Writing, Thoughts, New Plotting, and Time

Last night was about writing, but it didn’t involve much writing.  There wasn’t any writing at all, if you must know.

There are times when one has to make certain that their story is in good shape and the area ahead not only makes sense, but isn’t full of potholes and landmines.  And of all the parts of my story, the Kansas City trip was the foggiest because it was put together a long time ago–probably started thinking about it in detail in mid-September, 2013, and initially plotted it out in started time lining and getting it into Scrivener a month later–and I was only meta sketching it at the time.  I figured in the next few months I’d get some more detail behind it as I gave it more thought . . .

Little did I know it would be almost fourteen months before I’d get to this point.

So, with Helena and Erywin safely under the covers, and Annie and Kerry in bed and in their dream, it was time to figure out what was really going to happen over the next couple of days.  But at the same time, there was unfinished business concerning the earlier dreams that Annie and Kerry had.  After all, they were a thing in the story now and I wanted to know they were in the right places.  For them, that is.

So I started getting down to business.  And the first thing I did after eating last night was download the newest version of Aeon Timeline–which was easier said that done, because the connection at Panera kept dropping on me.  It took me three tries to get it onto my computer, but get it there I did.

And with that in place, I started figuring things out–

As you can see, it went in like a dream.  I know . . .

As you can see, it went in like a dream. I know . . .

Everything from the middle of the screen and on to the right was done a long time ago:  over a year back if I remember correctly.  All the stuff to the left, however, is brand new.  There is one dream missing–their first one–but they were pretty young at the time and it probably involved a lot of “Hi.  How you doing?” toddler stuff.  But as far as the main stuff talked about in the novel so far, that’s it.  I know when the things happened, and I have an idea what they talked about or did.  As you can see, there’s a good sized gap in there–a little over a year and a half–where not a lot happens, but you can assume it involved . . . kissing.

With the story almost complete I can actually show the full A Level time line that I developed and used for the story.  Ready?  Here you go:

In all its stunning glory.

In all its stunning glory.

One thing to point out here is that those areas marked “The Big Time” and “Kansas City” take you to other time lines, which makes this less crowded.  Also, I’m not showing individual things that happened to either kid, so “Annie’s Story” and “Kerry’s Story” bring up additional information.  Needless to say, once I laid out the story in Scrivener, I went back here to verify that everything worked out, and if I didn’t, I modified the line here until it did, and then changed the Scrivener layout.  Seems like a lot of work, but when you’re 365,000 words into a story, you’ll be glad you had this proofing behind you.

And speaking of Scrivener . . .

I also laid out the next two chapters–which, story-wise, is the next two days.  Funny how that works out:  three chapters in three days.  If only I could write that fast.  It now looks like this:

So much better I have to pat myself on the back.

So much better I have to pat myself on the back.

Nine scenes.  A couple of them are pretty short, most, I think, are gonna be between one thousand and fifteen hundred words, and I dare say a couple there will pop up over two thousand.  If I use twelve hundred words as an average, then there’s almost eleven thousand words to add for these two chapters alone.  And with Act Three currently sitting near fifty-seven thousand five hundred words, this is going to take the story up closer to seventy thousand words.  Which means by the time I finish this part the story will end up somewhere between seventy and seventy-five thousand words.

Looking at this, and looking at what I have ahead, this leads me to believe that Act Three is going to come out at right around one hundred thousand words, which will make it a third shorter than the first two acts.  Oh, my dear:  how can I handle that?  Can’t complain, because I figured Act Three would be the shortest part of the story, but still:  one hundred thousands words as a stand alone novel is a pretty good deal.

With all this said, tonight I get back into the writing.  If I manage to somehow do a scene a day, then this finishes up before the end of the year, and I can write and complete Chapter Thirty-Eight before the end of the year.  There are still several chapters to go, but having looked at them and knowing what goes in there–it looks as if this novel will finally see “The End” written around the end of January, 2015.

Now I have to figure out how I’m gonna celebrate that moment . . .

The Delicate Problem:  The Discussion

I won’t say I was back in the swing of it last night, but I was, sort of.  By sort of, I mean I finished the scene with a fourteen hundred and fifty word run, so after only a handful the night before, I got it going on.  And that was with a lot of running around and stuff, trying to buy things before Snowmageddon descends upon The Burg tonight.

What do we learn in this scene?  Well, we learn that the kids are growing up, and . . . I should just let them talk.

 

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

“To get to that point, however, we need to establish a bit of a baseline. My question to you both is: were you sexually active before these visions occurred?”

Annie and Kerry glanced at each other before turning back to the adults. Annie shook her head and Kerry gave his answer. “No, we never did anything.”

“Well, there are difference kinds of sexual activity, Kerry.” Coraline sat back and crossed her legs, trying to appear less like the school’s medical officer and more like a friend. “For example, at your age, the most common activity are visual fantasies coupled with self pleasuring, because it’s common for you, as puberty kicks in, to begin exploring your body.” She straightened slightly. “Since your visions, has this happened?”

 

Nurse Coraline, always getting to the bottom of things in a hurry.  Given what she knows, let’s just say she’s not all the surprised by the answer . . .

 

This time there was an extended pause from both children. Kerry finally nodded slowly. “Yeah.”

“Since last week?” Coraline wasn’t surprised to hear this; given how agitated the vision had made him initially, she felt it was only a matter of time before he . . . did something.

