Alone in Nox

My day is starting off pretty much the wrong way.  Sure, I managed close to a thousand words last night, finishing off a scene where Kerry is having to beg two of his favorite older females to help him with a problem, but that was last night.  Today is today, and it started about four AM.  Which is not cool.

The thing that woke me up was a rather depressing dream.  What happened isn’t very clear:  it seemed like I was boxing up people and preparing to send them somewhere.  Everything was gray and near permanent twilight, and I could tell that I wasn’t happy.  No, not in the least.

Not long after I woke up I started, for no reason at all, thinking about the deaths of my characters.  And then of a scene where one of them gets hurt bad, really torn up, and starts sobbing uncontrollably over the loss of someone close to them.  And then . . .

Well, then I sort of lay in a half-awake, half-asleep state until the alarm went off, and the computer came up, and I started writing this.  The way my mornings almost always start.

"Am I having fun with this blogging thing yet?"

“Am I having fun with this blogging thing yet?  Just askin’, you know?”

Something I realized while lying in bed:  I don’t remember my dreams that much any more.  And when I do, there’s little that’s memorable about them.  Two years ago I used to write a lot about my dreams, because I had some interesting things going on in my head.  I also had some horribly, hellacious stress going on in my life as well, but that’s another story.

But maybe that’s it:  maybe all the stress I felt then caused me to fall back into my dreams to find peace.  And I used to find it; there were all sorts of things I used to encounter there.  I also encountered a soul-sucking blackness once that frightened the hell out of me once I was awake, but you gotta take the bad with the good, right?

These days, however, it seems like none of that happens.  Even with all the stress and pain I feel with my current, long-ass, never-seeming-to-end novel, it never seems as if I find any solace in sleep.  When I do remember anything, it’s all different shades of gray and feelings that nothing right is happening, or ever will happen.  It’s pretty much as if there isn’t much happiness in the waking hours, and that translates over to the Land of Dreams, where goddamn Morpheus is busy playing Battleship with his sister Death, and hasn’t the time to do anything to help out a poor girl.

I used to dream of old Cassidy, the girl I invented before–well, before she became me.  I had dreams of The Monster House before I wrote down notes about how it would make a great story, and that recurring dream never recurred.  The one I miss the most is my Muse.  I never dream of her any more, and she used to be there a lot.  So many times.

Now, nothing.  She’s gone.  Somewhere out there, but not visiting me.  And that leaves me sadder every day.

This might only be something temporary.  Maybe there’s something in The Burg that sucks up all the good energy that leaves you great dream, and all that remains is as gray and semi-lifeless as this place can be at times.

All I know is, I want my dreams back.

It’s not enough to dream about them; it’s everything to live thought them once the lights go out and your eyes close.

Why deny someone a little happiness in their subconscious?

Quibbles in the Bits

Yesterday I roamed off on my own to see Godzilla.  There are many reasons I wanted to see the movies, but mostly it’s due to remembering seeing the first movie as a kid and completely digging the idea there were gigantic reptiles living in the ocean that would come up and smash your cities into dust just for the hell of it–and if you have radiation breath, that’s a plus, too.  I wanted to see it to scrub my brain forever of something that was released in 1998 that showed the role of the King of Kaijus performed by a mutated iguana.

It was like watching Pacific Rim, only there weren’t gigantic mecha beating the hell out of monsters, it was monster-on-monster action, and a lot of property damage left in the wake of such throwdowns.  It also drove home the point that Godzilla does not like Goggle Hipster Buses, so suck on that.

But . . . I gotta quibble.

I know you’re rolling your eyes right about now:  “Cassie, it’s a movie about giant monsters, and you’re written articles about how that’s impossible because of the square-cube law, so of course you’re gonna quibble.”  No, you’ve got me wrong.  If I’m digging something, I can suspend my disbelief enough that I know what I’m seeing is in no way possible, but I’m still gonna enjoy the movie.  That’s why I like Pacific Rim:  I know you can’t build those mecha, but that doesn’t keep me from cheering for Gypsy Dagger from kicking kaiju ass.

No, I gotta quibble about something else, and that is . . . geography.

There is a scene in the movie–and you can stop reading right now if you don’t want this spoiled for you, but if you’re like the majority of my friends you’ve either seen the movie already, or you won’t case, because it’s a minor point–where Las Vegas gets its whomping (as seen in the trailers shown everywhere) because the American kept a monster egg somewhere they should:  namely the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.  That’s a doubleplusungood idea, folks, but the part that made me go, “Why did you do that?” is showing the monster walking towards Vegas, presumably to try the lobster and champagne Sunday brunch at Caesars Palace, from the point of view of the section of Yucca Mountain it just busted out from.

Ugh–why did you just spoil my monster madness with something so wrong?

Most people will see this and go, “Nuke crap is being stored that close to Vegas?  Horrors of horrors!  What the hell is wrong with those people?”  That’s because they don’t know where Yucca Mountain is.  I do.  Why?  Because I’m strange.  And I love exploring by map.

So allow me to explain:

This is the Yucca Mountain Repository.  It’s not hidden from sight–hell, little is these days.

"You're not catching me on my best day."

“You’re not catching me on my best day.”

Pretty desolate place, right?  That tends to happen in the desert.

According to the movie Vegas has to be right over the next panel, right?  I mean, you can see the monster walking there . . .

Hope the monster brought water; wouldn't want it to get dehydrated in the desert.

Hope the monster brought water; wouldn’t want it to get dehydrated in the desert.

In case you’re wondering. the distance between those points is 86 miles, or 140 kilometers, with the point in Vegas sitting in the middle of the street between Caesars and Bellagio, which we see getting smacked around in the movie.  Those must be good cameras to be able to see that far, you know what I mean?

And to pick a few more nits, the monster is suppose to be going to San Francisco–presumably with flowers in its hair–and if that’s the case, you’re going the wrong way!  You’re not going to find anything interesting in Las Vegas save for a lot of people crying over lost mortgage money when they doubled down on 18, so why visit?  You know what would have been an even better place to visit?  Here:

I'll bet property values here are low.

I’ll bet property values here are low.

That’s the Nevada Test Range, aka Where We Used to Make Atom Bombs go Boom.  Each one of those craters is the aftermath of a nuclear detonation, particularly the one top and center:  that’s Sedan Crater in Area 10 of the Nevada Test Range, produced by the Sedan Nuclear Test on 6 July, 1962.  The crater is big enough to be seen from the ISS with the unaided eyes, which is another way of saying it’s big.  It’s 30 miles northeast of Yucca, and monsters who just busted out from an underground storage area would probably enjoy hanging there for a bit.

But wait!  Why stop there?  Because if you go just a little further to the east you hit this place:

Who said the desert was empty?  There's all sorts of stuff here!

Who said the desert was empty? There’s all sorts of stuff out there!

There’s Sedan Crater in the lower left corner, but what’s this airport in the upper right corner?  That, my friends, is officially known as the Groom Lake Test Facility (Groom Lake is that extremely shinny salt flat to the north of the runway), but we all know and love this joint as Area 51.  Only another 13 miles, or 21 kilometers, hike from the crater, and the monster could of hung out with some alien buds from Independence Day!  What a missed opportunity for a great crossover.

What does this all mean?  Nothing, really.  I get to rant for the morning, and you get a bit of a geography lesson brought about because Gareth Edwards wanted to set up a scene of Monster Apocalypse in Sin City.  Don’t make it wrong or bad, but Gareth, please:  next time call me and I’ll do your research for ya.  And I’m cheep, too.  Just call, bud.

But what about me, Cassie?  Do you still love me?

But what about me, Cassie? Do you still love me?

I still love you, Big G.  You’ll always be King of the Monsters to me.

See you at the squeal.

Flashing Between Both Sides Now

Once in a while you need to go back and look back on what you used to do.  Sometimes you want to see what you were doing a couple of years ago and find out if things are getting better, have gotten better, or if they’ve slipped off the shelf and fallen right into the crapper.

