Bags Are Packed and Ready to Fly

First off, the shoulders are better, though some of that might have been due to whatever the hell I was drinking last night.  I had two, they were good, and they had tequila in them, so that was an even better treat.  The problems come from a bad chair at home and the repetitive motion of adjusting my bra straps, and right there I’ve narrowed down the issues to the root cause.  So get a new chair and stop adjusting the straps.  It’ll help.

This means I did get started on the new Part/Chapter/Scene last night, but a combination of coming down off tequila and trying not to aggravate my shoulders meant not a lot of writing.

This is how we begin the new parts.  See?

This is how we begin the new parts. See?

Also, whenever I start something new it’s a bit rocky.  I know what I want to say, but getting it said it just hard, I tell you, hard!  And, in the following that I wrote, not a single line of dialog.  Watch:

 

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

Normally Thursday afternoons would have seen Annie and Kerry attending B Level Formulistic Magic between thirteen and sixteen-thirty, but since they were in Advanced Formulistic Magic on Monday afternoons—when nearly everyone else was either in Study Period or helping out in other classes—this was an open period for them.

Tuesday afternoons were also a free period for them both, but Kerry had Advanced Transformation Crafting after dinner and Annie usually chose that time to study in the Black Vault when she wasn’t sitting in on class, so they were back in class after dinner.

Because they didn’t have any classes after dinner, it meant Thursday afternoons—as well as Sunday afternoons and evenings—represented part of the most free time Annie could share with Kerry since the start of racing season. From the moment they left Mid-Level Sorcery Theory and Applications for lunch until they left Friday morning breakfast for Annie’s Flight Gift Training at nine, they could spend just over twelve hours together—

More if they somehow managed to find a place to sleep together—which they’d yet to do.

There wouldn’t be any free time after dinner tonight, however; Annie wouldn’t even eat dinner with Kerry. Later this afternoon she would dine with Coraline and Deanna while Kerry headed northward with the rest of the Advanced Flight One for their overnight camping trip at Baxter State Park in Central Maine, their first of several tests this school year that would prepare them for the Polar Express that took place during the student’s C Levels.

They wouldn’t be camping in any Normal sites: they’d be somewhere deeper within the park, at least ten kilometers from the nearest regular site, somewhere along the shoreline of Matagamon Lake. They’d unpack and set up their tents in the dark, eat rations similar to what they’d carry during the Polar Express, and likely stay up until close to twenty-three before heading off to their cots and sleeping bags for the nights.

According to Kerry the plan for Friday was to rise about five-thirty, have a quick breakfast, clean up and see to their toilet, then be airborne by seven-thirty or eight for a full day of flying. He was unsure about where they were headed, however: all Nadine—who was joining the overnight trip as an assistant—would tell them after Advanced Spells last night was to expect to fly “a lot.”

Annie had heard something different from both Penny and Alex that morning while they were in the girl’s bathroom getting ready. They said that when they did the overnight flight last year, they’d flown northwest into Canada, turned westward for about five hundred kilometers, then turned southeast and made their way back to the school. Alex said they flew about two thousand kilometers that day, returning home several hours after sunset.

Annie suspected tomorrow would see much the same for Kerry, if not more.

 

 

There you have it:  Kerry is flying off to do some camping, which means Annie’s off the leash and ready to dine with Coraline and Deanna.  You can bet no other students are doing that–but then, no other students in Advanced Flight One are leaving a soul mate behind.  And this is the first time she’ll be at school overnight without Kerry somewhere on the grounds, and the same for him not having Annie close by.

Where is Kerry gonna camp?  I’ll let you in on a little secret:

Right here.

Right here.

Specifically, right near that sandy, open area.  The tents will be in the woods, but the fires will be in that open area–just in case.  And just as stated, that’s on the shore of Matagamon Lake, with Mount Katahdin way in the background.  And if I know they are camping their, you know I have a map.

And it’s gonna get shown.

Stillness in the Heart

I had a hard time writing last night.  One of the issues before me was how to get the scene started, because words weren’t working.  There was also a certain amount of distraction around, but none of it had to do with my usual face burning, because I’m not doing that until Wednesday.  It was just my mind being all over the place.

But there was a section of my brain that felt a little bit of suffering, and it didn’t have anything to do with getting an electric probe shoved into my skin, it was about emotions.  Feelings.  Wantings, you might say.  I’m in the down section of my hormonal cycle, and I was slipping into sad mode while I thought about, and wrote, the scenes before, because it began pulling up old feelings I’ve had for quite a while.  And it was hitting me hard, because . . . well, let’s start the excerpt and perhaps you’ll see.

 

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

Seconds after opening his eyes, Kerry sensed the silence and the darkness. The darkness was easy to notice: even in the aftermath of the Midnight Madness there was always ambient light available so any students who stayed until the end—or had fallen asleep, as Annie and he had done on many occasions—could find their way out of the Dining Hall without fear of running into or tripping over furniture.

Then there was the silence. Even at the end of a Madness there was some kind of soft noise: students or instructors speaking; the shuffling of feet; the crackling of dying embers in the huge fireplace. None of that existed at this moment. The room was beyond deadly quiet: it was as if Kerry awakened in the quietest room in the world.

If not already aware that this was the Dining Hall, Kerry might have believed he was lying in his bed back in his room—

Except for one thing . . .

 

It not hard to figure out what that one thing is Kerry has here in the aftermath of the Midnight Madness, and not back in his room.

 

He propped himself up on his left elbow and watched the still-sleeping Annie. During all their moments when they’d slept together, she was usually the first to wake, or she’d wake at the same time. The only time he’d ever seen Annie sleeping was the morning after returning from Yule holiday, when he’d found her on the sofa in the Mezzanine Commons, she she didn’t look much different then than she appeared now—face soft and slack, lips parted slightly, eyelids smooth and forehead unfurrowed, her hair piled to the sides around her ears.

Kerry imagined this was how she’d looked every night, so completely different from the person he’d seen in his dreams for almost a decade. It seemed impossible that this was his Chestnut Girl, the one he’d played with as a toddler, the one he’d read to when he became a tweener, the girl he’d loved for so long before telling her—and the girl who he’d forgotten, and whom he’d fallen in love with once again before remembering he’d never loved anyone else.

After watching her for almost a minute, Kerry touched his finger to her lips, applying the slightest of pressure. At first Annie did nothing, then her head shifted to the left before slowly returning to the prior position. He did the same thing, but this time Annie’s head rolled back slightly. She gasped before speaking in a soft, sing-song voice. “Ummmm, az sŭm na toplo. Drŭzhte me tuk, Obicham da sŭm na toplo.”

He’d chuckled, for he’d never heard Annie talk in her sleep. It made sense she’d speak in Bulgarian, with it being her native language; his only regret was not knowing what she’d said—save for obicham. He’d come to recognize that word so well that when writing over the summer to Annie, he’d ended his letters with the phrase “Obicham te”—”I love you.”

He kissed her on the cheek, touching her as gently as he had her lips. Annie sighed as a tiny smile began to form. He kissed her again, and she squirmed the slightest bit, her hands moving slowly under the comforter. Kerry gave her a light kiss on the lips—

 

This kids and their watching someone sleep moments.  We’ve already seen Team Annie at work as she’s done her Edward bit a couple of times and watched Kerry for a few minutes in the hospital before saying screw this and moving right up into the bed next to him, and now it’s Team Kerry not only watching, but doing a little touching.  And smiling.  And kissing–let’s not forget the kissing.

