Letting the Rest Roll

Let it be known that I’ve been slacking off.  Really, I have.  I feel it.  Because I’ve needed to slack off, to be honest.

One, I’ve been tired a lot.  The last couple of nights I’ve taken sleeping pills–just one each night–to help me get through the night and not wake up at three-thirty AM with no chance of getting back to bed.  I’ve managed to get some sleep out of these nights, and even though I was awake at four AM needing to use the bathroom, I went right back to sleep and woke up only moments before the alarm went off.

Two, I’ve been distracted of late by wanting to do things, be it watch TV, read, get out of the house and travel–anything.  I’ve needed to change up my routine for some time now, and it’s great for recharging.  Tonight I’ll go out and do a little grocery shopping, and when that’s over I’m going to stop at Panera, get something to eat–probably a big bowl of soup–and then set up my computer and write.  I did this last week and plopped down a thousand words; I want to finish this scene I’m in, start on the next, and maybe finish it as well.  Because I’m moving ahead.

Annie's letting me know I better get her scene finished, because . . . well, because.

Annie’s letting me know I better get her scene finished, because . . . well, because.

And, admittedly, I enjoy the break.  Which leads into–

Three:  I’ve been feeling a lot burned out.  I’m two hundred and thirty thousand words into the novel, maybe two-thirds of the way through, and after ten months I’m ready for something else.  This is the doldrums part of the story, where you want to keep pushing, but you also want to do something else.  You’ve lived with these people for so long it’s like having guests who never go away, and just like you want the Guests Who Wouldn’t Leave to pack up their shit and move on, I’m ready for another project.

Not that I hate what I’m doing, but like anything else where you do it over and over every day, it starts to wear you down.  I feel that what may be needed is an adjustment of schedules.  Set aside the time I need to do something, and do it then.  I’m thinking Wednesday afternoon is going to become a new writing time for me for the next few months.  After that I’ll find something else to help with the time.

My fear is taking a break from writing for a week or two.  I’ve done that in the past, and when I have I’ve managed to take a month off and get back into things without a problem.  Then again, I’ve also taken a break that lasted years, and I don’t want that to happen.  Because I’ve got the story where I want it, and I don’t have time to take a year off from this project.  Sure, I might be able to get other things done, but I want to finish this story.

Let me correct that:  I need to finish this.

Because it’s too damn important to put to the side.  No matter how I feel right now.

The Juggling of the Duties

The novel did not advance quickly last night.  If anything, I managed a few hundred words–just under three hundred, in fact–because . . . well, so many things happened last night.  Allow me to explain–

Believe it or not, I’ve got a bunch of different things floating around at the same time.  Mine is not a simply life of “Get up, work, come home, eat, write, sleep.”  There are times when it does feel that way, but last night wasn’t one of those night.  No, it was more like I had miles to go before falling off into sleep.

First off, I walked throughout most of the day like a zombie.  It wasn’t a good time, because my “Hey, it’s four AM, let’s get up” body was doing just that to me, and I’d only gotten to bed just a little after midnight, so I was running on just under four hours of sleep.  Not a good way to start the day.

"No, I can write code when I'm half asleep . . . Um, what does two plus two mean?"

“No, I can write code when I’m half asleep . . . Um, what does two plus two mean?”

Then I get home feeling sleepy at four-thirty in the afternoon, and it’s time to eat.  And write.  Only it takes an hour to get dinner ready, and I can’t concentrate on writing.  So I jump online for a bit and chat up a bit.  And then I get into discussions with people:  we talk about things they’re working on, I give a few opinions on copyright protections (this is something that’s come up a lot among the people in the crocheting group in which I hang out), I lay out a few memes for people because, in another life, I am The Memestress, and I come bringing the snark.

One of the things I got involved in while on line was helping out a woman who was having a problem with mold in her house.  She rents but it seemed the landlord not only wasn’t going anything about the mold, he was being confrontational about it.  As I have mad Google skills (no, I won’t spell it the other way), I did a quick search and discovered three sites in the city where she lives (which, by the way, is not in the U.S.) and posted them for her to use.  It does appear that she received help with her problem, and she posted a thank you on my Facebook wall which greeted me this morning when I logged in.

Ah, but then!  I had to take over asking questions in a book club.  Yes, the person who was running the show this month went MIA, and I sort of got elected to step in and ask questions for the book in question, which I read.  So late at night, as I was trying to work on my novel, I jumped in and set up a few questions for other people–in fact, I did a few more this morning, because I’m nothing if not diligent.

There you have it:  my crazy night.  Juggle, juggle, juggle.  Maybe tonight I can actually get back to work on my novel . . .

Maybe.

"I need to have Annie kick some ass here.  People better just leave me--oh, look, a message!"

“I need to have Annie kick some ass here. People better just leave me–oh, look, a message!”

How to Sling Your Spells

Much like Saturday, yesterday was a bit of an unusual time.  I spent most of the day busy with one thing or another:  breakfast in the early morning, getting ready in the late morning, heading off to get a pedicure in the early afternoon.  Yes, I went out and got a pedi; yes, it was enjoyable; yes, I enjoyed getting pampered.  I also have nice toes now, which is an incredible improvement over how they looked at the start of the week.

The working of the novel, however, was a different story.  It seems like this whole last weekend was spent catching up on my rest.  The afternoon and evening was spent trying to stay awake while, at pretty much the same time, I was working with someone to explain copyright law to people who didn’t quite have a good grasp of what it meant to make something that was more or less the spitting image of a well known animated character and then selling said object.  As someone who spends time creating things from whole cloth, you want to help people understand that you can be sued to hell and gone for copyright infringement, and simply saying you’re charging “For your time”, or that changing the name of that Micky Mouse doll you made to “Drugged Out Meth Rodent”, isn’t going to save you in the end.

It’s back to the Rotunda now and Annie’s listing to two of the girls talk about the sort of magic they’re gonna use if the big bad invade The Pentagram.  Annie’s thinking that if The Pentagram is breached and invaded, Isis is gonna evacuate the school and probably blow the place like a modern day Enterprise.  Or not:  she’s probably got more than a few tricks up her sleeve.

The problem is, while Annie isn’t talking about these matters and what she can do, it doesn’t mean someone else isn’t.

 

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

That meant there wasn’t a need to worry about what spells the volunteers would use to defend the Great Hall. Annie had no intention of mentioning her skills—

Thebe, however, did that for her.

Between Sahkyo talking about her fireball spell skills, and Nagesa discussing her ability to use Electrify effectively, Thebe decided to tell the girls about how Annie worked up the Air Hammer spell in a matter of seconds and used it to become a fearless zombie hunter.

 

The same nurse who help heal her sprained wrist drops a dime on Annie and blabs about how she whacked out the fake undead a month back.  Which you have to admit isn’t a nice thing to do, but Thebe probably had a reason for doing so–like, letting everyone know that if they are attacked, everyone can stand behind Annie and let her do the heavy lifting.

Naturally the girls want to know how she did it:

 

Now that she was drawn into this matter, Annie realized there was no leaving it sit without explanation. “It was a matter of using the proper visualization.” She sighed softly. “I put that together with the energy needed, and produced the desired effect. It’s that simple.”

“Not only that—” Thebe took a step closer to the group, putting herself almost directly between Sahkyo and Annie. “She showed Kerry—her . . .” The look she gave Annie indicated she didn’t know if she should use the correct description.

Annie wasn’t bothered to use the term. “’Boyfriend’ is what you want to say.”

Thebe nodded as Sahkyo simply stared at Annie. “She showed her boyfriend how to use it as well—”

The discussion was really peaking Nagesa’s interest. “When?”

“Right after she figured it out.”

