The Run Up to the Start

Last night was Get My Images For Recap Night so that I can write said recap tonight, and I was breaking my brain for most of the evening thinking about the last chapter of Part Three of C For Continuing.  Because that’s the way I am:  I get fixated on these things and continue working them in my head until it sort of drives me nuts.  Which is also called “Being a Writer”, so I suppose it’s normal.

I’ve been kicking around a few scenes for the last couple of days, mostly when I have a free moment at work when I can sit and daydream for about five minutes.  But a few scenes don’t equate something coherent, and that’s what I needed.

It was about the time I was getting my last few images together that it hit me:  how about a week of classes?  I did that in the first novel, but not really so much in the last.  I mean, I did, but there wasn’t a lot of showing going on, just meeting and telling.  This time I wanted to not only get into a week of classes, but a week of their special classes, which means I’m going to do something almost never done before–

A lot of things, actually.

What does the chapter look like, then?  Like–

C For Continueing Chapter Nine

This.

All of the classes here are advanced, with the exception of one, and we’ll get to that in a moment.  There’s also two things here that haven’t been seen, one for obvious reasons, and another because I didn’t show it in the last novel.  So it’s time to show them here.

First up is Welcome to the Superlab.  I’ve mentioned that there is a chemical superlab over in the Tesla Center, and Advanced Formulistic Magic is gonna start cookin’ over there once in a while.  The chances are they’re not gonna go full Heisenberg and start cranking out magical meth, but they are gonna mix up something.  And this means I gotta start doing my research on how the lab is set up and what can they make.  Besides drugs.

The next day is a twofor.  First To Walk in Darkness, which is Annie and Helena together for their Tuesday night training.  Annie’s gonna learn a new spell, and it’s one that’s a little tricky to do, even for good sorceresses.  The second is Size Matters, and this Kerry in Advanced Transformation Crafting at the same time that Annie is getting her instruction.  Maybe we’ll get to see Jessica turn someone into a potted plant.

The next scene is Time Wise, and this is in Wednesday’s class, and you can probably guess what they’re working on.  I’ve got to work up some protocols for Wends to follow, because she’s a safe little witch except for those times she’s trying to kill people who make her mad.

Curtain Pulling hasn’t been shown before–oh, wait:  it has.  Sorta.  This is Deanna with the kids doing some special astral stuff, and we’ll get to see a little more of Deanna’s style of instruction, which is probably sweet and gentle–or maybe not.  Maybe she’ll just whack the kids with an astral stick until they get good.

And finally, Testing Kali.  If you figure out that the first date in this chapter falls on a Monday, then you can see this is Sunday, and this is time for Advanced Self Defense.  Kali, aka Arnis, aka Eskrima.  Ever see any of the Jason Bourne movies?  If you have, Kali is the martial arts form Bourne uses, and it’s considered one of the best in the world, employing the idea that minimal effort is required to take down your opponent with either empty handed or with weapons–or even both.  I actually want to show off the kids abilities this novel, and . . . they’ll get that chance.

Tonight if I have time I’ll start working on the trailer, but that’s my goal for Wednesday and Thursday, because I for sure want to have it up and ready to go on Saturday morning.  I have a lot to do and not a lot of time in which to do this.

But, hey:  I like a challenge.

The New Plot

So, the plotting has begun.  Not a lot so far, unless you consider six chapters not a lot.

Yeah, let me start beating myself up here.

Yeah, let me start beating myself up here.

Then again, I feel like I should have more but I got involved in taking a nap and finishing up my binging of Breaking Bad, and, oh, yeah, I needed about an hour to chill my shit after my latest Sense8 recap received a comment from one of the creators/writers/producers of that show.  You know, pretty much a normal Saturday night–

So let’s see what I have laid out so far for C For Continuation, shall we?

Chapter One is pretty much straight forward, and it contains something I’ve yet to do:  there’s a flashback.  Looking at the dates and times of the first two scenes it’s pretty easy to tell where the flashback occurs, and you may be able to figure out how it’s coming into play.  Also, looking at the times, this is almost all an Annie chapter, because it seems like most of this is happening somewhere in the mountains of Bulgaria.

C For Continuing Chapter One

Chapter Two consists of summer get together, and one big surprise that you’ll have to see.  To save you the looking up, Rendlesham Forest is Kerry’s meeting with Penny, and The Great Gates of Kiev is Annie’s meeting with Alex.  I can tell you right now, these will be fun scenes to write when I get to them.

C For Continuing Chapter Two

Chapter Three is the winding down of the Summer of 2013, and there are going to be a couple of surprises here.  The dates of the last two scenes should be to let you know they happen about a week and a half before the kids leave for staging in Paris before heading off to school.

C For Continuing Chapter Three

That’s Part One out of the way; onward to Part Two.  Chapter Four will likely be a short chapters, perhaps the shortest of the novel.  It’s probably the tightest packed for time as well, because about a half hour passed from the beginning of the first scene to the end of the third.  Short, sweet, and about as to the point as I can get in this story.

By the way, Pour Rencontrer à Paris means “To Meet in Paris,” which is what my kids are doing.

C For Continuing Chapter Four

Chapter Five has the kids doing a little roaming around in The City of Light.  The first scene is going to see a new Party of Five in Paris, and they’ll have lunch in a cafe where I had lunch in 2006–no, really.  The third scene does not have anything to do with a Woody Allen movie of the same name, so don’t expect any time traveling.  But scene two:  oh, you can expect some tears there, all for reasons that will become apparent when I finally write that scene.

C For Continuing Chapter Five

Chapter Six has the kids leaving Paris and returning to Salem.  À Plus Tard Paris means, “See you later, Paris,” because–spoilers!–this won’t be the last time Annie and Kerry visit Paris together.  Not when this is Annie’s favorite city in the whole world, at least according to her.  The second scene will answer a question brought up in A For Advanced, and I’ll likely show a little of the background stuff that goes on when Foundation people are scamming their way through Normal society.  And the last scene of this chapter is pretty self-explanatory:  the kids finally make it back to the school–they are, so to speak, home.

As I have indicated I’m playing off events already laid out in Aeon Timeline, and this newest version is coming in handy due to the programs flexibility.  I particularly like that I can now expand events without having to enter the Inspector, which is now used for editing the events.

See what I can see?  And I'm not even a Seer.

See what I can see? And I’m not even a Seer.

And one interesting thing here is that Penny is almost exactly a year older than Annie, with her birthday coming not much after Annie’s.  Well, maybe not that interesting, but it’s something I pick up on right away when looking at these new timeline events.  We also know the school has been around away, but I didn’t bother with a creation date for Paris, because if you don’t already know it’s older than hell, you need to get into your history.

What’s up for today?  Well, I meet someone for lunch, then I begin adding more chapters and scenes.  I likely won’t finish plotting this out by tomorrow, but come this Saturday I’ll have the majority of it in place.  And since I already know how this novel ends I can begin writing before putting in the last scene.

Like with most of my trips, I know my destination.  And I will arrive there safely.

The Writing In the Book

Today is 4 July in the US, or as I like to call it, “Americans Drinking and Blowing Shit Up Day,” because that’s something we do well.  And I’m certain before the day is over there will be plenty of “fireworks accidents” to report, because there always are.  But I’m not here for that, not today.

I’ve finished editing Chapter Four, finally getting the kids into their coven for the first time.

You can't see it, but they're getting ready for bed as we speak.

You can’t see it, but they’re getting ready for bed as we speak.

It’s interesting to note that up to this point I’ve edited 71,580 words, and there remains 93,840 words.  Once I’m through Chapter Five I’ll be more than half way finished, so I’ll actually take about a month to revise and edit half of Act One, leaving me to believe I’ll finish the revision by the middle of August.  Given that I’ll start C For Continuing in a week and half, I figure to finish the edit on Act One by 1 September.  And should I have my covers finished and in hand by then, I don’t see a reason why I can publish Act One by the middle of October–just in time for Halloween!  If I’m lucky I’ll also be about half-way through editing Act Two by then, and maybe press for publication by January, 2017.

Plans are coming together her, folks.

