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.

Leaving it All Behind Once Again: Departing is Such Sweet Sorrow

It’s been a long, busy morning.  And a lot of writing, believe me–over three hundred and fifty last night, and almost thirteen hundred this today.  I’ve been up since 5:30, made a few calls, did my laundry, and lunch is a-cooking.

Busy little bee, am I.

The writing yesterday and today has put an end to the first scene.  The next scene will likely be a short one, then the scene after that has everyone getting off the plane in Berlin and saying whatever goodbyes they have to say before going their separate ways.  Lots of thing still to come.

Lots of changes coming, mostly of a time kind.

Mostly of a time kind, it seems.

First, however, there’s a goodbye that needs to be said right here and now.  And the person saying the goodbye is . . ?

 

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

Annie turned towards their visitor and gave her a slight yet warm smile. “Hello, Anna.”

“Hello, Annie.” The German girl from Åsgårdsreia turned her head to her left. “Hello, Kerry.”

Kerry relaxed as he faced Anna, keeping Annie’s hand in his left. “How you doing?”

“I’m . . .” She shrugged with an embarrassed look on her face. “I’m as good as could be expected right now. I didn’t get a chance to meet with you at school, but I wanted to say goodbye and wish you both a great summer holiday.”

Annie was truly touched. Though they’d had little contact with their levelmate the year before, she’d begun noticing a change in her behavior not long after her judgment battle with Lisa’s champion, and saw how much more open and friendly she’d become after being promoted to her coven’s racing A Team. “Thank you, Anna. We hope you have a great holiday next year, too.”

“Thank you.” Once more the look of embarrassment came over her. “I also want to thank you both for showing what Lisa was really like. It—” She cast her gaze towards the floor.

“It’s hard to admit she had me fooled so badly last year.”

Kerry was the one to speak after a quick exchange of looks. “I know all about doing things that make you feel dumb; I’ve done that more than a few times.”

Anna seemed to consider how she should answer that comment, finally making a decision five seconds later. “She actually had me thinking that she cared for me.” She looked right at Kerry as she spoke. “You proved that otherwise during Sorcery class last year.”

Now it was Kerry’s turn to look embarrassed as he recalled that particular Sorcery class lab and his successful use of the Draught of Submission on Lisa—which resulted in her subsequent outing as a possible lesbian. He’d felt a great deal of guilt for a week afterwords, but was reminded several times that it remained Lisa’s choice not to say anything and that she could have stopped the incident at anytime. “I’m sorry if I caused problems for you—”

“It didn’t.” Anna looked across the terminal for a moment. “We were sharing a room at the time, and that night she was pissed; she wouldn’t let what happened in class go. I asked why she didn’t just say my name that . . .” She glanced upwards. “I found out later it wasn’t me that she thought of in those moments.

“Then this year she starts hanging with Franky more, which I didn’t mind, but then when we made the B Team, she was pissed at me that I tried out without telling her. It was as if she didn’t want me on the same course with her, that I was going to somehow—”

“Show her up?” Kerry chuckled. “Might be because you’re a better racer.”

“Danke. Then after Annie beat up her champion she went nuts.” Anna glanced at Annie. “She wanted me to challenge you.”

“What?” Annie’s eyes went wide in disbelief. “Why?”

“She told me some BS about being able to hurt you in the ring—” Anna shook her head. “I told her if she were so eager to go after you, she should call you out and do it herself. It wasn’t long after that I asked for a new room and we were separated.” Her sigh was quite loud. “She really hates you both.”

 

Anna, who has remained mostly in the background for most of two novels, is stating to come out into the open.  We find out that Anna was used by Lisa, and that she even wanted Anna to challenge Annie to a match, which would have involved Anna getting her butt kicked hard.  And we hear that Lisa hats the Lovey Dovey Couple?  Color me surprised.

And with this in mind, we hear something surprising, as well as some personal information about Anna:

 

“I’m not surprised.” Annie stepped forward and placed a hand on the German girl’s arm. “I’m sorry you went through that, Anna. I’m also glad you’re doing better, too.”

Anna’s smile contained a touch of sadness. “I am.” She looked at Kerry. “Now to get through what’s next.”

“We will.” He patted her shoulder. “We don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens, so best not to give it a lot of thought.”

“Well, that’s why I can’t wait to get on the plane and sleep most of the way home.” Anna turned and saw activity at the gate. “Shouldn’t be too long now.”

After Anna’s confession Annie felt there was only thing she could say at this moment. “If you ever want to hang with us, consider this an invitation. You can—” She smiled. “—whomever you want to bring.”

“Really?” Anna’s face brightened. “I’d like that.”

Kerry began chuckling. “Though it might get a little confusing with the Annie/Anna stuff.”

