Cartref yn ôl ar Gyfer y Gwyliau

And with a title like the mouthful posted today, it means only one thing:  someone’s back home in Wales.  It goes without saying that this is probably not a good moment for my Ginger Hair Boy, because home is not a good place for him, but at least he didn’t have a break down moment like the last time he left a certain Chestnut Girl who was on her way back to Bulgaria.

He know he’s going to see her in a few weeks, and this slight pain he feels is a good one.  Or so he was once told.

Therefore let us to head off to the place of the return and see what transpires next.

No word if Kerry picked up a tasty steak pastry before leaving the station, however.

No word if Kerry picked up a tasty traditional steak pastry before leaving the station, however.


(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry followed Ms. Rutherford out of Cardiff Central Station and headed towards the Audi saloon with the raised boot lid. He set his roll-on bag in the boot, tapped the lid to activate the auto-close mechanism, then got in on the rear passenger side, setting his backpack between his legs. The moment his seat belt clicked shut, the driver put the car in gear and pulled out.

Weather was about normal for this time of year for Cardiff: cloudy with a light winds and about eight Centigrade. The sun had set about an hour before, but the lights of the city kept everything bright. It was rare he saw this part of the city when it was dark: the few times he’d went with his family anywhere during the evening, they bypassed downtown by taking Western Avenue. Not that they ever went anywhere at night . . .

His mind wasn’t on being home: it was on Annie and on meeting her father. After the discussion he had with Ms Rutherford before their late lunch, he couldn’t get over the feeling of her dad scrutinizing him, of trying to determine if there was something different about him. He didn’t get that exact feeling while standing across from him in the jaunt waiting area, but a few hours later, after he’d had time to analyze the meeting, the meeting left him a little unnerved.

Annie told me there were things I needed to know about her family— He caught a quick glimpse of the prison as they drove eastward. She didn’t mention anything about her father doing his best to make me feel a bit insignificant.


After a few hours of sitting and lunching and enjoying some great sandwiches and talking with Ms. Rutherford, Kerry finally starting to get those “I just met my girlfriend’s father” jitters, and it’s not leaving him in a good place.  The last twenty-four hours have been pretty heavy for Kerry, with parents meetings and talk of babies.  What else can get laid on his twelve year old ass before he’s dropped off for Christmas?


Bernice sensed his contemplation. “Thinking about anyone I know?”

“Annie—” He looked straight ahead. “And her dad.”

“Ah, yes: the future father-in-law.” She almost chuckled at the sideways look Kerry sent her way. “There’s one thing I didn’t tell you about fathers—”

“What’s that?”

“The never think there’s any boy who’s good enough for their daughters. They spend their entire lives providing and protecting their little girls, and then along comes some boy who captures her heart, and . . .” She shrugged. “I want to say it shouldn’t be that way, but often times it goes in that direction. You do have one thing going for you—”

He looked across to his case working. “And that is?”

“Annie. From what I know, from what you’ve told me, she’s made her choice, and she isn’t about to change her feelings for you. Given the powers of persuasion she has with her parents, I believe when the time comes, she’d get her father to come around to her way of thinking.” She glanced out the window to her right. “More or less.”

“That’s comforting.” Kerry chuckled imagining that confrontation. “Guess there’s nothing I can do about it right now.”

“There’s nothing you can do about it, period.” She turned back towards Kerry. “Just be yourself, Kerry. If you try to actively impress her father, you’ll likely end up looking ridiculous. Don’t try to be someone else: be the one with whom Annie fell in love. That’s all you have to do.” She reached over and patted the back of his right hand. “That’s all that’s necessary.”


It seems like this holiday jaunt is a lot about the kid’s future, and while it seems like it’s Gang Up on Kerry time, you’ll see in a bit that Annie’s gonna get here share of questions, too.  This is a package deal, and you can bet someone in Annie’s family has a few questions, too.  And does it need to be mentioned that a time will come when Annie gets to meet her future in-laws, and who the hell knows how they’re gonna take this headstrong girl with a strange accent?  Especially Kerry’s mom:  she seems like a bit of a control freak, so what’s it going to be like when she runs into another one taking over her son’s life?  The Controlling Mom meets The Dark Witch.  Should be a good one.