It’s been a strange two years for me.  At that time I had just finished a novel and was trying to edit it so I could publish it one day–that day being almost a year later–I’d written a novella, I was working on another novella, and I was thinking about working on another short novel.  Also, I was working my first contract job after having done nothing for just over three years, and the experience was a bit unsettling because my place of employment wasn’t the greatest in the world and it was leaving me bummed like few things did.

At the same time, today, two years ago, I had my first meeting with my therapist, and started on the road I am today to becoming more like I should.  And I’m still writing.  Not publishing anything, no.  Not at the moment, because I have to rethink how I do that.  But writing, yes.

Always Be Writing, or you get no coffee.

Like this:

 

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

How do I work this, then? Do what Annie said: think of you making it turn. In order to do that— Professor Douglas told them she didn’t want them using foci, but was one making a motion with their hands a foci? He’d seen Annie flip her fingers and hands when working her spell, and if the professor didn’t say anything to her . . .

 

You go there, boy.  And always listen to your girlfriend.

The funny thing is, during that time, two years gone now, I’d written maybe sixty thousand words between the first of the year and the middle of May while working–and here I am, having written about eighty thousand words between the first of December and the middle of May while working.  Is that good?  Is it better?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  Volume doesn’t mean quality, it just means you’re spending a lot of time in front of the computer typing.

Like this:

 

He pointed his left index finger at his spindle and visualized how it might appear were he to place his finger upon the object and turn it around. But I don’t have to touch it, I only have to imagine I’m touching it. With the image firmly in his mind, Kerry felt the tingling at the back of neck telling him he’d once more tapped into that mystical power source that witches used to alter all around them.

All that remained was one little thing.

 

And that little thing is–what?  We’ll get to that in a moment.

Two years from now, if I am still alive, I will have seen pictures beamed back from Pluto, which will be pretty cool, planet or not.  I’ll probably still be on-line, hearing all sorts of crazy shit, most of it BS that can be refuted with a simple Google search, but where’s the fun in that?

I’ll also be writing.  Always Be Writing, or . . . you know how it goes, right?  In the meantime . . .

 

Kerry slowly circled his finger to the left, and the spindle matched his movements. He performed three circles to the left, stopped, then repeated the motion, circling his finger three times to the right before bringing the spindle to a complete stop.

He looked up at the student progress board and saw his name flashing green.

Wednesday walked over, a pleased look upon her face. “Well, Kerry, I’d say you got that one down. And you did it in nearly the same amount of time as Annie.” Her eyes shifted to the person on his left. “And I believe there was something you were going to do?”

Kerry touched Annie’s arm, his fingers light upon her wrist. “You can do it. I know you can.”

Annie nodded slowly as she focused on the spindle. She raised her hand and slowly curled back two of her fingers. “Yes, love—” She smiled as the spindle smoothly rose ten centimeters from the table surface. “I know you know I can.”

 

See?  Even when I’m writing I’m finishing up my scene from last night.

Always Be Writing, folks.  Sure, it’s only three hundred fourteen words I put down this morning, but after a while, it adds up.

That first draft is always the best draft.

That first draft is always the best draft.

Out of the Home and Back Into Class

Right now it’s raining like hell here in The Burg, so much so that there’s the look of flooded Armageddon out there.  And I have to walk in this stuff.  Oi.  Time to get out the heavy coat again, because it’s in the low sixties out there, and it’s gonna feel chilly.

But that’s not really important, because I did it, I really, really did it.  Act One is rewritten.  All the stuff I set out to do five weeks ago is accomplished.  I finished up with this, something I’ve never shown before:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie hugged him tight. “I’ve never been this happy either, Kerry. I wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t come.” She pulled away so she could wipe his tears from his cheek. “I love you; I do.”

“I know you do.” He smiled and looked away for a moment, then kissed her on the cheek. “I know I love you, too. It’s just . . . I’m not used knowing what it’s like—but I like how it’s starting to feel. And I don’t want it to ever end.”

“Good.” She leaned in and quick kissed him on the lips, feeling his happiness flow into her. “Because you’re going to feel my love every day.”

She stepped back and looked at her surroundings for a second before turning back to Kerry. There was so much she wanted to tell him: what she’d discussed at Memory’s End, how she almost didn’t come to Salem, how tortured she felt because he didn’t remember her from their dreams, and how she felt because they still weren’t seeing each other there now.

But she also wanted to tell him how she felt flying with him today, how wonderful it was being alone in the sky and sailing along at a leisurely pace, loving that he never tried to get her to push her abilities. As he’d told her, it was like bike riding in the sky—and she knew what his old bicycle meant to him.

You make me happy, Kerry. She tilted her head to one said and imagined her name next to his in the special book up in her room. I don’t know why you don’t remember me, or why you find it as difficult to love me as I love you—but I don’t care. I have you now, and I will live with that joy forever.

Annie held out her right hand. “Come on, love. Let’s go home.”

Kerry wordlessly took her hand and quietly walked beside her to the place they would share for the next six years—

They went home.

End of Act One

"See ya!"

“See ya!”

Then decided I was going to take a break and–nah!  Are you kidding?  I went right back into the last new chapter I started:

"Well hello again!"

“Well hello again!”

And showed Wednesday and her frustrated students a week later:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“Why is this so hard?” Felisa Ledesma nearly threw up her hands before mumbling something in Spanish. “This isn’t fair.”

The second week of class, and the mantra that Wednesday Douglas knew was coming had arrived: It’s too hard; I don’t get how I’m suppose to do magic; I can’t visualize what I’m suppose to do. And the oldest but best of the lot: This isn’t fair.

Wednesday knew it wasn’t easy for Normal kids to get the basics down right away. Magic was a lot of “Do or Do Not” work: either you could bring Visualization, Energy, and Willpower together and make it all work without much difficulty, or you were going to spend some time struggling. Not that if you were good with magic you weren’t going to struggle now and then, but if a student couldn’t develop a good grasp of the VEW triumvirate, and do it quickly, they weren’t going to much of a witch.

I can only show them to the door and open it for them. Wednesday returned Felisa’s frown with a smile. It’s up to them to step through and make themselves at home in the world of magic.

 

It’s not fair that I can’t turn Bobby into a frog yet; magic is hard!  Oh, and somebodies were getting accused of cheating, which is sort of where I left that chapter–

No, actually, I left my kids in the Spells House library, with Annie trying to explain a certain magical concept to Kerry before he starts marching down the wrong path to witchdom.  No way Annie’s gonna let him do that, no sir.

Just for the sake of having to know, I checked the word count on Act One when I was finished messing with it.  I’d cut out scenes, but I’d also added a few things here and there to clarify the new stuff.  And the final word count was . . .

149,700.

Before I began the rewrites the total word count had been 140,290, so how in the hell did I end up adding a short story to this already huge sucker?  Oi, again.  Also, I added almost a thousand words to the new scene last night, while chatting with a friend, because yeah, that’s how I am.

Oh, well:  I get this sucker published, no one can say they aren’t getting their money’s worth . . .

By Lovely Lake Lovecraft Once More

So this happened last night:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“Thank you.” She walked slowly out into the hallway. “I enjoyed our talk as well.” She turned and headed towards the steps leading to the lower level.

Deanna’s eyes unfocused for perhaps a second before she snapped back to reality. “Don’t take the tunnels.”

“What?” Annie spun around quickly. “What’s what?”

“Don’t take the tunnels to The Pentagram. Take the paths.”

“Why?”

“It’s a nice day; you never know what you’ll see on the way.” She nodded towards the main entrance. “Go on.”

She wouldn’t be telling me to take the paths unless she knew something. Annie grinned a little, then turned and headed slowly to the main entrance. Once there she turned, her hand pressed against one of the large doors. “Goodbye . . . Deanna.” Then she slipped outside, the doors closing behind her with a whisper.

Deanna kept her own grin affixed until the door were closed. The moment she was alone in the building her face took on a far more serious demeanor. She stepped back into the middle of her office and closed the door, then slipped deep into thought.

She finally pulled herself back to her surroundings and looked about. “So I was right.” She reached for her table. “I need to speak with Trevor.” Deanna’s eyes narrowed. “He’ll know who to contact.”

 

Damn seers:  they know everything, and tell you nothing.  Sneaky like cats, I tell ya.

