The Girl With the Family Secrets

It was an interesting after-work situation yesterday, only because I did something I rarely do, which is venture out into public.  I was out because I had to pick up a book–yes, I still read–and then it was over for dinner.  However, the internet at my local Panera wasn’t working, so all I could do is write.  Damn it all, as they say, are you trying to make me productive?

It was a good thing there wasn’t an internet, because I cranked out nearly six hundred words in about twenty five minutes.  Ah, to be back in the old zone.  It was a good feeling.



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

“A little.” He nodded his head back and forth. “Mostly, though, I used to do computer racing.”

“I’m sorry?”

“A few years ago I got a racing program for my computer. It was really more of a simulation for grand touring cars—”

Annie couldn’t help but grin. “FIA-GT.”

“You know that?”

“Oh, yes; I know that. Go on.”

Kerry wanted to ask how she know about that particular series, but decided to tell Annie his story. “I have a steering wheel at home that I plug into my computer—gear shifter and foot peddles, too , so using the program was as much like driving the car as possible. The tracks were modeled perfectly on real courses, so when you raced at, say, Spa, it felt like you were really racing there with other drivers.”

“Did you race there?”



He nodded. “Yeah, that was one of my favorites. I did the twenty-four hour endurance race there a few times.”

This time Annie chuckled. “I know all about that one.”

How do you know about that?”

Like she’s going to tell you, kid.  Actually, you’re going to find out in just a bit.

This part was really easy to put together, because Kerry is speaking from the writer’s experience.  I used to do a lot of racing on my computer, using my GTR2 racing simulation game.  I also had the same wheel set up he had, which is how he know it was like driving a race car.

Ah, there you are!  Remember all the laps we put in before I wore you out?

Ah, there you are! Remember all the laps we put in before I wore you out?

That was my rig right there.  I wore out the gear shifter, and because I was unemployed at the time it went belly up, I didn’t use the rebate for the wheel to by a new one.  Which is probably a good thing, because I drove thousands of lap on that game.  Remember Kerry saying he did the twenty-four hour endurance race at Spa?  I did two.  The first one was in the rain and took 550 laps to complete.  The second one was in good weather and I managed 600 laps.  I didn’t drive both of them in twenty-four hours straight.  That’s insane.

He tells Annie about how racing was a challenge to him.  It wasn’t recklessness; it was about being good at what you do and having your car in one piece at the end of the race.  And he talks about setting Emma up:


“She threw a couple of blocks at me in the north part of the course. I figured out that she was trying to throw me off, to get me upset, so I’d do something dumb and lose ground to her. So . . .” His grin turned positively ornery. “I set her up on West End, and when she threw a block on me in Sunset—” He demonstrated with his hands how he got around Emma. “She wasn’t thinking about how this course is three dimensional. So I got her.”

Annie giggled and almost applauded. “I’m impressed. That’s a good thing you did there.”

He looked off to his left and scoffed. “Then again, if I hadn’t gotten in front of her, she wouldn’t have crashed into me.”

She gave his hand a stronger, lingering squeeze. “If you decide you want to race, you’ll quickly discover these things happen.”

“Is that what happened with your dad when he was here?” Annie grew still and quiet, though she didn’t turn her eyes away. “Professor Salomon told me a while back your dad used to race here, and Nurse Coraline told me the same.” He quietly swallowed, clearing his throat. “Does he still do that?”

“You could say that. He still races PAVs now and then, but . . .” She took his hand in both hers. “My father is Victor Kirilov; he races in the Formula One series. He also raced in FIA-GT for a while, which is why I knew about that.” She slowly breathed in and out. “The team he drives for is owned and run by The Foundation. They de-engineer super science technology and test it on their cars, so it can be used on Normal vehicles.”


So there it is:  it’s out.  Annie’s finally admitted that Daddy’s a big deal.  Of course Kerry is confused by the name.


“Oh.” Her smile was soft and enchanting. “That’s how it is with Bulgarian names. My family name is Kirilovi, with an ‘I’ at the end. My father’s name is the masculine version of the family name, which removes the final ‘I’. My mother’s name, and mine, are the feminine version of the name, with an ‘A’ at the end—hence ‘Kirilova’.” She leaned back slightly, hoping she hadn’t confused Kerry too much. “Do you understand?”

He nodded slowly. “It’s sort of like with Russian names.”

“Yes, something like that.”

“I get it.”


Clever boy.

The scene finishes with Annie’s true apology.  Sure, she was mad, but her real reasons for seeing Kerry tonight are as such:


“That’s okay; I understand—” He looked up as the lights in the ward flashed twice. “Is that your two minute warning?”

