Back in Time For Today

Spa days, teens getting off, and TV press access.  I’m all over the road today–which considering the freezing rain we had here last night is befitting.

Enjoy.

There’ll Be Artwork and Pain

Let’s get this out of the way first thing: a couple of days ago I passed sixty thousand words.  It took eighteen days to get there, but there was probably less actual writing since during those two and a half weeks I was kind of preoccupied with real-life.

But I got it done.  And I got a feel good about that.

Right here's the proof of feeling good.

Right here’s the proof of feeling good.

I think it’s really funny that if you look at the picture above, you see that the word count I ended with last night was exactly two thousand words less than the word count from the previous scene.  Since then–which is to say this morning–I’ve added a few more words so that counts don’t jibe, but still: I love little coincidences like that.

Also last night, I wrote a total of twelve hundred and sixty-four words.  That is probably the biggest amount I have written in a long time, though all that writing was done with the help of Dragon software.  It took me exactly two hours and forty-seven minutes to finish the scene–how do I know that?  I’ll tell you in a bit.

And one last thing before we get to the excerpt: I noticed when I begin speaking Annie’s dialogue, I speak in “her” voice.  Which is to say, I soften my tone and try to speak with just a bit of an accent.  Not much, but there’s a little bit there.  I guess you could say I’m getting into her character what I’m speaking as her, and I do think about what she would actually say as opposed to what I am going to write.

Then again, I caught myself speaking of slightly English accent when I was doing Penny’s voice.  But just like with Annie, I speak of slightly softer tone when speaking is Penny or Alex, and I’ll probably do the same with him speaking as Anna or Elisha.  Funny how that works out.

Now that we got all that out of the way, let’s look at part of what I wrote.  I’m not going to give you everything today, you’ll just have to do with what I’m giving you here.  I assure you, it’s going to be enough.

And it should be good.

 

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

 

“He’s fine.” Annie look back toward Penny and Alex before turning toward Anna and Elisha. “Could you give us a few moments alone, please?” Alex nodded and turned away with Penny doing the same. Anna and Elisha did the same and headed off in the opposite direction from the other two girls.

The moment everyone was out of sight Annie began gently pulling on Kerry’s arm. She moved close to him so no one else could hear her speak. “Let’s sit, my love. Please?”

Kerry nodded just enough to acknowledge that he heard Annie. They sat on the floor between two of van Gogh’s paintings while still keeping Starry Night Over the Rhône before them. Annie was about to ask Kerry something when he suddenly leaned forward, closed his eyes, and began sobbing aloud.

She was unsure of what to do beyond wrapping her arm around him. Annie had never seen Kerry act like this before—no, that wasn’t entirely true. Kerry had experienced a number of sobbing breakdown for, but all of them had occurred at school and in private. While she had seen him shed a few tears in public before, this was the first time she’d ever seen him break down completely with other people around.

Annie pulled him into her, holding him close. “What is it, my love? Please tell me what’s wrong.”

 

It goes without saying that Kerry is something of an emotional mess right now, the comforting of the soul mate not withstanding.  His worst fears came true and he’s dealing with them with varying  degrees of success.

However, this is something different:  this is something that’s overwhelming him, ’cause Annie knows, he’s not one to up and breakdown like this in public.  She’s good at getting him to open up to her, and this time is no different:

 

It took a few more seconds for Kerry can bring himself under control. He held his head up and back, drawing in deep breaths, and after the third one he was ready to speak. “I don’t want you to think this strange—”

Annie chuckled. “I won’t think it’s strange, I promise.”

Kerry pressed is fingertips against his forehead. I really like van Gogh’s paintings. I don’t know why, I just saw them on-line one day and I thought about how fantastic they looked. I know it seems strange that I would like art—”

“I don’t think it’s strange at all. You’re intelligent and creative. Look how you enjoy my artwork; look how you enjoy playing music.”

“I know.” He looked across the enclosure at the painting on the far wall. “It was when Elisha asked where van Gogh was when he painted the other Starry Night, and I said he was in an insane asylum—” He rested his head against Annie shoulder. “Have you ever heard the song Vincent?”

She stroked his hair. “No, my love. I haven’t.”