The rewrites are, as far as I’m concerned, finished.  Character corrections are completed and there really isn’t anything more to do–save get back into Act Two and start writing.  Except . . . I gotta go through all the last scenes before the end of Act One and check for mistakes.  I also get to reread things:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie returned her gaze to the path. Rather than retracing the route Kerry and she had taken on their first trip to Memory’s End, she took the longer, wider path leading to Gwydion Manor. From there she thought she’d head south to the main Witch House path, or take the path winding around the south and west shore of Lake Lovecraft. Dolvan Pavillion sat upon the west shore, and Annie saw it as a good place to sit and reflect upon what Professor Arrakis and she had discussed. Maybe she would ponder her dreams of the past, and try and imagine what the future would bring—

“Excuse me, Miss?”

Annie heard the voice and looked around, expecting someone to jump out from behind a tree. But that’s Kerry’s voice, and he’s not in the trees . . . She looked up and saw nothing, then turned to her right and saw a shadow slowly moving along the ground behind her.

She twisted around and looked up again—

Kerry was hovering maybe five meters above her, floating around to position himself before Annie. She watched as he dropped nearly to the ground, then rotated about so he was facing her. “Do you have a moment to hear about the horned god of our coven, Cernunnos?” He settled down until he was hovering a meter away, eye-to-eye and grinning wildly. “You’ll want to hear about it now before you sleep in the tower tonight.”

Kerry.” She bounded the short distance to her soul mate, standing to his left.  “Look at you.”

“Yeah.” He took his hands off the broom and lifted his goggles.  “Look at me.”

 

I can see this routine going over well in Boston.  Then again, he can knock on your door with his broom and float away if you don’t want to listen.

Though I managed to delve a little into the last scene, the last one I worked upon in full was Lovely Lake Lovecraft–which, as the resident Dark Witch tells everyone, has nothing to do with her.  Here is the scene in full:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

The sunshine lay warm upon Annie’s face while she squinted up into a sky full of light clouds. After a morning of flying and exploring, she was resting upon her back on the north short of Lake Lovecraft, and the moments Kerry and she had shared played through her memories.

They’d flow over the school grounds at a low, leisurely pace—”bicycle speed” as Kerry said. They found buildings they didn’t know existed—all three of the groundskeeper’s buildings scattered around the grounds, and a long building north of Lake Lovecraft that they’d not walked near, but that Kerry recalled reading that it was known as the Firing Range. They flew over all the science buildings, the Hanger, and the Aerodrome. They found another lake and a small spring, with neither appearing to have a path leading to either. They found courses cut out through the woods that Annie knew were used for racing.

They flew over The Diamond and were astounded by its immenseness. They flew around the Observatory where the dome was open with a few students standing about, taking in the bright noon air and looking at the scenery beyond the walls. They managed a touchdown on the outside deck, much to the surprise of the students and Professor Bashagwani, who was working on the telescope. They stayed long enough to enjoy a small mug of her special hot chocolate before sailing off into the sky once again.

Kerry showed Annie the route Professor Salomon and he took when they buzzed The Pentagram. They did it once, then ten minutes later did it again, only at a speed like the first time Kerry had flown the route with the professor. This time, however, instead of flying past Åsgårdsreia Tower, they circled around and landed inside the Pentagram Garden near Mórrígan Tower before heading into the Great Hall to get lunch.

Annie heard the murmur running through the Dining Hall the moment they both entered wearing their flying gear and carrying their brooms. She watched Kerry the whole time, noticing how confident he appeared, as if how he was dressed and what he was carrying had become a normal part of his life. She saw that he wasn’t strutting about the room, that none of the attention was going to his head. It’s time for lunch, and he’s talking a break from flying—nothing more or less. He’s not about showing off; he only wants us to eat.

At no time in her life did Annie believe she’d share a moment like this with anyone. Her mother told her a few times that her Papa was the flier in the family, that she’d done what was necessary to get through A Level Flying, and that they rarely flew together except during class. Annie was aware she wasn’t much of a flier, either, and after her disastrous first flight, her interest had become less than zero.

But when Kerry asked her to fly with him, she couldn’t say no. His desire to see her fly, and his confidence at her unseen abilities, drove her to show him, her love, that she could meet his expectations. And his confident spilled over onto her being, for she’d never expected to sit upon an Espinoza and have it perform as expected.

Today, she’d piloted her broom as if she’d piloted one for years.

They flew another thirty minutes after lunch before setting down on the northern shore of Lake Lovecraft, unzipping their flight jackets and laying down next to each other upon the grass. Everything seemed so perfect to Annie—or as perfect as anything she’d felt since meeting Kerry two weeks ago. The weather, the company, being together on another adventure: given how the day has begun, she couldn’t ask for a finer interlude.

Yet something nagged her, and she soon understood that there was something she had to tell Kerry . . .

She stared into the sky while moving closer to him. “Can I ask you to do something for me?”

Kerry was lost in his own thoughts, but he heard Annie’s voice clearly. “Sure.”

“If you should ever meet my father . . .” She reached for Kerry’s left hand, holding it tightly against her stomach. “Please don’t tell him about this day.”

He knew the chances were slim that he’d meet Annie’s parents any time soon, but he respected her wish enough not to ask why. “Sure, Sweetie.”

“Thank you, my love.” She held onto his hand, as if she expected to float away without an anchor. “Thank you for everything.”

 

And that’s where I leave them, at a spot at the school where so many feelings will come to them over the course of this year:  a moment of rest, a moment of confession, a moment of remembrance.  But those last two are some time off in the future, both in the book and writing.  Tonight they go home–and I can move on with my kids, in the way they were meant to be seen.

Though there seems to be some confusion about what sort of students they're rousting.

Though there seems to be some confusion about what sort of students we have at this school.

The Editing Muse

There was no editing last night.  None.  Nada.  Absolutely zero.  And I’m certain my story feels badly about the whole thing.

"We miss you!"

“We missed you!”

I’m sure you do, pumpkin, but mommy had other things to do last night.  Like drive to Silver Springs, MD, and hang out with an author friend I’ve know for a long time, but never met, Dana Myles.  We walked, we ate, we chatting–you know, doing things that normal people do.  It was fun, and it’s something I should get out and do more often.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t think about my story.  Oh, no.  We talked about it.  A lot.  Dana wanted to hear all about my story, and I was ready to tell her–

But I was also thinking about something else on the ride down, which was a nice, long one because someone decided to take out a lot of guard railing in Baltimore, leaving me stranded in a five mile long backup for almost an hour.  I thought about editing.

Yesterday’s posted elicited a few comments on editing, and the consensus seems that editing is the suck.  Most writers I know hate editing.  Even though they know they need it, when their story tries to send them to editing, they say no, no, no.  I was the same way; I dreaded getting into editing mode.  Such a pain in the ass–

Well . . . not really.

One thing I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that editing isn’t a necessary evil, it’s just necessary.  Because no matter what you do to get your story off the ground, no matter what you do to make certain it’s going to become a good story, there’s always something . . . off.

A lot of my feelings on the matter of getting your first draft perfect match what I wrote back in late January of this year:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry didn’t look at Professor Ellison as he mumbled a reply. “I don’t . . . I’m not sure I’d be any good.”

“I can understand that.” Ellison now moved a little closer, relaxing to keep his body language neutral. “Are you worried you’re gonna suck?”

Annie almost laughed; Kerry looked up a bit surprised by the question. “A little.”

“That’s okay, you know—” The professor leaned against the machine closest to Kerry, but he kept the boy the center of his attention. “As a creative person you have permission to suck—particularly if it’s your first time trying something. Writing, painting, drawing, playing: the first time you try any of these things you’re probably going to suck—and that’s okay.”

“I’d rather not suck in front of a bunch of people.”

“No one does, but even the best do now and then. And between now and and the weekend after the 21st of March, you’ve got about five months to practice and get better.” He decided to try another approach. “You know who never sucks?”

Kerry almost said “Professionals,” then caught himself because he knew of numerous examples where they had. “No. Who?”

