The Midnight Window: My Moon and Stars

I’ve reached the last scene of the penultimate chapter, and the end is pretty close at hand.  There are only four scenes remaining, and I may actually remove one of those because it might not be necessary.  I guess when I start writing these scenes this weekend I’ll know of the one I think needs removing goes.

But that’s for later, maybe Friday–no, make that Saturday, because tomorrow night I’m gonna be super busy–but for now I need to start my kids out on what for them is their last night together in North America as B Levels, and the next time they’re back in this longitude they’ll be ready to take over as the C Levels of the Second Floor.

It’s also the last day that this novel visits:  1 June, 2013.  There are no more days after this, either, so you know this is gonna end on a particular note.  But that’s as few thousand words away.  Right now that day is starting–and about as early as you can imagine:

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry sat in the bay window of Room 308, his back pressed against the window frame as he gazed out upon the darkness over Salem Harbor at just a little past midnight on the first day of June. The residents nearly two kilometers across the water were dark, and the only major light source in sight was the small light station a half a kilometer away, located at the end of Derby Wharf.

The rest of the area was as dark as the skies he remembered the first night he spent at Camp Baxter during his first overnight camping flight, thanks to the same magic used to screen out all local light pollution.

 

So we’re back in that bay window at the Sea Sprite Inn, only this time we’re seeing things from Kerry’s perspective rather than Annie’s.  And when the time is stated as a little after midnight, that’s not a joke:  the scene is listed in Scrivener as taking place at ten after midnight.  Like I said, start of the day.

And I even have sort of the view of the area:

All thanks to Google Maps for making this possible.

All thanks to Google Maps for making this possible.

The Sea Sprite Inn would be right in the middle of the frame at the edge of the shore, and the room overlooks the harbor beyond.  The lighthouse is over middle right, half a kilometer from the inn, and the far shore is, as measured, almost two klicks off in the distance.  No word yet if anyone’s going to be eating at Witch’s Brew Cafe in the morning.

 

The evening went almost the same as last year. They walked to the same restaurant they visited last year—the same where Kerry’s birthday dinner was held—and met up with Coraline and her fiancé, though this time Trevor joined them for dinner: he was staying with the other A and B Levels in Boston and would fly with them in the morning. After they returned to the Sea Sprite Annie and Kerry rested for a bit talking and listening to music, then cleaned up and prepared for the night ahead.

Just like last year, neither expected to get much sleep.

Annie shifted around in Kerry’s embrace, getting comfortable against him and the pillows they were resting upon. She rested against him as she also gazed out the window. “No moon tonight.”

“No, it’s waining tonight.” He tightened his arms around her slightly, giving her a long, slow hug. “I checked before we left the school.”

“Hum.” She pointed out the window to star about twenty degrees above the horizon. “The red one there: what is it called?”

“That’s Antares, in Scorpius. It’s one of the largest stars that we can see, too.” He knew what she was doing and pointed to another start in the sky, a little further to the east. “But that one is brighter.”

She lay nearly on her back and stretched her legs. “And what is the name of that star?”

“That’s Altair. It’s also a big start, and spins so fast that it spreads out at the equator.” He played with a few strands of Annie’s chestnut hair. “Either are the brightest stars in the sky, so just like last year we can use them both.”

 

And what is Annie doing?  She’s looking for the brightest star ’cause the moon isn’t up.  It’s a continuation of what they pledged the year before:  when you see the moon, look at it and know I’m looking at it, too.  And if you don’t see the moon, pick the brightest star in the sky.  Any day now Kerry’s probably going to teach Annie to say “My Sun and Stars” in Dothraki when he tells her she’s the “Moon of My Life,” because the kids at Salem don’t need another reason to roll their eyes at these two.

So what are they seeing?  Oh, something like this:

My god: it's full of stars!

My god: it’s full of stars!

This is a screen shot from my newest program, Stellarium, which is open source and free–though you should leave a little donation, as I did–and is a powerful planetarium program that will allow you to track the sky, day or night, from anywhere in the world.  Yesterday, when I should have been writing, I was playing with different sky views, and I actually got an idea of the sort of sunshine Kerry’s going to get when he’s off on The Polar Express in the next book.  Spoiler:  it’s not a lot.

