And it was true love.

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This week I thought I’d share just a few of the many reasons Bishan and Valor from The Grasmere Cottage Mystery Trilogy belong together.

1. Poirot.

2. Pudding.

3. School boy bonding.

4. Pudding.

5. Friendship.

6. Patience, on both their parts for different reasons. Bishan is patient when Valor has a rare moment of spoilt pratness. And Valor is infinitely patient with all of the ways being autistic affects Bishan.

7. Opposites attract.

8. They were defeinitelymade for each other.

9. Laughter.

10. A mutual love of mytsery and intrigue.

 

Surprise!

This week I thought I’d share five different ways writing The Grasmere Cottage Mystery Trilogy surprised me.

And boy, did it surprise me.

  1. Cinnamon. I won’t say how, or why. But…it was definitely an eye-opening bit of research on my part.
  2. The ending. As someone who doesn’t really outline, I rarely know what’s happening in the end. The person who ended up saving the day was a surprise for me.
  3. Valor’s family, specifically, his little sister.
  4. One death in particular in the first novella shocked me. I didn’t see it coming.
  5. Gnomes.

I can think of a few more, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

Next week, I’ll be back with another post on the series.

What Bad Reviews Taught Me.

Bad reviews taught me not to read them. Seriously. True story. I do my best to avoid reading bad reviews. Not always successful but I try.

Here are a few reasons why:

– I don’t want it in my head. It’s a case of ‘author know thyself.’ I’m not someone who thrives on criticism, I know some people do, not me. It’s crushing. So, I just don’t see a need to push that into my brain.

– Reviews are for readers–not authors. End of story. Once my precious word baby goes out into the wild, the response to it is out of my control.

(And don’t get me wrong, good reviews are lovely. I’m always thrilled and beyond grateful if someone loves my work. But, writing is an art and art is subjective. Not everyone will enjoy my style of putting words together. *shrugs* The world doesn’t end when that happens. Though, I will eat a lot of ice cream to feel better. Don’t judge me.)

Watching other authors react to their reviews has also taught me something important.

Never. EVER. Respond to a negative review.

Seriously.

Ever.

Nothing good can ever come from it.

How about you? If you’re an author, do you read bad reviews or avoid them?

If you’re a reader, are reviews important to you when selecting books?

 

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword.

 

I thought I’d share a bit about how I write–or more specifically, what I write with.

While I do write at my computer a lot, I tend to use paper and pen quite frequently. There’s nothing like the feel of using a pen and paper. It’s almost magical.

But, I’m quite particular about my pens. Like, particular.

  • They can’t be too thin, or they hurt my fingers.
  • They can’t make any weird scratchy noise when I write them.
  • I won’t use a pen that skips with ink. It needs to flow smoothly across the paper.
  • The ink can’t smell weird.

The photo above shows my favourite pens for writing plus an honourable mention or two. The black and silver Dr. Grip is my favourite and also the oldest. I’ve had it for probably fifteen years or so. It’s comfortable, writes smoothly, and I love it. The red one to the right is also Dr. Grip; it’s a multi-pen that I adore as well. It’s from Japan, so I had to get it sent to me.

The other three pens in the group are also Japanese. Two Coleto multi-pens and a duo pen from Platinum (I think that’s the brand.) The Coleto I actually got from Tokyo Pen Shop. I love both Coletos but find the one on farthest to the right to be easier on my fingers.

My Snoopy Coleto and the light blue pen are a little too thin to use for extended writing. I use them in my planner & bullet journal instead. Also, neither of them have the rubber grip. I know you can buy grips to add to pens–but those annoy me.

How about you?

If you’re a writer, do you hand write at all? Or prefer to use a computer?

 

 

 

Once Upon an Indie.

Indie, Hybrid, Traditional.

Sounds more like different types of cars, not authors.

After I finished writing my first full novel, Ivy (a paranormal romance) in 2013, I had no idea what to do next. Submit it to agents? Try to publish it myself? Look for one of the many small publishing companies out there? It was overwhelming.

REALLY overwhelming.

