Let Us Gather ‘Round the Reading

Here’s the thing:  about a week back I started playing with this video stuff, because why not?  All the cool kids are doing it, right?  The first one I put up in Facebook got a big response, and it got an equally good one here.  Then I kinda said something along the lines of, “You know, maybe I’ll put up a video of me reading from my novel.”  Really, I didn’t think people would take me seriously–

Ha!  Hahaha!

"And now we come to the part of the story where Walter White blows up a nursing home.  Are you ready?"

“And now we come to the part of the story where Walter White blows up a nursing home. Are you ready?”

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered, it’s that once you say something like that, it’s put up time, and you better be ready to go.  I decided that, you know, it might be fun to try at least once, and in the process I’ll learn along–like, you know, I might need a mic for some of this stuff.  But there’s the learning curve, yo, so don’t get to hatin’.  It’s all good fun.

Here it is, then:  I’m gonna lay it out for you.  This first video is an introduction of the Foundation and Salem, and a little about my two main characters.  It’s done late, about nine PM, after a long day of trying to upload a twelve minutes video and discovering that the software I normally used freaks out when that happened, and I had to get some other software.  This was one of those “learning curves” I was mentioning.

Video One:  The Intro.

 

The rest of the videos were performed on 30 July, 2014 (the one above was done on 27 July, 2014).  The second video sets up the where I am in the story before I start reading.  All I’ll say at this point is that it takes place during the Samhain dance.

 

Video Two:  The Setup.

 

Now, if you’re curious about what Annie and Kerry were wearing at the dance–and I know some people were–why, I have access to the same Internet that Kerry has, which means I can find the same things he does . . . though I’m sure he can use The Foundation’s search engine and get results a lot quicker.  Here you are, kids:  feast your eyes.

Though Annie isn't showing near that much cleavage.

Though Annie has a far different . . . necklace.

Yes, they went as Malcolm Reynolds and Inara Serra as seen in the Firefly episode, Shindig.  As stated earlier in the story, Annie’s gown didn’t show as much skin in the front and the back, but was otherwise a duplicate of that.

Now we get to the reading.  Since I didn’t want to deal with a long video that might take forever to load, I cut the reading into two parts.  Some of the sound quality may be iffy–after all, I’m not used to reading my own work out loud–and I did stumble in a few spots.  But you should still be able to follow along.

Here you go:

 

Video Three:  The Reading, Part One.

 

Video Four:  The Reading, Part Two.

 

And at the very end, I do a wrap up explaining something very unusual about this scene, and something that will likely surprise you.

 

Video Five:  The Wrap-up.

 

And since I don’t like to leave any stones unturned, here’s the song dedicated to Annie as she would have heard it on the dance floor of the Great Hall of Salem, echoing off the walls as she slow danced with her moyata polovinka while nearly every student–save for those making gagging motions at such a romantic display–and instructor looked on:

 

Like I said, that Annie’s, she’s a lucky girl.

 

Since I’m writing this the night before I post, I can say, “Back to writing tomorrow.”  And that’s when I start to get my George R. R. Martin on and get ready to kill some students.

Ya gotta show these kids who’s boss around here . . .

Anxiety and Affection

Some people don’t like new technology–some don’t like it, period.  Last night I was going to do something with my new video camera, and technology decided to bite me in the butt.  Hard.

"Don't worry:  I totally got the shot.  No problems, right?"

“Don’t worry: I totally got the shot. No problems, right?”

Getting the shot isn’t the problem, though, is it?

"It's an eight minute video--why are you going to hell on me?  Why?"

“It’s an eight minute video–why are you going to hell on me, you demon computer? Why?”

That was me last night.  Every time I shot a video that lasted more than, say, five minutes, the software I was using to download it to my computer had fits.  Lots of fits.  As in, “I ain’t gonna be your coded slave, bitch.  You figure out another way to get this down.  Bwah, hahaha.”

It was very frustrating to say the least.  But, in the end, I figured out the problem and managed to get the first video up to YouTube.  And . . . I may reshoot it, because it was done in poor light.  Hard to say what I’ll do, because by the time I managed to get it up there, I was pretty frustrated by the whole process.  Then again, it’s new for me, so there’s a learning curve.

What this also did was cut into my writing time.  I managed almost seven hundred words, but I’d wanted more.  Tonight I need to go shopping, so that will cut into time–

Oi.  What’s a girl to do?

My kids went to a bonfire after the dance and walked back to the center of the school, so when finally reach a point where they can rest, it’s late–probably the latest they’ve ever been up.  And this happens . . .

 

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

Rather than take the return portal back to the Great Hall, she asked if they could walk back. Since the temperature was dropping, Kerry asked if she would like to take the tunnels back, but Annie refused; she’d brought the beautiful crocheted shawl her grandmother had made for her earlier in the year and it kept her warm; the path back to The Pentagram was illuminated; and she was wearing flats.  She didn’t see a single problem . . .

She wanted to enjoy the darkness and silence with Kerry by her side, hand in each other’s hand.

