The Value of Worth

Last night was not a writing night.  It was hardly a watching night, either.  It was more like a “Oh, depression is going to hit your ass right now and slap you around a bit” sort of night.  That’s to say when I returned home about seven PM from a local event, I found it necessary to cry out in frustration and sadness.

Or, as I like to say, Tuesday night.

Depression is a bitch and she’s been showing up a lot of late.  It hasn’t made things easy for a while and a friend with whom I was chatting last night via Facebook PM told me that it seems like I hadn’t been myself for at least two months.  It’s been more like close to a year, but yeah:  since the start of ’17 it’s been a daily struggle to keep on keepin’.  I do my best to keep going, but like last night, you want to lay back and cry out and wonder what the hell you are doing.

So there was a bit of vegetating after this event and it was nearly a couple of hours before I got on the computer.  I knew I wasn’t going to write–I know I have to, but I didn’t have the will to carry through on my actions.  And I really want to start this next section ’cause it’s gonna be good, but you know, depression, that bitch wouldn’t let me.

Therefore, computer.  Mostly email, ’cause I haven’t checked it since leaving work.  And I spot something I’d seen before leaving work:  a message for something LGBT.  I almost deleted it thinking someone was asking for money, but surprise, it was from the Racial Justice Program Coordinator of the Harrisburg YWCA and she wanted to know if I’d be interested in being part of their #ShatteringStereotypes video program they do every month, highlighting a different marginalized community and giving examples of some of the stereotypes we encounter.  It seemed my name was given to them by the same person who had me speak at the LGBT workshop at the start of this month, which meant this woman wanted to speak with me–

Did I say speak?  Actually, they want to do a thirty minutes video interview this afternoon so they can likely find some good quotes to use in their shorter, ten minute video that will come out during Pride Month this June.

There are a lot of times when I really do forget I’m a member of the LGBT community here in The Burg, only because it seems like I have so little interaction with them.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have stories to tell–or hope to offer, for in a way I can offer that to those who have yet to choose the same path upon which I now walk.  As someone in the office told me a few weeks back, perhaps my real calling is to become a mentor and speaker and not only pass along what I know, but encourage others to face the same challenge I did and move forward.

Even when you feel you have no value to offer, it someone finds a way to reminding you that there is worth in your life…

Separations and Searching

What can I say but I didn’t get it done last night.  I’m back in low-production mode, and luck if I can get out just over five hundred words in an evening.  It’s to be expected, I guess, because there’s so many things going on that I’m trying to see in my head, and at the moment my head’s not exactly screwed on right.

Not to mention the worst news:  my mouse died.  It’s been on kind of its last legs for a while, but last night it pretty much decided that not working was preferable to working, and gave up a ghost that none of my stories necromancers will ever retrieve.  This means at some point tonight–probably after six when the rush hour traffic slows–I’ll need to run out and find me a new mouse, because there are some programs that simply run better when I have a mouse.

Then what did I write?  Well . . . that’s strange, because what I put down on paper wasn’t that much, but in my head I probably wrote parts of this scene, as well as two others.  That’s where most of the writing seems to take place these days:  in my head.  I’m seeing a lot of scenes play out in my mind, but when it comes time to actually working those scenes out of my brain and into the computer, it’s a lot harder.  Tonight I need to get a new mouse, get it set up, and then get the buds in and work out the rest of this scene.  I’m about twenty-two hundred words away from making my next ten thousand, and a good thousand word night would do wonders taking care of that line.

It seems I'm not a spring of creativity.  You'll get that bad joke in a moment.

It seems I’m not a spring of creativity. You’ll get that bad joke in a moment.

And I can get into a part of this scene that’ll reveal something about the school that no one knew.

So, in its minimal entirety, here we are:

 

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

They walked around the paths of the school for a bit before flying to Van der Kroff Spring, a local rarely visited by students because of the remoteness and lack of trails to the spot. They landed at the north edge—Kerry on his broom, Annie under her own power—before taking in the spot, their arms wrapped around each other.

The spring was small and shallow—only a meter and a half deep in the center—and was ringed by a narrow band of grass surrounded by a thick cover of trees. The spring was famous as the spot where Lucille Van der Kroff, the founder of Ceridwen Coven, would bathe every other day of the year, regardless of the weather.

The most notable part of the spring was the large tree situated across from them on the south edge. Annie ran her hands along the back of Kerry’s heavy jacket. “There’s her tree.”

“Yes.” He pulled Annie closer. “We seem to have trees so close to us—”

She nodded. “Not like our trees, though. Our trees were there for us, while hers . . .” It wasn’t necessary for her to say more, for they both knew the story of how when Lucille Van der Kroff her body was immolated and the ashes scattered her along the short of her favorite place, and come the next spring students who visited here found the tree growing in the spot where it was said she would lay naked and sun herself. “Our are associated with our dreams and lives: hers came with her death—” Annie tilted her head to one side. “And, if people are right, rebirth.”

Kerry looked down for a moment, trying to move the image of someone being reincarnated as a tree out of his mind. “I could think of better things to come back as.”

“And there are far worse, my love.” Annie looked around and got her bearings before tugging on Kerry’s hand. “Come on; this way.”

Annie led him off into the forest, visualizing a path where none lay. She and Isis had overflown this area many times during their training, and though it wasn’t necessary to walk far, if her directions were off, she’d miss there destination. Though with the coming of winter the leaves had fallen from many of the trees, and that made seeing through the foliage much easier . . .

Kerry was the first to spot the object she was looking for. “What’s that?”

A smile crept onto Annie’s face. “Our destination, my love.” She pulled him forward. “Come.”

 

Yeah, come here, Kerry, because Annie’s leading you off into the woods to show you something, and the last time you did that, she ended up getting you to promise to be her Dark Witch.  What comes now?  Deciding the names of your first born?  “Well, I have an idea for both a girl and a boy, and we could use both, because we’ll have at least one of each . . .”  There you go, kid.  Maybe Annie will have that written down in her book as well . . .

Upon a Stakeout Dreary

You know, I’d like to say I have another scene finished, and I could show you everything that happen after the kids did their little magic act for Tanith–and quite well, I might add, they’re doing a great job as fledgling Guardian operatives–but I can’t, because I simply couldn’t get into the mood to write, and by “into the mood” I mean I was pretty much suffering most of the day yesterday.  I did managed to do something important regarding the scene that follows this one below, but I couldn’t get much beyond that.  Needless to say, I wanted to write, but I couldn’t.  I probably should have, it likely would have helped, but in the end I couldn’t roust myself to get in front of the computer and get it out.

Save for the little bit, about seven hundred words, that appear below.

I do feel that I’ll be able to finish this scene tonight, and start on the next one today–maybe even get enough of it in place to blog it out–because I’m eager to finish up this chapter before the weekend is over, and move onto the next part before end of the year.  There really isn’t that much left, and I’m starting to get that feeling that comes when you near the finish line and the excitement builds that your endeavor is nearly over.

