Easing Into the Additions

Since last time we met there wasn’t a lot of writing going down–unless you count all the note taking I was making for my recap of the pilot of Fear the Walking Dead, which comes out later tonight my time.  No, after writing seventeen hundred words for the novel, and another fifteen hundred words (for notes, mind you) for my recap, I was all storied out.

What I did was look at the novel and think about structure change, because I’m nuts like that.  I see something and I usually want to leave it alone, but just as I did with A For Advanced, I tinkered with it a bit after I had a much better idea of where the novel was going.  So you do reach a point where you can look at layout and structure and think, “Now, this would look much better as a stand-alone . . . something.”

That’s what I did with Chapter Thirteen.  I gave it a look, realized that the first three scenes fit together, and then looked at the last few scenes and realized they really were a completely different beast altogether.  So I did this:

I tinkered, 'cause that's what I do.

I tinkered, ’cause that’s what I do.

The last three scenes of Chapter Thirteen became Chapter Fourteen, meaning Thirteen ended with Kerry flying through the air with the greatest of ease–but unlike Annie, who doesn’t need a broom to fly, his landing wasn’t so great.  That’s where I make a break and put in the new Chapter Fourteen, because it’ll open up with someone we know waking up in Bed #2, Bay #1–I don’t believe I’m giving away too much of a spoiler.  That was where I put the last three scenes of the old chapter–

But now there are four scenes, so what gives, Cassie?  Check the time line in the image and look at the title, and remember what Mea Culpa means, and you may figure out what’s going on.  Let’s just say that scene is needed, and it’ll help draw to a close something that’s going on.  Sort of.  Because nothing ever ends here at Salem.

But this wasn’t the only changing I made.  I went in here, too:

Here being a chapter I talk about but haven't worked upon.

Here being a chapter I talk about but haven’t worked upon.

The now Chapter Sixteen is the still the first chapter of Part Give, and it’s also the Salem Overnight chapter which, up until last night, possessed one scene and nothing more.  No more, I say.  I added three more scenes and finalized a map that goes with this chapters–map, you say?  Yep.  I love maps.  There’s a lot of mapping going on in this chapter, and that’s one of the reasons I have a scene called Planing on PEI, because I always know where my students are.  What’s PEI?  Look it up, you’ll find it rather easily.

With all this work finished I went back and renumbered all the chapters and the chapter title pages, and called it a night.  Because my writing for the day was through.  I’ve said it before:  not all writing is writing.  Sometimes it’s research, sometimes it’s creating characters, and sometimes it’s plotting out your novel by getting your chapters in line with what you’re thinking.

And right now I have a far clearer view of where I’m going.

An Short Yet Annoying Interlude

I know you’re here looking for what a promised I’d have right now, but guess what?  It ain’t here.  And it’s not because I didn’t finish the scene last night, because I totally did.

I even put in other scenes to blabber on about as well.

I even put in other scenes to blabber on about as well.

Yes, I wrote twelve hundred and fifty words exactly last night and put the main Dance Away scene to bed–along with me, because it was close to eleven-thirty when I finally went to sleep.  I showed the rest of the children who are in the notes, what they were wearing, identified them, and then . . . we found out who Annie and Kerry had come as for the dance.  Oh, yeah.  Great times.

However . . . I have a special assignment for this morning, and because it take some time to put together everything with the proper images and accompanying snark, and because I’m supposed to be on the road in, let me check the clock, fifty minutes at six-forty in the AM, I figured I’d work on that post when I return from my travails.

Yes, you get two posts today!  Aren’t you the lucky ones?

In the mean time you can guess away all you like about my kid’s costumes, and you can wonder at whatever I’m implying with the titles of the sub-scenes shown in the image above.  Needless to say, I think the one between Annie and Deanna will likely generate the most comments, because . . . well, they’re talking about love, aren’t they?

But with me you never know what you’re getting:  I say one thing, and in my mind I’m thinking something completely different.  It’s one of the advantages of being the writer:  you are supposed to know what’s going on, and you leave the readers guess right up until the moment when you give them what you want.

I’m looking forward to writing that next scene, because it’s one that’s come to me over the course of the last week, and what would the school year be without Annie and Deanna having a heart-to-heart.  Actually, they have a couple of heart-to-hearts, because Deanna likes to listen, and Annie . . . give her the chance and she loves to talk.  And it must be something about which she can’t talk to Kerry about.

It must be serious.

It’s six on the nose and I’m ending the post now.  I’ll see you all later in the evening.

Play nice, kids.

