Getting Science All Up In Here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Magnificent spaceship porn, yo!

Magnificent spaceship porn, yo!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifteen Thirty Over

Today is sort of a strange day.  I’m feeling weird this morning, probably because I stayed shut up in the apartment all weekend and did little more than sleep and write.  There is a good side to that last, and it’s that I wrote well over five thousand words during this stint, and that means I’ll hit one hundred and fifty thousand tonight or tomorrow, because I’m only one thousand, one hundred and five words from that mark.

It all really depends on how I feel after I do my recap tonight.

Yesterday, however, I found something, though “found” is a relative term because it’s not like it ever went away.  What I found was my one hundredth post titled Centennial, and I’m actually pretty amazed by it, because, well, I was keeping track of posts then?  That sounds a little retentive, yeah?

I’ve been spending a little time at night going over some of the stuff I wrote way back in the days when I first started blogging, and believe me when I say it wasn’t pretty.  Mostly because I was kinda lost in my own life, and I had little idea about what I wanted to do, both with my writing and my life.  If you can believe it, I was a mess, and I’d just gone through one of the worst summers of my life, in terms of what it did to me emotionally and mentally.  I had very little to look forward to at that point, save for one thing:


And for some strange, nefarious reason, I decided to begin blogging–

"No, this will be easy, I'll just write about whatever come to mind. That should work for the first week--"

“No, this will be easy, I’ll just write about whatever come to mind. That should cover the first week–“

And it just went from there.  Mostly I wrote about writing–big surprise!  Actually I started writing about writing because, truly, I felt it would keep me writing.  In a way it did:  at the end of August I started in on a story that would eventually becoming Kuntilanak, and I began blogging about the experience of writing the story, getting it edited, and eventually publishing the damn thing.

Also, all this blogging led me to decide to continue writing, and from there I spent the month of October getting ready for my first NaNoWriMo, the one that produced the only novel I’ve published–so far.  And because I had the blog, I used that as an outlet to show people what I was doing, how I was doing it, and when I reached November, I wrote about how much I was writing.  Sort of like Inception without the BLLLUUURRRRRRR every few minutes.

Today is post one thousand, six hundred and sixty, hence the post title, and a little calculating shows that Friday, 2 September, 2016, will be post two thousand–assuming I don’t miss a day somewhere in that mix.  It’s almost a year off in the future so I can’t really think much about the date, because no one know what and where we’ll be at that point.

I do know this much:  if I’ve blogging, I’m still writing.  And probably blogging about writing.  Probably writing about my kids.  Let’s hope the first novel is published by then, the second is done, and thinking about the third–

Because there are still a lot of stories to tell.

Ready for Overnight Flight

So, here we are, sitting around waiting.  In my case I’m waiting for my laundry to finish, because I’ve run out of unmentionables to wear, and a girl’s gotta have clean unmentionables.

And I got my nails done yesterday, too.

And I got my nails done yesterday, too.

Once laundry is finished I’ll need to run out and pick up a few things, and I figure I’ll get out about eleven or so.  Once all that’s done, I’ll start on the next scene, which sees Kerry heading off to go camping.  And, believe it or not, I’ve been getting ready for this moment . . .

First off, I’ve worked on the route my group is going to take.  As was sort of mentioned in the prior scene Friday–the day after the camp out–there will be a lot of flying.  The reason for that will get covered another scene, but it’s all over the place.  Love my maps, you know, because it really helps to know where my students are at certain times, and that also means I can check on weather conditions for those areas.  Because, you know, it’s gonna be cold, and there may be snow.

You’ve seen the brooms they’ll fly–everyone’s on Class 1s–and you’re kinda seen the camp site–

Right here.

When it’s not cold and gloomy and dark.

Which is easier to see from above–

North of the mountains and just south of the Allagash.

North of the mountains and just south of the Allagash.

Now, since there is a line heading off the top of the map, it’s pretty much a given that my fliers are heading off in that direction come Friday morning.  More of that will come out as I write not the next scene, but the scene after.

Now, gear.  There are tents, cots, and sleeping bags, not to mention food and hydration systems.  Let’s get this out of the way right now:  these are not TARDIS tents.  They are not bigger on the inside and decked out with all the comforts of home.    Nope, these tents are simple two-person, four season, cabin tents with a vestibule, just like Normal people use.

Though most of overnight tents will be combinations of black and white.

Just like this, though most of overnight tents will be combinations of black and white for tundra conditions.

