March is rolling in like a lion at least in Northern California. We’re getting a few days' reprieve from the rain, but the local mountains have had snow on their peaks for almost a week now. That usually happens every winter, but the snow melts the next day. Not so this year. The Sierra Nevada mountain range is on track for the second-highest year ever for snowfall which will help our drought. I look around my backyard and see a mountain of weeds to pull once the rain stops in April or May.
I’m finishing up writing the 14th Jill Quint series book. I’ve had my nose to the grindstone so much on this one, I forgot to write this blog until this evening. Whoops. Anyhoo, I thought I’d give you a taste of the story with the opening three paragraphs. This is unedited, so pardon me for grammar and other mistakes—that will be edited out of the final copy.
Ed Thomas was standing in front of the cutter. He was an employee of the United States Treasury’s Bureau of Printing and Engraving in Washington D.C. The cutter was taking sheets of twenty-dollar bills and cutting them into single notes. The machine did all the work, he was there to stop it if it got jammed or wasn’t otherwise properly working. He’s been doing this exact job for fifteen years.
He felt a little light-headed which proceeded to get worse. So he hit the stop button on the machine as he needed to sit down and he couldn’t sit down without turning the machine off first. He hit the off button and before he knew it, collapsed to the floor. His teammates looked over when they saw the machine stop. They wore earplugs on the job to protect their hearing, so the hum of machinery was a little less noisy once the cutter came to a halt, though it took them a while to notice. The first person that looked over didn’t see Ed anywhere and assumed he stopped the machine for an emergency bathroom break as that happened on occasion. When the machine hadn’t resumed ten minutes later, someone went looking for Ed.
“OMG, Ed did you fall?” Aaron said, shaking his arm where he lay on the floor. When there was no response he shouted, “Someone call 9-1-1.” Others rushed to join Aaron, while the call was made to emergency services. There was a complex protocol to let emergency responders inside the building. With millions of dollars of cash laying around, an armed security escort was required. Every employee at every stage of the money-printing process was required to stand at their station and make sure that no one left with newly printed bills. It slowed the responders arriving at Ed’s side by perhaps a minute, but it didn’t matter. Ed died five minutes ago.
I’ve listened to the first 15 chapters of Red Rock Island and my narrator, Scott Ellis, is fantastic. I can’t wait to release this series on audio. Once I finish with the Damian Green Series, I’ll work on finding a narrator for the Jill Quint series.
My next newsletter arrives on March 15, better known as the Ides of March, or the date that Julius Caesar was assassinated. Apparently, a seer warned him of the coming danger, but he shrugged it off as he walked into the Roman Senate where he was stabbed to death. Sort of sounds like he needed Jill Quint on the job to keep him safe. Alas, she was born nearly 2300 years too late. On that grim note, I hope you have a splendid first half of March.