Neither broke the silence all the way back to Founder’s Gate. Never once did Kerry even seem as if he were going to speak: to Annie it felt as if he knew she wanted to linger in the quiet night and enjoy the spark between them, and would only speak when Annie was ready to speak. He knows my moods and perhaps my thoughts. Once inside The Pentagram she turned him onto the second left hand garden path instead of entering the Great Hall. She knew it would be cavernous and dark inside; here there was still the abstract indirect light that made walking though the Pentagram Garden at night such an enjoyable and loving experience.

It wasn’t until they were nearly to the opening of the covered walkway leading to their tower than Annie uttered her first words since leaving the bonfire. “Moyata polovinka.” She slowly ran her left finger down the Kerry’s left arm.

He waited until she was finished before responding. “What does that mean?”

“Moyata polovinka—” She stopped the moment they stepped onto the path between Cernunnos Tower and the Great Hall. “My soulmate.” She gently pressed against Kerry and gave him a peck on the cheek. “If you say the last as two words it’s moyata srodna dusha.”

“Moyata polovinka.” Annie thought Kerry’s pronunciation was almost spot on, though the accent needed work. “I like how that rolls off the tongue.”

“You can say it in a much softer, gentler tone, too.” She tugged on Kerry’s arm. “Let’s sit at our bench.”

 

Our bench, our sofa . . . our time together.  It’s starting to get real serious here, and I’m gonna try to get to that tonight, at some point.  But I’m getting there.

If I’ve not pulled what little hair I have left out by then.

Renumbering ‘Tween the Bonfires

Before I get to the writing, I think I should make this official:  I now have a new video camera.  After breakfast I was like, “I gotta break up the routine a little,” and decided a new camera was just the thing to help me out with my multimedia experiences.  I’ve already charged it up, recorded, downloaded to the computer, uploaded to YouTube (sorry, none of the test videos are there), and presented one on Facebook.  I have this so down, trust me, though I might even play with getting things set with an SD card reader, just so I can make things fast.  Maybe.

Oh, and I visited two stores in order to find one pair of shoes I wanted, so also did the totally woman thing with my shoe shopping.  Yes, I rule.

There wasn’t a lot of writing accomplished last night, because it seemed like there were few times when I could write without interruption.  It was one of those moments in time when everyone had something they wanted to say, and they were saying it to me.  Not only that, but my mind wasn’t really focused on the task at hand, either:  I was trying to pulled out the purple prose to describe an event happening to my kids, and it wasn’t happening.  Maybe it was due to the interruptions, or maybe my head was someplace it wasn’t supposed to be.  Either way, I made four hundred and fifty words and called it a night.

Oh, and I also discovered that in the last three weeks I’ve written just over twenty thousand words.  How do I know that?  Shhh–spoilers . . .

But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t hard at work on the story.  You know that, “I’m always thinking about my story,” thing I’ve mentioned from time-to-time?  I was deep in that yesterday, and I began thinking:  I have a big event coming up right after Samhain, but not right away.  However, with this event in Kerry’s life–the one I’m calling his “Four Nights”–it would make sense if the second and third nights were, you know, closer together–

Allow me to explain.

These four nights have a profound effect upon Kerry’s life.  He’s already had the first one, that night in the hospital an week and a half before, story wise.  The Second Night is happening right now in the story:  the events of Samhain.  Now, the third night takes place the night of the attack, and it affects both him and Annie.  (The Second Night does this as well, but not in the same fashion.  First Night was actually initiated by Annie, but she doesn’t know that.)  In keeping with my little nudge at Shakespeare, Fourth Night happens some months off in the future, after the kids come back from Yule holiday and a few other things have taken place.  That one will rock both their worlds–

But we’re not there yet.

I decided that since Second and Third Nights are going to affect both kids, and affect them hard, it would make more sense to place them closer together.  So I pulled out my time lines and moved The Big Time up a week, to 1 November.  Because I can.

See how easy that was?

See how easy that was?

It’ll make for a more interesting time for my kids, particularly for Annie, who’s going to enter some tough times in the next couple of days.  But really, girl, I’m not doing it to be mean.

You want mean?  Here’s my second video.

The Gestation Plus Cycle

First off, I finished my latest scene last night after returning from the local Pride event held on the banks of our river, and which I worked for a few hours because why not?  Someone’s gotta go represent the T, you know?  I actually wrote the scene in three shifts:  one in the morning after my blog post, in a five hundred word sprint when I returned home, and then the last few hundred words after I returned about seven PM.  Total wordage for the day was eighteen hundred and sixty-nine words, which is a pretty good count anyway you look at things.

See where I've been, and see where I'm going . . .

See where I’ve been, and see where I’m going . . .

One more scene finishes Chapter Eighteen and Part Six, and then it’s on to the last two parts and–well, a butt-load of chapters.  I’ll probably pass the seventy thousand word mark for Act Two today, which is leaving me with the feeling that Act Two may just end up with a word count nearly equal to Act One, which would drive this story to three hundred thousand words–

With Act Three to follow.

