Catching Up On the All

And by “all” I mean video all!

Advertisements

Back In the End: Waking Up

After a lot of writing over the past few days I decided to take it easy and write just short of four hundred words.  Why?  Well, I’m a little tired.  See, last night was practice night and, for the first time in just about two months, I got to work out with the vets–

And I got my ass kicked.

I don’t mean like they literally hauled me off to a corner and started curbstomping me, but rather I was back to doing stuff I was doing last February, March, and April, before I got tossed in Derby Jail, and after two months of inactivity from what’s basically a lot of cardio, there were times when I felt like I was about to pass out.

I did 28 laps during pyramid sprints (you’re with a partner and while one of you skates, the other does squats and planks and other strength things), then five minutes of foot work. Then I skated a 27/5 and when that was over, we went back to doing about 10 minutes of foot work. Then we got into a pace line with about 15 people and did waterfalls.  This is simple: the person at the back of the pack skates on the outside of the pack to the front and as soon as they pass the person in front of them, they get in line and follow, and so forth and on. We did that like five times, so you get this continuous motion of the pack moving in the center of the track, while people on the outside line are moving around them.

Then, still in waterfalls, we did toe stops on the inside line–which is to say, starting with the front of the pack, someone drops out every 10 feet and does a 180 transition toe stop.  And just like with the ‘falls above, as soon as the person on your right gets back in the pack and goes past you, you follow.  We did that 5 times.  We also did the same kind of stops on the outside line 5 times.

I have to say I love this drill.  When you’re doing them right and you’re moving along at a quick pace, it’s a lovely thing to see.  And the more people in the pace line, the better.

Then we got into blocker/jammer drills and this is where I really had to draw on what little reserves of energy I had.  We were doing bridging drills, which is to say four blockers run a jammer back fifty feet from where “the pack” should be, which is a totally legal move designed to wear out the jammer, who, if knocked out of bounds, has to come in behind a blocker least she get a penalty, and then continue skating in the correct direction on the track.  (This is to prevent the jammer, who scores points, from gaining an advantage on anyone who she may not have passed for points.  If she doesn’t come in behind the person who hit her out, she gets a cut track penalty and has to go to the penalty box.)

So, we have four blockers on the track and one jammer who gets run back.  Everyone got to play each of the five positions.

Including me.

Being a jammer is a whole lot of cardio.  You’re skating hard, you’re jumping around on your toe stops–oh, and you’re getting hit as well.  Some people love being a jammers, but there are a lot of former jammers who’ll tell you they don’t miss it.

So, blocking wasn’t that big of a deal, though I was rusty as hell.  And tired.  So I hung in as best I could.

But when I was jamming?  Oh, shit.  A couple of times I got light headed and had to stop and reset because I thought I was gonna pass out.  Two months ago I’ve had kept going, but this is now and my endurance is down.  I got hit out; I got knocked down. I was winded and I did my best, but there’s a whole lot of room for improvement.

Then we did the same drill again, only this time we had to bridge the jammer forward as well, which means more skating hard, more getting hit, more–in my case–feeling tired.  But I’m getting there.

Then we finished out doing a lot of strength moves.  When I got home all my gear and clothing was soaked with sweat. At one point the tape I use to keep my left wrist guard on got so wet it wouldn’t stick any longer.  I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to move real well and I was right.

But… it was a lot of fun.  I missed that shit. And I hope to do some more next week.

Now, on to writing.

So Annie pretty much got bum rushed outta the Astral Realm, which means there’s only one place her essence could go.  And we’ll head there…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie drew a sharp breath as she became instantly awake after snapping back into her body. She didn’t make a sound as being forced out of a astral projection was much like a big snap, the sensation she’d experienced when her homunculus was killed why she was puppettering.

She was awake for only few seconds when the light came on at a low level and Deanna knelt by her side. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine.” Annie started to sit up and winced due to some pain in her lower back. “That hurt more than I thought it might.”

“What happened?”

“I encountered The Phoenix. We chatted for a bit and then she—” Annie mimicked her finger-flicking motion. “Sent me back into my body.”

“Sounds like something she’d do.” Deanna sat on the floor next to Annie. “How was your projection, besides that?”

“I was good. I felt like I had control the entire time.” Annie looked to her right where Kerry still lay, eyes closed. “I didn’t see Kerry.”

“He fell asleep.” Deanna chuckled. “I don’t believe that was his intention, however.”

Annie grinned. “He was probably more tired than he’d thought.”

“Perhaps.” Deanna’s tone softened. “How was your visit with The Phoenix?”

It was impossible for Annie not to hear the concerned in her instructor’s voice. “You suspected she’d show, didn’t you?”

“She did when we went Astral Walking, so why wouldn’t I expect her to show up now?” Deanna looked at Annie carefully. “My question still stands.”

