Quick and Dirty Saturdays

If it’s Saturday it must be time for a video recap.  And here I cover some other writing I’d love to publish plus–something completely different:

 

Walking Into the Known Unknown

I have noticed that when I’m really tired my fingers don’t work well.  Like last night:  I was completely out of it once I got back from the phone bank and even though I did manage a few hundred words of writing, it was a struggle.  My fingers were all over the keyboard, hitting everything but the right keys.  That is probably the most frustrating thing in the world to have happen, because you want to do something but you can’t.  A lot of the story of my life.

We know Penny and Kerry had breakfast in Ispwich, but now they’re out walking in the woods.  What woods, you say?  These woods:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

After a relaxing breakfast they walked back to St. Mary-le-Tower, took off, and headed twenty kilometers eastward to Rendlesham Forest to hike the infamous UFO Trail around the locations that made up the well-known 1980 incident, when solders at the RAF Woodbridge airbase claimed to see lights in the forest and possibly found a grounded unknown object.  The day was perfect for a hike in the woods and as there weren’t a lot of people on the trail there wasn’t any worry they were going to get a lot of questioning looks about their leather flight jackets.

They didn’t say much for the first segment of the walk: they’d said plenty back at Costa they both felt they could use the silence brought on by their location. It was only when they arrived at Spot 1 on the trail map that Kerry broke the silence. “There it is.”

Penny turned and watched her excited covenmate. “Yes, it’s a gate.” She chuckled. “You don’t see many of those these days.”

Kerry tisked and walked until her was wrap his fingers around the chain links. “Yeah, but this is the gate: the East Gate.” There was a huge smile on his face when he turned around. “This is where it started.”

“You should see how excited you are.” Penny spoke as she sauntered towards him. “I should set you down with me mum. I didn’t tell her I was coming out here ‘cause she’d have probably wanted to tag on.”

 

So where is Kerry hanging out all of a sudden in such an excited state?  Here:

Maybe Kerry has a thing for gates. By Taras Young - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37074729

Maybe Kerry has a thing for gates.
(By Taras Young – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37074729)

Kerry didn’t just fly all the way across the UK so he could make it easy for Penny:  he wanted to come here, to the Rendlesham Forest, site of what some have called “Britain’s Roswell.”

Just like Roswell only without the desert and with tree.

Just like Roswell only without the desert and with tree.

It’s like this, early on the morning of 26 December, 1980, U.S. Air Force personnel standing at that above gate saw some lights off in the distance.  And the time RAF Woodbridge was a NATO base that was used as a staging point for fighters that might have to go in and attack Russian tanks if those commies decided World War III needed happening and it was a good day to die.  So anything that looked out of the ordinary kicked the paranoia up considerably, as, you know, those lights could be KGB spies or something.

Long story short:  a bunch of U.S. airmen went out looking for the lights, chased them around the forest, and eventually came upon something that people said was maybe a spacecraft setting in a clearing.  No one really knows because, for one, there was a lot of sketchy info about what was seen and when, which is usual with these sightings.  Britain’s Ministry of Defense thought so little of what happened they didn’t bother with an official investigate because they said nothing happened to compromise national security.  And people who were hot to investigate the matter over the years pretty much say they think what those crazy Yanks saw were just meteors and a lighthouse that’s not too far away, and because all this happened at three in the morning they weren’t at their sharpest.

Don’t think that Penny and Kerry are wandering through the woods without a destination in mind.  Nope.  As pointed out there now existed The UFO Trail through Rendlesham Forest, a three mile/five kilometer long path that follows the points where those lights were seen, and even heads into the clearing where the “saucer” was seen.

I even mapped it out for you.

I even mapped it out for you.

Penny and Kerry started out at the dot right above “Measure” and are now at the dot closest to the end of the runway at top left.  And now that they have a good look at the gate, Kerry wants to hear more about Penny’s mom:

 

“Really.” He crossed his arms. “Is she into paranormal stuff?”

It was her turn to blow raspberries. “Mum was big into it before she found out about The Foundation. After that—” She rolled her eyes. “You should have see her the first time I told them about The Phoenix. I thought she was gonna want to go to Salem right then and there.”

“She’d have been disappointed if she had. Ol’ Phee doesn’t speak to much of anyone except Professor Lewiston, and from the way it sounds she’s gotta be in the right mood for that.”

“True there.” Penny stepped up to the gate and squinted as she looked through to what was now known as Woodbridge Airfield. “What were those bunkers we flew over?”