Really, six more chapters are all that remains.  This current scene will push the story over sixty-nine thousand words, and the next will get it over seventy. and by the time I finish the next chapter, I’ll be over seventy-five thousand.

But first, I gotta finish the one below.  And it’s all Helena’s show now.

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

After several hours of standing across the street from the Granstrom’s house, Helena was about to take the unusual and direct method of walking up to the front door, knocking, and waiting for Kaden to opened it up.

More than ever, she wanted to see what was inside their house.

She’d arrived in Montgall Park a little after nine and began her invisible observations. She contacted Erywin the moment Tanith left the house and head for the bus, but since that moment about twenty minutes after her arrival, nothing had occurred at the Granstrom’s house save for the large living curtains moving aside just a little twice in the last hour. Helena figured Kaden was peaking outside, maybe to check on the weather, maybe to see if someone were hiding invisibly across the street in the park watching his house.

Helena wondered if Kaden was this paranoid on a daily basis, or if she suspected something was up and he couldn’t relax. There was never anything in the Guardian reports about this sort of constant observing, just as there wasn’t anything in the reports about the level of shielding he had surrounding their house.

There was a flicker of curtains once more, and Helena wondered if she could shoot a bolt of lightning through the window and knock Kaden out so she could just brute-force her way in and toss the place. She stopped wondering after a few seconds, because if she couldn’t use Far Sight to look around inside, then all the offense spells in her arsenal below a certain dark energy application would bounce off and alert Kaden that she was trying to take him out. And above the energy application, she’d probably blow holes wide enough in the walls to alert everyone in the neighborhood, and would likely see The Foundation offering her a short stay in Cloudland.

 

Wait a minute–what is Cloudland?  This has come up before in the story, and always as an aside.  It’s a maximum security prison The Foundation runs, but it’s nothing like the supermaxes you’ll see on the news.  Taking another page from the novel The Stars My Destination (or is it the other way around?), Cloudland is an underground prison located in the Bighorn Mountain Range in Wyoming.  It’s nicknamed Cloudland because it’s located almost directly under Cloud Peak, which is the highest summit in the Bighorn Mountains.  You can see the location below, with Cloud Peak on the far left and almost even with the town on the right:

Just turn left at Buffalo and start hiking when you run out of road.

Just turn left at Buffalo and start hiking when you run out of road.

When you have people who can teleport themselves with magic, you need a location that fairly impossible to get out of, and Cloudland is it.  Sure, it’s only been there since the 1940s, but it has a notorious reputation, and no one wants to end up there for any period of time.  Lets just say . . . it’s not a nice place.

But that little snippet does tell you one thing:  Helena’s powerful enough to blow holes through the walls of Normal homes, and one could conclude that all the construction at Salem is probably reinforced with lots of magic and super science.  And you surly don’t want to neighbors to know you’re standing outside a house blowing down the door with the magical equivalent of C-4.

Fortunately something happens . . .

 

A minute later the door slowly opened and Kaden stepped out on the porch. He looked to the left and right, then pulled the door closed before turning and hurrying off the porch. He turned left and headed towards the intersection before turning left at the corner. Helena watched him until he stopped before a car, entered, and drove away about twenty seconds later.

Helena was left with an empty house. Her options for getting inside were just as limited as they were before Kaden departed. She could hammer at the shielding until it came down—along with a door or part of a wall. Then she’d be back in trouble with people living on this block thinking there was some kind of terrorist attack going on, and she’d end up in front of the Guardians explaining how she found it necessary to take down a single family residence in order to get inside and investigate the ruins.

What she needed was subtlety. She though of possible solutions that didn’t involve magical mayhem. And she kept coming back to one possibility: for the few seconds Kaden had the door open, not only would it have been possible to use Far Sight to look inside the house, but the shielding in that area would be minimal enough to allow jaunting.

The only problem was Helena had not only not taken advantage of the weakness in Kaden’s shielding when she could have—

If she was going to get into the house, she was going to need to Jump.

 

And what’s a Jump?  You’ve already seen it:

 

She stepped back and waved him away. “With that said, you need to get the hell off the grounds. In about five minutes Mathilde is gonna contact Isis and find out if you’re still here—and if so, she’s gonna have Isis turn one of her pets loose on your ass.”

He shook his head as he chuckled. “Is that what you’re advising?”

“No, you dumb son of a bitch . . .” Helena grabbed the lapels of her coat. “She made that call an hour ago. How do you think I’m here without them knowing?” She jaunted out of the tunnel.

Gabriel turned and slowly made his way towards the stairs, realizing what he’d just seen. “I keep forgetting she has that Gift . . .”

 

You’ll find out more tomorrow, and you’ll see how a Jump may or may not have almost gotten her killed.

But that’s tomorrow.  Today is today.

Let’s see how I get through this one.

The Revise Side of Life

I know some of your are thinking you’re going to pop in here and discover a whole lot of stuff about these rune dreams I’ve been playing up the last couple of days, and that I’d have a whole lot of stuff word counted and ready to go for NaNo.

What I do have is a whole lot of almost nothing.

You see, it’s like this:  first, I had a hook up with some of my online friends.  They just happened to be in the area where my Panera is located (and should I be saying “my Panera”, but that makes me sounds like too much of a regular.  Well, the woman taking my order did have my ice tea glass ready to go . . .), and I couldn’t say no.  Right?  Right.

They even brought me a scarf.  Can't say no to that.

They even brought me a scarf. Can’t say no to that.

We were talking and talking and having a great time, and by the time they left for home I was there started to write–oh, and I had to post picture to the Internet.  I had to.  Don’t try to say no, Cassie, you didn’t have to, because you don’t know how the Internet works, do you?

So I make it home and someone I used to work with calls.  She needs someone to talk to because she’s suffering from depression and she’s looking for advice, looking for some comfort, looking for a hand to hold.  Given my life and my struggles, I’m not gonna say no, I gotta get to work on my novel.  I listened and we chatted and that was all there was there.  It’s an obligation one has to the human race that when you’ve received help from one person, you pay it back in kind for another.  That’s what I did, and I do hope I was able to help, and that the advice I gave put my friend’s mind at ease.

Now, I have been writing, but not a lot.  I mean, I hit five hundred words at Panera before I shut things down, but that’s not even NaNo Stylin’, if you know what I mean.  I’ve got maybe forty minutes to get my butt in gear and at least pop the word count over a thousand, perhaps get Annie’s rune dream written and get the kids talking about what it means.

Nope.  There’s a frantic PM waiting for me on Facebook . . .