Annie knew she’d not avoid this discussion so she spoke. “She seemed interested that I was there. She took me to the edge of the outer walls and talked about what’s outside. I saw a wendigo; she gave some explanation on The Curtain. Not much more beyond that.” She considered adding one more detail and did. “She came to me looking like Kerry’s female self.”

“Oh.” Deanna seemed surprised. “Did she give a reason why?”

“She didn’t say. I assumed she was just trying to be slightly annoying.” Annie glanced over at Kerry for just a moment. “She said she was curious about Kerry’s transition and told me she watched us.” She looked back at Deanna. “I gathered from the conversation she’s been watching us awhile.”

Deanna gave one quick, curt shrug. “I’m not sure that’s a good thing.”

 

I stopped here because I know what Deanna wants to see about attracting the attention of way old spirits who like to fuck with you, and I knew it might take more than a few hundred words to get it down, so I’ll bring it to you tomorrow.  You can guarantee that–

On the Astral Winds: Building the Magical

Did I not promise another excerpt today?  Of course I did!  And I delivered.  But first–derby!

Yesterday was my first team bout since April and I was–well, I was nervous.  Which means I needed to take an anti-anxiety med about ninety minutes before leaving.  I also brought along my computer so I could listen to music over my Bluetooth earphones, and that helped me focus a lot on just getting things down on video.

In case you wonder what I looked like when I’m filming, here’s a few pictures.

I must be ready to film. #HARD #DerbyGirl #BoutDay

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

Yes, I’m up on a podium and I have my GoPro on a selfie stick in my left hand, my video camera is on my right and my digital camera is on my left.  What you don’t see is my mobile phone, which is taking this picture.  But wait!  You can see it here:

 

I took this with my GoPro using a voice command to trigger the camera.  You can see my computer sitting in my chair and behind that is my third tripod with my mobile phone adapter.  Yes, they make these for phones, which means I can set the timer and get a great picture every time.

And another of me:

 

Again with the selfie stick, this is how I look throughout most of the bout, with my eyes stuck to the viewfinder as I follow the teams around the track.  If you look closely, you’ll see my blue earbuds are in place and I do believe I had the music streaming from one of my YouTube playlists as I took this photo.

And how did HARD do?  Well…

And it's official! #HARD #BoutDay

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

We Won!  The second consecutive win, which makes us 2-1 for the season so far.  I managed that photo above with my mobile phone, so I was able to post the picture right away to the Facebook, because I’m all about social media.

Now with that out of the way…

Yep, back to the Astral Realm, where a certain school spirit asked a question of a certain girl from Bulgaria. Do you want to know what she said?  Sure you do.

 

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie found her heart softening towards the ancient created. She’s probably seen this part of the world evolve over many millennium—and yet, she found Kerry’s transition fascinating. That says quite a lot about her. “No, I can’t hold it against you. It’s just—” She looked down as she chuckled. “You can be quite annoying at times; you know that, don’t you?”

“But if I wasn’t annoying I wouldn’t be charming.” The Phoenix laughed. “Enough about me: what are your plans here, Ms. Kirilova?”

“I haven’t actually given it much thought.” Annie spun around in mid-air, noticing that her lifeline twisted around her form before sliding through her waist so it was once more sticking straight out of her lower back. “I figured I’d look around.”

The Phoenix rolled her eyes. “Well, if you’re gonna look around—” She reached out and took Annie’s hand. “Why not let someone who knows her way around show you the sights.”

Before Annie could say anything The Phoenix took off a high speed towards the east wall, pulling her along. Even though Annie knew there wasn’t any physical connection between them, she knew she’d never free herself from the spirit’s grasp, as the elemental knew so much more about the rules of the realm. Annie could struggle all she’d like to free herself and it would be of avail.

They came to a stop just a couple of meters short of the wall and about twenty meters sound of Polar Portal, the northeastern most wall tower and the only exit through the wall in the north. Few students ever left the school on foot through Polar Portal these days as it was a little over a kilometer to the ocean and few people wanted to walk that distance, particularly when they might have to go through the yards of local residents.

Annie had traversed the portal once with Kerry, in mid-October during their B Levels, the weekend before he was moved up to the Coven’s racing A Team. They flew up to the portal on Kerry’s broom and then walked about a hundred and fifty meters to an old, seldom-used dirt road that traversed the north end of Cape Ann. They walked west toward Bay State Quarry and the outskirts of Lanesville before slipping back into the woods and flying back into the confines of the school walls. Though they weren’t gone long, Annie remembered the walk because so little was said—it was her love and her walking hand-in-hand, enjoying each other within the silence.

