Gather Here the Brain Trust: Let’s Go To the Video

So here we are, out and about in The Burg once more, down to the coffee shop for my “writing fuel” as the woman who works her told me.  It’s really a beautiful day right now–

As you can see from the steps of the Capitol Building.

As you can see from the steps of the Capitol Building.

And it has added greatly, ’cause in about two hours time I whipped out eleven hundred words to go with the nearly eleven hundred words I wrote yesterday.  Things are getting pretty interesting, but I only say that because I have a vested interest in this story, and . . . well, I know what’s going on in this world.  Though I should correct that last statement because I’ve made some miniscule changes to the time line, and even added a few events that are going to kinda set the tone for the Summer of ’13 in the next novel.  Yes, I’m already thinking ahead.  But then I have done that since the start of this project.

Last time we left off with a question for Erywin, and being a nice lady she gave an answer–

 

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

“It means nothing.” Erywin brushed a few strands of hair from her face. “I do find it extremely unusual, however, that Kerry said he couldn’t focus on the image of a girl for the purpose of spell crafting. He’s done so many things already that are several levels above what he should be capable of doing that hearing this—” She shook her head. “It’s a bit mind boggling, actually.”

Coraline cocked her head to the side as she raised an eyebrow. “That’s for sure.”

“You said there was video?” While Deanna found Kerry’s predicament puzzling, she wanted to see what other evidence the two coven leaders brought for examination.

“Yes, there’s video.” Jessica turned toward the computer stations. “Sabrina, are you there?”

The voice of the school’s AI to emanate from everywhere. “I’m here, Jessica.”

“Load video AT 19032013 Malibey.” The holographic display came on a few meters from where the women stood showing Kerry dressed in a blueish-black one-piece leotard. “Thank you.”

“What’s with the outfit?” Erywin did poorly at transformation magic as a student, and that prevented her from progressing beyond C Level studies, thereby missing out on the D Level spells involving full-body transformations.

Jessica shot a quick glance at Erywin. “Standard enchanted garment designed to mold to the person’s body no mater what humanoid shape they select. For this class everyone wears them.”

A giggle escaped from Deanna’s lips. “They look like footie pajamas.”

“Having the feet covered keeps the students from standing around barefoot. It’s either that or getting them enchanted slippers that do the same as the garment.”

“I see.” Deanna nodded towards the display. “They don’t hide anything, do they?”

Coraline offered the answer. “Just like healers, transformers can’t afford to be too modest about their, or other’s, bodies.”

“That’s true.” Jessica interlaced her fingers and began tapping her index fingers slowly. “And since they’re trying to swap csi-forms from one end of the binary to the other, this can tell me quickly how well they did.” She turned to the other women. “This was Kerry’s first mimic attempt. He was mimicking Sudarat Chiangmai, who’s from Thailand—” Jessica turned back to the display. “He mimicked her and Kaisa Božic, a D Level from Croatia, without any difficulties.”

“What about the third girl?” Coraline was aware of class composition due to her position as the school’s doctor.

“Jordana wouldn’t agree to being mimicked. She said she found watching Kerry become twins of the other girls ‘disturbing’.” Jessica’s body language indicated she didn’t agree with this particular student’s opinion. “I’m going to have a talk with her tonight—”

“Before that happens—” Erywin pointed at the screen. “Could we see the video?”

 

Back when Annie and Kerry were starting their marionette gig they wore something similar, but this outfit is a lot more form fitting, and there’s no hood.  Based upon Deanna’s and Coraline’s comments, it’s obvious that all the little bits south of the waistline are visible, and like Jessica says, if Kerry’s gonna mimic a girl, she wants to know that he mimicked everything.  There ain’t no body modesty in Advanced Transformation, that’s for sure.

Now, about that video . . .

 

“Certainly.” Jessica stared at the display. “Sabrina, do you have Kerry’s transformation point marked?”

The young-sounding AI replied immediately. “I do.”

“Position the video to ten seconds before the transformation point, please.”

The scene shifted slightly as the video was set to the correct time stamp. “Done.”

“Run.”

The video began. Kerry concentrated while Jessica spoke a few words of encouragement off screen. He took a breath and started straight ahead with great intensity. Without any indication something was about to occur he changed from the red haired boy everyone in the room knew to a shorter girl with a darker complexion and long black hair. The new Kerry then turned to his right and spoke in a voice that was no longer his. “Did I get it right?”

Coraline blew out the last breath she was holding. “Goddamn, he’s fast.”

“Stop.” Jessica turned back to the women in the room. “You don’t know how fast. The other mimics I’ve worked take anywhere from five to ten seconds to complete their transformation.” She pointed at the display. “You can’t even follow him. One second he’s Kerry, the next—” She waved her hand and dropped it to her side. “Someone completely different.”

