That Which is Known and Unknown

A funny thing happened on the way to finishing up my writing last night–I was reading.  That’s not really that funny, but it points out that research can sometime mean going back and finding new . . . things.

I was reading over some scenes from the last novel, a scene that I knew pretty well, or at least thought I did.  It’s a good scene, explained more than I remembered–and then I saw it.  A single line, maybe eight or night words–but the moment I read it I thought, “Well, damn:  I’m going to need to change that.”

Why, you may ask?  Because it was something stated that will affect a scene I haven’t written yet, and the moment I saw what I had written, it hit me that I’d have to, at the very least, modify the line to allow something that would be said in, oh, maybe another thirty thousand or so words.  So I need to do a little rectoning–not much, just change the line a bit–but since that novel isn’t out, no harm, no foul.

Though I also found two other students who I hadn’t accounted for, and I had to do a little retconing on one of them so they’d fit in with my attendance these days.  Look, I’m only a half a million words away from where I started two years ago, give me a break.

Speaking of breaks, Kerry’s up, and it looks like something’s happening–

 

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

“Hello, Annie; Kerry.”

Professor Semplen approached the table, appearing relaxed and friendly. Annie hadn’t seen much of him since their time in Berlin, though he did stop by and wish her an happy birthday as he had the year before. She through they could were missing each other—save during his class—because Kerry’s and her schedule was so different from the rest of the B Levels. “Hello, Professor.”

Kerry set his hand in his lap. “Hello, Professor.”

“I hope I’m not interrupting—” Professor Semplen approached the table and stood opposite his covenmates for a few seconds. “May I join you for a moment?”

The children exchanged glances before Kerry nodded. “Please, have a seat.”

The professor chose the chair across from Kerry. “I won’t stay long: I just wanted to catch you before you headed to the Flight School. I saw your name on the tryout sheet for today.”

 

Kerry and racing sign-up sheets.  Annie had a few thoughts on that, and all along she’s said he’s going to do it, so why act like he’s not?  Because he’s Kerry, that’s why.  But here he’s got this coven leader–and I should mentioned, one of the coven racing managers and the head of their coven team–coming to him, so it much be something important, right?

 

Kerry didn’t appear nervous or self-conscious about the question, though. “Yeah, I signed up for the seventeen-fifteen slot so I can get down to The Diamond after class.” He set his elbows against the table top and leaned forward. “Should I come down earlier?”

“Actually . . .” Professor Semplen shook his head. “You don’t need to come down at all.”

Kerry went from appearing concerned to looking worried. “Is—is there something wrong? What’s going on?”

Sitting where she was between them, Annie easily read Kerry’s and Professor Semplen’s expressions and body language. She saw the answer before Kerry because she was a bystander. “Kerry . . . I think the professor is saying you don’t need to try out for the team.”

Kerry stared at his girlfriend for about three seconds before the her statement made sense. He slowly turned to his coven leader. “Is that true, Professor?”

Professor Semplen adjusted his glasses. “Only four people signed up for try-outs, and I’d already decided that you were going to get one of the B Team slots.” He shrugged. “Based upon everything we’ve seen from last year, and everything you’ve done, I’ve no doubt you’ll do well.”

“But I’ve never competed before—”

“No? What about the test races you were in on the Green Line and The Diamond? What about your accident last October?” The professor looked away for a moment. “What about the flying you did during the Day of the Dead?”

As Kerry was about to respond to the professor’s questions, Annie spoke to him instead. “This has been on your mind for a while, and the closer you get to the moment of proving yourself, the more you feel you’re not going to do well.” Her grin turned into a near smirk. “Once you wrapped your mind around magic you never had a problem. And you won’t have a problem with racing. Do you know what my father says?”

The fact that Annie was bringing up her father told Kerry all he needed to know about what she was going to say. “What?”

“Don’t worry about racing: just race.” She reached over and lightly touched his arm. “Professor Semplen is right: he doesn’t need to see you try out, my love. The moment the track lights turn green, you’ll know what to do.”

 

Annie never brings up her father unless it’s important, and here she’s quoting him to put his mind at ease.  But she’s known all along that he’d make the team–and given there are so few people in their coven to try out for those three slots, and Kerry is one of the best up and coming fliers, that it was ridiculous to believe he wouldn’t.  So after that all that remains is to tell him to show up Sunday to get fitted for his racing gear and get checked out on a Class 2–which he already has–and be ready to race in two weeks–

If he were on the A Team he's probably start next Saturday.  I know because . . . I know.

If he were on the A Team he’s probably start next Saturday. I know because . . . I know.

All that remains now is for Annie and Kerry to have a small, quiet moment together . . .

 

Once Professor Semplen was out of hearing range, Annie moved her chair closer to Kerry so that she didn’t have lean in order to touch his arm. “Well . . .”

Kerry looked down, full well knowing what was coming. “Yes?”

“Do I get to say I told you so?”

He lifted her hand from his arm. “Sweetie—” He kissed her hand tenderly. “You’ve been telling me that since I said I may go out.”

Annie chuckled. “You know I’m always right, my love.”

He laughed along with her. “I know, Sweetie. You’d think I’d get that by now.”

 

. . . and bring about the end of the chapter.

End of the chapter?  Yep.  Sure is.

