Meme Monday – License to Edit

Gypsy 007

Let’s face it, all work needs editing even visual work. I used this concept a while back in the post “A Meme with no President.” Adobe Creative Cloud still challenges me, but I am getting more comfortable in it. The original meme was built using MS Publisher. This one I did in Photoshop. I think it’s better. Compare the two and let me know what you think.

Meme Monday – Cloak and Dagger

Cloak and Dagger Meme

Ever the catchphrase of espionage, cloak and dagger signify the two traditional functions of spies: subterfuge and sabotage. Assassination could be considered the ultimate sabotage. Carlos de Leon knows how to cloak, but he is a uniquely honed dagger. The novel is available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle editions.

Below is a picture of the prized Office of Technical Services (OTS) “Spyman” statuette awarded to CIA officers for honorable services while assigned to OTS.

CIA Spyman

The Plot Thickens

One of the most encouraging comments I have received from Gypsy Spy readers has been, “What happens next?” I am thrilled to be working on the answer. After months of research, reading, and dreaming, I am finally plotting out the story arc of Valley of Wolves.  The story picks up not long after where we left off. With the original time line of Gypsy Spy spread out in front of me along with my stack of research notes and my idea journal, I spent the better part of the day outlining the path into the Valley of Wolves. It promises to be wild ride.

 

 

Hishoro

The idea of a diminutive old woman intimidating a world class assassin intrigued me. Gypsy Spy is populated with a host of minor characters with deep histories. We get glimpses of Hishoro throughout the narrative. She will receive a fuller treatment in Valley of Wolves, the next Gypsy Spy novel. Partially inspired by Frank Herbert’s character Shadout Mapes from Dune, she is a major vertebra in the deep spine of the story. This vignette comes to you from Chapter 36.

“You are dangerous,” a voice said behind him. Shane spun on his heel only to be confronted by Hishoro. She was a full head shorter than he. Yet, she always managed to make him feel intimidated. “You should leave us be,” she told him, brow knitted in anger.

“I cannot,” he said. “You are an addiction.”

“We are a convenience. The Rroma desire to live in peace. The lure of money has clouded Alfonso’s judgment. If not for you, he would not be involved in illegal activities.”

“Illegal activities?” Shane said, surprised by the shallowness of her argument. He knew Hishoro to be anything but shallow. “Illegal to whom, Hishoro? By the world’s standards, your people are the epitome of lawlessness. I’ve brought no ill will to your people. Why do you dislike me so? Are you simply a bigoted, sour woman?” She sparked a shadow of a smile at his onslaught. Was she simply fishing for a reaction? he wondered.

“No, I am not a bigot. I suffer the Gazhe better than most.”

“Then what is the problem?”

“You walk with death, Taliga. It hangs on you. And death is of Beng, the evil one. Walk with death and soon it will walk on you and all that are yours,” she warned him sternly and left without giving him the chance of rebuttal. A strange one there, he thought. But if I ever get her on my side, he added, she would be a powerful ally.

Hang tight, Gypsy Spy fans! Valley of Wolves should be in your hands in 2019!

Finding the Valley of Wolves

I am a firm believer that if one does one’s due diligence in research, the writing almost takes care of itself. Embedding fictional characters and technologies in the real world requires an understanding of that world, particularly if one has opted to leverage an entire ethnic group as a literary device.

When I began writing Gypsy Spy decades ago, there was no internet, no Amazon, and no easily accessible tomes on Romani language. I made do with popular histories, encyclopedias, and personal experience.

Gypsy Spy research.2

Thankfully, Romani grammars were available when I began the final rewrite of Gypsy Spy in 2015. These allowed me to standardize the Romani phrases that are salted throughout the work, increasing the story’s authenticity and connection to the real world.

My most recent research tool find is the Google Newspaper Archives. Containing scanned images from newspapers published as early as the 1860s and as recently as a few years ago, this site is a treasure trove of possibilities. The headlines have given me a story frame to house the next adventure for Carlos de Leon, a.k.a. Gavin Leoppard, the Gypsy Spy. Happy hunting!

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