“Yeah. This last Wednesday night—” Annie shot him a quick stare. “—after Advanced Spells.”

“And were you imagining anyone . . .” Coraline didn’t want to name name’s—even though she was confident that Kerry only had one person on his mind. “. . . in this room?”

He nodded to his left. “Yeah.”

“I see.” She turned to the girl on his left. “Annie, I noticed the stare you shot Kerry. Any significance there?”

She took a deep breath. “I did the same thing.”

Coraline’s right eyebrow shot into her hairline. “When?”

Annie slowly turned to her soul mate. “The same night.”

Kerry turned his head towards her. “Really?”

“Yes. I started thinking about our visions and our dreams what we discussed with Professor Arrakis the morning before, and . . .” She slowly shrugged. “I couldn’t help myself.”

“Um . . .” A slight smile played out upon Kerry’s face. “I was thinking the same thing.”

 

I know someone once said, “Okay, you kids!  Get a room,” and apparently they did–their own!  Before they start getting their raging hormones, um, raging once more, Deanna steps in:

 

“I’ve noticed this in you both before—” Professor Arrakis’ soft tone interrupted the children’s train of thought before they started wondering about those vision discussions a bit too much. “I’m convinced that if whatever had been blocking Kerry’s knowledge of your shared dreams was absent that first day in Memory’s End, you both would had your shared vision simultaneously.” She looked towards Coraline with a bit of a grin crossing her face. “Though given what happened at the end . . .

“But there was a sameness to your auras that day, and it’s been noticed that you work together so well that more than a few of the instructors feel it’s almost as if you’re working at a level beyond conscious thought.” She slowly leaned back into her chair, much as Coraline had done. “I’m not surprised this happened.”

 

This is something that’s happened at a number of different points, one of which was Kerry thinking about Annie as he met his family in San Francisco, and Annie waking up at the same time and having her first thoughts be of Kerry.  Are those coincidences?  It would seem Deanna doesn’t think so.

It’s during this discussion we discover that the school has a plan in place to keep unwanted pregnancies down, because kids can get a little . . . crazy at these times, and there’s a lot of hiding places around the school for the crazy to get let out.

 

Coraline shook her head. “We hand them out every day—” A sly grin played across her face. “There’s enchantments in the food that work on both the girls and boys.”

Annie didn’t seem surprised, but Kerry found it interesting. “On us both?”

“Yes. The enchantments see to it that your little swimmers—” Coraline pointed at Kerry. “—don’t have the energy to break through an egg. Now, there’s always about a one and a half percent change that the they might, so our back up—” She pointed at Annie. “—is to make certain that the egg only has about a one percent chance of finding a resting place in your uterus. It’s also why if you came here with an irregular cycle, you’ll notice that problem doesn’t exist any longer.”

Annie looked off to the side as if she wasn’t concerned. “I never had that problem.”

Kerry nodded in agreement. “I’ve noticed.”

It took Coraline only a moment to put their last statements together and arrive at an answer. “Kerry, are you aware of Annie’s cycle?”

“You mean when she gets her period?” He looked at her as he nodded. “Sure. She told me months ago.”

“I figured it was best he knew.” She shrugged. “Better than being perplexed if I were to turn moody.”

He chucked. “Not that you do—”

“Not with you.”

“No.”

 

Being told months ago probably means back in November, after he declared his love, and Annie pulled him aside and said, “Kerry, there are moments when I’ve not a happy witch . . .” and then told him about the Sweet Mystery of Life and how it affects her.  And he doesn’t shy away from letting Nurse Coraline know when Annie gets “her period”:  knowing him, he’s got it marked out on his computer.

This leads Coraline to start talking about what they may want to do if they ever meet up over a summer–not this coming summer, no, I know they won’t, but when they get older–but Annie decides to let something out:

 

“Glad to hear that—I figured you’d remain monogamous even out of school. That leads to those instances in the future when you may find yourself visiting each other during the summer. In that case you’ll likely want to carry a contraceptive with you—”

“We won’t need it.”

Coraline had heard this line before, but hadn’t thought she’d hear it spoken by Annie. “I realize you’ll do your best not to go that far, but abstinence only goes so far—”

“We won’t do anything.” She shook her head. “I know we won’t because our wedding night was our first time.”

“I’m sorry—” Coraline nearly shook her head. “It was your first time?”

“Yes.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I do.” A mask of seriousness descended over Annie’s face. “I felt it, and I know it to be true.”

“I felt it, too.” Kerry leaned forward, keeping his eyes on Coraline. “It was our first time to do—that.”

“How are you so sure?” Coraline didn’t want to doubt them, but she’d been in this position a few too many times in the past, and didn’t want to find these two making a mistake.

“It was like . . . I was nervous, like I knew we were going to do something we’d never done before.”

“Which we hadn’t.” Annie nodded as she reached for Kerry’s hand. “You have to believe us, Nurse Coraline. We didn’t have intercourse before that night.”

Coraline released a breath she’d held for a few seconds. “I don’t want to disagree with you, kids, but I have trouble believing that—”

“I don’t.”

All eyes in the space turned on Deanna as shifted on here chair. “Children, I think we could use a break. Would you mind going down to the first floor break area and wait for me?”

