Down On the Deck: Response Gambit

Let me get all the happy news out of the way first.  I did, indeed, pass one hundred fifty thousand words last night.  Writing started out slowly because I seemed to have trouble getting focused–part of that may have been due to having the movie Elysium on in the background and not listening to music–but I ended with eight hundred and sixty-eight words total before the end appeared.  But I got there in the fastest sprint to ten thousand that I’ve had in a long time:  only eight days this time.

Eight days and then off to sleep, actually.

Eight days and then off to sleep, actually.

So there we are:  one of the big milestones I expected has arrived, and it’s got me wondering again if I’m going to finish this novel around the two hundred fifty thousand word mark.  Answer right now seem to be “no”, but you never know.  I’m thinking I should add another fifty thousand to that total–maybe?  Could be?  Should be?

So what is going on now?  Take a look:



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

Alex look as if she were considering pushing for an answer when popped up out of her chair. “Hey, they’re here.”

On the edge of the display were four bright blue dots moving rapidly towards the image of Cape Ann in the middle of the hologram. Annie stepped next to Penny. “Why only four?”

“We’re only seeing those brooms with active tracking—that means Vicky, Erywin, Nadine, and Riv right now.” She leaned forward, scrutinizing the images. “Damn, they’re really moving.”


Now, it was already stated in the excerpt yesterday about the active tracking, and Penny’s stating something that obviously wasn’t either known to Annie, or she may have been under the assumption that all brooms were being tracked.


Alex reached in and tapped the area above the dots. “Svyate der´mo.” Her eyes widened as she read the numbers. “Speed five-seventy-five kph: altitude thirteen hundred.”

Penny gasped as if she’d been slapped. “Meters?”


“Nearly everyone’s flying Espinozas.” Annie was torn between being impressed and shocked. “Five-seventy-five is over the maximum speed for those.”

“For unmodified ones, yeah—”

Alex stepped around the display. “None of the Espinozas at the school are unmodified. Vicky tricked them out so they’ll hit six hundred easy.”


For the less metrically inclined, six hundred kilometers per hour is right at three hundred seventy-five miles an hour, so five seventy-five works out to three hundred fifty-six and a half miles an hour.  Remember when Emma worried that others wouldn’t be able to keep up?  This is why:  right now they’re on those flying mountain bikes traveling along at just over three hundred and fifty miles and hour four thousand, two hundred, and sixty-four feet up.  That’s eight-tenths of a mile if you’re keeping track.  And you can bet Annie is . . .


Annie stepped a little to her right so she could see the flight in the display. “They’re up so high.”

“It’s ‘cause it’s been dark a while; whatever team’s in the lead was probably chancing the last bit of light before the sun set.” Penny slipped an bud into her ear activated the enchantment. “Let’s find out who’s bringin’ the flight home.” She lightly tapped her ear three times so the response would broadcast to everyone and spoke in her clear, clipped English tones. “Salem Overnight, this is the Flight Deck. We have you in the bubble: lead team, please sound off. Over.”

While the girl’s voice was clear, the slipstream around flight was clearly discernible over the speakers. “Flight Deck, this is Team Myfanwy on lead, pilot speaking. We’re coming straight in. Over.”

“Roger, Myfanwy, we have you as Overnight lead; transferring call sign to you. Please stand by.” Penny pointed at Alex. “Check their course.”

Annie knew what Alex would find. “Kerry’s navigating; they’ll come in right on course.”

“She’s right.” Alex crafted a line from their point of entry into the bubble to their present position, then drew it forward towards Cape Ann. “They’re gonna hit Rockport head on and then right to the meadow.”

“Where are they coming from?” Annie hadn’t noticed the position of the flight before, but now noticed they were approaching from the ocean.

Alex expanded the display so it took up most of New England and parts of Canada, then backtracked the course. “I’d say Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.” She checked the calculated distance. “Three hundred and eight-four kilometers from there to Rockport.”

“Wait, what?” Penny touched the comm. “Overnight, this is Flight Deck. How long have you maintained your present speed? Over.”

Kerry’s voice rang out clear. “For just over three hundred kilometers. Over.”

Penny and Alex exchanged looks. “Overnight, do you have a reading on your current wind chill?”

There was a long pause before Emma spoke. “Low, Fight Deck. Over.”

“Roger, Overnight.” Penny tapped her comm off before speaking. “Alex, contact the hospital, tell whomever you get we’re probably going to need some warming blankets down here: it looks like we got a Narjinary Gambit going.”

This was an expression Anne had never heard before, but given how grave the other girls appeared, she didn’t think it was good. “What’s a Narjinary Gambit?”


First, Penny could probably work flight control duties at Heathrow right now the way she’s handing the incoming flight.  Second, Annie was right on when she said with Kerry one-half of the lead team, because she’s already talked up how he loves that.  Third, they’s been in the air at there current speed for just over a half-hour, if you’ve done the calculations as I have.  Which brings us to four:  The Narjinary Gambit.  And what is that?


“Something that happened during the Polar Express back in 2005.” Penny turned towards Annie. “One team—Indu Narjinary and Zhanna Mirokhin—got dropped in the middle of Labrador, Canada. After they determined where they were, they calculated they were sixteen hundred kilometers from the school. So, rather than fly back at a normal speed, they figured if they got their speed up to five hundred kph, they’d be home by late Friday afternoon and they wouldn’t have to camp out.

“So they ate as much of their rations as possible to calorie up, set course for the school, and flew for ninety minutes at five hundred kilometers per hour. They touched down, warmed up for a couple of hours, then struck out again—”

“Only their course was off and they missed the school by about thirty kilometers.” Alex stood up from in front of the display she’d used to contact the hospital. “By the time they figure out their mistake they were past Providence, Rhode Island, and spent another ninety minutes getting back.” She turned to Penny. “Hospitals coming down with warming blankets.”