The reason for having a vestibule is simple:  it’s a place where brooms and backpacks can be stored for the evening and remain out of the elements.  When the vestibule is zipped closed, it makes it easier to get things needed without having to worry about letting in wind and, in the case of these campers, maybe snow.

The cots are ultra light and remain close to the ground.  This way while they fill up the floor of the tent, they’re not so impossibly large that it makes it difficult to move around.  You can be assured that the sleeping bags will be able to handle the cold, either in the middle of Maine in mid-December, or somewhere in Canada in the middle of January.

It looks so cozy in there, doesn't it?

It looks so cozy in there, doesn’t it?

How are they going to carry all this stuff?  Thirty-six liter backpacks, that’s how.

Like these, only without the scenery.

Like these, only without the scenery.

Everything they’re gonna carry–save for their brooms–goes in the packs, and I know what you’re thinking:  how do they get everything in there?  Well, you’re gonna find out about the Compression and Expansion spells soon enough, and for the advanced fliers not in Advanced Spells–*cougheveryonebutonekidcough*–those are two spells they have to know by the end of their B Levels or they’re not gonna be allowed off the school grounds to go camping alone.  Does this mean Kerry knows these spells?  Well . . . you’ll have to see, won’t you?

It should also go without saying that the material is enchanted so it’s stronger, more resistant to cold and wind and rain, even a little lighter.  Now, that doesn’t means that the cold stays out completely–after all, what if you’re stuck with nothing but Normal equipment?  You may just have to rough it, or know how to craft the right spells to keep yourself nice and comfy.

Like I say quite often, writing isn’t always writing.  You want to get little details like these down, then you do your research and get everything together.  This is why getting scenes written don’t always go as smoothly as expected.  Sometimes you really do have to find the things you need to make the things you say sound a little more convincing.

Historical Hidings

First off, let’s get to the good news:  I have a new mouse!

All hail the new toy!

All hail the new toy!

Yes, I went with something pink and pretty, because yes, I can.  Also, I like how it feels in my hand, and the pad makes things all that much easier to do thing, so I like it a lot.

Second off, the shoulder is feeling much better.  I’m off to do my nails today, and I’m trying to come up with a good fall color, and I’ve been taking it easy this morning so that I’m not sitting around feeling nothing but pain shooting through my body.  In a way I help the process by not doing a whole lot last night, and it showed in the fact I wrote only three hundred and fifty words.

Ah, but that helped, because . . .

The scene is finished, mostly due to writing almost sixteen hundred words this morning.  It didn’t feel like I was pouring out words:  actually, the whole process seems to have slowed down as I try to visualize what I want to say, and then find the right word for the visualization.  And trust me, I’ve done a lot of visualization, starting with where Annie was taking Kerry . . .


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

Sequestered among several birch and pine trees sat one of the many covered stair casings that led to the school’s tunnel system. Every building save the Headmistress’ Residence Rhiannon were connected to the system, there were various locations on the grounds where access to the tunnels was possible. The covered staircase near Memory’s End and the one behind the Transformation Center were the most well known, though the staircases near Rhiannon Fettle’s grave—used by Wednesday Douglas to access Sunset Tower during the Day of the Dead attack—and the staircase just north of Perquat’s Grove were also familiar to the students.

Annie opened the entrance to the staircase and held the door for Kerry. Like most of the stairs in the coven towers, the circular stone structure was three and a half meter in diameter and descended easily six meters to the tunnels. She followed him down until their reached the bottom of the stairwell, at which point Annie stepped past him, open the door, and stepped out into the tunnel.

The tunnel was like the majority of the other tunnels under the school: six meters wide by four and a half meters high, with an arched ceiling segmented by columns and soft, indirect lighting. The staircase was situated to one side of a Y-junction, with two tunnels running off to the left of the staircase entrance, and one long tunnel vanishing off to their right.

Kerry let the door close behind him as he glanced from side to side, “Where are we?”

“Believe it or not, in one of the oldest tunnels at the school. I looked it up.” She pointed down the single tunnel. “That was one of the escape tunnels dug in 1762 when the grounds were expanded and the outer walls installed. The staircase behind you—” She pointed at Kerry and the door beyond. “—used to lead up into the wall where there was a hidden door leading to the outside. The idea was if the witches needed to evacuate the school, this was on of the ways they would leave.”

“Or if they were looking to get out of the school for the night.” Kerry stood beside Annie. “Then you could just jaunt out.”