Anna laughed at the comment. “Well, you can always call me Sabb.”

“Sabb?”

“That’s my nickname. It’s short for Sabine; that’s my middle name.”

Kerry immediately perked up. “Like Sabine Schmitz?”

Anna’s face broke into a surprised smile. “You know her?”

“Yeah, the Ring Queen. Everyone knows her.”

“I didn’t think many people outside Germany knew her.”

Kerry nodded. “If you follow racing, you do.”

“Yes, you do. My father and I rode with her around the Nordschleife three years ago, right before she stopped driving.”

“Wow.” Kerry was about to ask about the right when he noticed the playful look he was getting from the person on the right. “Maybe next year we can talk about that.”

“I understand.” Anna glanced between Annie and Kerry, grinning cheerfully. “I hope to see you when we arrive in Berlin, but if I don’t, I’ll see you next year. And if you ever happen to be in Berlin, or any German city, let me know: I’d love to meet up.”

“We’ll do that, Anna.” Annie folded her hand against her stomach. “Have a good flight.”

“You, too.” After giving a wave to Kerry Anna turned and headed for her luggage.

 

Anna Sabine Laskar:  we have her whole name, and she’s the first student who’s full name we know other than Annie’s and Kerry’s.  And the back and forth between Anna and Kerry is legitimate:  Sabine Schmitz is a real person, as anyone who follows racing and/or the BBC program Top Gear knows.  One of her nicknames is “The Ring Queen,” and during her time driving a BMW M5 “Ring Taxi” around the gigantic Nordschleife road course–essentially she was hired by people to drive them around the course as fast as possible–she believes she drove twenty thousand laps, which is a lot of driving.  She’s won the 24 Hours Nürburgring twice in a BMW M3, and once on Top Gear drove a van around the 20.8 kilometer course and almost brought a ten minute lap doing so.

Yeah, you can bet Kerry’s found someone new to talk racing with next year.

The nice thing about Annie’s invitation is that she kept open the gender of whatever “friend” Anna might want to bring.  She doesn’t care with whom she shows up, and honestly, at this point, Annie’s going to have to deal with the idea that one of these days in the future she’s gonna show up at one of these get together with a girlfriend of her own.

All of this sparks some curiosity, but before they get too far–

 

It wasn’t until the girl was out of hearing range that Annie spoke. “That was unexpected.”

“I’ll say.” Kerry eyed the woman standing behind the ticket counter at the gate. “At least we know Lisa’s actively looking to get back at us.”

“It’s not as if we didn’t believe that—”

The woman Kerry was watching picked up a mic and spoke. “You attention, please. We are ready to board passengers for the Air International special charter to Berlin, German. Will all passengers holding a pass for this flight come to Gate E7B. We will begin boarding in a few minutes. Thank you.”

Kerry grabbed on to his luggage handle “That’s our cue.”

“Indeed.” Annie began walking toward the gate with her luggage in one hand and Kerry’s in the other. As there were fewer than two dozen students and instructors taking the flight back to Europe boarding proceeded quickly. After the woman at the gate—who Annie recognized as one of the air hostesses from their flight at the start of the school year—quickly scanned their boarding passes Kerry and she proceeded down the gangway to the aircraft entrance.

Trevor Parkman, dressed comfortably in jeans, polo shirt, and sneakers waited for them just inside the airframe with a tablet in hand. “Ah, we meet again.”

Kerry nodded as he let Annie pass through the doorway first. “Seems like we saw each other just yesterday.”

“So it does.” Trevor asked their names and took their palm prints. “By now you’re experts with these flights—” He held the tablet close to his chest. “Have a good flight home.”

“Thank you, Mr. Parkman.” Kerry nodded towards the front of the aircraft. “First class?”

Annie raise a questioning brow. “Do we travel any other way?” They made their way into the spacious front cabin of the aircraft, allowed the hostess to stow their luggage, and gave their drink orders before selecting two seats in the middle of the cabin.

Kerry snapped his belt into place and left rest loosely in his lap. “I don’t imagine we’ll be here long.”

Annie accepted her tomato juice and took a good sip before speaking. “Be like when we were in Berlin.”

He checked the time on his phone. “It’s six forty-one: Helena say last night we were supposed to be wheels up at six forty-five—”

A woman’s voice came over the speakers. “Attention, this is your pilot. The doors are closed and we are about to push back from the gate. We have been given priority takeoff clearance on Runway 22 R and should be airborne in a matter of minutes. Flight crew, secure for takeoff.”

 

Now it’s time to go, and here’s the route the plane is going to take as my kids get ready to leave:

I have pictures of everything!

I have pictures of everything!

