Atlantic Crossing: What’s For Breakfast?

Yesterday I was more in a mood to lay about and watch TV, though after a fashion I wasn’t even into that, as whatever was on I’d seen a dozen times already.  But after resting up and having a late snack, I watched the rain off and on–we did get it–and then started on the next scene.  It wasn’t a lot, mostly because there was research involved, and that always takes up time when I’m putting down words that need to make sense.

It’s almost two hours later and according to my calculations–and measuring things out on a map–they have just passed over Newfoundland and are leaving North America behind and have nothing but water ahead of them for quite a ways.  Since there isn’t much to see–

I checked:  not much out there.

I checked: not much out there.

–that means it’s time to get the kids settled in for the long flight:

 

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

The hostesses were going through the aircraft drawing the window shades, and the light were were at about half of normal illumination. Breakfast trays had been retrieved ten minuets earlier, and Annie suspected it wouldn’t be long before their adjustment mixtures were handed out and they’d likely spend the next four to five hours sleeping as their bodies adjusted to the time zones of their homes.

After the immediate sadness they both felt after taking off from Boston their moods lifted considerably, particularly once breakfast was served. She asked for two printsessi, slices of tomatoes, and a large glass of carrot juice, which she’s continued drinking off and on over her B Levels. Not to her surprise Kerry ordered the nearly identical breakfast, drinking mango juice with his meal.

She’s remarked once about a month after returning from Yule holiday that Kerry’s appetite was more like that of a Bulgarian than a Welsh person, there were several things she’d yet to allow him to discover—but she planed on changing that next school level. She wanted him to try lyutenitsa, a traditional relish of tomatoes and spices, the way she ate it at home: spread on bread and sprinkled with sirene cheese, which he would likely recognize as feta cheese.

There was also musaka, made with potatoes and minced pork, and, in her opinion, one of her mother’s favorite dishes. Annie liked to follow that up with a bowl of tarator, the yogurt soup filled with cucumbers, garlic, dill, and walnuts, but this was also a dish she ate nearly every hot day at home—she could even make it herself, and often did when she was in the mood.

It was Annie’s plan to introduce musaka and tarator to Kerry during his first time visiting her in Bulgaria. While that might not happen this year, she hoped that once they could begin using The Foundation jaunt stations, it might not be long before a visit were possible—

 

And here we go again, with a side tour of Bulgarian Cuisine!  Lyutenitsa is made with peppers, carrots, eggplant, onion, garlic, black pepper, vegetable oil, sugar, and salt, and tomatoes, and that means it’s thick and spicy, and it is apparently a spread that a lot of kids love as a side.  Kerry likes spicy food, though it’s hard to say if he’ll enjoy a chutney like this.  Musaka, or as it is better known, moussaka, and throughout most of the former Ottoman Empire eggplant is used instead of potatoes for layering.  And tarator is made of yogurt, cucumber, garlic, walnut, dill, vegetable oil, and water, and sometimes Bulgarians like to throw in a little vinegar and walnuts, just as Annie indicates she’s had this dish.

It would appear that Annie believes in the old tradition that a way to a boy’s heart is through his stomach, though in Annie’s really cut out the stomach part and just hooked her lifeline into Kerry’s heart and was done with that.  Probably more likely that if she can get him interested in these dishes she’ll never have a problem finding something they can enjoy together.

They aren’t getting any of that now.

It’s about time for lights out.

Hospital Visitation: Bedside Manners

It’s a cloudy morning here in the Burg, but it’s warming up and should get warm enough to wear a jacket before needing to return to the winter coat temps tomorrow.  And I had an interesting walk into work, because rather than head up 2nd Street to my coffee shop, I went a block over to the west and headed up Front Street, which runs along the banks of the Susquehanna River.  It’s a far different experience than heading up what is known in the city as Restaurant Row, which is really about two blocks long.  Chicago we ain’t.

But like Chicago we do have a lot of bridges–

Some that are even unsafe to drive on and have partially collapsed into the river.

Some that are even unsafe to drive on and have partially collapsed into the river.

And we have old buildings–

And quiet drives on one-way streets.

And quiet drives on one-way streets.

We have nice panoramas:

From bridges to buildings to a place where nothing gets done.

From bridges to buildings to a place where nothing gets done.

And, of course, the writer needs to put herself into a few pictures.

The writer outside her normal environment--

The writer outside her normal environment–

 

And within her environment with a new nail color.

And within her environment with coffee and a new nail color.

Now that all that personal stuff about walking and taking pictures is out of the way, it’s on to writing . . .