“Great.” Penny finished the story. “You fly that fast in this weather, you’re hitting wind chills of minus forty to fifty Celsius, and while we got great arctic winter gear, even with magic you’re still gonna get a good case of frostbite and hypothermia after a few hours. That was what happened with Narjinary and Mirokhin: they came down with hypothermia on the first leg, didn’t warm up enough, and started having mental lapses during their second leg.”

“They received special recognition for being the team to complete the Express the fastest from over a thousand kilometers out—” Alex grinned. “—but the way Vicky tells the story, she wasn’t at all happy.”

“Not to mention they spent Friday through Saturday night in the hospital recovering.” Penny nodded towards the display. “They’re probably hitting below minus fifty right now; they’re gonna need warming when they land.”


Remember how I’ve spoke about meta-plotting everything out but when something comes to me, I get it in?  Well, this is one of those things. The Narjinary Gambit didn’t exist until two days ago, and it came about because of . . . thinking about future scenes.  See, there are reasons why people do things and reasons why they don’t, and one of the things that came up was, “Well, if I can zip along at five hundred kilometers per hours, and I’m dropped off some fifteen hundred kilometers from the school during The Polar Express, what’s going to keep me from just opening up the broom and getting home as quick as possible?”  And that’s easy to ask now, because back before the 1990s the gear being used in The Polar Express normally wouldn’t allow for a lot of fast zipping because frostbite and hypothermia would put you down fast.

But with the new gear you can withstand colder temps, or so the reasoning goes.  These two girls decided to put that reasoning to the test, and almost flew out over the Atlantic in the process because mistakes.

See?  Mistakes.

This is what a near-fatal mistake looks like.

That’s the route I worked out, and you can see–to the far right is there first camp where they were set down; the next dot to the left of that is where they figured out their course; the dot in the middle is where they stopped half-way; the dot at the far left is where they realized they screwed up; and the final dot is the school.  If they hadn’t realized they were way off course and well beyond the school, they’d have sailed right out over the Atlantic, where they probably would have succumbed to hypothermia and crashed into the ocean.

If you’re interested, -50 C is just about -60 F, and if you don’t think that’s cold, go outside the next time the wind chill is like -10 F/-24 C, get on your thermals and your best coat, mittens, and hat, and just stand in the open for about five minutes.  Once you come back inside where it’s nice and warm, imagine it being another fifty F/twenty-five C colder, and then imagine you’re on a bike a quarter of a mile up above the ground moving along at something like 250 mph/400 kph.

Yeah.  You don’t get to make a lot of mistakes under those conditions.

Needless to say I didn’t finish the scene last night.  Tonight?  Yeah, I think I will.  I’m sure I will.

Or not.

Either way, I’ll be here tomorrow, because it’s thirty days hath September, and the witch month is upon us . . .

Playing Out the Course

I know, I’m late again, but what the hell, right?  There are reasons because I’ve been writing like crazy this morning–like fifteen hundred and fifty words worth of writing.

The scene is finished, and it’s become–due to the writing this weekend–the second longest scene in the novel.  And in writing this much I’ve bought the novel to within about seventeen hundred words of one hundred and fifty thousand words.  Really, it’s been a great weekend after weeks of feeling like I didn’t want to write a thing.  So it’s been a relief to get that writing groove back.

And to make this chapter the longest in the part so far.

And, in the process, to make this chapter the longest in the novel with just a few hundred more words

This finishes up what ended with Vicky and Erywin seeing Emma and Kerry abut to get on their brooms and ride.  Where were they going?  That’s easy to answer . . .


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

Emma spoke for them. “We’re going up to check on the weather to the south.”

“You don’t mean to the south?”

“The only stuff to the east of us is Newfoundland and the Atlantic.” She tossed her head in Kerry’s direction. “That’s what my navigator says.”

“What can I say?” He held up his hands and shrugged. “I’m good with maps.”

“That you are.” Vicky pointed towards the group of students warming themselves around the fires. “Don’t feel like hanging with the others?”

Kerry shook his head. “Franky’s still mad.”

“He’s throwin’ shade our way—” Emma mounted her broom. “Beside, we already had our hot chocolate.”

“Yep.” Kerry slipped his leg over this broom. “We’re regenerated.” He wink at Erywin. “Good for another life.”

Erywin looked upward as she slowly shook her head. “Where are you going.”

Kerry pointed to the sky over his head. “Straight up.”

“About eight hundred to a thousand meters.” Emma flipped her hood up and tightened it around her face. “That should give us a good view.”

“Sounds good.” Vicky tapped her wrist. “Five minutes, no more.”

Emma nodded. “Got it.” She waited for Kerry to finish getting his gear in place, then they shot straight up into the together.

Vicky and Erywin followed their path upward. “Yeah, looks about a klick to me.” Vicky checked the contents of her much. “Should finish this before they get back.”

“Or get a refill.” Erywin took a long sip from hers. “Emma loves using the radar function to check the weather.”

“I was surprised she figured it out.”

“I’m not.” Erywin softened her tone slightly. “They working together okay?”

“You’ve seen them this trip. They’re doing well.” Vicky quickly glanced upward. “Setting her down for a weekend after that crash was a good idea.”

“She needed it: her ego was getting the best of her.” Erywin finished her hot chocolate and shook out her mug. “I’m going to ask a stupid question—”

“Be my guest.”

“Why haven’t you used them yet?”

Vicky finished the last of her drink and flipped the last few drops away onto the frozen ground. “You know what Vanessa Williams says, don’t you?”

Erywin gave the flight instructor a pained smirk. “I’m afraid I’m not up on her catalog.”

“You should be.” Vicky quickly glanced upward once more. “Follow my lead, okay?” She waited as Emma and Kerry dropped below the tree line and gently slowed to a hover before approaching. “So what’s the story, morning glories?”