Doing my time count today, I find I’ve been working on this novel for nine months.  And yes, this is my baby, and sometimes squeezing out the words needed to take it forward are nearly as difficult as squeezing a watermelon out of your lady parts, though no where nearly as painful.  Writing a novel takes time, and writing a big novel like this, with only a few hours every night or afternoon where I can work, is going to take a lot of time.  Particularly since this work has went from being Order of the Phoenix sized and appears to be heading into Infinite Jest territory.

Last night, however, I found myself a bit incensed by a comment that a friend decided to lay on me.  I’m sure she thought she was being humorous and whatnot, but still, there are some things you should be aware of when speaking to writers, and what she said last night one of those of things she should have checked before she wrecked.

And the comment was . . .

“Are you ever going to finish this thing?”

The first thing that came to mind was the now-famous blog post written by Neil Gaiman in response to a fan’s query about whether it was true that George R. R. Martin, the author of a certain large series of books about people, politics, dragons, and boobies, owes it to his fans to get off his ass and spend more time doing the writing thing so he can finish A Song of Ice and Fire Series before he goes the way of a majority of the characters in his books.  Neil’s response was pretty straightforward when it came to what writers really own their fans, but the whole thing can be summed up by the most famous line from the post:  “George R. R. Martin is not your bitch.”

Which is why after I was asked about when I was going to finish my story, the first thing that came to mind was–

Drop a House

I’m a nice person, but there is an emotional investment that goes into writing.  If you’ve never written a story of your own, it’s sometimes difficult to understand just how crazy the writing process can make one.  It’s always on your mind, and if you’re like me with this story, it’s been on your mind for years.  And I’m nowhere near as into this story as some writers were or are with their own series.  I’ve already imagined that if I were to continue writing about these characters after this book, in ten years I could have fans asking me if I’m planing to end the series before I kick this mortal coil.

It’s the implication that you’re not spending enough time writing, or that your story’s too long, or both, that really kinda twists the knife in hard.  The implication that maybe you might not know what you’re doing, and you’re just telling everyone you’re “writing” when the reality is you’re off doing something else.  Or, worse, you’re only writing a few hundred words a day, and a real writer gets down and does like a few thousand, so why aren’t you doing the same?

This is what makes writers drop houses on people.  And not because you’re the most evil movie villain ever–as pointed out by Cracked.com nearly four years ago–but because when you’ve spent nine months gestating a piece of work, and you figure you’re maybe two-thirds finished–or would that be more like five-eights in my case, I’m really afraid to look–having someone who doesn’t write, who isn’t creative, who doesn’t understand what goes into this process . . . when they ask, “You ever gonna finish this masterpiece of yours?”, that’s when the house dropping commences.  That’s when you get out your crown and your wand and you look ever-so-pretty while you commence to letting people know you ain’t their bitch.

You . . . get the house . . . right on the freakin’ noggin.

A story takes as long to finish as it takes to tell.  Sometimes that’s fifty thousand words; sometimes that’s five hundred thousand.  Most stories fall somewhere in between, but were I to really push the envolope o these characters, I could run their story to a coll million words easy.  Since that’s the case, maybe I should sell this first novel and make enough money to write full-time.

Yeah, that’d be great.

It’d give me a lot more time to drop houses.

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.

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.

The Girl With the Family Secrets

It was an interesting after-work situation yesterday, only because I did something I rarely do, which is venture out into public.  I was out because I had to pick up a book–yes, I still read–and then it was over for dinner.  However, the internet at my local Panera wasn’t working, so all I could do is write.  Damn it all, as they say, are you trying to make me productive?

It was a good thing there wasn’t an internet, because I cranked out nearly six hundred words in about twenty five minutes.  Ah, to be back in the old zone.  It was a good feeling.

 

 

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

“A little.” He nodded his head back and forth. “Mostly, though, I used to do computer racing.”

“I’m sorry?”

“A few years ago I got a racing program for my computer. It was really more of a simulation for grand touring cars—”

Annie couldn’t help but grin. “FIA-GT.”

“You know that?”

“Oh, yes; I know that. Go on.”

Kerry wanted to ask how she know about that particular series, but decided to tell Annie his story. “I have a steering wheel at home that I plug into my computer—gear shifter and foot peddles, too , so using the program was as much like driving the car as possible. The tracks were modeled perfectly on real courses, so when you raced at, say, Spa, it felt like you were really racing there with other drivers.”

“Did you race there?”

“Spa?”

“Yes.”

He nodded. “Yeah, that was one of my favorites. I did the twenty-four hour endurance race there a few times.”

This time Annie chuckled. “I know all about that one.”

How do you know about that?”

Like she’s going to tell you, kid.  Actually, you’re going to find out in just a bit.

This part was really easy to put together, because Kerry is speaking from the writer’s experience.  I used to do a lot of racing on my computer, using my GTR2 racing simulation game.  I also had the same wheel set up he had, which is how he know it was like driving a race car.

Ah, there you are!  Remember all the laps we put in before I wore you out?

Ah, there you are! Remember all the laps we put in before I wore you out?

