Changes Amid the Darkness

It’s a late morning for me, with a lot of slow writing last night and this morning.  I’ve been taking my time with the current scene, probably because the words aren’t flowing from me as they once did.  Seven hundred fifty words written yesterday; four hundred twenty this morning.  After burning up the pages for a while, I’m still getting out the plot, just not the way I have since–how long have I been working on this?

Wow.  I started on B For Bewitching on 11 April, 2015.  Today is 2 August, 2015.  According to the date calculator on the Time and Date website, tomorrow will mark one hundred and fifteen days since I started working on this novel, which means I’ve been writing, with just a couple of days off, for three months and three weeks:

Numbers never lie--well, almost.

Numbers never lie–well, almost.

If I calculate my word count right, by tomorrow I’ll have averaged eight hundred and eighty-seven words a day, which isn’t a bad average when I consider I’m mostly doing this in the evening after work, and finding the time on the weekend, when I’m not running around getting things done.

Just keep writing, as they say.  Just keep writing.

Last night I sat down and did something I’ve mentioned a couple of times during the last few blog posts:  I separated Chapter Ten into two chapters, and then began renumbering the old chapters.  It took some time, and I still have to do the chapters in Act Three, but now that it’s done the segregation makes sense.  Racing is in one chapter, dancing is in another.  All is right in my Bewitching World . . .

It also looks prettier.  Sort of.

It also looks prettier. Sort of.

I did this a few time with A For Advanced, and I sometimes find myself wondering why I put myself through this craziness.  The answer is simple:  because I’m always trying to do what I think is right.  I think about how this will look if and when published, and part of my mind is saying, “You know your readers will like it when things are formatted correctly.”  So you pull things apart and set them up correctly.

It’s easy to do when you have project management software.  Of course you then have to go through and change numbers and that sort of thing, but it’s something you do.  Laying things out four months ago is when I created the road map, but it’s only once I began the journey that I started seeing the route.  And I figure the route is gonna change some more as time goes on, so it if does, I just keep making changes where they are needed.

I’ll finish up Samhain today and start on the next chapter, which is pretty much Annie-centric.  You know how I say you don’t want to make Annie mad?  Well, you’ll see what happens when that happens.  In the meantime it’s nighttime in the Pentagram Garden, and a couple of kids are about the finish a discussion that Annie started some hours before–

They've been here before, and believe it when I say they'll be her during a few more Samhains.

They’ve been here before, and believe it when I say they’ll be her during a few more Samhains.

We’ll see where their route goes, that much I know.

Dedicated to the One I Love: Get Out On the Floor

I was checking stats last night, and while it may seem hard to believe, I’ve been working on this chapter for three weeks as of 29 July.  It would appear that I began writing the first scene on 8 July, and posted that the following day.  In that time I’ve written close to seventeen thousand words and brought the story to within kicking distance of one hundred thousand words–

And I’m still going.

If you haven’t guessed what’s coming now based upon the title of this post, it’s time to have a special moment.  And, as you’ll see, it’s not unexpected:

 

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

Kerry came to the sofa with a smile on his face. He stopped on the other side of the coffee table and cooled himself by flapping his jacket. “Ah, much better.” He turned to Deanna. “How are you, Deanna?” He eyed Annie. “You need me to go somewhere for a few minutes?”

Deanna shook here head. “No, Kerry, you’re fine. Please sit.” She waved for someone in the crowd to come over. “I think we were just about finished.”

“Okay.” He came around the other end of the table and took his place at Annie’s right. He took her hand and gave it a squeeze. “Everything okay?”

“It is.” She turned on a quick smile and kissed him. “Enjoy your dance?”

“Yeah, it was good.”

“I could tell.”

Trevor Parkman joined them, stopping where Kerry stood only seconds before and facing Deanna. “You called?”

“Yes. I think we need to attend to official duties.”

“Of course.” Trevor helped her feet before addressing Annie and Kerry. He gripped the sides of his open jacket. “Either of you care to venture a guess?”

Annie turned to Kerry with her gaze case towards the library. “Do you know?”

Kerry chuckled. “Eighth Doctor. Haven’t seen you since the first time you were in San Francisco.” He shrugged. “Then again, I didn’t see you, per say. that was before my time, but then time—”

“—Is relative.” He held out his arm for Deanna. “Shall we?”

“Just one minute—” The seer turned her gaze upon Annie. “Concerning our discussion, my advice is, as with all things seen, to let events simply happen. Actually—” She slipped her arm into Trevor’s. “That’s all we can ever do with visions.”

Annie suspected that Deanna would offer this advice, but it felt better to speak her concerns and hear the instructor’s words. Sometimes all one needs is to have someone you respect to confirm your own beliefs . . . “Thank you, Deanna. I’ll do just that.”

“Good. Both of you: have a good dance. We’ll be around, so I expect to see you again before the evening’s over.” She looked to Trevor. “Lead on, please.”

He nodded at the children. “Have a good evening.”

“See you around, Lady Sif and Doctor.” Once the two adults departed Kerry wrapped his arm around Annie and pulled her close. “Miss me, Sweetie?”

 

And there we go:  Mr. Parkman, aka Trevor the Librarian, aka The Guy Who Looks Like He’s Becoming Deanna’s Squeeze, is running around dressed like the Eighth Doctor in one of his only two visual performances:

He gets a lot more bad ass right before he dies.

He gets a lot more bad ass looking right before he dies.

And he escorts Lady Sif off to do, um, Siffy Things, I suppose.  Actually, Deanna is one of the two coven leaders who help out with the Samhain Dance, the other being Erywin, as it’s her coven that it responsible for putting on this shindig.  And speaking of Erywin . . .