“The people who never take a shot. The ones who are sitting in the audience going on about how people suck, how you suck, all the while sitting there running off their mouths.” He let himself relax, so as to put Kerry at ease. “I can get you a good tutor. I know just the perfect one for you, too.” He stepped away from the synthesizer and stood before the boy. “What do you think? Wanna be one of the few A Levels who gets up and shows everyone what you got?”

You are allowed to suck, but it’s a good idea to keep the sucking to a minimum.  That’s why Professor Ellison wants to get a tutor for Kerry–because there is sucking, and then there’s “That’s one hell of a train wreck, fella,” sucking.  It’s one of the reasons I spend so much time setting up my novels before the first word goes on the page, because far too many times I’ve seen people put up a post about how they’re seventy thousand words into their story, and it’s a complete hot mess and can’t be rescued–

That’s train wreck level sucking, and I stay away.  I always try to figure out my story well ahead of time, so I get rid of the plot holes and the such.  One of the reasons I time line things out the way I do is because I don’t want to mess that stuff up.  Like I pointed out last night, there are events that happened to Annie and Kerry in Part Three of Act One that never get resolved until about Chapter Twenty-Eight of Act Three.  There’s something that happens to Kerry in Part Three of Act One that doesn’t get resoled until the third book.  There are things that I just have to know, because . . .

I’m like that.

And yet, no matter how good you are with a story, there are times you get something wrong–something that is way, way the opposite of right, and then your story–more likely a beta reader who hates what you’ve done with a character–turns and comes at you like an unstoppable creature who has you tied up in the bathroom, and is hell-bent on forcing you to return to the story and rewrite things so they become right!

"You have her crying--crying?  No, no:  you will go back and you will fix her!  I look serious, do I not?  Then, when you are finished, we have Jell-o with lots of sugar--"

“You have her crying–crying? No, no: you will go back and you will fix her! I look serious, do I not? Then, when you are finished, and all is correct, we’ll have Jell-O with lots of sugar–“

There’s a muse you do not fuck with.

You do it because, as a writer, you have to get it right.  You’re allowed some sucking on that first draft:  there’s no excuse after that.  That’s why I edit.  And guess what?

I actually kinda like it.

In Dreams They May

This thing last night . . . it’s called editing, and after sweating through a scene that was sort of driving me crazy, I finally cracked the code I was looking for and headed forward.

This was Annie’s scene, a rewrite of her visit to Professor Arrakis, to tell her about her dreams of her Ginger Haired Boy, and how she was feeling after two weeks of being with him in real life.  They weren’t the same, and it was not only driving her a little crazy, but she was starting to wonder if she should even bother with him, since he seemed to not be the same boy she remembered from sleepy time trysts.

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie didn’t want to go over that moment again: she needed to tell the professor about what was in her heart and mind now. “There were things we said to each other in my dreams—that I said; that he said. Heartfelt words . . .” She turned and stared off to the side for a moment, remembering those words spoken in her dreams. “I know he meant all that he said, but now everything is so different that those moments in my dreams . . .

“What, if after all that happened before—what if he doesn’t want me? What if after all these years of needing him next to me, he doesn’t care, he doesn’t love me? What if he wants someone else?” She brushed her hair back from her face with more effort this time.  “Or worse, what if I keep at him to be with me—what if I’m just pushing him to say he loves me, but he doesn’t, but he still stays with me because he feels obligated to make me happy?

“What if he hates me for that? What if he stays and comes to hate me because he knows I’m a selfish girl who never cared what he wanted?” She lay back against her pillow and stared at the ceiling, her mind swirling with all the possible problems she’d imagined happening.  “Deanna, what will I do?”

Deanna immediately moved to Annie’s side and to be closer to her.  Though he wasn’t visibly distraught, her aura told the seer otherwise. She hold everything inside and doesn’t show others her true emotions—but I can see what most others can’t. I know how she feels.

She reached down and stroked Annie’s hair. “You’re so tortured by your feelings. I understand them, Annie—I do.”

Annie looked up at the professor and relaxed as the seer ran her fingers over her hair. “Thank you . . . Deanna.” She’d decided there was no longer any point in being formal while she was being comforted this way. “I’m sorry for how I acted.”

“There’s no reason to be sorry. I know how upsetting these things become.” Deanna slipped back to her pillows. “You’re both emotional—but you each have your own way of presenting.”

Annie found enough humor and truth in the statement to chuckle. “You’re right. I’m the opposite of Kerry.”

Now that she was aware of Annie’s fears, it was Deanna’s task to try and put them to rest. “You came to me because I know your rune dream and knew something of your relationship with Kerry. But I also believe you came because my position as a coven leader—along with my abilities—give me a far different perspective on matters.”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“May I make a few observations on your ginger haired boy?”

Annie rolled over and faced the professor. “Yes, Deanna.  You may.”

 

That Annie:  stroke here hair and she gets so personable.  Someone should tell Kerry.

It was the visibly distraught part that I had to work past.  First pass through there were tears and a bit of tissue passing.  But, see:  when you’re not the sort of person who lets her feelings show–like Annie–how does one know you’re really hurting?

Why, you hang out with witches who can see the future and read your aura.  Simple, neh?

I was able to get into Part Two of their discussion, which was broken apart by Kerry flying about the school like the Red Baron and thinking about all the sucker kids he knew back in Cardiff.  The second part deals with a report Deanna, as a coven leader, read on Kerry.  It didn’t paint a pretty picture; in fact, the kid in the report came off as a bit depressed and emotionally disconnected.  Deanna was starting to see something different, however:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“Now, with regards to your concerns . . . I watched you both after Trevor and I left. I saw how you sat with Kerry, how he held you, how you both talked the rest of the night. He didn’t seem like a boy who didn’t want to be with you, or who was upset with you. He seemed like a boy who was content and pleased to sit with a close friend and enjoy her company. He looked like a boy who was sitting with—if I may be forward—his girlfriend.

“What I see is a boy who enjoys your affection. He’s been so detached from his emotions for so long that I don’t feel he’s afraid that things are going too fast—I feel he’s afraid he won’t know how to respond to your feelings properly.” Deanna tilted her head slightly to the right. “He’s an eleven year old boy dealing with an entirely new world, and it’s possible he’s worried, or even a little scared, that he’s going to do or say the wrong thing and upset you. From what I’ve seen of Kerry, he doesn’t want to upset you, Annie. That’s the last thing on his mind.”

All that she heard from Deanna surprised Annie, because she already knew Kerry, and her experience told her the lonely, sad boy The Foundation reported upon was nothing at all like her soul mate. “It so strange hearing Kerry described that way—”

“This is all different for you, too, Annie. The Kerry you saw in your dreams and visions was likely a far more stylized version of the boy you see here and now. Now that you’ve—”

No, Deanna.”

 

When Annie says “no”, she means it.  Good thing the instructors are pretty laid back.  Except for Erywin:  she might slap you if you get her in the right mood.  Helena would, too.  And Jessica . . . we won’t go there.

This is the last chapter in Act One, and my character rewrites are almost complete.  A nice little six, seven week detour, but really, it was necessary.  When Chapter Twelve is over and done, then I can move on.

"Edit in Progress" right near the end.  That means I'm almost done, right?

“Edit in Progress” right near the end. That means I’m almost done, right?

Tonight there won’t be any editing, however.  Tonight, I hop in the car and head south to D.C. to meet up with a fellow writer.  Cassie’s on the Town.

You better watch out!

Inside the Blue Event Horizon

Today I make the Walk of Shame back to work, past the point where I crashed and burned on Friday afternoon.  The arms are better, but the right side still hurts, and the head is a bit woozy from the sleep medication I took last night.  I’ll make it through the day, however, ’cause that’s what I’m suppose to do, right?

So many things to do today:  work, maybe having someone come into my apartment to look at my A/C, which shut off about 5:30 PM (or 17:30 as the people at my Salem school would say), and then decided to come back on about four hours later, return some glasses frames I was trying on over the weekend . . . oh, that was fun.  The one frame I like, I was told I look a little like a soccer mom when I wear them with my hair pinned back.  And here I thought I was going to be sexy.

