff that has to do with this part of growing up?”

Kerry scoffed. “Are you kidding?”

 

Yeah, are you kidding?  Kerry’s parents have done the greatest job of not doing anything right in raising their near-genius witch son, so who really believes they’re gonna spend some time discussing puberty with him?  Coraline offered to speak with him, as a doctor, about these “issues”, and this exchange occurs:

 

His brow furrowed slightly. “I don’t need permission from my parents?”

“Kerry . . .” Coraline chuckle was almost a laugh. “You’re a witch and a sorceress; you flew a patrol that helped defend the school; you almost died a couple of times, broke a half-dozen bones, was unconscious for almost eight hours . . . and you saved someone’s life by fighting a monster.” She turned her head slightly to the side as she grinned. “Other than the first time you asked to come here, when have you needed to asked them to do anything else?

“You now know how The Foundation works: you control your destiny, and you are the one who says whether you want to have this talk—” She shrugged. “Or not. It’s up to you, Kerry, and you alone.”

 

No, Kerry:  any kid who fights a monster when they’re eleven doesn’t need permission from their parents for a sex talk.  Besides, it’s not like his parents are aware of anything else that’s happening to him at school–or appear to care.

But wait!  It’s not just this right of growing up that’s got Kerry bothered.  See, in the dream there was stuff going on–you know, things?  And that’s what actually has him in a bit of a lather . . .

 

Coraline considered telling Kerry that Gretchen and she figured out what happened because he hadn’t done as good a job cleaning up himself, but figured she’d leave that for their talk. “You know, given the relationship Annie and you have, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened earlier.”

Kerry turned away from Coraline and stared at Bed #1 for about fifteen seconds. She wondered if he was thinking about the times she’s lay there while he slept on this bed, but that changed when he spoke. “She was different.”

“Who was?”

“Annie. In the dream.” He turned back to Coraline. “She was different.”

Coraline was curious about his statement. “How so?”

“She was . . .” While he normally didn’t have issues stating what was on his mind, Kerry struggled to explain himself. He turned to Coraline. “She was like you—” He placed his hands in front of his chest as if he were holding something. “Curvy.”

Oh, yeah: curvy. Coraline fought to keep from chuckling, but she couldn’t hide her grin. “You mean she had developed.”

“Yeah.”

“So she was—older?”

“I think so.” He looked across to Bed #1 again. “It wasn’t hard to miss: everything in the dream was so vivid.”

Coraline wanted to know more. “Can you tell me?”

“Well . . . We were in a bedroom—”

“We? You were there?”

“I think so; it felt like I was seeing things from my point of view.”

 

And establishing that, he continues:

 

“The bedroom we were in didn’t have a wall on one side—on my right: just a railing. And it was all dark except for a glow I saw out of the corner of my eye. It was . . . I think it was a fireplace, ‘cause I could hear crackling.” Kerry sniffed the air as if he’d detected an oder. “Cherry wood. I could smell it. That’s what was burning.

“I was walking on a hardwood floor—I could feel it. And when I sat next to Annie I felt how soft and cool the comforter was . . .” He seemed embarrassed. “I don’t think I was dressed, either.”

“That’s okay. Can you tell me more?”

“There was Annie.” Kerry continued staring straight ahead while his voice took on a dreamy quality. “I could smell her hair. It was nice, like it always is ‘cause she uses this special shampoo from home . . . And she was wearing perfume; I could smell it on her neck and . . .” He touched himself over his heart. “There. It was . . .” He slowly closed his eyes and sighed. “Lovely. And her skin was so soft. I know what that sort of feels like, ‘cause I’ve feel her arms when we’re in the Midnight Madness, and her cheeks are soft, really soft, and her—”

 

Astute readers are gonna notice a clue right away, but for the rest of you–naw, not saying a word.  Needless to say, after a bit of back and forth, Coraline lays things out for him to see:

 

Coraline didn’t need to consider what she was going to say next, because she’d already made up her mind. “Kerry, you know how I said that I won’t talk about this conversation to anyone—unless there’s something I think needs to be discussed with another person?”

“Yeah?”

“I think . . .” Tell him, he’ll understand. “I’m not completely certain you had a dream, and I’d like to get a second opinion—if you’ll let me.”

A slow awareness began to dawn in Kerry’s eyes. “You think—?”

“This can be a strange place, Red, and not everything we think is normal is what is seems.” She looked to him and smiled. “Can I have your permission to speak with another counselor?”

