Early Morning Afternoons

The end of the week approaches and already my mind is in a flurry over what I could do come Saturday.  I don’t have any long trips planed, not with another threat of snow on Sunday, but if it’s better on Sunday I may go on another road trip to somewhere close.  I find I feel a lot better when I get out into the real world and don’t stay closed up inside the apartment all the time.

One needs this to at least feel a little human.

I’m also thinking about what I want to write this weekend.  I have an idea for a post to write Saturday morning, because it’ll take to long to write it during this stretches I have between when I wake up and walk off to work.  That means the best time to do this one is over coffee and whatever I’m munching on at Panera.  I’m also working on an idea for another article, but that’s something that probably won’t start up this weekend.  Maybe next.  I’m never really sure how that works; I just go with the flow.

Okay, maybe they're not going out that far . . .

Okay, maybe they’re not going exploring out this far . . .

Most of my writing time will be on the novel.  I’m in the final stretch now.  It’s Friday afternoon, classes are over, and since there isn’t a lot of study–it is only the first week, and it’s not like they have homework yet–my kids are off on a little side trip of exploration.  Really, it’s Kerry’s trip, and Annie’s following and observing.  See, there was something that was said to Kerry way back–well, it was a couple of weeks ago for him, but it’s more like almost three months for me, and he’d almost forgotten about that comment until overhearing a couple of teachers.  Then he woke up, went, “Hey!”, and now it’s Side Trip Afternoon instead of resting with all the other kids who have pretty much burned themselves out by now.

A night in the hospital will do that to you, ’cause you get all rested up.

I’ll finish this scene tonight, then it’s on to something I call The Midnight Madness, and then there’ll be some Saturday activities that will flow into something that happens just after midnight on Sunday morning.

And that will be that.  Episode One of Book One is over and done.

Right now I’m sitting at exactly 112,500 words, and one hundred and thirty thousand words does seem to be right about where I’ll end.  That means I’ll wrap it up first part of February, about three and a half months after I started writing for NaNoWriMo.  Then on to something different, something . . . maybe smutty, since I found out some erotica stories I sold back in 2011 are mine again, and that would be a good time to see about getting a cover, reformatting the suckers, and putting them out there under a different name.  Then watch that cash roll in, Yes Sir.

I won’t hold my breath.  But I will work on editing.  I will work on getting something out there.

It’s about that time.

Sightseeing Along the Broadway Everglades

Yes, it rather was like this.

Last night was Writing Night in a lot of ways.  I more or less finished an article I’d promised to write and put it up on a site waiting for images and proofing.  It’s something with a lot of references and links and fact that I need to look it over again before I release it for publication.

One of the things that troubles me is that it sounds very much unlike me when I’m writing stories.  I once had a person tell me that they liked reading my articles because there was a personality to them, even little bits of humor.  The way they read came across almost like someone was telling you about the stuff in person.  Sometimes I manage that rather nicely:  sometimes I come off like a stilted off biddy.

My article writing is so unlike my fictional writing.  I enjoy doing it, but it comes along mostly when I want to pass some information to others without trying to put it into a story.  Think of is as my “science fact” writing as opposed to my “science fiction” stories.

But I’m still telling a tale when I write an article.  Maybe that is what troubles me about this new one:  it doesn’t feel like a tale.  It feels like I’m spouting facts.

After I wrote about a thousand words on the article, I headed back into The Foundation Chronicles and ended up writing another eight hundred and fifty words.  I talked about some rather interesting things:

 

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

With that out of the way . . . “Miss Kirilova.” Annie’s eyes snapped towards her. “What is the name of the category that defines the various spells used to kill someone with sorcery?”

Annie stared back at Professor Lovecraft for nearly five seconds before responding with her own question. “Why are you asking me, Professor?”

“Because you are a Legacy.” Her smile was as close to sweet as she could manage. “Your parents were also quite good at sorcery—this I know, because they were my students the first year I taught here. Therefore it’s not unreasonable to believe that you’ve taken up the same interests.” Helena crossed her arms and gently cupped her chin. “Or am I mistaken?”

Annie shook her head. “No, you’re not.”

“So you do have an interest in sorcery?”

There was no point in trying to deny it now. “Yes, Professor: I do.”