He drew in a long, slow breath and exhale completely. “It’s an old song by Don McLean. He wrote about Vincent van Gogh and it’s a really…” Kerry’s voice caught as he tried to control his emotions. “It’s a beautiful song. I don’t listen to it much because it makes me feel sad.”

Annie knew there was more to what Kerry was feeling now than just being sad about a particular song. But she couldn’t come right out and say that: it wasn’t the way to get through to him. However, having known Kerry all her life, she knew how to pull information out of him. “I’d like to hear the song one day. But something else must have occurred, something even more sad, that is connected to this painting. Is there?”

He looked off into the distance for a moment then turned back and focused on the painting. “I was looking at this painting and the other Starry Night on-line one day—it was like a month before I was invited to Salem. I had Vincent on a playlist shuffle and it started playing while I was looking at the pictures. I started thinking about what it must’ve been like—” He looked down and closed his eyes for a second. “What it must be like to go mad. And I got all, you know—” He turned to Annie with tears in his eyes. “You know.”

She brushed the tears from his left cheek. “I do indeed know, my love.”

He nodded. “Some sitting there, trying to get control of myself, and my mom walks into my bedroom without knocking or anything. And she sees me there, crying, with the music playing, and she’s like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ And I told her I heard a sad song and made me cry. And she—” He closed his eyes as he fought to keep from sobbing again. “She says, ‘What the hell is wrong with you? You’re worse—’ He shook as he strained to get out the last few words. “‘Sometimes you’re worse than a girl’.”

 

And here’s where it was a good thing I had a few glasses of wine inside me when I wrote those last few paragraphs, ’cause something like what happened to Kerry happened to me.  Only it happened while the aforementioned song was being performed live at the Grammys and I started crying in the living room in front of both parents, and I ended up getting a disgusted look from my father and pretty much the same last statement from my mother.  Yeah, thanks a lot, guys, for knocking me down with that burn.

Needless to say, Annie’s got some choice thoughts for her future mother-in-law, and while she calls her something that sounds like “witch”, it ain’t.  Louise Malibey doesn’t know it yet, but she’s shaping the life of another person she’s never met–and she’s doing as shitty a job with her as she has with her son.  Having an emotionally traumatized witch who knows Morte spells in the house is one thing:  having his cool and collected Dark Witch girlfriend who can River Tam your ass in a fast second is another, and that’s one that could come back to bite one on the ass at some point.

Now, for the song in question:  I picked this version because of the slideshow of van Gogh’s artwork the presenter put together.  Enjoy.

 

Now, as to my claim that I finished the current scene in exactly two hours and forty-seven minutes–yeah, I got this backed up.  Last night I also modified my YouTube Music From San Junipero playlist based upon an extended playlist that Black Mirror creator and writer Charlie Booker put together on Spotify.  He says that his playlist has all the music that was in the episode, all the music he tried to get into the episode but couldn’t because of licensing issues, and a couple of songs “that inspired”.  The time it takes to play all the songs?  Two hours and forty-seven minutes.  I started writing as the first song began and finished as the last song ended–which is a nice bookend in a way as the first and last songs are bookends to both the playlist and the TV episode.

So here you go, some great music coming from one of the best hours of television ever written:  not just my opinion–one I gave when I recapped this episode a short time back and you should read if you haven’t–but the opinion of many others who enjoyed great TV.

Now, what’s Annie gonna do to help Kerry out of his current mindset?

Guess you’ll find out tomorrow.

Quick and Dirty Saturdays

If it’s Saturday it must be time for a video recap.  And here I cover some other writing I’d love to publish plus–something completely different:

 

Getting Ready to Make the Magic

Editing, right:  you’re looking for it, yeah?  Sorry, but editing I haz not.  Not today, kids.  Last night was recap night, and since I was writing about smart money being on a skinny bitch, that skinny bitch took up the better part of three hours and thirty-six hundred words.  Yep, it happens.  And when it does I don’t have time for anything else.

“It won’t be a problem; I’m sure my fans will understand.”

Yeah, just like those who follow George R. R. Martin do . . .