“What was that thing that happened?” Erywin took a step closer to the frozen display and motioned to her head. “It was like something flashed.”

“That was likely the skin crawl.”

She turned to Jessica. “Skin crawl?”

The transformation instructor nodded. “That’s what we call it when you’re switching from one form to another and things are shifting around. In some cases it looks exactly as if your skin is crawling.”

“I can see that, but—” Erywin turned back to the display. “This looked like something—”

“I’m certain it wasn’t anything important.”

“Would you mind if I look at something?”

Jessica shook he head. “Be my guest.”

 

Erywin’s a lot like the bulldogs that come from her fair island, and when she sets her mind to something she doesn’t give up easily.  And she learned something new:  skin crawl.  Wouldn’t you like to see someone’s skin moving about as they transform into another person?  You’d think they’d do it more like in a movie, where the CGI keeps everything nice and smooth and seamless.  I’m sure you’ll get to see that at some point–though back in the first novel when Jessica did her Mystique thing in front of the A Levels her skin didn’t crawl.  There’s a reason for that, and you’ll learn it one day.

But right now Erywin’s got her finger on the button and she’s playing with the video.  Let’s see what she’s up to, shall we?

 

“Sabrina.” Erywin took a couple of steps back from the display. “Please reposition the video to three seconds before the transformation point.”

The scene shifted back to Kerry before the transformation. “Done.”

“Set video to run at half speed.”

“Done.”

“Run, please.”

The video ran forward at half the previous speed, and everyone watched as Kerry approached the point of mimicking and proceeded through the transformation. The moment it was finished Erywin called for Sabrina to stop the playback. She turned to Jessica. “Did you see it that time?”

She nodded slowly. “I saw something, yes.” She appeared thoughtful. “I don’t know why I didn’t see it before.”

“Because you’re used to seeing this stuff all the time. And with Kerry’s transforming so quickly, it’s hard to see what’s happening.” Erywin appeared to consider something for a few seconds.

“Sabrina, please reposition the video to one second before the transformation point.”

Again the display shifted back to Kerry pre-mimicking. “Done.”

“Set video to run at one-eighth speed.”

“Done.”

Erywin took a short breath before giving the order. “Run, please.”

The video crawled forward, the one second interval stretching out to eight seconds. Erywin kept her eyes affixed upon Kerry’s form, waiting for him to start the process of transforming from himself into another person. The process began as his features began shifting, changing—

STOP.”

 

That’s a pretty hurried stop, Erywin.  Do you have something good for us to see?

 

Kerry’s image froze in place. Erywin slowly moved closer to the display. “Sabrina, center on Kerry’s torso, display from waist up only, expand to fill screen.” As the final instructors were carried out

Erywin stopped and pointed at the transformed boy in the display while turning back to the other three women. “What the hell is that?”

Coraline, Deanna, and Jessica stood silently as they regarded Kerry’s image, which was that of a girl with a pale complexion, green eyes, and long, curly red hair. Deanna was the one to state the obvious. “Based upon what we’ve heard, that’s the girl from Kerry’s dreams.”

Erywin nodded. “Yes, but what the hell is she doing there?” Her arm flopped to her side. “Jessica?”

 

I believe this is the point in the narrative where I say shit is about to get extremely real . . .

I’m about to head out for brunch, then back to the apartment for a nap.  But I think, I really do, that I can finish this scene this afternoon.  Because this chapter is nearly done, and it’s time to move on to the next and find out what this crazy transformation stuff has to do with Kerry’s issues.

And by now you should know I'm all about transformations . . .

And by now you should know I’m all about transformations . . .

Gather Here the Brain Trust: Setting the Scene With the Unbelievable

Yes, this is getting out a little late today, but that’s due to starting on the scene at six AM, writing until nine, getting ready to go out and get my hormones, then stopping to get groceries, and finally getting back here to eat.  It’s time consuming, let me tell ya.

"Do I want to get makeup or make up a blog post?  Oh, I made a funny!"

“Do I want to get makeup or make up a blog post? Oh, I made a funny!”

At least I managed over a thousand words this morning, and after I’m through with this point I’m gonna sit down and take a nap, and then get back into the scene because I’d really love to finish this chapter tomorrow before I sit down and watch the zombies and do a recap for their shenanigans.

All that said, things start out a little slow here, ’cause it seems we’re missing someone–

 

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

“Said she’d be along shortly. She said there was a bit of business she needed to handle and that we could start without her.” Coraline pointed to the lunches. “Do you want to eat first?”
Jessica removed her suit jacket and hung it over a chair. “I’d rather work first and discuss matters while eating, if you don’t mind.”

