Getting Back Into the Creative Swing Rag

I admit that I haven’t done a lot of writing or even the planning of writing during my current trip to Indiana.  There’s been taxes and a lot of getting the car fixed so I can get tags, and yesterday was mostly spent walking off to lunch and waiting by the phone for a message on my car–which didn’t come until after five in the afternoon.

Today should be better, however.  I’ll take the car out for a drive to get the emission sensors triggered, then get it in for a test, then get the tags and be ready to return back to The Burg tomorrow.  And I won’t have to do this again until July.  Maybe.  We’ll see.

Yesterday I was out and about for repairs and lunch during International Transgender Day of Visibility, and I was certainly about as visible as they come.  Also, I was always treated fairly and without a single side eye–save for one woman who came into the car repair shop who was bitching about not being able to get in right away for an oil change, but screw her.  And since I had to prove I was visible, I snapped a picture of myself at the Valparaiso Uptown Cafe:

Out and About as myself since 2014.

Out and About as myself since 2014.

I realized that yesterday was the first real time I’ve been Out in Indiana since I went full time, and not feeling a twinge of fear going anywhere in the last couple of days has only helps bolster my ego as far as being me is concerned.

And now that taxes are out of the way I’ve confirmed that I will be able to start electrolysis this summer, which is going to be even more of a boon, because removing the last of my facial hair is going to be one of those things that gets the old life out of the way for good.  So time to look that up when I’m back home.

Now, about writing . . .

April I’ll finish up editing on Kolor Ijo and start getting it out of the way and out for publication.  Right now I’m looking at June for having it up, and I’m really going to try and stick hard to that, because I need something published.  It’s been two years; it’s time.

And in only a few days, the counter on my page should flip from “1 Month” to “Days to Go” on the start of writing for B For Bewitching.  I’ve had that story on my mind for a while, and I’ve thought a bit about the story beyond B.  And one of the things that keeps coming back to me is that, eventually, those nasty hormonal changes the kids are going through will need to be addressed.  I’m guessing there were enchantments at Hogwarts that kept the kids from losing their minds and indulging in shenanigans, but at my magical school there’s a reason the food is enchanted with contraceptives . . .

Yeah, if there are any really good candidates for “Oops, we did it,” status, it’s Annie and Kerry.  Though I’m not going to make that easy for them–

Trust me.  I’ve many wrenches to throw into their machinery, and I’m not afraid to use them.

Alignment of Emotions

Yesterday was pretty much a day off, with no writing, no editing, no map planning . . . but I said “pretty much,” which means I did something.

I thought about Annie.

"You're thinking about me?  Wow.  I'd think about you, but then, that'd be your thoughts thinking about me thinking about you . . . um, never mind."

“You’re thinking about me? Wow. I’d think about you, but then, that’d be you thinking about me thinking about you . . . um, never mind.”

A lot of it came out of how this trip that Annie and Kerry go on between their C and D Levels (which I’m calling Brooms Over Europa) is a huge game changer for them both.  A big part of the change will be on Kerry’s side, but there will be change as well for Annie, because . . . well, feelings.

It’ll really start in the C Levels–well, actually, it’ll start in the B Levels, but by the C Levels it’ll be an acute thing:  Annie will start to loosen up a bit.  During her A Levels she was, quite honestly, seen by many as a cold, unfeeling little girl–something a certain ginger girl from Bolder pointed out.  The one who knew that wasn’t true was Kerry, because he’s not outside looking in, he’s right at the center of the storm with his Chestnut Girl.

But now that she’s physically with the Ginger Hair Boy of her Dreams, Annie is feeling things.  I believe I’ve been warned time and again about those chemicals coursing through their bodies known as hormones, and as they approach their teen years, they’re gonna get their party on and make life hell for these kids at times.  Kerry has them, for sure, but so do Annie, and while she’s not a slave to them, she does feel them.

And the effect they have on her.

The thing is, she’s not going to let people at school see this.  Any visible show of heavy emotions are saved for Kerry:  everyone else can go suck sarma.  Which means while they’re on the road–alone, I must add, because they are–Annie will be the girl she really is deep down at heart:  warm, caring, loving, and willing to kill any butthead who would think about hurting her Kerry.

Not to say that Kerry isn’t and wouldn’t do the same for her . . .

