How to Train Your Dragon

Today I’m bringing you an instructional video, something I don’t do often–in fact, I don’t know that I have done this before.  But I’ve wanted to do this for a while and I felt that this lazy Sunday was a good day to set up my first for the blog.

I’m going to show everyone how I write using Dragon Voice Recognition software.  This is a long video–a little over forty-seven minutes–but in that time you’ll get an idea how this software works and you’ll see me write the first few hundred words of my newest scene.

I hope you enjoy.

The Midnight Window: Remembrance of the Hurting

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

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

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

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

With a lot more buildings around me, naturally.

With a lot more buildings around me, naturally.

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

Which also has a lot more buildings.

Which also has a lot more buildings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Timeing On a Sunday Afternoon

It’s one-thirty PM, or thirteen-thirty if you happen to attend a certain fictional school I know, and the mimosas didn’t kill me.  Rendered me a little spacey–okay, a lot spacy–but that’s it.  I’m still functional, after a fashion.

Water + Music = Recovery!

Water + Music = Recovery!

When I picked up my new computer a couple of weeks ago the primary goal was to get it set up as quickly as possible so I could get back into my writing, and do it with the tools I’d already learned to use on the old Beast.  Getting Scrivener and Scapple and Blender weren’t that big of a deal:  I had the licence from when I’d picked them up originally, so all I needed to do was download current versions and reapply the licences.  For Sweet Home 3D I pick up a new version, which was needed as well as this one came with lots of content.

But Aeon Timeline was a completely different story.  In the time since buying it originally a new version had come out that changed how it now function, and the dilemma was do I get the old version and work with that, or do I go with the new hotness even though it’s going to run me $50?

The answer was yes and I proceeded to get the new program and pay for the licence.  The question after that became, was it worth it?

The answer is yes.

The basic interface to Aeon Timeline 2 is much the same, yet at the same time it feels so much fuller and, in a way, less crowed and busy.  This is due to taking a few things that were all clumped together and breaking them out either into their own windows, or setting tabs to allow the user to drill down to what they want to work upon.

So new, yet so familiar.

So new, yet so familiar.

When you bring up the program the first time the interface is now a black background with white lettering.  If you don’t like this, you can go to the old standby of a white background with black lettering:

Which is pretty easy on the eyes.

Which is pretty easy on the eyes.

And if you want to get fancy, there are a few backgrounds that allow a little color and text to liven up your time lining drudgery.  Like this one, the Borealis:

Which, for obvious reasons, reminds me of The Polar Express.

Which, for obvious reasons, reminds me of The Polar Express.

As before, adding an event is as simple as clicking somewhere within an existing time and plugging in information.  This function is a window that drops down from the middle-top, and there are a few things here that immediately pop into view, such as Parent, Participants, Observers, and Place.  The last three take the place of another function found in Timeline 1, and Parent–well, we’ll get to that.

Until then I'm teasing you hard.

Until then I’m teasing you hard.

The Inspector–that area that you can pop open on the right hand size of the interface to add information to each event–has been updated considerably.  Where as in Timeline 1 everything was crammed into that widow for one to search out and modify, everything is now set up in separate tabs, allowing the user to concentrated on one particular thing at a time while they’re building up an event.  This making things less confusing when modifying something, as the signal to noise ratio is toned down a great deal.

There’s a lot of meta data that can now be entered for an event, and in the past if you wanted to see that meta data you needed to open the Inspector.  Not any more.  You can go into your Display Options and decide what you want to see when you “expand” an event, and then all one has to do is hover over said event until a little green arrow pops into view in the upper right hand corner–

That one right there.

That one right there.

And click it so the event expands.

Giving you all this.

Giving you all this.

Here I went crazy with the expanded data.  So now I see what is happening, who is involved, who is watching, where it’s happening, the arc in which this information is found, and, if I like, a nice picture of the area that I can expand into a larger picture window.  If you notice, the time line event also tells me the ages to the people involved, and even the age of the location.  The people and location can be tied to an event for time purposes, allowing you to see how old a person and/or location is in relationship to where the event falls.

So if I want to see how long my kids had been at school at the time the Called Up event occurred, I bring up Manage Entities, find the character in question, and reset their age at the moment they arrived at school:

Seems like you only arrived yesterday, doesn't it, young lady?

Seems like you only arrived yesterday, doesn’t it, young lady?

So when I reexamine the Called Up event, we now discover how long Annie and Kerry were students when they were informed by Helena that The Guardians needed them.

Answer: just a week short of seven months.

Answer: just a week short of seven months.

Man, walk in the door of this joint and before you know it people want you to go off and “observe” bad guys.

Two of the biggest changes are Parents and Dependencies.  Creating Parent Events allow one to set up an entities that occurs over time, yet consists of multiple actions or events within that time period.  One of the easiest to show is from A For Advanced, the first week of school from the first class to the last moment of the second Midnight Madness.

Pretty straight forward as it sits now.

Pretty straight forward as it sits now.

Now lets created a new event called First Week of School and set the time frame for the parent.

B For Bewitching Aeon Timeline 2 First Week of School

And start moving the already established events into the Parent Event:

Until it looks like this.

Until it looks like this.

If you look closely you’ll see a little “+” on that event line, so if you click on that–

There's all my old events.

There’s all my old events.

This helps you manage your events better without having to resort using another time line and linking to that–unless, of course, you have several arcs worth of information you need covered, in which case you may want that other time line.

Dependencies are the other addition to the program, and it’ll come in handy where one has events that not only require a certain amount of time between passages, but are grouped together.  One sets the main event, then when adding additional events after that, the user needs to only specified to what event the new event is tied, and then indicate the time span between those events.  Not only does the program then determine the actual times, but if the first event is change to a new time and/or date, the dependent events follow and are adjusted automatically.

Comes in handy when you want to create the time line for a fast-occurring action scene.

Comes in handy when you want to create the time line for a fast-occurring action scene.