There you go:  it’s all about the weather and playing with the broom’s radar systems to look for fronts and such.  And what did they find?


Emma threw back the hood of her parka and stripped off her heavy cap and flight helmet before answering. “Weather to the south and southwest looks clear: we saw nothing out of the ordinary on the radar.”

Kerry was putting his heavy cap on as he stood next to his broom. “We got out at least a hundred kilometers; we can always take another sighting when we get further south.”

Vicky keep her pleasure from showing on her face. “Assuming we’re heading that way.”

“Don’t see any other way.” Kerry shrugged. “Though we could be going west from here—”

“Why not east?”

“Like Emma said, nothing to the east of us but Newfoundland and ocean.”

Emma stuck her hands in her pockets. “Of course—”

Vicky stared back looking unconcerned. “Yes?”

“It would be nice if we knew where we were going from here.”

“We’ve already covered a thousand kilometers—” Kerry pulled his arms across his torso and squeezed himself to stretch. “I’d like to know how much more we have to go.”


First off, that “We got out at least a hundred kilometers” is a completely legitimate statement:  I found a “Distance to Horizon” calculator, and if you’re a thousand meters up, you can see about one hundred and twelve kilometers.  Research!

And now Emma wants to know where they’re going.  And you know if she wants to know, Kerry does, too.  They probably even spoke about it when they were checking the advanced weather–


Vicky couldn’t help be be impressed. “You’ve been keeping track of our courses?”

“Sure.” He turn on a lop-sided grin. “All good navigators would.”

“And you are a good navigator.” Vicky slowly turned towards Erywin. “You think it’d be cheating if I mentioned where the rest of our checkpoints are?”

Erywin saw what Vicky was doing, and fully understood what she’d meant when she said to follow her lead. “Well . . .” She turned an appraising eye upon the two students. “I mean, as long as they don’t say anything to the others—”

Emma pipped up. “We won’t.”

Kerry nodded several times. “Promise.”

“Well, then—” She turned back to her eager pupils. “I don’t see the harm.” Vicky pulled her tablet from Hammerspace and clicked off their remaining checkpoints. “From here it’s the ferry terminal at Wood Islands, then the airport outside Trenton; main highway intersection at Aspen; Point of the Beach at Liscomb Island; Port of Sheet Harbor; the Canadian Naval Maintenance Facility at Halifax; Cape D’or Lighthouse and Advocate Harbor; West Side Docks in Saint John; Yarmouth Harbor and then . . .” She slipped the tablet back into her magical storage space. “Home. Rockport and the school.”


Not much, huh?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But now . . . it’s been hinted how well Emma and Kerry work together.  Guess what?  Here’s how that works:


The two children exchanged glances, then Kerry turned to his broom and pulled up a holographic map of the area on his tablet while Emma moved to his right to help. Vicky and Erywin moved closer and Kerry began moving the map about, looking for reference points. He touched two spots on map. “We got Halifax and Saint John—”

Emma half turned her head towards Kerry. “Isn’t St. John in Newfoundland?”

“That’s St. John’s.” He quickly slid the map to the east to show his wingmate. “Different city. What we want is in New Brunswick—” He shifted the map to the west, centered on St. John, and zoomed in. “There’s the West End Docks, and here—” He pushed the map so they were now over Halifax. “There’s the naval station.”


Keep in mind these maps are marked–which is how he’s finding the Canadian Naval Station–and Kerry has an excellent grasp of geography:  it’s obvious in the way he knew there were two cities that were almost St. John.  And Emma doesn’t get upset when she’s corrected:  since Kerry is the navigator of the team, and it’s because she’s aware he knows his maps.  At times, though, she even helps out:


“Sounds good.” Emma looked at the map as Kerry expanded the display. “There’s Trenton, just north of Glasgow.”

“Got it.” He zoomed in on Trenton, Nova Scotia. “And there’s the airport. Which means—” He move the display a bit to the north. “There’s Wood Islands, and there’s the ferry terminal.” He tapped the map in both places, marking the checkpoint. “Now for an island.”

Emma pointed at the map. “There’s a bunch on the southeast coast of Nova Scotia.” He moved the display along the Atlantic Coast of the Canadian province and began scanning. He spotted a familiar name. “There’s the town of Liscomb—”

“And Liscomb Island is right next to it.” He zoomed the map. “And Point of the Beach—there.” He marked the map and zoomed out. “Aspen has to be between the two . . .” He tapped the edge of the display twice to zoom inward just a bit and found the small town of Aspen about thirty kilometers to the north of the island. “There’s that, and now . . .” He shifted the map to the west looking for a point between Halifax and St. John, and found it almost instantly. “Advocate Harbor and the lighthouse.” He moved the display eastward once more and fount the Port of Sheet Harbor after thirty seconds.

Emma gave a satisfied sigh. “Now for Yarmouth.”

“Already figured that out.” He pushed the map display to his right until they were looking at the western coast of Nova Scotia. “Right there.” He marked the point. “About as west as you can get before you run out of land. Which means . . .” He sketched a line to the southwest until he encountered a well-known point of land. “Rockport. And our home by the sea just to the west.” He quickly connected the marked points on the map, creating a line from their current location back to the school. “There’s it is: that’s the route.”


And it’s a big route:


Neither child spoke while Emma spent a few seconds examining the course. “How long?”

Kerry made several quick measurements between points. “One thousand sixty-six kilometers.”

Emma glanced at her instructors before turning to Kerry. “That’s as much as we’ve flown today.”

He nodded. “Yep. Lots of miles to fly before we sleep.”

“And there’s the stretch—” She pointed at the last leg going from Yarmouth to Rockport.

Kerry measured the distance. “About three hundred and eighty-five kilometers, all over the Gulf of Maine.”

“That’s gonna freak some people.”

“For real.”

