Bringing the Madness Once More

Well, that didn’t take long . . .

When it comes to saying, “I’m not gonna work on something and finished it today,” I’m probably lying by butt off.  I said I wasn’t going to do the Red Line in full right away, but . . . well, I had time on my hands and a program in front of me, so I figured, what the hell?

I at least have the route laid out in its glory, though there are a few areas I need to smooth out because when you’re working in three dimensions you can do that.  That will be this week.

So here it is, from a couple of different views.  First, from the south:

What you might see if you were camped out over Gloucester.

What you might see if you were camped out over Gloucester.

And then from the northwest:

Only because I don't see the school like this often.

Only because I don’t see the school like this often.

And one view from due east that shows the grid and how high some of the turns are.

Like, really high.

Like, really high.

Each gird box is one hundred meters on each side, or three hundred and twenty-eight feet.  So besides K1 (in the middle) going up a thousand meters, you have Plateau, (on the right north of the Observatory) at just over three hundred meters, Corkscrew (the climb and circles half-way between the Pentagram in the center and the far left) at four hundred, and The Point all the way to the left going up five hundred meters before diving towards the ground.

I view my tracks a lot like those used in Formula 1.  The Green Line is a lot like Monza in Italy:  fast with just enough curves and chicanes to keep you from crashing and burning too hard.  The Blue Line is like Spa Francorchamps:  big and fast, but a bit more technically challenging.  The Red Line is like the Nürburgring Nordschleife, demanding as hell with all the curves, though I’m not sure what this makes Mount Katahdin–though the races do call the later The White Hell . . .

By the way, the top part of Corkscrew is how high Kerry went the first time he checked out on an Espinoza with Vicky.  As for the Mile High flight, Annie and Kerry when just over three times higher than K1.  They was way up there.

And there was writing!  Like right here:


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

Annie danced past the foot of her bed on the way to her dresser and Little Talks began playing on the music stream she’d selected from her room’s computer terminal. She’d already hung up her uniform; all that remained was to put up her shoes, pull out her blue slippers, close up the dresser, and wait, knowing she wouldn’t need to wait long.

She checked her appearance in the full-length mirror. Makeup off, hair combed right, touch of gloss, and nails a lovely light blue thanks to the time spell she’d practiced over the summer that allowed her to do her feet and hands property in about forty five minutes instead of three hours it would take if she allowed the several layers of coatings and polish to dry naturally. Annie examined her fingertips carefully once last time before skipping over to the computer terminal to check the time.

Twenty-one forty-five. Just as she shut off the music there was a knock on the door. A huge grin appeared as she grabbed her robe off the bed. Punctual as always.


If it’s Friday night, it must be time for the Midnight Madness.  And this is the first of the year, so one must look their best, right?  Once again we have Dancing Annie, listening to music on the computer terminal set up in her room–and, yes, they were there last year, but we never really discussed them.  She doesn’t have a laptop, however:  more like a device that lets her get into the school network cloud, so she is connected to messages and the whatnot.

And here she is checking out her nails again.  It was established last year she likes doing her nails, so she’s got them ready once more.  Probably for someone special . . .


Annie flung open the door: Kerry stood in the corridor, wearing his gray pajamas, black slippers, and dark gray robe. The moment he saw his soul mate on the other side of the door he pretended to adjust a bow tie before cocking his head slight to one side and greeting her using a soft, fake, English accent. “Hello, Sweetie.”

Annie slipped on her robe and commanded her lights off as she stepped into the corridor, closing the door behind her. “Hello, my love.” She slid her arms around Kerry and gave him a tender kiss. “Miss me?”

“Any time I’m away I miss you.” He sidestepped and held out his arm for her to take. “Shall we go?”

“We shall.” She took his arm and walked with him towards the staircase. “I didn’t think this week would feel so long.”


