The Road We’re Ending

Once again I come to you on the road, where I’m finishing up the reason for being out here this weekend. I know there’s been a lot of mystery about what I’m doing, but it’s been necessary. And you’re going to see why, because I’m going to show you what I’ve been doing this weekend. Once I do, you’ll see the reason for the secrecy.

So here you go, the big reveal:

I’ve been away at a weekend conference with Planned Parenthood learning how to be a better activist. Because we’re not exactly the most well-liked organization in the world, it’s been necessary for some time to keep quiet about what I was doing and to keep the location of our conference secret. In fact, I can’t reveal our location until I’m home tomorrow, because there’s always the possibility someone will read this post and figure out where we’re at.

I have about another 6 hours of conference to go and then people I came here with and I will head to the airport and fly back to Harrisburg, where will arrive home about midnight tonight. Yeah, it ain’t easy being an activist, doing all this flying around.

Tomorrow I’ll probably do one more post on what I’ve done this weekend and then I’ll get back to my normal routine. And I have to say, doing a blog post for my phone has not been that difficult. Now that I know how to do this, I might just try it some more.

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Travel to Parts Unknown

It’s almost 2 in the morning where I’m at now. I’m sitting the lobby of my hotel, both shoulders stinging from, well, who knows? Probably a combination of travel and roller derby.

Whatever the reason, it’s keeping me from sleeping. Which is why I’m writing this now.

It was a long day yesterday. I spent most of it flying, stopping at two different airports along the way. I was traveling with a group of people and at my destination we met up with quite a few more.

Sounds mysterious, doesn’t it? There’s a reason for that: we have to maintain a bit of secrecy for what I’m presently doing. Some of you know the groups I work with, so you can probably figure out which organization I’m working with at the moment.

Don’t worry, I won’t leave you completely in the dark before the weekend’s out.

There was something particularly special about what I’m doing. And you can see it in this photo:

That’s me on the first leg of my journey, from Harrisburg International Airport to Atlanta. I’ve flown many times in the past, but this is the first time I’ve flown as Cassidy. Even though I set off the machine at the airport because I had an “abnormality” in my groin which required a pat down–one of the problems of traveling while trans– the experience has been a good one. And when I realized that it was my first real trip as my real self, it brought a tear to my eye. More than a couple of tears, actually.

 in time I’ll tell you more about what I’m doing: I’ll probably even have pictures. One thing I can tell you for sure: when I got to the Atlanta airport I expected to see zombies and I didn’t. What a disappointment. TVs been lying to me all these years about what I’d find in Atlanta.

I’ll give you more from the road when I get an opportunity. Who knows? I may even have another post later today.

While I’m Away…

Some of you may have noticed that it didn’t post anything originally yesterday. There’s a reason for that colon this last week I’ve been busy as hell in the weekend is about to get busier.

In about 90 minutes I’m going to head out on the road and be gone for a weekend. What am I doing? Fighting the good fight, as always. Actually, I’m going to be attending a workshop seminar for a certain group that some of you know I’ve done work with in the past. And since I won’t be taking my computer, my access to the internet will be limited.  I will try to post a couple of things, but mostly they’ll be reblogs. Although… believe it or not, I’m actually creating this post on my phone using voice recognition, so who knows whether or not I’ll be able to give you updates from the field.

And come Monday I should be able to start posting excerpts again. You may find this hard to believe, but I haven’t been able to do a lot of writing, either. I hope to get back into that next week.

So have fun, kids. And don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

Eastward Into the Sunset

No, I don’t have a novel excerpt.  I don’t have an excerpt of any kind today.  It’s nearly 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I’m sitting in the first toll plaza in Western Ohio as you head eastward.  It’s called Tiffin River, though I don’t know if there is a river nearby. I do know I snapped the fingernail completely off as I was sitting down, but I think it was already broken.

Happy arriving–

 

Though a moment later the bitch face is strong.

I’ve been up since about five-thirty and pretty much been on the go since getting up.  But my business in Indiana is finished and I don’t have to return until June.  So what I have ahead of me is at least another nine hours of driving, which should put me back in Harrisburg sometime around midnight.  This isn’t the first time I’ve run this route, and it certainly won’t be the last.

The next five or six days is going to see me writing like mad. I have three TV recaps I need to do and I likely won’t get them done until this time next week.  Thanks, AMC, for screwing up the schedule of the show I’m recapping and dumping a whole month’s worth of programming in two weeks.  You don’t make a girl’s job easy.  And I’ve spent too much time in the current chapter I need to really get going on it, as I’m getting really close to one hundred and fifty thousand words.  It just seems like it’s taking me forever to get there.

This is what happens when life gets in the way.