“True.” Annie took his hand and led him down the left-hand Y-tunnel. “Just a little further.”

He stumbled along, smiling. “What is?”

“You’ll see.”


The school tunnel system was something that I spent a lot of time figuring out, because with the school being spread out all over the place, and with it being situated on a small island right off the coast of Massachusetts–which is what Cape Ann really is–winter weather is gonna be a real bitch.  So I figured the area under the school was riddled with tunnels, with most of them going way back to the 18th and early 19th Centuries.

This is what the area Annie’s discussing looks like–

That little Y in the upper left hand corner is where my kids are--you'll see them if you look hard enough.

That little Y in the upper left hand corner is where my kids are–you’ll see them if you look hard enough.

You can see so many things here.  The Pentagram is right down there at the bottom, and near the middle-top is the lower storage areas of The Aerodrome.  That little building basement in the upper right hand corner is the lower levels of the Flight School, and that blue spot near the “Y” I pointed out is the bottom of Van der Kroff Spring.  And in case you’re wondering, those round things sticking through on the left side of the picture are the lower levels of towers are those stuck in the West Wall of the school.

Where is this headed?


They walked for a couple of minutes before coming to an innocuous passage cut into the right wall. The entryway was maybe two meters wide, and was difficult to see due to being located directly to the right of a tunnel support arch. “Here.”

Kerry squinted past the entrance. “Not very bright in there.”

“One of the reasons this tunnel doesn’t stand out.” She headed inside with Kerry right behind. “The first time I was down here I almost didn’t see this.”

Kerry glanced up at the ceiling. “I’m surprised the lights are still on.”

“You know it doesn’t take much to keep a lighting enchant going.” Annie couldn’t help but look around as well. “Once you craft one, they’ll run until dimmed or shut off.”

“Yeah.” He tightened his grip on Annie’s hand. “Do you know when this tunnel was put in?”

“No, but probably the same time as the two branching tunnels; Isis told me those were dug out in 1802 when they did the final expansion of the southern grounds.” She came to a slow stop. “Here we are.”

Kerry faced a large wood door slightly countersunk into the left side of the passage. Unlike similar ones in the coven tower, there wasn’t an electronic hand scanner in the wall to the right of the entrance. “And where is here?”

“Where we are.” She motioned to Kerry. “Go on in.”

He pushed it open and stepped through the doorway. On the other side was a room nearly the same size as their private lab in the lower levels of Cernunnos Tower: perhaps four and a half by three and a half meters. The walls didn’t seem finished: even in the dim light Kerry saw they were slightly rough, as if the room were cut out of the native limestone and then rendered flat enough not to be an issue.

What surprised Kerry was that the room wasn’t empty. Besides a few small wooden crates there were three items of furniture: a sofa and an easy chair positioned around a makeshift table thrown together from a slab of board sitting on top of a couple of crates and covered with a blanket. He stared at the tableau for a few seconds, then turned to Annie. “What’s all this then?”


So . . . hidden rooms, are there?

Yes, right there, if you must know.

Yes, right there, if you must know.

The staircase that Annie and Kerry descended is there to the center-right, and they walked down the bottom corridor.  I put this model together last night, because writing isn’t always writing, right?  Let’s just say I needed to give the new mouse a workout.

Now, this is where it gets tricky, Kids–

None of this stuff existed last week.

I planed this chapter months ago:  according to Scrivener, the chapter was created 21 June, 2015.  But the first and second scene of this chapter weren’t all that well thought out, to be honest.  Like I’ve said before, I do the meta plot thing and then let things come to me.  And up until last week I had nothing for this scene other than a few mental images.

Until I imagined Annie and her mother together over the summer . . .


“Something I found.” Annie closed the door and crafted a couple of light spells to make the room brighter. “There: better.” She slowly made her way around the easy chair. “After leaving you at Advanced Flight a couple of weeks ago I decided to do a little exploring. There are a lot of tunnels in the southwest section of the school, but almost no one ever comes down here because there aren’t any buildings—”

“So no need to come down this way.”

“Yes. I’ve taken that one tunnel back to The Aerodrome a few times, but never ventured down this way. I actually found the passage outside walking down the left-hand tunnel: it runs all the way between them.” Annie paused behind the sofa and leaned against the back. “Found this room, looked inside, and . . .” She spread her arms wide. “Found this.”

“Yeah, but what is it?” Kerry stepped up to the table and prodded it with his foot. “This stuff has been here a while; that sofa looks like it’s older than my folks.”

