Dude. DUDE. My dude.

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I love the beginning of Pure Dumb Luck. It starts with what was originally a flash fiction. At the time, I didn’t have names or a place in mind, but the personalities still managed to shine through so strongly.

You learn so much about Eddie and Woody in just the first few paragraphs of Chapter One. There are so many hints at their potential for the future and what came in the past. I love their banter and the taste of longing between two best friends.

It’s definitely where I fell in love with the two of them.


“Go inside. Buy your lottery tickets. Shoot the shit—all calm and natural-like.” Woody gripped the steering wheel of his pickup truck tightly, trying to talk himself into getting out of it. A familiar pep talk. Familiar and oft repeated. “You’ve known Eddie since elementary school. You’ve been staring at his ass since he played quarterback to your running back in junior high. No point in getting all fucking weird around him now.”

Patting the bobblehead football player on his dashboard for good luck, Woody reluctantly slipped out of his truck. He slammed the door and plastered a grin on his face. Lottery tickets wouldn’t buy themselves.

And Eddie had already seen his truck. If he ran away now, he’d never hear the end of it. The temptation to get back into his vehicle was strong.

C’mon.

This is not even close to the hardest part of your day.

Except it had definitely become the most difficult daily event. Woody had never considered himself a coward, yet every single morning, he walked into the gas station to see his best friend, the person he’d been in love with for years, and said nothing beyond small talk.

He never told the truth of the ache in his heart growing too painful to ignore. He couldn’t. What if Eddie rejected him?

“Your usual?”

Woody grinned at Eddie, who ran the family-owned gas station in their little country town nestled in the middle of a national forest in the southern Appalachian Mountains. “You know me. Boring as shit. I’m consistent, at least.”

“One large coffee, one pack of powdered donuts, and three lottery tickets. Two for you, one for me.” Eddie rolled his dark brown eyes and held out a large hand for the card Woody held out to him. “You never change, dude. You’ve been doing this for twenty years—since high school. I know Coach said you were full of dumb luck, but I don’t think he meant with the Mega Millions.”

“Have a little faith, Eddie.” He grabbed both his breakfast and the lottery tickets, winking at his oldest friend, who hadn’t changed much in the thirty years since they’d known each other. Still as fucking hot as the day I first saw him in the shower at the gym. His warm brown skin had glistened under the shower. Maybe stop thinking about Eddie naked in the middle of the gas station. “We still on for fishing this weekend?”

“Unless you get lucky with your numbers. If you do, we’ll go fishing on a yacht instead of your granddaddy’s rickety old boat.” He tapped a finger against the ticket stub in Woody’s hand. “Go on. Get your ass out of here. You’re ruining the atmosphere. Plus, I like watching you leave.”

For the past twenty years, they’d danced around each other. Woody had given up on anything happening between them outside of harmless flirting. Maybe it was too clichéd—two former jocks who fell in love on the football field finally getting their chance in their late thirties.


 

Don’t Lick The Rocks

Or, five things Eddie and Woody shouldn’t have done while travelling the world.

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In Pure Dumb Luck, Eddie and Woody go on a long adventure. I thought I’d share some fun things they only slightly regret having done.

  1. Lick rocks…or each other after a long hike through a rocky mountain. Level of regret? 5%.
  2. Sex in a frozen lake. Level of regret? 15%, mostly from Eddie who came close to frostbite in places one should never have frostbite.
  3. Trying Muktuk in Alaska. Level of regret? 45%.
  4. Eating fried insects. Level of regret? 75%, Woody swears he keeps pulling legs out of his teeth
  5. Sex on the forest floor. Level of regret? 2%, despite finding grass and dirt in uncomfortable places for days.

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Fighting Your Muse.

Inspiration

I’m writing this blog post on Sunday. And my brain is all over the place. It’s hard to find peace and joy when the world seems chaotic and filled with pain.  And writing a holiday novella seems almost impossible.

Though, that is not the topic of this post.

I wanted to talk about fighting your muse. Something I don’t recommend, and something I frequently do as a pantser.

My muse likes to dump ideas on me constantly at inconvenient times and places.

In the middle of writing a story?

My bastard of a muse: “here’s a brilliant and completely unrelated idea.”

Falling asleep?

My muse: “Have you considered….”

In the shower?”

My Muse: “I am a genius.”

So when do you fight the muse?

It can be dangerous to ignore good ideas. I mean, they’re good. You want to write them.