The Pain of the Past and the Future of Uncertainty 

Today is a rough day.  Today is the day after my latest electrolysis treatment, and let me tell ya, it was a wild one.

I made it through:  I made it through the full two hours and I didn’t cry, though I twitched and squirmed and even hissed and shook a little.  But I finished, I paid, and I made it home–

Though it does look a bit like a tornado tore across my face.

Though it does look a bit like a tornado tore across my face.

The women who does my work said she couldn’t believe how much she accomplished, and I believe it, because I was there.  And don’t be fooled by that smug look:  I was really out of it right there.  I didn’t do much writing because it was hard keeping my head in the game.  I managed three hundred words right on the dot, with the last one being, “What?”  That coming from a student who just sort of burst out.  In Sorcery class.  In front of Helena.  It won’t go well.

But–out of it.  Right.  I was out of it, and spent about a half hour in front of the television icing my face.  I was so out of it that when I started changing for work this morning, I realized I’d put on my pajama bottoms backwards, and had slept in them that way.  But I’m much better now.  Sort of.  It’s just a good thing it was cool outside, ’cause the walk in would have been brutal otherwise.

However, the walk in did allow me to think–and I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.  The last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about Annie and Kerry and their future together–don’t worry, it’s not bad.  It’s just filling in a few blanks that I’ve had, and fleshing out some areas that I knew of, but I wanted to get better.  I’ve actually started taking note for this stuff, because I have too many things to remember, and it’s starting to spill out.

Like this morning.  Yes, I’m looking through things prior to writing, and I pull up the story and all of a sudden I’m thinking, “Hey, you know, I want to add too scenes, but . . . where to put them?”  Then I’m looking around the scenes and I hit one chapter and think, “What he hell was this about again?”  Because I hadn’t written down anything to remind me what was happening at that point.  So I had to pull up my time line for the story, because I knew it would have some information, and sure enough, it told me what I needed to remember.  I wrote down those notes with the promise of fleshing it out a little more, because the actions in one scene set up something that’s going to happen in a later scene.

As for those new scenes–

I'm looking at you, future chapters.

I’m looking at you, future chapters.

I think one of the new scenes is gonna happen in Chapter Twelve, and will be the first one.  It makes sense because I know what happens in From Green to Dream, and setting up the lead-in with a conversation between the two people in the new scene would fit there well.  As for the other new scene–it just came to me where it should go.  Because it makes sense.

So . . . get through this day, heal up, feel better, write more.

Make notes.

Should I leave myself a note to do that last?

Walking Through the Long Stay

Yesterday was one of those good and not so good days.  It was good because I went to a makeup party and hung out with some great women and had a lot of fun.  It was not so good ’cause I had to drive to Silver Springs, MD, which is just north of DC, which meant I needed to drive I-83 to 695 to 95 to 495, which can otherwise be known as Vehicular Hell.  The traffic is always moving, but it’s heavy all the way through Baltimore and Washington, and you can’t let up concentration for most of the route.  I was fine going in, but by the time I made the trek home I was already tired, and keeping my mind on the road proved to be a lot of work, so by the time I stumbled back into The Burg I was fairly exhausted.

Also, the moment I turned on the main light in my apartment–which is like my only light in my apartment–the bulb blew and I had nary a spare, so I had to run out and pick up a new one.  That meant it was at least another half hour before I could relax and watch the last episode of Mad Men, where it appears Don Draper’a navel gazing may have led to the creation of the most memorable TV ad that didn’t involve Barry Manilow.

Still, I had a great time and got to wear my orange skirt for the first time:

As one can see, I don't take great pictures in my apartment.

As one can see, I don’t take great pictures in my apartment.

I was at least comfortable as I drove.  As well as cool and comfortable.

Needless to say, I didn’t write a word yesterday.  I couldn’t even give much thought to scenes because the mind was on the road, and when it wasn’t it’d turned to stone.  I usually pride myself in being able to through some story ideas together, or even work out dialog and scenes, while I’m out on the road, but not yesterday.  Nope, a whole lot of nope.

It’s not that it’s needed.  I have a great idea of where this novel is going, and I know what needs to be said.  The next scene is gift testing . . .

Happens right here, in the building on the left.  we haven't been down here much.

Happens right here, in the building on the left. we haven’t been down here much.

And I’ll recount a little about what the kids went through for that.  It’s not much of a relaxing “Before school starts” weekend, but that’s how things go down.  As the scene that comes after this next will explain, Annie and Kerry are starting to realize that their B Levels are probably going to be a bit ass busting, between the advanced classes, getting called up for minion duty, and whatever else might come their way.  Oh, and that vision will get a little bit of discussion:  after all, why wouldn’t it?

