Getting Back Into the Creative Swing Rag

I admit that I haven’t done a lot of writing or even the planning of writing during my current trip to Indiana.  There’s been taxes and a lot of getting the car fixed so I can get tags, and yesterday was mostly spent walking off to lunch and waiting by the phone for a message on my car–which didn’t come until after five in the afternoon.

Today should be better, however.  I’ll take the car out for a drive to get the emission sensors triggered, then get it in for a test, then get the tags and be ready to return back to The Burg tomorrow.  And I won’t have to do this again until July.  Maybe.  We’ll see.

Yesterday I was out and about for repairs and lunch during International Transgender Day of Visibility, and I was certainly about as visible as they come.  Also, I was always treated fairly and without a single side eye–save for one woman who came into the car repair shop who was bitching about not being able to get in right away for an oil change, but screw her.  And since I had to prove I was visible, I snapped a picture of myself at the Valparaiso Uptown Cafe:

Out and About as myself since 2014.

Out and About as myself since 2014.

I realized that yesterday was the first real time I’ve been Out in Indiana since I went full time, and not feeling a twinge of fear going anywhere in the last couple of days has only helps bolster my ego as far as being me is concerned.

And now that taxes are out of the way I’ve confirmed that I will be able to start electrolysis this summer, which is going to be even more of a boon, because removing the last of my facial hair is going to be one of those things that gets the old life out of the way for good.  So time to look that up when I’m back home.

Now, about writing . . .

April I’ll finish up editing on Kolor Ijo and start getting it out of the way and out for publication.  Right now I’m looking at June for having it up, and I’m really going to try and stick hard to that, because I need something published.  It’s been two years; it’s time.

And in only a few days, the counter on my page should flip from “1 Month” to “Days to Go” on the start of writing for B For Bewitching.  I’ve had that story on my mind for a while, and I’ve thought a bit about the story beyond B.  And one of the things that keeps coming back to me is that, eventually, those nasty hormonal changes the kids are going through will need to be addressed.  I’m guessing there were enchantments at Hogwarts that kept the kids from losing their minds and indulging in shenanigans, but at my magical school there’s a reason the food is enchanted with contraceptives . . .

Yeah, if there are any really good candidates for “Oops, we did it,” status, it’s Annie and Kerry.  Though I’m not going to make that easy for them–

Trust me.  I’ve many wrenches to throw into their machinery, and I’m not afraid to use them.

Alignment of Emotions

Yesterday was pretty much a day off, with no writing, no editing, no map planning . . . but I said “pretty much,” which means I did something.

I thought about Annie.

"You're thinking about me?  Wow.  I'd think about you, but then, that'd be your thoughts thinking about me thinking about you . . . um, never mind."

“You’re thinking about me? Wow. I’d think about you, but then, that’d be you thinking about me thinking about you . . . um, never mind.”

A lot of it came out of how this trip that Annie and Kerry go on between their C and D Levels (which I’m calling Brooms Over Europa) is a huge game changer for them both.  A big part of the change will be on Kerry’s side, but there will be change as well for Annie, because . . . well, feelings.

It’ll really start in the C Levels–well, actually, it’ll start in the B Levels, but by the C Levels it’ll be an acute thing:  Annie will start to loosen up a bit.  During her A Levels she was, quite honestly, seen by many as a cold, unfeeling little girl–something a certain ginger girl from Bolder pointed out.  The one who knew that wasn’t true was Kerry, because he’s not outside looking in, he’s right at the center of the storm with his Chestnut Girl.

But now that she’s physically with the Ginger Hair Boy of her Dreams, Annie is feeling things.  I believe I’ve been warned time and again about those chemicals coursing through their bodies known as hormones, and as they approach their teen years, they’re gonna get their party on and make life hell for these kids at times.  Kerry has them, for sure, but so do Annie, and while she’s not a slave to them, she does feel them.

And the effect they have on her.

The thing is, she’s not going to let people at school see this.  Any visible show of heavy emotions are saved for Kerry:  everyone else can go suck sarma.  Which means while they’re on the road–alone, I must add, because they are–Annie will be the girl she really is deep down at heart:  warm, caring, loving, and willing to kill any butthead who would think about hurting her Kerry.

Not to say that Kerry isn’t and wouldn’t do the same for her . . .

There’s something not being said here, mostly because it gives away a bit of the plot for the C Level novel–what?  You thought I didn’t know that book?  I probably know it better than the B Level one.  But after the events of their C Levels the both need to cut loose and spend time together.  Witches grow up fast–that’s mentioned several times–and these two have grown up a lot faster than their covenmates, which means they’ve also found themselves placed under a lot more strain that the others as well.  They need the release–no, not that kind, get your mind out of the gutter.

Kerry will undergo as much of an emotional change as Annie, and it’s all for the good, because he needs it.  Call it growing up, or call it something more if you like–and you probably will when you see what happens.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be interesting, I promise.