 

“Of course I did, my love.” She kissed him again, slowly and sweeter than when he’d first joined her. “But I needed to speak with Deanna, and you being out on the dance floor made it easier.”

“I’m glad you could speak without having to tell me to find something to do.” He half turned where he sat so he could better hold Annie.

Annie snuggled back and against Kerry, a position that allowed her to keep her smile hidden from him. As he turned to hold her, she saw his eyes flick to his left, towards the area where Erywin and Deanna stood when making an announcement to the students in the hall. While Annie hadn’t any idea of what he’d planed for last year’s dance, this year she fully suspected something to happen. He’s probably waiting for Erywin to return, and that’s when he’s going to ask me to dance

They sat in silence for nearly five minutes, Annie leaning against Kerry, who gently held her. It was much like the Midnight Madness, only this time there was music to go along with conversation and snacks. She felt him move behind her. “Would you like to dance, Sweetie?” He gave her a squeeze. “I feel like getting up.”

She spied the front of the room and saw Erywin speaking with Deanna. She twisted her head so she could see him out of the corner of her eye. “Of course, love.” She grinned as Kerry helped her to her feet. “I feel like getting up as well.”

Annie followed Kerry onto the floor and began dancing, feeling the music around her. Kerry wasn’t a good dancer, but he did his best not to look too clumsy as he moved in rhythm with her. She didn’t consider herself a good dancer, either: until last year’s Samhain dance she’d only danced alone, usually in the privacy of her lake house.

But this was more her music; this is what she liked to hear when she was alone, and that gave here an advantage when it came to letting herself go and enjoy the song. Kerry was listening to more of her music, though: when they were down in their lab she’d use his computer to find music to stream, and he was starting to remember the lyrics to a few. It won’t be long before he’s singing along as we are crafting spells together.

 

Now, if you may remember, Erywin was the one who announced Kerry’s last dedication to Annie, so it only makes sense she’d announce this one.  I do believe it’s interesting that Annie is expecting Kerry to do a dedication to her this time, and it appears she’s waiting for the moment to happen.  And it’s not like it won’t, because Kerry’s not the sort of kid to disappoint his soul mate . . .

Where does it leave the story?

Right here, just short of a hundred thousand.

Right here, just short of a hundred thousand.

And the reason I didn’t finish up last night is because this dedication dance is special . . .

Would I lie?

Life in Three Acts

I know what you’re thinking:  what, no writing again?  Yeah, that’s been happening of late as I’ve really been in the middle of some intense socializing for the first time in months.  Actually, it’s been kinda the perfect storm of interaction of late, with my trip back to Indiana, meeting people there, then doing things on this end–yep, that actually leaves a few holes in the writing schedule.  But I’ve needed the interaction for a while, and it’s helping me recharge a little.  Actually, I was a bit weepy for the most part yesterday, and getting together with someone for dinner helped bring me out of that funk.

It was either that or spend all my time crying while writing.

But this is a good time to get into something else that’s important to writing, or at least to my writing.  And that’s to answer the question, “Why do you lay things out the way you lay them out?”  Besides the answer, “Because I’m strange,” it’s really due in part to helping me keep action organized in a format that’s fairly well-known to writers around the world.

First off, let’s speak of something known as three act structure.  This is probably one of the most basic of all writing tools that’s used in so many stories that once you start getting heavy into reading the works of others, you’ll recognize it immediately.  Stephen King employed it to good use in most of his novels, particularly with The Stand and IT, and Joss Whedon has used this in both his Avenger movies.

The set up is easy:  the story is broken into three acts, often known as the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution.  The Setup is mostly exposition, where the story is set up, the character met, backgrounds laid out, and so on.  The Confrontation is just that:  the challenges are met and things start getting a little dicey.  The last act is the Resolution, where everything is tidied up and the hero–or heroes–walk off into the sunset victorious–or in a case of a couple of kids separated by the continent of Europe, they go home and get sad.

I had this structure in my last night, A For Advanced, because, really, it helped determine how I should sell the book when I sell the book.

I have the same thing in the current novel, 'cause why get rid of a good thing?

I have the same thing in the current novel, ’cause why get rid of a good thing?

The first time I used the three act structure was Kolor Ijo.  My characters meet in the first act and find out what’s happening.  In act two things ramp up, and in act three the move in together and take on the big bad.  That worked well enough that I decided to keep it for The Foundation Chronicles novels, while at the same time divided the story up even further.

In these two novels, acts are broken into parts that are basically a collection of interrelated things.  Let’s look below:

Hey, looks like there's a dance going on.

Hey, looks like there’s a dance going on.

Part Four, Under Pressure, deals with events in Annie’s and Kerry’s lives that affect them in different ways.  Those events becomes chapters, which contain the telling of those events.  Samhain Festivities is an event that’s good for Annie and Kerry together.  The Manor Called is something that affects Annie, and From Queens to Dreams affects Kerry.  The last, Restricted Dreamspace, is something that again affects them both, and sends Annie off asking questions.

And lastly I have scenes, and this seems to be the place where a lot of people look at me and go, “Huh?”  Since I think of my story in somewhat cinematic terms, a scene, to me, is a segment of a chapter relating to a particular event, like one would see in a movie or television show.  Let’s go back to the first Avengers movie.  You start out with the Tesseract acting up and Nick Fury coming to see what the hell is happening; that’s a scene.  Loki appears, gets his meat puppets, and scoots with the loot; that’s a scene.  There’s the chase out of the facility as everyone finished packing their shit and leaving before it all blows up and Loki vanishes with the goods; that’s a scene, and the end of a chapter.