Ah, my kids are growing up so quickly.  Which may not be a good thing.

Back to writing tonight.  Because I can only be so lazy for so long.

The Seeing of the Scene

If by now you haven’t caught on, I write.  It’s not my day job–I have one of those where I go into an office and do things and stuff and come home at the end of the day–but it’s one I’ve been doing for a while; just about four years come this September.  It is my dream to do this full time, but unless I get the damn books out there for people to read, that will never happen.

If you’ve followed me from the start, you’ll also notice that my writing style has changed considerably.  There is a different flow to it these days, far more than when I published my first stories two and three years back.  The way I write has changed a great deal, too:  probably because I spend so much time now waltzing through these new worlds which now have become old worlds due to my having lived in them for right around two years now–three years if you count the times I’d think all this over while driving back and forth to Indianapolis during the summer of 2012.

Lately, however, the writing has turned into . . . well, I have become heavily involved in a task known as “getting it right.”  Particularly with this new story, getting each scene started has become a complete pain finding the right words, the right setting, the right mood.  Example One is below.  This is the start of the newest scene in my current novel.

 

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

The evening had reached the point where the coven tower lights would flash three times to indicate the lights were going out in a minute, but on the second floor of Cernunnos Coven there wasn’t a need for lights out, for the lights had been out for nearly an hour while the students used alternate light sources as they relaxed in comfort in the open space outside their rooms.

Penny, Alex, and Jairo had gathered pillows from the ground floor storage and set them out in a circle. Penny and Alex used various spells and enchantments arrange a few of the pillows so they could lay back against them, while Jario prepared local snacks and cool drinks in the small kitchen in the lower level.

While the C Levels were busy, the B Levels did their part to make for a relaxing evening.

Since they’d need light, Annie created several small spheres of cold fire and levitated them overhead. Kerry took musical suggestions from everyone, set them up on his tablet, then set it against the wall between the entrances to the bathrooms, then crafted a spell so the speakers would project the sound around them, making it seem as if they were surrounded by music.

In the blue light of cold fire the five B and C Levels sat listening to music, snacking on tequeños and golfeados while drinking merengadas, and enjoying their company.

 

That’s just two hundred and thirty-five words–and that took me forever to write.  Or close to forty minutes, if my internal guessing is correct.  Now, I will admit to about five minutes of research looking up snacks and beverages from Venezuela, which constitutes the last line of the excerpt, but the rest of it was all me sitting in front of the laptop trying to figure out what I want to say.  Particularly that first paragraph:  that little gem probably took a good fifteen minutes of my life to figure out.

"Lights?  Lighting?  Should they just grab a student from another coven and use them as a bonfire?"

“Lights? Lighting? Should they just grab a student from another coven and use them as a bonfire?”

Don’t ask Annie about that last; she’s got a couple of students in mind.

It’s been like that since starting this novel.  Getting the scene started usually takes a bit of work, but once it’s going, it’s off and running.  Tonight might not be that case, since I’ve got a butt-load of things to do when I get home, but then again, since most of that revolves around laundry, I can write while waiting for things to get clean.  At least try and get it finished before Touch of Evil comes on tonight, because that’s one of those movies I don’t like to miss.

There’s nothing wrong with getting it right up front.  I know most people who have cut their teeth on NaNoWriMo say, “Write first, then edit later.”  To paraphrase Col. Tom Parker, “That’s good enough for you, but what about me?”  Not that I haven’t worked on a major edit:  I did it last year about this time on the Parts One and Two of A For Advanced.  But I like to avoid that if possible, because . . . well, just because.  Really, too:  I’m laying out the scenes in a far different way than the last novel.  The kids are back on familiar ground, so there’s no need for a lot of oohing and aahing.  They know the drill, just like when they boarded the plane, and there isn’t much of a need to get back into that–save for the moments like the one above, where my kids are truly in The Pond and becoming part of the student body.

I’ve noticed this popping up more and more.  Some of it is likely due to distractions around me, and the mind is looking to focus on something else instead of the task at hand.  Writers need to write, but they also need stimulation, and I’ve tried to put that into my life so I don’t keep turning back to a cycle of work, eat, write, sleep again.  That way leads to burn out, and I’ve fought with that for too long now.  I give into burn out now, and it’s going to be a while before I recover from that.

And there is so much story ahead to tell . . .

Let the Day Begin

If you’re expecting writing here of a novel nature, expect it tomorrow, for today I have a face only a mother would love.  Um . . . strike that.  I’d probably get Kerry’s mom, and she’d laugh at me and ask how many girls I know.