Helena nodded. “Good. Please tell the class of the name I asked for earlier.”

Annie slowly drew in a breath, holding her answer for as long as she thought she could manage. “It’s known as morte.”

“Morte.” She moved slowly towards Annie. “As in ‘death’.” Helena’s tone was so passive that one could almost imagine she was discussing something unassuming. “Have you ever read of any of your parent’s books on the subject?”

Annie felt she was being held up for display to the rest of the class, and she wasn’t liking it at all. There was little she could do, however: he choices were limited to refusing to answer—and probably getting on the professor’s bad side should that happen—or admitting to her background. “Yes, I have, Professor. I’ve read both.”

“Did you ever get any others to read?”

“Yes.” She was meeting Helena’s nonchalant stare with one that was filled with far more emotion. “I picked up a book on the subject two years ago—”

“When you were nine?”

Someone behind Annie said something too faint for her to hear: she imagined they found the idea of a nine year old girl reading up on death spells a bit morbid. “Yes, Professor. I was for my ninth birthday, actually.”

“Your parents obviously had your future education in mind.” She didn’t chuckle or appear to make fun of Annie: if anything, she was showing an interest in what she knew. “What’s your favorite morte spell?” She arched her left eyebrow. “I’m certain you have one.”

Annie wasn’t about to back away from the professor’s questioning, not now. Exsanguination.”

Helena stopped and did something unexpected: she smiled. “Oh, my.” Now she chuckled. “That was my mother’s favorite. It was one of the first spells she taught me—”

This time the voice that spoke—a boy’s—was much clearer. “Huh? What a freak show.”

Silence.” Helena pointed into the class, not bothering to look in the direction of the comment. “Or you’ll find out just what sort of freak show this class can become.” She addressed Annie. “Do you know what my favorite morte spell is?”

“No.”

“Electrify.” Helena shifted her weight to her right leg. “It’s one of those spells—like exsanguination—that once you understand how to control all the subtleties, can be used for more than killing someone.” She lazily stared off towards the class. “It’s comes in handy in my other duties to The Foundation.”

Though the professor’s comment was lost on the rest of the class, Annie understood the allusion:  Professor Lovecraft was a Guardian.

 

Nothing livens up an afternoon class like discussing various death spells with an eleven year old student.

Now, while I was writing all this stuff, I was listening to music, which is something I normally do, because it’s far less of a distraction than having the TV on in the background.  I was listening to old Genesis concerts–“bootlegs,” as they are properly called–and one was as far different from the other as you could get.  The one I listened to when writing my article was recorded on 10/30/1981, during the Abacab Tour and a few weeks after they were booed by fans during their Leiden, The Netherlands, show–that concert was where Phil said he was gonna come out and kick the shit out of everyone.  (True story.)  The second was recorded almost six years to the day, on 11/01/1975, in Lakeland, Florida, USA, during The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Tour.  Two different shows, very different recordings of different songs done at different times.  One might say the writing employed different voices for different projects.

Which was probably why I went for such a dramatic shift in music to carry off different shifts in my writing, because one was so unlike the other–

Or maybe I needed a simple break from reality.

Selling the Sorcery

I’ll tell you, Sundays are never a good day.  I was busy all morning, busy all afternoon, and by the time you get to writing you feel dead–exceptionally dead.  Sort of like the Resident Evil movie that was on last night:  brain dead but still moving, albeit slowly.

However, I did think more on the idea I posted yesterday about the Mórrígan and Åsgårdsreia students–mostly the girls, the boys would probably feel foolish–squaring off during the Samhain Ball in the great hall.  Since everyone’s in costume, you’ll have your various interpretations of the Goddess of War on one side of the room, and your Valkyries and shield maidens on the other, and it’ll be like:

Come at me, Bro!

Come at me, Bro!

I am no Bro.

I am no Bro!

Yeah, I gotta write that.  Even if it’s only a short scene, and it’s taking place outside the Hall, and they aren’t really using swords, but being how they’re all witches and gifted students and technogeek mad scientists, they can probably come up with something else.

Part of the business was due to an article I was writing.  There was tons of research I needed to do, and at one point I was getting tired hunting down the correct papers I needed to write.  Still managed to get out five hundred words, and I’m not finished.  I’ll do my best to get that wrapped up by this weekend, though no promises.

