In Through the Out Time

Today is post number one thousand, four hundred, and in another hundred I’ll be up to fifteen hundred.  For this event today, I’ve decided to answer another reader’s question, and this is from Joanne Brunetti, another of my buddies in Hodgepodge Crochet on Facebook.  But this isn’t a writing question:  it’s a personal one–some might say an extremely personal one.  And the question is . . .

 

Was there a specific event that led to you making the decision to go ahead and live your true life?

 

That’s certainly an interesting question.  And I answered it, but not in writing.  I decided that it was just too much to write down, so I recorded a video to talk about the moment when–

Well, you’ll have to watch yourself.  It’ll take about twenty minutes, and I promise it won’t bore you.  So enjoy.

Writing at the Speed of Imagination

After a slow start to the day I’ve come back to a point where I am actually thinking straight, almost like a real person.  It’s wonderful that I’m not crashing out right about now.

Today I’m going to answer another reader’s question and this one is from Christy Birmingham, who I’ve followed for sometime as well.  Her question is simple:

 

What are your top three reasons for using Scrivener?

 

That’s an interesting question, because I’m not certain I can answer it sufficiently.  You see, there are so many different reasons why I use it, but let me see if I can break this down to something that makes sense.

 

One:  I can organize everything from the shortest story to the longest novel however I like.

 

Let me show you a few things.  First up is, believe it or not, the only real short story I’ve ever written, The Relocater, which clocks in at fifty-eight hundred words.  I wrote it in September, 2013, over the course of five nights, just to prove to myself that I could write a short story.

Looks kinda cute, doesn't it?

Looks kinda cute, doesn’t it?

There isn’t much to organize here, and Scrivener even has a short story template that allows you to just rip off some quick stories when you’re in the mood.  In this case I wanted quick and dirty, and that’s what I got.

Now, here is the novel I’m currently editing, Kolor Ijo:

Welcome back, 2012 NaNoWriMo story!

Welcome back, my friend, to the show that never ends.

When I laid out this novel I’d used Scrivener for about fifteen months, so I had a better grasp of how I wanted to set up my novel.  You can see that here I’m setting things up in parts, and that each text file is really a chapter.  And since most are short and separated in action from each other, I can get away with having it neatly laid out this way.

Now, maybe you recognize this work . . .

Every time I think I'm finished, you pull me back in.

Every time I think I’m finished, you pull me back in.

This is, right here, the most advanced layout I’ve ever done, which is for, naturally, The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced.  And I should mention that the layout I have today is not the one with which I started.  When I began writing this in October, 2013, there were parts, there were chapters, there were scenes–but there were no acts.  It was only after I was close to finishing what is now Act One that I realized this story was gonna be huge, and trying to release it as one large tome might not be a good idea.  Therefore, I added the acts, began moving Parts into those Acts, and everything followed.  And that’s one of the things I love about the program.  However I want to set up my story, however I want to lay out my research, however I want to link to information from internal and external sources, I can.  It’s all up to you.  It’s even possible-though I haven’t tried it yet–to build your own template so these setups are available when you go to create a new project.  Like I’ll need with I write that B Level novel.

 

Two:  Write in one simple format, compile it into anything.

 

As a word processor Scrivener is simple:  it’s just text files where you can set margins, font styles, and font sizes.  You can so most everything that you can do in, say, MS Word, though for some functions you need to be hooked up to the Internet to get them to work, but who isn’t these days?  (And those functions are really needed to get the story written–I know; I’ve done that.)

But where the program really shines is in the area of how your final product look.  The Compile function is the formatting system of the program, and it makes it possible to just write lines of information in each text box, and by setting definitions in the Compile pop-up box, you can make the output look any way that makes you happy.

So many options, so little time to play with this stuff.

So many options, so little time to play with this stuff.

Most of the time I’ll compile into PDF format to look for errors and to send to beta readers, because you can’t change the stuff in that format–well, you can, but I have to trust my beta readers.  When I’m ready to send something up for self-publishing, I’ll compile the document to a Word .doc and run it through various checks as it’s converted into an epublishing format–

Which Scrivener will actually do for you.  .Epub and .Mobi are the two epiblishing formats supported by Scrivener, and if I remember correctly, Amazon will allow you to upload .mobi to Kindle Direct.  And those options on the left of the popup window?  Those are you selection and formatting options.  It’s actually possible to take plain, unaltered text an set your margins, fonts, and sizes in there, and have a ball getting your final product ready for whatever you like.  I haven’t explored all that because, well, it would take away from my writing.

