Fumblings Before the Questions

When writing you some times discover that things aren’t going to come as easy as you want–particularly when you’re tired and stressed out.  I know this is gonna sound crazy, but that’s been me the last couple of weeks.  A lot of it is work related:  some of it is due to needing to pay my quarterly taxes and discovering I might fall just a little short of where I wanted to be payment-wise.  (Just so you know, I won’t end up short.)

I actually fell asleep twice during the afternoon yesterday for about forty-five minutes at a time.  It’s my body telling me, “You need rest,” and I was trying to get it.  I also ate a lot of chili, which can’t have been good for my waistline, and I was paying for it a little last night.

So when I finally did get around to writing It wasn’t a lot–about seven hundred sixty total, and I pushed the scene up over a thousand words.  However, I did hit my mark of one hundred and sixty thousand words in the novel–at which point I called it a night.

It was also a good point to end the story.

It was also a good point to end the story.

What was the gist of what was written?  We know Annie’s dad was somewhere he shouldn’t have been, and that’s where the action picks up–

 

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

Victor Kirilov appeared humbled by his daughter’s remarks. “I didn’t think you’d mind. I apologize.”

“Well, now that you’re here—” She motioned for her father to remain sitting. “I’ll be out in a moment.” She entered her bathroom and used the toilet, thinking all the while about her father. There was little conversation about school: the proceeded directly to the public jaunt stations so they could return home, then she went straight to her room, changed into her night clothes, took her adjustment mixture, and was asleep in minutes.

It didn’t require a huge stretch of the imagination to understand why her father was there. She was fully aware he wanted to have a short talk—and to discuss a matter that didn’t require her mother. Annie finished and washed her hands, preparing for what would come next.

She returned to her sitting room: her father was at the table with two steaming mugs before him. He pushed one across the table as Annie took the empty chair. “I brought tea. I though you might enjoy some when you woke up.”

Annie wrapped her hands around the mug. “Thank you, Papa.” She waited a moment, warming her fingers against the ceramic, then stood next to the table with her arms spread.
Victor stood and gave him daughter a hug. “Welcome home, Anelie.”

“Thank you, Papa.” The last time Annie hugged her father was the first day she left for Salem. As she’d grown older she’d found it less necessary to have physical contact with her parents, but now she felt a hug was needed—if for no other reason than to show her father she still loved and cared for him. “I’ve missed you and Mama.”

“And we’ve missed you as well.” He waited for her to sit before taking his seat. “It will be good to have you home for these next two weeks. And your grandparents are looking forward to seeing you.”

She finally took a sip of tea. “I’ve been waiting for that since Mama wrote and said we were getting together.”

“Yes, but we’re meeting on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas.” He slowly tilted his head a little to the right. “We all agreed it would be easier to get a room, and that everyone could spend more time together.”

“I agree.” Annie lightly tapped the rim of her mug. “That also gives us more time to spend together on Christmas.”

“That’s what our parents thought: as much as they want to see you, they thought the three of us should spend Christmas together as a family.” Victor waited a few seconds before staring across the table. “How is school?”

Annie stared at the surface of her drink. Now it begins— “It has been good. I can’t believe a year and a half is already over.”

He sat back in his chair and folded his hands across his stomach. “It was like that for your mother and me: one day we were walking through Founder’s Gate on our way to our E and As, and then you’re finishing your C Levels and half your schooling is over.” His sigh was soft. “Time seems to pass differently there at times.”

“It does.” She nodded. “It does indeed.”

 

The questions are about to start, and we actually see Annie giving her father a hug, which is something that she doesn’t do much.  Annie and her father have had . . . let’s say issues, and they don’t always see eye-to-eye on a lot of things.  And now she will have to deal with Daddy finally meeting the boyfriend and having questions.  It should be fun.

And that should be tonight.

A Set of Eleven

Over the years of this blog I’ve been nominated for a lot of different blogging awards–it happens, you know, because people read you, learn about who you are and what you have to say, and they find you interesting enough to want put yourself out there and tell things about yourself.  You know–stuff.

Normally I haven’t–I guess you could say, accepted any of the awards, because I’ve not only felt funny about answering questions about myself, but I hate nominating other people.  I’m strange in that I feel like I’m imposing on people to do something they may or may not want.  But last week, Lauren Jeffrey nominated me for the Liebster Award, and I started think, “You know, you’ve said so much about yourself in the last year that why don’t you just up and answer some of these questions?”

Hum . . . wonder what's coming next?

Yeah, what’s so hard about answering questions?

Therefor, for the first time, I’m gonna answer some questions.  I hope you find the answers enlightening.

