Playing Out the Course

I know, I’m late again, but what the hell, right?  There are reasons because I’ve been writing like crazy this morning–like fifteen hundred and fifty words worth of writing.

The scene is finished, and it’s become–due to the writing this weekend–the second longest scene in the novel.  And in writing this much I’ve bought the novel to within about seventeen hundred words of one hundred and fifty thousand words.  Really, it’s been a great weekend after weeks of feeling like I didn’t want to write a thing.  So it’s been a relief to get that writing groove back.

And to make this chapter the longest in the part so far.

And, in the process, to make this chapter the longest in the novel with just a few hundred more words

This finishes up what ended with Vicky and Erywin seeing Emma and Kerry abut to get on their brooms and ride.  Where were they going?  That’s easy to answer . . .


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

Emma spoke for them. “We’re going up to check on the weather to the south.”

“You don’t mean to the south?”

“The only stuff to the east of us is Newfoundland and the Atlantic.” She tossed her head in Kerry’s direction. “That’s what my navigator says.”

“What can I say?” He held up his hands and shrugged. “I’m good with maps.”

“That you are.” Vicky pointed towards the group of students warming themselves around the fires. “Don’t feel like hanging with the others?”

Kerry shook his head. “Franky’s still mad.”

“He’s throwin’ shade our way—” Emma mounted her broom. “Beside, we already had our hot chocolate.”

“Yep.” Kerry slipped his leg over this broom. “We’re regenerated.” He wink at Erywin. “Good for another life.”

Erywin looked upward as she slowly shook her head. “Where are you going.”

Kerry pointed to the sky over his head. “Straight up.”

“About eight hundred to a thousand meters.” Emma flipped her hood up and tightened it around her face. “That should give us a good view.”

“Sounds good.” Vicky tapped her wrist. “Five minutes, no more.”

Emma nodded. “Got it.” She waited for Kerry to finish getting his gear in place, then they shot straight up into the together.

Vicky and Erywin followed their path upward. “Yeah, looks about a klick to me.” Vicky checked the contents of her much. “Should finish this before they get back.”

“Or get a refill.” Erywin took a long sip from hers. “Emma loves using the radar function to check the weather.”

“I was surprised she figured it out.”

“I’m not.” Erywin softened her tone slightly. “They working together okay?”

“You’ve seen them this trip. They’re doing well.” Vicky quickly glanced upward. “Setting her down for a weekend after that crash was a good idea.”

“She needed it: her ego was getting the best of her.” Erywin finished her hot chocolate and shook out her mug. “I’m going to ask a stupid question—”

“Be my guest.”

“Why haven’t you used them yet?”

Vicky finished the last of her drink and flipped the last few drops away onto the frozen ground. “You know what Vanessa Williams says, don’t you?”

Erywin gave the flight instructor a pained smirk. “I’m afraid I’m not up on her catalog.”

“You should be.” Vicky quickly glanced upward once more. “Follow my lead, okay?” She waited as Emma and Kerry dropped below the tree line and gently slowed to a hover before approaching. “So what’s the story, morning glories?”


There you go:  it’s all about the weather and playing with the broom’s radar systems to look for fronts and such.  And what did they find?


Emma threw back the hood of her parka and stripped off her heavy cap and flight helmet before answering. “Weather to the south and southwest looks clear: we saw nothing out of the ordinary on the radar.”

Kerry was putting his heavy cap on as he stood next to his broom. “We got out at least a hundred kilometers; we can always take another sighting when we get further south.”

Vicky keep her pleasure from showing on her face. “Assuming we’re heading that way.”

“Don’t see any other way.” Kerry shrugged. “Though we could be going west from here—”

“Why not east?”

“Like Emma said, nothing to the east of us but Newfoundland and ocean.”

Emma stuck her hands in her pockets. “Of course—”

Vicky stared back looking unconcerned. “Yes?”

“It would be nice if we knew where we were going from here.”

“We’ve already covered a thousand kilometers—” Kerry pulled his arms across his torso and squeezed himself to stretch. “I’d like to know how much more we have to go.”


First off, that “We got out at least a hundred kilometers” is a completely legitimate statement:  I found a “Distance to Horizon” calculator, and if you’re a thousand meters up, you can see about one hundred and twelve kilometers.  Research!

And now Emma wants to know where they’re going.  And you know if she wants to know, Kerry does, too.  They probably even spoke about it when they were checking the advanced weather–


Vicky couldn’t help be be impressed. “You’ve been keeping track of our courses?”

“Sure.” He turn on a lop-sided grin. “All good navigators would.”

“And you are a good navigator.” Vicky slowly turned towards Erywin. “You think it’d be cheating if I mentioned where the rest of our checkpoints are?”

Erywin saw what Vicky was doing, and fully understood what she’d meant when she said to follow her lead. “Well . . .” She turned an appraising eye upon the two students. “I mean, as long as they don’t say anything to the others—”

Emma pipped up. “We won’t.”

Kerry nodded several times. “Promise.”

“Well, then—” She turned back to her eager pupils. “I don’t see the harm.” Vicky pulled her tablet from Hammerspace and clicked off their remaining checkpoints. “From here it’s the ferry terminal at Wood Islands, then the airport outside Trenton; main highway intersection at Aspen; Point of the Beach at Liscomb Island; Port of Sheet Harbor; the Canadian Naval Maintenance Facility at Halifax; Cape D’or Lighthouse and Advocate Harbor; West Side Docks in Saint John; Yarmouth Harbor and then . . .” She slipped the tablet back into her magical storage space. “Home. Rockport and the school.”


Not much, huh?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But now . . . it’s been hinted how well Emma and Kerry work together.  Guess what?  Here’s how that works:


The two children exchanged glances, then Kerry turned to his broom and pulled up a holographic map of the area on his tablet while Emma moved to his right to help. Vicky and Erywin moved closer and Kerry began moving the map about, looking for reference points. He touched two spots on map. “We got Halifax and Saint John—”

Emma half turned her head towards Kerry. “Isn’t St. John in Newfoundland?”

“That’s St. John’s.” He quickly slid the map to the east to show his wingmate. “Different city. What we want is in New Brunswick—” He shifted the map to the west, centered on St. John, and zoomed in. “There’s the West End Docks, and here—” He pushed the map so they were now over Halifax. “There’s the naval station.”


Keep in mind these maps are marked–which is how he’s finding the Canadian Naval Station–and Kerry has an excellent grasp of geography:  it’s obvious in the way he knew there were two cities that were almost St. John.  And Emma doesn’t get upset when she’s corrected:  since Kerry is the navigator of the team, and it’s because she’s aware he knows his maps.  At times, though, she even helps out:


“Sounds good.” Emma looked at the map as Kerry expanded the display. “There’s Trenton, just north of Glasgow.”

“Got it.” He zoomed in on Trenton, Nova Scotia. “And there’s the airport. Which means—” He move the display a bit to the north. “There’s Wood Islands, and there’s the ferry terminal.” He tapped the map in both places, marking the checkpoint. “Now for an island.”

