Excerpt: Forged in Flood.


Excerpt:

The Blacks of Boscastle had run the forge since before the sixteenth century. All the men and many of the women in his family had been blacksmiths by trade. Ivan had always felt particularly proud to follow in their footsteps. They’d worked through rains, wars, and plagues.

I’m not going to be the first to run over a spot of bad weather.

There was one major downside to everyone in the village having fled—there were no distractions. Ivan had far too much time on his hands to think. His mind went back in time to an event best left untouched. One dismal night, one massive car crash, and three young lives drastically altered forever.

He’d restricted himself to Boscastle and the smithy since then, promising never to take risks ever again. And he hadn’t, not really. His life had become incredibly boring and predictable.

Ivan gritted his teeth and slammed down the hammer in his hand to stave off the onslaught of memories. “Sodding rain.”

As a young man, Ivan and his two best mates had been the pride of their university. Rugby stars in the making; all three had already signed contracts to turn professional upon graduation. The offers hinged on them staying healthy and keeping their heads in the game.

One accident had ruined it for all three of them.

All my fucking fault.

Of the three young men, Ivan had gotten off easiest as far as long-term issues. He’d suffered a severe concussion along with cuts and bruises. The accident left him with memory problems, a short fuse on his temper, and blindingly painful migraines; his balance had also been greatly affected by the damage to his brain.

His mate, Wes, had the injuries that were most visible. His face, hands, and arms had been left covered with scars. He’d also lost the sight in his right eye.

The third of their trio, Rolly, had gone through multiple surgeries on his left leg. Even with the best care, it would never be the same. He’d walk with a limp for the rest of his life.

Three promising sports careers flushed down the toilet by one foolish mistake. Everyone consoled Ivan by reminding him that any of them could’ve been behind the wheel. They’d driven drunk a thousand times before and gotten lucky each time.

Their luck had simply run out. They’d taken their lives (and the lives of anyone else on the road) into their own stupid, drunken hands. The car had flown around a corner on a rain-slicked road and rolled several times before crashing into a tree.

For Ivan, his dreams going up in smoke hadn’t been the worst part. Not a day went by where he didn’t regret losing his best mates. Guilt, more than anything, kept him from trying to breach the gap and contact them.

He’d hidden himself away in Cornwall to avoid ever having to see either man again.

Fucking enough, you fuckwitted moron.

Beating yourself up won’t change anything.

Sod this sodding rain.


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Nook: http://bit.ly/2LUULhw

 

Excerpt: Here Comes The Son

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Excerpt:

Strapping on his bag, Iggy dragged a hand roughly through his short black hair. He winked at the librarian who grumbled at him when he leaped over a book cart in his path on the way toward the front entrance. She blushed, a response he was used to with his inherited looks and charm.

As one of his best friends from high school used to say, he had wickedly devilish good looks. He told her to stop reading Regency romances. From his jet-black hair to his deep brown eyes, he knew his face balanced the angelic with the roguish.

I’d do me.

Blinded by the bright sunshine, Iggy took a moment to adjust after stepping outside. Denver’s Central Library had always been a favorite of his for research, with its massive collection. Plus, he always thought the building seemed almost like a grouping of castle turrets.

He paused on the corner of Broadway and Thirteenth Avenue. Spring was supposed to have sprung in the Mile High City. Not that the weather had noticed; they’d only just thawed out from winter.

And judging by the crisp air and gathering clouds on the mountains, they’d be inundated with another blizzard before the end of the day.

Jogging down Thirteenth, Iggy skidded to a halt on Lincoln. He tilted his head, trusting his finely honed instincts. Half a block down, he spotted an alley between a parking lot and the Art Institute that was shadowed more than it should’ve been in the bright early afternoon sun.

One step into the gap between the buildings, and he’d plunged into nighttime. The smell of sulfur swirled around him. He slipped his bag around his body, reaching inside for a spray can.