And speaking of writing, the most important reason I use Scrivener:

 

Three:  It keeps everything I need for the story right in front of me.

 

Scrivener is not a word processing program:  it’s a project management program.  That’s why, when you go to create something new, you’re not creating a story or a short or a novel, you’re creating a project.  And into that project goes–

Everything.

Here’s something I’ve not shown much:  the research section for A For Advanced.

I seem to have an interest in aircraft . . .

I seem to have an interest in aircraft . . .

All that stuff on the left are things I slipped into the binder almost a year and a half ago, and some of the information I’ve kept updated, or even changed, as I went along with the story.  After all, the Spell List was being updated and added to constantly, because I’d come up with new things as I wrote.  But all the world building I did in October, 2013–it’s there.  Everything.  And up above I have information on students and who’s in every coven, and the levels and . . . you get the idea.

Now, in the picture above, there are four entries that look like little globes.  Those are interactive webpages that you can set up inside the project–you know, some of those functions that you need an Internet connection for?  Here’s what that looks like:

I seem to recall looking for these schedules back in 2013--

I seem to recall looking for these schedules back in 2013–

And the website is completely functional, so while I’m working on a scene, if I really needed to know the time for the train from Rockport–which, if you remember, is the end of the train line on Cape Ann and not that far from the school’s main gate–to Salem, it’s right here.  That was why I set this page up:  so I would have access to these schedules if they were needed.  And they will be–maybe.

The great thing is when it comes time to set up a project for B For Bewitching, I have an option to import another Scrivener project, so I’ll just zip all of this into that new project, delete what I don’t need, and keep the rest.  There you have it:  all my research is available for the new novel, with a little fuss as possible.

That’s pretty much it:  three main reasons why I use Scrivener.  There are a lot more, but those three are the biggest reasons.

And with reasons like those, I don’t really need any others.

Beyond the Obvious Reasons

Today feels like a day of rest.  I woke up early, cried several times in bed before the alarm went off, and have been desperately trying to find something about which to write.

And . . . I’m coming up zeros.

"You want me to be brilliant again?  Um . . . can it wait until tomorrow?"

“You want me to be brilliant again? Um . . . can it wait until tomorrow?”

What I wanted to write about it going to take some time, and right now I don’t have that time.  In fact, I’m sort of running out of time to get anything done this morning, what with feeling like my brain is in a lock-down and everything needs to be forced to the surface with a cattle prod.

Not a good time of things, let me tell you.

So I think I’ll wait until tonight to get out the post I wanted to do today, mainly because working on it will keep me awake and give me something to do.  And when it starts getting dark outside, and I start getting sleepy, having something to do is usually a good thing.

So, for the first time in like, um, maybe three years, I’m not going to make my five hundred word blog post count.  A couple of hundred, sure, but not a lot beyond that.  You’re on your own today, so enjoy the weather while I get ready to walk across town in something closer to ten below zero wind chills.

Thinking about a story all the while, too.

Into the End at the Beginning

Yesterday was a busy day for me, as some of you may have noticed.  Two posts, a few videos–I did one that I posed in a group of the snowfall here in Harrisburg that was freaking everyone out–and then the late night videos I did on makeup.  I did a lot of editing.  I watched movies.  I listened to music.  I even started working on a segment of Annie’s an Kerr’s life that, in retrospect, needs to be changed, because given things that have happened to them in their A Levels, and things that will happen to them in the future, there are incidents in their lives that make no sense.

Today is Science Fiction Sunday on TCM, with Forbidden Planet starting at eleven, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind finishing up at eight, with a 2001 and 2010 interlude in-between, so I expect to spend most of the day watching that.  Three of those four movies are among my favorites, and these days I don’t get to see 2001 as much as I would like.  I have, however, watched the trailer the British Film Institute put out last year when they did a special release of 2001 on 28 November, 2014, and it’s a thing of beauty that always brings a tear to my eye.  Seeing it on a computer does not do it justice:  it needs to be seen on a huge screen with the sound system cranked all the way up.  And having seen this movie in theaters three times, I know what that’s like.

Today I answer another reader question, and this time it’s from Kim Jameson, another of my HodgePodge Crochet friends who knows the difference between a hook and a needle.  Her questions are a little like the one I answered yesterday, but at the same time they’re much different.