End of the chapter? Yep. Sure is.

Now on to nine, and we’re going see some crazy here, because you can probably guess what Dark Witch Instruction is about–or maybe not.  You’ll just have to tune in and hope I write after my face burning tonight.

To There and Back Again

For once I was recharged and ready to go yesterday.  I mean, I was tired after work, but only because it was as long, boring day, and I wanted to get home bad.  But there were things to do:  a paper to edit (okay, I wasn’t really into that one), a novel to write, and a intro to the television reviews I’m going to do.  I got in there and did them.  Did them hard.  Got the paper out of the way, wrote up almost nine hundred words on my intro, then turned around and added another six hundred and sixty four words to the novel.  Really, I tried making it to sixty-six, but it didn’t happen.  Maybe next time.

Another goal was reached as well:  seventy thousand words passed.  And this time in twelve days instead of fifteen.  I had to make up for lost time, right?

It only seems like six weeks ago this had just become a novel.

It only seems like six weeks ago this had just become a novel.

The rate at which I’m working leads me to believe I’ll finish Act One in a couple of weeks–probably during the time when I’m back home in Indiana.  If this is true, then the first act will end up somewhere between eighty and eighty-five thousand words, and the other two acts, if the same size, will pull the novel in at a quarter of a million words.  Though that can change, because I believe Act Three might just end up a little bigger than the others.

Doesn’t matter.  At least I can release this book as one book, and not as a multi-volume encyclopedia.  It’s easier to read that way.

And what about those six hundred words?  Well, they’re right down here, and it’s a bit of a continuation for Annie . . .

 

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

Annie remembered the first time Kerry and she walked into the Dining Hall with their flight gear on and their brooms in hand—the first Saturday after the first week of classes. She’d visited Deanna in Memory’s End while Kerry was with Vicky getting checked out on an Espinoza. He later met her as she was walking back to The Pentagram and convinced her to fly around the school grounds with him.

Mid-way through their day they buzzed the Great Hall, landed in the garden, and went inside for lunch. Though Kerry didn’t seem to notice, Annie was keenly aware that at least a third of the students in the hall watched them as they walked to their then always-reserved table, set down their brooms, then unzipped their flight jackets as they sat and waited to order.

Since then they’d done the same thing many times, including twice in the last month since returning to school. Only as they entered the Dining Hall this time, Annie felt something different. It was akin to the buzz she noticed the first time the walked in like this, as if they were once more drawing attention to themselves by simply looking different.

It’s entirely possible people know something about me and my training. Most of the B Levels were aware that she was spending time with Isis in the Aerodrome, and that Kerry had been with her the first time, and today. She figured there were rumors floating about, but so far nothing had reached her ears. Whenever anyone asked either of them what she or they were doing, the answer was always the same: flying. Not that we’re misleading anyone with that answer . . .

Kerry held her seat and waited for her to get comfortable before taking the seat to her right. “You still hungry?”

“More now.” Annie unzipped her jacket, shrugged it off, and hung it on the back of her seat. “Particularly after that second flight.”

“Yeah.” Kerry retrieved the short lunch menu in the center of their table. “I wasn’t expecting a quick trip to Ipswich after getting back to the Aerodrome.”

Annie hadn’t either. Upon returning to the school they landed inside the Aerodrome—entering through the same roof entrance Annie had used the week before—and spent about twenty minutes discussing the flight. After going over a few minor issues, Isis told Kerry to saddle up once more, and motioned for Annie to follow her into the open air beyond the Aerodrome.

The moment they were outside they flew up to five hundred meters and struck out on a westerly course. They flew on a direct course for ten kilometers to the train station at Ipswich, paused there for about five minutes so everyone could get their bearings, then covered a fast five kilometers to the Crane Estate at Castle Hill. They touched down in the gardens far away from the mansion, walked around for about thirty minutes, then returned directly to the school. Isis pushed Annie on this last leg, getting her speed up to near one hundred and twenty kilometers and hour, a third more than the sixty and seventy kilometers and hour they’d flown on the first flight.

 

That route was easy to figure out–

Because you know I did.

Because you know I did.

And though not stated above, it was nearly thirty-two kilometers, or twenty miles, right on the dot.  An interesting thing here is the Castle Hill/Crane Estate area.  If you’ve seen The Witches of Eastwick or Flowers in the Attic, you’ve seen the house:  it was the estate used in both movies.  You can also do a wedding there if you have the money.

Or, if you're Annie, Kerry, and Isis, fly in and see the place from this angle.

Or, if you’re Annie, Kerry, and Isis, fly in and see the place from this angle.

Who know, there might be something important about this house–like, owned by The Foundation, or something?  Or maybe someone in the novel will get married there–

Let me see:  are there any couples in this story?

The Normalcy Over Lovecraft Country

Today I did my best to come up with a H. P. Lovecraft-inspired title, because today’s scene talks a little about that particular gentleman’s work.  Not a lot, more of a general feel.  But the strangeness is sort of a point in the scene, and how it leads somewhere else.

This is all Kerry’s scene, more or less.  It’s all about observations, about what you see and what it’s doing to you.  Kerry spent nearly all of the last book looking for himself and his memories, and once they were found, he reverted back to the kid he sort of is deep down inside:  intelligent and caring, but awkward at the same time.  Except around certain people, as you’ll see.

