Fall and the Dreamland Express

It is the First of September, the day that people who are supposed to track these sorts of things say is pretty much the day fall begins.  Never mind that here in The Burg today and the next two days are gonna see temps get up above ninety Fahrenheit, it’s fall, which means I need to get into my jeans, slip on my Ugg boots, and go sip a pumpkin spiced latte and get a selfie while standing in leaves next to pumpkins.

I've got the boots ready, as you can see.

I’ve got the boots ready, as you can see.

Today is also post number one thousand, six hundred, and in one hundred and fifty days I will reach post one thousand, seven hundred and fifty; that will occur on Friday, January 29, 2016, or one day short of two years after post one thousand, titled Millennium, was written. Continue reading

Laying in the Bed in the Bay: A Final Reckoning

There is so much to show today, I don’t know where to start.  How about at the beginning?  Good idea, Cassie!

Yesterday I sent off two pitches for cover ideas.  I thought I’d share those with you, so that perhaps you can see my thought process, and see what I see as far as images are concerned.  I’ve included the photos I sent as well, because I’m all about imaginary, yeah?


Kolor Ijo Ideas:

This takes place in Indonesia, in the city of Makaasar.  Here is a picture of an area that is actually in the novel known as Losari Beach:

Kolor Ijo Makaasar Losari Beach

One of the things I like is the calm in the area, but right beyond, there is bustle and a lot of things unseen.  It’s one of the main themes of the novel.

The characters:

First is Indriani Baskoro, woman, late twenties, Muslim though she is pretty secular.  She’s usually attired in jeans, a pullover of some kind—loose top or tee shirt—and sneakers.  She has a pink backpack that she takes with her nearly everywhere.  She never wears a hijab, because as mentioned she’s pretty laid back with that stuff, as are most Indonesians.  She started out as a paranormal investigator, but now is kind of “freelance” and shows up to look up things and try to solve events.  She is a true believer because of something that happens in the previous story of her adventures, Kuntilanak.  She is missing two fingers and part of her right hand, lost during an investigation on Bali.  Most of the time she’s called Indri.

Second is Kadek Bagus Surya Buana, usually known as Buana.  He’s in his late thirties, about ten years older than Indri, and is a traditional healer from Bali.  As a traditional healer he’s in tune to the supernatural world, and has seen many of the creatures who walk there.  He dresses casually:  loose flowing top and trousers with sandals.  Sometimes he wears a wide-brim hat if he’s out during the day.  He carries as keris, which is a traditional knife used for protection from things living and otherwise.  Follow this link for more information.

Kolor Ijo is Indonesian for “Green Underpants Demon.”  No, really.  It comes from an event that happened around Jakarta in 2005, and is a known hoax—this is something that Buana even mentions early on in the novel.  One of the images I see would have Indri and Buana standing here at Losari Beach looking down one of the streets of Makaasar, where one can see traffic and people stretching off into the distance, but at the same time there are, just viewed on the side streets, ominous shadows with a tint of green to them.  I should point out that neither character would wear green in this scene, because they’re standing close to the ocean, and the Queen of the Sea would come up and snatch them away to their death for doing such a thing—particularly Indri, as the Queen hates beautiful women in green.  (That last is actually a true Indonesian legend.)  The characters never touch; there isn’t anything romantic between them.  They both work to find a solution to the supernatural problem, and whatever romance is in their lives is with others.

That’s what I’m looking at right now.  Feel free to send me your own ideas.


And now the second:


Foundation Chronicles: A For Advanced Act One Idea

So, this is what I have as an idea for this series. First, allow me to introduce the characters–

The girl is Annie Kirilova. She’s eleven, five foot tall, a Bulgarian Caucasian with a touch of Romani blood. She has wavy chestnut colored hair that falls just below her shoulder, and eyes are hazel and piercing. She is confident most of the time; the only time that confidence fails is when she fears failure in front of others. She is refined and intelligent, but not haughty, though many will see her that way: in the novel I’m writing now, she knows she’s seen as something of an “Ice Princess”, cold and aloof. Annie’s facial appearance is based somewhat upon actress Jodelle Ferland.

