You know how they say “It was an interesting night?” Well, my night was interesting. Really, far more interesting that I could have imagined.
See, I’m just settling in to do some writing when, all of a sudden, I start getting PMed about gifts that are supposed to be going to people. I’ve helped organize a gift exchange on Facebook, and suddenly last night I’m getting asked about it–right about the time I’m about two hundred words into this scene.
So I have to start tracking down people and numbers, and before you know it, I’m like thirty minutes into getting nowhere. It was very crazy and very frustrating, let me tell you, and nearly another forty-five minutes went by before I had everything straightened out.
That meant I didn’t have but maybe an hour to churn out what I wanted to write, and that also means I didn’t get as far into my process as I wanted.
However . . . I still managed seven hundred and ninety words. I consider that an accomplishment. I had wanted to get closer to twelve hundred, but I can try for that tonight
Now, where are we? Well, somewhere in Canada. And people aren’t too happy . . .
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Vicky drifted in for a landing among the sparse trees, gently issuing orders to the members of the flight as they found clear spots to land. She felt her toes touch ground, but she leaned out over the control frame of her Higoshi Rally G and gathered her thoughts. She waited until she’d managed a few deep breaths and cleared her thoughts before speaking. “Thank you, Team Azso, for bringing us here. You’re relieved of command.”
She swung her leg over the frame but remained resting against the saddle. “Okay, everyone, we’re gonna rest for a bit. We’ll get a fire going, but stick with cold rations for now.” She heard the grumbling over the comms but gave them no mind. If they want to roll on the big express through the north, they better get used to some hard shit. “You’ll get plenty of lead time before we take off again. That is all.”
While her minions approached with their brooms in hand, Vicky pushed back here hood, pulled off her helmet, and shook out her hair. She sighed out her stress at she pointed at her lead girl. “Riv, you and Nadine get a couple of fires going before someone decides to try craft a fire spell and sets the goddamn woods on fire.”
“You got it, Vicky.” Rivânia tapped her Advanced Spells classmate on the arm and nodded in the direction of the rest of the students. They dropped their packs near Vicky and slipped their own brooms into Hammerspace as they walked off.
“You look as if you’re enjoying yourself.” Erywin walked over with her hands in her jacket pockets and her heavy ski cap securely upon her head instead of over her flight helmet, the way they were wore while flying.
Now, we haven’t seen much of Vicky throughout the novels. She was one of the first instructors we met, and she did help Annie out by both saving her ass and getting her straightened out on how to handle herself the next time someone stuffed Kerry into a wall. Most of the time she seems upbeat and cheerful: here, she’s down and not handling the situation well. Even Jewish Witches Sing the Blues? It kinda seems that way–
“Oh, immensely. I’ll bet you’re happy to be here.”
“I wouldn’t miss this for the world, which is why I always come with you on these overnights.” She pulled her hands from her pockets, removed her mittens and gloves, and flexed her fingers. “Though I don’t recall the last couple of levels being this difficult.”
“No shit.” Vicky rolled her eyes. “I had to resist the urge on the way here to dump a couple of pissy little witches in the drink while the opportunity presented itself.” She cast a sideways glance towards the fires that were building in a nearby clearing. “Seriously, I can do Electrify; I’ll just give them an electric bolt in the back and—” She smirked at Erywin. “You think Mathilde would believe me if I told her they fell off in the middle of flight?”
Remember all those stories we heard about how instructors talk about other students? This is part of that, though this isn’t along the lines of, “Oh, aren’t those two kids really cute the way they hold hands and stuff?” No, this is more murder-face time and Vicky is not a happy witch. And why is that? Well . . .
“Somehow . . . no.” She chuckled as she turned towards the collection of students pulling cold rations from their backpacks. “I take it you have taught the little darlings basic navigation?.”
The flight instructor nodded. “You wouldn’t think so with a few of them, though.” She shook her head. “It’s not like when we did Advanced Flight. Back then you had to learn the maps and know how to physically determine your course with with your flight calculator—”
“Oh, I agree. I still have mine.” Erywin smiled thinking about the circular plastic calculator that she used for figuring out course, distance, and time when she was a student. “But nowadays these kids can pull out a phone and punch up a GPS app—or even use their HUD to find that information.