 

“So, first time, huh kids?”  Being a doctor Coraline–despite the nurse title, she really should get over that, but it’s worked for her for eleven years, why change now?–she’s suspicious when kids tell her, “Nuh, uh, we ain’t gonna do that,” because she’s certain she’ll discover a few months later they did.  And she hates to tell Annie she’s wrong, but when it comes to something like this–again, trust me, Kids, I’m a Doctor.

So why did Deanna chase them out of the room?  Because . . .

 

Coraline checked that the lift was gone before facing Deanna. “Okay, I know you know something, so gimme.”

“Tuesday morning, when I spoke with them about their visions, they were able to go into great detail than what you gleamed from Kerry that first time.” Deanna stood and shook the wrinkles out of her long skirt. “If what I’ve heard from them is true, they didn’t just have a vision, they were there—”

“That’s impossible. You can’t be inside a vision.”

“No, but they were so immersed in this one, they may as well have been there.” She almost threw up here hands. “If they say they knew they were virgins on their wedding night, then they were. That’s not an opinion—”

“It just means that they believed what they felt in the vision.” Coraline knew she should be arguing these things with the School Seer, but it was one thing to talk about sex in visions, and sexual behavior in their students in the real world. “That doesn’t make it so.”

“I know.” Deanna lay her hands on the back of her chair and leaned in. “There’s something going on with these two at a level either of us has yet to understand. It really goes beyond these instances where they sync up on certain things.”

Coraline sat on the edge of her chair, thinking. “It’s a bit scary, isn’t it?”

Deanna chucked. “More than you can imagine. It’s kept me up thinking about it on a few occasions.”

“Because these things keep happening with them?”

“No.” This time she snorted. “Because I can’t find any reason why they should.”

 

Is the School Seer not seeing something?  (Say that fast five times.)  Hard to say, but she believes the kids when they tell her they were unsullied that night, and she pulls out the V Word to press home her point.  Coraline’s still having a bit of trouble believing, but at the same time she knows there’s something really off about these two.

And you may find out what that is if I ever get around to writing the next novel about them.  Trust me:  I will spill.

Next up they get to do something that none of the other A Levels have done yet–

Not that.  Get your minds out of the gutter.

Not that. Get your minds out of the gutter.

–and we’ll see them having a discussion about stuff and things in front of an already-famous witch known to millions.

No, really.  It’s true.

Invisible Moments

The long weekend is winding down, and today I’ll have several things ongoing before packing up and returning to The Burg tomorrow.  It’s the penultimate day of NaNoWriMo, and there are either a lot of people doing a happy dance for making their fifty thousand, or a whole bunch of folks are thinking about hurtling their laptops against the nearest wall.

"No, it's all your fault I couldn't finish this crap!

“No, it’s your fault I couldn’t finish this crap on time!  Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”

Either way, you have to give people credit for doing NaNo, because it isn’t easy.  But the really hard part comes after, once you’ve finished the work and it’s time to edit and publish said piece.  There’s where the real work comes in.

But enough of that–what about last night’s writing.  Well, I didn’t hit my NaNo goal, but then I don’t have to.  And I managed just over a thousand words last night as well as getting in just a little over seven hundred this morning.  I finished the scene–it’s like the last, just short of fifteen hundred words–and shows Annie and Kerry working out the new equipment they’re going to use, albeit under controlled conditions . . .

 

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

Kerry hovered one hundred fifty meters above the Tesla Science Hall trying to get a lock on their target. He’d been given the information from the ground: C Level girl, dark hair, slightly tan complexion, wearing a bright orange pullover, jeans, and a long, open sweater. And silver bangles on each wrist. He was trying to get the tablet to key in on the bangles, as they would be easy to identify—

The tablet’s enchantment picked up quantities of silver, and Kerry zoomed in of the person wearing the jewelry. He pulled out the display to form a hologram of the girl’s head and rotated it to get a good view of the face so her could run her against the school data base. He thought off a message to the person on the other end as soon as he got a hit. She’s Kamala Juraspurna, from the Blodeuwedd Coven. I’m surprised she’s heading to the science center.

Send me the downlink, my love. Annie’s reply came back so clear Kerry would have bet she was sitting next to him. I’ll check her schedule. He did just that and a few seconds later Annie had the answer. She has classes in the hall, but not until after lunch.

Think she’s meeting someone? He was about to lose the person as they entered the building and let Annie know.

I’ll find out. There was a subtle mental chuckle. Let me go inside and find out; I shouldn’t be there long.

I’ll be here. Kerry sat back on the saddle and enjoyed the view of The Pentagram. Not like I’m going anywhere else.

 

So they’re watching people in the school–but why all the italic speechifying?  Well, there’s a reason for that–

 

Once down in the lower level office Erywin began going over things they’d work with while out in the field. First were tablets that carried major enchantments that would allow them to scan people much like the equipment in the hospital, which then could use a special holographic display to look at parts of them you couldn’t see. They could also tie into the local computer systems where one was “observing” and gather additional information on a subject—though the only reason they were now accessing the Salem servers was due to a link supplied by Isis, who as Chief of Security for the school was aware the training was ongoing. They also had a limited ability to see through walls, but most importantly, it could scan for auras and determine if a person was Normal or Aware.

There were also the enchanted phones. They could mask your aura so you looked Normal, or even hide it if you bent light around you, which was something Helena and Erywin were testing on them now. The most important part of the enchantment was the ability to speak to the other person using just your thoughts: you could send off your messages and receive them back the same way. Annie and he had to work on that, because when they first started trying that out they were picking up every thought the other had, and there was a moment or two when they were both blushing over things they heard. After about twenty minutes they were able to use them without embarrassment.

