Sliceable Life

Everyone, in life real or fictional, wants to have a place to call their own.  It’s one of the concepts I keep returning to in the novel, because it’s truly a focus for my kids.  They have their childhood homes; they have their rooms at the school; they have their space where they share dreams.  It’s something I feel right–had for a few years now–because I sometimes feel like I have no real place to live, that I have no real home at the moment.

But that’s me:  my kids, they’re finally back home to, as Kerry called it, “Salem Home.”  Like it or not, since about a week after they arrived at school back in their A Levels, they’ve called good old Cernunnos Tower home, or at least Annie started that and Kerry picked up on it quickly.  Everything after that was, “Let’s go home, Sweetie,” and given how they were developing as a couple it was easy to believe they were really sort of setting up a little mini home of their own.

And that’s where they’re at now, Back Home in Cape Ann, kinda beating the rush back to school . . .

 

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

The Jaunt from Vienna brought Annie and Kerry back to Salem around twelve-twenty, a far different time than their return the year before. They considered getting a quick bite before heading off to their rooms to do their adjustment, but they were informed at the station that the kitchen was in operation until twenty hours to accommodate all but those students returning late that night.  Knowing this they headed off to the tower to spent the next three hours in adjustment.

Cernunnos Tower was still nearly empty. The only students who’d returned were those from east and central Asia, Australia, and other parts of Oceania. Though a few students from Europe and the Americas were already back, the majority of the current traffic for the next hour or two was returning from Africa and Europe, and kids from North, Central, and South America would soon follow.

Adjustment was, as always quick and easy. They were given their coded mixtures as soon as they arrived, and upon returning to their rooms they changed into their pajamas—their bags were teleported directly from the station—drank them down, and crawled into bed. As they’d done on the flight over at the start of the school year, both kids slept soundly and dreamless, and when they awoke around sixteen-thirty, they were back on local Salem time.

Neither student changed back into street clothes upon awaking: since there weren’t classes or school events today, the feeling around the school was much like that of an all-day Midnight Madness. Nearly everyone wore some kind of sleeping garment, or at the least, something they were comfortable in which to relax. Annie and Kerry both wore their heaviest sleep ware and robes and kept to the tunnels when moving about The Pentagram. About the only difference in their apparel was Annie wore he Ugg boots to keep her feet warm while Kerry wore a heavy pair of socks with his slippers—again, much like they did during the Midnight Madness when the weather turned cold.

They had taken a table in the Dining Hall and had just placed their orders when Penny and Jairo entered the room with Alex and Kahoku close behind. The covenmates—and Alex’s boyfriend—ask if they could join them for dinner, and the six of them sat around the magically enlarged table chatting away while they enjoyed their light dinners, deserts, and plenty of hot chocolate and apple cider. Outside it was dark and the temperatures were dropping, but in the Dining Hall the lights were low, the environment was cozy, and the conversation between friends great.

Outside the sky was clear and the temperatures were near minus five Celsius, but the Ground Floor Commons of Cernunnos Tower was bright and warm now that the large fireplace was once more operational. It was the perfect place to hang out with returning friends—as they’d were all doing since they’d returned from dinner. Since there wasn’t much in the way of security at the moment—Sabrina was allowing all students access to the commons of all towers so they could mingle—Kahoku sat with the Cernunnos B and C Levels to enjoy their company, but mostly to be with Alex, whom he hadn’t seen since they’d left on Yule Holiday.

At no time did Annie mention that he’d dreamwalked Kerry on Boxing Day: given the way the other two couples commiserated about being unable to see each other for the two weeks they were away, she felt any mention of their dream time together would come across as bragging. She almost asked if they’d written to each other during their time away, but after Penny remarked about being able to make one call right after Christmas, Annie had her answer.

 

That penultimate paragraph was actually the first I wrote before writing all the other stuff before it.  That was how I envisioned the scene starting before jumping into a mini flashback showing the kids arriving back at school, but I kept moving it down until I got to where it is now, then I put the last paragraph in, called it a night, and sat down to watch Fargo.

But here they are, relaxing at school with two other couple that are closely becoming friends–yeah, even brought in Alex’s boyfriend from Laos–sitting in front of the big fireplace in the coven tower, talking and waiting for the night to come to and end.  After which . . .

Well, if this layout is any indication, it could be something crazy.

Well, if this layout is any indication, it could be something crazy.

But you won’t know that until tomorrow.

Sitting With the Visions of Your Life

Twelve hundred words is a grove thing, yeah?  I thought so.  That’s what I did last night, while The Poseidon Adventure played in the background, and eventually segued into Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, which should have sunk like the ship did the in original novel.  (In the first movie I like watching the guy do the fall into the lights, because you can see the stuntman’s setting himself up for the fall before he does, so he hits spread-eagle on his back.  Also the jump that Pamela Sue Martin’s character does:  she has on shoes, then she doesn’t when she jumps, then they’re back.  It’s like magic!)  I even stayed up until 11:30 last night finishing this, because I’m always so slow to get things started.

But here we are, the kids in the garden on the first Saturday night back, it’s late, and they’re tired.  They’re also back on their bench, and they’re talking . . .

The bench is just inside that covered walkway.  I should make a little one and put it there.

The bench is just inside that covered walkway. I should make a little one and put it there.

 

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

They walked towards the seat just inside the covered walkway that they considered “theirs”. So much had happened between them on this bench—their goodbyes before leaving school at the end of the year and right before Yule were two of the saddest—

But there were a few others that had brought them great happiness.

Kerry waited for Annie to sit down before joining her. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close, cuddling her against the warmness of dark brown hoodie he’d worn since the evening temps had dropped into the Celsius upper-teens. “Comfortable, Sweetie?”

