Friday, 25 July 2014

New Book, Almost Live

Almost a year ago, after having lunch with my brother, I was making my way home and stopped at a red light. It was the same route I always took, crossing the south end of the city instead of facing rush hour traffic on the highway. The trip took me longer, but was less stressful.

There I was, sitting at the red light that day, when I looked to my left and saw a pair of bungalows with a shared drive. The roof of the farther house was covered in birds. It took me a few seconds to get the movie Birds out of my head before I realized they were pigeons. As I inched forward I looked up the driveway to the back yard, and saw the ramshackle building I assumed was the pigeon coop.

For years I have taken this same road home from lunch with my brother or my friend from the city, and never before have I noticed these pigeons. It was odd, and I like odd, and the unusual.

All the way home I thought about what I had seen, and how I could use it in a book. The NaNoWriMo Challenge (write a novel in 30 days) was coming up and I needed an idea for my book.

By the time I arrived home I had a vague concept. I decided the first murder victim was going to be an old man who raised pigeons, and that his body would be found in the pigeon coop. The birds on the roof would indicate something was amiss when a family member came by.

I did a lot of research, on raising, housing, and racing pigeons. The birds are banded for identification purposes and I read about how pigeons were used in the war to relay information. That gave me food for thought. What could criminals use the pigeons for? What could the birds carry? After all, they don’t have to pass any check-in to cross the border. It would have to be small, like diamonds, or many a very small Flash Drive. Jewels would be too valuable a loss if the birds didn’t make it back to their home base, so I concentrated on the Flash Drive.

I figured it had to be something that the sender wanted to be untraceable, and I decided it could be something like Child Pornography. I was back to doing research, and let me be very clear here, I researched police and FBI web sites that dealt with how these agencies were trying to stop this terrible offense. I did not actually view any sites.

In doing the research I decided I didn’t want to write that story, not the way it had formed in my head thus far, so I changed it a bit, and took out any reference to actual racing of the pigeons. I had my old man retired and tending to the birds left from his previously active racing team.

I met the criteria for 50,000 words by the end of November, and set the book aside until after Christmas. Sometimes, I think editing is harder than writing the book in the first place, and by the time I’ve gone over and over it, I was so happy to have a final copy. I sent it out to some friends and fellow writers and got some very valuable feedback.

Then it was back to editing again. And then it was formatting. I asked my brother to do a cover and he used some of his many photos to create a very moody cover that supported the title.

I have completed the upload to Amazon and am, right at this moment, waiting for the book to go live. They say it can take about 12 hours, but I’m so excited to see all that work come to completion, I just had to share.

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