Millennium

Here is it, the one and only, my 1000th post.  After nearly three straight years of coming here to share, with my audience and followers, my almost-innermost thoughts, I have reached a most impressive goal.

"It's all darkness and misery, leading to a lonely, pointless death."

“What is the point?  In the end it’s all darkness and misery, leading to a lonely, pointless death.”

Thanks, Frank.  I knew I could count on you to bring the good times to the party.

At least there are others who feel differently . . .

"I already knew your inner thoughts and secrets--your passwords were easy to break, even with the childish encryption you used."

“I already knew your inner thoughts and secrets–your passwords were easy to break, even with the encryption.  You are a sad, foolish girl.”

Ray of sunshine you are, Lisbeth.  Don’t you have a large Swedish corporation to take down?

What started me down this strange path?  Well, to be honest, writing.  Not writing a blog, however.  No, not at all.  When I first started this sucker I was going in fits and starts, and my postings were uneven.  I had nothing to say, I just posted things here and wondered if anyone would read them.  And frankly, I gave very few shits if anyone did.

What started me working hard on the blog was when I was writing my novella Kuntilanak.  I wanted to get into the habit of writing, and it wasn’t just enough to work on the story, because I was afraid I would–as I had done many times before–just give up somewhere along the line.

Then came the brilliant idea:  what if I talked about writing my story by writing on my blog?  It’s simple:  I work on the story in the morning, do a little editing in the afternoon, and at some point in between I’d set up a post detailing my writing exploits.  Not exactly the greatest idea in the world, but it kept me writing my story–and it’s kept me writing my blog.

And how much have I kept writing.  I went back and looked, and found that the last day I didn’t post an entry was 24 March, 2012, a couple of months short of two years ago.  However, there were two posts on 23 March because of something that kept me from posting on the 24th.  So it’s not really a missed day, just a day where I posted the day before.  The last day where nothing was written:  8 September, 2011.  Which, if you’re following the details of current work in progress, is the actual day Kerry is shocked so badly by the Queen of Sorcery, Helena Lovecraft, that he ends up spending the night in the hospital.

Coincidence?  You tell me.

So much has changed since that summer of 2011.  Since then I’ve been through three jobs, and I’ve moved for two of them.  I still suffer from depression, but not nearly as much as back in 2010 and 2011.  I cry more, but that’s because I feel more, I’m not cut off from my emotions any longer.  I finally came to grips with my gender dysphoria, began seeing a therapist and came out, and now spend a reasonable portion of my life as female (as opposed to Life in Technicolor, but you can blame Coldplay for that).

Most of all I write.  I write stories, and I write on my blog.  I’ve sold one story and self-published two.  My sales are crap, but I’m keeping at it.  2014 is the year I start sending more things out, because I’ve got a slush pile and a half waiting, and it’s time to move that monster.  Talk is cheap, and I got bills to pay.

Yesterday and today I looked over my posts and my stats, and decided to list my ten biggest posts in the history of this blog.  We  aren’t talking huge numbers here, and with the exception of one time when I was sort of damned with faint praise by someone who said, “You only get about forty hits a day?  I thought you were huge.  I get more than that,” I’m happy with my few thousand followers who literally come from everywhere on the planet.

Behold my Global Empire!

Behold my Global Empire!

Since I’ve always wanted to do this, allow me to offer up my own top ten.

 

Top Ten Posts of All Time:

10. If I Go the Plane Way, 8 November, 2013.  140 views.

This was about a set of scenes I was working one during the last NaNo, and how I used Scrivener to layer additional scenes under existing scenes.

 

9.   The End Beginning Again, 5 January, 2014.  144 views.

This was about my idea file, and how something I’d thought about using for an old story in the file was considered for a much later story I wanted to write.  This is the only post from 2014 to make my top ten.

 

8.   Time Tunneling, 16 October, 2013.  148 views.

In the run-up to NaNoWriMo 2013 I went into a lot of detail about how I set up my novel, and some of the things I was doing with time lines.  This was the third of my “October Three” where I had fantastic hits for three posts in a row.  Just as I did layers of scenes, this showed how to do layers of timelines within timelines.

 

7.   You Are Now Leaving Silent Hill, 22 September, 2013.  167 views.

My first “Daily Excursion” post after arriving in Harrisburg, PA.  I ran up to Centralia, PA–which was once used as inspiration for the art direction of the movie Silent Hill–walked around, got pictures, and lived to tell the tale.

 

6.   Preparatory School, 14 October, 2013.  207 views.

The first of my “October Three” post, where I show the lay out of what was to be my NaNo 2013  novel, and that is still my current work in progress.

 

5.   Playthings in the Hands of the Arbiters of Decency, 27 February, 2012.  231 views.

This is the only one of my rants that made the top ten.  It was about how PayPal was getting crappy about being used to pay for what it saw as smut, and how it arbitrarily decided to impose rules that screwed over a lot of writers.  Things are much better now, unless you write monster smut . . .

 

4.   Dancing with Demons, 4 November, 2011.  272 views.

The oldest of my top tens, this one puzzles me.  I was four days into my first NaNoWriMo, hard at work on Her Demonic Majesty, and I threw this one up pretty fast.  And for some reasons it has pulled in nearly three hundred hits.  Must be the demons . . .

 

3.   Done Ready, 21 October, 2013.  312 views.

A quick discussion about how I was ready to start NaNo 2013.  I say in this post that I’d finish the first book of The Foundation Chronicles by 31 December.  I think I meant I’d finished my drugs then.

 

2.   Timelines and the Aeon, 15 October, 2013.  644 views.

The middle of my “October Three”, and the biggest by far.  This is where Aeon Timeline ended up on my computer and I told everyone about it.  Apparently a lot of people liked that.

 

1.   Penultimate Daydream, 2 May, 2012.  645 views.

And this is another puzzle.  Why?  Because nothing much is said here.  Well, actually, there is, but it doesn’t make that much sense.  I was sleep deprived, I hated my job, I was almost hallucinating.  It was the day before I turned 55, and the incident I speak off while dining, I did think someone I knew was dining with me.  And then they weren’t, and it killed me.  I’ve always wondered if there was some kind of bot that drove the numbers up.  Not that it maters today.

 

Honorable Mentions:

The Rough Guide to My Alternate Chicago, 12 December, 2011.  120 views.