But that’s for another time, and tonight I’ll get my shot and after that make another video to mark an occasion that happens this Sunday.  So much to do, so little time in which to eat, drink, and try to be merry.

At least I enjoyed my Cosmos with dinner last night.

At least I enjoyed my Cosmos with dinner last night.

Willkommen in Wien: Vater Themen

And just like that, Chapter Seventeen is half over.  Four nights of averaging about seven hundred and eighty words each night brought the scene to an end, and now I can move on to the kids finally arriving home.

This has been an interesting scene, because it’s nothing like I originally envisioned it in the beginning, which was just Kerry coming back with Annie and then both of them realizing they’d been seen arriving holding hands, which of course gets all sorts of things going in Daddy’s mind.  Here I went more into an explanation of what’s going on, and, like below, some of the implications of what this all means.  Like . . .


(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

“It’s obvious you don’t have a sibling.” Bernice settled back in her chair and crossed her legs. “If you had a sister, you might have noticed how your father acts differently around her.”

He stopped tapping the chair’s arms and sunk down in the seat. “It’s just the way he was looking at me—like there was something wrong with me.”

She chuckled. “Don’t take it personally. That attitude goes all the way back to the days when it was considered part of the father’s duty to guard their daughter’s virginity.”

Kerry was aware of this being a standard in some cultures even today, and her found it as ridiculous as Ms. Rutherford seemed to make it appear. “That’s dumb.”

“It is, but . . .” She glanced towards the lounge entrance. “You have to realize something, Kerry. I’m somewhat aware of the deepness of your relationship with Annie—I know that Annie almost didn’t attend Salem because you wanted to stay in Europe and look for you when she got older—and I’m certain her mother know how deep it runs as well. It’s even possible Annie has said things to her mother about your relationship that it only know to her and you.

“When it comes to the father, he may not know the depth of your feelings for each other, but he’s aware it exists. He knows Annie has feelings for you, and you for her. When he saw you today, he didn’t see a young boy holding hands with this daughter—” She tapped her finger in the air in Kerry’s direction. “He sees a potential suitor for his little girl.”


All of a sudden Kerry is getting hit over the head with being a husband and, as we’ll see, something else.  It’s something that no twelve year old kids under normal circumstances ever deal with, but we all know Kerry is far from normal . . .


The moment Ms. Rutherford finished her statement Kerry began wondering just how much she actually knew about Annie and his relationship. There were only a few people who knew of the vision they shared, and while he was certain that Annie’s mother didn’t know about their vision, he was aware she’d seen his name in Annie’s wedding book. She knows Annie is serious about me, about what she wants to do. Her dad has to feel we’re not just a couple of kids holding hands. “He automatically knows I’m gonna marry Annie in the future?”

Bernice kept her face impassive, but she caught the way Kerry phrased his statement: Not “If I” but “I’m gonna marry”. He’s completely sure of where their relationship is going— “I’m sure he’s discussed you with Annie’s mother, and I’d venture that he was sizing you up as more to Annie than a boyfriend. He knows his daughter—”

“And what Annie wants, Annie gets.” Kerry chuckled. “First time I’ve said that.”

“Really?” Bernice chuckled with him. “The thing to keep in mind here, Kerry, is that all fathers are usually a bit unsettled by their daughter’s boyfriends. They know they have the potential to become their husbands, and because they were once some girl’s boyfriend who then became their husband. And it doesn’t take them long to understand why their father-in-law was so unsettled by them, because they also waited for their daughters to tell them the one phrase they didn’t want to hear—”

“What’s that?” He couldn’t imagine Annie’s father being that upset by anything Annie would tell him . . . “’I’m getting married’?”

“No: ‘I’m pregnant’.”


Yeah, just keep hammering home those little witches waiting in the wings!  The one’s who’ll have either red or chestnut hair and will get practice brooms when they’re five or six and ride around behind Mama and Papa in the yard, or maybe even down at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s big yard in Bulgaria, and then grow up and go to Salem and see pictures of their parents kissing two miles up in the air and hear the stories about how all they did was snog and eeeewwwwwww . . .

Really, these kids will, at some point, have to live down the fact that their parents were a couple of Tweenage Horndogs when they got to school, and other’s might wonder if they’ll follow in their footsteps.  When they’re not following in Mama’s Murder Time skills . . .