This is your face--or your upper lip--on electrolysis.

This is your face–or your upper lip–on electrolysis.

Not only is there swelling today, but last night my head was spinning around a bit by the time I got home.  I did the ice and ibuprofen last night to combat the spinning and swelling, but as you can see, the later is still around.

"You shouldn't knock it; you look good."

“You shouldn’t knock it; you look good.”

Thanks . . . I think.

It’s going to be like this for a few more weeks, for sure.  I’m guessing that by the middle of June the facial hair will have vanished completely, and by July I’ll have my face back in more or less one good piece.  Right now it’s a lot of pain to go through once a week, but . . . it’s needed.  It’s necessary.  And I won’t have to shave anymore, so there’s that.

Now, did I write?  Yep.  Made it past four hundred words before stopping because my mind just wasn’t into it.  The spirit was willing, but trying to plot together something through a slight haze of pain was a bit too much.  Actually, since there’s a half hour drive between my apartment and the place where I get electricity zapped into my face, I could think out points while I’m in the car.  And what did I come up with?

One, I figured out the new C Level the kids will met.  You get a paragraph on him in this new scene, and how he’s acting when he first meets Annie and Kerry.  He was sound asleep when the Euroflight came in, which is why no one saw him in the last scene.

I also came up with an elegant solution to the question:  what happens with the new kids after they do their E and A?  I mean, the school doesn’t want them to see magic before Orientation Day–Annie makes a comment to Kerry about this in the current scene on which I’m working–so how does a school full of returning witches keep that from happening?  Well, you’ll find out, because Helena will explain it to Annie and Kerry when they speak.  It’s really very simple, once you give it thought.

I also added a new scene, which will pop in after the one I’m working on now.  I’m calling the new scene Party of Five, which is a play on the term I was using for Annie and Kerry palling around with Penny and Alex, The Gang of Four.  Since there is a new guy on the second floor, this scene shows them hanging out on the night before Orientation Day–or Getting Reacquainted Day for the returning students.  Yes, that’s right:  there are only five people in the B and C Levels at Cernunnos Coven, out of, right now, sixteen kids total.  That is not a lot of witches:  in fact, you find out in a later post that Cernunnos actually has trouble fielding a race team because of low numbers.  Let’s hope they get a good group of A Levels this year.

In the mean time, Annie and Kerry will relax this Thursday night–

Sort of like this, only in a dimly lit tower while sitting on pillow.  But totally the same.

Sort of like this, only in a dimly lit tower while sitting on pillow. But totally the same.  Except Annie would be on the other side . . .

Because that’s what witches do when they’re together at home.

Das Finden der Berliner U-Bahn

Excused the poorly translated title today, but this is where I’m going.  And I need it today, believe me, after getting a bit of sticker shock yesterday from having my car worked on, and then getting into a rather epic editing session where I put away three chapters of Kolor Ijo, tuning up seventy-five hundred words and finishing off Part Two in the process.

But yesterday, my mind was mostly with my kids.

I’m back trying to work out the details of the next novel in my head and on the computer, and it’s usually coming at times when I should be doing other things, but dammit, those kids won’t leave me alone now.  They get that way, because they want to see the light of day again, damned witchy brats.

So I’m running the outline around in my head, and remembering things that came up when I laid out stuff the first time in Aeon Timeline.  Keep in mind that the first time I did a layout of this next novel, I had a bit of an overview:  there wasn’t nearly the same level of detail, so I’m in the process of laying that out.  And one of those areas that I’m laying out is where Annie and Kerry meet up while waiting to fly back to Boston and return to Salem.  It’s going to be a city in Europe, naturally, but where?

Well . . .

Achtung, baby

Achtung, baby.

Right there, in lovely Berlin.  It’s where all the B Levels–who are still pretending to not be witches and act like they’re regular students–and some of the C, D, E, and F Levels hang out before departing for America.  You may say, “Why not just jaunt them over?” and that’s true:  I could do that.  And I will do that when the kids are no longer pretending not to be witches.  But right now the long con is still on, so let’s pretend they’re going to a school for gifted children, one which isn’t in Upstate New York and has a SR-71 hidden under the basketball court.  No, the school they’re going to doesn’t need a Blackbird:  the kids are dangerous enough on their own.

One of the scenes I’m considering takes place near the Brandenburg Gate, which is one of the more well known sights in the city.  Annie and Kerry will visit it the night of 27 August, which, if you’re score at home, is the anniversary of their meeting in public for the first time.  This is also the day they both arrive in Berlin, so much fun and merriment will occur–or at the least they’ll get out for a quite dinner together.