Though the dream, and the aftermath, had disturbed him greatly, Kerry agreed with Coraline that not everything here was what it seemed. “Sure. Go ahead.”

 

Kerry ends up spending the night, and Coraline ends the scene by telling Gretchen she needs “to see a woman about a dream,” and that is that.

Or . . . is it?

It’s a strange world these kids are living in, and nothing–not even strange “My body is doing weird things!” events that happen while growing up are, um, normal.  And dreams aren’t always dreams.  Sometimes they’re more–

And when they’re being had by a kid who can’t remember his dreams, well, it’s time to sit up and notice.

There’s the opening salvo–

As you can see in the scene titles, nothing much out of the ordinary is gonna happen . . .

And as you can see in the scene titles, not much more out of the ordinary is gonna happen . . .

This is where I start to lay out most everything, and really show their relationship.  Where it may be going–

And where it’s been.

 

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/16:  2,513

NaNo Total Word Count:  31,103

This Sorrowful Life

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything personal–okay, maybe a month, but for me that’s a while.  Or long time.  Or longer than I’m used to, but that’s how things are in my life.  And I should point out that I’m liable to say some things below that may freak others out, so if you are the kind the freaks out easily, depart before you abandon all hope.

If not, let’s roll on in, kiddies . . .

I’m mentioned, off and on over the last few weeks, that I’ve found myself fighting depression.  It’s not a lot of fun, let me tell you, ’cause it wears you out.  I once described depression as treading water in the middle of the ocean:  you’re doing all the work to stay above water while the ocean does nothing–it just sits there and waits for you to tire and go under.  That’s why if you don’t find a way to get out of the water, you’ll drown and die.  And the ocean doesn’t care ’cause it’s a force of nature.  Just like depression:  a force of nature that gives zero shits about you as a person, or for your quality of life.

And November hasn’t helped the situation much.  I’ve got a lot more pressure at work of late, and there’s NaNo, and I’m getting ready to head home at the end of the month for the first time in almost six months . . . it’s a mess.  Really, the last few weeks have started to engulf me . . .

My Resting Bitchy Face from this morning offers proof of this statement.

My Resting Bitchy Face from this morning offers proof of this statement.

Last Friday, right around noon, because I remember it being after I ate lunch at work, I started to find myself getting in a bad way.  I actually cried a little at work, but not enough that it was noticed.  Actually, nothing I do at work is noticed, so it’s not in any way unusual that people would see me sitting in my office starting to lose it.

It wasn’t until I made it home that things came right off the rails.  The moment the door shut behind me I began crying.  I was still crying when the computer came up.  In fact, I cried off and on for the better part of an hour straight, and spent the rest of the night floating in and out of the feeling that there was far too much pain in my life.

Last Saturday was my shot day, and I thought that might help me break out of the funk, but the moment the psychological effects wore off I was right back to being a maudlin little bitch.  Going out and getting makeup didn’t help; being out in the sun did nothing.  I felt as if nothing I did was helping break the feeling that, no, things weren’t going to get better.

By about three PM I’d already made up my mind:  there wasn’t any point in going on, so I might as well shuck this moral coil as fast as I can.

I started preparing for my death.

It’s not easy for me to say that last line, because that’s a hard point in your life when you hit the tipping point and realized you’ve gone from “if” to “when”.  I didn’t care, however:  once you reach that point you just wanna kept going.  It didn’t matter if I was finding the energy to love myself, because I wasn’t feeling any love coming back, and that’s something that’s so difficult to put aside an ignore.

So I started getting ready.  I knew I was going to record some videos and post them for people to view.  I rehearsed what I was going to say, and when I was going to post them.  I knew the manner in which I wanted to check out, and weighed the pros and cons of survivability.  I was all ready to go–

Save for three things.

One, that day was the last episode of Doctor Who‘s most current season.  Okay, so I sound like a geek here, but I had to see how the season ended.  Two, I was into Act Three of my huge, Infinity Jest-like novel, and that meant I was not only getting towards the end, but I was also coming up on a good part that I’ve been sitting on for over a year.  I’d made promises to people that I’d finish this damn thing, and I knew I couldn’t leave people hanging about what happens–and if that doesn’t sound like a writer’s ego hard at work, nothing does.