“They used to keep fighters in there.” Kerry stood alongside Penny and looked inside as well. “It’s been report that the U.S. kept nuclear weapons in those as well.”

“Wouldn’t be surprised: that sounds like the sort of shite the Americans would pull.” She looked to her right with a slightly embarrassed look upon her face. “Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.”

“It’s okay.” Kerry chuckled. “I’m technically an ex-pat, and I’m not sure we can consider the land inside school walls part of the United States as no one outside The Foundation know were there.” He took a step back from the gate. “Before we fly home I want to get a look at one of those from the ground.”

“We should be able to do that.” Penny turned and touched Kerry on the arm. “Let’s go.”

 

And this really goes back to why everyone was so spooked that Boxing Day morning in 1980:  though it’s never been confirmed, there are a few people who have stated over the years that nuclear weapons were kept at RAF Woodbridge without the British knowing.  Sure, this would be a violation of treaties and all that, but like the U.S. ever really cared about that when it came to doing what they liked.  Anyway, no nukes there now, nor UFOs, either.

Just a couple of witches looking through an old fence and thinking about what to say next…

Laying in the Bed in the Bay: A Final Reckoning

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

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

 

Kolor Ijo Ideas:

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

Kolor Ijo Makaasar Losari Beach

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

The characters:

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

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

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

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

 

And now the second:

 

Foundation Chronicles: A For Advanced Act One Idea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A For Advanced Act One Cover Idea

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

If you have any questions, just ask.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

“Yes, he’s going to stop by as well.”

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

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

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

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

 

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

He has other questions as well . . .

 

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

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

“Do what?”

“Block me like that at the end?”

“No one knows.”

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

“What do you mean?”

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

“Because of the crash.”

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

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

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

 

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

“She didn’t even point?”

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

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

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

Kerry laughed despite the pain. “Really?”

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

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

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

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

Annie nodded politely. “Yes, please.”

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

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

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

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

 

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

Tea and Visions

Let’s get to the personal stuff right away, shall we?  First off, the friends I spent time with last Sunday drove up and met me for a few hours in The Burg–and they brought me something . . .

This is the face of evil, I tell you.  Evil.

This is the face of evil, I tell you. Evil.

I’d pretty much came from work so I didn’t change, and this is one of my nicer tops.  As you can see, I was given a nice little pink box.  And what was inside the box?  A hand-made necklace and a note asking if I’d be my friend’s maid of honor.  Of course I said yes . . .

I was also told I do have other expressions besides Resting Bitch Face.

I was also told I do have other expressions besides Resting Bitch Face.

So I’m wearing that into work today.  Nice, nice, nice!  Tomorrow nails, and Sunday I’m going to a makeup party.  A girl never has enough time in her life . . .

Oh, I also wrote.  I wrote . . . well, more than the night before.  In fact the scene is just short of thirty-one hundred words, which makes it a big scene, and it’s something I should finish tonight.  “Should” being the operative word.  I’ve seen that plan fall through more than once, but I’m confident I should finish tonight.  Should.

As a few people guessed, when Deanna and the Kids (that’s gonna be my next band name, by the way) speak of “tea”, they mean “visions”.  Hence today’s title.  Deanna does talk the kids into trying her little trance-inducing experiment from the year before again, and they’re both game.  Sorry, Ren, but Annie just can’t hear you:  lalalala, I’ve got fingers in my ears!  She wants to see what happens, too, and so there aren’t any questions–we’ll save those for the end–here’s the majority of the scene as written:

 

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

“Don’t worry.” Deanna let her hand hover over the water kettle, crafting a spell to heat the water. “When the door close the note outside switched to indicate I am in conference—” She filled two infusers with loose-leaf tea and dropped them into cups. “—so there isn’t any need to worry we’ll be interrupted.” She crafted a spell over the cups, mumbling something softly as she set the enchantment in place. “There.”

Kerry watched with interest as Deanna created the trance spells before bringing the cups to Annie and him. While it seemed so many of the witches at Salem crafted their art the same way, there were enough variations among the staff that it reminded him there was more than one way to—as Wednesday had said more than a few times last year—Make Your Art Real.

He smiled as Deanna handed him his cup. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” She passed the other to Annie. “Let me get the water.” She returned with the kettle and two spoons, which she handed over right away. “Just like last time, let me pour the water, and once that’s done, look into your cup as you start stirring. Don’t worry about the infuser getting in the way—”

Annie looked up. “Why not?”