Some ideas I have to let go because I don’t think they’re mine to write. Others I jot down in my idea notebook (I start a new one every year.) And some, I start immediately because my brain won’t quit.

The key is to know when to battle your muse into submission–like when you have a deadline and don’t have time for a new idea.

And when to go with the flow.

How about you?

Does your muse flood you with ideas at the worst moments?

 

 

 

Writing Villains.

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There are groups of villains in Here Comes The Son, my urban fantasy. I tried quite hard to ensure none of them came off as caricatures of a baddie. Voldemort comes to mind when I think of over the top villains.

For me, some of the most fascinating baddies, are ones who righteously believe in their actions. They don’t see themselves as bad or evil. They wholeheartedly think they’re doing the right thing.

The *insert spoiler* were fun to write. They genuinely believe they’re doing God’s work in their own twisted way. They’ve separated from others to follow their own path.

And gone horribly wrong as a result.

They believe their motivation is correct.

For me, motivation is both fascinating and essential. Why is the villain doing what they’re….doing? I don’t know if other authors are as interested in it. I am.

Backstory I think goes hand in hand with motivation. One leads into the other. Some characters personal histories never make it onto the page, but having that in my mind helps me tell their side of the story.

And I’m also always fascinated when others pick up on those little hints in a story.

 

 

 

Writing is Hard.

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The alternate title to this post would be: Five ways Here Comes The Son surprised me while writing it.

‘Writing is hard’ is accurate as fuck, though.

1. Level of Difficulty.

Of all the novels I’ve written, Here Comes The Son, is at the top of the list for being the most difficult. I struggled. My publisher had to push my editing deadline multiple times. I hit writer’s block for the first time, really, in my writing career. I loved the story, the characters, the city…everything, but I still had to fight for each word.

2. Side Characters.

I hadn’t actually intended the cast of characters in the story to become so large and varied.

3. The Bad Peeps.

*spoilers*

4. Research.

I’ve done a lot of varied and interest researching for my books. Here Comes The Son probably stretched my googling skills to the max.

5. The Ending.

This actually coincides with the first on this list. The ending changed a bit over the course of writing the novel. In fact, at one point, I almost gave up on trying to put it together.

I’m glad I didn’t.

I adore Iggy and Lalo.

And their story.

 

 

 

 

 

Your Mother Smelled of Elderberry.

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I thought it might be fun to share a few of the TV shows/movies that have inspired various stories I’ve written.

1. Lucifer – Here Comes The Son

2. Father Brown (and like ten other cosy mystery type TV shows) – Grasmere Cottage Mystery Trilogy

3. Antique’s Roadshow – After the Scrum

4. NCIS – The Lion Tamer

5. Forged in Fire – Forged in Flood

6. The Great British Bake Off – The Royal Marine

7. Strike Back – Ivy

8. Monty Python – The Wanderer

9. Travel Shows – Pure Dumb Luck

10. Strike Back & The Unit – The Botanist

Fear is the mind killer.

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I don’t know about other authors, but I tend to give my characters traits and background stories that never make it into the novel. A prime example would be the fact most of my characters have phobias.

And of all my main characters, I think only one or two of them had their phobias actually show up on the page.

BC from The Wanderer with his fear of spiders, for example. Or, Bishan who hates cotton wool and would happily set all of it on fire.

And has.

I am a pantser of sorts. While I rarely fully plot out a story and I never have an outline, I do attempt to flesh out my characters fully. I want to know who they are since it helps me write.

How can you tell someone’s story if you don’t know who they are?

So, I keep book bibles on all my stories. At the moment, I use slender A5 individual notebooks from Muji. They’re the perfect size for keeping track of everything related to a story.

The first thing I do is to begin a sort of profile of my two main characters.

What do they look like?

Do they have tattoos?

Who are their friends, family, enemies?

What are their dreams, hopes, fears, etc?

Now, a lot of the time, most of the information will never make an appearance in the pages of their story. But, it makes them real to me. I’m not a visual person–I can’t conjure up their face in my mind’s eye, yet all the written details make them more real than if I had a photo of them.

I believe phobias tell you a lot about a person.

Maybe not a lot, but a little. Some fears are rational–some not so much. Cotton wool, for example.

Toshiro from One Last Heist has two great phobias that are connected–the Ocean…and drowning in it. His beloved Mack is afraid of darkness.

How about you? What are you afraid? I have quite a few phobias–heights, spiders, bugs in general. lol