And as I discovered while playing with another time line, if you need to know when an event happening in one time zone is being monitored in another, then event can be made dependent, and times can be adjusted forward and backwards.  So say Helena’s in San Francisco for some reason, and she wants to speak with Kerry in Cardiff and Annie in Pamporovo, you’d set up Helena’s event with San Fran time, then make Kerry’s event 8 hours ahead of Helena’s, and Annie’s 10 hours ahead, and right there you have the events and times without having to do a lot of looking.  And if the user needs to move Helena’s time for any reason, Annie’s and Kerry’s events change time as well.

There you have it:  my new toy.  And while it might not be useful for his latest novel, I’m certain I’ll get some use out of it in the following novels.

It’s just a matter of time.

When Times Slips Away–

Here it is, almost ten in the morning, and all the things I’ve wanted to do I haven’t.  Which means my blog post for the day is coming after I return from brunch, which I’m supposed to show up for in an hour.

The thing is, the reason I haven’t written anything this morning is because I’ve been playing with a new toy.  And, man, have I been having fun.  I can’t talk about it right now, but it will likely be the subject of the next blog post.  The one coming this afternoon, that is.  Assuming I haven’t drank too many mimosas.

I’ll just give you a little peek at what’s coming:

It looks so familiar, yet so different.

It looks so familiar, yet so different.

See you on the other side.

Welcome to the Coven

It is true:  you give me a new toy and some time, I’ll put it to good use.  Or I’ll waste my time screwing around with stuff–hey, either works for me.  At least when I’m obsessing on something I’m not falling asleep in the afternoon, and as I had laundry to do, keeping busy is the best way to be.

Given that I’d written over thirteen hundred words yesterday morning I figured I could play around with something else, and that’s exactly what happened.  I decided to design something, and finally, I have it in place–

I welcome you to Cernunnos Coven Tower.

Pretty much as you'd expect it to look.

Pretty much as you’d expect it to look.

Yes I set out in Sweet Home 3D to lay out the building, and I started on that yesterday afternoon.  What you see in the picture above it just on level:  in starting the layout I managed to set up space for both the sub-level and lower level of the coven, so in time you’ll see where the kitchen and Annie and Kerry’s private lab are on the floor below, and where everyone went when they had to retreat underground when students went into the sub-levels during the Day of the Dead attacks.

But first, what about the image above?

Right off the bat you see areas outside the tower:  a ring around it and four walkways heading off in different directions.  The walkways are easy:  those that look like stone are the covered walkways leading to the Great Hall (the one heading off to the left) and to the Transformation Center/Chemical Building and the Instructor’s Residence (the one heading to the right).

The other two passages on the left are actually the Pentagram Walls, and the ring around the tower is the wall passage that allows people to move from one side of the Pentagram Walls to the other without having to walk through the coven.  The ring around the tower is 4 m/12 ft wide, and the walls themselves are 5.5 m/18 ft wide.  The passage at the top of frame heads to Ceridwen Coven, while the one on the bottom heads to Åsgårdsreia Coven.

The inner tower–the actual coven itself–is 20 m/65 ft across, and the ground floor is the location of the main commons.  There are three entrances:  two under the stairs at about 10 and 4 o’clock on the dial, and the other at the bottom where the passage to Åsgårdsreia lay.  The area with all the small rooms is the space directly under the mezzanine commons, and they are, from left to right, the boy’s bathroom, a small meeting room where students can gather, the stairs to the lower levels (it’s the small room between the meeting table room and the commons itself), the service passage where you’ll find two storage areas near the exit, the Coven Leader’s office (like the one Annie and Kerry were just in with Deanna), and the girl’s bathroom.

And if you want to see the Coven Leader’s office, it’s right here below:

B For Bewitching Cernunnos Coven Office

Kind of stark, isn’t it?

It’s not meant to be huge, just a place to conduct business, but it’s bigger than my office, that’s for sure.

As for the main commons, it’s pretty large, taking up a little over half the ground floor, and you can see the staircases leading up to the mezzanine.  Because of the limitations in the program they aren’t quite as smooth as I would like, and there isn’t a railing on those grand staircases, but right now the layout works.  The walls of this level are 4.5 m/14.75 ft high, giving a good open feeling, and the walls of the next level up, the mezzanine, are another 3.5 m/11.5 ft, so you have a wonderful, open feeling when you’re sitting down here.

So what does the coven commons look like from the ground floor?  Glad you asked.

B For Bewitching Cernunnos Coven Ground Floors

Looks a lot bigger down here.

This is what is looks like standing near the girl’s bathroom/west exit and looking towards the east/inner Pentagram Garden.  Lots of chairs, a few tables to set things upon, the fireplace and sofa right where they should be–and is that a couple sitting before the fire?  Yeah, I couldn’t resist placing those two on the sofa where so much has happened, and they’ve yet to be caught sleeping.  Yet.

And just as I did with my layout for the Sea Sprite Inn last novel, here’s a little walk through video.  And since I have a better system now, I can actually create this video quickly enough that I won’t still be waiting for it when the heat death of the universe occurs.  I set the light so that it gives the impression it at night and the lights are low, which means it’s gonna be romantic, yeah?

So there you are:  the layout of the Cernunnos Coven ground floor.  More will come in time, eventually you’ll see the entire tower laid out.  I’ll probably do the lower levels before I get to the mezzanine, and then it’s up to the dorm floors, which are pretty much duplicates of each other.

We close out with a certain couple enjoying the quiet while they sit before the fire–

B For Bewitching Annie and Kerry on Sofa

‘Cause by this time in the story they’ve earned the rest.

Mornings With the Seer: The Future Couple

First off, I’ve been a busy little beaver this morning.  Up at almost five, which sucks when you think about it.  But while I was up I managed to finally get my licence for my new version of Aeon Timeline 2, and gave it a spin–

New look; new feel; same old time lines.

New look; new feel; same old time lines.