The scene is finished.  A few hundred words went down last night, and another eight hundred and seventy fell today, which means there’s just over eleven hundred more that you haven’t seen.  Coraline’s in Total Doctor Mode, and she’s handing out medical orders like she runs the place–which, come to think of it, she does.  The last time she had to get all doctoring and stuff with Kerry, this time he’s just laying there listening, and not trying to convince Coraline he’s okay.  He knows he’s not okay, as do the two female types with him in the bay.

So what’s the plan for the rest of the evening?

 

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

Coraline pushed herself back slightly from Kerry’s bed: it was time to bring this meeting to an end. “Until further notice you’re spending your evenings in this bed. You are on a conditional release, which means during the day, when you’re up, you’re free to leave the ward to go classes, the Dining Hall, and the Midnight Madness. When it’s End of Day and Lights Out, you come back here. You, too, Annie; I’ve already spoken to Holoč. I’ll see to it your uniforms and whatever else you require to get through the day is brought over today.

“But first we need to get you through tonight, and I’m going to take a bit of a drastic measure simply because it’s needed.” She leaned forward. “I’m going to give you something that will knock you out for about twelve hours straight, because you’re suffering from exhaustion and you need the sleep. I know you are likely concerned that the dream you had tonight is going to come back, so . . .” Coraline removed a small ampule from the pocket of her robe. “This will suppress the acetylcholine in your brain, thereby shutting down your REM functions. You won’t dream while you’re asleep.” She clutched her right wrist in her left hand. “You know I can’t keep you from dreaming for long, though: it’s not good for you.”

He looked towards his lap again. “I know.”

Coraline stood and pushed her chair back against the wall. “I’ll be right back.” She motioned for Annie to move from her side of the bed before heading to the storage area where she picked up things she required for her patient and setting them in a carry-all. She returned and found Annie standing on Kerry’s right, holding his hand and looking down at his now-flat bed.

She set the carry-all on the night stand and prepared an IV. “I’ll set the acetylcholine inhibitor in this IV, then I’ve give you the sleep patch.” Coraline set the ampule into a sleeve in the tubbing and set the IV transmission patch against the back of Kerry’s left hand. She removed the patch from her carry-all. “You’re going to start feeling drowsy right away; don’t fight the feeling, just let it come. You’re going to have a relaxing, fulfilling sleep, Kerry: I promise.”

“I believe you.” He gave her a somewhat sad smile. “And thank you.”

“It’s my pleasure.” Coraline prepared the patch. “You ready?” She pressed it against his carotid artery and applied a light pressure as she crafted the spell to start the medication flowing.
He looked up at Annie, trying to hold his smile. “I guess I’ll—” Within seconds Kerry’s eyes fluttered. “Um—” His face grew slack as his eyes close. “I love . . .” His voice trailed away as his body went limp. In seconds he was breathing through his slightly parted mouth while a deep sleep overtook him.

 

Acetylcholine is a real thing:  it’s what helps you dream, and while that’s going on your body is producing almost as much as it does while you’re awake.  Shut that down and you shut down your dream functions, and the good doctor is doing just that.  I’ve known she was going to do this for a while, but I didn’t get this information until a few days ago because it wasn’t needed.  Now you know.

Now, this thing with Kerry going right out . . . naw, it’s not something Coraline expected–

 

Coraline let out a long sigh. “Damn.”

“What?” Annie looked up, the semi-pained look still present in her eyes.

“It usually takes about a minute for the medication I gave him to put you to sleep. He was out in seconds—” Coraline checked the status monitors over the bed. “He’s okay, but he must have been tired as hell.” She tisked loudly. “I should have caught this on Saturday.”

Annie continued holding Kerry’s hand. “What did you mean when you said not dreaming for long wasn’t good?”

Coraline waved the carry-all off the night stand and levitated it to the end of the bed. “Going without dreaming for too long has the same effect as going without sleep: in time the beta-amyloid builds up because the body isn’t filtering it out properly—which REM sleep helps do—and before you know it your exhausted, you’re having probably with your memory and concentration—” She gazed down into the carry-all. “You can even start hallucinating. So if he continues to keep himself from sleeping because he fears a dream—”

Annie looked down on her sleeping soul mate. “Would you get him help?”

“I’d have to, but I’d likely have to send him to a facility for that.” Coraline saw Annie’s shoulders slump as the girl grasped her comment. I’ve never seen her suffer so much. Even last year, when she was so desperate to have Kerry remember their time before school, she was never like this. “Annie?”

She didn’t look up. “Yes?”