That was my rig right there.  I wore out the gear shifter, and because I was unemployed at the time it went belly up, I didn’t use the rebate for the wheel to by a new one.  Which is probably a good thing, because I drove thousands of lap on that game.  Remember Kerry saying he did the twenty-four hour endurance race at Spa?  I did two.  The first one was in the rain and took 550 laps to complete.  The second one was in good weather and I managed 600 laps.  I didn’t drive both of them in twenty-four hours straight.  That’s insane.

He tells Annie about how racing was a challenge to him.  It wasn’t recklessness; it was about being good at what you do and having your car in one piece at the end of the race.  And he talks about setting Emma up:

 

“She threw a couple of blocks at me in the north part of the course. I figured out that she was trying to throw me off, to get me upset, so I’d do something dumb and lose ground to her. So . . .” His grin turned positively ornery. “I set her up on West End, and when she threw a block on me in Sunset—” He demonstrated with his hands how he got around Emma. “She wasn’t thinking about how this course is three dimensional. So I got her.”

Annie giggled and almost applauded. “I’m impressed. That’s a good thing you did there.”

He looked off to his left and scoffed. “Then again, if I hadn’t gotten in front of her, she wouldn’t have crashed into me.”

She gave his hand a stronger, lingering squeeze. “If you decide you want to race, you’ll quickly discover these things happen.”

“Is that what happened with your dad when he was here?” Annie grew still and quiet, though she didn’t turn her eyes away. “Professor Salomon told me a while back your dad used to race here, and Nurse Coraline told me the same.” He quietly swallowed, clearing his throat. “Does he still do that?”

“You could say that. He still races PAVs now and then, but . . .” She took his hand in both hers. “My father is Victor Kirilov; he races in the Formula One series. He also raced in FIA-GT for a while, which is why I knew about that.” She slowly breathed in and out. “The team he drives for is owned and run by The Foundation. They de-engineer super science technology and test it on their cars, so it can be used on Normal vehicles.”

 

So there it is:  it’s out.  Annie’s finally admitted that Daddy’s a big deal.  Of course Kerry is confused by the name.

 

“Oh.” Her smile was soft and enchanting. “That’s how it is with Bulgarian names. My family name is Kirilovi, with an ‘I’ at the end. My father’s name is the masculine version of the family name, which removes the final ‘I’. My mother’s name, and mine, are the feminine version of the name, with an ‘A’ at the end—hence ‘Kirilova’.” She leaned back slightly, hoping she hadn’t confused Kerry too much. “Do you understand?”

He nodded slowly. “It’s sort of like with Russian names.”

“Yes, something like that.”

“I get it.”

 

Clever boy.

The scene finishes with Annie’s true apology.  Sure, she was mad, but her real reasons for seeing Kerry tonight are as such:

 

“That’s okay; I understand—” He looked up as the lights in the ward flashed twice. “Is that your two minute warning?”

Annie was looking up as well. “Gretchen is letting me know my time here is almost over.” She took her time lowering her gaze, little by little, until she once more settled into his deep green eyes. “There’s my apology. I won’t be mad at you for the things you want to do, or at least try. I won’t ever tell you what to do or try either, Kerry. I can offer suggestions, or give advice, but you have to gain these experiences on your own. I’m never going to be that girlfriend who tells you what you have to do, what you must do, and what you can never do.”

She scrunched up her eyes and shook her head. “I know you like to fly, and there’s a fair chance you’ll want to try racing. And . . .” She tightened her grip on his hand. “I love flying with you, and though it might scare me horribly, I’ll watch you if you end up racing.” She bent over and kissed his hand. “I’ll never try and keep you from being the person you’re meant to be.”

 

And there you have it:  the real reason Annie’s there.  To let him be himself, she has to let him be himself.  Of course, there’s also something else going on here, because a while back she confessed to the School Seer that there was a lot more going on than meets the eyes.

Something I’m going to write about tonight.

They’ve got a few minutes before Gretchen kicks them out to get things said . . .

You are getting a lot bigger, you know that?

You are getting a lot bigger, you know that?

Finding Your Way Into First Night

When I’m putting together a scene I usually spend a lot of time figuring things out, looking at locations, getting a feel for the environment and characters.  Sometimes it takes days; sometimes weeks.

For the scene I started last night, I think I’ve spent maybe eight hours.

As I was writing about putting Kerry in the hospital, and the scene that comes after–which I’m not talking about, nuh, huh–I began feeling that something was missing.  What was missing was the sense that the way Annie left Kerry in his hospital bed, which right for that time, didn’t mesh with what came later.  So–how to fix that?

Easy:  add another scene.

Even though this story is plotted out to the max, that doesn’t mean things won’t pop up from time to time that either don’t make much sense and should be removed, or at the least, moved, or that something more is required.  In this case more was needed, and I obliged.  Because novels are a living work in progress, and sometimes you gotta fill in that work just a little more than it already is.

This is how we start.

 

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

Kerry was alone in the ward bay, the curtain cutting off Beds #1 and #2 from the ward corridor pulled three-quarter closed and open only near the wall on the other side of Bed #1. He sat quietly in his bed, his back and head raised so he could read—or, in his case, attempt to read. He’d spent the last twenty-five minutes since Annie’s departure trying to read, but he found it difficult. It wasn’t that he was dealing with distractions: rather, he found it difficult to concentrate due to his aching head.