“That’s gonna take a lot of time.” Emma gazed skyward. “We’ve already been flying seven hours—and it’s gonna get dark in a couple of hours.”


If you want to see what that looks like–

Don't bother asking:  you know I have it all ready to go.

Don’t bother asking: you know I have it all ready to go.

From PEI to Cape Ann, there it is.  And Emma’s aware of the changing conditions, and that it won’t be long before they’re flying in darkness once more.  That only seems to get the mental gears working harder, however . . .


“True, but—” Kerry measured the two legs before the final leg home. “From Advocate to home is six hundred and fifty kilometers. So it’s about four hundred kilometers from here to there. And once we reach Advocate Harbor—” He traced the course. “Zoom, bang, confirm; zoom, bang, confirm; zoom—Boom.” He nodded at Emma. “Home.”

She nodded back. “We can turn it on.”

“We can do the same here—” He pointed out the stretch between Liscomb Island and Halifax. “One quick stop, then power on.”

“Yeah, right.” She began concentrating on the course. “We could do the first four hundred in under seventy-five—”

“And the same for the last six-fifty.”

“It’s gonna be dark on that last six.

“Maybe not.” He pointed at the long final stretch over the ocean. “We’ll be heading west—”

“Chasing the sun—”

“If we do it right—”

She nodded “We could—”

He nodded back. “Totally.”

Vicky was content to listen to them work out the flight in the verbal shorthand she’d seen them used before. Now it was her turn to speak. “So what are you guys saying?”


And this is how they work together:  they get on the same wavelength and they get to where they don’t need to say everything, because they’re so sure they know the other is thinking the same thing that they just cut each other off because there’s no need for complete sentences.  That’s called teamwork, and they have it.

So what are they saying?


Vicky was content to listen to them work out the flight in the verbal shorthand she’d seen them used before. Now it was her turn to speak. “So what are you guys saying?”

Emma turned to Vicky. “Based on this course, we could run it in two and a half hours.” She took a short, deep breath. “What time is it?”

Kerry was looking at his display. “It’s almost fifteen twenty-five local, fourteen twenty-five back home.”

Emma nodded before giving her final analysis to Vicky. “If we’re brooms up at fifteen hours, Salem time, we—” She shifted her eyes towards Kerry, letting Vicky know she was indicating their team. “—could be home by seventeen-thirty.”

“That’s a bold statement.” Vicky turned to Kerry. “You agree with that?”

“I do.” He looked towards his wingmate. “Emma’s got her numbers right.”

“Though to do it, we’re gonna have to move fast.” Emma shrugged. “Based on what we’ve seen, that could freak some people out and they might not want to keep up.”

“You’ve seen how it works: your flight, your rules.” She slowly turned to Erywin. “Though some of those points we’ll have to hit in the dark—”

Erywin got the hint. “Which we might miss—

Kerry cut off the instructor. “We won’t.”

Vicky glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. “You could miss your—”

I won’t.”

Given the determination she heard in Kerry’s voice, Vicky decided not to push that point. She stepped up to examine his course in more detail. “How much time would you need to work this up?”

He looked over the map almost lovingly. “The course is there; all I’d need to do is figure out the headings—”

Emma moved next to him, while continuing to look at Vicky. “And once Kerry gives me the individual distances I can work out time-to-target.”

“Again, how much time you need?”

The wingmates exchange a momentary glance, then they both nodded. Emma answered. “Fifteen minutes.”


Annie is sure of her magic, and Kerry knows his navigation.  When either says they can do something, believe them.  Needless to say, they are ready to rock, and all they need is a blessing.


Vicky had already made up her mind minutes before, so a decision wasn’t difficult. “Do it—go.” She took Erywin’s arm and led her away from the team members and towards the rest of the party. “See what I mean?”

“I do now.” She matched step with Vicky. “So what did Vanessa Williams say?”

Vicky half-grinned. “Save the best for last.” She stepped into the area where the other students sat warming up. She gave them a few seconds to hush before making her announcement. “All right, listen up. Make the most of your rest because flight instruction begins at fourteen forty-five, and we will be brooms up at fifteen hours.” She clasped her hands and nodded back over her shoulder. “Team Myfanwy’s got the ball: they’re talking us home.”


And that is about as definitive as it gets:  “These kids are taking us home.”  Of course no one else knows how long the way home is . . .

This was the penultimate scene of the chapters, and now it’s back to the school, where the next scene becomes Annie-centric because I’m heading back to the school–

Just like Salem Overnight is doing.

Lunch Time in the Maritimes

You know how they say “It was an interesting night?”  Well, my night was interesting.  Really, far more interesting that I could have imagined.

See, I’m just settling in to do some writing when, all of a sudden, I start getting PMed about gifts that are supposed to be going to people.  I’ve helped organize a gift exchange on Facebook, and suddenly last night I’m getting asked about it–right about the time I’m about two hundred words into this scene.

So I have to start tracking down people and numbers, and before you know it, I’m like thirty minutes into getting nowhere.  It was very crazy and very frustrating, let me tell you, and nearly another forty-five minutes went by before I had everything straightened out.

That meant I didn’t have but maybe an hour to churn out what I wanted to write, and that also means I didn’t get as far into my process as I wanted.

However . . . I still managed seven hundred and ninety words.  I consider that an accomplishment.  I had wanted to get closer to twelve hundred, but I can try for that tonight

Now, where are we?  Well, somewhere in Canada.  And people aren’t too happy . . .


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

Vicky drifted in for a landing among the sparse trees, gently issuing orders to the members of the flight as they found clear spots to land. She felt her toes touch ground, but she leaned out over the control frame of her Higoshi Rally G and gathered her thoughts. She waited until she’d managed a few deep breaths and cleared her thoughts before speaking. “Thank you, Team Azso, for bringing us here. You’re relieved of command.”