And finally, there are two people on my “If you die you’ll hurt them” list, and if I died now, I’d be in violation of Jacqualyn’s Law, which I named for a friend.  It’s a variation of Wheaton’s Law, though this one is geared more for women.  It says, “Don’t be a twat,” and I’d have been a massive twat if I did what I was thinking of doing.

So I settled back to watch Doctor Who, and when that was over I headed into writing.  I still hurt, I still found it difficult to get through Sunday–which I helped smooth out by doing more writing–and I made it into Monday, then Tuesday, then . . .

Here.  Today.

Last night I felt the depression coming on again, and I was really not looking forward to dealing with this crap.  Then I noticed someone I’d just reconnected with on Facebook was trying to get my attention.  She’s a transwoman from Canada who transitioned decades ago, and we’ve shared some information over the months.

We started talking, and we talked, and we discussed why I was depressed, and why I felt suicidal, and were there things that I wanted to do that may have made me feel this way.  And there were answers to those questions, and a lot more–

And by the time we were finished, we’d chatted for about three hours, and I felt a whole lot better than I had when the evening had started.

As you can see, I'm actually smiling a little.

As you can see, I’m actually smiling a little.

Things aren’t “over”, but they’re better.  Much better.  I had some plans I want to discuss with my therapist when I see her the Monday before Thanksgiving, and I hope she agrees that it’s time I actually move on these things.  I’m not feeling the trepidation about going home that I have had for a while–it’s going to be the first time I’m going to be Cassie with them full-time since I’ve started transitioning, and while I’m certain my daughter will be cool with it–after all, we went out shopping together as daughter and, um, other mother–I can’t say the other person in the house is gonna dig things.  Maybe I’ll have to cook a couple of good dinners to break the ice . . .  And I’m going to start taking the first steps towards getting my name changed.

But mostly I’ve chilled on the death stuff.  I’m still in the ocean, but I feel like I’m closer to shore, and if you keep moving towards shore, eventually you get up onto dry land and you don’t have to wear yourself out treading water.  And if I can’t get onto dry land, maybe I can get somewhere shallow enough that I can rest once in a while.

This Sorrowful Life.  Sometimes you find yourself surround by bad people and zombies, and you have the choice of either giving in and joining one of the two hordes, or you fight back against the hell that waits outside your walls.  Neither is an easy choice, but you have to make one, because doing nothing is not an option.  You must make a choice.

I mentioned in one of my last videos that you have a choice with transition:  become who you are, or die.  I said I’m trying to get off the death track and be who I am, and last night I finally felt as if I was bucking that first track and leaving it behind.  I hope to make it so.

I really do.

A Year in Pamporovo

Last night was like any other Wednesday night for me.  Got home from work, changed, went to Panera, ate, and wrote.  I had two projects last night:  one was writing up a little over six hundred words for a letter I’m sending to someone–I always type it out before I hand write because my spelling is fairly horrible and I need to correct–and then I went to work on the novel and put in another eight hundred words there.  Nothing unusual, right?

It might not be were it not for the date.  Because last night represented three hundred and sixty-five days since I started this novel.  When I did that the novel sort of looked like this:

Only there were, like, zero words on everything.

Only there were, like, zero words on everything.

And now it’s here, twenty-seven chapters later.

With a lot more words added.

With a lot more words added.

Tonight is the night when I started on this little adventure, and it’s been a milestone for me as well, for I’ve never stuck with a novel this long.  In the past I’ve usually burned out and given up on something like this, but I haven’t, not this time.

Doesn’t mean there hasn’t been stress.  I’ve probably had two or three nervous breakdowns in the process of putting out this story.  I spent a month rewriting chapters because I did Annie wrong.  Oh, and I grew breasts:  I should get points for that as well.

How did it all begin?  With Annie and her mother.  Let’s go back and see that moment, captured in the just over the first five hundred words I wrote (and have since edited) on 30 October, 2013:

 

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

The mountains were bright under the morning sun, though the light had yet reached many of the surrounding valley floors. Within the hour every valley in and around Pamporovo, Bulgaria, would bathe in sunshine, but for now most were enveloped in quiet shadows.

In one valley lay a small lake, the surface smooth and unmoving, still in possession of a layer of light mist from the prior evening. The eastern shoreline brushed up against the heavily wooded valley side, but everywhere else the lake was surrounded by low, rolling hills marked by a few bare spots of erosion, and meadows covered in short grass. Here no trees had taken root—

Save for one spot opposite the eastern valley walls. A lone tree stood upon a slight bend in the shoreline, making it even more distinctive. It was impossible to tell the tree type: even a close scrutiny didn’t reveal its secrets. It looked out of place—and yet, based upon it’s height and the spread of the branches, it was obvious it had been there for decades.

