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?

Radioactive Demons

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For Here Comes The Son, I had two playlists one I could access on my Kindle and one on my computer. I thought I’d share a bit of both.

  1. Demons by Imagine Dragons
  2. Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
  3. Connection by One Republic
  4. Sweet and Low by Augustana
  5. Bluebird by Christina Perri
  6. Where The Devil Don’t Go by Elle King
  7. I’m a Wanted Man by Royal Deluxe
  8. Devils by S ay Hi
  9. Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked by Cage The Elephant
  10. Collide by Rachel Platten

What are you listening to at the moment?

Happy Birthday to Not Me

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I thought it might be fun to share what Iggy and Lalo would want for their birthdays. I mean, because why not?

1. Lalo: Gardening Tools

Iggy: Concert Tickets

2.

Lalo: Plants

Iggy: A new backpack because his has a hole in it.

3.

Lalo: More plants.

Iggy: Coffee

4.

Lalo: New Camera

Iggy: Clothes

5.

Lalo: And….more plants.

Iggy: Steak.

How about you?

What’s your ideal birthday gift?

 

Fighting Your Muse.

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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?

 

 

 

I didn’t lose my mind.

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A little over a week ago, I attended my first book signing at the Writers on the River event in Peoria, Il.  I thought I’d share ten things about it.

1. Sensory Overload to the max. As an autistic, I severely underestimated my ability to handle the noise and chaos of 300+ readers in one room.

2. Writers on the River has brilliant organisers and some of the kindest volunteers. Highly recommend, though if you’re autistic, consider how well you deal with crowds.

3. I survived.

4. The best burger I’ve ever had from a dive called Burger Barge.

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5. I learned I need to do better at respecting my limitations.

6. Everyone likes free candy. (And Reese’s Peanut Butter cups go first.)

7. Best cupcake ever.  Chocolate espresso cupcake. So good. OMG. So good.

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8. Swag makes everyone happy.

9. I can push myself too far in an attempt to fit into the allistic vision of an author.

10. The Grasmere Trilogy paperback has by far my most popular cover.

*If you’re interested in learning more about how attending a book signing affected me as an autistic, I’ve vlogged about it over on my patreon.*

 

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.