Now if I can only write this . . .

Along the Old Paths Newly Beaten

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

Done deals are done.

Done deals are done.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unlike Waldo, she's easy to find.

Unlike Waldo, she’s easy to find.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which means the new map looks like this:

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

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

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

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

Things, too.

You knew I’d say that.

Travelogues and Time Lines

I know I said I was going to edit last night, but . . . I got off on a side track.  I know:  me?  Off on a side track?  Heavens forbid!

But that’s what happened.  I started thinking about one thing, then I flipped off to another, and before you know it I started working on this blasted future time line for my kids which started taking up nearly all my evening time.  As I’ve been told already, “You can’t leave those kids alone, can’t you?”

I would appear I can’t.

I found myself drawn back into working out this time line, because it’s something I need to finish now that I’ve started.  I get like that at times when I find myself unable to concentrate on what I should be doing, and end up doing something I want to do.  And this thing, this map and plan, are something I’ve wanted to do for a while.  So, in order to get my mind off things, I’m in it.  The editing won’t suffer, but I can’t do that every right, right?

Where am I now?  Well, how about here?

That's a lot of moving around for two 14 year olds.

That’s a lot of moving around for two 14 year old kids.

So far the stops are Rome, Florence, Milan, darling, Nice, Barcelona, and lastly Lyon.  That’s where I ended, with them arriving in Lyon, where they’ll take a short jaunt to the west to visit Deanna before heading on to Paris.  It’s all flying until they get to the stretch between Barcelona and Lyon, where I put them on a train running from Barcelona to Montpelier, France, where they pick up the TGV that takes them into Lyon.  Why go that way?  Because Kerry wants to ride the TGV, and Annie’s curious about what it’s like as well.  The fortunate part there is I’ve done that same route:  stayed in Barcelona for a few days, then traveled by train to Lyon and Paris.  So here I speak from a point of some experience.

Using the map as a guide, I’ve managed to work out my time line in better detail . . .

With cute names, too!

With cute names, too!

The bar at the bottom of the screen tells me I’m about a third of the way through the trip, but I know from experience that Paris is going to be a long stay, because the kids love Paris.  In their history they stayed there before heading off to their C Levels, and a fun time was had by all.  It was also the first time Annie and Kerry actually got to hang with a few of their covenmates outside the school, which made parts of the experience even better.  So it’s a fair bet I’ll have them there for a week to enjoy the city, and . . . well, something else happens, too.  Something important.

One last thing I got into yesterday was putting down, on the above time line, what hotels they’re using.  And just to let you know, these kids aren’t roughing it–Annie has money, remember?  Now, while they aren’t going five star all the way, they’re for sure not staying in any hostels.  Can you see these two staying in a dorm?  I can’t either.  It’s fortunate that the places they’re staying have a Foundation connection, otherwise someone might think it a bit strange that two kids dressed in leather pants and bomber jackets come in with nothing but backpacks and confirm their already paid reservation–

And yes:  they do get a discount when they show their Student IDs.

Charting New Paths Through Old Environments

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

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

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

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

I think it looks like this.

I think it looks like this.

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

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

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

Pretty simple, huh?

Pretty simple, huh?

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

Like this map.

Like this map.

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

And there’s detail on these remarks as well:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be End of the B

It seems like not too long ago I said I was going to go ahead and start plotting out the next Foundation novel, probably some time in May.  And it wasn’t too long after that when I mentioned on this blog when I mentioned that I’d started said plotting, mostly because I wanted to get started on that.

And now I can tell you I’m finished, most or less, with the major plot out.  This is what happens when you have these things in your head and they want out:  you can’t say no to them.

I have finished Parts Ten and Eleven, and that’s all there is, folks.  One change I made was moving Part Seven to Act Two, so that now Act One is Parts One, Two, and Three, and Acts Two and Three have four parts each.  There are thirty-two chapters, which are ten fewer than the last novel.  Still, after looking at what I did today, I added fourteen scenes to the story, bringing the total, so far, to one hundred and twenty-nine scenes.  I’ll likely add a few more along the way, so I’m guessing the novel will top out around one hundred and thirty-five scenes, which should work out to an estimated two hundred thousand words.  Only about half the last novel, but still . . . it’s a lot of words.

I’m still thinking a quarter of a million is going to be more the real length.

Let’s see what we have.  Here’s Part Ten.

Sort of looks like May is here.

Sort of looks like May is here.

As you may remember, 3 May is Kerry’s birthday, so there are a few scenes dealing with that event, just as there is a chapter dealing with Annie’s birthday.  This is something that will show up in every novel, because if there is one thing these two kids need, it’s birthday time together.  And the scene Tag-a-Long . . . That will be the last time Emma is in a scene, and probably the last time any flying is observed.  And Kisses at My Madness–the time means something, it really does.  And it’s something that’s going to happen in a later novel as well.  It’s even going to become a tradition of sorts between these two . . .

