Beyond the Curtain: Making It Part

Well, I made it through yesterday in one piece. Sort of.  Honestly, after walking two and a half miles yesterday I actually felt worse than I did walking ten and a half miles the Saturday before.  I think the biggest difference was that yesterday it was in the mid-80s F/30 C with a bit of humidity, and I wasn’t doing a very good job of staying hydrated.  Fortunately, the air conditioning is now working in my apartment, so after a nice shower I just sort of lead in my chair and watch television.

Also, because I am spent most of the day holding a rather large sign, I wasn’t able to take a lot of photos.  It doesn’t mean I didn’t get a photo taken–

Not as big yet, but we got there. @momary02

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See, right there.  Out doing the protest thing.

From the looks of it, there were perhaps a hundred to two hundred people outside where the Cheeto in Chief was speaking, while there was perhaps close to a thousand people in the march I was in on the other side of the tracks.  And while we did put in an appearance, I, and a few other people, certainly felt there could have been more present.  But, you take what you can get.

Today there has been writing, and this time I managed to get up over eight hundred words.  Part of what I wrote today involves Deanna in a certain spirit we all know and love speaking in a language that required me to do a lot of translating.  And what comes next is going to be even more fun–it’s only a question of how get to it tonight or have to wait until tomorrow to write that part. As it is, I’m almost 3000 words ahead of you now, which is why I’m dumping the rest of the last scene out today.

Besides, this part needs to go together.  It would make any point to split it up just to keep the excerpts coming…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie let out a happy sigh. “You can’t imagine.”

“Oh, I can imagine. My first time inside the Astral Realm was performed one-on-one with my instructor. I spent at least half of our time on the other side of The Curtain mesmerized by the sights; it’s an incredible place.” The smile on her face softened slightly. “But even then I was aware it can also be an incredibly dangerous place. And it’s my intention that you know the same.”

A comfortable silence passed between Annie and Kerry for a few moments, and Kerry turned to his instructor. “Anytime you go somewhere incredibly beautiful, you have to deal with the possibility of extreme danger. They seem to go hand-in-hand.”

“That’s so true, Kerry. But there’s a danger in the Astral Realm that few people consider when they first enter.”

“What’s that?”

Deanna cocked her head slightly to one side as her smile turned into a near smirk. “Saturation.”

This was a term with which Annie was not familiar. “What’s Saturation?”

There are a lot of unfamiliar terms that we encounter in this story. And like with most of those terms, I generally offer some sort of explanation as to their meaning. This one isn’t any different.  So, you want to tell us about it, Deanna?

“Saturation is when you have too much mystical energy with which to craft. Think about it: when you’re on the other side of The Curtain, one is surrounded by nothing but mystical energy, so when crafting a spell one has to be careful with how they draw in energy. Here, we overcharge our spells by crafting them with an overabundance of mystical energy; do the same thing in the Astral Realm and you’ll saturate your spell with so much energy it’s liable to blow up in your face.” Deanna gave both children a half smile. “There’s many an inexperienced witch who came to an untimely end because they were unaware of the amount of mystical energy they were using.

“Here’s the best analogy I have found to compare crafting in the Physical Realm and Astral Realm. In this realm, the energy required to craft a spell comes through the witch’s body, which in reality is being drawn into their body through their aura, their only connection on this side of The Curtain to the Astral Realm. In that sense, mystical energy is pulled into a spell as if one were drawing it through a spigot.

“In the Astral Realm, however, one is surrounded by a literal ocean of mystical energy, so finding the energy needed to craft a spell isn’t difficult.” This time Deanna chuckled. “Though all of us know the danger we face if we find ourselves dropped into the middle of the ocean—

Kerry nodded. “Even if you know how to swim, you always run the risk of drowning.”

Annie found no difficulty in understanding these analogies. “Then crafting in the Astral Realm is a bit like crafting Shadow Ribbons: one needs a somewhat deft touch when crafting.”

“That’s exactly what it’s like. Instead of needing a massive amount of energy to power your spell, one finds a thimble full will do.” Deanna pointed toward the cabinet in the corner where the kettle and cups were kept. “Would you both care for some refreshment before we go?”

Kerry watched Annie for visual clues, knowing she was eager to get on with today’s exercise. He needed only a few seconds to determine that tea was the furthest thing from Annie’s mind. “Naw, I’m good.”

Annie nearly found it impossible to hide or temper her excitement. “I would prefer to enjoy some tea after we return.”

“Then by all means, we should began.”

