Love and Rockets and Politics

Here I am back earlier than I’d imagined.  Shopping done and a lot of money spent, probably more than I should have spent.  I was considering going out for lunch but I think I’ll keep it indoors for today and relax and catch a nap.  But I will get all my writing in today.  And some tomorrow.  But I will get it in.  After that nap ’cause I can feel yawning coming on.

Yesterday Kerry was going on about the defenses that used to be around San Francisco, and while he touched on the big guns there he left off one thing that Annie remembers to bring up:

 

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

 

“And what is this Nike base you mentioned?”

“Oh, that.” He once more pointed off to his right. “They had missiles there from the 1950s until the mid 1970s.” Kerry moved so he now faced Annie. “They were supposed to shoot down missiles that were coming in to bomb the city.”

Annie searched her memory for she was certain she knew the event that Kerry was describing. “That was during the Cold War, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah. Back when Russia was our—the U.S.’s—enemy. As was any country that was aligned with them.” A broad smile appeared as he leaned closer to his dream girl. “Which means your family was the enemy—Comrade Kirilova.”

“Oh, please.” She broke into laughter as she spent a few seconds rolling her eyes. “No one has ever called me comrade, nor have I ever heard someone being called comrade. You must have gotten that from a movie.”

“Not really.” Kerry couldn’t keep the smile off his face. “I’m just imagining what it’s like having a girlfriend whose parents were communists.”

Part of Annie knew he was being silly, part of her admired the fact that Kerry knew the history of her country. Bulgaria was four months away from celebrating twenty-four years since leaving the Warsaw Pack and she imagined that the only people who actually gave any thought of the condition of those countries were people like Alex and her and a few others at school who were from those countries. “My parents were never communists: they were too young. They were several months into their B Levels when Bulgaria gained independence from Russia and the Warsaw Pack.” She gave him a smirk that considered of a great deal of side eye. “So you needn’t worry about having communists in-laws.”

“Fair enough.” He stared straight ahead for a few seconds before speaking in a low voice. “What about your grandparents?”

 

Before we get into Annie’s history, let’s look at this other history:

San Francisco is the last place in the U.S. to have a relatively intact Nike Launch Facility, SF 88.  The control center is on top of a hill called Wolf Ridge, but you have to hike up there as it appears the road that used to lead to the center has washed out.  The launch facility looks pretty much as it did when it was decommissioned in the 1970s–

Pretty nice, huh?

Pretty nice, huh?

–save for the fact that it no longer has any nuclear missiles.  That’s right:  SF 88 was one of the sites in the Strategic Defense Network of Nike launch centers where the Nike Hercules missiles, which was armed with either a 2 kiloton or 20 kiloton warhead, were located.

This must be the nucwewer missel.

This must be the nucwewer missel.  Someone tell Chekhov.

While there may be a missile or two still there, they are not active, nor do they have warheads.  And Kerry was wrong:  they weren’t designed to knock down missiles–at least not at first–but were instead shot at incoming bomber with the intention of blowing them out of the sky with nuclear fire.  None of that ever happened, which is good ’cause if it had happened I probably wouldn’t be writing this now.

And, as we see in the picture below, the base is close to the gun batteries Kerry described that were actually set inside a hill, Battery Wallace #1 and #2:

Needless to say there has been a lot of money spent on defending of San Francisco.

Needless to say there has been a lot of money spent on defending of San Francisco.

For the record one home I owned in Indiana was close to Nike launch site C-47, which was actually the first site to deploy the nuclear-armed Nike Hercules missiles, and I drove past the site many times.  Going back even further, when I was a kid, I can remember my parents driving past launch site C-46 in Munster, IN, and seeing the missiles out there ever so often, ready to go just in case war broke out.  Which if it had–

 

With this history out of the way, let’s move on to this new discussion of Kerry’s soul mate and–dirty little commie?