 

Enchanted tablets and phones–why didn’t Harry Potter have this stuff?  Maybe an enchanted sniper rifle would have put an end to Voldie’s shit real fast, you know?  Remember, this was one of the reasons The Foundation wanted to get their hands on that magic stuff, so they could do things like this with technology–just like what they’ve done with Kerry’s broom.

What I remember what to know is, what were Annie and Kerry thinking that made them each blush?  Those kids . . .

But they’re using their magic, too, in particular one spell they’ve both mastered . . .

 

Two meters off the ground Kerry angled in towards the grove and concentrated on pushing the light bending field around him forward and to the sides. They’d discovered months ago that two or more people who were invisible through light bending could merge their fields and see each other. There was a risk extending the field because someone could walk through it and see the person inside, but here in this grove they’d be alone, and they would only keep their fields extended long enough for Annie to climb aboard his broom.

A couple of seconds after entering the grove Kerry found Annie standing to the side of one of the trees. Like him, she was wearing a heavy sweater and jeans, though her jeans tucked inside her boots while Kerry wore warm socks and tennis shoes. She adjusted her messenger bag as she positioned herself on the saddle behind Kerry then wrapped her arms around his waist. Let’s fly, darling.

You got it, Sweetie. Helena had told them to restrict themselves to thought speech while out, so they’d get used to working with the devices before heading out into public. Kerry lifted straight up into the air, carefully picking his way through the space between the trees. You find her?

Yes. She was meeting someone—a boy.

Oh?

I did a quick scan on him from outside the room. He’s in our coven, a D Level. She rested her head against Kerry’s shoulders. I love flying like this with you.

Kerry laughed. Is that part of the report, or just an errant thought?

Annie chuckled. I am allowed a non-operational thought now and then. She looked over his shoulder. To the Witch House?

Of course. He turned to the northeast and slowly gained altitude. Gotta see if Helena and Erywin think we did okay, and find out what they want next.

 

The scary thing here is that now Annie and Kerry are good enough that they can stay hidden from others pretty well–it’s a given that Annie was in one of the school buildings and no one noticed her–so now they can sort of go wherever they like and unless you know what to look for, no one will see them.  I’m sure, however, that Isis has a number of things up her technowitch sleeve that might keep them from wandering into the Headmistress’ office and listening in on her private conversations–you know she has, because invisibility here is a thing, and Annie got busted trying to slip into the hospital with the same trick.

I wonder what sort of stuff Annie’s been showing Kerry on the sly though?  Time will tell.

For Whom the Foundation Watches

Before we get too far into this thing, this is my NaNo this morning:

And not a turkey in sight.

And not a turkey in sight.

According to my measured count, I have one thousand, three hundred, and thirteen words to go until I hit the magical NaNo Fifty.  I’m told I’ll finish tomorrow, but it looks more like I’ll get that out of the way sometime today.  And this means if I get in some writing tomorrow and Saturday, I’ll finish up with around fifty-three to fifty-five hundred words total.

Another NaNo in the books.  And who said I couldn’t do this?  Well, me, for one.

When I left off yesterday I was about cut loose with the secrets about this Guardian field operation.  What is being observed?  And why are a couple of tweens involved?

Your wish is my command . . .

 

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

The sorceress waved her hand once more and the floating display showed a man who could have been aged anywhere from twenty to forty. “Kaden Granstrom. Born February, 1976; attended Salem from fall of ‘87 until early summer 1993. He wasn’t the greatest witch in the world—even though we say we take the best, not everyone is like you two—but he was good with super science, and he had a Gift: he could do logistical planing in his head in a matter of seconds. You could give him an inventory list of goods that needed moving or delivering, and in about ten seconds he’d know the best way to get everything from A to Zed and all points in-between.

“The Foundation moved him into Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque in 1995. While the Sandia Corporation is legitimately owned and run by Lockheed Martin, it’s a major front for The Foundation and a lot of super science projects are conducted in some of the more secure areas of the complex. Kaden was a natural to work there, giving special consideration to our products and ensuring they made it to the right places on time.

“In April 1997 Kaden married Phaedre Balli—” The image of a young black woman replaced his. “She also worked in the lab, but she was a Normal and had no idea about what Kaden was and who he really worked for. She never knew his real work—because of his position he could claim extreme security prevented him from talking about it—nor did she discover that he was a witch.

“Then this little bundle of joy came along . . .” The display popped up showing Phaedre holding a baby while Kaden stood to her side. “Tanith, their daughter. Now that the happy couple had a possible witch-to-be The Foundation started watching them a little closer, only because that’s what The Foundation does when children are born to any of the Aware.”

 

Sneaking and peeping on a married couple and their probably not so baby girl these days?  Wait, that’s not all–

 

Before Kerry could express surprise at this news, Annie touched his hand to get his attention. “They’ve done that with everyone in my family, even me. Just after my sixth birthday my mother told me I was a witch and showed me how magic worked, and it was only three months later that I had my first visit from Foundation people.”

Kerry looked down for just a second. “You’re okay with that?”

She shrugged. “It’s not about being okay; it them knowing that you’re developing properly. And I was only visited every couple of years.” Annie patted his hand. “Don’t worry; you’ll see how it works when we have children.”