Annie nodded. “Always with you, my love.” She pulled her arms tight around her torso, keeping her body heat trapped inside her light sweater. “I love this. So dark and quiet.”

“I know. It’s usually never this dark this close to the Great Hall.”

“Well . . .” Annie sighed. “It’s a beautiful night and a full moon—and most of the students are inside right now.”

“Yeah.” He looked towards the Great Hall as if he expected someone to exit the building. “It was like this last year, too.”

“Yes, it was.” She tilted her head slightly and looked up. “You know what today is, don’t you?”

Kerry had known since waking. “Today is the day we arrived at school last year.”

“Yes. And do you know what time it is?”

“I checked the HUD when we landed: it was around twenty-two.”

Annie was glad Kerry couldn’t see the smile on her face. “A year ago about this time we were sitting out here.”

 

Anniversaries are all around, and they remember them.  Good thing, too, because in a few years Kerry will be like, “Oh, shit:  is  that today?” and then Annie goes all Dark Witch on his ass, and . . . yeah, better remember those times, kid, and stay out of trouble.

 

Kerry pressed his head against Annie’s. “I remember it well—like it happened just the other day.” He kissed her cheek. “Another happy anniversary. The first time you told me you loved me—well—” He grinned before speaking in a soft voice. “At least the first time I knew you’d said those words.”

“But it was . . .” As she’d done the year before, Annie turned around so she was facing Kerry. “It was the first time I told you in person I loved you. All the other times happened in our dreams while we were separated by thousands of kilometer.” She took his hands and pressed them against her body. “It was a first time for something else, though: the first time I called you my soul mate.” She slowly lifted their hands to her lips and lightly touched them to their their fingers. “I’d never said that before, ever.”

“It was also the first time I kissed you for real—” He bowed his head. “I’ll never forget that.”

“Neither will I.” She bowed her head, resting her head against his. “You’re thinking of something again, I can tell. You’ve been like this ever since we left the Gift Center. You were particularly quiet when we were walking to the North Wall.”

She can always tell when I’ve got something on my mind. “Yeah. I’ve been thinking—”

“Yes?”

 

Yes?  What could be on your mind, Kerry?  It’s not as if anything strange has happened to you since . . . oh, wait:  never mind.

 

Kerry gently turned Annie around until she was cuddling securely between his left arm and shoulder. “The vision we had yesterday—” His breath caught for a second. “We were gonna have sex, weren’t we? I mean—”

“I know what you mean.” She exhaled slowly . “That kind of sex. Yes?”

“Yes. That kind.”

The vision had been on Annie’s mind since yesterday as well, but she knew how Kerry would get with their visions, and waited until he was ready to discuss what they’d seen. He won’t talk before he’s ready; I’ve learned that . . . “I’ve thought about it, too: that one and the first one.” She ran her right fingers down his arm. “Do you remember how you said that the only way the first one would change is if something happened to either of us?”

He chuckled. “After reading all those books I figured it’s the only thing that makes sense.”

“It does, but there are ways . . .” She turned slightly so she was she could rest the side of her head against his chest. “You felt, like me, that in that vision it was our first time.”

“I still do.”

“But what if that was the part of the vision that could change?” Annie settled against her soul mate. “The vision could come true and still end up changed.”

He nodded slowly. “Do you think that’s what the second vision meant? That our first vision would change?”

“I don’t know.” Annie couldn’t help but snort. “At this point you know more about visions than me.”

 

It’s bad enough that as kids get older that urge to want to, you know, experiment starts to take over and ends up becoming troublesome and confusing as hell.  So now, with the hormones beginning to come on, you discover you’re having visions of things that will happen in your future, and damned if they don’t involve when you’re gonna get intimate.  It’s a nasty thing to have happen to you, on top of, you know, learning magic and stuff, having things come to you and say, “No worry.  In about eight years you’ll be able to do it!”  Thanks, Future Sight.  You’re a lot of help.

Kerry has something else on his mind, however . . .

 

“Yeah, only because you made me learn.” Kerry pulled Annie snug against him. “It’s possible that’s what we saw: the first vision will happen, but things that we felt might not be the same.” He barley touched her cheek. “I have to tell you something.”

Annie picked up something in the tone of Kerry’s voice, but it wasn’t concern or fear she heard . . . “Tell me, please. You know you can tell me anything.”

“I know.” He remained silent for almost ten seconds before getting to the matter on his mind. “I want you to be my first time . . . I need you to be my first time.”

Annie looked at his face in order to gauge his feelings. “Need me?”

“Yeah.” He touched her cheek with a gentle caress. “I want my first time to be with someone I care for, someone I respect—someone I love. I don’t want to just do it and be done: I want to share it with only one person. Only with you, Annie—” He kissed her forehead before whispering in her ear. “Moyata polovinka.”

 

I’ve pretty well established that Kerry is a smart kid, but emotional clumsy as hell.  He’s also not the smoothest of characters; even with Annie there are things he says that don’t seem to come out right.  But when he gets serious, it doesn’t matter how it comes out–he does mean it, and it comes from the heart.  Deep down he’s as much of a romantic as Annie–and she is, never feel she isn’t–and by telling her, “I want you to be my first,” he’s not just saying something to sell himself to a twelve year old girl.  He’s known Annie all his life, and when he tells her something like this, he means it.  He has to, because Annie’s also known him all her life, and she’ll smell bullshit on him in an instant.

What does she feel in return?

