Several pages of said notebook are devoted to Shanks, the crime-writing character who has appeared in a bunch of my stories. Years ago I dreamed up this idea: Shank is on a committee trying to restore a Depression-era opera house in his city. It would be called the World Theatre, which would let me use the title (snicker) "Shanks Saves The World."
I liked it a lot. Only problem: What would my hero do to get the money for the restoration?
Sort of a big plot gap, right? And so the story sat in my notebook for years. But then I had a breakthrough.
Several stories about this odd duck made it into print but then my market for them, Murderous Intent Mystery Magazine, went the way of all periodicals and I moved onto other things.
So what if we offer Uncle Victor a well-deserved retirement and send Shanks to the producer instead, asking for a big donation for the theatre where, by a wonderful coincidence, some of the old man's bands used to perform? And the producer says, to get my money you have to find these musicians I ripped off decades ago...
Suddenly I had a plot. The result, titled (as you probably guessed) "Shanks Saves The World," is featured in the current (May/June 2020) issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. It is my 31st appearance there, and Shanks' tenth.
And speaking of more, if you want to read a completely different essay I wrote about "Shank Saves The World," you will find it at Trace Evidence, the AHMM blog.
And I hope you enjoy the story. Now back to my notebook...