“It’s okay if you cry.”

Annie straightened before turning to face Coraline. Though her face remained pained, her voice was serious and steady. “My tears are only for him and no one else.”

For Annie to be noticeably shaken a lot of shit has to have went down.  Sure, it’s early in the morning and she was blasted out of a sound sleep by her soul mate screaming, but she’s not reacting well to Kerry’s situation.  And she’s shook up in a way that Coraline’s never seen–but she’d not shook up enough to not let Coraline know there is no way in hell she’s gonna shed a tear in front of her.  The implication is noted:  I may cry for Kerry, but you are not he.  She showed him a tear when they were together in London over the summer, but she’d burn the school down before anyone  else sees one.

So, Kerry’s been more or less kicked out of the tower for the time being–and Annie as well–and he’s down for a twelve hour rest.  What’s next?

 

Coraline nodded once. “Got it.” She sorted through things in the carry-all as Annie wandered over. “I need to get a catheter in him.”

“You brought two.” Annie looked up. “And another IV.”

“Yes, I did—” Coraline rested against the foot board of Kerry’s bed. “For you.”

“Why?”

“Because you need sleep as well, girl. You’re a moment away from losing it now, and I know if I leave you on your own tonight, you’ll stay up and watch over him and worry—which means come morning you won’t be worth a damn.” She shook her head. “He needs a good twelve hours of sleep, and I don’t see any reason why you should have the same.”

Annie turned to Bed #1 then back to Coraline. “Do you—?”

“Oh, please.” She chuckled for the first time since arriving at the hospital this evening. “I’ve been told I’m a facilitator to your affections, so I don’t see a reason to stop now.” She pointed towards the bed. “Climb in and get comfortable. I’ll get your IV and do the catheters after you’re out.”

There was a momentary pause, then Annie gave Coraline a warm hug. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” She held the girl by the shoulders. “Best get settled before I change my mind.”

Annie slid into bed next to Kerry, getting comfortable in the crook of his right arm, and nodded when she was ready. Coraline applied the sleep patch and watch the tired girl drift off to sleep before getting her IV affixed. Before she pulled back the covers to get their catheters in place Coraline slumped as she considered what had already happened this evening as well as why they needed to do today. I hope to hell we can figure this out soon, ‘cause it may not go well for Kerry if we don’t. She patted both sleeping children on their heads. We can’t fail these two; we simply can’t.

 

The couple that soul mates together get to do the long nap time together, and Coraline could give a shit if anyone says anything to her.  She’s also aware that they are in this together:  if Kerry is suffering, then Annie’s suffering, ad they’re helping not just one kid, but both.  Or at least that’s how Coraline see this.  Other’s may have a different view of the situation–

In face, in the next scene, someone will have an extraordinarily different view of the Lovely Dovey couple . . .

A Kind of Magic

When the time comes I’m want to say, “Chapter So-and-So is history,” and that’s pretty much a given with Chapter Twenty-One.  I finished it last night about the time that I was down to T-minus thirty minutes before the last episode of The Walking Dead aired for 2015.  When I finished up writing last night, I discovered that my writing for the day produced one thousand, two hundred and thirty-four words, or 1,234 words, which is the first time that particular number combination has happened to me.

Here is the hello-goodbye image of Scrivener:

Hello Chapter Twenty-Two; goodbye Chapter Twenty-One.,

Hello Chapter Twenty-Two; goodbye Chapter Twenty-One.

And Chapter Twenty-Two doesn’t take place over a long period of time.  The first scene is a few days after the events shown before; and the second, third, and fourth come the following week.  But before I can get into those, I have to show you what happened on the rest of the walk to the tower.  And it’s good–

 

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

Annie turned to face Kerry. “She has you helping her, yes?”

Kerry took a moment before answering. “Yes.”

“Then she has nothing to fear, my love.” She traced small patterns in the skin under Kerry’s neck. “Just don’t show her anything more complicated that those spells.”

“Not a chance.” Kerry waved open the door to the coven tower’s lower levels. “You saw how she was in Sorcery last week; I don’t think I could ever teach her how to do a Morte spell.”

 

Right here Kerry pretty much puts the slam on his wingmate, and we gather that (1) Emma was a bit freaked out by trying to zap zombies, and (2) Kerry doesn’t think much of the idea of trying to level her up as a sorceress.  Think there was any chance Emma was gasping when Annie bled out her homunculus?  Ummm . . . probably.  But right here is confirmation that Kerry ain’t helping her with death spells unless he’s ordered.

Now they’re back in their tower–what next?