According to weather history, the wind is coming out of the southwest this day, so the planes taking off can leave the terminals and leave on the right runways, while the inbound planes land on the runway on the left.  This is the way you run an airport, although Boston may run their own differently.  I prefer my way, because it’s my world, yeah?

All that’s left now is for my kids and sit back and enjoy what’s coming next:

 

Annie set her right hand on the armrest between Kerry and her. “You were right; they have nothing to hide now—”

“So why wait?” He set his left hand over Annie’s. “A little over eight hours and we’re back in Europe—” He half-looked at Annie. “Back home.”

“No, my love.” She turned her hand palm-up and entwined her fingers around Kerry’s as the plane made its way to the end of the takeoff runway. “We’re going back to our families; it’s our home we’re leaving behind.”

They sat in silence as they made the final turned to get into position for takeoff, and as had happened three times before the engine sound subsided for only a moment before they were set to full thrust and the A330 was propelled forward. Maybe twenty seconds later the nose came up,and the vibrations caused by the runway vanished as the landing gear thumped into place. The plane made a climbing turn to the left and only leveled out when the sun was no longer visible in either window.

Kerry pointed towards the windows on the left side of the airframe. “Look: you can just make out Cape Ann.” He gave a small wave. “Goodbye, Salem. See you in a few months.”

Annie gave Kerry’s hand a squeeze as she imagined the now-empty school greeting the new day upon the barely visible island. “Farewell for now.” She turned to Kerry with a smile upon her face. “We’ll be home soon.”

 

There we go:  the plane is in the air and heading back to Berlin.  And can we see what the kids see?

Of course they can, 'cause I figured it out.

Of course they can, ’cause I figured it out.

It would be some ways off in the distance, but Cape Ann could be see on a clear day–and this is a clear day.  And the next scene is going to take place somewhere on this picture:

Likely a lot more on the left side of the line than the center or right.

Likely a lot more on the left side of the line than the center or right.

I may even state that tonight.

Taking the Long Ways Home

Eight in the morning, and it’s time for the blog post–but only after two hours and just over a thousand words of novel writing.  Yes, I’ve been a busy girl, mostly because I’m off to get my nails done in a couple of hours and I need time to get ready.

But first, I’ve had this on repeat for most of the morning:  Moby’s God Moving Over the Face of the Waters.  Pay no attention to what the video cover page says: this version is the one found on I Like to Score, and is the one used as the outro music running over the credits for the movie Heat.  There are have been a few moments when this has started the tears a-flowing, because I’m imagining scenes where this can be used in my coming stories, and likely will.  Funny how my mind works, isn’t it?

The scene is over, and this is the last you’ll see of the school in this book.  After this everything takes place beyond the grounds, and half of the next chapter has my kids finally back in Europe for the summer.  But this goodbye is different than the one in the last novel.  Because this time they’re not standing around surrounded by silence–this time they’re surrounded by friends:

 

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

 

Kerry chuckled as he kept his arm around Annie’s shoulders and pulled her closer. “What are you guys going to do next?”

Penny quickly checked her phone. “We’re all jaunting out at the bottom of the hour to Logan and then on to Heathrow and to the local station at Paddington. We’ll spend about an hour and a half there, then Alex and Kahoku are going their own separate ways.”

“It’s already past twenty hours in Savannakhet.” Kahoku spoke of his home town on the banks of the Mekong River in Laos. “I told my parents I’d be home no later than twenty-two thirty, so that gives Alex and me time to say goodbye.”

“You get home just in time to eat and adjust.” Alex gave him a peck on the cheek. “Lose a day going home, but at least you get it in a few months coming back.”

“What about you, Alex?” Annie figured the Ukrainian girl’s home was much like her own in terms of time changes.

“I’ll get into Kiev about eighteen-thirty, then fly home to Dubno. That should take me about an hour.” She sighed. “Just in time to eat, talk a little, and then adjust.”
Annie turned to Penny and Jario. “What about you?”

“I’ll be home, and Jario is almost on the same time as Salem, so we’ll hang out until about eighteen local before we head for home.” She gripped his hand. “That’ll give us almost four hours together. Then he jaunts back to Caracas, and I’ll fly home from London.”

“Venezuela’s a half-hour behind Salem because we’re right on the middle of one of the time lines, so it’ll be pretty much a normal day for me when I’m home: no adjusting needed.” Jario looked down as he smiled. “My case worker will be waiting for me at the airport to jaunt me home.”

“Mine does the same for me.” Kerry shrugged. “I don’t mind considering I gotta go like a thousand kilometers this time.”

Penny learned against Jario. “If you’d learned to fly, dear . . .”

“I did: I didn’t care for it.” He kissed Penny. “You girls are the fliers: I’m good with riding.”

“Just remember that.”