Annie moved the conversation forward, not giving the somewhat-surprised Kerry a chance to respond. “You were saying, Helena?”

 

Zing, Annie!  Just what you want to hear your twelve year old girlfriend to say:  “Just wait under after I drop a baby out of my girly parts, you’ll see how this works.”  And now Kerry’s gonna have to deal with the “Was she kidding or serious?” mind messing that comes with a statement like that.  He can handle it, I’m sure.  Probably.

As they say, there’s more:

 

The sorceress couldn’t help but smile at the way Annie told Kerry what he needed to know, and then set him up. “The Foundation kept an eye on Tanith, but didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary about her. By the time she was six there wasn’t any indication that she might slowly becoming Aware, which didn’t mean anything: late Awareness happens in children. However, not long after her seventh birthday everything turned upside down.”

Annie lightly tapped her leg. “What happened?”

“Phaedre was returning to Albuquerque from Socorro when her car left I-25 at high speed and rolled over several times. The local medical examiner determined she was killed instantly, and our own people confirmed that. The Foundation also performed an investigation on the accident to make certain there wasn’t any foul play, and confirmed that the right front tire blew out, causing her to loose control of the vehicle.” Helena shook her head. “Nothing out of the ordinary, just a simple yet fatal, accident.”

She waved the display off and sighed. “Kaden didn’t accept those findings, however. By the time of his wife’s death people around him noticed he was becoming a bit disillusioned by the whole Foundation setup, and Phaedre’s death only made him want to get away from them even more—”

“Why?” Kerry couldn’t understand the reaction if all The Foundation did was check up on his daughter once in a while. “Why’d he want to get away?”

“Some people are what we call Sideliners.” Helena came around to the front once and and leaned against the desk. “They aren’t going to go over to the Deconstructor side, but at the same time they want nothing to do with The Foundation. They decide they want to lead the Normal life, and forsake everything.

“That’s what Kaden did. He left his position at Sandia and took a position with a trucking firm in Kansas City—the perfect sort of job for someone with his talent. Tanith began attending school, and is currently enrolled at the Lincoln College Preparatory Middle School. Kaden keeps to himself and hasn’t entered back into the dating pool: Tanith has a few friends and seems normally adjusted—save for one thing.” She pointed at both kids. “And this is where you come in.

 

So not everything is rosy with this fractured family, and not every witch straight outta Salem is happy with their lot in The Foundation life, so they don’t quite go Rouge, they just sit on the sidelines and watch things from as far away as possible–if they watch at all.  And from the looks of things, Kaden isn’t watching–but The Foundation is . . .

 

“Like it or not, even if you leave The Foundation, you’re never actually rid of The Foundation—not unless you leave your old life behind and go underground—”

Erywin crossed her legs trying to get comfortable. “Because today’s Sideliner could become tomorrow’s Deconstructor.”

“Exactly. The Foundation would like to prevent something like that from happening. Also, they wanted to make certain that Tanith wasn’t a late bloomer, that when she hit puberty her Awareness didn’t hit as well. It didn’t then, but . . .” Helena raised her right eyebrow. “There’s indications is it now.”

Annie gripped the arms of her chair and learned forward. “She’s becoming Aware? Now?”

“That’s what The Foundation believes. The thought they picked something up on her a few months back—they manage to get an aura scan on her every three, four months—and while they haven’t picked up anything that would indicate she’s done any actual magic, they think she’s at the cusp and ready to pass over.”

 

So young Tanith is turning out to maybe be a late bloomer.  Is this a problem?  Does The Foundation look bovvered by this?  Turns out, yeah, they are.

 

Being the only one in the room who had been exposed to magic for only a few months, Kerry was a bit confused why there was concern. “Why is this a problem? How old is she?”

“She just turned twelve a week and a half ago.”

“Well, I didn’t start doing magic until I was eleven. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal—”

“Annie . . .” Helena’s soft voice cut Kerry off faster than a quick yell. “I know you know something about this—” The right eyebrow rose once more. “You want to get him up to speed?”

Annie’s gazed shifted to Erywin quickly before she slowly turned towards her soul mate. She’s read the same report as Deanna—Helena probably has as well by now . . . “You knowingly did magic here for the first time, love—” I hope he doesn’t get upset. “But The Foundation was tracking you from about the time you turned six. They knew you were Aware, and that you may have actually performed magic without realizing.”

Kerry stared back at Annie for several seconds. “Really?”

“Yes. San Francisco is the North American headquarters of the Guardians, and they look for this sort of activity constantly. You . . .” She lay her head to the side and gave him a sweet grin. “You set something off, they came looking, and they found you.” She touched his hand once more. “That’s why you’re here.”

“You probably did do magic during that time without realizing you were.” Helena stuffed her hands in the pockets of her jacket and crossed her feet at the ankles. “Spontaneous magic happens when you become Aware at an early age, but your mind is too underdeveloped and mature to understand what’s happened. You might see a change in your hair or a light tanning of your skin; things could move around in your room during the night; you might even imagine that you hear voices once in a while.” She held up her hand. “You don’t think anything of this; to a child of six or seven, even one as intelligent as you, things have happened but you’re not cognizant of what occurred.

“Now, imagine you are you current age, right now, and you still have no knowledge of our world—and this shit starts happening to you. What is your reaction?”

His reply was a short, soft scoff. “I’d probably freak and think that maybe I was schizophrenic or something.”