Emma pointed at the map. “There’s a bunch on the southeast coast of Nova Scotia.” He moved the display along the Atlantic Coast of the Canadian province and began scanning. He spotted a familiar name. “There’s the town of Liscomb—”

“And Liscomb Island is right next to it.” He zoomed the map. “And Point of the Beach—there.” He marked the map and zoomed out. “Aspen has to be between the two . . .” He tapped the edge of the display twice to zoom inward just a bit and found the small town of Aspen about thirty kilometers to the north of the island. “There’s that, and now . . .” He shifted the map to the west looking for a point between Halifax and St. John, and found it almost instantly. “Advocate Harbor and the lighthouse.” He moved the display eastward once more and fount the Port of Sheet Harbor after thirty seconds.

Emma gave a satisfied sigh. “Now for Yarmouth.”

“Already figured that out.” He pushed the map display to his right until they were looking at the western coast of Nova Scotia. “Right there.” He marked the point. “About as west as you can get before you run out of land. Which means . . .” He sketched a line to the southwest until he encountered a well-known point of land. “Rockport. And our home by the sea just to the west.” He quickly connected the marked points on the map, creating a line from their current location back to the school. “There’s it is: that’s the route.”


And it’s a big route:


Neither child spoke while Emma spent a few seconds examining the course. “How long?”

Kerry made several quick measurements between points. “One thousand sixty-six kilometers.”

Emma glanced at her instructors before turning to Kerry. “That’s as much as we’ve flown today.”

He nodded. “Yep. Lots of miles to fly before we sleep.”

“And there’s the stretch—” She pointed at the last leg going from Yarmouth to Rockport.

Kerry measured the distance. “About three hundred and eighty-five kilometers, all over the Gulf of Maine.”

“That’s gonna freak some people.”

“For real.”

“That’s gonna take a lot of time.” Emma gazed skyward. “We’ve already been flying seven hours—and it’s gonna get dark in a couple of hours.”


If you want to see what that looks like–

Don't bother asking:  you know I have it all ready to go.

Don’t bother asking: you know I have it all ready to go.

From PEI to Cape Ann, there it is.  And Emma’s aware of the changing conditions, and that it won’t be long before they’re flying in darkness once more.  That only seems to get the mental gears working harder, however . . .


“True, but—” Kerry measured the two legs before the final leg home. “From Advocate to home is six hundred and fifty kilometers. So it’s about four hundred kilometers from here to there. And once we reach Advocate Harbor—” He traced the course. “Zoom, bang, confirm; zoom, bang, confirm; zoom—Boom.” He nodded at Emma. “Home.”

She nodded back. “We can turn it on.”

“We can do the same here—” He pointed out the stretch between Liscomb Island and Halifax. “One quick stop, then power on.”

“Yeah, right.” She began concentrating on the course. “We could do the first four hundred in under seventy-five—”

“And the same for the last six-fifty.”

“It’s gonna be dark on that last six.

“Maybe not.” He pointed at the long final stretch over the ocean. “We’ll be heading west—”

“Chasing the sun—”

“If we do it right—”

She nodded “We could—”

He nodded back. “Totally.”

Vicky was content to listen to them work out the flight in the verbal shorthand she’d seen them used before. Now it was her turn to speak. “So what are you guys saying?”


And this is how they work together:  they get on the same wavelength and they get to where they don’t need to say everything, because they’re so sure they know the other is thinking the same thing that they just cut each other off because there’s no need for complete sentences.  That’s called teamwork, and they have it.

So what are they saying?


Vicky was content to listen to them work out the flight in the verbal shorthand she’d seen them used before. Now it was her turn to speak. “So what are you guys saying?”

Emma turned to Vicky. “Based on this course, we could run it in two and a half hours.” She took a short, deep breath. “What time is it?”

Kerry was looking at his display. “It’s almost fifteen twenty-five local, fourteen twenty-five back home.”

Emma nodded before giving her final analysis to Vicky. “If we’re brooms up at fifteen hours, Salem time, we—” She shifted her eyes towards Kerry, letting Vicky know she was indicating their team. “—could be home by seventeen-thirty.”

“That’s a bold statement.” Vicky turned to Kerry. “You agree with that?”

“I do.” He looked towards his wingmate. “Emma’s got her numbers right.”

“Though to do it, we’re gonna have to move fast.” Emma shrugged. “Based on what we’ve seen, that could freak some people out and they might not want to keep up.”

“You’ve seen how it works: your flight, your rules.” She slowly turned to Erywin. “Though some of those points we’ll have to hit in the dark—”

Erywin got the hint. “Which we might miss—

Kerry cut off the instructor. “We won’t.”

Vicky glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. “You could miss your—”

I won’t.”

Given the determination she heard in Kerry’s voice, Vicky decided not to push that point. She stepped up to examine his course in more detail. “How much time would you need to work this up?”

He looked over the map almost lovingly. “The course is there; all I’d need to do is figure out the headings—”

Emma moved next to him, while continuing to look at Vicky. “And once Kerry gives me the individual distances I can work out time-to-target.”

“Again, how much time you need?”

The wingmates exchange a momentary glance, then they both nodded. Emma answered. “Fifteen minutes.”


Annie is sure of her magic, and Kerry knows his navigation.  When either says they can do something, believe them.  Needless to say, they are ready to rock, and all they need is a blessing.


Vicky had already made up her mind minutes before, so a decision wasn’t difficult. “Do it—go.” She took Erywin’s arm and led her away from the team members and towards the rest of the party. “See what I mean?”

“I do now.” She matched step with Vicky. “So what did Vanessa Williams say?”

Vicky half-grinned. “Save the best for last.” She stepped into the area where the other students sat warming up. She gave them a few seconds to hush before making her announcement. “All right, listen up. Make the most of your rest because flight instruction begins at fourteen forty-five, and we will be brooms up at fifteen hours.” She clasped her hands and nodded back over her shoulder. “Team Myfanwy’s got the ball: they’re talking us home.”


And that is about as definitive as it gets:  “These kids are taking us home.”  Of course no one else knows how long the way home is . . .

This was the penultimate scene of the chapters, and now it’s back to the school, where the next scene becomes Annie-centric because I’m heading back to the school–

Just like Salem Overnight is doing.

Grasping Beyond the Gaspé

This has been one crazy morning.  So much has happened:  tax calculations, writing, coffee, writing, listening to music, writing, getting dressed and going to the post office, writing . .

If you haven’t figured it out, there’s been a lot of writing.  In fact, last night and this morning have proven to be the most productive session I’ve had in a long time.  How much?  Eleven hundred and twenty-three last night, and one thousand, nine hundred, and twenty-two this morning.  And believe it or not, I haven’t finished the scene:  it’s still going, though I’m much closer to the end than the beginning.  And I may finish that up tonight–it’s hard to say.  This is how it is when you hit a writing groove.  And keeping Eminem’s Go To Sleep on repeat helps keep the juice going as well.