This means I’ll have something else to waste my time on–I mean, use as a tool to help with getting scenes right.  After all, I can now use this to see the local condition as a particular location–like when Kerry has to face his parent at the end of the day, novel time.  So much fun.

So, what becomes of this star gazing?

 

“Good.” She pointed towards Altair. “I like the blue star: it reminds me of coolness, and that which is cool can be warmed through cuddling.” Annie looked up at Kerry and smiled. “Red is anger, and I never want to be angry when thinking of you.”

“Or of a scorpion.” He chuckled before kissing her on the forehead. “Altair is it. Though watch out for the Monster From the Id.”

Annie giggled for several second. “What are you talking about?”

“Nothing—” He gave his head a single shake as he quickly glanced out the window with a slight smug on his face. “I’m just being silly.”

“Better than how you were last year.” She reached up and touched his cheek. “No tears this year; I like that.”

He pressed his hand against hers. “It isn’t because I’m not sad—”

“Then tell me.”

 

That’s where I left off, and when this starts up again, we’ll discover just why Kerry has no tears.  And . . . we’re gonna see something else as well.  Something you would never imagine.

Now, as I leave off, I must delve into a bit of geekness due to something Kerry said above.  While looking at Altair he tells Annie, “Though watch out for the Monsters From the Id.”  In the movie Forbidden Planet Altair was the star around which the planet Altair IV orbited, and that’s where the crew of the United Planets Cruiser, the C-57D, landed, made contact with Doctor Morbius and his daughter Altaira, learned about the Krell–and then had everything go straight to hell on them when their were attacked by the invisible monster later known as The Monster From the Id, which was really nothing more than an energy construct created by Doctor Morbius’ subconscious while he dreams.

In a way, this is a form of Dreamwalking that may just be possible in my world, and if it is, people better look out, because this Monster From the Id vaporized a space ship just to keep it from leaving the planet.  Any witch who could do this would be a force to recon with–

Which, come to think of it, is sort of how Annie looked when she had Emma backed into a corner--

Though, come to think of it, this is sort of how Annie looked when she backed Emma into a corner–

The movie had a budget of $1.9 million, which in 1956 was a hell of a lot of money for any movie, and unheard of for a science fiction movie from the 1950s.  The Monster From the Id was animated by Joshua Meador, who was on loan from Walt Disney Pictures (making this the first time Disney allowed one of their own people to work on another movie), and he actually slipped in a couple of what we would today call “easter eggs” during the attack sequence:  the creature has a small goatee (Doctor Morbius is the only person in the movie with the same feature), and the monster roars much like MGM’s (the studio that made the movie) Leo the Lion does at the start of the movie.

The biggest contribution from the movie was to science fiction itself.  Two of the main props–Robbie the Robot and the model of the C-57D–were used for years in other movies and TV shows.  (Robbie has twenty-five credits to his “name”), Gene Roddenberry was heavily influence by the movie when he created Star Trek (as I’ve pointed out before, the time the C-57D enters orbit around Altair IV is 17:01, which is also the registration number of the Enterprise), and both Babylon 5 and Firefly/Serenity borrowed from the movie.  In fact, a large part of the end of Serenity is related to Forbidden Planet in that the crew finally travels to Miranda and discovered information about the creation of the Reavers in Alliance rescue ship, C57D.   Forbidden Planet is based in part on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and in that play Miranda is the daughter of Prospero, a great sorcerer, so the crew of the Serenity reach Miranda and discover that the Reavers are pretty much the Caliban of their universe.

Joss, like Gene, has the geek gene.

Joss, like Gene before him, has the geek gene.

There you have it:  we start out with my kids stargazing together, and end up with lesson in science fiction history.

Never let it be said I don’t give you anything.

In the Inn: Stated Feelings

Novel writing was had last night, and it was a bit more than I thought:  Six hundred an sixty-six words.  Oooooooh!  I’ve done that before, too, so maybe this isn’t a coincidence.  You never know, right?

I was jamming through some interesting music last night, as I got back to my Chicago pop roots while writing.  Started getting into some old Cheap Trick, particularly their 80s stuff, which is when they were writing some great pop while sounding a lot like early-60s Beatles.  Some of the stuff was successful, but one of my favorite songs was I Can’t Take It, which didn’t do well as a single or video, but was always a hit with the fans, probably because all of us have been in the position laid out the lyrics.  I also love the lyric progression during the song, which makes it difficult to sing if you don’t have music.