I did change around a lot of things with this scene, and there were one hundred and thirty-six words added, which is a lot.  This was due in part as a need to clarify things better, because I found some stuff a little on the iffy side when it came to giving a good description of what was happening.  But I also made a bigger change, one that you may say is me nitpicking only because I can.

Now, we all know Annie comes from a country where English is her second language, and when she’s home she always speaks Bulgarian.  If these novels were ever turned into movies I would insist that Annie and her parents be played by native Bulgarian speakers, and that all the parts back in Pamporovo be spoken in Bulgarian with subtitles shown.  Why?  Because why not?

We’ve seen her speak Bulgarian, too:  she does it a few times throughout the novel, and even does so in the scene newly edited today:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

As they climbed the stone stairs—which had only a low railing to keep one from pitching off towards the floor below—Annie stepped alongside her new coven leader. “Excuse me, Professor?”

“Yes?”

“If I may ask, where are you from?” She offered a polished smile. “Your accent sounds Eastern European.”

“Oh, it is. I’m from the Czech Republic.”

“Ah.” They reached a small landing where the overhang met the staircase. “Do you speak Bulgarian?”

His eyes twinkled as he nodded. “Malko. Govorite li Chekhiya?”

She shook her head. “Ne, az se strakhuvam che ne.”

“That’s quite all right.” He patted Annie on the shoulder. “It’s always nice to have an even somewhat native speaker around.”

“Your Bulgarian is very good.”

“Maybe now I can get in some practice.”

“Ah, hem.” Alica stood with her arms crossed. “The tour?”

 

When they’re speaking I always try write out the words in English-style letters for better understanding.  But there’s something Annie does in this scene, as well as doing it in an earlier scene.  And that’s write.  And how would she write?  Well . . . like a Bulgarian.

 

She returned to the bed and picked up the white-covered album she’d brought from home, the same one she’d looked through last night.  She opened it to the same page she’d viewed yesterday, then flipped to the very next page.  Annie pulled out a pen and scribbled today’s date at the stop of the page.  Below that she wrote a short, simple sentence in Bulgarian:  Пристигнах в Салем тази вечер.  The pen hovered over the page before she followed that with another sentence:  И най-накрая целунат от джинджифил коса момче.

 

The Bulgarian alphabet is actually the oldest Slavic script in Europe, and the Glagolitic alphabet, devised by Saints Cyril and Methodius in the 850s, was slowly replaced by the Cyrillic script near the beginning of the 10th Century.  So when Annie writes, she’s gonna write in Cyrillic, which is why everything looks a little strange above.

And what is she saying?

Something like this.

Something like this.

Fortunately she doesn’t write a lot, but I think it behooves me to keep her alphabet correct.  It’s really a little thing, but if there’s something it’ll do, it’s keep a certain husband to be from figuring out when she’s writing down something like, “Kerry keeps leaving his dirty underwear laying around!  What a butthead!”  Though we’ve seen him working on speaking Bulgarian, so how much longer before he starts trying to read and write?

Now on to Orientation Day, where we learn for the Fishbowl for the first time, and while there’s not writing, there is a bit of seeing . . .

Tried Or Tried Not

Not much in the way of editing happened during the night as after the events of the morning–coffee followed by brunch with three beers–I was in a lazy mood that compelled me to binge on Breaking Bad until the end of the Season 4 episode Problem Dog.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t do something useful–

While I was out getting nice and relaxed–

As you can see it was a nice day and I was feeling great.

As you can see it was a nice day and I was feeling great.

–and as I enjoyed the outside environment I was checking my updates on my phone, which means I’m now just as annoying as all those other people who do so.  One of these updates came from my long-time reader, blogger renxkyoko, and she had something to tell me:

 

‘By the way,cassie, since you’re editing….. I guess you missed this… ” Are you tried ?” to ” Are you TIRED “?’

 

Yeah, I did miss that.  One of the reasons for missing that is because I have a slight case of dyslexia that causes me to transpose letter a lot of times, and even when I read things as one word, sometimes I’m actually reading it wrong.  This sucks when I’m writing as well, because I should know my tried from my tired, but I tend to blow it most of the time.

So I made a note to check the manuscript to fix this when I returned home, so after getting back to the apartment about two PM, that’s exactly want I did.

Though some probably thought I should wait at this point--

Though some probably thought I should wait at this point–

Scrivener has an easy search function:  you can type in a word in the box next to the Inspector button in the upper right of the program and Scrivener shows you every place where that word existed.

Just like I'm doing here.

Just like I’m doing here.

Now, the above image is done after I cleaned up the document, because–see that list of scenes on the left?  When I did this the first time that list was three times as long.  That’s a lot of trieds, let me tell you.

I used the find and replace option to locate the occurrences of tried, and one of the things Scrivener does is highlight said word no matter how many you have in a text box, which is what my scenes are.  Here’s what it looks like in the first scene on this list:

Yellow means it's identified, orange means that's the occurrence you're currently examining.

Yellow means it’s identified and it turns orange when you’re currently examining that particular occurrence.

When I went through this I saw a hug number of trieds:  “Kerry tried–”  “Annie tried–”  “He tried–”  “She tried–”  Holy shit, you know?  Way too many occurrences of the word, not to mention it’s so freaking passive a phrase that it drove me crazy.

With the trieds identified I set out to make them far more active voice, because you shouldn’t be trying, you should be doing.  What’s the thing that old grumpy green muppet from a swamp planet says?

Yeah, that's the one.

Yeah, that’s the phase.

If the characters are trying they aren’t doing.  “Kerry tried not to look at Annie–”  No, he should either look away or look towards her.  “Annie tried to craft her spell–”  No, Annie succeeds or fails while crafting magic.  “Emma tried to get Kerry’s attention–”  Well, yeah, she’ll try, but she should have waved or call his name or throw her arms around him, though she shouldn’t take that last action in Annie’s presence if it’s her intention to keep her blood inside her body.

I spent a good hour going through the manuscript finding all the “tried” stuff and rewrote it so it was either do or do not.  There was no trying, it was all doing.  And that’s from my writing the first draft that way, but there wasn’t an excuse for leaving it in during the revision.  Now it’s out and I’ve made a note of keeping an eye on that stuff, since I’m certain I’ll find it in B For Bewitching as well.

There are other ways the Scrivener search function works besides just looking or words and phrases.  For example:

A For Advanced Search Setup

You can search for titles, for labels (what’s first draft, what’s revision, and so on), and most importantly, keywords.  I can assign those to scenes and then used that information to search back through the document to figure out where something is when I need to reference it for a future scene.  For example, if I want to know the scenes that have to do with school evaluations, I assign “Evaluation” as a keyword, then tell the search function to look for keywords, and–

Just like that, there they are!

Just like that, there they are!

This is an easy one, and I could have just as easily said to look for that word in the title.  But as I go on there are a lot of different words to set up:  “Dreams”; “Visions”; “Sorcery”; “Morte”; “Birthdays”; “Presents”.  It’s all there.  Then if I’m in my C Level novel and I need to know about a present Kerry gave Annie and see the background on that, I pull up the A and B Level novel and keyword search for those scenes.  So rather than keep all this crap in my head and then have a good idea where to look for things when needed, I just search for keywords.

See?  Even though it was a bit of a boozy afternoon, that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn something.  All I needed to do was a little . . . searching.

And not to try, but to do.

Streams and Walking Dreams

 

The end of June is approaching, and I’m sort of relaxing with this whole “I don’t have anything new to write” thing going on.  Though that’s not entirely true:  tonight I write my last TV recap, and that will take me most of the night as I go over what I watched last night and fill in the blanks and get some nice pictures.  After that I’m done.

Or am I?

With the new computer I’m discovering the wonders of being able to sit down and load up something from my computer so I can watch it on my television.  As I have an Amazon Prime account I’ve taken to watching Season 1 of The Americans which I’d missed the first time around.  Tonight I’ll restream Orphan Black so I can work up the recap from the episode–and it was a hell of an episode–and I’ll probably do the same thing in the future when I get back to recapping Fear the Walking Dead.

Speaking off  and on with Rachel, the true originator of our blog The Snarking Dead, last night, over the last few weeks, I told her that I might want to tackle another show through July and August just so the blog doesn’t go dark once she finishes with Game of Thrones next week.  She thought that was a good idea, and I told her what show I wanted to recap–

The only thing was, in order to get to that show I needed to get a Netflix account.