I figured out how to put square floors in a circular room–for reals–and after all that I headed down to the coffee shop for some writing.

And some coffee as well.

And some coffee as well.

There was a lot of writing, like over thirteen hundred words.  I finished the scene because I felt it was necessary, and because I know I have laundry and napping to do tonight before sitting down tonight for a little more writing.  One day I’m getting paid for all this, right?  Yeah, probably.

With this in mind, it’s time to find out what’s going on.  And that means Deanna’s gonna start her rap as soon as I’m finished–


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

“It’s something—” Deanna turned her gaze to the ceiling for a moment. “You’re not the first couple we’ve discovered with an astral binding. Over the last five hundred years that witches first began noticing this phenomenon, they’ve discovered these bindings—prior to yours—in forty-one known couples. Given that at any time in the last two hundred years that the total world-wide Aware population was between five and ten thousand people, we’re not talking a common event.” She held up her left index finger the moment it became apparent Kerry was about to speak. “And I asked Erywin if there was any significance with the number forty-two, and as she assured me there was, so there’s no need for you to comment.”

Kerry snapped his fingers in mock disappointment. “Darn.” He looked to his left where Annie was giving him a bemused look. “I’ll tell you later.”


It’s nice to know that Erywin is the Geek Instructor on the Spot when the other instructors want to know something, and we know this is one of the reasons why Kerry and she get along so well.  For those of you who know what Kerry was going to say you can groan, and for those of you who don’t, well, you need to brush up on your geekness a little more.  Or ask me:  I’ll tell you.


Annie turned back to Deanna. “You were saying?”

The seer was back on track immediately. “Maybe two and a half centuries after the first astral binding was discovered a few pre-Foundation researchers that a few of the individuals began exhibiting unusual abilities later in their lives. No one knew why at the time, however, while only a few of these people had Gifts, spawning new Gifts later in life, particularly in one’s thirties, was not known to happen.

“It was only in the mid-Nineteenth Century that researchers noticed that the couples who were experiencing this ‘spawned Gifts’, as they called them, had found each other at an early age, married, and then consummated their marriage soon after. And it wasn’t just all couples that appeared to do this, but only the few who were performing a particular ceremony during the marriage—one that turned out that witches in some parts of the world had performed as part of an older tradition.”

It was impossible for Annie not to appear interested. “What was the tradition?”

“The couples in question were partaking of an exchange of their physical essences during their weddings.” Deanna did a slight toss of her head to the right. “There are several different interpretations as to what constitutes a ‘physical essence’, but it would seem we’re looking at fluids or semi-living tissue.”

Kerry’s eyebrows shot upward into his brow. “Like skin? Or muscle tissue?”

“Perhaps. It appears to have differed from couple-to-couple.”

Annie wasn’t interested in the particulars: she was drawn back to one of Deanna’s questions. “Why is this called the Three Bindings?”


So, are we talking cannibal wedding in the future?  These crazy witches, it seems like just when you have them figured out there’s just a bit of weirdness floating about that proves they’re a little different than us.  Do I know what passed for physical essence?  Silly people, of course I do.

But Annie’s like a little Bulgarian bullet who wants to get to the heart of the matter, because that’s how she is . . .


“Because the couples were bound together in three separate ways.” Deanna sat up and kept her gaze flickering between her two guests. “The first binding is the astral binding, naturally. None of this can happen unless you were both bound to each other at birth. The second binding is known as the physical binding, the process of connecting the couple through personal elements found in the Physical Realm.

“The last binding is known as the life binding, which is meant to represent the simultaneous exchange of essence that is used to consummate another life—” She gave a dry chuckle. “In short, sexual intercourse.”

Now the first question made sense to Annie. “That’s why you wanted to know if we’ve had sex.”

“Exactly. I wanted to see if you’d already broken the bindings.”

“What do you mean ‘broken the bindings’?” Kerry felt a uneasy feeling build in his tummy as he imagined the possibility dire consequences behind Deanna’s words. “Have we done something wrong?”

“No, you haven’t.” The seer eyed them carefully. “Not yet.”

Annie’s stare grew in intensity. “Meaning?”

“It appears that in order for the Three Bindings to occur the binding process must happen in the order I defined—” She leaned forward, resting her forearms against her desk. “Astral first, then physical, then life. Go out of order, or performed the magic necessary for the ceremony used in the physical binding, and it doesn’t work.” Deanna stared back at Annie with the same intensity the girl showed her. “That’s why out of the forty-two couples known to have an astral binding, there are only ten who are documented as having went all the way through the Three Bindings.”


This story is all about being different, and the rarities that are sometimes brought up by these differences.  Way back in Act One Kerry mentioned to Annie, right before they headed into Starbucks and starts hanging with the older kids who liked them, that they were different, and they could either ignore that or accept the fact and embrace the difference.  And we’ve seen it:  Annie can fly; Kerry is a mimic; they are a couple of levels ahead of everyone in their level; and eventually Kerry can also be a girl when he likes.

We learned earlier about their astral binding, and now this.  Even within their own little group of witches, they are to extra witchy that they’re really in a level of their own.  But when you’re different, it means you need to face a whole different set of issues . . .


“And why are you telling us this?”

“Because you needed to know—and I wanted you to know before you did something you shouldn’t.”

Kerry twisted up the left corner of his mouth. “Like have sex?”

“That’s one.” Deanna looked directly at Annie. “Or do something that could prove harmful.”

It only took a few seconds for Annie to figure out the meaning of Deanna’s last sentence. “You were worried we’d find out about this on our own and learn how to do this ceremony for the physical binding. Weren’t you?”

“Yes, I am.” Deanna ran her right index finger slowly along her upper lip. “Both of you have shown a tendency to strike out on your own when it comes to learning magic, and even with being in the advance classes everyone’s aware you’re still pouring over books in the library to find ways of crafting new spells, or finding variations on the ones you know.” She tilted her head slightly to one side. “That’s most of what you do in the Black Vault, isn’t it, Annie?”