Annie was looking up as well. “Gretchen is letting me know my time here is almost over.” She took her time lowering her gaze, little by little, until she once more settled into his deep green eyes. “There’s my apology. I won’t be mad at you for the things you want to do, or at least try. I won’t ever tell you what to do or try either, Kerry. I can offer suggestions, or give advice, but you have to gain these experiences on your own. I’m never going to be that girlfriend who tells you what you have to do, what you must do, and what you can never do.”

She scrunched up her eyes and shook her head. “I know you like to fly, and there’s a fair chance you’ll want to try racing. And . . .” She tightened her grip on his hand. “I love flying with you, and though it might scare me horribly, I’ll watch you if you end up racing.” She bent over and kissed his hand. “I’ll never try and keep you from being the person you’re meant to be.”


And there you have it:  the real reason Annie’s there.  To let him be himself, she has to let him be himself.  Of course, there’s also something else going on here, because a while back she confessed to the School Seer that there was a lot more going on than meets the eyes.

Something I’m going to write about tonight.

They’ve got a few minutes before Gretchen kicks them out to get things said . . .

You are getting a lot bigger, you know that?

You are getting a lot bigger, you know that?

Time Spells Be Time

Things have almost gotten back to normal here at Casa Indiana.  Spent a lot of time running around yesterday, and even managed to get the writing in after Orphan Black showed.  But this morning was a nice time for me, because I did something I haven’t in a long time:  I lay in bed with the window open and listened to the rain falling.  I’ve written about doing this before, but this morning was the first time I’ve experienced this sensation in over a year.  Living in a city you almost never open your windows at night, not if you want to sleep.  And there’s no soft patter of rain on stone and grass when you live twelve stories above the street.

Nope.  You get stuff like this when you can, and I might not get it again for a year.  Or more.

And this morning I realized that, with all the years I’ve worked on this blog, I’ve spoken of my library, my private writing space, that I’ve never really shown it.  Not to friends, not to enemies, not to various passersby who might be curious about what’s going on inside my hovel.  So, here:  a panorama of my library of two thousand plus books.  Mind the mess:

You have to kind of step back and take in the whole mess . . .

You have to kind of step back and take in the whole mess . . .

And just so they don’t feel left out, here is my last book case of nothing but role playing games that hides behind the door . . .

For a while I may have kept White Wolf afloat in the 1990's--

For a while I helped keep White Wolf afloat in the 1990’s–

So that be that, people.  My writing space in The Burg isn’t quite as cluttered and messy, but then when I’m there I don’t have my favorite books right at hand, allowing me to look up quotes or passages when the urge strikes me.  Of all the things I leave behind, this is one of the things I miss the most.

But enough of that:  on with what’s important, right?  Like writing.


I’d promised one person that I would finish the scene in the spell cell last night, and I kept my promise.  It took about five hundred and sixty words, but I put the cap on that scene in more ways than one.  And since I had a little energy left over after that–I was feeling sleep coming on in a big way, because I was still catching up from my Friday adventure–I started the next scene.

Since I’m in a good mood, and since I expect to do a little running around today before finishing this next scene, I though, what the hell, let me show you what I wrote last night, pretty much as it would look in the book.  The first paragraph I wrote a few days ago:  the next five paragraphs were written Friday night before collapsing.  The rest was written last night after I watched my beloved Clone Club.

Without further ado . . .


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

Kerry turned to Annie, his head slightly cocked to one side, and spoke with an over-enunciated English accent. “My dear, you are speaking to Mr. Timey Wimey. Trust me: if I can’t do it, it’s can’t be done.” He straightened up and shook his head a couple of time. “With that said . . .”

One of the problems with making charcoal the old fashion way was the time involved: even a small batch like they were going to make could take ten to twelve hours to prepare properly. That was why Kerry thought about using a time spell—they could speed up the process instead of having to watch wood slowly burn for half a day.

He realized the easiest way to do this was to set up a spell field where a minute outside the field would equal an hour inside the field. The hardest thing about doing this was how to create a field where minutes outside meant hours inside. Though he’d come up with an idea for that . . .

He imagined the field like a large analog clock face, with the numbers and the hash marks in between. In this vision he saw the numbers—the hours representation—vanish, leaving only the hash marks—the minutes representation. Then he replaced each hash mark with a number, all the way to sixty at the stop of the clock—each minute now turned to an hour.

With the visualization firmly in place, now all that was required was energy and willpower.

He brought the components together, imagining the oblate sphere he was about to create being slightly larger than the ball of cold fire and the wood it would soon rest upon and burn, a light grey mass of twisting, convulsing power. Kerry held out his left hand, pointing two fingers at the floating cold fire and felt the magic course down his arm and outward towards the glowing blue ball.

