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.

Dancers in the Dark: Away Into the Shadows

Chapter Twenty-Five is over and done, and the shadows had their say.  More or less.  You’ll have to continue reading to see what I mean.

Not only is the chapter done, but I’ve made some modifications to the rest of Part Eight, getting it set up for how I want to write the remaining part of Act Two.  As you can see . . .

It's always better with pictures.

It’s always better with pictures.

I’ve decided to move one scene up to the next chapter, and to actually delete a scene.  Why that one?  Because, in thinking about what happens there, it breaks the flow of the story, and I can actually show what happens there through conversation in two other following scenes.  It also sets up a nice transition, because Frisco Bound has Kerry arrived in San Francisco, and his last thoughts in the scene is right about now Annie should be waking up . . . and then break to the next chapter and Morning in Pamporovo, and guess who’s waking up?

Yeah, that’s how you do it.

But how did that chapter end?  Well, I had my kids dancing before a dying fire, and there was more on Kerry’s mind, it would seem, that a dance from a month before . . .

 

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

They grew close, one hand inside another, Kerry’s free hand around Annie’s waist with her other hand wrapped up and over Kerry’s right shoulder. They swayed back in forth in the shadows in front of the sofa, the dying fire to one side, and the nearly dark commons on the other. Neither spoke for almost a minute as they enjoyed the closeness and intimacy. Annie didn’t want to lose the moment—and she suspected that Kerry was still deep in thought.

She finally decided she had to know if Kerry was thinking about the same thing that had been on her mind for a few days. “What are you thinking about?”

This time he gave here a direct answer. “Yule holiday.”

He doesn’t say Christmas anymore. Annie pressed her head into his shoulder and smiled. “You’re thinking about being apart, aren’t you?”

Kerry nodded. “Yeah.”

Annie ran her hand up and down his shoulder. “I’ve been thinking about it as well.”

“Day after Boxing Day is our four month anniversary.”

“You’re keeping track?” She didn’t want to tell him that she knew this as well.

He laid his head against hers and let his voice drop to a whisper. “Every since the first month we were here—” His chuckle was so low as to be almost inaudible. “That was your birthday, after all.”

He realized; he knew all along. She wanted to put his mind at ease, even if her own wasn’t there. “It’s only going to be a couple of weeks.” Annie raised her head so she could gazed upon Kerry’s face and look into his eyes. “You’ll get to see your grandparent again, and I’ll be back home.” She rested her head against his shoulder once more. “I’m actually looking forward to seeing my parents. I told my father I’d have grown by the time I come home for Yule—”

“And you have. Maybe an inch.”

She thumped him lightly on the back of his shoulder. “Silly. That’s not what they meant.”

 

Yeah, you know what they mean, slick.  But she noticed that her birthday was the first month they were physically together–and I noticed it, too, last night while I was looking something up.  That’s one of the reasons I put dates on everything, and as I was getting the date they met in the bookstore in London, I realized, “Hey, that was a month before Annie’s birthday.”

27 August to 27 September.  I wasn't lying.

27 August to 27 September. I wasn’t lying.

But now that the missing and stuff is out in the open, what next?  Well . . .

 

“I know.” He glanced up the stairs past the mezzanine commons to the unseen entrance to the First Floor where there rooms were. “But we’ve gotta go to sleep soon.”

Annie slowly stepped away from Kerry. At first she followed his gaze up the stairs, then her eyes settled on the sofa. “What if we sat here for a while before heading up?”

Kerry stood next to Annie and let his eyes wander over the sofa. “We might get sleepy here.”

“It’s possible.”

“And . . .” He pointed to both ends of the sofa. “There are pillows and comforters here.”

Annie said nothing for a few moments, allowing the implications of the ideas they were considering settle. “It’s not like anyone ever slept here.”

Kerry picked up two pillows and laid them at one end of the sofa. “Otherwise why would they have this here?”

Annie picked up a comforter and spread it out. “Only makes sense.”

“It certainly does.” Kerry waited for Annie to pull the comforter back before laying down and pressing himself against the sofa back.