“Yes.” Annie knew there wasn’t any point in trying to deny the accusation. “Like you say, everyone’s aware.”

“Yes, they are. Which is another reason why you’re here.” Deanna sat back and pulled a tablet out of her Hammerspace. “I’ve filed a Writ of Exclusion with The Foundation forbidding either of you from researching any and all information, magical or otherwise, relating to astral, physical, or life bindings, as well as anything pertaining to the Three Bindings.” She slid the tablet across her desk. “The writ went into effect today at six, Paris Local Time, which was time last midnight our time. You can examine the writ if you like, but I believe you’ll find it in order.”


This right here, this last paragraph, is probably the sternest thing that’s ever been leveled against either kid.  A Writ of Exclusion is pretty much The Foundation being told, “Hey, we don’t want this person or persons doing something, and so lock them own when it comes to them trying to do so,” and just like that, they’re kept from doing so across the whole of The Foundation.  And as you can imagine, every library in The Foundation, and every bookseller as well, have a magical way of knowing who’s accessing what book, and so you can imagine if they walk into the school library and pull down one of those books they’re not supposed to read, Trevor’s gonna know and he’ll be down in a flash to pull said volume from their eager mitts.

In short, they’re banned for the time being from reading anything relating to their current condition, or anything they could do in the future to change this.  Needless to say, they’re not happy . . .


Though Annie was famous for keeping her emotions under control, she couldn’t help the sudden rush of blood that made her cheeks feel as if they were on fire. “What? Why did you do that?”

“Because, as you say, Annie, everyone’s aware of how you both turn to books when you want to learn something new, and I could see you trying to attempt the physical binding magic in a couple of years—”

Annie scooted to the edge of her seat. “Why would we?”

Deanna waited a few seconds before answering in a soft voice. “You know why.”

Kerry rolled his eyes as he signed. “We’re not ready for sex; we’ve said that over and over.”

“I know, Kerry, and I get that—” Deanna nervously patted the back of her left hand with her right. “What about when you’re E Levels? Or even D’s?” She looked off towards the right side of her office. “What about next year?” She turned her gaze back on the young couple across her desk. “You’re not like the other couples here, and you know this. You know you’re going to get married and be together for the rest of your lives, and you’ve already developed an emotional maturity concerning your relationship that goes beyond that of your fellow levelmates, so it’s not inconceivable that what you’re not ready for today won’t be true in a few years—or even a few months—time.”

She leaned forward again, softening her tone so that she came across less as a coven leader and more as a friend. “I know this is gonna sound like adult bullshit, but I’m doing this to protect you. I don’t want you trying something that you might just screw up—” Deanna held up a hand to hold off the protests. “You both know as good as you are you’re not immune to mistakes or not crafting a spell correctly the first time, so just drop that argument now. I don’t want you screwing up and blowing this thing, because you know if you do you’re going to hate yourselves.” She tapped her fingers against the desk top. “As it is, I’ve given you a choice.”


I’m reminded once in a while that these kids have hormones, and as they get older they’re gonna become hell to ignore.  They haven’t acted upon whatever urges pop up from time-to-time, but as Deanna knows, it’s only a matter of time before they find themselves in a quite, private moment, and one of both go, “Hey, since we’re getting married in a few years . . .” and the rest is history.

However, Deanna has left then with a choice–


Annie had finally pushed her anger away and could speak with little strain in her voice. “The choice of whether we want to wait for this or not.”


“And what happens if we wait and manage these Three Bindings correctly?”

“Then something will happen.”

Annie jumped up straight in her chair. “Something?”

“That’s the best I can offer. It seems to affect each couple differently. One spawned the others existing gifts; another seemed to develop a mental connection that allowed them to speak with each other no matter where they were in the world.” She shrugged. “Who know what could happen with you? At least now you know what could happen—”

Kerry sighed as he turned to Annie. “If we wait.”

She nodded. “Yes, if we wait.”

Though she was aware that this action wasn’t being received well by her friends, Deanna knew it was the right course to follow. They’re upset for the moment, but in time they’ll understand why this is necessary. “I know it may be hard, but as with everything else here at school—” She offered a slight smile. “It’s entirely your choice as to what you plan to do with your life together. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”


It’s been drilled into these kids that their actions at school are up to them.  Now Deanna is taking it a step further:  something wonderful could happen to you if you don’t fool around and wait until your wedding night to do that–which they knew in one vision they had, while a second vision left them doubting that possibility–or just do the deed and blow any chance you have of making The Three Bindings a part of your life.

Deanna’s playing the odds here, because as much as she understands the relationship these two have, and how their biological changes would affect it in the future, she’s also betting on the fact that when it comes to magic, they’re both pretty driven to be better than the rest–

Only one more scene in Chapter Twenty-three remains, as I’m pretty certain I’m going to delete one that I’d defined a while back when plotting everything out–

I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but you can bet it's coming.

I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but you can bet it’s coming.

And this will end pretty much as you might expect–

With the kids weighing what comes next.

Like Deanna said, it’s all up to them . . .

Mornings With the Seer: The Reason For Calling

Before I get into anything important, I have discovered something wonderful about software on my computer.  Now, I have almost everything in place–I still need to get a licence for Aeon Timeline, but that’s something I have marked to do after I get my nails done this morning–and I pulled up Sweet Home 3D because I wanted to check out something.

Now, one of the things that has bothered me about the program on my old machine was an inability to draw curved walls.  It wasn’t a huge issue, but it prevented me from doing a three dimensional layout of the coven towers.  With the new system comes new software, and I wondered if that ability was there now.  I discovered that, yeah, I could draw curved lines but that they wouldn’t show up in the rendered view because they weren’t walls.  However, there was a very particular way to draw those curves and create a circle, so I wondered:  could I do the same drawing walls?

And the answer was yes.  I most certainly could.

And they look really good.

And they look really good.