I do the same above.  Kerry finds out he’s on the A Team–scene.  The A Team meets–scene.  They start the race–scene.  They end the race–scene.  Off to the dance and meet the other students–scene.  While Kerry dances, Annie talks–scene.  It’s all part of the festivities, and if I wanted to I could break those up between the Samhain Races and the Samhain Dance, and I may do just that when I get home.  This is why I like Scrivener, because it allows me that freedom, and given that I transition sharply from the race to the dance, it’s possible they could be two separate chapters.

That’s how I do thing, but more importantly, why I do it that way.  It also helps me keep things neat and organized, even if it looks like a huge mess.  Then again, this is what I used project management software to write my novels.

It helps keep the insanity to a minimum.

A Walk Down Bewitching Lane

Today is not so much about the story as it is about the writing.  I do this every so often just to keep from boring people, which I know I’m pretty good at doing.  But when I hit little milestones, I have to sit back and reflect, because I have to do this every so often to keep my ego from running away.

Last night I didn’t write a great deal, mostly because I’d done over two thousand words the day before and I was collecting like seven hundred words worth of notes for my Humans recap.  I was also involved in doing a bit of research for the new scene, because it involved a walk through the city of Salem, and I needed to plot out the start and end points–

And then run to Google Maps and show the course so I'd know where they were going as I wrote.

And then run to Google Maps and show the course so I’d know where they were going as I wrote.

Three hundred and fifty-one words in total were written, and if you’re following along and doing math, that means I tipped over eighty thousand words last night.  The final count, as you’ll see below, is eighty thousand, two hundred and twelve, and that’s a pretty good total.  Eighty thousand words for a novel is something I’ve reached only three times before, with Her Demonic Majesty, with Transporting, and with The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced.  In the case of the first two books, I reached that point in twenty-five days with the first novel, and maybe forty days with the second, because back when I started working on Transporting in the late 1980s, there were days when I sit and crank out eight to ten thousand words to make up for when I couldn’t write.

With The Foundation Chronicles: A For Advanced, I reach eighty thousand word in something like six weeks, because I did the first sixty-five thousand in thirty days–it was a NaNo Novel, you see, and I was tracking my word counts closely.  I’ve done the same with B For Bewitching, and here’s what I’ve learned:

Here’s the calculation for the novel as a whole, from when I started until today.

 

April 11 to July 5 = 86 days.  80,212 / 86 = 933 words a day.

 

I know this because I keep track of the dates on my author’s page, and April 11 was not only the day the first human went into space, and when the space shuttle first launched, but when I began B For Bewitching.  Eighty-six days of writing, an average of nine hundred and thirty-three words a day.

I’ve also done the figures for the first forty thousand:

 

April 11 to May 14 = 34 days.  1176 words a day.

 

And the most current forty thousand:

 

May 14 to July 5 = 53 days.  755 words a day.

 

 

One think to take away from this is that it’s taken me almost two-thirds more time to write the last forty than the first, which means my word production has dropped by a third.  Why is that?  Being tired helps a lot.  Kicking up my work schedule and getting out to do things once in a while have contributed there, but I am going through a stretch where I just feel tired.  No one to blame but myself, and I know that tonight I’m going to have a busy night of writing ahead of me.  However, my word production has only dropped by a third, and that means I’m trying writing more at times to make up for those moments when I’m only cranking out a few hundred words.  It is the ebb and flow of the written word, and I have them just like every other writer does.

I probably won’t finish Act One tonight.  Tomorrow is possible; Wednesday likely.  Tomorrow I will go out to dinner and do my one year HRT celebration–as much as anyone can celebrate by themselves–which is why I figure on Wednesday being the end of Act One.  Then what comes in Act Two?  Well . . . I know what costumes Annie and Kerry are wearing to the Samhain Dance; we get to see Kerry race; and we’ll see what happens when you make Annie mad.  That much I will tell you.  As for anything else?

You have to wait until the next eighty thousand words are in the computer.

That Which is Known and Unknown

A funny thing happened on the way to finishing up my writing last night–I was reading.  That’s not really that funny, but it points out that research can sometime mean going back and finding new . . . things.

I was reading over some scenes from the last novel, a scene that I knew pretty well, or at least thought I did.  It’s a good scene, explained more than I remembered–and then I saw it.  A single line, maybe eight or night words–but the moment I read it I thought, “Well, damn:  I’m going to need to change that.”

Why, you may ask?  Because it was something stated that will affect a scene I haven’t written yet, and the moment I saw what I had written, it hit me that I’d have to, at the very least, modify the line to allow something that would be said in, oh, maybe another thirty thousand or so words.  So I need to do a little rectoning–not much, just change the line a bit–but since that novel isn’t out, no harm, no foul.

Though I also found two other students who I hadn’t accounted for, and I had to do a little retconing on one of them so they’d fit in with my attendance these days.  Look, I’m only a half a million words away from where I started two years ago, give me a break.

Speaking of breaks, Kerry’s up, and it looks like something’s happening–

 

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

“Hello, Annie; Kerry.”

Professor Semplen approached the table, appearing relaxed and friendly. Annie hadn’t seen much of him since their time in Berlin, though he did stop by and wish her an happy birthday as he had the year before. She through they could were missing each other—save during his class—because Kerry’s and her schedule was so different from the rest of the B Levels. “Hello, Professor.”

Kerry set his hand in his lap. “Hello, Professor.”

“I hope I’m not interrupting—” Professor Semplen approached the table and stood opposite his covenmates for a few seconds. “May I join you for a moment?”

The children exchanged glances before Kerry nodded. “Please, have a seat.”