What?” The way they said the word together told Annie the discussion wasn’t going to end: it was obvious Nagesa and Sahkyo wanted to know everything.

 

Yes, keep talking up how great they were . . . though Nagesa probably knows a lot of this already, since she knew who Annie was, and more than likely knows she’s out of The Fishbowl and swimming in The Pond.  You can also bet that people are gonna wanna see her toss one of these spells off.

What do you wanna bet?

Yeah, I can add a few more words in that scene.  I'd say the bet is pretty good.

Yeah, I can add a few more words in that scene. I’d say the bet is pretty good.

Lessons of Life at Laputa

I won’t say yesterday was a strange and busy day, but it was.  I mean, up at 4:30, wrote six hundred words, had my car worked on, had my eyes examined, got new glasses, came home and alternated between watching television, napping, reading, and . . . yeah, you know this last one.

I started a new scene yesterday, but unlike other times when I just sort of spread that scene out over two or three days, I started writing and, no matter what, kept coming back to it.  When I’d get sleepy I’d take a nap.  When I’d get bored I’d read.  When I felt like I needed a distraction, I’d do something else for thirty minutes.

When I was finished with those, I’d come back to the writing.  Always.

It’s an important scene, because it’s a break at the Observatory–call sign Laputa, which if you’re not aware, is The Castle in the Sky, and not some random whore–for Kerry and Emma, and they’re both sore from riding in the cold for two hours straight, looking for things that may or may not be there.  But with the emergency on, one simply doesn’t fly into

 

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

Kerry carefully floated his broom towards the floor of the Observatory, following the hand signals of the student showing Emma and him where to land. He floated down towards a marked out circle just inside the open telescope dome, his feet lightly touching the surface—the first in over two hours.

Kerry had landed out on the viewing balcony twice before; this was the first time he’d actually flown inside the Observatory. He figured it was a safety precaution in case it was necessary to seal the dome. He turned and looked outside, trying to imagine seven or eight fliers trying to enter the dome at the same time, and hoped that if Emma and he had to make for safety, they were closer to the Flight School than the Observatory.

The girl who’d directed them in for their landing—a B Level from Cernunnos according to the stars on her jacket—approached as soon as Emma and he were on their feet. “I’ll take your brooms—” She grabbed them before they could respond. “—and get them stored.” She nodded in the direction of the chart tables. “Refreshments are back there; we’re got cots laid out for napping if you feel like it.” She started to turn way, then answered the question she knew was coming. “The professor’s back there, too; she’ll answer any questions you have.”

Emma spoke to the girl’s retreating form. “Thanks.” She took three slow steps, stretching her arms. “I don’t remember being this stiff after flight class.”

 

Such a controlled environment, with a near-military feel.  You can probably thank Isis for that:  it’s a good idea to keep the kids in line while they’re kinda fighting the good fight.  This goes back to what Vicky was asking–can you follow orders?  Because while being directed to a landing spot isn’t the same as being told to get your ass out of the air now, it shows you know how to stick to protocol.  And that may be the difference between living and dying . . .

Nothing has changed:  as Professor Bashagwani says, no news from Fortress is good news.  Emma wants to know something, however:

 

“Professor?” Emma leaned against the map table, the mug resting in both hands. “Can I ask a question?”

“Certainly.”

“We noticed that at certain parts of the routes the screens get darker. Why is that?”

“Safety feature for the enchantment.” Harpreet pushed a plate of sandwiches at the children, in case they were hungry. “The closer you get to the screen, the darker it becomes. When it turns black, you’re almost into it; at that point you need to stop or turn away.”

Kerry reached for one of the sandwiches. “Getting into it would be bad?”

“At full strength, like it is now, you’d die.” She slid the plate towards Emma, who shook her head. “When it’s at low power it would stun you or knock you out. But now . . .” She shook her head. “You’d end up like any Deconstructor trying to get in from the outside.”

Emma gulped; Kerry put away two quick bites. “Nice to know.”

 

Yeah, kids, those screens will kill ya if you get into them.  As the professor tells them, there’s no need for them to get close to the screens, so they didn’t need to know they’re flying next to a death trap.

Emma’s thinking about a nap:  after all, they only have forty-five minutes down time before they have to be back on patrol, and she’s checking out the two pilots already there napping.  Kerry, on the other hand . . . well, he’s got things going on in his head.  He’s thinking about something–or is it someone?

 

From that turn his gaze drifted to his left and the dome protecting The Pentagram. He allowed himself to imagine the scene there: all the students locked up in each of their towers; the Headmistress hiding somewhere in, or below, the structure; Professors Ellison and Arrakis somewhere in there as well, and then the triage center set up inside the Rotunda—

“The other fliers are up.” Emma strode up from behind. Kerry turned slightly to his left so she’d end up on his right. She noticed what he did and gave him a momentary glance, then looked off in the direction he was looking. “You thinking about The Pentagram?”

Kerry turned his head towards Emma for just a second, figuring out in a second what she was really asking: You thinking about Annie? “Yeah, I am.”

 

Why wouldn’t he be?  After all, she’s thinking about him, and of late she seems to occupy his thoughts.  And since Emma’s figured out Kerry’s thinking about her–well, she wants to know more.

 

“How long have you known Annie?”

Kerry had half expected this question for the last couple of minutes. He didn’t know why, but he’d suspected Emma wanted to know more about Annie and their relationship, and now was the time to find out. “Since the Saturday before we arrived at Salem.” He turned his face upwards into the red sky for a moment. “27 August, 2011. That’s when we met.”

“That’s pretty specific.” Emma giggled right after making her comment.

Kerry didn’t get whatever mood she was trying to set, however. “I met her in a bookstore near the hotel we were staying at in London. She was in this—” He stepped back from the railing and faced Emma before spreading his arms. “—big chair sort of hidden by a spiral staircase.” He chuckled now. “She didn’t get up from the chair when we talked. At the time I thought it was . . .”

“Strange?”

“Naw.” Kerry leaned against the chart stand and sipped his drink. “It was sort of cute.”

Emma twisted up he face as she shook her head. “Sounds a little rude to me.”

“Well . . .” Kerry shrugged and looked back towards The Pentagram. “You have to know Annie.”

 

And that’s exactly how he met her, because I went back and looked at that scene just to make sure my memory of the meeting was the same.  Just split-screened Scrivener and took a look.  And Kerry doesn’t care what Emma thinks:  he thought the way they met was cute, therefore it was.

Then Kerry drops this:

 

“Well . . .” Kerry set down his drink and turned back to staring at the distant Pentagram. “That’s kinda a strange thing—”

“What? Going steady?”

“No.” He hung his head for a couple of seconds. “There’s times when I get these feelings; it’s like these sensations of déjà vu, only—” He shrugged quickly then looked at Emma. “There’s times when I feel like I’ve known Annie a lot longer than a couple of months.” Kerry turned his gaze downward, contemplating his statement. “I know that’s impossible, because she’s always lived in Bulgaria, and I’ve either lived in California or Cardiff, and there’s no way I could have met her before coming to school, but . . .” Kerry shook his head slowly, touching his goggles as if he were lending him reassurance. “There are times when I’ve looked at her and I swear I’ve experiences that same moment with already. Like I’m doing it again.”

 

Annie has stated–without Kerry knowing this–that she’s known him through her dreams.  She  even mentioned on that night on 1 September, when she told him she loved him, that she’d loved him for a long time–“I know this is hard for you to believe, and it probably won’t make any sense, but I’ve loved you from before we met in London. From long before that.”  See, I looked up the quote, so I know what she said, and so does he.  There’s something going on, and considering he got hit with déjà vu the night of the Samhain Dance, that something is starting to catch up with him.