 

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

It was about the time he was flying six hundred meters over Pingree School on the leg leading to the Hamilton/Wenham MBTA station that Kerry realized how much fun he was having. Within the confines of the walls of the School of Salem it was possible to fly around without giving thought to where he was, or where he was going, because when one was restricted to fifteen square kilometers, it was possible to fly around without a plan.

Outside the walls it was as completely different story. For one, you couldn’t fly anywhere without logging a flight plan with the Fight School. After that, it was necessary to get approval from Vicky and Isis, both for the plan and for permission to fly alone, or with other people. Kerry knew five fliers from last year’s Basic Flight who were denied permission to fly outside the school because they hadn’t perfected their light bending skills, and couldn’t use Unseen Flight Protocols during daylight hours. When flying in a school group using UFP was easy, because Vicky would enchant your broom if you couldn’t make yourself unseen, but once out on your own it was Bend Light or Stay Home.

Using UFP was never a problem for Annie and him. They were doing it now, and Isis had even mentioned that because they were light benders Annie’s Flight education would get fast tracked because she could venture out beyond the school and take her solo flights a year early.

Right now they were flying without a plan—or, he thought, Isis and Annie were flying on a plan, and all he had to do was follow and watch. He kept an eye on his HUD to see if Annie’s altitude was bouncing, because it was one of his duties as a chase pilot to monitor things like Annie speed, altitude, course, and her personal condition.

That last was an important point, and it was during Advanced Flight 1 a couple of weeks before that Vicky pulled him aside and reinforced the notion that when he flew with Annie during her solo flights, his most important job was to watch for any indications that she was growing tired and/or disoriented . . .

Isis’ voice pulled him back to reality. “Okay, Overflight, we’re going to descend to four hundred meters. Athena, keep an eye on your altimeter. Starbuck, you still with us?”

Kerry waved in case one of both fliers in front were watching him in their rear view mirrors. “Totally hanging with you, Sekhmet.” He followed them lower as they approached South Hamilton and the train station. He saw Annie wave her right hand, letting him know they were slowing, and reduced speed as they leveled out just a touch over four hundred meters.

 

Here’s the area they’re traveling–

Welcome to the scene of the crime, so to speak.

Welcome to the scene of the crime, so to speak.

Just a short stretch, almost two and a half miles, or about four kilometers.  And he’s just hanging back there, watching, enjoying, and thinking . . .

 

He figured out what was going to happen: Isis was bringing the group—call sign Salem Overflight—to a dead stop over the train station so she could speak with Annie and impart a bit more wisdom. Kerry didn’t mind: during the previous moments he sat back and enjoyed the sights. And now that the overcast they’d started with almost an hour earlier was vanishing, the view was becoming spectacular.

Not only did he like flying outside the walls, but as he’d once told Annie there was something incredible about flying over Lovecraft Country. If he concentrated hard enough, he could imagine the land below to co-exist with the stories he’d grown up reading. Such was his knowledge that, at this moment, they should be sitting almost directly over the Miskatonic River, and their course from here would, in that alternate world, have them following the river until they were on the outskirts of Arkham.

For a moment he figured it would be interesting to overfly a modern-day Arkham and the Miskatonic University—and then he remembered the moment eleven months ago when he faced off against a creature right out of a Lovecraft story in order to save a wingmate’s life, and how that incident nearly killed him. On second thought, running into Deep Oneseven if I do know magicwouldn’t be so much interesting as terrifying

 

Lovecraft Country has come up before in the first novel:  Kerry mentioned it, and so did Helena, because with the last name of Lovecraft people either believe her to be related to one of the school founders, or to the writer.

Lovecraft Country is a real thing:  it’s the New England the ‘ol H. P. wrote about in his horror stories, and his biggest additions–besides monsters that would drive you insane before you died–were towns and rivers that don’t exist in that area.  The towns of Arkham and Innsmouth are two such towns, and if that first name sounds real familiar to people who know geek culture, it’s because it’s the location of the Arkham Asylum, which appeared in a couple of Lovecraft’s stories, and later became immortalized as the easiest place to bust out of if you’re a villain in the Batman Universe.  It’s also based upon a real location in that particular area of the world, and believe it or not, you’ll see it later in the novel.

Come for the beautiful scenery, stay because you were eaten by a monster.

Come for the beautiful scenery, stay because you were eaten by a monster.

Arkham was also the home, as Kerry pointed out, of Miskatonic University, the home of one of the best preserved copies of original Necronomicon, or the best known book that never existed.  The book that tells all the secrets Man Was Not Meant To Know, and which will drive you literally insane as you read it.  The book doesn’t exist in The Foundation World, either, because Lovecraft is a writer there as well, so there’s no way such a tome would exist at Salem.  No, really . . . well, maybe.  You’ll find out someday.

Anyway, it’s about this time, while Kerry’s chillin’ in mid-air, that someone starts pestering him–

 

“Starbuck, this is Carrier. Switch over to private. Over.”

Vicky’s voice was tiny in his right ear, that way so he wouldn’t become distracted by Vicky if Isis and Annie were also speaking. He double-tapped a point directly above his right ear, which would set the Overflight conversation to a soft hear-only, allowing him to speak privately with Vicky. “I’m here, Carrier. Go ahead. Over.”