 

There had been many moments where Annie felt her control slipping away, and all of them had been where Kerry was concerned. At the moment she felt that control slipping away, much as she’d felt after being kissed here last year, or in the seconds after she began dancing with Kerry after the Samhain Dance. Only he knows how to touch me in that way

She kissed him on his cheek before speaking in a low, soft tone. “Vie shte bŭdete v moyata pŭrva lyubov, i az shte bŭda tvoya.” She kissed him upon the lips. “You will be my first, Kerry. There will be no one else, ever.” She chuckled as she touched his lips with her finger. “And if our vision yesterday means we’ll not be virgins when we marry, then . . .” She kissed him again. “We’ll still share that moment together.”

Kerry held her close, warming her against the encroaching chill of the night, pulling her love nearer to his. “Another anniversary together.” He touched the charm bracelet on her left wrist. “And I didn’t get you anything.”

“This?” She shook her wrist, making the charms jingle. “That was for one anniversary.” She touched the heart-shaped locket pressed against her chest. “This was for another. But you did give me something tonight—” She touched his heart. “This. I know my future with you is not just a vision—it’s real. I need never fear you won’t be with me.”

Kerry rested his head against Annie’s. “You know I’ll be with you.” He touched her locket. “I want to be there in a hundred years when you remember getting that locket.”

Annie pressed her hand over his. “It’s almost ninety-nine years now—” She rested against Kerry and sighed. “You wait is growing shorter, my love.”

 

What Annie says in Bulgarian is, “I will be your first love, and you will be mine,” and she isn’t talking about exchanging friendship rings.  She’s also pledging herself to him–and the reference of still being together for Annie’s one hundred and twelfth birthday is about as long distance planning as one can get–

Is that a tugboat I hear pulling up next to this ship?

Anyway, the chapter is done, the kids are ready to start their first classes–the next chapter starts them in some of their advanced classes–and it’s only taken about forty-five thousand words to reach this point.

Let the magical games begin.

Through Home to Love and All Points Between

Last night I endured another face zapping, and the results this time were far better than the week before.  It still hurt, but it was manageable and I didn’t start crying like a baby due to two or three other things going on at the same time.  It was a far, far better experience last night–if having electricity shot into your face can ever be considered “better”.

Of course this means I was in a touch of pain by the time I arrived home, and this meant my mind wasn’t on my writing.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t write, but a little over five hundred words was all I managed.  I did that with a flaming face, so I guess I can cut myself some slack.

As far as the scene:  I’ve established that Annie can fly–and as I explained, that means without a broom, so she can kind of zip through the sky like a Bulgarian supergirl–and Kerry is a Mimic, which Jessica will explain to him in a later scene.  We’ve already seen that Kerry’s really good at copying certain things from other people, so you get the idea.

The day is almost over, and I indicate a date for these happenings, finally rooting everything in place.

 

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

Annie and Kerry made their way through the Pentagram Garden, taking their time as they walked up from Founder’s Gate. It was dark and clear, and the lights of the Great Hall and the Pentagram were extinguished to allow the stars in the pitch black to shine down, if only for a little while: the full moon was rising, and would be drowning out the stars in another thirty minutes.

This first Saturday back, 1 September, had been a long day for the couple. Early breakfast, then Gift testing. After that was lunch and a trip down to the Flight School so Annie could check out an Espinoza 3500 to use for the school year and Kerry could get his new locker assignment for Advanced Flying. He decided he’d wait until tomorrow to check out the Class 2 brooms: Vicky told him there wasn’t any hurry, that she’d have three available for running on the Green Line.

They spent the rest of the afternoon flying to various points around the grounds: up to the Witch House and the Observatory, back to Perquat’s Grove for a sit and a chat, then down to the spot where Kerry had hid during the Day of the Dead the year before, the small clearing where she’d asked Kerry if he wanted to be a good sorceress and a Guardian—if he’d be her Dark Witch—and where he’d said yes. After a summer’s wait, after months apart, after she presented him with a long, loving kiss, she asked him the same questions, and after her kissed her as long and loving as she had, his answers remained the same.

 

Annie’s doing a little of her own re-programming here.  After the near-disaster that emanated from this local in the woods–his Day of the Dead hidey-hole–she’s working to turn something negative into a positive.  Is she washing out the decision that nearly killed him to make it something positive for them both?  Magic 8 Ball says, “Could be.”

"That's it, Annie.  Have him think good thoughts about girls with cute accents, and bad thoughts about ginger brats."

“That’s it, Annie. Have him think good thoughts about girls with cute accents, and bad thoughts about ginger hair brats that nearly get him killed.”

From their it’s a lot of quiet, movie-montage walking . . .

 

Then it was dinner and hike out to Sunset Tower to enjoy the coming of night before taking a walk north along the Outer Wall. They didn’t speak much, just held hands and examined the scenery on both sides of the wall. Once they reached the North Wall, they remounted their brooms and flew back to the Pentagram, touching down just outside Founders Gate.

Throughout most of their A Level they spent little time wandering the gardens outside the Great Hall. Annie remembered the last time they’d strolled through here: after the Samhain dance, the first time she’s call him moyata polovinka, and his first experience with real déjà vu. She wasn’t interested in a replay of that even—Annie had more on here mind . . .

She gently tugged on Kerry’s arm. “See what’s ahead?”

There was plenty ahead that Kerry saw, but Annie’s question was more than rhetorical. “The Pentagram Wall; our tower; the walkway . . .” He turned and eyed her hard. “Oh, yeah: our bench.”

She playfully tapped his chest. “Silly. You knew I meant that.”

“You’re not exactly subtle, Sweetie.” He led her towards the covered walkway. “Wanna sit?”

She chuckled. “I thought you’d never ask.”

They walked towards the seat just inside the covered walkway that they considered “theirs”. So much had happened between them on this bench—their goodbyes before leaving school at the end of the year and right before Yule were two of the saddest—

But there were a few others that had brought them great happiness.