The professor chose the chair across from Kerry. “I won’t stay long: I just wanted to catch you before you headed to the Flight School. I saw your name on the tryout sheet for today.”

 

Kerry and racing sign-up sheets.  Annie had a few thoughts on that, and all along she’s said he’s going to do it, so why act like he’s not?  Because he’s Kerry, that’s why.  But here he’s got this coven leader–and I should mentioned, one of the coven racing managers and the head of their coven team–coming to him, so it much be something important, right?

 

Kerry didn’t appear nervous or self-conscious about the question, though. “Yeah, I signed up for the seventeen-fifteen slot so I can get down to The Diamond after class.” He set his elbows against the table top and leaned forward. “Should I come down earlier?”

“Actually . . .” Professor Semplen shook his head. “You don’t need to come down at all.”

Kerry went from appearing concerned to looking worried. “Is—is there something wrong? What’s going on?”

Sitting where she was between them, Annie easily read Kerry’s and Professor Semplen’s expressions and body language. She saw the answer before Kerry because she was a bystander. “Kerry . . . I think the professor is saying you don’t need to try out for the team.”

Kerry stared at his girlfriend for about three seconds before the her statement made sense. He slowly turned to his coven leader. “Is that true, Professor?”

Professor Semplen adjusted his glasses. “Only four people signed up for try-outs, and I’d already decided that you were going to get one of the B Team slots.” He shrugged. “Based upon everything we’ve seen from last year, and everything you’ve done, I’ve no doubt you’ll do well.”

“But I’ve never competed before—”

“No? What about the test races you were in on the Green Line and The Diamond? What about your accident last October?” The professor looked away for a moment. “What about the flying you did during the Day of the Dead?”

As Kerry was about to respond to the professor’s questions, Annie spoke to him instead. “This has been on your mind for a while, and the closer you get to the moment of proving yourself, the more you feel you’re not going to do well.” Her grin turned into a near smirk. “Once you wrapped your mind around magic you never had a problem. And you won’t have a problem with racing. Do you know what my father says?”

The fact that Annie was bringing up her father told Kerry all he needed to know about what she was going to say. “What?”

“Don’t worry about racing: just race.” She reached over and lightly touched his arm. “Professor Semplen is right: he doesn’t need to see you try out, my love. The moment the track lights turn green, you’ll know what to do.”

 

Annie never brings up her father unless it’s important, and here she’s quoting him to put his mind at ease.  But she’s known all along that he’d make the team–and given there are so few people in their coven to try out for those three slots, and Kerry is one of the best up and coming fliers, that it was ridiculous to believe he wouldn’t.  So after that all that remains is to tell him to show up Sunday to get fitted for his racing gear and get checked out on a Class 2–which he already has–and be ready to race in two weeks–

If he were on the A Team he's probably start next Saturday.  I know because . . . I know.

If he were on the A Team he’s probably start next Saturday. I know because . . . I know.

All that remains now is for Annie and Kerry to have a small, quiet moment together . . .

 

Once Professor Semplen was out of hearing range, Annie moved her chair closer to Kerry so that she didn’t have lean in order to touch his arm. “Well . . .”

Kerry looked down, full well knowing what was coming. “Yes?”

“Do I get to say I told you so?”

He lifted her hand from his arm. “Sweetie—” He kissed her hand tenderly. “You’ve been telling me that since I said I may go out.”

Annie chuckled. “You know I’m always right, my love.”

He laughed along with her. “I know, Sweetie. You’d think I’d get that by now.”

 

. . . and bring about the end of the chapter.

End of the chapter?  Yep.  Sure is.

End of the chapter? Yep. Sure is.

Now on to nine, and we’re going see some crazy here, because you can probably guess what Dark Witch Instruction is about–or maybe not.  You’ll just have to tune in and hope I write after my face burning tonight.

Additions In the Afterthoughts

It’s a bright start to the Summer Solstice here in The Burg, though this morning the humidity was so high when I arrived at my morning breakfast location that the windows were wet with moisture.  It was a strange sight, let me tell you, and one I haven’t seen in some time.  It’s going to be warm and a bit cloudy today, and there may be more rain, though nothing like the downpours we had last night.

There has been a bit of writing–some of it last night after the season finale of Orphan Black, and some this morning.  Since there isn’t a lot to do today, I’ll likely get to writing more this afternoon and evening, at least enough to finish up this scene in which I’m currently involved.  It’s a big day for someone to go flying, and right before I started in on this post I left the scene with Isis getting ready to laying out the plan for Annie’s Friday Morning class, which involves leaving the confines of not only the Aerodrome, but the school itself.

They'll probably fly past Annisquam Lighthouse--no mermaids hanging out today, I'm afraid.

They’ll probably fly past Annisquam Lighthouse.  No mermaids hanging out today, except for those flying overhead.

I’ve hinted over the last few posts that I’ve felt there are additions to this novel that need to be made, and after I finished working on my scene I’ve sat and given the matter some thought.  I’d actually come up with the scenes in question about two weeks ago, so it hasn’t been as if I’ve needed to put a whole lot of thought into what was going to happen as much as it’s when.

The new chapter covers the first overnight camping trip that the Advanced Flight 1 class takes outside the school.  None of this pitching tents somewhere in the woods on the grounds–nope.  The kids are gonna mount up and head off into the gathering darkness of December, proceed to their campsite, and set up their tents.  Wingmates camp together, which means–yes, the flight team of Neilson and Malibey will share a tent.  Don’t worry:  they’ll have their own cots and sleeping bags, and I’m sure Vicky and her minion will be close by to keep an eye . . . anything.