Without going into any great detail again, a project for a group I’m part of went belly up due to someone’s sick computer.  Well . . . guess who was asked if they could step in and get the project going once more?  If you said, “Peter Capaldi”, because right now he’s got free time on his hands and would probably enjoy something like this, you’re wrong.  Oh, so wrong.

Tonight I have a lot ahead of me.  I need to start getting this new project together, which I can do while I’m waiting for dinner to cook.  Nothing fancy, just collect the data and getting into a Scrivener file.  Then, after I eat, jump on the novel and start getting the word count up.  I’ve less that fourteen thousand words to go to hit my fifty, I have ten days to get that done–and I’ll probably lose two of those days to travel to and from Indiana.  That means for the remaining days I need to get my two thousand words a day in, while also getting the new project edited–

Good thing I’ll not be doing much when I’m home.  Except seeing my therapist on Monday.  And visiting with a friend on Tuesday.  And Thanksgiving.

Yeah, I can do it.

And since you’re all so nice to me, here’s the opening scene for Annie and Kerry getting ready to rune.  Enjoy.

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry flew his Espinoza over the southeastern shore of Lake Lovecraft, quickly cleared the body of water, and brought his broom to a hover in the clearing forming the northern shoreline. Annie hopped off as soon as her toes made contact with the ground, with Kerry joining her a few seconds later.

As he was propping his PAV against a nearby tree, Annie considered how accurate Deanna’s instructions had turned out. Kerry had asked about what happened with her, and he grew quiet when she told him they’d speak on the way back to the Great Hall. He’s listed to Annie when she told him what she was told about discussion the rune dreams, and offered the suggestion that he fly them there rather than walk. Since Annie knew his Espinoza could carry two people, and that he was a good enough pilot to have her ride passenger, she agreed to his proposal. And given that it was unseasonably warm—even now, a little after seventeen hours, it was twenty-seven Celsius—there was no need for them to change out of their uniform into something warmer.

Annie still felt uneasy about discussing her dream, but the more she considered the news that Kerry had a vision—one that Deanna said would tie into her dream—the more she agreed with the seer that a dialog was needed. In six month Kerry and she had progressed greatly in their relationship, but something remained between them, and Annie knew it was her unanswered questions about what they’d had together for years before—well, whatever it was happened in June last summer.

She wanted Kerry back—all of him. She wanted him to remember everything. Though it was possible her dream and his visions might push him away, the possibility existed that it would bring him closer—

She’d know in a few minutes.

Kerry stood facing Annie, positioning himself so she would have been on his left were they side by side. Even Annie had come to do this without thinking, keeping Kerry to her right. She didn’t think it strange or unusual that they did this, though she was aware that it was another thing that others spoke of often . . .

“Well, here we are.” Kerry looked around as if he expected someone to pop out of the tree line. “All alone.”

“Yes, we are.” Annie knew they were alone, and only one person mattered to her. “I don’t see any reason to delay this—”

“I don’t either.” He reached into his pocket and withdrew his rune. “I guess I’m as ready as I can get.”

Annie pulled hers from the small purse where she’d kept it since their first weekend at school. “As am I.” She transferred it to her left hand and slowly held it out for Kerry. She watched him do the same, ready to drop it in her right hand. “Ready?”

“Yeah.” He opened his hand and let his rune fall into her hand as Annie’s did the same. There was a moment where nothing happened—then both children recoiled a step as the enchantment that had held their tongues in check for six months vanished.

Annie closed her eyes for three seconds and let a wave of vertigo pass, while Kerry shook his head several times. Annie feared there was more happening with Kerry than losing the enchantment. “Are you all right?”

“Yes. Just—” He held the back of his hand against his forehead. “That was pretty strange.”

“Yes, it was.” Annie waited until Kerry appeared to return to normal. “Do you—remember anything?”

He shook his head as he stared at his feet. “It’s like it just came to me. Like it’s always been there.”

“I feel that, too.” Annie swallowed hard. “I suppose we should . . . start.”

Kerry chuckled. “How do we do that?” He gazed off over the calm lake. “Who goes first?”

It was a point that Annie hadn’t brought up during their walk from the Witch House. “I was told to go first.”

Kerry noticed Annie wasn’t her normal assertive self. “You okay?”

Annie wanted to admit she wasn’t comfortable, but she knew that wouldn’t help the situation. “You’re going to keep an open mind?”

“I always have for you—” He tightened his grin. “Haven’t I?”

“You have.” She let out her breath slowly. “This is what I saw . . .”

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/19:  736

NaNo Total Word Count:  35,464

This Sorrowful Life

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything personal–okay, maybe a month, but for me that’s a while.  Or long time.  Or longer than I’m used to, but that’s how things are in my life.  And I should point out that I’m liable to say some things below that may freak others out, so if you are the kind the freaks out easily, depart before you abandon all hope.

If not, let’s roll on in, kiddies . . .

I’m mentioned, off and on over the last few weeks, that I’ve found myself fighting depression.  It’s not a lot of fun, let me tell you, ’cause it wears you out.  I once described depression as treading water in the middle of the ocean:  you’re doing all the work to stay above water while the ocean does nothing–it just sits there and waits for you to tire and go under.  That’s why if you don’t find a way to get out of the water, you’ll drown and die.  And the ocean doesn’t care ’cause it’s a force of nature.  Just like depression:  a force of nature that gives zero shits about you as a person, or for your quality of life.

And November hasn’t helped the situation much.  I’ve got a lot more pressure at work of late, and there’s NaNo, and I’m getting ready to head home at the end of the month for the first time in almost six months . . . it’s a mess.  Really, the last few weeks have started to engulf me . . .

My Resting Bitchy Face from this morning offers proof of this statement.

My Resting Bitchy Face from this morning offers proof of this statement.

Last Friday, right around noon, because I remember it being after I ate lunch at work, I started to find myself getting in a bad way.  I actually cried a little at work, but not enough that it was noticed.  Actually, nothing I do at work is noticed, so it’s not in any way unusual that people would see me sitting in my office starting to lose it.

It wasn’t until I made it home that things came right off the rails.  The moment the door shut behind me I began crying.  I was still crying when the computer came up.  In fact, I cried off and on for the better part of an hour straight, and spent the rest of the night floating in and out of the feeling that there was far too much pain in my life.

Last Saturday was my shot day, and I thought that might help me break out of the funk, but the moment the psychological effects wore off I was right back to being a maudlin little bitch.  Going out and getting makeup didn’t help; being out in the sun did nothing.  I felt as if nothing I did was helping break the feeling that, no, things weren’t going to get better.

By about three PM I’d already made up my mind:  there wasn’t any point in going on, so I might as well shuck this moral coil as fast as I can.

I started preparing for my death.