And this is where I was having problems writing, because feeling Kerry do those things–I so wanted to do them myself.  When I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s just to stare up at the ceiling and wondering about things and people:  I never get the chance to look over and see someone sleeping and dreaming away the night.  I needed to get up and walk away for a bit, to just recompose myself after bring out that scene.  It’s only a few hundred words, but it touches me, and even hurts a little–

So many times Kerry sat awake in the dark, when there was no one, even in his dreams, to comfort him.

So many times Kerry sat alone in the dark, where there was no one, not even from his dreams, to comfort him–

And for so long now, I’ve felt the same.

Ah, enough of this.  Let’s finish up with my kids, because this is their story.

 

Annie gave the softest of moans as her hand blindly reached upwards and touch his head and shoulder. He held the kiss for about fifteen seconds, and when he pulled away he was peering down into her now slightly opened eyes.

“Ummmahhhh.” Annie arched her back as she stretched. “You woke me with a kiss.”

He ran a finger over her left cheek. “I thought you’d like that.” He kissed her again, and while he didn’t hold it as long as the last, it was far more passionate. “There’s something you need to know . . .”

Annie was fully awake now. “What is it?”

“We’re the only ones in the hall. It’s empty.”

She was sitting up a moment later and looking around. It took but a moment to confirm his statement. “Hummm.”

“Do you know who was in charge of winding down things tonight?”

“I think it was Helena and Erywin.” Annie lay back and looked up at her boyfriend. “It looks as if she thought we needed to speak to each other.”

Kerry knew what she mean, for this wasn’t the first time they were allowed to sleep on after the Madness was over. Back at the end of March Professor Lovecraft let them sleep over so the Dining Hall could clear out and Annie could ask him an important question . . . “So it would seem.”

 

And that last time in the Dining Hall was the lead-up to the final “Do you want to be a Good Sorceress?” question, and that turned out all right.  At least for now.

The remainder of this scene has been changed a lot from how I first saw it, and I should get to that tonight.

I’ll remember to stay out of the dark.

Amsterdam Farewell: A Final Goodbye

Well, that is that.  I’ve been writing for the last hour and a half, working my way through the end of this scene, and It hasn’t been a happy moment for me.  Mostly because, just like Kerry at the end, I gave in to the inevitable and went with the fact there wouldn’t be any happy moments in this last thousand or so words.  It’s the last time in just over four hundred thousand words that my kids are together, and it’s not a good time.  There were no tears from me, but it’s a sad time when you have to pull apart this couple on Valentine’s Day.

There was the question, “Who called out Kerry’s name?” and that’s where this picks up.  Because of course it does . . .

 

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

Kerry.”

There was his name again, being called by a voice he knew so well. He turned to see Annie standing close by with someone else. “Kerry, there’s someone I’d like you to meet: this is my mother.” She stepped slightly to one side with her attention on the older woman. “Mama, this is Kerry Malibey.”

Pavlina Kirilova held out her hand. “I’m pleased to meet you, Kerry.”

He shook and tried to look happy. “Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Kirilova.” He half-turned to the women on his right. “This is Ms. Rutherford, my case worker.”

“Bernice Rutherford, Mrs. Kililova” She shook Annie’s mother’s hand. “Pleased to meet you.”

“Pleased to meet you. You’re to take care of Kerry?”

Ms. Rutherford nodded. “Um, hum. That’s the plan.”

“I hope you do a good job.” Pavlina cast a glance at her daughter standing on her right. “Otherwise you may hear from someone I know well.” Annie’s eyes half-closed as she cast a perturbed glance at her mother.

 

Annie’s mom, Pavlina, really loves to get those digs in on her daughter.  It’s as if she knows exactly how much in love Annie is, and she’s doing her best to say, in a passive-aggressive fashion, that not taking care of Kerry means having to deal with the Wrath of Annie.  Not that Annie would do anything to Ms. Rutherford if something were to happen to Kerry, but . . .

And just to show the Lovey Dovey Couple just how much she does know–

 

Pavlina ignored her daughter’s stare and instead spent a few seconds taking in the person before her. “I finally get to meet the Ginger Hair Boy in person.”

Kerry chuckled. “Yeah, Annie told me you know about that.”

“What else did she tell you?”

He examined Annie’s mother as he tried to come up with the correct answer. Annie’s got her mom’s face and hair, but her cheeks are a little different—as are her eyes. She got those from her dad. “Just—a lot of different things. I know how long you’ve known about me.”

She smirked. “Not quiet as long as you’ve known Annie.”

Annie was on the verge of rolling her eyes. “Mama.”

 

Yes, throw that out that you know of their dream time together, and how Young Annie would talk about her Ginger Hair Boy.  Because it’s not like they need any more reminders that they’re about to split up for the summer . . .

 

“It’s all right, dear—” Her face softened as she smiled. “I’m just having a bit of fun with your young man.” She turned to her daughter. “We have to be going; your father is waiting for us.” Pavlina turned back to Kerry. “You must understand, given the time, we’re expected for dinner.”

Kerry knew that given it was almost twenty hours, a lot of people were expecting to have dinner as soon as they arrived home—himself included. “I understand.”

“I hope that one day you can come visit Annie in Pamporovo.” Pavlina’s eyes cast downward for just a moment, as if she didn’t want to say what was coming next. “Not this year, but maybe one summer.”

“I would like that.” Kerry looked Annie, and watched as she her face hardened into a mask of impassiveness. “I’d like that a lot.”

Annie didn’t take her eyes off Kerry. “I would like that as well, Mama.”

“Maybe next year, then.” She adjusted her purse on her shoulder. “Take care, Kerry. Have a good holiday.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Kirilova.”

“Come along, Annie.” Pavlina turned away and took two steps—

 

And being the dutiful daughter that she is–

 

Annie wasn’t following, however, She took two steps in Kerry’s direction, instead. “I have to go.”

“I know.” Kerry fought to keep from breaking down in front of Annie’s mother, as he’d promised.

Annie held out her right hand. “Have a good holiday, my . . .” She caught herself before she said the next word.

Kerry reached out with his left hand and took Annie’s. He was oblivious to all those standing around him: he didn’t care that Ms. Rutherford and Mrs. Kirilova were watching him with the girl he loved. He only wanted to touch her for one last time . . . “Have a good holiday, Annie. See you in—” His voice hitched as he forced himself to continue. “See you in August.”

“Yes.” Annie’s voice dropped slightly as her face grew less impassive and began to show what she was feeling. “See you in August. Don’t forget to write.”

“I won’t.”

“Come along, Anelie.” Pavlina motioned for her daughter to follow. “We must go.”

Annie gave Kerry’s hand one final squeeze. “Goodbye, Kerry.”

He squeezed back. “Goodbye, Annie.” He released her hand and watched in silence as she turned and took her place at her mother’s right side. They entered the concourse, turned to the left, and walked away.

 

And there she goes, not to be seen until the very last scene of the novel.

Naturally Kerry is taking this well–which is why Ms. Rutherford hustles his away from the waiting area to the special areas The Foundation keeps for their people.

 

They stood in another of the “airlocks” that Kerry has seen as San Francisco International Airport. He figured there was a bank of escalators on the other side of the doors he was facing and having trouble seeing because his vision was blurring due to the film of tears forming over his eyes. He waited for Ms. Rutherford to open the door so they could leave, so he could take the escalators down under the airport and find the station and do . . . whatever they were going to do . . . Go home. Return to the place he’d been nine months before. By himself. Alone . . .

He felt an arm lay across his shoulders and pull him into soft, dark cloth and hold him close as he screamed out his frustration. He wrapped his arms around his support, crying in anguish over what he’d just lost. He finally glanced away from where he’d buried himself and looked up into the face of Ms. Rutherford. “Why does it hurt so much? Why?”

