Dedicated to the One I Love: Get Out On the Floor

I was checking stats last night, and while it may seem hard to believe, I’ve been working on this chapter for three weeks as of 29 July.  It would appear that I began writing the first scene on 8 July, and posted that the following day.  In that time I’ve written close to seventeen thousand words and brought the story to within kicking distance of one hundred thousand words–

And I’m still going.

If you haven’t guessed what’s coming now based upon the title of this post, it’s time to have a special moment.  And, as you’ll see, it’s not unexpected:

 

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

Kerry came to the sofa with a smile on his face. He stopped on the other side of the coffee table and cooled himself by flapping his jacket. “Ah, much better.” He turned to Deanna. “How are you, Deanna?” He eyed Annie. “You need me to go somewhere for a few minutes?”

Deanna shook here head. “No, Kerry, you’re fine. Please sit.” She waved for someone in the crowd to come over. “I think we were just about finished.”

“Okay.” He came around the other end of the table and took his place at Annie’s right. He took her hand and gave it a squeeze. “Everything okay?”

“It is.” She turned on a quick smile and kissed him. “Enjoy your dance?”

“Yeah, it was good.”

“I could tell.”

Trevor Parkman joined them, stopping where Kerry stood only seconds before and facing Deanna. “You called?”

“Yes. I think we need to attend to official duties.”

“Of course.” Trevor helped her feet before addressing Annie and Kerry. He gripped the sides of his open jacket. “Either of you care to venture a guess?”

Annie turned to Kerry with her gaze case towards the library. “Do you know?”

Kerry chuckled. “Eighth Doctor. Haven’t seen you since the first time you were in San Francisco.” He shrugged. “Then again, I didn’t see you, per say. that was before my time, but then time—”

“—Is relative.” He held out his arm for Deanna. “Shall we?”

“Just one minute—” The seer turned her gaze upon Annie. “Concerning our discussion, my advice is, as with all things seen, to let events simply happen. Actually—” She slipped her arm into Trevor’s. “That’s all we can ever do with visions.”

Annie suspected that Deanna would offer this advice, but it felt better to speak her concerns and hear the instructor’s words. Sometimes all one needs is to have someone you respect to confirm your own beliefs . . . “Thank you, Deanna. I’ll do just that.”

“Good. Both of you: have a good dance. We’ll be around, so I expect to see you again before the evening’s over.” She looked to Trevor. “Lead on, please.”

He nodded at the children. “Have a good evening.”

“See you around, Lady Sif and Doctor.” Once the two adults departed Kerry wrapped his arm around Annie and pulled her close. “Miss me, Sweetie?”

 

And there we go:  Mr. Parkman, aka Trevor the Librarian, aka The Guy Who Looks Like He’s Becoming Deanna’s Squeeze, is running around dressed like the Eighth Doctor in one of his only two visual performances:

He gets a lot more bad ass right before he dies.

He gets a lot more bad ass looking right before he dies.

And he escorts Lady Sif off to do, um, Siffy Things, I suppose.  Actually, Deanna is one of the two coven leaders who help out with the Samhain Dance, the other being Erywin, as it’s her coven that it responsible for putting on this shindig.  And speaking of Erywin . . .

 

“Of course I did, my love.” She kissed him again, slowly and sweeter than when he’d first joined her. “But I needed to speak with Deanna, and you being out on the dance floor made it easier.”

“I’m glad you could speak without having to tell me to find something to do.” He half turned where he sat so he could better hold Annie.

Annie snuggled back and against Kerry, a position that allowed her to keep her smile hidden from him. As he turned to hold her, she saw his eyes flick to his left, towards the area where Erywin and Deanna stood when making an announcement to the students in the hall. While Annie hadn’t any idea of what he’d planed for last year’s dance, this year she fully suspected something to happen. He’s probably waiting for Erywin to return, and that’s when he’s going to ask me to dance

They sat in silence for nearly five minutes, Annie leaning against Kerry, who gently held her. It was much like the Midnight Madness, only this time there was music to go along with conversation and snacks. She felt him move behind her. “Would you like to dance, Sweetie?” He gave her a squeeze. “I feel like getting up.”