“Because it won’t.”

Kerry coughed. “Do we really need that?”

“Yes. Because if everything goes right, you may need something to drink when this is over.” Deanna chuckled softly. “Are you ready?”

“Yes.” Annie barely heard Kerry’s response as she kept her eyes locked upon the center of her cup. She waited for Deanna to stop pouring, then started stirring, noticing out of the corner of her eye Kerry doing the same. She didn’t hurry, for there was nothing to do but allow trance to come over her—if it really were going to happen this time . . .

Your eyes are locked up the darkening sky, clear and growing darker. The sun had set off to her left some fifteen minutes earlier, but there’s still considerable light here, two thousand meters up.

You don’t know the stars the way Kerry does, but there are a few you recognize on sight. Polaris is nearly straight ahead, and the Summer Triangle is easy to make out now that it’d getting dark in the east. The moon is setting with the sun, and once the sky is dark there won’t be anything but the stars—

Which are being drowned out by the city ahead. Your destination—both your destination. You glance to your right and there’s Kerry upon his Espinoza, five meters away and keeping pace, the collar of his flying jacket turned up against the chill of the high air. You wait until he’s finished with whatever he was checking on his tablet before getting his attention. “How much longer, honey?”

“We should be down in fifteen minutes—” He sits up and points ahead. “Yonder lay our city, Sweetie.”

“Yes, I can see.” You slide-slipped the broom a few meters to the right, getting closer for no other reason that to get closer. “I’m so glad we decided to fly tonight—” You look around at the deep twilight sky. “Though not really dark enough to make it night.”

“It’s dark enough.” Kerry keeps his attention on you, letting his broom more or less fly on its own for a few moments. “Twenty down—”

“Thirty to go: I know.” You adjust your heading a little to the left, and Kerry matches you. Structures you know so well are coming into view as you both approach at high-speed. “Ready to descend?”

“It’s about that time.” Kerry adjusted his goggles and nodded at something ahead. “You wanna go over there first before checking in?”

You can’t keep the smile off your face. “Most certainly.” You begin descending, reaching out as if to push away a stray cloud—

Touching the room door as Kerry holds it for you. “Hello, again.”

He enters and gently latches it shut. “I made certain we got this room.”

You turn and wrap your arms around his shoulders. “I know you did.” The kiss you place upon his lips is more soft and sweet than most. “Because you know I love this room.”

“It’s a good one for me, too.” He helps remove your backpack before he slips off his own. “It’s been a long day.”

“And tomorrow is almost here.” You hold your arms to the side and stretch before shrugging off the stylish black leather flying jacket and hanging it on the back of the door. “Give me your jacket?”

He hands you his jacket before removing your roll-on bag from your backpack’s Hammerspace. “You want to shower before bed?”

“It’s not like we need it. We should be good until tomorrow.” You sit on the edge of the bed as Kerry retrieves his own roll-on bag. “I thought maybe we’d get up breakfast, then come back here and nap before cleaning up and going out.”

He listens and nods. “That’s a good plan. You have anywhere in particular you want to go?”

You shrugged before smiling. “I want to do some shopping—”

“Really?” Kerry looks over his shoulder, mock surprise upon his face. “I had no idea.”

“Silly.” You stick out your tongue before wrapping your hands around your knees. “I want to pick up a couple of nice outfits.”

“This is the place to do that.”

You pause before asking the next question. “Any chance we’ll see her here?”

He slowly turns and leans against the chest of drawers, facing you. “No.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.” He smiles as he crosses his arms. “I told you she wouldn’t.”

“I don’t know—” You twist your head and cock it to one side. “It’s a chance for her to pick up a few nice things—”

“Now who’s being silly?” He comes over and kisses you as soft as you kissed him. “After the day we’ve had, sleep is of the order.” Kerry starts to zip open your luggage. “Which pajamas you want?”

You stand and take a single step towards him. “My love.”

He turns. “Yes.”

You reach for the heme of your tee shirt. “I believe I’d rather wear—” Your words are muffled as you begin pulling your shirt over your head—

“This.” Annie’s shirt was two-thirds of the way up her torso before she realized she was sitting in a classroom in Memory’s End—and that Kerry was facing her, helping her with her top. “Kerry.”

Annie.”

 

Hey now!  You kids, get a room–oh, wait . . .