“It hurts because you’ve lost something, Kerry.” She directed them to the row of seats along one wall and sat. “You see, when you’re in love—deeply in love—it’s more than just emotional or physical: it’s always spiritual, and when you reach that level of commitment, you give a part of yourself, your essence, to that person.

“When you’re together you don’t notice this, because you’re still in close proximity to this part of your being. But when you are about to become separated by a significant distance, you feel it leaving you. The pain inside is that part of your essence that Annie has taken with her.” Ms. Rutherford lay her hand across Kerry’s wet cheek. “There’s one thing you need to know, however.”

Kerry sniffed back the discharge from his nose. “What’s that?”

“Annie felt the same thing. Did you see her face as she was preparing to leave? I know she’s good at hiding her feelings, but even I could tell she was hurting there before she left with her mother.” She patted Kerry’s shoulder. “She’s left behind a piece of her essence inside you, and while she may not show her pain in the same fashion as you, she feels it, Kerry. Right now she feels every moment of being away from you.”

 

If there is one thing Kerry has going right, it’s that there are better mother figures for him than his mother.  His mother wouldn’t have held him or spoken to him that way, because–well, trust me,  She wouldn’t.  It’s not that she’s a stone cold bitch, it’s simply that she, like her husband, don’t get their son.  As he pointed out, they don’t understand why he’s so emotional, why he’s such a geek, why he’s not like all the other boys his age.  And if they were to hear about his love affair with The Dark Witch of Pamporovo, it’s likely there’d be a massive amount of eye rolling and statements like, “You’re too young to understand!” thrown in his direction instead of a little tenderness and hugging to help him though the loneliness.

Nothing left to say here, save this:

 

Ms. Rutherford dug into her large purse and pulled out a handkerchief. “Here, dry your eyes and clean up your face. I can’t take you back to your parents looking as if I’ve abused you.”

He chuckled as he wiped himself clean. “How much do you know about Annie and me?”

“Everything. As your case worker I’ve read your counseling reports—” She smiled as a concerned look appeared on Kerry’s face. “Don’t worry: all your secrets are safe with me. Nothing will be discussed unless you want to discuss them.”

“Thanks.” He returned the handkerchief back. “I don’t want them seeing this, either.” He shrugged, getting his backpack comfortable. “Almost done now, aren’t we?”

“Another twenty minutes or so, yes.” Ms. Rutherford straightened a few things in her bag. “Do you want to eat before we leave?”

Kerry shook his head. “No.” He slowly stood and tilted his head slightly to the left. “No point in putting this off—

“Let’s go home.”

 

Yes, Kerry:  it’s time to go.

Don't worry, kids.  It's only a matter of time before I get you back together--so you can be separated at the end of the school year.

Don’t worry, kids. It’s only a matter of time before I get you back together–so you can be separated at the end of the school year.

Dining Hall of the Lovelorn

Here I am again, kiddies, and believe me the last night and morning have been sort of NaNoish, only in the sense that I’ve been writing a lot, but I haven’t exactly been stringing all those words together at the same time.  I wrote nearly eight hundred words last night, and just a shade over a thousand this morning, and while that puts me in the, “I made my word count!” category, it means I gotta step up my game in the next couple of days if I’m gonna “win” my third consecutive NaNo.  I know what I need to do to get it done, it’s just getting it done that’s been a pain in the butt of late.

And today has been sort of an all over the place kind of writing.  The last time I spoke of my current scene I had Erywin Sladen sitting down with a somewhat feeling out of it Kerry whom, it would seem, was suffering  from Annie Seperationits.  That’s to be expected:  it’s only been a few weeks since he came to grips with his feels for her, and now she’s off on the other side of the world from him, and he’s missing her oh, so much.

In comes Erywin to the rescue, because . . . well, it’s not like Coraline is the only romantic in the house . . .

 

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

A huge smile was spread across here face as she sat. “Thank you.” She slowly crossed her legs; Kerry thought this was the first time he’d ever seen her in jeans. “How are you feeling?”

He shrugged. “I’m okay.”

“Mmm, hum.” Her eyes bored hole through Kerry’s head. “She left at nine, am I right?”

“Yeah.” Kerry looked down at his untouched plate of food.

“Do you know what she’s doing now?”

Kerry answered without even thinking. “It’s almost nineteen in Pamporovo; she’s either waking up, or she’s been up for a bit. If it’s the later, she’s probably getting ready to go out to dinner with her parent.” He looked up from the plate and sat back. “It’s what she told me she was going to do.”

“Is that what you’re going to do when you get to San Fransisco?”

“Probably not. By the time we get out of the airport and back to my grandparent’s house, it’ll probably be close to twenty-one.” Kerry shrugged. “Maybe we’ll pick up something on the way and eat at home, or stop at a restaurant.”

Erywin studied Kerry for a few moments, watching his face, watching how he sat and touched his silverware and ignored his lunch. She leaned forward onto the table top. “May I offer a bit of advice?”

“Sure.” Kerry was only half paying attention to the professor up to the point where she asked her last questions. Before then his mind was on Annie, thinking of her home, sleeping, wondering what her room looked like—

Kerry.”

His looked up. “Sorry, Professor.”

“Erywin.”

“Erywin. What did you want to say?”

 

“You’re being a noob, kid.”  No, really.  She wouldn’t say that.  Helena, maybe, but Erywin, no.  She has other advice:

 

“You’re missing Annie, missing her dearly. Your mind is a aflutter with thoughts of her, and you can’t seem to concentrate on any one of them for long. Correct?”

He wasn’t going to lie. “Yeah.”

“You have to look at your separation from the standpoint of . . . time.” Erywin chuckled as she laid one hand upon the other on the table. “You know a little about that concept, yeah?”

Her question elicited a chuckle. “Yeah, I know a bit about that.”

“Then here is what you do. First, imagine the time you cherished during her departure. Remember the important things: hand holding, a hug, a touch, a conversation, a kiss. Keep that close to you, Kerry: hold it within you and don’t let it go.

“Then, when you start to miss her, think about those same moments, but frame it in the time since they happened. Start thinking, ‘It was only yesterday that happened’. Then, ‘It was only two days ago—’ then four days ago—then five and six . . . and before you know it, you’ve reached the mid-point of your holiday, and you’ll begin counting the days towards your return.”

She sat back, her eyes remaining on Kerry’s brightening face. “Then you begin imagining what it’ll be like when Annie and you are together again, and your hold that idea in your mind and think, ‘I’ll see her in a week’, then ‘I’ll see her in five days’; then it becomes three days, then two . . .

“After that it’s ‘I’ll see Annie tomorrow; maybe at night when I arrive, or maybe the next morning, but we’ll be together again’. Then you go to bed, wake up . . .” Erywin held up one hand and spread her fingers as if she were catching rain. “And it happens. You’re together again. This sadness that plagues you is over.”

 

It may not be the best advice in the world, but it’s something she employed when she was a young student who was away from her “pretty girl” during the holidays.  She also knows something else . . .

 

“Good. And, Kerry—” Erywin touched her heart and lightly patted her fingers against her chest. “This pain you’re feeling? It’s a good pain. It’s the the pain you feel when you know you’ll be reunited with someone you love, and who loves you as much.“

He slowly took in a breath and released it quickly. “It doesn’t feel that way.”

“Trust me: it is.” Erywin leaned across the table. “It’s when there isn’t anyone waiting for you that it becomes a horrible pain that you wish would go away forever.”

That’s a horrible thought. “You ever have that happen?”