Most girls would probably have stopped questioning their wingmate about the particulars of a person they’re close to, but Emma is curious–real curious.  And she just has to pull the trigger . . .

 

Emma wasn’t sure what to should say or ask next—though there was one question that had been on her mind for some time, going all the way back to when they were in the hospital together after their racing accident. She debated asking it here, but given she might not get another chance for the rest of the day . . . “Kerry?”

“Yeah?” He didn’t look at her.

“Is Annie really your girlfriend?”

 

The problem with pulling the trigger on a loaded question is that the answer you get isn’t the one you expect.  In fact, it’s liable to kick your ass so hard you’re gonna wish you’d flown into those screens before asking–

 

He gave no indication that he’d heard the question; Kerry neither moved or uttered a sound. It was only some thirty seconds later, after the other fliers in the Observatory flew over their heads on their way back to patrol, that Kerry rolled his shoulders. He sighed before relaxing. “Moyata polovinka.”

Emma’s brow seemed to cover her eyes. “What’s that mean?”

“It’s Bulgarian; it’s what Annie said to me after the Samhain dance.” He slowly turned his head so he could see Emma clearly. “She’s more than my girlfriend, Emma—” He closed his eyes and opened them slowly. “She’s my soulmate.”

 

There you have it:  Kerry has finally crossed one of the lines.  That same night they both came into the school the following happened with Annie:

 

Stop worrying about that now; it will change. “Oh, Kerry—” She closed her eyes and laid her head against his shoulder once more. “I’m more than your girlfriend.” Tell him the truth, don’t be afraid. “I’m your soulmate.” She rested, now as content as she had when they’d left the hospital. Even with the misty chill around them, she felt warm and secure. “I’ll always be with you.”

 

Kerry said nothing at that, but he did kiss Annie, a first for them both.  Since then, for two months, Kerry hasn’t come right out and called Annie his soulmate, nor has he said The L Word; they’ve both sort of lurked in the background, unseen and unheard, waiting for the right moment to appear.

One of the two appeared.  And in showing, Kerry told Emma something he’s been unable to tell Annie.  Though he did tell Annie he wanted to talk to her this day . . .

Emma wanders off to take a nap, and Kerry–well, he’s ready to nap as well, but he has business to conduct before that occurs . . .

 

“Cool.” He turned his attention to The Pentagram once more as Emma walked away. He sipped the last of his hot chocolate, his eyes never leaving the shimmering blue bubble. Kerry finished the drink, but before gathering up the mug and returning inside, he raised two left fingers to his lips, kissed them, and held them out in the direction of The Pentagram.

“Stay safe . . . moyata polovinka.” He dropped his arm to his side and headed for the cot Emma was saving.

 

Just as Annie did with him as he was leaving the Dining Hall to go fly patrol.  He’s more in sync with her than he realizes.

If I could draw I'd do a picture of him holding a kiss out towards The Pentagram.

If I could draw I’d do a picture of him holding a kiss out towards The Pentagram.  So I have to settle for a lonely boy looking out from a high place to a lake.  Probably thinking about his soulmate–

The scene ran just short of two thousand words, making for a twenty-five hundred word day, and that’s something I haven’t done in a while.  But I needed to get this scene done and move on to Annie’s next scene.

All I can say is, Lisa shouldn’t have broke bad on her . . .

Conversing Round the Rotunda

A lot of strangeness this morning–starting off with waking up at 3:30 AM, laying in bed for ninety minutes before deciding that I needed to get up and do something.  Said something involved finishing up a scene I sort of stumbled through last night, which I mean with all sincerity, because I didn’t have my head in the story last night.  Some of it had to do with watching TCM last night while I made my way through some five hundred words of conversation between Annie and a fellow student from Lesotho, but the truth remains I’ve been tired most of this week, and writing at home is boring the hell out of me.

It’s nice to have a routine.  Writing is my routine; has been for a while.  But the last year, most of which has been spent in hotel rooms and a small apartment, have taken their toll.  I’m finding that changing things up a little here and these gives me more productivity, and that’s something I require at this point, because five hundred or so words a night ain’t cutting it.  Time has come to rev things up.

Really, though, it’s not usual.  Whenever you spend a lot of time working on the same project, doing the same thing over and over, in the same place and location for months, it seems natural that you’ll find a little burnout creeping in from around the bend.  Now if I was only like George R. R. Martin and I could take five or six or seven years to write a novel.

That would assume I’m making money from my novels, first . . .

"Also, I could write some hot, kinky, dragon action.  Just as long as I leave their mom out of it.  Right?  Right?"

“Also, I could write some hot, kinky, dragon action. Just as long as I leave their mom out of it. Right? Right?”

But I wrote this morning.  I managed almost six hundred words this morning, because when there isn’t anything on television to pull you away, and no one on the Internet to distract you, it’s easy to get things done.  I might even be able to snap out another five or six hundred words later today, or maybe even a thousand.  You can’t tell, can you?

Here’s the last part of a three-way conversation between Annie, Nagesa Okoro–the aforementioned student from Lesotho who has two friends out flying the same patrol as Kerry and Emma are flying–and Lisa, she of the Bad Attitude and the Magical Ownage during Sorcery class.  Needless to say, Lisa’s trying to break bad on Annie, and Annie is not digging it in the least . . .

 

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

“I’m surprised you’re not out with Kerry.” Lisa looked over her right shoulder. ‘Then again, he’s gotta flyin’ partner—” She turned back to Annie. “Ain’t he?”

Annie slowed her breathing so as not to lose her temper. “Emma’s with him, yes. They volunteered together.”

“An ahm sure they’re havin’ a great time.” Lisa rubbed her hands together slowly. “Is that why you’re doin’ triage? ‘Cause if anythin’ happens, you’ll be here when he’s brought in?” The smirk returned as she looked around the Rotunda. “Those guys flyin’ around by the wall, they’re gonna be the first to get hit if there’s trouble—”

Nagesa laid a hand on Annie’s; she sensed the girl was about to explode. She turned on Lisa. “You are not helping with this talk; you are trying to upset us.” She twitched her head to the left. “You should rest—this may be a long day.”

For a moment Lisa didn’t appearer willing to take Nagesa’s advice, then shrugged. “Yeah, you’re probably right.” She waved at Annie. “See ya ‘round.”

Annie waited for Lisa to head up the stairs to the First Floor before speaking. “Thank you.”

Nagesa removed her hand from Annie’s. “I sensed you were about to say things that would have resulted in an argument—”

“Or worse.” Annie set her hands in her lap.

“Or worse.” Nagesa rocked her knees back and forth. “We do not need that sort of negativity here. We need to stay focused on our duty.”

“I agree.” Annie sat quietly for nearly thirty second, her mind swirling around Lisa’s comments. “Are you here because of your friends?”

“No—and yes.” Nagesa slightly turned her head so she could look at Annie as she spoke. “I am here to help anyone needing help. And were my friends brought in, I could help them as well.”

“What . . .” Annie didn’t want to ask the question, but found she must. “What if you can’t help them?”

“Then I would have the chance to say goodbye.” Nagesa patted Annie’s hands. “Don’t worry: your boyfriend will return safe. Professor Salomon would not have allowed him to fly with the patrol if she didn’t feel he could make the right choices when necessary.”

Annie squeezed Nagesa’s hand briefly before looking up through the skylight. “I’m not worried about him . . .”

 

Of course you aren’t, Annie.  You’re worried about someone else, aren’t you?

And speaking of Kerry and that girl . . .

Beneath the Big Blue Bubble

Out of the preparations and into the waiting . . . that’s how things go in my world.  Out in my fictional world, kids are flying around watching the walls, others are on the ground, waiting for a moment they hope doesn’t come when they are required to rush out into battle and vanquish the foes who have come once again to ravage their school.