Stranger was the color of the leaves. They were a bright yellow, as if they were dusted with saffron—an unusual color, for the other trees on the opposite bank were a uniform green with a sprinkle of brown, and nary a spot of yellow anywhere. The coloration wasn’t due to the coming of fall—it was late August and the trees wouldn’t begin changing for another two months. It was possible that the tree itself sprouted yellow leaves, but if one had visited the tree the day before, they may have seen the leaves a bright red—and the day before that a light green.

The leaves changed color, but they didn’t change with the seasons . . .

Beneath the branches a young girl with wavy chestnut hair that rested lightly upon her shoulders stood. She was dressed in a light summer blouse and jeans and sneakers, making her indistinguishable from any other eleven year old girl currently living in and around Pamporovo. She stood facing the lake, her eyes fixed upon a point somewhere across the water, her arms locked across her chest. It seemed as if she were deep in thought, staring off into space so that her mind was free from distractions. She didn’t move, nor give any indication she was aware of her surroundings.

Her expression betrayed her emotions, though. She slowly blinked as she stared across the lake with lips slightly pursed while in the cool morning shadows of her unusual tree. Mist drifted off the lake and over her, making the skin on her arms dimple. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to finally enjoy this almost-perfect morning.

The girl was about to check the time on the small wristwatch she wore when a voice called to her. “Annie!” She turned slowly; she knew the voice, and why they were looking for her—

She spotted the woman standing on the porch of a small house forty meters away. The woman waved her right arm in the air as she called once again. “Annie!”

Awareness dawned upon young girl. “Yes, Mama?”

“It’s almost ten o’clock.” This time she waved for the girl to come to the porch. “It’s getting close to the time to leave.”

Anelie Kirilova—or, as her mother, father, and the rest of her extended family called her, Annie—knew her mother was right. She knew it was nearly time to leave; she’d known this for over an hour. In another twenty, thirty minutes she’d leave this all behind and not see it again until it was all covered with Christmas snow . . .

She brushed a strand of hair from her face as she walked toward the house. “Coming, Mama.”

 

There was my beginning.  And how did I continue a year later?  Another five hundred or so words with Annie and her mother:

 

The moment Annie’s eyes opened she checked the clock at her bedside. 5:21. She did a quick calculation and determined the time in San Francisco. It’s 19:21 yesterday there; Kerry’s likely meeting his family right now. Secure with the belief that Kerry was probably starting his holiday, she threw the covers back and sat up.

It was pitch dark in the room, but that wasn’t surprising: local sunrise wouldn’t be for more than an hour. She waved her hand at the lamp on the bedside table and it came on, illuminating her bedroom in low, white light. She slid off the bed and into her slippers before giving her blue pajama tops a final tug down. She walked the short distance to her dressing table and retrieved her locket from a necklace tree and fastened it around her neck, pressing the heart-shaped locket into her chest to assure herself it was there. Lastly she put on her robe and pulled it tight around her body before letting it swing open. With a smile she made her way to the bedroom door.

The night before, during dinner, her mother had said that now that she was on Salem time she would probably rise early, adjustment or not. Annie had said she expected to sleep in for the first time since leaving home, but she should have realized that Mama was speaking from experience. It makes sense— She reached for the door knob. I never sleep in at school, so why would I expect to sleep in once I was home. She slowly opened the door. Must be an enchantment they put on us during the E and A

Her mother was in her sitting room, seated at the table with a plate of food and a kettle before her. “Good morning, Anelie.”

Annie was surprised to find her mother up this early—and with breakfast ready. “Good morning, Mama.”

Pavlina Kirilova nodded toward the closed door to her left. “Go on and use the bathroom. I’ll prepare your tea.”

Annie was in and out of her bathroom in a short time. When she returned her tea was seeping and plate with a printsessi sat before the empty chair across from here mother. Annie sat and inhaled the aroma of the breakfast. “This is what I missed.”

“My printsessi?”

“Yes.” She took a small bite and savored the disk. “It’s still hot.”

“I cooked them last night and put a time spell around them.” Pavlina raised here tea and took a small sip. “From your perspective, they’ve only been out of the oven for two minutes.”

Annie savored another mouthful before speaking. “When did you get up?”

“I’ve been up about twenty minutes.”

