4 Things I Love about Motts’s Cottage

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One of the main characters in my Motts Cold Case Mystery Series has to be the cottage. I know it’s not a person but it has a personality all its own. Here are just a few reasons I love it.

The Garden

Vegetables, fruit, herbs. Cactus adores running around the garden. It very much is a safe haven for Motts.

The Fireplace

Motts spends a lot of time in front of her fire. She tends to run cold outside of hot flashes, so keeping warm is important. And also, Cactus is very sensitive to the cold.

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The Bathroom

Despite being a little cottage bathroom, Motts loves her tub. Cactus, however, is highly suspicious of water.

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My Favourite Austen Adaptations

What’s the best Jane Austen movie adaptation? If you’re a fan, you probably have many thoughts on this question. I know I do.

I thought I’d share my favourites per book.

Pride & Prejudice – I’ve seen so many adaptations (I’m not counting the modern takes in this–just the more close ones.) My favourite is probably the Colin Firth version. He’s glorious as Darcy. And I love so many of the secondary characters.

Though, Donald Sutherland’s portrayal of Mr Bennett was magnificent.

Persuasion – This is my favourite Jane Austen book. The only one I re-read periodically. As much as I love Rupert Penry-Jones in the 2007 one, the earlier version with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root win my heart. They’re brilliant. The subtlety of their pain, angst, and romance is palpable.

Emma: Probably my least favourite overall of Jane Austen’s works that I’ve read/seen, I have to say the version with Romola Garai is my favourite. I didn’t enjoy the more recent one. I felt they made Emma completely unlikeable.

She’s supposed to be a bit silly, impetuous, but likeably well-meaning.

Sense & Sensibility: I’ve watched three adaptations. While I love the Emma Thompson version (especially because Alan Rickman was magical,) I prefer the more recent version from 2007. I’m not sure why, but it just made me happy.

I’ve no thoughts on Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, or Sandition. I haven’t seen any of the adaptations. Actually, I take that back, I think I’ve seen one of Mansfield Park that I didn’t enjoy.

How about you? What Austen adaptations do you enjoy?

Do the Job

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Do The Job.

It’s a phrase written on the dry erase board over my bookshelf. A small reminder to myself. Do. The. Job.

I don’t remember where I saw it, initially. I think a friend shared something on Instagram. I don’t remember. It stuck in my head, though. And I scribbled it on the board over a year ago.

Do the job.

The job in question?

Writing.

I love to write. It’s what ‘brings me joy.’ My head becomes way too cluttered when I don’t. Some days I’m working on a novel, others I’m writing simply for my own entertainment.

Stories I’ll never share with the world.

My hobby?

Writing.

My way to relax?

Writing.

My job?

Writing.

And therein lies the problem.

When one of your hobbies or ways to relax becomes ‘the job,’ it adds a lay of stress to your joy. It adds a deadline. Responsibilities. I don’t just want to write–I have to.

It’s often a struggle. One of the reasons I wrote the phrase on my board was a reminder. If it’s what I do, I need to do it.

Take a break when required.

Step back when needed.

But eventually, I have to do the job and write.

Writing Advice Revisited

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In 2016, I wrote a post about writing advice that boiled down to simply sitting in a chair and writing. Still true. But I can think of a few more things I’ve learned in the last five years so I thought I’d revisit the post.

First, Do Not Respond To Reviews. And especially don’t respond to bad reviews. Don’t call the readers out. Stay off Goodreads if it’s bad for your mental health. Nothing good ever comes from responding to a negative review.

So, just don’t. Don’t track the reviewers down either. It’s unhealthy, at the very least.

Second, take all advice on writing with a grain of salt because what works for one author might not work for you.

Third, toxic productivity is a thing. Don’t get sucked into the idea you have to write/publish at a particular pace. It will only lead to burn out.

Fourth, read your contracts carefully.

Fifth, find people who want to support you with no strings attached. It’s brilliant when you have a healthy connection to other authors or people in the writing community. Just be careful about expectations.

Sixth, there are many paths to publishing. Find one that works for you.

Seventh, a good editor is worth their weight in gold.

Eighth, not every story is yours to tell.

Ninth, don’t steal images from photographers. Seriously. Don’t. If plagiarism in books bothers you, stealing from photographers should as well.

Tenth, or maybe 9.5, learn what you can about copyrights. It can help you avoid a lot of scary legal trouble.

Spooky times…

….in Ghost Light Killer.

The first inspiration for Ghost Light Killer came from this dance choreography from the brilliant Travis Wall on So You Think You Can Dance. It introduced me to the concept of ghost lights within the theatre world something I’d never heard about.

The idea of lights being left on stage to greet or fend off ghosts is intriguing.

In general, I have mixed thoughts about ghosts and paranormal stuff. I’m not entirely convinced in the concept. Yet, I’ve had strange experiences that I can’t explain.

As a child, there were lights that used to go up the stairs into my bedroom. They’d reach my room and I’d toss and turn. My parents claim it happened several times.

Weird.

There are loads of ghost stories from the West End.

There’s even a travel guide to the most haunted theatres: https://www.westendtheatre.com/21739/visitinglondon/travel-guide/londons-most-haunted-theatres/.

I won’t spoil anything from Ghost Light Killer. Though, it does make writing this post tricky. I can’t give all the inspiration because it might give something away.

The theatre in the novel is one I’ve made up. I took inspiration from the iconic Drury Lane. The Theatre Royal was also a visual inspiration for my made-up one.

(Don’t take a shot every time I write inspiration or theatre.)

The theatre had to be an older one. The vibe in a newer one wouldn’t have been right at all. There’s not enough life and history in a new building.

How about you? Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had a paranormal experience?

Coming Up with a Title

….for Ghost Light Killer.

Before Ghost Light Killer became Ghost Light Killer, I went through a series of other ideas for the title. I thought it might be fun to share them.

  • Boyfriend Killer
  • Curtain Call Killer (A close runner up)
  • Scene Killer
  • Chorus Line Killer
  • Prop Killer
  • Bloodstained Costume (not even close to being a runner up)

In the end, when I hit on Ghost Light Killer, I immediately knew I’d found the perfect title for the next adventure for Osian and Dannel.