The grey sphere appeared around the cold fire, making it shimmer strangely. Kerry could only think of one reason why—

Annie noticed the effect as well. “I think you managed the effect.” She reached for the new sphere, almost touching the surface. “It’s flickering—”

“—Because one second out here is one minute in there.” Kerry hurried over to where his computer and phone were left. “Now to do a proof of concept.” He punched up something on his tablet before handing it to Annie. “Need just a second here . . .” He pulled hand grabber he’d taken from the greenhouse from his backpack and unfolded it before using it to hold his phone. He turned and approached their assembled spell work. “I’ve got a stopwatch program up on that—” Kerry pointed at the table Annie held, “—and I’m going to start the stopwatch app on my phone, and hold it inside the field.”

Annie nodded: they’d gone over this part earlier in the week, and once more in the library here. “And when I reach a minute, you’ll remove your phone and check the time.”

“Yeah.” He held his finger over the start button on his phone’s stop watch. “Ready?”


“And . . . go.” Kerry immediately press his button and thrust the phone inside the field. He didn’t ask for updates: he knew as soon as the stop watch on the table reached a minute on his table, Annie would call—


Kerry pulled the gripping back and hit the stop button on his app the moment the phone was completely clear of the time field. He stared at the screen for almost five seconds without saying a word, then turned the display for Annie to read—

She, too, stared at the screen for a few second—only because she couldn’t believe what it told her. “Fifty-nine minutes, twenty-four seconds.”

Kerry found it hard to stop grinning. “Yeah.” He gave a short fist pump. “Yeah. That’s right about where I want it.”

“Oh, that’s great.” Annie set Kerry’s tablet aside, then went over an hugged him. “That’s close enough to be perfect.”

“Means a twelve hour burn will take about fifteen minutes.” He wrapped both arms around his sweetie. “We did it.” He kissed her cheek. “We really did it.”

Annie looked at the bucket. “We’ve almost done it—” She barely moved her right hand and more water flowed from the container and formed a thick plug, half as long as the first container, and with a wide cap. It was formed in a matter of seconds with Kerry’s help; Annie froze it with little more than a stare.

She waved her hand and the plug sank towards the top of the encasement, pushing the time accelerated cold fire inside. It stopped upon making contact with the wood: Annie figured it was beginning to burn and char.

Annie leaned her head into Kerry’s shoulder. “And now we’re finished.”

“Except for the wood to burn with what little oxygen there is in the encasement, getting nice and charred while that plug pushes the fire down to burn what’s below.” He held her tight. “Should take about . . . fifteen minutes.”

She looked around the room. “Do we wait here? There’s no place to sit.”

Kerry slowly rocked back and forth. “I’m good right here.”

Annie nuzzled Kerry’s face and neck with her cheek. “I am too, love. I am too.”


The moment Wednesday heard the fire alarm sound she teleported from her office to the top of the stairs leading to the lower levels, then hurried down the steps. She was in a hurry not just because there was a fire in one of the spell cells, but because it was Spell Cell #3, the one in use by Kirilova and Malibey. I should have sent someone down there to be with them. Wednesday turned right at the bottom of the stairs and sprinted towards the cell. The enchantments will protect them for now.

Upon reaching Spell Cell #3, Wednesday’s worry turned to puzzlement. The light indicating an active fire was slowly flashing, but the indicator next to the door showing the presence of active enchantments was dark. The puzzlement slowly turned to bother, because she knew it was impossible for the fire alarm to go off while the enchantments that threw status spells on anyone inside before draining the fire of energy remained inactive. She knew this because she’d created the enchantments inside the cell.

Since the active enchantment light wasn’t on, that meant the fire door was unlocked. Which means I have no idea what I’ve going to find on the other side. Wednesday threw the door open with a flick of her wrist and stepped inside—

Kirilova and Malibey were wearing work gloves while loading what appeared to be charred wood into a couple of large canvas totes. They looked up as Wednesday stopped about a meter from them. She looked about the room before locking her gaze upon them. “What’s going on here?”


So there I left it with Wednesday coming in after what she perceives as an emergency, and finds the kids–loading wood?  No, nothing out of the ordinary there . . .

I’ll do what I can this afternoon and evening, but I’m going to try and finish the current scene.  Then . . . that’s when things change for my kids in a big way.  You’ll see.

Trust me:  I'm getting to that scene.  Slowly.  I must be stuck in one of Kerry's time spells.

Trust me: I’m getting to that scene. Slowly. I must be stuck in one of Kerry’s time spells.

Back to the Beginning of the Beginning

How did I start writing my current work in progress, The Foundation Chronicles?  It started with designing buildings.

