New Kids On the Job

We’re almost to the long weekend time here in America, and I’m a bit remiss in saying that yesterday was Canada Day, so to my friends North of The Wall I say, Sorry, So Sorry, I didn’t mean to miss you.  Also, today is I Forgot Day, so you have to forgive me.

In case you’re wondering today is also World UFO Day, and you should be watching some old 1950’s science fiction and, if you can find it, check out the late-60s television show The Invaders, which was scary as all hell.  And, of course, the British show UFO is a must:

The show that told me I should show up at work these days looking like this.  I should.  I really should.

The show that told me that in the future this is how women would look.  I should show up at work one day dressed like this. I really should.

Also some personal stuff that’s important to me is coming up as well, such as today is five months for me since I came out at work.  Almost half a year–yay!  So much is happening so quickly, and I have to say that I am loving some of this stuff, even if there is some heaviness in my heart.  But that’s for another post.  Onward.

Today–at least in my mythical Salem School world–it is Minion Day.  That is to say, Professor Wednesday Douglas has herself some minions for B Level Spells, and gee–can you guess who they are?

 

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

Wednesday checked the B Level lab one last time before walking towards the ground floor library. The day was cloudy and cool outside, and inside—well, there were more than a few students who’d be less clear and a lot hotter. Today was the first time she’d taken the students through the basics of minor levitation, and even though they were doing little more than attempting to lift tiny plastic spindles, only a quarter of the students were able to get at least one good levitation, and out of that group only one person was able to repeat the action—

She didn’t think it was a coincidence that Emma Nielson was also the only student today to ask for assistance from her two minions. Speaking of which—

Wednesday popped her head through the doorway and caught the attention of her two little helpers, both whom were reading. “Hey, minions.” She waved them towards her the moment they looked up from their books. “Help me get the lab straightened up, okay?” They sent their books back to their respective locations on the shelves before following her out of the room.

 

It’s the end of class and lunch in on high, and it’s time for Teacher and Her Pets to get the lab back in order, which they do using magic.  It’s also during this time that Annie brings up a point:  no one asked them for help.  Well, one person did, and that’s not really discussed, except to say Kerry blows it off, as does Annie.  Wednesday, however, is thinking about that, and about Annie’s question, and comes up to the follow conclusion:

 

Wednesday didn’t want to drag up any hidden enmity that might lie hidden within either Annie or Kerry concerning his Åsgårdsreian wingmate. She wanted to keep everyone focused on Annie’s questions, and not those who could become the subject of discussion. “It’s really a complected answer; there’s no easy reason. Part of it being intimidated by what they’re doing; part is being intimidated by the people who I bring in to help.” She waved her container onto one lab station and turned to Annie. “Remember what it was like when I brought in minions last year.”

Annie appeared a bit puzzled. “We didn’t have minions in spells class last year.”

“Right—not in your class.” Wednesday leaned back against a lab table. “You had already moved on to Advanced Spells by that time: you were minions.”

“Minions to be.” Kerry stood next to Annie, joining the conversation. “We just didn’t know it at the time.”

“Exactly.”

Annie closed her eyes as her head shook in short, quick twitches. “So no one wanted our help because they were intimidated by the spell and by us?”

Wednesday’s shrug was almost imperceptibly. “I would say some of the kids in this class are intimidated by you both. I’m also sure there are a few who just don’t like you and don’t want to do anything with you. And . . .” She’d considered not bringing up this last point, but ignored her concern because she was fairly certain it wasn’t a tremendous revelation for either of them. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a few in your level who are probably scared of you.”

 

This last point is a good one, because, if you think back, it’s one they’ve already touched upon–

And maybe we’ll get to that tomorrow.  After all, I do have the day off.

All Accounted For

A long, somewhat useless weekend, and now it’s back to the grind and the start of June, which means it feels like I didn’t do a lot, and compared to some weekends, I didn’t.  But, strangely, I got a lot done.

I did spend several hours getting my coven numbers and attendance in order, because I’m strange that way.  It wasn’t enough to make sure I had the right numbers in each tower, but I did a bit of cross-checking to make certain I had the right numbers in each level.  Remember how I said I like to keep my books balanced?  Yeah, that’s what I was doing, making sure I didn’t have an extra slip in there somewhere.

Once I knew my numbers were right, it was a matter of finding each of my students a home, and then giving them a name.  Both those are somewhat daunting tasks, because you have to find something legitimate for each country.  You start roaming all over the world and before you know it, your wandering eyes finds strange and interesting things . . .

Like that blue divet in the upper left hand corer of the island.  That's the resulted of the biggest boom the US ever set off, and it helped get Godzilla made.

Like that blue divot in the upper left hand corer of the island. That’s the resulted of the biggest boom the US ever set off, and it helped get Godzilla made.

I’m always finding stuff like that.  But I don’t want to wander again, so let’s get back on track.

I felt I needed to fill out my covens, because if for no other reason I can look at them and pull in characters are needed to fill out the stories where needed.  As I also did with the B Levels, as the novel progress I know who moved up to the next level, and who didn’t, so for the next book, when it comes time to figure out who the new A Levels are, I’ll know.  I’ll know who to move into advanced classes and put into race teams, if needed.  When Annie and Kerry become C Levels and take over the duties of welcoming the new B Levels to the second floor, I’ll know who those students are.

And since their coven is the smallest, I filed them out first.

Yeah, the kids are all here, and they're all right.

Yeah, the kids are all here, and they’re all right.