 

While the coven towers were always quiet after midnight, their lower levels were notorious for being eerily silent. They made their way through the bowels of the tower towards the stairs leading to the ground floor and were almost there when Annie brought Kerry to a halt. “Come here.” She tugged Kerry a few meters down a short corridor and stopped him before a door. “I want to go inside.”

Kerry opened the door and commanded the lights on inside their private lab as he led Annie inside. The door whisper closed behind them while they stood the small space that was given to them last year so they’d have a place to practice common spells without distractions. “We haven’t been here in a while.”

“No, we haven’t, my love.” Annie disengaged herself from Kerry and made her way to the sofa. “Please sit and keep me warm, moyata srodna dusha.”

Kerry joined her and slid back against the sofa arm so Annie could rest against him. “It’s nice having these late night moments.”

“Especially as we don’t have class tomorrow.” She touched his chin. “Just racing in the cold.”

“Yeah, well, I knew that was going to happen.” He raised her hand so he could kiss her fingers. “Did you speak with Helena while I was in class?”

“Yes, I did.”

“What did she say?”

“That she understood what happened to you during class the other day was a one-time thing—” She snuggled against Kerry’s body, getting comfortable. “She agreed with me that she doesn’t see this as a problem.”

“Good.” He wrapped his arms around Annie. “Because it won’t.”

 

Annie had her discussion that Kerry knew was coming, and it’s no biggie:  the Mistress of All Things Dark is sure Annie’s right, and there isn’t anything that going to cause Kerry any issues in the field–the next time they’re in the field, that is.  Which they’ve been promised won’t happen this year.

Now that Annie’s getting all cozy, what next?  Well . . .

 

“I know it won’t.” She held out her left arm and a second later the comforter and pillows they’d requested last winter and kept set in the corner of the lap floated towards her. She pulled a pillow out of mid-air and handed to Kerry while she spread the comforter over them. Once they were covered and comfortable she ordered the lights into into night mode, throwing them into darkness with just indirect illumination to keep the room from becoming pitch dark.

Annie slid up until her head was on the pillow and she was face-to-face with Kerry. “There, my love: right where I want you.”

“I figured that was what you had in mind when we came here.” They embraced for almost ten seconds, their thoughts on each other as they once again grew warm under their comforter. “I didn’t think you wanted to do spells.”

“Oh, you never know—” Annie giggled coyly. “Maybe I wanted to do magic.”

Kerry kissed the tip of her nose. “That special kind of magic?”

“One day; I’m not ready for that yet.” She lightly brushed his lips with hers. “But I do want to sleep with you, my love. I want you to keep me warm.”

He was aware they were once more skirting with danger by doing something that would likely get their detention if they were caught, but he wanted to sleep next to Annie as much as she wanted to spend the evening with him. “I can’t say no to you, Sweetie.”

“I know, my love.” She twisted around so her back was pressed against Kerry. “We’ll be back up to our rooms before anyone knows.”

“Um, hum.” He draped his left arm over Annie. “Months almost over. One down, four to go.”

“Don’t think about that—think about our time together.” She closed her eyes and exhaled slow and content. “Think about me; think about us. Think of our love.” She smiled as she took her own advice. “There is nothing but good ahead of us, my love. Nothing but good.”

 

These two:  they should get a room.  Oh, wait–They Did!  But, still:  they’re still a lovely couple, and they know being together, like this, is all they need.  Besides, Annie says no to the special magic, and that means Kerry will agree because he can’t say no to her.  One of these days these kids are gonna get caught, but since it appears that all just about everyone knows they’re sneaking off to have a private moment together now and then, maybe no one is a hurry to catch them–

So, nothing but good ahead of them–

Yeah, Annie, about that . . .

Girlfriend in My Pillow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living to Write Another Day

Well, that was an interesting day yesterday.  I managed my early morning post, bid everyone a good day, finished my coffee–and almost didn’t make it to put up this post.

About forty-five minutes after leaving the rest stop I started getting tired–extremely tired.  As in, “I’m Falling Asleep at the Wheel” tired.  As in, “I’m Gonna Wreck This Sucker Any Minute Now” tired.  I know I dozed off at least twice and pulled myself out of my stupor so I wouldn’t do something exciting like zip off the road at 120 kilometers per hours (75 miles per hour, but flipping it up to kilometers makes it sound like I was racing) and do a couple of barrel rolls before coming to a messy stop.

I made it to the next rest stop and snapped this picture:

I'm awake.  Almost.  Sorta.  Kinda.  What's awake?