The main characters in the story, Kerry and Annie, were originally created for an online role play.  I made Kerry, and a good friend of mine created Annie.  We played these characters for a few months, but with most good things the role play came to an end and the characters were shelved.  In the process of building the game there was a great deal of material the two of us developed, both characters and world-wise–

However, I was always pushed to show the buildings, to show the grounds, the show the towers.  My partner in crime kept after me to make maps and building layouts, and being that I was the sort of person who loved doing that kind of thing, I obliged.

It was from there that the Salem Institute of Greater Learning and Education was built.  It was from there that we named our covens, and the buildings, and figured out where everything went.  It was a great learning experience for that fantastic summer of 2011.

Over the next two years I thought a great deal about writing about these character’s adventures.  Even while working on other projects, the story of Annie and Kerry was never far from my mind.  Kerry I knew, but Annie was always a problem for me, because I wanted to get her right, and she wasn’t my creation, at least not at the beginning.  So it took a lot of thinking to get where I wanted to be with her, and I probably tortured myself for a year thinking about her motivations, her feelings, what she wanted the most.

So after I’d finished publishing Her Demonic Majesty in May of 2013, I decided it was time to tackle the tales of Salem.  I didn’t want to start right in on Annie and Kerry, but rather I wanted to do something else that would help build The Foundation World, but at the same time introduce a number of characters that would end up in their world.  I decided that for Camp NaNo, July 2013, I’d write The Foundation Chronicles:  The Scouring, a story of a traumatic event that occurred just before the end of the Twentieth Century.

While speaking to Annie’s creator about the upcoming story, we started talking about Annie’s Lake House.  This is an important location, a place that plays in a lot of scenes not only in my current book, but will have a place in the hearts of both children in their future.  And I wanted to see what it looked like, inside and out.

So it was time to get into the software and design.  I used a program that would allow me to make floor layouts and then show the building in three dimensions.  I could even place furniture inside and imagine the scenes that hadn’t been written yet.

The building that launched a couple of hundred thousand words.

The house that launched a couple of hundred thousand words.

And there it all was, the house that little spoiled Annie pestered her father to build.  With living room and dining table and kitchen, a library and a private bedroom, and the loft guest area overlooking the ground floor below.  And the wall of windows facing to the south, keeping the house illuminated from morning to nightfall.

I showed it to Annie’s creator and she loved it, even going so far as to say it was perfect.  To hear those words made me feel wonderful, and empowered me to prepare to get my world ready–

Because if I was going to write the story I wanted to work, I needed to build something else:  my Great Hall.  I knew it in my mind, I saw it in my imagination, so it became necessary to lay out with floor plans that would display it as I’d displayed Annie’s Lake House.

I wasn’t able to created it fully, because my computer couldn’t handle all the rendering needed.  But I did most of it, and . . . it was so worth while.

Because if you're going for "Great", you best go all the way.

Because if you’re going for “Great”, you best go all the way.

I had building all created:  I had my Atrium and Rotunda, the Library, the Security Center and the Instructor’s and Headmistress’ Offices.  There was the Clock Tower and the Transepts, the Hospital and the Dining Hall.  It took me about a week of work, but when I looked at this building, I saw my Great Hall.

I was just about ready to write.  Except–

I needed a school.

Rainy Day Monster

It’s been raining in The Burg all night, and it looks a bit horrid out there this morning.  This is sort of a sucky position for me today, as my eyes are totally running with junk–have been since last night.  I’m trying hard not to rub them because they’ll itch all day if I do.  Not the sort of crap I want to deal with today.

But, I’ve found a recording of the Monster album on YouTube, so I’m jamming along with R.E.M. as I write.  Yeah, sometimes life can be good when it looks like hell around you.

Lot’s more plotting going on last night, and I’d gotten so foggy at night that I was forgetting how to put part/chapter/scene together.  Usually I’m good with that, but last night I kept returning to what I’d done, realized I’d done it wrong, and turned around and did it right.  It was all a big frustrating and not a bit madding, but that’s how this game plays.  Sometimes you get it right the first time, sometimes you screw things royally and it becomes necessary to unscrew said work.

But unscrew things I did.  I managed to get the story moved up to another big event in the school’s history, and boy, when these happen do they seem to be bad.  It’s the way things roll in my world:  everyone’s out to knock Salem off the top of the pyramid, and when thugs come calling, Salem pushes back.  Hard.  And nasty.

The one good thing is I’ve found the line that my main tween male character will say that will drive his girlfriend, the main tween female character, right up the wall and make her shoot laser beams from her eyes at another female-type person.  Give her a few more years training, and she’ll actually be able to do that.