Anyway, the countdown clock on my blog says I have four day before I’m supposed to get started on this novel, but it’s really more like three days and six hours, as it is, right this moment, 5:37 in the morning in The Burg.  As I see it now, if I’m good I’ll have all off Act One plotted out by the time Saturday rolls into town, and I’ll plot out the rest by getting in a chapter every other day or so as I write along.

This won’t be a problem.  In actuality, I didn’t have a firm lock on Act Three of A For Advanced when I started writing, and I seemed to recall plotting out most of the Kansas City chapters a few weeks before I got around to writing them.  B For Bewitching was really to go when I started writing, though there were a few areas in the story that were little more than sketches.

C For Continuing is a little different.  I know this one a lot better than any of the other stories in the series, and there’s only a few spots in the third act that are a little spotty in my head right now.  But I’m not worried because it’s probably going to be ten months before I get around to writing that part, and I will have all that in place and solid by the time I get there.

Today and tomorrow is movie time:  I have to write the “teaser trailer” for C For Continuing, and based upon the last two I wrote, it’s something of an undertaking.  This is going to be the first part I release on Saturday, a few days ahead of the first novel excerpt.  Since I’ll have it finished by tonight or tomorrow–smart money is on the heavy-set bitch finishing it tomorrow night–I can throw it into a blog post and have it auto post at like six AM my time.  Here that, Renxk?  Set your alarm, ‘kay?

This will be the first time I’ve done a trailer without having a novel to fall back upon for dialog, so what I write in there I’ll have to reference at different points in the novel because it has to be right–right?  I’ll just have to set up keywords in the trailer to do that, but I’m certain that at this point I won’t forget.

And speaking of the novel, I just had one of those moments on inspiration about the scene where Annie and Kerry display their Kali skills, and let me say . . . it’s gonna be cool at hell.

I should get around to writing that in like November–

Streams and Walking Dreams

 

The end of June is approaching, and I’m sort of relaxing with this whole “I don’t have anything new to write” thing going on.  Though that’s not entirely true:  tonight I write my last TV recap, and that will take me most of the night as I go over what I watched last night and fill in the blanks and get some nice pictures.  After that I’m done.

Or am I?

With the new computer I’m discovering the wonders of being able to sit down and load up something from my computer so I can watch it on my television.  As I have an Amazon Prime account I’ve taken to watching Season 1 of The Americans which I’d missed the first time around.  Tonight I’ll restream Orphan Black so I can work up the recap from the episode–and it was a hell of an episode–and I’ll probably do the same thing in the future when I get back to recapping Fear the Walking Dead.

Speaking off  and on with Rachel, the true originator of our blog The Snarking Dead, last night, over the last few weeks, I told her that I might want to tackle another show through July and August just so the blog doesn’t go dark once she finishes with Game of Thrones next week.  She thought that was a good idea, and I told her what show I wanted to recap–

The only thing was, in order to get to that show I needed to get a Netflix account.

I’ve wanted to do that for some time, and finally, last night, I broke down and put it into place.  So when I’m not editing Act One of A For Advanced, I’ll likely be kicked back watching something through my computer–which, given the low number of shows I watch these days, I may start doing next year so I can save myself some money on cable.  Yes, I know there are a few people right now who are probably rolling their eyes going, “Why aren’t you working on the next novel?” and the answer is I need this time to relax and recoup.

Oh, and to catch up on the view of a couple of series I’ve wanted to see since they came out on Netflix:  Jessica Jones and Sense8.  The first because I want to see David Tenant playing an absolute psychotic prick, and the last because I watch to watch that show.  It’s also the one I’m going to recap through July and August, maybe putting out a recap every few days because I’ll keep me busy.  And maybe during that time I’ll actually start laying out the third novel, too.  Until that happens, though, I’ll be relaxing and streaming.

Sort of like this, only without the water and shorts and blond hair.

Sort of like this, only without the water and shorts and blond hair.

Speaking of novels . . .

Well, over a thousand words were edited last night, and it was a good time.  Going back to yesterday’s edit, I walked home from work with a fellow office worker who takes the train back and forth from The Burg to Philly, and who used to live in London.  When I described Annie’s and Kerry’s journey from the Park Place Sherlock Homes to the Baker Street Station and down the Jubilee Line to London Bridge Station, she told me it sounded like I’d actually visited the city at one point.  No, I said:  I just do my research.