 

Do you plan your story and build a world ahead of time? Do you know the ending before you begin? How do you pick character names?

 

I’ll tackle the first one first, because it’s–first?  Actually it’s an easy one to answer, because I pretty much sorta answered it yesterday–

I am what is known in the writing business as a plotter, which means I figure out the story ahead of time before one word goes into the story.  I do that for a novel that’s gonna run a couple of hundred thousand words, and a story that will run ten thousand.  I do that so I don’t get lost about a third of the way in, thinking, “What do I do now?” and start thinking about the next story I could screw up the same way.  (Trust me, I’ve encountered this phenomenon more than a few times from other writers.)

And for really big stories, like A For Advanced, when you’re dealing with incredible events happening to a couple of kids who aren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary–beyond the extra-ordinary that’s already happening to them–one wants to make sure that you aren’t setting yourself up with unnecessary plot holes to fall through by winging the damn thing as you go along.  The entirety of the recollection of the dreams between Annie and Kerry, and getting Kerry to remember them, could have been screwed up completely if I didn’t know where they had been, and where they were going, story-wise, with the matter being further complicated by stretching the story out over a quarter of a million words.  Write that on the fly?  Not a chance.

And building a world ahead of time?  With A For Advanced I had to know as much about the World of The Foundation before I started writing about the events at Salem.  I knew the cities where The Foundation ran their business, the headquarter locations of the Protectors and Marshals and Guardians, and where every school The Foundation ran was placed and what they were named.  During the Day of the Dead attack, when Isis starts talking about schools she can no longer contact, though the names were mentioned that one time, they exist in a file, ready to be pulled up if I need that school, or another like it, in a future story.  When we are discussing a world-spanning organization that spends all its time hiding in plain sight, you better know where those hiding places are.

Do they all come to me at once?  No, not really.  I had the world built in October, 2013, before I started writing, but bits and pieces came to me as I went along.  The CDC as a Foundation location didn’t come to me until probably March or April of 2014, and that happened because I was thinking of using it in one of the future novels.  But it seemed perfect, and so it was used.  Now to see if any of the real underground bunkers I mentioned get used.  The show The 100 use Mount Weather as a location, so it’s not like it’s something new.

Do I know the ending before I begin a story?  Yes, pretty much.  Maybe I don’t have it locked down one hundred percent, but I know how a story will end before one word goes down.  That actually comes from something Issac Asimov once said:

 

Know your ending, I say, or the river of your story may finally sink into the desert sands and never reach the sea.

 

Since Issac wrote about everything and anything with fascinating clarity and intelligence, and did it hundreds of times throughout his life, I tend to believe he knew what he was doing when it came to the written word.  And I’ve seen this one happen many times before as well, where a writer who’s just pantsing the hell along (“Pantsing” is the term for a writer not knowing the story, but rather writing as it comes to them, like “I’m writing by the seat of my pants”) when, suddenly, they’re like, “Where the hell did my story go?  How the hell am I gonna finish this sucker?”  It’s fin and dandy to be a character in a Bob Seger song and just roll me away, but there exists the real possibility that because you have no real destination in mind your ass is gonna end up stranded in the middle of nowhere ’cause you ran outta gas, and then where you gonna be, bitch?

"This is as good a place as any to get lost and end up having buzzards stripping the drying flesh from my dead ass."

“This is as good a place as any to get lost and end up with buzzards stripping the drying flesh from my dead ass.”

And that last question:  how do I pick my character names?  That’s easy:  I just roll names around until I come up with something I like.  I might find a first name and think about last names to plug in, or a last and then look for a first, but that’s sort of it right there.  I may latch onto a famous name–Lovecraft was one that I used in A For Advanced, which I used for both a Founder of Salem and for Helena’s family name.  It was the same with Erywin’s family name, which was taken from the then recently deceased actress Elizabeth Sladen–or I may just pull out one that sounds good–Kerry’s family name is like that; it simply sounded right to me–but there’s nothing elaborate in the selection process.  Once I know it’s right, then it’s right.

There you are, a little more of that which makes me a writer unveiled for you.  And if you have any questions you want me to answer, have a go and post one.  You never know what I might say if I pick yours.

Setting the Face in Place

This post is a little different in that I’m doing something I’ve been asked to do a few times, and I somehow managed to find a way to put it together today.  This is a set of three videos I’ve mad talking about makeup, and how I go about putting everything together.