“No.” She sat up and looked about to see if anyone were watching them. “I’ve been lucky; I’ve only had to deal with being separated from Helena, and no matter how long that lasted, she always came back to me.” She curled the fingers of both hands and slid her nails back and forth against each other for a few seconds. “I hope to never feel that second pain—and I hope you never do, either.”

 

When it comes right down to it, if there’s anyone at Salem who understands pain, it’s Erywin.  Her experiences as a young, open lesbian in love in the early 1980’s wasn’t the easiest, particularly when you know that she’s always worn her heart on her sleeve and has never been one to hide her emotions–hey, she sounds like someone else in this story, particularly when you consider her girlfriend/companion/partner who is really good at being a sorceress and keeping her feelings hidden from others . . .

You might say if there’s anyone at the school who sorta understands Kerry, it’s Erywin.  And it’s a relationship that will only build in time.  You heard it here first.

She’s so comfortable speaking with him about these things that she makes an offer that she doesn’t normally make to anyone else . . .

 

Erywin fell into contemplation for a few seconds, then spoke a bit more quiet than before. “Every solstice I offer up an invocation to our coven goddess—I don’t think I need to name name’s.” She took a couple of slow, measured breaths. “With your permission, I’ll ask her to watch over Annie and you so nothing bad happens to your relationship.”

Kerry didn’t say anything for a few seconds. He wasn’t traditionally religious—his mother was Catholic, his father was Protestant, and while he’d gone to church when he was younger, no one in his family had set foot in one since just before he turned seven—but he got that the school still followed the older beliefs that were started by the witches who’d founded Salem back in the Seventieth Century. It was the reason for the coven names, and why they referred to the various holidays by their traditional names.

He also got that there were a few people here who did more than pay lip service to “the old ways”, as he’d heard some people say. He knew Erywin was one, as were a few of the other instructors. None of them had ever offered to do anything like this before, and he was unsure if he should thank her and say no, or if he should qualify his statement first . . .

He lay his elbows on the table and slowly rubbed his palms together. “You know I don’t believe in any of that.”

“I know.” Erywin didn’t appear upset at all by his statement. “Which is why I asked if I could do so with your permission, because I know you and I don’t share the same beliefs.” She gave him a soft smile. “If there’s one thing I don’t do, it’s proselytize and arm twist.”

 

Little is said about the “old beliefs” at the school.  I know the school follows a few traditions that, to outsiders, would seem strange.  And none of it is forced upon the students–if you want to call Samhain “Halloween” or not participate in any of the little traditions that happen that weekend, you don’t have to join.  If anything, the traditions that were started in the 1600’s have changed over the centuries, and the witches who founded Salem would likely not recognize most of what happens at Beltane when the Blodeuwedd Coven starts the party going.

Erywin is being friendly in offering to say something to her deity on behalf of Annie and Kerry, but she also knows he may be offended by the offer, and tells him, “Hey, you don’t want me to do this, it’s cool.”  No one’s asking Annie, though, but then she knew about this stuff long before she entered school, and for all we know she’s down with the idea.  Maybe one day we’ll see.  Given how she’s taken to the idea that he’s become comfortable using the original holiday names, one must wonder.

And that’s when this happens:

 

“Well, that’s different.” Erywin smile brightened. “You participated in our Samhain traditions, and you didn’t experience any adverse affects, did you?”

She’s got me there. “Nah, none at all—and Annie loved walking between the bonfires.” He brushed a few strands of hair back from his face. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have a Celtic war goddess watching over our relationship.”

“I agree.” Erywin reached over and touched Kerry’s hand. “And, for the records, I can’t say I’m entirely certain The Mórrígan exists—but our Phoenix is real, and so is Baba Yaga and a—”

“Wait—” Kerry wasn’t quite sure if he’d heard the instructor’s last statement correctly. “Baba Yaga is real?”

“Yes. She’s like our Phoenix: an old and powerful spirit living in Russia. She’s not pleasant to be around, either—ask Adric about her . . .” She tapped Kerry’s hand twice before pulling back. “My point is I don’t know if The Mórrígan is real: maybe yes, maybe no. But I find comfort in her protection, and who knows? Maybe she is out there watching—in which case I want to be on her good side.”

Based upon what he’d seen so far at the school—and vaguely remembering his E and A with the Phoenix when he arrived—he thought it entirely possible there could be something out there in the world calling itself The Mórrígan, and that it might actually like the fact that people believed in her protection . . . “It’s amazing the things I’m learning here. Six months ago I wouldn’t have believed there really were these powerful spirits—

“Six months ago you wouldn’t have believed you were a witch and sorceress, either.” She cocked her head to one side. “Look how that turned out.”

This time he laughed out loud. “Yeah. Can’t be skeptical about that any more, can I?”

 

Not only do we discover that Erywin is skeptical that a deity she’s offers invocations to may be real, but we discover that a creature of Russian folklore is real.  Does she have a hut with chicken legs, or does she just wander around the countryside and kill people because that’s how she rolls?  Now we’re beginning to see there are creatures out there that people have believed for centuries were just myths and stories, but surprise!  Not really.  Like Erywin tells Kerry, six months ago you wouldn’t have believed you were a witch–what do you say now, kid?

You say it’s a good idea you keep your options open.

Where I am right now is half-way through Chapter Twenty-Six.  It’s coming along nicely–

And look what's coming next!

And look what’s coming next!

Yeah.  Next scene is gonna be fun . . .

Girlfriend in My Pillow

First, the writing thing.  Though there was a bit of a struggle with the writing–motivations just weren’t what they should have been–I managed to squeak out a little over nine hundred and forty words in my newly added scene.  This did some interesting things to the word count–while the count for Act Two is now hovering just before forty-nine thousand, five hundred words, the count for the full manuscript hit a new milestone . . .

Yeah, two hundred thousand.  That could almost be the title for a Stargate episode.

Yeah, two hundred thousand. That could almost be the title for a Stargate episode.

I’ve only passed into the territory once before, and there’s a very good likelihood that this novel is going to surpass that other novel by some distance.  Just gotta keep going, moving forward, and remember that the next scene is gonna involve some math.  Just for me, though:  you won’t see it.  Science, bitches:  it makes writing better.  Or so I’m told.

Let’s put that behind me, though, because there’s something on my mind, something bothering.  Probably because I know the true meaning of what happened . . .

I’ve written a few times about how I’ve felt my dreams were either sadly lacking or simply non-existent.  Some of that has to do with my sleep habits, which are, frankly, pretty sucky.  It seems like if I don’t go to bed late and sleep for six hours straight, I wake up kind of out of it the next day.  Or for several days afterwards.

However . . . the last week or so the dreams have come back strong and with a vengeance.  Exceedingly vibrant as well.  Like last night, it seemed like I was spending a lot of time going to a job that I didn’t walk, and that it was cold and snowy in July, and when I arrived as said word someone tried to take the keys to my car, and I ended up breaking their arm to keep that from occurring.

It was Friday morning, however, that really hit me hard . . .

I’ve been in situations where I can’t tell if I’m truly asleep or not.  It’s like a waking dream; I know something’s going, I know I’m seeing something, but am I just thinking these things, or am I stuck in a dream so vivid that it feels like I’m awake?

Whatever I was feeling Friday morning, it doesn’t really matter.  What I felt was having a woman I’ve known for years, rolling over in bed next to me, saying good morning, honey, you’re up early, then leaning in close to me to plant a good morning kiss.  I leaned in close to receive said kiss and give her one of my own . . .

And that’s when I realized I was alone in bed.  Not only that, but my left hand was slowly rubbing the pillow I keep there to hug when I go to sleep.  I broke into sobbing, and it took me a good thirty minutes before I was able to drift off to sleep once more.