A huge chunk of last night’s scene had to do with the camp breaking down and heading out into the cold gray overcast yonder.  And believe it or not, this scene has become one of the most heavily researched scenes I’ve done since sending my kids off to Kansas City.  I mean, I’ve looked at tents, sleeping bags, cots, backpacks, what to wear as arctic gear, mapping the route, checking the historical weather for the area at the time . . . and lastly, it came to me a couple of days a good that I had no idea what the wind chill, but that’s because I wasn’t sure how fast my kids were averaging on their flights.

Which is why my notes now look like this:


Camp Baxter to Fish River Lake to Allagash to north shore Beau Lake (US side): Team Zanzibar 139.5 km 27 F/-3 C, overcast, flight wind chill 3 F/-16 C, 07:00 start, 130 kph/65 minutes, 08:05 end

Rest 08:05 to 08:30


Yeah, that’s how I roll:  like a crazy bitch who has to know everything.  But as you’ll see nearly all of this came into play in the scene.  Let’s head back to what I’d like to wake up, get going, and then break camp–


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

Wake up came at five and the students found something waiting for them far different than their normal mornings in the towers. There weren’t any showers and the toilets were outside, in the cold, behind privacy curtains. They also had to dress in cold, cramped quarters, which led to a lot of issues and grumbling. Vicky expected this: a majority of the students had never camped out, and picking early winter for their first time out made the kids far more uncomfortable than normal.

Rivânia and Nadine began setting up the fires while it was still dark, and unlike when they were setting up camp, they accepted Kerry’s help in getting them going. In less than a minute they had eight fires warming the camp, for unlike normal camp fires these floats mere centimeters off the ground and didn’t require normal fuel to burn.

Vicky kept a close eye on the teams when it came to preparing breakfast. She’d pressed home the concept of division of labor when it came to camp set up, cooking, cleaning, and camp take down. She was pleased to see most of the groups did just as she’d taught, and she hoped that in their future expeditions would see this lesson continue.

She pushed them hard to eat, clean, and began tearing down and packing, for she wanted everyone ready to go brooms up at seven. There was a bottleneck getting the backpacks filled as Vicky and Erywin needed to help Rivânia and Nadine with their Compress spells. When she saw Kerry started to craft Compress on Emma and his gear she wondered if she should say something, but when she saw Nadine warn her off by shaking her head, she knew there wasn’t any need to worry.

They left Camp Baxter on-time and headed north with Team Zanzibar leading the flight. This was her plan for the day: various teams would get the opportunity to direct the whole flight to preselected locations. The only rules here was that each time had to figure out their course ahead of time and determine best speed to reach their objectives. It was also necessary for them to figure out how long it would take to reach objective, so when the lead team told Vicky they’d arrived, she could use her flight systems to determine if they were indeed where they were supposed to be, or if the lead flight had missed the mark.


You see Team Zanzibar’s flight schedule above, and you can follow it on the map I set out the other day.  I won’t bore you with everything, but here’s what they might see if they were on the ground–

Here’s the point close to Allagash, Maine, where they would turn north and head north to Beau Lake:

At least it's blue sky in this picture, and not cold, slate gray like they'll see.

At least it’s blue sky in this picture, and not cold, slate gray like they’ll see.

Then we hand off to the next team:


Beau Lake to Pohenegamook, Quebec, to north short Lac Pohenegamook to Aeroport de Rimouski: Team Picante 153.15 km * 32 F/0 C, wind 16 kph, light snow, flight wind chill 11 F/-11 C, 08:30 start, 125 kph/75 minutes, 09:45 end

Rest 09:45 to 10:10


They are the first team to lead the group into Canada, and therefore they’re crossing from one country to another–

And they're going right up that shore there.  Did you bring your passports, eh?

And they’re going right up that shore there. Did you bring your passports, eh?

Team Picante (and this word is Spanish for spicy, meant to reflect the foods one might find in the countries of the team members) runs into a little trouble, as well as something else–


They were only ten minutes along on their way to their next objective, the airport outside Rimouski, Quebec, when they ran into something Vicki expected to find before the morning was over: snow. The temperatures were actually three degrees warmer than what they’d flow through in Maine, but the snow and overcast skies lowered nearly everyone’s spirits. By the time they landed in a small plot of woods outside Rimouski, most of her students seemed miserably and grumpy.


Snow!  Wonderful Snow!  You knew it was going to happen eventually, and while the students have flow in snow before, they’ve only done it on marked paths inside the school walls.  And being out in a lot of it, in the air, and flying fast has freaked a few people out.  And now we’re going to throw another level of crazy on top of that:


She ordered a short rest and put Team Sulaco on the next leg. Mesha and Daudi were another pair of great fliers, and her instructions to them were to fly fast and stay focused. They didn’t disappoint: they went brooms up at ten-ten and crossed a sixty kilometer stretch of the St. Lawrence River in ten minutes. This was the first time the students had flown over any large body of water, and Vicky and Erywin were on a private channel mentioning the students who seemed uneasy flying over deep water through snow-filled air at three hundred kilometers and hour.


Sixty clicks is thirty-seven miles, and that’s a pretty good chunk of water to cross.  Up around that part of the river there aren’t any bridges, not only because of the width but the depth:  around that area it can be over a hundred meters deep, and that’s usually a lot deeper than set up piers for the bridges.

So first they streak north:

Get ready to say hello to The Great White North.

Get ready to say hello to The Great White North.

Then they hit the north shore, fly east for a while, and head back south:

Kinda like this only with more snow.

Kinda like this only with more snow.

Only this time they travel about one hundred kilometers over the river.

Which at this point sort of does look like the ocean.

Which at this point sort of does look like the ocean.

And after a rest we find out why she’s upset with some pissy little witches:


She picked Team Manga for the next leg, and this left her slightly concerned because Franky and Jiro, while good fliers, weren’t her best. However, they wouldn’t become better if they didn’t give them the opportunities to improve. This was that chance: if they performed this leg correctly they would leave Quebec behind and move on to their next Canadian province.

First they have to leave the Gaspé Peninsula behind.

The doubt that Franky and Jiro were not going to do as well as Vicky hoped came as they were departing as Jiro called out a different departure speed than he’d given during the preflight briefing. Vicky corrected him, and he returned a curt acknowledgment that she was correct. The temperature and weather conditions remained the same from the last two legs, and she heard Franky bitching to Jiro about how they should have taken a longer break due to the cold. Vicky rolled her eyes at Erywin, who was also listening in on the conversation, and she shook her head in disbelief.

The probably came as they approached the town of Murdochville, one of the only towns found in the interior of the Gaspé Peninsula. As they approached the sky resort on the east side of town the flight slowed enough for Vicky to get a position fix and to get visual proof that they did reach their checkpoint. She expected a nearly forty degree course change to the left towards their next objective, Fontenelle, but instead, Team Manga adjust their course nearly forty degrees to the right and southward and began to gather speed—

Three kilometers into their new course Emma and Kerry used the group channel to tell everyone that they were going the wrong way.