This means I can not only create layouts of the covens, but I can fix my rendering of the library of the Great Hall and give it the gigantic curved northern wall it’s supposed to have.  I know this will sort of cut into writing, but it’s gonna be fun.

And I still managed writing, with seven hundred words of goodness today.  We’re in Deanna’s office at Åsgårdsreia Tower, and it doesn’t look all that strange–


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

The inside of Deanna’s coven office wasn’t much different from Professor Semplen’s office in their own coven. Unlike the stark demeanor of her office in Memory’s End, there was a sofa at one side of room, several chairs in the middle, and a simple desk to the right of the entrance. There were a few potted plants set in a couple of corners, and a small table between Deanna’s desk and the far wall upon which set everything needed to make tea.

Annie took in the room, spending a few seconds giving it an appraisal. “Nothing like your other office.”

“Not at all.” Deanna backed up slowly as she waved the door shut behind the children. “I was informed that I needed to keep this room ‘official’ in apparent, whatever that means.” She turned and headed towards her desk. “I have to conduct coven business here, and I gather the Headmistress felt doing so while seated on pillows wasn’t the way for that to happen.” Before she sat she indicated the two chairs in place across from here. “Please, won’t you sit?”

Deanna waited until both children were comfortable before she took her seat. “You’re probably wondering why I asked you out here this morning—”


Yeah, we are wondering about that, Deanna.  She’s really stating the obvious, like maybe she isn’t ready to get to the real reasons?  Well, her guest are feeling a little the same way:


“That thought has crossed our minds.” Annie put on her best smile.

“I intend to put your thoughts at ease, then.” Deanna returned the smile. “I want you to know that this isn’t regarding a disciplinary matter: if it were, Holoč would be in front of you, not me.”

“We didn’t think it was anything like that.” Kerry shook his head. “If it was something we did wrong, we probably would have been stopped before leaving for breakfast.”

“Quite true.” Deanna set here arms upon the desk and leaned forward. “I apologize for all the mystery, but I felt it best if we spoke where we had the most privacy, and this office is remarkably secure.”

Now Annie’s interest was higher than before. Why does she want us to speak from within a secure location? What does she have to say? She decided she couldn’t wait any longer. “Now that we’re here . . .”

“Yes, of course.” Deanna sat back in her chair and regarded the students carefully. “Before I begin with the real reason, I have to ask a question, and I hope you don’t feel this is too forward, but it’s necessary. Have you had intercourse?”


Just get right to it, Deanna:  are you two kids doing the deed yet?  And if there is anyone who would know about these two and their proclivities, it’s Deanna.  Keep in mind she was the one who warned Coraline to get to Kerry’s hospital bay in the aftermath of the Day of the Dead, because she flashed on a vision of them being discovered by the Headmistress–but the real reason for that was because she felt Annie needed to be there that night.  Does that mean she saw Kerry talking about his Chestnut Girl?  Or was there something else?

And Deanna admitted she watched both kids play out, more or less, their wedding night vision as well as the one they had at the start of their B Levels–one that is about to get mentioned.  But who knows what else Deanna’s seen?  After the overnight stay at the Sea Sprite Inn she told Erywin that the kids were both still virgins, which means she had to see something, and that has to be hell on her.  I mean, you gotta feel a little sorry for Deanna if part of her life entails flashing on her student’s sex lives, because some of these kids are her friends.

The implication here is that she may have seen this happening, but it was as a future event and now she has to check to see if it hasn’t happened already.  Either way, it sucks that the question comes up.  At least the kids have an answer:


Annie and Kerry sat in silence for a few seconds before turning to each other, as if to confirm they’d just heard the same thing. Kerry turned a waring glance towards Deanna. “You mean, like that, um—”

“I mean have you had intercourse?” Deanna allowed a slight grin to play upon her face. “Or, as I’m sure you were about to say, ‘That sex’.”

Annie cleared her throat. “No, we haven’t had intercourse. As I’ve said on a few occasions, we’re not ready for that step.”

Kerry sat back and stretched. “That’s a ways off in the future. Maybe until we get married.”

Deanna’s right eyebrow shot upward. “Maybe?”

“We did have that other vision at the beginning of the school year that showed—” He chuckled. “You know: you were there.”

“Yes, I was.” Deanna rested her hands against her stomach, interlacing her fingers. “So you believe it’s possible your shared vision may not come true?”

“Anything is possible with visions.” Annie gave a grin that almost made her appear embarrassed. “You’ve taught us that.”

“And I’m glad to see you’re paying attention.” Deanna took a moment for the mood in the room to return to something close to normal before moving on. “Have either of you done any study on your astral binding?”

This time Kerry was the one to answer. “No, we—” He chuckled nervously. “We haven’t had time for that.”

Annie took a moment to look Kerry’s way before adding a bit more information. “We’re also a little uncertain about what we could study.”

“I see.” Deanna took a deep breath as she prepared to wade into the reason they were in her office. “So you’re unaware of the three bindings?”

“This is the first time I’ve heard the expression.” Annie leaned slightly forward. “What is that?”


Wait:  the three bindings?  What the hell is that?

"Oh, no!  She's asking the sex question!  And this binding stuff--is that like being tied up?  I won't like that."

“It’s bad enough she’s asking these sex question! Now this binding stuff–is that like being tied up? I won’t like that.”

As someone might say, The Queen of Cliffhangers is gonna leave you until tomorrow to discover what those are, because I do have places to go and nails to do this morning–

And I can’t do those if I’m here telling you this stuff.

Preparing the Firing Line

It all feels a bit strange this morning, as I progress with the development of the novel, and in particular the latest scene.  According to my record I’ve written almost sixteen hundred words since yesterday morning, and yet, it feels like I’ve written almost nothing.  Perhaps this is due to having a lot on my mind of late, and feeling a lot of distractions all around as I work upon this final chapter of Act One.