Unlike this young lady, I'm rarely smiling when I'm doing this.

Unlike this young lady, I’m rarely smiling when I do this.

With the return of the dreams have come the return of the emotions.  April was a bad time for feelings, and there were a lot of crying jags.  Tomorrow starts the first of my hormone treatments, or as some might say, “Welcome to Puberty 2.0!” and I have a feeling the next month or two are going to be crazy times at the casa.

Add to this a lot of heart string tugging on my part . . .

I can get through it.  Just takes a little perseverance, right?

The Crying Again and Again Game

Let’s start right off by saying that hormones are interesting things.  They define you in certain ways, they regulate some aspects of your body, and when they come and then go, they can pretty much drive you insane for a little while.  Particularly when they come and throw you into a Texas cage death match called “puberty”.  Oh, it’s so much fun.  Your body changes, your mind starts getting rewired, interesting “things” happen to you–

Fun, right?  We’ve all been through it . . .

Some of us liked it so much the first time we’re going through it a second time.  Why?  Because it’s fun, I just told you that!

"I'm so glad I signed up for this trip.  It's so--they stubbed their toe?  Ahhhhhh!"

“I’m so glad I signed up to go through puberty again. It’s so–my friend stubbed her toe? Whaaaa!”

That’s was me from about, oh, say, 11 AM yesterday until pretty much I went to bed–and even a little after that.  First off, I got upset because of a friend–not because she was mean to me or anything like.  No, because she was in a contest that I knew she’d poured her heart and soul into, and she didn’t so much as win, place, or show.  And I felt bad for her.  Real bad.  So bad that I started crying in the office.  It’s a good thing I have my own little office, because that way I could hide behind the door for a little bit and keep people from seeing me.  I was off and on with that gig a few times during the afternoon.

Then I was home and I was fine.  I had to run out and pick up a few things, then I stopped to eat and I figured, “Hey, a pizza buffet would be great right about now!”  Big mistake.  The pizza and pasta were good, but I had such a carb overload by the time I arrived home that I was in a semi-state of grogginess the rest of the night.  It was so bad all I could do was stare at the screen and think about writing–but write I could not.  Not a single word.

But that’s okay, because when I’m not writing I’m going over scenes in my head, reworking, refining.  So I did that.  With several different scenes.

Oh, joy.

One of the scenes has Annie about the open a magical can of whoop-ass on another student and getting stopped before any damage happens.  Why is she pissed?  Because the student put Kerry in the hospital, and if there’s one thing Annie doesn’t like it’s Kerry in the hospital, and–

Crying Jag Number One.

Okay, over that.  So then I start working on something else:  a thing the kids say to each other years down the line–you might even call it a vow.  A vow that Annie starts, that pretty much defines everything she feels for Kerry and–

Crying Jag Number Two.

Okay, something safe, then.  Kerry’s adventures in his own budding puberty, which leads to something happening to him, which then leads to visions and the telling of dreams and the two of them getting together and talking about them, and then all the emotions of those dreams coming out . . .

That was Crying Jag Number Three, and pretty much the end of the night.

So, I learned an important lesson yesterday:  pizza buffet for lunch, but not when you have writing at night.  Otherwise you won’t be working on the scene in front of you, you’ll be thinking of scenes to come, and that may not be a good thing . . .

"What do you mean the kids can't have any pudding?  Whaaaaa!"

“What do you mean the kids can’t have any pudding? Whaaaaa!”

Alone in Nox

My day is starting off pretty much the wrong way.  Sure, I managed close to a thousand words last night, finishing off a scene where Kerry is having to beg two of his favorite older females to help him with a problem, but that was last night.  Today is today, and it started about four AM.  Which is not cool.

The thing that woke me up was a rather depressing dream.  What happened isn’t very clear:  it seemed like I was boxing up people and preparing to send them somewhere.  Everything was gray and near permanent twilight, and I could tell that I wasn’t happy.  No, not in the least.

Not long after I woke up I started, for no reason at all, thinking about the deaths of my characters.  And then of a scene where one of them gets hurt bad, really torn up, and starts sobbing uncontrollably over the loss of someone close to them.  And then . . .

Well, then I sort of lay in a half-awake, half-asleep state until the alarm went off, and the computer came up, and I started writing this.  The way my mornings almost always start.

"Am I having fun with this blogging thing yet?"

“Am I having fun with this blogging thing yet?  Just askin’, you know?”

Something I realized while lying in bed:  I don’t remember my dreams that much any more.  And when I do, there’s little that’s memorable about them.  Two years ago I used to write a lot about my dreams, because I had some interesting things going on in my head.  I also had some horribly, hellacious stress going on in my life as well, but that’s another story.

But maybe that’s it:  maybe all the stress I felt then caused me to fall back into my dreams to find peace.  And I used to find it; there were all sorts of things I used to encounter there.  I also encountered a soul-sucking blackness once that frightened the hell out of me once I was awake, but you gotta take the bad with the good, right?

These days, however, it seems like none of that happens.  Even with all the stress and pain I feel with my current, long-ass, never-seeming-to-end novel, it never seems as if I find any solace in sleep.  When I do remember anything, it’s all different shades of gray and feelings that nothing right is happening, or ever will happen.  It’s pretty much as if there isn’t much happiness in the waking hours, and that translates over to the Land of Dreams, where goddamn Morpheus is busy playing Battleship with his sister Death, and hasn’t the time to do anything to help out a poor girl.

I used to dream of old Cassidy, the girl I invented before–well, before she became me.  I had dreams of The Monster House before I wrote down notes about how it would make a great story, and that recurring dream never recurred.  The one I miss the most is my Muse.  I never dream of her any more, and she used to be there a lot.  So many times.

Now, nothing.  She’s gone.  Somewhere out there, but not visiting me.  And that leaves me sadder every day.

This might only be something temporary.  Maybe there’s something in The Burg that sucks up all the good energy that leaves you great dream, and all that remains is as gray and semi-lifeless as this place can be at times.

All I know is, I want my dreams back.

It’s not enough to dream about them; it’s everything to live thought them once the lights go out and your eyes close.

Why deny someone a little happiness in their subconscious?

The Grand Exchange of Magic

I did a lot last night.  Or at least it seemed like a lot.  But, yes:  there was a lot that passed out of my imagination and on to more than one various page.

Things were finished up in the garden:

 

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

Kerry finally broke the moment. He slowly pulled away, but when Annie looked upon his face, she no longer saw a boy lost in thought: she now saw a slowly growing smile. He found his voice, uttering the only word that made sense given the situation. “Wow.”

“Yes; wow.” She chuckled as she hugged him. “I didn’t expect that.”

“I, uh . . . I didn’t either.”

“Then . . .” She ran her right index finger along his smile line. “Why?”

“Why, what?”

“Why did you kiss me?”

Kerry twisted his smile while he thought. “It seemed like something I was suppose to do.”

Annie watched his eyes closely, wondering if he had drawn upon some forgotten memory. Could it be that he remembers another time when kissing me was that difficult? Did he remember a time when

At that moment a woman’s voice seemed to come from everywhere around them. “Attention, all newly arriving students. Please report to The Rotunda immediately.”

 

Yeah, that was probably the Headmistress, being a killjoy.  Thank, Heady!

There were things changed in Memory’s End; there were things changed in The Witch House–

 

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

The light in the room was good so it was easy for Annie to instantly recognize the woman. “You were on the flight with us, in the rear cabin.” She didn’t add that she knew her as the other woman who’d stared at her.

The woman brushed her hair back behind her ears, showing off a pair of gold studs that blended nicely with her light caramel complexion. “On the contrary: you were on the flight with me.” Her dark eyes twinkled as they darted from child to child. “Let me see . . .” After a few seconds she snapped her fingers before pointing in Annie’s direction. “You’re Anelie Kirilova.”