Backlash, which has been mentioned a few times in these novels, is what happens when crafting doesn’t go quite as one expects in the spell turns back on the crafter.  Saturation is a little like that, but only in the sense that if you’re not paying attention to how much energy your pumping into a spell, said spell can blow up in your face–and probably take a portion of your face with with the explosion.  Not what one would call the most pleasant of situations.

Now you can finally begin to understand why Deanna was so eager to start Annie and Kerry on this advanced study course.  While it’s likely they would have discovered these things during their own investigations, the possibility also exists that they wouldn’t have fully understand it be implications of their book learning until it turned around and bit them on the ass.  Going all the way back to their A Levels, this is exactly what happened down in the Spell Cell when Annie was crafting Cold Fire and Kerry was putting together time spells.  They knew what they were doing: they simply didn’t realize what would’ve happened had things not gone according to plans.

Now that the explanations are out of the way all that remains is the curtain pulling…

Deanna moved to the east side of the room before turning and facing the opposite wall. She motioned for Annie and Kerry to get behind her before she began crafting: once they were in position she raised her arms as she slightly lowered her head.

She appeared deep in concentration for about five seconds before a pinpoint of light appeared at about eye level three meters from her position. The pinpoint grew wider, appearing to twist around in a circle as it went from being no larger than the diameter of the finger, to that of a tennis ball, and onward. The light inside the circle appeared bright and shimmery and while it did not grow in intensity as the circle grew wider, the various hues grew more numerous and brilliant as they came better into view.

In a matter of perhaps ten seconds the multicolored circle was perhaps two and a half meters in diameter. With the opening now connected to the Physical Realm, the faintest whisper of sound entered the room, existing just on the edge of hearing.

Deanna stepped up to the circle, which ended just above the floor, and stepped over the threshold into whatever existed on the other side. There was a brilliant flaring around her body as her aura came into view, a brilliant combination of shifting colors shot through with violets and pinks. She moved about three meters beyond the edge of the circle. While the divination instructor looked about Annie move slightly to her left to confirm that Deanna no longer existed within the Physical Realm: she didn’t.

After ensuring that everything was fine, Deanna turned back toward the entrance and faced her students. “Well, come on.” She waved them towards her.

Annie reached out and to Kerry’s hand. “Ready?”

“Sure am.” They stepped up to the threshold of the circle and Kerry motioned for Annie to move on. “Lady Dark Witches first.” He held onto her hand as she stepped through and followed her moments later.

Annie and Kerry moved alongside their instructor and remain close. Deanna looked back at the circle and, with a glint of determination in her eye, waved her right hand upward—

The glowing circle collapsed upon itself.

The classroom was empty.

 

And there they go, off into the Astral Realm to find a whole new world.  Though I wouldn’t expect Deanna to begin sings songs while they ride around on a magic carpet–

Maybe she’ll leave the singing to Kerry.  He’s got a good voice… I

Saturday At The Shop

It’s time to get this party started.  So kick back and enjoy the show.

 

And here’s the outfit I mentioned:

Casual in my new maxi. Black and white, baby. #diaandco

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“iZombie”, Season 3, Episode 4, “Wag the Tongue Slowly”

I don’t know about you, but *I’ve* heard there are *zombies* in Seattle! Um hum! Oh, but you didn’t hear that from *me*…

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

[Image via The CW]

Well, I don’t know if you know this, but I heard there was an iZombie episode this last Tuesday night, and while you may not know everything there is to know about it, I certainly do.  So, if you real nice—and I do mean nice—I’ll tell you everything I know about this episode.

But you didn’t hear that from me.

  •   It’s the day after Ravi (Rahul Kohli) was caught by Peyton (Aly Michalka) fucking his old boss, and he isn’t feeling too well due to the massive hangover. Liv (Rose McIver) kind of goes easy on Ravi, but not that easy: she’s a bit pissed off that just when the two of them ready to get together Ravi’s dick goes and screws shit up. She also feels the need to remind Ravi that God is a woman, which means his ass is doubly fucked.
  •  …

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Beyond the Curtain: Getting It All Out

The weekend is almost here and so are all the summer shows I’m gonna have to start working on next week.  Netflix reminded me this morning that next Friday I can come home from work and spend the next ten hours binging Sense8, which is something I might just do.  Because why not?

Now, back at the school the kids are making their way to Memory’s End, where revelations await:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

On the walk to Memory’s End Kerry said little, and when he did speak it was not about the day’s instruction. It was only once they were inside the building and heading for the stairs to the first floor that he finally brought up what awaited. “Are you worried about me?”

Annie didn’t see a point in avoiding a direct conversation on the matter. “You’ve seemed somewhat anxious since learning what we’re doing today.”