There you have it:  Annie’s vision.  Last book we saw Kerry’s vision, only because if we’d seen Annie’s–no, we don’t want to go there.  As it was we did see her vision.

Something else happened last night, however.  In the process of getting Annie’s vision completed, the novel crossed the forty thousand word mark.  I know because I checked, and I even found the exact moment . . .

Yes, I keep track of things like exact word that makes my work a novel.  Don't you?

Yes, I keep track of things like exact word that makes my work a novel. Don’t you?

I went back and figured out the Novel Line moment, and put it in my notes to the right.  So I’ve hit novel time again, just three days past a month into writing.  Like I said, I’m almost on NaNo Pace with this story, and that isn’t bad.

At least I’ve got the kids at the school.  What’s the worst that can happen to them now?

Along the Old Paths Newly Beaten

First, let’s get this out of the way:  Kolor Ijo is finished as far as the edit of the first draft is concerned.  It’s a done deal.  See?

Done deals are done.

Done deals are done.

So now it’s onto finding a cover and doing another edit pass–which should go quickly–and getting it published.  Sometime this summer, for sure, but it’s gonna get done.  I promise that.

Now that I have this story out of the way, I can say I enjoyed revisiting these two characters, and the supernatural world of Indonesia, and . . . I do want to do it again.  Maybe the next story in this series could be next year’s April NaNo Camp novel.  We’ll see, but I want to go here again.

However, there’s something standing in the way, and that’s only about a month away from fruition . . .

Yesterday afternoon I got back into working on my time line for the Big Euro Tour my kids go on that won’t be talked about for a few more novels.  Yes, I plan years in advance, but that’s how I am–crazy, right?  Right.

The last time I showed the time line I was in Lyon, so where in the world are my kids now?

Technically they exist only in my mind, but we'll assume they're in Eastern Europe.

Technically they exist only in my mind, but we’ll assume they’re in Eastern Europe.

As you can see they made it to Paris, then moved eastward to Bruges, Amsterdam, Burg–which is south of Munich–and then Prague.  If you’ve never heard of Bruges, it’s in Belgium–as the time line points out–and it’s a wonderful old town that at one time was a seaport–even though it’s now eighteen miles from the English Channel–and has a four hundred year old brewery, which makes it one of the oldest in Europe.  It’s about an hour from Brussels by train, so if you happen to be in that neck of the woods, give it a visit.  Also, the movie, In Bruges, was filmed there, so if you want a quick look at the city between scenes of people being killed, give it a gander.

There’s also a mark there which says they’re Seeing the Seer, and that’s a little side trip out of Lyon to fly south so Annie and Kerry can visit Deanna.  Where is she?

Unlike Waldo, she's easy to find.

Unlike Waldo, she’s easy to find.

The entirety of the journey follows the Rhine River to Montélimar, which is a little over one hundred and forty kilometers south of Lyon.  I put in her a secluded chateau, which I hope the people now living there won’t mind, but it’s the sort of place where I can see Deanna living.  And just so you know, they’ll visit a couple of other instructors as well during their trip.

It’s funny, but all the places Annie and Kerry are staying from Barcelona to Bruges are the same places I stayed when I traveled the same route in 2006.  Only I went the whole way by train, and didn’t make any side trips on high tech brooms.  It only makes sense that I would fall back on something I know, however, and looking at those same locations on Google Maps brought back some interesting memories–including one that involved a dream someone had of the same hotel room I stayed in while in Paris, only they were staying with, um, me.  Yeah, it was freaky.

When they get to Amsterdam they stay in a pretty swanky place and spend a few days laying about and decompressing before heading to the south of Germany for a few days.  They check into the Hotel de L’Europe and get a suite that most of us can only dream about getting, which means it’s probably good to be a witch living in The Foundation’s graces, because I don’t know many fourteen year olds–as they’ll be by that time–who can just walk in off the streets and say, “Hey, we’re here to check in,” and no one bats an eye.  It’s something that will come up in a later conversation when Annie and Kerry at chatting with one of their instructors.

On the way out of Amsterdam and heading for the forests of Bavaria they buzz the John Frost Bridge in Arnhem–

Otherwise known a "A Bridge Too Far," and one I have personally stood upon--

Otherwise known as “A Bridge Too Far,” and one I have personally stood upon.

–and continue onto Burg, which isn’t far from the German Alps.  The reason they stay there?  Not saying.  You’ll find out later.