For those who don’t remember, from 1945 until 1989 Bulgaria was a communist country, being a member of the Soviet Union-controlled Warsaw Pack known as the People’s Republic of Bulgaria.  This means they sat behind the other side of the Iron Curtain, and were considered by many in the west to be nothing more than a puppet of the USSR, aka The Evil Empire as Ronnie Raygun once told us.

Now, from Annie’s point of view, the last of this happened ten years before she was born, but given that her parents were both born in 1977, they spent twelve years of their lives under communist rule.  (And a note of trivia:  Annie’s mother Pavlina was born on 28 August, which means she turned eleven while waiting to report to school, which happened on 1 September, 1988, exactly twenty-three years before her lovely daughter did the same.  Talk about just hitting the cut-off for admission.)

But as Annie points out, neither of her parents were ever old enough to join the Communist Party, though who knows if they had to do Communist Youth stuff as they were growing up.  Probably not, as the party in Bulgaria was falling apart in the 1980s, and maybe there was some witchy stuff that kept her folks from having to do anything party-wise.

But what about her grandparents?  This is probably the first time in her life Annie’s been grilled about her family’s political affiliations:

"Communists?  No one in my family is, or ever has been, a communist.  Wait, what story is this?"

“Communists? No one in my family is, or ever has been, a communist. Wait, what story is this?”

However, when it comes to Annie’s family–

 

She didn’t lie because she was certain Kerry had likely figured everything out. “Both my paternal and maternal grandparents were in the Communist Party, and I think their parents as well. My father’s parents worked in national energy production and were required to travel to Russia a couple of times a year for meetings and training, and my mother’s parents were involved with a state organization that imported goods from Western Europe. Because of what they did, it was almost mandatory that they be party members.”

Kerry eventually nodded in agreement. “I can see that. They’d need to be connected politically to get ahead.”

“Exactly.” Annie learned towards Kerry, a whimsical smile upon her face. “My grandparents were in the Communist Party, but they weren’t communists.”

He nodded a couple of times fast. “I didn’t mean to imply they were: I was just joking.”

“I know.” She wrapped her arms around his. “I can’t wait until you finally meet my grandparents; they’ll probably love it that you know these things and will happy to answer your questions.”

 

There you have it:  while all the grandparents were in the party, they weren’t communists.  The same probably goes for Alex’s parents and grandparents–being from the Ukraine her family were actually considered living Soviet Russia for a while–and for another girl in their level, Dariga Dulatuli, who is from Kazakhstan and had parents and grandparents who were considered living in Russia for a good part of their lives.

There is probably a part of Kerry’s mind that has slipped back and imagined what it might have been like for them if Annie and he had been born twenty years earlier and they were trying to meet each other over the Iron Curtain–

What am I saying?  You know he has done just that…

Saturday Morning Silliness

The post title says it all:  it’s a quick update of what’s going on but…  you’re getting more than that this morning.  Oh, yeah:  a lot more–

Strays and Tangents

Am I writing this morning?  Sort of.  Really, being Saturday morning I felt it was time for a little video, and that’s what I did.  Just know there will be another post this afternoon, so you can have fun with both!

See you now and then!

The Aftermath Letter: The Setup

Okay, then:  here it is, the start of the Letter.  And I’m putting that in caps ’cause it’s been teased for four days now, and finally, on Friday, you get to see the beginning of what happened at Kerry’s his first night home.

A couple of things happened last night.  One, it was the second time since starting the new novel that I’ve written over a thousand words in a sitting, and these were probably the easiest thousand to get into the book, so I’m hoping I’m snapping out of whatever ennui I’ve been in for a while now.

Also, the novel finally crossed over the ten thousand word mark.  It took longer than usual–twenty days instead of my normal fourteen–but during that period I wrote on only sixteen days, so I was close to what I normally do, getting in 635 words a day on average.  I consider that pretty good all things considered.

In the excerpt below I have Kerry’s writing in bold because you can’t see the script I use when I’m writing his part in Scrivener.  And since it’s a shame you can’t see:

I've made it so you can see.