She swung her leg over the frame but remained resting against the saddle. “Okay, everyone, we’re gonna rest for a bit. We’ll get a fire going, but stick with cold rations for now.” She heard the grumbling over the comms but gave them no mind. If they want to roll on the big express through the north, they better get used to some hard shit. “You’ll get plenty of lead time before we take off again. That is all.”

While her minions approached with their brooms in hand, Vicky pushed back here hood, pulled off her helmet, and shook out her hair. She sighed out her stress at she pointed at her lead girl. “Riv, you and Nadine get a couple of fires going before someone decides to try craft a fire spell and sets the goddamn woods on fire.”

“You got it, Vicky.” Rivânia tapped her Advanced Spells classmate on the arm and nodded in the direction of the rest of the students. They dropped their packs near Vicky and slipped their own brooms into Hammerspace as they walked off.

“You look as if you’re enjoying yourself.” Erywin walked over with her hands in her jacket pockets and her heavy ski cap securely upon her head instead of over her flight helmet, the way they were wore while flying.


Now, we haven’t seen much of Vicky throughout the novels.  She was one of the first instructors we met, and she did help Annie out by both saving her ass and getting her straightened out on how to handle herself the next time someone stuffed Kerry into a wall.  Most of the time she seems upbeat and cheerful:  here, she’s down and not handling the situation well.  Even Jewish Witches Sing the Blues?  It kinda seems that way–


“Oh, immensely. I’ll bet you’re happy to be here.”

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world, which is why I always come with you on these overnights.” She pulled her hands from her pockets, removed her mittens and gloves, and flexed her fingers. “Though I don’t recall the last couple of levels being this difficult.”

“No shit.” Vicky rolled her eyes. “I had to resist the urge on the way here to dump a couple of pissy little witches in the drink while the opportunity presented itself.” She cast a sideways glance towards the fires that were building in a nearby clearing. “Seriously, I can do Electrify; I’ll just give them an electric bolt in the back and—” She smirked at Erywin. “You think Mathilde would believe me if I told her they fell off in the middle of flight?”


Remember all those stories we heard about how instructors talk about other students?  This is part of that, though this isn’t along the lines of, “Oh, aren’t those two kids really cute the way they hold hands and stuff?”  No, this is more murder-face time and Vicky is not a happy witch.  And why is that?  Well . . .


“Somehow . . . no.” She chuckled as she turned towards the collection of students pulling cold rations from their backpacks. “I take it you have taught the little darlings basic navigation?.”

The flight instructor nodded. “You wouldn’t think so with a few of them, though.” She shook her head. “It’s not like when we did Advanced Flight. Back then you had to learn the maps and know how to physically determine your course with with your flight calculator—”

“Oh, I agree. I still have mine.” Erywin smiled thinking about the circular plastic calculator that she used for figuring out course, distance, and time when she was a student. “But nowadays these kids can pull out a phone and punch up a GPS app—or even use their HUD to find that information.

“Yeah, well . . .” Vicky snorted. “They better get their shit together fast, ‘cause if they think this flight is hard, wait until the next when I start turning stuff off in their flight systems.” She finally stood straight, shaking out her arms. “I’m just—I don’t know. I guess I suspected more today.”

Erywin patted Vicky’s shoulder, giving it a light rub. “The bitching and back talk didn’t help at all.”

“You got that right.” Vicky paced once around her broom before saying what was truly bothering her. “You know, I don’t mind when Franky started making the wrong way back at Murdochville, but when he wouldn’t own his mistake and started smarting off to me, I damn near pulled the flight from him and Jiro right then and there.”

Erywin nodded. “And you’ve have been right to do so. I actually thought you were going to fly up along side and smack him—or worse.” She slid her hands back into her pockets. “I’m glad you didn’t.”

“I am, too. It’s just been a long day and I’m really tried of all the pissing and moaning today.” She checked her watch. “And we got a hell of a lot more to go and not much daylight left.” She glanced back over towards the fires and re-ran the events of the day through her head—


So, Mr. Franky Smith of Way The Hell In The Middle of Nowhere Canada was talking back to an instructor after making a mistake?  Say it isn’t so!  He seems to be making a habit of that lately, and Erywin probably would have smacked him had he did that to her.

So what’s going on?  Well, you’re going to get spoilers today, because I’m going to show you a little of what’s going on behind the curtain before I write it.  Here is a little of the writing process before I got into the writing thing . . .

What I did was set up a flight where each team would be given objectives to find and reach, and, it was hoped, do so in a certain amount of time.  So I started setting up legs and figured out which team was gonna run the legs.  In doing so I came up with the grid below:


Camp Baxter: 25 F/-3 C, overcast

Point and Lead Team:

Camp Baxter to Fish River Lake to Allagash to north shore Beau Lake (US side): Team Zanzibar 139.5 km 27 F/-3 C, overcast

Beau Lake to Pohenegamook, Quebec, to north short Lac Pohenegamook to Aeroport de Rimouski: Team Picante 153.15 km * 32 F/0 C, wind 16 kph, light snow

Aeroport de Rimouski to civilian airport Hautervie to Pointe-des-Monts to Mont-Saint-Pierre: Team Sulaco 264.5 km 22 F/-5 C, wind 11 kph, light snow

Mont-Saint-Pierre to Murdochville to Fontenelle: Team Manga 111.8 km * 25 F/-4 C, light winds, light snow

Fontenelle to Gaspe to Pointe-Saint-Pierre to Tignish, PEI, to Charlottetown: Team Azso 338.15 km 36 F/2 C, wind 11 kph, cloudy


Five legs so far, five teams, and the distances covered.  Oh, and local weather conditions for this date in the past, because it always helps to know what sort of shit your pissy little witches are gonna run into.  You can see that as the teams got into Canada and moved north towards the St. Lawrence River valley it started snowing and getting colder.  That part right there took some looking up, but hey–that’s part of the writing deal, yeah?