 

Now you see just how everyone is spread around the world, and even with being able to fly and teleport, getting from one place in the world to another is still gonna mess you up due to time changes.  This is how they play out:

B For Bewitching Time Zones Home

Party of Four going all over the world.

As you can see where their homes are concerned it’s still morning for Jario, late afternoon for Penny and Alex–and Annie and Kerry for that matter, too–and going into the evening for Kahoku.  And think about the A and B Levels that are still flying home:  this is why The Foundation starts shipping kids back to East Asia and Oceania just before midnight on the last Thursday at school.

And this is how the jaunts look.  First Penny and the other to London.

Just a leap over The Pond.

Just a leap over The Pond.

Then Alex heads home:

Homeward towards the Great Gates.

Homeward towards the Great Gates.

Followed by Kahoku, who has to go to the other side of the world:

Where it's a quick meal and off to sleep for that boy.

Where it’s a quick meal and off to sleep for that boy.

And lastly there’s Jario, who’s doubling back on everyone.

Can we say he's going Back to the Future?  Probably.

Can we say he’s going Back to the Future? Probably.

Even though they’re going home, does that mean everyone’s stuck on their little homeland islands.  Maybe not:

 

Annie shifted her gaze among the members of her group. “Are you still going to try and meet this summer?”

“Going to try.” Alex nodded toward the girl to her right. “Penny and I have plans, and Kahoku’s pretty sure he can get into Kiev at least once.”

“I’m probably going to jaunt down to South America to see my honey.” Penny smiled at the blushing boy at her side. “I shouldn’t have any problems flying from the airport to his home town.”

Kahoku appeared sad for a moment. “It’d be nice if we could all meet up this summer.”

Penny grunted. “Yeah. Even though it’s getting easier to use to the jaunt stations now, it’s kinda hard at times to work out everything when we’re spread all through the world.”

“We should do something one summer.” Kerry’s face lit up as his mind worked out possibilities. “I mean, after we finish our C Levels Annie and I will be able to access the jaunt systems without needing permission from our parents, so that would make it easier for us to get around. Maybe not next summer, but the summer after that—”

“I agree.” Annie believe she knew where Kerry was going with his impromptu plan. “And not just a one day get together: maybe something for the a few weeks.”
Alex tilted her head slowly to one side. “Like what? Backpacking?”

Kerry laughed. “Or backbrooming.”

“Like the Polar Express.” Penny laughed. “I could see that.”

Annie nodded. “We should start working on that next year.”

Penny nodded back. “We will.”

 

First we see that once the kids are past their C Levels they’re permitted to use the Jaunt System without parental controls, and you know what that means?  Sounds like a certain couple will be hooking up for lunch and more in another year.  Kerry has a local station that will take him to London, or he could just jet off and be there in under an hour.  Annie as well:  she’s 150 km from Sofia and could fly to the airport in under thirty minutes.  And just imagine what it’ll be like when they start jaunting on their own–won’t be able to keep them apart.

As for Annie and Kerry’s idea of “backbrooming” with the other four–yep, that’ll happen one day.  Probably.  Maybe.  Could be.  Just not any time soon.  But you know I already have something in mind.

With all this out of the way, there remains only one last goodbye–

 

“And with that you should get going so you don’t miss your jaunt.” Annie gave Penny a hug. “Take care.”

“You, too, Annie.” Everyone began hugging and shaking hands, wishing each other a good summer holiday. Annie and Kerry waved their goodbyes to their friends as the four walked off the floor and vanished down the stairs, leaving them alone on the second floor.

Annie gave a near silent mummer. “Well, we’re one of the last in the coven—again.”

“Only this time—” Kerry turned and examined the empty, silent floor. “I don’t feel as sad as I did last year.”

“That’s because we knew we wouldn’t be returning to the first floor. Next year we’re back here, but when it comes time to say our goodbyes to our C Levels—” She rested against Kerry’s shoulder. “I imagine we’ll feel the sadness once more.”

“Probably.” He turned to her. “We have a lot to do next year.”

She nodded. “All new classes and a group of B Levels to help transition out of the fishbowl.”

“Uhh.” Kerry rolled his eyes. “Don’t say ‘transition’.”

“Don’t worry, my love.” Annie chuckled as she kissed her nervous soul mate. “I’ll be here to help you through that as well. After all—” She pulled down the neck of her blouse just enough to allow Kerry a peek at her glowing medical monitor. “We’re connected; I’m not going anywhere.”

He kissed her lips. “I’d never let you leave.”

“I’d never want to leave.” They stared at each other in silence for nearly fifteen seconds before Annie stated the obvious. “Come on: we have more goodbyes to say. I want to catch Professor Semplen before he returns home.”

