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It's been a mild winter, so far, at least here in northern Indiana; it's been a wild winter elsewhere, with people further to the south getting a lot of the bad stuff we usually get. So we can't really complain ...

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course we can complain! There are certain things that come natural to humans: Eating, sleeping, sh--um, expelling waste ... and complaining. As I write this the ground is covered with snow and it's four degrees outside--that's with the "F", which I believe is about minus 15 Celsius. After an unseasonably warm January, this is like finishing your steak and realizing you still have a plate of asparagus to eat.

Which, I guess, makes April the brownie dessert.
You know who's been loving this lousy weather? Our dog. Well, the name Beowulf comes from a Scandinavian story, and it's pretty cold up there, so maybe he's just honoring the title.

But since the weather got colder, I've been having trouble getting him to come inside. I'll open the back door and find him laying in the snow, and when I tell him he can come in he just turns around and looks at me. "Dude, I'm okay out here. Double coat, don't ya know."

No, I don't know. I wear six layers in this weather, and I'm still not warm.

If it's snowing, by the time I coax him in he looks like a pure white dog, until he shakes and turns the kitchen into a snow globe.
Speaking of dog colors, picture Bea (it takes way too long to say "Beowulf") a little bigger, and all black. Got it in your mind? Okay. With cosmetic changes, we dropped Bea into our new novel, a humorous mystery set at Brown County State Park in southern Indiana. He tools across the country in an RV, along with a husband and wife who share a mysterious path and an appetite for adventure. The working title is We Love Trouble, and I very much hope to turn it into a series--I've got lots of ideas, after brainstorming the first book with Emily. Bea has surprisingly little input.

It's pretty much a typical murder mystery, except with an exceptionally--almost supernaturally--smart dog. And ghosts. And maybe Bigfoot. I've been calling it "The Thin Man meets Scooby Doo", for those of you who remember The Thin Man.

Does that grab your curiosity? Well, maybe I shouldn't tell you this next part, then.

It's a winter full of writing projects, all slowed by illnesses, as  happens in winter. That's why there was a delay getting More Slightly Off the Mark out in print, although it's almost ready now. It also means that, after finishing the second draft, I put aside editing We Love Trouble so we can get our other big project finished by summer.

That--it's been awhile since I mentioned it--is our untitled photo book on the Albion Fire Department, where I've volunteered for almost forty years. (Wow.) I'd intended all along to get that done after More Slightly Off the Mark and before We Love Trouble, so I'm just going back to the original plan. The photo book is outlined and many of the pictures scanned into the computer, so I'm hoping it won't take too long. (Barring, oh, pneumonia, or the coronavirus, which--that's how our luck goes.)

Oh, if you live around here and have photos relating to our town's fire department in any way, drop us a line! If we can borrow them long enough to run through the scanner, you get your name including in the book. Like the last one, Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights, your contribution goes toward supporting the volunteer department's operation.

 
Winter's not over yet--and with all this to do, maybe that's for the best.
Emily took this--what do you think? New author photo? I mean for me.
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