 

1.     Do you ever splurge and fly first-class?

I’ve never been able to afford to fly first class, but I have flown first class one time.  It was during a business trip to Hong Kong back in the 1999, and I flew South Bend to Detroit to Tokyo to Hong Kong, most of it on 747s, most of it in the upper deck of a 747-200.  I’ve also flown both KLM and United Business Class in the upper deck of a 747-400, so now you know how I know so much about the layouts of 747

For the record, First Class is nice.  And from what I understand, it’s a lot nicer these days.

 

2.     For a vacation – mountains or beach?

Mountains.  I like looking at the ocean, but I’m not much of a beach person.  Mountains, however:  there’s something hidden in the beauty, and it’s something I want to find.

 

3.     What is one thing you would try to fit in to your daily routine to improve your quality of life?

Having someone say, “I love you,” every day.

 

4.     Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Total introvert–except in my writing, then it all comes out.

 

5.     Do you prefer the idea of self-publishing or going the traditional route?  Why?  And, if the later, how many rejections would it take for you to consider the former?

I like both, and I’ve done both.  I haven’t really gone the later route too often, because I haven’t considered what I have written so far to be good enough for submission.  I’m considering going the later route here soon, however.  I know I should.  Self publishing is good, but once you publish then it’s all about promotion, and if you’re like me and somewhat shitty at it, then you’re gonna struggle.

 

6.     Who is your favorite author?

There are a lot of them, but Arthur C. Clarke has always been one of my favorites.

 

7.     If you were a Kardashian, which one would you be?

The one with the big ass.

 

8.     If you had a big wedding, would you spend the money on something else if you could do it over again?  Why/why not?  If you’re not married, well, skip to question 9.

I didn’t have a big wedding–twice–and I don’t like the idea of spending a lot of money on one.  Spend it on a home and/or vacation.

 

9.     You’ve decided to change your name.  What will it be?

Hum . . . Cassidy?  *big laugh*  Really, went thought this a couple of years ba, and that’s what it is.

 

10.  Share an accomplishment for which you wish you’d been more recognized.

Nothing comes to mind, so I must not have done anything worth remembering.

 

11.  No one will ever read your book/short story/poetry.  Was it still worth writing?

Yes, it was.  Even when it was hard, it was still worth the effort.

 

And there you have it.  I hope it was enjoyable.

 

Writing at the Speed of Imagination

After a slow start to the day I’ve come back to a point where I am actually thinking straight, almost like a real person.  It’s wonderful that I’m not crashing out right about now.

Today I’m going to answer another reader’s question and this one is from Christy Birmingham, who I’ve followed for sometime as well.  Her question is simple:

 

What are your top three reasons for using Scrivener?

 

That’s an interesting question, because I’m not certain I can answer it sufficiently.  You see, there are so many different reasons why I use it, but let me see if I can break this down to something that makes sense.

 

One:  I can organize everything from the shortest story to the longest novel however I like.

 

Let me show you a few things.  First up is, believe it or not, the only real short story I’ve ever written, The Relocater, which clocks in at fifty-eight hundred words.  I wrote it in September, 2013, over the course of five nights, just to prove to myself that I could write a short story.

Looks kinda cute, doesn't it?

Looks kinda cute, doesn’t it?

There isn’t much to organize here, and Scrivener even has a short story template that allows you to just rip off some quick stories when you’re in the mood.  In this case I wanted quick and dirty, and that’s what I got.

Now, here is the novel I’m currently editing, Kolor Ijo:

Welcome back, 2012 NaNoWriMo story!

Welcome back, my friend, to the show that never ends.

When I laid out this novel I’d used Scrivener for about fifteen months, so I had a better grasp of how I wanted to set up my novel.  You can see that here I’m setting things up in parts, and that each text file is really a chapter.  And since most are short and separated in action from each other, I can get away with having it neatly laid out this way.

Now, maybe you recognize this work . . .

Every time I think I'm finished, you pull me back in.

Every time I think I’m finished, you pull me back in.

This is, right here, the most advanced layout I’ve ever done, which is for, naturally, The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced.  And I should mention that the layout I have today is not the one with which I started.  When I began writing this in October, 2013, there were parts, there were chapters, there were scenes–but there were no acts.  It was only after I was close to finishing what is now Act One that I realized this story was gonna be huge, and trying to release it as one large tome might not be a good idea.  Therefore, I added the acts, began moving Parts into those Acts, and everything followed.  And that’s one of the things I love about the program.  However I want to set up my story, however I want to lay out my research, however I want to link to information from internal and external sources, I can.  It’s all up to you.  It’s even possible-though I haven’t tried it yet–to build your own template so these setups are available when you go to create a new project.  Like I’ll need with I write that B Level novel.

