Why I now use an outline.

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Sort of.

I hate outlining. Always have. I hated it when I was in school. Still hate it. It, to my autistic mind, is unnecessary and illogical. I don’t like the pattern of standard outlines. They irritate me.

And I am a proud pantser.

Except.

I’m not–not entirely a pantser anymore.

I now use a bastardized version of the beat sheet.  Plus, a cozy mystery outline I found online that is basically just a series of questions to allow an author to keep track of the details of the victim, the killer, and the main suspects.

These are new additions to what I usually keep in my book bible.

As I’m now working on what will hopefully be two lengthy book series, keeping outlines and additional information will save me from losing my mind when I write book 2.

I hope.

I don’t think I’ll ever be a full planner. I doubt I’ll work with a traditional outline. They annoy me too much.

But, a little bit of planning has definitely kept my last two WIPs from going off the rails.

Now a soft kiss…

– Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss. John Keats

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I thought it might be fun to share some of my characters thoughts on Valentine’s day. Either their thoughts, or what they do, or gifts they’ve received.

Motts (Primrose Poison): Over commercialised nonsense–but I sell a lot of paper bouquets so I won’t complain.

Francis (After the Scrum): I love a romantic day. You have to be creative, though. Who needs flowers or chocolate? Caddock found me a 17th-century desk to refurbish, the best gift I’ve ever received. He was also naked on it, so happy Valentine’s Day to me.

Davet (At War with a Broken Heart): Not bothered by cards. Chocolate and coffee make me happy.

Elaine (The Misguided Confession): If I get one more bouquet of flowers, I will riot all over London.

Tosh (One Last Heist): We played cops and robbers last Valentine’s day. I got to be the copper. We might’ve accidentally lost the handcuff keys.

Ivy (Ivy, The Blackbird Anthology): Best gift ever? The handmade card Gareth and Steve had the kids make for me.

 

 

(Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay)

Book Excerpt: One Last Heist

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Excerpt:

“Would you just admit you can’t see in the dark?” Toshiro snapped in pure frustration. “Mack. Are you listening to me?”

“I’m fine. My ears work perfectly.”

Fine.

He’s fine.

Right.

Fine, my arse.

Well, my arse is fine.

“You walked into the table.” Toshiro watched in the darkened room through the night vision on his camera while his stubborn husband stumbled around. “And into the sofa—oh, and the wall. Classic. You’re supposed to crack the safe, not take a header into it.”

“Toshi,” Mack whispered his nickname sharply. “Couldn’t you yell at me in Cantonese or Japanese or any one of the hundred languages you speak? It would still be distracting, but I wouldn’t understand a word of it.”

“I speak thirty languages—not a hundred.” Toshiro grinned even though Mack couldn’t see it. “I suppose the point of a timed run-through of cracking the safe might require your full attention. Oh, look, you tripped over the carpet again.”

Toshiro Ueda-Easton.

Gregor Tempest Mackay Ueda-Easton. Fine, fine. I’ll be quiet. Continue walking into the wall, but I’m not explaining your concussion to the others.” Toshiro continued to ramble about the idiotic stubbornness of his husband in Portuguese, one of the many languages he’d picked up over the years. “Idiota.

“I understood that one.” Mack tossed one of the drill bits of his safe-drilling rig in his husband’s general direction—missing him completely. “Keep cussing me out in Spanish.”

“Portuguese.”


Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2IwvZHc

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Nook: http://bit.ly/LastHeist-Nook

Kobo: http://bit.ly/LastHeist-kobo

All digital links: https://books2read.com/last-heist

Here Comes The Groom

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Weddings appear a few times in my novels. I’m one of those authors who honestly believe not every romance story needs to end with an engagement or wedding. Happily-ever-afters don’t always come with a ring and a ceremony.
Some of my couples have been happy without a paper saying they’re promised to one another. BC and Graham, for example, were perfectly content without a wedding. Bishan and Valor were quite vocal while I wrote the Grasmere series about it, as well.
I’ve personally been married twice. We won’t talk about the first one. =) Neither of my marriage involved actual ceremonies. My anxiety would not have handled a wedding ceremony/reception, and financially it wasn’t feasible anyway.
I did greatly enjoy the two weddings in the Sin Bin series. Planning those out was so much fun. I tried to honour the individuals and their backgrounds with the ceremonies, which required quite a bit of research on my part.
For Freddie and Taine, from The Caretaker, I wanted to combine Freddie’s Jewish heritage with Tens’ Maori/Samoan traditions. I also tied in a few Welsh aspects as well. I genuinely adored the Welsh lovespoon concept so I used it as well.
I loved their wedding. The haka performed by the Sin Bin lads. The literal cheese cake that Freddie drooled over. It was the perfect ceremony, reception, and honeymoon for the two of them.
The other wedding I planned in the Sin Bin was for Akash and Wyatt in The Royal Marine. Theirs was a lot easier. Wyatt wasn’t bothered. He didn’t have any traditions he cared to honor while Akash wanted to please his family.
Are you married? Did you have a big ceremony or just got hitched without all the drama?
(Image by Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay)