I’ve wanted to do that for some time, and finally, last night, I broke down and put it into place.  So when I’m not editing Act One of A For Advanced, I’ll likely be kicked back watching something through my computer–which, given the low number of shows I watch these days, I may start doing next year so I can save myself some money on cable.  Yes, I know there are a few people right now who are probably rolling their eyes going, “Why aren’t you working on the next novel?” and the answer is I need this time to relax and recoup.

Oh, and to catch up on the view of a couple of series I’ve wanted to see since they came out on Netflix:  Jessica Jones and Sense8.  The first because I want to see David Tenant playing an absolute psychotic prick, and the last because I watch to watch that show.  It’s also the one I’m going to recap through July and August, maybe putting out a recap every few days because I’ll keep me busy.  And maybe during that time I’ll actually start laying out the third novel, too.  Until that happens, though, I’ll be relaxing and streaming.

Sort of like this, only without the water and shorts and blond hair.

Sort of like this, only without the water and shorts and blond hair.

Speaking of novels . . .

Well, over a thousand words were edited last night, and it was a good time.  Going back to yesterday’s edit, I walked home from work with a fellow office worker who takes the train back and forth from The Burg to Philly, and who used to live in London.  When I described Annie’s and Kerry’s journey from the Park Place Sherlock Homes to the Baker Street Station and down the Jubilee Line to London Bridge Station, she told me it sounded like I’d actually visited the city at one point.  No, I said:  I just do my research.

These two little parts below first sort of finish up their walking tour.  We see where they go and the steps they take before heading off to lunch:

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

The walking tour next led them through St. James Park and Buckingham Palace. After some picture taking they hailed a cab and proceeded two kilometers to the east to the Lyceum Theater. Kerry didn’t say much about why they were there, beyond a few mentions of having “seen a video” and that being there meant “something to him”, so Annie didn’t ask for details. Upon reaching the location she saw he was in awe of his surroundings, and she figured pressing him for information would spoil any mood they’d developed.

This time Kerry found someone to take their picture in front of the theater. As before Annie stood close to him, and as she’d done on the Westminster Bridge she slide her hand into his. This time Kerry half turned his head and gave her a tiny grin before turning back for the photo. Two were taken and Kerry thanked the woman before showing the pictures to Annie. He snapped three pictures of her, then took one of himself mugging for the camera before allowing Annie to take three nicer pictures of him.

They were both getting hungry, so while at the theater Kerry used his phone to locate various places to eat. Upon finding a nearby restaurant they walked north from the Lyceum towards the Covent Garden station, when their boarded the subway and headed towards their next destination.

 

Above is the first time Kerry sort of gets goofy, which is while he’s snapping pictures of himself, something many eleven year olds do–and more than a few adults, too.  It’s also the first time that Kerry acknowledges that Annie is there sticking her hand in his, though he doesn’t close his fingers around hers.  I debated changing that last night, and decided, no, Kerry wouldn’t do that, not yet, not this early in the game.  Not until he gets to Witching Manor.

Where do they go for lunch?  Kerry tells Erywin and Helena in B For Bewitching:  the Pret a Manger located in Russel Square.  There here’s doing a few things with his computer and talks about his first trip to London before they get to this point:

She saw no need to delve any further in that part of his life. “But here we are, and you were able to see all those things before the weather turned bad.”

He glanced out the window at the Underground station across the street, but only for a moment. He turned back with a slight smile on his face. “We saw them.”

He said we. “Yes, we were together.”

Kerry nodded. “And we got some great pictures. I’ll send them to you as soon as you give me your email address.”

He may have a problem with this— “I don’t have a computer, Kerry.” She looked down for a second. “My mother has one, but I don’t.”

“Really?” His eyebrows were stopped by his brow from climbing too high.

“Yes, really.” He’s probably never meet anyone for real who didn’t have a computer. “I’ve never had need of one. And I think if you were to send them to my mother’s computer . . .” She rubbed her hands together slowly. “That wouldn’t be wise.”

“Okay, yeah: I can see that.” He nibbled on his sandwich. “Maybe I can get them printed out in Amsterdam—or at the school. Then you can take the hard copies home with you.”

Annie held back her chuckle, because she’d never heard anyone refer to pictures as “hard copy” before. But having a picture in hand—yes, they’ll look fine in my book . . . “I’m sure that’s possible. We’ll look into it when we get there.”

This is the point where we first learn that Annie doesn’t have a computer, but she has a book, and what a book!  And could you see Annie’s mother getting pictures of her daughter with the Ginger Hair Boy as they wander around London?  I’m certain they’d have words, even though it’d get through to Annie.

Because right now she’s in the best place in the world.

Doing the Day Trip Again

Let me get the personal out of the way before I do anything else, okay?  Most of the day yesterday was a bad one in terms of mood swings.  I had a number of up and down moments, and for a good part of the evening here at home, the water works were out in force.

I know part of this is due to being at the bottom of my hormonal cycle and that I’m approaching the “Shark Week” segment of my shot sequence, but some of it has to do with things I’ve seen people on my Facebook friends list saying.  Some are good, some are being outright insensitive assholes.  I seek solace from the good friends, and the bad ones go right down the Memory Hole and are never seen again.

The events of his last Sunday have hit me, and this is something I thought would never happen.  I will say, when I’m out I’m always aware that I could be the target of an attack, that I could be beaten and/or killed just for being who I am, and though I hate to admit to this, if I see something that looks like a dangerous situation, I don’t go towards it, I go around and away from it.  And to me, a “dangerous situation” could be nothing more than three guys walking towards me, and I get a bad feeling that they may start hurling slurs at me–or more.

Screw it:  let’s move on.  London, here we come.

Of the huge, over five thousand word scene I started in on, only nine hundred and fifty words of it were edited.  This is the London Day Trip which The Foundation decided my kids needed to take, though they really left it up to them as to whether or not they wanted to leave the hotel.  What did you think they would do?

Now, I haven’t gotten anywhere near where they are going to end up when this scene concludes–having lunch in Russel Square–but they’re starting out from the hotel and hitting the streets:

 

 

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

With everything in place, Annie and Kerry departed the hotel and headed towards the Baker Street underground station.

Travel was simple: they would stay within the inner city transportation zone and only need a single travel pass, which she bought for them both. From Baker Street it was a quick trip on the Jubilee Line to the London Bridge station, and from there a short walk to the namesake bridge.

It wasn’t as prominent as structure as some of the bridges across the Thames, but from the middle of the river it offered a great view of central London and the Tower Bridge. Annie stood by while Kerry snapped several pictures of city and the river before asking if he could take her picture. She allowed him a couple of shots before convincing him she could operate his phone well enough to take his picture, which she did after he relented.

As they prepared to return to the train station Annie stopped an older gentleman and politely asked if he could talk their picture together. He agreed, and a few moments later Annie was photographed on London Bridge standing alongside a somewhat nervous Kerry. At the time she wasn’t certain if he was nervous because she’d handed his phone over to another person, or because of how close she was standing—

 

This was an important scene, because we see Captain Clueless and The Dark Witch out strolling around one of the biggest cities in the world seemingly unafraid of their surroundings, and completely confident that they know where they’re going.  Yes, normally having a couple of eleven year old kids running around a city along is something that freaks people out these days, but these aren’t normal kids.  And, as always, there’s a method to The Foundation’s madness.

Oh, and that “Annie standing close” thing from above?  That’s not an option, it’s a feature.  There’s a scene with them on a water bus heading up the Thames where Annie gets her picture taken with Kerry where she sits extra close to him, and then there’s this part where they’re in a car on the London Eye–

 

Near the zenith of their journey the phone came out once more and Kerry set up to take Annie’s picture. He snapped a couple before the phone exchanged hands so she could get his. It was her suggestion that they get a closeup of their faces, and while Kerry prepared to get the photo, Annie again moved in as close as possible to her companion and leaned her head against his shoulder while sliding her arm around his body. If he was bothered by the intimacy he didn’t show it, and he managed to get two great pictures before they slowly drifted apart.