 

We sort of know what happiness came forth on that bench, but what’s going to happen now?  I do know that something important will happen here in a few minutes–well, “few” is a relative term when they’re waiting for the writer to get off her butt and write that moment.

I should get to that about the time I’m returning from the store tonight . . .

The Trip Through Part Four

I spent a lot of time going over the novel yesterday, between bouts of being hungry and feeling like I was going to loose my lunch.  Couldn’t figure out if I was coming down with a cold again, or if it was something I ate, but for most of the afternoon I felt queasy and ended up sleeping in front of the TV for about an hour.

But in the process I put three chapters out of the way in Part Four, and . . . I’ll get to that in a bit.

Here is what I have:

It's shapping up quite nicely.

It’s shaping up quite nicely.

There’s a lot there, but then again, there isn’t.  This covers maybe four, possibly five, events in the story, it seems like there isn’t a lot going on there.  Until I start thinking that with all those scenes, each probably being between fifteen hundred and two thousand words each, there’s twenty to twenty-five thousand words in those chapters.  Which means if I’m worrying about the novel being short, I shouldn’t worry.

But there are private matters here.  I talk about dancing and racing, fighting and injury, dreaming and looking for connections.  What about school work?  Bah.  This isn’t about being in the class, though that will come up–I’ve got something after the start of the year for sorcery class, it’s just a matter of knowing when it’s going to happen.  Which I’ll have in my time line sometime tonight.

Here it’s all about the relationship, and some of the things related to the school.  School work is work, and I want to avoid getting bogged down in that here.  It was a bit necessary in the first novel, because it helped to introduce the instructors, and give people an idea about how the classes work.  But now that people have that information, there’s isn’t a need to go into it once again.  You know the players, and you know how things are gonna go.  It’s a matter of moving the relationship along.

Which brings me to another item:  the holidays.  And . . .

Did you think I'd forget this?

Did you think I’d forget this?

I managed to get into the next part and the next chapter, and it deals with the kids heading home for the holidays.  And if you look at my synopses metadata, you can figure out that Annie and Kerry leave the school and head to Vienna together, then split up and head for their own homes.  A big change of pace from last year, which means that Kerry won’t have to hang out all day in the Great Hall and be placed in a position where he’ll have to curse someone again.  Last year Annie’s mother jaunted into Vienna to pick up her daughter–is Dad gonna be there this time as well?

It goes without saying that Chapter Fifteen will deal with the kids at home.  It won’t be a long chapter, but you’ll see a dynamic between the kids and their moms.  Yes, there will be a conversation between Kerry and his mom, and you’ll discover something interesting about her–and Annie will find out that her mom is working hard on something with her as well.  Curiouser and curiouser, as the saying goes.

On Beyond A

I know, I should have something else posted here–like, you know, a story–but I don’t.  It’s like this:  I had to run out to pick up a few things, stuff that I was waking on or that involved getting money back.  Normally, even on a Thursday afternoon around five PM, that shouldn’t have involved too much time, because it’s not like The Burg is this bustling city with huge rush hour backups.

But what should have taken thirty minutes, tops, ended up taking about two hours because of a light cover of snow that made the roads just nasty enough to slow everything down.  So I picked up the thing I needed to pick up, then crawled across down in a thirty minute trip that normally takes about ten.  I should have just got in and got out with my refund, but . . . it was at a shoe story.  And the lady who knows me there knows me, and an hour later I walked out with three pair of shoes to complete my work ensemble.

I never used to like shopping, but suddenly it’s like, “Oh, I don’t need this, but you know, it won’t hurt to have it.”  And just like those statistics where they say a lot of women have like twenty pair of shoes–yeah, I’m a statistic.

Really, is it something in the estrogen?

Really, is it something in the estrogen?

By the time I stopped to get something to eat–because the roads were crap and it would have taken me thirty minutes to drive home anyway–it was just after eight PM when I returned home and I was starting to nod out in a serious way.  I brought up the program and started trying to write–and I couldn’t.  Really, the inspiration and motivation tank was dry, and my inner goddess was kicked back in her easy chair blowing raspberries at me.

Sucks, I tell you.

However . . . yesterday between bouts of testing and nodding out–yeah, I was doing this at work a lot–I started thinking about a story.  What story, you ask?

The next novel in the series.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t thought about the story at all; I have.  I’ve even part of it time lined out.  But I now have a definitive feel for like the first month or so the kids are back at school.  Even two months if I really push it.  It does detail a bit of Annie’s and Kerry’s summer, though most of that really happens on Kerry’s side.  We don’t really see much of his family life, save for one scene, where his parents begin questioning why he seems to have only girls as friends.

A little full disclosure:  at this point they don’t know that Annie is his girlfriend/soul mate/wife to be, they only know her as this girl from Bulgaria who lives in the same “dorm” with him.  (The thing with the dorm comes from the school forcing the kids from Normal families not to expose all their magical shenanigans just yet.)  That’s actually Annie’s idea, because she thinks, based upon everything Kerry’s said about them, they won’t be able to understand how their twelve year old son is in a serious relationship with a girl–and they definitely wouldn’t get the sleeping together thing, nope, no way.

But what happens is he gets his travel package in early August, and his parents finally start asking about the people he knows at school–because he does mention Annie and that he’s looking forward to seeing her again–and by the time the names start coming out, mom and dad notice this trend of female names, and start asking, “Don’t you have any friends who are, well, boys?”

And that’s the sort of shitty parents Kerry has, because they do think there’s something wrong with their kid going off to a school and developing friendly, non-dating relationships with the ladies.  They don’t actually come out and ridicule him, but they let it be known that they think he might be better off having, you know, some kid with testosterone hanging out so he doesn’t come down with permanent cooties.

But just wait until they find out all about Annie.