Coraline suspected this being the case considering the women present. Erywin was well-known for being able to work while eating, and Jessica’s powers of transformation allowed her to consume and digest any meal in a matter of minutes if she so desired. “Okay, then—” She turned towards the lift entrance to see if Deanna had arrived. “Where do you want to start?”

Erywin scratched her chin. “What happened with Kerry?”

“This is what he said—” Coraline explained the little she discovered about his dream before telling her guests what she’d done for both children.

Jessica nodded. “How much longer are they going to be out?”

“I don’t expect them to wake up before fourteen hours. I have an active motion sensor in their bay, and the moment one of them starts moving around or appearing aware, Bianca or Thebe will get the catheters out and order them lunch—”

“Which I expect they’ll need.” Deanna quickly walked into the room. “Sorry I’m late, but you know how coven business gets.” Erywin and Jessica, both coven leaders, nodded in agreement. “Did I miss anything?”

“I told them about what Kerry said last night—”

“Let me guess: he saw that girl in his dream and it scared him.”

“Pretty much. Do you—?”

Deanna shook her head. “I caught the conversation after came up on the lift; I was standing back there waiting to hear it all.” She stepped back and took in everyone. “We need to move on to this information Erywin has.”

“I agree.” Coraline stepped back as she motioned to the other two instructors. “You have the floor.”

 

Deanna likes to hang back and listen, and we know everyone is caught up on the sleeping beauties two floors down.  But there’s information to be had here, and Jessica’s about to lay it on everyone.  So, Mistress of Transformation:  what gives?

 

The two women exchanged a glance before Jessica spoke. “Last Tuesday night my Advanced Transformation class performed their gender change spells, which, if you’re not aware, allows a student to change from their current gender—” Erywin loudly cleared her throat. “Sorry: allows them to change their physical cis forms from one of the binary to the other.” She eyed the woman on her left hard. “Better?”

Erywin smiled. “Better. Continue.”

“Erywin came to me a month ago telling me what she was look for, and asked if I’d give her access to the videos of the class. Naturally I complied, but gives this was Ostara week—” She looked at each of her companions. “You know how busy it gets before the weekend.”

“Why do you wait until right before Ostara to do this then?” Coraline raised an eyebrow. “Wouldn’t it be better to wait until after the weekend events are finished?”

Jessica chuckled as she crossed her arms. “Ostara is all about change—and I consider these spells among the ultimate in change.”

“That’s all well and good—” Erywin set her fists on her hips. “But let’s move on.” She turned to Jessica. “Tell them what you told me Friday.”

“A little back ground first.” Jessicas glanced down for a second as she appeared to think for a couple of seconds. “Because Kerry’s a Mimic it’s necessary to teach him all the components of transformation magic before turning him loose. Just because one can mimic it doesn’t mean one can put all the parts together property.”

Deanna raised her right index finger. “I’m a little unsure as to what a Mimic does.”

“A Mimic interfaces their aura with that of another person, and since an aura is a reflection of a person’s physical aspect, they are copying that information to their aura and using it to alter their physical form. That’s why they need to know the specifics of doing a full transformation before they can craft the magic.

“With Kerry it’s been necessary for me to teach him how to craft a full-body transformation before allowing him to mimic someone. He was performing small mimics before entering class, and I readied him for the full mimics over the last couple of class. Two weeks ago he did his first full mimic on the other boy in class, Fekitoa Naitaku. Fekitoa was a good one with whom to start: he’s from Fiji and he’s somewhat bigger than Kerry, so getting the transformation right would require considerable skill.”

Coraline asked the question everyone wanted to hear. “Did he do it?”

“Yes, and with flying colors. He actually did the transformation so fast that a couple of students gasped. However, I first had him perform a full-body cismale transformation, which he also performed marvelously.”

Erywin leaned towards the transformation instructor. “Tell them what you told me.”

Jessica drew a deep breath. “I wanted to do the same this last week and have Kerry attempt a full-body cisfemale transformation before mimicking the girls in the class. And . . .” She released a slight sigh. “He failed.”

 

I know what you’re thinking:  Kerry failed?  And you’re not the only ones–

 

Coraline and Deanna glanced between them before Deanna spoke. “What do you mean ‘he failed’?”

“I mean he was unable to perform the transformation.” Jessica held up her hand to forestall any questions. “By that I mean he couldn’t craft the spell. He wasn’t able to do it at all.”

Coraline’s eyes grew wide. “Not even partially?”

“Not even partially—which is strange because he has performed small csifemale changes before, mostly hands, feet, that sort of thing. When it came to doing a full-body change?” Jessica shook her head. “He told me he couldn’t visualize a girl’s form.”

“Wait.” Deanna held up both hands as if trying to stop something from getting by her. “He couldn’t visualize a girl’s form?”

“That’s what he said.”

“That seems impossible.”

“I agree.” Jessica looked about the room as if she were uncomfortable speaking about this event. “It’s never happened before with him in my class.”