I’ve made it so you can see.

Yeah, this is how I write.  I don’t have to make it look like Kerry wrote that out, but I’m strange, okay?  And you have to put up with it.

Anyway, enough yacking from me.  Here’s the first section of the letter, completely uninterrupted.  Enjoy.

 

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

 

Never mind that. She returned to the pages in her hands. Let’s see what he has to say.

Well, I’m out to my parents, and while it wasn’t a disaster it could have been better. At first they didn’t want to believe me, which didn’t surprise me in the least because that’s how they are. Ms. Rutherford had me do a little magic for them—
And that’s when things went off the rails.
I didn’t do much, just some levitation and a few other things—

Annie smirked at the last line, because based upon what Berniece told her, the “other things” were far more than that—

—and when I was finished Mom and Dad kinda freaked. At first they seemed scared, but it didn’t take long for Mom to get angry at me for not telling her about the whole witch thing before tonight.

If he’s talking about tonight his time, he must have written this the night he arrived home.

Ms. Rutherford tried to calm them down, but Mom wasn’t in the mood to be calm and told her to leave, so she did: she jaunted out of the house and you should have seen the look on Mom’s face when Ms. Rutherford vanished.
The only problem after that was they had me all alone, and they weren’t happy. Mom kept going on that I should have told her about what I was really learning at school, and Dad was upset that I felt I couldn’t trust them with my secret. I kept going back to reminding them that The Foundation ordered me not to say anything, and it wasn’t just me, it was all the kids who came from Normal background that had just finished their B Levels.

Annie didn’t find any of this part surprising because she’d already heard most of this from Berniece when she visited the morning after taking Kerry home. What she was more interested in was what happened after—

Mom started demanding to know who she could talk to about all the secrecy, and I told her no one in The Foundation was going to take her call, that as far as they were concerned I’d come home, told them I was a witch and that I was learning magic, and that was all that mattered. She didn’t like hearing that, but she didn’t like it even more when I told her to stop making such a big deal out of things and just be happy I was home and I no longer had to hide the truth.
That didn’t go over well at all.
Then starts all the other questions: how long have you been a witch and how long have you known? I told them I didn’t know until I’d gotten to school and was told the morning after I arrived, and as far as being one I was born that way. I let them know I’d been a witch my whole life, it was just that I didn’t know how to do magic.

“Or you weren’t aware you were crafting magic.” They were now both aware that Kerry involuntarily used his abilities without actually knowing he’d crafted, and their shared dreaming came about due to them both being Aware. For a moment she wondered if Kerry told his parents about everything magical with which he’d been born, but she knew he wouldn’t go into that much detail. If they were having this much trouble understanding he’s a witch, they wouldn’t understand anything else.

She read on:

 

And that’s what you get today.  This is going to be a pretty big scene, so there’s a lot more to come.  Which is good, ’cause starting tonight I’m going to have an extremely busy four days in a row before I am able to really get back into the writing.  I’ll get there, but I’ll be lucky to get out five hundred words a day–

Oh wait:  I’m doing that now.

Never mind.

Bimillennium

You waited and waited, and here it is:  post Number 2000.  So of course it’ll be called what it’s called, because that’s what you get when you have two of a thousand, yeah?

But this the real deal:  two thousand posted, most of which were written with maybe a few dozen reblogged.  I’ll take that, because most of those reblogs were mine, and after tomorrow’s post–which is gonna be a play on another famous title–I’ll do a Gish Gallop on stuff that I’ve written but not reblogged, which are mostly my recaps over on The Snarking Dead.

But you didn’t come here to read about that, right?  No, there’s something else here–

"Oh, look:  Cassidy finally decided to treat us to her work.  About time."

“Oh, look: Cassidy finally decided to treat us to her new work. About time.”