The boy is Kerry Malibey. He’s also eleven, five foot tall, Caucasian with an exceptional light complexion due to having an Irish-American mother and a Welsh father. He has short, slightly curly red hair, bright green eyes, freckles, and wears rectangular pewter-colored wire rim glasses. He goes almost everywhere with his backpack, and most of the time you’ll find his tablet computer inside. He’s bright as hell, cleaver, but socially awkward. This means he has trouble making friends, but for some reason he bonds with Annie quickly.

There you have it: my main characters that I’d like to see on the cover. If you need more input, just ask.

The scene I have in mind is when they first arrive at the school. I modeled the school in Blender, so I have a good visual idea of how I see it. There is a huge building in the center of a star-like wall: this is call the Great Hall. The wall around the building is known as The Pentagram, because as mentioned it’s in the shape of a five-pointed star. The main entrance to The Pentagram is known as Founder’s Gate, a large archway built through the thick Pentagram Walls. The pathway from Founder’s Gate to the Great Hall is about two football fields long–yes, it’s a big place. On either side of the pathway is the Pentagram Garden, which is full of flowers, bushes, shrubs, and trees.

I see Annie and Kerry standing inside Founder’s Gate with ten students in the distance positioned around an adult. This is important: Kerry is always on Annie’s right, and she on his left. This is something that should happen in all the covers. Here, they should be looking around, both in three-quarter profile, like they’re looking back and towards each other. Kerry is wearing jeans, a dark-wine colored hoodie, and his backpack. One hand, probably his left, is hooked in the shoulder strap. He could even look a bit amazed because he’d never seen anything like this.

Annie is looking to her right, doing the same as Kerry, but she’s aware of the school’s existence, and so her amazement is not as great. She’s wearing jeans as well, and a nice, long-sleeve pullover. If she’s wearing earrings, they are either small gold loops or similar colored studs. No rings, bracelets, or necklaces. She also has a small leather purse, slung cross body, probably on her left side, but it may have moved around to the front.

It’s night time and there’s a misting rain. The school is surrounded by darkness and any lighting here is low and possesses a blueish tint. Nothing is direct; all light is indirect, and doesn’t seem to come from anywhere, though there are plenty of shadows.

A For Advanced Act One Cover Idea

The title of this novel is The Foundation Chronicle: A For Advanced on the top, Act One: Meetings in the Beginning at the bottom. My name can come below the bottom title. The font for the bottom title doesn’t need to be a huge font: just enough so it’s seen. But I don’t need to tell you this.

If you have any questions, just ask.


There you have it:  my ideas for the first two covers.  And if you’re asking, “Do you know what you want for the last two covers?” the answer is, yes, I do.  In fact, I have two ideas for the last cover, so there are five ideas for four covers.  Always have a Plan B, kids.  The upshot here is, my artist may have her own ideas, so we can work together and come up with something that is good for me and her.

Then there is writing . . . as if the above isn’t enough.

I finished yesterday’s scene, and it’s okay, but not my best writing.  I felt distracted most of the night, even with the music pumping, because, well, things.  You know?  But we find out a lot more now that Kerry is in bed for a while–


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

Kerry looked up at the ceiling and noticed for the first time the lights were on in the ward. “What time is it?”

Annie gave his fingers a light squeeze. “It’s a little after nineteen.”

“I was out for five hours.” He swallowed slowly, thinking it would help avoid pain. It did. “Wow.”

“You were out longer than that after the Day of the Dead.” Coraline checked the instruments over his head. “You adjusted to the treatment quicker this time—”

“Because I’m probably used to it.” He flexed his fingers under Annie’s. “I missed dinner.”

“I’m having some teleshko vareno brought up in a little while.”

“And I wouldn’t worry about eating, either—” Coraline chuckled as she stepped back from the bed. “Nurses Aid Annie will see to it you won’t go hungry.”

Kerry smiled weakly. “She’s done that before.”

Shush, you.” Annie never took her eyes from Kerry, her love emanating from them. “I told you we’d have that after the race.”

“I just didn’t think it was going to be this late after the race.”


Annie even tells Kerry to shush when he’s hurt, and there’s not only a little of the banter going on between her Coraline, but Annie can take some good-natured ribbing from an adult.