Just want you want to hear–those two telling you you’re doing it wrong.  “Hey, missed a turn!”  And Kerry’s probably made a few off-hand comments about how Annie psudo-kicked his girlfriend Lisa’s ass–though it’s hard to say if they’re really dating or, you know, just DTF like Lisa once said.

Things go from bad to ugly:


She was aware there wasn’t any love lost between the two teams. Vicky was aware of some animosity between Franky and Kerry, and Jiro and Emma had clashed on a couple of past occasions when she openly corrected Jiro’s flight calculations. Vicky was about to admonish Emma and Kerry privately for calling out the lead team when Franky chose that moment to remind them to shut up, that they knew what they were doing—

That’s when Vicky stepped in, and it became clearly obvious they didn’t know what they were doing. She brought the team to a halt in mid-air ask asked to see their course layout, and Franky—who was his team’s navigator—immediately because defensive and reiterated that they were on the correct heading. This back and forth went on for almost another thirty seconds before Vicky lost her temper and told Franky to show her their flight plan or she was going to jaunt him and Jiro back to the school and leave them locked in her office until she returned to the school with the rest of the flight.

The relented and she saw that instead of heading for Fontenelle they were heading due south to Bonaventure before turning southeast towards the next checkpoint. The total distance covered would have become slightly shorter, but she instantly saw the biggest difference in this different route, and the more she analyzed their flight plan, the more furious she became because it was apparently this wasn’t a simple navigation error, not when they’d mentioned Fontenelle and Gaspé during their flight briefing . . .

She ordered a new heading and told them to get moving. When Franky began complaining that he’d been unfairly singled out for a simple navigation error, Vicky shot a warning finger his way and told him to shut up or she was going to knock him on his ass the moment they landed. Though all the students knew Vicky wasn’t as inclined to physical violence as some instructors at Salem, they were also aware that she didn’t suffer fools, and few wanted to test her wrath.


Vicky does have a bit of a temper, but you really gotta push her buttons before it shows.  Franky somehow seems to know where those buttons are, and got her pissed.  So they leave Murdochville–

The scene of the crime, so to speak.

The scene of the crime, so to speak.

Take a rest outside Fontenelle, and then she hands the flight over to Team Azso, who flies them almost three hundred and forty kilometers to Prince Edward Island, which means traveling over one hundred and seventy-five kilometers of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which is the same as sailing over the ocean.

Coming into PEI from over the Ocean, yo.

Coming in to PEI from over the Ocean, yo.

And we go back to where we were, with Vicky and Erywin off their brooms and stretch, and Erywin handing Vicky a mug of hot chocolate before they chat some more on how Franky is on the shit list bad, how B Levels are kinda moody anyway because they have figured out that even though they’re special people, they’re still in school, and talk about their families a little–mostly Vicky’s family, who the reader learns her parents found out about Vicky being a witch before she left her A Levels.

And then this happens:


Erywin broke into laughter. “Touché.” Her expression turned serious as she looked off away from the rest of the children. “Here now, what’s all this?”

“What?” Vicky followed Erywin’s gaze and saw Emma and Kerry standing about ten meters away from the rest of the group and appearing ready to mount their brooms. “What they hell are they doing?”

“Maybe we should find out.” Erywin began walking towards them with Vicky soon matching her stride. She called out as soon as they were a few meters away. “Oi, you lot.”

Kerry spun around and grinned. “Oi, you. What’s up?”

Vicky nodded towards the hovering brooms. “I was about to ask you two the same.”


Where are they going?  Hum . . . flying, perhaps?  Maybe I’ll get around to writing that tonight–


Lunch Time in the Maritimes

You know how they say “It was an interesting night?”  Well, my night was interesting.  Really, far more interesting that I could have imagined.

See, I’m just settling in to do some writing when, all of a sudden, I start getting PMed about gifts that are supposed to be going to people.  I’ve helped organize a gift exchange on Facebook, and suddenly last night I’m getting asked about it–right about the time I’m about two hundred words into this scene.

So I have to start tracking down people and numbers, and before you know it, I’m like thirty minutes into getting nowhere.  It was very crazy and very frustrating, let me tell you, and nearly another forty-five minutes went by before I had everything straightened out.

That meant I didn’t have but maybe an hour to churn out what I wanted to write, and that also means I didn’t get as far into my process as I wanted.

However . . . I still managed seven hundred and ninety words.  I consider that an accomplishment.  I had wanted to get closer to twelve hundred, but I can try for that tonight

Now, where are we?  Well, somewhere in Canada.  And people aren’t too happy . . .


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

Vicky drifted in for a landing among the sparse trees, gently issuing orders to the members of the flight as they found clear spots to land. She felt her toes touch ground, but she leaned out over the control frame of her Higoshi Rally G and gathered her thoughts. She waited until she’d managed a few deep breaths and cleared her thoughts before speaking. “Thank you, Team Azso, for bringing us here. You’re relieved of command.”

She swung her leg over the frame but remained resting against the saddle. “Okay, everyone, we’re gonna rest for a bit. We’ll get a fire going, but stick with cold rations for now.” She heard the grumbling over the comms but gave them no mind. If they want to roll on the big express through the north, they better get used to some hard shit. “You’ll get plenty of lead time before we take off again. That is all.”

While her minions approached with their brooms in hand, Vicky pushed back here hood, pulled off her helmet, and shook out her hair. She sighed out her stress at she pointed at her lead girl. “Riv, you and Nadine get a couple of fires going before someone decides to try craft a fire spell and sets the goddamn woods on fire.”

“You got it, Vicky.” Rivânia tapped her Advanced Spells classmate on the arm and nodded in the direction of the rest of the students. They dropped their packs near Vicky and slipped their own brooms into Hammerspace as they walked off.

“You look as if you’re enjoying yourself.” Erywin walked over with her hands in her jacket pockets and her heavy ski cap securely upon her head instead of over her flight helmet, the way they were wore while flying.


Now, we haven’t seen much of Vicky throughout the novels.  She was one of the first instructors we met, and she did help Annie out by both saving her ass and getting her straightened out on how to handle herself the next time someone stuffed Kerry into a wall.  Most of the time she seems upbeat and cheerful:  here, she’s down and not handling the situation well.  Even Jewish Witches Sing the Blues?  It kinda seems that way–


“Oh, immensely. I’ll bet you’re happy to be here.”

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world, which is why I always come with you on these overnights.” She pulled her hands from her pockets, removed her mittens and gloves, and flexed her fingers. “Though I don’t recall the last couple of levels being this difficult.”

“No shit.” Vicky rolled her eyes. “I had to resist the urge on the way here to dump a couple of pissy little witches in the drink while the opportunity presented itself.” She cast a sideways glance towards the fires that were building in a nearby clearing. “Seriously, I can do Electrify; I’ll just give them an electric bolt in the back and—” She smirked at Erywin. “You think Mathilde would believe me if I told her they fell off in the middle of flight?”