I’m awake. Almost. Sorta. Kinda . . . what’s awake?

What I hold in my hand is a large Panera extra dark roast with two espresso shots jacking that caffeine level to eleven.  Seriously, I was about as out of it right there as I’ve ever been, and I’ve survived moments where I’ve blacked out for minutes at a time with no recollection of what happened, usually a club or behind the wheel of another car while in the middle of nowhere.  This was nearly one of those same moments, only thirty-five years down the time stream.  I can’t even get my barrettes in straight.

I spent nearly ninety minutes getting wired and awake before trying to drive again–because, let’s face it, there was no way in hell I was dying in Ohio.  Hell, no.  I’ll barely accept death in Indiana, and they only way I’ll check out in Ohio is if i’m trying to steal the SR-71 down at the Air Force Museum while being chased by security guards with high-powered weapons.  That’s the way to go.  Crashing and burning on the Ohio Toll Road?  Not even in the top one thousand ways I wanna shuck this mortal coil.

But I made it home, due in large part to the two hours of rage driving I experience coming through Indiana.  For some reason I keep missing the “Speed limit is 70, but you can drive 67 in the left lane, not a problem” signs that must be set up somewhere, because there were a whole lot of assholes on the toll road driving exactly that way.  One day I’m going to wield a gigantic Road Warrior-style metal brace to the front of my vehicle and start pushing people off the road when they do that, because . . . well, because it’ll make me feel better.

I finally ended up collapsing about 9:30 PM, but not after I wrote two hundred and twenty-two words in my current scene.  No, really:  I started writing, and ended up nearly falling asleep at the computer.  Reading over what I’d written I’m surprised it isn’t five paragraphs of utter gibberish.  I only made it about half way through the last paragraph, however, before my brain began shutting down, but I’m pretty sure I still know what I was going to say.  In fact, I know exactly what I’m going to write–

I’m just glad I’m here so I don’t leave Kerry hanging in the lurch with his spell . . .

Nights of Sorrow and Confession

One of the themes I tend to follow in my stories that is no one is perfect.  It doesn’t matter if you’re human, non-human, or something a little special:  every now and then you’re gonna screw up.  If you’re human and you mess up, you might be out of some time and a few hundred bucks.  If you something non-human, your screw up might cost someone their life.

Such as it is with my muse, Erin.  She did something bad, and now her charge is paying for that screw up.  At least she feels bad about what happened.

The novel is moving into some dark territory before it climbs out into the light.  It’s night time, Erin is upset, and she’s got a senior goddess breathing down her neck.  Are there senior goddesses?  Of course there are:  someone’s gotta run those people.  You even find out that Erin has a boss, and it’s probably not who you think it is, because these guys don’t hang out with their own mythological neighbors.  No, these people have the run of whatever world they run, and they don’t give a shit about the ethic lines that worshiped them.

Unlike the last few chapters, where I struggled to get my feeling out on the page, time time I’m kinda zoomin’ the chapter.  I’ve written nearly twenty-five hundred words in the last two days, and were it not for an important Skype meeting tonight, I might have actually finished the chapter.  I’ll still get in some words tonight, but it looks as if the finishing of the chapter comes tomorrow–and the finishing of the story may happen on Sunday.  Maybe Monday, Tuesday at the outside.  But I see the end coming, it’s just around the bend.

Maybe this chapter is going so well because I’m feeling the sorrow these days, just like Erin.  Things are happening around me, a little to me, a little to people I know, and it’s weighing on my mind.  That’s probably why I was up at four AM again today, with my brain playing its little games of, “Hey, listen!” and keeping me up when I should be catching the snooze instead.  It has done this to me for the better part of a week now, and the early morning chicanery is getting old.  I need sleep, and I need it soon, because the drive home is killing me.

It also doesn’t help with the creative process.  The ideas seem slow these days, as if all the befuddlement I’m feeling from getting up so early every day is whacking my imaginative juices.  I will say this about hanging at The Undisclosed Location:  I always seemed to have something bouncing about in my brain.  These days, I seem to have . . . emptiness.  Or, at the least, a bit of fogginess, because things never seem as clear as they once were.

It’s time to get past these blocks.  Perhaps after I do my next edit the brain will open up.  Or maybe that’ll happen after I get some sleep.  Though I ended up not getting a lot of sleep last year–

And writing wise, that didn’t turn out all that bad.

The Absence of Mind

No dreams to talk about today, because there weren’t any.  At least none that I could discuss.  You see, I didn’t get much sleep–

Correction:  I was back to getting about three hours of sleep last night.

