Well, things were beginning to look somewhat normal again and then BAM! We had a couple of in-person signing events before the Delta variant sent Covid cases soaring again and now we are back to eating take-away and huddling with a few select friends in our neighborhood bubble and hoping it doesn’t get a lot worse.
So, in-person book promotions are on hold for the foreseeable future and so is my library research for the moment, but I have plenty of irons in the fire that will keep me busy. As promised in last month’s blog, I have included some hints at the projects I have in the works.
I am about 70% done with the first draft and hope to have this done for a release date of late Spring 2022. There is definitely a series of stories for these characters, and this is the first in the series. As of yet, I don’t even have a working title, so my manuscript is labeled McLeod 1. I am open to suggestions!
Jack McLeod is born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama (SURPRISE!). His dad was a BPD Detective, and his mom was a schoolteacher. Jack was drafted right out of high school by the Atlanta Braves and went straight to the big league as a relief pitcher for what many consider the best starting rotation in the history of baseball – Glavine, Avery, Smoltz and Maddux. His baseball career was short lived due to chronic injury, and he ended up following his father into police work. He is now a freelance detective splitting his time between investigating cases for the U.S. Department of Justice and volunteer work for the Equal Justice Initiative.
With his baseball signing bonus, Jack invested in a downtown building where now he lives on the top floor and two of his father’s friends and partners operate the Batterton Coffee House and Music Hall on the ground floor. In this first story, Jack gets a clue to a bizarre tale totally unrelated to the case he is investigating for EJI. An intriguing story handed down through the generations about Confederate gold buried in downtown Birmingham. With the help of his friend, a history professor, an investigation ensues to disprove the story, but vague clues are uncovered that may prove the story has some merit but is short on details. The mystery deepens has Jack and a group of graduate students from UAB delve into the archives in search of treasure that may have been hidden beneath the streets of downtown Birmingham more than a hundred years ago.
Magic in the Magic City (Working Title)
This is a project that has been rattling around for a few years. It was sparked by a dream I had while researching turn of the century Birmingham for Magic City Murder Déjà Vu.
A man is out on his usual morning walk through downtown Birmingham. As he strolls down Morris Avenue, the city’s oldest street and one that he travels every day, he notices a rusted door ajar under one of the overpasses that connect the city’s north and south sides over the railroad tracks. After hundreds of strolls on the street, he has never even noticed the door before, so he stops for peak inside. As he steps through the door, he his hit with a blinding light and his body is catapulted back onto the cobblestone street by some unforeseen force. He is shaken by this odd occurrence and looks back at the door, but it isn’t there. The large concrete viaduct support surrounding the door isn’t there either. Instead, the structure crossing the tracks is wooden and is under construction. He looks around to see horses and wagons populating the busy street. He is still on Morris Avenue, but his surroundings are so different. Some of the buildings are there but look much different. He notices the large skyscraper built more than one hundred years ago is now under construction. He stands there frozen as his mind reels trying to figure out what he is seeing. What has happened? A man approaches him as he stands in the street to check on him, “Are you okay, Mister?” The voice snaps him out his fog and he looks at the man dressed in odd attire. “What year is it?” he asks, still bewildered. “It’s 1906,” he answers cautiously.
I hope to explore what life was like in the burgeoning young city at the turn of the last century, as well as the man’s quest to get back to his time, while dealing with the harshness of life without the modern comforts he knows and trying to acclimate to the new time frame with people he meets. Are there others like him? How did this happen? How can he get back?
Mary and Billy
This story is one based in a true story of love and tragedy, and I hope I can gather enough facts to create my first non-fiction book, but if I can’t, then I will let my imagination fill in the blanks because it is a tale that needs to be told. The main characters are my wife’s paternal grandparents, Mary Findlay and William (Billy) Waterson Muir. You probably noticed the familiar names there.
Mary was born to Scottish immigrants and Billy was a Scottish immigrant here on a student visa enrolled in a local business college. The two met in the Birmingham neighborhood of Pratt City, which was its own entity in the early 1900’s. Although recently arrived from Scotland, Billy was known throughout the south for his skills on the soccer field. Mary was the oldest child of the Findlay clan. Their love story began with a rising Birmingham, World War 1, and a Spanish Flu Pandemic as the backdrop. Although I have many of their love letters and other family papers, I am going to need to dig through the archives to find more about their story which I know was brief, poignant and tragic, but one filled with love. Wish me luck on that and stay tuned!
If you have read my latest book, BOMBINGHAM A Day of Reckoning, please let me know what you think. Or better yet, post a review on Amazon so that others can find the book.