It’s not been mentioned before–well, just a little maybe–but Kerry and Annie pretty much greet each other from time-to-time like The Doctor and River Song, and given that they’re both messing around with time spells . . .  Kerry was actually pantomiming the Eleventh Doctor adjusting his bow tie, something he did when he first saw Annie in her flight gear their first day in Beginning Flight.

Speaking of flight–


“I think it was a lot of what we did today.” He held her hand as they took the stairs to the first floor. “Not to mention with all the advanced classes we’ve got longer days than everyone else.” They strolled through the A Levels’ area, nodding at two girls who were just leaving their rooms. “That’s gonna make all the weeks long.”

“And we have class Sunday morning.” She chuckled as they almost bounced down the stairs leading to the main floor commons. “And if you go out for racing—”

Kerry humphed. “If I get accepted, you mean.”

“If you go out, you’ll get accepted.” She guided him around as they reached the ground floor and turned to their left on their way across the commons to the tower exit leading into the Pentagram Gardens. “You need not fear.” She slid her arm around the crook of his elbow once again. “How were the Class 2’s? I know I asked you to wait until later to talk about it—”

“And this is later.” Kerry hadn’t wanted to talk about his time in Advanced Flight during dinner; he’d wanted to get back to shower and change before heading off to the first Midnight Madness of the new school year. He’d also wanted to hear about Annie’s time up at the Witch House, and find out if she’d picked up anything new. “It was nice. Those things are fast and so responsive.” He held the coven tower door open for Annie. “The handlebars take a bit getting used to, though.”


Handlebars?  Let’s look:


Annie waved open the wall door leading to the garden beyond. “You need that because of the acceleration and responsiveness.” She’d seen her father on a Class 2, so she knew a bit about them. They had the same main frame as the Class 1s, but the similarities ended there. The saddle had a small back to keep the pilot from slipping backwards and off because, depending on the model, the acceleration was as much as three times greater than the best of the Class 1s. And instead of the pilot maneuvering the PAV by applying pressure directly to the frame, there were a set of handlebars with heavy, padded grips that allowed the pilot more control. “Wait until you fly the Class 3s.”

“Ha.” Kerry slowed to a comfortably stroll under the covered walkway to the Great Hall. “I only get to try those if I make it to the A Team; Class B is as high as the B Team goes.”

“I wouldn’t worry too much—” Annie leaned into his arm. “If you make the B Team, I feel you’ll make the A Team soon after.”

He kissed her on the forehead. “Were you hanging with Deanna this afternoon?”

“I’d never tell.” She took a moment to kiss his hand. “Did you speak with Jario or the girls?”


I started thinking I should do some models of the Class 1, 2, and 3 PAVs, because I do know what they look like, and it would probably help to show people what I see in my head.  It’s just a matter of doing the modeling, which I do know how to do by now–I think.

There you have it:  more building of worlds, and more madness until midnight.

Good times, I’m telling you.

Into Thin Air: the Moment Approaches

I will admit, I didn’t get as much done last night as I should have.  “As much done” for me means I only wrote about eight hundred words, because I wasn’t feeling the creativity coming on.  You get those moments now and then, and I hit that last right about seven PM last night.  I knew I had to go on with the scene–I just didn’t know where to go with it.

It finally came to me what I needed to do, because even though I know what’s going to happen in a scene, I don’t always know how that scene is going to turn out.  Which leads to a strange kind of writer’s block from time to time because you’re simply not sure how to set things up.

What did I write, then?  An introduction:


All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

“I’m sure you can, Annie.” Professor Salomon strolled towards the flight line with the other four students following—three girls and one boy. Kerry watched the boy, Daudi Gueye from Zambia and a member of Coven Åsgårdsreia, approach the line with his broom over his shoulder, appearing more serious than nervous. Daudi was the last person Kerry thought would attempt the Mile High Flight, but he was one of those kids who while kept to himself and remained quite most of the time, proved to be a great pilot—though Kerry saw him as more technical than natural. Daudi once confided in Kerry that he wished he’d learned the light bending spell that Annie and he had mastered, because he wanted to see if he could take a broom home for the summer and fly it over the plains to the west and north of his home. Kerry didn’t want to tell him that was exactly what he planed on doing if he found the time, though he’d probably fly over the rolling hills to the north of Cardiff.