I spent the afternoon rewriting, however.  I found what I was looking for in the scene I described yesterday, and this happened:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

She stood frozen as Kerry almost kissed her on the cheek, then pulled away at the last moment. Annie said nothing, was unable to say anything, for her mind remained enchanted by the three words he’d spoken moments before. She didn’t know why he hesitated, why he pulled back with his face etched in confusion, why he touched her face once more and then said something before turning and heading for the stairs.

The shadowy tower turned darker as Annie’s mind began spinning. She couldn’t move and she her chest constricted as the air grew thick and oppressive. She drew in a small breath and forced herself to mutter the one word that filled her thoughts—

“Kerry.”

She pitched over backwards into dust of a hundred years.

Kerry had only reached the stairs when he heard Annie call his name weakly, and turned just in time to see her go over backwards onto the ground, her feet bouncing up in the air as she landed hard on her back. “Oh, holy geez.” He ran over and knelt beside her.

Annie was awake, but dazed.  “Kerry?”

“Yeah, I’m here.  What happened?”

Things were slowly coming back into focus: she sensed Kerry kneeling next to her, though he seemed little more than another shadow in the darkness. “I’m . . .” She blinked twice. “I just fainted.”

“You fainted? Are you okay?”

How could she explain that question? I am okay, and I’m not. I wanted something from you, and I received more. I wanted to feel loved: what I felt went beyond that. The only thing she could tell Kerry was a truth that he’d understand. “I’m okay.” She offered her hand. “Help me up?”

He helped Annie to her feet and brushed at her clothing. “You really scared me.”

 

Poor Annie:  she gets so excited.  And all for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek.  Maybe they’ll come dancing . . .

And then it was on to other scenes in other chapters, and I fixed up Annie and Kerry pretty much to where they should be.  I also removed a few things that weren’t needed, or were redundant, and things were added:  mostly in the Astria Portal scene, but in other places as well.  And my notes are in place.

The No Crying Zone is only found on Foundation property and planes.  They'd make a fortune flying people around.

The No Crying Zone is only found on Foundation property and planes. They’d make a fortune if they ever went commercial.

I’m in the event horizon of creativity, and these rewrites are nearly over.  Maybe by the end of the week I can start getting my kids into some new mischief.

It’s not like I haven’t been waiting to do so.

Figuring Out That Loving Feeling

This is about as late a going as I get on the blog.  Here it is, 9:30 AM, and I’m just penning my first words.  It’s been a tough weekend, full of hurt and strange feelings.

One of the strangest happened last night.  I’ve been rewriting one of the scenes that I felt was in need of rewriting, something I call Astria Portal because, well, that’s where it takes place.  As stated, it’s the older part of the school that still remains untouched, and in 2011 it remains embedded in what remains of the original north outer wall.

"Set right up, see the 322 year old ruin.  Ever school should have one."

“Set right up, see the 322 year old ruin. Ever school should have one.”

Now it’s easy to find it, and it’s easy to see what the environment is like, because one can go back in time and view the sky at particular dates and times, and one can even get fancy and take a snapshot of the sky at the time and have it sitting in your document so you have a reference.

I don't have a TARDIS, but I have software, and that's almost as good.  Except when you gotta get rid of Daleks--

I don’t have a TARDIS, but I have software, and that’s almost as good. Except when you gotta get rid of Daleks, then it’s a pain.

I have the setting, and I have a bit of the history, and it’s all laid out for the reader . . .

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

They were walking up a slight incline, with the path straightening as they neared a small rise. In the gathering twilight Kerry noticed a structure ahead—something large and familiar. As they reached the top of this ridge, the object came into clear, sharp focus: it was a tower embedded within a long, tall wall, both covered by vines.

They stopped and gazed upon the structures only twenty meters away. Kerry was the one with the questions this time. “What is that?”

Annie knew the answer. “Astria Portal.”

“What’s that?”

“The first astronomy tower.” She gave Kerry a knowing look. “My parents told me about this.” She pointed at the structure. “It was built in 1689, and ended up becoming the home of one of the founders, Astria Blomqvist.” She looked about the darkened forest. “This was all built before the cover towers, before The Pentagram.”

“That’s why it looks like our towers.”

“It was used as the model. My parents told me all the covens were based upon this.”

As they approached the tower Kerry looked to his left and right, seeing the attached wall disappear into the forest. “This looks like the outer wall.”

“At one time it was. When the school first decided to put up an outer wall, this was the northern exit.”

Kerry nodded. “Hence Astria Portal.”

“Yes.”

The path passed through the center of the tower: the doors that had existed on the inside and outside of the wall were no longer used, which allowed for direct, unobstructed passage through the structure. The base was much like the base of the Cernunnos Coven tower—large and open, as if it had once been a commons. There were two stairs ascending to a small mezzanine, and onward to the floor above.

Kerry looked around, trying to imagine what it may have looked like over three hundred years ago. “This place doesn’t look as if it’s been touched in a long time.”

“My parents told me this is the oldest part of the school that hasn’t been remodeled.” Annie slowly turned as she gazed up at point somewhere high on the wall. “They never used it for anything but astronomy classes, and after they built a new tower about a hundred years later, they never used this for anything but storage.”

The age of the tower became all too evident for Kerry after hearing Annie’s explanation. “I need to read up on this place.”

“Not now, I hope.”

He chuckled as he turned toward Annie. “I know better than to start looking up things right this moment.” Kerry approached her. “Did you hear about this before you came here?”

“Yes, I did.” Annie drew Kerry closer to one of the stairs. “My parents—particularly my mama—told me about this place.” She began leading him up the stairs.

 

You go up those stairs, kid, you’re gonna be in trouble.  Who am I kidding?  I wrote him going up the stairs; it’s not like Kerry has any will of his own.

The thing is, I was going along fine, even managing to get this part written:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie pulled Kerry to the middle of the mezzanine. As dark as it was getting outside it was starting to feel even darker here. Just like the coven towers, the only opening here were the open door frames, which meant where they were standing, several meters above the opening, the darkness closed in and enveloped them.

Kerry squeezed Annie’s hands as they stood close together, her face appearing to shine through the shadows. “Why did she tell you about this place?”

“Because . . .” She took Kerry’s left hand and held it to her chest. “It was special to her.” She leaned closer to the one person she thought of almost non-stop, day and night. “This is where she and my father had their first kiss.” She half-closed her eyes as she smiled. “I thought it might be good idea to carry on a family tradition.”

“You do?” Since Kerry had kissed Annie Thursday night, there had been a lot of hand holding and a bit of hugging, and even a peck on the cheek or two, but they’d yet to have another kiss-on-the-lips moment.

But the gloom of the ancient tower, and the way Annie’s face shined in this magnificent darkness, it reminded Kerry of something: a image of a place he’d visited long before. But where? He wasn’t much of a traveler, but since arrived he’d find his thoughts tugging at the back of his mind, working hard to remind him that . . .

And that was what he didn’t understand.

Right now he didn’t ‘cause Annie looked so . . . Cute? Pretty? No, she was more than that—

He stood almost nose-to-nose with Annie, which wasn’t difficult as they were literally the same height. “I’m happy your mother told you about coming here.” He touched her right arm, running his hand slowly towards her shoulder. “Because I get to be here with you.”

Annie felt her breath coming in short bursts. “And I’m here with you.”

His fingers glided over her shoulder and lightly brushed her cheek. “You are lovely.” He brushed her upper lip. “I’m really so lucky.”

 

And then I hit the feelings wall.

I know what Annie was feeling at that point–it’s impossible not to know.  But I was damned if I could get the words to flow.  I couldn’t pull them out.  It was Struggle City, and I didn’t like the sensation.

There were a lot of issues at play.  Maybe it was due to it being late.  Maybe it was due to coming down off a vodka martini I’d drank earlier in the evening, and which hit me hard.  Maybe it was due to feeling bad throughout the day.  Maybe it was my mood, which found me a little down after a pretty good evening, and if there was one thing I didn’t need to feel when Annie was about to experience a most fantastic emotion , it was down.

It was one of the reasons I didn’t head off to Panera this morning as I usually do.  I needed to change things up, because what happened last night was a sensation I didn’t much care for.