 

Hey, you kids:  what are you doing?  I’d say they’re getting ready to go to sleep . . .

 

Annie lay next to her soul mate on here right side, her back against him. She reached down and pulled the comforter over them, snuggling it over their shoulders and around their necks. “You know we could get detention—”

“I know.” He slid his left arm over her waist. “We’ll just have to get up about five or so and head up to our rooms.”

“That isn’t a problem.” She sighed as she watched the fire go out. “You’re not worried?”

Kerry rubbed his nose through Annie’s hair. “If we get detention . . .” He pulled back her hair and kissed her behind the ear. “It’s worth it.”

She took his left hand and held it tight. “A month ago you wouldn’t have said that.”

“A month ago I was only starting to know how I felt about you.” As the fire finally died and the embers began to smolder, Kerry brushed Annie’s cheek. “Good night, Annie. I love you.”

She touched the back of his hand. “Leka nosht, Kerry. I az te obicham.”

They relaxed and closed their eyes, Kerry’s arm once more around Annie’s waist, her hand still in his.

They drifted towards their dreams as the shadows embraced and held them tight . . .

 

And there they go, zero shits given if someone stumbles across them on a Sunday morning–which, traditionally, is a time to sleep in, so if they sneak up to their rooms on a floor they share with no one else, all should be right in the world.

I’m sure the shadows will tell them if someone comes.

Dipping a Toe Into the Week of Hell

First off, Happy Ostara to you all.  It’s finally spring, and Ostara is a celebration of spring.  The name is taken from the goddess Ēostre, which is her old English name, and when you look closely at said name, you’ll see it looks a lot like the word Easter, which is another way of saying, “Hey, you pagan Pagans, we’re ripping off another one of your holidays for our own religion–kthxbai!”  Funny how that all worked out.

At the school in my story, they get down to business and call those holidays by the names as they were once known, though there are changes allowed:  for example, the Samhain Dance looks a lot like a Halloween ball what with all the costumes, because even Legacy kids like to dress up, go out, and have fun.  It’s just when those kids are riding around on witch’s brooms, well, it’s not an act.

And at my school's Sanhaim dance, the transformation experts are real busy--you think it's easy making people over into zombies?

And at my school’s Sanhaim dance, the transformation experts are real busy–you think it’s easy making people over into real zombies and cat people?

Right now, in my story, my kid’s coven is preparing to the Ostara Talent Performance, where anyone who wants to take a chance at sucking can get up on stage and suck if they like–or be absolutely brilliant if they’ve worked out.  I’ve written about this “Taking your shot at sucking” thing already, and it’s the scene in my novel where Kerry more or less gets roped into agreeing to do his thing on stage–which could very well suck.  But then, Annie and his coven, Cernunnos, help put it on, so why not get up in front of hundreds of people and their parents and give it a shot, right?

What’s the worst that could happen?  The kids will throw fireballs at you?

I finished editing my friend’s novel, so it’s back to her and she’s happy.  It also frees me up to get into my editing, and tonight I’m getting into Week One of school in my novel.  And . . . it’s a scary thing, because it’s a huge part of what I’ve written so far.

"I am the one who guided you this far, all you know, and all you feel--"  Gee, thanks Guild Vocal!

“I am the one who guided you this far/all you know, and all you feel–” Gee, thanks Guild Vocal!

That number on the Part Three line tells me there are seventy-seven thousand , four hundred and some change words in awaiting me, and I’m not going to lie, I won’t get through all that in the next week and a half before I start writing anew on 31 March.  Then again, I look at what I’ve already accomplished, and when you run the numbers, one hundred forty thousand minus seventy-seven thousand equals a hell of a lot I’ve already edited in the last four days.  And that means with a few days off and nothing to do, I might just get . . . some of this first week of school hell . . . out of the way.

And the parts that were just edited–I loved the work, and I loved the story.  I’ve not changed anything save add something here and there.  And I had to check a time line just to be sure that when Professor Lovecraft told Annie something about here parents–“They were F Levels when I taught my first year–“–and sure enough, the time line backed me up–well, backed her up.