Deanna appeared slightly surprised. “I don’t believe it’s happened to him in any classes. I’ve heard of him having some difficulty at the start of learning a new spell, but—”

“This wasn’t the same thing; he’s shown he can do the transformations on a smaller level.”

Coraline turned to Erywin. “What does that mean to you as far as conducting your due diligence is concerned?”

 

This is suddenly getting into some strange territory, for saying Kerry was unable to do something that, up to that point, everyone was certain he’d pull off without a problem–it’s troubling.  And you’d think by this point in his life, particularly given his current sleeping situation, he’d have no trouble making it happen.  But that’s not the case, and suddenly things are going sideway.

Where am I going with this?

Off for a nap, if I must be honest.

Away and Display

First off, the matter of business is:  how went the torture of the face?  Answer:  not well.  Second time now I started crying, this time about fifteen minutes, maybe twenty minutes in. It wasn’t good, and after that I simply couldn’t relax, and I did a quick laser session, which burned off a few of the remaining dark hairs.  I discussed the situation with the women who does my treatment, and we sort of figured out that (a) I’ve been beating up the same section of my face for three weeks now, and it’s probably causing a lot of the pain, and (b) I’m not getting the numbing cream on right, and that means nothing but pain.  So we’re going to try something different next week, and see how that works.

Also, my Orphan Black tee shirt came yesterday, and Pupok has the story of my transition right there in gray on purple.

Also, my Orphan Black tee shirt came yesterday, and Pupok has the story of my transition right there in gray on purple.

The real burning question–see what I did there?–is, “Did you write?”  Like a good aircraft, I did seven hundred and thirty-seven words, and inched to within fifty thousand before the events of the day caught up to me and I finally went to bed tired as all hell.

In the battle for your novel, 502 words is the same as inches.

In the battle for your novel, 502 words is the same as inches.

Considering how I felt like night, I considered the output to be something of a victory, because I felt ill by the time I returned from the face zapping place.  I really needed to write, even if it wasn’t easy getting the words down.  I really need to get through this chapter and onto the next, even though I know on of the scenes in the next chapter will probably raise some hairs on the backs of some people’s necks.  And that’s good, because writing is suppose to be about pulling out the emotions.  Maybe I could stop putting mine out there all the time.

In our last post Jessica wanted to say something to her students.  Now, after the writer got zapped, she gets her chance.

 

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

Jessica stepped behind Kerry. “This is our newest student: Kerry Malibey, a B Level from Cernunnos.” She watched the exchanges between the other four students, noticing Annie catching her own share of glances. “I know you find that a bit surprising, as the soonest any of you were invited in was at the end of your B Levels or the start of your C Levels, but I have my reasons for inviting Kerry and his girlfriend Annie—” She watched a couple of sets of eyes light up at the mention of Annie an Kerry’s relationship, though one of them wasn’t Fekitoa’s. “—into this class. Allow me to explain . . .

 

Well, of course a kid from their coven isn’t going to be surprised to hear about these two:  by now we’ve figured out that Annie and Kerry are kinda minor celebrities in their own tower.  It’s also interesting to hear Jessica call Annie a girlfriend, because she’s seemed to avoid mentioning the relationship at all, save to give one or the other a bit of crap in class.  The more we get into the year, the more it seems like the staff just accepts that there’s more here than hand holding and a lot of snogging.

What does Jessica have to say?

 

“Kerry is one of the best at transformation crafting I’ve seen, as is Annie—please, join us.” Jessica motioned the girl—who had done as much as possible not to look as if she was an official member of the class—to stand with them. “This is the reason I forwarded the invitation. Now, Annie won’t be in class most of the time: she gave good reasons for not accepting the invitation, and after giving the headmistress and me her reasons, we both agreed with them.” Jessica smiled at the girl. “She’s sort of auditing the class this evening, and while she’ll like not come to many, she’s welcome to join us any time.

“Kerry will stay with us for this year, and, I hope, for more to come. Because he needs to catch up to the rest of us, I’ll spend extra time with him now and then.” She put on her best smile. “Don’t take this as a sign that I’m trying to make him fit in: I assure you, he’ll be right along side you in no time.”

Jessica took a step back from the group, who turned to face her. “Dig out your notes on Invisibility: we’re going to start in on that again, since a few of you were just getting the hang of it at at the end of last year. While you’re reviewing those, I’m going to have a word with Annie and Kerry over in the corner.”

 

Oh, now it’s Invisibility:  the real thing, not just light bending.  Yeah, just what you need to teach to these two–well, to Kerry, and then he’ll run off and teach Annie.  Speaking of which . . .