But I know where the story is at right now, and where it’s going.  I know this educational part that’s occupying the first part of the story is going to give way to a bit of a personal interlude before everyone comes back to the school and . . . hey, you really think I’m giving things away?  Needless to say, there are a lot of nefarious things going on in the world, and in My World, and if you’re good, someone’s going to notice and want to–well, you know how it goes.

Onward and upward, right?  Finish this plotting stuff out in the next week, then I can do something else.  Maybe rest, maybe write.  I have Monday off to honor a murdering, genocidal slave trader, so maybe I’ll write an article about something close to my heart that will likely piss a few people off.  Tomorrow I’m likely to say some things that will get some hairs raised, but it’s been a while since someone angrily threw out the rhetorical question, “Who do you think you are?”

That’s an easy one, my friend:

I’m the one who wrote something that pissed you off.  And you didn’t.

Cat of Space Death

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

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

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

Why, yes I can.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The strangeness that fills my mind scares me–


It’s No Game

There has been a lot of playing around the last couple of days, and some yelling on the phone as well.  Why would one be yelling on the phone?  Because there’s someone on the other end who isn’t listening, that’s why.  That’s all short-term nonsense, however, and I expect things to go back to some semblance of normal by the end of the week.

Or a black hole will open and suck me into another dimension.  Anything’s possible at this point.

There’s been a lot of thinking going on between writing.  Most of said thinking isn’t about the new story, because I know what’s happening with that, and since I’ve mind mapped the story and I know the ending, all that is required is getting the middle parts written.  I’m into the sexy bits now, and while I’m only doing a thousand words a night, it’s fun getting into that stuff.  Right now I don’t feel like doing more than a thousand a day, but the end is already in my head, and I’m guessing that the totally erotic stuff happening now is going to be good for another three, four thousand words.

There’s the nagging feeling that I want to get into another story, a different story, soon.  I know I want to edit Replacements so I can get it ready for publishing, because the writing’s complete, it only needs a cover and some polishing and then it’s off to be self-published for fame and glory.  Sure, that’s why I’m a starving artist, don’t you know?

Beyond that–well, I’m thinking of getting Couples Dance out and starting the work on that as well.  Despite my emails I’ve heard nothing from the publisher that wanted a look at the manuscript, and I have to guess they’re either not interested, or they’ve went belly up.  Now that story, it’s a strange one.  If I can get that published alongside Replacements and Her Demonic Majesty, that’s three out of the four titles I set as a goal for this year, and it means there is still the possibility I can make Number Four happen before the end of the year.

There is the feeling, though–I want to do something science fictiony again.  Yes, I have science fiction stories that I could either write or edit for publishing, but I want to get back out into space.  I want to do something that is adventurous.  I don’t know why I’ve had this feeling kicking me about the back of my mind of late, but when I’m looking at the desktop of my computer I see my 3D rendering programs, and I want to get into one and start playing about with ship designs and the such.

I want to jump back into the sci fi game.  I want to do something that’s fun–maybe a bit of space opera wrapped up in some seriousness.  I want to do it and keep it “short” and see if it touches my mind.  I even have a character that would be perfect for this sort of story–

Maybe it’s time to pull her out and give her a run at the readers.


Whispered Conversations of Nothingness

Made it through the long weekend without incident.  Weather was cool and rainy, and there wasn’t a lot of eating.  I don’t have relatives in the area, so I stayed home.  The new week continues onward, as does life.

I was going to write yesterday, but you know how you get distracted by one thing, and you can’t walk away from it because it’s so shiny?  Yeah, it was like that yesterday afternoon.  I was working on a design for this school that will play a major part in a story I’m developing, and the more I put things on the map, the more real the place became.  Not to mention it takes a long time to put walls in place, and set up and model buildings, and lay down paths . . .

You get the idea.  Getting a world built is a lot of work, and there are times when that work gets in the way of something else you should do.

Still, there’s always time to write, and I was going to–until my right eye started burning about seven-thirty last night–

I get this every so often, where my eye will get irritated by something (still have no idea what I did), and then it waters and burns, then it starts to gunk up, at which point I have to clean it out, only to have it enter the same cycle about fifteen minutes later.  I’ve tried to write before when that happens, and it’s harder than hell to do anything when you’re wiping at your eye every two minutes, or you can’t even see out of it because it’s nearly closed up with something leaking out of one corner.

So I gave up trying to write.  I really gave up trying to do anything, because it was far too hard with my eye as it was.  Therefore it was time for bed . . .

I shouldn’t say I gave up on everything, because I was running a scene through my head, and I wanted to work out what a couple of characters were saying.  This is something I do, taking the part of my characters and working out dialog which, in turn, will help me with a scene and with what’s happening at some point in the story.