This means I’m looking at public transportation in the city, preferably using their subway/train system.  If you zoom in on the city, you’ll start picking out stations.  And if you click on those stations . . .

You get a station name!

You get a station name!

But notice something else:  you see colored lines on the map.  Those colored lines are the actual underground routes, and this is a feature that Google Maps does for you in nearly every city.  So if I need a quick and dirty map of the city’s rail system, I find a station way out in the middle of nowhere–

Sorry, Hönow, but it had to be you.

Sorry, Hönow, but it had to be you.

–and once this lights up the routes, you have a quick and dirty map.

Which means I now have an interactive way of seeing what's close to what stations I need for my story.

Which means I now have an interactive way of seeing what’s close to what stations I need for my story.

Also, if you get a pop-up for a station, and you click on “More”, you’ll find the schedule for that station–

Which is most helpful only if you know what you're reading.

Which is most helpful only if you know what you’re reading.

Though you can always go off and look at the website and get that information there.

Wow, how first decade 21st Century this is.

Wow, how first decade 21st Century this is.

But this is a start for something that may end up as a paragraph or two in the scene with them outside the gate.  This is all stuff that ran through my head yesterday, and now you see some of the process I use just to get the background I need for setting up a scene.  It may seem just a little crazy–

But, hey:  that’s how my mind works.

You might even say it takes my breath away . . .

Out Time, Getting Out

It wasn’t just out time for one of my characters.  Oh, no.  It was out time for me as well.  There was things to do, polish to buy, and I was in dire need of something to eat.  I also needed to pay rent . . . damn, a girl’s life is never ending?

I found myself getting asked for advice on writing and on fonts last night, too, which took up some time to walk through on social media.  It’s funny how you get sucked into that, but it happens.  And when someone is asking about writing, I’m going to try and help best I can.  I don’t have all the answers, but I do want to help where I can.

By the time I was getting around to writing there wasn’t a lot of time, so I buzzed through five hundred words on the nose–I know ’cause I checked as I saved.  I might have written more, but . . . another scene for this story popped into my head while I was taking a break at the end of the five hundred, and figured out the hook needed to get something going that, to me, is a bit of a dramatic moment for Annie and Kerry, and really helps define their story a little more.

Naturally you won’t see that scene until Act Three, just hang tight, people.  I’m just gonna GRRM you for that.

Meanwhile, in the tunnels with Wednesday.

 

 

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

Wednesday rocketed down the tunnel, reaching the north end of The Chunnel quickly. She pulled a quick left, then found the westward tunnel she wanted twenty meters away. She turned hard to the right and picked up speed as she continued onward to Sunset Tower.

“Fortress, this is Shadowcat.” She didn’t wait for Isis to acknowledge her call, figuring her friend would listen no matter what. “If I find Erywin out there, you’ll know she’s helping when you see the nodes being charged. The moment you see them start glowing green, begin charging them on your side. Over.”

“We got that, Shadowcat.” Wednesday sensed how difficult it was for Isis to keep her voice calm and level. “We’er watching you from our end. Over.”

“Understood, Fortress.” I hate to do this to her, but we can’t wait time getting our system on line. Wednesday speed through the four way junction that connected to a tunnel heading north and south from the Firing Line to the Aerodrome. She knew she didn’t have to travel much further before reaching the end of this line . . .

“Fortress, I’m not going through Sunset Tower itself.” Wednesday saw the Y split up ahead, maybe sixty, seventy meters in the distance. “I’m going out through the ground entrance.”

“Shadowcat, Fortress. We got that.” There was another hitch in Isis’ voice. “It would be too difficult to shut off the shielding at Sunset anyway. Over.”

“Yeah, got that . . .” She slowed slightly before reaching the junction. “Turning—now.” Wednesday glided the broom into the left-hand corridor and picked up speed slowly. “I’m gonna need about five seconds to fly up the staircase. Over.”

“We copy that, Shadowcat.” There was a second or two of silence on the comm; when Isis spoke again her voice was filled with emotion. “You be careful out there, Wends. Okay?”

“You got it, Goddess.” She smiled to herself as she approached the entrance to the staircase leading to ground level. “I’m comin’ back, don’t worry . . .”

She stopped before the sealed off staircase. “Okay, Fortress, I’m here. Cut the shielding.”

Three seconds later Isis was yelling into the comm. “Go, go, GO.”

