Willkommen in Wien: Antworten und Abschiede

Interesting morning, let me tell you.  If I were more superstitious I’d say the people in Philadelphia who said today is the end of the world may have been on to something, but it’s really more like someone’s been jacking around with the firewall filters, and that’s messed people up.  Never the mind:  I have my excerpt, and maybe a little something else that I’ll mention at the end.

Still in Vienna and still with Daddy Kirilovi.  Now, you know Annie’s dad isn’t going to lose the opportunity to ask a certain Ginger Hair Boy a few questions, and so, yeah–he does . . .

 

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

Another protracted silence fell between Annie’s father and Bernice’s charge, and she wondered who was going to be the first to speak. Annie watched them both, her eyes flitting from Kerry to her father and back, examining both the way her father was examining the boy standing before him. It was Victor who broke the stalemate. “Are you enjoying school, Kerry?”

He nodded. “Yes, sir, quite a lot.”

“Must have been something of a shock to find out you were Aware.”

“Um, yeah, it was a bit.” He cast a glance towards Annie for just a second.

Victor noticed the glance. “Have you enjoyed your time with Annie?”

Annie’s face darkened as she glanced towards her father. “Papa.”

Annie would really like to look more peeved, but do you know how hard it is to find that picture?

Annie would really like to look more peeved, but do you know how hard it is to find that picture?

 

Yeah, Papa, you wanna watch going there with Daughter Dearest standing next to you, ’cause she’s protective of the moyata polovinka and she’ll get all up in someone’s business if they aren’t kind.  Fortunately, Kerry’s not gonna freak:

 

Kerry held up his hand for a moment. “Naw, it’s all right, Annie.” He started to relax, though there was a hint of nervousness in his voice. “Annie did a lot to help me fit into this new world; she helped me understand The Art so I could become a better witch—and a better sorceress.” A light grin played across his face. “She’ll say that’s not true, but I know different.” He smiled at her before facing her father. “I value every moment I’m with Annie, sir. She’s . . . She’s a special person. The most special.”

Bernice knew of the things that Kerry had already surmounted, but over the last minute she’d watched him present his bravest face ever. Victor Kirilov was an imposing man even though he wasn’t tall or large, but his confidence gave him an unshakable persona. She saw, as did Annie, and Kerry was a bit unnerved, but he didn’t cower—and if the look on Annie’s face is any indication of her current mood, she’s proud as well.

Victor turned to his wife. “We need to get home.” He placed a hand on Annie’s shoulder. “This young lady needs to do her adjustment before we go to dinner.”

“I agree.” Pavlina turned to Bernice. “It was pleasure meeting you again.”

She adjusted her purse so it set better on her shoulder. “Same here, Pavlina.” Bernice held out her hand. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Kirilov.”

“The pleasure was mine.” He shook her hand, then held his out for Kerry. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Kerry.”

“Thank you, sir.” He gave Victor’s hand a quick shake. “I’m glad I got to meet you.”

“Oh . . .” The right corner of his mouth curled upwards once more. “I’m sure it won’t be the last time.” He spread his arms as he took a step back. “Shall we go?

Pavlina waved to Kerry. “It was nice seeing you again, Kerry.” She shot a sideways glance at her husband. “I’m sure we’ll meet again soon.”

“I’m sure.” Kerry held out his left hand towards Annie. “I’m, um, I guess—”

“Hold on—” She spun around as her parents prepared to leave the waiting area. “I’d like to say goodbye to Kerry.”

Pavlina looked towards the young man. “Go ahead.”

Annie’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Privately?”

Victor seemed about to say something when Pavlina hooked her arm in his. “We’ll wait in the corridor.”

Bernice patted Kerry on the back. “I’ll be outside, too.”

 

Now, one might say Annie’s dad cut short the meeting, but really:  in a public place, do you really expect him to ask something like, “Are you doing kissy-face stuff with my daughter?”  Victor is a somewhat public person among Foundation people–being an F1 driver who just finished a season in third place will do that for you–and it wouldn’t do to have him getting all intimidating on a twelve year old boy.  Even if he did see that boy holding hands with his daughter.  Who wants to say goodbye to that boy Privately.  Did you get that, parents?  She wants privacy.

 

She headed into the corridor and leaned against the wall waiting for the kids to finish their goodbyes. She saw the Kirilovis standing about five meters from the entrance, speaking quietly to each other, and Bernice could only imagine the conversation they were having . . .

Annie and Kerry stood against one wall of the waiting room, and were just visible to Bernice. She saw their heads bowed and close together as they faced each other, holding hands. Annie touched Kerry’s cheek as she said something that appeared to relax him: it was only then that Bernice noticed his right hand quivering slightly. He listened as Annie spoke, stroking her arm as if to confirm she was there.