So what does this look like?  Well . . . would you believe I have a map?

Sure you would.

Sure you would.

That’s everything covered up to this point, and what I’m going to write about next in this scene.  All the students have flown a little over one thousand kiloments, all in the cold, and all in a few hours, you’ll come to find out.  And if you want to know the legs covered, I’ll help you out:  the first leg went from the start at 0 and up to the point just to the left of the name Edmundston.  The second when from there to the point just below the name Mont-Joli.  The third went from there, on the southern banks of the St. Lawrence River north, then east, then back across the river to rest just above Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.  The forth leg–the one where Vicky wanted to zap Franky–went from there to the points just to the east of the 400 mi mark.  And the last leg–so far–went from there south to their current resting point 623 miles, 1003 kilometers, from the start, just outside the city of Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island.  That’s a lot of flying in the cold, and Vicky and Erywin have a bunch of grumbly kids to deal with because of all that.

You wanted to fly with the big spell crafters, witches, and now you’re getting your chance.  How does it feel?

You’ll notice that I’ve not mentioned a team named after a Welsh pteranodon, and there’s a reason for that.  A reasons that I hope to make apparent tomorrow . . .

Rocking Along the Overnight Way

So, Cassidy, were are we now?  Good you should ask . . .

As I may or may not have pointed out, last night was my electrolysis session.  It was two hours of fun, if you consider having an electric needle stuck in your face fun.  At least Bonnie–the woman who does my work–and I were having fun, talking about Emmys, Game of Thrones–which I told her is also called Boobs and Dragons, which she loved–Orphan Black, menopause, and women who should wear something over really, really tight leggings.  I mean, what else are you doing to do for two hours?  I’m sort of sitting there with nowhere to go while she does her shock and tweeze routine,  so you make the best of the situation.

And don't mind how numb you are when you get home.

And don’t mind how numb you are when you get home.

But I did write:  last night and even a little this morning.  I wanted to get the scene moved alone, and . . . the part I added required a bit of thinking–which I did on the forty minute trip back from my session–and once I got home I needed to sit, change, get organized, and write.

And I came up with this:


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

Just west of Millinocket they turned nearly due north as they skirted the eastern border of Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin. After completing the turn and getting set on their new course Kerry pulled down his balaclava—which everyone now wore under their flying helmets to keep their exposed faces warm—and looked to his left. He could just making out the darkened bulk of Mount Katahdin ten kilometers away. It was nearly impossible to make out detail with the naked eye as there was a new moon, and under low-light the green tint hide the beauty of the scenery.

Kerry remembered the location of their camp site, and with them moving along at nearly two hundred kilometers an hour, he quickly calculated they’d arrive in approximately twenty minutes. He called to Nightwitch and asked if it would be all to play some music off his tablet computer—which he’d brought to help navigate—to perk everyone up after nearly two hours of chilly flying. To his surprise Vicky told him to go ahead and put it on external so it wasn’t jamming the comms.

He quickly found three songs, set his modified computer over to external sound, adjusted the transmission field so it’d cover a sphere about twenty meters across, and hit Play. A few seconds later the snare roll of Smashing Pumpkins’ Cherub Rock began, and in seconds the Salem Overnight was cruising at eight hundred meters past the tallest mountain in the state of Maine as the bass, drums, and grinding guitar of the song filled the sky around the flight.

He found himself bouncing up and down on his broom’s saddle, moving with the rhythm of the tune. He looked to his right and saw Emma had pulled down her balaclava and smiled his way while bobbing her head. Nadine gave him a thumbs up from the other side of the group, and a few others looked his way and nodded in agreement. After nearly one hundred minutes of flying in darkness and sub-zero wind chills, everyone welcomed the addition to their travel.

Seconds after the first song ended the opening cello strikes to Viva la Vida began, and Nadine chose that moment to pop over to Kerry’s left. As Chris Martin began singing Nadine joined in and motioned for Kerry to accompany. He joined her on the second verse and continued singing as she returned to her position on the first chorus. He smiled broadly as he sang without benefit of magical auto tune, remembering that they’d almost chosen this song to play last year during Ostara, and they’d practiced it twice before Kerry decided to go with Lovers in Japan.

Though he knew he sounded terrible, especially when compared to Nadine’s fairly wonderful singing voice, he enjoyed singing along, and when he started getting into the second chorus, he heard others joining in, their off-tune voices coming in over the comms. It got him smiling even more, and the chill that had help him for the last hour drifted away.

The last song was one he’d always wanted to play while flying: Murray Gold arrangement of the Doctor Who Theme used from 2005 to 2007. He cranked up his system as the synths, guitars, bass, and drums were accompanied by the National Orchestra Of Wales and the quick tempo bombast of strings and horns blasted out over the almost deserted and near-frozen Maine countryside. It was only two and a half minutes long, but by the time they came up on their final turn and approach, Kerry was once more fully alert and ready to start setting up camp in the minus eight Celsius winter darkness feeling suitably heroic.


Kerry bringing the tunes to the sky!  Now, it’s been said before he’s done this–during the graduation flight Annie and he took at the end of their A Levels, he played music from his tablet, and he’s brought it along once more.  On the way up it’s a lot of cold flying–the temps are legit for the date and time, and if you really must know the wind chill, it’s -25 Celsius–but now that they’re down to the last sixty kilometers, he’s ready to rock out.

And it is sixty--okay, sixty-one.  We'll just ignore that last kilometer . . .

And it is sixty–okay, sixty-one. We’ll just ignore that last kilometer . . .

Which brings us to Kerry’s Last Sixty Kilometer Play List:

Smashing Pumpkins, Cherub Rock

Yeah, I remember this from when I was working in downtown Chicago and the Pumpkins were still kind of a local band.  And flying through the night with some awesome thrash going on is a good way to get the blood pumping as you’re flying past a big mountain peak.