The Week of Hell awaits in more ways than one.  But there is a real possibility I can get a first pass edit finished on Act One before I start Act Two.  That would make things a lot easier, because while I could edit a chapter a night when I start Act Two, that will cut into my writing time–

And I am so looking forward to getting back into telling this story.  There’s such . . . fun ahead.

The Group Fade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I didn’t look half bad.

The Vision of the Beguiled

Of late I’ve been rising very early.  Is this a return to my old habits, or is it that I don’t need that much sleep any more?  I don’t know–but I was sleepy for about an hour yesterday afternoon, a drowsiness that vanished about four PM.  I don’t want to find myself heading back into the cycle of work and exhaustion that I ran through over the summer.  That needs to end right now, and in a big way.

The mind was working overtime when I woke up, however.  There was a song in my head that shouldn’t have been there, and visions that I should have ignored.  This seemed to happen as well, probably because my brain is trying to pull me away from whatever dreams I had that were, in all honesty, crappy enough that they would have bummed me out in the long run.

Then I wake up, get on Facebook, and am greeted by another in a long line of post that indicate you are indeed a manly man if you wear a kilt.  I’ve even seen posts that say you’d never see a gay man wearing a kilt, which leads to me believe that somewhere on the Internet there is a picture of John Barrowman in a kilt–oh, look:  ask, and the Internet provides!  So much for gay men in kilts . . .

It’s the time of year for visions to be upheld, for things to be viewed through a dark lens of remembered that isn’t always that clean.  This time of month is when everyone goes on about holidays of the past, gathering with family, sitting around the tree and enjoying the kidlettes ripping up all those carefully prepared packages, then running off to their rooms for the next few hours while dinner is being readied.

I want to say I had a lot of memories like this, but I don’t.  Oh, I spent my time around the tree, getting presents.  I also remember getting yelled at a few times because I didn’t seem “appreciative” enough for what I got, and there was one time when I was yelled at for almost an hour to write a thank you note to my grandmother for sending me two dollars in a card.  Good times, yo.

I know you might find this strange, but the only really good Christmas memory I have as a kid was the broadcast from the moon by Apollo 8.  I didn’t listen much to what was being said–particularly the whole “reading of Genesis” thing, which I didn’t need under any conditions–because I was watching the landscape being filmed.  That was what drew me in:  not the words, but the vision.

We spend way too much time thinking of the past and using that to drive our present.  Where we fall down is there’s no vision for what’s to come.  I tell my daughter, “Do something that will make you happy, not what’s going to make you the most money,” and I mean it, because there is a singular lack of people following their dreams these days.  Seems like most people are scrambling to pay bills and get shit for the holidays that will be looked at, come March, with an expression similar to, “Why the hell did I need this?”  Or someone will look at that iPhone they received from Santa and thing, “Fuck this:  I need a new Android!” thereby proving that gifts of this nature are usually bullshit.

I don’t think about gifts this time of year, because I’m as generous as get out for 364 days of the year (365 this year, yeah!).  If someone needs something, I get it.  There was a time when Christmas wasn’t about some kid being born (which, in reality, he wasn’t–not at this time of the year at least, but don’t let that spoil the fun . . .), but more about lighting bonfires and making lots of noise because you thought if you didn’t, the Wild Hunt was coming for your ass.  Yule was a blow out party, celebrating getting through another year in one piece, and you decorated trees–not ones that were cut down, but those things that grow in something called a forest–to give your thanks to nature not dropping a Storm From Hell on you and your family, or infesting you with the Black Death.

Set a vision for yourself.  Go with it.  Make that your gift, not just to yourself, but to the world.  Maybe it won’t pay off right away, or even ever, but you owe it to yourself to do.  I saw the moon when I was eleven years old, and I wanted to go there.  I couldn’t in real life, but I could in my imagination.  It’s taken a while, but I’ve gone there, gone to other worlds, gone to other dimensions.  I don’t think about getting something for the holidays, because for me, it’s just another day.

Work your vision.

If you don’t, who will?