It’s not easy for me to say that last line, because that’s a hard point in your life when you hit the tipping point and realized you’ve gone from “if” to “when”.  I didn’t care, however:  once you reach that point you just wanna kept going.  It didn’t matter if I was finding the energy to love myself, because I wasn’t feeling any love coming back, and that’s something that’s so difficult to put aside an ignore.

So I started getting ready.  I knew I was going to record some videos and post them for people to view.  I rehearsed what I was going to say, and when I was going to post them.  I knew the manner in which I wanted to check out, and weighed the pros and cons of survivability.  I was all ready to go–

Save for three things.

One, that day was the last episode of Doctor Who‘s most current season.  Okay, so I sound like a geek here, but I had to see how the season ended.  Two, I was into Act Three of my huge, Infinity Jest-like novel, and that meant I was not only getting towards the end, but I was also coming up on a good part that I’ve been sitting on for over a year.  I’d made promises to people that I’d finish this damn thing, and I knew I couldn’t leave people hanging about what happens–and if that doesn’t sound like a writer’s ego hard at work, nothing does.

And finally, there are two people on my “If you die you’ll hurt them” list, and if I died now, I’d be in violation of Jacqualyn’s Law, which I named for a friend.  It’s a variation of Wheaton’s Law, though this one is geared more for women.  It says, “Don’t be a twat,” and I’d have been a massive twat if I did what I was thinking of doing.

So I settled back to watch Doctor Who, and when that was over I headed into writing.  I still hurt, I still found it difficult to get through Sunday–which I helped smooth out by doing more writing–and I made it into Monday, then Tuesday, then . . .

Here.  Today.

Last night I felt the depression coming on again, and I was really not looking forward to dealing with this crap.  Then I noticed someone I’d just reconnected with on Facebook was trying to get my attention.  She’s a transwoman from Canada who transitioned decades ago, and we’ve shared some information over the months.

We started talking, and we talked, and we discussed why I was depressed, and why I felt suicidal, and were there things that I wanted to do that may have made me feel this way.  And there were answers to those questions, and a lot more–

And by the time we were finished, we’d chatted for about three hours, and I felt a whole lot better than I had when the evening had started.

As you can see, I'm actually smiling a little.

As you can see, I’m actually smiling a little.

Things aren’t “over”, but they’re better.  Much better.  I had some plans I want to discuss with my therapist when I see her the Monday before Thanksgiving, and I hope she agrees that it’s time I actually move on these things.  I’m not feeling the trepidation about going home that I have had for a while–it’s going to be the first time I’m going to be Cassie with them full-time since I’ve started transitioning, and while I’m certain my daughter will be cool with it–after all, we went out shopping together as daughter and, um, other mother–I can’t say the other person in the house is gonna dig things.  Maybe I’ll have to cook a couple of good dinners to break the ice . . .  And I’m going to start taking the first steps towards getting my name changed.

But mostly I’ve chilled on the death stuff.  I’m still in the ocean, but I feel like I’m closer to shore, and if you keep moving towards shore, eventually you get up onto dry land and you don’t have to wear yourself out treading water.  And if I can’t get onto dry land, maybe I can get somewhere shallow enough that I can rest once in a while.

This Sorrowful Life.  Sometimes you find yourself surround by bad people and zombies, and you have the choice of either giving in and joining one of the two hordes, or you fight back against the hell that waits outside your walls.  Neither is an easy choice, but you have to make one, because doing nothing is not an option.  You must make a choice.

I mentioned in one of my last videos that you have a choice with transition:  become who you are, or die.  I said I’m trying to get off the death track and be who I am, and last night I finally felt as if I was bucking that first track and leaving it behind.  I hope to make it so.

I really do.

Killer of Dreams

Writing is a hard business.  Not just the publishing end of it, but getting down in front of the computer or your typewriter, or even your paper, and you gotta put those words down, one after another, and you keep doing it until you finish the damn thing.  Start, write, finish.  That’s the deal.

Sometimes, however, that becomes easier said than done.  Things wear at you; things tear you down.  We all know stories about authors who are just one step away of completely losing they minds–or, in the case of a few, having lost it completely and they decided to write though the madness.

That’s how I’ve felt for a while; that I was writing though some madness that wouldn’t leave me alone.  It just gnawed at me like a beast picking you apart slowly but surely.

And last week it nearly won.

I had a hard time of things last Friday, and was pretty much at my wit’s end for more than a few things.  It was a tough time, and if not for the help of a lot of friends who came to my aid, I might still be rolling through that madness.

I haven’t forgotten what happened, and I’m truly moving ahead to make things better.  But last night . . . I had some thoughts I had to get out.  Thoughts that weren’t going to stay quite any longer.

I’ve been playing with video a lot of late, and getting some of the things I’ve said uploaded to a YouTube account.  I’ve had fun it with, because it’s a different medium and there’s things that come out on video that you can’t hide unless you’re a very good actor.  I’m not a very good actor; when it comes to my emotions, things tend to come spilling out these days, because hormones jack with you like you wouldn’t believe.

I put a twelve minute video together last night, after the television and computer were off, and talked a little about the state of mind I’ve labored under for a while.  It’s a hard video; there’s a lot of feeling in my voice, there’s true feelings coming out, and more than a few tears come out.  I don’t mind that last, because tears are good.  They mean I can’t hold back, and given how things keep welling up inside these days, I don’t want to keep them in.  I gotta let them out.

Jim Butcher was the one who, a few years ago, said giving up on writing is the same as killing your dreams, and there are no truer words spoken.  I mention that in the video, and you can see how it makes me feel to think about doing just that.  It’s a thing I’ve done before, and I know others have as well.  I’m a firm believer these days that dreams should never die, because without your dreams, what do you have left?

Watch if you like, but be warned:  it’s pretty raw.  That’s how stream of thought is–it’s real, and it just comes at you.

Like life.

But if it helps other writers out there articulate what they also feel from time-to-time, then I’ve done something good.

That’s what really counts.

Affirmations in the Morning Light

There are demons who follow everyone around.  Not demons in the sense that creatures from Hell as tip-toeing about in your shadows waiting to snag your soul when you least expected it; after all, it’s hard to tip-toe when you have hooves, ’cause that clopping makes a hell of a noise.  I know, ’cause I used to be a demoness in Second Life–let me tell you, finding a pair of boots was hell.  True, pure, hell.

I have demons of a different kind.  They whisper in my ear and tell me what a load of crap I am, and then giggle at their own inventiveness.  They run you down as much as possible and twist your head around so much you look like you came out of rehearsals for The Exorcist.  Just once I’d like to get a succubus come and visit me, but that’s asking for too much, I suppose.

The demons came for me yesterday, and it was a close thing.  They hit me at work, and never let up, keeping my heart in a constant state of feeling like it wanted to leap out of my body and run for cover.  That is one of the worst feelings in the world, and after you’ve suffered with it for a few hours, you want the pain to stop.  It didn’t, and it wouldn’t.  It lay there like a dull ache, a rotted remnant of all the past pain through which I’ve suffered over the years.