The other fliers were also great. Loorea Barling was a north Australian girl and one of the best flier out of Ceridwen; Kerry had her pegged to try out for racing next year. Dariga Dulatuli out of Åsgårdsreia was the girl from Kazakhstan who was knocked out of the zombie homunculi test after taking a shot in the face from Lisa’s jō. And the last girl, Kalindi Kartodirdjo from Indonesia, was a perpetually smiling girl from Mórrígan who was as quiet as Daudi and so good a pilot that Emma once admitted to Kerry that she hoped her covenmate didn’t go out for racing because it seems as if she wasn’t afraid to take chances if it meant getting ahead—which Kerry took to mean Emma didn’t want to race against someone who did the same thing she was accused of doing while on the course.


As pointed out, at least one of these kids have been seen before, and Loorea has been mentioned in the story once.  It’s interesting that Emma is worried about racing with someone from her own coven who she thinks does the same things she does on the track–probably because they’ll both take a chance at something, and both crash and burn.  An interesting setup has occurred here as well:  two from Coven Cernunnos, two from Åsgårdsreia, two from Mórrígan, and one lone flier from Ceridwen.  None from the Founder’s Coven, I’m afraid, cause the girl with the concussion is from Ceridwen as well, so it looks as if the Night Owls had their wings clipped.

Naturally Vicky has a few words of wisdom to lay on the students . . .


“Okay, gather around.” Vicky waved everyone into a circle around her. “Well, I guess this is it.” She looked up into the sky. “We’ve flown in better weather—” She turned back to the students, ginning. “But if you remember, we’ve flown in worse.

“This is what we’re going to do. This will be a case of follow the leader, all the way to the top. We don’t have to keep in line; in fact, this is a group effort, and we lend support where necessary. In the last three runs we only had half this number fly, and one of the reasons they didn’t make it to the top is because they we too caught up in their own flying, and succumbed to their own fear. We’re not gonna let that happen here . . .” She nodded along with half the students. “I know that today some, or all, of us are gonna make it to the top—an I’ll tell you this: if we all make it, that’s gonna be some history, ‘cause seven people haven’t flown to the top since 1963. We’re talkin’ almost fifty years here, pilots . . .”

Vicky looked around the meadow and stopped long enough to face the bonfires. “The past and the future are right there, and we’ve dealt with both those in this field. You all came in as novice or beginning fliers, and now you’re about to fly out and make history.” She looked about, her gaze setting upon each students. “However, like a lot of things around Salem, just when you think you know what’s going to happen, it changes on you . . .” She motioned for everyone to move in closer around her; once she was certain everyone was in position she put her finger to her left ear. “Okay, Isis: we’re a go here.”


That last is never a good thing to hear, and when Isis gets involved, it means things are about to go somewhere you didn’t want them to go:

Kerry felt the transition as they jaunted from the meadow to somewhere else enshrouded in heavy mist and a constant breeze. He had no idea where they were, but it was far more quiet and cooler than back at the school. The misting they’d left behind was now a light rain leaving tiny droplets upon his face. And there was also the fog that surrounded them—it seemed wrong. It was moving and swirling around them, so unlike the mist that had ringed Selena’s Meadow only a few seconds before.

Both the mountain girls—Annie and Emma—instantly knew what was around them, though it was Annie who spoke first. “These are clouds.”

Vicky nodded. “Yes they are, Annie.” She stepped back away from the students and held out her hands as if she were greeting them. “Welcome to Mount Katahdin, kids.”


Wait, what?  Mount Katahdin?  Where’s that?

It's right here.  Look over there to the left:  I think I see everyone.  Well, I would if it wasn't for the clouds . . .

