I’m thrilled to announce that the second book in the Li’l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau series, The Case of the New Year Dragon, has been accepted for publication by Tornado Alley Publications (a sister imprint of Fire Star Press)!
And speaking of new year dragons, one of the inspirations for this story was Gum Lung (pronounced "Goom Loong"), a dragon who stars in San Francisco’s New Year Parade each year.
Gum Lung is approximately 268 feet long and takes over 100 people to carry her down the parade route. She is lit up inside by thousands of tiny lights, making for quite an entrancing spectacle. The pearl of wisdom is usually carried before Gum Lung to encourage her as she winds her way through the San Francisco streets. Those observing the traditional ways believe she has magical powers and brings lucky energy.
Click here for a great YouTube video I found showing Gum Lung in all her magnificent glory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcW1vKq8Oak. See also this SFGate article for more about Gum Lung: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Celebrations-will-welcome-Year-of-the-Ox-3253637.php.
In doing research for The Case of the New Year Dragon, I attempted to find out where Gum Lung spends the rest of the year when not on display for the new year festivities. I never found out where the dragon is currently housed, but came upon an interesting story: Lawrence Ferlinghetti, writer, artist, and co-founder of City Lights independent bookstore and publishing house, discovered Gum Lung’s lair in the cellar of City Lights Bookstore in North Beach (sometime in the late 1950s). Ferlinghetti penned a poem, "The Great Chinese Dragon,” telling the tale of the dragon "creeping out of an Adler Alley cellar like a worm out of a hole sometime during the second week in February every year.” https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-great-chinese-dragon/.
When I lived in San Francisco, my husband, Tom, and I would always make a day of meandering through North Beach and Chinatown, which were always jam-packed with revelers, on the day of the Chinese New Year Parade.
We would, of course, finish the day by watching the famed parade, said to be the oldest and largest event of its kind outside of Asia.
Since Tom was born in the Year of the Dragon, we couldn’t miss the Year of the Dragon parade. Although the parade always features Gum Lung and other dragon representatives, this specific parade seemed to be more chock full of the colorful serpent than ever.
It was during this parade, way back while I was writing The Case of the Parrots Desaparecidos, that the idea struck me that Li’l Tom’s next case would be The Case of the New Year Dragon. I had no idea at the time what the story would be about, but have since worked that out. Stay tuned for The Case of the New Year Dragon in the coming year!
Angela Crider Neary is an attorney by day and writer by night. She is an avid mystery reader and especially enjoys reading novels set in interesting locales. She was inspired to write her first mystery novella, Li'l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau: The Case of the Parrots Desaparecidos, by one of her favorite areas in San Francisco, Telegraph Hill. To learn more, visit her on Facebook and Amazon.