Carrier’s question was right to the point. “How are they looking?”

“Well . . .” He sat upright on the saddle. “Sekhmet looks like she’s been doing this awhile, so she’s pretty good. Over.”

“Yeah, I hear that. And what about your other flier? Over.”

“Athena looks good, too.” He lifted his goggles and squinted at both women speaking to each other as they hovered five meters away. “She’s had a couple of issues with keeping altitude, but nothing major. Over.”

“That’s to be expected. It’s easier to maintain altitude when you’re on a broom, because of your orientation.” There was a nearly five second pause, and Kerry wondered if Vicky was going to pass the conversation to him when she continued. “But she looks good? Endurance-wise, I mean. Over.”

It had been stressed many times that Kerry be honest in his appraisals of Annie’s status and condition, and Vicky assured him that lying wouldn’t protect Annie, but hurt her in the long run. “Her endurance is great: I haven’t seen anything that indicates she’s struggling staying airborne.” He lifted his goggles away from his face. “Everything I’ve so far tells me she’s got this, Carrier.” He crossed his arms and smiled. “Over.”

Kerry expected Carrier to tell him to carry on and give him an over and out, but he got something completely different. “You’re really proud of her, aren’t you, Kerry?”

“You’re breaking protocol, Carrier.” His chuckle turned into a laugh. “Isis is gonna be mad if she finds out.”

“I set flight protocol, not her.” Vicky laughed right along with her student. “I’ll ground her if she doesn’t like how I do things.”

“Well, there is that.”

A loud sigh came over the comm. “You gonna answer my question? Over.”

“I’ll answer: you know I’m proud of her.” He watched Annie as he spoke. “Not only is she an incredible witch and sorceress, but she’s able to do this as well as pilot a broom.” He imaged his face softening as he began thinking of all the things that he loved about her. “And there’s all the ways she’s helped me out, before and after starting school.” He started rocking slowly upon his seat. “She’s done a lot to make me who I am. That’s quite a lot to love.”

“Love.” The tapping of her nails against a counter was clearly audible over the comm. “That’s the first time I’ve heard you say that word aloud.”

“I’ve said it before—”

“Not in front of me.”

Kerry nodded slowly to himself. “You’re probably right. Or if I had, I didn’t mean it like I, you know—”

“Just meant how it was just said?”

“Yeah.”

“I get what you mean, Starbuck.” Vicky’s voice became softer, as if she weren’t alone. “A couple of years ago I’ll bet you never counted that this would be your life.”

He looked down. “You mean sitting on the modern version of a witch’s broom four hundred meters above a town in eastern Massachusetts?”

“That’s one thing, yeah. You know what I mean: this wasn’t the sort of life you expected by the time you were twelve—right?”

 

Like Kerry, Vicky comes from a Normal background.  She’s been married, divorced, remarried, and has two kids.  And suddenly she starts bringing up things . . .

 

It took Kerry a few seconds to fully understand what Vicky meant, because it was easy to forget, unless reminded, that some of the instructors came from beginnings much like his. “You speaking from experience, Nightwitch?”

“Oh, hell yes. I turned eleven in November, 1980, and a couple of months later, right after the new year started, The Foundation comes and tells my parent they were paying for me to go to an exclusive school out on the east coast.” Kerry could almost see her shaking her head. “They couldn’t wait to get me on that plane heading to Boston.”

“My parents were sort of the same way—they heard ‘free education’ and that was all they needed to hear.” Kerry turned and looked off in the direction of the Atlantic and Cape Ann. “I mean, about a minute after I read the material I was given—”

“Which was bull.”

“But it was the right bull . . . After I read that, there was no way I wanted to go back to Normal school.”

“I didn’t know what I wanted. I wasn’t worldly at all, and I figured I’d go the same route as my older sister: find a nice Jewish boy, eventually get married and have kids.”

“I didn’t know you had a sister.” Kerry always loved discovering new things about the people around him.

“Yeah: seven years older than me. While I was planing to go to school, she was planing to go to the same college as her boyfriend.” She sighed long and low. “That’s what she always talked about back then: get a degree in business admin, get married, maybe open a small so she could set her own hours and be close to home.” There was a single chortle from her end. “I’ll tell you what, though: I headed out east with this idea that I was heading for one of those exclusive boarding schools you saw on TV and in the movies, and that notion did a one-eighty and departed quickly the moment I saw those outer gates.”

“Yeah—” Kerry laughed. “Was a bit like heading into Jurassic Park, wasn’t it?”

“That was ten years before my time; it was more like King Kong to me.” There was a sharp intake of breath. “By the time I walked through Founder’s Gate I was like, ‘Oy vey, what have you gotten yourself into?’”

Her reaction brought back some of his own feeling upon walking up to the Great Hall. “I know what you mean. But everything turned out okay for you, didn’t it?”

“Oh, yeah, but it took about a month before I got it together and started dealing with this whole ‘You’re a witch’ thing.” Kerry heard her breathing slow on the other end of the comm. “It became the new normal for me; I imagine it became the same thing for you.”