I fell asleep about midnight, woke up about two, tossed and turned until about five, and the alarm went off at six.  I got a little dream time in during the hour before the alarm went off, but today is a seriously sleep deprived morning.  I was so out of it driving into The Cubical Hell (where I discovered that radio streaming has been blocked, which means it’s over to YouTube to listen to albums) that I was really afraid to be out in traffic.

So today is one of those days where the mind feels like it’s checked out and gone off on holiday.  I feel like I have the chills running through my arms and legs, and time is some relativistic entity manipulated by gamma factors.

Not the day I was expected, but it’s the day you get.  You make the best of it, and hope that by noon, you can get some coffee into the body and pick up a little steam that will carry you into the evening.

This evening I’m going to need it, because today was the start of the two-week push to get my novel nice, pretty, and polished, before I send it off to Harper Voyager for consideration.  It’s never good to try and edit when you’ve a mind full of cobwebs, and today I’ve got Metebelis Spiders–“All Hail the Great One!”–roaming about in my brain.

Yeah, you deal with the day you get, not the one you want.

Then again, being a little tired–or a lot–makes you focus on your work.  I’m not writing new material, but polishing, editing, getting my story in final form.  I’m certain there are things I’ve missed, and I’ll get them.

Twenty-four chapters in fourteen days.  Very doable.  Now is the time to make that push, so that by 30 September, I’m ready to submit.

Then once this is out of the way, it’s time for my Halloween story, and getting ready for NaNo.  The end of the year push when the writing picks up, and carries you through the end of the year, and into the next.

There is something else on the way as well:  my 500th post.  This post is number 495, so come Saturday, I’ll have five hundred in the books, on the Internet, and I’ll be ready for another five hundred.  Well, another two hundred and fifty, at least:  I’ll do another special post when I reach my 750th, and then another when I reach the 1000th.  After that, who knows?  Maybe I’ll retire from blogging.

Ha!  Fat chance.

Though that makes me wonder:  how much longer will I keep at this?  I’ve been going strong for a year, and making another five hundred posts will take about fifteen months.  Sure, I can keep running at the fingers, but what will I talk about?

You know what I’ll talk about–

Anything I like.

Chasing the Fear

What I want to know is–why am I up at 4 AM?  Again?

The entire life seems to be in flux at the moment.  Project with work that seems to go on, but is still so close to the end.  Work in progress that seems to go on, but is still so close to the end.  Novels out for review, for a possible purchase . . .

So close to the end, but it seems like it’s so far away.

Ah, it’s just like everything else in my life:  it’s moving from one sort of set up to another.  It’s just that it’s taking so much time, and I want it now!

Time to learn patience, Grasshopper.  Otherwise it’s going to pull you apart, and it’s going to be messy when it’s all over.

Part Ten of Diners at the Memory’s End started last night.  I hopped in pretty well, getting almost 700 words done before the need for sleep caught up with me and forced me off to bed–which, if you’re following this post right now, didn’t do me much good, since I was lying away for about an hour before I starting writing.  I would have gotten into writing a little faster, but I needed to look up something about a local in the story, and that meant I needed to pull up something from Transporting

I spent about an hour going through the chapter in question, reading what I’d actually written twenty years before, and edited a few times since.  There is something about the writing:  it’s sort of wild and raw, but you can feel the main character’s feelings coming though so well.  You can see the relationship with Cytheria beginning, building little by little during what was, pretty much, a very drunken dinner with a fellow doctor.

And the chapter was long:  about 5,600 words.  But so much was said, that I’d loath to cut any of it, because it is all so very good.

Can’t wait to sell this.  Of course, that means editing it, and that means getting all my other projects out of the way before I can do that.

So what needs to be done:  finish the current story, then maybe do another–I have an idea for something that’s either going to be straight-up erotica, or maybe erotic fantasy–then get ready for NaNoWriMo.  Then when that’s over, launch into editing Book One of Transporting, and maybe start shopping it–and the rest of the books in that trilogy–out come the start of 2013.

Yeah, really seems like I have it all down pat, doesn’t it?

The fear here is that none of this will amount to anything.  That I’ve written all these things, or that there are things out there to be written, and in the end, no one, outside of a small circle of people, will ever see them.  That they will linger forever on the Internet, or maybe even on a bookshelf of a store, and nothing will ever come of them.  They will be an experience in my life that went nowhere, and thousands of hours will have been spent chasing an endeavor that was all for naught.

The money can be something that would keep me writing, but I really want people to see my work.  Be entertained.  Be amazed.