Those two words froze Kerry’s train of though. The thoughts of marriage didn’t bother him: after reconciling Annie’s vision with his, and continuing the discussion to where they would start their home after the wedding, this was the second time in twelve hours he was reminded that their was another responsibility that came with getting married and making a home for each other. Annie said she already carried our children, and now Ms. Rutherford is saying her dad is living with the knowledge that those kids are coming–

He shook his head. “I’m not ready to think about this stuff now.”

“I don’t blame you.” Bernice checked her watch. “It’s been about fifteen minutes; I figure Annie and her parents are back in Bulgaria about now.”

“I think so, too.” He stood and checked that his backpack was firmly secured around his handle of his roll-on bag. “I’m ready.”

“Good.” Bernice grabbed her bag and secured it tightly on her shoulder. “Feel like a light late lunch? I know a place here in Vienna that serves the most wonderful sandwiches.”

Knowing that he’d likely have nothing but take away or leftovers when he arrived home, Kerry liked her suggestion. “Dining in Vienna . . . sounds good to me.”


Ms. Rutherford knows her charge, and knows he’ll probably get crap for dinner when he gets home.  It must be nice to get a late lunch in Vienna after coming home from school with your girlfriend.  At least someone’s looking out for this kid.

Here we now are:

Half way done; half way there.

Half way done; half way there.

And if the titles of the remaining scenes are any indication–along with the times–I think we can say the kids get home in one piece . . .

Willkommen in Wien: Antworten und Abschiede

Interesting morning, let me tell you.  If I were more superstitious I’d say the people in Philadelphia who said today is the end of the world may have been on to something, but it’s really more like someone’s been jacking around with the firewall filters, and that’s messed people up.  Never the mind:  I have my excerpt, and maybe a little something else that I’ll mention at the end.

Still in Vienna and still with Daddy Kirilovi.  Now, you know Annie’s dad isn’t going to lose the opportunity to ask a certain Ginger Hair Boy a few questions, and so, yeah–he does . . .


(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Another protracted silence fell between Annie’s father and Bernice’s charge, and she wondered who was going to be the first to speak. Annie watched them both, her eyes flitting from Kerry to her father and back, examining both the way her father was examining the boy standing before him. It was Victor who broke the stalemate. “Are you enjoying school, Kerry?”

He nodded. “Yes, sir, quite a lot.”

“Must have been something of a shock to find out you were Aware.”

“Um, yeah, it was a bit.” He cast a glance towards Annie for just a second.

Victor noticed the glance. “Have you your time with Annie?”

Annie’s face darkened as she glanced towards her father. “Papa.”

Annie would really like to look more peeved, but do you know how hard it is to find that picture?

Annie would really like to look more peeved, but do you know how hard it is to find that picture?


Yeah, Papa, you wanna watch going there with Daughter Dearest standing next to you, ’cause she’s protective of the moyata polovinka and she’ll get all up in someone’s business if they aren’t kind.  Fortunately, Kerry’s not gonna freak:


Kerry held up his hand for a moment. “Naw, it’s all right, Annie.” He started to relax, though there was a hint of nervousness in his voice. “Annie did a lot to help me fit into this new world; she helped me understand The Art so I could become a better witch—and a better sorceress.” A light grin played across his face. “She’ll say that’s not true, but I know different.” He smiled at her before facing her father. “I value every moment I’m with Annie, sir. She’s . . . She’s a special person. The most special.”

Bernice knew of the things that Kerry had already surmounted, but over the last minute she’d watched him present his bravest face ever. Victor Kirilov was an imposing man even though he wasn’t tall or large, but his confidence gave him an unshakable persona. She saw, as did Annie, and Kerry was a bit unnerved, but he didn’t cower—and if the look on Annie’s face is any indication of her current mood, she’s proud as well.

Victor turned to his wife. “We need to get home.” He placed a hand on Annie’s shoulder. “This young lady needs to do her adjustment before we go to dinner.”

“I agree.” Pavlina turned to Bernice. “It was pleasure meeting you again.”

She adjusted her purse so it set better on her shoulder. “Same here, Pavlina.” Bernice held out her hand. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Kirilov.”

“The pleasure was mine.” He shook her hand, then held his out for Kerry. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Kerry.”