They walked from the Eye across Westminster Bridge and toward Big Ben and Parliament. About half way across Kerry started talking about movies and shows that had been filmed here, and became far more animated than at any time during the trip. Again there were pictures, mostly of Annie with Big Ben behind her head, or her leaning against the railing of the bridge. After she did the same for him, she once again stopped someone and asked if they’d take their picture together. As they smiled for the camera, Annie, already standing close, slipped her right hand into his left.

He didn’t react, at least not right away. While he didn’t pull his hand away, he didn’t close his fingers around hers. Once their picture was taken he hurried over to retrieve the phone and show Annie the picture before thanking their photographer. He never mentioned what she did, though she did notice the peculiar look upon his face, as if he was still trying to comprehend what had just happened to him—or if something had just happened between them.

 

So now you know where Annie first held hands with Kerry:  in the middle of the Westminster Bridge likely sometime around ten in the morning on a late August morning.  And, of course, he has no clue what’s going on?  What is with this grabby girl?  Are they all like this?  Oh, Kerry, you’ll find out in time.

Part of what I did last night was to map out their route through this scene, showing their path, which includes two subway lines, a water bus, and a taxi ride:

Sure, it only look confusing.

It only look confusing.

They started out up in the upper left hand corner, and will eventually stop in the upper center.  Right now they’re in the lower center, standing over the river, and they’re about to head over to the palace and then on to a place the Kerry wanted to see.  And then–

Well, I’ll get to the “and then” soon enough.  Maybe tonight.

I have to see where my own journey is going.

The Midnight Window: Remembrance of the Hurting

At the moment the novel is moving forward in little five hundred word increment, as if I know the end is right around the corner, and if I hold off from finishing just a little long, I can say I’m still telling their story, or some crap like that.  I guess there’s a fear that once I’m done I may not pick up again, but then again, the next novel is gonna have a lot o stuff in it, and if I don’t pick up the story–

*le sigh*  Things like this drive you crazy, you know?

Anyway, yesterday I played with Stellarium because I noticed something about it that was throwing me:  while you can move around the world and see the sky from anywhere, and change the day and time, the program keys off the system date and time of your computer.  So even if I’m looking at the sky over Cardiff, the program thinks it’s looking at it based upon the time back here in The Burg, which is to say Eastern Daylight Savings Time.

That means when I look at the sky right now for where I live–

With a lot more buildings around me, naturally.

With a lot more buildings around me, naturally.

I see the time and date below.  But when I shoot over to Cardiff–

Which also has a lot more buildings.

Which also has a lot more buildings.

I see the local, but the time is still mine.

So the thing to do is change the system time to reflect the area you want to view, then restart the program.

And just like that I'm where I'm supposed to be.

And just like that I’m where I’m supposed to be.

That means I can now set the date and time for the Cardiff area and see, pretty much, how the sky is going to look when Kerry arrives home at the end of this novel.

And we see it'll be growing dark, just like his mood.

And we see the sky is growing dark, just like Kerry’s mood.

Oh, and this program lets you plug in longitude and latitude for a Earth location which means I can zoom in on where the kids are staying, set my system time for that area, and know exactly what they’re seeing.  Spoiler Alert:  Kerry’s first morning on The Polar Express he’ll see the International Space Station crossing the sky because this program lets me know where the Earth satellites are for viewing from the ground.  There’s something I didn’t realize I could write into the story.

Speaking of story, you’re probably wondering what’s happening with the kids back in the bay window, and what Kerry is feeling.  Since you waits this long, I’ll tell you:

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry looked out the window, staring up at Altair. “Last year I fell in love, found out I’d been in love, almost died with you—almost all of a year was spent around you, being with you, loving you. When we were getting ready to leave for the summer I didn’t know if I’d see you again until we showed up in our next staging city before coming back for our B Levels.

“This time . . .” His voice caught for a second, but he continued without too much emotion changing the tone of his words. “We’ll be apart, but not for the whole summer. We’ll write, we’ll probably see each other in our dreams—”

“You know we will.” Annie reached up and touched his chin. “I’ll make it happen.”

“I know. And we’ll see each other at least three times for lunch.” This was something that was relayed to them by Helena and Erywin, that they were setting aside at least three times where they could transport both of them to London for lunch. Erywin said she’d bring them together sometime in late June—there was mention that Helena was going into a Guardian clinic the Monday after they returned to England and wouldn’t be able to help out during the month of June—and that they ‘d find times for them in both July and August.

“I know we won’t be away from each other for long: we’ll see each other this summer.” He looked down and this time, when he looked back up, a few tears had made tracks down his cheeks. “I’m sad, and I don’t want to leave you, but this isn’t forever. At least it doesn’t feel that way.” He turned Annie enough that he could kiss her slowly and tenderly. “The hurt is there, but I know, this time, it’ll go away sooner than before.”

 

At this point in the story last year Kerry was a blubbering mess, being gently rocked by Annie while they decides they would both know the other was out there by looking at the moon or stars.  That was Kerry’s abandonment issues talking there:  after finally returning to the Chestnut Girl of His Dreams he was leaving her again, and it was likely he’d go the whole summer without seeing her.

Now his attitude is that he will see Annie a few times over the summer–if not in their dreams, then at least three times in person thanks to the help of Professors Lovecraft and Sladen.  And before anyone asks, you know if they didn’t meter out the visits they’d be jaunting these two all over Europe like they were a couple of magical soccer moms taking the kids off for get togethers.  It’s almost like they’re showing them how to be good little witches and not get greedy–or do they have something else in mind?  You never know with these two.

Given Kerry’s confession, what’s Annie’s reaction?

 

Annie peered into Kerry’s eyes for the longest time without saying a word: then she closed her eyes as she turned away from him and began muttering in Bulgarian. “Iska mi se da ne se nalozhi da vi ostavya; Iska mi byakhme zaedno zavinagi.” She turned back to Kerry, a misty film of tears in both eyes. “I feel this hurt, too, and even though it will go away, I could live without ever feeling it there.”

Kerry sighed quietly as he gently wiped the tears away. “You don’t want anyone to see this, remember?”

“I do: and I know you won’t say anything.” She leaned up and kissed him. “As I told Coraline, my tears are for you to see; no one else is allowed.”

“And I’ll never break that confidence.” He held her close. “Ahh. 1 June. About twenty hours to go.”

She light tapped his cheek. “Don’t make it sound so bad. Remember—” She placed his hand over the medical monitor in the center of her chest. “We’re in this together—in so many ways.” She sat up and twisted around so she could face him. “Come.”

“What?” Kerry sat up, a puzzled look on his face.

Annie slid out of the bay window and got to her feet. “Come.” She tugged on Kerry’s arm and brought him to his feet. “There’s something I want to discuss.”

 

Annie is back with–well, not exactly tears, but they are in her eyes.  And they are only for Kerry, because he touches her so.  She’s not going to get into out-and-out bawling like her significant other does, but if she’s not fainting she’s feeling her heart being pulled upon, and that brings out feelings she’s kept under wraps from everyone around her.

Now there’s something she wants to discuss.  I wonder what that can be?

Well, I do know–I only have to write it up.

The Midnight Window: My Moon and Stars

I’ve reached the last scene of the penultimate chapter, and the end is pretty close at hand.  There are only four scenes remaining, and I may actually remove one of those because it might not be necessary.  I guess when I start writing these scenes this weekend I’ll know of the one I think needs removing goes.

But that’s for later, maybe Friday–no, make that Saturday, because tomorrow night I’m gonna be super busy–but for now I need to start my kids out on what for them is their last night together in North America as B Levels, and the next time they’re back in this longitude they’ll be ready to take over as the C Levels of the Second Floor.

It’s also the last day that this novel visits:  1 June, 2013.  There are no more days after this, either, so you know this is gonna end on a particular note.  But that’s as few thousand words away.  Right now that day is starting–and about as early as you can imagine:

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry sat in the bay window of Room 308, his back pressed against the window frame as he gazed out upon the darkness over Salem Harbor at just a little past midnight on the first day of June. The residents nearly two kilometers across the water were dark, and the only major light source in sight was the small light station a half a kilometer away, located at the end of Derby Wharf.