 

Once they were away from the rest of the group Jessica threw up a privacy spell so they wouldn’t be overheard. She sat against the edge of a table before addressing Annie. “I hope you didn’t think I was putting you on the spot—”

“Not at all, Jessica.” Annie had half-expected Jessica to try and convince her to join the class full-time, and was surprised when she didn’t. “Thank you for not pressuring me to reconsider.”
“Oh, I considered asking you to do just that, but after discussions with Erywin and Helena, I better understand your position.” She nodded in Kerry’s direction. “As you said, in order to be good sorceresses, you have to be able to teach what you know—”

“And this is something that Kerry can certainly learn to teach.” Annie grinned at him. “Isn’t that right, love?”

“As rain.” Kerry hadn’t minded being put on display in front of the other, older students, but something struck him as odd. “You didn’t mention anything about me being a Mimic.”

“I didn’t because I don’t want that to get out—” Jessica shrugged. “At least not yet. Once you’ve been in class a while, and you’ve learned to developed your Transformational Art, people will likely figure it out on their own.” She shifted position to make herself more comfortable. “When it comes to Gifts we’ve found that the knowledge of who has them usually finds its way to the rest of the students in due time—making announcements become unnecessary.”

Jessica moved to a nearby chair, and invited Annie and Kerry to join her. “I want to bring up one thing, Kerry—something that wasn’t actually covered last year because, well, there wasn’t a need. But now that you’re about to take the leap into some major transformation magic, it’s time to make you aware of lay ahead.” She slowly crossed her legs, letting the wonder of what she would say next grow. “It’s no secret that people are afraid of sorcery, and with good reason—” She eyed Annie for a few seconds. “But you both already have first hand knowledge of that reason, so there’s no need to tell you something you already know. But have you ever noticed how skittish people get around witches who are the mistresses and masters of transformation magic?”

 

Yes, Jessica, we have, but what do you mean?  Oh, you’re not telling us until tomorrow?  Well, that’s not very nice!

The one thing to get from this is the public shout outs Jessica gave to both kids.  Now is the time when they are being touted, and not only is it going to show with people in their own level, it’s gonna show up with others.  Jessica isn’t one to hand out complements, but this is an advanced class, and we’ve seen those are a whole different mixture around this place.  One of the reasons Kerry likes it at school is that it’s the only place where he’s recognized for his skills, and not treated like a “strange kid.”  And Jessica is giving him and Annie high praise–something she’s not known for doing.

Tomorrow we’ll find out for sure what Jessica’s going to say–and maybe even get into the next scene as well.

Loss and Change

Some down time and a bit of interesting music is the thing that’s needed to get people back on track.  It helped with me a bit last night, though I still had a few distractions last night, which seems to be a theme with me of late . . .

"Now, Annie's going to throw her arms around--is that a cloud outside my window?"

“Now, Annie’s going to throw her arms around–is that a cloud outside my window?”

More like, “Is that Micheal Clarke Duncan on my television?”  Yes, it was The Green Mile time, and there are so many people I would rather be gone than Micheal.  But as some punk kid out of The Bronx once said, only the good die young.

At the same time I was writing and listening to a lot of ELO, because why not?  I needed to get writing, even if I stumbled about finding the right words.  I do that now, taking my time, stumbling so I don’t have to go back and do a lot of rewrites.  It’s a slow way to get things done, but it keeps me from going back and redoing a lot of stuff later.  Considering the size of this series, I don’t need to do a lot of rewriting.

It took me just under two hundred and eighty words to finish the scene in Astria Portal, but I got it done.  And the results are below:

 

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

“Yes, it is.” He slipped his arms around Annie’s waist. “You know, I missed this place.”

“You did?” She relaxed in Kerry’s arms. “Why?”

“Because of the kiss we shared here the first time.” He half turned Annie so she was leaning against him. “It was the first one that I felt like I should give—” Kerry rested his head against hers. “That first night on the bench I said I thought something was reminding me to give you a kiss—”

She nodded slowly. “Yes, you mentioned that a few days ago.”

“But when we were here, that first time, after you told me about your parents coming here, I just—” Kerry held Annie tight. “I so wanted to kiss you.”

“And—” Annie sighed. “To tell me something else.”

“Yes.” He stepped around to face her, his eyes locked on hers. He kissed her slowly in the soft blue light of his cold fire, holding the kiss for well on to five seconds. The few seconds after Kerry broke the kiss he touched her lips with his left index finger. “You are lovely.”

Even though she knew his statement was coming, Annie felt the same way as she had that night almost a year ago: light headed and weak, her legs and arms vibrating like they were about to cease functioning at any moment. “Oh, Kerry . . .” She pressed herself against him and felt his arms hold her in place. “You do this to me.”

Kerry twisted a few strands of her hair around his fingers. “You’re not gonna, you know—like last time?”

