Wednesday, May 18, 2011

March Storm (Sequel to January Moon)

This is a revision of my earlier post to update you on the progress I've made creating the cover for March Storm! Fun Stuff!

March Storm is the second book in the Del Carter Calendar Series that began with January Moon (and yes, there is NO February!).

I've been working on the cover and here's a DRAFT (we're still tweaking it) but what I know already is that Wolf is a keeper; everyone adores Wolf! I think, however, we're going to shrink his image down a bit so the twister is more prominent. I just love this picture of the twister; we acquired it from NOAA. It's a real picture and what I find so unique about it is that it has this really weird salmon/peachy-pink sky -- not the usual tornado greenish black sky at all. But there's going to be nothing typical about the storms in March Storm, whether they be nature made or of man's own venal nature.

Another thing we'll modify in this draft is we're going to keep the font and pitch on this cover the same as the font and pitch we used for the title January Moon and my name on the cover of  January Moon.

I'm working with Donna Casey for this cover; Donna created the cover for January Moon (and for that cover we used the evocative winter moon shot that my friend Cindy Newlin O'Connor, who's a professional photographer, offered me for the cover). Donna ( and I are clearly forging an understanding of what I like to convey on a book cover. I'm more and more firmly embracing the "less is more" theory and Donna has helped me become more knowledgeable about what I like and don't like. (Thanks, Donna!)

So, now that I've shown you a draft of the cover for March Storm, let's talk about the book itself!

If you've read January Moon you already know that Lt. Del Carter, a Chicago homicide detective, had his mind and soul messed up by the notorious serial killer, Bradley Mommsen (the United Nations Serial Killer). Early in January Moon we learn Del has fantasies about turning in his badge, chucking the city life, and exploring a saner life in the country. Del even mentions he might like to be an alpaca farmer, an idea that his lover, Jessica Farrell, tends to think is absurd. Jess enjoys her position as a history professor at Loyola University and isn't thrilled about the prospect of being a farmer's wife.

Well, if Del was feeling burned out and screwed up before the "Big Bitch" she-monster Rae Hart entered his life, you can imagine how he feels at the end of January Moon. Jess, of course, has also looked evil in the eye and barely survived the encounter. So, as the curtain goes down in January Moon, Del has told the Mayor of Chicago and the Superintendant of Police to go to hell and it's pretty clear that Del's fantasy about a quiet life in the country with a small herd of gentle alpacas is suddenly looking pretty damn nice to the badly beaten and scarred Jess.


In March Storm we find Del and Jess married and living with their two small children in LeSueur (pronounced luh SOOR), Illinois. LeSueur is a picturesque river town about 100 miles south of Chicago. LeSueur was founded as a Catholic mission by the French Jesuit Jean-Michel Le Sueur in 1678, three years after the more famous Jesuit Jacques Marquette established a similar mission roughly 100 miles away near present day Utica. 

English, Irish and Germans followed the French to LeSueur and the trappers gave way to farmers,  merchants and small businessmen. Over the years LeSueur tenaciously clung to life through floods, tornadoes, droughts and pestilence. Today it's a beautiful area that's known for its outdoor recreation opportunities along the river. 

LeSueur is also known for some utterly bizarre local history. The LeSueur Historical Society likes to stress how Lincoln and Douglas almost debated in the town square in 1858 but the venue was changed at the last minute. Less serious types like to entertain with the tale about Mrs. Beatrice Hoopswaller's 1937 murder conviction regarding the peculiar disappearance of her husband Hal.

Beatrice’s life began to unfold after a small hairy toe with an ugly yellow nail was found in one of the forty-two apple-mincemeat pies she happily donated to St. Vincent’s Annual Christmas Season Bake Sale. As luck would have it, the pie slice with the nauseating toe ended up on Sheriff McGinty's dessert plate. Mrs. Emmeline Boudreau died of food poisoning three days later, a matter that was largely attributed to her gluttonous passion for mincemeat and appples. As the story goes, Mrs. Boudreau had virtually inhaled the whole pie by herself before she heard the bad news about the toe. 

Counting the Sheriff's and Mrs. Boudreau's pies, thirty-seven pies were recovered or accounted for, which left a certain unsettling mystery about the other five. 

Whichever way you look at it, the story about Beatrice's pies trumps anything about the planned Lincoln-Douglas debate. 

LeSueur has always been and primarily remains a farm community; the few manufacturing, industrial, and service-related jobs in the area have traditionally supported the farming community, nearby Forest View Community College (where Jess now teaches) and the LeSueur Nuclear Power Plant.

When the United States Geological Society announced it was funding a center for geological research at the community college the local press hardly noticed and failed to ask any probitive questions. Curiously, none of the employees at the nuclear power plant seemed to care either. This was a vast relief to the USGS who feared the local population might begin to ask a lot of pointed questions, especially after it was obvious all the way to Milwaukee that the New Madrid Fault seemed a bit perkier of late.

People were much more interested in the Wal-Mart store going up at the outskirts of town. Some people, however, insisted on talking about Mickey Rivera's strange disappearance while others preferred to focus on persistent rumors about corruption in the local sheriff's department.

Every now and then somone would unwisely ask if anyone had heard the rumors about dog fighting or human trafficking that occasionally circulated around LeSueur, but wiser people quickly changed the subject.

Del and Jess soon learn that the picture-perfect farm community they've chosen for their new home has more skeletons than a cemetery and more criminal behavior than even a homicide dick from Chicago could begin to imagine. They'll be even more amazed when Mother Earth begins to show the area a thing or two.

In March Storm, Del and Jess and many of the same folks that readers loved in January Moon find themselves in the middle of small town corruption and scandal, dog fighting, human trafficking, and murder. Oh, and did I also mention flood waters and an earthquake? 


1 jar (1 lb.) prepared mincemeat
2 c. canned applesauce
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. lemon rind
Pastry for 9 inch double crust pie
1 tbsp. butter

Combine mincemeat, applesauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and rind. Mix well. Roll out half of pastry and line 9 inch pie pan. Pour in applesauce - mincemeat mixture. Dot with butter. Roll out remainder of pastry. Cut in strips and arrange lattice fashion over filling. Trim and flute pastry to make standing edge. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cold. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Bon appetit!

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