First video is just me talking about a few things relating to what I’m doing here:

This second video is the the application, start to finish.  Be warned I’m bare faced at the start, and that can be scary!  In the middle when I’m talking about my “concealer”, I’m actually talking about my pressed powder foundation.  Oops.

And here, at the end, I have but a few closing statements; nothing major, but I do use the wrong words more than a few times, which is amusing.

and there you have it.  What a woman doesn’t do to get ready in the morning.

Building These Dark Satanic Mills

This has been an interesting morning so far, mostly because I’ve know what I wanted to write about since before crawling out of bed, and with coffee in hand I’ve been getting myself worked up towards said writing of post by tuning into the Brain Salad Surgery, more specifically track one of this recording, which is Jerusalem.  In case you’re not aware of that song, it was originally a poem written by William Blake in 1804, and later turned into a song by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916.  And when you’re recording one of the seminal albums of the 1970s, why not open with your own version of an English hymn?

It’s from this song that the expression “Chariot of Fire” comes, and I’m certain you’ve all heard that one at some point, usually with Vangelis playing in the background.  It’s also where I get the title of today’s post, which has nothing to do with darkness, mills, or even Satan.  No, it has to do with a reader question, and this comes from one of my Facebook Hodgepodge Crochet buddies, Debbie Wisely, who asked the following:

 

Do you have characters in mind and then build a story around them or do you have a story in mind first and fit your characters to the story? How do you pick what city/state or country they reside in? Do you write or type the original work?

 

This is sort of a crazy question, and I’m going to answer the last question first, because it’s the easiest.  No, I don’t write by hand:  I type everything,  If I didn’t type I’d still be working on my first novel from over twenty years ago, because my handwriting is Teh Sux.  I can also type a lot faster than I can write by hand, and given I can’t spell worth a damn, or that I’m always making mistake when I’m writing, I’d be lucky to churn out a few hundred handwritten words a day.  So typing it is.  There you have it.

As for the other two–oh, boy.  Those are good.  So let’s talk about one of  my other novels that some of you might remember me writing, but which hasn’t seen the light of day.

I’m talkin’ Suggestive Amusements.

This was written from 31 December, 2012, to 26 March, 2013, while I was in the process of doing something before publishing Her Demonic Majesty.  I blogged about the writing of this novel back in the day, and I remember the finishing of the novel was memorable because of a dream I had when it was all over, a dream I can still remember today–but that’s not why we’re here, yeah?

How did this start?  Well, I had time on my hands because I’d just finished NaNoWriMo 2012, which I’d won by writing Kolor Ijo.  I was thinking of things to do, and if you want to know how I got this story going, it was with a vision of two people, a man and a woman, sitting in a living room.  The man was on a computer writing, and the woman was on a sofa looking at the guy while she was crocheting.  Seriously.  That’s the genesis of Suggestive Amusements:  guy writing, woman crocheting.

But who were they?  They guy writing–that’s pretty simple.  Or is it?  There’s more to his story, sure, there has to be, just like how at that time there was more to my story.  I drew on my own experience as a programmer/writer and sorta made the male character in question the same kind of people, only single, untroubled by gender issues, and a huge-ass slacker.  There you have him:  Keith.

Who’s the woman then?  Ah, well, that’s easy:  she’s there to inspire him.  She’s . . . I know!  She’s a muse, a real muse, like thousands of years old, creature without a real beginning, being that’s there to bring you inspiration muse.  That’s Erin.  Not her real name, of course, just like her sister’s name–Talia, who you get to meet in the story–isn’t her real name.  but do you want to call them by the Greek names by which they’re remembered?  Nope, it’s too much of a mouthful.  So Erin it is.

Something else was needed, however.  I mean, come on, we know what’s needed:  a love triangle!  I need another woman, and she shall be called Elektra, because I like the name.  And since we’re dealing with these ancient muses who are known mostly through Greek Mythology, why not stay with that Grecian naming motif?  So there you are, Elektra.

With this novel–with most of my novels–I have the characters in place first.  I get to know them, who they are, what they need, what they’re looking for, and once I know that I start building the story around them.  I have the basic idea of what’s going on with the characters, so it’s now a matter of building the plot–

But as the second part of the question indicates, how do I know where the story takes place?

And the answer there is whatever strikes my fancy.  In this case I wanted a place that I knew something about, but not a great deal.  And that place was Las Vegas, because what hit me was, “I’ve never written about the desert area, and just about all the stories of Vegas revolve around casinos, gamblers, the mob, and Nic Cage drinking himself to death with help from a friendly whore.  Why not build a fantasy there?”