So, I can’t dillydally long here at Tiffin River, because once I get back to The Burg it’s off to bed because at 5 AM tomorrow I need to get up and start getting ready for work.  Then I’ll drive off and get my nail repaired, and then I’ll go home and unpack.  It just never seems to end, doesn’t it?

If there’s one thing that could be said about the morning drive to this part of Ohio that is good, it’s that I figured out how the series ends.  I pretty much have the exact ending worked out in my head and even walk through some of the dialogue. Needless to say, there were quite a few tears shed as I figured it out.  But, it’s a good ending. I just need to write it.  One of these days.

Yeah, my kids are probably getting lonely.  I haven’t been paying much attention to them of late and they need to get their stories told.  I even worked out another scene over breakfast this morning that involves Annie and Kerry–and Emma.  Needless to say, Emma is feeling a bit uncomfortable, and there’s good reason for that.  When will you see that?  Sometime in this novel: that’s a guarantee.  Now spend all your time trying to figure out what it is that’s happening…

No matter what you may think it is, it isn’t.

Got Those Going Westward Highway Blues

Saturday is usually the day I’ve got video for you, usually being the operative word.this time, however, I’m at Glacier Hills Travel Plaza, which is the first place along my westward trip back to Indiana that I’ve been able to get a good Wi-Fi signal.  I knew I would get a good one here as I’ve use this location many times before for blogging, so that’s exactly what I’m doing now, at ten-twenty in the morning.

As you can see I’m hard at work.

And even though I had eaten a while ago back in the darkness of Breezewood, Pennsylvania, there’s a Panera here, and wherever there’s a Panera, I have to get my favorite breakfast food–

Just call me Souffle Girl.

I never had the chance to do video last night.  I had to write a TV recap, I had to eat, I had to pack.  By the time I have a free moment to do video, it was nearly 10 PM, and I probably would’ve been up to close to midnight getting everything set up.  So, instead, I’m giving you a little vignette of my travels on the road and hoping that you are enjoying the view I’m presenting.

The travel here has been cloudy for the most part, and are times when it appears that I’m entering the set of Stephen King’s The Mist.  In fact, there was even a short stretch, right before I hit the Allegheny Mountain, where I was getting a bit of snow.  I don’t think I’ll hit snow now because it’s far too warm, but it looks as if I’m going to be in a lot of the gray clouds the whole way home.  Which is fine by me, for I know how to navigate in cloudy weather.

Maybe I’ll do a video tomorrow for my old library back in Valparaiso, Indiana, and you’ll have the opportunity to see all the books I left behind.  One of these days I’ll have them back with me: for now, however, they have to stay in Indiana.  Besides, it’s not like I have time to read anymore these days: I’m just way too busy.

I’m actually considering doing a post this week on science fiction movies and TV shows, one that I’ve wanted to do for a while.  It would be a Baker’s Dozen style list, the original of which I first developed her back around 2002 and have updated from time to time.  I keep saying I’m going to do this, but something always seems to get in the way of me doing it. Maybe this would be a good one to prepare for Tuesday morning, when I hope to be back on the road heading eastward to Pennsylvania.  That way you’ll have something to read while I’m spending another 11 to 12 hours driving back to Harrisburg.

I’m taking my time driving westward so I’m not all burned out by the time I get home. I’d like to be able to do some writing tonight, but I can do that if I’m falling asleep at 9 o’clock.  So I’m stopping like every eighty or ninety miles to relax, grab something to eat, and maybe even get some coffee so I don’t get too spacey behind the wheel.  I’ve been in that position before and it’s not enjoyable; the second time I tried driving back to Indiana I nearly fell asleep at the wheel and wrecked.  Believe me, that lesson has stayed with me a long time.

In a few minutes I’ll be shutting down the computer and getting back on the road.  I’m charging up my phone and I’ll be listening to my YouTube playlist, Music From San Junipero, across the state of Ohio.  It will take me about three and a half hours to traverse the state and that playlist runs three hours and forty-two minutes, so I’ll be looking for new playlist about ten miles inside the Eastern Indiana border.  Fortunately I bought a lot of data last night, so I’m not anticipating running out anytime soon.  I’ve been listening to music for the last couple of hours going through Pennsylvania and it’s made driving a far more enjoyable experience.  I’ve also thought about Annie and Kerry making the same trip, although they would probably fly if they had the opportunity.  Or jaunt.  Anything but drive.  ‘Cause like it or not, driving is reserved for us mere Normals.

Ah, if only we could do magic…

West Gate, East Gate

One of the nice things about writing a novel like the ones I’m doing is having the ability to go in and do a lot of research on things that you never knew existed.  I mean, I knew there was a city named Kiev and that when I was growing up the most famous things about it was that it was part of the Soviet Union and a famous chicken dish came from there–which leads to a lot of bad chicken jokes, but that’s another story.

