There will never be a weekend as perfect as this where I get to say, ‘these are my friends’ and ‘this is my book’ and for a long time it was only for my eyes, but now it belongs to them, it belongs to us.
|This is them being well themselves, except in costumes.
From the left, Sam, Jeep, Jello, TJ, Ray, Ayla
All of them have a part in it.
All of them are enthusiastic about the project. Sam begged the University to let her rent out the HD camera. Ted brought his best photography equipment. Jello brought the nine costumes she had made. Michael brought the food. Ayla brought the boys. TJ brought his rings.
There aren’t many of us. Between nine of us we made up an entire cast and crew. Director, stunt specialist, chef, costumer, camera crew, lighting crew, author consult and actors.
We met at Sam’s house on Friday. Her mother Marianne is my husband’s sister in law’s sister. Hard to explain but basically my husband’s brother married Marianne’s sister and so we’re almost like family. He stayed in the car playing with Maps while I brought the kids inside to say hello to everyone. Cars of others arrived, and we loaded up the stuff and head out in three vehicles.
Sam was awesome on the highway behind me. I didn’t care that sometimes I drove like it was the US, like the speed limit was 75 instead of 60, and in kilometers that’s 125. Was very glad I didn’t get caught, but was also glad that for an innocent girl like Sam she was able to keep up. We stopped at the co-op on the outskirts of Kenora where many things happen in the last three books of my series. (Was that a spoiler? I don’t know, keep reading, maybe she’ll say more.) The boys smoked, the girls used the restroom, someone bought chips. We all loaded back in and made our way in the dark to Luther Village. I wasn’t too sure how far down 71 the camp was. I knew they had a beat up sign, followed by an arrow pointing to the turn off. I knew to turn left. My husband sat in the passenger seat scanning the ditches for deer and moose. He counted ten deer and two moose. That’s what living in Canada is like. We hoped they didn’t cross and destroy the van entirely. That’s what would have happened if I hit one of them.
I didn’t hit a deer.
Megan, the camp director found us when we had made it down the hairpin curve and parked beside the office. She asked if we needed anything and I said I knew the camp pretty well. The last time I had been there I was seventeen, it was Thanksgiving and that was the weekend I decided I wasn’t Christian. Ten years later I have nothing against the camp, their beliefs or anything. I’m a Druid now, have been for eight years.
The lot of us begin unloading the vehicles. I’m glad we have boys to carry things. Ray decides to prove his military strength by carrying two coolers full of food at once all the way into the cabin. He didn’t even break a sweat. We settle into the rooms in the lodge, six in total for the eleven of us including the kids. Michael heats up the chili, we eat. Jello pulls out costumes and an iron. She and Sam begin ironing dresses. I begin sorting the prop box, sticking props into the back pack I brought. More smoking, people discover the balcony, people go for walks. Other people stay up late. I sort the kids out and end up sleeping with my youngest Jadeygoose.
I’m awake at six am. The damned sun isn’t even up yet, but I’m up. I worry about how cold it’s been all weekend. Weird for September. We usually get some indian summer but this year it’s thirty celcius the saturday before and this saturday it’s seven, ten in the sun. I wait for people to stir. Michael already has omeelettes and sausage on the go. He sets it up buffet style and we all help ourselves. I married that man because he can cook. Honestly, I’d starve without his cooking.
We’re a bit late but we get to Grosse Hollow at around 7:30am. Ayla, Sam, Jello, Jeep and I head up to the loft and begin sorting out the blankets and the scenes we need to shoot. I already showed you the pictures of that. Ayla got to work dropping her pants and leaving them all over the cabin. No I’m serious, she was wearing like four pairs of pants so really taking her pants off in front of everyone was no big deal. Ray and Ted hung out while we fiddled with the camera, called someone for help because the settings were off and finally got to shooting.
|This is how it was all weekend.
From the left, Jello, Sam, Jeep.