“And Papa?”

Pavlina set her tea aside, chuckling. “I let him sleep. Though I expect him up within the hour.” She folded her hands in her lap. “I wanted a little mother-daughter time—like what we had before you went off to school?”

Annie didn’t remember there being a lot of mother-daughter time, but she wasn’t going to start contradicting, not now. She’s searching—and I think I know what she’s looking for . . . “I did miss chatting. I only had your letters.” She smiled. “At least we wrote. A few of the students didn’t hear much from their parents.”

 

A year later and Annie can tell her mother is fishing for something, but she’s playing along.  Any idea about what she’s looking for?  And as I’d said, as Kerry’s last thoughts upon reaching San Francisco and seeing his family were of Annie, Annie’s first thoughts upon waking–at the same time, mind you–were of Kerry.  There’s some kind of symmetry with those kids, I tell ya.

How much have I put behind me with this story?  As of last night Act Two finished up with 140,960 words; the full manuscript is 291,665 words.  I stared Act Two in May and I’ve been trudging along for a little over five months now, and I’ll finish it in November for sure.  And then it’s on to Act Three and the end of the novel.

Soon.  I hope.  I want to have some kind of NaNo, even though I haven’t bothered registering yet, and may not.  I’m still on the fence about doing so, because I’m really not sure I can keep up the pace this year.  Far too many things happening, far too many things to get in the way.

Or . . . I just have to suck it up and put my two hours of writing aside and not be distracted.

That would probably work better, yeah?

Good News Day

Monday–yesterday–was another of my long, “I’m on the road and can’t really get anything done” days.  I had to visit my HRT doctor, and it’s a nearly two-and-a-half hour drive to her office–I’m in The Burg and she’s off in the Swamps of Jersey–so there’s a bit of driving.  A lot of driving, actually, and it’s pretty much heavy traffic the whole way there and back, not including the rain I was in last night.  Needless to say, by the time I returned to my hovel at seven-thirty PM, it was hard to get worked up for anything in the way of writing.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t have a good day yesterday . . .

See, my visit was to go over my labs, which I’d taken a couple of weeks before.  Lab work is important, because you don’t want to worry that what you’re doing to your body is killing you.  And it can . . . Bit of full disclosure here:  back in April and May of 2014, this year, I was on a DIY hormone regiment for about six weeks.  I did it because I wanted to get on them, and as I always do, I dug into my research and figured out just how much I could handle without hurting myself.

Wrong thing to do.  I stopped taking the hormones right before I started my lab work, and didn’t get back on them until I started my injections.  One of the thing my lab work discovered was my iron and some of my liver functions were way the hell off.  The liver function was due to taking oral hormones (after you’re fifty they break down in your system differently and are metabolized by your liver as well), and the iron came from mistakenly taking a women’s vitamin, which are full of iron that I don’t need.

The moral of that story is don’t do meds on your own.  The other moral of the story is that in April I was pretty much an emotional basket case because of lady hormones taking over my body, and let me tell you, it wasn’t fun.  It also makes me understand far better the sort of hell women go through from time-to-time, and makes me want to slap guys with large, smelly tunas every time I hear them say, “Wow, you’re moody today.”  Hey, try this stuff for three months, dude, and tell me how you feel.

But the news yesterday was good.  Hormone levels are where they should be; liver function is good save for a slightly elevated bilirubin, which may or may not be genetic and/or affected by my lack of a gall bladder, my weight is continuing to drop, and even my blood pressure was down a bit–and while still high, it wasn’t up in the hypertension range.  It was all great news.

That's why I look so happy here--glowing even, as some people say.  I'll take that.

That’s why I look so happy here–glowing even, as some people told me yesterday. I’ll take that.

It’s back to the writing tonight.  Today I’ll ponder over some of the comments I’ve received concerning Annie’s and Kerry’s relationship.  It seems as if there are a few people who thing something bad is going to happen to them.  Since I already know everything that’s going to happen to them, I’m sort of sitting here smiling and thinking, “How are they gonna feel when I get to this scene?”

But really:  nothing bad happens.

Well . . . nothing too bad.

Welcome to My Trans World

I’m doing things a little different today, mostly because I promised some people that I was going to answer some questions for them, and this is how I handle that particular request.

As everyone–or just about everyone knows–I’m a transwoman.  I’ve been out online and with friends for about two years now, and in March of this year I began living publicly as a woman.  I started on hormone treatment back in July, and I’ve just passed three months on hormone replacement therapy.

