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That Old Cloak and Dagger Routine

All the places where you can buy That Old Cloak and Dagger Routine, available as a paperback ($14.99) and as an ebook ($3.99), and 252 pages long. Also, some notes on how the first book in the Operation Quickline happened.

They only thought they knew what they were getting into

That Old Cloak and Dagger Routine Synopsis

It was September, 1982. Broke and desperate, Lisa Wycherly thought she was signing on as simply a secretary for wealthy freelance writer Sid Hackbirn. Okay, it was a live-in position, which was weird. But even though Lisa believed sex belonged in marriage, and Sid believed in free love and slept around, she went for it.

However, Lisa soon noticed that things around Sid’s house were a little odd, and the oddities were a little too planned to be mere eccentricity. Sid had warned her that he could be dangerous to know. Lisa stayed on only to find that Sid was really an undercover operative for a super-secret organization called Operation Quickline, and that she had been recruited, as well. Soon she was ditching tails, picking up packages, and fighting off bad guys.

As much as her life had been turned upside down, she was about to turn Sid’s life upside down, too. And he had no idea it was coming.

Check out the Operation Quickline page for more:

Read the first chapter of That Old Cloak and Dagger Routine here:

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How I wrote That Old Cloak and Dagger Routine

Back in the fall of 1982, I had this really weird dream. I was trying to kick out this old man. I put his suitcase out on the porch, but then he brought it right back in. The next thing I knew, I had a thirteen-book series featuring Lisa Wycherly and Sid Hackbirn.

I’m not sure why Lisa started talking as loudly to me as she did. I had just started working on my master’s degree in theatre. I had plenty of other things to think about. Nonetheless, she came to life and I had to write her down.

What caught my interest was the juxtaposition of a woman who had very strong religious values and believed that sex is best in marriage up against an atheist who believed in free love. Which meant that I had two challenges: How to make Lisa an approachable, fun character who wasn’t judgmental, and how to make Sid an exciting, sexy guy without making him a sleazeball.

As much as I liked the characters, they did fall by the wayside for a lot of years. I took the book out and did re-writes every so often. I hadn’t originally planned to keep the book in its original 1980s setting, but then AIDS happened. Sid, as he’d originally been conceived, couldn’t possibly have continued in that environment. As the years passed, it meant he’d be pretty old to be a Vietnam vet.

Then there was the problem of why Lisa would be sharing about this top-secret organization. So, I made these her journals, with dates instead of chapter headings. I also added a prologue explaining that the organization had been moth-balled and de-classified. Sid’s voice also kept popping in, and I had to include it in the form of interjections and other observations.

I first blogged the book as a fiction serial in 2016. Since then, I’ve updated it yet again to fix some plot problems and to reflect another regular character’s presence. Conchetta Ramirez had always been in the background, but recently, she became a lot more real and I wanted the original story to reflect that.

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