“Faint?” Annie shook her head. “Not this time. But all the other times—here, at the Samhain dance, out at Lake Lovecraft when you finally remembered everything and said you would never leave me . . . She closed her eyes an lay against her soul mate. “I don’t lose control with other students, with instructors, even with my parents. You are the only one who makes me feel this weak.”

She took a moment to stand, holding his hands in each of hers. Annie knew exactly what this looked like: as if they were preparing to say their vows. “When we stopped her last year, it was with the hope that by telling you what my parents did here, I could get you to remember what we had before you sealed me away in your mind. It didn’t, but it brought out something different in you, something that had an effect upon me that I never expected . . .

“I used to think of this tower as the place where my parent came to kiss and let their own romance develop, but I don’t think that any more—” She turned to face the ball of cold fire keeping them bathed in cool, blue light. “This is our tower; this is where our romance, our love, developed in ways I never imagined. This is where I learned how deep your feelings for me could run. This is where I learned how you could affect my feelings . . .”

Annie squeezed Kerry’s hand as she drew him to her. “This is where I learned that, with you, I could lose control.”

 

Annie prides herself in staying in control.  Yes, she’s lost it a couple of times–*cough*Lisa*cough*–and every time she does she almost get into trouble.  So when she told Kerry she doesn’t lose it with students, well . . . he diplomatically didn’t mention some of her worst moments there.

With Kerry, however–he’s making her swoon.  Yes, that’s the term:  swoon.  The first time it happened Annie was down in the dirt; the second time she held on to Kerry for dear life, ’cause passing out while everyone’s standing around you watching you dance is usually considered bad form.

This is Annie, and there’s only one person who make her swoon.  And a swoony Annie is a happy Annie.

I started the next scene, almost twenty-four hours later in the story, and the open of the scene tells you everything you need to know–

 

Unlike the Advanced Formulistic Magic lab, the Advanced Transformation class met in a warm, comfortable room found in the southwest corner of the Transformation Center’s lower level. Kerry learned of the location during lunch, when Professor Kishna approached Annie and him and told him about that evening’s class. She mentioned that she liked having class there because there were a small number of students, they didn’t require a lot of room, and being in that second of the lower levels make it easier to control who had access to the room.

The one thing Kerry took away from the conversation was that, above all, Jessica liked keeping things private.

 

Jessica is a private person:  there’s not a lot known about her, because she doesn’t say much.  She just looks mean and transforms, and when students piss her off she changes them–true story, and something you may get to see in future scenes.

Her newest students show with someone in tow–

 

“They’re from Cerdwen.” Jessica made a face as if she found admitting that information distasteful. “Are you joining us tonight, Annie?”

“Yes and no.” She’d thought hard about appearing tonight, for after telling the professor last year that she wanted to learn advanced transformation magic from Kerry, she wondered if showing up tonight could lead Jessica to think she should try to get Annie to reconsider. “I wanted to see how the first class goes, but at the same time I want to stick to my original plan of having Kerry teach me what he’s learned.” She took Kerry’s hand. “He needs to do that if he’s to be my Dark Witch.”

Jessica nodded, unwilling to comment at this time on Annie’s decision. “Well, you’re welcome to come at any time, just so you know. You’re even allowed to participate, if you like.”

Annie grinned her approval. “Thank you, Professor.”

“Speaking of that—” Kerry slightly bowed his head and spoke in a lower tone. “How should we, um—”

Jessica knew what Kerry was going to ask: they’d already attended enough advanced classes to know how they were conducted. “You can address me by my given name—” She gave Kerry an amused glare. “Unless that makes you uncomfortable.”

He shook his head. “No, not at all . . . Jessica.” Kerry smiled, satisfied he’d actually managed to speak the name. “Thanks.”

“Yes, thank you, Jessica.” Though she knew Kerry liked the transformation instructor, Annie was also aware that he was somewhat intimidated by her. She knew Jessica was far more strict than the majority of instructors and that played up her authoritative side during class, but Annie also remembered all the times when Jessica would complement Kerry and she for not only completing a lesson, but often doing more than expected.

When it came to intimidating instructors, she knew of someone who far better fit that description.

 

Yes, Annie does know a far more intimidating instructor, though it’s true that neither Jessica or Helena have squared off against each other for any reasons.  Too much respect there, I suppose, to get into a throw-down with the Mistress of All Things Dark.  Also, Jessica’s the most senior Coven Leader after Erywin, so maybe she doesn’t want to blow that image of being a respected elder.

Then again, it is known she transformed into a large, viscous animal and mauled a former Headmaster to death, so, you know, her rep is pretty secure.

Annie being there–that’s to satisfy her curiosity.  Or is it?  Won’t say at this point, but she’s there now, and as she states, that won’t always be the case.  This will be the first time these two have classes apart, though, again, that won’t always happen.  What do I mean?  Just wait.