Wednesday phased through the wall and flew straight up through the variously layers of stone and iron that made up the sealed, caisson-like staircase tower. She always found it fascinating to flew through a long stretch like this, where she could see all the different kinds of materials used to manufacture a structure. She could have easily flown through the roof of the any part of the tunnel and phased though ten or twelve meters of rock and soil, but there was always the question of what she was going to have to phase through once she was on the surface. She’d once done that and ended up phasing through a group of students . . .

The illuminated staircase was replaced by nearly complete darkness and the soft red glow of the outer defense screen. She was into open air—

Wednesday was outside.

 

Outside and ready to do the charging thing.  Oh, and probably this as well . . .

I've almost reached this point--

I’ve almost reached this point–

I’m a little over six hundred words short of a quarter of a million words.  It should happen tonight, between getting dinner ready and doing my nails.  I will finish Out, and that will be that, and then it’s on to Tally and the rest.

Hard to believe I’m half-way through this chapter.

Let Us Gather ‘Round the Reading

Here’s the thing:  about a week back I started playing with this video stuff, because why not?  All the cool kids are doing it, right?  The first one I put up in Facebook got a big response, and it got an equally good one here.  Then I kinda said something along the lines of, “You know, maybe I’ll put up a video of me reading from my novel.”  Really, I didn’t think people would take me seriously–

Ha!  Hahaha!

"And now we come to the part of the story where Walter White blows up a nursing home.  Are you ready?"

“And now we come to the part of the story where Walter White blows up a nursing home. Are you ready?”

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered, it’s that once you say something like that, it’s put up time, and you better be ready to go.  I decided that, you know, it might be fun to try at least once, and in the process I’ll learn along–like, you know, I might need a mic for some of this stuff.  But there’s the learning curve, yo, so don’t get to hatin’.  It’s all good fun.

Here it is, then:  I’m gonna lay it out for you.  This first video is an introduction of the Foundation and Salem, and a little about my two main characters.  It’s done late, about nine PM, after a long day of trying to upload a twelve minutes video and discovering that the software I normally used freaks out when that happened, and I had to get some other software.  This was one of those “learning curves” I was mentioning.

Video One:  The Intro.

 

The rest of the videos were performed on 30 July, 2014 (the one above was done on 27 July, 2014).  The second video sets up the where I am in the story before I start reading.  All I’ll say at this point is that it takes place during the Samhain dance.

 

Video Two:  The Setup.

 

Now, if you’re curious about what Annie and Kerry were wearing at the dance–and I know some people were–why, I have access to the same Internet that Kerry has, which means I can find the same things he does . . . though I’m sure he can use The Foundation’s search engine and get results a lot quicker.  Here you are, kids:  feast your eyes.

Though Annie isn't showing near that much cleavage.

Though Annie has a far different . . . necklace.

Yes, they went as Malcolm Reynolds and Inara Serra as seen in the Firefly episode, Shindig.  As stated earlier in the story, Annie’s gown didn’t show as much skin in the front and the back, but was otherwise a duplicate of that.

Now we get to the reading.  Since I didn’t want to deal with a long video that might take forever to load, I cut the reading into two parts.  Some of the sound quality may be iffy–after all, I’m not used to reading my own work out loud–and I did stumble in a few spots.  But you should still be able to follow along.

Here you go:

 

Video Three:  The Reading, Part One.

 

Video Four:  The Reading, Part Two.

 

And at the very end, I do a wrap up explaining something very unusual about this scene, and something that will likely surprise you.

 

Video Five:  The Wrap-up.

 

And since I don’t like to leave any stones unturned, here’s the song dedicated to Annie as she would have heard it on the dance floor of the Great Hall of Salem, echoing off the walls as she slow danced with her moyata polovinka while nearly every student–save for those making gagging motions at such a romantic display–and instructor looked on:

 

Like I said, that Annie’s, she’s a lucky girl.

 

Since I’m writing this the night before I post, I can say, “Back to writing tomorrow.”  And that’s when I start to get my George R. R. Martin on and get ready to kill some students.

Ya gotta show these kids who’s boss around here . . .

This is Rockport Lane

I have finally come to realize that distractions are killing me.  That and crying jags, during which yesterday I had maybe . . . four?  Yeah, that sounds about right.  It’s the mood swings; they’re starting to hit.  Thank you, demon hormones.  I always wanted to turn into a mess again.  Not that I wasn’t already.

But I got it done, though.  Though all that–reading things, crying, giving advice–I managed just over eight hundred and fifty words, and I set up a couple of things.  One, the start of an impromptu race–

And two, the introduction of Emma.