This was the first post where I really got into talking about the wonders of editing, and though most writers hate it, about this time was when I was starting to love it.  And so I have to post my love.

 

Hail, Scrivener!, 31 July, 2011.  128 views.

The oldest of my posts with more than one hundred views, this is where I started talking about Scrivener, and how much it was helping my writing and my story telling.  What was nice about this post was there was a comment from the Scrivener people, saying they enjoyed the kind words I had for their product.  That was when it first hit me:  there are people out there actually reading this stuff!

 

In looking over some of my old posts I saw likes from people who no longer blog, who have vanished from the face of the Internet, who I wonder about.  Blogging isn’t something you stick with day in and out for years.  I’m probably one of the strange examples, getting up every morning and cranking out my five hundred words, or more, before starting out my day.  And if any of you who used to blog, who I used to see every day, are still out there following me–hey, I miss you guys.  Hope your life is treating you well, because we all need that.

What comes next?  No more special posts for a while, that’s for sure.  If I do another, it’ll come when I reach my 2,500th post, which over four years away.  And that begs the question:

When will I stop blogging?

Because everything comes to an end, doesn’t it?  In four years I’ll be sixty-one, and I can’t say if I’ll still show up here, blogging every day, or if I’ll still continue churning out stories that no one reads.  Or if I’ll even be alive, cause the next eleven hour run back to Northwest Indiana could see me flying off the side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike at high speed into a valley, all the time regretting nothing.

Or perhaps I will have reached my dream of being a full-time writer, and I can be like Chuck and blog to all the word slaves out there (the penmonkeys are his), giving them encouragement and telling them why they shouldn’t stop, because look at me, I made it.

I won’t be quitting any time soon.  I can’t.  I still feel as if I have something to say.  But should it become time to move on and find my wide awake dreams elsewhere, I’ll fall back on this quote–something I heard over Christmas, and something that speaks to me of what can be the finality of change:

 

“Times change and so must I. We all change when you think about it. We’re all different people all through our lives. And that’s ok, that’s good, as long as you keep moving, as long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when The Doctor was me.”  The Eleventh Doctor, The Time of the Doctor.

I’m not quite as good at The Doctor, but I do remember so much of who I’ve been these last three years.  I remember the people I’ve known, those who’ve been a pain in my ass, and those whose friendship and help I have cherished through the years.

And I remember those who have left their mark on me in such a way that it will never be erased.

A thousand down, and still more to come.  Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.

There are stories to be written, you know.

The World Beneath the Water

Lets roll out the new from last night, first.  It was “I’m Off Night,” last night, because after dinner and a little shopping I had zero creative energy to sit and do anything.  I knew what I wanted to write, but after a good hour of looking at the story, I finally said, “I think I’ll just sit and relax,” and did that until I started falling asleep at ten PM.  It’s not a bad thing:  sometimes you need to recharge your batteries, and if that means a night off, then take it.  I don’t have anything to do today, so it’s a good time to make up for last night’s lost time.

So what I’m going to talk about today is something completely different, and in the process of this discussion I’m going to bring up some things about a rather well known television show about zombies where no one ever says the word zombie.  There will be times when I’m gonna go all Ms. Spoilly McSpoil, so if you don’t want to read something that’s going to cause you to shake your fist at your computer screen while you scream, “Curse you, Cassie!” through clenched teeth, then read a book, listen to music, or watch some good movies–TCM will show Bonnie and Clyde, Jaws, and Alien back-to-back tonight, so you might want to keep that block open.

I have given warning–you know–

Or is that, "Don't Dead, Open Inside"?  Maybe I should check . . .

Or is that Don’t Dead, Open Inside? Maybe I should check . . .

There’s a meme that’s been rolling around Facebook of late, one that doesn’t actually involve some kid getting picked up for a DUI in Miami.  No, this is a picture of a huge iceberg, floating peacefully along while waiting for a ship to smack into it.  As you know an iceberg is pretty much under the water, a huge thing you never see, which is probably good because you’d likely get hypothermia swimming around trying to get a look-see.

The part above the water–the small part–is labeled “Movie”, while the part below the waterline is labeled “Novel”.  You know what they’re trying to say:  the parts you see in a movie are only a small part of the story that’s adapted from a novel–if, of course, the movie is adapted from a novel, and it’s not an original tale.

But this is often true.  One could point to any of the biggest movies of late–the Harry Potter films, the Lord of the Rings, the Hunger Games–had to leave out a lot of the story to get the tale up on the screen.  For some tales you need to do a four or five hour flick if you want to get everything on the screen–or do as was done with The Godfather, which took the early life of Vito Corleone and worked it up as a flash back around original material.  And in doing this, they still left out a lot of the story.  (Maybe due to threats of a lawsuit by a certain Italian-American singer and actor who’d won an Oscar who didn’t like a character in the novel who was Italian-American singer and actor who ended up winning an Oscar, all with a little help from his godfather.  Purely a coincidence, I’m sure.)

When you translate a novel to television, however, you are allowed a little more leeway, because you have, if you’re lucky, more time to develop your story.  Rich Man, Poor Man was a good example of the early television mini-series, where you could take your time moving as much of the story from the page to the screen, and stay true to the material.  Yes, some things don’t get translated well–maybe due to things that are going on inside a person’s head, or, depending on the times, there are things in the story that violate a network’s “standards and practices,” which is a fancy way of saying you’ll never get a particular scene past the censors.

This is pretty much alleviated by the advent of premium cable these days, where one can pretty much get away with showing so much that the joke has  become, “It’s not porn, it’s HBO.”  Yes, there are some things that HBO won’t show–in A Song of Ice and Fire our lovable Mother of Dragons was more like I’m Just Barely a Teen Mommy of Dragons, so she was aged up just a little for Game of Thrones.  And by “just a little,” I mean she could have appeared on 16 and Pregnant–with DRAGONS!  Which is a reality show I’d watch . . .

Basic cable has gotten into the act as well.  Breaking Bad was a true gem of drama, with a story and characters that was at both times compelling and revolting.  This was, however, an original show, and the story could develop as slowly and fully as the creator/producer liked.  And that brings us to the real iceberg of this tale, The Walking Dead.

"I don't speak with an English accent.  I'm from Kentucky; no one from the South speaks with an English accent."