And the other I’ve got in my head this morning is If You Want My Love, which is probably their most Beatlesque song ever.  This is the alternate version of the song, which returns over four lines of lyrics before the ultimate fade out::

Yeah, I’ll probably have these stuck in my head most of the day, and at some point they’ll get added to Kerry’s song list.

As for Kerry–well, he’s learning that Erywin and Helena have made an offer to put him up should he get kicked out of the house by his parent, and now that we return from yesterday’s fade-out, we find it’s more than that:

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“Thought—” Helena crossed her arms and looked satisfied. “I believe we’re your only choice.”

There was something about the certainly in Helena’s statement that caught Kerry’s attention. “What do you mean?”

“She means we have rigged the game slightly in our favor.” Erywin glanced at the women on either side of her before turning back to the young couple at the foot of the bed. “The afternoon of your birthday, while Annie and you were out flying, we—Helena, Deanna, and I—contacted your case worker, Ms. Rutherford—”

Deanna deftly cut in on the conversation. “Actually, we went to see her: we jaunted to London.”

Erywin gave her a quick nod. “Yes, that’s true. We met with her for about an hour, and Helena and I explained how we thought if your situation at home were to deteriorate, we wanted you to come and live with us.” The instructor looked down for a moment. “We have a guest room at the Woodingdean house that we’ve never used because, well, we don’t actually have guests stay over night: anyone who shows up doesn’t require an overnight stay.”

“I went as a fellow coven leader and counselor.” Deanna looked to the women on her left with a slight grin on her face. “I wanted to assure your case worker that neither Erywin or Helena were intent on showing you any favoritism at school, nor would having you live with them affect the way they’d instruct you in the future.” She chuckled. “Which we know they won’t, but it helped to have another person with the same status as Erywin tell this to your case worker.”

 

Here is appears that all three instructors left the school the afternoon of 3 May, 2013, jaunted to London to meet with Ms. Rutherford, and let her know that The Mistress of Formulistic Magic and the Head Sorceress would put up Kerry for how ever long he’d require, and oh, don’t even consider any other location.

And what is meant by “The Woodingdean house”?  That’s Erywin’s house in England, specifically her home within the nice confines of Woodingdead, a suburb of the city of Brighton and home to about ten thousand people who maintain a village-like atmosphere while being completely unaware there are a couple of witches living in their confines.  It’s a nice, quiet place to live, and one that probably matches both women’s demeanor when they’re away from the school.

Just when you think you wouldn't know where witches live--

Just when you think you wouldn’t know where witches live–

And if Erywin has a home, does Helena as well?  Yes, she does, down on the North Island of New Zealand outside the town of Ngongotaha, which is located just north of Rotorua.  The place is also, I’m told, home to a large Māori population, and the second most spoken language in the area is Te Reo Māori, or The Language of the Māori.  All of which fits right in with Helena’s background.

So how does Kerry feel about this?  About how you’d expect:

 

For several second Kerry was unable to say anything. He knew Erywin and Helena—and Deanna, for that matter—considered Annie and he to be more than just students, that they considered them friend and respected the fact that they never tried to take advantage of that friendship. But this seems to go beyond mere friendship . . . “I don’t know what to say, guys.” He struggled to keep his emotions in check.

Erywin came over and slipped her arm around the boy’s shoulders. “You’re with friends, Kerry: there’s no need to say anything. We know how you feel.”

“And we knew this news might be a bit overwhelming—” Helena allowed her arms to drop to her side. “Which is why we didn’t spring this on you at dinner.”

“The thing is, Kerry—” Erywin’s tone softened slightly. “—I’ve been though this myself. I had to leave home mid-way through the summer after my C Levels because it had become too dangerous for me to stay. It happens even now: there are a couple of your levelmates who aren’t going home because The Foundation is fearful of what might happen when they come out to their parents.” She squatted down so she could better see Kerry’s face. “The same could happen to you, and if it does we want you to end up with people who not only care for you, but will try to make the event less traumatic.” She gave his hair a quick tousle. “That soul mate of yours isn’t the only one who loves you, you know.”