“I was, but…” Kerry stopped them both before heading up the stairs. “I’m not scared. If anything, I’m excited about this. It’s just that I recognize this could be one of the most dangerous things we’re going to do this year, and I can’t help but think of all the possible things that could go wrong.”

“That I can understand.” She was keenly aware that Kerry was the sort of person who often anticipated the worst of a new situation. “How are you feeling now?”

“Eager to go. Really, when I mean I think of the worst that could happen, I don’t believe anything’s going to happen to us today. But, I’m certain Deanna’s going to tell us everything that can go wrong once we start visiting the Astral Realm on our own.”

From everything that Annie had read in the past she understood that the Astral Realm possessed dangers unique to that world. There were spirits and wraiths that sought out anything that wasn’t part of their world, and witches had noticed and documented weather-like phenomenon in the Realm that were terrifying and dangerous.

She knew Kerry was correct: Deanna was preparing them for when they were ready to enter the Realm on their own. At the same time, however, she was certain that the Astral Realm within the walls of Salem was a benign region, and she couldn’t imagine it being a dangerous place.

Then again, there were other things within the walls of Salem that one needed to watch for—

They bounded up the stairs and headed directly for the study room. Deanna was waiting for them, standing in the middle of the room smiling as if she had anticipated they were going to walk through the door that very moment. And he smiled back. “Good afternoon, Deanna.”

Kerry waved. “How’s it going?”

The seer approach them. “Good afternoon. And to answer your question, I am doing well.” She waved the door shut and rubbed her hands together. “I imagine your eager to begin.”

 

Given that they just met with Deanna it’s not gonna be long before they take that first step…

Beyond the Curtain: Pre-Passage Jitters

So…  how was your evening?

First off, I did my video.  It was fun, but as I usually do when it’s over I feel as if I could have done more.  It’s that whole thing that goes hand-in-hand with being creative–you know, everything you do sucks and you want to do better?  I should get out of that habit and will.  One day.

Then I head off with a friend to the Harrisburg chapter of the National Organization for Women and after opening my mouth a couple of times, I end up one-half of their fundraising committee.  This is why I shouldn’t say anything, but I can’t keep my mouth shut.

Came home, watched one episode of Breaking Bad, and the–wrote?  Yep!  Wrote!  Put down about seven hundred words as I began describing what it’s like over by der in the Astral Realm.  And since I’ll be home all night tonight I’ll not only write more about this, but… well, you never know who just might show up.

The thing is, if you got your witchy kids in the Astral Realm, that means they had to of started on this side of The Curtain.  And they did.  I know this because it all starts below–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Being a legacy witch meant there was little that could surprise or shock her, but Annie imagined today would be one of the days where everything she saw and heard was completely new. For today Kerry and she were about to embark on an adventure:

Today they would pass beyond The Curtain and walk in the Astral Realm.

The realization that they were taking this step came at breakfast this morning. They were just sitting down at a little before seven when Deanna came to their table, through upper privacy barrier around them, and said today was the day they would visit the Astral Realm. She refused to answer any questions: she simply said anything that needed to be asked could wait until the afternoon, as she wished to discuss anything concerning today’s exercise in private.

And just as quickly as she approached and gave them the news, she turned and left the Dining Hall.

Annie grew excited right away. Since he had begun her special training with Deanna she had begun preparing herself for anything involving passage beyond The Curtain. She’d read stories and had even seen a few pictures, but they did nothing to dampen her expectation of what would come about in the next few hours. She was on the verge of living a dream that was nearly as important as wanting to become a sorceress and a Guardian.

For his part Kerry seems slightly distracted. When she asked if there was something troubling him, he said he was a bit nervous about entering what was essentially an alien world. He knew there was little to fear for Deanna was skilled in these matters and everything would happen within the confines of the school’s walls, but he still found the prospect of walking into another world just a bit worrisome.

When she reminded him that entry new worlds was something he should be comfortable with given his science fiction fandom background, he agreed, but only with the caveat that he also knew, based upon those same stories, all the things that could go wrong even though they were told everything would be fine.

Though she spent the morning concerned that Kerry’s mind wouldn’t be on flying while Emma, he, and two other fliers from class made a high-speed run to Philadelphia and back, she was pleasantly surprised to find him in a good mood at lunch time. He explained his change of mood as being nothing more than the realization that since everything he had done since arriving at school a little more than two years earlier was new and somewhat alien when compared to Normal studies, why should he get upset about dealing with the situation that was completely alien?

 

There you go:  Annie is a secret Astral junkie and Kerry is just a little worried about stepping into his first alien landscape.  But you know these kids are going there.  How do we know?