“Thank you, sir.” He gave Victor’s hand a quick shake. “I’m glad I got to meet you.”

“Oh . . .” The right corner of his mouth curled upwards once more. “I’m sure it won’t be the last time.” He spread his arms as he took a step back. “Shall we go?

Pavlina waved to Kerry. “It was nice seeing you again, Kerry.” She shot a sideways glance at her husband. “I’m sure we’ll meet again soon.”

“I’m sure.” Kerry held out his left hand towards Annie. “I’m, um, I guess—”

“Hold on—” She spun around as her parents prepared to leave the waiting area. “I’d like to say goodbye to Kerry.”

Pavlina looked towards the young man. “Go ahead.”

Annie’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Privately?”

Victor seemed about to say something when Pavlina hooked her arm in his. “We’ll wait in the corridor.”

Bernice patted Kerry on the back. “I’ll be outside, too.”


Now, one might say Annie’s dad cut short the meeting, but really:  in a public place, do you really expect him to ask something like, “Are you doing kissy-face stuff with my daughter?”  Victor is a somewhat public person among Foundation people–being an F1 driver who just finished a season in third place will do that for you–and it wouldn’t do to have him getting all intimidating on a twelve year old boy.  Even if he did see that boy holding hands with his daughter.  Who wants to say goodbye to that boy Privately.  Did you get that, parents?  She wants privacy.


She headed into the corridor and leaned against the wall waiting for the kids to finish their goodbyes. She saw the Kirilovis standing about five meters from the entrance, speaking quietly to each other, and Bernice could only imagine the conversation they were having . . .

Annie and Kerry stood against one wall of the waiting room, and were just visible to Bernice. She saw their heads bowed and close together as they faced each other, holding hands. Annie touched Kerry’s cheek as she said something that appeared to relax him: it was only then that Bernice noticed his right hand quivering slightly. He listened as Annie spoke, stroking her arm as if to confirm she was there.

There was a moment when they gazed into each other’s eyes before hey kissed long and tenderly. Once the kiss finished then broke into a hug, and she observed Annie whisper something into his ear—something obviously pleasant and meaningful, for he was smiling as the turned and headed hand-in-hand for the waiting room exit . . .

They held each other’s hands tightly one last time in the corridor. Annie beamed. “I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, my . . .” She caught herself before speaking the last words within earshot of her parent. “I’ll write.”

“I’ll write back.” He quickly kissed her hand. “Have a good holiday, Annie.”

“Have a good holiday, Kerry.” She released Kerry and waved to Bernice. “Take care, Ms. Rutherford. Have a good holiday.”

“You, too, Annie.” Bernice waved back. “Enjoy your holiday.”

“I will.” Annie kissed two right fingers and held them towards Kerry. “Goodbye, mlechna.”

He did the same with his left fingers. “Sbogom, malko samri.”

She turned away with a giggle and smile and rejoined her parents. Kerry watched them walk away for a few seconds before her turned and approached Bernice. It was only then, while facing her, that his shoulders slumped. “Wow.” He let out a long, deep sigh. “Wow.”

“Let’s go sit in the lounge for a few minutes—” She pointed down the hall behind her. “Let them get to the public platform so they can jaunt home.”

“Sounds like a good idea.” He followed her to the small lounge where those who arrived early for an arrival or departure could wait in comfort. They found a couple of cozy chairs in a corner away from the few people there and sat. “Better?”

“Yeah.” He tapped his fingers on the arms of the chair as Bernice set her bad on the small, round table in front of them. “Why did he act that way towards me?”

She knew exactly to whom Kerry was referring. “Annie’s dad?”



Oh, you thought that was a grilling, Kerry?  Better watch out:  you may break under pressure.

Annie was about to lay “My love” on Kerry and caught herself.  One day soon she’s just gonna have to throw caution to the wind and kick it out there.  What she did call him was “sweet”, as in “sweet banista”, which is what she called him the night before at the Observatory, and Kerry responded with “Goodbye, little cabbage roll”, which is less romantic than “darling”, but darling might have had Daddy asking more questions.

Even so, Kerry got himself a case of the “First Time Father Meeting” nerves, and now gets to ask Ms. Rutherford about this.  Being that she’s a girl, she may have some experience in this matter . . .