The thing I needed to see was set up this chapter in Scrivener.  That’s not a difficult thing to do:  it’s simply a matter of adding a folder, typing up some metadata, and throwing together a few scenes.  But you know me; I gotta have a bit more information.  Like when does this take place.

It was pretty simple, actually.  Since I know the chapter before ends on the afternoon of 8 December–which is a Saturday–and that the kids are going to leave for Yule Holiday on 21 December–which is a Friday–that leaves only a time period over which the overnight trip can occur:  the night of Thursday, 13 December, with a return on Friday, 14 December.  I can also check that information from Scrivener because I have a link to the Time and Date website, which has all sorts of handy calendar information.

When you absolutly, positivily, need to know a date, just split the screen and bring up the right website.

When you absolutely, positively, need to know a date, just split the screen and bring up the right website.

This is why I get so goofy with dates and times in my scenes, because there are instances when it’s quite necessary to know if something you’re working into a story is going to fit into that story.  In this case, the scene fits, and all I need do now is check the weather for that day along the route they’ll fly–which I already know–so I’ll know what sort of conditions they’ll face along the way.  I also need to rename chapters today, ’cause, you know, everything is off right now.

Oh, and Kerry’s going to do something interesting during the flight.  You just gotta trust me on that one.

Gifting From the Past Heart

I will admit:  I was distracted last night.  I was also tired as hell, but there were distractions.  And the looking up of things.  And Mothra–yes, she was on TCM last night, in the original Japanese with subtitles.  “Moothh-er-raaaaaaa . . .”  Yes, just love that, because who doesn’t love gigantic moths?

Back in my other world it’s birthday time–and since it’s the end of September, we know who is having that birthday.  Annie has a birthday, and a special someone gets to take her off somewhere to have a mini-celebration–

From the Pentagram to the shores of Lovely Lake Lovecraft.

From the Pentagram to the shores of Lovely Lake Lovecraft.

As you’ll see in the excerpt they flew up–it’s after lunch, but you don’t see that part.  And they have all the time in the world because they don’t have classes that afternoon.  I should include the schedule in the book, just so people know, because you don’t see every class this time.  But that’s besides the point:  my kids are at the lake, they are off their brooms, and Kerry’s fidgeting with the backpack in one hand and a strange look on his face . . .

 

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

Kerry leaned their brooms against a nearby tree and shrugged off his backpack as he walked back. “Beautiful day.”

“Yes, it is.” Annie stood with her hands locked together in front of her belly and her feet pressed together. She shifted her gaze from one spot to another, attempting to appear as nonchalant as possible. “We won’t have many more of these.”

“No, we won’t.” Kerry pointed towards her legs. “You’ll have to start wearing tights then.”

She looked down at her bare legs and nodded. “Not that I mind: I rather like leggings.” She shrugged and settled her gaze upon a visibly nervous Kerry. “Did you have something you wanted to discuss?” Annie struggled to prevent the smile she felt inside from breaking out.

Kerry almost began stammering, then unzipped his backpack, and removed a wrapped package nearly as large as his tablet. “Happy birthday, Sweetie.” He extended his hand towards her. “You teenage girl, you.”

This was the first time today anyone brought up that she was now thirteen and no longer a tween-aged girl. “I am, aren’t I?” She accepted the present using both hands. “Thank you so much, my love.” She ran one hand over the wrapping. “I can’t wait to see what’s inside.”

“Then I’d start removing the paper.”

Like she did the year before, Annie carefully undid the wrapping paper. She saw that Kerry had taped it lightly so she’d not have a problem removing the paper the time. He learned from the last time—

She handed the paper to Kerry, who folded and returned it to the inside of his backpack while she examined the box. It was far larger than the one that held her locket, and the weight told her it was something far heavier. Annie also felt that after giving her the charm bracelet in Berlin, Kerry wouldn’t surprise her with another piece of jewelery—

She opened the box and discovered a hardback book inside. The dust jacket showed a gray surface with needle-like spires on the right side, and a brownish-colored world showing the outlines of North and South America on the left, There was a red boat-like ship skimming across the gray, leaving a trail in its wake.

It was the title, however, that immediately drew Annie’s attention: A Fall of Moondust, by Arthur C. Clarke: the book that he first read to her in their dreams.

Her fingers carefully touched the cover, as if she thought it was an illusion. “How did you get this?”

Kerry nodded towards the present. “Open it and turn to the inner title page.”

She found the page after a couple of page flips. Across from there she found a hand written dedication:

To My Chestnut Girl

The the next time you need someone to read to you, don’t look in your dreams: look across the tower

Your Ginger Hair Boy

A heaviness settled in over her heart, and Annie feared she’s show the same response as the one at Kensington Gardens. “This is—” Her voice broke as she tried to speak. “This is incredible.”

Kerry stared at the ground and shuffled his feet. “I didn’t know if you would—”

Shush, you.” She slowly closed the book and pressed it against her chest. “My darling, this is perfect.”

 

Yeah, about that book . . .

I’ve mentioned many times that A Fall of Moondust is the second adult novel I read:  The first of Earthlight, but Clarke as well.  Originally I found them in an omnibus collection, with the two novels together, at the public library, but later I found a first edition Moondust at the library as well.  It was this novel I read about a dozen times before buying a paperback version of the same story, and which I still own today.

Part of the “looking up of things” I performed last night involved getting information on this novel, but at the same time I wanted to see the covers–and wouldn’t you know it?  There it was:

Now immortalized in my Scrivener project alongside Kerry's "handwriting".

Now immortalized in my Scrivener project alongside Kerry’s “handwriting”.