I’d heard a lot of nightmare stories from indie authors about how they’d been royally screwed over by editors, cover artists, publishers, agents.  On the flipside, I’d also heard amazing stories about brilliant companies to work with.

It was hard to know what the right route for me was.

Traditional publishing ended up not being for me. It didn’t feel right. I was already so far outside of my comfort zone with trying to get publishing, I decided not to make it harder on myself.

And to me, that’s the most important part of the journey.

Find what works for you.

It’s your writing path–no one else’s.

As a general rule, I don’t believe in giving author advice. Advice on writing is always best taking with a grain of salt because everyone has their opinions.

And those opinions will quite frequently conflict with another author’s advice.

There are two things I think every indie/hybrid author should know: 1. professional covers are essential. 2. research your editor before hiring them.

I’ve heard so many nightmare stories about authors getting taken by disreputable editors when a little bit of research could’ve saved them a lot of hassle and money. Ask around. Talk to other authors whose work is well edited.

When I started looking around for an editor, I looked at a couple different companies before discovering someone I already knew had started an editing company–Hot Tree Editing. They were brilliant. Worked with me…and were understanding when I didn’t always get things and had questions. (Fun #actuallyautistic fact: I struggle with instructions A LOT.)

It was a no-brainer for me to submit After the Scrum when Becky decided to start Hot Tree Publishing to them. I trusted Hot Tree. And…dealing with everything as an indie was so stressful. Traditional publishing didn’t feel like my path, but the more hybrid route fit me perfectly, mostly because of the incredible women who support me and my writing.

I suppose this long rambling post is mostly to say–write your own way and publish in a way that works for you.

And avoid comparing your path to others.

What about you?

Are you an indie, hybrid, or traditionally published author?

 

How to Create Authentic Autistic Characters with 10 Questions.

As part of my How to Write Autistics series, I thought I’d share a list of questions that can help create an authentic character who doesn’t feel like a stereotype.

And I should point out these are just question that occurred to me. As with anything, other autistics might have their own thoughts. But here we go.

Ten Questions to ask your autistic characters (some might apply just generally to neurally diverse characters):

1. Were they diagnosed late in life or early?

It can affect how they develop coping skills.

2. Are they self-diagnosed?

3. Do they suffer from hypersensitivity? Are they overly sensitive to light, sounds, textures?

For example, I can’t stand the sensation of most fabrics touching my fingertips. It makes drying off with a towel or folding laundry particularly frustrating. I often have to repeatedly dip my hands in water or lotion my fingers to deal with it.

4. What are their special interests?

I hate the term special interest…but obsession sounds equally wrong. Most autistics I know have specific topics or things that qualify as their special interest. Some of us have lifelong ones while others are temporary. Some of my special interests include Bioware Video Games, TV Shows (As Time Goes By  and others), and Football (as in soccer.)

5. How do they stim? Also, how do they feel about their stim? How do those around them react to their stim?

6. What coping mechanisms do they use for dealing with social stresses?

7. How do they deal with meltdowns and/or shutdowns?

8. Are their family supportive of them finding independence as an adult?

9. How do they deal with eye contact?

10. Do they live atypically? In other words, do they try to blend in and mask their neural divergence?

I’m sure there are a ton of other questions.

There’s a brilliant Youtube channel that can be an amazing resource for you (there are others, but this is one of my favourites):

https://www.youtube.com/user/neurowonderful

 

Ten Things I Hate About You

Scottie and Gray from The Unexpected Santa and The Lion Tamer are two of the grumpiest men I’ve ever written. Seriously. They are.

And I ADORE them for it.

I also love the teen movie Ten Things I Hate About You. (Don’t judge me.)

So, I thought I’d write a few things that both men hate or very strongly dislike.

Gray.

  1. People who don’t pay attention to motorcyclists on the road.
  2. Bad food.
  3. Cowardice
  4. Close-mindedness.
  5. Potholes.

Scottie.

  1. Nosy friends.
  2. Most of his family.
  3. Child abusers.
  4. Golf.
  5. Vegemite.

Is there anything you hate or strongly dislike?