Annie hated it when someone used her actual given name without permission. “Yes, I am.”

“I thought I’d heard I was getting a Legacy.” The woman’s eyes narrowed slightly. “I just missed having your parents in my class; they were F Levels when I taught my first year, and neither were asked into sorcery for their CEPs, which I found a bit surprising.” She slowly widened her stance before crossing her arms. “I see your father did well this last weekend.”

“I wouldn’t know—” Annie didn’t like that this woman not only knew so much about her, but had revealed so much in front of Kerry. “I don’t follow my father’s work.”

“Hum.” The woman turned her attention to her other visitor. “I remember you from the flight as well.” This time she held out her hand. “You have a name, Friend of Anelie Victoreva?”

“Kerry Malibey.” He shook her hand, doing his best to make eye contact, which wasn’t something he felt comfortable doing with this woman.

“Helena Lovecraft.” She turned on a little smile as she ended the shake. “Dark Mistress of All.” As she let go of his hand Helena saw a question in Kerry’s eye she hadn’t seen in a while. “I’m not.”

“What?” Kerry turned guarded, as if he’d shared a secret without saying anything.

“I’m not related. Lovecraft.” She set her hands on her hips, but came off far more relaxed than when she’d spoke with Annie. “As far as I’m aware we’re no relation, but who knows? Maybe there’s something my father hasn’t told me.”

 

That Dark Mistress of All:  a real butt buster.

There were changes in the meadow, where all things were laid out, but not in the way one would have expected:

 

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

“Just a lot . . .” His sigh was long and sounded full of exhaustion. “I don’t walk like this back home. I don’t go out that much at all. And if I do go out, I take a bus.” He leaned into Annie, but this time his sigh was full of contentment. “I just need to get my energy back.” He looked across the open area before them. “What is this place?”

“It’s called Selena’s Meadow. One of the largest open spaces here—or so I read.” With Kerry leaning against her shoulder and arm Annie couldn’t say she found herself in an undesirable position. But her thoughts continued to drift back to this morning’s meeting, and their meetings with the instructors. Professor Semplen’s was by far the most normal, discussing plans for growing and testing, but even without Professor Arrakis drawing a vision from from Kerry and her, there was Professor Douglass talking about cantrips and foci and how they’d bring about spell effects—and the less said about Professor Lovecraft and her passive-aggressive needling designed to point out things about Annie without actually saying them, the better.

And the location they were now headed towards—Annie felt a knot form in the pit of her stomach the moment Kerry said he wanted to check out the Flight School. If there was one thing she was extremely familiar with it was flight, and she was fearful of how he was going to react when he saw what transpired there . . .

At that moment two people flew by on long, slender, mechanical devices, close enough to the ground that one could see the processor in the back, the seat in the middle, and the heads-up HUD in front. But for someone not versed in the history of these machines, they bore a striking resemblance to something far more familiar . . .

Kerry stirred immediately, much to Annie’s chagrin. “Those guys are flying. Are those—”

Annie saw no point in hiding the truth. “Those are PAVs.”

He turned towards Annie. “What’s that?”

Even though she’d started the conversation, Annie was afraid to continue. To admit what she knew was to admit she’d hidden things from Kerry all week—but after her admissions last night, she found it impossible to pretend any longer—

Kerry took Annie’s hand and held it between his. “It’s okay.”

“What is?”

“I know.”

What makes you so certain you know anything? She almost asked that question, but decided on something less glib. “You know what?”

“That you’re like the instructors.” He leaned in close and lowered his voice to a near-whisper. “Special.” He squeezed her hand. “Not that you aren’t already.”

She wanted to dote on Kerry’s last comment, but she decided to leave that for later. “How did you know?” Annie turned her hand over and pressed her palm into his. “When did you know?”

“I suspected something last night, but today I knew for sure.”

Annie tilted her head to one side. “How did you know last night? The E and A?”

“That was a big part, but then at the hospital . . .” He closed his eyes for a second. “Nurse Coraline came out after being with you and did her glowing hand thing on me with that scanner. I figured that she probably wouldn’t have done that unless someone . . .” He gazed into Annie’s eyes. “ . . . told her I wouldn’t get all weirded out when she started, you know—doing that.”

He positioned himself the same as last night: one leg under the other, his body turned on the bench so he was facing her. “When the headmistress spoke this morning, I was watching you—your body language. You came off more worried than surprised. Particularly when you looked to see how I was reacting.”

Annie hadn’t suspected that she’d appeared that worried. “I only looked at you the one time—”

“Three.”

“No.”

“Yes. Three.” His grin was bright and wide. “I said I was watching you—not the headmistress. I only needed to hear her.”

That was all Annie needed to hear to start blushing. “Kerry—”

“And there was everything else today. You taking me to see the divination instructor and not getting freaked out over the stuff that happened while we were there. Telling Professor Semplen about the herbs your mother grows for her ‘mixtures’. Not blinking an eye at any of the stuff Professor Douglas said. And then Professor Lovecraft . . .”

His green eyes twinkled as he recounted the memory. “You weren’t confused by a thing she said, but you were getting upset because she was saying things you didn’t want her to say—about your family being at school, your father, and how she’d heard of you. You also cringed a bit when she said ‘Legacy’. I figured that was because I was in the room and you didn’t want me to know.” He turned his eyes upward as he shook his head slowly from side to side a couple of times. “That sort of nailed it since I know what that word means.”

 

Cleaver gi–I mean, boy.

I changed up a scene in the hospital, where “some Twilight strangeness” was happening:

 

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

Gretchen tugged lightly on her right earring, something she did when she was unsure of her next action. “Okay, listen: you can have fifteen minutes, but no more. Since there’s no one else here, I’ll set the ward lights to blink when your time’s up.” She’d almost slipped past the curtain when gave Annie a reminder. “Stop by the office on the way out: I need to give you something to help you sleep.”

“But . . .” Annie slowly settled into the chair between Beds One and Two. “I won’t need anything.”

“Yes, you will. I have to write up your visit, and what I did to help.” She winked again. “Rules.” She stepped out and slipped the curtain closed.

Annie watched Kerry sleep. She noticed the slow movement of his chest and stomach. She saw the thin line of saliva hanging from the corner of his mouth. She jumped and clutched her chest when his left leg jerked under the covers.

She reached over and laid her hand against his before giving it a light squeeze. She didn’t release it: she didn’t want to, ever. She could sit next to his bed all night and hold him, keep him company—

His eyelids twitched a few times, and Annie felt his fingers flex and relax. He made an untellable sound, then spoke softly in his sleep. “It’s only rain, no need to . . .” Then his breathing returned to normal as he sunk deeper into sleep.

Never releasing his hand, Annie slipped closer and spoke to him in whispered hushes. “What are you seeing? What is it?” She leaned in a few centimeters more. “Why don’t you remember me? When will you know what I am to you?”

She lay her head on the bed, against the hand she held in hers, and closed her eyes. “Why can’t I see you in my dreams any more? We’re so close now; why doesn’t it happen? Why aren’t we there together?

Why?”

And now that I look at this scene as is sits, I like it much better than a sobbing Annie whimpering in the darkness.  Nope, nope, nope.  Let Kerry do all the crying, he’s good at it.  And the “It’s only rain–” line?  Watch for that much later.

There remains a few more things to rewrite–three really major scenes, in fact.  You can tell by my notes:

Here I will work on really important stuff--you know, things.

Here I will work on really important stuff–you know, things.