“I don’t speak with an English accent. I’m from Kentucky; no one from the South speaks with an English accent.”

At the moment the AMC show is three-and-a-half seasons into a four season run, with a fifth promised.  It’s done very well in ratings and has a loyal, sometimes fanatical following, but that’s to be expected with any fandom.  The show follows this guy, Sheriff Rick Grimes, who wakes up from a gun shot-induced coma and discovers that, no, he’s not in Indiana, he’s in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypsetm, his family is missing, and everything he’s known has gone straight to hell.  In the process of the first episodes he finds his family, a group of survivors, and most of all his best-I-left-you-for-dead-and-I’m-bangin’-your-wife-friend and former partner from the force, Shane.

The show has followed the meta plot pretty closely:  they find Atlanta messed up, they find  Hershel’s Farm, they find The Prison, they find The Governor, they fight The Governor, they lose the Prison, and as of right now they’re On The Road looked for each other and safe harbor.  Since it’s been stated they run into the traveling trio of Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa, and mullet-sporting Eugene Porter, the metaplot will have them heading northward to the Alexandra Safe-Zone, where life won’t exactly become any easier for them.

I’ve only watched the show off and on throughout the years.  I usually haven’t had the time to watch the show, though these days I find there is more time in The Burg for relaxing, so I have watched episodes off and on.  I’ve also been an off-and-on fan of the comic, which has run since October, 2003, and is now up to Issue 120, with a confirmation of printing through Issue 132.

In terms of iceberging, this story is the perfect iceberg.  There is so much that has been set by the wayside in order to get the story on the screen.  About half of the Prison story was removed, for example, which could have been an entire season in of itself–instead of, say, a whole season of hanging out on The Farm.  That season could have seen Hershel losing two of his kids to his zombie kid in the barn, Tyreese’s daughter and boyfriend messing up their suicide pack, the beheading of Hershel’s twin daughters by crazy prisoners, Tyreese giving Rick a beatdown and throwing him off a second-story walkway, Carol deciding to do Death By Walker–

Wait, what?

Like I said, there were a lot changed to move the story from the comic to the small screen.  For one, they got rid of a few characters:  Hershel had a huge family, and he pretty much gets to watch six of them die almost right before his eyes–the last one, his son Billy, does when he takes a bullet to the head during the Woodbury assault on the prison. There are a few prisoners who make it as far at the Woodbury assault but no further, and one of two Woodbury defectors also meet their end at that point as well.  Dale–he of the famous show’s Dale Face–survives well beyond the Woodbury assault, only to be eaten by cannibals while on the road to Washington, D.C..  He is also the one who loses a leg, but since Dale was long-gone by the time of the show’s Prison Time, that leg bite went to Hershel.

Oh, and the Show Rick swears a lot less than that Comic Rick, but that’s because It’s Not HBO, It’s AMC, and while the show may be able to get away with a “shit” and “asshole” now and then, having Rick throw out the word “fucker” every so often wouldn’t go over well, and tell Michonne and Tyreese that the Woodbury folks “have fucked with the wrong people!” is pretty much HBO fodder.  And there’s a few sex scenes, because even when you’re surrounded by the undead, there’s always a moment for sexy time, right?

"This is my resting bitchy face.  I'm really not as bad as I'm made out."

“This is my resting bitchy face. I’m really not as bad as I’m made out.”

And then there is Lori.

If there is a part of this ‘Berg I find way the hell off, it’s the way a few of the women are portrayed.  In the original story, Lori is concerned, she’s protective of her family, she admits to having had sex once with Shane but no more, she makes it through Judith’s birth, becomes a protective mother–and then dies in about as gruesome a manner as one can imagine.  If it’s any consolation, her death–and the death of another–leads to the death of The Governor, but by that time Lori’s a Walker in Training and gives no shits.

The Show Lori, however . . . when your character is made out as the worst thing in a world full of undead looking to eat you and your loved ones twenty-four/seven, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, until the day you join the shambling herd, there is something seriously off.  By the end of Season Two most viewers, given the choice of having their face gnawed off by a hungry Walker, or having Lori ask them if they saw Carl in the house, would say, “Hey, Walker:  you want a side salad with my face?”  No way was she ever getting Mother of the Year awards, and given the narrowness of that field in the story, it’s a pretty damning indictment for her character.

The same thing was done with Andrea.  On the show she was something of an annoying pain in the ass who got separated from the group, was rescued by Michonne, went to Woodbury, hooked up with The Gov, waffled back and forth with the, “Is he good, is he psycho?  I can’t kill him, the sex was pretty good,” line, and ultimately ended up dead due to her own kind of stupid.

"No, I never shot a redneck by accident.  If I shoot him, he ain't gettin' up!"

“No, I never shot a redneck by accident. If I shoot him, he ain’t gettin’ up!”

This is more the way she really was:  kicking ass and forgetting the names as soon as they were dispatched.  And that scar on her face?  That’s from taking a rifle shot to the head, which sort of kinda put her out of action just a little in the final Woodbury assault.  But, in the comic story, Andrea’s still alive, still kicking ass, and pretty much Rick’s girlfriend at this point.  A lot of her personality in the original story got ported over to Carol, who, on the show, you learned not to be near if you had a bad cough.

I can understand some of the changes that were made:  it’s basic cable, you only have so many episodes in a season that can air, you wanna cut through as much of the Peyton Place stuff as possible and stick to the action, and you never know how long your actors can stay with you, so sometimes you kill off ones where they shouldn’t die, and keep around those who should have died because they’re good for the story, which is to say fans like them, and fans equal viewer, so go with that.

That, ultimately, is why you have the iceberg when you translate a story to a screen.  Reading is one thing, the visual medium another, and a lot of the people doing the viewing aren’t necessary going to be doing the reading.  There are a few exceptions to the rule–Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings instantly spring to mind, as well as a few superhero movies based upon other comics–but in the case of TV, it does seem that you have a lot more people who watch the story, and are surprised as hell when one tells them that what they’re watching was based upon a book, or in the case of TWD, a comic.

It’s an interesting thing to look at from the point of being a writer.  I’ve seen more than a few Facebook threads that go, “If your story is made into a movie, who do you want to play your characters?”  A better question may be, “If your story is made into a movie or television show, what would you be okay with getting changed or dropped?”  After all, your story would end up someone else’s iceberg.

