Good news! In Moscow this past weekend (more of which to come), I finally finished the first draft of my new Roy Grace novel, “Dead Man’s Footsteps”, which will be published next June.

It is always a strange feeling sending your book off to your editor and your agent — it reminds me of all the times at school you handed in an essay to your teacher, and then waited anxiously for the verdict. Execept a novel is an essay that takes a year of my life! But most writers seem to feel the same. And then, more importantly still than the opinion of one’s publishers, is what, ultimately, matters most — the opinion of you, my wonderful readers. That is the most nail-biting, white-knuckle ride moment of all!!!

While I was there, for the Moscow Book Fair, I was reading the Moscow Times at breakfast on Thursday, and came across one of the most truly terrifying news stories I have ever read, which I thought I would share with you. This is it, from Kathmandu, Nepal:

Nepal’s state-run airline sacrificed two goats in hopes it would please Akash Bhairab, the Hindu sky god, and resolve technical problems with a troubled jet, officals said.

One of Nepal Airlines’ two Boeing 757 aircraft has been grounded for maintenance since last month. The other jet has suffered technical problems, which have forced the airline to cancel a number of flights, stranding passengers.

Hoping to end those problems, the airline sacrificed the goats earlier this week, said an airline official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters (PJ – I wonder why not??!!!)

“The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights,’ said Raju K.C. a senior airline official, without explaining what the problem had been.

A photograph published in the Kantipu newspaper this week showed the two goats sacrificed in front of the troublesome plane on Sunday. The photographer was detained for several hours for taking photographs in a restricted area.

See you all at the check-in desk. But no bleating if the flight is delayed. Ooops, sorry!!!