There’s something not being said here, mostly because it gives away a bit of the plot for the C Level novel–what?  You thought I didn’t know that book?  I probably know it better than the B Level one.  But after the events of their C Levels the both need to cut loose and spend time together.  Witches grow up fast–that’s mentioned several times–and these two have grown up a lot faster than their covenmates, which means they’ve also found themselves placed under a lot more strain that the others as well.  They need the release–no, not that kind, get your mind out of the gutter.

Kerry will undergo as much of an emotional change as Annie, and it’s all for the good, because he needs it.  Call it growing up, or call it something more if you like–and you probably will when you see what happens.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be interesting, I promise.

Now if I can only write this . . .

Along the Old Paths Newly Beaten

First, let’s get this out of the way:  Kolor Ijo is finished as far as the edit of the first draft is concerned.  It’s a done deal.  See?

Done deals are done.

Done deals are done.

So now it’s onto finding a cover and doing another edit pass–which should go quickly–and getting it published.  Sometime this summer, for sure, but it’s gonna get done.  I promise that.

Now that I have this story out of the way, I can say I enjoyed revisiting these two characters, and the supernatural world of Indonesia, and . . . I do want to do it again.  Maybe the next story in this series could be next year’s April NaNo Camp novel.  We’ll see, but I want to go here again.

However, there’s something standing in the way, and that’s only about a month away from fruition . . .

Yesterday afternoon I got back into working on my time line for the Big Euro Tour my kids go on that won’t be talked about for a few more novels.  Yes, I plan years in advance, but that’s how I am–crazy, right?  Right.

The last time I showed the time line I was in Lyon, so where in the world are my kids now?

Technically they exist only in my mind, but we'll assume they're in Eastern Europe.

Technically they exist only in my mind, but we’ll assume they’re in Eastern Europe.

As you can see they made it to Paris, then moved eastward to Bruges, Amsterdam, Burg–which is south of Munich–and then Prague.  If you’ve never heard of Bruges, it’s in Belgium–as the time line points out–and it’s a wonderful old town that at one time was a seaport–even though it’s now eighteen miles from the English Channel–and has a four hundred year old brewery, which makes it one of the oldest in Europe.  It’s about an hour from Brussels by train, so if you happen to be in that neck of the woods, give it a visit.  Also, the movie, In Bruges, was filmed there, so if you want a quick look at the city between scenes of people being killed, give it a gander.

There’s also a mark there which says they’re Seeing the Seer, and that’s a little side trip out of Lyon to fly south so Annie and Kerry can visit Deanna.  Where is she?

Unlike Waldo, she's easy to find.

Unlike Waldo, she’s easy to find.

The entirety of the journey follows the Rhine River to Montélimar, which is a little over one hundred and forty kilometers south of Lyon.  I put in her a secluded chateau, which I hope the people now living there won’t mind, but it’s the sort of place where I can see Deanna living.  And just so you know, they’ll visit a couple of other instructors as well during their trip.

It’s funny, but all the places Annie and Kerry are staying from Barcelona to Bruges are the same places I stayed when I traveled the same route in 2006.  Only I went the whole way by train, and didn’t make any side trips on high tech brooms.  It only makes sense that I would fall back on something I know, however, and looking at those same locations on Google Maps brought back some interesting memories–including one that involved a dream someone had of the same hotel room I stayed in while in Paris, only they were staying with, um, me.  Yeah, it was freaky.

When they get to Amsterdam they stay in a pretty swanky place and spend a few days laying about and decompressing before heading to the south of Germany for a few days.  They check into the Hotel de L’Europe and get a suite that most of us can only dream about getting, which means it’s probably good to be a witch living in The Foundation’s graces, because I don’t know many fourteen year olds–as they’ll be by that time–who can just walk in off the streets and say, “Hey, we’re here to check in,” and no one bats an eye.  It’s something that will come up in a later conversation when Annie and Kerry at chatting with one of their instructors.

On the way out of Amsterdam and heading for the forests of Bavaria they buzz the John Frost Bridge in Arnhem–

Otherwise known a "A Bridge Too Far," and one I have personally stood upon--

Otherwise known as “A Bridge Too Far,” and one I have personally stood upon.

–and continue onto Burg, which isn’t far from the German Alps.  The reason they stay there?  Not saying.  You’ll find out later.