 

“The new normal.”  That’s a theme in this book:  what is and isn’t normal.  One of the themes of Lovecraft’s stories was that while everything looked normal, but nothing really was:  there was always something just beyond the edge of knowledge that would scare the shit out of people if they ever learned of its existence.  The whole of the School of Salem is like that:  image the people living just outside the walls who think they live next to a forest preserve, and what they’d do if they actually knew of what lay beyond those high walls they can’t see.

It’s right here that Kerry thinks about his “new normal” and tells Vicky what’s on his mind . . .

 

It was Kerry’s moment to sigh as he considered Vicky’s statement. There were moments after arriving at Salem when he’d believed much the same way as her, while at the same time he had an advantage that others didn’t have . . . “You know—”

“Yes?”

“Six years ago I was having a dream where I read to a girl. I knew the girl—I’d seen her before—but I’d never really done anything with her, and after that moment I really wanted to know as much about her as possible. I didn’t see her as much as I wanted, but I always looked for her.

“Four years ago she came back to my dreams and she lifted me out of what was turning into the worst moments of my life. She made me feel good; she make me smile. We told each other our names that night, and I found out that she wasn’t just a dream, she was a real person who was able to prove her existence.

“Three years ago we meet again in a dream and I told her I loved her, that I’d loved her for a while, and I found out she’d loved me even longer. A few months after that she told me that she was a witch, and I accepted it like I’d done everything else up to that point.”

He leaned forward, gripping the frame of his broom. “In the last year I forgot Annie, then met her in person. We came to school together and I found out I’m a witch and sorceress She helped me, I helped her, and I fell in love with her all over again. I’ve helped in the defense of the school; I’ve fought a monster; I’ve saved people. But most of all—” His face broke into a wide grin. “—I kissed Annie two miles up while everyone at school watched.”

Vicky was smiled, too, though there was no one to see. “You’re proudest moment, huh?”

“One of them. The point is—” He set his elbow against his thigh and rested his chin in his hand. “My normal had changed a long time before I ever got to Salem, and it’s all because of Annie and our experiences. Even though I didn’t remember her there was some memory that was keeping me from freaking out . . .” He saw Annie looking his way and he smiled. “She helped make this my normal.”

Isis’ voice radiated soft and low from the left side of Kerry’s helmet. “You still with us, Starbuck?”

 

Yes, he is, and they Overflight progresses from there.

It’s rather strange how Kerry relates his feelings to Vicky, how easily he speaks with her and Erywin as if they were his equals, and not instructors.  Given the right moments, he doesn’t mind opening up to them, and there’s no way one could imagine him having the same conversation above with his mother.  Even if mom did know he was a witch, given the lack of affection in that household, he could never open up to is mother or father.  At his point it seems impossible.

But there’s more in his works.  Deep down inside Kerry understood that the strangeness around him meant something.  It’s not everyday that someone meets a girl in their dreams, finds out they’re real, finds out they visit at least once or twice a week, falls in love with said girl and discovers she loves him, too, and then, when all that goes by, learns that she’s a witch.  He’s never given any indication that he found any of this strange and unusual, whereas most boy would probably have run off screaming that they were going nuts.  “I’m still here; I haven’t run off,” is something Kerry told Annie a couple of times, and it was true all through their dream relation before they met.

Kerry’s always taken the strangeness around him for granted.  Is it because he has been and is in love with Annie that he doesn’t mind the strangeness?

Or has he always been one of those humans who say what Lay Beyond without going insane?

Additions In the Afterthoughts

It’s a bright start to the Summer Solstice here in The Burg, though this morning the humidity was so high when I arrived at my morning breakfast location that the windows were wet with moisture.  It was a strange sight, let me tell you, and one I haven’t seen in some time.  It’s going to be warm and a bit cloudy today, and there may be more rain, though nothing like the downpours we had last night.

There has been a bit of writing–some of it last night after the season finale of Orphan Black, and some this morning.  Since there isn’t a lot to do today, I’ll likely get to writing more this afternoon and evening, at least enough to finish up this scene in which I’m currently involved.  It’s a big day for someone to go flying, and right before I started in on this post I left the scene with Isis getting ready to laying out the plan for Annie’s Friday Morning class, which involves leaving the confines of not only the Aerodrome, but the school itself.

They'll probably fly past Annisquam Lighthouse--no mermaids hanging out today, I'm afraid.

They’ll probably fly past Annisquam Lighthouse.  No mermaids hanging out today, except for those flying overhead.

I’ve hinted over the last few posts that I’ve felt there are additions to this novel that need to be made, and after I finished working on my scene I’ve sat and given the matter some thought.  I’d actually come up with the scenes in question about two weeks ago, so it hasn’t been as if I’ve needed to put a whole lot of thought into what was going to happen as much as it’s when.

The new chapter covers the first overnight camping trip that the Advanced Flight 1 class takes outside the school.  None of this pitching tents somewhere in the woods on the grounds–nope.  The kids are gonna mount up and head off into the gathering darkness of December, proceed to their campsite, and set up their tents.  Wingmates camp together, which means–yes, the flight team of Neilson and Malibey will share a tent.  Don’t worry:  they’ll have their own cots and sleeping bags, and I’m sure Vicky and her minion will be close by to keep an eye . . . anything.