After that we have The Three Bindings, and when I speak about something happening a while back in this novel that changes everything with these kids, this is where they get into details on that.  It’s also where Erywin talks about shenanigans, and Deanna says something to Annie that makes her blush, so it must be good.  I expect Sitting by Sunset to be something short and sweet, and perhaps the moment where the kids are absolutely certain about their future–or at least the future they know they could have.

Then there’s Part Eleven–

It's one more, it's the end!

It’s one more, it’s the end!

The two chapters deal with two days.  Chapter Thirty-One deals with the departure from the school and the night Annie and Kerry spend before flying back to Europe, while Chapter Thirty-Two deals with the flight back, the arrival in Germany, and Kerry’s return home.  Annie’s last scene is the penultimate scene–which translate as “Goodbye For Now”–but she’s going to do something before leaving that will be far different than how she acted in Amsterdam when she said goodbye to her soul mate.

As you can see by the notes on the right side of the screen–said notes attached to the scene After Breakfast Jaunt–I’ve figured out the time in four different cities in four different time zones.  That’s how when I get to the penultimate scene I know the time in all four of the locations selected.  I’ll have to show you how I do that one day.

That’s it, she’s finished.  As I said, I’ll probably add a few more scenes in time, maybe as I write, but for now this is the layout for the next big project.

And I’m already thinking about that . . .

Flights of Imagination

After the long, somewhat sad post yesterday, I was ready for a change.  I went out and had my nails done–something I’d planed a few weeks back–because nothing makes me feel better than having my brows waxed and my nails painted, ’cause it makes me feel pretty.

I feel pretty, oh so pretty . . .

I feel pretty, oh so pretty . . .

And for those who might wonder, the polish is OPI Cajun Shrimp gel.  It’s a lovely color, and I may ask for a touch up when I go back in two weeks, ’cause it’s pretty hot.

At the moment I’m playing the Go-Go’s Vacation on something of a loop, because the song puts me in the right frame of mind and gets me going.  Also, it’s going to put in an appearance in a future Foundation novel–the D Level novel, if you must know.  Seriously, Vacation will be blasting out at some point in the lives of Annie and Kerry.  I’ll leave to you wonder where and why.

While Now, Voyager was playing in the background, I worked on B For Bewitching, and put Part Nine behind me.  Only two chapters, but it’s meaty, beaty, big, and bouncy, if I may steal from The Who.  It’s about flying:  Annie doing her final solo flight, and Kerry doing the last race of the season.  What?  You just now figured out those were real things?  Ha!  No, this is all happening, and from the layout of the story, it’s pretty much the focus of at least seven chapters.  Though I’m approaching Chapter Thirty, which leaves plenty of room for other shenanigans–a word Erywin will lay on the kids in an upcoming chapter.  I wonder what she’s talking about, as she doesn’t seem like the sort of person who’d use that word . . .

Here’s what I have for Part Nine:

It's so pretty, oh so pretty . . .

It’s so pretty, oh so pretty . . .

And Chapter Twenty-Seven has one of the longest title of any thing I’ve written, right up there with the title for Part Eight–and for the title of this novel, and the last, and the one to come.  Never mind.  The thing I like is that I’ve laid out this part, I know how it’ll flow, and I know the outcomes of both chapters.  I’ve also realized that Part Ten will be the last part of the novel, and there will probably be three or four, more than likely four, chapters in that part, which will bring the novel to a close.  And just as A For Advanced started and ended with Annie, B For Bewitching will start and end with Kerry, and the C Level novel will start and end with Annie.  Yes, I said C Level novel, ’cause I know you want to know.

Two things I figured out last night.  One, there are scenes that I need to add.  I should show something with the kids teaching each other what they’re learning in their special classes:  Kerry transformation magic, and Annie advanced sorcery.  I’m certain there will be other moments that need to pop up here and there as well, but I have the majority of the novel laid out, and it’s really all about the kids and their relationship, and how it’s building and growing.

And two . . . I’ve added up the scenes I have plotted into the novel, and at the moment there are one hundred and fifteen.  I’m figuring that it’s not going to be hard to do fifteen or twenty more, which will likely put me somewhere between one hundred and thirty-five to one hundred forty scenes.  Now, if I figure an average of fifteen hundred words per scene–and I have no reason to believe that average is out of the question based upon my last novel–then it’s just simple math to see if I go one hundred and thirty-five scenes, the estimated word count for the novel is around . . . two hundred thousand words.  I’m guessing it’s gonna be closer to a quarter million words, because I know some of these scenes are gonna run bigger that fifteen hundred words–

Didn’t I say at the start of this project I was worried this was going to be a short novel?  So much for that concern.

I think I’ll finish up the plotting in the next couple of days, but I don’t expect to start writing on this beast anytime soon.  By that I mean I’m not going to start on something new when I have so many other things to do.

Besides, I have to think on this story a bit more before decide what it’s going to say.