Sunday, October 13, 2019

Works In Progress

The other day I was tagged on a Facebook post by author K G Fletcher.  She listed a few key points about her current Work-in-Progress or WIP and asked me along with four other authors to do the same.  Just as I was about to respond, there was a moment’s hesitation.

Which one?

As in, which book should I mention?

Occasionally, I’ll have more than one story idea at a time that I’m working on. Chances are many other writers will be in the same situation. I get an idea for something that is just begging for my attention. It will haunt my subconscious, tugging here and there whenever possible for a few moments of focus. 

Currently I’ve written about 80 pages in the first draft of the next Jefferson Chene mystery.  This one involves a cold case murder investigation, where the primary suspect is Leo Agonasti, the retired mobster who makes his first appearance in “Your Turn to Die”.  When Agonasti learns that the FBI has a warrant for his arrest, he gives his associates brief instructions, “Get Chene”, in the hope that Chene and his team can solve the crime and clear him in the process.  That’s the story idea.  

But 80 pages is just getting started.

Meanwhile I’ve had this other idea that keeps trying to elbow its way into my free time. Unlike a mystery, this one will be about crime. It’s not to the point where I want to share much yet. So it’s like the beginnings of a skeleton. I just need to get more of the bones in place before starting to flesh it out. Hey, Halloween is just a few weeks away. Deal with it.

For Kelly’s prompt, I went with the Chene story.  There is a lot of history in the Detroit area about organized crime, that will provide some background to the story. Who knows, I might even throw in a bit about the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. Now there’s a cold case that would be great to solve.

Meanwhile, back to the keyboard.

When I started writing “Stealing Haven” it was just as things were wrapping up on “Your Turn to Die”.  The idea of sending Jamie and Linda on a vacation, before she meets Malone, couldn’t be ignored.  So once I got started with the idea, the story just flowed.

Here’s an excerpt.  In this scene, Jamie and Linda are exploring South Haven. Last night they had gone on a boat ride with Randy. Things started heating up quickly for Jamie, much to Linda’s delight. In this scene, Jamie and Linda are exploring South Haven when they bump into Jared, Randy's friend who they met at lunch the day before. 

Tuesday morning was another picture perfect day. At the rental place, we opted for small scooters. Together, we zoomed around the area, drove beyond the marina, and explored the northern part of the city, where a number of million-dollar homes faced the water. Some looked like palaces, others more laid back. We discovered rows of shops and even more white sandy beaches. Dressed in tank tops and shorts, we garnered more than a few waves from people as we cruised along.

We stopped at a coffee bar for a jolt of caffeine. Linda was examining the menu board when a deep voice sounded behind me.

“Think I’ll let you two off with a warning this time. There has been half a dozen near-miss accidents caused by guys watching you instead of the road.”

I turned around, laughing. “Some things are beyond our control, officer.”

Jared chuckled. “Actually, it’s sergeant. Having a good time?”

“The best. How bad was the school bus?”

He waved a stubby finger at me. “Almost forgot you’re a reporter.”

Linda pushed playfully at my shoulder. “She does not have a tape recorder or note pad tucked into her clothing. But I’d understand if you had to search her, just to be certain.”

He chuckled again and threw a broad wink at her. “Why do I get the feeling you expect me to search her?”

“Well, if you’re reluctant to do it, perhaps you could recommend someone who would. In the name of public safety and all.”

I felt the flush of embarrassment start at my toes and rocket through my body. Subtlety was not her style. I gestured at the menu board. “So what do you recommend?”

“I’m an old fashioned guy. Just coffee. But I take mine with a short blast of caramel. My daughters got me hooked on it.” Jared grinned. I was happy to move on to safer ground and avoid Linda’s hints at searching me. 

Coffees in hand, we walked outside to one of the patio tables with Jared taking a chair where he could watch the traffic going by, both vehicular and pedestrian. Maybe cops were always on alert. Linda and Jared were chatting about the area. I let me guard down for a minute and relaxed, soaked up the sunshine.

“Bumped into Randy this morning by the office. Said he had a great time on the lake last night.” Jared’s eyes bored into me. I choked on my coffee.

Linda nodded sweetly. “Yes, it was a great time. Don’t you agree, Jamie?”

“Absolutely.” The warmth had returned in full force.

Jared’s phone beeped. He apologized, then checked a text message. “Gotta run. Hey, if you’re in town Wednesday night, there’s a great band concert in the park. Starts about 7:00. Lots of good music.”

“We’ll check it out,” Linda said.

Jared saluted with his coffee cup. “Have fun. Maybe we’ll bump into each other again.”

“I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.” 

We watched him move quickly to an older sedan and drive away. Linda had a devilish expression on her face. 

“You do realize you were as red as your hair. And, don’t tell me its sunburn.”

“No, it’s windburn. From riding around on the scooters.”

She shook her head. “Jamie, you are so full of shit.”

“I can’t believe you were encouraging him to frisk me. And suggesting someone else should do it!”

“He’d already talked to Randy. Maybe, he mentioned getting to second base last night.”

I wanted to smack her. “He did not. Randy was a perfect gentleman.”

“Well, you got the perfect part right,” she said with a laugh.

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Music this week comes from Bob Seger.

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