Also, last night, I was screwing around with a map route an trying to fill out the spell list, so that only added to the feeling that all is not as well in Salem as it should.  What is more likely is that I’m just freaking myself out over nothing, and given that I’ll probably start on the next scene this afternoon, as well as start on my first television review of the AMC show Humans tonight, this later hypothesis doesn’t require a great deal of testing to ring true.

But you don’t want to hear that, do you?  You want to see, not be told.  Seeing it is, then.

Homunculi and training torsos are in place, and Professor Chai has jaunted out of the house.  What does this mean?  You know it won’t take long to get to that point . . .


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

Now that they were alone, Kerry decided it was time to ask questions. “What’s up today, Sweetie?” He came over and joined her. “What’s up with—” He ran a hand lightly over the red cabinet. “—these?”

Annie took a deep breath before answering. “I spoke with Helena Tuesday night while you were in class. She wanted to know how our development was coming along.”

He didn’t need to ask about development in what. “You mean in sorcery?”

“And in transformation magic. We told her and the others last school year that I would teach you and you would teach me.” She gave him the slightest of smiles. “Helena wanted an update on where we were.”

“And what did you tell her?”

“The truth, my love. I said including the spells we learned in class last year, you knew Shadow Ribbons and Cold Fire, that you knew how to charge a Fireball and Air Hammer with dark energy, and that you could do the same with normal spells. Along with Physical Shields you were developing Minor Spell Shields and that you’d start on the major version of that . . .” She paused only long enough to catch her breath. “I also said that as far as Morte spells were concerned you were well versed with the minor version of Electrify, but that you hadn’t quite mastered the spell, and that you were starting to develop Exsanguination.”


As pointed out yesterday, it’s scary enough to know these two can toss around fireballs powerful enough to light up a large bonfire, but then you add in the Shadow Ribbons and C0ld Fire and dark versions of shields and Air Hammers, and it becomes a bit more frightening knowing how formidable they are–which, of course, a majority of the school doesn’t know, but can only guess.

But what about these death spells?  Well . . .


Kerry dropped his gaze towards the floor. He’d kept his birthday promise from last year, when he’d told Annie that he’d walk with her and become a Guardian—as she had put it, she wanted him to be “her Dark Witch—but learning Exsanguination hadn’t progressed beyond the visualization stage. He pointed to the cabinets. “I guess it’s time to do more than start developing.”

“Yes, it is. Helena said she wants you to reach my understanding and use of the spell as soon as possible: Her reasoning is that, should the need arise, we’ll complement each other with equal knowledge of both Morte spells, and that will make us more formidable should we—” She slowly arched her brow. “—run into another situation where we need those spells.

“While I teach you that, she wants you to help me improve my mastery of Electrify, since you have a better understanding of the spell.”


There you have it:  Helena worries they may encounter another . . . situation . . . and so the best thing to do is be more bad ass.  Just wait until Helena has kids of her own:  those will be some scary youngsters.  Just like Mom was when she went to witch school.

But is that all?  Of course not!


“It’s not.” Her gaze locked on to that of her soul mate. “I’m going to show you how to do Shadow Net, which is another Shadow Discipline, and can be used to restrain or capture someone. There’s also Blend With Darkness, which is also a Shadow Discipline and works something like Light Bending.”

“Why do we need that if we can already bend light?”

“It’s far harder to detect, especially at night. At low levels you are invisible and you can move seamlessly from shadow to shadow, but at higher levels you become completely insubstantial.” Annie’s eyes twinkled as she grinned. “Helena said it’s just like being an astral form within the Physical Realm: people can walk right through you and never know you were there.”

Kerry couldn’t help but smile as well. “Like being a ghost.”

“Exactly. Now, that’s what I am supposed to show you—” She tapped him on the chest. “You, my love, are to show me what you’ve learned as far as Minor Personal Transformations are concerned. We know you’re working on changing your features, because Jessica is speaking with Helena so she’s aware of everything you’re doing that class.”

“Guess I can’t hide anything from you guys.” He pulled Annie close and wrapped her up in an embrace. “How do you want to do this, my little pumpkin?”


No, death spells aren’t enough:  time to rock those transformations and Shadow Disciplines.  Blend With Darkness was what Isis used during The Scouring, but she could, and still does, only use it at a minor level:  as Annie mentions, once you’re using it at higher levels, you are a shadow.  And how does one combat a magic wielding shadow?

Just ask The Doctor:  he hates fighting shadows.

Become one with the Vashta Nerada.  And eat all the chicken you like.

There’s also transformation spells that Kerry is learning that, according to what Annie has learned from Helena, will allow him to change his features.  Meaning what?  Remember Jessica showing up at last year’s Samhain dance looking like a Na’vi?  Or Emma looking like a katana-swinging, zombie-killing woman of color?  Those are pretty good examples of “changing your features,” and if they figure these out quickly, they could be very popular with other students looking for costume ideas in a couple of weeks.  If not, there’s always next year . . .

The novel sort of looks like this now–

Moment by moment, scene by scene.

Moment by moment, scene by scene.

And what’s this?  A subscene!  My first of the story.  Given that it’s called Dark Witch Frustration, it could mean that Annie or Kerry, or both, are running into a bit of difficulty with this particular lesson–

Seeing the Final Scene

More than a few times in the past I’ve discussed the programs I’ve used to help define a story, lay out a time line, or even help design a local so I have a better idea of what it looks like when I’m trying to develop the description.  And in the course of his novel I’ve used them all to make each of those things more or less come alive–

All save one.

If you were paying attention at the end of the excerpt yesterday–and I know you were–you saw the kids welcomed to the Sea Sprite Inn.  What is it?  It’s a fictional bed and breakfast just a half a block south of a real bed and breakfast on the same street.  It’s location is right on shore of Salem Harbor, and though there’s a residence there now I’m sure they won’t mind that I’m uprooting them.  It should also be pointed out that they’re directly across the street from The House of the Seven Gables, which makes it even easier to find.

Oh, and it’s owned by The Foundation and run by an alumnus of my magical school.  That sort of thing happens, you know.  Hiding in plain sight and all.