Then there are those back at the Great Hall, sitting and waiting for something they hope never comes, or readying their forces to fix those who are in need of fixing.

Last night it felt like I was off in a dozen different directions, helping someone here, helping someone there, all the while sort of wallowing in my own concerns about what I need to do with my story and my life.  Writing is a bit like triage in that you look at what you’ve got before you that needs writing, and take that which will do the most good.  When I heard people say, “I have all these ideas coming at me constantly, how do I deal with them?” it’s been discussed before, Bunkie, that you need to learn to concentrate on the work at hand and write down your initial ideas somewhere else, but the simplest thing to say now it, triage:  you do triage on your head.  Write down the idea you want and move on.  Or get meds so you can stop getting distracted by the voices in your head.  But that’s another story.

Last night I started Chapter Twenty-One.  As I may have pointed out it was a bit slow going because I was also helping out others online–including a friend who was looking up an arrest record, and I helped them find what they sought.  Hey, just like The Foundation, I know how to make my way around The Pond ’cause my Google-fu is not pig dung.  I have my stations set up, I have my portals in place–no, a woman named Chell didn’t help set those up, but you will hear that name mentioned at some point–and now people are resting . . .

About those people.  I needed names.  Most I already had, because I’m crazy mad when it comes to getting things set up, but there were two people I needed to add.  And once added, I needed to look up where they lived and decide what coven they called home.  Once more I jump to the Scrivener Name Generator, and since I know just about where I want my two characters to live, I generate names somewhat based on those locals and throw it all into the notes.  About fifteen minutes later I’m ready to rock.

You can't tell the people who are there to help you without a scorecard, you know.

You can’t tell the people who are there to help you without a scorecard, you know.

I think this is one of the first times I’ve put “Nurse” Coraline down as the School Doctor.  Which she is, really, but she got so used to people calling her nurse when she was interning as a healer while a student she just hung onto the handle.  Not  to mention that her return to school came not long after she’d graduated . . .

The Waiting is the Hardest Parts, and it’s also time for talking.

I’ll see about getting to that tonight.

Striking Out Along the Low Road

You know what works wonders for a bit of depression and being unable to get the words out?  A trip out to eat, and writing in public.  Which is exactly what I did yesterday.

I had to run out and pick up a light bulb and some coffee, but I thought I’d bring my computer along, because Panera is right there by the store, and it doesn’t hurt to stop, grab a bite, and write.  That was the plan, and that’s what happened.  Of course the funniest part of the night was the guy running the counter.  He just kept staring at me, probably because I’m just so damn awesome he was at a loss for work.  That, or transwomen scare the hell out of him, and he thinks he’d gonna catch some bad gender cooties if he opens his mouth.  Whattsa matter, bro?  Scared of tall girls?

(I should mention that I was wearing my new espadrille sandals which add about two-and-a-half inches to my five foot, eight inch frame, so I was getting up there towards six foot.  Just wait until I’m out in some nice evening pumps.)

The upside is I finished up the last scene in Chapter Twenty with a thirteen hundred word run that lasted about an hour and forty-five minutes.  The scene worked out at just over three thousand words, which is sort of half expected due to the stuff going on.  But it was written, and it is done.  Getting out into the public places and writing does seem to get my juices flowing, probably because the whole, “Up in the morning, go to work, come home, write,” thing gets a little old after a few weeks–or in this case, months–and you need that break to freshen things up.  Plus, I had news shoes to wear, and what women doesn’t like going out in new shoes?

Where are we, then?  Vicky’s giving the last of the orders to her gallant fliers.  Let’s pick up there . . .

 

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

Vicky spent several seconds in silence considering the students before her while contemplating all the possible permutations for the day ahead. “I hope today is boring.” She nodded slowly as she looked from right to left. “I really do, because a boring day means nothing happens; it means the Deconstructors aren’t coming for us and there’s no chance of anyone getting hurt. Which means when this is over—maybe in a few hours, maybe at the end of the day, maybe sometime late tonight—we can all gather in the Dining Hall and have something to eat while we talk about how we flew in circles doing nothing. The hot cider’s on me, by the way.

“In the meantime we’re going to do our job: we’re going to play our part in the defense of the school. There’s only seventeen teams, and two of those teams are volunteers, which means we’re a little short—and that means we need to be extra vigilant today. Keep your eyes open and the chatter to a minimum; if I hear you gabbing away like you’re on a Saturday flight around the ground I’ll give you a verbal warning first and I’ll be up your ass in person second: there won’t be a third—you’ll get pulled, because what’s the point of keeping you in the air if you’re not doing your duty.”

Vicky raised her voice slightly to drive home this last point. “I want you all to take heed of this last—if you can’t follow orders, I will sit your ass down, either at Carrier or Laputa, but I will yank you out of the sky. I don’t want gawkers, I don’t want sightseers, and I damn sure don’t want heroes. Not today. I want thirty-four pilots, seventeen teams, who when given an order will follow it exactly.”

She lowered her head slight and stared at the ground for just a moment. “This is the big time, kids, and if things even get the least bit ugly at some point there won’t be any room for ambiguity. If you’re told to do something, you get to it, nothing else, nothing more, no questions asked. At the end of the day I want to stand in the hangar and collect everyone’s broom—I don’t want to be spending my time looking for you at your last known position before you vanished from Fortress’ scans. If you follow your orders, the later won’t happen; you gotta believe me.”

She shifted her weight back and forth as she watch the expression of her pilots. They got it; they know what could happen today. That’s good . . . “That’s all I got.” She turned to Erywin. “Let’s get ‘em lined up and in the air.” She turned back to the students and spoke with obvious emotion in her voice. “Fly safe, everyone. See you back here in a while.”

 

There it is:  the big time.  This is where things could get nasty fast, because the school has been a target in the past, and it could be a target this November day.  Like it or not, this isn’t a game, not by a long shot.  In the history of the story about forty students and instructors were killed eleven years before, and it could get just as bad today.  So . . . let’s be careful out there.

Particularly these two–

 

Emma and Kerry turned along with the rest of the students, but before they could follow the others they heard Professor Salomon voice ring out loud and clear. “Selene; Starbuck.” They turned and saw her pointed at the ground in front of her. “Front and center.”

Vicky waited until the A Levels were directly in front of her before she spoke to them in a normal tone. “I hope you understand that everything I said about following orders goes double for you.”

Kerry nodded slowly. “Yes, Professor.”

Emma was also nodding. “You don’t have to worry about us.”

“I hope not.” Vicky relaxed so she didn’t appear too intimidating. “I know you guys can fly, and I know you can do what’s expected of you. What I want to make sure of is that you don’t decide to take it upon yourself to do something that I don’t want you to do.”

“That won’t happen . . .” Kerry cleared his throat. “Nightwitch.”

Vicky chuckled. “That’s what I want to hear—Starbuck.” She nodded towards the line preparing for takeoff. “Okay, you two. Get on the line and get ready for take off.”

Emma’s eyes lit up. “Roger, Nightwitch.”

Vicky smiled. “Make me proud.”

Kerry smiled. “We will.” He turned and walked off with Emma for the back of the flight line.

 

Sure, the last time they were off together they ended up in the hospital.  No chance that’ll happen today–right?  Right?

When they are ready for takeoff, one finds there is always time for a little banter, and the discovery that one of your favorite lesbian witches is also a bit of a geek:

 

Finally they were the last remaining. They stood next to Professor Sladen, whose gaze shifted from her tablet to the students and back. “You excited, Emma?”

Emma almost bounced on her tip-toes. “Yes, Ma’am.”

“And what about you, Kerry?”

