Writing is Hard

Every novel has moments within that were incredibly difficult to get perfect. Maybe it’s the scene itself. Or, perhaps the words aren’t flowing well. I wanted to share three from Pierced Peony that I found especially hard.

The first is the doll scene. I won’t give too many details to avoid spoilers. But, you’ll know the doll scene when you get to it.

This one was hard because I wanted the reader to have an almost visceral reaction to it. The difficult part was make sure I didn’t go overboard. There was a delicate line between creepy and caricature.

I wanted the reader to turn the page and be able to almost feel like they’d been in the room with Motts.

Second? The freezer scene. Again…spoilers. This one was difficult because writing dangerous moments don’t always come naturally to me. Banter is something I find easy.

Danger? Not so much. The freezer scene was written…deleted…written…deleted a number of times. I did finally get the vibe I wanted, though.

The final scene that I struggled with? The ending. I won’t give anything away. But I knew how I wanted Pierced Peony to conclude and it was incredibly important to do it justice.

And hopefully, I got it just right.

Why I Love The First Line….

…of Pierced Peony.

A cat, a turtle, and a stranger face off in the garden. The stranger blinks first. Right. The joke still needs some work.

That’s the first line. And I love it.

So why do I love it? Here’s five reasons why.

  1. It makes me laugh. Seriously. At the very least, whenever I see it, the line makes me smile.
  2. It’s just so Motts. I can see her thinking this line really frequently or some variation of it.
  3. The line sets the stage for the cozy series in that you know I’m not going to take myself to seriously.
  4. I believe cozy mysteries require a healthy sense of humor.
  5. It’s sort of a running joke for me with the series.

And then I forgot the grandparents.

Or, things you won’t necessarily see on the page in Pierced Peony.

First? I completely forgot Motts had grandparents who live next door to her uncle and auntie in Looe.

I forgot.

Completely and totally forgot two human beings exited in my novel.

And then, I had to rewrite parts to add them in, which ended up being a good thing. Her granddad made such a lovely addition. Her granny appears more in book three.

Second? Detective Inspector Dempsey Byrne surprised me. He had way more personality than I initially intended.  He’s showing up quite a bit in book three so that’s fun.

Third? I kept mixing up two of the suspects’ names all the way through the book. No reason why. I knew their names but I still did it repeatedly.

Fourth? A Detective Inspector who knits cat sweaters is still my favourite thing ever.

My Favourite Moment.

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….from Poisoned Primrose

Why did I agree to this?

And why didn’t I put on my coat or a thick jumper instead of this hoodie?

Motts pulled her mobile out of her pocket when it rang. She answered on the fourth ring. “Teo?”

“What are you doing?” He sounded angry, but his voice kept cutting out.

Motts walked up the steps a little way. “I can’t hear you. It’s really windy. What’s happened?”

“Go….Orchard….almost there….hello?”

Motts pulled her phone away from her ear when they were disconnected. She tried to call him back, but the signal wouldn’t go through. “Bugger.”

My favourite chapter from Poisoned Primrose is the one where everything finally comes to together. I included a spoiler free excerpt above. It was really hard to find a snippet that wouldn’t give anything away.

It’s where we discover *redacted* is the one to *redact.*

Ha!

It’s the chapter where all the little knots I’ve tied into my plot suddenly begin to unravel.

*Redacted* appears out of nowhere. They’ve been slithering around in the shadows. And if I’ve done my job, they’ll be a surprise to all of you lovely readers.

And yet, that’s not why it’s my favourite chapters. Well, not entirely, anyway. I love it because of Motts. She’s wonderfully epic and courageous.

I adore her.

And this chapter solidified it for me.

 

 

Excerpt: The Caretaker


Amazon

“Frederick?”

Freddie paused at his full name—no one other than his angry dads called him anything other than Freddie. He paused by the front door to see Taine had caught up to him. “Yes?”

“Thank you, Frederick, for coming out to help us poor sods out.”

He had to clear his throat to respond. The man’s deep voice saying his name caused his stomach to flip and his lower region to rise in interest. He smiled through it. “I’m always happy to help.”

They stood awkwardly. Neither knew what to say. A loud thud was their only warning before a stumbling Scottie slammed into the back of Taine, which sent him into Freddie like a row of dominos tumbling to the floor.

Freddie groaned under the mass of muscle. He cringed inwardly when it dawned on him that Taine would now be able to feel his earlier piqued interest. “Could you get off me?”

“Want me to help you get off?” Taine’s murmured comment sent a shiver down his spine. “I wouldn’t mind.”

“No, I want you to help me get up before my ribs decide to cave in completely,” Freddie replied tartly, if a bit unsteadily. “What do they feed you rugby types?”

“He’s calling you fat, Tens,” Scottie teased from somewhere above them. Freddie couldn’t see him through the bulk of the man crushing him to the floor. “Up you two get, or I’ll start making assumptions that’ll have me blushing.”

The weight of Taine lifted off him, and a hand reached down to yank him up to his feet. Freddie frowned at Scottie, who hadn’t quite removed his fingers yet. The tall, muscled, blond man had an edge to him that was worrying.

Scottie.” Taine shoved his friend down the hall away from them. “Go see Caddock.”

“Aye aye, Tens.”

“He’s—something.” Freddie chose to stick with his fathers’ advice to not be rude when it wasn’t necessary. He glanced up to find Taine’s intense gaze focused on him. “I should get going. My dads will wonder what happened.”

“Your dads?”

“My family is a modern one.” Freddie had no intention of explaining his family to a man he’d only recently gotten to know. “Was there anything else?”

Taine cocked his head to the side as if assessing Freddie. He slowly smiled—a wide, dangerous sort of grin, rather akin to a predator who had just caught his prey. “Can I have your number?”

Pardon?

Not the question I thought was coming.

“Why?” Freddie shook his head at himself. Do I care why an incredibly attractive man wants my number? He internally shrugged before holding his hand out. No, no I don’t care why. “Give your phone over—I’ll add it for you.”

The bemused expression on Taine’s face made the tingling in his spine at the brush of their fingers worth it. Freddie quickly entered his mobile number under the name Nurse Bunny. He imagined the man would have to go to great lengths to explain it to anyone who saw it.

“Enjoy your weekend with the lads.” Freddie started towards the door, tossing the phone over his shoulder. “Don’t get too drunk. I’m not making another emergency visit to cure hangovers.”

Anticipation.

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What was the most difficult part of writing Poisoned Primrose?

Waiting.

That’s it.

That was the only hard part of writing late year’s NaNoWriMo novel.

I had the idea for Pineapple Mottley almost a full year before I was able to write her story. I began creating the book bible (where I put research, plot notes, etc) long before I wrote a single word. It was the story I wanted to write.

I had to slog through three other stories first.

And they were a slog.

2019 was a hard year where each story seemed harder to write than the last.

When I finally got to Poisoned Primrose, it felt like the heavens opened and the angels were singing. The book was a joy to write from beginning to end. None of it was hard.

I didn’t have to push myself or struggle for what happened next.

It was bliss.