But this scene wasn’t for something that would appear in a hypothetical story a year from now.  Oh, no:  this was something from a few years down the line in the history of a couple of characters.  This was a talk between two women, in private, sitting in a pavilion on the edge of a small meadow as the sun is sinking behind them.  It’s quiet, they’re alone, and they’re discussing a subject one of them knows well–

Death.  And how one must sometimes kill.

I sat there in the dark, on the bed, feeling the cool outside air trickle into the room, hearing the light patter of rain on the stones in the back yard, and I worked out their conversation.  I spent maybe fifteen minutes taking their parts, talking out their feelings, their ideas, their concerns.  I knew who their were as I spoke, and as I started to lay back, I was still speaking one of the character’s parts, my voice growing softer as my eyes started to close . . .

It’s not every night you can take your characters to bed with you.  At least you’re never really alone at night when you’re a writer.

Tales Beyond the Table

With the latest novel out of the way, it was time to get into another book and getting some information together for someone to design a cover for said story.  There wasn’t a lot to do–well, maybe I’m being modest, because there was a lot of hunting for information, and a bit of cutting and pasting, to get the final document in order.  As it was, I passed off about two thousand words of useful information–I hope.

So that’s off to the printer, so to speak.  Probably going to get into another edit tonight:  I want to shape up Replacements, and there’s a chapter I need to write to have the story make a little more sense–I’m putting in some dumb character building, I know, why do I need that shit?  Because I do, that’s why.  The story will get edited, then I’ll put in another requests for a cover . . .

April will see a lot of work towards publishing.  But I’ve got other things going as well.

In the last week I’ve had two role playing games reviews published.  These aren’t new reviews, and they aren’t new games; I originally published them on another site a few years back, and sort of let them sit.  Since they weren’t doing much in the way of traffic, I offered them to someone to post on their site after I gave them a bit of a polish, ’cause lets face it, I see mistakes much better these days.  If you are interested in reading the reviews, the are for the games Diaspora and Eclipse Phase.  Enjoy.

I don’t game much these days.  Actually, I don’t game at all; it’s been a couple of years since I’ve done any serious gaming, and while I’m always ready to jump into something, I’ve encountered the problem of either not finding a game I like, or not finding a group I like.  Both can be a problem, because if you are in a game that’s not your style, or you’re gaming with assholes, the urge to play goes right down the toilet in short order.

Yet I still pick up games now and then.  Why?  Simple answer:  they can be fodder for ideas.

There was a time when the games I ran were my stories.  Trust me:  run a role playing game every other weekend for two years, and you’ll develop a sense for story, for metaplots, and for characters.  You play in their world, but you make it your own:  you build most everything off the structure, then make your cast of characters, direct the action so your players have something interesting to do.

I did this for a couple of decades, and it helped me understand what sort of work it takes to be a storytelling.  I prided myself on my games, and I pride myself on the tales I write these days.

As for these games I still buy . . .

One can find inspiration from anywhere.  One of my first completed long stories took place in a game universe, one that I knew intimately   It could be argued that I was writing fan fiction even though the character throughout the story were entirely mine, but I won’t argue the point.  It was a good exercise for me, and my only regret is that this particular story is lost to me, vanished on a hard drive failure.  Doesn’t me I couldn’t rewrite the story from scratch today, because you always remember your first novella . . .

I hear you out there, however:  so you’re still buying game to steal ideas, is that it?  Inspiration can come from anywhere, as my muse Erin would tell you.  If you find something in a paragraph of a supplement that gets the mental gears cranking, then good for you, because working your imagination is a great thing–maybe one of the greatest things a person can achieve.

Besides, Quentin Tarantino has found inspiration this way for a couple of decades, and some call him a genius.

I already am one, so the calling should come easy . . .

Uptown Saturday Write

We come to this place in the sun, there local that I call “Breakfast”, and I express my thoughts for some to read.  Today I tell you that I’m on the last chapter of my work in progress, Suggestive Amusements, and if I’m exceptionally lucky, I’ll finish the story tomorrow.  If not, I’ll finish it Monday night, but in the next three days, rain or shine, hot or cold, the first draft is complete.

I look at the text card in Scrivener that’s going to be Chapter Eighteen, and I know what’s going in there; I’ve seen it for a few months, and I’ve been waiting to get to this point for many weeks now.  I know, with Scrivener I can just write when I feel like it, I don’t have to do everything in sequence.  Scrivener makes the writing experience like making a movie:  as you film all your particular scenes when you are on the right set or location, you can write your scenes as the need arises.  Need to write the last chapter now?  Do it.  Need to add a scene that makes sense?  Do it.  Scrivener liberates you to do that–

If you so want.  I don’t.  I’m too old school, in that I have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and I do them in that order.  Which is not a bad thing  to do for a first draft, because there were things I did in the last few chapters that have minutely changed events in the last chapter.