And there’s so much water in which to hide.

Taking the Magic to the Mat

It would appear I have survived Snowmaggedon II:  Electric Boogaloo, here in The Burg.  We got eight inches of snow and I was sent home early because it was pretty nasty out there.  Though not as bad as the last snow we had–at least this time there were plows about and about.  At the moment the cold is what I need to worry about, as it’s about five degrees outside, and the wind chill as I walk to work will be about fifteen below.

Perfect weather for flying back from Manitoba.  But that’s not gonna get written for a few more years.

After feeling down and low the night before, I threw on some old music–like early 1970’s stuff–and examined what I’d written the night before.  I saw where it was lacking, so I did a little editing and a bit of adding, and when I was finished I was far more satisfied with the final outcome.

But that was the stuff I’d already worked on.  I needed to finish out the scene.

The class is Self Defense for Beginners.  The instructor is Madam Ramona Chai, straight outta Hong Kong, who is never going to come out and say, “I know kung fu,” but rather, “Besides t’ai chi ch’uan, wing chun, and southern style praying mantis, I know pencak silat, yaw-yan, eskrima, and krav maga.”  She also knows how to use the weapons that several of those disciplines use, so you have an instructor who could probably kill anyone with one hand and not a lot of thought.

Oh, and she knows magic.

What better way to scare the hell–I mean, demonstrate how she is looking out for their safety when they get on the sparing mat and face off against one another?  Oh, yeah.  They will.  She pretty much tells them without telling them, which is a very kung fu movies way of doing things, if you think about it.  But back to the basic question:  how does she show them?

Nurse Coraline comes in, and the two face off.

Up to this point most students know red haired Nurse Coraline as pretty and curvy and ready with a quip.  They didn’t know she can fight like a demoness, too.  Both she and Madam Chai go at each other with super speed–Kerry is reminded of the Martian Commandos in The Stars My Destination, who are able to accelerate their bodies to ten times normal speed–start landing blows, and when all else fails, they began throwing magic at each other.  Madam Chai does something that looks like a wall of compressed air, and Coraline jumps up in the air and does a slow back flip like an anime girl before tossing a fireball at the instructor.

This is how you do it without the fan service, kids.

This is how you do it without the fan service, kids.

By the time the demonstration was over, the kids were able to see that they might get a few bruises here and there, but they weren’t going to die from an electrical attack, and students outside the mat didn’t have to worry about being consumed by magical hell fire, as there was an invisible barrier that went up when the competition starts.

I’ll say this much:  I had fun writing the scene.  I’d been thinking about it for a while, and when it was time to get it down, I went right at it and didn’t stop until it was finished.  I signed off for the night happy and even pleased with what I’d done.

I’d had my own fight–and I think I came out on top.

Dark and Stormy Write

Right before the alarm went off I was dreaming that I was writing about the strange dream I’d had.  It was full of people looking for things to do, and people pissed off that nothing was getting done–on, and a couple of cable guy who never showed up on time, who would then show up right when you’d just left the house after the appointment “block” was over, and claim you weren’t home–which, of course, you weren’t, because they didn’t show up when they were scheduled.

No one was offering to juice me up, let me tell ya.

I wonder if the reason I had such a weird dream was because I was so entirely not happy with what I wrote last night?

Now, after the excitement Sunday–I do use that term loosely–yesterday was very strange.  I was suppose to meet up with a friend online, and when they did show, they were so busy doing other things in real life that I could have used the two hours I spent waiting for them to write.  But, like a fool I didn’t.  That sort of set me off, and for the rest of the day, and into the evening, it was hard to get the flow back.

But it was a dark and stormy night . . .

But it was a dark and stormy night . . .

Oh, I did write.  But I wasn’t happen with it.  It felt uneven as hell.  I had things I wanted to say, but those things just weren’t there.  What came out seem to stutter, to form with an incomplete voice.  Whatever was coming out didn’t seem like me.

Sure, I was getting distracted, and that’s my own fault, but of late I haven’t felt like listening to music, and that’s been affecting me when it comes to laying down the tunes.  Music has always helped me through some bad times, but these days I feel like I’ve heard it all, and when I try thinking of something new to listen to, I kind of twist my head to one said and thing, “Naw, I don’t want to give that a try.”

The one thing I did do last night was push the story over one hundred ten thousand words.  I didn’t push it that much, but that’s okay:  there is another chance to fight the good fight tonight.  Another chance to sit down at eight PM and get my thousand in before ten.  Maybe even rewrite a little of the mess I did last night, because I was also dreaming that I was very unhappy about having to rewrite something, and that’s very likely a direct reference to what happened with my story, rather than within the story.

So, on 30 January, I will have one thousand blog posts completed.  That’s next Thursday.  The novel won’t be finished–I think there are more that ten thousand words left, though I could be mistaken–but the end for the fire episode will come to a completion soon after.

I have a good idea what comes after both those events are in the slush pile, so to speak.  Something wonderful, you ask?

You’ll have to wait and see.

Beaning Beetles

I can hear the cars outside driving through some wetness, and I’m told on various websites that The Burg is in “Winter Mix Mode” at the moment.  That means it could be snowing, or raining, or a little of both, because the temperature outside is hovering around freezing.  No need to worry tomorrow:  it’s gonna rain like hell all day.

Ten days into January.  When I ended last year my novel has just passed ninety thousand words.  A thousand additional words a night, and I should be at one hundred thousand tonight.  Well . . . that’s a read good possibility, ’cause last night I was in a zone.  Though it took me a bit to get going, I ended up writing almost fourteen hundred words, and pushed the final story tally up to ninety-nine thousand, six hundred words.  The crossing should be tonight, as I finish up the most current scene.

Jessica is holding forth in class.  She’s given the students beans and set them forth upon their work spaces.  And thus . . .

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

She opened her right hand and there was a bean identical to the ones the students had before them. “As this is a class about transformation, looks are deceiving. It appears to be a bean now . . .” Jessica held out her hand, palm up, for all the students to see. The bean shimmered for a few seconds before black legs emerged from the sides. The top of the bean turned black and hard, then the rest of it grew a head and antennae. What was a bean five seconds before was now a small black beetle.

“As I said, looks are deceiving, and now my bean is an insect—”

Linh Dam, the Vietnamese girl who was in Mórrígan Coven, was frowning. “You want us to change these into beetles?”