Today, however, I’ve had time to mull over the part, and I’ve even spent a lot of time rolling about doing other things just so I could get my mind right on the matter.  I will get this scene written and move on to other scenes in need of similar rewriting.

Writers.

We are a strange bunch.

The Return of the Fictional Faces

This is the part of the blog post where I usually say, “Last night I started writing–“, but that’s not going to happen this morning, because there was no writing last night due to injury.  And by “injury,” I mean while I was walking home from work I, while waiting for a crossing light to change, somehow tripped over my own feet and stumbled right into the intersection.  I did a very good Shuffle Off to Buffalo imitation for about ten feet (or three meters for everyone else outside the US) before going right over and tumbling.  The fortunate part involved no cars happening by at the exact moment I performed this pratfall, though one car did enter the turning lane where this happened about five second after I hit the ground.

I was very lucky indeed.

The downside to this adventure was getting both elbows scrapped up badly, getting a dime-sized hunk of skin torn out of my right thigh due to having a set of keys in my pocket, and bruising the hell out of my ribs to the point where taking a deep breath hurts a lot.  My head hurts a little this morning, making me wonder if slamming down onto hard pavement has given me a slight concussion, because if their is anything the 2001 Daytona 500 taught us, it’s that you don’t have to hit the wall to cause brain damage, you just gotta come to a real sudden stop.

This means I didn’t write much at all last night while I went “Ooh” and “Ouch” every time I moved.  I did make notes for a scene I’m going to rewrite, but that was about the extent of my work.

See?  Notes.  I wasn't lying.

See? Notes. I wasn’t lying.

Since I like to be Chatty Cathy on the weekends, I needed something to talk about.  And then it hit me about 4:30 this morning–yeah, my sleep cycle sucks–remember that time I talked about who I imagined my characters looking like when I put them together?  That was for a story involving people who were at my School of Salem eleven years before–what about the characters now?

Ha!  I got you covered.  Lets go through what I’ve written so far and meet the folks.

 

The Kids and their Families.

First, we have Annie’s family, as they are the first we meet.  Annie is an easy one, because the person who first created her did so for a role play, and she knew how she wanted Annie to look.  Annie looks like Jodelle Ferland, better known as Bree the Soon to be Dead Undead in Twilight: Eclipse.

As for Victor and Pavlina, her mother and father, we have Stanislav Ianevski, the original Bulgarian Bon-Bon, and Eve Myles.

Now over to Wales where we meet Kerry’s family.  Since I was in Cardiff I went on a real Torchwood kick, and came up with the following:

Davyn Malibey — Gareth David-Lloyd

Louise Malibey — Indira Varma

As for Kerry . . . I’ve never based his look off anyone.  He’s kind of short, though no shorter than Annie. with an angular face, green eyes, red hair, lots of freckles around his nose, light complexion inherited from his Irish mother.  Since he doesn’t get out much, he has little muscle tone, and his chest is pretty shallow.  When we first meet him he’s wearing rectangular titanium frame glasses, but by the time he reaches his C Levels he ditches the glasses because one, he’s good with transformation magic, and two, unlike the Harry Potter universe–where transformation magic seems to be used only for changing rats into cups–if you’re good at transformation magic, you can fix your freakin’ eyes.

There are two Foundation people who come to visit Kerry.  I kept with my Torchwood roots and have as Burn Gorman as Mr. Mayhew and Yasmin Bannerman as Ms. Rutherford.  In fact, it’s Yasmin’s appearance in the Torchwood episode, They Keep Killing Suzie, that I pretty much used for Ms. Rutherford’s appearance in my story.

"Escort this new witch to Amsterdam?  Beats getting hit on by this omnisexual bloke."

“Escort these new witches to Amsterdam? Beats getting hit on by this omnisexual bloke.”

The Kids on the Train.

We have Collin and Alica.  They are Jamie Bell, from the movie Billy Elliot, and Kelly Macdonald, best known as the voice of Merida from Brave, and as Ewan McGregor’s “I didn’t tell you I’m fifteen before we had sex?” girlfriend from Trainspotting.

The Plane, The Plane.

Deanna, Erwin, and Helena we’ve already met.  That leaves Headmistress Mathilde Laventure and instructor Adric Lewiston.  They are Audrey Tautou and Matthew Waterhouse.  I mean, Adric?  Come on.  You know I went there.

Cernunnos Coven.

We know Isis and Coraline.  That leaves our kid’s new coven leader.  Professor Holoč Semplen is David Nykl, better known as Dr. Radek Zelenka from Stargate:  Atlantis.

Instructors at School.

We know Wednesday, Jessica, Ramona, and Mathias.

Madeline Palmescoff — Mary-Louise Parker.

Victoria Salomon — Vanessa Angel, who I remember as the Tok’ra Anise from Stargate:  SG-1.

Harpreet Bashagwani — here I have to hang my head in shame, because I’d based her upon the picture of a woman from Hyderabad I’d found on a dating site.  Sure, I could have went with a Bollyword actress, but I didn’t.  So–shame, shame.   I know.

What About Our Librarian?

Trevor Parkman is based upon Anthony Head because it should be obvious, no?

And What About Those Other Meddlesome Kids?

Emmalynne Neilson — There’s only been a few glimpse of her so far, but Kerry and she get a big adventure in Act Two, one that doesn’t leave Annie all that pleased.  She’s modeled after Kirsten Dunst.

Lisa Glissandi — Pain in the Ass Mean Girl is modeled after Taylor Swift, only with a lot less talent due to not having a dumped boyfriend to write songs about.  Give her time, though:  there’s still six years to go.

Anna Laskar — Spooky German Girl was a mystery for a bit until I made the following connection–

Mix this:

"No, really, I'm not dangerous--trust me."

“No, really, I’m not dangerous–trust me.”

With her more grown up psycho bitch hairdo:

"I kept verevolve in basement for years; is normal, no, sestra?"

“I keep verevolve in basement for years; is normal, sestra, no?”

And you have Tatiana Maslany in the part.  Anna probably was a young Helena, full of spooky looks and constantly ampped up on sugar.  Check her for severed tails before letting  her into the Samhain Dance.

There you have it:  pretty much all the bases covered as far as characters go.  That leaves just one thing:

Writing.

Yeah, I should get to that today.

The Grand Exchange of Magic

I did a lot last night.  Or at least it seemed like a lot.  But, yes:  there was a lot that passed out of my imagination and on to more than one various page.

Things were finished up in the garden:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry finally broke the moment. He slowly pulled away, but when Annie looked upon his face, she no longer saw a boy lost in thought: she now saw a slowly growing smile. He found his voice, uttering the only word that made sense given the situation. “Wow.”

“Yes; wow.” She chuckled as she hugged him. “I didn’t expect that.”

“I, uh . . . I didn’t either.”

“Then . . .” She ran her right index finger along his smile line. “Why?”

“Why, what?”

“Why did you kiss me?”

Kerry twisted his smile while he thought. “It seemed like something I was suppose to do.”

Annie watched his eyes closely, wondering if he had drawn upon some forgotten memory. Could it be that he remembers another time when kissing me was that difficult? Did he remember a time when

At that moment a woman’s voice seemed to come from everywhere around them. “Attention, all newly arriving students. Please report to The Rotunda immediately.”

 

Yeah, that was probably the Headmistress, being a killjoy.  Thank, Heady!

There were things changed in Memory’s End; there were things changed in The Witch House–

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

The light in the room was good so it was easy for Annie to instantly recognize the woman. “You were on the flight with us, in the rear cabin.” She didn’t add that she knew her as the other woman who’d stared at her.

The woman brushed her hair back behind her ears, showing off a pair of gold studs that blended nicely with her light caramel complexion. “On the contrary: you were on the flight with me.” Her dark eyes twinkled as they darted from child to child. “Let me see . . .” After a few seconds she snapped her fingers before pointing in Annie’s direction. “You’re Anelie Kirilova.”

Annie hated it when someone used her actual given name without permission. “Yes, I am.”