One of the things about the Sea Sprite Inn is that it becomes a focal point for Annie and Kerry in this novel, and while I’ve known so much about the school itself and some of the other locations they’ve visited, I’ve considered the Sea Sprite for a while but had no idea what their room was like.  (Oh, and if you hadn’t figure out that their “special accommodations” involved them sharing a room, you haven’t been paying attention.)

I was pretty much exhausted last night after coming home from work; I ended up nodding off in a chair about six-thirty, and wasn’t functioning at peak performance for most of the evening.  But I still had enough hand-eye coordination to be able to put things together visually, so I thought, “Why not design their room?”  And I did.

Here’s the program I used:  Sweet Home 3D, which is an open source program that you can get free with a few bare bones items that you use for furniture, or you pay fifteen dollars from Amazon and get it with a whole lot of items to make your design look like a real place.  I’ve had the free version for a while, but last night I sprung for the Amazon copy and set it up on my machine.

Here’s the interface, by the way, with the finished room and some . . . additions.

Pay no attention to those kids on the bed.  They could be anyone.

Pay no attention to those kids on the bed. They could be anyone.

You design the room or rooms in the top right, you get a 3D scene of it below, and to the left you have your furniture and items along with a list of what you have and if you want it visible.  You can change the size and proportions of everything and then save it off to your hard drive.

The room is good sized:  twenty feet by thirty.  There’s a large bay window to the south, giving them a great view of the harbor.  The bed is actually a canopy bed:  I’m going to hunt for a download tonight and see if I can find one to stick in the room in place of the one there.  Because this floor of the B & B is reserved for Foundation people, there’s enough room to conjure up just about anything you want in the room, which explains all the space there.  I mean, why leave things laying about when you can magically bring them up when you need them.

The nicest function is the 3D view, which allows you to see what you’ve created.  You can even use the program to get a snap shot of your view and store it on your hard drive, if you were of a mind–

I am of that mind.

I am of that mind.

And since you can rotate the view around to just about any point, you can get a lot of different shots.

Like looking into the room from the outside.

Like looking into the room from the outside.

One of the things I played with last night, though, was a video walk through.  Pretty much it’s a movie of what it might look like if you were to entered the room and look about from the inside, and one of the last things I did before going to bed was make one and upload it to my account on YouTube.  The picture quality isn’t that great, because my machine won’t handle the massive rendering needed for a near perfect look, but it’s good enough that you’ll get the idea.

So there you have it:  the final location designed.  And that’s a pretty neat thing when you think about it, because this really all began with me designing Annie’s Lake House, which became the first scene in the novel.  Now we’ve come full-circle and I’ve designed the last new location for the last scene in the book.

Time to go in and finish this off.

Anxiety and Affection

Some people don’t like new technology–some don’t like it, period.  Last night I was going to do something with my new video camera, and technology decided to bite me in the butt.  Hard.

"Don't worry:  I totally got the shot.  No problems, right?"

“Don’t worry: I totally got the shot. No problems, right?”

Getting the shot isn’t the problem, though, is it?

"It's an eight minute video--why are you going to hell on me?  Why?"

“It’s an eight minute video–why are you going to hell on me, you demon computer? Why?”

That was me last night.  Every time I shot a video that lasted more than, say, five minutes, the software I was using to download it to my computer had fits.  Lots of fits.  As in, “I ain’t gonna be your coded slave, bitch.  You figure out another way to get this down.  Bwah, hahaha.”

It was very frustrating to say the least.  But, in the end, I figured out the problem and managed to get the first video up to YouTube.  And . . . I may reshoot it, because it was done in poor light.  Hard to say what I’ll do, because by the time I managed to get it up there, I was pretty frustrated by the whole process.  Then again, it’s new for me, so there’s a learning curve.

What this also did was cut into my writing time.  I managed almost seven hundred words, but I’d wanted more.  Tonight I need to go shopping, so that will cut into time–

Oi.  What’s a girl to do?

My kids went to a bonfire after the dance and walked back to the center of the school, so when finally reach a point where they can rest, it’s late–probably the latest they’ve ever been up.  And this happens . . .


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

Rather than take the return portal back to the Great Hall, she asked if they could walk back. Since the temperature was dropping, Kerry asked if she would like to take the tunnels back, but Annie refused; she’d brought the beautiful crocheted shawl her grandmother had made for her earlier in the year and it kept her warm; the path back to The Pentagram was illuminated; and she was wearing flats.  She didn’t see a single problem . . .

She wanted to enjoy the darkness and silence with Kerry by her side, hand in each other’s hand.

Neither broke the silence all the way back to Founder’s Gate. Never once did Kerry even seem as if he were going to speak: to Annie it felt as if he knew she wanted to linger in the quiet night and enjoy the spark between them, and would only speak when Annie was ready to speak. He knows my moods and perhaps my thoughts. Once inside The Pentagram she turned him onto the second left hand garden path instead of entering the Great Hall. She knew it would be cavernous and dark inside; here there was still the abstract indirect light that made walking though the Pentagram Garden at night such an enjoyable and loving experience.

It wasn’t until they were nearly to the opening of the covered walkway leading to their tower than Annie uttered her first words since leaving the bonfire. “Moyata polovinka.” She slowly ran her left finger down the Kerry’s left arm.

He waited until she was finished before responding. “What does that mean?”

“Moyata polovinka—” She stopped the moment they stepped onto the path between Cernunnos Tower and the Great Hall. “My soulmate.” She gently pressed against Kerry and gave him a peck on the cheek. “If you say the last as two words it’s moyata srodna dusha.”

“Moyata polovinka.” Annie thought Kerry’s pronunciation was almost spot on, though the accent needed work. “I like how that rolls off the tongue.”

“You can say it in a much softer, gentler tone, too.” She tugged on Kerry’s arm. “Let’s sit at our bench.”