It finally grew so bad I made a comment to some of my Facebook friends.  It was one of those cryptic statements that gets people wondering what the hell is going on.  I made a few, then left.  I figured I’d stay off Facebook for a while, come back when I got home–after I chased the demons away–and then go back and apologize later.  Little did I know the storm I’d set off . . .

I have friends, people who started calling each other and discussing the fact they thought they were something wrong with me, and the finally found the one people who, if they talked to me, would find out what was bothering me.  Yep–that person.  You know who . . .

The story has a happy ending.  After many tears were shed and words exchanged, I settled down, I got my head together, I shot a video for my friends explaining what happened and what I was feeling, and everyone felt better when it was all over.

But there was something else taken away from it all . . .

In my current story, in the scene where Annie visited Kerry in the hospital close to the time when everyone’s suppose to go to bed, she tells Kerry he’s worthy of love.  he so used to not receiving affection that her words strike him hard.  He’s never imagined that he was worthy of anything much less love.

One of the things I was told last night is that I have to learn to love myself.  I need to be selfish and put myself ahead of my love for others and make sure I remind myself, day and night, that I’m freakin’ amazing, and that I love myself.  And I realized that’s something that Kerry doesn’t understand–not yet, at least.  Even later in his relationship with Annie, he’s yet to figure out that he’s worthy of his own love.  He doesn’t realize that if he doesn’t love himself, all he’s leaving for Annie to love is an empty, dead shell of a person.  It’s why he feels such insecurity in later stories; it’s why he lets his parents treat him like an outsider.  He hasn’t figured out that while he has Annie’s love, in order to survive, he needs his own love.

I’m getting better.  I love someone, but I’ve found it hard to love myself.  But with the hormonal changes, with the continuing transition, I’m now getting in touch with the person I’m suppose to really love.  I don’t want to be a shell any longer; the deadness inside is no longer desirable–

It’s time to tell the demons to take a hike and let me love the one who needs my love.

Though if a nice succubus wants to stick around, I won’t complain . . .

Kerry probably sees this in the morning, too.  It's a good feeling to know you're seeing it with someone you love.

Kerry probably sees this in the morning, too. It’s a good feeling to know you’re seeing it with someone you love.

Striking Out Along the Low Road

You know what works wonders for a bit of depression and being unable to get the words out?  A trip out to eat, and writing in public.  Which is exactly what I did yesterday.

I had to run out and pick up a light bulb and some coffee, but I thought I’d bring my computer along, because Panera is right there by the store, and it doesn’t hurt to stop, grab a bite, and write.  That was the plan, and that’s what happened.  Of course the funniest part of the night was the guy running the counter.  He just kept staring at me, probably because I’m just so damn awesome he was at a loss for work.  That, or transwomen scare the hell out of him, and he thinks he’d gonna catch some bad gender cooties if he opens his mouth.  Whattsa matter, bro?  Scared of tall girls?

(I should mention that I was wearing my new espadrille sandals which add about two-and-a-half inches to my five foot, eight inch frame, so I was getting up there towards six foot.  Just wait until I’m out in some nice evening pumps.)

The upside is I finished up the last scene in Chapter Twenty with a thirteen hundred word run that lasted about an hour and forty-five minutes.  The scene worked out at just over three thousand words, which is sort of half expected due to the stuff going on.  But it was written, and it is done.  Getting out into the public places and writing does seem to get my juices flowing, probably because the whole, “Up in the morning, go to work, come home, write,” thing gets a little old after a few weeks–or in this case, months–and you need that break to freshen things up.  Plus, I had news shoes to wear, and what women doesn’t like going out in new shoes?

Where are we, then?  Vicky’s giving the last of the orders to her gallant fliers.  Let’s pick up there . . .

 

 (All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Vicky spent several seconds in silence considering the students before her while contemplating all the possible permutations for the day ahead. “I hope today is boring.” She nodded slowly as she looked from right to left. “I really do, because a boring day means nothing happens; it means the Deconstructors aren’t coming for us and there’s no chance of anyone getting hurt. Which means when this is over—maybe in a few hours, maybe at the end of the day, maybe sometime late tonight—we can all gather in the Dining Hall and have something to eat while we talk about how we flew in circles doing nothing. The hot cider’s on me, by the way.

“In the meantime we’re going to do our job: we’re going to play our part in the defense of the school. There’s only seventeen teams, and two of those teams are volunteers, which means we’re a little short—and that means we need to be extra vigilant today. Keep your eyes open and the chatter to a minimum; if I hear you gabbing away like you’re on a Saturday flight around the ground I’ll give you a verbal warning first and I’ll be up your ass in person second: there won’t be a third—you’ll get pulled, because what’s the point of keeping you in the air if you’re not doing your duty.”

Vicky raised her voice slightly to drive home this last point. “I want you all to take heed of this last—if you can’t follow orders, I will sit your ass down, either at Carrier or Laputa, but I will yank you out of the sky. I don’t want gawkers, I don’t want sightseers, and I damn sure don’t want heroes. Not today. I want thirty-four pilots, seventeen teams, who when given an order will follow it exactly.”

She lowered her head slight and stared at the ground for just a moment. “This is the big time, kids, and if things even get the least bit ugly at some point there won’t be any room for ambiguity. If you’re told to do something, you get to it, nothing else, nothing more, no questions asked. At the end of the day I want to stand in the hangar and collect everyone’s broom—I don’t want to be spending my time looking for you at your last known position before you vanished from Fortress’ scans. If you follow your orders, the later won’t happen; you gotta believe me.”

She shifted her weight back and forth as she watch the expression of her pilots. They got it; they know what could happen today. That’s good . . . “That’s all I got.” She turned to Erywin. “Let’s get ‘em lined up and in the air.” She turned back to the students and spoke with obvious emotion in her voice. “Fly safe, everyone. See you back here in a while.”

 

There it is:  the big time.  This is where things could get nasty fast, because the school has been a target in the past, and it could be a target this November day.  Like it or not, this isn’t a game, not by a long shot.  In the history of the story about forty students and instructors were killed eleven years before, and it could get just as bad today.  So . . . let’s be careful out there.

Particularly these two–

 

Emma and Kerry turned along with the rest of the students, but before they could follow the others they heard Professor Salomon voice ring out loud and clear. “Selene; Starbuck.” They turned and saw her pointed at the ground in front of her. “Front and center.”

Vicky waited until the A Levels were directly in front of her before she spoke to them in a normal tone. “I hope you understand that everything I said about following orders goes double for you.”

Kerry nodded slowly. “Yes, Professor.”

Emma was also nodding. “You don’t have to worry about us.”