You can imagine that mot many people know the ins and outs of what I’m going through.  It’s rare that people other than close friends know anyone trans, and until recently trans people in media were either played for laughs or we were psychos who usually committed the murder in whatever drama was bring presented.  In other words, the majority of people who we might encounter in real life don’t know much about us.

This all came about a few weeks ago because there were people in one of my Facebook groups asking me about the stuff I do concerning my hormone injections.  I was getting other questions asked as well, and it made me realize that, yes, people are curious, and not in a morbid way:  they really want to know about these things that are happening in my life.

Since yesterday was my shot day I decided to put together a few videos that show the steps I go through for my injections, and also answer a few questions that have come up from time-to-time.  So, if you’ll step this way . . .

 

This is a video going over the stuff I need for my injections, and I actually take you thought the process.  You never see the injection, and I give you fair warning it’s happening in case you want to look away.  As I say you don’t see anything, so safe all around.

The next two videos answer questions about hormones and injections, and–particularly with the second video–I get into the good and bad parts of going through hormone treatments.  I give warning in the second video that discussions may get a little graphic, but only because I’m talking about naughty bits.

Okay, now we get to the one video that’s probably Not Save For Work or Kids.  I get into a rather frank explanation of physical sexual responses, and how mine are changing.  It’s pretty interesting, but as I said, it’s frank, so let me warn you once more:  Sexy Talk Ahead!  That’s even the name of the video.  Click at your own risk.

And last but not least, a video that answers a question that I’ve been asked more than a few time:  why are you doing this?  For me, the answer isn’t surprising.

There it is:  a part of my world as it currently exists.  I hope it’s informative, and that it leads to more questions in the future that I can take time to answer.  Because, believe me, the more people know about the sort of things that led up to my decision, and the aftermath of said decision, the more the stereotypes can be cast aside.

Like I say in one of the videos, once you get to know me I’m really a nice person–

No different than you.

The Hesitancy of Drama

I know some of you are wondering, “Are we going to see what’s coming next for Annie and Kerry?”  And the answer to that is, “Nope.  Not today.”  The why of that is both complicated and . . . not.

Part of what happened, for me last night, was having to help out a couple of friends who were having a rough spot of it last night.  I was up until midnight speaking with first one, then the other, consoling, offering advice, and offering general reassurance.  It’s the sort of thing I do these days, but more and more I seem to give this advice freely.  And without hesitation.

"Okay, I'll help you hide the body, but you're driving.  Got it?"

“Okay, I’ll help you hide the body, but you’re driving. Got it?”

It’s easy to write off a lot of things that happen online as just another form of drama, and seeing as how I keep our Facebook Drama llama calmed down most of the time, but my friends were in the middle of real concerns, so no drama:  it was hurt and anxiety all the way down the line.  I stepped in and did what I could to help ease the pain.

Speaking of drama, however . . .

I did manage to write a little.  We’re only talking about two hundred words, but I’ll get to more tonight.  There is a problem that I’m encountering, and it’s one I’ve hit before:  the feeling that I’m about to say or show something that’s a little too personal.  I’ve done this before with other stories, and I feel it coming on here as well.  Because what is about to happen is personal–not only for my kids, but for me.  I’m about to unbare some souls and show some feelings that haven’t popped up before, and . . . it’s nerve wracking to pull this out and wave it about.

Though I’m much better with my emotions these days–never might there are times I have the emotional stability of a twelve year old girl going through puberty, I’m talking about opening myself up to others–there are times when I feel I’m putting to much of my own soul out there on the page.  I saw something, show something, put a hint or two here and there:  that’s all part of the plot.  But there are things that Kerry says in this scene which is a little gut wrenching for me, because they’re things I’ve felt and even said from time-to-time.

When Kerry says no one has ever loved him, or that they wish he wasn’t there, I’ve heard those things before.  I’ve had those words ring in my ears, either coming from someone else, or from my own mouth.  It can be a tough thing to write about an emotionally detached eleven year old boy, and remember what it was like when that boy was you.  And then to go back and write this . . . it’s not the stuff of nightmares, but it leaves me uneasy leading up to and for a little after I finally get it out of my head and down on paper.

Tonight, for sure, I’ll get there.  I’ll stay off the computer and put on the music and just write.

Things need to be said.  And writing is where I get my support.

Besides . . . Annie will be there.  And she’s the best support I have.