What Kerry would see, only with a lot more darkness.

What Kerry would see, only with a lot more darkness.

Coldplay, Viva la Vida

Not only does Kerry like this song, but so does Nadine, it seems.  It’s a nice touch pointing out that he almost played this the year before at Ostara, but decided to go with another Coldplay song.  A good, driving beat that gets one in a bit of a positive mood and should make you forget the cold.

Murray Gold, Doctor Who Theme from 2005 to 2007:

And last but not least, Kerry is for sure gonna throw this one on.  Two-and-a-half minutes of tecno-orchestral bombast, it would be like having a marching band behind you as you fly triumphant through the night.  This would probably get a smile out of Erywin as well, as she’s something of a fellow geekette–after all, she is Leela.

Tonight:  gotta write my recap and I hope to finish this scene after that.

You might even get to see Emma . . .

Off Into the Wild Black Yonder

Yesterday I was in the middle of relaxing mood, and I was doing my best not to stress out my left shoulder, which was acting up again.  This coming weekend, for sure, I’m going to get a new chair; I think that will go a long ways towards helping the pain.

I also needed to save up the shoulder ’cause I knew I’d write about a thousand words during note taking for my recap, and that helped because I wasn’t in any for the most part.  But it’s still bothering me a bit, and I do believe I stressed something out bad there, ’cause even now I feel a little twinge while typing.  Maybe a heating pad would be a good investment as well.

I did manage to get almost six hundred words out–well, five hundred sixty, allow me this little fib–and it’s a bit of on-site recollecting:


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

Kerry waved his hand in the direction of one of the camp fires and crafted a spell to pull oxygen away from the flames and smother them, which was far better than dumping water and using up fluids that could be needed later. It didn’t matter that there was a lake only a dozen meters away: Kerry not only knew it was easier to use magic to put out a fire, but he didn’t feel like filling up a container and bring it back to do the job he was now performing with the wave of his hand.

He looked up through the slight gap in the trees seeing if the stars were out. At the moment there was nothing but overcast, something they were told to expect after twenty-one. It was like this when they left the school: cloudy, dark, and growing colder.

He tidied up a few things and stored what little trash there was in a lock bag that he’d stuff in his backpack before heading off to bed. Kerry adjusted the collar of his flying jacket as the cold once more encroached upon the campsite as his mind drifted back to their flight north—

They departed the school at seventeen-thirty sharp, as they were told in the briefing. As they flew beyond the school walls the weather was mostly cloudy and was already a degree below zero Celsius, but rain wasn’t in the forecast, and the only winds they needed worry about were the ones they’d produce on their two hour flight to Baxter State Park in Central Maine.

While he’d flown at night around the school, and during his A Levels the Beginning Flight class had taken a couple of Monday night flights to get them used to being on a broom in the dark, this was the first time he’d take a long flight in full darkness. Besides the eight flight teams of Advanced Flight One, Vicky was leading the team with held from Erywin, and they were being assisted by Nadine and Rivânia Suassuna, both from Advanced Spells and racing.

They followed I-95 north, keeping the highway below and the Atlantic to their right. They didn’t exactly fly one team after the other, front to back, but rather kept their teams in a loose grouping more like a flattened sphere kept ringed in by the two instructors and their minions.  Upon reaching Lewiston, Maine, the interstate shifted a bit to the east, and they paralleled the road until passing Palmyra, where they kept going straight as I-95 turned right on its way to Bangor, and they entered the area south of Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin known at the 100 Mile Wilderness. Soon the distant glow of Bangor faded into the distance, and darkness enveloped them.

Kerry kept Emma close on his right and they chatted a little as they braced themselves against the wind chill they created. There were enchantments on the broom to keep nearly all the wind from hitting them, but they were still flying in the open, and the colder air that surrounded them pressed against them. They were still amazed they were out flying into a night time wilderness, and that excitement kept the cold away, but it was there just enough to remind Kerry that when they flew the Polar Express, the chill they felt now would be far worse.

Just west of Millinocket they turned nearly due north as they skirted the eastern border of Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin.


Yes, I did just end right there with “and Mount Katahdin.”  Why?  Because I was really trying to hit my goal for the day, and that was my next milestone in my story.  As you can see . . .

Because I see to record everything.

Because I see to record everything.

The “they” right after Millinocket is word one hundred forty thousand.  I wanted to hit it to keep my ten thousand every two weeks streak going, and I just did.  Thank you, Saturday morning!

With the image above you can see a little of the map behind the Scrivener program, as I was using it to make sure I had my route down.  You can also see notes on the right, and so what is all this team stuff?  Well, I figured if I have a team for Emma and Kerry, then I should have one for everyone, and that also took up a bit of time.  Also, teams indicate sleeping arrangments, because those who wingmate together sleep together.  And so we have–


Sleeping arrangements:

Team Myfanwy (pronounced “muh-van-wee”)
Kerry Malibey, Cernunnos
Emma Nielson, Mórrígan

Team Sulaco
Mesha Tomasko, Ceridwen
Daudi Gueye, Åsgårdsreia

Team Azso
Sutou Takara, Ceridwen
Elisha Tasköprülüzâde, Åsgårdsreia

Team Arafura
Edelmar Brodney, Blodeuwedd
Fidele Diaz, Blodeuwedd

Team Zanzibar
Shauntia Okoro, Åsgårdsreia
Shadha Kanaan, Ceridwen

Team Castle Book
Dariga Dulatuli, Åsgårdsreia
Loorea Barling, Ceridwen

Team Picante
Kalindi Kartodirdjo, Mórrígan
Felisa Ledesma, Blodeuwedd

Team Manga
Franky Smith, Ceridwen
Koyanagi Jiro, Ceridwen

Minions and Instructors
Nadine and Rivânia
Victoria and Erywin


Pretty simple, I’d say.