She peered through the shifting curtain of the defense screens, seeing the world outside the walls was much the same as inside, though it didn’t seem as bright. “Does everything appear slightly duller because we’re looking through the screens, or—?”

“No. It’s the way of what you call the Normal World.” The Phoenix stared at the screen for a moment and a large section, twelve by twelve meters, grew in lightness, making the outside view clearer. “While everything has a presence in the Astral Realm, little of it is imbued with the same energy as that which has been touched by what you call the Aware. You’re attached far more naturally to this realm, which is why you can do magic. It only follows that all that you touch, all that you build, is also touched by the same energies. That’s why—” She turned slightly to her right and motioned towards the main school to the south. “Everything inside these walls appears so much brighter.”

Annie looked lower, focusing on the outer walls. “Then why are they so dark?”

The Phoenix paused for a moment before speaking. “Think about what you’d need to keep out all that wants to hurt you.”

“Of course.” Annie turned to her right. “Dark Energy. They were likely constructed using as much as witches could channel.”

“Exactly.”

 

If one were to look at things in a certain fashion–and I am one of those people–one could say that The Phoenix is trying to teach something to Annie. Of course I’m not going to say if that’s really the case, but every time either of these kids run into ol’ Phee, it’s like she’s trying to impart some kind of lesson upon them.  That lesson could be, “Never trust a fucking thing I tell you,” but so far that hasn’t happened.

Is there more tomorrow?

Why not?  This is becoming a habit, you know…

On the Astral Winds: Not So Chance Meeting

Holy Jeez, as Kerry may have said at one time, it’s a real post!  Even one with–shall I say it? One with an excerpt.  Yep.  I got out today and did some writing. But first, how I got here–

As you may, or may not, know from yesterday’s video, I was out skating in the morning. That meant I did some editing and uploaded the video to my YouTube account. I found out after shooting this video that I was slightly short as fat as skating the whole length of a WFTDA track, so when I got out at some point this week, I’ll make adjustments.  But here I am skating 12 laps with some commentary following.  Form could be a lot better, but keep in mind I was doing this a little after seven in the morning yesterday.

 

After this I got something to eat and then drove down to Lancaster–or as they say here, “Lan-kes-ter”–to watch Dutchland Roller Derby play a double header.  Naturally I had to post this info to social media:

Hanging out at the Dutchland double header.

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

And today I’m down to Little Amps, where I usually enjoy Sunday morning coffee, and got caffeinated before getting into the writing:

 

It’s also Bout Day for me and it’s my first home bout in two months.  Already the anxiety is hitting, so the chances are good I’m gonna need to take a pill about an hour before showing up to film. It shouldn’t affect me, but hey, shit happens, right?  Don’t worry, I’ll be all right.

So, novel…

Yeah, I started on the next scene of Chapter Twenty-one and not only is Annie astral projecting, but he’s off the leash and outta the building.  That means she’s floating around in the astral winds, seeing this real as it truly appears:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie was through the wall of Memory’s End and into the astral skies much like she’d done when Astral Walking, only her nakedness and the presence of the light tug at the small of her back told her this was a far different experience. For some reasons all actions seemed easier; everything felt more fluid. She didn’t required a lot of reflection on the matter: now she was a being of astral energy and as such all her actions were conducted by the rules of this realm.

She cut sharply to the left then gained about a hundred meters of altitude in but a few seconds. She stopped and looked at the school as it truly appeared in this world—

The trees were a shimmering dark green, thick and mostly unbroken. The outer walls were as dark and bright as obsidian glass. All the buildings seemed made of molten gold, each surrounded by a halo of pink and yellow energy.

Above the walls the air appeared to Annie as a dome of shifting grays, blues, and red, varying in brightness for only a few seconds at multiple locations. She realized this must be the outer defense screen that surrounded the school at all times and the bright flashes she witnessed was the result of something coming in contact with the screen, either here within the school walls, or on the outside.

She released a long sigh. “It’s magnificent.”

 

Yeah, for sure it’s beautiful out here.  But you know, if you’re floating about in the astral winds of the School of Salem, chances are good you’re not gonna float alone…

 

“Isn’t it, though.”

Annie spun around slowly. She recognized the voice, but she realized there wasn’t any way the actual person connected to that voice was astral projecting. A since glance confirmed her suspicion. “Checking up on me, Phoenix?”

The Phoenix—who looked exactly as she had when she mimicked Kerry’s female form when they were Astral Walking—mocked a hurt expression. “What gave it away?”

 

You know this bitch is gonna show up for something like this and just like in A For Advanced and B For Bewitching The Phoenix is appearing two different scenes.  But I’ll let you in on a secret: she’s gonna get a third scene in this book, though it’s not happening again until late in the Act Three.  I know she’ll make an appearance in every novel, but I can’t remember right now when and where she’s appearing in the next novel.  But trust me: she’ll be there.