Now, lastly, some news.  Yesterday I had someone ask me if I’d like to submit a series to Channillo, which is a website where people can post, in a continuing way, their novel series.  There are hundreds of writers already there, and it’s something that I may consider.  However . . . one of their stipulations is that whatever series you post there cannot be offered elsewhere for free, and were I to put, say, my first novel up, I’d have to go back over two years of posts and strip out excerpts that are hanging out on my blog.  Which, quite frankly, is a huge pain in the ass.

At the moment I’m wondering if this is a route I want to go, because I don’t figure to do a hack and slash on my blog that way.  The other choice would be to take another work of mine–say, one that isn’t selling all that well–and post it there with the promise of doing new content after the initial novel.  That’s a ballsy move, and one that would probably take up the majority of my time right now.

Right now I’m considering my options–one of which is I don’t think people are gonna pony up $5/month to read my first novel.  Maybe for another work, but not this one.\

So many decisions, so little time to do all the things I want to do.

Willkommen in Wien: Das Treffen

Here we are once more, with my quick and dirty just under seven hundred word, excerpt.  Not a lot is happening, but on the other hand, everything is happening, and it’s going to happen quickly.  Because, it seems, someone is getting set up here–


(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Bernice turned her back for a few seconds and smiled. She couldn’t prove anything, but the current situation so felt like Annie had tried to do something that didn’t sit well with her mother, and Pavlina decided that since her daughter was bringing her boyfriend with her to Vienna, she may as well bring Annie’s father along to meet the lad. If what I’ve read about Annie is true, I know where she gets her drive and stubbornness.

An announcement sounded through the room. “Vian atenton, mi petas. Teleportation de la Salem Instituto de Granda Lernado kaj Edukado ekkomprenas. Studentoj alvenante en dek kvin sekundoj.” People in the room turned towards the glassed in area anticipation of the arrival of children returning for the holidays.


In case your Esperanto is rusty, what was announced was this:  “Your attention, please. Teleportation from the Salem Institute of Greater Learning and Education is commencing. Students arriving in fifteen seconds.”  I really like there are a number of Esperanto translators around, and while this isn’t perfect, it’s good enough for my needs.  And my needs are simple.

But if there are students coming in from Salem, you know what that means . . .


A massive set of pops echoed through the platform room as just over a dozen kids jaunted in from America. Bernice looked for one child in particular, and she spotted him immediately. Kerry was up front near the edge, his bag on his right and Annie on his left. They stepped off the platform and proceeded through the opening glass doors into the waiting area. Bernice watched how they remained side-by-side from one room to the next—and that they held hands the whole time—

She wasn’t the only one to notice.

Annie broke from Kerry the moment she saw her parents. He wandered over to Bernice. “Hi, Ms. Rutherford.”

“Hello, Kerry.” This close to him it wasn’t difficult to see how different he seemed from this time last year. Then he was a tired, mopey boy who missed a young girl from Bulgaria terribly. Now he seemed better adjusted, less sad, a great deal more upbeat. “How are you?”

“I’m fine.” He smiled and patted the handle of his bag. “It was a good night and we had a good morning—”



The last time Kerry heard his name called out like that he had to meet someone.  And, well:  it’s no different this time–


He and Bernice turned in the direction of Annie’s voice. Bernice suspected what was coming next, but as for the boy to her left—

He faced Annie, but his eyes were on the two adults with her—particular the man on her left. “Yes?”

“I’d like to introduce my parents.” She motioned to her right. “You remember my mother?”

“Yes, I do.” He held out his hand. “Hello again, Mrs. Kirilova.”

“How are you, Kerry?” She shook his hand. “It’s a pleasure to see you again.”

“Good to see you, too.”

Annie motioned the man next to her forward. “And this . . . is my father.”

Once more he held out his hand. “How do you do? Victor Kirilov.”

Kerry took his hand. “Kerry Malibey.” They shook. “How do you do, sir?”

“I’m well, thank you.” Victor stared at Kerry; the boy stared back. Neither spoke while Victor seemed to regard the lad carefully. “So . . . The Ginger Hair Boy.” The right side of his mouth curled upward. “We meet at last.”

Kerry voice caught in his throat, the only sign he may have felt a bit unnerved. “Yes, sir, it appears we are.”