She spied the front of the room and saw Erywin speaking with Deanna. She twisted her head so she could see him out of the corner of her eye. “Of course, love.” She grinned as Kerry helped her to her feet. “I feel like getting up as well.”

Annie followed Kerry onto the floor and began dancing, feeling the music around her. Kerry wasn’t a good dancer, but he did his best not to look too clumsy as he moved in rhythm with her. She didn’t consider herself a good dancer, either: until last year’s Samhain dance she’d only danced alone, usually in the privacy of her lake house.

But this was more her music; this is what she liked to hear when she was alone, and that gave here an advantage when it came to letting herself go and enjoy the song. Kerry was listening to more of her music, though: when they were down in their lab she’d use his computer to find music to stream, and he was starting to remember the lyrics to a few. It won’t be long before he’s singing along as we are crafting spells together.

 

Now, if you may remember, Erywin was the one who announced Kerry’s last dedication to Annie, so it only makes sense she’d announce this one.  I do believe it’s interesting that Annie is expecting Kerry to do a dedication to her this time, and it appears she’s waiting for the moment to happen.  And it’s not like it won’t, because Kerry’s not the sort of kid to disappoint his soul mate . . .

Where does it leave the story?

Right here, just short of a hundred thousand.

Right here, just short of a hundred thousand.

And the reason I didn’t finish up last night is because this dedication dance is special . . .

Would I lie?

The End of the Ice Princess

Eighteen twelve.  Not only an overture which we can get behind, but how many words my scene finally came to when I ended it last night.  I figured that after eighteen hundred words I’d said what needed to be said, and wrapped it up.  Why did I do that?  Because you don’t stretch out a scene any further than what needs stretching, and I’d reached the right point to move onto what comes next.

Before that, however, here are my word counts for the last three nights of writing:

 

Words 07/26/2015: 688
Words 07/28/2015: 503
Words 07/29/2015: 621

 

As you can see I skipped a day there because of electrolysis, work, and a dinner engagement exactly in that order, but I stayed pretty steady throughout the whole process, average six hundred words a night.  Oh, and last night I didn’t get home until about six-thirty because I stopped off for drinks and chat, my first time to do that in a long time, which means by the time I was out of the shower and feeling human again, it was close to eight before I began writing.

Oh, an one other milestone:

It's just one more, it's eleven . . . hundred.

It’s just one more, it’s eleven . . . hundred.

Yes, I’m only about eleven hundred words from reached one hundred thousand, and if my writing skills hold up tonight as they have this week, I’ll likely hit that mark Friday night.  I will try, however, to get closer to a thousand words tonight, and if I manage that, then I’m going to try and push it over the top.  I don’t know, but I do know there is dancing in the next scene.

As for this scene?  Well, Annie mentions a few things about herself . . .

 

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

Almost five seconds passed before Annie nodded slowly. “This last summer was far more difficult than I expected.”

Deanna said nothing; not asking questions at this moment was the key to getting her to open up. “Please tell me.”

A moment of hesitancy crossed Annie’s face as she leaned into the arm of the sofa before she relaxed. “You told me last year that being with Kerry in person was different than it had been when we’d met in our dreams—”

“I remember that discussion.”

“I didn’t believe it at the time, and I right up until I arrived home I thought getting through the summer would be a strange, but that it wouldn’t be hard.” She shook her head. “I was wrong; I missed him horribly. I’d wake up in the morning and expect to find him outside my door: I’d go to bed at night wishing he was there to kiss me goodnight and tell me he loves me.” Annie stared at her hand in her lap. “We wrote to each other constantly and managed to meet in our dreams twice, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to be able to touch him, and I couldn’t.

“Then we met in London for those few hours, and . . .” Her voice caught in her throat. “I know Helena and Erywin meant well, but being with Kerry for those few hours, and then leaving him behind for at least another month—it was maddening. I just—” She sighed softly. “That was when I discovered . . .”

Though Deanna’s sight was well developed, she didn’t need it to anticipate where the conversation was headed. “You were like any other girl in love?”

“Yes.” Annie chuckled. “I always knew I was, but there was more. Until that time we spent in London, I didn’t realize I had—” A touch of redness came to her cheeks as she said the word. “Urges.”