While going over the trip I realized that there was a serious exclusion:  there weren’t any stop-offs in Bulgaria.  Now, Annie knows Bulgaria, and if there’s one place she has visited more than a few times it’s Sofia, so . . . why isn’t she taking Kerry there for a little look-see?  In my mind I can see them talking this over, probably in Amsterdam, and deciding that rather than fly from Budapest to Bucharest, they’d fly to Sofia instead and Annie could spend a few days showing Kerry around.  This would involve them flying down a significant part of the Danube River (Kerry will likely dig out the soundtrack from 2001 to play the waltz as they set off) on their way to the capital of Bulgaria.  After that last stop they’ll head back to Pamporovo and Annie’s home, bringing their trip to an end on 31 July as they promised her parents.

Which means the new map looks like this:

Hey, routes are easy to change, don't you know?

Hey, routes are easy to change, don’t you know?

As it is in the time line they only have fifteen more days of sightseeing, and four of those days are spent flying, though since Sofia is on the other side of the mountains from Annie’s home, they can leave the capital after lunch and be back at her place in time for dinner.

There you have it:  all the work I’m doing for something that I may not write about for years to come, if I ever do get around to writing about it.  I hope this happens, though, because it would be the start of the D Level novel, and so much stuff happens during their D Levels–

Things, too.

You knew I’d say that.

After the Turnpike Shuffle

Here I am, more or less safe and sound, back in the old homestead of Indiana.  Let me tell you, it was a wild ride yesterday.

As I may have indicated I started out from Harrisburg about midnight, so by about five in the morning, after only about, oh, no sleep in almost twenty-four hours, I was completely out of it.  I ended up stopping at the service plaza after the one where I posted yesterday’s blog entry, used the bathroom, and slept in the car for a little over an hour.  Outside.  In the cold.  Wrapped up in my jacket.  I’ve done worse, trust me.

Lack of sleep was probably one of the reasons I seemed to get through western Ohio pretty fast, because I wasn’t paying attention to anything but the road before me.  But I made it back to Valparaiso with almost no gas in the car, managed to get unpacked, and napped for almost another hour before taking my shot.

And got the picture in my HRT folder just so I can see how I keep changing.

And got the picture in my HRT folder just so I can see how I keep changing.

I was exhausted though, and was asleep by nine-thirty at night here, or ten-thirty back home, and only woke up once to use the bathroom before crawling out of bed at a little after seven in the morning, or eight back in The Burg.  That’s a good rest for me–

Oh, I should mention, I edited last night.

Really, would you expect anything less?

Really, would you expect anything less?

I did chapters Twenty-Two and Twenty-Three, and started falling asleep as I looked over Chapter Twenty-Four, the penultimate chapter.  It’s because of that last–the falling asleep part–that I decided to call it a night and slink off to bed.

(Just a bit of trivia now:  while Chapter Twenty-Four, the next to last chapter, is known as the penultimate chapter, Chapter Twenty-Three is known as the antepenultimate chapter, Chapter Twenty-Two is the preantepenultimate chapter, and Chapter Twenty-One is the propreantepenultimate chapter.  The Coda is the ultimate chapter, naturally.  Now go forth and amuse your friends.)

I’m happy with how the edit has gone, and I’ll likely do another fast pass through the story before getting to the final draft.  It’s clean, and being as short as it is–just under seventy thousand words–I can give it a read-through in about two weeks.  Bit I will feel far more comfortable with on more pass through the story before I decide it’s ready to upload to Smashwords and ready for publication.

Today I do laundry and a few other things, and I finish Kolor Ijo for sure.  It’s almost ready, and I think it’s a good addition to my tiny catalog of publications.  I’m thinking more about B For Bewitching, and I know I’ll work on the Annie and Kerry Euro Trip time line some, probably this afternoon, because I’m itching to do that.

Oh, and another picture:

Behold the horror of morning without makeup!

Behold the horror of morning without makeup!

Yeah, just to show people I’m alive, I snapped this about forty minutes ago, after a bushed my teeth and shaved.  (Yes, I still do that–bummer.)  No makeup, nothing used to bring out my face, and I’m still in my pajamas.  This is how I look while I’m typing this line . . .

Hope I didn’t scar you with that image.  Haha!

Towards the Future Unseen

Guess where I am?

Tell me you've never seen this place before.

Tell me you’ve never seen this place before.

Maybe you need another clue?

How's it looking now?

How’s it looking now?