Remember all those stories we heard about how instructors talk about other students?  This is part of that, though this isn’t along the lines of, “Oh, aren’t those two kids really cute the way they hold hands and stuff?”  No, this is more murder-face time and Vicky is not a happy witch.  And why is that?  Well . . .


“Somehow . . . no.” She chuckled as she turned towards the collection of students pulling cold rations from their backpacks. “I take it you have taught the little darlings basic navigation?.”

The flight instructor nodded. “You wouldn’t think so with a few of them, though.” She shook her head. “It’s not like when we did Advanced Flight. Back then you had to learn the maps and know how to physically determine your course with with your flight calculator—”

“Oh, I agree. I still have mine.” Erywin smiled thinking about the circular plastic calculator that she used for figuring out course, distance, and time when she was a student. “But nowadays these kids can pull out a phone and punch up a GPS app—or even use their HUD to find that information.

“Yeah, well . . .” Vicky snorted. “They better get their shit together fast, ‘cause if they think this flight is hard, wait until the next when I start turning stuff off in their flight systems.” She finally stood straight, shaking out her arms. “I’m just—I don’t know. I guess I suspected more today.”

Erywin patted Vicky’s shoulder, giving it a light rub. “The bitching and back talk didn’t help at all.”

“You got that right.” Vicky paced once around her broom before saying what was truly bothering her. “You know, I don’t mind when Franky started making the wrong way back at Murdochville, but when he wouldn’t own his mistake and started smarting off to me, I damn near pulled the flight from him and Jiro right then and there.”

Erywin nodded. “And you’ve have been right to do so. I actually thought you were going to fly up along side and smack him—or worse.” She slid her hands back into her pockets. “I’m glad you didn’t.”

“I am, too. It’s just been a long day and I’m really tried of all the pissing and moaning today.” She checked her watch. “And we got a hell of a lot more to go and not much daylight left.” She glanced back over towards the fires and re-ran the events of the day through her head—


So, Mr. Franky Smith of Way The Hell In The Middle of Nowhere Canada was talking back to an instructor after making a mistake?  Say it isn’t so!  He seems to be making a habit of that lately, and Erywin probably would have smacked him had he did that to her.

So what’s going on?  Well, you’re going to get spoilers today, because I’m going to show you a little of what’s going on behind the curtain before I write it.  Here is a little of the writing process before I got into the writing thing . . .

What I did was set up a flight where each team would be given objectives to find and reach, and, it was hoped, do so in a certain amount of time.  So I started setting up legs and figured out which team was gonna run the legs.  In doing so I came up with the grid below:


Camp Baxter: 25 F/-3 C, overcast

Point and Lead Team:

Camp Baxter to Fish River Lake to Allagash to north shore Beau Lake (US side): Team Zanzibar 139.5 km 27 F/-3 C, overcast

Beau Lake to Pohenegamook, Quebec, to north short Lac Pohenegamook to Aeroport de Rimouski: Team Picante 153.15 km * 32 F/0 C, wind 16 kph, light snow

Aeroport de Rimouski to civilian airport Hautervie to Pointe-des-Monts to Mont-Saint-Pierre: Team Sulaco 264.5 km 22 F/-5 C, wind 11 kph, light snow

Mont-Saint-Pierre to Murdochville to Fontenelle: Team Manga 111.8 km * 25 F/-4 C, light winds, light snow

Fontenelle to Gaspe to Pointe-Saint-Pierre to Tignish, PEI, to Charlottetown: Team Azso 338.15 km 36 F/2 C, wind 11 kph, cloudy


Five legs so far, five teams, and the distances covered.  Oh, and local weather conditions for this date in the past, because it always helps to know what sort of shit your pissy little witches are gonna run into.  You can see that as the teams got into Canada and moved north towards the St. Lawrence River valley it started snowing and getting colder.  That part right there took some looking up, but hey–that’s part of the writing deal, yeah?

So what does this look like?  Well . . . would you believe I have a map?

Sure you would.

Sure you would.

That’s everything covered up to this point, and what I’m going to write about next in this scene.  All the students have flown a little over one thousand kiloments, all in the cold, and all in a few hours, you’ll come to find out.  And if you want to know the legs covered, I’ll help you out:  the first leg went from the start at 0 and up to the point just to the left of the name Edmundston.  The second when from there to the point just below the name Mont-Joli.  The third went from there, on the southern banks of the St. Lawrence River north, then east, then back across the river to rest just above Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.  The forth leg–the one where Vicky wanted to zap Franky–went from there to the points just to the east of the 400 mi mark.  And the last leg–so far–went from there south to their current resting point 623 miles, 1003 kilometers, from the start, just outside the city of Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island.  That’s a lot of flying in the cold, and Vicky and Erywin have a bunch of grumbly kids to deal with because of all that.

You wanted to fly with the big spell crafters, witches, and now you’re getting your chance.  How does it feel?

You’ll notice that I’ve not mentioned a team named after a Welsh pteranodon, and there’s a reason for that.  A reasons that I hope to make apparent tomorrow . . .

Down For the Night In the Allagash

So . . . camping.  I haz it here.  Well, I’ve had it for a few days now, ’cause it seems as if this is all that’s I’ve been writing about for the last few days.  And it is somewhat crazy the amount of stuff I’ve had to look up for what turned out to be a three thousand word scene.  So much to know, I’m telling you.

The scene is finished, by the way.  Almost eleven hundred words were required, but it got there.  This was pretty much all Kerry–pretty much, I say, because at the very end another person enters the stage.  And since everyone knows her, there’s no need for introduction.  Just keep the hissing to a minimum.


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

Two small light points hovered at the middle sides of the tent. Emma was sitting up on her cot, her sleeping bag pushed down about mid-torso so she could wear her half-zipped fleece jacket over her thermal undergarments. Her winter flight boots occupied the space between the head of her cot and the front of the tent, and her helmet, balaclava, gloves, and mittens were stuffed inside. Her heavy flying jacket rested on top of the boots; it would remain there until she was ready for bed, at which point she’d lay it over her feet. She looked up as Kerry entered the tent. “Is it still clear outside?”

“Yeah, the sky’s totally clear.” He fastened the outside cover in place and zipped the entrance closed. “At least we don’t have to worry about snow.” He sat on top of his sleeping bag, removed his gloves and mittens, and began undoing his boots. “Just the cold.”

Emma nodded. “Cold I can handle; snow, too.”

“Yeah, you get plenty of that in Bolder.” He set his boots and external gear and accessories aside just as Emma did with hers, then removed his winter flight jacket. Unlike their regular leather flying jackets, their winter flight jackets were like Normal extreme weather parkas outfitted with draw-cords, fastening cuffs, and a hood with a removable fur cuff, and designed to keep them as warm as possible while flying in sub-zero Celsius temperatures. “Man, I’m gonna sleep well tonight.”