“Mine as well.”

“How’d it get down here?”

Annie shrugged. “Someone likely made it using transformation magic.” She walked around and sat. “Come—” She patted the spot next to her. “Sit, my love.”

Kerry joined Annie and immediately wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “Exploring, huh?”

“Yes.” She snuggled against him, getting herself comfortable in his embrace. “I was curious.”


Annie crossed her legs and stared straight ahead with half-opened eyes. “Over the summer Mama and I were talking about school, and she began asking questions that . . .” She giggled. “I think she was asking about us without actually bringing up the subject.”

“Really?” He chuckled as well. “Like?”

“She asked me if we’d walked through Astria Portal. The way she phrased the question—”

“—She wasn’t asking if we’d walked.” He moved his fingers slowly against her jacketed arm. “So what did you do?”

“What I usually do in that situation, my love: I gave evasive answers.” She sighed and settled back into the hollow of his shoulder. “She told me about a place Papa and she used to go to, as she said, ‘be alone’. She said there was a spot near Gloucester Bend surrounded by trees: the way she described the stop it reminded me of where Emma and you hid—without the danger, of course.”

“Of course.”

“She didn’t go on about what they did there, but it wasn’t necessary: it’s where they went when they wanted to be alone. She was telling me that story because—” Her hand glided across Kerry’s thigh. “—she wanted to know where we went to be be alone. Only . . . we don’t actually have a place like that. Not really.”


Yes, they don’t have a place like this–a place where they can go, well, you know.  Do what kids in love do.  Anne’s been doing a bit of looking, it seems, and she’s upfront not only about her explorations, but the reasons behind them–


“When I found this room, though, and I saw the furniture here, I realized couples use to come here. There was a lot of dust on the floor—”

“There was?”

“Yes, my love: I’ve cleaned up a bit before this.” She chuckled and pressed her finger against his lips. “Shush, and listen. No one has been here in decades, so I know this room is undisturbed. But it was used; a couple used to come here to sit, talk, relax . . .” Annie shrugged. “Who knows what else? It doesn’t matter. Since we both fly—” She grinned at the same moment as Kerry. “—we don’t need to worry ourselves that someone will notice us heading down The Chunnel to get here. Maybe security will see us open the doors to the staircase, but I don’t care; it doesn’t matter.”

Annie folder her legs under her as she wrapped her arms around Kerry’s shoulders. “What matters now, moyata srodna dusha, is that we have a place where we can ‘be alone’. Where we can come when we have free time and sit, talk, cuddle . . .” She leaned in and kissed him with great tenderness and passion. “And do that.”

Kerry moved slightly to his right and settled back into the arm of the sofa. “We’ll need some pillows to rest against.”

“There are blankets in those crates: I checked.” Annie lay against Kerry’s chest and listened to his rapidly beating heart for a few moments. “Tonight we’ll be alone: I’ll be here while you’ll be several hundred kilometers away. And in a week we’ll be even further apart. But . . .” She kissed him again, holding it for almost twice as long as the prior kiss. “Until you leave in a few hours, you are all mine.”


This is how my mind works, and how things come together in my head.  I wrote a lot, I pushed the story to within a few hundred words of one hundred and forty thousand words, and I’ve opened up a little insight into my kids.  And once more showed that when Annie wants something, she gets it–

All to herself.

Separations and Searching

What can I say but I didn’t get it done last night.  I’m back in low-production mode, and luck if I can get out just over five hundred words in an evening.  It’s to be expected, I guess, because there’s so many things going on that I’m trying to see in my head, and at the moment my head’s not exactly screwed on right.

Not to mention the worst news:  my mouse died.  It’s been on kind of its last legs for a while, but last night it pretty much decided that not working was preferable to working, and gave up a ghost that none of my stories necromancers will ever retrieve.  This means at some point tonight–probably after six when the rush hour traffic slows–I’ll need to run out and find me a new mouse, because there are some programs that simply run better when I have a mouse.

Then what did I write?  Well . . . that’s strange, because what I put down on paper wasn’t that much, but in my head I probably wrote parts of this scene, as well as two others.  That’s where most of the writing seems to take place these days:  in my head.  I’m seeing a lot of scenes play out in my mind, but when it comes time to actually working those scenes out of my brain and into the computer, it’s a lot harder.  Tonight I need to get a new mouse, get it set up, and then get the buds in and work out the rest of this scene.  I’m about twenty-two hundred words away from making my next ten thousand, and a good thousand word night would do wonders taking care of that line.