Jeep was a surprisingly good actor. He knew what he was doing and when we asked him to emote he emoted and it was awesome. He was very natural in the role of Krishani. I was a little worried, after all, we had gone through four other boys before deciding on Jeep. The last time I had seen him do anything he was just standing in the background in clothes I had bought for him at value village and they fit. Don’t ask how I happened to know his size back then, I guessed he was skinny, I went for the lowest pant size I could find. It worked. That time he was just an extra, this time he was the main character.
I’m sure he felt awesome about it because we had him sword fighting and kissing girls.
When we were done in the loft we moved to the bedroom in an attempt to film a post sex cuddle scene. This was by far the most awkward thing I had planned for the trailers and the worst part about this is that we had to do this twice. Ayla screams at me while I’m trying not to crowd into the room. She says, “How do you feel about nipples?” I poke my head into the room, laughing. “I don’t know, are they nice nipples?” I’m scrutinizing Jeep’s bare chest. Poor guy. I tell him his nipples look funny, we should try to cover them up. Jeep gets back onto the bed with his pants and boots on. Ayla, Sam and Jello are yammering on, wondering if people have sex with their boots on or not. I’m not saying anything. Ray decides to poke his head around the corner to find out what’s going on and he says dead pan. “Yeah Jeep, I like to have sex with my boots on too.” Then he walks away as the girls erupt into a fit of giggles.
When we’re done in the cabin I make Jeep put on a hairy arm that I was able to buy at one of the costume shops. Did you know that you don’t need a full Gorilla suit anymore? They sell hairy arms and Gorilla shirts and gorilla pants. Jeep played Pux for a short stint and then he was back to being Krishani. We did the first fight scene and it was less a fight and more a conflict scene. Ted commented on Ray getting rimmed by the sun. I have no idea what rimming is, but when Ray stepped into frame, he was right in front of the sun and it create a halo around him.
Later we had Jeep running across rocks and then we went to the outdoor chapel which is basically a circle of cut logs around a rocky fire pit. Very natural settings, very much what I wrote in the book. Ted hugged me. “Thanks for taking us out here. It’s so not Winnipeg.” I smiled, was glad we could go somewhere different and pretty for a change. We shot a few scenes out there and Ted took out his reflector. It’s gold on one side, silver on the other and shaped like a triangle. Ray decided he liked it and at one point Ayla turned around and said. “Take that shiny thing out of your pants.” I had no idea what she was talking about and I realized I was holding Vera, the mini cam, so I flicked it on and began filming their conversation. She turns to me halfway through, “That’s not on is it?” I nod at her.
We were behind schedule by the time we were done there, but we made it to the beach around elven in the morning and that’s when we did the second fight scene. This one was with the swords my husband bought. They were cheap but they looked cool and they were very effective. Ray and Jeep practiced, we watched, filmed some of it, watched some more. Ted and TJ got involved and showed the boys how to do it so it was theatrical. I filmed stuff on Vera.
|Ayla looking sexy as Cossisea, The Ruby Flame.|
The fighting was awesome, not gonna lie. Jeep said the line during the sword fighting and I felt like I was inside the book, standing there on the beach watching Krishani fight against the Daed.
I have no pictures of the fighting. I’m sorry, I have video though, I’ll post video when I have it!
We didn’t finish on the beach before Sapphyre called us for lunch. So we took a break because I know that when my husband says food is ready, if people don’t come, he turns into a bear. We went back to the cabin for sandwiches, salad, and soup. It was delicious. A few of us went back to the beach to finish up. We didn’t need everyone until we were finished. We buried Sam in the sand for one of the scenes. Jeep played with his hair, making it look like a very wrong herbal essences commercial. I think I got it on camera.