“Oh, yeah.” She stretched her arms over her head. “This flying at night is crazy.”

“Yeah, well, we have a couple of winter flights coming up when we get back from Yule.” Kerry began unfasten his flight pants, which besides their undergarments and helmet were the only thing from their normal flight outfits still in use.

“You sure you don’t want me to turn around?” Over the last couple of weeks they’d agreed if they were going to share a tent they couldn’t spend their time worrying about being seen in their undergarments.

“Only if I’m getting down to skin—” He rolled up his pants and stuffed them inside his unzipped sleeping bag. “And I’m not.” He pulled off his fleece mid-layer jacket, rolled it up, and set it inside his sleeping bag as well. “Thanks for putting the hot water bottles in here.”

“That was the deal: while one is prepping outside, the other preps inside.” She glanced up at the ceiling. “Thanks for the lights.”


All the stuff I have down about their heavy boots and jackets, the gloves and mittens combos, the fleece jackets over their long undergarments, that’s all legit stuff need for walking around in near-arctic conditions.  I know ’cause I’ve been looking this up like crazy, and even found a few websites that had information.  The sleeping bags are correct for the climate as well, and the deal with putting your clothing and hot water battle inside them–those are tricks that let you sleep comfortably while being outside during the winter.

So when everything starts looking like this, you know?

So when everything starts looking like this, you know?

Since they are layered up, in the morning they can leave the heavy jackets off to the side and walk around with just their fleece and undies on and be comfortable.  Once they are flying they’ll need the heavy outer gear because it’s going to be colder than hell while zipping around at a few hundred kilometers and hour.  When they’re in the arctic they probably will stay bundled up all the time, except for those moments when it’s like a balmy -10 Celsius.

So Kerry’s not embarrassed about undressing in front of girls–I wonder where he got that habit from?  We won’t go there yet, but he does have a few things to say to Emma:


“No problem.” Kerry bent his legs, raising his knees to his chest, and spun around until he was looking down the length of his sleeping bag. He slipped his body inside and zipped it most of the way up, pushing it down until it rested mid-torso like Emma’s. “You do need to learn that spell.”

“I know.” Emma looked down, her face growing red. “I just . . . I have a hard time with some of this stuff.”

“Like the fire spell.” Vicky was pushing a minimum set of spells they needed for camping on their own, and being able to create a fire using magic was one of them. At the moment Kerry was the only one in Advance Flight One who could perform the spell, though Elisha and Kalindi were close to crafting it successfully. “You gotta get that one down.”

“Yeah, but you can do it.” Emma leaned towards Kerry. “Why do I need to do it, too?”

“Because what if I got hurt? What if I end up with a concussion or was unconscious?” He looked away for a second. “What if I died?”

Emma’s eyes widened as the embarrassed blush vanished. “Don’t say that.”

A grin spread across Kerry’s face. “I don’t expect to die—at least not this year.” He waved at Emma to alleviate her fears. “I’m just kidding.”

“Well, don’t kid like that.”

“What I’m saying is you need to know that stuff so you don’t rely on me.”

Emma sighed. “I’m just not as good as you.”

“Don’t compare yourself to me—” He nodded towards the door. “Compare yourself to the others. They’re learning, too, and most of them aren’t any better than you.” He laughed. “You have one thing they don’t.”

“What’s that?”

“Me.” He nodded quickly. “When we get back from Yule I’ll help you get them going.”

Emma once again averted her gaze away, embarrassed by the offer. “Thanks.”


Like it or not Kerry just laid the “You’re not on my magical level” rap on Emma, but at least she’s smart enough to know it’s totally true.  And thanks to a certain Dark Witch he does know a thing or two about teaching spells to others now.  There was probably a time when he’d never have said anything like what he told Emma in private, and he certainly wouldn’t say it in public, but he is acknowledging that he’s got the mad magical skillz down, which is one of the reasons why Annie and he are sorta in all the advanced classes.


“It’s not a problem. I mean—” Kerry hadn’t wanted to bring this up, but it was best to get it out of the way early. “If we do the Express next year, we’ll have to trust each other with our lives. I’ll have to trust mine with yours, and I wanna know I can.” He couldn’t add that he’d already been through this kind of experience . . .

Emma got the message. Her demeanor changed as she looked directly at Kerry. “Okay, I get it. And I agree: I don’t want you out there doubting I can cover your butt.”

He nodded. “You got it.”

“Then we’ll work on that—” She extended her right arm and balled her hand into a fist. “Next year?”

Kerry bumped his right fist against hers. “Next year.” He pulled his tablet out from under his cot and checked the time before shutting it down. “We better get to bed: there’s gonna be a lot of flying tomorrow.”

“Right.” Emma spread out her sleeping bag before setting her jacket across her feet. While Kerry did the same with his jacket she removed her fleece jacket and stuffed it inside her bag. She lay down and zipped herself in, leaving nothing but her face exposed. “I’m ready.”

“Same here.” He waved his hand and extinguished the lights, then settled back and zipped himself up. He rested his head against the built-in pillow, feeling his clothes—heated by the hot water bottles—radiating their heat against his body. “See you in the morning.”

“You know it.”

Kerry rolled slightly to his left, keeping his face away from the exterior of the tent. He heard Emma chuckle as he made himself comfortable. “What is it?”

She let out with a long sigh. “This is the first time I’ve been on your left.”

Kerry chuckled. “So it is.” He closed his eyes and drifted off, thinking it best not to explain the sleeping arrangements he shared with Annie . . .


Yeah, best keep that last thought to yourself, Ginger Hair Boy, ’cause most of these kids would freak a bit if they knew about that.  Then again, some of them have to expect something:  after all the B Levels must have noticed that those two didn’t stay with them in a hotel in Boston before flying back to Europe at the end of their A Levels, and those same kids had to of noticed them entering or leaving a single room in Berlin.  Maybe it’s one of those deals where if they don’t talk about it, it hasn’t really happened?  Yeah, that works.

The good nights are spoken.  Tomorrow it’s time to get up, have breakfast, break camp, and head back into the cold blue yonder.

But not before enjoying a tasty mug of the school's famous hot chocolate.

But not before enjoying a tasty mug of the school’s famous hot chocolate.

And the third scene is going to be as different as the first two.  In the first it was mostly Annie with Kerry there, while the second was Kerry’s observations with a bit of Emma thrown in.  Next up are going to be those third party observations, and you’ll finally get to see a little of what’s happening up in the sky, and where this flight has not only been, but where it’s going.

It’s gonna be fun, I promise.

Time to Make the Camp Site

There are real pros and cons to taking a long nap when you get home from work.  The pro is you feel a lot better once it’s over and you’re up.  The downside is that you’re not all that tired when it does become time to turn in and go to sleep.  This is the dilemma I found myself in yesterday after a nap that seemed to stretch on for about an hour and fifteen minutes.  I felt recharged enough to writ about twelve hundred words for my recap, and then another eight hundred for this novel, but when you find it time to go to nodding land, you don’t really want to go.