If I didn’t want until the end to write the end, I’d have to rewrite.  I hate rewrites.  Best to write it correctly the first time.

Chapter Eighteen is on tap for this weekend.  Three thousand words, put it a little over the seventy thousand word line, and finalize it with the big finish.  But . . . that’s not all.

I’ve decided to write an article today.  I’ve passed off a couple of my old game reviews for a friend who runs another site, and he’s posted one, and will likely post the other in a few days.  A long time back I promised him an article, so today is a good day to write said article, and it’ll be a far better usage of my time than playing Facebook games when I’m not word slinging.

I don’t know if this article-writing thing is going to be something I want to get into all the time.   My friend was asking about the possibility of doing a few articles on spacecraft propulsion systems, both real an imaginary, and I was like, “Well, yeah, I could do one of those . . .”, but the brain often says what the fingers can’t deliver.

However, I’m going to be in a lull for a bit.  I’ll be waiting on a book cover, and I’ll find myself mostly editing throughout April.  With that in mind, writing a few articles to keep the brain sharp might not be a bad idea.

If nothing else I might just entertain someone with what I have to say.  Or piss them off.

Isn’t that sometimes the same thing?

In the Glen of Semi-active Awareness

Oh, such is the aftermath of sleeping with the Luna Moth.  I make it through the night without waking at some ridiculous time of the morning, but the next day forces you to deal with the hangover for many, many hours.  It’s never fun; in fact, it can be a dangerous thing when you’re out on the highway surrounded by idiots–as I’ll be this afternoon.

At the moment I’m trying to analyze business intelligence software–always a fun thing–and write this.  I’m sort of failing at both ends, because my body is revolting against me, saying, “No, you can’t make your fingers move that way, because it feels funny to us.”  Also, these companies don’t want to give me a quote on their software:  the want me to try it first.  I don’t want to try it, I just want to know how much of my money you’re going to take.  There is no “try”, there is only, “How much, Bunky?”

Since I didn’t write anything last night–I was on Skype with my therapist, and by the time that was through I was inching into ten PM territory–I did polish up an old game review and sent it off to the guy who’d asked me about them the other night.  Yes, I found some errors; yes, I did rewrite part of it because it felt very clumsy in some areas.  Mostly I rewrote things because I know how now to tell the same tell better, and I want to see things looking nice and shiny before I send them out into the Interwebs again.

One of the things I’ve seen over the years is how good some of the stuff I wrote three, four, five years back is today.  It’s not perfect, but it’s readable in a good way.  I still get ideas across; I still manage to make the right points; I still manage to let what passes for “my humor” present itself upon the page.

What I’m saying it the writing was good, and it was something of which I am proud.

In fact, I was just looking over another review I did in 2011, and while there are a few issues here and there, I have no problems with it.  Sure, a clean up is in order, and I might have to correct something were I to republish it because a few things have changed since the original publication, but it’s not as if I need to perform massive triage to get it presentable.  It is . . . good.

If the two reviews I sent in are deemed worthy, them I’m probably going to send a few of these other things that I penned.  I’m also looking and publishing some–wait for it–new articles, because I’d once made the promise to do so, and I should follow through, should I not?  I was even looking at some research material because that’s what I do, even if I don’t want to write.  But since I likely will, the reading came in handy.

The plan is to finish Suggestive Amusements this weekend or early next week–but that doesn’t mean I won’t write something else in the meantime.

After, every little bit helps.

Options of Light and Darkness

The end is approaching.  Not that we should be sad about that, because the end I mention is the end of my current work in progress.  The penultimate chapter has started, and people are talking about what had happened up to this point.

This is the chapter I’ve been thinking about for a while, so it came easy to setting up the meeting between Erin and–lets call her one of her bosses, a member of the upper Goddess echelon that has come to sit with Erin and find out just what in the hell is going on.  I’ve imagined the conversation for some times, and when I was writing last night the idea was coming out on to the page well.

We’ll see where it goes tonight when I continue Goddess Chat.

There was something else going on while I was writing, however, because if nothing else, I multitask like mad.  I was chatting with someone I know, someone who I’ve written things for in the past, and whom has enjoyed my writing.  As I was working through my chapter I was also working through a discussion of some articles I’d written some time back, and the comments that came my way were sort of like, “Hey, you ever going to write any more of these?”

There was a time when I was writing a lot of different things.  For a while I was doing game reviews on another website, and writing a few articles for another site, all of which occurred while I was blogging and working on my first completed novel.  It was a lot of fun, and it helped me develop my talent as a writing, and even more as a researcher and editor.