 

No kidding you’d probably freak, given that Kerry has been known to lose it emotionally over some slight things from time to time.  So if a girl who’s lived a Normal live for now twelve years suddenly finds herself tossing fireballs, what sort of crazy does that produce?  And what is the ultimate Guardian plan to deal with this?

 

“The concern with Tanith is that she’s going to go beyond the tipping point and have a full-blown incident where she’s overcome with full Awareness and the spontaneous spells just come. If it happens at home that’s not a problem: Daddy would more than likely step in and take control of the situation. If it were to happen in public, however . . .” She looked down and shook her head. “She liked to take the bus to the Crown Center Mall after school and on Saturdays, and if she tipped over there, the results could be disastrous. She could hurt others—she could even hurt or kill herself.

“The idea of this mission is to have you observe her on Friday, first at school and then at the mall. Watch her actions, determine if she’s really close to being Award, and even watch and see if she’s Crafting. Then on Saturday the plan is to approach her, get her alone, tell her who you are and maybe show her what you can do.”

Annie’s eyes shone with excitement, though she still had questions. “Shouldn’t the father be involved?”

“Normally it would be his responsibility to bring in Foundation people and take care of this with their help. That hasn’t happened, though, because he doesn’t want them involved—and we wonder if he even knows what’s happening with his daughter. The concern from The Foundation is that he’d ignore their advice and disbelieve their reports that Tanith was becoming Aware, and that she’d do so anyway.

“With that in mind The Foundation—through the Guardians—sees Tanith responding more positively to a twelve year old witch—” She pointed at Annie, then to Kerry. “—and her eleven year old witch boyfriend, who explain what’s happening to her by showing what’s happened to them.” Helena slid her hands back into her jacket. “I agree with their belief. I think once you’ve had the chance to speak with her, maybe even show her what you can do, show her that it’s what she’ll be able to do, Tanith will respond.”

 

So there you go:  our two little witches are suppose to find their target, observe the creature in her normal habitat at the wall, and then approach her and say, “Hey, look here:  I can do magic, and so can you . . .”  It seems like a simple plan–unless, before they can get to her, Tanith starts freaking out in the food court at the mall and blows up the Taco Bell, or loses it completely while trying on leggings at Forever 21 and gives one of the sales girls purple skin and a unicorn horn–which would make her a hit at the next My Little Pony con, but otherwise leave her screaming like crazy.

Which is why Helena said this mission could be moved up, ’cause there’s a witch in need, and she may need help pronto.

Now we know the whys and wherefores.  All that remains is to get these two trained up and on-site.

Easy Peasy, right?

Right.

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/26:  2,057

NaNo Total Word Count:  48,687

Out of the Dreams and Into Reality

As I pointed out yesterday–I think it was yesterday, yeah–I thought there was an excellent chance I’d write up the last two scene and finish not only this chapter but the part.  And guess what?  I did.  Yay me!

First Drafts for as far as you can see.

First Drafts for as far as you can see.

But the question remains:  what happened?  When we left my kids yesterday Kerry was crying on Annie’s shoulder while they were standing on the north short of Lake Lovecraft, and . . . then what?

Glad you asked, because I’m here to tell you.

 

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

It was completely dark now and Annie sat, still on the north short of Lake Lovecraft, while Kerry slept peacefully with his head in his lap. After his realization of who she really was and what she’d always meant to him, he grew drowsy and fell into a stupor, slumping to the ground as he set himself into his—and Annie’s—current position.

She never considered getting up and flying to the hospital to summon Nurse Coraline: she felt that Kerry wasn’t in trouble, nor was he in danger. Annie felt the best thing to do was to let her moyata polovinka sleep and see what he would do next—

She knew she wouldn’t need to wait long for that: Kerry began stirring, first with movement in his arms, then his arms, and finally a slight moan as his eyes twitched open. He rolled on his back and looked straight upwards into Annie’s smiling face. “Hey, Sweetie.”

“Hello, my love.” She brushed his hair with her hand. “Are you all right?”

“Yeah, I just . . .” His eyes moved left and right. “What happened?”

“You fell asleep—it was like all the energy left your body.”

 

Yes, Annie could have went to the hospital, but since Kerry didn’t have blood squirting from his nose and eyes–and Annie knows what that looks like–she figured it was something else, something not as bad.  And she was right . . .

 

He stared up into the sky. “It’s dark. How long was I out?”

“Maybe an half-hour.” She shrugged. “Forty-five minutes at the most.”

“Okay.” He sat up slowly, then turned himself around so they were sitting facing each other. “I remember the dreams.”

The smile on Annie’s face grew wider. “Which ones?”

Kerry chuckled. “All of them. It was like watching a series marathon.” He shook his head as he smiled. “I’m all caught up—at least to that last one.”

“Did you—?” Of all their shared dreams, all she remembered of that one was they’d met. Beyond that it was a blur. “Did you see what happened?”

“I’m not sure. I’m still trying to figure that one out.” He leaned forward as his smile grew brighter. “But I was there reliving everything else. Not only the regular ones were we talked and play, but . . .” He took Annie’s hand and held it tightly, as if he was afraid she were about to float away. “The first time we met; the first time I read to you; our first time riding bikes—”

“Did you remember what else we did?” Annie slid closer, hoping he’d remember what else they did that night—

“Yeah: that was the first time we told each other our names.” Kerry got to his feet and helped Annie up. “I saw the first time you told me you knew I was a real person, and that you were real too; I saw when you told me you were a witch—”

“That was my tenth birthday.”