The medication he was given was doing wonders to keep the pain at bay, but there were still small things that refused to leave him alone. If he turned his head too fast, it would start to spin. His right ankle was starting to itch constantly. And he found it bothersome to sit in the same position with his lightly wrapped knee locked in the same position, unable to move centimeter in any direction. It drove Kerry a little nuts to have to leave his left leg like that all day, through dinner, and now into the night before heading into lights out.

 

I have been in a similar situation, though not with broken limbs and a torn up knee.  I once damaged my neck in an accident and ended up in constant traction for two weeks, after which I needed to wear a neck brace for nine months.  I know all about lying there and being unable to do anything for hours on end–in fact, I couldn’t use the bathroom for the first two days, and couldn’t shower for the first week.  And when I was allowed to do either, I had a nurse standing right next to me the whole time.  Not a lot of fun, let me tell you.

But that situation changes quickly.

 

“Hi.”

Kerry looked up from his tablet: Annie was standing in the space between the curtain and the wall, dressed in her light blue flannel pajamas and her light robe. Her hands were at her side, and for the first time since he’d been admitted to the ward, she was smiling. “Hi.”

Annie walked in and pointed at the tablet. “What are you doing?”

He started the power down sequence and laid it across his lap. “I was reading.”

She chuckled softly. “What are you reading?”

Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. I’ve had it for a while, but . . .” He shrugged. “Just never found the time to start. Though I might try tonight.” Seeing that the tablet was off, Kerry slipped it into a holder on the right side of the bed. “I didn’t get very far.”

Annie stood close to him on his right, examining his bandaged head. “Concussion bothering you?”

“A little, yeah.” He didn’t want to mention that he’d thought about their time together only a few moments earlier. “It’s, um, past visiting hours.”

 

Of course it’s past visiting hours:  do you think a little think like rules bothers Annie?

I’ve run though this scene many times on my walk back and forth from work, which is really a good time to be alone with my thoughts and work out what’s going on with my characters.  I know why Annie’s there, I know what she’s going to say, and I’ve already had her say some of it.  I know how Kerry will respond, and how he’ll confide in Annie with something.

And I know how the scene ends, which is going to lay some heavy moves upon my red haired boy, because Annie’s gonna say something that’ll likely rock him to the core–no, not that.  Get your minds out of the gutter.

It’s First Night for them both.  That means something to me, something the reader will find out in time.  And second night is set up as well.  Just look below:

Over by der by da tower, in da garden.  You know?

Over by der by da tower, in da garden. You know?  That’s how we’d say it in Chicago.

And the Third Night is quickly approaching as well.  It’s in Part Seven.

That’s coming soon enough.

Broke Down and Hospital Bound

Depression is a mess.  Besides being tired and completely out of it for most of the morning, about noon I was hit with a bout of crushing depression.  I mean, the sort that has you locking up the sharp objects and has you taking to bed for the day.  Even the joking and kidding of some of my friends on line didn’t do much to bring me out of the funk.

Needless to say, I was also writing, because hell, yeah, I do that even when I’m alone, depressed, and crying.

 

I started out with this:

 

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

Kerry was beginning to feel as if he were on trial.

He had no recollection of what was done to him once Emma and he were picked up and moved to the hospital; Nurse Coraline put him under within minutes of determining his injuries. When he woke up he was in pajamas and lying in bed—the wall to his left told him he was back in Bed #2. The right side of his head was bandaged and he felt something pressing against a few of the ribs on his right side. There was a bright blue cast around his lowly right leg and foot, and his left knee rested upon a triangular pillow, held immobile by an invisible force.

 

From the first word, “Kerry”, to the last one, “force”, there was a period of maybe ninety minutes that flowed by slowly.  But, hey:  I’ve written through my depression before.  Besides, I needed to get this scene out–

Because I’ve got a couple of broke down kids in the hospital.

 

Emma sat on the edge of the bed next to him, Bed #1 where Annie had lay when they came in after their gardening a month ago, dressed in street clothes, her left forearm encased in the same type of blue cast as leg. Nurse Coraline stood at the end of his bed; Professor Salomon and Annie stood next to her. All had walked up moments before, probably having met outside Coraline’s office. The professor was still in her flying leathers, but Annie had changed back into her uniform before coming to the hospital, which likely meant the professor and she had taken Emma and his brooms back to the hanger after the crash.

Nurse Coraline pointed at Emma, who tried not to look at anyone when she was being discusses. “Your little moon princess over there got lucky. A lot of bruises and scrapes, and the only serious injury is a broken left forearm. I’m releasing her pretty much as soon as we’re done here so she can eat dinner with the rest of her covenmates.”

Vicky nodded, then looked at the boy in the bed. “And Kerry?”

“Oh, he’s a bit worse for the wear.” Coraline moved to his left side. “He’s got a nasty bump on his head and a slight concussion—”

“Did you tell him?”

Kerry looked up at Coraline. “Tell me what?”

“Anyone with a concussion is automatically grounded for a minimum of seventy-two hours. You can’t get back on a PAV until you’re cleared by the Flight Surgeon.” The right corner of her mouth curled upward. “That’s me, by the way.”