Once they are out of the way and I feel confident I’ve got characterization locked down, I can get back to new words and new things–new tortures. I worked out one scene last night where one sees how to take a witch’s magic away–it’s not hard, but the end result isn’t always pretty.  See, I don’t just throw bogarts at my kids–

Oh, no.  I like to crank that horror up to eleven and see what shakes out.

The Slumbering Afterglow

Though I didn’t write in quick bursts yesterday, I wrote a lot.  Well, maybe not a lot:  after all, there were a lot of things going on, one of which was getting an infection in my left thumb cleared up.  Do you know what it’s like to take the part of your thumb that’s sort of swollen with an infection and bang it again the space bar every time you need a space between words?  It hurts–a lot.  But all better now, so I can continue my insanity.

(I know you’re thinking, “Why didn’t you just stop writing, Cassie?”  Don’t bother:  you already know the answer.)

I didn’t think I’d written much, since I seemed to peck along due to a number of things.  One was the thumb, the other was thinking over a couple of others scenes that I want to do, and another was . . . well, lets call it feelings, cause they were there when I was writing this part.

And since I’m in a good mood this morning, you get to see all of it–just about nine hundred and fifty words.  It starts up right when the excerpt I published yesterday ended.  And if you didn’t read that–for shame, for shame.

 

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

Annie brushed a few strands of hair from her face. “I’m glad I asked you out.”

Kerry blushed once again. “Um . . .”

“Yes?”

“I’ve never had a girl tell me they, um—” He tried not to look at Annie. “That they asked me out.”

“Really.” She took a long sip of her Lemon Aid. “Does it feel as if I’ve asked you out on a date?”

“I guess.” Kerry seemed ready to sink into this tee shirt, and appeared to want to do a dozen other things besides answer these questions. “I’ve never been asked out on a date, so I wouldn’t know.”

“You mean asked out by a girl?”

“Well, yeah: that, too.” He finally managed to get his fidgeting under control. “I’m just happy you asked me along. You’ve been—” The deep blush grew bright. “You’ve been really nice to me.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” It was easy for Annie to be nice to Kerry, though he didn’t know this, or why. “You don’t complain, which is one good thing about you. And you can hold a conversation, which is another.”

He nodded, as a slight grin began to form. “Thanks.”

She rested her cheek against her hands as she leaned towards him. “I’ll bet all your friends say the same about you.”

The blush and the semi-grin vanished as Kerry’s face went slack. He was facing Annie, but he wasn’t looking at her. “I . . .” His lips tightened as his gaze began darting from place to place.

“Kerry?” Annie knew something was wrong, but she wasn’t sure what had just happened. “What is it?”

His voice sounded very small. “I don’t have any friends.”

Uh, oh. She was aware that Kerry was a solitary person, but she didn’t realize he was friendless. I never asked . . . “I’m sure that’s not true—”

“It is true.” He bit his lower lip to prevent it from quivering. “Never had any in California, and for sure don’t have any in Cardiff. That’s why no one ever asks me to do anything, or if I want to do something.” He took a deep breath as the fight to keep his lip from quivering was lost. “Not even my parents; they never ask me if I want to do anything.” He looked out the window as a tear trickled down his cheek. “No one cares about me.”

Her expression never changed as Annie’s heart shattered. She’d heard sadness before, but never anything like the despair she’d just felt emanating from Kerry. “That isn’t true—”

It is.” The trickle had become a stream, and his words barely escaped his tightening throat. “I don’t have any friends at school. My parents think I’m some weird kid who sits in his room and reads and does stuff on his computer and listens to music, and that’s it. If it wasn’t for The Foundation paying for me to go to school, they wouldn’t have cared if I wanted to go or not. No one cares about me; no one loves me.” He set his glasses aside and covered his eyes. “No one at all.”

Annie felt her own growing sadness as Kerry broke down. She wasn’t sadden by his actions: she was saddened by his statement, “No one loves me”. She wanted to leap across the table and hold and tell him the truth, tell him what she knew, what she felt—

And if you do, then what? Will he believe you? He doesn’t know you. He’ll think you’re crazy, that you’re playing with him, and that will only make him more upset—and it will be your fault.

“Don’t say that, Kerry.” Annie keep her voice low and her tone full of caring. “I know there is someone out there who cares for you, who loves you: I know it. And if you think hard . . .” The corners of her mouth turned upward slightly. “I know you’ll see them. I know you know them.”

The tears stopped; Kerry sniffed several times, trying to clear his nose. He never once looked at him, instead keeping his face in profile. “My grandparents.” He raised his voice a little as he finally turned towards Annie. “They do; they love me. I know it.”

She nodded slowly. “See? I knew you’d find someone.” She maintained the slight grin so Kerry wouldn’t see what she was feeling—

“Yeah.” He wiped his eyes with the back of his arm. “You’re right.” He picked up a napkin and dabbed at his face. “I didn’t mean to do that, it’s just . . .”

“You get emotional at times?”

“Yeah. Can’t help it when that happens.” He laid the napkin next to his plate and put on his glasses. “My parents hate it. My dad says it’s because I’m ‘not strong’, whatever that’s suppose to mean. My mom . . . she just says, ‘You cry like a girl’.”

“That’s not a very nice thing to say.” She sat up, her eyes clear and sharp. “And it’s also not true. I don’t cry, and I’m a girl. So there.”

Kerry chuckled. “You don’t cry?”

She shook her head, her eyes half closed. “No. Not at all. My mother once told me it wasn’t natural.”

“Ah.” He waved his hand as if not concerned. “What do our parents know, huh?”

Annie watched him turn away from the window and refocus upon her. “Are you okay now?”

He took a deep breath. “Yeah.” His head slowly tilted to one side. “Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to go and spoil the day.”

“You didn’t.” The smile that formed was meant to be warm and comforting. “And there’s still a lot left.”

Kerry looked like he was going to pick up his phone and check something. “There is?”

“Yes. We don’t have to be back to the hotel for another four hours.” She leaned her chin upon her joined fists. “There are still things to see.”

 

There are always things to see, Young Annie.  And you will, trust me.  You will.

This was a difficult part for me to write, at least from an emotional standpoint.  I’ve said a lot of the things that Kerry said at one time of another, many of them when I was his age.  And the things his parents said to him–yeah, I’ve heard them as well.  And he had better grandparents than mine, who were a bunch of racist assholes and drunks.  At least he has something better than me.

And then–then–when I get to the “No one loves me part” and Annie’s feeling her heart break (for reasons I know, but you don’t) . . . well, I’m listening to music, and it’s a live version of the final two compositions off Wind and Wuthering, … In That Quite Earth and Afterglow, the final stanza of Afterglow comes up:

 

And I would search everywhere
Just to hear your call,
And walk upon stranger roads than this one
In a world I used to know before.
For now I’ve lost everything,
I give to you my soul.
The meaning of all that I believed before
Escapes me in this world of none,
I miss you more.

(Music and Lyrics by Anthony Banks)

 

And that was about the time I needed to sit out on the balcony and get over a good cry of my own.

Really, though:  was I thinking it was Annie trying to pull Kerry back into something that she knows but he doesn’t?  Or was Kerry feeling something that he knew once but has now forgotten.  Or was I pining away for something I dearly want, but can likely never have?

Yes.

What this means is this long stretch of writing, this scene now over five thousand words, is just about finished.  Just add a few things tonight, hack and slash it into place, and I can call it revised.

No, really, it's really near the end.  Really!

No, really, it’s really near the end. Really!

