It’s time. Folks have been bugging me about book number four in the Old Los Angeles series, so, it’s time to get it written. My mother-in-law, in particular, made it clear that she’s not getting any younger. I mean, it’s seriously cool that my mother-in-law is one of my biggest fans. She does have a point, however. She’s not that old, but she is not getting any younger.
Only, see, last summer The Series That Ate My Brain took over, and I just had to write it. That’s the Operation Quickline series, a kind of cozy spy series that’s about the romance as much as it is about the espionage. And the espionage is pretty tame. I technically wrote the books in the early 1980s, when the series is set, and I have been progressively re-writing them, then posting them as a fiction serial on my blog. The current story is These Hallowed Halls, and you can read it here. Or wait until sometime in May, when the book will be available. In the meantime, if you like ebooks, you can pick up the first five in the series here at Smashwords or at Amazon. I put them out as a boxed set and just put them on sale yesterday for $3.99.
The problem is, most of the people who’ve read the Old Los Angeles series really want another book. I am exceedingly grateful that plenty of people want to read more about Maddie Wilcox and the cast of thousands that populate this particular series. I just didn’t expect that they’d be salivating this hard. I’m not used to being popular.
The worst of it is, I know who my victim is. I know who killed her. I even know the title, which is Death of an Heiress. I just don’t know how Maddie is going to figure who that bad person is. Or about anything else that’s going to happen in the 75,000-odd words I have to crank out.
I am getting into my research, looking at photos of L.A. during that time period, reading the newspapers and medical journals from the time. I figure that will help get the rest of the book together. My biggest problem right now is that I don’t know how the story starts.
I know it has to start with Lavina Gaines. She’s the heiress in the title and has appeared in the two most recent titles, Death of the City Marshal and Death of the Chinese Field Hands. If you’ve read those books and liked her, well, sorry about that. If you haven’t, then we have to see what we’re losing here and why it peeves Maddie so deeply that someone bumped her off.
I’m thinking I’m probably going to start it with the scene in which Lavina’s brother uses the courts to cheat her out of her inheritance. That’s something Timothy would do. Actually, something most men in the 19th Century would do. And it’s not really a spoiler that one of the first scenes after Lavina is killed will be Timothy asking Maddie for help finding her killer. Mostly because he’s worried that everyone thinks he did it. Timothy is a bit a of a jerk.
What makes this so frustrating is that I am a straight-through kind of writer. I cannot start in the middle, then go to the beginning, write the ending first. I start at Chapter One, and if I get stuck, I don’t get any further. It’s not that I haven’t changed the beginning of a novel. I do often enough. But just getting something on the screen to get something on the screen seldom gets me further into a story.
But Death of an Heiress will happen. I promise. I’m putting it out here right now so that if another freaking Quickline story grabs a hold of me, I’ll have a really good reason to put it on the back burner. I just have to find where to begin the story.
How do you find your beginning?