The thing I needed to see was set up this chapter in Scrivener.  That’s not a difficult thing to do:  it’s simply a matter of adding a folder, typing up some metadata, and throwing together a few scenes.  But you know me; I gotta have a bit more information.  Like when does this take place.

It was pretty simple, actually.  Since I know the chapter before ends on the afternoon of 8 December–which is a Saturday–and that the kids are going to leave for Yule Holiday on 21 December–which is a Friday–that leaves only a time period over which the overnight trip can occur:  the night of Thursday, 13 December, with a return on Friday, 14 December.  I can also check that information from Scrivener because I have a link to the Time and Date website, which has all sorts of handy calendar information.

When you absolutly, positivily, need to know a date, just split the screen and bring up the right website.

When you absolutely, positively, need to know a date, just split the screen and bring up the right website.

This is why I get so goofy with dates and times in my scenes, because there are instances when it’s quite necessary to know if something you’re working into a story is going to fit into that story.  In this case, the scene fits, and all I need do now is check the weather for that day along the route they’ll fly–which I already know–so I’ll know what sort of conditions they’ll face along the way.  I also need to rename chapters today, ’cause, you know, everything is off right now.

Oh, and Kerry’s going to do something interesting during the flight.  You just gotta trust me on that one.

Over the Moondust

The penultimate chapter has officially begun, because the first scene of that chapter is over and done.  One down, seven to go–

Assuming I don't add another scene to this, as I've already done.

Assuming I don’t add another scene to this, as I’ve already done.

Which does bring up an interesting point.  As I get more into the plot, I begin thinking about scenes that don’t exist on the page, but are starting to form in my head.  When they get a little more solid I’ll set the scene up, and I may actually find myself adding something to Act One if I believe it’s in need of a new scene.

Also, the novel just passed sixty-five thousand words, and if these remaining chapters are like the previous ones, I’ll add another ten thousand words before getting to the “End of Act One” notice.  This would  put Act One at around seventy-five thousand words, and benchmark the novel at just under a quarter of a million words.  I love how I say that–“Just under a quarter of a million words.”  It’s like, oh, only that much?  You’re slacking, girl.

Last night I finished the scene with just under six hundred and fifty words.  It was my intention to start the next scene, but . . . I started writing after my latest electrolysis session–

No real damage, just looking a bit like someone punched me in the mouth.

No real damage, just looking a bit like someone punched me in the mouth.

I also had to do my HRT shot, number twenty-three out of twenty-four that represent my first year of being on hormone replacement, and it was the first “gusher” I’ve experienced, where a bit more than a little blood came out.  Nothing major, but it is one of the reasons you always keep a cotton pad at the ready, just in case you need to stop the flow.

It was after all those thing that I finally managed to sit down and finished the scene–with a little help from someone else . . .

 

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

Shush, you.” She closed the book and pressed it against her chest. “My darling, this is perfect.”

A wide smile slowly emerged upon Kerry’s face. “Really?”

“Yes.” Annie felt her emotions coming back under control, but her love for her ginger soul mate grew greater by the second. “You knew what this book represents, and what that means to me. I can’t . . .” She sighed long, then threw her arms around Kerry and presented him with a long, tender kiss. “Thank you, my love. Once again, you touched my heart.”

He hugged her tight. “I figured you should have the book of your dreams. It brought us together, didn’t it?”

 

I will be honest:  the above line came out of yesterday’s blog post.  I wrote that, got the post out, and then sort of kicked back, sort of thinking, “Yeah, good post, Cassie.”  A reader commented on that line–the last of the post–and I thought, “Yeah, it’s a lot like something Kerry would say,” so . . . he said it.  Like I’ve said before, just because the novel is plotted out, it doesn’t mean it’s written.

And I do love that Kerry is a heart toucher.  It’s not the cost of the gift, it’s the feeling behind said gift.  And he knows those feelings . . .

 

“It did.” She kissed him again, longer and with more love. “It’s one of the things that made me fall in love with you.” She rested against him as she examined the cover. “Where did you get this?”

“It wasn’t all me—” Kerry slipped his arm around Annie. “I had help.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. I emailed Mr. Parkman around the end of June and ask if he could help me track down a first edition hardback.” He lightly tapped the cover. “A week and a half later he told me found a copy, and that he bring it to school and I could pay him here.”

 

Now, let’s play a little Devil’s Advocate here.  Kerry contacted Trevor Parkman, School Librarian and Archivist, and ask for help tracking down a first edition book just over sixty years old that’s in good condition.  He does, and tell Kerry to pay him when he gets to school.  Now, we also know that Deanna spent time with Trevor during the summer holiday, so it stands to reason that she probably knew about the gift as well–which means while Annie and Kerry were going through their latest vision in Memory’s End on the first full day back at school, she could have been sitting there thinking, “Oh, Annie, just wait until you see what Kerry is giving you!”

Then again, the woman is good at keeping secrets, and probably knows what Kerry is getting Annie for the next several years.  Possibly.  Maybe.  Perhaps?  I’m not telling.

Someone, however, is really surprised by her sweetheart’s actions–

 

“End of June?” She felt her emotions swelling once again. “You planed this then?”