Yeah . . . just wait.

Ruminations Along the Morning Shore

After all the writing in the morning, and the explanation of what was coming, not a lot of writing was accomplished.  Mostly because I spent a large chunk of the day driving one hundred and fifty miles to see my HRT doctor for a consultation, then driving home, then getting dinner, and finally returning home about six hours after I left.  That means I was tired and a bit burned out, but hey:  life happens.

Still, I managed to get five hundred and four words into the bank.  They set things up and don’t tell you a whole lot:  I’d expect that to happen tonight, when I get deeper into this scene.  And it seems I have a thing for getting with my kids and lakes . . .

 

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

Annie stood upon the short of the lake and considered slipping off her sandals and stepping into the water. She’d done this many time during past summers when at home, and planned on doing the same after she returned next week. It wasn’t something she could do at the school save at the Van der Kroft Spring; the other lakes were actually old quarries, with nothing beyond the shoreline but sheer drop offs.

This lake, however, was not a quarry. It was quiet and secluded, and even though it was the middle of a busy holiday in this country, at nine hundred hours this last Sunday morning in May they were the only ones present. She wondered if Vicky had anything to do with no one being at the park this morning. It was likely that it was too early for most people, but there was always the possibility that Vicky—who had given then the temporary fight licenses yesterday afternoon—maybe have said something to the headmistress, or to Isis, and they said something to a person in Boston or New York, and access to the lake was temporarily suspended.

She turned back towards the tree line where Kerry was sitting about five meters from the shore. Annie wanted to say he was enjoying the scenery, but she knew he was watching her. She wasn’t dressed any differently from weekends at school: she’d wore a tee shirt and jeans under her flight leathers, and had changed out of her flying boots and into the sandals Kerry had brought in his backpack. She knew why he was watching: the last day of school was next Thursday, and Friday would see people returning home for summer holiday. Next Saturday they’d depart Boston for Amsterdam, and after they said their goodbyes on the plane and in the terminal, they wouldn’t see each other again until sometime in late August.

He wanted to remember her as she was right now: he was burning this moment into his memories.

Just as she was doing the same.

Believe it or not, this is close to where this scene is taking place.  Though they aren't sitting at the table . . .

Though he isn’t sitting at the table . . .

The picture above is suppose to be of Pearl Hill Pond, in Pearl Hill State Park, a little area in the hills close to the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border.  It’s suppose to be where the scene is taking place, though after checking out the terrain, I have my doubts.  But you get the point of how idyllic and quiet things are, and as Annie has pointed out, though it’s suppose to be a busy weekend–27 May is right in the middle of Memorial Day weekend–they are the only ones there at nine in the morning.

Also, the park isn’t anywhere near the school, so what are my kids doing here?  Spoilers.  You’ll find out tomorrow.

In the mean time, Annie has questions:

 

She turned and wandered slowly back towards Kerry. “What are you doing?”

He watched her move closer. “Enjoying the scenery.”

“The scenery includes my butt.”

He shrugged and smiled. “I’m enjoying that, too.”

Annie sat before him and slid back into the comfort of his arm. “Cheeky Welsh boy.”

Kerry wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. “Sexy Bulgarian girl.”

She chuckled even though she loved hearing him tell her things like “sexy” and “lovely”. It was something she first heard in their dreams, and for a while she imagined her was just being silly. It wasn’t until they were a little older that she realized he meant every word.

And now that they were an open couple at school, hearing each endearment made her heart flutter. It’s why I never have to ask him if he really means them. She twisted around and kissed his cheek. I feel the words enter and take hold inside every time they’re spoken . . .

 

Now we know Annie likes being called sexy, and she’s apparently heard that term for a while.  She also knows Kerry is checking out her butt–kids, huh?  Must be those hormones I keep hearing about.

Well, then, we’ll get back into this scene tomorrow.  It’s going to be a quiet day in the office, as I’ll be just about the only one there.

It’ll give me time to think about how this story is ending . . .

The View Beyond The Foundation Window

Where was I last night?  Actually I had to run out and pick up a couple of things, and by the time that was over I was back at the apartment somewhere around seven-thirty.  After I got back onto the computer and started working . . . nothing was really coming.  It’s interesting how that happens, you know.  Eleven hundred words the night before, less than four hundred last night.

But since I was asked, “Who is Kerry gonna speak with at lunch?” it’s only fair I show you.  And Kerry is a mess right now.  He is Mr. Mopie Sadsack right now, because his sweetie is off in Bulgaria–probably walking up after whatever magic The Foundation slipped into her Readjustment Mixture works its magic and got her on the proper local time–and he doesn’t even feel like eating, which is a first for him.  However, someone comes a callin’:

 

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

It hasn’t even been three hours— Kerry poked the Italian sausage on the right side of his plate. And I’ve gotta stay here for like another nine hours—or ten—maybe longer . . .

“Now here’s a young man with something on his mind.” Kerry looked up from his plate to find Professor Sladen standing across the table from him. She regarded him with a studied eye. “Ah, he is conscious, and not in some self-imposed trance.”

He chuckled as he set his fork to the side. “Hi, Professor Sladen.”

Erywin waved dismissively at him. “Oh, please: school’s out for the year. You can called me Erywin.”

“I don’t know if I can get used to calling you all by your first names.”

“’You all’?”

“You know: instructors.”

“Well–” She placed her hands upon her hips. “You have no problem addressing Wednesday by her first name—what does she have that I haven’t got?” She chuckled as his face turned a bright red. “May I join you?”

Kerry calmed himself and nodded. “Please do . . . Erywin.”

 

All this calling instructors by their given name and stuff–really, it’s going to drive a kid crazy.  And what has she comes to talk about?  I’ll have to write that tonight.