In the end I was just short of nine hundred and fifty words written.  Not bad for a few distractions while looking for the right words.  Tonight, after work, it’s Face Zapping Time, so expect there to be some pictures of a swollen face tomorrow.

And some more writing.  I promise.

Entering the Land of the Invisible

Back into the swing once more, after laying low, more or less.  I ended up with this Sunday night:

 

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

Once they were out of earshot Coraline leaned close to Erywin. “You really going to take that boy’s money?”

“Oh, please.” Erywin’s chuckle almost became a laugh. “I’m a witch, not a bitch. I’d feel horrible taking his money and then keeping it for this gesture.”

Coraline had a similar feeling. It wasn’t that Kerry was embarrassed to ask for help; she sensed, and saw in his aura, that he was afraid he wouldn’t have anything for Annie. “So what will you—or I—do when we give him the gift?”

“Take his money, so he doesn’t feel guilty about being given the gift, and then find a way to give it back to him.” Erywin shrugged. “Parents are always sending money to their children . . .”

“That’s one way.” Coraline laughed. “Or the old ‘monetary prize for outstanding achievements’ hand-back.” She stopped and turned, looking back at Kerry, who’d just been rejoined by Annie. “He went for our suggestion rather easily.”

“As well as our other suggestion.”

“Oh, yeah.” Coraline crossed her arms. “Why is that? Because he didn’t have any ideas, and figured we know ‘what girls like’?”

“Oh, it’s more than that.” Erywin didn’t take her eyes away from the young couple. “I am of the belief that deep down inside young Kerry a romantic lies dormant in his heart, and it only needs a bit of a push to come out.” She patted the young doctor on her arm. “I believe we’ve started pushing.”

 

Nice and sweet, and something’s a brewing.  That crazy Kerry, probably going to do something silly, otherwise why bring in a couple of female teachers and ask them for something–and offering money, too!  One must wait, must they not?

That was Sunday night, however, where I put down nearly a thousand words.  Monday night–well, I was a bit tired, and I’d had a pint, or two, at dinner on my way home, so I had to let that wear off.  When it was all said and done I eventually launched into the next scene . . .

 

“True invisibility is nearly impossible to achieve.” Jessica Kishna strode slowly across the front of the classroom, closely watching her gaggle of work cubical situated students. “If one is a true expert in the field of transformation, they can render their body invisible—and they can even modify themselves so they can actually eat and see in that condition.” She showed the class one of her now-well known smirks. “Most so-called experts, however, either died of starvation or dehydration, or went mad from blindness, before attaining that level. Which is probably a good thing . . .

“The good news for today is that none of you will go mad—from blindness. As for you going mad trying to accomplish today’s spell—” She shrugged, noticing the strained looks of some of the students. “Only time will tell.”

“There are many ways to render something invisible. Normal Stealth technology has shown the world that the proper materials, the correct angles, and the right paint will make any object invisible to electromagnetic detection. But we’re going well beyond that—at least that is my hope.”

Jessica slowly walked the aisles between the work cubicles as she spoke. She knew it made the students nervous to have her scrutinizing them while she lectured and, more importantly, while they worked their magic. She didn’t care: she wanted them nervous and jumpy. She knew this caused most students to make mistakes, and a few had completely blown simple spells. Not like the one she gave them the first day of class—spells far easier . . .

“The simplest form of invisibility is camouflage. If one can blend in with their surroundings, then one is more or less rendered invisible. In the Normal world this is performed with clothing and articles used to further enhance said blending.” She paused at the end of the aisle, forcing everyone to turn and look in her direction. “In our world, there’s a far better way—”

Jessica seemed to fade as the background pressed around her from both sides and below. In less that five seconds she’d vanished from the sight of everyone in the classroom. “Right now none of you should be able to see me. Does anyone know why?”

Two hands went up instantly, each belonging to the students she suspected would know how she’d worked this magic. Do I go with what is likely Normal scientific understanding, or with the Legacy who likely knows something about the spell? How about this time— “Annie, tell the class, please.”

 

Sure, you two, be show offs.  That’ll get you no where in the long run.  Invisibility, huh?  And not a cloak in sight–save what you create.  And don’t worry:  they’ll learn how to do that.

There’s always someone at school wants to dress up as fictional characters at Halloween, you know.

Get this scene out of the way and two more scenes–probably three more in all reality–remain for this chapter.  Then I get into some good stuff.  But that’s probably not coming until after Memorial Day weekend.  In the meantime, we have . . .

Can you see me now?

Can you see me now?

This.  And some time line stuff I worked on as well, but I’m not ready to show that.

Only because it’s depression.

Frolic Through the Fantasic

This morning I realized something:  at times I have trouble remembering my dreams because I don’t know if I was dreaming, or if my ideas were intruding and becoming manifest.