“The team came by to see how you were doing—” Once again Annie scooted her chair closer towards the head of his bed. “Even the boys came. You were out, of course . . .” She looked down the length of the bed as if she expected to see Kerry suddenly well and healed. “Penny and Alex said they’d be back later with Jairo—”

“And Kahoku, too?” Kahoku Sayasone, a C Level from Blodeuwedd, was the boy Alex dated since near the end of the last school year, and he’d become a fixture in the gathering of the Party of Five.


And now we know who Alex’s boyfriend is:  a boy from Laos.  Trust me, Kahoku is from there–I’ve ever got his home town written down somewhere . . .


“Yes, he’s going to stop by as well.”

Kerry closed his eyes for a moment, not because he was tired, but because he wanted the chance to get his thoughts around the next question, and the ones that would likely follow. “How’s Emma?”

“As bad as you.” Coraline stood near the foot of Kerry’s bed. “She broke both arms and a leg as well as her jaw. She also has a hairline fracture in her skull, which means I may hold her overnight tomorrow, too. I’ll see how she’s doing when I release you.”

“When is that gonna be?” Even though Coraline indicated he was responding to treatment faster than he had a year ago after his Day of the Dead crash, he didn’t believe for a moment he’d be released in the morning.

“I’m going to keep you at least twenty-four hours.” Coraline checked something below the level of where he lay. “I’m concerned about that concussion, just like I’m worried about Emma’s skull. Best not to take chances.”


If you’re wondering why Kerry is hurt so much worse here–but was knocked out longer the first time–it might have been due to having less protection the first time throwing a huge shock on his body–the safety enchantments in his normal flight gear is minimal compared to his racing gear, and even though the speeds were great in this latest accident, there was really more protection.  You can probably guess that without those enchantments in place, both Emma and Kerry would be dead.

He has other questions as well . . .


“She’s right.” Annie barely touched his left arm. “You need to get well, my love.”

“No disagreement from me.” He closed his eyes again. “Why did she do it?”

“Do what?”

“Block me like that at the end?”

“No one knows.”

“Why not?” Kerry found it strange she hadn’t said anything about the crash.

“Because she’s still unconscious.” Coraline looked down once more. “The chances are good she won’t wake up until sometime after midnight—excuse me—” She quickly left the bay, closing the curtain behind her.


Yeah, this is your first time to crash like this, Emma, so you get to stay knocked out longer–just as Kerry did the first time.


Annie continued gazing in the direction of the departed doctor. “Erywin was by to see how you were doing—” She turned back toward Kerry. “So was Holoč and Vicky. They wanted to make sure you were recovering.”

He smiled. “That was nice. I wish I’d been awake.”

Annie drew a slow breath. “Erywin’s not happy.”

“What do you mean?”

“What she means is Erywin’s pissed.” Coraline returned with a collection bag for Kerry’s catheter. “She told me not to clear Emma for flying this week because she’s sitting her down for one race.” She quickly swapped out the bags and dropped the full one in a biohazard container. “Erywin’s also gonna ream her out when she wakes up—”

“Because of the crash.”

“It’s more than that, my love.” Annie stretched her shoulders, pressing them forward. “Emma had been warned twice during the race about her blocking, and Erywin told us that if the race had gone another lap she was going to sit her down.”

“Wow.” It was rare to pull a racer from the course and sit them down, but Kerry remembered what Nadine had told Annie and him that morning, that Emma had received warnings before this about the same thing. “I can see why Erywin got mad—”

And while Erywin may not have the temper of her partner, you never want to piss her off.  Also–


“There’s something else: after everyone finished she was penalized five seconds. She dropped from second to seventh.”

“She didn’t even point?”

“No. And it moved Manco up into sixth.” Annie slowly smiled. “Cernonnus went from being scored first, third, and forth to securing all the podium positions as well as scoring sixth.”

Coraline cleared her throat. “Not only that, but Åsgårdsreia had a good heat and is now a point behind Mórrígan, and . . .” She nodded at Annie. “You should tell him.”

“Ceridwen had a horrible heat—we moved into third in the coven standings.”

Kerry laughed despite the pain. “Really?”