Deanna tilted her head slightly. “Really?”

“Yes. Not often, but there was one time, I was sleeping in the main house, and before I got up I—” She gave a little smile as she shrugged. “When I went out to my sitting room my mother was there with breakfast. I think she may have heard me.”

After a few years of being a coven leader and a counselor, of dealing with the drama of tweens and teens growing up in her coven, of listening to students who’d fallen into and out of love, of giving guidance and comfort to those who found themselves in their first sexual encounters—she’d learned to keep her emotions off her face—except this time she couldn’t. Deanna’s smile was wide and bright. “Annie. I’m . . .” She patted Annie’s hand. “You are definitely growing up. I’m pleasantly surprised.”

“That I’m not an ice princess as others have said?” She was well aware of the things others in her level had said of her during the last school year, and not all of them were as complementary as “lovey dovey”.

“I’ve always known you were passionate; all you’ve done is confirm your passion.” Deanna nodded towards a group of people off to Annie’s right. “Maybe you’d like to speak with someone else about this?”

She turned and saw a group of students speaking with Headmistress Laventure and Coraline. She’d overheard Helena saying that the headmistress was coming as Madam Marie Curie, but she was unsure of Coraline’s costume. She thought she might be Merida from the Brave movie that came out over the summer—what with the bow and quiver of arrows Coraline had strapped to her back—but she looked like she was dressed for winter, and as far as she knew the movie didn’t take place in that season. She made a note to ask Kerry when he was finished and returned to her talk. “I would rather not speak with her right now.” Annie glanced over her shoulder and saw Kerry coming off the dance floor. “Especially right now . . .”

 

Urges?  Annie has urges?  Yep, big time.  Must be hormones.  I mean, why should the boys have all the fun?  If anything it’s probably noted more at Salem because there are so many girls.  But Annie maybe getting caught by her mom?  That is probably something that Mama Kirilova has never had to deal with, and I imagine that Annie probably had to whistle up all her willpower to keep from sporting Guilty Face when she came out of her bedroom to use the bathroom.

So what does an Ice Princess say when her mom gives her that “Were you doing something in there?” look?

"Morning, Mama.  I was, um . . . defrosting."

“Morning, Mama. I was, um . . . defrosting.”

At least Frozen won’t come out for a few years in story time, so Annie doesn’t have to worry about coming to the Samhain Dance as Elsa–yet.

Tonight, it’s time to get some dancing on . . .

The Only Ones

Well, now, it was writing time, but I wouldn’t say it was one of my finest moments.  It’s so difficult to get back into the swing of things when you’re tired and you know you have a few thousand words ahead of you to get done before you get into your personal stuff.  Yeah, busy weekends mean it’s busy catch up time on the novel front.

This means I was able to get just a few words over five hundred into the bank before I decided they weren’t coming any more and it was time for bed.  That’s not a lot, but I think–think, mind you–that things will go better tonight.  Besides, I have a goal to shoot towards–

Probably the only "close to six figures" I'll ever see.

Probably the only “close to six figures” I’ll ever see.

Yes, I’m one thousand, seven hundred, and fifty-five words away from hitting one hundred thousand words for the third time, and I’d like to hit this by Friday night, because that will stay with my current rate of cranking out about five thousand words a week.  As if it, it looks as if I’ll reach that milestone in the next scene, because this one is just about over.

So . . . Annie talking about sex–you know, that sex.  When I was last here I left off with a question by Deanna that, to me, feels like a good place to start up once again–

 

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

Deanna chose her next words carefully, because she didn’t want to make Annie overwrought. “Do you think it’s possible that either you or Kerry will have—sex with someone else before your marriage?”

Annie’s calm expression never changed. “No.”

Deanna leaned towards her. “I can understand you knowing your feelings, but Kerry—”

“No.”

“You don’t think he would?”

This time Annie’s calm began to shift into one of slight disbelief. “I said no, Deanna.” Before the seer could query the matter further, Annie shifted around so she was looking over the back of the sofa. “Do you see Kerry out there?”

Deanna spotted him right away, dancing in his own clumsy, flapping about with the rhythm way with Nadine. “Yes.”

“You noticed how Nadine asked me if she could dance with Kerry?”