These two little parts below first sort of finish up their walking tour.  We see where they go and the steps they take before heading off to lunch:

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

The walking tour next led them through St. James Park and Buckingham Palace. After some picture taking they hailed a cab and proceeded two kilometers to the east to the Lyceum Theater. Kerry didn’t say much about why they were there, beyond a few mentions of having “seen a video” and that being there meant “something to him”, so Annie didn’t ask for details. Upon reaching the location she saw he was in awe of his surroundings, and she figured pressing him for information would spoil any mood they’d developed.

This time Kerry found someone to take their picture in front of the theater. As before Annie stood close to him, and as she’d done on the Westminster Bridge she slide her hand into his. This time Kerry half turned his head and gave her a tiny grin before turning back for the photo. Two were taken and Kerry thanked the woman before showing the pictures to Annie. He snapped three pictures of her, then took one of himself mugging for the camera before allowing Annie to take three nicer pictures of him.

They were both getting hungry, so while at the theater Kerry used his phone to locate various places to eat. Upon finding a nearby restaurant they walked north from the Lyceum towards the Covent Garden station, when their boarded the subway and headed towards their next destination.

 

Above is the first time Kerry sort of gets goofy, which is while he’s snapping pictures of himself, something many eleven year olds do–and more than a few adults, too.  It’s also the first time that Kerry acknowledges that Annie is there sticking her hand in his, though he doesn’t close his fingers around hers.  I debated changing that last night, and decided, no, Kerry wouldn’t do that, not yet, not this early in the game.  Not until he gets to Witching Manor.

Where do they go for lunch?  Kerry tells Erywin and Helena in B For Bewitching:  the Pret a Manger located in Russel Square.  There here’s doing a few things with his computer and talks about his first trip to London before they get to this point:

She saw no need to delve any further in that part of his life. “But here we are, and you were able to see all those things before the weather turned bad.”

He glanced out the window at the Underground station across the street, but only for a moment. He turned back with a slight smile on his face. “We saw them.”

He said we. “Yes, we were together.”

Kerry nodded. “And we got some great pictures. I’ll send them to you as soon as you give me your email address.”

He may have a problem with this— “I don’t have a computer, Kerry.” She looked down for a second. “My mother has one, but I don’t.”

“Really?” His eyebrows were stopped by his brow from climbing too high.

“Yes, really.” He’s probably never meet anyone for real who didn’t have a computer. “I’ve never had need of one. And I think if you were to send them to my mother’s computer . . .” She rubbed her hands together slowly. “That wouldn’t be wise.”

“Okay, yeah: I can see that.” He nibbled on his sandwich. “Maybe I can get them printed out in Amsterdam—or at the school. Then you can take the hard copies home with you.”

Annie held back her chuckle, because she’d never heard anyone refer to pictures as “hard copy” before. But having a picture in hand—yes, they’ll look fine in my book . . . “I’m sure that’s possible. We’ll look into it when we get there.”

This is the point where we first learn that Annie doesn’t have a computer, but she has a book, and what a book!  And could you see Annie’s mother getting pictures of her daughter with the Ginger Hair Boy as they wander around London?  I’m certain they’d have words, even though it’d get through to Annie.

Because right now she’s in the best place in the world.

The Last Laps: Underground Tenderness

It’s a lovely Sunday morning, and it seems as if the weather is finally turning into something good.  Yesterday and today I’ve even broken out the maxi skirts, and odds are good since it’s going to be  80 F/27 C tomorrow, I’ll likely be in my long skirt and sandals at work.

And two weeks ago I was standing in this same spot in a winter coat.

Just think:  two weeks ago I was standing in this same spot wearing a winter coat.

There’s something else of which I must brag:  I am now a Wikipedia citation.  How did this happen?  Not by my doing, I assure you.  It’s all due to those television recaps I’ve been writing.  One of them concerned predictions I had for the show Orphan Black, and I mentioned in those prediction that I had not only discovered the titles, but I knew where they were from.  So imagine my surprise when my Partner in Snarking Dead Crime, Rachel, told me she’d discovered that my post was now the citation on Wikipedia for the Orphan Black Season 4 episode titles and attribution–

I'm bad: I'm Wiki Wide.