"If only I hadn't written those last three hundred words!"

“If only I hadn’t written those last three hundred words!”

I did get to sleep, but I expect a bit of a hangover for most of the morning.  At least I’ll be able to head out and do some shopping tonight with a semi-clear head.

This section seemed to come pretty good for me, save for a couple of things which I’ll explain in a bit.  What we have now is the overnight flight has turned the music off, climbed down from their brooms, and they set about the task of making camp:


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

As soon as everyone was on the ground the teams went to work. First order was to get up four fires, and that was handled by Nadine and Rivânia. Kerry asked if he could help—he was still the only B Level who could do the Fireball spell—but was told by Vicky to get busy setting up his team’s tent and let the minion handle stoking the fires.

Emma and Kerry, as well as the other teams, went to work unpacking. All their gear—tents, cots, sleeping bags, cooking gear, and clothing—was loaded inside their large, thirty-six liter backpacks using a Compress spell that most students wouldn’t learn until their C Levels, but that the Advanced Flight students were expected to master by the end of their B Levels. Compress was kind of miniaturization spell, one that could make objects smaller with the downside of allowing it to retain ninety percent of its mass.

They removed their mittens and folded back the hoods of their thick white winter jackets. This was the first time they wore the cold weather gear they’d need to be able to live and fly in arctic conditions in the field, and moving about was a slow and sometimes difficult task. Both members of Team Myfanwy considered removing the heavy jackets, but they knew they couldn’t as that was an option they wouldn’t have once they were in conditions far colder than than their current situation.


The Compress spell is pretty self explanatory, and it does have a bit of a disadvantage for the kids in that if they’ve got to pack fifteen kilos of gear to lug around on their backs, they’re still gonna feel most of that fifteen kilos.  But shit happens, right?  And the spell to get this stuff up to normal size is below.

The other thing has not been mentioned up to this point, and it’s that the kids are all wearing cold weather gear.  One of the things I’ve done a long time ago is kinda show what that gear looks like, because . . . well, it’ll come to you in time.  Basically they’re wearing a thick sweater garment in place of their normal flight jacket and then, over that, they’re wearing a modern polar jacket with a hood.  They’re wearing the same flight pants, but their boots have been beefed up, and they’re also wearing mittens over their gloves.  It makes things a little clumsy to work in, but they gotta know how to do this.

So the process for getting up the site?  This:


They used the Expand spell they’d learned during the last month—though Kerry had already used it well before the end of his A Levels—to return their gear to its original size. Besides each carrying extra changes of clothing, Emma carried the main tent, the tent poles, her cot, and her sleeping bag, while Kerry carried the vestibule, his cot and sleeping bag, the team rations, their cooking gear, and a few miscellaneous items. He floated light points over head so they could see properly, then they got to work. In the last few weeks they’d practiced putting up their tent in the dark, so they knew the routine.

They removed the tent, vestibule, and poles, and began setting up their sleeping area, pushing poles through tent eyes, then driving and securing them into the ground. Once the tent was in place Kerry worked on attaching the vestibule while Emma assembled the cots just outside the tent and moving them inside once her work was completed. Kerry attached the vestibule and fastened it to the ground while Emma set their cooking gear and rations aside before setting up the portable camp toilet behind a nearby tree. The last act was for Emma to roll out each sleeping back on their cots while Kerry set up a levitated ground cloth upon which to lay their brooms and backpacks.

After just twenty-five minutes their tent was ready for occupation.

With the fires going, everyone brought out their small folding chairs and set them up so each team could set about cooking their evening meal. No one had eaten since lunch, and while most fliers had brought snacks, the cold weather gear their wore on the flight up prevented them prevented them from eating while airborne. Kerry and Emma used their cooking equipment to heat up their meals, which were items packaged by the kitchen for this overnight expedition. While the meals weren’t nearly as tasty as the fair they would have enjoyed had they remained at Salem, they were designed to be high in calories and filling.

It was nearing twenty-one thirty by the time meals were over and cooking gear was cleaned and stowed. Before people began heading to their tents for the evening, Kerry brought out something he’d been given before leaving: a container full of banitsa that Annie had asked the kitchen to prepare that day. There was one for every person in the flight, and was surprised when everyone not only took one, but ate them as well. He’d expect there’d be at least one or two leftovers, but at this point in the evening, with everyone tired and cold, anything resembling a desert was welcome.


There you go:  a real team effort between Emma and Kerry, and one that they can sort of do for real when it’s needed.  And the “missing person” of Advanced flight sent along a bit of her homeland with banitsa for all!  Nice of Annie to do that, but there is probably one banitsa in there meant for a special person . . .

Now, here’s where I did something different.  As I was writing I decided that I didn’t like the first three paragraph–no, let me rephrase that.  I didn’t like where they were as written, so what I did, ’cause you can in a computer, is move to to this point in the story and rewrite them a bit.  Rather than have your go back a couple of days to the originals, I brought them here for you to see.

This was how they looked in their original form:


Kerry waved his hand in the direction of one of the camp fires and crafted a spell to pull oxygen away from the flames and smother them, which was far better than dumping water and using up fluids that could be needed later. It didn’t matter that there was a lake only a dozen meters away: Kerry not only knew it was easier to use magic to put out a fire, but he didn’t feel like filling up a container and bring it back to do the job he was now performing with the wave of his hand.

He looked up through the slight gap in the trees seeing if the stars were out. At the moment there was nothing but overcast, something they were told to expect after twenty-one. It was like this when they left the school: cloudy, dark, and growing colder.

He tidied up a few things and stored what little trash there was in a lock bag that he’d stuff in his backpack before heading off to bed. Kerry adjusted the collar of his flying jacket as the cold once more encroached upon the campsite as his mind drifted back to their flight north—


And how they now look re-positioned and rewritten:


Vicky called lights out at twenty-two and ordered everyone to their tents, letting them know they’d need to be up about five-thirty so they could begin preparing for the day. Kerry waved his hand in the direction of one of the camp fires and crafted a spell to pull oxygen away from the flames and smother them, which was far better than dumping water and using up fluids that could be needed later. It didn’t matter that there was a lake only a dozen meters away: He knew it was not only easier to use magic to put out a fire, but he didn’t feel like filling up a container and bring it back to do the job he was now performing with the wave of his hand.

He looked up through the slight gap in the trees seeing if the stars were out. At the moment there was nothing but overcast, something they were told to expect after twenty-one. It was like this when they left the school: cloudy, dark, and growing colder. He tidied up a few things and stored what little trash there was in a lock bag that he’d stuff in his backpack before heading off to bed. Kerry adjusted the collar of his jacket as the cold once more encroached upon the campsite and allowed his thoughts to first drifted back to their flight north, and then on to Annie. He wondered what she was doing and if she was alone. They’d promised not to get upset over being separated for one night, and would make the most of his return tomorrow. He whispered a good night and love to his soul mate before entered his tent’s vestibule. He zipped the outer door closed, tapped his hand three times against the tent door to announce his presence, unzipped the door and entered.