 

That’s the real reason, for today C For Continuing starts excerpting, and at the rate I’m writing I’ll run out of things to excerpt in a few days, because I was only able to write another five hundred words last night.  Don’t worry:  I’ll get into gear.  I promise.  There’s a thousand word night in me somewhere.  Which I’m gonna need because right now my average is well below what I normally do.

But enough of that.  Since everyone waited I figured I’ll throw all of the first scene out for you to read and try to sate your appetites.  Here it, first draft as always, and right off the bat you get into what’s most important at this point in my kids’ story . . .

 

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

What bothered Annie Kirilova the most this morning was the weather. She had hoped for a bright sunshine, but what she received instead was light rain and low cloud cover. The rain also had the temperatures hovering in the low teens Celsius, which kept her out of shorts and forced her into leggings to wear with her long, flowing top and black ballet flats.

Given what was going to happen, she wondered if the weather reflected he mood.

Standing before the large windows of her lake house, she saw that her tree was certainly reading her feelings. The leaves were a bright yellow when she arrived thirty minutes earlier, and now they were a muddy gold. It feels my concern: it knows this. Her mother had seen it as well, when Annie entered the kitchen as she came down the spiral staircase from her bedroom. While Annie was an expert at hiding her emotions, the last few years saw her mother becoming more adapt at picking up on them. She knew the reason why: puberty was having an effect upon her, and while it remained possible to keep her feelings invisible, strong emotions had a way of leaking through the outer façade.

And Annie’s emotions were growing stronger every day.

She turned away from the window sighing and checked the clock in the kitchen: 08:59. Annie wondered if her guest would actually turn up in the next minute as she was told that this particular person had a habit for punctuality—

The LEDs switched over to 09:00. Annie held her breath as she moved towards the dining table.

A few seconds later a shadow passed across the windows followed by a knock at the main entrance. Annie turned and nearly smiled. The stories are true, it seem. She hurried over and opened the door for her guest. “Won’t you come in, please?”

“Thank you, Annie.” Berniece Rutherford entered and paused for a moment as she examined the large, open space. She wore a light jacket over her tee shirt this Sunday morning, and her jeans and sneakers indicated she was anticipating a relaxing day. “So this is the lake house.”

“Yes, it is. I hope you like it.” Annie wondered how much Ms. Rutherford knew about this place. She was aware that as Kerry’s case worker it was necessary for her to receive numerous concerning things that happened to Kerry at school, and it was likely she’d read at least one report on their shared wedding vision—a fact of which she was certain the moment she noticed the young woman’s eyes lock upon the sleep loft in the back. She has to know everything.

Annie stepped closer to her guests and held out her hand. “May I take your jacket and purse?”

“You can hang up my jacket; I’ll keep my purse with me.” She shrugged out of it and stepped a couple of meters away from the door. “Are we sitting at the table or by the fireplace?”

Annie finished hanging the jacket. “By the fireplace, please. Would you like tea? I put a kettle on in anticipation.”

Berniece chuckled. “I would love some. Do you have breakfast tea?”

“Yes. Loose leaf.”

“You are ready. That would be fine.”

Annie gave a cut nod then went to the kitchen area to retrieve the kettle and prepare the infuser. She set both on a tray along with a cup and saucer and carried them over to where Bernice sat. Annie waved her hand over the kettle, which began steaming almost immediately, then slowly poured the tea cup just over three quarters full. “I understand you like milk in yours—would you care for some?”

“Yes, please.”

Annie levitated a small pitcher all the way from the kitchen and gently retrieved it in mid-air. Only after pouring in a small amount of milk did she offer the tea to her guest. “Here you are.”

“Thank you, Annie.” Berniece looked up, smiling. “You are quite the host.”

“Mama impressed upon me that we should always make our guests comfortable when they visit.”

Bernice watched the steam rising from the liquid’s surface. “Must have been a little tricky timing this coming to a boil right before my arrival.”