The rest of the area was as dark as the skies he remembered the first night he spent at Camp Baxter during his first overnight camping flight, thanks to the same magic used to screen out all local light pollution.

 

So we’re back in that bay window at the Sea Sprite Inn, only this time we’re seeing things from Kerry’s perspective rather than Annie’s.  And when the time is stated as a little after midnight, that’s not a joke:  the scene is listed in Scrivener as taking place at ten after midnight.  Like I said, start of the day.

And I even have sort of the view of the area:

All thanks to Google Maps for making this possible.

All thanks to Google Maps for making this possible.

The Sea Sprite Inn would be right in the middle of the frame at the edge of the shore, and the room overlooks the harbor beyond.  The lighthouse is over middle right, half a kilometer from the inn, and the far shore is, as measured, almost two klicks off in the distance.  No word yet if anyone’s going to be eating at Witch’s Brew Cafe in the morning.

 

The evening went almost the same as last year. They walked to the same restaurant they visited last year—the same where Kerry’s birthday dinner was held—and met up with Coraline and her fiancé, though this time Trevor joined them for dinner: he was staying with the other A and B Levels in Boston and would fly with them in the morning. After they returned to the Sea Sprite Annie and Kerry rested for a bit talking and listening to music, then cleaned up and prepared for the night ahead.

Just like last year, neither expected to get much sleep.

Annie shifted around in Kerry’s embrace, getting comfortable against him and the pillows they were resting upon. She rested against him as she also gazed out the window. “No moon tonight.”

“No, it’s waining tonight.” He tightened his arms around her slightly, giving her a long, slow hug. “I checked before we left the school.”

“Hum.” She pointed out the window to star about twenty degrees above the horizon. “The red one there: what is it called?”

“That’s Antares, in Scorpius. It’s one of the largest stars that we can see, too.” He knew what she was doing and pointed to another start in the sky, a little further to the east. “But that one is brighter.”

She lay nearly on her back and stretched her legs. “And what is the name of that star?”

“That’s Altair. It’s also a big start, and spins so fast that it spreads out at the equator.” He played with a few strands of Annie’s chestnut hair. “Either are the brightest stars in the sky, so just like last year we can use them both.”

 

And what is Annie doing?  She’s looking for the brightest star ’cause the moon isn’t up.  It’s a continuation of what they pledged the year before:  when you see the moon, look at it and know I’m looking at it, too.  And if you don’t see the moon, pick the brightest star in the sky.  Any day now Kerry’s probably going to teach Annie to say “My Sun and Stars” in Dothraki when he tells her she’s the “Moon of My Life,” because the kids at Salem don’t need another reason to roll their eyes at these two.

So what are they seeing?  Oh, something like this:

My god: it's full of stars!

My god: it’s full of stars!

This is a screen shot from my newest program, Stellarium, which is open source and free–though you should leave a little donation, as I did–and is a powerful planetarium program that will allow you to track the sky, day or night, from anywhere in the world.  Yesterday, when I should have been writing, I was playing with different sky views, and I actually got an idea of the sort of sunshine Kerry’s going to get when he’s off on The Polar Express in the next book.  Spoiler:  it’s not a lot.

This means I’ll have something else to waste my time on–I mean, use as a tool to help with getting scenes right.  After all, I can now use this to see the local condition as a particular location–like when Kerry has to face his parent at the end of the day, novel time.  So much fun.

So, what becomes of this star gazing?

 

“Good.” She pointed towards Altair. “I like the blue star: it reminds me of coolness, and that which is cool can be warmed through cuddling.” Annie looked up at Kerry and smiled. “Red is anger, and I never want to be angry when thinking of you.”

“Or of a scorpion.” He chuckled before kissing her on the forehead. “Altair is it. Though watch out for the Monster From the Id.”

Annie giggled for several second. “What are you talking about?”

“Nothing—” He gave his head a single shake as he quickly glanced out the window with a slight smug on his face. “I’m just being silly.”

“Better than how you were last year.” She reached up and touched his cheek. “No tears this year; I like that.”

He pressed his hand against hers. “It isn’t because I’m not sad—”

“Then tell me.”

 

That’s where I left off, and when this starts up again, we’ll discover just why Kerry has no tears.  And . . . we’re gonna see something else as well.  Something you would never imagine.

Now, as I leave off, I must delve into a bit of geekness due to something Kerry said above.  While looking at Altair he tells Annie, “Though watch out for the Monsters From the Id.”  In the movie Forbidden Planet Altair was the star around which the planet Altair IV orbited, and that’s where the crew of the United Planets Cruiser, the C-57D, landed, made contact with Doctor Morbius and his daughter Altaira, learned about the Krell–and then had everything go straight to hell on them when their were attacked by the invisible monster later known as The Monster From the Id, which was really nothing more than an energy construct created by Doctor Morbius’ subconscious while he dreams.

In a way, this is a form of Dreamwalking that may just be possible in my world, and if it is, people better look out, because this Monster From the Id vaporized a space ship just to keep it from leaving the planet.  Any witch who could do this would be a force to recon with–

Which, come to think of it, is sort of how Annie looked when she had Emma backed into a corner--

Though, come to think of it, this is sort of how Annie looked when she backed Emma into a corner–

The movie had a budget of $1.9 million, which in 1956 was a hell of a lot of money for any movie, and unheard of for a science fiction movie from the 1950s.  The Monster From the Id was animated by Joshua Meador, who was on loan from Walt Disney Pictures (making this the first time Disney allowed one of their own people to work on another movie), and he actually slipped in a couple of what we would today call “easter eggs” during the attack sequence:  the creature has a small goatee (Doctor Morbius is the only person in the movie with the same feature), and the monster roars much like MGM’s (the studio that made the movie) Leo the Lion does at the start of the movie.

The biggest contribution from the movie was to science fiction itself.  Two of the main props–Robbie the Robot and the model of the C-57D–were used for years in other movies and TV shows.  (Robbie has twenty-five credits to his “name”), Gene Roddenberry was heavily influence by the movie when he created Star Trek (as I’ve pointed out before, the time the C-57D enters orbit around Altair IV is 17:01, which is also the registration number of the Enterprise), and both Babylon 5 and Firefly/Serenity borrowed from the movie.  In fact, a large part of the end of Serenity is related to Forbidden Planet in that the crew finally travels to Miranda and discovered information about the creation of the Reavers in Alliance rescue ship, C57D.   Forbidden Planet is based in part on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and in that play Miranda is the daughter of Prospero, a great sorcerer, so the crew of the Serenity reach Miranda and discover that the Reavers are pretty much the Caliban of their universe.

Joss, like Gene, has the geek gene.

Joss, like Gene before him, has the geek gene.

There you have it:  we start out with my kids stargazing together, and end up with lesson in science fiction history.

Never let it be said I don’t give you anything.

The Final Days and Nights: Summertime, and the Visits Are Easy

So, writing.  Yes, I did it.  Not as much as the two days before, but some of that was due in part to writing a two thousand word recap a few hours before, and that tends to drain me.  The good news is I only have one more Monday night recap to do and then I can sort of take the summer off.

Though, you know, I’m not sure what that means.  Take a summer off and do nothing?  I don’t know if I can handle that.

So what happens in the next five hundred words?  Plans, that’s what.

 

This excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Jairo shook his head. “That would never happen. You guys have been too much fun; we’ve enjoyed hanging with you.”

Kerry ran his finger around the rim of his mug. “We’ve enjoyed hanging with you guys as well.”

Penny pointed a finger at him. “I hope you won’t forget we got a lunch meet up this summer.”

He nodded. “How could I forget?” Penny had approached them both at the Midnight Madness the night of his birthday, with Alex, Jairo, and Kahoku in tow. Not only did they all want to wish Kerry a happy birthday, but Penny wanted to set up a lunch date between Kerry and her, as they were both in the UK and could fly to just about any location in the country. Penny also made it clear that she wanted Annie to know about the invite, and that she knew if Kerry were to ask her about getting together for lunch over the summer, he’d do so with Annie and Jairo present. “Just text me whenever you feel like meeting.”

“Which reminds me—” Alex turned to Annie. “Would you object to getting together over the summer? I’d love a lunch date with someone from school.” She looked around the table. “It was hard to do so last year, and may be difficult for Kaho this year. I thought it might not be a problem for you, though.”