Kerry looked away, focusing on a spot between his other visitors. “Oh.”

“He’s also got two broken ribs, though it looks like his torso was compressed to cause them to break—”

Emma cleared her throat as she stared at the floor. “I fell on top of him.” Annie didn’t say a word, but she burned holes in Emma with her eyes. Kerry saw it; he was pretty sure Nurse Coraline caught it at well.

The good nurse continued with the litany of Kerry’s injuries. “He’s also has a broken right ankle, which should heal up completely before morning. But this—” Her hands hovered over the raised left knee. “This right here is gonna keep him confined to bed for the whole night and part of the morning.”

“Knee damage?” Vicky had suffered a broken knee when she’d crashed during a race while a D Level, and recognized the same immobilization she went through.

Coraline shook her head. “Oh, this isn’t just damage, Vicky. This is the trifecta of knee damage. He has an ACL tear, as well as tears to his medial and lateral collateral ligaments. I can’t figure out how it was screwed up so badly—”

Emma looked up, her face a mask of sorrow. “I did that, too. I slid into him and hit his knee with the shaft of my broom.”

Humph.” This time Annie didn’t bother hiding her displeasure. She took a step closer to Kerry, touching the foot board of the hospital bed. “He’ll have to spend the night here?”

“Afraid so, Annie.” She slowly moved to the end of the bed, standing directly across from the girl. “I’ve got the keep the knee immobilized while my little enchanted nanoids work on getting everything back almost good as new.” She flipped a withering look Kerry’s way. “You’re lucky this happened here. In a Normal hospital you’d probably be bedridden for over a month, and in physical therapy for months after. Here I’ll have you walking around tomorrow, though you’ll have to take it slow and easy.”

Kerry folded his hands across his stomach. “If I can’t get out of bed, how am I gonna go to the bathroom?”

“Ever heard of bedpans?” Coraline looked across Kerry’s bed at Emma. “You’re lucky you didn’t take his lower leg off. Then he’d be here for two or three days while it was reattached.”

 

Yeah, Emma, that’s the way to do things.  Not only screw up Kerry, but prove to his Soul Mate that everything she’s starting to think about you is true!

And this leads to our School Nurse/Doctor starting to ask Vicky why a couple of her kids are in the hospital with broken bones and torn up knees.  But, of course, Vicky has answers .  . .

 

The was a five second pause while the professor gave though to a myriad of answers before settling on the truth. “A long ways out. They took off near Gate Jump and I lost them. I had to go airborne and didn’t see them again until they were racing down West End—”

“Where were you when you lost them?” Coraline hadn’t ever raced, but as the school doctor she knew the locations of every section of all three courses.

“Just coming into The Narrows.”

“And you shot over to West End and found them there?” Coraline shook her head. “Why didn’t you stop them there?”

There was another pause, and when Vicky spoke her answer was half muttered. “I didn’t want to stop them because it was obvious they were flying pretty fast.”

Coraline took a step closer to Vicky. “You wanna define ‘pretty fast’ for me, ‘cause I know you, Vic: you’ve already had a peek at their flight recorders, so you know exactly how fast they were going.”

Vicky pressed the back of her index finger against her lips. “Emma hit a top speed of three hundred forty-seven kilometers per hour; Kerry hit three hundred fifty-one.”

Coraline’s eyes widened considerably. “Why didn’t you stop them in Sunset Boulevard—”

“Because both of them went through there between two twenty-five and two forty.”

“Kilometers an hour?”

“Yeah.”

The little finger of Coraline’s left hand began to twitch as she unloaded on Vicky. “We have kids who’ve raced for a couple of years that won’t fly two forty through Sunset Boulevard.” She turned and shouted at Emma and Kerry. “What the hell is wrong with you two? Three fifty through West End? You both could have been killed.” She turned back to Vicky. “And you waited until they were heading into Double Dip—”

“Because it’s a chicane and they’d have to slow—”

“Look how wonderfully that worked out.”

 

Yeah, Coraline’s not a happy woman.  Something about kids flying at high speed in unsafe conditions–it gets her riled up.

And because I know some of you are hung up on Imperial measurements, let me do the conversions for you:

 

“Emma hit a top speed of two hundred fifteen miles per hour; Kerry hit two hundred seventeen.”

“Because both of them went through there between one forty and one fifty.”

 

There you are:  they took Sunset Boulevard between 140 and 150 mph, and were zipping along West End at 215 and 217 mph.  I should point out that, if you’re a racing fan, 215 is almost as fast as the fastest recorded time set by a NASCAR stock car on a closed oval course–a speed of 216.309 mph, set by Rusty Wallace on June 9, 2004, at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.  When he did, however, he was locked up inside a car with a roll cage and a sitting in a special seat, and was pretty much strapped in so tight that if he had rolled he probably would have climbed from the wreckage without much help.  He wasn’t riding on a thin piece of flying carbon-carbon filament with his butt plated in a bicycle seat.  And he wasn’t eleven or twelve, either.

