My Stages of Writing Preparation

As I’m in the process of writing Pickled Petunia, book 3 of my Motts Cold Case Mystery Series. I thought I’d share the stages of writing prep that I go through with most of my novels.

  1. Make a to-do list. Seems redundant, but I work best with lists. It’s a bit of a life-hack for me, as someone who is autistic and deals with executive dysfunction.
  2. Add a new section to my book series Pinterest Board.
  3. Create both a TV/Movie and music playlist. For my cosy mysteries, I watch a lot of shows like Rosemary & Thyme and Ms Fisher.
  4. Come up with a title.
  5. Read any prior books in the series.
  6. Outline + fill out my book bible.
  7. Do any research.
  8. Names for all the new characters being introduced.
  9. Update the corkboard over my desk with book inspiration. For Motts, it’s an image of Elliot Page and photo of a village in Cornwall similar to the one in the book.
  10. Pick the notebook I’m going to write in. I tend to write in a notebook then type up what I’ve written the following do. It’s almost like sneaking in an extra edit.

Those aren’t necessarily in order. Some of them happen concurrently, particularly when I’m on #6.

2020 in Review

In 2019, I decided my word for 2020 would be balance.

And about March 2020 went….

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I thought it might be fun to do a review of what I’d hoped to accomplish this year.

What did I hope to write/accomplish in 2020?

  • Motts book 2 and 3
  • Podcast book 1 and 2
  • Patreon

Where am I at in December 2020?

  • Said goodbye to Patreon
  • Finished three novels instead of four
  • Started a cozy mystery group

Over all? Given we dove headfirst into a global pandemic this year?

Not bad. Better than I imagined.

How about 2021? What do I hope to achieve next year?

  • Motts book 3 and 4
  • Podcast book 3 and maybe 4
  • Start book one of a super secret project

How about you? How did you manage in 2020? And what are you hoping to do next year?

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.”

 


Buy Links:

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

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2JWcKXw

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2JWcUhA

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2litkmF

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2sYpraG

iTunes: https://apple.co/2le829J

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

 

The theatre, the theatre…

what’s happened to the theatre?

Bonus points if you know what movie that quote is from.

In Cosplay Killer, Dannel and Osian love the theatre scene. I thought I’d share some of their favourite places.

  1. Drury Lane (Theatre Royal), the oldest London theatre still in use. Dannel believes there’s an energy to the place that transfers to performances.
  2. The Theatre Cafe, a coffee shop not far from their flat that has live performances.
  3. Apollo Victoria Theatre
  4. The West End, in general, with all of the museums and shops, etc.
  5. The Old Vic

What helps you breathe?

Given the way this year has gone, I’ve struggled to find things to help me relax. In the past few months, I’ve found a section of YouTube that fits the bill. It’s basically a kind of ASMR, I think. Japanese day in the life vloggers.

I don’t know if it’s the beautiful visuals, the calm music, or the content itself. But I find them the perfect way to relieve stress.

Here’s five of my favourites.

Rhea Y. – https://youtu.be/ONejiV8Ekgk

Nami – https://youtu.be/H9TT2m1WIIA

N Rizki – https://youtu.be/QucQXd40xkw

Miku – https://youtu.be/As-kOAizSos

Lou C. – https://youtu.be/Ptr3zPsmx90

Things you should never say to an autistic author

Or just an autistic, in general.

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As an autistic author, I’ve always prized inclusivity, diversity and unique own voices.

Talking openly about being an autistic author, my experiences, my journey is just one way to hopefully educate and prevent the many misconceptions that can be damaging and insulting. Sometimes, it’s necessary to put it bluntly and plainly in a list of does and don’ts.

Not an all-encompassing list, of course. And my experiences as an autistic may differ from another.

If you’ve met one autistic, you’ve met one autistic.

Don’t…

  1. Tell them they don’t seem autistic.
  2. Tell them it’s ‘person with autism.’
  3. Suggest a cure. Don’t. By suggesting a cure,  suggests to us that you wish we weren’t alive.
  4. Bring up Autism Speaks. (https://intheloopaboutneurodiversity.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/the-ableist-history-of-autism-speaks/)
  5. Treat them like they’re a child and can’t understand what you’re saying.
  6. Tell them their autistic characters aren’t realistic because they’re not like your child/relative/friend.
  7. Insist they’re ‘so brave.’ Seriously. Don’t.
  8. Email them with your expertise on autism despite the fact that you’re not actually autistic.
  9. Ask them if they’ve tried a gluten-free diet.
  10. Suggest yoga might make everything better.

For a point of reference, these are all things I’ve been personally told either by friends, family, authors, or readers. Some have been emailed directly to me. Others were said in person. Some have been directed to me on social media.

What can you do?

  1. A quick search on Google will find Autistic bloggers and Autistic-led organisations with loads of resources.  Here’s one of my favourites: https://autisticadvocacy.org/
  2. Be patient in conversation with us. Auditory processing disorder is something a lot of autistics deal with, we may need you to repeat yourself for us to catch up.
  3. Meet us halfway. We’re doing our best in a non-autistic world, educating yourself can help bridge the gap.
  4. Extend invitations to us. We might not always say yes but no one enjoys being excluded.

**Thanks to my beloved friend and publisher for giving me a hand with the wording of this post**

Musical Theatre Faves

My two main characters in Cosplay Killer are obsessed with musical theatre. Here are ten of their favourite shows.

1. Hamilton

2. Six: The Musical

3. In The Heights

4. Wicked

5. Only Fools and Horses

6. Matilda

7. Jesus Chris Superstar

8. Little Shop of Horrors

9. School of Rock

10. Rent