Annie actually felt honored that a friend other than Kerry would asking about meeting over the summer. “I’d love to, Alex. I think it’d be fun.” Annie gave the matter a moment of thought. “Could you fly to Kiev? We could met there.”

Kahoku nervously coughed. “Or are you—?”

“Say that word and die.” Alex rolled her eyes as she glanced at her boyfriend. “Durnyy, bozhevilʹnyy khlopchyk.” She turned back to Annie, a slight grin playing upon her face. “Sure, I can do that. Dubno’s only three hundred kilometers away; I can make that in an hour.”

 

So there you have it:  at least once during the summer Kerry and Alex are going to get together for a lunch date–one where Annie was present when the asking was done, ’cause one girlfriend is respecting the personal space of another–but Annie’s gonna leave the mountains behind for a day and meet up with Alex.  The kids are getting out next summer, and not just to meet with each other–yes, that’s gonna get mentioned later in one of these last two chapters.  Even though they can’t be together all the time, they’re gonna meet for lunch.

Annie picks Kiev because not only is it in the Ukraine where Alex lives, but it’s likely easier for Annie to jaunt over a thousand kilometers than it is for Alex to do the same.  Alex can hop on her broom and jet across the country to get to her destination–

Three hundred thirty-four kilometers, no waiting.

Three hundred thirty-four kilometers, no waiting.

Whereas Annie needs her mom to jaunt her to the Sofia airport so she can take the jaunt station to the main train station in Kiev.

"Don't worry, Mama:  I'll call when I'm though visiting another country."

“Don’t worry, Mama: I’ll call when I’m though visiting another country.”

And since Pamporovo and Kiev are in the same time zone, there’s no trying to figure out when Annie should get there.  In fact, if she knows Alex is gonna meet her around eleven, she can leave home about fifteen minutes before to ensure she’ll arrive in time–depending on where it is they’re gonna meet.  And I know where they’re gonna meet–I’m just not saying right now.  Same with Penny and Kerry:  locked down their meeting area a few months ago, but you’ll just have to wait on the where.

This portion of the conversation leads into something else that has been asked about already–

 

“Good.” Annie sat back with a smile on her face and her hands folded before her. “You can send a message to my school account: I can access that from my mother’s laptop when I’m home.”

“When you getting your own phone?” Penny scratched behind her right ear. “That way we can just text you.”

Kerry looked across the table and while he kept quiet. They’d discussed this matter more than a few times since returning after Yule, and Annie promised that once she was home and settled in, she’d do everything possible to convinced her parents to let her buy a smart phone. He believed her, too: he was more than aware that when Annie wanted something . . .

Annie’s response was simple and direct. “I’m working on that. You may say it’s my summer project.”

Kerry noticed their four friends exchanging glances between themselves. “Something up?”

Being the closest to him, Alex answered Kerry. “We were wondering if you might like another project for the summer—”

Penny glanced at Annie to her left. “Both of you.”

 

Yes, Annie’s gonna work on getting a phone, and yes, that issue will come up in the next novel.  I know some of you are thinking, “She should have one by now, she’s thirteen!” but you ain’t Annie’s mother:  I guess I am, and I know why they haven’t gotten her a phone yet.  Just chill and wait.  You’ll see.

Now, what is the summer project that is going to be asked of Annie and Kerry?  Well, that’s tonight’s business.

And that means you have to wait until tomorrow to see.

The Final Days and Nights: Presents and Perceptions

As much as I thought writing this scene would be difficult, I’m finding it pretty easy to get the words out.  Yesterday there was a little over seven hundred twenty-five words written; today a hundred more than that.  Maybe it’s the coffee:  maybe it’s just that I’m getting the writing feeling again now that I’m near the end of this novel.

Maybe getting out on a cold morning gets the creative juices flowing.

Maybe getting out on a cold morning gets the creative juices flowing.

Whatever the reason, I’m probably half-way through the scene now, and my Party of Six has begun making their rounds of Provincetown.  In fact, I even know where they’re headed:

 

This excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

They’d decided to take lunch there because of the central location as well as being close to the water and at the entrance to MacMillan Pier. Before arriving, however, they’d wandered about the town examining the local and doing a little window shopping in the process. Though they weren’t wandering without a destination in mind: they headed south to see a bed and breakfast before walking down to Commercial Street to look at a rental property. He’d discovered both locations during his examination of Provincetown the week before, and joked with the others that he was considering the possibility of using either of the locations in the future for a holiday.

While the other chuckled at his comment, Kerry knew Annie took his comments seriously He’d discussed the possibility of using their Foundation connection to perhaps stay at one of the locations in the future, maybe even for a weekend when they were older. He’d told her spending one of the graduation weekends there might be allowed once they were D or E Levels.

By the time they arrived at Lopes Square they’d walked two and a quarter kilometers and lunch was definitely required. They sat outside, moving two tables together so they could sit as a group. Being slightly off-season there weren’t a lot of people about, and the chilly, gray weather reduced the number of visitors considerably. No one minded: they were used to these conditions, and had hot beverages to offset the chill.

 

Part of what I’ve done this morning is lay out their walking route.  They want to look up a few places before they sit down to eat, and leave it to Kerry to set up an itinerary.  Either that or you got everyone going, “Where to next?”

When you have an itinerary, you always know where you're going.

When you have an itinerary, you always know where you’re going.

Kerry heading up to the Roux isn’t completely out of the question:  it is a well-know bed and breakfast in PTown, but it’s also one of the locations for the Cape Cod Writing Workshops, who I’ve followed for a couple of years.  It’s my hope that this year I’ll save enough to do a weekend retreat–though not on 15 October of this year, which is when Bride Pride, the largest lesbian wedding in the world, takes place.  Unless, you know, I just happen to be getting married . . .

The other place where Kerry stops is also a real rental property, right there on the bay shore.  Is he really serious about getting away for a weekend with Annie at some point in the future?  Hummmm . . .  that boy’s really thinking ahead.  And it sounds like Annie wasn’t adverse to the idea.  We’ll have to see, won’t we?

The distance they walked is about about one and four-tenths miles, and while that may seem like a lot, keep in mind these kids have spent the last nine months covering distances like that every day.  Sure, Kerry hops on the broom, gets Annie on the back, and takes off when they’re in a hurry, but for the most part Annie and he are all about the walking thing at school.  And just think, a year and a half ago this sort of walk would have killed Kerry, but now he’s just dealing with the stroll like it’s no big deal.  And if he can handle this, so can the other kids.

Now that everyone’s down to eat, it seems one of the girls has become a big inquisitive–

 

They were only thirty seconds into their lunch when Penny cleared her throat. “Annie, can I ask a question?”

Annie stopped in mid-sip and put down her beverage. “Naturally.”

“I, um—” Penny appeared embarrassed that she was bringing up the question. “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way—”

“I won’t know what way to take your question until you ask.” She smiled broadly. “What do you want to know?”

Penny pointed to Annie’s purse, which was slung over the back of her chair by the shoulder strap. “Is that a real Louis Vuitton bag?”

Annie gave a slight nod. “Yes, it is.” She reached down and gave it a light touch. “It’s a birthday present.”

Alex joined the conversation. “You got a Louis Vuitton bag for your birthday?”

“Yes: when I turned ten.” Annie finished the interrupted sip before saying more. “The day after my tenth birthday party Mother and I went to Paris where she bought the bag at the main store. She told me I was old enough to have a real handbag.” Annie took a bite of her sandwich. “Mama has three: she says a woman needs a good bag for every occasion. Oh, she bought me a wallet as well.”

 

By now it’s a given that Annie comes from a bit of money, as both parents do rather well for themselves.  We know she dresses well, and it’s hinted that when there’s shopping to do, Mama and she jaunt off to one of the various cities around Europe to make their purchases.

Now you know:  Annie doesn’t have just any handbag, she’s walking around with a Louis Vuitton bag.  That she got in Paris.  For her tenth birthday.  Maybe she doesn’t like to show off the face she’s got money, but when an eleven year old girl walks into school with a bag that, at the time, probably cost a bit more than €1000.00, kids are gonna take notice.