Book Excerpt: The Wanderer

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Weddings.
Weddings were a pain more excruciating than a broken nose, or tooth, or both—an event to be avoided when at all possible. Only the blissfully ignorant would voluntarily submit themselves to the farce of “marital bliss,” never mind the noise, whimpering women, and a priest who would undoubtedly drone on and on unless someone whacked him upside the head.
Why did I agree to this shit? If this bint sobs into my sleeve one more sodding time, I’ll shove her into the aisle, manners be damned. I should’ve claimed a sudden bout of dengue fever in Macau and been done with it.
Graham Hodson had returned home early from yet another adventure to attend the wedding of his best mate, Francis, and his soon-to-be husband, former rugby star Caddock Stanford. He’d contemplated doing a runner. His twin brother, Rupert, had threatened to drag him in by the ear, pointing out that they couldn’t disappoint their childhood friend, could they?
Even if he were tempted to do so, Joanne, Rupert’s wife, had promised untold pain if he did anything to ruin Francis’s day. The spoilsport also vetoed all of his ideas to improve the day for the two grooms. He didn’t see why they wouldn’t enjoy having massive cod strung up to their escape vehicle.
Graham glanced across the room, and his mood brightened when he spotted an old mate, Jack Sasaki. They’d spent summers playing on Cornwall beaches together as kids, along with Rupert. They often flirted with the same boys, though one date with each other had been enough to realise they made far better friends.
The half-Japanese and half-Cornish man made his living as a barber a few villages over, in Fowey. Graham hadn’t seen him in a while and would have to find time while home to have a beer and chat with him. He hoped Jack was having better luck romantically than he currently was.
Wanderlust didn’t come with the perks of being romantically available. His passport might’ve been filled with stamps, but his nights had been filled with loneliness—aside from occasional casual sex. His adventures brought joy to his life.
I don’t sodding need anyone to be happy.
 
Now, repeat the mantra until the wedding stops making you act stupidly moody.
It might be the wedding of a close friend, but boredom continued to make his mind drift. Did anyone other than the couple care about the cute dog with a bow tie or the adorable child in the tuxedo? No. The answer would always be no. People went to ceremonies for the food and drink that followed after, and no one would ever be able to convince him otherwise.
A sniffle from the woman beside him was a reminder that maybe some people did care. With a less cynical view, Graham could admit the tuxedos had been well chosen. Tastefully done bouquets of white roses were adorned with pale blue ribbons that had antiqued copper rugby charms dangling from them.
Adorable.
Graham could also admit, however painfully, that the blissful happiness on Francis’s face made him slightly envious. “Sodding weddings.”
A gasp from the weepy twit reminded him not to mutter out loud. He summoned a smile when Francis glanced his way. The things one did for friends.
Oh, hello.
 
Who the bloody hell are you?
 
Never mind who you are. Can I see you naked?
An absolutely gorgeous bloke sitting on Caddock’s side of the church had caught his attention. Tall, with a closely shaved head and black beard, he had a strong jaw—sharp lines all over really, from what Graham could see. He wore a suit that bordered on obscene for the way it clung to his muscled form.
Suddenly this event looks far more interesting than it did a minute ago. Now how do I get myself an introduction? Should be easy. It’s a wedding; single people come to hook up at them, right?
 
Right.
Their eyes met. Almost identical grins of acknowledgement followed, which intrigued Graham. People didn’t always read him so well. Mr Tall, Bald, and Gorgeous smirked as if he knew exactly what Graham had been thinking.
They’d definitely made a connection.
Interesting.
If the wedding ceremony hadn’t been in full swing, Graham would’ve immediately wandered over to introduce himself. They settled for not so subtle flirtatious smirks. His impatience grew more palpable waiting for it to be over.
Their eyes continually drifted towards one another. An electric shock hit him each time. It sounded dramatic even in his head—but he did feel a mysterious sense of adventure just from contemplating a brief encounter with the mystery man.