There was a moment when they gazed into each other’s eyes before hey kissed long and tenderly. Once the kiss finished then broke into a hug, and she observed Annie whisper something into his ear—something obviously pleasant and meaningful, for he was smiling as the turned and headed hand-in-hand for the waiting room exit . . .

They held each other’s hands tightly one last time in the corridor. Annie beamed. “I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, my . . .” She caught herself before speaking the last words within earshot of her parent. “I’ll write.”

“I’ll write back.” He quickly kissed her hand. “Have a good holiday, Annie.”

“Have a good holiday, Kerry.” She released Kerry and waved to Bernice. “Take care, Ms. Rutherford. Have a good holiday.”

“You, too, Annie.” Bernice waved back. “Enjoy your holiday.”

“I will.” Annie kissed two right fingers and held them towards Kerry. “Goodbye, mlechna.”

He did the same with his left fingers. “Sbogom, malko samri.”

She turned away with a giggle and smile and rejoined her parents. Kerry watched them walk away for a few seconds before her turned and approached Bernice. It was only then, while facing her, that his shoulders slumped. “Wow.” He let out a long, deep sigh. “Wow.”

“Let’s go sit in the lounge for a few minutes—” She pointed down the hall behind her. “Let them get to the public platform so they can jaunt home.”

“Sounds like a good idea.” He followed her to the small lounge where those who arrived early for an arrival or departure could wait in comfort. They found a couple of cozy chairs in a corner away from the few people there and sat. “Better?”

“Yeah.” He tapped his fingers on the arms of the chair as Bernice set her bad on the small, round table in front of them. “Why did he act that way towards me?”

She knew exactly to whom Kerry was referring. “Annie’s dad?”

“Yeah.”

 

Oh, you thought that was a grilling, Kerry?  Better watch out:  you may break under pressure.

Annie was about to lay “My love” on Kerry and caught herself.  One day soon she’s just gonna have to throw caution to the wind and kick it out there.  What she did call him was “sweet”, as in “sweet banista”, which is what she called him the night before at the Observatory, and Kerry responded with “Goodbye, little cabbage roll”, which is less romantic than “darling”, but darling might have had Daddy asking more questions.

Even so, Kerry got himself a case of the “First Time Father Meeting” nerves, and now gets to ask Ms. Rutherford about this.  Being that she’s a girl, she may have some experience in this matter . . .

Now, lastly, some news.  Yesterday I had someone ask me if I’d like to submit a series to Channillo, which is a website where people can post, in a continuing way, their novel series.  There are hundreds of writers already there, and it’s something that I may consider.  However . . . one of their stipulations is that whatever series you post there cannot be offered elsewhere for free, and were I to put, say, my first novel up, I’d have to go back over two years of posts and strip out excerpts that are hanging out on my blog.  Which, quite frankly, is a huge pain in the ass.

At the moment I’m wondering if this is a route I want to go, because I don’t figure to do a hack and slash on my blog that way.  The other choice would be to take another work of mine–say, one that isn’t selling all that well–and post it there with the promise of doing new content after the initial novel.  That’s a ballsy move, and one that would probably take up the majority of my time right now.

Right now I’m considering my options–one of which is I don’t think people are gonna pony up $5/month to read my first novel.  Maybe for another work, but not this one.\

So many decisions, so little time to do all the things I want to do.

Tricking Out the Trade

I’m much better today.  Yesterday I had to come home early from work and get some sleep because a proto-cold was knocking me up, and I wasn’t handling it well.  I had a stuffy nose and soar throat, and I felt as if my energy reserves were below zero.  After sleep, rest, and medication I seem better today, and I’m doing my best to stay warm.

Even though I did some editing last night–and managed to finish a scene and a Part to Kolor Ijo–I pretty much took it easy.  Which means I’m ready to answer another reader question.  And this one comes from Skye Hegyes, who asks:

 

You use many things I’d love to hear more about, but recently the one that has me the most curious is the research involved to find out where everything is (place-wise) in your stories, what the weather is like certain days, and things like that. Sometimes it drives me nuts. I see all your screen shots and I’m like, “How did she find this out?!?” It would be a cool thing to learn.  I am good at research, but nowhere near as good as you. Tips of the trade would be awesome.

 

I’ve been asked about research in the past, and I’ve even written about some of the things I do to bring a story together.  I think the best thing to do here is see how things were put together for The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced, because the world building started right there.

Originally the Salem Institute for Greater Learning and Education, or Sigle, was originally located on the southwest flanks of Mount Katahdin in south-central Maine.  The idea originally was to place it there to keep it away from prying eyes, but as I thought more about this aspect of my world, the whole “Hiding in Plain Sight” idea became stronger and stronger, and I finally decided it could hang out in a populated area because magic and technology would keep it hidden from the outside world.  Which meant all I had to do was find a place close to Salem where I could put a huge, walled-off school . . .