Maybe even fall in love with the characters who dance in my imagination, and make life worthwhile.

So I chase the fear, and hope for the best.  Hope that, at the end of the road, there is something waiting for me.

I’ll ask Cassidy and see what she says–

Even though I know she’ll tell me to keep running.

Nothing Much is Nothing At All

Nothing.  That’s what this weekend felt like.

While Saturday wasn’t that bad, Sunday was a total waste.  I was fighting an infection in my left earlobe, and this general feeling that nothing was right.  I was tired, because I wasn’t catching up on the sleep that I haven’t been getting down at The Undisclosed Location.  I ended up munching away on junk food when I pulled into the apartment, and I was up until midnight before going to bed.

And when did I rise this morning?  About 4 AM.  Finally got out of bed at 4:30.  Still the same.  Three, four hours of sleep, and a day full of exhaustion.

The worst was that yesterday, other than the blog, I wrote nothing.

It wasn’t just not writing–I didn’t feel like writing.  I thought about finishing off the scene I’m into right now, with Albert and Meredith in their game, whacking out aliens left and right.  I knew, however, if I did, I was going to produce some might crap.  Whatever was written was going to suck mightily, and that wasn’t wanted.  The idea is, when I write, not to suck, and if I’d written last night, it was going to suck.

Ergo, I walked away.  There was no way the story was going to get a crap section.

The last couple of weeks have been this way, a fight to get some sleep, get through the day, get through the story.  The lack of sleep is becoming an acute problem, because it’s affecting me throughout the entire day.  By the time I manage to pull myself through the day at work, it’s back to the apartment, eat, then try to write.  Sometimes I’m doing very well:  other times I feel the struggle to get anything done.

There’s no stopping, but there’s also the feeling that something is coming to a head, and it won’t take long to get there.

There is also the feeling I’m struggling with this story.  I don’t want to struggle, but it happens.  You work through it, make the words come out.  There’s the feeling I messed up the time line, which is possible, as I’ve thought about what should happen after this current part if finished.  Tonight I’ll fix this; I’m nothing if not anal about my time lines.

Too many things going on at once.  May was crazy; June is even more insane.  Who the hell knows what July is going to bring?

Something new and good is needed, and needed very soon.  For it does seem as if I’m working in a vacuum here all of a sudden, with no feedback, little human contact, and even less human touch.

It’s the feeling that I need some kind of confirmation that everything isn’t for naught.  That this is going to work for me, because . . . the alternative isn’t worth my time.  The alternative is The Downhill Slide–  I refuse to go there, however.  It’s never going to be an option.

So many thing happening at once; no clear resolution in sight.  It’s like life, only with a great emphasis being unreal.

We all know how much life can suck, even in the best of times . . .

Wordy on the Sly

My first wife–whom I affectionately refer to as “Audrey III”, which those of you with any sort of movie/geek background will get right away–had a love/hate relationship with reading.  She claimed, at least at first, that she liked reading, but there were certain authors she hated to read, because . . . let me give you an example.

I read a lot of early Stephen King.  Like, every time something new came out, I bought it and read it.  I have one of the original hardback printings of the first Dark Tower novels; there were like ten thousand printed, and they were, I think, $40 when they were first sold.  As you can see in this link, an unsigned copy is worth about $1200 today–and mine is in as good of shape as this book.  I have all of the Green Mile when it was first released as a serialized books, because that was the way King wanted you to read it–at least at first.

My then-wife hated King.  Not because of the stories, oh, no.  She thought those were fine.  She hated King because he was too “wordy”.  “He uses too many words!” she say all the time.  I always took this to mean, “I’m too damn lazy to read”–which, it turns out, was really the case, since after a while she stopped reading altogether.  Maybe every writer got too wordy for her, I don’t know.

Now, it’s no secret I write every day, or at least try.  There have been a few times I’ve let that slip, but if nothing else, I try to get in a daily post, and then I work on my stories.  Usually blog in the morning, story at night.  I try to set goals as well:  at least five hundred words for each blog post, at least one thousand words for the story.  I always hit my five hundred on the blog; it’s important to do that, at least to me.

But the story?  I tend to slip there.  A lot of it usually involves my brain turning into various kinds of mush around 9 PM, or there abouts, and if I’m still writing, I suddenly find it very difficult to continue.  Even so, when that happen, I generally aim for at least five hundred words before I put the story aside.