“I hope not.” Vicky relaxed so she didn’t appear too intimidating. “I know you guys can fly, and I know you can do what’s expected of you. What I want to make sure of is that you don’t decide to take it upon yourself to do something that I don’t want you to do.”

“That won’t happen . . .” Kerry cleared his throat. “Nightwitch.”

Vicky chuckled. “That’s what I want to hear—Starbuck.” She nodded towards the line preparing for takeoff. “Okay, you two. Get on the line and get ready for take off.”

Emma’s eyes lit up. “Roger, Nightwitch.”

Vicky smiled. “Make me proud.”

Kerry smiled. “We will.” He turned and walked off with Emma for the back of the flight line.

 

Sure, the last time they were off together they ended up in the hospital.  No chance that’ll happen today–right?  Right?

When they are ready for takeoff, one finds there is always time for a little banter, and the discovery that one of your favorite lesbian witches is also a bit of a geek:

 

Finally they were the last remaining. They stood next to Professor Sladen, whose gaze shifted from her tablet to the students and back. “You excited, Emma?”

Emma almost bounced on her tip-toes. “Yes, Ma’am.”

“And what about you, Kerry?”

“You know it—” A lop sided grin formed. “Savage.”

Erywin snorted. “I knew you’d recognize my call sign.”

He pointed at her jacket patch. “And your little tin doggie, too.”

“Smart arse.” She tapped her display twice. “By the way, your team call sign is Myfanwy.” She raised her right eyebrow. “You know that one as well?”

Kerry looked off into the distance, his half-grin now a full one. “I promise not to fly off to The Hub.”

Emma was completely lost. “I have no idea what you guys are talking about.”

“English geekness, my dear.” She check her display. “Hover and mount; HUDs up.”

 

For the information of people who don’t know better, in that short passage was seen the reference of two well-known Companions from Doctor Who, and a certain pteranodon from Torchwood.  It helped that Kerry recognized Professor Sladen’s jacket patch, because geek.

And with that–

 

Erywin snapped her right arm forward. “Launch.”

They were off the line and rising quickly. Kerry saw the dim outline of a flight route in his HUD. “I have the course.”

“I see it.” Emma quickly glanced over to her wingmate as they banked left. “I’ll watch speed, you watch altitude.”

“Got it.” They climbed quickly and silently into the sky, the air cold against the exposed skin of their faces. Kerry kept the flight line between them, and noticed as soon as they were next seventy meters the color changed subtly from a light white to a pale yellow. “Okay, we’re here.”

“Roger.” Emma quickly scanned her HUD. “We’re right on target for speed. Call it in.”

“Roger.” He lower his gaze towards the ground as he contacted flight control. “Carrier, this is Myfanwy. We’re on the Low Road: altitude seventy meters; speed forty kph. Over.”

The response was almost immediate. “Roger, Myfanwy. We see you on the Low Road. Maintain current altitude and speed. Over and out.”

Emma turned and smiled at Kerry. “Here we are.”

“Yep.” He shot her a quick smile, then turned back to watching the land close to the outer wall slowly slip behind them. “Here we are.”

 

And there you are:  the chapter is complete.  Preparations are over; now we wait.

 

Cheer up, Kerry.  You don't have much to do now except go rest in a few hours.

Which are the actual chapter names.  Cheer up, Kerry. You don’t have much to do now except go rest in a few hours.

Signposts Amid the Shadows

I’m touching on writing a little here, but I’m getting into some other stuff as well–like mental illness.  That’s a heavy thing, so if you don’t want to read what I have to say, look at the picture and move along.

This looks like it's near Annie's house--which makes sense, since I'm going to talk about her.

This looks like it’s near Annie’s house–which makes sense, since I’m going to talk about her.

Onward, then.

 

Though it may seem like a strange thing to consider when writing a novel about tweens and teens who are training up to be magical people, one of the things I had to consider when putting Salem together was the issue of counselling and mental health issues.  That’s a very important thing to consider when you one realizes that pulling some kid in off the street and showing them they can alter reality to suit their whims may just put a weird-ass bend on their personality in time.  The Foundation isn’t going to be happy if, after your second year at school, you turn your parents into ferrets and keep then in cages the whole summer.

And that’s a minor thing.  Imagine what happens when you get really good?  Say . . . like my main characters.

There will come a time at Salem when the pressures of what’s happening in their lives becomes a little too much for Annie and Kerry, and they start to lose it a little.  I mean, Annie admitted first day of Sorcery class she knew how to kill someone with black magic, and Kerry was already seen suffering from depression.  Sure, becoming better witches is going to make their feel a lot better–until they snap.

Then all hell breaks loose.

In these stories there will come a time where Kerry nearly dies.  There will come a time where Annie loses her shit and almost kills someone in school.  There will come a time where both Annie and Kerry will be put through a most stressful day that pushes them physically, magically, and mentally right to the edge and beyond.  There will come a time where both of them are faced with a situation that may seem like it’s the final night for them both, and they not only talk about their impending demise–they promise each other that if one should die, the other will follow, because continuing to live without their soul mate simply isn’t an option.

That’s an issue that’s really simple for them as well.  Annie points out that they both know enough transformation magic and sorcery that if they wanted to die, it would be over in less time than it would take to work up the spell.  Stop your heart, freeze your blood, shut down all chemical reactions in your brain:  stuff they could do to others they could easily do to themselves.  It would be quick, it would be painless, and they’d know someone would be waiting for them on the other side once they were gone.  It’s not something either would do because of depression:  they’re not like that.  But to join the other in death?  Yeah, not a second thought is needed.

It’s the  part about being able to do this to others that keeps The Foundation on their toes.  At various times in the stories they both get counselling.  They both suffer depression; they both go through periods of intense anxiety; they both exhibit signs of PTSD at various times.  All before they ever get out of school, so imagine what their adult lives are gonna be like.

But they get great counselling.  The Foundation has some of the best counselors in the world, and when you have a couple of people like Annie and Kerry representing your future, you want them to get the best psychiatric case possible.  And they do.

They live in a world where they can get all the best medical care possible.  They live in a world where, after a particularly hard day of fighting the magical fight in the shadows, they can spend the next month chilling and talking to someone about the experience.  They go to a school that has enchantments in place to prevent people from jumping out of high towers, or crashing brooms into walls at a few hundred kilometers an hour, or setting themselves on fire, or any number of ways one may try to harm themselves.  They live in a world where certain people–whose names start with an A and a K–could, if they decided to just go completely batshit insane, could do up River Tam considerably and take out a couple of dozen people with their minds.

It’s not a perfect location for that, but the school does its best, because training kids up to be the future shadow runners of the world is sometimes gonna leave an invisible mark.

We, on the other hand, aren’t that lucky.  I’ve never hidden my own mental illness, never admitted that it isn’t there.  Between depression, being bi-polar, and having GID, I’ve been a mess most of my life.