So, here we are:  both kids in Vienna, Kerry’s case worker there, and he’s facing both of Annie’s parents, but mostly it’s her dad who’s taking up his time right now.  How’s that feel, Kerry?

"I've fought monsters--this is just Annie's dad . . . I'd rather the monsters."

“I’ve fought monsters–this is just Annie’s dad . . . I’d rather the monsters.”

Hang in there, kid.  I’m sure I can give you more time tomorrow.

But for now, I gotta run, ’cause . . . stuff.  And things . . .

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 1, Episode 6: “The Good Man”

Cassidy Frazee:

My last recap of the summer!

Originally posted on Rachel Tsoumbakos:

FTWD Ep 6 Travis

It’s time to go

It Comes Back to Haunt Us plays as we fly over a blacked out L.A. bathed in the light of a full moon. Everything is dark, though there are a few fires here and there. The end has come, it seems, and L. A. didn’t come out the other side the better for it. We also see the doors of the arena that Daniel visited at the end of the last episode rockin’ and rollin’ as the zombies want out to play. Like I said, Chekhov’s Zombie Pit From Hell: wait for it, bitches.

Madison and Travis are packing as Chris and Alicia enter. It’s time to go, no more bullshit, ‘cause Travis tells them the troops are pulling out and it’s time to boogie. They’re heading into the desert right after they get Liza and Nick, so chop-chop.

Daniel tells Madison and Travis that…

View original 2,201 more words

Willkommen in Wien: Das Setup

Well, now, it’s Yule Time in my world at this moment, and it’s time for the kids to get away and head for home.  And as you’ve probably noticed, the bad German in the post heading means they’re going someplace where German is spoken.  If you’re thinking, “Berlin,” wrong, because you only need look at my layouts to know where I’m going, and know that Wien means something else in English:

This means nothing to me/Oh, Vienna

“This means nothing to me/Oh, Vienna.”

If you remember from last year–yeah, about that time–when Annie left for home sweet home at Yule, she jaunted into Vienna.  And by now we know why we’re going to the airport, because The Foundation loves using airports for something besides flying . . .


(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Bernice Rutherford entered the waiting area of the Main Foundation Jaunt Transit Center located twenty meters under Terminal 3 of Vienna International Airport, having jaunted from London to the public center under Terminal 2 only ten minutes earlier. She scanned the room—about twenty by fifteen meters, with the main jaunt platform in another room just beyond a glass wall—and quickly counted just under a two dozen people. She knew they were there for the same reason she was there: children were returning from Salem for Yule holiday, and people were on-hand to take them home.

A number of the individuals gathered in the waiting area were like Bernice: case workers there picking up, for the most part, A and B Level students, though a few C and D Level students were still in need of transfer from here to their homes. In some cases one or both parents arrived with their child’s case worker, but most were waiting alone like her, and would leave as soon as their charge was ready to depart.

There actually wasn’t a need for Bernice to be in Vienna. Her charge lived in the United Kingdom which meant she should pick him up from the transit center under Heathrow, but an email she’d received on Wednesday informed her that her charge was entering Europe through another station, and she’d formulated a good idea why there was a change of venue.

She spotted a somewhat familiar face in the crowd, and as she head toward them to make her introductions, she wondered if they knew of this change in plans . . . “Hello, Mrs. Kirilova.”

Pavlina Kirilova turned towards the young black woman and spent only a moment searching her memory. “Bernice Rutherford, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” She held out her hand. “We met in Amsterdam when your daughter returned from her A Levels.”


Here we are, and I’m starting out the scene with the point of view not from the kids, but someone close to one of the kids.  It only makes sense that if Ms. Rutherford is in Vienna she’s probably going to run into someone who close to the other one of the kids, and she wasn’t disappointed.  And that other person remembers who Ms. Rutherford is close to as well–


Pavlina smiled as she shook the case worker’s hand. “My daughter and someone else, I believe.”

Bernice tightened her grip on the purse handles around her shoulder. “Yes—someone else.”

“Is that the reason you’re here?”

“Yes. Kerry emailed me Wednesday morning and told me he was returning through Vienna.” Bernice watched the face of Annie’s mother. “Were you aware he was coming?”