 

Finally we have one of the instructors expressing something that sounds a lot like maternal affection for Kerry, and likely Annie as well–after all, who was it who hooked these two up for a London lunch at the beginning of the novel?  It’s been stated that Erywin probably sees a lot of herself in Kerry, or at least Helena does, and that they also see a lot of Helena in Annie.  It’s quite likely that Erywin would probably be a better mother towards Kerry that Kerry’s own mom, and who know?  Maybe we’ll see that one day.  Makes one wonder how he’s flourish if he were to move to that environment.

After that there’s just a show fade-out:

 

Kerry couldn’t hold back any longer. The moment he wrapped his arms around Erywin and began hugging her, the tears began flowing. Though he’d always suspected Erywin’s—and, as well, the other instructors in the room— care for Annie and he went beyond mere academic interest, this was the first time any of them professed such deep affection. “Thank you, Erywin. And you know—” He choked up for a few seconds. “I feel the same way for you—” He looked towards the other women in the room. “All of you.”

Annie stood next to Kerry and held him close. “As do I—” She gave him a kiss on the cheek and turned to the older instructors whom she loved nearly as much as the boy who was her soul made. “As I always will.”

 

And we leave that part of the adventure behind.  There is but one last scene in Chapter Thirty-four, and once that’s written we’re prepared to not only leave Salem behind, the the whole of North America as well . . .

In the Inn: Setup Options

I was pretty much a–well, I won’t say bad girl.  Tired girl, yes.  Mostly due to starting some allergy medication yesterday that had me wanting to lay down for a nap about one-thirty yesterday afternoon at work.  Which I finally did when I arrived home and after l ate.

"I'll have Kerry professing his darkest secrets to Annie here just as soon as I lift my nose off the 'V' key."

Summertime, and your medication has you on the nod.

I also had a TV recap run about twenty-eight hundred words, because I’m a wordy bitch, and when I make promises to recap, I keep them.  The good thing is that was the last one for a Sunday for most of the coming summer, so that day is now free.  Of course I won’t be writing much over the summer, so there’s that, too.

So by the time I got to noveling I was beat as hell.  I manage almost four hundred words, but that was it:  after that point I was ready for bed–which, of course, I didn’t reach until almost eleven-thirty.  But!  I did tell everyone who is coming to visit in their Inn by the Sea:

 

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie expected to see Erywin enter the room, and she did—along with Helena and Deanna, the same instructors who came to the Sea Sprite with them last year. Helena looked around the room with a smile on her face as Kerry shut the door and moved back close to the bed. “I hope we weren’t interrupting anything.”

She sat on the edge of the bed and crossed her legs. “Nothing out of the ordinary.” She reached for Kerry’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “Is there something with which we can help?”

Deann placed her hands in front of her, lacing her fingers together. “Actually, we’re here to see Kerry.”

“You’re here to see me?” He moved next to Annie and nearly put his arm around her shoulders before he stopped himself. “What for?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary.” Erywin took a step forward. “Actually, we’re here because of what’s going to happen tomorrow.” She lowered her head to clear her voice. “You’re aware of your options if things don’t work out at home after you come out?”

“I sure do.” Last Friday morning all the B Levels were summoned to the main conference room across from the Headmistress’ Office, the same place where Annie received her wings, and they were given an hour presentation on what to do if, after revealing their true nature and what they were really learning at school. “If things start to go sideways with the folks I’m to contact my case worker and tell them I need to be removed.” He raised his eyebrows for a second as he cocked his head to the side. “I mean, you were there—so was Deanna. So you should know.”

“Indeed I do.” As all coven leaders were present at the meeting headed by Isis and Trevor, Erywin knew exactly what Kerry and the other B Levels heard. “Therefor we want you to know that should things go ‘sideways’, as you say, and you are removed, you’ll be placed in another home—the home of more accepting witches.” She released a short sigh before smiling. “Helena and I have indicated that if you need to be placed in another home, we’d like to be your first choice.”

 

There you have it:  Kerry is getting an official invite from Helena and Erywin to come stay with them should he get kicked out of the house for being a witchy witch.  Which knowing his mom that might just happen.  All the hows and whys of this I’ll cover tomorrow–just let it be known, at least someone’s got his back and is looking out for his well being.

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 7, “Shiva”

We’ve come to the middle of the season of “Fear the Walking Dead,” and like most of this world, things have pretty much gone to hell–

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

FTWD S2 E7 Strand

We’ve reached the mid-season finale for Season 2 of Fear the Walking Dead, and things were certainly left discombobulated for all involved.  Let’s get into the story and see what happened:

Walking through the jungle in the rain, someone comes up behind a young boy. There are bodies floating in the water—lots of them. We come up behind a young boy and hear the words: Take the gun, Daniel.