But what about now, Cassidy?  Yeah, about that:

 

“Kerry’s in his normal form at the moment, so I can’t imagine him astral projecting as his female form. Also—” She cocked her head slightly to the right. “You don’t have a lifeline. Nor are you naked.”

“Damn.” The Phoenix chuckled. “You’re right: I don’t need a lifeline. As for being naked—”

“Please don’t.” Annie held up her hand. “I don’t need to see that.”

“At least not yet. Am I right?”

Annie floated closer to the ancient spirit. “What I have seen of Kerry, both dressed and undressed, is none of your concern. As for seeing his female form naked—” Her eyes narrowed. “I’ve seen her that way, which I’m sure you know.”

“Oh, yes.” The Phoenix appeared to think for a few seconds. “That’s right. You wanted to make sure she saw herself in the altogether.” She gave Annie a knowing look. “Your aura really reflected your true feelings then; would you like to know—?”

“So you were watching.” Annie had always suspected that The Phoenix not only watched over the school, but observed the actions of certain students from time-to-time. At the time of Kerry’s involuntary transition, she was convinced The Phoenix was watching their every action, if for no other reason than to see how they both handled the situation. I should ask if she watched us when we went to dinner in Salem that night, but I’d rather not know if she’s spying on us even there…

The Phoenix shrugged. “What can I say? It’s not like I’ve had a lot of opportunities to witness something like what happened to Kerry happen. You know?” She gave a little smile. “Believe it or not, there are some events even creatures like me find incredible—and what happened to her that day was one of them. Are you gonna hold it against me for being curious?”

 

Now we get some insight into what Ol’ Phee gets up to when she’s got time on her hand. As suspected, she does check in on individual students now and then and during Kerry’s transition she watch both Annie and her. She saw the moment when Kerry undressed in front of Annie while they were in ICU and she, as well as Annie, saw what Kerry looked like as a girl–saw it all.  And not only was Phee watching, but she spied on the kid’s auras, so she know pretty much what Annie felt at that moment when she got to see Kerry in a complete state of undress.  What did Phee see?  I know, but I’m not tellin’.

Now, does the excerpt today mean there’ll be an excerpt tomorrow.  Yes, there will.  I promise.  And you can yell at me if I don’t deliver.

Up With Pride

It’s that day again, and believe it or not, I’m feeling a bit of–pride?

 

Before and after of my time in derby.

The night I was recruited:

At least I looked fetching in my gear.

 

And a year later:

 

Into the Month of Pride

Well, Happy Pride Month!  Yeah, it’s 1 June and LGBTQ+ Pride month is upon us.  I can’t say if I’ll have a good time of this month or now, but I’ll do my best.

Last night was good for me.  Getting out of derby jail means I can once again attend league functions and that’s what I did.  I was out at River Bend Brewery in Newport, PA, about 45 minutes northwest of The Burg, and it was a great time.

That’s me in the middle, in case you forgot what I look like.

 

Coming home was a different story, as I spent part of the night driving home in a downpour so great that at times I couldn’t see the road.  Add to that driving down dark, hilly, winding country roads, and it was an event in of itself.  But I made it home safe and sound, which is why I’m writing this now.

And speaking of writing, I finished my mermaid story last night as well.  So with the exception of one day, I managed a part of the story every day in May, though last night was a close one: I posted the last part of the story about four minutes before midnight. But that was still May, so there.

And speaking of that story, I’ve been busy with something today:

Is that an ebook reader with your story?

 

Yeah, I’m working on the possibility of taking my little mermaid novella–about 26,300 words little–and putting it up on Amazon for sale.  Nothing big, just $.99, which I believe is the minimum you can charge for a Kindle book, but that’s not bad.  I may even have someone lined up to do a cover, for which I’ll cut them in for a whole 10% of whatever money I make.  It may not make a lot of money–which means the story won’t make much of a splash, get it?–but it’ll be something I published.  And, why not?  I spent the month writing the story and I’m proud of it.

And if I have some success with this, who knows what’s next?

I’m supposed to do my shot right now, but the truth is I’m craving some ice cream bad and after that I’ll likely do my shot.  And after that I may settle in for the evening and start binge watching Babylon 5, which is on Amazon Prime this month.  If you haven’t seen this and you have Amazon Prime, watch it.  It’s probably the best science fiction series ever, at least where space opera is involved, and while it doesn’t have the wide base that Star Trek or Star Wars has, it’s so much better in so many ways…

As for any other writing that needs getting done–yeah, I’m working on it.  I do what to write, but I’m thinking about what I want to write next.  I’m strange that way, you know?  But the writing is coming.

I just have to coax it out.

These muses are stubborn things…