January, 2019 update

Happy belated New Year!  If the first two weeks of this year are any indication, 2019 is going to be as busy a year as 2018 was.  I hope everyone had a great holiday, and are already used to writing 2019 on their checks and other correspondence.

Looking back on my 2018 goals, I found that I didn’t accomplish most of them, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it.  I did get ahead on my Barnstormers story by writing the next stop for NaNoWriMo, and I’m really happy with the way that turned out.  The first chapter of Bridget and Kiki’s adventures in 1925 Chicago is attached below.

The Writers Group that I coordinate celebrated six years of monthly meetings with a featured reader spot at the THC Reading Series in October, and the story I wrote to the theme of the evening featured the characters from my Adventures Comics Comics Emporium series.  I figure I just need one short story with them and I would have enough to publish in book form.  You can read some of the stories on my Short Stories page.

I finally have a good idea for my next story in the Sleep Detectives universe, and since I’m far enough ahead on the Barnstormers piece, I feel I can take some time to write that.  I need to get back to those characters because I really like them.

And this year I am definitely going to submit a story or two for publication somewhere.  I have a few pieces that I thought were good enough, but when I went back to them, they seem to need more work.  This will be a priority this year.

The next THC Reading Series night will be on Saturday, January 19, but Stephie and I have another commitment and will not be going.  That doesn’t mean you can’t go and listen to some fine stories. There’s free parking, no admission, the tamales are excellent, and it’s BYOB.  They start at 7pm.  I do plan to be there for the February event, which will be on February 23.

I mentioned my Barnstormers story above, and if you’ve even considered joining my mailing list to read the full story as it comes out, now’s the perfect time to jump on, as the chapter I just sent begins with the ladies arriving in Chicago, where they have been hired to perform stunts over Riverview Amusement Park on the north side of the city.

I had done a lot of research for this story, because I want to make it as accurate as possible.  The story is fiction, but I’ve tried to make it as realistic as I could.  This is a bigger concern in this particular arc because I live in the Chicago area and many of my readers do as well, so the odds that someone would call me out on a factual inaccuracy are quite high.  I found a lot of interesting information while doing research for this chapter.  For instance:

  • The Checkerboard field where Kiki and Bridget keep their plane was located at the corner of First Avenue and Roosevelt Road in Maywood.  It was a major hub in the early days of air mail service, and one of the pilots who regularly landed at the field was Charles Lindbergh.
  • I wanted to have my characters drive down Cermak Ave, but discovered that it was called 22nd Street in 1925.  It was not known as Cermak until after the assassination of Mayor Anton Cermak in 1933.
  • Corruption in local government is nothing new, as I’m sure some still goes on today, but in the ’20s, it was not uncommon to lose your business license for refusing to have a mob-supplied jukebox or pinball machine, or to stock booze supplied by local organized crime figures, even though this was at the height of Prohibition..

I hope you enjoy reading Barnstormers: The Adventures of Kiki and Bridget as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Thanks for reading!

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