Heading To The Club
Let’s start with a game. How many times in my life do you think someone’s asked me what I was doing tonight, and my answer was: “I’m heading to the club!” If you answered zero (0) times, then you can feel pretty good about yourself… and perhaps feel a bit sad for me. Whatever. This is why I’m single, and other self-depreciating jokes.
More importantly, this is part of the reason it took three complete restarts to get today’s release, Dominoes, off the drawing board. As I’ve said before, we writers need to be very grateful that our chosen communications method allows us free do-overs. For a novella that finished at 37,000 words, I wrote more than 100,000… but it was well worth the effort.
As we really start to sink our teeth into 1942, we begin to examine questions of racism; can the black soldiers of the 25th United States Infantry hope to get along with the local white Catholic Newfoundlanders… particularly while drinking, dancing, and merrymaking together in a club owned by a black entrepreneur?
We also get a closer look at the female officer candidates; are the ladies trying to follow in Stephanie Shylock‘s footsteps really up to the job, or are they just a bunch of self-important, deluded, and annoyingly-privileged aristocrats who think wearing a uniform is a game?
I’ll be digging into both of those questions with future author notes, though if you’re familiar with some of my past comments, I suspect my biases on both these subjects may already be evident. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, there’s one element of Dominoes that really caught me by surprise, both now and in the past: Lady Elspeth Cornish. We met Elspeth under difficult circumstances back in 1941. At first encounter, I’d assumed that she’d just be another Lady, whose bad luck happened to be the plot driver in her eponymous novella. I don’t think she liked that… but I do think she liked someone. And they’ve bonded since.
So after drinking together back in Dragons, it seems the common-raised Champion from
London Essex has cornered our heroic Colour Sergeant for dinner in the kitchen of Newfoundland’s newest Jazz club. There’s a very brief taste of their conversation in the Dominoes excerpt.
What would Daphne think? And what would Mike Strong do?
Well, without giving much away, I think Mike Strong will learn something about himself… and indeed, I’m pretty sure all of our characters will learn things about themselves. That’s what usually happens at a club, right?
Hm. Maybe my lack of experience at the club is showing.
Anyway, like The Jupiter Patrol before it, Dominoes gives us a prolonged look into the minds of our characters, under circumstances that at first might seem innocuous. That’s just as well, because like The Sinope Affair before it, Scourge (our next Champions installment), is going to be laden with danger.