Tonight I get electrolysis, but I will attempt to write as much of the scene as I can when I get home, because there are things that need writing.  By the time this scene is over they will have covered the ground on this map:

Because you know I have them.

Because you know I have them.

And you may just find out a little more about what they did in the air . . .


Writing When it Isn’t

This is one of those posts where I really get more into what goes into the story than the actual story itself.  Because, as you’re gonna see, there isn’t a hell of a lot to the story.

See, I fully to sit down and really get into the story, but the truth is, I had too many distractions.  One, I was busy catching up with people I hadn’t seen in a while.  Two, I was really sort of burned out from all the writing I did over the weekend, and pushing away this huge cloud of depression that’s hung over me (and is still there, which is why I’m writing at three-thirty in the morning right now), and three, I needed to do research for something, the something being in the excerpt below.

It’s all about Crazy Wanda, who caused me problems.  You can see it below, right after the first two paragraphs which were posted in yesterday’s excerpt–


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

“Me? No.” She set the bag on the floor and folded the desk up into the cupboard and shut the doors. “This desk was put in when the building was constructed in 1804.” Deanna chuckled. “You can thank Crazy Wanda for both of those things.”

Annie gave a surprised laugh. “Crazy Wanda?”

Deanna chuckled. “Wanda de Meeuwsen from Dieden, Netherlands, which is still a small down on the southern banks of the Maas River. The story is she showed up before Founder’s Gate one morning in June, 1791, a twenty-one year old woman with a sack full of books and the clothes on her back, and told the then headmistress that she was there to take over as the new Divination instructor.

“Now, things like this didn’t happen too often—in fact this had never happened before. There weren’t many people who knew of the school’s existence, even in Europe, and instructors were personally invited to join the school. And one couldn’t jaunt to the front gate, because the exact location of The Pentagram wasn’t known except to most of the instructors and a few of the advanced students. Which meant someone had to tell her about where the school was located and she hiked there from Gloucester, or she saw it in a vision, which is what she told everyone once they had the chance to sit down and talk.

“The interesting thing—or scary, depending on your point of view—is that the school seer left her position the week before to return to her home in Pennsylvania. The headmistress and coven leaders were still debating who they wanted to invite into the fold to teach, and had yet to reach a decision. There was absolutely no way anyone outside the school, much less someone in Europe, would have that information that soon.” Deanna shrugged. “The leaders assumed that Wanda’s story about having a vision was true, and invited her to teach.


And that’s where I left it off, only two hundred and seventy-eight words into the scene.  But it’s that third paragraph that caused me the most problems, because I needed some history for Wanda de Meeuwsen.  I mean, I knew she was twenty-one in 1791, which means she was born in The Netherlands in 1770, and I had a vague idea of where she was born, but that’s it.  So I had to look.

First off, I needed to find where she was born because it’s important–trust me on this one.  So I started looking.  I wanted her to come from a village on the shores of the Maas River, which is also known as the Meuse River in France and Belgium.  So I had to go looking for a suitable place, and ended up here:

Black arrow marks the spot.

Black arrow marks the spot.

So I had that.  Which leads to problem number two, and that is Founder’s Gate.  Now I know that in 1791 Founder’s Gate exists, because the school began in 1683, and the Pentagram Walls were one of the first things to go up.  Now, I had some old notes located in another source for when everything was built, but what bothered me was that I didn’t have this information on my main time line, which is like saying I didn’t have it right at my fingertips.  And that led to this:

Can't tell a coven leader without a score card.

Can’t tell a coven leader without a score card.

I decided to update my main timeline with all the good information, which not only included when most of the buildings were constructed, but the lives and times of the Five Founders.  Right off the bat you see that Astria Blomqvist, the leader of Cernunnos Cover where my kids hang out, was a few months short of her ninety-ninth birthday when the School at Salem was founded, and that Lucille van der Kroft was nearly fifty years younger.  Also, Vivian Lovecraft lived the shortest–6694 weeks, or 46858 days–and that’s probably because sorceresses got the short end of the stick back then, as well as the pointy one.  Oh, didn’t I mention she was a sorceress?  Probably just a coincidence that Helena and she aren’t related . . .

So now I know when all these things happen, when most of the stuff was built at Salem, and when certain people lived and died.  Should be done, right?


See, I had to go into my Blender Map and look up something, and while I was there I started wondering–remember when I said I was going to model Kerry’s broom?  Well, you might not, but I do, and I started playing around with forms.  Really, if I don’t want to get too fancy it’s all a matter of just sticking certain polygons together and joining them, but I have to get measurements correct, and make sure everything is proportioned right, and that takes time, too.  Then I had to remember how to do certain things, and as I did the realization came back that there are certain things in Blender that aren’t easy to do, so you have to do that stuff the old fashion way, which is slowly.  I also discovered that I didn’t know how to make the flattened nose of Kerry’s Espinoza, while at the same time I wasn’t interested in doing a hell of a lot of research on the matter . . .

The end result was I modeled his Class 1 Espinoza 4500, and built a couple of stick figures to stand next to it for size reference.  You wanna see?  Of course you do–

Can you tell which one is supposed to be Annie?  I bet you can--

Can you tell which one is supposed to be Annie? I’ll bet you can–

Now, the broom is hovering a little low, and the seat should be a touch thicker, but that’s it:  a meter and a half long with the frame about ten centimeters in diameter, which is about the same size as the candle I have sitting next to my computer.  Not much to look at, is it?  But now that I have this, I can probably model the Class 2 as well.  Just need a bigger processor in the back, handlebars, and the canards in the front.  Piece of cake.

And that’s what happens when you decide to throw in a witch for a scene.  Before you know it, all sorts of other stuff happens.

It’s a conspiracy, I tell ya!

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 . . .