While going over the trip I realized that there was a serious exclusion:  there weren’t any stop-offs in Bulgaria.  Now, Annie knows Bulgaria, and if there’s one place she has visited more than a few times it’s Sofia, so . . . why isn’t she taking Kerry there for a little look-see?  In my mind I can see them talking this over, probably in Amsterdam, and deciding that rather than fly from Budapest to Bucharest, they’d fly to Sofia instead and Annie could spend a few days showing Kerry around.  This would involve them flying down a significant part of the Danube River (Kerry will likely dig out the soundtrack from 2001 to play the waltz as they set off) on their way to the capital of Bulgaria.  After that last stop they’ll head back to Pamporovo and Annie’s home, bringing their trip to an end on 31 July as they promised her parents.

Which means the new map looks like this:

Hey, routes are easy to change, don't you know?

Hey, routes are easy to change, don’t you know?

As it is in the time line they only have fifteen more days of sightseeing, and four of those days are spent flying, though since Sofia is on the other side of the mountains from Annie’s home, they can leave the capital after lunch and be back at her place in time for dinner.

There you have it:  all the work I’m doing for something that I may not write about for years to come, if I ever do get around to writing about it.  I hope this happens, though, because it would be the start of the D Level novel, and so much stuff happens during their D Levels–

Things, too.

You knew I’d say that.

After the Turnpike Shuffle

Here I am, more or less safe and sound, back in the old homestead of Indiana.  Let me tell you, it was a wild ride yesterday.

As I may have indicated I started out from Harrisburg about midnight, so by about five in the morning, after only about, oh, no sleep in almost twenty-four hours, I was completely out of it.  I ended up stopping at the service plaza after the one where I posted yesterday’s blog entry, used the bathroom, and slept in the car for a little over an hour.  Outside.  In the cold.  Wrapped up in my jacket.  I’ve done worse, trust me.

Lack of sleep was probably one of the reasons I seemed to get through western Ohio pretty fast, because I wasn’t paying attention to anything but the road before me.  But I made it back to Valparaiso with almost no gas in the car, managed to get unpacked, and napped for almost another hour before taking my shot.

And got the picture in my HRT folder just so I can see how I keep changing.

And got the picture in my HRT folder just so I can see how I keep changing.

I was exhausted though, and was asleep by nine-thirty at night here, or ten-thirty back home, and only woke up once to use the bathroom before crawling out of bed at a little after seven in the morning, or eight back in The Burg.  That’s a good rest for me–

Oh, I should mention, I edited last night.

Really, would you expect anything less?

Really, would you expect anything less?

I did chapters Twenty-Two and Twenty-Three, and started falling asleep as I looked over Chapter Twenty-Four, the penultimate chapter.  It’s because of that last–the falling asleep part–that I decided to call it a night and slink off to bed.

(Just a bit of trivia now:  while Chapter Twenty-Four, the next to last chapter, is known as the penultimate chapter, Chapter Twenty-Three is known as the antepenultimate chapter, Chapter Twenty-Two is the preantepenultimate chapter, and Chapter Twenty-One is the propreantepenultimate chapter.  The Coda is the ultimate chapter, naturally.  Now go forth and amuse your friends.)

I’m happy with how the edit has gone, and I’ll likely do another fast pass through the story before getting to the final draft.  It’s clean, and being as short as it is–just under seventy thousand words–I can give it a read-through in about two weeks.  Bit I will feel far more comfortable with on more pass through the story before I decide it’s ready to upload to Smashwords and ready for publication.

Today I do laundry and a few other things, and I finish Kolor Ijo for sure.  It’s almost ready, and I think it’s a good addition to my tiny catalog of publications.  I’m thinking more about B For Bewitching, and I know I’ll work on the Annie and Kerry Euro Trip time line some, probably this afternoon, because I’m itching to do that.

Oh, and another picture:

Behold the horror of morning without makeup!

Behold the horror of morning without makeup!

Yeah, just to show people I’m alive, I snapped this about forty minutes ago, after a bushed my teeth and shaved.  (Yes, I still do that–bummer.)  No makeup, nothing used to bring out my face, and I’m still in my pajamas.  This is how I look while I’m typing this line . . .

Hope I didn’t scar you with that image.  Haha!

Charting New Paths Through Old Environments

One of the things I find I enjoy is being drawn to something I’ve done in the past, and discovering new ways to bring it out and bring it to life.  It’s not something I do because I’m just a nitpicker for detail, but more because I find that the detail helps me see how something should be laid out creatively.