It’s the Mahoning Valley Service Plaza on the eastern most portion of the Ohio Turnpike as you’re heading west–and that means one thing:  I’m driving back to Indiana.  Biggest different this time is that I arrived here about four-fifteen in the morning, which is why there’s no one here.

Which is probably why I look the way I do in this picture.

Which is probably why I look the way I do in this picture.

It’s also a safe bet that if it’s four in the morning, or there about, and it usually takes me four hours to drive from The Burg to this point in my journey westward, then I’ve not gotten much sleep.  And you’d be right:  I went to bed about nine-thirty PM, couldn’t fall asleep, said the hell with it, and took off.  So here I am, running with the shadows of the night, but no one is holding my hand, so I don’t feel all right.  But I will make it home, trust me.  I will.

It’s strange to be out on the road like this, but then I love traveling at night.  All ready I’ve been through light rain, fog, and even a little snow, before everything turned dry and cold here this side of the mountains.  I expect it to stay around freezing all the way back to Gay Hating State Indiana (with the new state motto, “Religious Bigotry R Us”), and if my calculations are correct, I should arrive back home between ten and eleven AM local time.  That will allow me to take a nap and maybe even crawl off to bed early tonight, but I’ll make no promises.

The one thing I’m pretty sure I won’t do is write.  I didn’t last night, and I’m usually burned out after the six hundred mile drive to want to do much of anything but rest, though I have been know to carry on conversations with people who want to talk writing, as I did last year on this same trip last year.  Though that happened on the way back to The Burg, so we’ll see if that happens again this year.

By the way I am wearing my Mary Janes with the three inch heels as I drive home, because that’s the way I roll, baby.

See?  Totally wearing heels.

See? Totally wearing heels.

There’s one other bit of news I should lay on people.  Because I have nothing better to do as a writer than, um, write, I’ve decided to set a date for when I will begin working on my next new novel–which, if you haven’t figured out by now, is the continuation of my last novel about the Witchy School at Salem, otherwise known as The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced.  This next book is B For Bewitching, and if you check my blog page you’d see this:

Countdown, baby!

Countdown, baby!

Yes, I’m starting on 3 May because of reasons, that’s why.  But I will start, and I will see about having the first novel edited and the separate acts published, and all will be cool and beautiful.  Or so I hope.  At least I’m sure this new novel won’t be anywhere near as big as the first novel.

Almost sure . . .

Travelogues and Time Lines

I know I said I was going to edit last night, but . . . I got off on a side track.  I know:  me?  Off on a side track?  Heavens forbid!

But that’s what happened.  I started thinking about one thing, then I flipped off to another, and before you know it I started working on this blasted future time line for my kids which started taking up nearly all my evening time.  As I’ve been told already, “You can’t leave those kids alone, can’t you?”

I would appear I can’t.

I found myself drawn back into working out this time line, because it’s something I need to finish now that I’ve started.  I get like that at times when I find myself unable to concentrate on what I should be doing, and end up doing something I want to do.  And this thing, this map and plan, are something I’ve wanted to do for a while.  So, in order to get my mind off things, I’m in it.  The editing won’t suffer, but I can’t do that every right, right?

Where am I now?  Well, how about here?

That's a lot of moving around for two 14 year olds.

That’s a lot of moving around for two 14 year old kids.

So far the stops are Rome, Florence, Milan, darling, Nice, Barcelona, and lastly Lyon.  That’s where I ended, with them arriving in Lyon, where they’ll take a short jaunt to the west to visit Deanna before heading on to Paris.  It’s all flying until they get to the stretch between Barcelona and Lyon, where I put them on a train running from Barcelona to Montpelier, France, where they pick up the TGV that takes them into Lyon.  Why go that way?  Because Kerry wants to ride the TGV, and Annie’s curious about what it’s like as well.  The fortunate part there is I’ve done that same route:  stayed in Barcelona for a few days, then traveled by train to Lyon and Paris.  So here I speak from a point of some experience.

Using the map as a guide, I’ve managed to work out my time line in better detail . . .

With cute names, too!

With cute names, too!

The bar at the bottom of the screen tells me I’m about a third of the way through the trip, but I know from experience that Paris is going to be a long stay, because the kids love Paris.  In their history they stayed there before heading off to their C Levels, and a fun time was had by all.  It was also the first time Annie and Kerry actually got to hang with a few of their covenmates outside the school, which made parts of the experience even better.  So it’s a fair bet I’ll have them there for a week to enjoy the city, and . . . well, something else happens, too.  Something important.

