Like any other year, 2017 was filled with challenges. As a writer, an ongoing struggle is to find the time to write, to continue to develop my characters, to weave enough misdirection and subplots into the stories to keep the readers engaged. It was gratifying to complete the second book in the Chene series and ship that off to the publisher for consideration. If all goes well, that could be released in the summer. Here’s hoping.
2017 gave me the opportunity to participate in a number of book events, from Ann Arbor to Muskegon to Port Huron and Kalamazoo. While some were better than others, I always enjoy meeting readers and other authors.This was also the year that my first audio book was released. That was a goal I'd been looking forward to achieving for a long time.
So on this final day of the year, I’ll spend a little time with my characters. Jamie has a short story in the works that’s quickly grown to 7,000 words. Chene and Pappy are in the background, curious about what’s next for them. Time will tell.
So from me, Jamie, Malone, Chene and Pappy, we say farewell to 2017. Here’s hoping that 2018 will be filled with good times. May the New Year bring everyone health and happiness, a chance to build on existing relationships and to start new ones. Peace.
Here’s an excerpt from “Vanishing Act” that happens on New Year’s Eve. In this scene, Jamie and Linda are preparing for an evening of dining and dancing. Jamie has set up her friend with the perfect partner for the evening, but won’t tell Linda who it is.
At seven-thirty on New Year’s Eve, the limousine picked us up. Malone informed Terrence, our driver, that we would be making two additional stops before heading to the Westin. The driver beamed a smile, touched his cap, and set off down the road.
It’s not my nature to keep secrets, but I wanted to surprise Linda tonight. I had been on guard the last three days, expecting her to trip me up. She’d tried, but I somehow kept my mouth shut—even earlier today, when we’d been at the spa.
Malone had sprung that on us yesterday. He’d arranged for mid-afternoon appointments so we could get manicures, pedicures, facials, and have our hair styled. If there was a gold medal given for pampering, he would have won it hands down. Linda had taken advantage of our time together to quiz me about her date.
“So what is he like, Jay Kay? Does he have a job, live with his mother, is he kind to animals? How come he was available on such short notice?”
I took a minute to phrase my response. “He does have a job, lives alone in his own house, and I think he’s very good with animals. I also have it on good authority that he’s an excellent dancer, enjoys the finer things in life, and can be quite charming.”
“Oh, great,” Linda said with a roll of her eyes, “he’s gay.”
I almost sprayed Diet Coke out my nose on that one. “No, he is definitely not gay.”
“So he looks like a troll,” Linda said.
I shook my head in feigned disgust. “Would I set you up with a troll?”
“Maybe you would.”
“If I thought he was a troll, would I have bought you a red, satin thong to go with that gorgeous red dress?”
“Hey, even trolls need to get laid once in a while.”
It had taken some effort, but I had managed to steer the subject away from her date.
Now, hours later, I snuggled down in the back of the limo with Malone. Outside, snow danced across the windshield as a light swirl of flakes descended from the clouds.
The limo made our next stop and picked up her date. He looked splendid in his tuxedo, almost as good as Malone. They greeted each other warmly. I got a kiss on the cheek. His aftershave was subdued, but sexy. We chatted quietly until the limo arrived at Linda’s house. He stepped out and moved quickly to her door. She opened it just as he reached the porch. Malone had put the window down so we could see her reaction and hear their conversation.
Linda, you become more beautiful each time I see you.”
There was a moment of hesitation in her eyes before her face broke into a wide smile. “Vince. You are the perfect date.”
As I wrote this, a great old tune from George Michael turned up in the shuffle on Pandora. Here it is.