Jessica shook her head. “You misunderstand. I’ve already changed the beetles into beans—”

Another students, Balgaire Ibanez, the Argentinian boy from Åsgårdsreia Coven, almost jumped out of his chair. “These are bugs?”

“Don’t worry, Balgaire: they won’t bother you like this.” The right corner of Jessica’s mouth curled upwards into a smirk. “May I continue?” He nodded and calmed himself. “Last night I transformed a group of beetles into the beans you have before you. It is not your assignment to transform beans into beetles, but rather transform the beans back into the beetles. Trust me—” She smirked once again. “None of you have the slightest idea how you would transform an inanimate object into a living being, even one as simply as a beetle.” She looked about the room. “Are there any questions?”

Though his mind was full of questions, Kerry didn’t know what to ask. We aren’t transforming the bean into a beetle, but . . . He didn’t how the professor’s statement made any sense: if they weren’t transforming something, then what were they suppose to do? He kept running the statement over and over in his mind, thinking about what she said about transforming the beetles back . . .

Then the revelation hit him. “Oh.”

Jessica took a step towards Kerry. “Is something the matter, Mr. Malibey? Are you in pain?”

“No, uh—” He shook his head. “It was just something that came to mind, that’s all.”

Three more steps brought Jessica closer. “I see. Do you intend to share this with the class, or are you keeping this epiphany to yourself?”

Kerry didn’t like being put on the spot, but with Professor Kishna moving closer with each step, he knew he’d have to say something, or he’d have her leaning into his face much like she’d done with Franky. “It’s what you said, about changing the beans back into beetles.”

Jessica was only a couple of meters away now. “Yes?”

“You transformed everything, which means you used magic—”

“Go on.”

“So there’s some kind of effect in place around the bean. That means . . .” Kerry swallowed, his mouth dry. “This is a case where we do counter-magic. We have to remove the effect, not make a new one.”

She finally reached his cubical, and Jessica did lean against the short wall. Rather than lean over until she was nose-to-nose with Kerry, she maintained a friendly distance. “That’s an interesting hypothesis, Kerry.” She half-grinned at him. “Is counter-magic what you intend to use?”

He thought for a moment. “Yes, Professor.”

“Which means you’ll succeed, yes?”

He’d avoided making eye contact with Professor Kishna since she’d walked up to his cubical, but now he looked up and met her gaze. “I’ll try.”

Jessica shook her head. “No, no, no, Mr. Malibey. You’ll not try. You’ll either prove your hypothesis correct, or you’ll fail. There is no in between, I’m afraid.” She tapped her nails against the cubical railing. “Do you understand?”

Kerry nodded slowly. “Yes, Professor.”

She raised her voice so everyone in the room could hear her clearly. “You may be on the right track, Kerry. Don’t let a bit of intimidation frighten you away: stick to what you think is right.” Jessica stepped away from the cubical. “As for the rest of you—any questions?” She looked about the lab, and saw no one had questions, or was willing to speak. “Very well. You may begin.”

 

No cats with glasses in this room, that’s for sure.

For some reason I liked this scene.  Perhaps it was due to how easy it wrote.  Or maybe . . . I don’t know.  Maybe as soon as I get through this scene it’s on to The Witch House and the evil sorceress?

Yeah, there’s always that, too.

Change is the Thing

There were witches in my dreams last night.  Not that nasty-ass witch Madison, who conked Misty on the head last night and had her entombed–yeah, right.  If Madison had been there I’d have magically shanked her and fed her skinny ass to the gators.  Don’t know if all this writing about witches, and then watching them slink about on television, had anything to do with the dream last night, but there has to be some correlation.

Anyway they let me into their coven and then sent me out on some kind of scavenger hunt, which involved mecha, which is another story all of itself, and probably better left for another story.  Not that I haven’t had those dreams, but I’m not getting there with any story any time soon, so if you want some mecha love, you gotta look elsewhere.

Meanwhile I wrote.  I was back in the writing nook a bit and managed a bit for my Transformation class–including a teacher who’s not only been around a while, but knows a little something about transformations on the geek side of life:

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Franky Smith leaned towards the student in the cubical next to him. “What a shame; I was hoping to to see some Mystique action today.” His whisper wasn’t meant to be heard by others, but he failed miserably.

Jessica turned towards him. “Oh, you do?” In less time than it took for one to blink, Jessica’s skin turned a bright blue and her hair and lips changed to a dark crimson. “Something like this?” She approached Franky, her stark, solid white eyes pinning him to his chair. “Or did you have something else in mind, Mr. Smith?” She switched back to her actual self as quickly as she’d changed moments before. “Well?”

Franky was trying to get his brain to work, but he wasn’t having much luck. It was one thing to see something like that in a movie, where he knew they were using makeup and CGI, but to see someone actually change like that—and, worst of all, into her before coming at him with those dead, frightening white eyes . . . He took a couple of deed breaths. “I’m sorry, Professor?”

She wasn’t about to let it go. “Is that what you were expecting? What you wanted to do?”

“Yeah, but . . .” He turned his eyes away from her stare and cleared this throat. “I didn’t think you’d, you know—”

“No, I don’t know.”

“I mean . . .” He scratched his head. “I didn’t think you’d know who she is.”

There were many things the class expected Professor Kishna to do, but roll her eyes and laugh wasn’t one of them. “Oh, please. Do you imagine we exist in a pop-culture vacuum here, and have no idea what’s popular in literature and the movies?” She laughed again. “Ask Professor Salomon what my call sign is—it’s been my nickname almost since I started school.”

She leaned closer to Franky. “That said, if you speak out of turn again, I’ll see to it you don’t do it again. Understand?” He nodded slowly. “Good.”

As she stepped away from Franky’s cubical she addressed the class. “You are here to learn, children, not talk out of turn, not cut up and draw attention to yourselves.” She turned her head slowly to the left and right. “If you do, you’ll discover the sort of attention you’re drawing isn’t going to do you any good . . .”

She strolled to one end of the lab, almost stomping out the steps to the three white boards. “After Basic Spells and Formulistic Magic you now have an understanding of how magic works. After Formulistic Magic you have a better understanding of how exacting magic can be a times. Here you are going to discover how to use it in a precise way, for transformational magic demands this. When you are transforming anything—be it your closet doors into a desk, or a piece of wood into marble, or—” She stared at Loorea. “A person into a chair—you require a precise technique. You can’t afford half measures, for who wants to only half change something—or worse yet, half change someone?”