“How could I not?”

“She did that because she respects our relationship, because she respects us both—” Annie turned back to her normal seated position so she was once again facing Deanna. “She did that because she respects me, because she didn’t want to impose herself by violating our personal boundaries.

“But did you notice what Kerry did? He waited to see what I would say. If I’d have said no, he’d have been as good with that answer as he was when I said yes. He did that because he not only loves me, but he respects me.” She slipped her hands together and rested them against her thighs as she now leaned towards the seer. “There is only one girl Kerry will lose his virginity to, and I am that girl. There are no others.”

 

I know what you’re saying:  “She’s only thirteen, how the hell does she know that?”  Because, I know, hormones and all that, Kerry has them, and they’ve been known to lead even the strongest willed boy astray.

But Annie is a different kind of thirteen year old girl.  There is something I know that you don’t–which is my normal mantra, “I know something you don’t”–and this very adult understanding of her soul mate might seem strange in other girls her age–who are often losing their shit over the fact that some guy they like was seen hanging out with another girl–it’s not strange for Annie.

And in case you’re wondering, “When will we learn why Annie is so different from other thirteen year old girls?” I can tell you:  sometime in the beginning of the D Level novel.  Say . . . four hundred thousand words from now?  Hang in their, kids.

This last statement has Deanna asking another question . . .

 

She appreciated Annie’s conviction in feeling that Kerry will be her first, and he hers, but Deanna knew there were other pressures at school that could skew that dream. “You don’t believe there’s anyone here that could tempt him?”

Annie glanced over her right shoulder towards where Emma stood speaking with a group of girls. “There are no other distractions—” She turned back to Deanna and deftly crossed her legs. “—worth mentioning.”

 

Ding, Ding, Ding.  What’s that, Emma?  Oh, that’s the elevator, ’cause you’re not on the same level as Annie.  In short, she just laid a bit of, “Bitch can suck it,” smack on her, and that’s that.  She gives zero shits about The Ginger From Bolder and doesn’t consider her a concern.  And in case anyone has any questions–and I know they’ll come–watch Chapter Twelve.  It’s coming.  Yes, it is.

Where does this leave us?

 

Deanne decided not to press the issue further because she knew the discussion would return to the same point each time, and now that Annie’s beliefs were out in the open, there was little point in continuing to examine them. “If that is true, then we’re back at the beginning: you’re afraid you’ll both falter and give into weakness.”

Annie cast her sight downward for a moment. “Yes. That second vision seemed to indicate the possibility exists.”

“But you’re forgetting something—” Deanna held up her finger for emphases. “The second vision could be wrong. You weren’t far enough along in that vision to witness the outcome, so it is entirely possible that you weren’t going to engage in . . .” She cleared her throat. “That act.” Deanna expected the girl to respond, but saw something in her body language that indicated that whatever she was going to saw, it wouldn’t come without prodding. “You felt something, didn’t you?”

Almost five seconds passed before Annie nodded slowly. “This last summer was far more difficult than I expected.”

Deanna said nothing; not asking questions at this moment was the key to getting her to open up. “Please tell me.”

 

Yeah, tell us, Annie; tell us how difficult this last summer was.  Because it sounds like The Chestnut Girl isn’t completely immune to her own feelings, which is why she’s having this conversation.

Looks like I have a summer to recollect ahead of me . . .

Humans, Season 1 Episode 5: I Compute, Therefore I Am

Rachel Tsoumbakos

Humans Millican Killer Synth

With three weeks left in the run, Humans worked its way into the philosophy of being something others than human. Really, while this episode was spread out a little more evenly between the players this time, the high point was at Doctor Millican’s place, because . . .

Because that’s where Niska went. She met with Leo and listened to him talk about the code he found that will bring about Synth consciousness, but he wants to get Mia back on her feet, so in the meantime, Niska, go hid out with this friendly doctor—his name is Millican.