“Ah, Son of the Morning Star. Half-breed. I hoped you’d sense my presence.” Rastran stood at the end of the unnaturally dark alley. He leaned casually against the industrial air conditioner with one foot resting on a body, completely disregarding the dirt now staining his designer suit. Demons always enjoyed life’s luxuries. “Ignatius Faber, we’ve saved you for last. Your father’s brightest light. A beautiful irony. All of his hopes pinned on the one offspring who matched him most in appearance and strength. Pity he can’t see the monster he created.”

With a hard kick, Rastran sent the body rolling along the filthy ground to land barely a foot away from Iggy. Titus. One of his many half-siblings. Iggy hadn’t seen his brother in weeks. They’d all assumed Titus was on a hunt.

They generally kept in close contact, particularly since hundreds of other half-siblings had been culled over the past eight years. Titus and Iggy were the only ones left. Rage erupted deep inside him.

“I’m the monster?” Iggy calmly stepped over Titus, shoving grief and anger viciously down to remain focused. He had a demon to deal with. His fingers wrapped tightly around the canister of compressed holy water in his pocket. It resembled pepper spray but worked to stun creatures of Hell long enough for him to send them home. “You should’ve stayed away from my city.”

 


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Series Review: Grasmere Cottage Mystery Trilogy

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“So pick these up. They will do great things for your heart. Stupendous characters who love each other in a cottage complete with cat and crazy neighbor. The plots are terrific, the writing marvelous, and all things combined…makes these the cosies of your heart. Don’t miss out. I highly recommend them one and all.”

5 stars, from Melanie at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Book Excerpt: Dead in the Shop

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“If you put naked gnomes in your garden….” Reggie trailed off, seeming completely at a loss for how to finish his sentence. “Can you not antagonise the woman?”

“I could.” Valor had no intentions of stopping their gnome wars. He thought it a perfectly passive-aggressive punishment for their nosy and bigoted neighbour. She disliked them because of their relationship and Bishan’s ethnicity. “But I won’t. Not going to apologise either.”

“Fine.” Reggie shook his head and chuckled. “I’ve already spoken to her about it. I did point out the gnomes are in your garden.”

Valor reached down to grab a stray frog, tossing it over the fence. “Unlike her amphibians.”

“What are you doing?”

“Making it rain?” Valor snickered with the detective. “Sorry.”

“Don’t lie to the police.” Reggie laughed. “She’ll send another complaint, and I have better things to do than write reports about flying frogs.”

“Really?” Valor wondered if he could get a copy of one of those reports to frame and put on the wall. “Could I—”

“No, I’m not making copies for you.” Reggie glared at him, proving how well he’d gotten to know them. “Why don’t we have tea inside? Prevent Mrs Harris from pelting you with frogs.”

“Will rivers of blood be next?” Valor wandered into the cottage with Staccato and Reggie following close behind. “Bish?”

“Made tea.” Bishan waved at Reggie and plucked Staccato off the floor. “Did you chuck another frog over the fence?”

“Who, me?”

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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.

 

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All links: https://books2read.com/motts1

 

Why I now use an outline: redux

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In the interest of full disclosure (does anyone else love using that phrase?), I’ve written a few posts about outlines over the years. I think I even had one in January. The things is that my opinions have evolved since I began writing.

And I thought I’d revisit the subject.

The short answer to why I now use an outline is: I have a shit memory and not having an outline was affecting my ability to write a cohesive mystery series.

And that was the ‘short’ answer.

The long answer? I have a shit memory and not having an outline was affecting my ability to write a cohesive mystery series.

Just kidding.

Looking back, my fear of outlines comes directly from learning about them in school. I hated the rigidness of them. And also, they never made sense to me. At all.

It randomly struck me last year that an outline could be whatever worked for me.

I began with a cobbled together version of a tree branch mind map. That morphed to include a bastardized version of  the beat sheet. And finally, I began doing a chapter by chapter one sentence breakdown that I updated as I write.

The latter is the most recent addition.

I’ve found it really helpful was I’m writing to jot down a sentence or a thought for what’s going to come in the future chapters. With a mystery, I don’t want to be stumbling for clues as the writer. And I’ve done that a few times in the past.

It’s been a revelation toward making my writing life easier.

How about you? How do you outline your novels?