There’s a gunshot and we’re back with Daniel (Ruben Blades), who was dreaming this scene. He grabs Ofelia (Ruben Blades) and they take off. He wants to run and get away from the villa, but Ofelia can’t. Daniel wants to know why. She looks at him and peals off part of her cheek—

Another gunshot, and this time we’re done with the whole Inception “dream within a dream” and back in the real world. Daniel gets up as does everyone…

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Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 5 Recap, “The Door”

Feel like being depressed? Then, I’ve got just the recap for you!

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

If you are in a bright and happy mood. Now is not the time to watch Game of Thrones. If you are already miserable, well then, pull up a seat because misery will certainly enjoy your company..

Here’s my recap of Episode 5 (entitled “The Door”) of Season 6 HBO’s Game of Thrones.

HBO's Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 5 The Door Sansa Stark and Littlefinger Credit HBO [Image via HBO Inc.]

  • Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is trying to to rally the North when she really doesn’t know much beyond, “Look at me, I’m a princess,” and, “But surely ‘Stark’ means something?” Um, no honey, it really doesn’t when it comes to the sick bastard Ramsay. And I know you hate Littlefinger (Aidan Gillem), but please, just let the man speak. There is a reason he is still alive and that is because he is as cunning as a shit house rat and knows a hell of a lot more than you do when it…

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In the Inn: Rest and Recolections

Yesterday, squeezed in between the thirteen hundred word blog post and the fifteen hundred words of note I did for the mid-season finale of Fear the Walking Dead, I managed to start the penultimate scene for Chapter Thirty-four and plow about six hundred words into it before shutting down for the evening.

Like they say, there it is.

Like they say, there it is.

I know some people will say, “How can you write so much for the other things and only half as much for this?” and that’s a good question.  I probably has to do with the fact that I’m making stuff up as I go along, trying to come up with dialog and figuring out how these two kids are reacting to each other at the moment–really, that’s how it feels.

Looking at my numbers I’m currently sitting at three hundred eighteen thousand, five hundred words total, so my guess is that I’ll clear three hundred twenty thousand at the end of this chapter, and three twenty-five by the end of the last, which is gonna put me right where I said I should end up as well as bringing me in a hundred thousand words short of the last novel.  Three quarters of a million words written in about two and a half years is quiet a lot, and I do feel the need to step back and relax for a bit after this ends.  Because I do want to get into the third novel, and I need my wits about me for that.

And where does that lead?  We’re not at the school anymore, so we must be somewhere else . . .

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie entered the room, left her bag near the door, and headed directly for the bed, where she dropped backwards with a thud on the mattress. She stretched her legs as she released a satisfied sigh she’d been holding in for the last hour. “This bed is just like I remembered from last year.”

Kerry set his bag next to Annie’s and looked about Room 308 of the Sea Sprite Inn, the same one Annie and he shared after finishing their A Levels last year. “The whole room looks the same.”

“Baseboard is a slightly different shade of white.” She closed her eyes and drew in a long, slow breath. “I noticed that right away.”

One of Kerry’s eyebrows shot up. “You noticed the baseboard?”

“I helped design a house, my love.” She giggled as she looked up into the bed’s canopy. “I have an eye for little details like that.” She raised her legs so she could examine her feet. “Alex did a great job with my pedicure.”

“Which I noticed right away if you remember.” Just like they’d done on their first night together, the Party of Five—now six with Kahoku coming over from his coven—had a small going away party on their floor with snacks and drinks. While they all talked about the summer holiday, music, movies, and video games, the girls rummaged through Annie’s collection of polish and did each other’s nails. Annie chose a deep metallic crimson that she’d gotten for Christmas and hadn’t tried, and before she asked what he thought, Kerry told her how lovely she made the color look, eliciting a smile and many kiss from her for the compliment.

 

Yes, it’s back to the Sea Sprite Inn, the same place they stayed last year and something that’s going to come up in a few more paragraphs.  The last paragraph is a good one in that it’s obvious Kahoku is really part of this little circle of friends, and if you remember from a long time back, when the kids returned from Yule, it was mentioned Sabrina left all the covens open so student could go from on to another without needing permission.  As Thursday night was the last before everyone started heading home, it was a good idea to open up everything so the kids could say their final goodbyes to friends.