She does show up, and once inside she meets Vera, and nurse Vera ain’t buying the good doctor’s bullshit that she’s human. On the other hand, Niska isn’t playing, and pretty much tells Vera to piss off on that Synth business. It’s while she’s there and getting tired of being stared at, while…

View original post 1,168 more words

Life in Three Acts

I know what you’re thinking:  what, no writing again?  Yeah, that’s been happening of late as I’ve really been in the middle of some intense socializing for the first time in months.  Actually, it’s been kinda the perfect storm of interaction of late, with my trip back to Indiana, meeting people there, then doing things on this end–yep, that actually leaves a few holes in the writing schedule.  But I’ve needed the interaction for a while, and it’s helping me recharge a little.  Actually, I was a bit weepy for the most part yesterday, and getting together with someone for dinner helped bring me out of that funk.

It was either that or spend all my time crying while writing.

But this is a good time to get into something else that’s important to writing, or at least to my writing.  And that’s to answer the question, “Why do you lay things out the way you lay them out?”  Besides the answer, “Because I’m strange,” it’s really due in part to helping me keep action organized in a format that’s fairly well-known to writers around the world.

First off, let’s speak of something known as three act structure.  This is probably one of the most basic of all writing tools that’s used in so many stories that once you start getting heavy into reading the works of others, you’ll recognize it immediately.  Stephen King employed it to good use in most of his novels, particularly with The Stand and IT, and Joss Whedon has used this in both his Avenger movies.

The set up is easy:  the story is broken into three acts, often known as the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution.  The Setup is mostly exposition, where the story is set up, the character met, backgrounds laid out, and so on.  The Confrontation is just that:  the challenges are met and things start getting a little dicey.  The last act is the Resolution, where everything is tidied up and the hero–or heroes–walk off into the sunset victorious–or in a case of a couple of kids separated by the continent of Europe, they go home and get sad.

I had this structure in my last night, A For Advanced, because, really, it helped determine how I should sell the book when I sell the book.

I have the same thing in the current novel, 'cause why get rid of a good thing?

I have the same thing in the current novel, ’cause why get rid of a good thing?

The first time I used the three act structure was Kolor Ijo.  My characters meet in the first act and find out what’s happening.  In act two things ramp up, and in act three the move in together and take on the big bad.  That worked well enough that I decided to keep it for The Foundation Chronicles novels, while at the same time divided the story up even further.

In these two novels, acts are broken into parts that are basically a collection of interrelated things.  Let’s look below:

Hey, looks like there's a dance going on.

Hey, looks like there’s a dance going on.

Part Four, Under Pressure, deals with events in Annie’s and Kerry’s lives that affect them in different ways.  Those events becomes chapters, which contain the telling of those events.  Samhain Festivities is an event that’s good for Annie and Kerry together.  The Manor Called is something that affects Annie, and From Queens to Dreams affects Kerry.  The last, Restricted Dreamspace, is something that again affects them both, and sends Annie off asking questions.

And lastly I have scenes, and this seems to be the place where a lot of people look at me and go, “Huh?”  Since I think of my story in somewhat cinematic terms, a scene, to me, is a segment of a chapter relating to a particular event, like one would see in a movie or television show.  Let’s go back to the first Avengers movie.  You start out with the Tesseract acting up and Nick Fury coming to see what the hell is happening; that’s a scene.  Loki appears, gets his meat puppets, and scoots with the loot; that’s a scene.  There’s the chase out of the facility as everyone finished packing their shit and leaving before it all blows up and Loki vanishes with the goods; that’s a scene, and the end of a chapter.

I do the same above.  Kerry finds out he’s on the A Team–scene.  The A Team meets–scene.  They start the race–scene.  They end the race–scene.  Off to the dance and meet the other students–scene.  While Kerry dances, Annie talks–scene.  It’s all part of the festivities, and if I wanted to I could break those up between the Samhain Races and the Samhain Dance, and I may do just that when I get home.  This is why I like Scrivener, because it allows me that freedom, and given that I transition sharply from the race to the dance, it’s possible they could be two separate chapters.

That’s how I do thing, but more importantly, why I do it that way.  It also helps me keep things neat and organized, even if it looks like a huge mess.  Then again, this is what I used project management software to write my novels.

It helps keep the insanity to a minimum.