Our bench, our sofa . . . our time together.  It’s starting to get real serious here, and I’m gonna try to get to that tonight, at some point.  But I’m getting there.

If I’ve not pulled what little hair I have left out by then.

Back to the Beginning of the Beginning

How did I start writing my current work in progress, The Foundation Chronicles?  It started with designing buildings.

The main characters in the story, Kerry and Annie, were originally created for an online role play.  I made Kerry, and a good friend of mine created Annie.  We played these characters for a few months, but with most good things the role play came to an end and the characters were shelved.  In the process of building the game there was a great deal of material the two of us developed, both characters and world-wise–

However, I was always pushed to show the buildings, to show the grounds, the show the towers.  My partner in crime kept after me to make maps and building layouts, and being that I was the sort of person who loved doing that kind of thing, I obliged.

It was from there that the Salem Institute of Greater Learning and Education was built.  It was from there that we named our covens, and the buildings, and figured out where everything went.  It was a great learning experience for that fantastic summer of 2011.

Over the next two years I thought a great deal about writing about these character’s adventures.  Even while working on other projects, the story of Annie and Kerry was never far from my mind.  Kerry I knew, but Annie was always a problem for me, because I wanted to get her right, and she wasn’t my creation, at least not at the beginning.  So it took a lot of thinking to get where I wanted to be with her, and I probably tortured myself for a year thinking about her motivations, her feelings, what she wanted the most.

So after I’d finished publishing Her Demonic Majesty in May of 2013, I decided it was time to tackle the tales of Salem.  I didn’t want to start right in on Annie and Kerry, but rather I wanted to do something else that would help build The Foundation World, but at the same time introduce a number of characters that would end up in their world.  I decided that for Camp NaNo, July 2013, I’d write The Foundation Chronicles:  The Scouring, a story of a traumatic event that occurred just before the end of the Twentieth Century.

While speaking to Annie’s creator about the upcoming story, we started talking about Annie’s Lake House.  This is an important location, a place that plays in a lot of scenes not only in my current book, but will have a place in the hearts of both children in their future.  And I wanted to see what it looked like, inside and out.

So it was time to get into the software and design.  I used a program that would allow me to make floor layouts and then show the building in three dimensions.  I could even place furniture inside and imagine the scenes that hadn’t been written yet.

The building that launched a couple of hundred thousand words.

The house that launched a couple of hundred thousand words.

And there it all was, the house that little spoiled Annie pestered her father to build.  With living room and dining table and kitchen, a library and a private bedroom, and the loft guest area overlooking the ground floor below.  And the wall of windows facing to the south, keeping the house illuminated from morning to nightfall.

I showed it to Annie’s creator and she loved it, even going so far as to say it was perfect.  To hear those words made me feel wonderful, and empowered me to prepare to get my world ready–

Because if I was going to write the story I wanted to work, I needed to build something else:  my Great Hall.  I knew it in my mind, I saw it in my imagination, so it became necessary to lay out with floor plans that would display it as I’d displayed Annie’s Lake House.

I wasn’t able to created it fully, because my computer couldn’t handle all the rendering needed.  But I did most of it, and . . . it was so worth while.

Because if you're going for "Great", you best go all the way.

Because if you’re going for “Great”, you best go all the way.

I had building all created:  I had my Atrium and Rotunda, the Library, the Security Center and the Instructor’s and Headmistress’ Offices.  There was the Clock Tower and the Transepts, the Hospital and the Dining Hall.  It took me about a week of work, but when I looked at this building, I saw my Great Hall.

I was just about ready to write.  Except–

I needed a school.

Tools for the Making

I’ve been around software a large part of my life.  I started taking classes in computer programming in 1979, and began writing code for real in 1982.  Most of what I’ve written has ended up on IBM boxes, though I have dabbled in web based applications, including one that took the better part of a year to write because I ended up slinging about fifteen thousand lines of code before it was all over.

Even today I’m coding.  That’s my day job:  playing code monkey for the State of Pennsylvania.  As it is said, it pays the bills, though after thirty years of it I’m ready for something else.  That’s one of the reasons why I write, because I’d like to be able to work on my projects full-time and not have to spend nine to ten hours a day engaged in endeavors that hold very little interest for me.  I also write because I love to tell tales, but I would love it were it to become my full-time job.

Because I’ve found myself so connected to software for so long, I find dealing with it to be somewhat intuitive.  Most writing software seems to follow a pattern for me, and once I get the basics down the more difficult stuff tends to come once I’ve had time to play with things.  I’ll find something that looks interesting and mess around, get a feel for what I can do, and if it works for me I’ll keep it.  If not, I file the information away just in case it is something I can use later.  Most of what’s in a program really falls under a 40/60 rule:  about forty percent of the stuff in a program is gonna be your go-to stuff, and the other sixty percent is there if you find a reason to use it.

Yesterday’s post received a lot of attention.  Probably because of the pretty picture I included with all kinds of time lines and talk of history, but I have received a bit of feedback about the things I’ve done and what I’ve used to get there.  I’ve written about software a bit in the past, and most of the time the responses I’ve gotten are great.  Sure, I’ve gotten a few, “I never plan anything, ur a hack,” comments, but I tend to laugh at those these days, because who needs that negative energy?

"No, I don't need negitivity in my life:  that's what my job is for."

“No, I don’t need negativity about my writing: that’s what my job is for.”

Since I have time, I thought I’d spend a few days talking about my process:  how I set things up, how I get things plotted out, how I try to tie things together to make my story coherent, what I do with the software I use.  I’ve done a little of this from time-to-time, but this would be with a little, or lot, more detail.  And since I’m intimately tied into my current work in progress, it’ll make a good test bed for discussion.

The hope is that someone will see something that I do, and imagine how it might work for them.  As I told someone last night–someone who was like, “Most writers say they just write”–what I do works for me; what you do will work for you.  That doesn’t mean you might not see something that looks like it might work for you and use it, however, so why not throw that out there?

It’s always worth throwing things out there and seeing what happens.