After about eight days, finally recovered from the pseudo-flu bouncing from office to office at work. Very glad that bout of discomfort ended well, for between whatever I had and the Poet's bronchitis, at night the bedroom doubled as an echo chamber for hacking coughs. Both of us feel much better now. Was even able to lace a beat up pair of running shoes and hit the trails yesterday, in the middle of a storm. Cold rain on bare skin felt much better than I remembered. This year I've been working on another novel, which includes the key characters from The Last Track, but wraps them in very different circumstances. Where much of the story of The Last Track happened in the woods--and necessarily s0--this novel incorporates both urban and suburban settings. Based on my close adherence to the outline up throughout the year, current word count, and the number of scenes left to write, I'm between a quarter to a third into the draft. Framing in calendar terms, the numbers translate to five to six more months. Obviously, estimates allow some latitude for illness and the constraints of the day job, but I feel such a target is very feasible. The good thing this manuscript is teaching me: If it's done right, going forward it will be possible to insert the key characters in many more settings than the first book suggests for them and markedly increase the plot and thematic palates available for my use. Ultimately, those and other adjustments should keep the writing process interesting, and allow for entertaining stories now and in many years to come. Alas, the bad thing is, developing a transitory context which serves as a solid bridge between what I know about the characters, and where the characters are telling me they want to go next has taken a very long time. Fortunately the critical characters have marketable skills and traits, which can be leveraged in ways I never considered when they first surfaced at the keyboard. The process of writing them into new situations these past months has proven that it works. Yet the real breakthrough that made this all possible, came not by careful plotting and spending lots of time writing, but in assisting the Poet with field research for her manuscript. Because during one excursion, entirely by accident, I saw it.