Frank and Forward

All the tunnel visiting and writing is out of the way, and the shopping is done, and the writing . . . well, it started.  In a way, that is, because yesterday I was tired.  Hiking and visiting and just generally spending the whole day doing something had a strange way of taking things out of me, and for most of Sunday I was sort of out of it.  Plus, I’m going in for electrolysis this morning–I actually leave about seven-fifteen AM to go to my appointment at about eight-thirty–and when I’m through with that horror show it’s back here and off to work, and then dinner with a friend tonight–

Suddenly I’m such the social butterfly.

Also, The Walking Dead Season 1 was on, and I was snaking like crazy.

Also, The Walking Dead Season 1 was on, and I was snaking like crazy.

But I did write last night, though my mind was elsewhere most of the time, and it was tricky trying to get my thoughts together.  I managed six hundred and sixty-eight words, but if you saw the cutting and pasting I needed to bring the scene into line with what I’d heard in my head–oh, man, such a strange thing.  This is why writing on a computer is good, ’cause I would have went through a whole buttload of paper if I were typing this out.

It was a good thing I figured out where these scenes were supposed to go ahead of time.

It was a good thing I figured out where these scenes were supposed to go ahead of time.

What follows is Annie and Deanna have a talk to discuss what’s on Annie’s mind, because by now Deanna is emphatic to Annie’s feelings, and she can tell when Annie wants to talk.  Or did Deanna see this conversation coming ahead of time and knew they were going to talk before they spoke?  That’s the crazy thing with seer:  you can never tell if they’re listening to you because they want to know what you’re going to say, or they already know what you’ve said and they’re being polite.

Anyway . . .

 

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

Annie reached the furniture setting where Kerry and she spent their time during the Midnight Madness. She waited for Deanna to settle herself on the love seat before she sat down on the sofa—their sofa. They’d started to think of this setting as theirs—their chair, their tables, their love seat—but it was their sofa they loved the most. So much love has transpired upon this sofa. She ran her right hand in a small, slow circle against the leather next to her. There is so much more that will happen here as well . . .

Deanna set her sword and shield on the coffee table, then set back and crossed her legs. “There is something on your mind.”

Annie wasn’t surprised that Deanna’s words came out as a statement and not a question. After a year Deanna knew Annie, knew her moods, and was aware of when she wanted to speak privately. “I’ve thought a great deal about our visions of late; the visions Kerry and I have experienced.”

Deanna folded her hands into her lap. “I can see how you would. I would think it almost impossible not to give it much thought.” She set her right elbow against the love seat arm and held her chin with her thumb and finger. “Is there something in those vision that bothers you?”

“Not so much bothers me as . . .” Annie pressed her lips against the back of her fingers while she paused in thought. “Is it possible for part of one vision to be overridden by something that happens in another?”

While Deanna was Salem’s expert on visions, she wanted more information before giving her educated opinion. “You’re referring to something changing in first vision?”

Annie didn’t acknowledge the seer’s question, though she appeared to remain in thought for a few seconds more. “Last year when Kerry and I spoke to Coraline and you about the specifics of our first vision, we mentioned that we knew our wedding night would be our first time . . .” She took a quick, short breath. “Doing that.”

Denna nodded once. “Having sexual relations.”

“Well—” A strange smile spread across Annie’s face. “I like to think of the act that lay ahead of us that night as engaging in physical love.”

“I see what you mean—or I believe I do. Can you elaborate?”

 

Doing that.  The thing that Annie has said they–Kerry and her–shouldn’t talk about.  But Annie knows what she’s talking about, and what she’s bending Deanna’s ear about is, you know, getting down with hubby-to-be-who’ll-was-actually-hubby-then.  But there’s something fairly specific she wants to discuss–

 

“I wonder if what we saw in our second vision—”

Deanna thought this might be the reason for her trepidation. “You feel that what could have transpired in the second vision may affect the first?”

Annie sighed. “You said you watched us pantomime our vision—”

“I heard you speaking, and . . .” Deanna’s right eyebrow shot up as she remembered the last thing that happened before Annie and Kerry came out of their vision. “And saw what you did at the end.”

She didn’t want to keep dancing about: Annie got right to the point. “I believe Kerry and I were going to have have sex.”