That’s how Las Vegas and the areas surrounding the city became the setting for the novel.  But wait!  While writing the story, I started to think about Elektra’s backstory, and realized she was like a lot of people in the city, she came from somewhere else, and she blew into town with a lot of baggage.  After a lot of thought and consultation with Google Maps, I decided that Elektra was a New Mexican woman from the Alamogordo, a place known as “The Friendliest Place On Earth” and the home of a whole lot of giant ants.  And in that process of knowing where she was from–and trust me, I knew–I set up an adventure for her, traveling from one end of New Mexico to another, before eventually heading into Arizona and onward into Nevada and my main setting.

I came about all these places because I just felt it was right.  I knew, because by that point I knew my characters, that this is where they were from, and why they were here.  I do this with everything:  when I’m setting up places for my characters I start looking at maps and I wonder, “Where would these people live?  Where would they work?  Why are they here?”  And little by little I start putting it together until my thoughts reach a critical mass and it becomes real.  Just like I did with my current story:  why did the Salem Institute for Greater Education and Learning end up where it did?  Because it is supposed to be there.  I know this because I know this.

And now you know how I usually start putting my stories together.  Maybe not the same way every time, but close enough that if you wanted to know how I get the writing party started, you now know.

And I leave you with sunlight breaking through to the dark Satanic mills, because the alternative was giant ants, and no one wants that.

And I leave you with sunlight breaking through to the dark Satanic mills, because the alternative was giant ants, and no one wants that.

One last thing, however:  while I was working on Suggestive Amusements, a slight break in the action occurred in the 1 March, 2013 post titled The Sofa by the Hearth.  And there you’ll find mention that I was missing a couple of characters from my life, and I was thinking about an event that happened to them every weekend, and, well, maybe it was time I started writing about them–something I’d start doing in earnest eight months later.

That was truly the moment, almost two years ago, that I’d decided to begin work on their story.

If I’d only known then how that was going to turn out . . .

The Giving of the Gifts

It’s a good day, more or less, though cold as hell outside.  That’s to be expected ’cause, you know, it’s the middle of January, and most of the northern part of the country it’s winter.  It’s one of the reasons when, around this time, people start posting pictures of snow and exclaim, “Why is it so cold?” I usually want to tell them something that I know will get me in trouble, so I keep my keys to myself.

"My face is growing numb and there are white things falling from the sky.  What is this phonomina that I've lived through every year since I was born?"

“My face is growing numb and there are white things falling from the sky. What is this phenomena that I’ve lived through every year since I was born?”

Let’s not go there.

At my school it’s cloudy and cool, and there’s gonna be a bit of rain, but nothing major.  And my kids are on the way to breakfast on Kerry’s birthday–maybe he should get steak and eggs . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

A few weeks before she was worrier that they might die. Now she felt more loved than at any time since Kerry had recovered the memories of their dreams.

Upon reaching the Great Hall Annie flung open the doors of the West Entrance for Kerry, who laughed as he walked inside. Annie was loving this: she wasn’t prone to showing off, but today she felt as if there wasn’t much she couldn’t do, and what she could do she’d do for Kerry. She knew if their birth dates were reversed he’d do the same for her—after all, his crafting was as good as her when it came to spells, and while she held an advantage over him in sorcery, he showed far more skill with transformation spells. We each have our advantages and disadvantages—though I need to speak with him later about our talk in Kansas City

Kerry. Annie.”

Both looked up and found Coraline leaning over the first floor railing. “Hey, come on up to the hospital.” She straightened. “I’ve got something I need to tell you.”

 

And that is probably the only time you’ll ever hear anyone put Kerry’s name first when mentioning both in the same name.  ‘Cause birthdays, right?  So you can forgive Coraline for putting him first at least one day out of the year.

They make their way to the hospital and . . .

 

Upon entering the waiting room they found Nurse Coraline waiting for them with her hands in the pockets of her hospital smock. “Enter, young children.”

“Hello, Nurse Coraline.” Annie kept one hand wrapped around the strap of her messenger bag, and the other wrapped around Kerry’s.

Kerry waved with his right hand. “Hey, Nurse Coraline.”

“Hey, yourself.” She rocked back and forth on the heels of her black flats. “I understand someone around here has a birthday today.”

“Um, yeah.” Kerry blushed a bright red. “I do.”