Let me explain:

Yesterday was an all around good day to dream.  I started about laying out a new plan for a school grounds that would, should, could end up in a story, and it was a bit o’ work, because I’m working off an area that’s real, and I needed to try and get my measurements correct.  I’m nutty that way, needing to see what’s available in the real world, and then going to work so I can get the fantasy as real as possible.

Some people call it too much work; I call it part of the job.

I know there are adjustments in one of the buildings I created.  for one, the space is far too large, and I need to scale it down just a bit.  I’ll do that this morning, after I finish this post.  Maybe I’ll add a few buildings.  Maybe I’ll start giving them names, and start in on instructors . . .

Then it was off to Fantasies in Harmonie.  I didn’t get into the story until around nine-forty PM, which is late by anyone’s measure, but I was so enthralled by my grounds work that I didn’t notice the passage of time.  When you get into your groove and you’re overtaken by the world you’re creating, you can find yourself getting lost easily.

There was writing, though, and it went smoothly.  It was time to describe the various transformations, and though I’d done one and went part ways through another, there was room to discuss what had happened to my characters, and for one person, that involved a lot of self-discovery which, in turn, required a bit of wordage to show what she was doing.

I once again found myself in my groove, because I’d finish a paragraph, then think, “Keep going; you need to finish what she’s feeling.”  It’s late, I’m tired, my eyes are starting to hurt–but I needed to finish.  That’s a feeling I haven’t had in a while when it comes to my writing.  You take a couple of months off to edit your work, to get your stories ready for publishing, and you get out of that mood of writing because you need to get something said.

By the time I finished with the line that I’d been waiting to write for a while–lets just say it’s something Ariel should have said after she washed up on shore–I’d put eleven hundred words behind me, and I’d done that in one hour.  I was even impressed, because I haven’t cranked out something like that in a while.  But the fantasy was there, and it demanded I give it my energy–and I did.

I had to write.

This is why I have trouble remembering my dreams some mornings:  I don’t always know what’s a dream and what’s left over from my imagination.  They are both one and the same–and it’s my job to get them out for others to see.

 

Never Small and Simple

I fool myself a lot, I really do.  I do what I can, I work hard, and I strive to get ahead.  I set goals for myself that some say are ambitious, others says may be a little foolish, but they are my goals, and I do my best to get them done.

There are some thing, though, I just can’t do.  I’m not talking about being able to read minds:  I do believe I’ll get that talent licked one of these days.  No, I’m talking about something else–

I’m talking about being able to write a short story.

When I set out doing Fantasies in Harmonie, I told people, a few people, a number of people, that I was going to “keep it short”.  It’s fantasy erotica, and if you want people to be interested, you gotta get right to the sex.  Most of the stuff out there–by which I mean, “The tentacle sex stories on Smashwords“–seem to be between five thousand and eight thousand words, so if you’re doing it sexy, you’re doing it short.

I’ve mentioned that writing short can sometimes be a problem for me.  The shortest thing I’ve published is just short of ten thousand words–the maximum for what most people consider a short story–and the longest . . . well, it was so long I decided to cut it into three novels.  As my ex would say of Stephen King, “He’s too wordy,” and I seem to have the same problem.  Not that I consider it a problem, but there are some who have told me I’m a good writer if I can’t do a short story. (To which I had a rather choice reply, but that’s another story . . .)

Therefor, when writing Fantasies in Harmonie, I knew I was going to keep it short, keep it simple, make it all about the smut and put a fake name on the sucker–

Yeah, right.

I finished my eight hundred words last night–I was feeling down, didn’t really feel like writing, but I got it in–and I looked at where I am in the tale.  I’m eight hundred and twenty-three words into the current scene–which happens to be the second scene of the second part, which is–lemme see . . . sixty-two hundred words into the story.

And no sex at all.  Hell, I just now got to the fantasy transformations!

Issac Asimov once said that short stories were probably the hardest thing to write.  Yeah, I know:  he wrote like two hundred of them, so how hard can it be?  If you look at that another way, he knew how hard it was, because he’d taught himself to become good in that form, and that took a lot of work to develop that talent.  There are a lot of reasons why shorts are not that prevalent today, number one of which seems to be a lack of markets for writers to peddle their wares.

Back in the day of the Golden Age of Science Fiction there were hundreds of markets for shorts, and not only could one sell a three thousand word story for a penny a word, but actually live on that, writers went for that gold.  Today, you want to do a short story, you’ll probably post it to an internet board and not see a dime for you effort–you’ll be lucky to get one comment.

This isn’t about markets with me, however:  this is about what I do.  And I do novelettes, novellas, and novels.  I don’t have a problem with that–

I do hope people like my long form erotica, though.

I’m telling you, it’s gonna be hot.