Last night was one of those cases.  I was working on Part Seven of Diners at the Memory’s End, and I worked on a scene in that part where the AI of the spaceship that belongs to one of my main characters is working on the outer hull of the vessel, and she’s–yeah, the AI is a she–split herself into eight different parts, all of whom are dressed like the Inner and Outer Senshi from Sailor Moon.  There is a lot of description about what they’re doing, what they look like, and then a little banter, and then Albert and Meredith return to the main cabin, and . . .

I couldn’t remember a damn thing.

I knew Meredith was going to say something, and in order to change the subject, Albert was going to ask her a question, but I’ll be damned if I could remember where Meredith was going with her questions–and she does have questions.  Rather than struggle, I shut it all down, did a few Facebook posts, and headed to bed.

Total word count for what I did was 1045 words.  People told me how prolific I was–

I always feel like I’m doing nothing.

NaNoWriMo was a huge thing for me.  That was the first time I wrote a novel, and finished it.  I did 85,000 words in 25 days, and blogged about doing it.  I averaged 3,400 words a day, but that’s because there were a few days when I was writing 4,500, 4,800 words.  Oh, sure, there were a couple of people who wrote their whole fifty thousand in two days, and then went on to brag they wrote a couple more novels in the remaining time, but . . . where is that novel now?  Sitting in a draw?  Lost on a computer somewhere?  Mine is out to a publisher:  what about you?

Maybe it’s because I have so many thing going on these days that I don’t think there’s anything out of the ordinary about writing a thousand words a day–fifteen hundred if you add in the blog, although my word counter is telling me I’m about 725 right now, so it’s going to be higher today.  Maybe when I get to where I’m doing this all the time, I’ll get into those mind spaces where I’ll be doing two, three thousand words a day again.

‘Cause right now, it always feels like I’m playing catch up, an no matter how fast I run, I can’t seem to keep up.

The Dreamland Bypass

Busy is my name today.  There’s so much going on, I don’t know where to start.

Time change is starting to get to me.  I was up about 5 AM local, which is 6 AM down where I work, and the chances of me getting a good night’s sleep are diminishing by the day.  I’ve sort of given up on the possibility of ever getting a full night’s sleep anymore, and as I get older, that’s going to become less and less an occurring.  Yes, there are things I can take to help me sleep, but the following morning I feel groggy as hell for most of the morning.

Though I feel groggy as hell right now.  Have you ever had to write when you’re mind is floating around, wrapped up in a nice, little cocoon of fuzz?  It’s totally charming; you should all try it sometime.  It’s wonderful!  Although I will say, if nothing else, it does make you focus like hell on what you’re doing.  You can’t let your mind wander when you’re cranking out a post (like here), or writing a story (like I’m going to do later), or creating a query letter (like I’m going to do much, much later).  When you’re full of energy, and your mind is clear, you’re usually mind jumping from one thing to another.  When you’re on the verge of loosing your shit, and you feel like, at any moment, your eyelids are going on strike because you’re keeping them up beyond their bedtime, you get your mind locked in on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Like, you know, trying to hit your thousand word limit on your story for the night.

Diners at the Memory’s End is getting big.  It’s also getting to be another story I’m enjoying a lot.  I think it’s because of the character dynamic I’ve created between two of my main characters, Albert and Meredith.  As I’ve said elsewhere, when I wrote this story the first time around, Meredith was something of a conniving little bitch, and she came off as being very unsympathetic, at least when I look at the story in retrospect.  Meredith is a person who’s in a very difficult position, and when her moment to be a little–well, maybe “bad” is the right word . . . when it comes, it’s going to happen for reasons other than, “I’m a nasty quim!”

Though I’ve always said my character are not in charge of me, I think they need to be seen in a very real light, and Meredith needs to be viewed with something akin to reality.  And the reality is, sometimes people do thing because it’s there, and they want it.

It doesn’t make them bad.

I also have a blog post to write later, and another one to format for publication on Monday, and this query letter–damn, man.  I need some rest!  Though I might just hold off on the blogging until tomorrow, that query could be money in the bank, and money is good.  Which reminds me:  someone I used to work with IMed me on Facebook yesterday, and the first thing they said was, “You making any money doing this writing thing?”  It’s not always about the money, folks.  If we didn’t like writing, we wouldn’t do it.  If we wrote only for the paycheck, we’d be monkeys.  Or, as Chuck might say, “Penmonkeys”.

But the biggest reason I’ll be busy today:  I have a teenager in the house.  My daughter turns 13 today, and there will be much merriment.  Shopping and lunch at a Japanese restaurant, then back with a couple of her friends to enjoy a Portal Cake (which is not a lie), and then having fun playing games.  Ah, to be that age again.

It’s a great time to be alive, is it not?