When I decided to have Annie and Alex meed up in Kiev I knew nothing about the city save for it’s now in the Ukraine and one other thing I’ve known about since being in high school.  And it was this last part that set up were I wanted the girls to meet.  Fortunately for me a lot of things in the city worked out to my favor:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie exited the metro station and headed directly across the street into the park. For such a lovely day she was surprised there weren’t more people out, but then it was a Tuesday with lots of people working, and though it was sunny the temperatures were around 18 C with winds staying steady around 25 kph. And the few people who were out were dressed like her: jeans—or in her case, leggings—and a light jacket over a top. Unlike most of the people here Annie decided to wear her sandals because it was summer and she loved the feel of sunlight upon her feet.

She found Alex waiting on the other side of the park, sitting on a raised curb facing Yaroslaviv Val Street. She was dressed pretty much as expected: flight jacket over a blue tee shirt and faded jeans tucked into her black lace-up flight boots. Annie began waving as soon as the girl caught sight of her. “Hello.”

Hello, Annie.” Alexandria Chorney rushed up and gave her friend and covenmate a big hug. “Did you have any trouble getting here?”

“Not at all. It was just as you said: Sofia International to Kiev International, then take the local jaunt to the Central Station, get on the Red Line subway, transfer to the Green Line, take that to Zoloti Vorota Station.” Annie held her arms out to the side. “And here I am.”

 

We know–or we’re at least guessing, you’ll find out tomorrow–that Annie’s mom jaunted her to the international airport outside Sofia, and from there Annie went on her own to Kiev.  Then, as she says, she took the local jaunt into the main train station and from there took the subway to their location.  Lucky for Annie there are only three subway lines in the city, so there wasn’t much of a chance Annie would get lost underground.  Not to mention that the Red Line to Green Line transfer station isn’t that far from where Annie entered the subway.

And you can be sure she looked over a bunch of maps before getting to this point.

And you can be sure she looked over a bunch of maps before getting to this point.

And once Annie’s off the subway and no longer hanging with the Morlocks, she’s right here in this part meeting her friend:

Right there, next to the raised curb, in the center of the photo.  Without Col. Mustard, I should point out.

Right there, next to the raised curb, in the center of the photo. Without Col. Mustard, I should point out.

Humm…  There’s a blurry sport in the middle of this photo right where the girls should be.  Maybe they are

Now that they are together the real bonding can take place:

 

“Yes, you are. By the way: welcome to Kiev.” She looked about as she shrugged. “You did say this was your first time here.”

“It is.” Annie looked up into the blue sky. “We picked a great day for a visit. Did you have trouble getting here?”

Alex shook her head. “No, the weather was perfect. Clear skies all the way.” She glanced down at Annie’s legs. “I love those leggings.”

“Thank you.” She looked down at the leggings which were electric blue shot through with lines of pink and coordinated with her pink top and blue jacket. “I picked them up in Sofia a few weeks ago. I’m going to bring them to school.”

“Those will be nice there. I’m gonna try and find a pair when we go shopping.” Alex cocked her head to one side. “Your Ukrainian has gotten really good.”

“Thank you: I’ve been practicing.” Annie leaned in towards her friend, placing her hand on her arm. “Your Bulgarian is excellent as well.”

“I’ve been practicing as well.” Alex scratched her head. “So how do you want to talk? If you don’t mind I’d like to speak in Bulgarian. I can practice and if I mess up you can tell me.”

Annie nodded. “We can do that: I don’t have a problem.”

“Great.” Alex seemed relieved that their communication issues were out of the way. “The place we’re going to eat is just up the street. I hope you didn’t have a big breakfast.”

“Not at all. I’ve only nibbled since I woke.”

“Good.”

Annie examined the large structure to her left that was the focal point of this particular park. “So that is the famous Golden Gate.” She kept her smile hidden as she didn’t want to explain to Alex that just two weeks earlier she more or less stood before another Golden Gate…

 

The incredible news here is that Annie is wearing blue and pink leggings, something we’ve never seen her wear.  And she’s totally matching with her pink top and blue jacket.  Top it off with her sandals and she looks like a normal teen girl–and given that Annie is probably carrying that purse, probably a well-to-do teen.  Which, incidentally, she is.

But wait–another Golden Gate?  As she thinks it’s funny that only a couple of weeks before she was sort of at one with Kerry, and now she’s at another with Alex.  Only this Golden Gate–

Really is a gate.

Really is a gate.

And you’ll learn more about it tomorrow–along with how I knew about it as a teenager.