“Yeah, we should get going.” He slipped his backpack over both shoulders and set it in place. “Let’s do this.”

Annie secured her purse strap around her body. “Lets.”

They walked hand-in-hand to the stair landing, turning just before exiting the floor, and spent a few silent moments regarding the place that was their home for the last nine months. Kerry raised his right hand and gave a small wave. “Take care, and see you next year.”

Annie offered a smile as she looked in the direction of her former room. “Goodbye and farewell. And thank you for the memories.”

Together their turned and slowly descended the stairs, leaving their latest home behind, but not forgotten.

 

No tears this time, no feelings of melancholy, because next year they’ll be back on the same floor, only a little closer to the stairs.  It’ll be interesting to see them “helping” the new kids when they move up into the B Area–not that the can’t handle being leaders, but it’s almost as if they’re getting one more duty stacked on top of all the crap they’ll already have waiting for them.  When you show everyone you’re a cut above the rest, you are expected to prove that point.

And with that we say goodbye to Salem and hello to a little place right on the water–

The Final Days and Nights: Summertime, and the Visits Are Easy

So, writing.  Yes, I did it.  Not as much as the two days before, but some of that was due in part to writing a two thousand word recap a few hours before, and that tends to drain me.  The good news is I only have one more Monday night recap to do and then I can sort of take the summer off.

Though, you know, I’m not sure what that means.  Take a summer off and do nothing?  I don’t know if I can handle that.

So what happens in the next five hundred words?  Plans, that’s what.

 

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

Jairo shook his head. “That would never happen. You guys have been too much fun; we’ve enjoyed hanging with you.”

Kerry ran his finger around the rim of his mug. “We’ve enjoyed hanging with you guys as well.”

Penny pointed a finger at him. “I hope you won’t forget we got a lunch meet up this summer.”

He nodded. “How could I forget?” Penny had approached them both at the Midnight Madness the night of his birthday, with Alex, Jairo, and Kahoku in tow. Not only did they all want to wish Kerry a happy birthday, but Penny wanted to set up a lunch date between Kerry and her, as they were both in the UK and could fly to just about any location in the country. Penny also made it clear that she wanted Annie to know about the invite, and that she knew if Kerry were to ask her about getting together for lunch over the summer, he’d do so with Annie and Jairo present. “Just text me whenever you feel like meeting.”

“Which reminds me—” Alex turned to Annie. “Would you object to getting together over the summer? I’d love a lunch date with someone from school.” She looked around the table. “It was hard to do so last year, and may be difficult for Kaho this year. I thought it might not be a problem for you, though.”

Annie actually felt honored that a friend other than Kerry would asking about meeting over the summer. “I’d love to, Alex. I think it’d be fun.” Annie gave the matter a moment of thought. “Could you fly to Kiev? We could met there.”

Kahoku nervously coughed. “Or are you—?”

“Say that word and die.” Alex rolled her eyes as she glanced at her boyfriend. “Durnyy, bozhevilʹnyy khlopchyk.” She turned back to Annie, a slight grin playing upon her face. “Sure, I can do that. Dubno’s only three hundred kilometers away; I can make that in an hour.”

 

So there you have it:  at least once during the summer Kerry and Alex are going to get together for a lunch date–one where Annie was present when the asking was done, ’cause one girlfriend is respecting the personal space of another–but Annie’s gonna leave the mountains behind for a day and meet up with Alex.  The kids are getting out next summer, and not just to meet with each other–yes, that’s gonna get mentioned later in one of these last two chapters.  Even though they can’t be together all the time, they’re gonna meet for lunch.

Annie picks Kiev because not only is it in the Ukraine where Alex lives, but it’s likely easier for Annie to jaunt over a thousand kilometers than it is for Alex to do the same.  Alex can hop on her broom and jet across the country to get to her destination–

Three hundred thirty-four kilometers, no waiting.

Three hundred thirty-four kilometers, no waiting.

Whereas Annie needs her mom to jaunt her to the Sofia airport so she can take the jaunt station to the main train station in Kiev.

"Don't worry, Mama:  I'll call when I'm though visiting another country."

“Don’t worry, Mama: I’ll call when I’m though visiting another country.”

And since Pamporovo and Kiev are in the same time zone, there’s no trying to figure out when Annie should get there.  In fact, if she knows Alex is gonna meet her around eleven, she can leave home about fifteen minutes before to ensure she’ll arrive in time–depending on where it is they’re gonna meet.  And I know where they’re gonna meet–I’m just not saying right now.  Same with Penny and Kerry:  locked down their meeting area a few months ago, but you’ll just have to wait on the where.