And, yes:  I know what her bag looks like.

Because you know I do.

Because you know I do.

It’s an Alma BB, which is one of their smaller cross body bags without being a clutch.  You can put your keys, your compact, you phone, and–oh, yes, your wallet in there and be set for the day.  And the wallet is from the Paris store as well, because of course Mama isn’t going to get her little girl a proper bag without a matching wall.  One that, I have to point out, has her initials stamped inside–

In gold, because naturally.

In gold, because naturally.

But it doesn’t just end at the bag and wallet:

 

Penny and Alex exchanged looks before Penny turn back towards the Bulgarian girl. “Of course. Is that also when you got that roll-on bag?”

“Oh, no.” Annie shook her head. “That was a going away present for school. That was actually Papa’s idea: he wanted me to have good luggage for when I was traveling.”

Kerry set his drink down. “She also has a passport holder.”

Penny nodded. “I’m not surprised.”

 

Yes, that roll-on we’ve seen her with when traveling is also from the Paris store, only this time Daddy got it for her.  And she has a cover for her passport, so this girl is covered.  She didn’t go that time, but you can imagine she had a good time going with Mama when they picked out her birthday present–

I can now point out that I have been to the Louis Vuitton store in Paris, where I bought someone a bag for a special occasion, and while I was waiting for them to make up their mind about what they wanted, I hung out in the luggage section of the store and watched as a mother and daughter–no, not Annie and Mama, the daughter was older than Annie–bought a couple of pieces of luggage for, oh, a lot of money, and while the salesperson rang up the sale and checked the warehouse for availability and delivery times, he brought out a bottle of champagne, cracked it open, and poured them a couple of glasses to enjoy while they waited.  You can bet it wasn’t cheap stuff, either:  you drop low five figures on luggage, you’re getting something a lot better than the bottom shelf shit.

It’s probably easy to imagine Annie sitting in the store drinking sparkling apple cider from a champagne flute, however . . .

All this talk of her fancy goodies has some effect on Annie’s mood, however:

 

Annie immediately felt she’d done something that she’d always said she wouldn’t do while at school. “I’m sorry: I must sound like I’m bragging.”

Alex leaned over the table. “No, not at all. I mean, if I had a bag like that, I’d show it off like mad.”

“Yes, but I’m not trying to show off—” She set her hands on the table, appearing a bit nervous. “I don’t like to bring up anything about the fact my parents have money. Yes, I have my bags and luggage and clothing, but this is just how I am, how I look. I don’t try to appear better than everyone else.” She looked across the table to Kerry, who sat opposite her so the other couples could sit together. “I don’t want people to imagine I’m some spoiled rich girl.”

Penny reached over and patted Annie’s right hand. “I don’t think that, Annie: none of us do.” She gave her friend’s had a light squeeze. “Believe me, I had that bag I’d be rockin’ the shit out of it all the time. I wouldn’t do it to show off; I’d do it ‘cause it’s my bag.” She offered a smile. “I don’t think you’re spoiled.”

“I don’t, either.” Alex offered her friend a smile as well. “We’d never think that of a friend.”

Penny nodded. “Truth.”

Annie’s face softened as she put away the concern that had affected her for a moment. Normally she wouldn’t allow herself to feel overly bothered by the notion that she may have been acting ostentatiously, but Penny and Alex were close to her, and she never wanted them to feel as if she was trying to come off as being better. “Thank you, both of you. I wouldn’t want to ever hurt your feelings.”

 

Annie doesn’t like to hold up her privilege to others, and it does bother her when it’s noticed by people she likes.  You know she wouldn’t give a shit if Lisa started in on her, but Penny and Alex are now close friends, and she doesn’t want them feeling bad because she’s gotten lucky in the parental lottery.  It’s also one of the reasons why she doesn’t talk about any of this stuff with Kerry, though it’s impossible to keep it from him.  Fortunately, he doesn’t care if she has money:  he loves Annie for being her.  Though there will come a point when he finally sees the Lake House, and he’ll likely be a bit astounded if not a little shocked, as he knows why that house is there . . .

Now that the class discussions are out of the way, the kids can get down to eating–and who knows what else–

The Final Days and Nights: PTown Bound

Better late than never, but there’s always a reason why I’m coming to you so late, an that’s because I’m keeping my mind off eating.  I intend to head out after this is posted to do a little happy hour just down the street, then come back here for a nap before I do a little more writing tonight.  I’ve also been busy getting things ready for this post and, believe it or not, fixing a mistake I found in my story.  But more on that later.

We come to Chapter Thirty-four, and this is the penultimate chapter of the novel.  There remains one more after this, but the writing’s on the wall:  another couple of weeks and B For Bewitching is finished, and with it another year of my life spend working on a novel.  Two days ago someone asked me, “What’s next?” and you probably already know the answer.  But I need a rest first; I’m in a serious state of burn out, and I need to recharge and do some editing before I can even consider getting into another original story.

But all that stuff is for later.  Right now my mind is on this:

The scenes are coming, but not for long.

The scenes are coming, but not for long.

This chapter deals with the last week at school, and the next chapter, Thirty-five, deals with the last day Annie and Kerry spend together before going their separate ways for the summer.  And with the day set forth in this scene, the last Sunday at school, there’s less than a week before they say their B Level goodbyes.

But first, there’s something on their agenda for this day–

 

This excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Though the day was overcast and cool—as was the case with most of this May—everyone was in great spirits. Kerry felt there was something about getting away from school and being out on your own for just a little while that instantly lightened moods and had people enjoying their surroundings.

Though he had to admit the start of this little adventure hadn’t come without issues . . .

Today was Graduation Day at Salem, and the majority of activities were geared around the students who had completed their studies and their families who were there to celebrate their children’s success. Because today’s focus was on the seventeen departing F Levels, that meant the remaining one hundred and twenty-three students moving on to their next school levels were pretty much free to do as they pleased.

And what pleased Annie and Kerry the most was the ability to leave the school grounds, with permission, on their own.

 

It was the thrid paragraph that gave me trouble and made me start looking around for twenty minutes because there was a mistake in my history.  I know:  gasp!  It happens.

What went down was this.  I know how many students there are at school:  for this year it’s one hundred and forty-nine.  Seventeen students are graduating, and with nine not doing well enough to move on to the next level, that meant I have one hundred and twenty-three students coming back next year for Annie ‘sand Kerry’s C Levels.

Only I noticed that when I added up all my F Levels from each coven I had sixteen, so I need to figure out where I was light and fix that.  After that I decided, what the hell, I’ll check all the numbers.  And what did I find?

I was missing a student.

It took me a moment to figure out the missing student was in Blodeuwedd, and it took me a few more minutes of number checking to figure out I was light one D Level n that coven.  With that know I put a maker there for a student, reran my numbers to make sure everything was good, confirming that they were.  Now that I had all my students accounted for, I could get on with my writing.

See the insanity I put myself through?  It would be so much easier to just make shit up, but noooooooo . . .

Now that we know what makes my kids happy, what are they gonna do about it?

 

During their A Levels Annie and he had taken the day and flew westward, where they spent most of the day relaxing at Pearl Hill State Park. This year, however, they had a different destination in mind, and they decided they wanted to enjoy their time in the company of friends, so earlier in the weekend they asked Penny, Alex, and Jario if they wanted to come along, and let Alex know her boyfriend Kahoku was invited as well. By the end of the day all four friend accepted the invite, and Kerry, Penny, and Alex filed their plans with Vicky the next day.

All six gathered in the Pentagram Garden right before nine-thirty, well after breakfast so they had plenty of time to return to their covens and grab a few things before leaving. The plan for reaching their destination was simple: Annie, Penny, Alex, and Kerry were going to fly while Jairo and Kahoku would ride on the backs of their girlfriend’s brooms. Alex and Kerry brought their backpacks which gave Penny and Annie a place to set their purses, and Kerry had his tablet computer mounted on the control shaft of his Espinoza so they would have music for their short trip.

Right at the bottom of the hour they lifted off from the garden. Rather than use a broom, Annie rose into the air under her own Gift, wearing her new flying jacket for the first time. They ascended to three hundred meters, put their light bending spells in place, and headed off towards their destination: Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the tip of Cape Cod.