And when this is finished–

I can move on to other scene and drive myself crazy.You

Let Us Relive Our Lives in What We Tell You

Breakfast is out of the way, more or less; all that remains is the coffee, and I’m about to refill that as soon as the song I have on finishes.  Yes, it’s six fifty-five AM and the morning has already been an hour in the making.  That means it’s time for a post.  That means it’s time to start writing.

It’s a strange live I’ve chosen for myself.  Write a blog post at six-thirty in the morning, then write code all day, then come home and edit twenty pages for a while, then time line out something because I need to know when an event could take place because of something happening to one of the characters–yeah, Research Bitches!  Finally, about eight forty I was able to relax and watch How to Train Your Dragon, which is one of my favorite movies, and far superior, in my opinion, to Toy Story 3.  Because Viking kid with a dragon.

You love them, you protect them, you take your girlfriend flying on them--Kerry needs one of these.  Oh, and lets not forget the blowing up of your enemies . . .

You love them, you protect them, you take your girlfriend flying on them–Kerry needs one of these. Oh, and lets not forget when you use them to blow up your enemies . . .

And then I’m back at it today.  Same as it ever was.

Last night, while I was plotting out my time lines and thinking about some of the crap my kids will get into once the future rolls around, I wondered about some of the things that have drawn me to writing, as well as some of the things I’ve written.  Like it or not, there’s always a little bit of me in my stories.  Maybe it’s just a personal feeling, or perhaps it’s an idea I want to espouse.  There is at least one story I’ve written that deals with feelings I have towards other person, and another where I’m more or less returning to some emotions I hadn’t felt in a long time–which is probably one of the reasons why I find myself getting into crying jags now and then.

A lot of writers get caught up in their characters, and I find myself doing the same once in a while.  I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ll often start crying at the end of one of my stories not only because I’ve reached the end and there’s a huge emotional release upon typing out, “The End”, but in a few of my stories something extremely emotional has occurred between my characters, and it’s hard to hold back the feelings.  You’re digging deep into something within your own essence to throw into your characters, and when that moment happens, it’s like it happened to you.

I thought out a scene for my kids last night that hit me in ways that make a lot of sense, and at the same time left me feeling like my heart was going to wither.  It was a cold scene, but as I thought it out logically, it was the only thing possible for the plot as thought out.  It even involved making one of the hardest characters I’ve ever made reach a point where she starts crying–that’s some hard core sad right there.

I talk about these characters as if they are real people sometimes, and while I know they aren’t, they are, in a way, an extension of my own ideas and feelings, so when you give them happy times, you feel the happy times, and when you crap all over their lives and throw them into the Pit of Emotional Hell, then you’re going to experience the fall.  And trust me:  I will crap all over their lives, because life is hard for Normal people, so just imagine the sort of shit that gets thrown at you when you’re a witch.

What doesn’t kill them makes your characters stronger–but what does it do to me?  It lets me tell the tales of their lives–

And by doing so, I bring a little of my life out for all to see.

To See the Tormented Woe

Snowmageddon III has hit, and this time The Burg is down for the count.  None of this, “Hey, three hour delay coming into work,” stuff now:  the state has shut down like that.  Mostly because it’s suppose to be like this all day. Which means I’ll be in the apartment today, and probably on a start delay tomorrow.  After that–who knows?  My guess would be more snow and wind and icy crap for weeks to come.

"How's that cold bothering you now, honey?  Maybe you need a glacier to get you in the mood?"

“How’s that cold bothering you now, honey? Maybe a glacier would get you in a better mood!”

You should let it go, Elsa.

Finished Annie’s big reveal last night, and it was a lot bigger than I’d ever anticipated it running.  Kerry’s meeting with Vicky ran fifteen hundred words:  last night’s scene between Annie and Deanna ran a little over four thousand.  But Annie has a lot more on her mind, you can bet on that.

She got past all the stuff about being a selfish little girl and got into the part that really bothered her–namely, how it was that she’d seen a certain kid in her dreams for quite some time–meaning most of her so far short life–and how she’d developed an attraction for said kid because when they’re right there in your dreams, waiting for you like a cute little kitty, you don’t walk away from that, at least not willingly.

Here is the conundrum:  things like lake houses and bedrooms and getting mama’s books on sorcery, that’s not a big deal.  Parents can say no, but as Annie pointed out, she knows how to work them.  The things themselves?  They can’t say jack.  They go along for the ride.

What happens when the thing you want can say no?  What happens when you’ve geared your life around knowing someone, and believing that they are going to be happy being a part of your life–and then you realize, hey, this dude might have other thoughts, particularly since it doesn’t appear as if he’s completely on-board with the whole, “I’m in love with you,” thing.  Yeah, he’s trying, and I’m pushing, and–

What if in the end it’s a big-badda-boom?  What if there is no passing Go, no collecting two hundred dollars?  What if there is no Multipass at the end of the Salem School rainbow?

Throughout the scene there were hints that the tears were coming:  here, there, you’d see a few drips.  By the end of the scene she was crying so hard she was flinging them to the sides of the Deanna the Seer’s office.  It’s wasn’t a nice moment, but then, getting the kids to cry is my business.  I don’t always like it, but I always have a reason.

It still made me feel bad.  Any time anyone cries because they’re afraid they’ll lose love, it’s a horrible moment.  Such as it was when I finished writing, I started listening to some tunes I hadn’t heard in a while, stuff that brought a smile to my face when I was feeling down.  Like . . .

Yeah, I can see Kerry listening to this while he flies.

The Tears of Past Chapters

Let’s get the soundtracks out of the way, shall we?  First, I finished Monster, then went into Don’t Look Back, by Boston and City to City, by Gerry Rafferty, and finally ended the night with Eye in the Sky, by (placing little pinkie in the corner of the mouth) The Alan Parsons Project.  Good tunes, good times.

I did a lot last night.  Really, at first glance it might not look like it, but it was.  I finished one big scene, maybe the biggest written so far–let me check . . . yeah, it is.  Bigger by about a thousand words.

The scenes were both filled with tears.  I don’t have too many characters cry, because who likes to cry?  Not me, I’ll tell you.  But it does happen, particularly when you’re trying to explain some deep concepts to an emotionally stunted eleven year old boy, and they start loosing it over something they see as far more important to them.  It resulted in crying, and some more crying, and eventually you’re crying in front of someone you didn’t want to cry in front of and you do your best to firm up and get a grip upon yourself.

I thought I was going to cry while writing this last night.  I fully expected it, because I’ve written stuff like this before and the tears started flowing pretty readily.  Not the characters, I should mention, but mine.  Even during the day, when I was going over this scene in my head, I hit a couple of moments when I began crying because the words hit me in a certain way.

I expected the worst, but when I got to the part that I imagined were going to cause emotional distress, it didn’t come.  Sure, there was a little sadness, and that’s expected at times, but no river of salty water streaming down my cheeks.  No, I left that for my character.  In my case I was simply too damn focused on getting the scene right.

Part of that, I believe, came from thinking about the scene earlier.  By the time I reached writing time, I was pretty much cried out and I just wanted to write.  I’ve had that happen before as well, in another way:  some people, after reading my erotica, would say, “Oh, man, you must have gotten so turned on writing that!”  Um, no.  I didn’t have time to get turned on, because I was writing.  Getting turned on is for the amateurs, and I’m a professional.  Or so I imagine.

Sometime today I expect to reach the three-quarter point in this year’s NaNo experience.  Forty thousand isn’t that far away, and after I do my running around this morning, I’m going to crack off a couple of scenes that I figure will put me over.  After that it’s another thirteen and a half thousand words, and I can get another badge for meeting my November goals.

I’ll close out that chapter and move on to the next.

Because that’s what we do, right?

Daily word count:  2,863.  Total word count:  38,093.