Thursday, December 5, 2013
PROGRESS IN THE GALAPAGOS AND OTHER STUFF
The current Work In Progress reached a milestone. The first draft of “The Origin of Murder” is complete, I’ve also completed the first round of edits, and a copy is currently being read by my wife with her trusty blue pen. I like this new book, which started with rediscovering Elaine’s journal describing her impressions of what we saw when we took the cruise through the Galapagos Islands that Roger, Suzanne, and their entourage take in this current novel. The plot evolved from the original idea (which is still the central theme of “Whydunit”), to a much more complex story as the peripheral characters began clamoring for enhanced identities and backstories. “Whodunit” evolved with the novel. Along the way I ended up doing a lot of research (I’d tell you about what, but that would be a spoiler) and learned a lot about [CENSORED] and [CENSORED].
As my supporting cast of characters gets larger and larger, they seem to demand more and more to do in each book. I’m going to have to kill off one or two regulars pretty soon just to keep Suzanne’s traditional role intact. “The Origin of Murder” gives our Swiss Army Knife of a Nanny, Bruce, a goodly share of the ink (or, for the purists out there, the electrons) in this story. Eduardo Gomez plays a significant role, and for the first time ever brings his wife Sophia along to join in the fun. The mysterious General Vincente Aleman, who sits next to Roger on the flight between Guayaquil and Baltra, is based on a real general in the Ecuadorian Air Force who sat next to me when we took the same flight.
The pitter-patter of not so petite puppy feet is still audible at the Last house. Elaine fell in love with the last puppy, now named Ries (short for Riesling wine), who seems to have joined our pack. Great-Grandma Vinia, Grandma Jolie, and Mother Schöne embraced Ries, and play with him like three very large puppies themselves. It’s a great dynamic---maybe they’ve been starved for male companionship? I can hardly wait to write the blog post the first time a sexually mature Ries has to deal with being surrounded by two females in season.
Thanksgiving featured turkey, side dishes, desserts, friends, and family. The newest addition Sarabella, now three months old, and all of the other three grandchildren were there, so the entire immediate family joined us. Mike (our youngest son) and I watched most of the Detroit Lions versus Green Bay Packers game, which reminded me of my undergraduate and graduate school days at the University of Wisconsin. My girlfriend Jan and her family would host a lovely Thanksgiving dinner for family and pertinent others like me, with the Packer game an essential part of the digestion process.
Another reason to celebrate Thanksgiving here in Northern California was record-breaking good weather---a high of 71 degrees and bright sunshine on Thursday. The bad news is we’re in a drought, but for catching up with leaf raking and picking the remaining pomegranates from the tree, the glorious blue sky and sunshine were hard to beat. The last of the pomegranates were squeezed and frozen as juice or syrup. The leaves continue to fall. Next week’s weather forecast includes colder nights and rain. But, in the meantime, it’s still nice.