It seems I'm not a spring of creativity.  You'll get that bad joke in a moment.

It seems I’m not a spring of creativity. You’ll get that bad joke in a moment.

And I can get into a part of this scene that’ll reveal something about the school that no one knew.

So, in its minimal entirety, here we are:


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

They walked around the paths of the school for a bit before flying to Van der Kroff Spring, a local rarely visited by students because of the remoteness and lack of trails to the spot. They landed at the north edge—Kerry on his broom, Annie under her own power—before taking in the spot, their arms wrapped around each other.

The spring was small and shallow—only a meter and a half deep in the center—and was ringed by a narrow band of grass surrounded by a thick cover of trees. The spring was famous as the spot where Lucille Van der Kroff, the founder of Ceridwen Coven, would bathe every other day of the year, regardless of the weather.

The most notable part of the spring was the large tree situated across from them on the south edge. Annie ran her hands along the back of Kerry’s heavy jacket. “There’s her tree.”

“Yes.” He pulled Annie closer. “We seem to have trees so close to us—”

She nodded. “Not like our trees, though. Our trees were there for us, while hers . . .” It wasn’t necessary for her to say more, for they both knew the story of how when Lucille Van der Kroff her body was immolated and the ashes scattered her along the short of her favorite place, and come the next spring students who visited here found the tree growing in the spot where it was said she would lay naked and sun herself. “Our are associated with our dreams and lives: hers came with her death—” Annie tilted her head to one side. “And, if people are right, rebirth.”

Kerry looked down for a moment, trying to move the image of someone being reincarnated as a tree out of his mind. “I could think of better things to come back as.”

“And there are far worse, my love.” Annie looked around and got her bearings before tugging on Kerry’s hand. “Come on; this way.”

Annie led him off into the forest, visualizing a path where none lay. She and Isis had overflown this area many times during their training, and though it wasn’t necessary to walk far, if her directions were off, she’d miss there destination. Though with the coming of winter the leaves had fallen from many of the trees, and that made seeing through the foliage much easier . . .

Kerry was the first to spot the object she was looking for. “What’s that?”

A smile crept onto Annie’s face. “Our destination, my love.” She pulled him forward. “Come.”


Yeah, come here, Kerry, because Annie’s leading you off into the woods to show you something, and the last time you did that, she ended up getting you to promise to be her Dark Witch.  What comes now?  Deciding the names of your first born?  “Well, I have an idea for both a girl and a boy, and we could use both, because we’ll have at least one of each . . .”  There you go, kid.  Maybe Annie will have that written down in her book as well . . .

Bags Are Packed and Ready to Fly

First off, the shoulders are better, though some of that might have been due to whatever the hell I was drinking last night.  I had two, they were good, and they had tequila in them, so that was an even better treat.  The problems come from a bad chair at home and the repetitive motion of adjusting my bra straps, and right there I’ve narrowed down the issues to the root cause.  So get a new chair and stop adjusting the straps.  It’ll help.

This means I did get started on the new Part/Chapter/Scene last night, but a combination of coming down off tequila and trying not to aggravate my shoulders meant not a lot of writing.

This is how we begin the new parts.  See?

This is how we begin the new parts. See?

Also, whenever I start something new it’s a bit rocky.  I know what I want to say, but getting it said it just hard, I tell you, hard!  And, in the following that I wrote, not a single line of dialog.  Watch:


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

Normally Thursday afternoons would have seen Annie and Kerry attending B Level Formulistic Magic between thirteen and sixteen-thirty, but since they were in Advanced Formulistic Magic on Monday afternoons—when nearly everyone else was either in Study Period or helping out in other classes—this was an open period for them.

Tuesday afternoons were also a free period for them both, but Kerry had Advanced Transformation Crafting after dinner and Annie usually chose that time to study in the Black Vault when she wasn’t sitting in on class, so they were back in class after dinner.

Because they didn’t have any classes after dinner, it meant Thursday afternoons—as well as Sunday afternoons and evenings—represented part of the most free time Annie could share with Kerry since the start of racing season. From the moment they left Mid-Level Sorcery Theory and Applications for lunch until they left Friday morning breakfast for Annie’s Flight Gift Training at nine, they could spend just over twelve hours together—

More if they somehow managed to find a place to sleep together—which they’d yet to do.