“You know it—” A lop sided grin formed. “Savage.”

Erywin snorted. “I knew you’d recognize my call sign.”

He pointed at her jacket patch. “And your little tin doggie, too.”

“Smart arse.” She tapped her display twice. “By the way, your team call sign is Myfanwy.” She raised her right eyebrow. “You know that one as well?”

Kerry looked off into the distance, his half-grin now a full one. “I promise not to fly off to The Hub.”

Emma was completely lost. “I have no idea what you guys are talking about.”

“English geekness, my dear.” She check her display. “Hover and mount; HUDs up.”

 

For the information of people who don’t know better, in that short passage was seen the reference of two well-known Companions from Doctor Who, and a certain pteranodon from Torchwood.  It helped that Kerry recognized Professor Sladen’s jacket patch, because geek.

And with that–

 

Erywin snapped her right arm forward. “Launch.”

They were off the line and rising quickly. Kerry saw the dim outline of a flight route in his HUD. “I have the course.”

“I see it.” Emma quickly glanced over to her wingmate as they banked left. “I’ll watch speed, you watch altitude.”

“Got it.” They climbed quickly and silently into the sky, the air cold against the exposed skin of their faces. Kerry kept the flight line between them, and noticed as soon as they were next seventy meters the color changed subtly from a light white to a pale yellow. “Okay, we’re here.”

“Roger.” Emma quickly scanned her HUD. “We’re right on target for speed. Call it in.”

“Roger.” He lower his gaze towards the ground as he contacted flight control. “Carrier, this is Myfanwy. We’re on the Low Road: altitude seventy meters; speed forty kph. Over.”

The response was almost immediate. “Roger, Myfanwy. We see you on the Low Road. Maintain current altitude and speed. Over and out.”

Emma turned and smiled at Kerry. “Here we are.”

“Yep.” He shot her a quick smile, then turned back to watching the land close to the outer wall slowly slip behind them. “Here we are.”

 

And there you are:  the chapter is complete.  Preparations are over; now we wait.

 

Cheer up, Kerry.  You don't have much to do now except go rest in a few hours.

Which are the actual chapter names.  Cheer up, Kerry. You don’t have much to do now except go rest in a few hours.

Preparations Beneath a Blood Red Sky

Getting back into the writing last night wasn’t as easy as I thought.  Believe it or not, I’m fighting through a bit of depression this week, and getting my mind focused on word slinging isn’t the easiest.  But you do what you have to do, and even though the heart isn’t in it sometimes, you sit and type away until something coherent comes out, right?

We are back to the Flight School, and things we left off with Emma and Kerry not being able to get the equipment they wanted–you know, people not believing that they can fly the fly so to speak.  Leave it for a witch to come to their rescue:

 

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

Niles looked like he was about to argue with them both when a voice yelled from the open hangar door. “What’s going on?” Nadine walked with purpose towards the older Cernunnos boy. “Why don’t these two have brooms?”

Niles didn’t look happy getting a dressing down in front of a couple of A Levels. “They want Espinoza 4500s.”

“So?” Nadine didn’t even flinch. “They’re checked out on them; have been since the right after their first class.”

“Yeah, but—”

Just give ‘em the fuckin’ brooms, okay?” Nadine exhaled and shook her arms, as if to get the circulation going in her fingers. “You’re holdin’ shit up. Then you and you buddies grab yours and get on the line. Got it?”

Niles looked as if he were about give Nadine an argument, then pointed to another boy roaming between the cabinets. “Two E-45s, now.” He pointed at Emma and Kerry. “Go over to him and pick them up.”

 

As we’ve seen before, Nadine doesn’t mind swearing, and when the potty mouth has to come out, it does.  She does her best to keep it in check, but today isn’t one of those days.

Outside it’s a different story:  the weather it what you might expect for a November morning . . .

 

As they exited the Flight School hanger Emma and Kerry were both struck by the cold. The temperature was just barely over freezing, and while the flying leathers kept the cold at bay, both children felt the chill on their exposed skin. Selena’s Meadow was covered in frost, but instead of the field glistening in the bright morning light, it reflected the hazy red glow emanating from the defense screens protecting the school.

Kerry set his broom to hovering beside him so he could finish dressing. He slipped on his helmet on and pulled it tight before fastening the chin strap, then set his goggles in place on his forehead. By the time he pulled it to his side again, Emma was also fully dressed and ready to fly. They looked at each other and started laughing; it wasn’t that they hadn’t seen each other dressed like this before—they were like this every Monday—but they both realized that today wasn’t a normal flying day, that their flying would carry a different kind of importance—

Okay, everyone.” Nadine stood on the edge of the meadow, where Kerry remembered Professor Salomon standing when they lined up for their first flight. “I need everyone on the flight line—” She pointed to her left. “—lined up from F Levels—” She swept her arm to the right. “—to A’s. Let’s move, fliers.”

 

It would be a bit freaky to hang out under a red-tinted sky for most of the day–or all day–or all day and night.  At this point no one knows how long it’s going to go on, but now that you’ve committed, you gotta stay with the road you’re upon.  It’s the way it is.

Here was the last bit I managed last night before crawling off to bed.  Professor Salomon and Sladen–in their flight gear–giving the prep talk before getting all the little kiddies airborne:

 

Professor Salomon examined the line of students, her face calm, her eyes clear and attentive. “Okay, people—” She placed her hand on here hips. “I’ll keep this short, because we need everyone airborne by eight-thirty, and that’s quickly approaching.

“Let me explain our mission: this is an observational patrol, which means we’re going to do a lot of flying around in circles while keeping an eye on the wall, inside and out. And that’s all we do today—or at least that’s my hope.

“We’ll fly two routes today: the Low Road and the High Road. The Low Road is seventy meters up, high enough to clear the treetops, but low enough to see the ground. The people on the Low Road are to watch everything on this side of the wall, and inward for about twenty meters.

“The High Road is one hundred and fifty meters up, and everyone on that will watch for activity on the outside of the wall. In both cases, you’re looking for activity against the screens, any unusual movement near the wall, and anything that looks out of the ordinary gets called in. Got it?” She waited for an acknowledgment from everyone before continuing.

“Here’s the hierarchy for the patrol: Carrier—” She pointed at the Flight School. —is acting as our air traffic control, and they’ll direct you around the grounds. You may get a call from Laputa—” The professor pointed off to the north and the Observatory. “—but only to remind you when you’re due for a rest. Beyond that they won’t issue any flight orders; those should come through Carrier.

“Above them is Leela—” Salomon pointed at Sladen. “—and me. Either one of us can override Carrier, but we won’t do so unless we have a very good reason. We’ll be out in the field, so if we want to give you a direct order, we’ll find you and fly over. And remember that Leela is my second, so if she issues an order and I countermand it, my order stands.

“Above us all is Fortress—they countermand everyone. They usually won’t give any direct orders except for two. The first will be if you call something in and they issue an order to hold up. When they say that, everyone will stop flying and hold their positions. When everything is good again, they’ll order you to resume flying. That one’s pretty simple . . .

“The other order will be ‘Go to Ground’. They’ll only issue that if there’s a breach of the outer screens or walls. When you hear that—” Salomon raised her voice so there was no mistaking her instructions. “—if you are not a member of the Air Assault team, you are to proceed at the fastest possible speed to either Carrier or Laputa and get inside before they’re locked down. You’ll have sixty seconds to do this, so when the order comes, just go. Don’t look to see what other pilots are doing: worry about what you’re doing.”

 

Of course Kerry knows what Erywin’s call sign means; there’s a scene of him smiling when he sees the patch on her flight jacket, because he’s not only a witch and a sorceress, he’s a geek.  There will even be mention of it soon.