Hum.” Deanna rubber her lips. “There are all kinds of sex, and it’s possible—”

Annie shook here head. “The one we’re discussing—the one that Kerry and I will perform on our wedding night—” She looked Deanna in the eyes with an unwavering gaze. “That’s the most intimate, the most important. That’s what I imagine when I think of sex. As for the others . . .” She chuckled. “They’re just fun.”

Whenever Deanna thought Annie couldn’t surprise her, she’d come up with something that would. “I wouldn’t look at it that way—”

“It’s not important: it’s not relevant to what concerns me.” Annie didn’t want to get sidetracked into a discussion on her views on sexual activities and actions. “The second vision felt like Kerry and I were going to do something that would invalidate part of our first vision.” She looked away for a moment and sighed. “Is that possible? Can it happen?”

“That you can Kerry won’t be virgins when you marry?”

“Yes.”

Deanna chose her next words carefully, because she didn’t want to make Annie overwrought. “Do you think it’s possible that either Kerry or you will have—sex with someone else before your marriage?”

 

And, hummmmm.  So now you know:  when Annie thinks of sex, she thinks of it as a particular act, while the rest–eh, it’s for fun!  Okay.

Now, you may says, “She’s only thirteen,” and yes, that’s true, she is.  We’ve already seen, however, that Annie doesn’t appear to have issues with nudity–remember, she’s already discussed dancing around the bonfires with Kerry in front of other people, and told him she’s not that bothered that people will see her–and given this is a girl who’s been thinking about her wedding since like, oh, forever, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that she’s quite nonchalant about sex.  Annie’s a worldly girl and quite mature for her age, and to try and put her in the same light as other thirteen year old girls would be difficult.

Remember, when it came to actually just sleeping with Kerry in the same bed, she didn’t get all red in the face or jump up and down like she was at a Taylor Swift concert.  She was like, “Kerry, make sure you put your clothes in that dresser.”  Because sharing a bed with the one she loves is natural . . .

Let’s, for a moment, look at Deanna’s reaction as well.  She’s not all shocked, though she is a bit surprised, which is understandable.  Now, imagine if Annie were speaking with Kerry’s mother–ai, yi yi!  Mama Malibey lost her shit over nocturnal emissions and Kerry having the sex talk with a doctor without her permission first, so how is she ever gonna handle Ms. Annie “Those Are Just Fun” Kirilova?  I know exactly when that moment happens, and trust me, it’s gonna be good times all around.

But there is a whole quantum leap of understanding here.  Deanna doesn’t get crazy on Annie:  no, she falls into a frank discussion with the girl.  She treats Annie like an adult, and that may have something to do with her being a coven leader and a counselor, or it could have something to do with maybe Deanna knowing exactly what Annie has done with her magic up to this point.  Or . . . as they were getting ready to return to Europe after the end of the kid’s A Level, Deanna told Erywin Annie and Kerry were still virgins.  As Erywin asked, how did she know?  Probably don’t want to know . . .

But how’s that last for a cliffhanger?  I’m such a bad girl . . .

Climbing Up Under Sideling Hill

As indicated yesterday I was out on “special assignment.”  This is a little different than just road tripping, and it usually means I went somewhere to do some investigating.  My destination this time was a location I’ve visited before:  the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, just east of Breezewood, PA, and a place I blogged about almost two years ago in my post On The Road to Nowhere. That time I went alone, but this time I was with a friend.

I’ve wanted to return here for a while, but my determination returned when I discovered my newest friend, Holly–a women who works in the same division as me and who is new to the Harrisburg area–wanted to see this place she’d never heard of until I’d spoken.  So . . . road trip?  Of course.  We left The Burg about seven AM and zoomed westward to Breezewood, where breakfast was the first order of the day–

Gril's gotta have her coffee before walking The Road.

Girl’s gotta have her coffee before walking The Road.

Holly giving me that,

Holly giving me that, “We’re gonna get murdered” look.

That last was a running joke we had all during our expedition, that somewhere along the line a serial killer was gonna jump us and leave our bodies on the turnpike.  And, truly, we were the only ones there at first:  when we finally arrived at our first stop, we were the only ones around for miles.

Looking east along the road.

Looking east along the road a famous filming location.