“I remembered thinking how cool it was having a dream girlfriend who was a witch.” He pulled Annie close. “I should have freaked out—”

 

And from here it’s pretty obvious that if Kerry had remembered all of this before Annie and he had met in London, he probably would have known she was going to be there, would have hammered down her door the night he arrived–or at the least would have done more than introduce himself as “Hi, I’m Kerry Malibey” in the book store.  Other than the fact that neither one of them knew Kerry was a witch, they seemed to know everything about each other–and why not?  They’d been together for years . . .

They related once more about how they both remembered, in detail, the dream where they said to the other that they loved me, and Kerry finally understood how Annie must have suffered to have been with him and know that he didn’t remember him.  Kerry’s an emotional kid, so when he cuts loose with those feelings, he tends to go big.  We know he’ll cry at the drop of a hat, but when he’d happy–look out, Salem, ’cause you’re gonna know about it . . .

 

She kissed him long and deep, and was pleasantly surprised to feel Kerry return the kiss in kind. As he did once he learned to open his heart to me. “We’re together as one again.”

“Yes, we are.” He kissed her as she’d kiss him; when he finished he broke into an ecstatic laugh. “The Ginger Hair Boy is back with his Chestnut Girl.”

Kerry released Annie and began walking towards the edge of Lake Lovecraft. He stopped a few meters from the water’s edge, raised his face to the cloudy night, and shouted into sky. “Did you hear that? I’m back with my Chestnut Girl. Do you hear me, Salem? I’m back with soul mate—with the witch I love.”

Annie joined him and stood at his side as Kerry threw open his arm and yelled out his love, his voice echoing across the pitch black water. “I am hers again, and I will never leave her. Understand? I will never again forget my soul mate—I will never be with anyone but Annie Kirilova.” He turned to his left, found her next to him, a smile plastered across her face and her eyes shinning bright with love, and faced her as he shouted one last statement to the heavens. “I will never, ever love anyone else.”

He threw his arms around her and pressed himself against her. Kerry lay his head upon Annie’s shoulder and whispered into his ear. “Moyata polovinka.”

Annie whispered back to him. “Moyata polovinka.” She chuckled as she rested against Kerry. “I never once said that to you in any of our dream.”

“I know.” He closed his eyes and drank in the moment. “I’m glad you taught me what it means here . . .”

 

And that settles that.  Sorry, Emma, but the odds were never in your favor.

Did I say that settles that?  I mean that settles the dream stuff, but there was one last scene that takes place in the Great Hall, and . . . well, let’s look:

 

As they were getting ready to leave Lake Lovecraft she mentioned she’d flown only once at night—though she didn’t elaborate on that disastrous flight—and Kerry mentioned that the last time he’d flown in the dark a monster intent on killing his had chased him all over the grounds.

They both laughed as they sailed out over the lake, gained altitude, and sped off towards the dimly lit Pentagram.

Kerry touched down just outside the East Entrance and Annie was off the saddle the second her toes touched the ground. Kerry snatched the broom out of the air and carried it at his side in his right hand as his left found Annie’s right. They entered the Great Hall and, with huge smiles of joy on their faces, strode towards the Dining Hall.

 

Yeah, remember those disasters that happened the last time you flew at night, and just laugh them off ’cause love, right?

They get to the hall and the head of the kitchen says she’ll whip something up for them.  Kerry wants fish and chips with pomegranate juice, and Annie orders lamb güveç (a kind of Bulgarian ratatouille) and a lemon drink.  They find their table, they sit, they talk for a few minutes, and then this:

 

“There you are.”

The both turned around and found Professor Lovecraft standing between them. Annie felt a chill run through her, because the look on the sorceress’ face was one she’d seen many times before, and it was a look she didn’t like to see. She’s here on business— “Hello, Professor.”

Kerry nodded. “Hello, Professor.”

“Hello.” She motioned for them both to follow her. “Come over here; we need to talk.”

They followed Professor Lovecraft to a point along the east wall of the hall about a twenty meters from the doors leading to the Atrium. She turned so she could keep and eye on the area around their table—and the other hall entrances—before speaking. “No one can hear us here, but I’m going to keep this short. After lunch tomorrow I want you both to come out to the Witch House. Be there no later than thirteen-thirty.” She turned to Annie. “We’ll meet in the office I keep off the Vault.”

“Okay, Professor.” Annie was liking this less; the professor didn’t use that office much—she’d only seen it in passing, and had never been in there—which meant something serious was happening. “What’s going on? Why do you want to see us?’

“Yeah.” Kerry looked even more pale than usual. “Did we do something wrong?”

“No, Kerry. Actually . . .” A lopsided smirk flashed across her face for a few moments. “You’ve done something right.”

“I don’t get it.”

Helena leaned in towards them and lowered her voice. “Something important has come up, and your Foundation needs you.”

Annie was now as puzzled as Kerry. “What do you mean?”

Helena took a deep breath and mustered her most serious demeanor. “You’re being summoned by Guardians: they have a mission for you both . . .”

 

Cue the dramatic music, for things are about to get serious.  Mr. Gabriel got his way–he must be related to Annie, it seems.