There we are:  so far the biggest scene in the chapter.  There’s a real possibility it will go over two thousand words before the scene, and chapter, are finished.

I just need to get to it tonight.

There will be more.  I promise.

There will be more. I promise.

Signposts Amid the Shadows

I’m touching on writing a little here, but I’m getting into some other stuff as well–like mental illness.  That’s a heavy thing, so if you don’t want to read what I have to say, look at the picture and move along.

This looks like it's near Annie's house--which makes sense, since I'm going to talk about her.

This looks like it’s near Annie’s house–which makes sense, since I’m going to talk about her.

Onward, then.

 

Though it may seem like a strange thing to consider when writing a novel about tweens and teens who are training up to be magical people, one of the things I had to consider when putting Salem together was the issue of counselling and mental health issues.  That’s a very important thing to consider when you one realizes that pulling some kid in off the street and showing them they can alter reality to suit their whims may just put a weird-ass bend on their personality in time.  The Foundation isn’t going to be happy if, after your second year at school, you turn your parents into ferrets and keep then in cages the whole summer.

And that’s a minor thing.  Imagine what happens when you get really good?  Say . . . like my main characters.

There will come a time at Salem when the pressures of what’s happening in their lives becomes a little too much for Annie and Kerry, and they start to lose it a little.  I mean, Annie admitted first day of Sorcery class she knew how to kill someone with black magic, and Kerry was already seen suffering from depression.  Sure, becoming better witches is going to make their feel a lot better–until they snap.

Then all hell breaks loose.

In these stories there will come a time where Kerry nearly dies.  There will come a time where Annie loses her shit and almost kills someone in school.  There will come a time where both Annie and Kerry will be put through a most stressful day that pushes them physically, magically, and mentally right to the edge and beyond.  There will come a time where both of them are faced with a situation that may seem like it’s the final night for them both, and they not only talk about their impending demise–they promise each other that if one should die, the other will follow, because continuing to live without their soul mate simply isn’t an option.

That’s an issue that’s really simple for them as well.  Annie points out that they both know enough transformation magic and sorcery that if they wanted to die, it would be over in less time than it would take to work up the spell.  Stop your heart, freeze your blood, shut down all chemical reactions in your brain:  stuff they could do to others they could easily do to themselves.  It would be quick, it would be painless, and they’d know someone would be waiting for them on the other side once they were gone.  It’s not something either would do because of depression:  they’re not like that.  But to join the other in death?  Yeah, not a second thought is needed.

It’s the  part about being able to do this to others that keeps The Foundation on their toes.  At various times in the stories they both get counselling.  They both suffer depression; they both go through periods of intense anxiety; they both exhibit signs of PTSD at various times.  All before they ever get out of school, so imagine what their adult lives are gonna be like.

But they get great counselling.  The Foundation has some of the best counselors in the world, and when you have a couple of people like Annie and Kerry representing your future, you want them to get the best psychiatric case possible.  And they do.

They live in a world where they can get all the best medical care possible.  They live in a world where, after a particularly hard day of fighting the magical fight in the shadows, they can spend the next month chilling and talking to someone about the experience.  They go to a school that has enchantments in place to prevent people from jumping out of high towers, or crashing brooms into walls at a few hundred kilometers an hour, or setting themselves on fire, or any number of ways one may try to harm themselves.  They live in a world where certain people–whose names start with an A and a K–could, if they decided to just go completely batshit insane, could do up River Tam considerably and take out a couple of dozen people with their minds.

It’s not a perfect location for that, but the school does its best, because training kids up to be the future shadow runners of the world is sometimes gonna leave an invisible mark.

We, on the other hand, aren’t that lucky.  I’ve never hidden my own mental illness, never admitted that it isn’t there.  Between depression, being bi-polar, and having GID, I’ve been a mess most of my life.

Mental health treatment in the country of my birth is a joke.  Most of it isn’t covered by insurance.  Nearly all my therapy has been covered out of pocket since 2009 on, and believer me, it’s not cheap.  I don’t take meds because I (1) have no health insurance, and (2) didn’t like how I felt when I was on meds, which was either zombie-like or not much better than I was before getting on them.

These days I do what I can to get by, and I’m usually successful.  Usually.  I have my “Break down and cry” moments, and they’re usually bad, but I get over them and move on.  I was crying Sunday when I went out to pay a bill, because I do that–cry, not pay bills.  Saturday night . . . well, that was a disaster.

I have a hotline number on my phone, and my therapist’s number as well.  When I’m feeling bad I don’t go out on my balcony, because I live twelve stories up and I have enough knowledge of physics and laws of gravity and acceleration to know once you’re over the side it just about two seconds and done, finished, out of the blue and into the black.  Quick, easy, and pretty much painless.

When I’m feeling really bad I visualize.  I have two people that mean everything to me.  One is my daughter.  The world can suck enough and she doesn’t need anymore suckage in her life.  The other is a person I spoke of last week, the one person who means the world to me.  When I get really bad I imagine her alone in a room in the dark, crying because she’s heard that I’ve move on beyond The Veil and I’m not coming back.  I hold that image in my mind for a few moments, then shuffle all the bad shit away and move on.

I’d die for her, but not that way.  It isn’t fair to her.

My novel kids will not always have an easy time.  Before they turn eighteen they’re going to see a world of shit, and it will be difficult for them to walk away unscathed.  It’s stuff that they’ll take into adulthood, things that will remain with them for a long time.

But I’ll take care of them in the end and see they get help.

If only I could do that for everyone.

Actions For Better and Not Worse

The weekend is over, and I have to say, I’m actually a bit glad to see that happen.  While there was a lot going on, not all of it was good, and yesterday was sort of a blah day punctuated with writing in the morning and writing late at night.

Yes, after writing six hundred words in the morning, I turned around and wrote almost another six hundred words before heading off to bed.  Chapter Twenty is close to being finished, and that will likely happen tonight, maybe after another thousand or so words.  In five days I’ve written forty-seven hundred words for the chapter, which has even surprised me, because my mind is telling me that nothing is happening, that I’m sort of slacking off.  But that’s how I roll.

I also found one of those interesting things that I do once in a while:  I’ll get the look of the scene wrong.  What do I mean?  Go back to when Kerry was in his dorm and discovered the sky was red.  Local time it was about six AM, which is no big deal.  Except . . . I didn’t really check to see what time the sun came up around that area, and that’s an important thing, because one of the lines in the scene indicates that Kerry see the sun behind a cloud–

So a quick check of the historical weather for Cape Ann–really Beverly, MA, which is just north of Salem and about fifteen miles west of the school–and I discover that the actual sunrise doesn’t take play for about an hour after that.  Another quick check, this time with Sky View Cafe, and I see that it’ll start getting light out over the Atlantic at six AM, but no sunrise.  So it became necessary to do a quick adjustment to make sure Kerry didn’t see the sun–and if you can see that red barrier in the sky before it’s completely light, it’s even spookier.  You’ll also find out why you can see that in the scene on which I’m working . . .

Oh, and the reason the time for the sunset changed so dramatically by moving the attack up a week?  Daylight Savings Time.  The Foundation should do something about that.

Out to Flight School, then, where Kerry is getting ready to do battle–or at least do something that involves flying.

 

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

Kerry stepped off the stairs and into the Flight School’s hanger, his helmet in one pocket of his leather flying jacket, and his goggles in the other. There were maybe a dozen students milling about, all of them dressed the same way, in flying leathers with their coven symbol on their jackets. Some had their PAVs in hand and were walking out the large open hanger door were most of the students were milling about waiting for instructions. A few were pulling their PAVs out of the various cabinets. Everyone was carrying a Class 1 PAV; Kerry figure they were probably easier to use for whatever they were going to do for . . . the duration of the emergency, as he heard one person say.