So it was off to Google Maps to look.  And after some looking around I was able to settle on Cape Ann because the center of the island was a forest and nature preserve–

Or is it?

Or is it?

I’m a bit of a map freak:  I love looking for things on maps, and Google Maps is a great place for me to loose time.  When I saw that blank space, I knew my school could go there.  And in doing my research, I discovered that Gloucester was the original location of Salem, but that the first colony failed and they moved to the location of the current city.  Hummm . . . I wonder if someone had a hand in that failure?

As for finding out a lot of things that I use in my research, I tend to Google and then search the hell out of the links.  Sometimes I’ll go several pages deep into a search and see what turns up, but I rarely stick with one site.  And if you look around you’ll find lots of interesting things . . .

I already knew Kerry’s name when I started the story, but that doesn’t stop me from going to my favorite naming places, Baby Center, and looking up his name.  Not only do I like all the information available, but I love using the Related tab, which shows you names that are like the one you’re considering–in case you decide you suddenly like Cary better.

I am not buying Homer, however.  Witches, yes:  Homer . . .

I am not buying Homer, however. Witches, yes: Homer . . .

I’ll also search by certain names as well, such as Persian and Gaelic, which I have done many times in the past.  Sometimes you just have to go that route.

Speaking of maps, I’ve been asked before about how I make some of the routes I have, and that’s done through Daft Logic’s Advanced Google Maps Distance Calculator.  I found this a long time ago–back in late 2012, to be exact–and I’ve used it to lay out several routes that will show up in The Foundation novels as they come out.

It looks like a couple of routes have been removed from your viewing.  I wonder what they were?

It looks like a couple of routes have been removed from your viewing. I wonder what they were?

This comes in handy if you’re trying to figure out distances through flight as well, since Google Maps will tell you the distance if you’re traveling by road.  But for making some of the things I’ve made–or, as you can see, laying out the flight from the school to Pearl Hill State Park–it can’t be beat.

Now, about the weather . . .  Historical weather can be had at Weather Underground, but there are a few things you need to understand.  The National Weather Service tracks weather at airports, so when I’m looking at the weather at the school, I’m really getting it from the airport at Beverly, MA, about thirty miles to the west.  This means that what I’ll have at the school may not be the same, but as far at the story goes, it’s close enough.  And when you’re traveling over a wide area, you may want to check with several airports along the way.

You can get a nice rundown of the daily conditions–

Hey, look:  it's the last day of school.

Hey, look: it’s the last day of school.

Or you can scroll down and see an hour-by-hour recording of the weather:

It's still the last day of school, but now there's a lot more of it.

It’s still the last day of school, but now there’s a lot more of it.

This is how I come up with those “Kerry looked out the window at the thick overcast” scenes.  I’ve not tried a lot of this with overseas locations, but eventually I will–only because I’m like that.

I’ve also written a little about Seat Guru, which I use to see aircraft layouts, but which you can use to get a good seat on a flight.  But if you absolutely, positively need to see the layout of a Air France 777-200 (772) Three Class V2–

dfdf

You know what to do.

And lastly I give you this, because I never know what anyone out there is working on, but as for me the need once arose to see the sort of effect a large blast would have on an area, and in looking about the Internet I found Nuke Map, which is the place to go if you wanna see what nuking a city, any city, looks like.  I’ve played with this before, and if you consider seeing the aftermath of a devastated area after you lob a twenty megaton bomb into the center of said area “playing”, then you’re just like me.

For example, I picked Indianapolis–the capital of Indiana, a place where politicians are working overtime to allow legal discrimination of people like me–and I decided to see what would happen if I exploded a standard 150 kiloton cruise missile above the capitol building, which used to be right across the street from where I worked.  And . . .

My therapist is well outside the blast area, so it's all good.

My therapist is well outside the blast area, so it’s all good.

As with any research, consult several sources.  When I was looking up information on runes I looked at four different sites, and correlated the information between them to get the results you may have saw the Annie’s and Kerry’s dreams.  Don’t assume that the first site you find will have everything you want:  you may need to consider a lot of information before deciding on what you want to use.

And another thing to remember is that most libraries have Internet access these days.  There’s nothing wrong with taking something you found on the Internet and seeing if there’s a hard copy source of that info you can take home–or visa versa.  If you can, use all the information.  It makes for a better story.  And don’t forget to bookmark anything you find that you like.  If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have found these lovely physics calculators that I’ve used over the years.  You never know when you might need math . . .

There you have it, and I hope the information I’ve given you is helpful.  If nothing else, it tells you about how I go about looking for things–

And some of the stuff I’ve found.