Here are all my Snakey kids, ready to hit the ground running.  A few interesting things popped up.  One, in five of the six levels , there’s only one boy.  The girls outnumber the boys, but only by the thinnest amount, unlike the populations of the other covens.  Demographically they’re from all over:  three are from North America, four are from South America, six are from Europe, three are from Africa, three are from Asia, and two can be considered part of Oceania.

In time I’ll fill out the other covens; probably sooner than one would expect.  I know which one is next:  it’s the East Point of the Pentagram, because I gotta balance out the West Point, right?

As for the actual writing of the novel . . . just under five hundred words, which is a better Sunday than I’ve done of late.  It’s a continuation of Wednesday wanting to ask the kids a question, and getting to that question.

 

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

Wednesday waited for the kids to sit, lightly tugging at the heme of her sweater while she watched them get comfortable. She stood about two meter in front of them: she figured it would be the best way to keep their attention. “I don’t know if you’ve heard, but a few instructors are considering using you a minions once in a while.”

“We’ve heard.” Annie tasted the last of her grilled cheese and cider as she cleared her throat. “We spoke with Deanna last Friday, and she told us.”

“I figured that would happen: she was there at the dinner when the subject came up, and I knew you visited her first thing on Get Reacquainted Day.” Wednesday lightly rubbed her upper lip. “I’d like to ask you to come and help me in my class.”

Kerry exchanged glanced with Annie: they’d already discussed the minion situation, and believed Wednesday would be one of the first to ask. “We can help—” He chuckled softly. “But we’ll need to get out of history and math if you want us to help with the A Levels.”

Wednesday rocked back and forth on the balls of her feet. “I don’t imagined I’d have difficultly getting Maddie and Adric to let you skip class for the day, as long as it didn’t become a regular thing.” She referred to Professors Palmescoff and Lewiston, who taught the B Level History and Advanced Math courses occurring at the same time as Wednesday’s A Level Basic Spell Casting. “But I had another class in mind—”

Annie moved closer to Kerry, warming herself against the encroaching chill in the air. “Which one?” She figured the A Level class was the one of choice: after all, they knew all the simple spells, though perhaps Wednesday wanted them to help out the C Levels, too . . .

Wednesday looked down for just a few seconds before speaking. “I was thinking the B Level Spells class.” The silence that followed stretched on for nearly five seconds before she threw open her hands. “Well?”

“You really want us to help out . . .” Kerry swallowed while coming up with the right expression. “Our old class?”

Annie almost snorted. “It’s not really our old class. We’ll never go there.”

“Unless you come and be my minions.” Wednesday stopped rocking left and right now that she was past the point of asking her question. “The question I have is: are you gonna feel strange helping out people who you see in other classes every day?”

 

Here’s the kicker:  when it comes to minions instructors always get them from the upper levels.  Every once in a while they’ll ask one or two students to help out with a lab or exercise, as Helena did in A Level Sorcery when she was teaching the kids to throw up shields and had Annie and Kerry toss some light Air Hammers at them, but it’s a rare thing for an instructor to pull in someone from an advanced class and have them do minion duty for kids in their own level.

I’ll finish this scene tonight, because I’m looking forward to getting into the next scene and closing out the chapter.  After this we get wingmates back together, and you will believe a girl can fly.

The Juggling of the Duties

The novel did not advance quickly last night.  If anything, I managed a few hundred words–just under three hundred, in fact–because . . . well, so many things happened last night.  Allow me to explain–

Believe it or not, I’ve got a bunch of different things floating around at the same time.  Mine is not a simply life of “Get up, work, come home, eat, write, sleep.”  There are times when it does feel that way, but last night wasn’t one of those night.  No, it was more like I had miles to go before falling off into sleep.

First off, I walked throughout most of the day like a zombie.  It wasn’t a good time, because my “Hey, it’s four AM, let’s get up” body was doing just that to me, and I’d only gotten to bed just a little after midnight, so I was running on just under four hours of sleep.  Not a good way to start the day.

"No, I can write code when I'm half asleep . . . Um, what does two plus two mean?"

“No, I can write code when I’m half asleep . . . Um, what does two plus two mean?”

Then I get home feeling sleepy at four-thirty in the afternoon, and it’s time to eat.  And write.  Only it takes an hour to get dinner ready, and I can’t concentrate on writing.  So I jump online for a bit and chat up a bit.  And then I get into discussions with people:  we talk about things they’re working on, I give a few opinions on copyright protections (this is something that’s come up a lot among the people in the crocheting group in which I hang out), I lay out a few memes for people because, in another life, I am The Memestress, and I come bringing the snark.

One of the things I got involved in while on line was helping out a woman who was having a problem with mold in her house.  She rents but it seemed the landlord not only wasn’t going anything about the mold, he was being confrontational about it.  As I have mad Google skills (no, I won’t spell it the other way), I did a quick search and discovered three sites in the city where she lives (which, by the way, is not in the U.S.) and posted them for her to use.  It does appear that she received help with her problem, and she posted a thank you on my Facebook wall which greeted me this morning when I logged in.

Ah, but then!  I had to take over asking questions in a book club.  Yes, the person who was running the show this month went MIA, and I sort of got elected to step in and ask questions for the book in question, which I read.  So late at night, as I was trying to work on my novel, I jumped in and set up a few questions for other people–in fact, I did a few more this morning, because I’m nothing if not diligent.

There you have it:  my crazy night.  Juggle, juggle, juggle.  Maybe tonight I can actually get back to work on my novel . . .

Maybe.

"I need to have Annie kick some ass here.  People better just leave me--oh, look, a message!"

“I need to have Annie kick some ass here. People better just leave me–oh, look, a message!”