He found Emma standing off to one side, dressed like everyone else. She waved the moment she spotted him. “Hey, wingmate.”

“Hey.” Professor Salomon told them as soon at everyone teleported to the Flight School that she was paring them together, as it was likely the other pilots would have a problem with them as a wingmate. Kerry didn’t have a problem with that, and nether did Emma: she was ecstatic that they’d spend the day flying together.

 

Yes, that old axiom that no one with experience will fly with the new kids because they might do something that would get them killed, so better to keep them together and let them die together.  Of course, the other axiom is if they live, then they’re worthy to fly with the big kids next time.

Assuming they live.

While Emma may be full of joy and happiness about getting some seat time in, Kerry’s a little more of a realist.  That’s his MO, really:  he doesn’t always look at things and think the experience is going to be wonderfu–

 

Kerry wasn’t so certain it was going to be that great an experience, but he’d made his choice, and there wasn’t any chance to turn back. He heard while changing into his flight suit that The Pentagram was sealed at seven forty-five, and until the security level was dropped, there wasn’t any chance of getting back inside. He was here, for better or worse—

Just like when you get married.

He almost stopped walking towards Emma, because he hadn’t any idea why that thought popped into his head. He hoped she hadn’t seen anything strange come over him . . .

“You okay?” Emma cocked her head slightly to one side.

She did see something. “I’m fine. You been here long?”

“Just a couple of minutes.” She pointed at a student wearing Cernunnos jacket. “I saw him handing out brooms to a couple of people; we’ll probably need to do the same.”

Kerry nodded in the student’s direction. “Bet do it, then.” He smiled and tapped Emma on the left shoulder. “Let’s do this.”

 

And there it is:  the first indication that something’s tap-tap-tapping away at Kerry’s mind.  Even he’s thinking, “Why did that come up?”  By the time this day is over–and since this part of the novel is pretty much a full twenty-four and few more hours after that–a lot of things will happen that he’ll have to wrap his mind around.

In the meantime, someone needs brooms.

 

“We need our equipment.” He pointed between Emma and himself. “Can you help us?”

The older student shrugged. “I think we have all the Covingtons locked up—”

“Espinoza 4500.”

Niles did a double take. “What?”

“Espinoza 4500.” Kerry raised his voice so there wasn’t any chance his words were misunderstood. “That’s what I fly.”

“Me, too.” Emma raised her normally sot-spoken voice. “I want one as well.”

Maybe three seconds of silence passed between the trio, then Niles laughed aloud. “Yeah, right. You guys think you can handle a 4500 all day because you’re the Baby Snakes?”

“Actually, I’m a Baby Snake—” He indicated Emma. “She’s more of a Baby Bird—I think.” He sighed loudly before staring at Niles. “Two Espinoza 4500s—”

Emma hardened her tone. “Please.”

 

And there’s where I left off, with the Baby Whatevers looking for something to fly, and a fellow covenmate of Kerry’s giving him crap.  Don’t worry:  they’ll get their equipment.  I wouldn’t have brought them this far just to leave them behind.  And it’s a beautiful morning . . .

It looks pretty now, but don't worry:  the screaming comes later.

It looks pretty now, but don’t worry: the screaming comes later.

Early Morning Lockdown

Interesting morning, it is.  I didn’t have a good time going out last night, which sort of translated into laying in bed for a while wondering if I should get out of bed or not.  Of course, the “Or not” option wasn’t going to happen, because I got stuff to do today–you know, things?  That meant hauling butt out of bed whether I wanted that or not.

Now yesterday was pretty much a non-writing day.  Why?  See stuff/things above and you’ll know why.  Not to mention I went out last night with a few people, and while it was nice to get out of the house, the night ended in tears–literally–and led somewhat to the reason why I was having such a hard time getting out of bed this morning.

(By the way, if you want to know one of the ways to piss me off, always refer to me in the third person when you’re speaking to me.  “So what does Cassidy like to do?  What does Cassidy enjoy?”  Unless you’re writing my biography, use a goddamn “you” when speaking, okay.  Also, knowing a certain percentage of my readers and fans are smart asses, I’m also waiting for the “What does Cassidy–” posts to show up in the comments.  Never let it be said I don’t know what’s coming when I put something out there.)

So what’s a girl to do when faced with this kind of morning.

Write.

Before getting to this post I decided to write the next scene, the one with Isis locked up in her Security Center, preparing to close down The Pentagram.  Isis is very serious about her work, and while some may wonder why Wednesday is there–trust me, that’ll come out in time.  For now she’s just observing . . .

Because I’m in a good mood–now–here’s the entire six hundred words on the nose scene without any edits other than those made during the writing.  So if you see anything that doesn’t make sense, don’t worry:  I’ll fix it later.  But if you’re wondering, this is actually how my first drafts look when I’ve finished, and this particular one took me a little over an hour to write.

 

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

Wednesday sat quietly with her legs crossed, tapping her nails against the work space counter where she sat while watching Isis and her crew finalize their preparations for sealing The Pentagram. Suhaila was checking on the final server connections to let them know if someone from the outside was trying to access their network, and Tamera and Isis were running through the checklist of everything needed to “green the board”, ensuring people were in their proper locations before sealing off the center of the school.

Isis turned away from Tamera’s computer console and motioned the holographic projection of the school before her. She spun it so she had a full overview of the school. “We have everyone on the grid?”

Tamera check something on her display. “Everyone is accounted for. Staff and instructors in violet, students in yellow, and the badguys will show as red.”

Wednesday stretched her legs, keeping her eyes focused on the tops her well worn Doc Martin boots. “If they’re dumb enough to show.”

“I’m expected them to put in an appearance.” Isis slid the display around, seeing the collection of people at the Observatory, at Gwydion Manor and The Witch House, down at the Flight School, and lastly, gathered in the coven towers and a various locations throughout the Great Hall. “Deconstructors are nothing if not predictable.”

Wednesday nodded slowly as she crossed her legs. “Maybe we’ll get lucky this time.”

“You know I don’t believe in luck, Wends.” She turned her gaze up towards the ceiling. “Holly, everything okay in Sanctuary?”

The voice of the third member of the security staff was heard clearly throughout the room. “Door is locked and sealed. The Headmistress is secure.”

“Got it.” Isis turned and addressed the other two women in the Security Center. “Okay, we’re ready to lock this sucker down.” She checked the time in the corner of the holo display. “Seal it up.”

Tamera and Suhaila touched icons on their displays, activating the enchantments designed to shield the whole of The Pentagram from the rest of the school. Isis watch on the holo display as a light blue bubble extended from the outside of the Pentagram walls, rose over the towers, and sealed at a mid-point directly over the Great Hall.

Tamera checked her display. “Pentagram sealed at 07:45:04.”

Isis never took her eyes off the bubble in her display “Let the log show Level Two Security protocols enacted, all ancillary defense groups are in place, and that The Pentagram is sealed.” She turned to Suhaila. “Start the clock.”

Wednesday watched the counter used to determine the amount of time the school spent under “Heightened Security Protocols” begin its count-up. “And so it begins.”

“Yep.” Isis moved the holo display off to one side. “I’m hoping this doesn’t last a long time, but something tells me it’s gonna be at least twelve hours before I stop that clock.”

“That’s a long time to stay locked up in those towers.” Wednesday got up from her chair and stood next to Isis. “Students are gonna get stressed with little to do and only limited snacks coming in from the kitchen every few hours.” She gave her head a slight shake. “They won’t be happy.”

Isis snorted. “They’ll be a hellova lot unhappier if we let the Deconstructors get in here.” She cast a sideways glance at the little witch. “Wanna ask Deanna how much fun that was?”