It was quiet save for the sound of bugs and birds, and if you don’t believe me–well, this time I did something I hadn’t the last time:  I shot video.  I put on my Hodgepodge Groupie tee shirt and brought my big tripod–I figured a way to bungie it to my backpack so it wouldn’t slide around–and it was time to get on camera and let you see what we were seeing:

As you can hear, it was quiet.  And you can also tell, I hope, that we were having a bit of morbid fun.  I should also point out that I incorrectly said that Laurel Hill Tunnel is being used by Bobby Rahil Racing:  it’s actually used by Chip Ganassi Racing.  My mistake.

After this it was back in the car and up to the west portal of Sideling Hill tunnel.  If you wondered what it used to look like, here it was during construction:

Nice, clean, and pristine.

Nice, clean, and pristine.

And how it looked when it was in use in the 1950s:

You can almost smell the petrochemiclas being burned.

You can almost smell the petrochemicals being burned.

Today, however, it’s a far different deal, given that it’s been left to the environment and elements for almost forty years.

Sideling Hill Tunnel 07252015005

Abandon All Hope–

Sideling Hill Tunnel 07252015006

Ye Who Approach.

And looking west along a famous filming location.

Looking back to the west from whence we walked.

Here I shot another video, and it’s a bit more creepy, because of things like dripping water, echo, and no one else being around for miles.  No, really:  we were the only ones in the area, and would be for at least another half-hour.

As you can see, and hear, we were staying upbeat, and we were actually joking about a lot.  It was also a lot cooler in the shade where we were standing:  by this time, about ten AM, it was already 90 F/32 C outside.

And all that kidding around about going inside the tunnel–yep, we did go inside.  And not just like fifty feet or so:  we went inside–deep under the mountain.

Here's all that running water leaking from the ceiling.

Here’s all that running water leaking from the ceiling.

Here's what lay ahead of us as we went deeper--

Here’s what lay ahead of us as we went deeper–

And the light we were leaving behind.

And the light we were leaving behind.

Holly totally in charge of keeping the way lit and reading all the grafiti.

Holly totally in charge of keeping the way lit and reading all the graffiti.

Eventually we reached a point far enough inside that it was totally creepy dark and dry–and still completely alone.  And this is where I shot the last video.  And if you don’t like dark spaces, or you get claustrophobic imagining being inside a mountain with tons of rock surrounding you, do not watch this next video.  It wasn’t bad for us, but then, we were there in the first place, so how could it be bad?

As indicated at the end of the video, people finally started showing:  it was two couples on bikes riding in from the west.  As they biked past the comments on how they wondered why we were moving so slow.  Well, because we’re on foot?  Yeah, something like that.

Before we left the deep interior of Sideling Hill–if you didn’t watch the video, we walked about fifteen hundred feet, or about four hundred fifty meters inside–we caught a couple of selfies:

Holly working on her Japanese ghost cosplay.

Holly working on her Japanese ghost cosplay.

Me practicing my remake of the Mama music video.

Me practicing my remake of the Mama music video.

And we did a group shot once we were back in the sunlight–

Tunnel Exploring Babes, Yo!

Tunnel Exploring Babes, Yo!

And Holly does her happy dance as we return to the car:

“Yay, we weren’t murdered!”

I should point out that we tried to make our way over to Ray’s Hill Tunnel, but the only area with close access also seemed to be protected but paranoid hillbillies who may or may not have been up to nefarious things, and the feeling was we should just get the hell out and come back to the other tunnel when it was cooler and we could stand a mile and a half walk.

As it was we still had a nice walk:  1.9 miles, or 3.06 kilometers.

As it was we still had a nice walk: 1.9 miles, or 3.06 kilometers.

On the way back to The Burg we stopped at Sideling Hill service plaza and changed into more comfortable clothes–aka skirts and jumpers–and sped back home to grab lunch before we began hangry–hungry and angry.  There we dined on pretty fine Italian food, and grabbed another picture together because why not?

Also, there were a few adult beverages going down--

Also, there were a few adult beverages going down–

--because that's what you do when you walk out of the Mines of Moria.

–because that’s what you do after you walk out of the Mines of Moria.

There we are:  another successful adventure, and one shared with another person who said she enjoyed herself immensely.

Now . . . what can I do next?