This portion of the conversation leads into something else that has been asked about already–

 

“Good.” Annie sat back with a smile on her face and her hands folded before her. “You can send a message to my school account: I can access that from my mother’s laptop when I’m home.”

“When you getting your own phone?” Penny scratched behind her right ear. “That way we can just text you.”

Kerry looked across the table and while he kept quiet. They’d discussed this matter more than a few times since returning after Yule, and Annie promised that once she was home and settled in, she’d do everything possible to convinced her parents to let her buy a smart phone. He believed her, too: he was more than aware that when Annie wanted something . . .

Annie’s response was simple and direct. “I’m working on that. You may say it’s my summer project.”

Kerry noticed their four friends exchanging glances between themselves. “Something up?”

Being the closest to him, Alex answered Kerry. “We were wondering if you might like another project for the summer—”

Penny glanced at Annie to her left. “Both of you.”

 

Yes, Annie’s gonna work on getting a phone, and yes, that issue will come up in the next novel.  I know some of you are thinking, “She should have one by now, she’s thirteen!” but you ain’t Annie’s mother:  I guess I am, and I know why they haven’t gotten her a phone yet.  Just chill and wait.  You’ll see.

Now, what is the summer project that is going to be asked of Annie and Kerry?  Well, that’s tonight’s business.

And that means you have to wait until tomorrow to see.

Getting Off Of the Swing of Things

Try as I may today, I’m simply having the damnedest time trying to get my writing stuff down pat.  Just slow going everywhere–probably due in part to being tired after a somewhat restless sleep due to coughing through the night.  And when this happens, trying to get the pretty words to come out pretty–well, it ain’t pretty.

This doesn’t mean I’m just playing around doing nothing.  Nope, I’m playing around doing something.  Whenever I’m feeling as if I can’t really get a scene out the way I want, I start imagining trips that I’ll never take, but that are likely to be something my kids will go on one day.

"Really, I'm hard at work!"

“Really, I’m hard at work!”

I’ve been doing this for a while, but in the last week my mind has been drifting to the future.  There is an event in their lives when Annie and Kerry decide to take the summer and go bumming around Europe, which for them means brooming it from city-to-city and staying in some nice hotels, mostly in the two and three star range.  This is something that I’ve had in my mind for about four and a half years now, and while I’ve written of it before, I’ve not really mentioned a lot of details.  That’s because it’s something I want to write about, you know?  And if I talk, then there’s no need to write.

But of late I’ve started wondering, “What about side trips?”  I mean, when you have a way of jetting about the country that you have control over, and it doesn’t actually cost you money to operate–unless you consider your needing to eat fuel for the broom–then you can saddle up and get to flying, pard.  There was also something I figured out during my original layout of the trip, and that was my Lovey Dovey couple was missing Venice–and there was no way in hell Annie was missing Venice.  Nuh, uh.  She’d have to Dark Witch some fools if they thought she was gonna miss that city.

So I changed up the time line of that trip, and that’s where I started wondering about side trips.  ‘Cause when you have a lot of energy, and you have, let me check, three-and-a-half days to kill there, you may want to take a day and go out elsewhere.

Which is what I started playing with this morning.  Here’s what I have:

Up into the mountains we go, yeah?

Up into the mountains we go, yeah?

Believe it or not there are four stopping points on that trip of five hundred and seventy kilometers, which can be covered–even without judicious hot piloting–in about three-and-a-half hours if you fly it non-stop and maintain an air speed of about one hundred mph/one hundred sixty kph.  And since the kids can totally open it up on the flat stretches away from the mountains, they only need about three hours of flying.

Now two of the stops are Kerry’s and two are Annie’s, and one of those stops is probably down there in Verona, ’cause, you know, it’s one of those stops a young couple in love should make.  I mean, what sort of shenanigans could they get up to?  Maybe Annie would like to find a balcony upon which to stand so Kerry can see what soft light breaks through yonder window?

Oh, and while laying this out I kept jamming out to the follow tune:  Time is Tight, by Booker T. & The MGs.

All the while I’m laying out the above map I’ve imagining the flying montage from the movie in my mind, watching them cutting down the valleys with the Italian Alps around them, popping through a pass, and at the end having them roaring down Lago di Garda before making the sweeping, high speed turn to the east and aim off towards Verona to get a little food, a little romance, and maybe just off some dude’s who look at them wrong.  Never can tell.

When I’m not feeling the words I fall back on the images, ’cause in time they lead to data, and that leads to a plot, and that eventually leads to a story.  There’s a story in Venice for my kids, and this side trip is part of that story.

Now that I have it out of the way, it’s a good bet I can get back to the current one this afternoon.

If I don’t get distracted, that is.