Wednesday stared up at her taller friend. “No need—” She focused on the same blue bubble Isis was watching. “I remember that shit all too well.”

 

The scene where Isis told the Headmistress she was locking down The Pentagram in twenty minutes ended at 7:25, so when she says twenty minutes, you better know she’s gonna keep her word.

Check my timeline:  I keep to my word, too.

Check my timeline: I keep to my word, too.  This is why I have them . . .

So there we are:  my work here–and my writing–is done.

Should I go shopping?  Hum . . .

Sentiments of Fear and Protection

The internet is one more being helpful at Panera, so there isn’t a need to rush through my coffee and head home to write this.  Which is good, because I want to be out today.  I have a lot planed for this morning, afternoon, and even the evening, and the wicked can’t rest.  And this is just the first part.

Coffee and new brows.  It's a great morning to be . . . up.

Coffee and new brows. It’s a great morning to be . . . up.

Even though it was a long day yesterday, I managed a lot of writing.  Now, fifteen hundred and fifty words may not seem like a lot to some people, but given that I was a bit weepy last night, and my emotions were running all over the place, I consider it a great feat.  Not to mention it was an emotional scene, which did me little good as well.

We are back to Annie as the focus.  Isis has spoken and now it’s up to the Headmistress to get the students informed.  the news isn’t good:  students are being sent to their towers where they’ll stay, teams are being sent outside–people on the ground and people in the air.  And there’s a triage center being set up in the Rotunda.

Welcome to War Footing Central, population you.

My baby snakes, Annie and Kerry, are suppose to report to their towers.  The operative word here is “suppose” because there’s also been a call for volunteers . . .

 

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

Annie was on her feet moments before Kerry. She wondered if he was worried about what was happening, or perhaps even frightened. Being in the front as they were, it was impossible not to see the concern on the faces of the instructors and staff, and given that Kerry was only now learning about the dangers surrounding The Foundation—

Kerry.”

Annie turned towards the sound of the voice; Emma was standing only a couple of meters away. Oh, no: I know what she wants. “Emma—”

Kerry snapped out of whatever had held him seconds before. “What is it, Emma?”

The girl seemed like she was too excited to stand still. “Do you want to volunteer? I think Professor Salomon will let us if we ask.”

“Um . . .” He looked down for a moment. “I have to—”

Emma didn’t wait for his answer. “Annie, you want to? You’re a good flier.”

“No, Emma.” Annie didn’t care that she was using a far harsher tone that she should. “I’m not going out there.”

She didn’t seem to mind being shot down and turned back to her original target. “Kerry, come on. We can help out.”

Kerry nodded a couple of times. “Give me a minute, okay?” He looked at Emma with half-closed eyes. “Please?”

“Okay.” Having finally gotten the message she moved off out of earshot.

 

Emma of the Buzzkill, another ginger thrill seeker who wasn’t to go off into the wild blue yonder.  You’re just waiting for her to get whacked out at any moment by a certain Bulgarian witch.

Annie also knows her moyata polovinka, and she senses what he’s feeling:

 

By now Annie didn’t need to guess what Kerry was feeling: his entire body told the story. He wasn’t frighted—he was being torn apart by indecision. His mind is saying one thing, and his heart is saying another. She gently touched his left arm. “Kerry.”

He jumped as if shocked. “Annie, I—”

Go.”

For a moment Kerry seemed to not understand. “What?”

“Go. You want to, I know it.”

Emma quickly approached the table. “Kerry, we gotta—”

Kerry turned on Emma and nearly shouted. “In a minute.” He waited for her to retreat before speaking in his normal voice to Annie. “I’m sorry.”

“Why? Because you want to help?” Annie brushed his cheek. “I should have known my flier wants to be in the sky, even when there’s danger.”

His voice was choking with emotion. “I feel like I’m running out on you.”

Annie took hold of both his hand. “Kerry, please look at me.” She didn’t speak again until she knew she had his attention. “Do you remember when I said I’d never tell you what to do, that you had to learn these things on your own?”

He choked back tears as he nodded once. “Yeah.”

“I’m breaking that promise this one time—because if you don’t go and at least ask if you can help, you’ll hate yourself.” She looked at the floor and sighed. “Or you’ll hate me, and I couldn’t live with that.” She put her arms around him and hugged him tight. “Don’t hate yourself.”

 

When I wrote the first “Go,” it was all I could do to keep the tears back.  I felt the indecision Annie felt, because she knows it might not be all rainbows and sunshine out there beyond The Pentagram.  She also knows that if she doesn’t let me out to try this on his own, he’ll stew for however long they’d end up locked in their tower.  Let’s face it, though:  neither of them are Rapunzel, and the tower life isn’t for them.

This ends with a sweet parting:

 

When he broke the kiss seconds later Annie threw her arms around his neck and whispered in his ear. “Promise me one thing—”

“Yes?”

“If you’re paired with Emma, don’t let her talk you into anything.”

Kerry looked at Annie from the corner of his eye. “She won’t—”

“Promise. Please.”

He nodded slowly. “I promise.”

She kissed his check. “You better run, then.”

Kerry started to take a step, then stopped. “Talk to Coraline about doing triage.”

Annie had considered doing just that, but wanted to hear Kerry’s reasoning. “Why?”

“You know a little of that stuff working with your mother, right?”

“Yes.”

“And . . .” He looked up at the ceiling, then around the hall. “You’ll be in here. It’s gotta be better than being the only A Level in our tower.”

“I’ll do that.”

Kerry hesitated for just a moment, then drew close and pressed himself against her head. “We’ll talk when I get back.”

“We will.” She lightly slapped his arm. “Now go.”

He looked at Annie for a second or two as he rounded the table, then grabbed Emma before sprinting off to see Professor Salomon. Annie hopped against hope that when they asked if they could volunteer the professor would say no, but after a few seconds she saw Vicky nod followed all of them heading off in the direction of the Atrium.

Annie slowly closed her eyes and took a long, cleansing breath. She watch the three of them walk out of the hall before raising her right hand to her lips, kissing her fingertips, and holding them out after the departing boy. “Ostanete bezopasno, moyata dzhindzhifil kosa momche. Molya te, vŭrni mi.” She spun on her heel and began sprinting towards the west exit, waiving her right arm. “Nurse Coraline? Nurse Coraline.”

 

And there you have it:  my kids being separated for the first real time since they got together.  And what does Annie say there at the end as she blows him a kiss?

You should know by now I got this covered.

You should know by now I got this covered.

At this point it’s a matter of sealing up the joint and getting everything into place.  I even added another scene last night, which will be the next to write.  Not a big scene, but . . . well, the title is enough to tell you what’s coming.

Pain, that's what.

Pain, that’s what.

One last thing you might find interesting:  a few people found my use of Esperanto interesting, and even went so far as to look it up as they’d never heard of the language.  Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s possible you saw it and never knew it.  Did you know all the signs in the movie The Great Dictator were written in Esperanto?  Or that it was used in the television show Red Dwarf?  Here is a list of where it’s been used in movies and television, with the exception of one:  the great lost movie Incubus.  I say “great” only in the sense that I’m joking, and it is most well known for the fact that it was lost and only recently rediscovered in France, and that it stars William Shatner.  Yes, The Shat speaks.  the.  Es.per.an . . . to.  If you want to give it a look, you’ll find the movie here.  I warn you, it’s pretty fuzzy because the only remaining print was in bad shape, but you’re not really wanting to watch it, you’re waiting to hear The Incubus Girls (Yes, this is a real thing) speak in a made-up language.  And to see if Shatner chews up any scenery.

In that last matter, I’m certain you won’t be disappointed.