“Yes.” Pavlina glanced over Bernice’s shoulder, then shifted her gaze back. “The last letter from Annie informed me that Kerry was going to accompany her to Vienna, and from there he was going to either London or Cardiff.” She gave a quick shrug. “I received her last letter yesterday morning, though, so I didn’t have a chance to ask more about the change.”

“Oh, I see.” Based upon everything Bernice knew about Annie, it almost appeared as if the young woman was trying to head off a conversation by waiting until the last moment to inform her mother than she wasn’t traveling alone. “You could have contacted the school yesterday and asked for clarification.”

A few seconds went be before Pavlina chuckled. “Doing that would have made me look like one of those parents who micromanage their child’s life—and one thing I learned years ago is that Annie does as she likes. Contacting the school to speak with Annie—” She smiled while slowly shaking her head. “Besides, I trust Annie’s judgment: it’s not as if she’s doing something one might consider bad—”

“What are you two discussing?”


Yes, Annie’s mom knows all about Annie’s, um, friends.  Her close friends.  Her soul mates, you might say.  And here we learn that Annie waited until the very last minute to tell her mother that, hey, guess who’s jaunting into Vienna with me?  Not saying that Annie is being a little sneaky, but (1) she could have mentioned this at any time weeks before, and (2) she totally is.

But there’s really no harm here, because Annie’s mom has met Kerry, and Kerry her, and since they’re both headed for Europe why not leave together?  Kerry would have to kill time before leaving for London anything–because of the time difference he wouldn’t leave the school for another ninety minutes–and maybe they both thought it best to remove Kerry from a place where (1) Annie wasn’t around and (2) a certain red haired girl might throw caution to the wind and try something really stupid, which would lead to (3) Annie killing said girl, or at least messing her up bad.

But wait:  who is talking here at the end?  Because it’s obvious they’ve interrupted Pavlina–


Bernice turned and found a man about six centimeters taller than Pavlina standing to her right with short-clipped dark hair and brown eyes. He was dressed simply in jeans, tennis shoes, and a sweater. He wasn’t wearing a coat, but that was to be expected if he’d just jaunted from a home.

He handed a small cup of steaming liquid that Pavlina accepted without question. She took a small sip and nodded her approval. “Thank you, dear—oh, nothing much.” She turned to Bernice as she motioned towards the man who’d just joined them. “Bernice, I’d like you to meet my husband. Honey, this Ms. Rutherford.”


Remember me saying you’re going to meet someone you’ve never really met before?  Who has only actually appeared in the novel once, way back in the very first scene I wrote, which was Annie leaving for school.  He’s actually never appeared in the excerpts, but now, finally, you get to meet him.

Welcome, Annie’s father!


The man held out his hand. “Victor Kirilov. Pleased to meet you.”

She shook his hand. “Bernice Rutherford. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She sighed out a breath. “And, if I may, congratulations on this last season.”

He appeared pleased. “We fought hard to reach third, so it was a welcomed podium.” He turned to his wife. “Did I hear you talking about Annie?”

Pavlina nodded. “Yes. Bernice is a case worker, and she’s here to pick up her charge.” She peered over the rim of her steaming beverage with large, dark eyes. “She knows Annie through her charge.”

“I see.” Victor turned to Bernice. “Are they someone in Annie’s level?”

Bernice fought hard to keep the grin off her face. “Yes, they are.” She shot a look at Pavlina, not certain who should be the one to do the reveal.

Annie’s mother saved her with a quick nod and a gleam in here eyes. “Honey, she’s here for Kerry.”

Victor required a few seconds before turning to his wife. “That Kerry?”


That Kerry?”  Sort of like, “That slime mold?”


“Yes, the one and the same.”

“Didn’t you say he lives in Wales?”

“He does, but apparently he’s coming home with our dearest daughter.”

“Hum.” He cast as quick glance in the direction of the jaunt platform. “I see.”

Pavlina smiled at the now grinning case worker. “I believe you will.”


Yes, I believe you will, Victor:  you will finally meet your dearest daughter’s one and only.  And he’ll get to meet you.

Yeah . . . this should be fun.

Getting Science All Up In Here

I don’t get out my these days–that’s sort of clear to a lot of people.  And one of the things I don’t get out to do is see movies.  Most of that is due to having sort of a high standard when it comes to seeing a movie, and that’s to be entertained without having too much of my intelligence insulted.  That’s why I’d only seen Mad Max:  Fury Road this year of 2015 and nothing else.  I’m just a cranky bitch when it comes to film.