It’s right here. Look over there to the left: I think I see everyone. Well, I would if it wasn’t for the clouds . . .

And you’ve heard of this place before–let me refresh your memory . . .

Maybe you remember this place?

Maybe you remember this place?

If not, don’t worry–

I’ll refresh your memories tomorrow.

History on a Math Shell

There are times when I’m writing my stories that I have to get all geeky for real.  The Foundation Chronicles actually takes place against the backdrop of our world of 2011, so there are times when things are referenced as being something real in my world.  Which is why, during the little time I had to write–driving a few hundred miles in the day tends to make you tired by the time night rolls around–I was able to come up with a short history of Professor Elenore Karasek, one of the school’s former flight instructors, and how she used her love of the city of Chicago to rename the school’s race courses after three mass transit lines.

You can't tell your race circuits without a map, right?

You can’t tell your race circuits without a map, right?

What you have in the picture above are two of the three school race course:  the Green Line (which is the solid line closest to the wall) and the Blue Line (the inner solid line).  I don’t have the third course up, the Red Line, only because designing it will be insane, and no one’s racing the Red Line right now.

(Oh, and in the picture above you’ll see, off to the right, that light green mat is Selena’s Meadow and, right below that, the Flight School.  Doesn’t look like much of a walk, but it is.)

Why go through all this?  Because I knew there would be a part in the current novel where racing was going to come into play, and that time is now.  Which means I have to do my prep to set everything up so I can write about what’s going to happen in the Great Illegal A Level Race of 2011.  And not only do I have a course, but I know the names of  the different sections of the course.

Always good to have a nice little cheat sheet of the neat racing names for your course.

Always good to have a nice little cheat sheet of the neat racing names for your course.

Just like an auto race track has its names for their straights and turns, the Green Line has the same, and the notes I have above show the areas that’ll get passed during the scene.  Most of those names are pretty literal, though you may wonder why there’s a section of the track named Graves . . .

"Don't worry, kids.  It's not like a turn called 'Graves' could mean anything bad . . ."

“Don’t worry, kids. It’s not like a turn called ‘Graves’ could mean anything bad . . .”

Like I said, some are very literal.

There is one part of the upcoming scene where a couple of my kids will race down a long, semi-straight stretch known as West End.  Why?  Because it’s on the west end of the school, that’s why?  It’s two kilometers long–that’s one and a quarter miles for you metricly challenged–and it’s the section of the course where one will get the most speed out of their PAV.  If they are of a mind, that is.

There it is, the West End, Girls.  Sorry:  bad 80's music pun.

There it is, the West End, Girls. Sorry: bad 80’s music pun.

How much speed are we talking?  In what I’ve already written for the scene, Annie recalls when Kerry and she were trying out the course a few weeks before, and they managed to reach about one hundred and seventy kilometers and hour without even working up a sweat.  She mentioned that she knows enough Imperial Units to know they were flying along at about one hundred miles an hour (one hundred and five, to be exact) and that probably would have gotten them in trouble if they’d been caught.

For this scene I want to know how long it would take Kerry to get up to a much higher speed, and how long he could fly down West End at that speed.  For that I head over to the Tutor 4 Physics site, which has a lot of nice calculations that I’ve used in my science fiction writing.  How will I used this?  Let’s look at what Annie said:

If they came out of Northwest Passage (that bend at the very top right of the above picture) as a speed of sixty kilometers an hour, and accelerated at forty-five kilometers an hour, it’ll take them seventy-eight meters, or two hundred and fifty-five feet, to get up to 170 kph.  That’s just under the length of a football field, so that’s some good acceleration.  And with those numbers, it’s easy to calculate they could cover the entire distance of West End in about forty-three seconds.

Of course Kerry will be going a lot faster, which is why I need to know just how much time he’ll have to think about what he’d going to do next.  Ergo, calculations are needed.  Which is why . . .

You tell 'em, Jessie.

You tell ’em, Jessie.

All to get a few thousand words into a story.

Yeah, I’m like that.