 

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

“Hello, Emma.” Annie tried to be friendly, but she’d begun developing an opinion about Emma during the last few classes, and it wasn’t the sort that should be repeated in public. She had been talking a lot of flying with Kerry during class, and often tried to get him to do thing that Annie felt was a bit reckless. This was, she felt, because Emma grew bored with flying around Selena’s Meadow, and preferred getting on a broom and flying free on the weekends, doing what she wanted and however she wanted.

Kerry wasn’t in anyway reckless, but Annie noticed that he tended to forget this when he was around Emma. She knew he wasn’t trying to impress her—he’d never given any impression that he was interested in Emma—but she couldn’t fathom why he was so receptive to whatever she had in mind whenever flying was involved.

“You guys enjoying the course? You’ve been upfront most of the run.” Emma looked behind her. “I just left the last group behind as we came out of the chicane.”

“It’s been . . .” Kerry looked over at Annie, then back to Emma. “Not bad. We have a good feel for it. I know my marks.”

“Listen to that: you sound like a racer.” Emma looked over to Annie. “Doesn’t he?”

As usual Annie didn’t show her feelings, but inside her stomach was churning. She knew what “hitting the marks” meant, because she’d heard her father say it more than a few time in conversations about his own racing experience. I’ve never heard Kerry talk about any kind of racing, yet . . . “Yes, he does, Emma.” She turned her gaze upon Kerry, who was starting to blush. “But he’s not quite a racer—”

Emma had to get in the last word, stepping in and interrupting Annie. “Yet.” She leaned over and tapped Kerry on the shoulder as they entered the stretch known as Rockport Lane. “I bet you’d like to go a little faster, huh?”

 

Girl, it’s a good thing Rick Grimes isn’t there; he’d have a choice warning for you.  ‘Cause Annie’s givin’ you the side eye, and that’s not a good thing.

Emma’s another ginger, a girl out of Bolder, Colorado, and when I came up with someone to be a model for her, and felt she was a young Kirsten Dunst.  She’s fairly clueless as well, because she seems to have decided that Kerry is her flying partner, and she’s trying to get him to do something that Annie obviously doesn’t want him to do.  The face that Emma’s completely obvious to all this may, or may not, bode well for her.

But that’s how she is.  Right now she just wants someone to race with her.  Kerry happens to be that someone.  Maybe Emma thinks they’ll somehow hook up later and one day have a lot of red haired kids, but right now she’s only interested in zipping off with him down the Green Line, starting here . . .

It'd look a lot more interesting with trees--it's also take me a lot of time to put them there.

It’d look a lot more interesting with trees–it’d also take me a lot of time to put them there.

Oh, and why is it called Rockport Lane?  Because not very far outside that wall, maybe a few hundred meters to the east, is the town of Rockport, which is where the kid’s train finally stopped on their trip in from Boston, way back on the night of 1 September.

Wow.  That seems almost like . . . months ago.

Outrunning a Sunset of Feelings

After a long day of getting up, blogging, packing, and driving, I’m finally back at Casa Burg, aka my Harrisburg home away from home.  Unlike when I left The Burg a week before, I kept caffeinated where necessary, and alternated between working out scenes with my characters, and playing music real loud.

And having a Butterbeer Frappachino, only because someone said I had to try it.  Well, she didn't say, "Try it," but you know what I mean.

And having a Butterbeer Frappuccino, only because someone said I had to try it. Well, she didn’t say, “You have to try it,” but you know what I mean.

One of those magic moments I had on the return home was watching the sky turn a deep blue before setting into black not long after passing through the Allegheny Tunnel.  I was playing REM’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi at a comfortable but you-can-feel-the-music volume, and there were certain songs that simply hit me a certain way.  I’d had that happen a couple of times on these trips to and from The Burg to The Vall, but they usually hit me hardest when I’m zipping along a twisting turnpike at seventy miles per hour, or one hundred and twelve kilometers per hour, which makes it sounds like I’m on a road course.

The coming of the night brought out some unusual feelings for me.  Feelings for others, feelings about my work, feelings about others close to me.  There was a lot of crazy shit bouncing about in my head for most of the trip, but during that three hour run through the mountains and the tunnels, I think I was as close to epiphany-grade thinking as I’ve ever gotten.

One of the scenes I played with on the way back is something that happens in this novel, right near the end as one of the last scenes in the book.  In fact, I can say with certainty it’s not the penultimate scene, but the one before that, whatever “Two Scenes Before the Last” is called.  (I looked it up, of course, and that is called the antepenultimate or propenultimate scene.  You can thank me anytime.)  It’s when Annie and Kerry return to Amsterdam after leaving school, and being reunited with . . . in Annie’s case her mother picks her up, and in Kerry’s Ms. Rutherford comes to collect him.  One has family, one doesn’t.  One can talk about being a witch all they like to their witch of a mother–and I mean that in a good witch way–and one can’t say a word about what really happened the past year at the strange, hidden school in the middle of Cape Ann.