For example, going through Kolor Ijo, I see in great detail how much my style has changed over the year.  I know if I went and started reading over Suggestive Amusements, it would probably look even more different.  Though I can remember some of the things I’ve written after that–just a couple of things–and I’m not sure if the style has changed that much, but I do realized that after writing through much of 2012, by the time 2013 rolled in I’d started developing a bit more as a writer, and for 2014–well, it goes without saying my style changed a great deal, because I spent all that year working on one piece, and I’d decided before I started writing I’d change up one thing–no “he said/she saids” to anchor dialogue–and I went through that whole project doing just that.

Now I’m onto something else.  I’ll get back to Kolor Ijo, but first . . . I’m going to let you in on some secrets . . .

I’ve posted this information once before, a while back, but in one of the future novels Annie and Kerry take off–I mean, literally, they take off and go around Europe on their own.  I mapped out the route a long time ago, and it looks a little like . . .

I think it looks like this.

I think it looks like this.

It looks like they are visiting a lot of places, and they actually are, but a lot of that trip is flying.  Now, back in late 2011, I figured out the time they spent flying, but frankly, I don’t want to go over that document again, and I’m guessing some of it is, shall we say, suspect?

However, if you have a map, and you know how to figure out time, well . . . why not time line this?

That’s what I started doing last night.  I thought I can not only track how long it takes to hit certain points, but I can track time on the ground as well, and even figure out how long they are in certain locals.  For example, lets look at the first leg of the trip.

Pretty simple, huh?

Pretty simple, huh?

This is how I lay things out.  First, I know how long they are on tour, which is the first line in sorta red.  It’s basically six weeks on the road and in the air, with points in between.  The purple lines are the checkpoints, the amount of time spent in the air between landings.  And the green are Annie and Kerry doing something, whether it’s chillin’, thinkin’, or having a holiday in Roma.  I can take the points above and affix them on the map–

Like this map.

Like this map.

And you can see, they first stop in Lushnje for an hour, then fly a short distance to the edge of the Adriatic Sea, then zoom across to Italy.  Once over dry land, they head for Naples, take a right at Vesuvius, and turn northwest towards Rome, where I have them sightseeing for two days, but I may change that up once I have the line more plotted out.

And there’s detail on these remarks as well:

Because I can't keep all this in my head.

Because I can’t keep all this in my head.

You can now see that they left Annie’s house at seven-thirty, and arrived in Rome a few minutes before five PM, or seventeen hours.  They covered 1079 kilometers, or 670.5 miles.  They were taking their time, because in other detail I have them flying about 140 kph, save for the leg where they flew over the ocean, and then they kicked it up a bit.  That’s the nice thing:  they can get a lot of speed out of their equipment, so if they’re in a real hurry, it’s like taking a jet to wherever they want to be next.

Yes, it’s a lot of detail, and it’s a bit of work, but once this is done I’ll have it close to me, and I can make adjustments to the line whenever I am in the mood.  Nothing is really written in stone, and if I want them looking around somewhere for a while, they can.  And I can even map out a few side trips they’ll take, such as when they’re in Milan and Barcelona, and add them to this mix.

There you are:  my little side project while I finish this–

I figured I'd forgotten about this novel.  You were wrong.

I figured I’d forgotten about this novel. You were wrong.

Four chapters to go, and I can probably get through two of them tonight, and leave the big one for tomorrow.  Not bad for just working on my own.

Admiring the Prior Creation

There was a moment during last night’s editing of Kolor Ijo that had me going, “Hum, really?  I did that?”  And it had nothing to do with clumsy sentence structure, of which a few I discovered during the night.  It had to do with discovering that I’d actually done a great job setting up a mystery–

Allow me to explain.

First off, I’m not good with riddles and mysteries.  Riddles have always set up a mind block in me of some kind, and I usually have no idea what they are, or mean.  I mean, there’s often no point of reference for them, so unless you’re Edward E. Nigma, they seem difficult, if not impossible, to solve.

And mysteries are never good with me.  I can usually see the solution coming a mile a way, or I’m spending too much time trying to figure out how the particular conclusion was reached an I remained puzzled.  This is one of the reasons I don’t mind spoilers in a book, show, or movie, because a lot of time I’m watching how someone–the writer and director in most cases–got from A to Z without tripping over their own feet.  I’ll usually have to go back and reread or watch something to determine if I enjoyed what I’d seen, or if I’d realized that what was before me made no sense.  (I had that happen with a recent re-watching of the movie, The Avengers.  Didn’t make much sense on the second time around.)