“No, it wasn’t.” Annie sat in the leather easy chair across the coffee table from the case worker. “I brought it to a boil maybe fifteen minutes ago, then placed a small time spell around the kettle to put it in stasis. As far as the contents of the kettle were concerned, maybe five seconds had passed before I removed the spell.”

Berniece gave an approving grin. “Did you learn that on your own?”

“No, Kerry taught me.”

“So your Time Lord is teaching you those spells. I guess you’ll be a Time Lady soon.”

Annie managed a slight smile at the reference while inwardly she groaned. In the last few months of their B Levels Kerry had become quite adept at quickly crafting a selection of time spells of all sizes, and had begun using them to speed up reactions in Advanced Formulistic Magic. Because of this ability, however, Erywin—who was as much a pop culture geek as her soul mate—began calling him the “Salem Time Lord” and openly joked that it wouldn’t be long before Annie joined him as a Time Lady.

She must have included that bit in one of her reports. Annie wasn’t sure if she should feel honored that Erywin was observant enough to take time to acknowledge these abilities publicly, of annoyed that she allowed her private jokes into official documents.

Annie decided to move away from any discussion of her ability with time crafting. “Is it raining in London as well?”

Berniece shook her head. “No, but it’s about the same temperature-wise.”

“Did you have trouble getting here?”

“Not a all. I took you advice: jaunted London to Sofia, had them jaunt me to Pamporovo, then hired a car to your house. Your mother didn’t seem at all surprised when I pulled up.”

Annie shook her head. “No. I’d told her you were coming. Did you walk down from the main house?”

“You mother jaunted me to the deck stairs. I think she felt it necessary that she not be seen.” Berniece sipped her tea. “Umm—that’s perfect.”

Annie settled back in her chair and tried not to be obvious about taking a deep breath before continuing. She felt there had been enough small talk already, and she wanted to get into the reason why she’d asked Ms. Rutherford here two weeks earlier. “If you wouldn’t mind—”

Berniece sensed Annie’s eagerness to start. “No, not at all.”

Annie crossed her legs. “How did it go?”

Berniece held her cup and saucer of tea steady in her lap. “It went about as well as I expected—”

 

Those last remarks should be familiar—

 

FADE IN:

INT. LAKE HOUSE INTERIOR — DAY

The camera centers on ANNIE KIRILOVA sitting in a large chair. She’s dressed casually and for the summer. She addresses someone sitting off-screen across from her.

ANNIE (IN ENGLISH)
How did it go?

QUICK CUT:
Sitting in another large chair across from Annie BERNIECE RUTHERFORD steadies her cup and saucer in her lap. She dressed causally in jeans and a pullover top, ready for summer.

BERNIECE
About as well as I expected.

 

—with just a bit of editing on Bernice’s line, because you can’t always get everything you want in a trailer, can you?

With the first scene coming on their return from school for the summer, and with me saying the next scene is a flashback, that mean what comes next must have to do with the other have of the Lovey Dovey Couples, otherwise why is Ms. Rutherford there?

I guess this means you get to begin seeing what happened to Kerry tomorrow–

Workin’ Like It’s 1999

As I like to say, this is the penultimate post to the last–but wait:  tomorrow isn’t the last post I’ll write.  Far from that.  It’s just that tomorrow’s post is kind of a big deal, so to say I’m a little excited is an understatement.

"I never thought I'd get here. But I'm always thinking that."

“I never thought I’d get here. But I’m always thinking that.”

So I’m a little over two thousand words into the next novel, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but give it time, I’ll get there.  Not to mention that this weekend is supposed to be hotter that hell and I’ll likely be staying in a lot, so I’m going to set Sunday as a day to write and not a day to fool around watching Netflix.  Because there is stuff I need to get down in the Word Bank, and that’s as good a day as any.

So what to talk about today?  Um, how about bra fittings?