Much nicer, I think, and it makes far more sense now.  It’s also a good lead-in to the last part of the scene, and I’m guessing most of you can figure out what’s coming next–

You're not going to find it here, however.

You’re not going to find it here, however.

It was a good night to write, and mostly pain free.  Mostly.  I’ll try not to be in pain when I write tonight.

I promise you this.

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 1, Episode 4: “Not Fade Away”

Cassidy Frazee:

The recap is up!

Originally posted on Rachel Tsoumbakos:

Jamie McShane as Lt. Moyers and Cliff Curtis as Travis - Fear The Walking Dead _ Season 1, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC

Welcome to the Occupation.  You’re safe: would we lie?

Nick resting on a pool float and Travis is out jogging like it’s no big deal, and Lou Reed reminds us of what’s going on:

Just a perfect day
Problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
It’s such fun

But it isn’t, really. The military is present, there’s a patrolled fence, supplies coming in from somewhere, we’re told in voice over it’s been nine days since the power went out, and we can see smoke rising from over a hill, probably something in downtown L.A. still burning. While we watch someone who looks like Carl Grimes enter the neighborhood—and, man, is he really out of the house!—Chris sits on the roof of his house with a video camera and thinks he sees someone signaling in the distance from the “dead zone”, but we know that can’t be true because…

View original 1,843 more words

Rocking Along the Overnight Way

So, Cassidy, were are we now?  Good you should ask . . .

As I may or may not have pointed out, last night was my electrolysis session.  It was two hours of fun, if you consider having an electric needle stuck in your face fun.  At least Bonnie–the woman who does my work–and I were having fun, talking about Emmys, Game of Thrones–which I told her is also called Boobs and Dragons, which she loved–Orphan Black, menopause, and women who should wear something over really, really tight leggings.  I mean, what else are you doing to do for two hours?  I’m sort of sitting there with nowhere to go while she does her shock and tweeze routine,  so you make the best of the situation.

And don't mind how numb you are when you get home.

And don’t mind how numb you are when you get home.

But I did write:  last night and even a little this morning.  I wanted to get the scene moved alone, and . . . the part I added required a bit of thinking–which I did on the forty minute trip back from my session–and once I got home I needed to sit, change, get organized, and write.

And I came up with this:


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

Just west of Millinocket they turned nearly due north as they skirted the eastern border of Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin. After completing the turn and getting set on their new course Kerry pulled down his balaclava—which everyone now wore under their flying helmets to keep their exposed faces warm—and looked to his left. He could just making out the darkened bulk of Mount Katahdin ten kilometers away. It was nearly impossible to make out detail with the naked eye as there was a new moon, and under low-light the green tint hide the beauty of the scenery.

Kerry remembered the location of their camp site, and with them moving along at nearly two hundred kilometers an hour, he quickly calculated they’d arrive in approximately twenty minutes. He called to Nightwitch and asked if it would be all to play some music off his tablet computer—which he’d brought to help navigate—to perk everyone up after nearly two hours of chilly flying. To his surprise Vicky told him to go ahead and put it on external so it wasn’t jamming the comms.

He quickly found three songs, set his modified computer over to external sound, adjusted the transmission field so it’d cover a sphere about twenty meters across, and hit Play. A few seconds later the snare roll of Smashing Pumpkins’ Cherub Rock began, and in seconds the Salem Overnight was cruising at eight hundred meters past the tallest mountain in the state of Maine as the bass, drums, and grinding guitar of the song filled the sky around the flight.

He found himself bouncing up and down on his broom’s saddle, moving with the rhythm of the tune. He looked to his right and saw Emma had pulled down her balaclava and smiled his way while bobbing her head. Nadine gave him a thumbs up from the other side of the group, and a few others looked his way and nodded in agreement. After nearly one hundred minutes of flying in darkness and sub-zero wind chills, everyone welcomed the addition to their travel.

Seconds after the first song ended the opening cello strikes to Viva la Vida began, and Nadine chose that moment to pop over to Kerry’s left. As Chris Martin began singing Nadine joined in and motioned for Kerry to accompany. He joined her on the second verse and continued singing as she returned to her position on the first chorus. He smiled broadly as he sang without benefit of magical auto tune, remembering that they’d almost chosen this song to play last year during Ostara, and they’d practiced it twice before Kerry decided to go with Lovers in Japan.

Though he knew he sounded terrible, especially when compared to Nadine’s fairly wonderful singing voice, he enjoyed singing along, and when he started getting into the second chorus, he heard others joining in, their off-tune voices coming in over the comms. It got him smiling even more, and the chill that had help him for the last hour drifted away.

The last song was one he’d always wanted to play while flying: Murray Gold arrangement of the Doctor Who Theme used from 2005 to 2007. He cranked up his system as the synths, guitars, bass, and drums were accompanied by the National Orchestra Of Wales and the quick tempo bombast of strings and horns blasted out over the almost deserted and near-frozen Maine countryside. It was only two and a half minutes long, but by the time they came up on their final turn and approach, Kerry was once more fully alert and ready to start setting up camp in the minus eight Celsius winter darkness feeling suitably heroic.


Kerry bringing the tunes to the sky!  Now, it’s been said before he’s done this–during the graduation flight Annie and he took at the end of their A Levels, he played music from his tablet, and he’s brought it along once more.  On the way up it’s a lot of cold flying–the temps are legit for the date and time, and if you really must know the wind chill, it’s -25 Celsius–but now that they’re down to the last sixty kilometers, he’s ready to rock out.

And it is sixty--okay, sixty-one.  We'll just ignore that last kilometer . . .

And it is sixty–okay, sixty-one. We’ll just ignore that last kilometer . . .

Which brings us to Kerry’s Last Sixty Kilometer Play List:

Smashing Pumpkins, Cherub Rock

Yeah, I remember this from when I was working in downtown Chicago and the Pumpkins were still kind of a local band.  And flying through the night with some awesome thrash going on is a good way to get the blood pumping as you’re flying past a big mountain peak.

What Kerry would see, only with a lot more darkness.

What Kerry would see, only with a lot more darkness.

Coldplay, Viva la Vida

Not only does Kerry like this song, but so does Nadine, it seems.  It’s a nice touch pointing out that he almost played this the year before at Ostara, but decided to go with another Coldplay song.  A good, driving beat that gets one in a bit of a positive mood and should make you forget the cold.

Murray Gold, Doctor Who Theme from 2005 to 2007:

And last but not least, Kerry is for sure gonna throw this one on.  Two-and-a-half minutes of tecno-orchestral bombast, it would be like having a marching band behind you as you fly triumphant through the night.  This would probably get a smile out of Erywin as well, as she’s something of a fellow geekette–after all, she is Leela.

Tonight:  gotta write my recap and I hope to finish this scene after that.

You might even get to see Emma . . .