Mental health treatment in the country of my birth is a joke.  Most of it isn’t covered by insurance.  Nearly all my therapy has been covered out of pocket since 2009 on, and believer me, it’s not cheap.  I don’t take meds because I (1) have no health insurance, and (2) didn’t like how I felt when I was on meds, which was either zombie-like or not much better than I was before getting on them.

These days I do what I can to get by, and I’m usually successful.  Usually.  I have my “Break down and cry” moments, and they’re usually bad, but I get over them and move on.  I was crying Sunday when I went out to pay a bill, because I do that–cry, not pay bills.  Saturday night . . . well, that was a disaster.

I have a hotline number on my phone, and my therapist’s number as well.  When I’m feeling bad I don’t go out on my balcony, because I live twelve stories up and I have enough knowledge of physics and laws of gravity and acceleration to know once you’re over the side it just about two seconds and done, finished, out of the blue and into the black.  Quick, easy, and pretty much painless.

When I’m feeling really bad I visualize.  I have two people that mean everything to me.  One is my daughter.  The world can suck enough and she doesn’t need anymore suckage in her life.  The other is a person I spoke of last week, the one person who means the world to me.  When I get really bad I imagine her alone in a room in the dark, crying because she’s heard that I’ve move on beyond The Veil and I’m not coming back.  I hold that image in my mind for a few moments, then shuffle all the bad shit away and move on.

I’d die for her, but not that way.  It isn’t fair to her.

My novel kids will not always have an easy time.  Before they turn eighteen they’re going to see a world of shit, and it will be difficult for them to walk away unscathed.  It’s stuff that they’ll take into adulthood, things that will remain with them for a long time.

But I’ll take care of them in the end and see they get help.

If only I could do that for everyone.

Broke Down and Hospital Bound

Depression is a mess.  Besides being tired and completely out of it for most of the morning, about noon I was hit with a bout of crushing depression.  I mean, the sort that has you locking up the sharp objects and has you taking to bed for the day.  Even the joking and kidding of some of my friends on line didn’t do much to bring me out of the funk.

Needless to say, I was also writing, because hell, yeah, I do that even when I’m alone, depressed, and crying.

 

I started out with this:

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry was beginning to feel as if he were on trial.

He had no recollection of what was done to him once Emma and he were picked up and moved to the hospital; Nurse Coraline put him under within minutes of determining his injuries. When he woke up he was in pajamas and lying in bed—the wall to his left told him he was back in Bed #2. The right side of his head was bandaged and he felt something pressing against a few of the ribs on his right side. There was a bright blue cast around his lowly right leg and foot, and his left knee rested upon a triangular pillow, held immobile by an invisible force.

 

From the first word, “Kerry”, to the last one, “force”, there was a period of maybe ninety minutes that flowed by slowly.  But, hey:  I’ve written through my depression before.  Besides, I needed to get this scene out–

Because I’ve got a couple of broke down kids in the hospital.

 

Emma sat on the edge of the bed next to him, Bed #1 where Annie had lay when they came in after their gardening a month ago, dressed in street clothes, her left forearm encased in the same type of blue cast as leg. Nurse Coraline stood at the end of his bed; Professor Salomon and Annie stood next to her. All had walked up moments before, probably having met outside Coraline’s office. The professor was still in her flying leathers, but Annie had changed back into her uniform before coming to the hospital, which likely meant the professor and she had taken Emma and his brooms back to the hanger after the crash.

Nurse Coraline pointed at Emma, who tried not to look at anyone when she was being discusses. “Your little moon princess over there got lucky. A lot of bruises and scrapes, and the only serious injury is a broken left forearm. I’m releasing her pretty much as soon as we’re done here so she can eat dinner with the rest of her covenmates.”

Vicky nodded, then looked at the boy in the bed. “And Kerry?”

“Oh, he’s a bit worse for the wear.” Coraline moved to his left side. “He’s got a nasty bump on his head and a slight concussion—”

“Did you tell him?”

Kerry looked up at Coraline. “Tell me what?”

“Anyone with a concussion is automatically grounded for a minimum of seventy-two hours. You can’t get back on a PAV until you’re cleared by the Flight Surgeon.” The right corner of her mouth curled upward. “That’s me, by the way.”

Kerry looked away, focusing on a spot between his other visitors. “Oh.”

“He’s also got two broken ribs, though it looks like his torso was compressed to cause them to break—”

Emma cleared her throat as she stared at the floor. “I fell on top of him.” Annie didn’t say a word, but she burned holes in Emma with her eyes. Kerry saw it; he was pretty sure Nurse Coraline caught it at well.

The good nurse continued with the litany of Kerry’s injuries. “He’s also has a broken right ankle, which should heal up completely before morning. But this—” Her hands hovered over the raised left knee. “This right here is gonna keep him confined to bed for the whole night and part of the morning.”

“Knee damage?” Vicky had suffered a broken knee when she’d crashed during a race while a D Level, and recognized the same immobilization she went through.

Coraline shook her head. “Oh, this isn’t just damage, Vicky. This is the trifecta of knee damage. He has an ACL tear, as well as tears to his medial and lateral collateral ligaments. I can’t figure out how it was screwed up so badly—”

Emma looked up, her face a mask of sorrow. “I did that, too. I slid into him and hit his knee with the shaft of my broom.”

Humph.” This time Annie didn’t bother hiding her displeasure. She took a step closer to Kerry, touching the foot board of the hospital bed. “He’ll have to spend the night here?”

“Afraid so, Annie.” She slowly moved to the end of the bed, standing directly across from the girl. “I’ve got the keep the knee immobilized while my little enchanted nanoids work on getting everything back almost good as new.” She flipped a withering look Kerry’s way. “You’re lucky this happened here. In a Normal hospital you’d probably be bedridden for over a month, and in physical therapy for months after. Here I’ll have you walking around tomorrow, though you’ll have to take it slow and easy.”

Kerry folded his hands across his stomach. “If I can’t get out of bed, how am I gonna go to the bathroom?”

“Ever heard of bedpans?” Coraline looked across Kerry’s bed at Emma. “You’re lucky you didn’t take his lower leg off. Then he’d be here for two or three days while it was reattached.”

 

Yeah, Emma, that’s the way to do things.  Not only screw up Kerry, but prove to his Soul Mate that everything she’s starting to think about you is true!

And this leads to our School Nurse/Doctor starting to ask Vicky why a couple of her kids are in the hospital with broken bones and torn up knees.  But, of course, Vicky has answers .  . .

 

The was a five second pause while the professor gave though to a myriad of answers before settling on the truth. “A long ways out. They took off near Gate Jump and I lost them. I had to go airborne and didn’t see them again until they were racing down West End—”

“Where were you when you lost them?” Coraline hadn’t ever raced, but as the school doctor she knew the locations of every section of all three courses.

