As I type this, there are a bunch of men outside power washing my house. It’s 8:30 in the morning and they’ve been here since sunrise, getting the house ready to paint. At last! The poor old house needs a lot of getting ready. It has needed attention inside and out for years, but the past decade has been action-packed around Casa Casey, and upkeep has fallen by the wayside. When Don and I first moved in to this little house, we were quite a bit younger and energetic, and kept things up quite well. We did our own painting, decorating and landscaping and enjoyed it, too.
Alas, ten years of health problems (and the bills attendant thereon) have changed that formula. Now if any big job is going to get done around here, somebody else is going to get paid to do it during a lull in whatever action is going on with us at the time. So I’m writing this entry to the accompaniment of nail-pounding and cascading water, and imagining how spiffy the old hovel is going to look after a nice wash and a couple coats of paint.
In the meantime, I finally got the first 100 pages of the next Alafair Tucker novel turned in to my editor for her perusal and approval, I hope. If she likes the way it’s going and I get the go-ahead, the plan is to have it finished by April or May so that it will be ready for publication in the fall. Yes, it takes six months for the publisher to do what needs to be done before a book is ready for the reader.
The new book is tentatively called All Men Fear Me. Does this sound familiar, Dear Reader? I actually wrote All Men Fear Me a couple of years ago, though the current book bears little similarity to its predecessor. But I do like that title. Both AMFMs are/were set in 1917, the beginning of World War I. The first time I wrote a WWI book, my editor told me that she wished I’d slow down and not be in such a hurry to move the family through time. I listened to her, because I always do. All Men Fear Me went back into the file, and Crying Blood was born, followed by The Wrong Hill To Die On and Hell With the Lid Blown Off.
But whether we like it or not time does march on, even in my fictional world, and I ran out of 1916. So here we are. August 1917, the first draft lottery is about to be held, and believe me, not everyone in Oklahoma is convinced we should be “over there.” The temper of the times is such that expressing your opposition out loud is a dangerous thing to do. Alafair has a twenty-year-old son who will probably have to go whether he wants to or not, and a sixteen-year-old son who is desperate to get in on the action. There is a faction in town called the Knights of Liberty who are determined to make sure everyone is appropriately patriotic. On top of it all, Alafair gets a visit from her brother, a professional union organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, who says he’s just passing through and only wants to visit his family. Alafair wants to believe him, but his timing is suspicious to say the least. And of course somebody is going to get killed.
On January 22, I’ll be down in Sun Lakes, Arizona, just south of the Phoenix area, speaking at Robson Library along with Rhys Bowen and Jenn McKinlay. It should be a most lively event, and I hope to see you there, Dear Reader.