Speeding Through on Darkened Thoughts

As some may have noticed I was back on the air last last night, this after a long trip back through the wilds of the Midwest and into the Near East, the later of which was done in straight-up darkness.  Not that I’m not used to driving from the Ohio border to The Burg in darkness, but . . .

At least it wasn’t raining like hell as it did one time when I returned and the road was so black I couldn’t really tell where the pavement ended and the shoulder started.  Though there were a ton of notices up about deer being in the highway–as well as a few of said remains to let me know the notices weren’t joking.

So this means the only writing I did yesterday was the morning post–though I did take a great picture before leaving home.

It was Wednesday, so I wore pink, because on Wednesdays . . .

It was Wednesday, so I wore pink, because on Wednesdays . . .

An interesting point about driving long distances now:  I can’t work out scenes in my head the way I used to do them.  There was a time when I’d get behind the wheel, roll on the power, and about ten minutes into the trip I’d start working out plots and points and stuff like that.  But now:  it seems like about an hour into the trip I’m looking for ways to keep my mind off the fact I’m gonna be on the road for half a day, and I start wandering in my own head.

However, I did work out–for the most part–a new scene that comes after the one I’m in how, and how that scene affects something in scene after.  I mean, I didn’t work it all out:  I’ll do more when I’m walking home from work, but for right now I have the basics laid down and I know how it’s going to proceed, although this means I need to make up some more shit because I have something in the next scene that you may have seen before.

That said, I’ll get to finishing my “Say Goodbye to the Polar Expressers of 2013”, maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow.  I had like four hours of sleep last night and I’ve had to deal with a lot of crazy already this morning, so I feel I’m going to be on the verge of a major crash out by seven tonight.  But I will do my best, I really will.  Because I have people waiting.

This last four or five days have really been a bit of a step away from writing, and I’ve felt like I needed the break.  Not that I don’t want to get back into the novel and finish it, but the stress of the last few months was taking a toll.  Now, I can do my best to concentrate on writing, because everything is done and there weren’t any hiccups along way.  All is totally copacetic as they say.

So, back to the grind of torturing my kids for a few more months–

I think I’m good with that part.

Skyline Racing

Hey!  I’ll be you thought I wasn’t posting today.  Well . . . I’ve been busy.  Doing what, you say?  A whole lot.

First off, there’s yesterday, and where I went after I posted.  I went here:

Pretty, isn't it?

Pretty, isn’t it?

That was taken from one of the overlooks on Skyline Drive, the main–and just about only–road through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.  After posting I drove home, changed, and headed down I-81 to the park, which is a little over two hours from Harrisburg.  The trip there goes through one of only two places in the United States where you can travel through four states in under forty miles, and, if you’re speeding like mad, you can do it in under thirty minutes on I-81.

I figured it out, just in case you wanted to see.

I figured it out, just in case you wanted to see.

The only other place you can do this?  Here, at Four Corners, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah come together.

All you need to do here is drive around the parking lot.

All you need to do here is drive around the parking lot.

It was a time to relax and decompress, and actually drive around with the windows open, because the sun was shining and the air was considerably cooler a quarter of a mile, or four hundred meters, higher than the surrounding territory.

It was a good time:

It was bright and shinny.

Extremely bright and shiny–and you can see the windows down on my car behind me.

And I had a great meal to top off most of the day.

Nothing like an old lodge 3600 feet above sea level to set the mood.

Nothing like an old lodge 3600 feet above sea level to set the mood.

I managed one panorama scene.

Which aren't easy to take, let me tell you.

Which aren’t easy to take, let me tell you.

And managed to get a full-body picture of myself at the same location.

Most of the time you never get to see my girly curves.

Most of the time you never get to see my girly curves.

But that was yesterday–why so late today?

Well, because writing.  Because just over seventeen hundred words today.  Because . . . I passed one hundred and twenty thousand words.

Not lying at all.

Not lying at all.

This is about the fastest I’ve burned through ten thousand words in a long time–twelve days–and I didn’t want to stop until I finished this scene.  Because . . . I looked at my layout on the left side and thought, hey, I could split that into another chapter.  Because looking at what’s come, and what’s coming, it does make sense to put it off on its own.

And this last scene is a strange one, because I think it’s the first one I’ve written in about a half a million worlds that has no dialog.  In fact, I think I know–without looking–which scene I wrote that was nothing but descriptions, and that scene would have been written right around 24 July, 2013, because I wrote it during Camp NaNo 2013.  Like I said, about a half a million world later–that’s a lot of writing with someone talking somewhere.