I know, strange subject, but then I get my readers going off in the direction, like yesterday.  Renxkyoko and I were discussing yesterday’s post, and we got off on the subject of “Kerry after the Change” because I made a comment about what sort of panties Girl Kerry will want to wear, and from there I made the comment that she’ll also need a bra fitting, and . . . yeah, there’s a lot of things about this transition that, in time, will likely need to be addressed.  I mean, we’ve seen Annie fly more than once, so the odds are good we’ll see Kerry transition more than once, too.

But will happen in this novel?  Um . . . probably not.  Or maybe it will.  Where would they go?  Forever 21?  Has Annie ever set foot inside a Forever 21?  Probably not.  Not when she’s getting her purses and wallets from the Louis Vuitton store in Paris, so you can imagine–as we already have–that Annie has some high standards when it comes to her threads.  Which means she’s likely to be just as picky about someone else’s threads as hers.  “It’s not a problem, Annie.  I can pick up some jeans at JC Penney’s and–”  And Annie lets out a shriek of horror at the idea ’cause she’s knows a Levi’s store on the Rue Saint-Lazare, and she tells Kerry that’s where we’re going . . .

And for a little reality, I have shopped at that Levi’s store on Rue Saint-Lazare, back in 2006.  I didn’t buy jeans, but my SO did, and she reminded me that European and Asian fits are so much better than American ones.  I’m sure Annie thinks the same, which is probably why she almost never buys clothes in the US.  Then again, she’s a princess–what did you expect?

But all that’s way off in the future, maybe a year, maybe two away.  As of right now I just have to worry about tomorrow, and the writing that comes tonight.  Honestly, it’s this part that makes it all worth while.  The stress, the pain, being tired, feeling like I’m not making anything worth while.  It all goes away once people start seeing the goods.

Let’s see if I still feel that way in a year.

The Production Push

You know the drill:  this is the point in the story where I come in and say “Last night I–” and then continue with a discussion of what I wrote.  But it’s also been a time of some complaining an excuse making as well, and that’s leaving me a bit discouraged even more than digging on the excitement of writing another novel.

When I returned from work I needed to decompress, so I sat and watched a movie.  Then I headed down the street to get something to eat because I was hungry and there isn’t a thing in the apartment.  Then when I came back I set up to write and found a few distractions to pull me in before I actually really truly got down to the business of writing.

And it was horrible.

It was something of a draining day at work, and I tried to bounce back from the experience as much as possible, but damn if I wasn’t so tired last night.  The energy simply wasn’t there, and I found myself not only lagging in writing, but having  trouble keeping what I wanted to say in my head long enough to get it out for saying.

The hardest part were my fingers, as in, “My fingers wouldn’t do what I wanted them to do.”  Between the new keyboard and the long nails I’ve had to figure out a whole new way of typing, and it hasn’t always been the best way.  I’m used to hitting the keys with the tops of my fingers, but due to having longer nails than I’ve ever had in my life, I now need to flatten my hands out and strike the keys with a combination of my finger pads and the nails, and I don’t always do a great job with that.  I’m also used to the old keyboards where the keys press right up against each other, and these new keyboards with the spaces between them drive me crazy after a while.

And crazy means I get frustrated.  I don’t type as fast as I once did, and haven’t to go back and fix things all the time wears you down.  I’m sue I’ll get used to this–I’m almost there now–but after three months I find myself not striking keys with enough force to get them do make a mark, and I don’t like it, not one bit.

But most of all I’m tired a lot at night, and that affects everything.

"I've written a little bit here, so . . . just a quick nap and I'm ready to go again.  I think.  Zzzzzzz."

“No, really:  I’m fine.  I just need to . . . zzzzzzzzzz.”

Someone last night said my post are like having a conversation, and I’ve always tried to do that when writing.  Only the five hundred and thirty words I wrote last night came out as one of the most stilted conversations I’ve ever held, and by the time I reached a point where I felt I needed to stop, much of the reason revolved around just feeling as if I couldn’t continue any more.

I was simply fed up.

I am in need of really getting my shit together on this book and get set up some proper times to write–

Or it’s gonna be a long novel.