But all good things come to an end, as it is said.  I was doing all this writing when I was “between jobs”, as the saying goes, and I had a lot of time to put pen to computer.  Then I found a job, I had to move, I had to find time to write while I had spare time, and with spare time at a premium, I found that if I wanted to work on my stuff, I had to cut other things out of my life.

Ergo, no more articles.

But there is another saying:  nothing that dies ever stays dead.  True, they might only say that in the Marvel Universes, but there is some precedence for that in the real world as well.  When I started thinking about the stuff I’d written once, it made me realize that, hey, that stuff was pretty good, and it was a lot of fun to write.  And I was reminded that, at one time, I did tell this person that I’d write them another article . . .

Today I pulled out something I’d written nearly two years ago, a game review that I’d put up and sort of left.  I read it, edited it, and sent it off to the person I was speaking with last night, ’cause I told him that reviewing Science Fiction type role playing games is a good thing to do–and there are probably people out there who’ll want to read them.

Does this mean I’m back into doing articles and reviews for other people?  Hard to say.  After all, Jean Grey hasn’t popped up from the dead again–


Mayhem Most Marvelous

Two chapters to go in Replacements, and it’s surprising how easy it’s been to reach this point.  It’s helped a lot that the last couple of chapters have been very easy to edit, with only the need to change a few things, and adding a phrase here and there.  It’s easy to see that when I wrote this on the first pass, I knew what I wanted to say in these later chapters than I did in the first.

But then I had a better idea of where I wanted the story to go by the time I’d finished the first couple of chapters.  It only makes sense that when I reached then last three chapters, I didn’t have to think about what I was going to write–I only needed it written.

In working this last chapter tonight, I realize that I should do something to the story.  There’s an event that happens at the end, and it takes place in something five paragraphs.  Which makes me wonder:  can a truly horrible event be summed up in under a hundred words?

Why not?

The event that happens, while needed, is not that important that if you never saw it happen, the omission would ruin everything.  If anything, the short scene–the whole chapter is about fourteen hundred words–shows how the person who’s become Olivia will do just about anything to get her way, and while she may feel sorry about what she did, that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t do it again.

In a way, the character who is Olivia is something of a psycho.  She’s kicking ass and burning bridges left and right, and what pisses her off is not the possibility that one may have picked up something strange about her–it’s that she’s enjoying her new role as department head and secret mistress, and woe be to anyone who steps on the toes of her Ferragamos.

I may have given it some thought in the past, but Olivia is probably one of the most screwed up characters I’ve ever done.  She’s not crazy in a Hannibal Lecter way, but once she figures out that she can do pretty much as he pleases, she talks about screwed people up as calmly as she would discuss what sort of polish to use for her pedicure.

When I used to run my World of Darkness Vampire game, there was one character who used to put in an appearance in just about everyone’s game, because when it came to the World of the Undead in Chicago, she was right at the top of the heap of room-temperature bodies.

She was old, powerful, and sometimes referred to as the person who was the historical Helen of Troy.  Since she was so old and powerful, people liked to play her in a very over the top manner, with a lot of histrionics, and beating of breasts.  She was this Amazonian vampire Wonder Woman who no one in their mind would ever cross, because she would hold out your maybe-beating heart for you to see if she was of that mood.

Naturally, I had her show up for a few secessions.  When the players meet her, what do they get?  A very short woman, about five foot without heels, somewhat dark, olive tone skin, black hair, dark eyes, and a physique that might lead you to believe she could lift her body weight–if she were lucky.

This was the same character, the old vampire killer to end all killers.  And she looked like you wouldn’t notice her twice if you ran into her at a local Micky-Ds.

I was questioned about why she looked the way she did.  I was able to justify her appearance on that fact that if she really were from Greece, circa 1,000 BCE, then the whole idea of having a six foot tall plus woman running about the city was ludicrous.  Skin tone, hair, eyes–pretty much the standard for the area.  If she’d been a real lady before turning bloodsucker, then manual labor was totally out of the question, and she probably wouldn’t have had a lot of toning or muscular definition.

But when she–well, I, since I was playing here–spoke, she was calm, has great manners  never once raised her voice or threw a tantrum.  I was ready for that, too.  “If you’re a poseur badass,” I explained, “you have to constantly show everyone so they don’t forever.  If you’re a true badass, though . . . you never have to show anyone what you can do.  They just know.”

And . . . they’re never bothered if they have to kill everyone in a room if they don’t get the first lesson.  You should have known, you dumb shits, that you don’t mess with Death in High Heels . . .

That’s the way Olivia is shaping up.  Killing people is just a thing, and if it’s gonna be done, then get it done.  She’s turning into a sweet badass without having to tip her hand to everyone.

She’s pretty sweet.  I should write more like her.