The Naming of the Names

Between various things–you know . . . how the rest of it goes–I was back into the new scene.  I rewrote some of what I’d written the night before, getting rid of some draggy stuff and adding information where needed, and then started writing the new stuff.  Not a lot was actually written–about another six hundred words–but something did happen in the discussion between Ms. Rutherford and Annie:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Ms. Rutherford’s last statement had Annie sitting upright. “We can leave the hotel?” She leaned towards the chaperon. “Without supervision?”

“Well, if I’m not here . . .” Ms. Rutherford tapped a fingernail against the envelope. “It would appear you’re on your own—yes?”

This brought forward another problem. “It might be a little difficult getting around—”

“—Without money?” Ms. Rutherford held the envelope for Annie to take. “You’ll find four pre-paid debit cards in there with instructions for setting up the PINs. Anyone wishing to do a little sightseeing won’t need to worry about fund.”

“How much is on each card?” It was a necessary question, because Annie was getting an idea for why Ms. Rutherford had handed her the envelope.

“£200.” Ms. Rutherford pulled her handbag to her lap and held it tightly against her body. “More than enough for buses, the underground—even a taxi if anyone wants to hire one.”

It wasn’t that Annie didn’t think she couldn’t handle the responsibility, but . . . “Why are you giving this to me?”

“Because you’re a Legacy.” Ms. Rutherford’s eyes shined brightly while rhythmically drumming her fingers against her thighs. “That means I should be able to trust you. Or . . .” She nodded towards the lifts. “Would you rather I give this to one of the Normal children?

This was the first time Annie had heard Ms. Rutherford use the labels that Annie knew, but didn’t expect to hear spoken aloud until everyone arrived at Salem. True, there wasn’t anyone close enough to hear their discussion—still . . .

Ms. Rutherford began digging around in her purse. “I doubt you’ll have to worry about handing out those cards; once you’re told the other they have the day to do as they please—” She set her gaze upon the area around the lifts and the cafe. “Would you like to hear?” She didn’t wait for Annie to give an answer. “If I were a betting woman—”

“Or a Numerologist.” Annie saw nothing wrong in voicing her own opinions now that Ms. Rutherford and she were speaking openly about their affiliation.

Ms. Rutherford didn’t respond to the taunt. “If I were a betting woman, I’d say two of your fellow students won’t do anything with their free time. Collin will come down, find out nothing is planed, and head back to this room to watch a football game, maybe get someone to come in and set up a video game for him.

“Alicia will complain, as she always does. She complain there’s nothing to do; she’ll complain she doesn’t like the food; she’ll complain there’s nothing to do in her room, and that she’s bored.” Ms. Rutherford gave the inside of her purse one last glance and snapped it shut. “She’ll probably come down here and complain to anyone who’ll listen about how bored she feels.”

 

And there you have it:  Legacy and Normals.  And a Nurmerologist, but what the hell are they?  Doesn’t matter:  you’ll hear that name come up again.  But I figured that rather than keep some of the stuff about The Foundation in the background–and since people, cleaver people, would already figure out that there’s something different about Annie, keeping things hidden when these two are speaking was rather silly.  Why would Ms. Rutherford entrust £800 to a girl a month short of the twelfth birthday?  Because she’s one of them.  And if you can’t trust them . . .

Then it’s onto the next scene, a big rewrite, probably a snapshot getting taken as well.  But I’m also going to use a function–well, not actually use it, because I already have looked at his a little.  But here is one of those nice things about Scrivener that can make your life easier when writing.

I’m talking about bringing in interactive websites while you’re working on something.

It’s very simple:  you add a new card, tell it when adding that you’d like to make it a website, tell it a little further in you want a dynamic website, put in the address, and click Okay.  And there you have it:  website in your project when you need it.

This means when I’ve got my kids walking around London, if I don’t feel like going to my browser and maybe getting distracted by whatever the hell distracts you on the Internet these days, I just split my screen and bring up this:

Anyone notice the time?  :)

Anyone notice the time? That’s, um, a joke.

That’s not a screen show, that’s the actual Journey Planner for the City of London website.  But what if I don’t know where I am in London, and where I want to go?  Well . . . I’m ready with that, too:

I started off by winding my way down Baker Street--hey, I already went there in the story.

I started off by winding my way down Baker Street–hey, I already went there in the story.

I bring up a map of the London Underground, and by using the image tools below the map–which I get by double clicking on the image–I can make it bigger or smaller.  When I’m done with the map I can arrow back to the story–using the arrows in the upper left hand of the left frame–and get back to writing.

Yep, it’s really that simple.  And once you got it in place, you never gotta worry about it again.

Until you need something new, that is.