Now you know what Annie’s present looks like.  And in the rest of the scene you’ll learn a little more, and see the aftermath of the giving.  This won’t be a long scene–maybe another five hundred words–but it’s nice, it’s tender, and where I said before that Annie wants gifts that come from the heart, this one doesn’t get much more heartfelt.

Not every girl can say they were given, as a present, the book of their dreams.

Madness Among the Blanks

There is a strange part of me that doesn’t ever shut down when I’m away from a story.  All the time my mind is going on about what’s going to happen, when it will happen, and how it should happen.  And even though I have things plotted out in my story and I know the path upon which it walk, it doesn’t take much for it to find another branch upon which to follow.

I’ve discussed adding one scene already to the dialog, and last night, while writing, I kept getting distracted by another scene that has been nagging at me for a couple of days.  I’ve already thought about two scenes to add to the novel, and figured out where they would go, and now I have another that, well, came into mind simply because of something else I wrote a few days earlier.  I even went so far as to do a few other things related to that scene, because I wanted to see how it played out, and . . . yeah.  I think I will write it.

The question is, where to put it?

I have a pretty good idea where it goes, only because I do have the novel laid out, and timelines constructed.  It’s simply a matter of plugging in the scenes and getting the dates and times right.  And maybe renumbering chapters–something I did a couple of times in the last novel when inspiration struck and I wanted to get it right.

This is actually a good sign, that even after having written, as of last night, sixty-two thousand, three hundred words, I’m still watching the novel evolve.  I’ve said before, while I plot out thing, that’s by no means how I’m going to write it, and if something comes to me that makes sense, then put it in.  Just as I removed a couple of scenes from the last novel because they didn’t make any sense, so there was no point in writing them.

Speaking of scenes . . . last night was a short one, almost seventeen hundred words total, and it would seem as if not a lot happens, but it’s the kids reconnecting on an event they love.  And having something else pop in . . .

 

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

As was the norm Annie and Kerry heard the sounds emanating from the Dinning Hall before they reached the door. Inside the party had always started: Annie estimated about three-quarters of the students were already here, all of them in their pajamas, all of them spread around the front half of the Dinning Hall, sitting in chairs, spread out on sofas and love seats, stretched across beds and, in one case, one girl was bouncing on a bed as high as possible while her laughing friends looked on.

They slowly made their way across the room as Annie eyed the instructors and staff sitting at the front of the hall. Helena and Erywin were together on a love seat, holding hands while they spoke with Jessica and Ramona. Deanna and Trevor were also sitting together on a love seat, speaking with Adric and Tristyn, while a couple of seats over Wednesday and Isis were stretched out on a sofa while speaking with Coraline and Holoč, apparently having decided that there was no further point in keeping their relationship a secret from the student body.

Kerry was the first to see the spot where they’d sat all the last school year during every Madness. “No one’s in our spot.”

“I didn’t think anyone would be sitting there.” Over the summer Annie had wondered why no one ever sat at “their” spot until after they’d taken over the sofa and gotten comfortable. Deanna confided before they left for the year that whenever they didn’t attend the Madness the seats remained empty, as if people were unaware the location was unavailable.

She didn’t have an answer for this puzzle, but there was enough here concerning them that didn’t make sense that having one more item on the list didn’t seem important . . .

 

No, not important at all.  Is there a reason for that?  Hummmm . . . maybe?  I’m not talking.

Now that they’re in the Madness, there’s only one thing left to do–

Write the next scene and get them out?

Write the next scene and get them out?

And then we can get out of the first week and move on to the real fun.

The Pain of the Past and the Future of Uncertainty 

Today is a rough day.  Today is the day after my latest electrolysis treatment, and let me tell ya, it was a wild one.

I made it through:  I made it through the full two hours and I didn’t cry, though I twitched and squirmed and even hissed and shook a little.  But I finished, I paid, and I made it home–

Though it does look a bit like a tornado tore across my face.

Though it does look a bit like a tornado tore across my face.

The women who does my work said she couldn’t believe how much she accomplished, and I believe it, because I was there.  And don’t be fooled by that smug look:  I was really out of it right there.  I didn’t do much writing because it was hard keeping my head in the game.  I managed three hundred words right on the dot, with the last one being, “What?”  That coming from a student who just sort of burst out.  In Sorcery class.  In front of Helena.  It won’t go well.

But–out of it.  Right.  I was out of it, and spent about a half hour in front of the television icing my face.  I was so out of it that when I started changing for work this morning, I realized I’d put on my pajama bottoms backwards, and had slept in them that way.  But I’m much better now.  Sort of.  It’s just a good thing it was cool outside, ’cause the walk in would have been brutal otherwise.

However, the walk in did allow me to think–and I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.  The last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about Annie and Kerry and their future together–don’t worry, it’s not bad.  It’s just filling in a few blanks that I’ve had, and fleshing out some areas that I knew of, but I wanted to get better.  I’ve actually started taking note for this stuff, because I have too many things to remember, and it’s starting to spill out.

Like this morning.  Yes, I’m looking through things prior to writing, and I pull up the story and all of a sudden I’m thinking, “Hey, you know, I want to add too scenes, but . . . where to put them?”  Then I’m looking around the scenes and I hit one chapter and think, “What he hell was this about again?”  Because I hadn’t written down anything to remind me what was happening at that point.  So I had to pull up my time line for the story, because I knew it would have some information, and sure enough, it told me what I needed to remember.  I wrote down those notes with the promise of fleshing it out a little more, because the actions in one scene set up something that’s going to happen in a later scene.

As for those new scenes–

I'm looking at you, future chapters.

I’m looking at you, future chapters.