“I was actually thinking about it . . .” He slowly dropped his gaze towards the ground. “Since we got back from, you know—” He lowered his voice to a near-whisper. “—Kansas City.”

She closed her eyes and slowly exhaled. Five months: he’s planed this for five months. She was keenly aware that Kerry didn’t think he was special—other than being a witch—but Annie always thought different, and as she held the book close, as she leaned against her soul mate, feeling his arm around her . . . Annie knew he was the most special person in the world—

And she’d make certain to remind him of that every day.

She slipped her leg arm around him and kissed him a third time. “I love you.”

He press his face against her cheek, then kissed her back. “Chestit rozhden den, Annie. Obicham te.”

Her fingers glided over his cheek. “How long have you practiced saying that?”

“About a week.” He chuckled. “I had to trust the computer translation; I couldn’t ask you how to say it.”

“You could have asked Professor Semplen.”

“You were always around when I saw him.” They chucked together, then Kerry rested his head against hers. “Since we have the afternoon free . . .”

Annie could sense his question: there wasn’t any need for him to ask. “Come.” She switched the book to her left hand and took his hand in her right. She led them to a tree close to where their brooms rested, one that was perfect: the bark wasn’t too rough, the ground looked soft, and there was plenty of shade.

Kerry released Annie’s hand and sat back against the trunk. Once he was comfortable he motioned for her to sit next to him, holding out his left arm. She snuggled into the crook of his shoulder and lay her head against him. He reached over and softly stroked her cheek. “You gonna hold the book?”

“I’ll do better than that.” Annie levitated the book and positioned it about half an arms length from his face. “I can turn the pages, too.”

“I never doubted.” He adjusted his glasses then held Annie tight against him as he began reading much the same way he’d done in their dream a little more than six years before. “’To be the skipper of the only boat on the Moon was a distinction that Pat Harris enjoyed. As the passengers filed aboard Selene, jockeying for window seats, he wondered what sort of trip it would be this time . . .’”

 

Those last two lines are not written by me, but by Sir Arthur himself, way back in 1960–

I even highlighted the section for you,.

I even highlighted the section for you,.

It’s strange that a story I enjoyed greatly when I was about same age as Kerry when he not only began enjoying it, but passed that enjoyment along to a girl whom he believed was only a figment of that dream, would become an important part of my own novel.  It really is the cornerstone of their relations, that dream reading under a tree in California, because even though Annie was falling in love with Kerry then, their moment together in that dream cemented that love.  Which means it’s probably not a coincidence that Annie told Kerry that when they’re apart he should always look to the Moon and know that she’s seeing the seeing it as well.

Also makes one wonder if Annie things it’s some strange twist of nature that the name of their moon boat is also the call sign of a certain ginger hair girl from another coven . . .

Gifting From the Past Heart

I will admit:  I was distracted last night.  I was also tired as hell, but there were distractions.  And the looking up of things.  And Mothra–yes, she was on TCM last night, in the original Japanese with subtitles.  “Moothh-er-raaaaaaa . . .”  Yes, just love that, because who doesn’t love gigantic moths?

Back in my other world it’s birthday time–and since it’s the end of September, we know who is having that birthday.  Annie has a birthday, and a special someone gets to take her off somewhere to have a mini-celebration–

From the Pentagram to the shores of Lovely Lake Lovecraft.

From the Pentagram to the shores of Lovely Lake Lovecraft.

As you’ll see in the excerpt they flew up–it’s after lunch, but you don’t see that part.  And they have all the time in the world because they don’t have classes that afternoon.  I should include the schedule in the book, just so people know, because you don’t see every class this time.  But that’s besides the point:  my kids are at the lake, they are off their brooms, and Kerry’s fidgeting with the backpack in one hand and a strange look on his face . . .

 

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

Kerry leaned their brooms against a nearby tree and shrugged off his backpack as he walked back. “Beautiful day.”

“Yes, it is.” Annie stood with her hands locked together in front of her belly and her feet pressed together. She shifted her gaze from one spot to another, attempting to appear as nonchalant as possible. “We won’t have many more of these.”

“No, we won’t.” Kerry pointed towards her legs. “You’ll have to start wearing tights then.”

She looked down at her bare legs and nodded. “Not that I mind: I rather like leggings.” She shrugged and settled her gaze upon a visibly nervous Kerry. “Did you have something you wanted to discuss?” Annie struggled to prevent the smile she felt inside from breaking out.

Kerry almost began stammering, then unzipped his backpack, and removed a wrapped package nearly as large as his tablet. “Happy birthday, Sweetie.” He extended his hand towards her. “You teenage girl, you.”

This was the first time today anyone brought up that she was now thirteen and no longer a tween-aged girl. “I am, aren’t I?” She accepted the present using both hands. “Thank you so much, my love.” She ran one hand over the wrapping. “I can’t wait to see what’s inside.”

“Then I’d start removing the paper.”

Like she did the year before, Annie carefully undid the wrapping paper. She saw that Kerry had taped it lightly so she’d not have a problem removing the paper the time. He learned from the last time—

She handed the paper to Kerry, who folded and returned it to the inside of his backpack while she examined the box. It was far larger than the one that held her locket, and the weight told her it was something far heavier. Annie also felt that after giving her the charm bracelet in Berlin, Kerry wouldn’t surprise her with another piece of jewelery—

She opened the box and discovered a hardback book inside. The dust jacket showed a gray surface with needle-like spires on the right side, and a brownish-colored world showing the outlines of North and South America on the left, There was a red boat-like ship skimming across the gray, leaving a trail in its wake.