“I thought I’d heard I was getting a Legacy.” The woman’s eyes narrowed slightly. “I just missed having your parents in my class; they were F Levels when I taught my first year, and neither were asked into sorcery for their CEPs, which I found a bit surprising.” She slowly widened her stance before crossing her arms. “I see your father did well this last weekend.”

“I wouldn’t know—” Annie didn’t like that this woman not only knew so much about her, but had revealed so much in front of Kerry. “I don’t follow my father’s work.”

“Hum.” The woman turned her attention to her other visitor. “I remember you from the flight as well.” This time she held out her hand. “You have a name, Friend of Anelie Victoreva?”

“Kerry Malibey.” He shook her hand, doing his best to make eye contact, which wasn’t something he felt comfortable doing with this woman.

“Helena Lovecraft.” She turned on a little smile as she ended the shake. “Dark Mistress of All.” As she let go of his hand Helena saw a question in Kerry’s eye she hadn’t seen in a while. “I’m not.”

“What?” Kerry turned guarded, as if he’d shared a secret without saying anything.

“I’m not related. Lovecraft.” She set her hands on her hips, but came off far more relaxed than when she’d spoke with Annie. “As far as I’m aware we’re no relation, but who knows? Maybe there’s something my father hasn’t told me.”

 

That Dark Mistress of All:  a real butt buster.

There were changes in the meadow, where all things were laid out, but not in the way one would have expected:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“Just a lot . . .” His sigh was long and sounded full of exhaustion. “I don’t walk like this back home. I don’t go out that much at all. And if I do go out, I take a bus.” He leaned into Annie, but this time his sigh was full of contentment. “I just need to get my energy back.” He looked across the open area before them. “What is this place?”

“It’s called Selena’s Meadow. One of the largest open spaces here—or so I read.” With Kerry leaning against her shoulder and arm Annie couldn’t say she found herself in an undesirable position. But her thoughts continued to drift back to this morning’s meeting, and their meetings with the instructors. Professor Semplen’s was by far the most normal, discussing plans for growing and testing, but even without Professor Arrakis drawing a vision from from Kerry and her, there was Professor Douglass talking about cantrips and foci and how they’d bring about spell effects—and the less said about Professor Lovecraft and her passive-aggressive needling designed to point out things about Annie without actually saying them, the better.

And the location they were now headed towards—Annie felt a knot form in the pit of her stomach the moment Kerry said he wanted to check out the Flight School. If there was one thing she was extremely familiar with it was flight, and she was fearful of how he was going to react when he saw what transpired there . . .

At that moment two people flew by on long, slender, mechanical devices, close enough to the ground that one could see the processor in the back, the seat in the middle, and the heads-up HUD in front. But for someone not versed in the history of these machines, they bore a striking resemblance to something far more familiar . . .

Kerry stirred immediately, much to Annie’s chagrin. “Those guys are flying. Are those—”

Annie saw no point in hiding the truth. “Those are PAVs.”

He turned towards Annie. “What’s that?”

Even though she’d started the conversation, Annie was afraid to continue. To admit what she knew was to admit she’d hidden things from Kerry all week—but after her admissions last night, she found it impossible to pretend any longer—

Kerry took Annie’s hand and held it between his. “It’s okay.”

“What is?”

“I know.”

What makes you so certain you know anything? She almost asked that question, but decided on something less glib. “You know what?”

“That you’re like the instructors.” He leaned in close and lowered his voice to a near-whisper. “Special.” He squeezed her hand. “Not that you aren’t already.”

She wanted to dote on Kerry’s last comment, but she decided to leave that for later. “How did you know?” Annie turned her hand over and pressed her palm into his. “When did you know?”

“I suspected something last night, but today I knew for sure.”

Annie tilted her head to one side. “How did you know last night? The E and A?”

“That was a big part, but then at the hospital . . .” He closed his eyes for a second. “Nurse Coraline came out after being with you and did her glowing hand thing on me with that scanner. I figured that she probably wouldn’t have done that unless someone . . .” He gazed into Annie’s eyes. “ . . . told her I wouldn’t get all weirded out when she started, you know—doing that.”

He positioned himself the same as last night: one leg under the other, his body turned on the bench so he was facing her. “When the headmistress spoke this morning, I was watching you—your body language. You came off more worried than surprised. Particularly when you looked to see how I was reacting.”

Annie hadn’t suspected that she’d appeared that worried. “I only looked at you the one time—”

“Three.”

“No.”

“Yes. Three.” His grin was bright and wide. “I said I was watching you—not the headmistress. I only needed to hear her.”

That was all Annie needed to hear to start blushing. “Kerry—”

“And there was everything else today. You taking me to see the divination instructor and not getting freaked out over the stuff that happened while we were there. Telling Professor Semplen about the herbs your mother grows for her ‘mixtures’. Not blinking an eye at any of the stuff Professor Douglas said. And then Professor Lovecraft . . .”

His green eyes twinkled as he recounted the memory. “You weren’t confused by a thing she said, but you were getting upset because she was saying things you didn’t want her to say—about your family being at school, your father, and how she’d heard of you. You also cringed a bit when she said ‘Legacy’. I figured that was because I was in the room and you didn’t want me to know.” He turned his eyes upward as he shook his head slowly from side to side a couple of times. “That sort of nailed it since I know what that word means.”

 

Cleaver gi–I mean, boy.

I changed up a scene in the hospital, where “some Twilight strangeness” was happening:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Gretchen tugged lightly on her right earring, something she did when she was unsure of her next action. “Okay, listen: you can have fifteen minutes, but no more. Since there’s no one else here, I’ll set the ward lights to blink when your time’s up.” She’d almost slipped past the curtain when gave Annie a reminder. “Stop by the office on the way out: I need to give you something to help you sleep.”

“But . . .” Annie slowly settled into the chair between Beds One and Two. “I won’t need anything.”

“Yes, you will. I have to write up your visit, and what I did to help.” She winked again. “Rules.” She stepped out and slipped the curtain closed.

Annie watched Kerry sleep. She noticed the slow movement of his chest and stomach. She saw the thin line of saliva hanging from the corner of his mouth. She jumped and clutched her chest when his left leg jerked under the covers.

She reached over and laid her hand against his before giving it a light squeeze. She didn’t release it: she didn’t want to, ever. She could sit next to his bed all night and hold him, keep him company—

His eyelids twitched a few times, and Annie felt his fingers flex and relax. He made an untellable sound, then spoke softly in his sleep. “It’s only rain, no need to . . .” Then his breathing returned to normal as he sunk deeper into sleep.

Never releasing his hand, Annie slipped closer and spoke to him in whispered hushes. “What are you seeing? What is it?” She leaned in a few centimeters more. “Why don’t you remember me? When will you know what I am to you?”

She lay her head on the bed, against the hand she held in hers, and closed her eyes. “Why can’t I see you in my dreams any more? We’re so close now; why doesn’t it happen? Why aren’t we there together?

Why?”

And now that I look at this scene as is sits, I like it much better than a sobbing Annie whimpering in the darkness.  Nope, nope, nope.  Let Kerry do all the crying, he’s good at it.  And the “It’s only rain–” line?  Watch for that much later.

There remains a few more things to rewrite–three really major scenes, in fact.  You can tell by my notes:

Here I will work on really important stuff--you know, things.

Here I will work on really important stuff–you know, things.

Once they are out of the way and I feel confident I’ve got characterization locked down, I can get back to new words and new things–new tortures. I worked out one scene last night where one sees how to take a witch’s magic away–it’s not hard, but the end result isn’t always pretty.  See, I don’t just throw bogarts at my kids–

Oh, no.  I like to crank that horror up to eleven and see what shakes out.

Returning to the Scene of the Kiss

Out of the hospital, and into The Pentagram Gardens.  That would make a good title for a television show, you know?  Though I’m certain there are more than a few fools out there who are gonna believe there are satanic forces at work, more than likely found right next to the hydrangea.

But I love my gardens, all protected by the fifteen meter high walls and the towers at the five points.  Lotta space in there to walk around and do things and hide out if one were of a mind.  And there are places to sit and relax, breath the scented air and wonder how the staff keeps everything so nice.

With magic, right?  But you knew that.