Oh, wait:  217 is faster, so Kerry says, “In your face, Rusty!”  Bring on the endorsements, guys, these kids could be your new superstars.

Assuming the girl friend of one of them doesn’t flip out . . .

I'm lookin' and I don't see the Annie murders idiot boyfriend scene coming next.  So Kerry can probably rest easy.  Probably.

I’m lookin’ and I don’t see the Annie murders idiot boyfriend scene coming next. So Kerry can probably rest easy. Probably.

Through the Door of Imagination

Coming to the end of my scene last night–and I should mention, the end of Chapter Sixteen as well–I wrote this final paragraph:

 

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

Erywin sat staring at the empty chair across from her, fingers tapping against both arm rests. “There’s something we, the instructors, say—” She slowly turned her head so she was looking at both children. “—that pertains to both teaching and counseling, Annie. ‘We can show you the door; we can even hold it open for you. But you have to be willing to step through to see what’s on the other side’.” Erywin rose, straightening her pajamas. “She insisted there isn’t anything on the other side, and that’s as far as I can take her.” She respectfully bowed her head. “Have a good evening, children.”

 

I use the symbolism of a door a lot in this novel.  Passing through one door to another and finding something incredible waiting.  This was the end of Kerry’s Evaluation and Assessment:

 

He nodded slowly. “Okay, Doc.” He looked for the exit. “How do I get out of here?”

The doctor nodded at something behind him. “Go out the patio doors.”

Kerry turned and started walked towards them. After three steps he stopped and turned. “There really isn’t a patio out there.”

“There is if you want one.” She gave him a knowing look. “You’re going to find out that around here vision and willpower—and knowing how to apply them correctly—go a long ways towards making things you want happen.” Again she nodded toward the doors. “Go on, Kerry. Enjoy what’s waiting on the other side.”

 

Kerry did, and slipped right down into the rabbit hole.  Annie did much the same for hers:  she walked through one door, found she had to walk through another to meet with her adviser–and ended up telling a multi-millenniums old creature that she could stuff it, she was there at school for her reasons and her reasons only, and to hell with everything else.  What did she get for her troubles?  Shown to another door which should have lead to a nice, comfy bed–which in a way it did, where she said something to a certain doctor/nurse, and that led to questions and answers and reveals and . . . well, the start of something great.

Annie did the same thing to Kerry in London.  When she suggested he come with her on a walking tour of London, she didn’t say, “Pack your shit, Welsh Boy, we’re going out.”  No, she asked, “Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me, Kerry?”  She showed him the door, but in the end, he had to decide to walk through and investigate the wonders she was about to show him.

Writing a story, a novelette, a novella, a novel–when you start they’re all like standing before door, wondering what you should do.  The door is the idea, but what is on the other side–that’s your imagination.  What you’re going to find on the other side . . .

Hey, you gotta open it first.

Hey, you gotta open it first.

What you’ll find is a room full of jumble.  Plots, characters, scenes–they are everywhere.  It’s the way things are.  Stories are a messy thing, there’s stuff all over the place.  But if you work that idea enough, if you think about your characters and where you want them to go, what you want them to do, what sort of adventures they’ll have–in time, you’ll tidy up that room, get things in order, and eventually produce something.

Or as Dwayne Johnson might put it:

 

When you walk up to opportunity’s door, don’t knock.  Kick that bitch in, smile, and introduce yourself.

 

And then start moving things about and getting that story in shape.

I’m always thinking about my stories.  If not the one I’m on, then the next.  Though this time is different:  I’m eight months into writing, 201,101 words into the story, and I might have another six, seven, eight months of writing ahead of me.  I’m going to make a push to knock off twenty thousand more words by the end of July and get extremely close to the end of Act Two–and then I’m gonna start editing another novel, because publishing, that’s why.

I think all the time about my stories, my characters, where I want them.  It’s a non-stop thing.  Once I’m through that door I have to stay and get things done.  That’s why you get a little crazy writing, because you want out of that room, but you can’t leave until you finish.

But not everyone is like me, wanting to write grand, sweeping novels.  Some people are really good with short stories.  The process is the same, the time frame is a lot different.  And keep in mind, there’s writing, and there’s editing.  Writing starts the story; editing builds upon that foundation, allows you to correct what isn’t right.  No story is perfect on the first draft:  I know this all to well.  Keep polishing.  Make it pretty.  In time, you’ll get it there.

Your stories are waiting on the other side of a door.  I’ve shown you that door–

It’s up to you to go on through.

Girlfriend in My Pillow

First, the writing thing.  Though there was a bit of a struggle with the writing–motivations just weren’t what they should have been–I managed to squeak out a little over nine hundred and forty words in my newly added scene.  This did some interesting things to the word count–while the count for Act Two is now hovering just before forty-nine thousand, five hundred words, the count for the full manuscript hit a new milestone . . .

Yeah, two hundred thousand.  That could almost be the title for a Stargate episode.

Yeah, two hundred thousand. That could almost be the title for a Stargate episode.