Yep, I’m bad: I’m Wiki Wide.

I have since discovered that the same post is used as a citation on the Orphan Black Wiki for Season 4.  So there.

But what about your novel, Cassie?  Never fear:  three hundred and forty words last night, nine hundred and fifty-four this morning, and you’re getting them all.  Let’s not wait:

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry stood before the bathroom mirror and stared into his reflection for a few moments before stepping over to the dryer. A few waves of his hands over the enchanted device to remove all moisture, then he was out the door and into the West Hall of the Great Hall. Annie was leaning against the opposite wall, waiting. “You didn’t take long.”

“I didn’t have to go as bad as I thought.” He stood looking up and down the hallway as if he were unsure where to go.

Annie watched his confusion for a few seconds before taking his hand. “My love?”

He turned to her. “Yes?”

“Would you like to visit the hospital?”

His brow scrunched up. “Why?”

“Because Coraline may be able to give you something for your nerves.” She leaned in and kissed him lightly on the lips. “I haven’t seen you like this since the first time.”

“First time what?”

Annie rolled her eyes. “Your first race on the A Team.” She wrapped her arm around his and led him towards the Atrium. “You need some relaxation.”

Kerry released a long, sad sigh. “I guess.” He looked ahead to the Great Hall’s open entry area and exhaled loudly one more. “It’s this weather. May’s almost here and it’s still so wet and gray.”

During the time since her solo flight Annie noticed a slow change that had begun nearly a week before. April has turned out chilly, rainy, and overcast, more so than the year before, and most of the students appeared ready for sunshine and warmer days. She wondered if Kerry perhaps suffered from one of those disorders where, if they don’t get enough bright light, they become depressed. “It’ll be hot soon enough, my love. And then you can feel better.” She nodded towards the staircase. “Why don’t we head down into the lower levels? It’s better than being in the cold and gloom.”

 

This is the first indication where someone wonders if perhaps Kerry might have–issues.  Given his home life and some of the crap he’s grown up with, it wouldn’t be unusual for him to suffer from depression–and all the gray and gloom that the school has seen of late would go a ways towards triggering that.  And while Coraline could fix him up with something that would calm him right down, there’s no way in hell Kerry would take something before heading on to the track.

Annie has something else in mind:

 

“At least it’s well lit down there.” He chuckled and gave her a peck on the cheek. “Lead on, Darling.”

They headed down the stairs into the lower levels of the Great Hall and found their way to the access tunnels leading to The Chunnel. Along the way they passed a few students coming from the south Pentagram covers—Blodeuwedd and Ceridwen—who were on their way to the dining hall, the library, or one of the various Saturday morning activities held by students throughout the day.

They were in the Pentagram Wall tunnel and nearing the cut-off passage to the Chunnel when Kerry finally spoke. “I’m worried about the race.”

Annie pressed lightly against his arm. “Why?”

“For one, it’s the last of the season. For another, I have to be down there at noon for a special preflight briefing.” He glanced at Annie out of the corner of his eyes. “Emphases on special.”

“Oh, that—” She nodded to the tunnel opening about a dozen meters ahead. “Let’s wait until were there and I’ll tell you.”

The Chunnel was fairly deserted: Annie spotted a couple of students walking towards them, maybe thirty meters distant, but the rest of the wide, well-lit tunnel was deserted. She tugged Kerry to her left, towards the south. “We can find some privacy down this way.”

Kerry’s mind was already focused on something particular. “If we want to be back in time for lunch we won’t be able to get to our hidey-hole.”

“I know that.” She winked. “Doesn’t mean there aren’t other areas besides out private universe.”

 

The kids have made their way into the tunnels more than a few times this novel, and now we see them heading downward once more.

That little Y in the upper left hand corner is where my kids are--you'll see them if you look hard enough.

Remember these?  You should.

The big rectangle at the bottom is the Great Hall, and the long tunnel in the middle of the picture is The Chunnel, which means that one tunnel that juts out at an angle from the Great Hall to The Chunnel is the cut-off Annie took.  The three squares near the middle represent the science centers, and the big rectangle in the middle is the Aerodrome.  The tiny rectangle in the upper right is the Flight School, in case you were wondering.