 

Two:  Write in one simple format, compile it into anything.

 

As a word processor Scrivener is simple:  it’s just text files where you can set margins, font styles, and font sizes.  You can so most everything that you can do in, say, MS Word, though for some functions you need to be hooked up to the Internet to get them to work, but who isn’t these days?  (And those functions are really needed to get the story written–I know; I’ve done that.)

But where the program really shines is in the area of how your final product look.  The Compile function is the formatting system of the program, and it makes it possible to just write lines of information in each text box, and by setting definitions in the Compile pop-up box, you can make the output look any way that makes you happy.

So many options, so little time to play with this stuff.

So many options, so little time to play with this stuff.

Most of the time I’ll compile into PDF format to look for errors and to send to beta readers, because you can’t change the stuff in that format–well, you can, but I have to trust my beta readers.  When I’m ready to send something up for self-publishing, I’ll compile the document to a Word .doc and run it through various checks as it’s converted into an epublishing format–

Which Scrivener will actually do for you.  .Epub and .Mobi are the two epiblishing formats supported by Scrivener, and if I remember correctly, Amazon will allow you to upload .mobi to Kindle Direct.  And those options on the left of the popup window?  Those are you selection and formatting options.  It’s actually possible to take plain, unaltered text an set your margins, fonts, and sizes in there, and have a ball getting your final product ready for whatever you like.  I haven’t explored all that because, well, it would take away from my writing.

And speaking of writing, the most important reason I use Scrivener:

 

Three:  It keeps everything I need for the story right in front of me.

 

Scrivener is not a word processing program:  it’s a project management program.  That’s why, when you go to create something new, you’re not creating a story or a short or a novel, you’re creating a project.  And into that project goes–

Everything.

Here’s something I’ve not shown much:  the research section for A For Advanced.

I seem to have an interest in aircraft . . .

I seem to have an interest in aircraft . . .

All that stuff on the left are things I slipped into the binder almost a year and a half ago, and some of the information I’ve kept updated, or even changed, as I went along with the story.  After all, the Spell List was being updated and added to constantly, because I’d come up with new things as I wrote.  But all the world building I did in October, 2013–it’s there.  Everything.  And up above I have information on students and who’s in every coven, and the levels and . . . you get the idea.

Now, in the picture above, there are four entries that look like little globes.  Those are interactive webpages that you can set up inside the project–you know, some of those functions that you need an Internet connection for?  Here’s what that looks like:

I seem to recall looking for these schedules back in 2013--

I seem to recall looking for these schedules back in 2013–

And the website is completely functional, so while I’m working on a scene, if I really needed to know the time for the train from Rockport–which, if you remember, is the end of the train line on Cape Ann and not that far from the school’s main gate–to Salem, it’s right here.  That was why I set this page up:  so I would have access to these schedules if they were needed.  And they will be–maybe.

The great thing is when it comes time to set up a project for B For Bewitching, I have an option to import another Scrivener project, so I’ll just zip all of this into that new project, delete what I don’t need, and keep the rest.  There you have it:  all my research is available for the new novel, with a little fuss as possible.

That’s pretty much it:  three main reasons why I use Scrivener.  There are a lot more, but those three are the biggest reasons.

And with reasons like those, I don’t really need any others.

Welcome to My Trans World

I’m doing things a little different today, mostly because I promised some people that I was going to answer some questions for them, and this is how I handle that particular request.

As everyone–or just about everyone knows–I’m a transwoman.  I’ve been out online and with friends for about two years now, and in March of this year I began living publicly as a woman.  I started on hormone treatment back in July, and I’ve just passed three months on hormone replacement therapy.

You can imagine that not many people know the ins and outs of what I’m going through.  It’s rare that people other than close friends know anyone trans, and until recently trans people in media were either played for laughs or we were psychos who usually committed the murder in whatever drama was bring presented.  In other words, the majority of people who we might encounter in real life don’t know much about us.

This all came about a few weeks ago because there were people in one of my Facebook groups asking me about the stuff I do concerning my hormone injections.  I was getting other questions asked as well, and it made me realize that, yes, people are curious, and not in a morbid way:  they really want to know about these things that are happening in my life.

Since yesterday was my shot day I decided to put together a few videos that show the steps I go through for my injections, and also answer a few questions that have come up from time-to-time.  So, if you’ll step this way . . .