That meant when it came time to actually write last night, I did about five hundred and fifty words.  Not a good total, but I’ll take it.  As I’ve mentioned before, some times you feel the words, some times you don’t, and perhaps it was a combination of being tired and feeling distracted that put me off my count.  Not worried, not worried:  I’ll bounce back tonight, hit a thousand, and start my, “Helena is a Bad Girl” section of the scene.  It’s gonna be great.

One of the things I like doing is setting my story in the current world while indicating that most, if not all, of our pop culture references do exist.  You’re in a school full of witches and super powered kids, with a mad scientist thrown in here and there, and when you have a room full of eleven-year-olds, who isn’t expecting to hear something asked based upon what they may have read or heard in the Normal World:

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

“This leaves sorcery. Whereas the other disciplines can used against another person, sorcery is designed to work against a person, whether directly or indirectly. You all encountered what Professor Sladen eloquently called the ‘Hell Shawl’ yesterday—” Helena grinned, satisfied by the looks on the faces of her students. “An example of my handwork.

“Sorcery is all about dominating people, controlling them, hurting them . . . killing them. You can do it directly, or you can do it with cursed items and various chemical product—” She heard a few students say, “Potions,” and almost mentioned that it was a good thing Erywin wasn’t there to scold them, for if there was anything she truly hated, it was hearing her lovely formulistic magic called potions.

“There’s also two lesser branches to sorcery: necromancy and daemonmancy. Adric will instruct you in the ways of dealing with spirits and the recently deceased, but even he won’t touch necromancy—we teach you that together. As far as daemonmancy is concerned . . . I only teach that on a need to know basis.” She half turned to her right. “I doubt if many of you will need to know.”

Helena was ready for her experiment. She had every student’s attention, had then following her every word—and now it was time to do what she’d planed for most of the week. All she needed was for someone . . .

“Is there like a main spell used for killing people?”

She didn’t know who asked the question, but Helena didn’t care. Every year someone asks that, and I have to answer. She turned her attention back to her students. This year I’ll have help . . . “There is more than ‘a main spell’. I can think of a half-dozen different ways to kill someone with little more—” She raised her right hand and snapped her fingers. “Than that.”

With that out of the way. . . “Miss Kirilova.” Annie’s eyes snapped towards her. “What is the name of the discipline set aside for the various means of killing within sorcery?”

That Helena:  she doesn’t care to keep hearing about all this fantasy crap, does she?

Lastly, I was upset–well, just a little–that Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany didn’t win a Best Actress Golden Globe award last night.  You play seven characters, some whom interact with each other in scenes that take the better part of a day to film, and people just don’t give you props.  I’ve fallen in love with Orphan Black, mostly for the acting and writing, and the life Tatiana brings to each member of the Clone Club.

The hell with them.  Lets get out on the floor and move to our groove.  Go, little psycho bitch, go!

And this is the part of the post where we dance with the tail!

Listomania

No, not the Ken Russel movie, but rather “What do I have ahead of me today?”  More like this weekend, but tomorrow I believe I’m going to blow off the near noon hours and see Gravity.  Yes, I know there are issues where the ships seem to have more delta-v than possible, but the chances are the person telling me this not only watched Armageddon but liked it, so they’re in no position to tell me how space works.  Hey, Saturn 3 is on:  go check out Kirk Douglas’ naked ass.

So–novel.  NaNo Novel.  I didn’t do anything last night because I reconnected with some friends I know on Second Life, and that took a bit of time between the viewer crashes.  Today is names and plotting, so I can put this sucker to bed and spend October working on other things, and begin writing when I’m ready to write.  This year it’s about doing it right, not just doing it because there’s some goal at the end of the rainbow–which is probably a unicorn, ’cause who doesn’t want a unicorn?  Or maybe it’s Twilight Sparkle after she becomes an alicorn . . .  Pomf!

So, names and plotting.  Oh, and I need a A Level roster of students and where they come from.  Oi!  How did I put myself in this mess, with all these people and all the stuff I need to track.  Such a crazy level of detail for something so simple as sending a bunch of kids off to school.  I really should do something else, but I’m not sure what.