It was the title, however, that immediately drew Annie’s attention: A Fall of Moondust, by Arthur C. Clarke: the book that he first read to her in their dreams.

Her fingers carefully touched the cover, as if she thought it was an illusion. “How did you get this?”

Kerry nodded towards the present. “Open it and turn to the inner title page.”

She found the page after a couple of page flips. Across from there she found a hand written dedication:

To My Chestnut Girl

The the next time you need someone to read to you, don’t look in your dreams: look across the tower

Your Ginger Hair Boy

A heaviness settled in over her heart, and Annie feared she’s show the same response as the one at Kensington Gardens. “This is—” Her voice broke as she tried to speak. “This is incredible.”

Kerry stared at the ground and shuffled his feet. “I didn’t know if you would—”

Shush, you.” She slowly closed the book and pressed it against her chest. “My darling, this is perfect.”

 

Yeah, about that book . . .

I’ve mentioned many times that A Fall of Moondust is the second adult novel I read:  The first of Earthlight, but Clarke as well.  Originally I found them in an omnibus collection, with the two novels together, at the public library, but later I found a first edition Moondust at the library as well.  It was this novel I read about a dozen times before buying a paperback version of the same story, and which I still own today.

Part of the “looking up of things” I performed last night involved getting information on this novel, but at the same time I wanted to see the covers–and wouldn’t you know it?  There it was:

Now immortalized in my Scrivener project alongside Kerry's "handwriting".

Now immortalized in my Scrivener project alongside Kerry’s “handwriting”.

Now you know what Annie’s present looks like.  And in the rest of the scene you’ll learn a little more, and see the aftermath of the giving.  This won’t be a long scene–maybe another five hundred words–but it’s nice, it’s tender, and where I said before that Annie wants gifts that come from the heart, this one doesn’t get much more heartfelt.

Not every girl can say they were given, as a present, the book of their dreams.

A Modeling We Will Go

I didn’t write last night, nor have I done so yet today.  In fact, I had a bad connection at Panera this morning and found it necessary to come home.

Though I did manage to get a picture of my lovely pink nails before leaving.

Though I did manage to get a picture of my lovely pink nails before leaving.

But once back home I was like, “What am I gonna do?  What will I write about?”  That’s the problem with coming up with things to say everyday:  sometimes the well is dry, and you have to wait for it to fill up again.  In a way my blogging is like my writing exercises:  it’s a way to keep my mind sharp, or at least as sharp as I can keep it given my day-to-day routines.

And then I thought, “Hey?  Now’s a good time to build the Red Line.  And get some pictures while you’re doing this.”

Allow me to explain–

Inside the grounds of the School of Salem there are three cross-country courses.  The Green Line you’ve seen–it’s where Kerry and Emma wrecked the one time they decided to “travel at their own rate.”  The Blue Line you’ll see in this new story, and it’s where a lot of action takes place:  there’s even one scene titled Helter Skelter, named after one of the areas of the Blue Line.

But the Red Line . . . it’s been mentioned maybe two times, but I’ve never laid it out.  I’ve had an idea of what it would look like, particularly one section of the course, but I’ve not done the work of setting it up on my three dimensional model of the school–

Until now.

The process for doing so is actually simple at the beginning:  it’s really a case of making a copy of one of the course–in this case the Blue Line–and then doing a paste so I can turn it into the Red Line.  Kinda like this . . .

Here, orange is the new black.

Here, orange is the new black.

In the picture above I’ve already created the Red Line and I’ve started modifying it, building new curves and elevations.  When you’re working in three dimensions, it’s simply a matter of stretching out things here and there by highlighting the curve you’re working with and stretching it out in Edit Mode:

How the Red Line over Selena's Meadow looks from the north--

How the Red Line over Selena’s Meadow looks from the north–

And the same area from the south and above.

And the same area from the south and above.

It’s a bit time consuming, but it’s also a lot of fun, because you’re using your imagination to get things right.  Like one of the areas I’m working on now . . .

Though it’s not been mentioned yet, one of the most fearsome sections of the Red Line is a “curve” known as K1.  It’s not really a curve as much as it’s a summit, and it’s called K1 because this portion of the track tops out exactly one kilometer over the Great Hall.  What does that look like?  Let me get my handy measuring stick, which is exactly scaled to one thousand meters–

Yeah, pretty much a kilometer.

Yeah, pretty much a kilometer.

And since I can change the view of the model, it looks like this from the side:

Looks a lot higher from here.

Looks a lot higher from here.

As you can see my Red Line is only about a third of the way to the top of K1, so I have a bit more modeling ahead of me.  Unless . . .

Ah, that's more like it.

Ah, that’s more like it.

There you have it:  a little of what I do when I’m in the mood and I need to get my world into even better shape.  I probably won’t spend all day working on this, but part of the morning, and maybe in the afternoon, and a little here and there over the week.  Before you know it, I’ll have another course laid out–

That’ll make four, right?  I think I’ll be finished by then.