Kerry gets introduced to Mama, there is pleasant small talk, and then it’s time for the Annie Family to hit the road.  Annie and Kerry say their finally goodbyes for the year in front of the adults, and then handle the emotional impact in their own way . . .

Annie internalizes most everything except with the right people.  Mama is not the “right people,” and the last thing she’d ever talk about with her is how walking away from Kerry is making her feel.  It’s been a strange, hard, first year, and leaving her Ginger-haired Boy behind is tearing her up inside.  She won’t show it, though.  She’ll get home, great her father, have dinner, and go to her lake house where she’ll sadly reflect her loss.

Kerry’s not like that.  Before coming to school he’d kept his emotions shut down, and only on certain occasions for a certain someone would he actually reveal what he felt.  But not anymore.  In the last few days of school he’s discovered that love and pain go hand-in-hand, and watching the person you’ve been attached to for more than nine months walk off complete in the knowledge that when you wake up tomorrow morning she won’t be there to greet you, to share meals with you, to walk hand-in-hand with you–

He loses it in the airport.  Major crying jag, has to hold on to Ms. Rutherford because he needs that human touch, and she helps calm him, gives him words of encouragement, and helps clean him up because she doesn’t want his parents to see him that way, distraught over having to “spend the summer without his special love.”

And what happens after that?

You know, one day I will get around to writing those last two scenes . . .

Trials and Triskaidekaphobialations

We’ve made it through another full moon, the Honey Moon or Strawberry Moon–take your pick–this time, and not only that, but it was a Friday the 13th as well.  (Neat fact:  the last time there was a Honey/Strawberry Moon on Friday the 13th was in 1919, and there won’t be another until 2098.  If you missed out last night, you’re gonna need a TARDIS to see the next one.)

I never pay attention to the Friday the 13th stuff.  Generally I’ve had good times on that date, and since it happens more frequently that you’d imagine (only one this year, but last year there were two and next year there will be three, with two of them happening in February and March, back-to-back), I figured it’s best to just get on with your day than live your life waiting for something bad to happen.

I got a lot done yesterday.  One, I blogged, which is normal.  Two, I did some shopping with my daughter, which isn’t as normal as it used to be, since I’m only back home in Red State Indiana about three to four weeks out of the year these days.  She bought lots of manga, then we chatted over coffee and sushi, and she woke me up when I started to doze during Pacific Rim, which I just had to see–again.

You can't see it clearly, but I'm holding a Sailor Moon manga with Sailor Mars on the cover.  Gotta love a school girl who kicks ass in heels.

You can’t see it clearly, but I’m holding a Sailor Moon manga with Sailor Mars on the cover. Gotta love a school girl who kicks ass, with fire, in heels.

I also wrote–a lot.  I wrote close to a thousand words before making my post yesterday, and then I not only did I finish the scene before going to bed, but that was also chapter and part as well.  So Part Four, Chapters Thirteen and Fourteen are in the bag, and Part Five, Chapter Fifteen awaits.

A lot of "First Drafts" behind, a bunch of "To dos" ahead.  It almost looks like I'm really writing.

A lot of “First Drafts” behind, a bunch of “To dos” ahead. It almost looks like I’m really writing.

In finishing the scene, my calculations indicate that I wrote close to two thousand words yesterday.  That’s a lot for me–in fact, that’s what my daily totals used to be when I was writing full time and not having to screw around with this thing called “work”.

My only concern at this point is, believe it or not, word count.  Part Four ended up at 31,646 words.  I’ve a few parts ahead–four to be exact–and Part Seven is gonna get, in the words of a certain person I used to know, “wordy”.  I would not be surprised if the six chapters there end up well beyond thirty thousand words, though I will do my best to keep the scenes short and sweet.

Act One ran one hundred and fifty thousand words; it’s looking like Act Two is gonna be about the same, and I’m already a fifth of the way there.  I mean, I suppose I could count this as a good thing, because it means I have a long, complicated story with lots of detail and a couple of protagonists who love to hug after their zombie killing exploits, and I’m not afraid to get there out there.  It’s a hell of a lot better than saying, “I got nuttin'”, right?

Yeah.  I’ll see if I’m still telling myself that in another seventy thousand words . . .