The one thing I won’t work on is the spell list.  When it comes, it comes.  Spells be spells, mon, and you let that flow into you, right?  Jah loves, ya know, it all be comin’ in time.  Therefore it’s in the back of my mind, and when things pop up I’ll thrown them in.  I’m good there.

I have an article I want to start.  I know what I want to say, and how to say it.  It’s just a matter of reading, research, and writing, then posting the sucker up where it will be seen.  I figure getting one of these off a month is a good deal, and it keeps the mind fresh and limber.  Not that my mind needs to be too limber, ’cause it’s already all over the place.  But I need to keep the ideas coming, and getting yourself rooted in some article goodness is one way to do it.

And lastly:  I have to get some notes from another person for–here it comes–a story.  It appears I’m attempting a collaborator with another writer, and we’re either gonna come up with some crazy shit, or some shit, period.  I think it’ll be crazy shit based upon some notes I passed along, and as soon as I get permission to go crazy in her Google Docs, I’m gonna start doing my thing.

Yeah, writing before NaNo start.  Brilliant!

Eh, probably not, but what the hell else is there to do?

The Story at the End of the Lane

Well, there you have it:  for the first time in the three years since I began writing with a determination not seen in my prior forty-five years, and probably in the whole of my time as a writer, I finished a short story.  I said I was going to finish it on Friday, and being the good girl I am, I was up until about a quarter to midnight working through the scene until I felt I’d reached the point where “The End” was ready to be slapped into the text.

Final numbers for last night:  one thousand, three hundred, thirteen.  Thirteen-thirteen.  Nice ring, I think.  Total word count:  five thousand, eight hundred, fifty-three.  Well under my seventy-five hundred word limit the SFWA uses for determining if you get a short story Hugo for all your hard work.

Yay, me!  Right?  Lets hear it . . . yay!

Given that yesterday was a huge pain in the butt, it was nice to finish the day with a sense of accomplishment.  Sure, I was without music all night–thank you crappy motel internet–and I discovered I may not have my internet up and running when I move into my new place on Friday–thank you Comcast management bullshit–so doing what I said I was going to do–write a short story and have it finished on Friday, 6 September, 2013–I went to bed with a certain goodness burning in my tummy.

Or was that the cod I had for dinner?  No, I think it was goodness.  I’m sure of it.

I know what you’re saying–what’s next, Cassie?  What do you have on your writing plate now that you’ve written your short story and you have nothing else to do but let your royalties roll in so you can lay upon that pile of cash like Scrooge McDuck?  (Yes, I stole that line from Breaking Bad.  I steal from the best.)  As I may have indicated yesterday, I need to get my NaNo novel whipped into shape.  I need to figure out what I’m going to write, and the overall plot of the story.  I have a basic idea, but not much beyond that, and I don’t want to wait too long to get this worked out.

I have editing to finish, and I intend to do a few chapters today and tomorrow.  I want to write an article.  I want to shop; I want to buy; I want . . . well, there’s a lot of things I want, but there are few things I get.  But there will be editing.  As for the article, I could at least start it, no?

Also, there’s this annoying story rolling about in my head . . . I don’t know why this fantasy erotica won’t leave me alone.  It’s hanging out, nibbling at my brain, whispering, “You know you should write this, ’cause with all the crazy shit on Smashwords, you could be Queen of the Crazy Shit in no time.”  Go away, kid, you bother me.

So much to want to do, so little time to do it all.

Guess I should get started.

The Group Fade

There was something goofy with the computer last night, because I’m trying to edit and it’s making everything on the system drag.  Not to mention I was in one of those, “I do everything at once!” modes last night.  And my hair was driving me nuts, too.  What is causing this?  It’s not a full moon, that’s for sure.  The aftermath of a blue moon?  A change in the weather?  The impending end of Breaking Bad and the downfall of the Heisenberg Meth Empire?

Don’t want to say it’s aliens, but . . .

I realized yesterday that this coming Monday is Labor Day, and I’ll be spending it in The Burg alone.  In the past I was always around family during holidays, even when working in The Undisclosed Location.  This time–no.  Too far to drive.  I suppose if I were crazy enough I could leave out Friday night, spend ten hours in the dark driving, and arrive home about one in the morning–only to turn around and come back on Monday.  But that’s not how you do it.  That’s a waste of time and money.