“Really? What a surprise—” Coraline lightly touched her the area over her heart. “So do I.”

Both children glanced at each other before they turned back. Kerry blurted out a quick laugh. “Really?”

 

Really, she does, and there’s a story behind that . . .

Because I’m a bit lazy, and because Kerry started out as a role playing character, when I created him I thought, “I’ll just give him my birthday.”  So his birthday, 3 May, is almost mine–something I’ve never hidden on this blog.  I’m slightly older, because I was born forty-three years earlier, and at the time of his twelfth birthday, I was turning fifty-five and having a semi-miserable time coming down with a cold.

Now, for Nurse Coraline Gallagher . . . she was modeled physically after actress Christina Hendricks, which is why Coraline has mentioned from time to time that she was rather . . . developed as a young girl.  But my Coraline is a great doctor, and she also possesses the real Christina’s birth date, which is . . . 3 May.  The only differences are that I’m eighteen years older than Ms. Hendricks, and Coraline is twenty-two years older than Kerry.  And Coraline is a witch and Ms. Hendricks isn’t–at least that we know.

And this is something that Coraline brings up . . .

 

“Really. Though I’m a bit older, naturally.” Coraline chuckled. “The moment you were born it was already the Fourth of May here, and I was still up hoping that two students I’d spent most of the afternoon working on would make it through the night.” She shrugged. “I’d celebrated my twenty-second birthday about twenty-two hours sitting alone in my office with a piece of chocolate cake for company, not knowing that someone I was going to come to know well in eleven years was coming into the world in a few hours.” She raised her left hand slowly, and a package floated down from its hiding place just over the hospital entrance and behind Annie and Kerry. She handed it to the smiling boy. “Happy Birthday, Kerry.”

He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to hold back his emotions. “Thank you, Nurse Coraline.”

“Oh, just Coraline for now.” She nodded at the package. “I’d like for you to open it here, if you would.”

 

What she’s alluding to is bring brought in late at night on 30 April to administer to the wounded and dying in the aftermath of The Scouring.  Since Coraline lives in Salem the city, she was contacted and asked to fill in due to the actual school doctor being slightly dead.  It wasn’t going to be a full-time gig, but twelve years later, she’s still here.  And hiding presents in plain sight–okay, floating them over the doorway–nice touch.

So what did she get Kerry?  Money?  A tome on death spells?  A real Pokemon, which Isis could totally do?

 

Kerry set the package down on a chair and carefully opened the wrapping paper without tearing it to shreds. One it was off he popped the tape with a simple levitation spell and opened the package. He removed the gift inside. “This . . .” He held the hospital gown for Annie and Coraline to see. “It’s a gown.”

“Yes, it is.” Coraline stepped closer and touched the garment. “This is what you wore the night you were admitted after your accident during the Day of the Dead attacks.” She pointed towards the open package. “There’s something in there for you, too, Annie.”

She reach in and pulled out a white hospital smock similar to Coraline’s but shorter. “Let me guess: I wore this the same day.”

 

That Coraline, she’s a wild woman, right?  Why would she hand these over?

 

“That’s what you wore when you were working on him.” She turned to Kerry and her tone turned serious. “When you came in here eight months ago, I called you clueless—and you were. You were into something you had no idea existed—” She looked at Annie and winked. “Well, two things you didn’t know existed, and when you guys walked out of here I really wondered how you were going to do the next day during Orientation.

“I watch you come in for various reasons; you had to spend the night the first week, and you ended up a guest again a month later. I was seeing changes in you, though, and in Annie, too—changes that were significant enough that when the Day of the Dead arrived, you both knew what you wanted to do to help.”

She pointed at the garment in Kerry’s hands. “I want you to have that as a reminder of how much you’ve matured—not only before that attack, but since. Both of you, it’s been marvelous experience to see you grow up through this school year, and who the hell knows what you’re going to be like when you return for your B Levels.

“I will say this, though . . .” Coraline stepped forward and held Kerry’s hands in hers. “You sure ain’t clueless anymore, Red.” She leaned over and kissed him on the right cheek. “You’re gonna have a great day, Kerry.”

 

There you have it:  he gets a reminder of how much he’s changed since arriving at the school, and a kiss from probably the one woman that a lot of the boys at school wish they’d get a kiss from.  Losers.  Get a life.  And a significant other.

Oh, and tonight when I finish this scene, that kiss?

Yeah, just wait on that . . .