But what I’d done in Kolor Ijo was set up a mystery.  I had to, because the events that lead to Part Three are all dependent on things that happen twenty years before, and as I was going through the story last night, I could remember how I’d spent time sinking down into the story and looking up some history on Indonesia to be able to get to that particular point in the novel.  And after I did so, I felt pretty pleased with myself.

I didn't look quite as happy as this, but I was almost there.

I didn’t look quite as happy as this, but I was almost there.

Last night wasn’t the best of nights, what with crying and my toilet deciding it was going to spray water around my bathroom with a little help from me–that last part is true, don’t ask.  But while I was in my little editing zone, I felt a confident and, yes, pleasure, that all those years ago–well, almost three–I was able to set up a background event that, in the long term, made sense.  And I remember now that this story was one of the reasons I started looking into time line software, because I was probably thinking at the time, “This would be a lot easier to lay out if I could actually see what happened in the past.”

That’s carried into today, because I’m setting up little hints and clues to future events in my current set of novels.  Or, if not that, I’m throwing things out there that may seem like I’m just blowing them off, but that will be resolved somewhere down the line.  Maybe in few chapters, maybe in a few novels.

Believe me, though:  I will get back to them, because I know they are there.

From Makassar to Massachusetts

Though there hasn’t been much comment on the subject of late, I’m three chapters into the edit of Part Two of Kolor Ijo.  Really, truly, I am, because I actually worked on two chapters last night.

See?  A manuscript!  It does exist.

See? A manuscript! It does exist.

I was surprised that editing went so quickly last night.  Well, I shouldn’t say quickly:  I finished up Chapter Seven, then polished off Chapters Eight and Nine before settling in for the night, watching a little television, and going to bed.  Actually, I didn’t get heavily into editing until after watching Planet of the Apes, so that means I spent about an hour before that movie came on, and two after, going through about four thousand words.

Now that I’m through the intro–and believe it when I say that Part One really is an intro–I’m starting to enjoy the editing on the story.  I’ve been cutting stuff out; not a lot, but enough that I’ve probably dropped the word count by over a hundred up to these last chapters.  Last night was the first time I ended up with words added to the count:  fifteen exactly.  Wee hoo!  Better watch out, it could be the start of something bad!

There is a pleasantness in being able to read something that I haven’t see in a while, and that makes it easier for me to take my time, read the passages, and see all the little mistakes that were made–or, as the case was last night, a couple of big mistakes when I found paragraphs that made no sense at all and needed some massive fixing.  That’s the idea of an edit–to find stuff like that and get it right.

So it’s coming along nicely.  I plan to get through the next chapter tonight, and this is one of the longer chapters–as you can see from the image above, I started getting a bit wordy in this part of the story, which is normal for me.  At the rate I’m proceeding, I feel I’ll have the first pass edit finished in a couple of weeks, and then I’ll probably send it out for beta reading while doing another edit.  If I can find a cover for cheap, I’ll likely go ahead with my plans to self-publish the book in June.  Or maybe I should just bite the bullet and start sending it out to some of the local horror houses.

Speaking of novels . . .

I’ve been bothered by the lack of my kids in my life of late.  While I haven’t been thinking much about A For Advanced, yesterday did trigger a lot of thoughts about Annie and Kerry.  As much as writing a four hundred thousand plus word novel was a total pain in the ass, I realize that I do want to tell what happens to them, and that their first level was just the beginning.  There’s a whole lot more ahead–not just their school years, but stuff that happens after.

Therefore, I reached a decision last night.  In May, probably the first weekend in the month, which happens to be 1 and 2 May, I’m going to set up a project and stay laying out the novel.  If I stick to my normal process, about the time Salem would be shutting down for the summer, and Annie and Kerry would be on their way home, I’ll likely start writing The Foundation Chronicles:  B For Bewitching.

There.  I said it.

So it is written, so it is done.

Weaving Through the Emotions of the Day

As I stated in yesterday’s post, it was the one month anniversary of my coming out at work, and therefore the anniversary of my going into true full-time living.  And like life itself, yesterday was pretty much an up and down day.

It started out fine, albeit snowy and cold.  A storm rolled through Sunday and there was a lot of stuff on the ground, which made walking into work a bit of a chore.  I don’t mind that; I’ve done it more than a few times in the past.  No, the morning and lunch time were fine.  It was in the afternoon that things fell apart . . .