“Yeah, well . . .” Vicky snorted. “They better get their shit together fast, ‘cause if they think this flight is hard, wait until the next when I start turning stuff off in their flight systems.” She finally stood straight, shaking out her arms. “I’m just—I don’t know. I guess I suspected more today.”
Erywin patted Vicky’s shoulder, giving it a light rub. “The bitching and back talk didn’t help at all.”
“You got that right.” Vicky paced once around her broom before saying what was truly bothering her. “You know, I don’t mind when Franky started making the wrong way back at Murdochville, but when he wouldn’t own his mistake and started smarting off to me, I damn near pulled the flight from him and Jiro right then and there.”
Erywin nodded. “And you’ve have been right to do so. I actually thought you were going to fly up along side and smack him—or worse.” She slid her hands back into her pockets. “I’m glad you didn’t.”
“I am, too. It’s just been a long day and I’m really tried of all the pissing and moaning today.” She checked her watch. “And we got a hell of a lot more to go and not much daylight left.” She glanced back over towards the fires and re-ran the events of the day through her head—
So, Mr. Franky Smith of Way The Hell In The Middle of Nowhere Canada was talking back to an instructor after making a mistake? Say it isn’t so! He seems to be making a habit of that lately, and Erywin probably would have smacked him had he did that to her.
So what’s going on? Well, you’re going to get spoilers today, because I’m going to show you a little of what’s going on behind the curtain before I write it. Here is a little of the writing process before I got into the writing thing . . .
What I did was set up a flight where each team would be given objectives to find and reach, and, it was hoped, do so in a certain amount of time. So I started setting up legs and figured out which team was gonna run the legs. In doing so I came up with the grid below:
Camp Baxter: 25 F/-3 C, overcast
Point and Lead Team:
Camp Baxter to Fish River Lake to Allagash to north shore Beau Lake (US side): Team Zanzibar 139.5 km 27 F/-3 C, overcast
Beau Lake to Pohenegamook, Quebec, to north short Lac Pohenegamook to Aeroport de Rimouski: Team Picante 153.15 km * 32 F/0 C, wind 16 kph, light snow
Aeroport de Rimouski to civilian airport Hautervie to Pointe-des-Monts to Mont-Saint-Pierre: Team Sulaco 264.5 km 22 F/-5 C, wind 11 kph, light snow
Mont-Saint-Pierre to Murdochville to Fontenelle: Team Manga 111.8 km * 25 F/-4 C, light winds, light snow
Fontenelle to Gaspe to Pointe-Saint-Pierre to Tignish, PEI, to Charlottetown: Team Azso 338.15 km 36 F/2 C, wind 11 kph, cloudy
Five legs so far, five teams, and the distances covered. Oh, and local weather conditions for this date in the past, because it always helps to know what sort of shit your pissy little witches are gonna run into. You can see that as the teams got into Canada and moved north towards the St. Lawrence River valley it started snowing and getting colder. That part right there took some looking up, but hey–that’s part of the writing deal, yeah?
So what does this look like? Well . . . would you believe I have a map?
That’s everything covered up to this point, and what I’m going to write about next in this scene. All the students have flown a little over one thousand kiloments, all in the cold, and all in a few hours, you’ll come to find out. And if you want to know the legs covered, I’ll help you out: the first leg went from the start at 0 and up to the point just to the left of the name Edmundston. The second when from there to the point just below the name Mont-Joli. The third went from there, on the southern banks of the St. Lawrence River north, then east, then back across the river to rest just above Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. The forth leg–the one where Vicky wanted to zap Franky–went from there to the points just to the east of the 400 mi mark. And the last leg–so far–went from there south to their current resting point 623 miles, 1003 kilometers, from the start, just outside the city of Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island. That’s a lot of flying in the cold, and Vicky and Erywin have a bunch of grumbly kids to deal with because of all that.
You wanted to fly with the big spell crafters, witches, and now you’re getting your chance. How does it feel?
You’ll notice that I’ve not mentioned a team named after a Welsh pteranodon, and there’s a reason for that. A reasons that I hope to make apparent tomorrow . . .