The scene is racing, all kinds of racing.  First, though, let’s look at the teams:

 

Mórrígan A Team
Malaya Lacsina — F Philippines
Nadine Woodley — D United States Captain
Argus Pelham — D Tasmania
Nattat Adriano — C Angola
Emmalynne Neilson — B United States

Cernunnos A Team
Manco Mamani D Peru Captain
Darius Roy D Canada
Penelope Rigman C England
Alexandria Chorney C Ukraine
Kerry Malibey B Wales

 

And because there’s a lot of things happening in the scene, let me set it before showing you the last part.

Everyone’s racing in a ten-person pack.  The race runs between fifty and sixty minutes, and it’s mentally exhausting.  Also, there’s this:

 

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

It was on the forth lap, as they were coming out of Sunrise and heading into the Esses, that Kerry—who was running just on the outside of the main pack—made a move towards the front. He was good in the Esses and used that to his advantage, and he knew if he was lucky he could find himself up near the front as they soared over Polar Jump and dove into Polar Turn. He was up to fifth and moving into forth when Emma flew two-thirds of the way across the course to throw a wicked block on him. He cut slightly to his left and she nearly flew back into him before he went up and back to seventh.

Kerry was given all the hint he needed: if he wanted to get up to the front, he was going to have to push his way past Emma, and one of them was liable to get physically hurt in the process.

 

It’s clear:  Emma will jack his soul mate loving ass if he tries to pass her.  And that leads to the last lap, and if you follow most racing, it’s where a lot of drivers get their stupid on full-time.  These kids aren’t any different . . .

 

It was a mad dash from there to Reservoir, and what Kerry suspected was going to happen on this last straight began. Everyone prepared themselves for the last dash to the end, and he did the same. All that was left was to launch through the last two elevation gates and . . .

Manco, Emma, and Argus were first off, with Alex and Nattat right behind them. Darius kicked at Malaya, which was enough for Penny to get around them on the right, Nadine above, and Kerry skirting the lower left. He caught Malaya’s draft and closed on her as their speeds approached three hundred twenty-five kph, and at the last moment he cut to the right, going up between her and Darius. The Cernunnos boy looked ready to kick Kerry as well, but he was by him before he could fully react. Two seconds later Nadine was by him and hanging on Kerry’s processor, riding his draft while using her air bubble to push his forward.

The problem was there wasn’t a forward. The pack completely the south end of the bend and was now moving northeast, and there was nothing but a mass of fliers blocking his path. In a few seconds everyone was going to hit their air brakes going through the Diamond Chicane, and he knew a crash of some kind was coming. The lead was bunching up, not spreading out, and it looked like—

They hit the left hand turn of the chicane, and things went sideways fast. Fliers bounced off each other; Argus nearly turned sideways against traffic and Penny nearly dumped her broom to keep from running him down. Alex slid into Manco and pushed him aside as she tried to straighten out. Emma spun her broom around as she took the right hand section of Diamond and smacked Nattat with her processor, making the girl’s helmeted head jerk as the safety enchantments flared around them.

Everyone was piling up in front of Kerry, and he was about to be run down from behind. There was only one place to go—

He leaned over the length of his broom and dropped to the bottom of the course. Everyone always flew high enough that there was usually a meter or two of open space under the racers, but with everything in flux that space had grown smaller. It was difficult getting through: it was even more difficult doing it at speed, while braking and turning, and the odds of making it through unscathed were slim.

He didn’t beat the odds. As he pulled his broom through the left-hand turn of the chicane, he heard the crackle of the safety enchantment at the same time he felt his knee let go: he’d gotten too low and scrapped the ground at better than a hundred and twenty-five kilometers an hour. Vicky’s warning instantly filed his thoughts: The safety enchantments don’t prevent you from getting hurt—they prevent you from getting extremely hurt or even killed. He bit his lip to keep from yelling and fought to bring his broom around through the right hand portion of Diamond, then pushed it hard forward.

Kerry launched himself towards the finish, willing every gram of acceleration he could muster.

He pulled to the left of the course and dropped his HUD so his line-of-sight was clear. He didn’t know how fast he was going, he didn’t know who was to his side or behind him—his concentration was on the course ahead of him. Emma and Alex were bumping into each other, fighting the whole way to the finish line, and that not only kept their speed down, but kept their interest off him. He headed straight at the finish line, hoping against all hope that nothing—

Emma glanced in her mirror before throwing her broom into a ferocious left side-slip bringing her all the way across the course.

Kerry pulled hard on the control frame. The broom began to slide around: the processor slammed into Emma’s shoulder and spun her off her broom and into the ground, while Kerry found himself flying forward without a broom under him.

He didn’t even have time to wonder if this throw would hurt as much as the last one before before he hit and blacked out . . .

 

Kerry worried someone was going to crash and burn–did he think it’d be him?  The damnedest things happen when you piss off your wingmate.

What happens next?  Well . . . I know what Kerry’s first three words will be if that helps.