I was working on a program that I’m going to help demo today, and it wasn’t so much there was an issue with the program as there was an issue with the data–which, to use a technical term, sucks.  I run into this issue all the time–and it doesn’t help that I’ve mentioned it as well, how it seems like nothing really works when I try to test, and sometimes I spend hours attempting to verify if it’s the program that’s acting wonky, or it’s something in the data.

Yesterday it was something in the data.  And it was driving me beyond frustrated.

"Why do you do this to me?  Why do you hate me so?"

“Why do you do this to me? Why do you hate me so?”

Here’s something else to consider:  last Friday afternoon was Shot Day, which I do every other week.  I do my injection and get the estrogen into my body.  It’s usually a few days later before I start feeling moody and emotional, so if I do a shot late Friday, it normally starts hitting me about . . . Monday afternoon.  And that’s when I really started to feel like I was loosing it hard . . .

By the time I left work I was a semi-angry, emotional mess.  Then I have a mile-long walk ahead of me, which allows time to think about things and stuff, and the stuff and things that were on my mind weren’t good.  Nope, not at all.  Which means by the time I’d reached the front of the capitol building I was pretty much on the verge of tears, and I fought off the urge to let it all out for about three blocks–

And that urge ended as soon as I was inside my apartment.

I got dinner going, and as the computer was coming up I broke down.  It was a pretty epic meltdown, one that I haven’t actually had in a while.  It’s the kind that involve a lot of tears and even a little screaming, and it went on for about ten minutes straight.  It was straight-up nasty, and I wasn’t feeling all that well once I had the computer up and I was still a mess–

And then I found a message waiting for me.

I don’t want to say that there’s someone I know out there in Internet Land who has a connection to me, but when their first post is, “How are you feeling?” and a little while later in the conversation you’re told that they felt you calling and that they needed to check in on you–yeah, something’s there, and that something helped me feel better.  Upside to this all is I was far better an hour later, and by the time I went off to bed, while I might not have been feeling one hundred percent, I was better than I when I’d first walked through the apartment door.

I even managed a bit of editing last night–maybe three thousand words.

All in all, not a bad day for a massive roller coaster ride.

The Path to Knowing is In the Missing

Here is an interesting quandary:  I was supposed to work on Kolor Ijo last night, because when you’re in the editing, you should edit, right?  And editing doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, because the novel is only (I would put that in quotes but then it feels like I’m showing off if I do) twenty-four chapters long, with a prologue and a code that stretches it out to twenty-six chapters, the whole novel is sixty-eight thousand, eight hundred words total.  And nearly all of the chapters are short:  in Part One the longest chapter is just under three thousand words, and that was a standard with my last novel.

See?  Just little bitty chapters.  The good ol' days when you could rip off something like this in a month.

See? Just little bitty chapters. The good ol’ days when you could rip off something like this in a month.

The nice thing that comes from editing a work like this is that you can take your time reading the tome and see what needs to be changed, and what has to be changed.  I found a lot of interesting but messed-up sections in the chapters I’ve read, and without a careful re-reading, that crap would have slipped through.  That’s one of the hazards of NaNoWriMo:  you’re writing so quickly at times that words just flying into the page, and there are sentences where those words make no damn sense.  I found about a dozen of them so far, and it’s a scary thing, let me tell you.

But at the same time I’m editing this–and I should mention I’m taking my time editing, because I’m reading this once for the first time in over two years, and it’s taking me time to get to know the characters once again–I’m thinking about another couple–and you know who they are.  Over the weekend I began thinking about something that happens to the kids–here it comes–after they leave Salem, because they do have a life outside the reinforced walls of that environment, and the things that happened to them when the Real Annie and I started thinking about their lives at school have changed slightly.  Meaning their future has changed slightly as well.  This is a perfect example of Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey stuff going on, and one must adjust.

There are things that happen to them both that need to be adjusted, because what happened before was, frankly, a little strange.  Also, life is a little different in The World of the Foundation, and it’s pretty obvious that Annie has her sights set on doing something that she wants to make her own, and it seems likely that Kerry may follow in her footsteps.  They’re gonna be busy kids from their F Levels on for a couple of years, and later on into their lives.

In fact, one of the things I was time lining out was . . . hum, should I do this? Naw, better to keep you guessing and wondering.

I don’t need to wonder:  I know what’s coming.  In both the future and the past.

I just gotta get their on my own power.