Though Jairo and Kahoku knew where they were going, the four fliers thought it best not to tell their passengers all the details of their flight there. They headed south towards Bass Rocks, but instead of turning right and to the west, the flight turned slightly to the left and sailed out over the Atlantic, picking up speed until they were cruising along as a comfortable one hundred eighty kilometers an hour. Annie and Kerry took the lead while Alex and Penny pulled into position behind them, and both seemed to enjoy having their boyfriends clutching on to them for fear they were going to be lost at sea.

 

Unlike last time they are not going out on their graduation flight alone but with friends, and rather than go to a park they’re heading to a town. Provincetown, MA, is one of the nicest places I’ve ever visited, and one of these days I’m going to find a way to attend a writer’s retreat there.  That’s why this scene is labeled Party of Six, for the Cernunnos Five, plus Alex’s boyfriend, make for six.  I also find it a bit funny that other than Kerry the two boyfriends have to ride on the backs of their girlfriend’s brooms, because those boys should have stuck to flying if they wanted to ride along side their ladies.

Here’s their quick trip across the ocean, though we’re being very liberal with the term ocean here.  Still, if you don’t like being over open water, you’re probably not going to be happy out here.

It's ocean if you only look at it that way.

It’s ocean if you only look at it that way.

The total distance is only about seventy-seven km/forty-eight mi, which is why at the speed they were going they were able to make the trip in about thirty minutes.  It would have taken them a lot longer to hug the shore and make the trip that way, and at some point flying across open water was the only way to get there without being crazy about thing.

And once they arrive at their destination, the rest is simple.

 

Kerry would glance over at Annie every minute or so as she kept about a four meter separation between them. This was her first flight since her last solo flight, and her flight helmet and goggles couldn’t hide the pleasure she felt being airborne once more. Nearly every time he looked to see how she was doing she’d look back and smile, letting him know she felt wonderful. There wasn’t a need to talk during the flight: there was no mistaking her joy.

Twenty-five minutes after leaving land behind they rapidly closed on the tip of Cape Cod, passing directly over the center of the Provincetown Airport runway as they approached their landing area: a grove of trees near the Pilgrim Monument on a hill overlooking the main town. They set down and remained invisible until they were certain they were alone before unmasking. After that it was a simple matter to leave the park, head down High Pole Hill Road to Bradford Street before strolling down to the main part of the town, where they would wander around window shopping before stopping for lunch at the Coffee Pot Restaurant in Lopes Square.

 

I would seem that both Annie and Kerry don’t mind flying out over the water now, probably because they know they could be back over land in about five minutes if they really wanted to turn on the speed.  I checked and most of the flight is never more than thirty kilometers from the shore.  I don’t know if the two boys would enjoy zipping into shore at three hundred kilometers and hour, however.

This is the area where they landed:

Well, near here, anyway.

Well, near here, anyway.

The area where they landed, the Pilgrim Monument, is just out of sight in the upper left hand corner, and the street the kids walk down is right there disappearing toward that direction.  Their eventual lunchtime destination is right in the center of the picture:  the Coffee Pot, where one can get things other than coffee.  And the area around there looks nice, too.

A nice street view which obviously wasn't take on the day my kids were there.

A nice street view which obviously wasn’t take on the day my kids were there.

This is where the rest of the scene takes place.  Which I’ll get to tonight and tomorrow.

Assuming I don’t find any more mistakes.

The Remains of the Day: Setting By Sunset

There was writing last night–a whole lot of it.  Naturally with it being Monday most of it went into my Fear the Walking Dead recap, but I still managed just over four hundred words on my own novel, pushing everything up over three hundred and the thousand words total.  It seems like only yesterday I was pushing up over three hundred thousand words–well, two weeks ago on 24 April–but three twenty-five is getting closer all the time.  And so it the end of this novel.

Before the words come there’s something else that needs mentioning.  I left work early yesterday because it was time for a new hairdo, which means it was time for a new wig, so I headed off for a fitting.  And I found something that, so far, everyone tells me works well.

What did I decide?  I decided to join the most hated group of people ever:  I became a ginger.

I'm not evil. I swear.

I’m not evil. I swear.

I’m really liking the color and style, and surprised at how much hair there is on this wig.  I was told this is “happy hair,” and it really does make me look and feel better.  Also, my friends tell me this suits my complexion better than blond, and if I like this, it may just become the color of choice.  Not that I have a problem with doing such a thing.

Now, about that writing . . .

I wanted to have a bit of a melancholy feel for the rest of this chapter, and to do that I needed a good setting.  So I found one, because they are all over the school.  You just gotta know where they are and when to use them.

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

A bright spot of light lingered in the western overcast, marking the location where the sun had settled below the horizon only five minutes earlier. Annie thought the coming evening would be much nicer were the sky clear, but at least the wind was calm and the temperatures had finally begun moving into the upper teens Celsius.

Despite all that happened today, the day was winding down into something lovely.

After their meeting with Deanna they went through the rest of the day as they’d planed: they went down into their lab and watched a movie on Kerry’s computer tablet; they went into Salem with other students and had lunch with their friends; they spent the afternoon window shopping and returned to the school for dinner.

There was one thing they didn’t do during all this time, however.

While Kerry avoided discussing their morning meeting, Annie found she wasn’t eager to talk about the newest revelation about their relationship. It wasn’t that she was afraid to bring up anything, it was more about not giving Kerry anything more to worry about or concern himself with the end of school, and his return home, so near. She wanted him to relax and enjoy their classes and what little remaining time they had together, and not bother with one more thing impacting his life.

There remained, however, what she wanted . . .

They were headed back to the tower to rest a little before changing for the Midnight Madness when Kerry made the suggestion that they head out to Sunset Tower and, as he stated, relax. Annie found the idea a bit unusual in that they’d never done this at any time since arriving for their A Levels. On a few occasions they’d walked the walls just to observe the world beyond the school walls, but they’d never taken the time to come out to the wall to be alone. They’d been to Observatory Tower on many occasions, and sat on the roof of The Diamond to watch the Beltane bonfires burn, but the wall? Never.

And they’d never visited Sunset Tower.

The tower was famous because, before what became known as The Dogtown Expansion to the south occurred, Sunset was the furthest western point of the main school walls, and just as Sunrise Tower on the other side of the grounds was first section of the outer wall to receive the morning light, Sunset caught the last light of the day. While this was no longer true, the tower retained the name and the reputation, and was responsible for the large, fast Green Line turn being given the name Sunset Boulevard.

 

Sunset Tower has been visited once before:  it’s where Wednesday went to reactivate the nodes controlling the detection and communication grids during the Day of the Dead attack, and where Erywin almost zapped her while doing this.  But as far as the kids going there, as stated they’ve been on The Wall before, but not out to Sunset.

Real close by, you know?

There it is. all by it’s lonesome.

And as was pointed out, there’s a section of the Green Line that goes past there, and it’s where Emma was racing Kerry before they were told to stop and Emma screwed up Kerry’s knee in a slight collision.  But no one remembers that except some Bulgarian girls with long memories.

B For Bewitching Sunset Tower Far

There’s that long bend that led to Kerry having knee problems at eleven.

This is a good view of the school showing nearly all the main class buildings and The Pentagram Complex with Sunset Tower all they way out there sitting off in the woods.  It doesn’t look like it’s that far, but it’s about a good kilometer from The Pentagram, and while it can be reached by tunnel, most kids don’t bother walking there.  Now from the air . . .

And a note about something mentioned in the excerpt.  We discover that the push for land in the south was known as The Dogtown Expansion, and that’s because Dogtown was once a real place on Cape Ann.  It was once the major community on the Cape and was the location of the main road between Rockport and Gloucester.  After the War of 1812 people moved out of the area and settled on the coast, and the only people who were supposed to be in the area after that were, um, witches.  What a shock, huh?

Today, in my story, Dogtown is right outside the Gloucester Gate, the southern entrance into the school.  That way people can visit there without having to walk into the grounds, but as with everything else, if they get too close to the walls–well, magic takes over and they think they’ve gone on a long walk in the woods.  It’s better for everyone that way.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, maybe we’ll find out what’s happening with my kids . . .