No, it was just that I was busy writing the new novel and I kind of forgot about doing anything here. Or more accurately, the only thing I meant to do here was post some pictures and that seemed like kind of a low priority.
INSERT DRUMROLL HERE:
First draft of the debut mysterious novel project was completed Friday, July 11, and sent out to my primary reader(s).
This has been a complete experiment - like pretty much all my writing - and went, to my surprise, more along the lines of a procedural.
I don't know why it was a surprise, exactly. [insert curious eyebrows here]
This project uses a dual point of view, and one of the POVs is the investigating officer. I had to do some research (of course) on how crimes are investigated in the city of Los Angeles. One discovery is that there is no central "homicide" group. It seems most crimes, including homicides, are investigated from within the main bureau of the specific geographic area. The exceptions are counterterrorism and "special operations," and specific types of robbery and homicide incidents.
Visit the LAPD organization chart for more - because I am a nerd, I found this utterly fascinating: http://www.lapdonline.org/inside_the_lapd/content_basic_view/1063).
I have a big fat caveat for when this novel is released, and that is: I did not interview or otherwise consult any LAPD personnel. (The LAPD clearly states they do not want to be talking to every Tom, Dick, and Screenwriter about how things are done.) So when it comes to specifics of procedure, the text is based on forty years of reading mystery and detective fiction (and watching it on TV) plus my own deductions as to how it would work plus, essentially, fantasy.
Should I say so in an author's note? Maybe so. On the flip side, hey: IT'S FICTION. Gourd knows I have read enough mysteries wherein law-enforcement procedures were blatantly incorrect and nobody seemed to mind.
I probably will say so, just because I like talking to my readers.
Suffice to say, I have done my best to make the investigative process realistic and plausible. The alert reader will be able to tell from the tone of the piece, starting on page one, that it is not a deadly-serious, letter-of-the-law, deeply researched "true crime" story.
What it is, I think it is fair to say, is a bigger L.A. story.
One that retains my sense that the creativity of this city is a thing to be celebrated, and that the diversity of the people within it is infinitely interesting.
It just happens to hinge on mayhem and murder, instead of romance.
There's a little bit of romance too. I couldn't help it.
Composition notes, for those who are interested: the actual writing of this piece took three weeks (just over 40,000 words). The research and structure phase, which included charting and scheduling the play at the heart of the story, took about another three weeks. The play which inspired the whole thing was written some years ago, also in roughly three weeks. Call it ten weeks, inclusive, of part-time writing; meaning 10-12 hours per week on average.
There is additional work to be done, because having gone to all the trouble of charting and scheduling (and rewriting) the play, I now intend to publish it as well. Since it is a musical, that means doing sheet music for the songs. New software is in transit.