The interesting thing here is Kerry instantly thinking they’re off to their underground hiding place, aka their “secret universe”.  Hummm . . . what are you thinking about, young man?  Don’t answer that.

But Annie does have one answer for him–

 

He nodded. “What did you want to tell me?”

“About your meeting at noon.” She gripped his hand tight and slowly swung their arms back and forth as they slowed their pace. “You have several people in a tight race for the top podium positions, and three covens in a tight race for the team podium positions. I imagine that this meeting is meant to let everyone know there’ll be a lot of eyes on the course today.” Annie smiled as she turned to look at Kerry. “Papa’s been in a few meeting like this: it’s fairly common.”

Kerry didn’t seem comforted by this revelation, however. “I figured it was, it’s just—”

“Shush.” She stopped them before the entrance to a dimly lit passage. “Down here.”

Kerry followed docilely—given that Annie had a tight grip on his hand there was little else he could do—and they stopped perhaps ten meters off the off the Chunnel. He looked around. “How many of these old storage tunnels are there?”

“I told you before, dozens.” Annie slid Kerry against the wall. “I’m not here to talk about tunnels, though. Are you worried about someone in particular today?”

There were a few moments of silence before he signed. “Yeah.”

“Who?”

 

With whom is Kerry concerned?

 

“Lisa.” The strain in his face melted away as he relaxed. “She’s been pissed at me ever since I did that squeeze job on her a few weeks back—”

“You did that because she was racing like a crazy person.” Annie remembered the moment from the first race in April, where Lisa tried to force her way between Kerry and the safety barrier enchantment in Observatory Bend and his action not only stopped her, but Race Control gave her a ten second throttle back because of dangerous racing. “I think she’s gonna try an get even today—and I don’t mean with a squeeze job of her own.”

Annie didn’t require clarification. “You feel she’ll try to wreck you.”

“I think it’s likely.”

“So let her try.” Annie’s smile brightened her face. “If you’re already aware that she may try this, that means you’re ready.”

“I know. It’s just I really don’t need this BS today.”

“No one does.” She leaned against the same wall as Kerry, watching him closely. “This isn’t something you’ve worried about before, my love. What’s actually bothering you?”

 

Because you know there’s something else on Kerry’s mind–and pretty sure you know what it is . . .

 

He tossed his head to the side. “Another month and we’re out of here.”

Separation anxiety: I should have known. “Summer holiday is several weeks away: don’t let it bother what you need to do today, Darling.”

Kerry appeared almost ashamed to admit to this apprehension. “Everything coming up—revealing I’m witch; the possible transition; being away from you—I’m having trouble not thinking about this stuff.”

Annie knew it was time to reveal her own apprehensions. “I feel it, too, my love. Even though the only concern that affects me directly is being away from you, I worry about what may happen with those other things.” She placed her finger against the middle of his chest and traced over the enchanted monitor she knew was there. “To say I don’t have my own concerns over these things would be a lie.”

He caressed her cheek while looking down. “I’m sorry that you—”

She playfully slapped his arm, but her tone told him that she wasn’t entirely pleased with his comment. “You have no control over any of those things: never apologize for something that is not your fault.” Annie gave him a stare full of warning. “Don’t make me remind you again.”

Kerry finally found the ability to giggle. “Okay, I won’t.” He kissed her lightly. “Sometimes I forget the one person with whom I shouldn’t trifle is my Dark Witch.”

Annie laughed. “I’m glad you’ve learned your lesson.” She kissed him back with a touch more affection. “And now I want you to remember something else.”

“What’s that?”

“That you’ve never let a race rattle you this season, and now is not the time to break that string. Run your own race as you have before, and ignore what the others are doing.” Annie wrapped her arms around Kerry and pressed herself against him. “No matter the outcome today, you are always my champion.”

 

The last race of the season, concern about what may happen on the course, and major anxiety about this coming summer.  Needless to say Kerry’s a bit of a mess, and as Annie says he needs to get his head in the game and run his race.  Put all the other bullshit behind you, kid, ’cause you’ve done it before, so you best do it again.

And you’re about to learn one of Kerry’s concerns aren’t his alone–