“Just coming into The Narrows.”

“And you shot over to West End and found them there?” Coraline shook her head. “Why didn’t you stop them there?”

There was another pause, and when Vicky spoke her answer was half muttered. “I didn’t want to stop them because it was obvious they were flying pretty fast.”

Coraline took a step closer to Vicky. “You wanna define ‘pretty fast’ for me, ‘cause I know you, Vic: you’ve already had a peek at their flight recorders, so you know exactly how fast they were going.”

Vicky pressed the back of her index finger against her lips. “Emma hit a top speed of three hundred forty-seven kilometers per hour; Kerry hit three hundred fifty-one.”

Coraline’s eyes widened considerably. “Why didn’t you stop them in Sunset Boulevard—”

“Because both of them went through there between two twenty-five and two forty.”

“Kilometers an hour?”

“Yeah.”

The little finger of Coraline’s left hand began to twitch as she unloaded on Vicky. “We have kids who’ve raced for a couple of years that won’t fly two forty through Sunset Boulevard.” She turned and shouted at Emma and Kerry. “What the hell is wrong with you two? Three fifty through West End? You both could have been killed.” She turned back to Vicky. “And you waited until they were heading into Double Dip—”

“Because it’s a chicane and they’d have to slow—”

“Look how wonderfully that worked out.”

 

Yeah, Coraline’s not a happy woman.  Something about kids flying at high speed in unsafe conditions–it gets her riled up.

And because I know some of you are hung up on Imperial measurements, let me do the conversions for you:

 

“Emma hit a top speed of two hundred fifteen miles per hour; Kerry hit two hundred seventeen.”

“Because both of them went through there between one forty and one fifty.”

 

There you are:  they took Sunset Boulevard between 140 and 150 mph, and were zipping along West End at 215 and 217 mph.  I should point out that, if you’re a racing fan, 215 is almost as fast as the fastest recorded time set by a NASCAR stock car on a closed oval course–a speed of 216.309 mph, set by Rusty Wallace on June 9, 2004, at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.  When he did, however, he was locked up inside a car with a roll cage and a sitting in a special seat, and was pretty much strapped in so tight that if he had rolled he probably would have climbed from the wreckage without much help.  He wasn’t riding on a thin piece of flying carbon-carbon filament with his butt plated in a bicycle seat.  And he wasn’t eleven or twelve, either.

Oh, wait:  217 is faster, so Kerry says, “In your face, Rusty!”  Bring on the endorsements, guys, these kids could be your new superstars.

Assuming the girl friend of one of them doesn’t flip out . . .

I'm lookin' and I don't see the Annie murders idiot boyfriend scene coming next.  So Kerry can probably rest easy.  Probably.

I’m lookin’ and I don’t see the Annie murders idiot boyfriend scene coming next. So Kerry can probably rest easy. Probably.

How Not to Control Your Student

It should be pointed out that yesterday was not a good day.  The morning was dragging–or, really, I was.  And it wasn’t just your normal morning dragging; this was something brought on by depression.  I have it; I’ve suffered through it for decades.  It’s usually manageable these days, though when I saw my doctor a couple of weeks bad she told me it’s pretty obvious I’m dealing with it right now.

This isn’t a lot of fun.  Yesterday–and, realistically, the night before–I felt like I had zero motivation to do anything.  Just sit there and try not to cry.  It was happening, I knew it.  I told a few of my online friends about it, and some suggested it’s related to going off hormones before getting back on in a few days, and I didn’t argue with the logic.

Needless to say I found a way out, and by the afternoon I was better, though I still felt like I didn’t have much of an urge to get out and get anything done.

And yet, somehow I did.

"Just remember:  in the end your characters are gonna have it worse than you."

“Just remember: in the end your characters are gonna have it worse than you.”

I hinted a few days back that when it came time for my sorcery students to try out their new dominating po–I mean, “mixtures”–it was going to be necessary to try them out on each other.  That would never happen, would it?  Of course it would:  you should know me by now, and understand that at this school, the only way you know of stuff works is to use it.  And since this is sorcery class, and you’re trying to dominate another student–well, you know how it goes.

At the start five pair, ten students out of thirty-two, tried this, and the most excitement so far was two girls getting into a fight when one of the girls ask the other if anyone in her family were terrorists.  Good thing those two are coven mates . . .

And then we come to the sixth pair, Annie and Emma Nielson.  And you get a good idea of what a not-so-good sorceress looks like . . .

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Helena handed Annie Emma’s potion. “A before E.” She winked as Annie sipped a third of the vial and handed it back. Then she returned to staring at Emma, who shifted slowly from one foot to the other.

Helena stopped next to Emma before returning to her chair. “She’s all yours.”

“Thanks . . . Professor.” Emma didn’t stare back at the staring Annie. She looked about the room, turned her eyes up at the ceiling, gazed at the floor—

Helena cleared her throat.  “Emma.” The girl turned towards Helena. “You can start asking questions.”

“Sure, Professor.” She faced Annie, who stood with her arms crossed over her chest. “Your name is Annie Kirilova?”

“Yes.”

“Okay.” Emma tapped her fingers against her right forearm. “You’re in Cernunnos Cover.”

“Yes.”

Emma nodded slowly, then looked towards the rest of the class with a slight, uncomfortable grin on her face. “Um . . . Where do you live?”

Annie sighed loud and long. “Pamporovo, Bulgaria.”

“Do you like it there?”

“Yessssss.” She turned to Helena. “I’m ready for submission any time she’d like to try.”

Helena forced herself to keep from laughing. “Emma, ask a question you feel Annie might not want to answer truthfully.”

“O—okay.” She drew a deep breath before looking straight at Annie. “Have you ever killed anyone?”

Annie paused for exactly three seconds. “Not yet.”

Emma straightened and immediately took a step back. “Um . . .” She turned to Helena. “I don’t think my mixture is working.”

Annie chimed in. “No, it isn’t.”

“That’s pretty obvious.” Helena got up and retrieved Annie’s mixture from the work table where they were kept. “Well, then, Emma . . .” She handed the vial over. “You get to be Annie’s subject.”

“Right . . .” She quickly sipped the mixture, looking a bit apprehensive the whole while.

Helena backed away slowly from Emma. “Have at her, Annie.”

 

It looks like Annie’s been hanging around Wednesday some . . .

I was surprised to discover I’d written seven hundred words.  That brings the last two nights of writing to a little over a thousand, but I was also working out scenes in my head, and came across something that I don’t know if I want to develop it as the kid’s history or not.  Because when I look at what is coming it’s all logical, but it’s also scary.

Then again, I have a ways to go before I ever get to that point.

Right now I'm on like B, and the scary part is like part O.  I have a ways to go.

Right now I’m on Part B, and the scary part is like Part O. I have a ways to go.