It’s also interesting that everyone talked about the same thing while the girls we’re also doing each other’s nails.  Women:  we are multitaskers, are we not?  And we’ve already see that Annie likes getting her nails done, and she takes pride in having them done right.  Just wait until this summer:  Mama and her probably run off to one of the resort spas in Pamporovo to get their mani-pedis done every few weeks, because you can bet this is a habit Annie likely picked up from her mother.

Now that we know the who and where, is there anymore what?  Of course there is:

 

“Yes, you did.” She lowered her legs and patted the spot to her left. “Come rest for a moment. We have at least an hour before dinner.”

“As you wish—” He lay back on the bed and rolled over on his right side so he could hold her hand with his left. “Ms. Kirilova.”

She chucked again. “I loved hearing, ‘So nice you’re staying with us again’.” Annie rolled to her left so she could face Kerry. “Last year is was such a new experience, and this time I felt as if I were returning to a place we’d been visiting for years.”

“I think it helped that we’ve known for a week we were coming back. It wasn’t as big a surprise as last year.” This time Erywin came to them about twenty minutes after their return from Provincetown to let them know that, yes, they were once again sharing “special accommodations” this year after the school closed. “Last year it was like we didn’t know what to expect.”

“Uhmm—” Annie looked upward for a women. “I had a suspicion but nothing more. You, though—” Her smile lit up her face. “Wasn’t difficult to see you were still a bit clueless.”

Ha.” Kerry leaned closer and gave her a kiss. “Clueless no more, Ms. Kirilova.”

“I much prefer—” She snuggled close to Kerry to make it easier for them to kiss. “Mrs. Malibey.”

“Maybe Mrs. Kirilova-Malibey?”

She was about to give the question some consideration when they were a knock on the door. Annie turned her head in that direction. “It can’t be them this soon.”

“It’s not like we’re expecting any other guests.” Kerry slid off the bed as Annie sat up and smoothed out her skirt and blouse. He didn’t bother to see who was on the other side of the door: he figured it was one of the instructors from the school. It turned out he was only slightly right. “Oh, hi.”

 

That Annie:  she certainly loves hearing that married name.  It’s only a matter of time before a “Mrs. Malibey” slips out at school next year, leading to a lot of eye rolling and disgusted looks, because that’s exactly what teenagers like doing.  Oh, so much to write for the next book . . .

But before I get there I have to tell everyone who the “Oh, hi” was for, right?  I mean, that does make sense, doesn’t it?

Timeing On a Sunday Afternoon

It’s one-thirty PM, or thirteen-thirty if you happen to attend a certain fictional school I know, and the mimosas didn’t kill me.  Rendered me a little spacey–okay, a lot spacy–but that’s it.  I’m still functional, after a fashion.

Water + Music = Recovery!

Water + Music = Recovery!

When I picked up my new computer a couple of weeks ago the primary goal was to get it set up as quickly as possible so I could get back into my writing, and do it with the tools I’d already learned to use on the old Beast.  Getting Scrivener and Scapple and Blender weren’t that big of a deal:  I had the licence from when I’d picked them up originally, so all I needed to do was download current versions and reapply the licences.  For Sweet Home 3D I pick up a new version, which was needed as well as this one came with lots of content.

But Aeon Timeline was a completely different story.  In the time since buying it originally a new version had come out that changed how it now function, and the dilemma was do I get the old version and work with that, or do I go with the new hotness even though it’s going to run me $50?

The answer was yes and I proceeded to get the new program and pay for the licence.  The question after that became, was it worth it?

The answer is yes.

The basic interface to Aeon Timeline 2 is much the same, yet at the same time it feels so much fuller and, in a way, less crowed and busy.  This is due to taking a few things that were all clumped together and breaking them out either into their own windows, or setting tabs to allow the user to drill down to what they want to work upon.

So new, yet so familiar.

So new, yet so familiar.

When you bring up the program the first time the interface is now a black background with white lettering.  If you don’t like this, you can go to the old standby of a white background with black lettering:

Which is pretty easy on the eyes.

Which is pretty easy on the eyes.