It’s interesting that now that the novel is moving towards the end of Act Two and a few truths are going to emerge, not just with Kerry but with Annie as well.  And in Act Three we finally get out of the school and wander about the land beyond the walls.  I was asked recently about the world beyond the walls of Salem and what it was like, and my answer was simple:  it’s the world of 2011 as we knew it–because we are in 2014, and we’re looking back–and there isn’t much of a change other than one discovers during this story that there’s a shadow organization that spans the entire globe and not only gathers children from all over the world, but brings them to a school that no one can see save for those known as The Aware.

I mean, take a look.  There’s the Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning (SIGEL) right in the middle of the picture, just to the north of Gloucester and to the east of Rockport.

It's right there.  Don't you see it?

It’s right there. Don’t you see it?

I see it, because I know the layout in my head, but that huge green area in the middle of Cape Ann, where one would find a large forest and quarries and even the remains of Dogtown, there is instead a huge, walled school that normal people live next to and have no idea exist.  That’s where your smoke and mirrors and magic all come into play, convincing everyone that all is right in the world and there’s nothing to worry about, because should you wander into that area, everything you think you’re gonna find you will.

Annie and Kerry get to venture into the old world–well, old to Kerry; Annie’s always been used to living in her Foundation World while dealing with the Other World–and they’ll travel into Salem, maybe even by train.  I can’t tell you what they’re doing there, because spoilers and River would come after me, but it’s not something anyone would probably believe at this point.  Needless to day, being outside in the world is going to have an affect on both my kids.

And Annie will be haunted by one of her deepest fears right in front of this statue in Salem.  Probably because Samantha Stevens has that effect on young witches.

And Annie will be haunted by one of her deepest fears right in front of this statue in Salem. Probably because Samantha Stevens has that effect on young witches.

The later stories (yes, there are more stories) get out into the real world even more, and if I ever get the second novel written you’ll see Kerry out and about, though the third, forth, and fifth novels would actually see them outside the walls of Salem a lot more.  Right now they’re innocent A Levels and I can’t let them leave the safety of the school.

Which is why Kerry’s already been in a coma.  Because safety.

Sky Captain and the Dark Witch

Here it is, Tuesday, and by this evening I’ll have the first read-through edit of the The Foundation Chronicles finished.  There are three and a half scenes remaining, and one of those scenes is seven hundred fifty words and a no-brainer to do, so I should burn through that in no time.

The scenes I was into last night were lovely:  Kerry way, way up in the air, and Annie suffering in some deep despair.  It’s an interesting metaphor, because until last night I didn’t realize that it’s a moment where Kerry is finally learning to soar, to accept that he’s not this huge loser that he’s believed he was for so long, while at the same time Annie’s sinking, telling Deanna the Seer that she wonders if she’s dragging him off to a destination not of his choosing–and then hearing of the report The Foundation put together on Kerry–and it doesn’t give a flattering description of the ginger lad.

It’s a nice dichotomy–not Die Me, Dichotomy, mind you–but it’s strange that until last night I didn’t recognize the inferences.  And these tie in with the scenes that follow, which bring a nice resolution to the prior four scenes.  If I’d actually considered writing it that way–well, it probably wouldn’t have turned out as well . . .

"I haven't seen something this bad since the last time I visited White Castle."

“I haven’t seen a mess this bad since the last time I visited White Castle.”

I’ve already started looking ahead to the next scenes, taking what the metadata is telling me and putting the ideas in my head.  I already knew them when I laid the novel out, but now everything is starting to gel in a good way.  I mean, take a look:

It all means something--doesn't it?

It all means something–doesn’t it?

Chapter Thirteen looks pretty straight forward–spells, something at the Madness, Nurse Coraline working her magic, and–oh, look, a Genesis song and someone must be having a birthday.  Yeah, those are easy to work out.  Now Chapter Fourteen is a little more difficult–there are labs and rhymes about September, and something about confronting students–doesn’t sound good.  And The Walking Tests?  Yeah, I’m having fun with that one.

What this tells me is that my kids are gonna have a busy September, and with that they’ll get the first month of classes behind them.  They’ll be well tested by them–maybe.  Who knows what’s going to happen with this stuff, right?  I do, but that’s because I’ve been living with this in my head for a couple of years, and now it’s time to let it out and run around the yard for a while.  Otherwise it’s gonna go nuts and start tearing up the furniture.

Today or tomorrow I end one segment of this story, and next Monday night I move on to the next.  I may do some editing passes on this once I start Act Two, or I may wait until Act Two is finished and do it all from the beginning once more.  Act One will go quickly because I’ve already given it a bit of a polish, and then I can go nuts on Act Two.  And then . . .

I can’t think about Act Three right now.  That’s off in the future and I’m not Deanna Arrakis–

Or am I?

Hangin’ With the G Friend

Yesterday it was talking about bad teachers in dreams and all the crap I went through it fourth grade–not a pleasant recollection.  The thing is, that recollection didn’t stay long, because by mid-day yesterday my mind was on something else, and it was a far better time than I had in that lousy dream.

What I’m talking about is the next year, and fifth grade.

Fifth grade was completely different from the year before, because my teacher then was a great guy whose name is, unfortunately, lost to me.  I want to say “Mr. Haney,” but I don’t think that’s right, though his name started with an H, so I’ll just call him Mr. H.

Mr. H was one of those teachers who didn’t dumb things down.  He knew which kids were good and wanted to learn, and which didn’t give a single shit if they made it through the year.  He loved reading and he loved science, and that was good with me.  He’d lived in Japan for a while, and while he was there he’d recorded an interview with someone who’d been a school boy in Hiroshima, and who survived the atom bombing by hiding in a cave being used as a bomb shelter.  Though he spoke English well, when he tried describing how the mouth of the cave lit up from the blast he completely lost it and started crying and mumbling in Japanese.  It was a pretty powerful moment for me, considering I’d already done my own reading on what happened then.  (And believe it or not I eventually dated a Japanese woman whose mother also survived the Hiroshima bombing.)