“Yes. Sweeping the podium ended up pushing us three points ahead.”

“Congratulations.” Coraline patted his right leg, the only limb he had that wasn’t broken. “Your second win, and you helped you helped move your coven into third.”

“Also . . “ Annie seemed almost embarrassed to speak. “It’s the first time Mórrígan hasn’t scored a podium position in a two-team heat since 1986.”

Coraline nodded. “I think that upsets Erywin the most.” She picked up the biohazard container with Kerry discarded urine bag. “Your soup is here, by the way. Want me to wheel it down?”

Annie nodded politely. “Yes, please.”

Kerry watched Coraline leave the bay. “Is she going to let you sleep here tonight?”

“What do you think?” Annie beamed. “There’s no way she could keep me away, my love. She’s in a good mood tonight: she said we could even have a little Madness party here if we didn’t get loud.”

“Nice.” He wished he could touch Annie, and hated not having the use of his arms. “You’re gonna have to sleep in the other bed tonight, you know.”

Annie finally leaned in and kissed Kerry lightly upon the lips. “Such are the sacrifices one must make for their champions . . .”


So a lot accomplished last night.  Tonight I’m going to try and put together the idea for the second Foundation cover, and maybe even the ones I have for the third.  Most of all, I’d say I got a lot done yesterday.  Quite a lot done . . .

From Under the Covers

Yes, yes, I know:  you were expecting to find something here concerning Annie’s and Kerry’s breakfast, and whether or not Annie was gonna burn down the Great Hall to get back at Emma.  Sorry, I’m so, so sorry, but I didn’t.  First, I went out for drinks with a woman from the office.  Second, we both got a tinsy blasted and were well on our way to being “The Hammered Chicks at the Bar,” which wouldn’t have bothered us in the least as we were joking with the bartender–who made the best Cosmos–and throwing shade at some of the people around us.  (My friend’s best remark, concerning an obvious state intern dressed to the nines and looking like she needed a good meal:  “Of course the bitch ordered a salad.”  Oh, and a couple of dudes to my right kept looking like they wanted to hit on us.)  Third, by the time I got home it was seven-thirty, and I really didn’t feel like I was gonna get anything done, because I had business to do.

Which leads us to Forth via a short roundabout.

The last thing I published was Her Demonic Majesty back in May, 2012.  Since then I’ve written a hell of a lot–by my own estimation, of the six full stories and one finished story written, eight hundred and fifty thousand words–not one of those things has come to light.  I’m just a novelette short of a million words in three years, and nothing is out.  When you think about it, that’s pretty damn sad.

Lately–well, for months, really–I’ve been on the kick of saying that I would publish, but I need a good cover.  And really, you do, otherwise you end up on Lousy Book Covers and people shame your ass because, as some point, a writer looked at the work in front of them and thought, “Yeah, it’s not getting better than this.”  And I seriously don’t want that.

But I’ve been in a real “Shit or Get Off the Pot” moment, where it’s either time to walk away and admit you aren’t doing anything but literary masturbation, or you are totally serious about getting your work out.  Which is why there was a Forth last night:

I’m having book covers made.

I contacted Desi’s Art Deigns and spoke with Desi herself.  I told her what I was looking for, and she quoted a price of $200 per custom cover, with a ten percent discount if it’s part of a series.  When we finished, I told her I would get my ideas to her and that by sometime next week I’d pay her, up front, for her work.

So what am I getting?  A dark, urban horror cover for Kolor Ijo, for one.  This was my NaNoWriMo 2012 entry, and I’ve wanted it published for some time, so why not soon?  Desi told me that she could have real fun with this, as dark urban horror is pretty sweet.  I’m coming up with ideas for it, and will start making notes on those ideas.

Notice, however, I’m using a lot of plurals–“Covers”; “ideas”; “series”.  Just how many covers did you buy, Cassidy?  Four.  One of Kolor Ijo, and three for . . . you know what’s coming next.

I’m going to edit and publish The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced.

I mean, I spent fifteen months of my life working on that book, so what the hell?  Is it seeing the light of day or what?  So I will stick to my original plan of publishing the first book by act, which are all over a hundred thousand words.  I already have an idea for the Act One cover:

Only less sparse.