Jessica:  if you don’t like who she is, wait five minutes and she’ll become someone else.

Plugged in almost a thousand words last night, with my total sitting just short of 98,300 words.  Another thousand or so tonight will take me well over ninety-nine, and Saturday morning’s post will likely proclaim that’s I’ve passed one hundred thousand words.  Yay, me.

Maybe all this witch stuff is wearing off on me.

Guess I’ll have to start wearing black on Wednesdays.

Stepping Into the Old

Today is the day that a lot of people have feared.  Oh, you don’t realize it yet, but it is.  It’s a day that I’ve known about for a while, and it’s had me on edge a bit the last few days.

It’s the first day of the first full week of the year.

For the last three, four weeks, some of us have been dancing around with not so full work weeks, finding a half-day off here, or a full day off there.  Some people have taken most of a week off, or even opted out for the whole damn thing.

And now it’s time to get back into the grind.  Today we go back to thirty-five or forty hour work weeks–and I know some of you work a lot more than that, I’m not discounting it–and the boredom that comes with this grind.  It’s time to squeeze everything back into the full-week sake and see what happens.

I don’t expect much of a change on this end.  I’ve been writing every day, even on the holidays.  I’ve been spending a little more time online chatting with people, and it’s eating into my time to write.  Last night was one of those nights were I didn’t really feel like writing anything:  I wasn’t feeling well, and nothing was coming out well.

Still, I started a new scene with two of my favorite people:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

This close to dinner it was unusual for Erywin to remain in her office. Most times when sixteen came around she was out of the Chemistry Building and off to either the Dining Hall or the Instructor’s Residence for eat. While most of the instructors ate at the Residence, a fair number joined the students in the Hall.

Erywin often wondered if the instructors who went to the Dining Hall ate there because they remembered their time there as students, or because they liked the buffet and felt it was better than the Instructor’s menu—or if it was because the Headmistress ate they and they wanted to join her. Not that Erywin hadn’t ever joined the Headmistress for dinner, but it wasn’t something she wanted to do more than once a month.

Besides, today she was waiting for someone. Today she had a before-dinner visitor—

She was about to get up from her desk and see if there was anyone in the hall: when Erywin looked up, her visitor was standing there, a sly grin upon her face. “Did you miss me?”

“Ah, there she is: my own little Queen of Darkness.” Erywin leaned back in her chair. “Busy day in class, love?”

Helena Lovecraft entered the room and closed the door behind her. “There are times when I think cursing the whole damn class for the entire year would be the best solution for everyone involved.” She leaned against the wall. “Particularly for me. But I haven’t reached that point—yet. Give me until the end of the month.”

Erywin stood and went to Helena. She slipped her arms about Helena’s waist and gave her a light, long kiss. There were never enough times for her to show her love and affection to the woman who’d been by her side, off and on, since they’d meet when Erywin was a B Level, and Helena a brand-new A Level, in 1979. Though the students knew they been partners for twenty-five years, and that they lived together on and off campus, they kept the shows of affection out of the public eye—not because they were afraid of anyone seeing them kissing or touching, but because they weren’t the sort of couple who enjoyed that sort of thing in public.

Which meant they needed to make the most of their time in private.

Erywin broke the kiss and patted Helena on the chest. “Oh, your hell-shawl is in the corner, back in the bag.” She sat against the edge of her desk.

Helena gave her partner one of her well-known lop-sided grins. “Hell-shawl, you say?” She slowly strolled over and looked down into the bag. “Did it come in handy today?”

“Oh, most certainly.” Erywin flipped hair from her face. “The students were very excited to find themselves working with a cursed item of petrification.”

 

I wonder what I could get for a Hell-shawl on eBay?

Almost nine hundred words last night, and I’ve a full week ahead of me.

Yeah, time to get back to serious hours.

Downside and Up

Today has started out being one of those days where I think I should have stayed in bed.  Not only have I been dragging, but my computer decided it was going to go all Orac on me and be really crappy about coming up right.  I started booting this sucker about seven AM, and here it is seven thirty-six.  Just remember:  I can always replace you, and you can’t tell me to sod off.  So there.

Yesterday was a tiring day.  I made it through work okay, but the moment I got home I felt like I was going to crash and burn.  I really didn’t want to write last night, but somehow I managed to hammer out seven hundred forty-five word and run the count over ninety-four thousand.  All this done while I had A Beautiful Mind playing in the background which is a good movie even if there are huge chunks of it that are pretty much BS, and Jennifer Connelly’s character is whitewashed to hell and gone.  Hollywood–what can you say?

The mantra is always “Keep Writing”, but that’s always easier said than done.  Thursday night I wrote over fourteen hundred words; last night only half that amount.  Sometimes the win comes from just sitting down and getting the words out even when you want to kick back and fall asleep in the big easy chair, and you take those as they come, because you know there are better moments ahead when you’ll knock out fifteen hundred words without breaking a sweat.

My mindset is grounded in the fact that I know this will be a long story.  Maybe another thirty thousand to finish just the first third, then what?  Another two hundred thousand to do the remaining two thirds?  Yeah, this is a year-long project, interspersed with moments of attempting to publish some of my slush pile.  2014 is shaping up to become a busy year, and I either get down into the work and do it, or shuffle off to Montana and start a dental floss farm.  I’m coming up on two-and-a-half years on this writing thing, and there’s still a lot to do.

I saw a comment on Facebook the other day that asked the question of other writers, “What sort of demons drive you?”  My demons have nothing to do with my writing:  that’s all me.  That’s what I decided upon decades ago.  No, my demons are around to screw with my mind, though they’re starting to lighten up on that shit these days only because, much like on Facebook, I pay no attention to their poking.  Though if I had to talk about my favorite demon, I’d say she looks like Gabrielle Union, has Michelle Rodriguez’s attitude, and speaks with Penelope Cruz’s accent.  She’s pretty nice for the most part, save for those times she goes all Michonne on me and stalks me with her katana.

Seriously, love, we need to work on our communications.

It’s a beautiful day.  Cold, but beautiful.  What’s a poor girl to do?

Work on her novel.  What else?