I suppose I’ll get through  Maybe it’s time to explore . . .

I haven’t started writing anything new yet, but I think this weekend could be the time to start.  I’m getting to where I want to do something, but I don’t want to start on a novel or novella.  I don’t want to spend a month putting another thirty thousand words down, because I’m going to turn around and do that in November.  I’ve decided I will attempt NaNo, but I’m concerned I’ll actually “win” it this year.  Anymore it’s not about winning or losing:  it’s about writing a good story.  It’s about doing something you can publish–

Which, speaking of publishing, I need to get on my own stuff.  I need to do one last edit, then hand out my story and see about getting a cover.  I’m slacking there, but it’s not as if I haven’t had a lot keeping my busy of late.  The last month seems to have gone on and on with non-stop fun, though with September coming in things are starting to settle.  I think the next few weeks will see everything getting into a normal swing.  And once that happens, then I can start doing something else.

But I want that short story written.  And with it an article or two I’ve been sitting upon.  It need to be done.  And soon.

There was something in my dreams last night that I found unusual.  I was standing on the edge of something–building, hill, don’t know.  And there were thousands of people in an area below me, all of them mumbling something.  I looked out over them, then waved my hand and told them, “Go.  Leave.”  And they turned and started walking away, still mumbling, making their sounds.

I have no idea what that’s suppose to mean.  Was I looking over the past and telling it to leave me the hell alone?  Was it the present?  Were they the people I knew or know?  Or was it, you know, just a dream, one of those things where strange things happen–

‘Cause I was also stripping in the dream, too.

I didn’t look half bad.

Cat of Space Death

Here I am, finally getting to the blogging even though I’ve been up since about five AM, and out of bed about thirty minutes later.  My mind was going a mile a minute this morning, which is why I was up without really getting out of bed.

Yesterday I spoke of articles that I wanted to write, or that were at least bouncing about in my head bothering me.  This is a hazard that all writers fall into, and many fall prey to their own inability to stay focused upon the story they’re writing.  When this happens, I open up the idea file, write the idea down, and save the sucker for later access.  If I feel compelled to do something with it later, I will.  If not, then it wasn’t a very good idea, was it?

But this thing that woke me up, it all arose from a snarky comment I imagine writing inside said “You’re bothering me” article.  It was my brain going, “Hey, you know, that comment you were going to make?  Do you realize . . ?” and like that, I’m awake going, “Yeah, when did that happen?  Can I really pin down the time?”

Why, yes I can.

The timeline I needed to examine is the Alien Universe timeline, because . . . yeah, I need to find something.  It’s not strange to think there’s an actual timeline–this is the Internet, remember?  Say I want to find a Hello Kitty timeline–bang!  There it is.

While I understand that this might not be the most accurate timeline in the history of timelines, I can use it nonetheless because there will be some moments defined within that are made cannon by dates.  And that’s what I was looking for:  dates.  The kind made of numbers, not the other kind–though the none-number kind would be nice . . .

I found the point in time I’m looking for, as well as discovering the date and place of Ellen Riply’s birth–she’s a Lunie?  Explains the height.  Love of Ellen translated into love of Cirocco Jones and Gaby Plauget from John Varley’s Gaea Trilogy, and today she remains the mold for a lot of the kick-ass women of my stories.

But I also discovered someone else:  Jonesy, the Cat of Space Death.

If you know science fiction, you know Jonesy, the ginger feline who survived the destruction of a company ship and managed to outlive its mistress by a few years–assuming someone didn’t blow his ass out a Gateway Station airlock as soon as the Sulaco was away.  I can imagine he ended up on another ship as their mascot, and was probably responsible for that ship’s destruction as well.  And the ship after that.  And so on . . .

When I ran the game Diaspora some time back, one of the characters owned her own ship, which was good, since the characters needed a spaceship.  She decided that she wanted a mascot on-board, and that mascot was going to be a cat.  There, on the spot, I came up with Jones, Cat of Space Death, and you had better keep the little bastard feed and watered and free from a poopy litter box, else your ship would crash into the sun and the only survivor would be a cat floating about in an escape pod.

The strangeness that fills my mind scares me–

Sometimes.