I think one of the new scenes is gonna happen in Chapter Twelve, and will be the first one.  It makes sense because I know what happens in From Green to Dream, and setting up the lead-in with a conversation between the two people in the new scene would fit there well.  As for the other new scene–it just came to me where it should go.  Because it makes sense.

So . . . get through this day, heal up, feel better, write more.

Make notes.

Should I leave myself a note to do that last?

Reacquaintance at the Crowne

And just like that, I’ve done in another scene and passed twenty thousand words in the novel, and that last took just two and a half weeks.  I even took note of word number twenty thousand, because why not?  I like doing that stuff.

I wasn’t only writing, however:  I was playing around with the new Google Maps, which I didn’t think I was going to like at all, but now that I’m figuring out things I can do with it, it’s a whole lot of fun.  It’ll show up in tomorrow’s post more, because I did some checking on landmarks for that scene, and the result are pretty impressive.

But for now, it’s back to Berlin . . .

First off, there’s the matter of Kerry’s room in the hotel, which is at the Crowne Plaza Berlin City Center–and we do mean right in the city center, more or less.  You’ll see what I mean when I lay out the maps tomorrow, but they are close to a lot of stuff . . .

Hotel on the left, and on the right, far in the background, the impressive building is actually a Bus/Underground hub.  The Foundation thinks of everything.

Hotel down the street on the left, and on the right, far in the background, the squat, impressive-looking building is actually a Bus/Underground hub. The Foundation thinks of everything when it comes to location.  So do I.

So after the Lunch in London, after the French Dream Connection, after the Dinner Embarrassment, after the Early Morning Pick Up, Kerry’s finally back where he wants to be–with Annie.  Alone.  For what will be, for now, another four months . . .

 

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

Kerry opened his arms as Annie skipped towards him, wrapping them around her as soon as they touched. They gazed into each other’s eyes for a few seconds before kissing long and passionately. Though he’d been with Annie only a few weeks earlier, and they’d shared a couple of dreams, he felt as if he’d not seen her in the longest time.

When the kiss finally broke he burned his face in here chestnut hair. “Hi, Sweetie.”

“Hello, my love.” Annie kissed him on the cheek. “I’m so happy to see you.”

“As much as I am you.” He kissed her cheek back. “I’m surprised you could get in here.”

“Oh—” She flashed a broad grin. “The hotel was more than accommodating.” She stepped back and pulled him along. “Come see.” She led him through the now open double doors to the room beyond.

The bedroom was nearly the same dimensions as the living suite behind them. There was a table and chairs next to the window on their right, a king-sized bed against the wall in front of them, a couple of chest of drawers across from the foot of the bed and against the wall on their left, next to the entrance to the master bathroom. Atop the chest of drawers across from the foot of the bed was a small television: it was currently turned it to a music channel that Annie muted the moment she heard Kerry entering the other room.

He looked around and gasped in a small, quiet voice. “Wow. This is better than the room we had in—that other place.” He remembered what Helena said about The Foundation using listening spells at some hotels, and didn’t want anyone who could be listening in knowing he’d spoken about something of which he wasn’t supposed to speak.

“Yes, it is.” Annie hung on to his left arm. “It’s a deluxe suite: one of the Crowne’s best.”

 

As I pointed out yesterday, since they’re returning students there’s no need for The Foundation to go through all the subterfuge they went through for the “You Know Nothing” A Levels who didn’t know the real story.  No more screwing around:  you know the people who pay for your education can pay for a lot more, and they’re doing just that.

Of course, Kerry needs a little more information . . .

 

“Leave it to The Foundation to spring for some good rooms.” He turned to Annie. “Is your room like this?”

“Oh, yes.” She nodded slowly. “You could say it’s identical.”

Kerry was about to ask for her room number when he saw the quizzical look on Annie’s face, and as he watched her brows slowly arched upward did her finally understand. “Oh. This is your room, too.”

Annie’s eyes rolled up in her head as she laughed. “Vie ste tolkova nevezhi.” She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. “Of course it’s my room. Tova e neshto dobro az te obicham.”

Kerry was aware that “obicham” was the Bulgarian word for love, and since he’d heard Annie say “Obicham te” many times before, he was aware she was telling him that whatever she’d said the first time, it didn’t matter, because she loved him. He went up on his toe and kissed her forehead. “I az te obicham.”

 

And here we are again, with out kids sharing digs.  I’ll get to the Who and What part in a second, but first, there’s Annie spouting off some more Bulgarian.  I use one of the online translators to get my sentences, and eventually I’ll find someone who knows Bulgarian to give me exact translations.  But a quick overview of the above–

“Nevezhi” is clueless, which we all know Kerry to be.  “Obicham”–as Kerry also pointed out–is one of the words for love.  “Obicham te” is “I love you,” and what Kerry says in return is “I love you, too.”  An interesting thing is that “He obicham” mean “I dislike/hate you,” which kinda makes it the Good/Ungood of the Bulgarian world.  I keep track of all this through my scene notes:

Which also keep track of what words hit a milestone.  I'm strange that way.

Which also keep track of hotels and what words hit a milestone. I’m strange that way.

But the question remains:  who put this together.  Annie has it figured out . . .

 

She hugged him tightly before letting him go. “Your accent is coming along.”

“I’ve been working on getting it right.” He examined the bedroom before turning back to Annie. “Who put us together like this?”

“I believe . . .” Annie went over and sat on the end of the bed. “Ms. Rutherford book this room.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because there was a message waiting at the front desk when I checked in with Mama.”

Hearing Annie speak those last few words peeked Kerry’s interest. “She didn’t read it, did she?”

“No. Papa and she brought me to the airport, and Papa went on to work while Mama came with me to the hotel.” She grinned up at the still standing Kerry. “Did you come in a Mercedes?”