 

This is a video going over the stuff I need for my injections, and I actually take you thought the process.  You never see the injection, and I give you fair warning it’s happening in case you want to look away.  As I say you don’t see anything, so safe all around.

The next two videos answer questions about hormones and injections, and–particularly with the second video–I get into the good and bad parts of going through hormone treatments.  I give warning in the second video that discussions may get a little graphic, but only because I’m talking about naughty bits.

Okay, now we get to the one video that’s probably Not Save For Work or Kids.  I get into a rather frank explanation of physical sexual responses, and how mine are changing.  It’s pretty interesting, but as I said, it’s frank, so let me warn you once more:  Sexy Talk Ahead!  That’s even the name of the video.  Click at your own risk.

And last but not least, a video that answers a question that I’ve been asked more than a few time:  why are you doing this?  For me, the answer isn’t surprising.

There it is:  a part of my world as it currently exists.  I hope it’s informative, and that it leads to more questions in the future that I can take time to answer.  Because, believe me, the more people know about the sort of things that led up to my decision, and the aftermath of said decision, the more the stereotypes can be cast aside.

Like I say in one of the videos, once you get to know me I’m really a nice person–

No different than you.

The Juggling of the Duties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe.

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

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

Questions Asked and Yet Answered

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, I’m awake and alive (the two can be, at times, mutually exclusive), and I made it through another Saturday which wasn’t one of the best, but it was better than I expected.  There wasn’t as much writing as expected–I feel just short of six hundred words before I was busy doing some research during the afternoon, and there were distractions like Where Eagles Dare being on TCM (bit of trivia:  it has the highest body count of any Clint Eastwood movie–total 100 people–and it was the last movie where he didn’t receive top billing) and then Orphan Black Season Two starting an hour and a half later, seestras.  But the quantity isn’t important:  it’s the quality.  And it ended with one of the more important things I’ve written for the story:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie patted the envelope with her right hand. “Ms. Rutherford left prepaid debit cards with £200 on them for us to use. No need to worry about money for the day.”

“Oh.” Kerry’s eyes took on a far away look as he seemed to consider Annie’s words.

Seeing the indecision on Kerry’s face, Annie knew the time had come to push the forty-four percent odds in her favor. She reached out and touched his hand; Kerry’s head swiveled around to face her immediately. “Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me, Kerry?”

 

Yeah, those last two questions are going to come back a few more times in this scene, and later–well, I know what sort of importance they play much later in the story, and the effects are going to be fairly tramatic.  You wouldn’t think that would be the case, but it will.  It’s gonna tear someone’s heart out.

Don’t worry:  they’ll get better.

Yesterday’s post seemed to generate a few of my more interesting comments, which were along the lines of, “Wait, there’s werewolf erotica?  Since when?”  Since people were writing, that’s when.  Off the top of my head I can’t remember the actual title, but back in the days when Rome was pretty much kicking everyone’s ass, one of the more popular books around had the main character turn into an ass and head off some sexual adventures.  It has been pointed out by no greater an authority on the mater than Cracked.com (I was biting my inner lip when I wrote that) that strange fetishes have been around a long time–sometimes centuries, sometimes a lot longer than we’d like to admit there’s recorded history.

I like to make fun of the various sorts of erotica out there on the Internet, until I remember that (1) these people are writing, and (2) some of them are selling a lot.  What that says about people in general I’ll leave to you, because if you read some of my stranger erotica, you’d likely lump me in with the dino porn women.

If you are curious about the the sort of things out there, never fear!  I’m gonna show you, because I’m that sort of gal.  Click on any of these links at risk of your own sanity, and lets remember that every link takes you to that wonderful purveyor of reading material, Amazon.com, and not some shady, back-asswards website where the Internet has crawled off to die.

Without further ado:

"How is that even . . . no, no, no!  Why did I look?  Why?"

“How is that even . . . no, no! Why did I look? Why?”

Maybe you’d like some Kraken erotica?

There are also some excitable werewolves, and a leprechaun you might not want to meet.

Maybe you’re not the Mother of Dragons, but you could be the lover or one–or two.

I don’t remember reading about this Minotaur when I was into Greek Mythology–

Speaking of Dino Porn–yeah, it’s here.

Gay Cuttlefish Shapeshifter Erotica–that’s not something I made up:  I’ve taken that right off the Amazon page for the story.  You’re welcome.

Even unicorns won’t escape my gaze!

Last but not least, if you’re interested in how someone works to write stuff like this, they talk about it in long piece from io9:  How to Write a Sex Scene Between a Unicorn and a Rainbow.

Hummm . . . I think my work here is done.