Yesterday, however, not long after posted on my blog, I headed out to see The Martian, the movie based upon Andy Weir’s 2011 novel of the same name.  One reason I wanted to see the movie was because it was science fiction, and from everything I’d read of the novel, pretty accurate science fiction, with the emphases on science.  I will say now that I have not read the novel, but I’m probably going to pick it up and give it a read just to see the differences between the printed and visual versions.

The interesting thing about the novel is how it came about.  Weir wanted the novel as scientifically accurate as possible, and did a lot of research on the surface of Mars, on botany, astrophysics, space craft design, and orbital mechanics, going so far as to write is own program so he could track the orbits of the ships in his novel.

Which is something only a few crazy people do for, say, a game.

Which is something only a few crazy people–like the one who wrote this a few years ago–kinda sorta do for games.   Crazy.

Weir had been writing since his twenties, and The Martian was his first novel.  He shopped it around, and when none of the publishing houses showed interested, he started publishing the book for free on his website, going thought chapter by chapter.

That's insane.  What sort of nut does that?

That’s insane. What sort of nut does that?

After a while people asked him to put out a Kindle version of the story, and he did, and he sold the book for $.99, the lowest price one can offer for a work on Amazon.  After he sold thirty-five thousand copies in one month, Crown Publishing Group approached him and asked if he’d like a sweet deal for his book.  The deal made him another one hundred thousand dollars and got him a movie, so it sounds like he got what he was looking for.

If you’re asking, “What’s this about?”, it’s about a guy who, through no fault of anyone, gets stranded on Mars and has to find a way to stay alive until he’ rescued.

If nothing else, fall back on a meme that says the same thing through Apature.

If nothing else, fall back on a meme that makes you wonder if Aperture Science runs the space program.

That’s the story in a nutshell, and without going into a lot of detail, it’s what the movies shows.  What I loved was the attention to detail and how everything was so . . . sciencry.  As I indicated I haven’t read the book, but there were things in the movie that because of my knowledge of Mars and space stuff in general, I got right away.  (There was a scene in the movie where the main character was looking at a map, and the minute he realizes something and was hit with a light bulb moment, so was I.  Geeks, I know.)

The movie is magnificent in appearance.  The Mars stand-in was Wadi Rum in Jordan, which has stood in for Mars in a couple of movies, and one of the locations used in Laurence of Arabia.  With the help of a little CGI you feel like you could be there on the Red Planet.  All the tech looks workable and has an authentic feel.  And the spaceship Hermes and the Mars HABs . . . Oi.

Magnificent spaceship porn, yo!

Magnificent spaceship porn, yo!

I can look at the ship above and see stuff that’s supposed to be there on a real spacecraft, and that makes me happy.  There are things I saw happening in the movie that shouldn’t have happened (when you decelerate in space, your engine is supposed to be pointed towards the forward edge of your orbit, thank you), but they were minor and nitpicky.  Even Weir admits that he made the storms on Mars more visually impressive than they would be in real life because, you know, sometimes you have to do that.

The characters are good, though I think NASA in the middle of the 21st Century would be a tad more diverse than shown, and in one major instance, a character was completely whitewashed. The moment I saw the character’s name I thought “Shouldn’t she be Korean?”  This, again, came without reading the novel, and after a little investigation last night I discovered I was correct.  It isn’t impossible to find an actress of the proper ethnicity these days,  so Hollywood, you need to stop that shit right now.

There is one scene in the movie that got a huge laugh out of the audience I was with–and with me as well–and without going into detail:

When you see the scene, you'll get this completely.

When you see the scene, you’ll get this completely.

I came out really happy, not only because I saw what I’d say was a real science fiction movie, but because there was a scene involving engineering that was done while ABBA’s Waterloo played on the soundtrack.  I mean, come on:  that’s something I’d do in my stories, so you know I was smiling like crazy and bouncing in my seat as the scene played out.  And in a moment of disclosure, in a game I was running some twenty years ago, I’d planed to use Waterloo as a song-over during a scene were some people were preparing in invade a planet.

See?  Great minds think alike.  And so do those who know what makes science fun.