And if you want to get fancy, there are a few backgrounds that allow a little color and text to liven up your time lining drudgery.  Like this one, the Borealis:

Which, for obvious reasons, reminds me of The Polar Express.

Which, for obvious reasons, reminds me of The Polar Express.

As before, adding an event is as simple as clicking somewhere within an existing time and plugging in information.  This function is a window that drops down from the middle-top, and there are a few things here that immediately pop into view, such as Parent, Participants, Observers, and Place.  The last three take the place of another function found in Timeline 1, and Parent–well, we’ll get to that.

Until then I'm teasing you hard.

Until then I’m teasing you hard.

The Inspector–that area that you can pop open on the right hand size of the interface to add information to each event–has been updated considerably.  Where as in Timeline 1 everything was crammed into that widow for one to search out and modify, everything is now set up in separate tabs, allowing the user to concentrated on one particular thing at a time while they’re building up an event.  This making things less confusing when modifying something, as the signal to noise ratio is toned down a great deal.

There’s a lot of meta data that can now be entered for an event, and in the past if you wanted to see that meta data you needed to open the Inspector.  Not any more.  You can go into your Display Options and decide what you want to see when you “expand” an event, and then all one has to do is hover over said event until a little green arrow pops into view in the upper right hand corner–

That one right there.

That one right there.

And click it so the event expands.

Giving you all this.

Giving you all this.

Here I went crazy with the expanded data.  So now I see what is happening, who is involved, who is watching, where it’s happening, the arc in which this information is found, and, if I like, a nice picture of the area that I can expand into a larger picture window.  If you notice, the time line event also tells me the ages to the people involved, and even the age of the location.  The people and location can be tied to an event for time purposes, allowing you to see how old a person and/or location is in relationship to where the event falls.

So if I want to see how long my kids had been at school at the time the Called Up event occurred, I bring up Manage Entities, find the character in question, and reset their age at the moment they arrived at school:

Seems like you only arrived yesterday, doesn't it, young lady?

Seems like you only arrived yesterday, doesn’t it, young lady?

So when I reexamine the Called Up event, we now discover how long Annie and Kerry were students when they were informed by Helena that The Guardians needed them.

Answer: just a week short of seven months.

Answer: just a week short of seven months.

Man, walk in the door of this joint and before you know it people want you to go off and “observe” bad guys.

Two of the biggest changes are Parents and Dependencies.  Creating Parent Events allow one to set up an entities that occurs over time, yet consists of multiple actions or events within that time period.  One of the easiest to show is from A For Advanced, the first week of school from the first class to the last moment of the second Midnight Madness.

Pretty straight forward as it sits now.

Pretty straight forward as it sits now.

Now lets created a new event called First Week of School and set the time frame for the parent.

B For Bewitching Aeon Timeline 2 First Week of School

And start moving the already established events into the Parent Event:

Until it looks like this.

Until it looks like this.

If you look closely you’ll see a little “+” on that event line, so if you click on that–

There's all my old events.

There’s all my old events.

This helps you manage your events better without having to resort using another time line and linking to that–unless, of course, you have several arcs worth of information you need covered, in which case you may want that other time line.

Dependencies are the other addition to the program, and it’ll come in handy where one has events that not only require a certain amount of time between passages, but are grouped together.  One sets the main event, then when adding additional events after that, the user needs to only specified to what event the new event is tied, and then indicate the time span between those events.  Not only does the program then determine the actual times, but if the first event is change to a new time and/or date, the dependent events follow and are adjusted automatically.

Comes in handy when you want to create the time line for a fast-occurring action scene.

Comes in handy when you want to create the time line for a fast-occurring action scene.

And as I discovered while playing with another time line, if you need to know when an event happening in one time zone is being monitored in another, then event can be made dependent, and times can be adjusted forward and backwards.  So say Helena’s in San Francisco for some reason, and she wants to speak with Kerry in Cardiff and Annie in Pamporovo, you’d set up Helena’s event with San Fran time, then make Kerry’s event 8 hours ahead of Helena’s, and Annie’s 10 hours ahead, and right there you have the events and times without having to do a lot of looking.  And if the user needs to move Helena’s time for any reason, Annie’s and Kerry’s events change time as well.

There you have it:  my new toy.  And while it might not be useful for his latest novel, I’m certain I’ll get some use out of it in the following novels.

It’s just a matter of time.