Mr. H pushed me in history and geography, because he knew I loved the subjects, and that I wasn’t content to stop at a certain point and look no further.  One class assignment we had was to do a report on a country, and the country I chose was Macau.  This was 1967 to 1968, and when you said “Macau” the majority of adults went, “Whu?”  No one in the class knew where my country was, nor if it was even real, but I was given extra points because just about everyone else went with stuff in Europe, or if they did Asia it was Japan and China.

The best thing Mr. H ever did was tell the Daughters of the American Revolution about my grades, and they came into class and gave me an award for “Excellence in American History”.  I was given a book, which for me, at the time, was better than money.

But I’m not here to rap on about Mr. H.  No, I’m here to talk about someone else.

I’m here to talk about Kim.

Kim was in my class.  She was about my height, she had long dark blond hair, and she wore glasses.  I also wore glasses, so it was always a bit comforting to be around someone who also had crappy eyesight.  Kim introduced herself to me in a rather unique way:  she walked up to me on the playground during recess and said, “Hey:  you’re the kid who knows all about flying saucers, right?”  Indeed I did, because since I was reading a lot of science fiction then, I was also reading everything I could get my hands on about flying saucers and the paranormal and what we know call cyptozoology.  If there was strange crap out there, I knew about it.  Kim was asking me about a story she’d heard where a horse had its head burned off, and I instantly told her about Skippy, the horse that had all the flesh on it’s head burn away–some say by a portable vat of acid, some say by aliens with a death laser!

Whatever.  That’s how Kim and I met, and we were good after that.

I don’t remember Kim hanging out with girls a lot.  Back then we called her a “tomboy” because she liked wearing jeans and button-down shirts and tennis shoes.  But she never came across like that to me.  She wasn’t rough and tumble; she always wanted to talk.  She liked horses and the mountains, and she liked math and history, too, so we had stuff in common there.  She also liked reading, but she found the stuff I was reading then to be amazing.  She was a smart girl, which back then meant she was different.

Then again, so was I.

It wasn’t just headless horses and flying saucers over which we bonded.  There was something else, and for that I have to go tap-dancing back into all those little corners of my past that I’d rather not exist, but are just waiting to jump me the first chance I get.  So here we go:

Every summer, right after school was out, my father would take me down to the barber shop and basically have all my hair cut off, so that when it was over, I looked like Ellen Ripley from Alien 3.  I hated this, because as a young child suffering with Gender Identity Disorder, I wanted my hair to grow out, and it was that summer between fourth and fifth grade when I started having arguments with my parents about getting my hair cut.  Maybe that was one of the reasons I never left my room those summers and just stayed in and read, but I do remember it was the last time I let my parent do that to me.

My hair grew fast, so usually by Halloween it was longer than most of the boy’s hair in the class, which again made me stand out a little.  This led to “getting picked on,” which led to getting bullied and called a freak and crazy and a lot of other shit, but I spent that school year avoiding a lot of those idiots and staying to myself.

Kim, however . . . I do remember one point in the fall when we were walking and talking on the playground, and she turned to me and said, “You’re hair is so . . . pretty!  It’s so curly!  I wish mine was like that.”  Which was true:  I had curly brown hair and long eyelashes, something my mother was always going on about . . .

I told Kim that I wished my hair was nice and straight–leaving off that, “and long like yours” because you just couldn’t talk that shit then–and bam!  I bonded with her over hair, because we weren’t like all the other people on the playground.  At that moment I felt there was something special between us, because not only did we talk, but we didn’t seem to care about what others thought of us when we were together.

"Seriously, you have lovely hair, and if I can use an expression that won't become popular for another twenty years, your parents are dicks."

“Seriously, you have lovely hair–and if I can use an expression that won’t become popular for another twenty years, your parents are being total dicks.  But you know about time travel, so there.”

The moment I remember the most, because it was just so damn strange, was of Kim and I on the swing sets all alone, with there appearing to be no one else on the playground–or if there were, they were sticking close to the building because the sky that afternoon was a rather strange gray and blackish color that appeared as if it was about to unleash Hell at any moment, but if you live in the Midwest and you’re afraid of a stormy-looking sky, you best move the hell out ’cause that’s pretty normal.

We were alone, and swinging like mad, talking, laughing, going higher and higher all the time . . . it was one of those magical moments that you don’t ever forget, and there was a timeless quality to what we were doing, because it did seem to go on for a long time, though we were probably only on the swings twenty to thirty minutes.  But it has become a fixed point in time, one that I flash back on now and then, and though I can’t remember everything that was said in those minutes together, it doesn’t matter:  we were together, and it was fun.  That’s what’s important.

Kim moved away after the school year was finished.  I knew this was coming, as she’d told me months before.  The last day of school we found a spot out by some of the trees at the edge of the playground and talked for a few minutes.  I told her I’d miss her, and she told me she’d miss me back.  We didn’t exchange addressed and say we’d write, probably because deep down we knew we’d never do that–though I wish I had, because I would have totally done so.  Before we parted, she leaned in and kissed me on the cheek:  that was the first time anyone outside of my family had ever done something like that, and it made my eyes mist up.  Then she was off, back to class, and so was I a moment later.  She left class as soon as the bell rang, headed for her bus, and was gone–off to Colorado, if I remember correctly.