I told you up at the start of the excerpt.  Duh.

The Value of Worth

Last night was not a writing night.  It was hardly a watching night, either.  It was more like a “Oh, depression is going to hit your ass right now and slap you around a bit” sort of night.  That’s to say when I returned home about seven PM from a local event, I found it necessary to cry out in frustration and sadness.

Or, as I like to say, Tuesday night.

Depression is a bitch and she’s been showing up a lot of late.  It hasn’t made things easy for a while and a friend with whom I was chatting last night via Facebook PM told me that it seems like I hadn’t been myself for at least two months.  It’s been more like close to a year, but yeah:  since the start of ’17 it’s been a daily struggle to keep on keepin’.  I do my best to keep going, but like last night, you want to lay back and cry out and wonder what the hell you are doing.

So there was a bit of vegetating after this event and it was nearly a couple of hours before I got on the computer.  I knew I wasn’t going to write–I know I have to, but I didn’t have the will to carry through on my actions.  And I really want to start this next section ’cause it’s gonna be good, but you know, depression, that bitch wouldn’t let me.

Therefore, computer.  Mostly email, ’cause I haven’t checked it since leaving work.  And I spot something I’d seen before leaving work:  a message for something LGBT.  I almost deleted it thinking someone was asking for money, but surprise, it was from the Racial Justice Program Coordinator of the Harrisburg YWCA and she wanted to know if I’d be interested in being part of their #ShatteringStereotypes video program they do every month, highlighting a different marginalized community and giving examples of some of the stereotypes we encounter.  It seemed my name was given to them by the same person who had me speak at the LGBT workshop at the start of this month, which meant this woman wanted to speak with me–

Did I say speak?  Actually, they want to do a thirty minutes video interview this afternoon so they can likely find some good quotes to use in their shorter, ten minute video that will come out during Pride Month this June.

There are a lot of times when I really do forget I’m a member of the LGBT community here in The Burg, only because it seems like I have so little interaction with them.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have stories to tell–or hope to offer, for in a way I can offer that to those who have yet to choose the same path upon which I now walk.  As someone in the office told me a few weeks back, perhaps my real calling is to become a mentor and speaker and not only pass along what I know, but encourage others to face the same challenge I did and move forward.

Even when you feel you have no value to offer, it someone finds a way to reminding you that there is worth in your life…

How Green Are My Fantasies 

Strangeness is afoot today because I woke up this morning not certain what I wanted to say, and I’m still not certain.  Although I can point out that I finished the first scene of Chapter Twelve last night–

‘Tiss but a short thing, relatively speaking.

I haven’t put anything together for the Science March yet because I feel like I’m recovering from that still.  I’ve come to realize that I have a shitload of stuff going on in my life, and I need to find some balance before my real recapping work starts this summer.  I swear, this girl never seems to have a down moment.

Let’s talk about writing.  In fact, let’s talk about a particular genre of writing with which I was once involved…

At one time I was a pretty good erotica writer.

Now, I don’t mean like I did a great job writing Fifty Shades of Gray style stories.  I’ve tried my hand at a few of those and it didn’t turn out well.  See, for me to really be good, I need to get into fantasy, or at least something with a bit of unrealness to it.  I just can’t do real life.

Suggestive Amusements was like that.  One of the classical muses comes to Las Vegas and helps out a struggling writer and all is well.  Oh, and there was a bit of a lover’s triangle in there as well and not a bit of sex, either.  I had a lot of fun writing it, coming up with histories for a few of my characters, having my muse characters–and at least one goddess–have conversations, and I used the story to work out some frustrations I had with one job.

I haven’t written anything like that since.

Since 2013 I’ve been preoccupied with a little opus that seems to take up all my writing time.  When I’m not working on the novel I’m doing TV recaps that also keep me pretty busy.  There isn’t time to go back and work on extemporaneous stories that take away from the trials and tribulations of my witchy kids.

And, the reality of writing being what it is, I haven’t even thought about penning another story.

Hold on there…  That’s not exactly true.

Of late there’s been another story bouncing about in my head that is, more or less, completely thought out.  If I actually sat down and wrote it out, it might take me a week to finish and another week to polish.  I thought this particular fantasy erotica story would vanish much like the one before had come and gone over the period of a few days, but no:  it’s still there.  Demanding attention.  Demanding to be let out.

I really don’t want to waste my time with something that I feel is gonna be a diversion of time that can be better spent doing other things, but dammit if this won’t let me go.  Maybe it’s time to admit that there are moments in your life when you have to listen to your muse and take the road not traveled in a while, visit that path, enjoy the sights–

And get a Wattpad account.