“Yeah.” It was his first time riding in one, so he made sure to examine it closely. “It was an E-Class.”

“They’re nice: Papa’s driven them on a few occasions.” Annie returned to the previous conversation. “Mama went back to the airport as soon as I was checked in; I read the message as soon as I got to the room. It said you’d check in about an hour after I arrived, and that I should leave—” Annie glanced down at the floor for a moment, and when she looked back at Kerry, a sly grin was faintly visible upon her face. “—a suitably ambiguous message telling you where I was.” She shrugged. “So I did.”

 

Now we know Papa drives Mercedes at times, and what sort of cars they took from the airport to the hotel in Berlin.  Again, The Foundation is being nice to their returning students, and it shows.  Though they probably didn’t have anything to do with booking to twelve year old kids in the same room, but what the hell?

So with that information out of the way, my kids can get down to what they’ve been waiting to do for a long time . . .

 

“And it was good.” Kerry sat to Annie’s right, as he always did. Now that the excitement of their reuniting was over, he could relax and enjoy being close to his soul mate once more. It’s not like when we were in London. He reached up and brushed her hair back from her right ear, bringing her small gold hoop earrings into the light. He ran his finger over her ear ridge, eliciting a giggle as she tilted her head towards him. “Does that tickle?”

“Yes, it does.” She pressing her head against her shoulder, trapping his fingers between. “We have almost all day today, all day tomorrow, and most of the day Wednesday.” She slid towards Kerry until their thighs and hips were touching. She took his hand and massaged it between hers. “You should unpack, and then we can work on what we’re going to do the next few days.” Annie nuzzled their combined hands. “You have your computer in your backpack?”

“In the next room.” Kerry’s heart softened being close to Annie once more. He’d felt this way for the first five minutes they were together in Russel Square, and that feeling of closeness, of togetherness, of love . . . of excitement: it was back. He was with Annie once again. “I wouldn’t ever leave it at home.”

“I didn’t think you would. And I know you can put it to good use here.” Annie turned slowly so she was facing him. “Just like you did in London.”

He didn’t attempt to pull his hand free from Annie’s grip. “You know your way around Berlin?”

“Not like I know other cities.” She leaned closer to her love. “Wait until next year when we’re in Paris . . .” Annie pulled her right leg under her, making herself a little taller. “I know that city so well . . .”

She pressed herself against Kerry, pushing him backwards. She fell next to him but kept herself propped up on her elbows. She gently lay a kiss upon his lips, holding it for five, ten, fifteen seconds before she stopped. “Seven week since the last time we kissed like that.”

“Yes, it has been that long.” Kerry wrapped his left arm around Annie and let his fingers glide over her back. “But it’s over.”

“Though you know what?”

“What?”

Annie slowly settled next to Kerry, snuggling against him while laying here left arm across his chest. “The days passed a great deal slower than I expected.”

 

Annie’s gettin’ her moves on!  Well, she is the more aggressive of the pair, though Kerry is starting to come along.  Knowing Mr. I Analyze Everything, it’s pretty much even money that he knows if he tries a similar move like Annie just pulled, things might happen, and he has enough embarrassment in his life without that happening.

Just give him time, though.  They’ll be more then enough opportunities to blush for his girlfriend.

Imaginary Journeys Past and Future

Back to work for a short time yesterday before heading out to get labs and dinner after almost twenty-four hours of fasting–a certainty that I’m back in The Burg and getting into my normal routine once more.  This also means that I’m back to the plotting and  planning and whatnot, and you’re right if you said I was up to something last night.

Most of the evening was taken up getting the last of the tour of Europe I’m sending my kids on in their future finished.  It wasn’t hard, believe me, because there were only three other cities to visit, with a stopover in Brno for a quick early lunch and a fast dart around the track before heading off to Vienna.

Who do you think won that race?  Wanna take bets?

Who do you think won that race? Wanna take bets?

It was a good thing I decided to plan out this trip, because it showed me where I could expand the stay overs to allow them their fifty days on the road.  It also allowed me to figure out where they were going to stay while roaming about Europe, and looking up hotels and imagining them waking up to see a Paris side street, or the historical square of Prague, or the blue Danube flowing past, was part of the entertainment that comes from putting stuff like this together.

Which is how I go from this--

Which is how I go from this–

To this.

To this.

And you should see the Junior Suites at the Hotel de L’Europe.  Oi.  Those kids got taste.

What does the whole trip look like?  A bit like this:

All through Europe, there and back again.

All through Europe, there and back again.

One of the last legs of this journey has them flying from Budapest to Sofia while following the course of the Danube for most of the way.  They end up spending about four hours in the air, their longest leg after the first.  Like with some of the other cities, staying in Sofia allows Annie the chance to show Kerry around the city and the country beyond.  It’ll also be a little comforting to her, to spend a few days in her home country before heading off for that lake house not far from her parent’s house.

And what happens after they arrive there?  I know what happens, but you’ll have to wait until I write the D Level novel to find out what goes down.  I’m just not telling you, at least not now.  All you need to know right now is that Kerry somehow ends up at Annie’s home in Pamporovo, he’s got his Espinoza, and he’s not afraid to use it.

But before I can get to D, I gotta get through B . . .

I checked my blog this morning and notice the countdown timer has changed–

I'm into days now!

I’m into days now!

Thirty days to go, and I wonder if when it gets down to less than a day if it’ll go to hours.  Doesn’t matter:  the time is set and it’s a go.  I will try to, at the least, finish the first scene, and perhaps the second and third as well.  The first scene starts off with Kerry back home, and then it goes from . . . there.  What happens next?

You’ll see in a month.

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.