That means Part Eleven–it’s one more, as you can see–starts getting into this stuff.  Not only will I peek behind the Foundation curtain a little, but a bit more drama between Annie and Kerry will arise.

Really, did you think I was finished with that?

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/23:  1,868

NaNo Total Word Count:  44,228

Blog Hopping the Worldwide Artist Way

Do not panic!  I’m just taking control of programming and bringing you something else for a quick moment.  Trust me:  the followup to the dreams of Annie and Kerry are coming.

No, this is something I haven’t done in a while:  I’m giving a short interview for the Worldwide Artist Blog Hop!  I wouldn’t lie, no I wouldn’t.

I was nominated by the owner of HodgePodge Crochet, my good friend Tanya, and while most of the people she knows are of the crocheting persuasion, she’s also known me for a long time and also knows there’s not a lot of times I’ll say “no” to her, so when she asks if I’ll jump in on this sucker, I’m like, “Wait–you want me to do something?  For you?  I’ll get right on that, Missy!”  I didn’t actually act that way, but I gotta make it sound more exciting than me PMing her back and saying, “No problem.”

Does this housewife look like she'd say no to a good friend?

Beside, does this housewife look like she’d say no to a good friend?

It’s a simple process:  I answer four questions, and then I nominate two other blogers who may or may not accept this challenge.  I can’t get too upset if they say no, because I tend to blow these things off as well, but I’ll give it a shot and see if they go for it, or write nasty things about me in one of their blog posts.

With that in mind, let’s get to the questions, shall we?

 

Why do I do what I do?

I do it because these days I have to.  I’ve mentioned many times on this blog about the struggles I’ve had over the years with becoming a serious writer, and it wasn’t until I took a creative writing course in 2010 that I decided to give it a try and to keep at it.  However, I didn’t have much of a success at it until July 2011, when I was asked to write a story for a possible Halloween anthology.  With a bit of a push–and a lot of editing help–from Tanya (the same one who nominated me for this blog hop), I wrote Kuntilanak, and the rest is kinda history.  Since then I’ve kept at the writing, and next year I’m determined to start a big push to publish, either the self way, or through the “traditional” fashion.

 

How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

This is one of those crazy, insane questions for which there isn’t any real answer.  I’d say my settings and ideas aren’t all that different from others, but I always try to come up with interesting characters.  In fact, I feel all my stories are character driven, as they are the one who actual make the story work, and keep the reader interested.  If you don’t have interesting characters, you’ll have to throw in a lot of Bayplosions, and I’m not good with those.

 

How does my creative process work?

Holy geez, as my character Kerry would say, I could spend all night talking about this question.  Let me try and keep it below the word count of my current work in progress . . .

Once I get an idea I think about it–a lot.  I might spend a month hammering out things like characters and plot, and as that happens I might begin to make notes about events and characters.

During this point I start actively piloting out the story, usually in Scrivener (my writing software of choice), though I will often check the story’s time line using Aeon Timeline, which is another great piece of software.  If I feel like I need to develop an event or character–either before I start writing, or during the process itself–I’ll jump into Scrapple and start making mind map notes.

By the time I get to writing, I know who my main characters are, who the secondary characters are, what everyone is going to do, who they know, who they like, who they don’t like, and who they’ll change opinions about.  I also know where the story is going, and while I may change a few things along the way–like deleting or adding scenes–I generally don’t have to because I’ve already roughly written the story in my head.  All I gotta do is, you know, put those words into the computer.

 

What am I working on now?

My current work in progress is a name titled The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, a novel I started on 30 October, 2013, a couple of days before that year’s NaNoWriMo, and am still going at strong, having already added nearly another forty-five thousand words since 1 November, 2014.  I know some of you are asking, “You’ve been working on this for over a year?  How big is this novel?”

Big.

Big.

Yes, that says three hundred and thirty-seven thousand, ninety-four words, and I’m maybe seventy thousand words from the end.  Maybe.  I’ve joked that this is my Infinite Jest, and it certainly is as big as any of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, but without the character deaths–which I can change if I get bored . . .

I will finish this story, and it will happen early in the next year, and the fact that I’m going to add fifty thousand words to this by the end of the month means I’m feeling like I could actually add another thirty or forty thousand words in December, so maybe–I’ll finish it before 2015?  Hey, if I can type “The End” by the end of January 2015, I’ll be a happy girl.

 

There you go:  my answers to the four presented questions.  Now, the big question–who do I nominate.  Well, now, here we go–and don’t hate me, ladies, because I’m beautiful; I’m sure you can find all sorts of other reasons.

 

Burgess Taylor, who loves to write with coffee in hand and who feels like a true kindred spirit when it comes to getting those words out–even when she struggles with it, as I have from time to time.

And a friend from Down Under–Rachel Tsoumbakos, who not only writes novels but does some wonderful reviews of current TV shows like American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones.  We sometimes chat about all three shows–more like I leave witty comments on her posts and she witties me back–and more times than not her reviews leaving me smiling.  Just don’t ask her about her nick for Cersei, which means you will . . .

 

Okay, there it is.  Hope you had fun, and believe me when I say there’s another post coming.

Would I lie?

 

A Year in Pamporovo

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

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

Only there were, like, zero words on everything.

Only there were, like, zero words on everything.

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

With a lot more words added.

With a lot more words added.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“My printsessi?”

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

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

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

“I’ve been up about twenty minutes.”

“And Papa?”

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

That would probably work better, yeah?