Why I Love The First Line….

…of Pierced Peony.

A cat, a turtle, and a stranger face off in the garden. The stranger blinks first. Right. The joke still needs some work.

That’s the first line. And I love it.

So why do I love it? Here’s five reasons why.

  1. It makes me laugh. Seriously. At the very least, whenever I see it, the line makes me smile.
  2. It’s just so Motts. I can see her thinking this line really frequently or some variation of it.
  3. The line sets the stage for the cozy series in that you know I’m not going to take myself to seriously.
  4. I believe cozy mysteries require a healthy sense of humor.
  5. It’s sort of a running joke for me with the series.

Excerpt: Pierced Peony

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Excerpt

A cat, a turtle, and a stranger face off in the garden. The stranger blinks first. Right. The joke still needs some work.

“Do you always let your turtle and cat out in the garden together?”

“They’re friends. They like to gossip.” Motts set her trowel to one side and got to her feet. She dusted the grass and dirt off her knees. “They both need fresh air and sun in moderation. Are you lost?”

The man didn’t seem lost despite having popped up beside the back fence around her garden. He looked like a police officer. Though not quite as broad-shouldered, he stood as tall as Teo Herceg, the detective inspector she’d met in April and had been dating for over a month.

“I’m hoping to speak with Pineapple Mottley.” He sounded like a policeman. His suit, while nice, appeared rumpled from driving; his short grey hair, however, was gelled and styled perfectly. “I’m Detective Inspector Dempsey Byrne with the Metropolitan Police’s cold case unit.”

“Cold case?” Motts’s heart stuttered in her chest. She rubbed her fingers together nervously. “Jenny. You’re here about Jenny.”

Jenny Cleverly had been her lone best friend through her early childhood. Motts had stumbled across Jenny’s lifeless body on her way home from primary school while walking through a park, hidden behind a hedge. She still had nightmares about finding her.

The unsolved crime had haunted Motts. She’d developed an obsessive curiosity about cold cases as a result. And at least once a year, she searched online to see if anyone had been arrested for Jenny’s murder.

“Ms Mottley?”

“Motts.” She had a sudden sense of déjà vu; she’d had a similar conversation with Teo in April. He’d been investigating the murder of a Rhona Walters, who’d been buried in the garden behind her cottage. It had been an auspicious start to her life in Polperro. “Cactus.

Her beloved Sphynx cat had leapt onto the fence and then over to the detective’s shoulder. Detective Inspector Byrne didn’t bat an eyelid. He simply reached up to pat Cactus on his head.

Well, he certainly approves of the random strange man intruding on our afternoon.

Intruding inspector intrudes introspectively.

Introspectively?

Not my best alliteration.

“I don’t often see a flowerless garden.” He glanced slowly around at her rows of fruits and herbs. “None at all?”

“My allergies try to drown me if I’m around them for too long.” Motts kept flowers far away from her cottage. Real ones, in any case. She made and sold origami and quilled floral arrangements as part of her small business, Hollyhock Folded Blooms. “Why don’t you come in for tea? Cold case curiosities can converse comfortably.”

Don’t frighten the fancy London detective with your peculiarities.

The judgmental voice in her head sounded suspiciously like her mum, who meant well but couldn’t always relate to Motts’s more unique traits. She didn’t understand her wayward autistic and asexual daughter. Motts had given up trying to fit into neurotypical moulds.

I am who I am.

Alliterations and all.

Oh, fun accidental alliterations are the best.

“I wouldn’t want to impose.”

“Wouldn’t you?” Motts stared blankly at the man, unable to decide if he was being polite or not. “You drove from London. At least a five-hour drive on a good day. Tea isn’t imposing. Sleeping in my garden and trampling the herbs would be.”

https://books2read.com/motts2

And then I forgot the grandparents.

Or, things you won’t necessarily see on the page in Pierced Peony.

First? I completely forgot Motts had grandparents who live next door to her uncle and auntie in Looe.

I forgot.

Completely and totally forgot two human beings exited in my novel.

And then, I had to rewrite parts to add them in, which ended up being a good thing. Her granddad made such a lovely addition. Her granny appears more in book three.

Second? Detective Inspector Dempsey Byrne surprised me. He had way more personality than I initially intended.  He’s showing up quite a bit in book three so that’s fun.

Third? I kept mixing up two of the suspects’ names all the way through the book. No reason why. I knew their names but I still did it repeatedly.

Fourth? A Detective Inspector who knits cat sweaters is still my favourite thing ever.

Review: Real World Homecoming

Photo by KoolShooters on Pexels.com

I’m old enough to remember the first season of the Real World. I enjoyed the first three or four seasons but felt it devolved a bit around the fifth or sixth, maybe? Somewhere around there.

When they announced a reunion for the first season, I was intrigued. Would it be as good as I remembered? How would the cast have changed?

This felt like a microcosm of being a nostalgic adult, who was a teen in the 90s.

Not sure if that makes sense.

It was nostalgic yet somehow the show and the people had progressed. Conversations had changed yet remained the same somehow. (And some people had definitely not changed much at all.)

It was interesting to see them all grown up, having in-depth conversations about the world and how they changed it. Growing up in the house of fundie missionaries, the Real World was one of the first places I saw open conversations about race and sexuality. (Don’t take a shot every time I write the word conversation.)

On nostalgia alone, I’d give the six episode (was it six?) series five stars.

And also for not shying away from difficult conversations.

Excerpt: Poisoned Primrose

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Excerpt

Lemon curd on buttered toast soothed a multitude of problems. Motts had made three slices to get her through the morning. She hadn’t quite recovered despite spending an entire day alone in the cottage.

Although needing more time to recover, Motts had several early meetings. Vina had helped her connect with a few shop owners in Polperro. She hoped to convince them to consider commissioning some of her paper flower arrangements.

Motts stared mournfully into her empty mug. “Can I take a sick day?”

Meow.

She ran her fingers gently over Cactus’s head, rubbing behind his ears. “Is that a yes or a no? Or do you not want to be left behind?”

I could have another piece of toast.

Procrastinating won’t erase your need to meet Marnie and Peggie.

It helped Motts that she knew both women. She’d met them several times on the Mottley family holidays to Polperro. They were lovely people who’d make her feel welcome and comfortable.

And yet, her anxiety refused to settle.

She had a lifetime of experience forcing herself to get through dealing with the world. Her autistic diagnosis had come late—in her mid-thirties. She’d felt relief at having answers, yet in some ways, even four years on, she continued to struggle to adjust to the paradigm shift.

Changing out of her comfy pyjamas into jeans and a long-sleeved flannel shirt, Motts stood in front of the full-length mirror on the back of the bedroom door. You can do this. Origami flowers are your bread and butter. Talk about the paper arrangements—you don’t need to make small talk.

Motts redid the buttons on her shirt. “I’m Motts.”

You don’t have to introduce yourself. You’ve met them before. They know your name.

 

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/31oK3cb
All links: https://books2read.com/motts1