No, I have not taken over the Moulin Rouge and I’m doing my Harold Zidler impression to get you to spend you hard earned gilt on Satine–I do not accept Bitcoins, by the way. No, no: this is something else.
This is something really spectacular.
Late last night my daughter returned from Indiana University, where she was competing in the state Science Olympiad. It’s not a science fair: these kids do real scientific stuff, like figuring things out through the scientific method, or building things that work. My daughter is in ninth grade and this is her second, and last, year competing, and for the second year her school won their division state championship. Not only that, but she scored three golds out of three events. Here’s one of them, Disease Detectives, which is sponsored by the CDC, so that means she’s got her shit down cold for when the Zombie Apocalypse(tm) breaks out. Her other events were Meteorology and Music, and in this last event she and another kid built a working violin.
I should also mention she plays cello–no, she doesn’t know someone named Coulson–and paints as well as draws, so she’s not only got the science stuff down, but she’s artistic, too. This is what comes of letting her do what she wants to do. Nice to know she’s doing it right.
In other creative news, I edited like a mofo yesterday. Yes, that’s a technical term, mofo. It means I spent most of the day at the computer reading my work, and had a great time going over the work I created. I edited Chapters Eight, Nine, and Ten, and went over some great stuff, if I may say so. I wasn’t paying attention to the word count yesterday, but in the light of this morning’s light, it was just over thirty-eight thousand words. That’s a good day’s work.
I found things wrong. I found some things misspelled. I found words that weren’t needed. I found Coraline doing something that was completely out of sequence, so I rewrote a couple of paragraphs, and when I think about it today, I can rewrite the first paragraph to have her do the absolute correct thing, because when you got magic working for you, it’s easy. I found Kerry using an “s” in one of the words of a song title he’d know better than to use–sure, I could leaving it and say he was excited and didn’t know what he was saying, but no, that’s not happening.
One of the scenes I edited was the demonstration fight between Ramona Chai and Coraline, and since I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I should excerpt that scene–well, guess what? Here it is:
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Ramona walked to the south end of the mat, directly opposite Coraline. They bowed, then pressed the palms of their hands together. The air around each woman shimmered for a second, then all was normal. Ramona began moving her arm while she widened her stance, preparing to fight. Coraline did the same, planting her feet wide, getting her left arm back while she raised her right hand as if to block. They watched each other for a few moments. Ramona exhaled slowly before giving the command: “Begin.”
It was all Kerry could do to follow the two women.
Both moved so quickly their motions were a blur. Ramona was off her spot and moving to her right, while Coraline came at her directly across the mat. Though their moments didn’t look hurried, both women were moving at least—Kerry figured their actions were maybe ten times faster than those of a normal person. He was reminded of the scene in The Stars My Destination where Gully Foyle was being chased by the Martian Commandos, all of them moving at similar speeds and trying not to run into each other least they be killed by the impact.
That wasn’t the case here, however. Ramona turned and ran towards Coraline before throwing two punches which the head nurse appeared to block. Kerry assumed they were blocked because not only were the punches difficult to follow, but there was a quick flare of light against Coraline each time Ramona struck her.
Ramona jumped back about three meters and seemed ready to set up another attack. Coraline leapt across the space with ease, almost flying through the air, and kicked the instructor once in the chest, knocking her off her feet and back towards the students. She landed on her back and was immediately on her feet, moving her arms as if she were drawing something towards her. Then the air before Ramona’s body swirled into a visible form—
She pushed it away, driving it towards Coraline. The head nurse saw the attack and jumped straight up into the air to get out of the way. The attack struck an invisible wall on the far side of mat; whatever protective force was there became visible for a second, and the air rippled from the impact.
Coraline hadn’t yet touched ground. Kerry watched her soar five, almost six meters into the air, slowly back-flipping into position like a character from an anime fight. She finally touched down and readied herself before drawing back her right arm. A ball of bright light appeared in her right hand, but this was nothing like the orange globes Kerry saw her make in the hospital. This one was reddish-white and crackling with energy. The head nurse spun twice and threw it at Ramona, who raised an arm to block.
The instructor did more than block, though: Coraline’s attack hit the barrier she’d thrown up—one that flared brightly when it was struck—and shot off towards the students. Most of the students screamed and threw up their hands; a few dropped to the floor. Kerry grabbed Annie and put himself between her and the mat, almost knocking her to the floor in the process. The energy attack hit another invisible wall at the edge of the mat and flared brightly. The wall rippled again, then all was once more as normal as possible.
“Stop.” Ramona brought her feet together and her hands to her sides: Coraline did the same. They bowed, then walked towards each other to met near the center of the mat. There was another shimmer around them, then they shook hands, both smiling. “You still are one of the best.”
Coraline brushed a strand of hair from her face. “I learned from the best, Sifu.”
Yeah, you can keep your wand: I’m gonna stand over here and toss fireballs at your ass. I should point out that later in the story Coraline tells one of my kids about how, before she became the Head Nurse of the school and she was working at a woman’s clinic in the city of Salem, someone tried to mug her as she walked home one night. Poor bastard never knew what hit him.
Today will be a lot of running about and getting things done away from the home, but I’m two chapters away from finishing a first pass on Act One. That’s a little over twenty-three thousand, three hundred words–that’s all that remains on this pass of the edit. While I have time I’ll do another full pass on the act, and while that happens I’ll start on Act Two next Monday. I’m looking it over, and as I view the metadata it comes back to me what I needs writing. What’s going to happen. How things are going to go down at my Magical School On the Cape.
It’s a good time to be doing something you love.