One last thing I got into yesterday was putting down, on the above time line, what hotels they’re using.  And just to let you know, these kids aren’t roughing it–Annie has money, remember?  Now, while they aren’t going five star all the way, they’re for sure not staying in any hostels.  Can you see these two staying in a dorm?  I can’t either.  It’s fortunate that the places they’re staying have a Foundation connection, otherwise someone might think it a bit strange that two kids dressed in leather pants and bomber jackets come in with nothing but backpacks and confirm their already paid reservation–

And yes:  they do get a discount when they show their Student IDs.

Charting New Paths Through Old Environments

One of the things I find I enjoy is being drawn to something I’ve done in the past, and discovering new ways to bring it out and bring it to life.  It’s not something I do because I’m just a nitpicker for detail, but more because I find that the detail helps me see how something should be laid out creatively.

For example, going through Kolor Ijo, I see in great detail how much my style has changed over the year.  I know if I went and started reading over Suggestive Amusements, it would probably look even more different.  Though I can remember some of the things I’ve written after that–just a couple of things–and I’m not sure if the style has changed that much, but I do realized that after writing through much of 2012, by the time 2013 rolled in I’d started developing a bit more as a writer, and for 2014–well, it goes without saying my style changed a great deal, because I spent all that year working on one piece, and I’d decided before I started writing I’d change up one thing–no “he said/she saids” to anchor dialogue–and I went through that whole project doing just that.

Now I’m onto something else.  I’ll get back to Kolor Ijo, but first . . . I’m going to let you in on some secrets . . .

I’ve posted this information once before, a while back, but in one of the future novels Annie and Kerry take off–I mean, literally, they take off and go around Europe on their own.  I mapped out the route a long time ago, and it looks a little like . . .

I think it looks like this.

I think it looks like this.

It looks like they are visiting a lot of places, and they actually are, but a lot of that trip is flying.  Now, back in late 2011, I figured out the time they spent flying, but frankly, I don’t want to go over that document again, and I’m guessing some of it is, shall we say, suspect?

However, if you have a map, and you know how to figure out time, well . . . why not time line this?

That’s what I started doing last night.  I thought I can not only track how long it takes to hit certain points, but I can track time on the ground as well, and even figure out how long they are in certain locals.  For example, lets look at the first leg of the trip.

Pretty simple, huh?

Pretty simple, huh?

This is how I lay things out.  First, I know how long they are on tour, which is the first line in sorta red.  It’s basically six weeks on the road and in the air, with points in between.  The purple lines are the checkpoints, the amount of time spent in the air between landings.  And the green are Annie and Kerry doing something, whether it’s chillin’, thinkin’, or having a holiday in Roma.  I can take the points above and affix them on the map–

Like this map.

Like this map.

And you can see, they first stop in Lushnje for an hour, then fly a short distance to the edge of the Adriatic Sea, then zoom across to Italy.  Once over dry land, they head for Naples, take a right at Vesuvius, and turn northwest towards Rome, where I have them sightseeing for two days, but I may change that up once I have the line more plotted out.

And there’s detail on these remarks as well:

Because I can't keep all this in my head.

Because I can’t keep all this in my head.

You can now see that they left Annie’s house at seven-thirty, and arrived in Rome a few minutes before five PM, or seventeen hours.  They covered 1079 kilometers, or 670.5 miles.  They were taking their time, because in other detail I have them flying about 140 kph, save for the leg where they flew over the ocean, and then they kicked it up a bit.  That’s the nice thing:  they can get a lot of speed out of their equipment, so if they’re in a real hurry, it’s like taking a jet to wherever they want to be next.

Yes, it’s a lot of detail, and it’s a bit of work, but once this is done I’ll have it close to me, and I can make adjustments to the line whenever I am in the mood.  Nothing is really written in stone, and if I want them looking around somewhere for a while, they can.  And I can even map out a few side trips they’ll take, such as when they’re in Milan and Barcelona, and add them to this mix.

There you are:  my little side project while I finish this–

I figured I'd forgotten about this novel.  You were wrong.

I figured I’d forgotten about this novel. You were wrong.

Four chapters to go, and I can probably get through two of them tonight, and leave the big one for tomorrow.  Not bad for just working on my own.