I’ve only passed into the territory once before, and there’s a very good likelihood that this novel is going to surpass that other novel by some distance.  Just gotta keep going, moving forward, and remember that the next scene is gonna involve some math.  Just for me, though:  you won’t see it.  Science, bitches:  it makes writing better.  Or so I’m told.

Let’s put that behind me, though, because there’s something on my mind, something bothering.  Probably because I know the true meaning of what happened . . .

I’ve written a few times about how I’ve felt my dreams were either sadly lacking or simply non-existent.  Some of that has to do with my sleep habits, which are, frankly, pretty sucky.  It seems like if I don’t go to bed late and sleep for six hours straight, I wake up kind of out of it the next day.  Or for several days afterwards.

However . . . the last week or so the dreams have come back strong and with a vengeance.  Exceedingly vibrant as well.  Like last night, it seemed like I was spending a lot of time going to a job that I didn’t walk, and that it was cold and snowy in July, and when I arrived as said word someone tried to take the keys to my car, and I ended up breaking their arm to keep that from occurring.

It was Friday morning, however, that really hit me hard . . .

I’ve been in situations where I can’t tell if I’m truly asleep or not.  It’s like a waking dream; I know something’s going, I know I’m seeing something, but am I just thinking these things, or am I stuck in a dream so vivid that it feels like I’m awake?

Whatever I was feeling Friday morning, it doesn’t really matter.  What I felt was having a woman I’ve known for years, rolling over in bed next to me, saying good morning, honey, you’re up early, then leaning in close to me to plant a good morning kiss.  I leaned in close to receive said kiss and give her one of my own . . .

And that’s when I realized I was alone in bed.  Not only that, but my left hand was slowly rubbing the pillow I keep there to hug when I go to sleep.  I broke into sobbing, and it took me a good thirty minutes before I was able to drift off to sleep once more.

Unlike this young lady, I'm rarely smiling when I'm doing this.

Unlike this young lady, I’m rarely smiling when I do this.

With the return of the dreams have come the return of the emotions.  April was a bad time for feelings, and there were a lot of crying jags.  Tomorrow starts the first of my hormone treatments, or as some might say, “Welcome to Puberty 2.0!” and I have a feeling the next month or two are going to be crazy times at the casa.

Add to this a lot of heart string tugging on my part . . .

I can get through it.  Just takes a little perseverance, right?

Ins and Outings

A lot of people were gorging themselves on burnt meats and playing with explosives–and in some cases heading to a local ER because of one, the other, or both.  Me?  I wrote.  Nearly two thousand words, split between the morning (which you saw if you read yesterday’s post) and the evening.  I know, I have an exciting life.

You devoured the Roast Beast, I caused students to lose their shit.  It's sort of the same thing.

You devoured the Roast Beast, I caused students to lose their shit. It’s sort of the same thing.

There was something that came out of yesterday’s scene, and if you notice in the graphic above, you’ll see that another scene was added to Chapter Sixteen.  And why is that?

Someone is suffering from Outing Guilt.  Allow me to explain . . .

While a lot of strange thing happen in sorcery class–and that’s saying something–trying to control other students with a mixture of your own black magic making tends to bring out things in students.  They may go places with their questions where they might not otherwise go.  When that happens, things can go to hell in rather sudden fashion.

Which is exactly what happened in the Kerry/Lisa Open Sorcery Cage Match.  She thought she has a winning formula and went personal, hoping she was going to either (a) get some juicy, and embarrassing, sexual info, or (b) watch Kerry writhe in pain.  That didn’t happen, however, but it did happen to her, and when Kerry took it personal and managed to pull out of Lisa that there could be some girl crushing going on, he hit her with a magical chair and took her down.

Like it or not, he also outed her in front of all the A Levels.  Or at least that”s how Kerry sees it in the next scene.

Outing is not fun.  I’ve never outed anyone in my life, and now that I’m a member of the LGBT community, I’m well away of the fear associated with getting outed–particularly when I’m presenting as myself everywhere but work.  I’m pretty much open and presenting everywhere these days, and I’ve grown comfortable with how people see me.  The only time I’ve been outed was when one of my cousins outed me to my sister–someone I almost never speak with–and she decided not to bitch to me about it, but called someone else I’m close to and spent forty-five minutes going on about what an embarrassment I was to my family full of racists, drunks, and the occasional drug addict.

Look at that:  pink ear buds, purple tee shirt, and a brown coffee mug.  Totally doubleplus ungood.

Look at that: pink ear buds, purple tee shirt, and a brown coffee mug. Totally doubleplus ungood.

Oh, and that’s taken while I write this, so now you know how I roll when I’m blogging on the weekends.

That’s Kerry’s predicament:  he ended up with the excellent proficiencies in sorcery, but he’s feeling terrible about doing something that he wouldn’t normally do to another person–

Welcome to the World of Black Magic, kid.

Sure, some may think it sounds a little too PC for kids to think this way, but it’s not.  I picked this up from my daughter, who passed through middle school and will soon start her second year of high school.  She has many friends who are LGBT, and takes a dim view on people who out others, so it’s not out of the question for Kerry suffer with this internal struggle.

And the strange thing is, this is gonna play up well with something that happens two novels down the line.

What?  You know I’ve always gone there.