Only less sparse.

It would come as Annie and Kerry are walking through Founder’s Gate for the first time.  They both stop in the archway and look around:  Kerry to his left, Annie to her right.  This way you get them both in three-quarter profile.  Kerry will have on his hoodie and backpack, and you’ll see his green eyes through his rectangular putter-gray glasses, while Annie will have her nice purse slung across her body over a nice jacket, her long, full chestnut hair exposing enough of her face that you can see her hazel eyes.  There is the garden on either side of the long walkway, and Isis and the rest of the European/African A Levels are about half way down the lane, while in the distance is the Great Hall, shrouded in darkness and mist, all indirectly lit.

I have my ideas for the Act Two and Three covers as well, but I’m not going into that now.  Be it that the covers are coming, which means I will edit and publish, probably throughout much of next year.  Because now I’ll have to publish–

After all, I’ll have covers.

Mercurial Rearrangements

In a much better place this morning, since the drive in wasn’t nearly as insane as it was yesterday, and I’ve had some munchies that have put me in a happy place.  It shouldn’t have been that way; I should have little depression going, because I had some rather depressing dreams that culminated with me going to place where I believed I’d interviewed once before, and trying to get another interview, and having to deal with some smarmy punk giving me the glad-hand all the way out of the building without telling me if they wanted to interview me or not.

After doing the Walk of Shame through what appeared to be a bombed-out T.J. Max, I took a left turn into another building, and then–darkness.  Lots of darkness.  As I walked onward, it became darker, and then everything was pitched dark.  That’s when I woke up because it almost felt as if I were pushed out of the dream.  Not a good feeling, mind you, and I laid there for a while trying to gather my wits about me before heading into the day.

Last night’s writing was, to say the least, interesting.  I finished the second of the two new chapters for Replacements, then headed in to edit the first of the new chapters.  I finished the edit, looked at the chapter that came before the new Chapter Six–and realized I’d screwed up.  The chapter that was before the new Chapter Six was suppose to come after the new Chapter Seven.


However, Scrivener is good for fixing screw ups.  What I did was move the note card that is the chapter from the front to the back of the new chapters, then relabeled them, changed the titles inside the chapters, and there you have it:  screw up all taken care of.  Now all I have to do is rewrite part of the new old Chapter Seven, because some of the things I said in that chapter I’d set up in the old new Chapter Five, and I want the follow up chapter to deal with what comes after, well, what comes after the end of this second new chapter I wrote.

I already have in my head how I want to fix that chapter, which I’ll likely do tonight after Project Runway, ’cause first of all, I’m about the fashion.  At this rate I’ll likely finish up the Replacements this weekend, then it’s a combo of finishing up some descriptions for Windows 8 themes, and maybe start an article before getting into the finial edit of Her Demonic Majesty–for which I have seen a set of possible covers.  That means I also have to get back to the designer and tell her what I think . . .

No, I’m not feeling down today.  There’s a lot going on, and it’s making me feel that I have some hope of keeping ahead of all this.  If I can get my cover finalized in the next couple of weeks, no reason why I can have my novel ready for publication by the first of May.

Yeah, a great way to celebrate the second anniversary of this blog, don’t you think?

Springing Ahead to the Unknown

Last night was Break Night.  I read up on Blender, I down loaded some content control software, and I chatted with people who needed chatting.  The last two days of work had been a pain in the ass, I’d finished Chapter Nine late Thursday night, and I needed a break.  So break I took.  Today, I get back into the novel.  Chapter Ten, Muse and Keith start having words, then shit, as they say, gets real.

Talia is so going to be disappointed.

Even though I shouldn’t, I’m already thinking ahead to the next story.  I’m guessing that at the rate I’m going I’ll finish up Suggestive Amusements in about thirty to forty-five days, and then it’s–what?  What’s next?  There is always a story right around the corner, no?  So what comes next?

That’s a good question.  Because, at the moment, nothing is sparking my interest.

I’ve been on a pretty good tear of late.  If I finish this new novel in March, that’s two novels written in five months.  Kolor Ijo was almost seventy thousand words, and I have no reason to doubt that Suggestive Amusements won’t clock in about sixty-five to seventy thousand words, either.  One hundred and forty thousand words in five months, with two stories edited in the between.  Not a bad output.  And if you pop the sixty or so thousand words of this blog from November through February on top of that, we’re talking a lot of words for the last few months.