There wouldn’t be any free time after dinner tonight, however; Annie wouldn’t even eat dinner with Kerry. Later this afternoon she would dine with Coraline and Deanna while Kerry headed northward with the rest of the Advanced Flight One for their overnight camping trip at Baxter State Park in Central Maine, their first of several tests this school year that would prepare them for the Polar Express that took place during the student’s C Levels.

They wouldn’t be camping in any Normal sites: they’d be somewhere deeper within the park, at least ten kilometers from the nearest regular site, somewhere along the shoreline of Matagamon Lake. They’d unpack and set up their tents in the dark, eat rations similar to what they’d carry during the Polar Express, and likely stay up until close to twenty-three before heading off to their cots and sleeping bags for the nights.

According to Kerry the plan for Friday was to rise about five-thirty, have a quick breakfast, clean up and see to their toilet, then be airborne by seven-thirty or eight for a full day of flying. He was unsure about where they were headed, however: all Nadine—who was joining the overnight trip as an assistant—would tell them after Advanced Spells last night was to expect to fly “a lot.”

Annie had heard something different from both Penny and Alex that morning while they were in the girl’s bathroom getting ready. They said that when they did the overnight flight last year, they’d flown northwest into Canada, turned westward for about five hundred kilometers, then turned southeast and made their way back to the school. Alex said they flew about two thousand kilometers that day, returning home several hours after sunset.

Annie suspected tomorrow would see much the same for Kerry, if not more.



There you have it:  Kerry is flying off to do some camping, which means Annie’s off the leash and ready to dine with Coraline and Deanna.  You can bet no other students are doing that–but then, no other students in Advanced Flight One are leaving a soul mate behind.  And this is the first time she’ll be at school overnight without Kerry somewhere on the grounds, and the same for him not having Annie close by.

Where is Kerry gonna camp?  I’ll let you in on a little secret:

Right here.

Right here.

Specifically, right near that sandy, open area.  The tents will be in the woods, but the fires will be in that open area–just in case.  And just as stated, that’s on the shore of Matagamon Lake, with Mount Katahdin way in the background.  And if I know they are camping their, you know I have a map.

And it’s gonna get shown.

The Pain of the Present

This morning is one of those moments when I woke up, flipped on the computer, brought up the “Add Post” tab, and stared at the screen thinking, “What the hell am I gonna write about?”  See, the last couple of days I’ve been cooking off all my writing in the mornings, and this weekend has been particularly productive, what with writing about twenty-five hundred words to get a scene out of the way.  And that productivity has led to something else:


More specifically, major muscle pain in my shoulders.  As in “My shoulders want to leave my body and head somewhere nice to relax” kind of pain.  It’s intense and in no way nice.  And when you’re wearing a bra and the straps are holding position right where the pain is–ugh.  That’s even worse.

Then add to that the position you hold your arms when you type, and you see where this is leading.

I have a different kind of Writer's Cramp.

I have a different kind of Writer’s Cramp, is what I’m saying.

It’s been like this for a couple of weeks now, and the only way I’ve found to combat this is to get the bra off, slather on some Icy Hot, slip into the pajamas, and relax for about thirty minutes before getting back into the swing of things.  Even so, there’s a lot of pain, especially in my left shoulder.  I’m trying different things to help this situation.

One, unless I have to go out after work, I get out of the bra right away.  Seriously, bras suck.  They do.  You don’t know how much bras suck until you have to wear one.  Take this from someone who didn’t need to wear a bra for, oh, maybe forty-five years before, BOOM!  Here’s your bra, Honey, welcome to the club.

Two, the Icy Hot and relaxing, maybe even a hot shower on the shoulders, too.  Anything to get the muscles to relax.  Which means probably a nap when I get home.

Three, taking my time with the writing.  This has aggravated the condition a lot.  Like it or not, I believe I need to buy a good chair, too.  I’ve been sitting on a shitty little chair for more than a year–actually more like two years–and it’s not good for me because it forces me to sit in ways that aren’t good.  And I need to be able to kick back and relax once in a while during a writing session, and with the chair I now have that’s impossible.  So chair buying is on the horizon, I’m positive.

The pain I’m feeling has a lot to do with not feeling like writing when I get home.  It’s tough to get the ideas flowing when your shoulders are on fire, and this weekend proved that point as I tried to find every excuse possible not to write last night.  Unfortunately I had note to take for the recap I need to write tonight, and so . . . pain last night, and probably more pain tonight.

I only hope it’s not enough to keep me from getting into the last scene of Chapter Fifteen, ’cause . . . reasons.