Ipswich For Witches

What are we up to today, kids?  And I mean you kids, not my kids, which is something completely different as they exist only in my imagination and you don’t.  Then again, if you’ve ever watched The Twilight Zone, maybe you do exist in my imagination–dreams, actually–and when I wake up you’ll all vanish.  Stranger things can happen.

The other thing to celebrate is going over a thousand words on this new scene and finally coming to within nine hundred words of twenty-five thousand total.  By the end of the week I’ll be over twenty-five thousand–I’m shooting for 1 September for that–and I should be close to thirty-five thousand words by the time Month Two of his new novel starts.  Which means by the time Month Three begins I should be into Part Two, Chapter Four, and that’ll put the kids somewhere in Paris.

But for now they're right here--wherever here is at the moment.

But for now they’re right here–wherever here is at the moment.

Today we get into Kerry’s luncheon date with Penny, but really, it’s far more than just lunch:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

The sun was bright, the sky clear, and the weather warm as Kerry walked alongside Penny Rigman though the quite woods. They’d covered nearly twelve hundred meters by now and they were about a hundred meters away from the first objective on their hike—

Despite a hectic beginning to the day Kerry was enjoying himself…

He met Penny in Ipswich at close to nine that morning after making a mad, nearly five hundred kilometer an hour dash across England from Cardiff. He’d expected to leave at least thirty minutes earlier, but for some reason his parent had taken their time leaving for work. Kerry half-expected that maybe they suspected he was going to leave the house after they left, but at this point he didn’t care if they asked him about it or not: after his mother catching him returning from London he’d begun to care little if they were upset with this comings and goings.

After landing in the courtyard of the St. Mary-le-Tower Church he walked a short distance to the Costa coffee shop at the corner of Carr and Upper Brooks Streets. Penny stood the moment he entered the shop and greeted him with open arms and a large hug before they ordered breakfast. They both had something to eat—Penny a porridge and Kerry a bacon roll—and had both had a cappuccino with their food. This was the second time Kerry drank coffee: he’d had his first with Annie during their second London lunch and he was found the experience a little strange.

Kerry was also developing a taste for the hot, caffeinated beverage because Perry and Alex told him that he’d have coffee rations with him on the Polar Express—both for the warmth of the hot liquid and the caffeine rush needed for flying—and they’d both said that it was better to get used to the drink and understand your tolerance now, than drink it for the first time in the wilds of wintertime Canada and get sick from too much on his first day. As Alex had said, he didn’t want to find himself on his hands and knees on the frozen ground throwing up due to a caffeine overdose, after which he’d spent the rest of the day feeling miserable while flying.

He certainly didn’t want that, either, so he worked on developing his tolerance. It was the smart thing to do.

 

Kerry got out of the house early so he could go hang with his covenmate, who, by the way, didn’t fly nearly as far as he did.  It would also seem that his folks are of a mind that their boy seemed like he was ready to go somewhere, so they decided to be dicks and just hang out a little long at the home front.  Why?  Maybe they wanted to see if any witches showed up on their front doorstep.  And then do what?  Ask to see their witch IDs–which, you know, they do have.

Now when I say it was a short walk through Ispwich–and I should point out, this is the English city that shares a name with the town close to the Salem school back in America–I know it’s a short walk because–

I measured it out.

I measured it out.

I also decided they’d meet and chill out for breakfast at Costa, which is the second largest coffee house chain in the world with locations in thirty countries, though the U.S. isn’t one of them.  They’ve actually been in business since 1971 and are quiet the fixture around the UK.

And they have beans on their logo--no topless mermaids for these guys.

And they have beans on their logo–no topless mermaids for these guys.

That is actually the Google Streetview of the location where Penny and Kerry meet, so if any of you are ever in Ipswich, you can stop in and have the same thing they’re having–

Which brings up an interesting point:  Penny and Kerry are drinking coffee, and you can thank The Polar Express for this.  See, the people in charge figure that given the cold and the hostile conditions, plus the fact that the kids are gonna have to consume food high in calories, a little caffeine might do wonders in keeping them awake.  That means some of the items in their arctic kit are a small kettle for heating water–they also get a water ration as well, though they should be able to melt snow, too–and a few packets full of ground coffee.  They’ll also have some of the school’s famous hot chocolate, but the coffee is going to help get them kick started in the morning–or, if they aren’t careful, make them shaky as hell and prone to getting sick to their stomach if the aren’t careful.

Kerry has a couple of friends who’ve already done the Express and know a few tricks.  And that’s why Penny and Kerry are enjoying a cappuccino over breakfast, so he can get used to the taste and the jolt that come from drinking a caffeinated beverage that ain’t Mountain Dew or Red Bull, or worst of all 5-Hour Energy, which is completely insane shit to consume.

If I’m gonna get the kids buzzed, I’m gonna keep it natural.