Spring time is the time to get the self publishing thing going.  I need to come up with a cover, I need to get one of my stories fully edited and ready to go.  Just as we talk about writers who don’t do much writing, writers who don’t publish as much are just as bad.  You gotta get it out there, you gotta get people seeing your work.  I write for myself, but if I’m the only one reading anything, then I’m sort of losing track of part of why I’m writing.

This is the next part of the plan.  I’ve stated I’d like to publish four titles this year, and I need to get to that.  Otherwise–I’m not making progress.  I’m the shark that’s stopped moving forward, and it’s only a matter of time before I start going, “Glug, glug,” and sink to the bottom of the ocean to be consumed by hagfish.

I will start on Chapter Ten today, get my wordage in, then I need to start looking at things to help me get a cover together.  I would hope to make a cover that’s somewhat better than these gems, but who knows?  I could become the Gielgud of Bad Cover Art, which isn’t that bad of a goal if that’s what you set out to become.  I want something a little better, however, and I will guaranty that any cover I make will not have a dragon, a kilt, or anything relating to Scotland gracing the image; I’ll leave those to the other cover makers . . .

Once more I have a plan.

Now to make it work.

All the Tools of the Trade

Here it is, Thursday, and by this time next week people around the world will be writing their little fingers off–though I’m certain a few will be screaming at their computers, or on Facebook, yelling, “Why am I doing this?  Why?  WHY??”  Don’t worry if you fall into that later group; it’s really easy to play Throw Writer From the Train.  Let me look for some tall grass to cushion your fall . . .

Last night I was updating my NaNo Novel information on the NaNoWriMo site, and saw the information about uploading a cover for you novel.  I’ve done a cover before, and I thought, “Hey, why not do another cover?”  I mean, it’s not one I’d use if I sell the novel, or even if I self publish, it’s only going to be there for the duration of NaNo.  So I was on the Creative Commons Flickr, looking for something I could use.  I may look through for a few more things, but there are thousands of pictures out there, and that becomes something of a huge endeavor when you’re searching for the right image.

It’s the era of digital publishing, of self-publishing.  It’s not just enough to know how to write these days:  you are require to be able to edit and come up with ideas for promotion, and even do a cover or two when the need arises.  It’s not easy; even though I know a little about photo manipulation, creating a cover that makes your happy is hard as hell.

But it’s something that you have to know these days.  You have to.

I do my own editing.  I’ve had people ask me why, and it’s an easy answer:  I can’t afford to pay someone to edit my manuscripts.  I write novels, and we’re talking about two hundred, three hundred–or, for one of my series, around nine hundred pages.  Even at the cheep price of $2/page, you can see how I’m going to find myself deep in the checkbook if I pay to have someone go over my work.  It’s not that I wouldn’t like that, but . . . I’m just a poor, starving artist, and until I’m rolling about cash, I’ll have to be self sufficient.

Same with book covers.  It’s time consuming to find a picture you can use, and using software to create or manipulate an image, to get it formatted correctly . . . and then remember that the size of a cover for use on Smashwords is different that the size you’ll use for Amazon Kindle, and can become a bit of a headache.

Gone are the days when all a writer need worry about were their trusty typewriter, ribbons  pens or pencils  paper, and a fifth of Bushmills.  You gotta know how to use software, how to format an ebook, how to use social media for more than poking people, how to make covers, how to edit the hell out of your work . . . you gotta do it all.

You gotta be all the people in the band.  This is your Who Came First, and if you can’t step up and do the work, someone’s gonna beat you to the sales counter.  “I can’t do that” isn’t a valid argument these days, not when there’s so much open source software out there, and online tutorials showing you how to do things like re-size an image.

Yeah, it’s a tough old world, but writers are a tenacious bunch, and if anyone is going to figure out the whole mess, it’s us. Or you could sit around and make bunny dresses, then tell the world how things are so hard.  It’s your choice–

I mean, it’s not like anyone made you put words on a page, right?