Manure in the Rain

I wake up and discover I’m on a two hour delay for work.  Yeah.  Because of the snow here I don’t have to report in until nine or nine-thirty if I am of a mind.  It’s like being back in grade school, only I don’t get a snow day if I don’t file my time.  The funny part is, it’s about three inches of snow total, which back home in Red State Indiana we call “Friday”, but has pretty much screwed up a lot of things here.  Such is it living in a broke-ass state.

The title of this post tells you exactly where I left my kiddies the day before:  standing before bags of manure:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

The Mórrígan student from Indonesia, Kalindi Kartodirdjo, noticed the writing on the bags and at the bottom of the pallets. “That’s . . .” Her voice climbed towards a shocked squeal. “That’s manure.”

Before Professor Semplen could answer it began to drizzle. He looked up at the sky for a moment, then turned back to the students as if it wasn’t a concern. “Yes, manure. I have it shipped in every year from Samarinda.” He turned and slapped his hand down on top of the nearest bag. “This is all for you.”

Collin—who was now in Bloeddewedd and had not spoken to either Annie or Kerry since arriving at the school—crossed his arms. “What do you mean it’s all for us?” He didn’t appear happy to be there, standing in the drizzle, looking at bags of manure. “What are we suppose to do with it?”

“Use it.” Holoč stepped between the pallets, pointing at them as he spoke. “Twenty-five kilo bags, twenty bags to a pallet. Five pallets each. That’s one hundred bags, twenty-five hundred kilos—” He looked up at the students. “Two and a half metric tons.

“This means each of you get three bags—seventy-five kilograms—of manure for uses during the school year. It is likely we may need more in the early spring, but for now this will do fine—”

Lisa had heard enough. “What are we suppose to do with this now?”

Holoč pointed towards the greenhouse. “Each of you has a storage bin in the greenhouse and another . . .” He pointed towards the building behind the students. “In the lower levels of the main building. Before the end of class today, you’ll move two of your bags to your bin in the greenhouse, and the other to your bin in the lower level. Should you finish before the end of class—”

Many of the students stopped listening after the professor’s statement about moving the bags, and several of the students—Lisa and Anna among them—appeared extremely angry. Lisa began venting. “Ahm not here to move crap!”

Holoč didn’t seem upset by her outburst. “Then why are you here?”

 

You’re a hard man, Holoč.  At least no one asked if it was dragon poop–yet.

There weren’t any distractions last night.  I did some reading and some research, and I wrote for about ninety minutes.  In that time I managed a little over fourteen hundred words, which is a good amount for that time.  It also felt good writing like that.

Tonight I’ll finish that scene.  Maybe I’ll start the next.  Now I have to figure out if I walk into work a little early and get there about eight-thirty, if I’ll get into the building.

You don’t have these problems if you moving manure. You just move it.

Education of a Chemical Kind

Here we are, early morning, and it’s time to write.  I wrote last night–worked my way through writing–and I am sitting close to the ninety thousand mark I thought I’d make before the end of the year.

Last night was research night.  I had a few things the my current instructor, Erywin, needed to know in order to say them to someone in her class who was going to ask her–as eleven year olds often do–a stupid question.  What was I looking for?  Chemical processes.  What was the question?  Here, take a look:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Erywin turned her back on the front row. “Do you kiddies have any questions for me?” There was one she expected to occur sometime today, and she felt it we best to get it out of the way as quickly as possible—

Franky Smith, the Canadian student now in Ceridwen, won the prize for asking the Question of the Morning. “Can you cook meth?”

Thank you.” Erywin turned around and slowly clapped her hands. “Thank you Vince Gilligan for turning every middle and high school chemistry instructor into a possible narcotics manufacture and drug lord.” She eyed Franky, who was sitting far back in the fourth row. “Yes, I can cook meth. I can do more than cook it, however, because I am a chemist, which means I know how to anticipate variations in the process and make modifications where necessary.”

Franky and several other students were smiling, almost laughing about her response. Erywin supposed they were amused believing that she was telling them what they wanted to hear, rather than actually knowing anything about making drugs. She wasn’t one to walk away quietly whenever anyone questioned her competence . . .

“What would you prefer, Mr . . .” She held out her right hand and her tablet floated off her desk and over to her. “Smith. Do you believe I should use the Nagai Nagayoshi method and employ pseudoephedrine as a precursor and reduce with hydroiodic acid? Shaking and baking may be a preferred method where you live in the arse-end of Deer Bollocks, Canada, but I’m not a small-time operator looking for quick, cheep stimulation, so I need a better process.

“Since I’m not in the habit of frequenting your Wal Marts—or as I call them, ‘Tesco for the Chavkind’—to make off with as much over-the-counter medication to extract pseudoephedrine as I can carry, I’ll go with reductive amination using phenylacetone and methylamine: Akira Ogata developed it in 1919, and why try to improve on something that works so well?

“However, methylamine is difficult to procure: here it’s on the DEA watch list. With enough work, however, kiloliters can be had. P2P, though—oh, sorry: I mean phenylacetone—is extremely difficult to come by as it’s a Schedule II chemical in this country, so I’ll need to synthesize the element through the dehydrocarboxylation of phenylacetic acid and acetic acid.” She stared hard at Franky, who now looked as if he wanted to hide. “Would you like to hear how one shouldn’t use platinum dioxide reduction because PtO2 is a pyrophoric and will blow up if you’re ignorant enough to expose it to open air? Hum?”

The room was completely silent, and a few appeared a bit uncomfortable listening to Professor Sladen easily rattle off chemicals and the various processes. But she was far finished, and this time she addressed the entire class. “What I’m leaving out here is the magic, which could be used at just about any step. For example, I could have used magic when synthesizing P2P from PPA. Magic would change to properties of PtO2 so that won’t ignite and burn your bloody face off. I could use magic to transmute methanol—CH3OH—into methylamine—CH3NH2—so I don’t have to go through the trouble of creating a dehydrocarboxylation reaction with phenylacetic acid, since that’s also on the DEA watch list now.

“And then there are the special properties that come with the manufacturing of any controlled substance. I can make it one hundred percent pure. Yes, there are chemists who say that’s impossible: magic tells me otherwise. I can remove all addictive properties, both physical and psychological, from the end product—while on the other hand I could add any number of properties that could make a user go days without feeling hungry or needing sleep. Or, I could make a user completely susceptible to ordinary suggestions, like ‘buy more meth’, or eat only at a particular restaurant chain . . . or that they should wait forty-eight hours and then kill everyone close to them before killing themselves.”