So, back there last night with my editing, and my kids are out of the hospital, full of happy-juice, and things have been said between the Head Nurse and Kerry, so naturally Mr. Clueless is running about a thousand different things around in his head, wondering what the hell is going on.  With that going on he invites Annie out to the garden, which is all misty and drizzly and dark, and it’s there that this goes down:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Feeling chilly as she cooled down from her run, Annie wrapped her arms around her body. She was looking over the opposite wall—the walk way wasn’t completely enclosed and the walls were less than a meter high—when Kerry wrapped his arm over her shoulders and pulled her into his hoodie-clad torso. “Here, this should help.”

She pushed herself into the warmth of his body. The medication Coraline gave her was designed to make her feel better, but the sense of serene contentment taking hold or Annie in that moment had little to do with the medication. “Thank you, Kerry. This feels so nice.”

“I’m glad.” He breathed in the cool, fresh air, of the nearby Atlantic. “I like this, the chill and the mist.”

“You do?”

“Yeah. It’s a bit like how I remember mornings in California.”

“It’s like this in the mountains, too.” She took a deep breath and let the cool, damp air calm her further. “May I ask something?”

“Sure.”

“You’ve been quiet since we left the hospital.” Annie didn’t sit up or pull away as she spoke. “Is something bothering you?”

Kerry didn’t answer right away, and Annie wondered if he was having trouble finding the right answer. When he finally spoke, his words seemed like they were coming from far away. “Coraline came back and checked me out to make sure I was okay. After that we talked, and . . .” He drew a sharp breath through his nose, which he sighed out slowly. “She told me something.”

What? What did she say? Annie felt a touch of panic rising, for there were so many things that Nurse Coraline could have told him. She could have talked about the school, or The Foundation . . . She put those thoughts aside immediately. No, she wouldn’t have mentioned those things, because she can’t, not yet. This was something else. “What did she say?”

“She said . . .” He turned his head so that his face was brushing up against Annie’s hair and he was sort of looking at her. “She said you were in love with me.”

Oh . . .” She pulled back a bit so she could see Kerry’s face. “She said that?”

He nodded slowly, his face blank. “Yeah.”

Annie’s eyes locked with Kerry’s and held his gaze. “Yes, I am.” She slid back under his arm and returned to where she was safe and warm.

There was complete silence for what seemed like a long time, but Annie knew couldn’t be more than a minute or two. She felt little tremors forming within Kerry’s body each time he shifted position, felt his breathing speed up and slow. She sensed the trepidation building within him due to what she’d just said, and she was struck by the notion that what she’d said rendered him mute with fear.

Kerry shifted slightly while doing his best not to move Annie from her warm cocoon. “Do you mean that?”

She nearly chuckled, because after the sincerity of her words, how could he not now know her true intentions? “Yes, I mean it.” Once more she tilted her head so she could see his face. “I wouldn’t have said that if I wasn’t serious. You should know that about me by now, Kerry.” She settled back in and waited for his response—likely proceeded by another protracted silence. Annie hadn’t given her statement any thought, and she felt her own rising agitation as she pushed away her fear. She closed her eyes and drove all negative thoughts from her mind. It’s going to be okay. It will. It

“How long?” Kerry’s voice was clear and there was nary a tremor or waver as he spoke.

Annie extracted herself from Kerry’s arm again, then slid a little to her left so she could shift her whole body. She needed to face him, to let him see her. “For a long time, Kerry. From . . .” No, she couldn’t tell him the whole truth yet since he still didn’t seem to know who she was. Being too honest and forthright might, could, possibly, devastate him. “I know this is hard for you to believe, and it probably won’t make any sense, but I’ve loved you from before we met in London. From long before that.” She softened her gaze and slowly rolled her shoulders. “It’s true, though: I love you.” She leaned her head against her right shoulder. “I should have said something sooner—”

“I’m glad you didn’t.” Kerry chuckled at his own lame attempt at humor. “I, um . . . probably would have freaked.”

“I didn’t know Coraline would say something—” Annie wondered if the medicine she was given was preventing her from being upset with the school doctor, then pushed the though aside and set it in the bin with the other collected horrid thoughts. I was going to tell him this weekend, but it’s better this is out now. “I didn’t know she knew.”

Kerry shrugged. “Yeah, well, I guess as I was telling her about our last week together, and our dinner and walk last night, she managed to put everything together.” He shrugged. “More than I could do.” He shifted his body and slid his left leg under his right so he could face Annie. “That’s why you looked at her so strangely when you came into the waiting room.”

She needed a few seconds to remember what happened. Annie saw the scene, with her walking into the waiting room, asking if Kerry was okay, and then Nurse Coraline . . . “Oh, I see what you mean. When she hugged you.” Her lips tightened while her eyes grew dark. “Now I understand.”

“Understand what?””

“She wanted to see . . .” She didn’t want to explain that since Coraline knew Annie was in love with Kerry, she was provoking a response. “It’s not important. Just know that I know what she did.”

Annie watched Kerry’s eyes, and even in the dim light she saw something happening behind them. She’d seen him do this as well: he was thinking, processing, going over things in him mind. He was weighting to pros and cons of their last few minutes of conversation.

But she was also watching his body language, and that said far more than his eyes. “You’re not running.”

“What?” He snapped away from his thoughts and turned his attention back to Annie.

“You’re not running. You’re not fidgeting.” She took a chance with her next statement. “You’re not frightened of me, of what I’ve told you.”

Kerry’s calm gaze never wavered. “No, I’m not.”

Annie slid a few centimeters closer, testing his personal space. “Why?”

“I’ve just . . . I’ve never had anyone tell me they liked me before.”

“I didn’t say I liked you—”

“I know . . .” He nodded, his eyes slightly closed. “I never had anyone tell me that, either.”

“Anyone?”

He slowly drew in a breath and spoke in a low voice. “I’ve never had a girl say that to me.” He turned away from Annie and returned to a normal sitting position, his hands folded in his lap, his eyes fixed straight ahead.

For the first time Annie felt something like panic, though if she was right about the medication given to her, she could cut off a finger and not get too worked up, so it wasn’t physical fear she felt, it was all in her mind. Did I scare him this time? Or drive him away?

That was when she heard his sniffle and saw him reach up and wipe at his eyes. The psychosomatic fear was instantly replaced with real concern. “Kerry?”

His voice broke between sobs. “Yeah?”

“Are you all right?” No longer concerned if she was invading his private space she slid close and leaned against him. She laid her hand upon his. “What’s wrong?”

He slowly turned towards her, his tear-streaked face clearly visible in the misting dark. “This is a new chapter for me.”

“What?”

“Something I can still remember from my evaluation.” He sniffed hard and wiped his face with his right sleeve. “I was told that when I walked through the gate coming in here I’d finished a chapter, and the second I walked out the door I’d start another, and that . . .” He sniffed again as he regained control. “Once back in the hall, things were going to happen that I couldn’t imagined in a thousand year.” Kerry laughed through a hacking cough. “No kidding.  I never expected this.”

Annie slid her hand off and slowly slipped it under his left hand. She pressed their palms together before curling her fingers into his. “You’re fine, then?”

His nods were quick and exaggerated. He closed his fingers over hers and gave them a squeeze. “I’m okay now. It’s just . . .” He glanced down as their fingers locked around their hands. “Does this mean you’re like my girlfriend?”

She resisted laughing. Kerry was so—unsure of himself. She was unsure as well, because he didn’t seem to have the same connection to her that she remembered with him, and that complicated things . . .

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

 

Welcome to your new school, kid.  You’ll learn history, English, math, science, a little–well a lot–of magic, get instruction in how to fly and defend yourself . . . oh, and it comes with a girlfriend for life!  Enjoy your stay!

There’s a little more to add to the scene after the, well, you know, the kissing part comes, and then this is done, rewritten, moved up to a second polished draft–

It's pretty and shinny and it's ready to move on to new terrors!

It’s pretty and shinny and it’s ready to move on to fresh new hells!

Then I can dive further on into Chapter Three, rewrite what needs it there, and then–

Hey, I have these scene rolling about in my head, and it just doesn’t want to go away . . .