When we were done on the beach the day was waning. We took everyone up to the Cross and huddled on the stones in the cold. We did a photoshoot up there. Jello had to run to the edge of a cliff and not fall. Sam had to cut her hand with a dagger and some fake blood. Jeep had to make out with Sam in the forest brush. I can tell you that making out in a forest isn’t sexy when it’s cold. Sam had some long johns rolled up under her dress and so when in her opinion, Jeep’s hand wasn’t going far enough up her leg, she stood up, whipped off the long johns, did the scene again. Then she told him he went too far up her leg. We didn’t shoot the scene again.
It was getting late and cloud by the time we were done. We took the crew up to the ballpark, got through one of the scenes and then lost the battery on the camera and the light. And then it began to rain. We went back down the hairpin curve and back to the cabin. Michael was setting up dinner in the dining hall. It was a medieval dinner with turkey legs, ribs, seasonal vegetables. I felt like I was in Tulsen’s hall on Terra eating the yellow and orange vegetables I talked about in the book. We had wine and apple jacks for dessert.
|Jello as Shimma, one of the three witches.|
Apples, that’s such an Avristar thing.
We skipped the bonfire and made a fire in our cabin instead. Sam, Ayla, Jello and me watched the footage. There was only one scene we had to reshoot and it was the post sex cuddle scene. TJ went for a walk with the girls. When they all got back I tossed out around ten thirty. I know, really late. I woke up at four am though. Everyone woke slowly. Michael made french toast and brought out the cinnamon buns. It was another awesome breakfast. We all ate, then got ready, then went back up the hill and went through the scenes we weren’t able to do the day before.
One of those scene was a kissing scene and we made Sam and Jeep kiss about ten times. The weather was perfect for it and the kissing wasn’t creepy.
Once we were done with that we headed to the Chalet, filmed the last scenes of the day, one of which involved Ayla being kidnapped and dragged down a hallway. The Chalet looked like crap compared to the elegance I described in the book, but it was a hallway with wainscoting so I couldn’t complain too much. Ray came up to her to explain how he was going to grab her and she says, “Oh my kidnapper is describing how he’s going to take me? You’re so nice.” and Ray says, “Well I could keep banging you into doors and stuff if you like.”
|From the left, Sam, Jeep, Jello, Me, TJ, Ray, and Ayla.
Ted is taking the photo.
Michael is making quesafillas.
We reshot the post sex cuddling, Ted walked away towards the back of the cabin. “Not going to be a creeper.” He also needed a smoke. We talked a bit about comic con. This time we let the nipples go and had Sam’s hand covering it.
We were finished early and then it began to rain. We tried to wait it out before we did the rest of the photoshoots but the rain wasn’t letting up a lot. Instead we chose the location, then huddled in the chapel in costumes and watched some Lord of the Rings The Two Towers while we waited. We got shots of the full cast minus Michael and Ted, and then we called it a wrap and began packing up the cars and heading back to Winnipeg.
On the way home, some guy decided to speed past me and was caught by the cops on the other side of the hill. It was perfect, he passed me, then the cop stepped out, he slowed down and pulled over. I laughed. Stuff like that never happens.
It was dreary and rainy until we got back into Winnipeg. Then it was all sunny. We lost Ted on the way home. Sam followed me until she knew where she was. We waved goodbye.
I have yet to see all of the footage. Sam and Ayla are working on choosing which takes to use, cutting what needs to be cut, removing the sound, adding the captions, and then we still need to get everyone to go to Kraemer’s place to do the voice overs. He didn’t come to camp with us but he’s doing the music, some CGI effects and the voice overs because he has a studio at his house.
And this is why I have the most awesome friends in the world. I can safely say they have fought with swords for me, ran to the edge of a cliff for me, was buried in sand for me, cast spells for me, was kidnapped for me, and took shiny things out of their pants for me.
Sam and Jello have said they are going on book tours with me and attending the signing in costume.
In fact, they will be there at comic con when I do the pre release of the book and they will be doing photo ops in their character costumes. If you can make it www.c4con.com. I might have exclusive book covers for the C4 show.