Erywin floated the tablet back to her desk. “This is why The Foundation keeps a close eye on those who know the things I know. The Foundation knows that a chemist such as myself could do irreparable damage to a Normal population—not just dozens of people, but thousands of them, maybe tens of thousands of them.” She smirked while her eyes pinned several students in their seats. “I know The Foundation watches me.”

She turned her back on the class and motioned towards the white boards. “It’s my hope that The Foundation will watch you as well some day, so . . .” Words and symbols began to appear on the boards. “Lets begin by seeing what you can cook . . .”

 

Trust me:  they aren’t going to cook meth.  It’ll be something far more fun.

I’m not one of those people who believes I’m going to be monitored now by the shadow law enforcement people out there because I did my research into how to make methamphetamine–and all of the above is legitimate information.  (Just for your information:  Nagai Nagayoshi method, named after the person who discovered methamphetamines, was developed in 1893.)  I also needed to look up certain other bits of information pertaining to chemical processing, so I was still digging up information while I was writing along.  It was fun, it was distracting–

It was all in a night’s work.

I have so much to do in the next couple of days, but I will hit my ninety thousand mark.  That means I should make one hundred and twenty by the end of January, and I hope by that point I’ll be finished with this “First Episode” of the First Book.  Then it’s into February and . . . what?  What happens then?

For once I’m not sure.

But I do know writing will likely be involved.

 

The Unruly Children

The musical accompaniment for the evening were the albums The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Duke, both by Genesis.  A while back some people on the NaNo group wondered what sort of music one listens too while they are writing.  So, during the period of this novel–at least for the NaNo portion of the writing–I’ll give you my album choices.  I normally don’t write with just individual songs from various groups playing; I find it too distracting.

It’s also nice to throw on a long album (at one time we called them “double albums”, because they shipped on two vinyl platters) followed by a normal one, because it gives you more time to write.  That’s the other thing I’m trying to do this time as well:  since my time at night is limited, I’ll write while the music plays.  When it’s finished, I’m finished.  Unless, of course, I want to write more, then I’ll find another album . . .

I finished the first scene.  I needed a few hundred words, and it wasn’t difficult to write them down.  I knew how it would end some time back, and I pretty much nailed it.  Then I introduced my other main characters, and things didn’t drag–oh, just the opposite.  They flew.  What I wanted to say flew onto the page:  the words were easy to find.

The funny thing is, you didn’t see my second main character right away.  The majority of the scene considered of a Mr. Mayhew speaking with the parents of the main character, explaining how sending their son of to this private school in America was going to be the greatest thing for the kid, he was gonna grow, he was gonna thrive, he was gonna be a star.  Well, maybe not in those very words, but the dude was doing the sell.  And ever so slowly he was getting the parents to come around.

Then the main character walked onto the stage, and by that time it was getting close to the end, where I needed to stop for the evening, but I was able to get a few of his definitions down before shutting down–

Normal sized, looking a little lost, doesn’t wear anything but black jeans, red hair, green eyes, glasses.  Gives his dad a strange look when he’s ask about chemistry.  And lightens up when he starts talking to Mayhew about MIDIs and synthesizers, because here’s a kid with an interest in music.  But he has issues with someone in his family as well, just as my other character has issues with someone in her family–something you sort of see played out in her bedroom.  Ah, you gotta love it.  To be a preteen once more . . . no thanks.

The prologue is nearly out of the way, and then it’s on to Chapter One, and I get my characters together, meet a few other people, decide if I need a particular scene–I’m already thinking I don’t–and then . . . flying time, and I bring on a whole lotta other people.

It’s gonna be fun, I can assure you.

Word count for the evening:  2,167, bringing the total to 4,031.  Not bad for a couple of days.

Long Journey Starting

Blessed Samhain, or Happy Halloween if you prefer–the time of holiday is upon us today.  As was said on American Horror Story last night, Halloween is the one day when you can always be yourself–though if they are really descended from Salem witches, they should be talking Samhain, but I won’t quibble.

Lets move on to the main story . . .

It was just after six PM.  The soundtrack was Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derick and the Dominoes, followed by the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet.  It was scene one of the prologue.  It was writing time.  I was on it, baby.

Though I said last night I would go distraction free while writing, I lied.  One one hand I was checking out the TV every so often, and on the other hand I was “conversing” with someone in a way that was really more like an argument, and one not leaving me in a good, happy place.  Enough of that:  I got writing to do.

I’ve said before that as I grow as a writer, it takes longer to get the words out in a form I like.  I caught myself making mistakes here and there, probably because of distractions, though I did catch them and get them fixed right up.  I tried something in this scene that I’ve never tried before:  removed the “said” and “asked” parts of a conversation.  Instead of writing something like, ‘”Are you?’ asked Annie,” or “‘Of course I’m ready,’ said Annie,” I went another direction, setting up a descriptive moment before words were spoken:

She threw a hard stare at her father.  “Are you?”

and

As she passed through the doorway Annie glanced back over her shoulder.  “Of course I’m ready.”

I’m going to do this for the whole novel.  I’m reminding myself not to use any sort of word that indicates a person is speaking, but rather set up the scene and let them speak.  Make it natural.  Make it seem the way it should seem.

Still, it was hard work.  I feel that the better I become as a writer, the harder writing becomes.  It’s because you know all these things that you don’t want to do, while at the same time you want to tell the story.  I know the “rule” about NaNo:  no editing as you write.  I don’t believe your rules–I know how I am when I write, and I want to get things as right as possible when creating my first draft.  So I watch what I’m writing, and fix things when needed.

But when I was trying to describe a lake–man, what a pain in the ass.  No matter how easy you think it’ll be, it isn’t.

I didn’t do everything I wanted to do last night.  I didn’t finish the first scene, but rather I’m probably a couple of hundred words from the end.  Not a problem:  I’ll finish that up tonight, then bring my other main character on stage.

In the end, however, I made my count for the night:  1,864 words.  It’s been a while since I’ve written that much, and tonight I hope to do better.

I’m on my way, kiddies.  NaNo has come early for some of us.