I, too, was off to my bus and back home.  The summer sucked, I stayed inside a lot, and sixth grade blew chunks.  I wouldn’t talk to another girl until I was a senior in high school–I literally mean this, because people avoided me, or I avoided them, not really sure on this point.  I had a few friends, but for the most part I was always that weird kid who read a lot and didn’t want to do any sports.

I also missed my friend, but I didn’t talk about that much.

These days I kind of realize that Kim was probably my first girlfriend, but not the “I’m dating her” kind of girlfriend, but rather “My BFF besty” kind of girlfriend.  She didn’t think it strange to talk about the thing we talked about, and neither did I.  She saw nothing wrong with complementing my hair, and didn’t consider it strange that I did the same for her.  If she’d hung around I wonder what would have happened; would we have spent sixth grade continuing to talk about the things we did, and would we have expanded the conversation to include us?

I can’t say:  that’s all speculation.  I leave that for my writing.

I have no idea where she is now, or if she’s even alive, but if she is I’ve been sending her positive thoughts for years, and I hope they’ve helped.  I don’t dwell on her, or those moments together, because they are far off in the past, and as my Phoenix spirit told Kerry in The Foundation Chronicles, “That chapter’s over; it’s time to write some new ones, kid.”

You were one of the few good chapters in the story of my life then, Kim.

I wish you well in yours.

School Bells Ring and Children Dreaming

Today is probably going to be hard.  I seemed to have slept okay, but at the moment I can’t tell.  I’ve already spent a half hour this morning on worthless stuff–mostly trying to get my computer to do something I wanted it to do, but it was being nasty to me–and I feel like I’ll find myself getting way more frustrated as the day progresses.

At least it’s raining outside.  I love walking in the rain.  Now if I only had someone to walk with.

I’m finally into getting my kids to class in my novel.  It only took sixty-three thousand words, but I’m there.  I am too wordy, I believe.  That’s what someone I used to know would say about Stephen King:  “He’s too wordy, he says too many things in his books.”  But there’d nothing wrong with that.  Words tell a story, and sometimes the story is long and complected.  Sometimes you can’t just jump into thing and hope the reader knows what’s going on.  Some things you want to keep quiet, keep hidden, but other times you have to show why something happened along the way to your main tale–otherwise you’ll leave a whole lot of people scratching their heads wondering how a person did something.

So my kids have wandered into class, they’ve been seen by the instructor–and a few other people who will pop up later–and their history lesson is about to start.  The thing for me to do is keep this part under about three thousand words, but who knows there, right?  I think I can, because I know exactly what I’m going to say, and pretty much how I want to say it.  Stick to the script, Cassie, and all will be well.

Then it’s another short scene–maybe a thousand words–and then I get into a long section about flying.  Oi.  Why do I do this to myself?  Because I have a story to tell, that’s why.  I have something to say, and to get it all out and make it understandable, I have to throw in a few words, and this is going to make the scene long.  This upcoming scene may be my longest:  maybe five thousand words or so.  Or . . . I could be wrong.  I could be crazy and do this in a couple of thousand.

Yeah, right.

I managed just over nine hundred words last night.  There were a few distractions ongoing throughout the night, but still:  considering how I felt when I walked through the door to the apartment, I was lucky to get the computer turned on.  It was a soul sucking day.  But writing made me feel a little better, and I hope for more of that tonight.

Not to mention, I have this idea roaming in my mind.  It’s an idea I’ve had for some time, and I’m thinking that once I begin working on something new next year–after I do some editing of my backlog–that’s the story I’m going to do.  I get emotional thinking about it, because there are some rather sad parts to the tale.  But in the end it all works out–

Now, to get through my first week of school.

A Hard Rain About to Fall

Even with all the stuff I had to do last night–I paid rent, I ordered shoes, and watched American Horror Story, which is getting stranger by the minute, which means I’m loving the hell out of it–I started in on Part Three and Chapter Six.  This part going to be a strange one, let me tell you.  Not AHS strange, though the story may just get there eventually.

Part Three is broken into six chapters.  Each chapter is a day out of the first week of school–5 September on–and each scene is a part of that class.  Some of the scenes will be short, some long.  The first day has three scenes:  getting to breakfast, an intro to history, and then off to flight school.  Flight school is gonna be long and technical, because you gotta know stuff if you’re gonna float about on a Class A PAV, let me tell you.

But first I’m getting some minute details out of the way first.  Like their uniforms, which fit perfectly because they were tailored in London by some old guy who had The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo taking their measurements.  They have little messenger bags for their books and, soon to be discovered, computer equipment.  (Yes, they still have physical books, but there’ll be a lot of access to those internets.)  And they are identifiable by little stars as to their grade level in school and their coven.  Yeah, covens:  just like little witches.

There’s also a storm blowing in off the Atlantic, because it makes things interesting later in the chapter.  And it gives my flight instructor reasons to go over the gear they wear and how it’ll help with the crap they may fly in.

Once more I took my time as I wrote, editing all along the way.  I’d write a paragraph and then move it somewhere else in the story.  I’d add things to sentences I’d already written and flesh out details where needed.  It was a little bit crazy writing, like my mind knew what it wanted to say, only I couldn’t get it all out in the right order, so I just sort of moved things around until it looked right.

It worked, however, and by the end of the evening I had close to a thousand words written, which is the most I’ve done in a week.  I also didn’t feel like I was doing the literary version of pulling teeth, because even with all the page dancing the words came out good and well.  It doesn’t matter how they come out:  in the end, when you have the words on the page, that’s what counts.

I’m getting back up to speed slowly.  I’m hoping that I can top a thousand words tonight, which is a good benchmark for getting up to where I need to be, word count-wise, if I want to finish this story by the end of February.  I need to start my edits this weekend, and keep moving onward.

I feel good right now about my work.  I’m happy to say I do.