These are a few of my favourite things.

I thought I’d share a few of my favourite parts, moments, or things about my upcoming release At War with a Broken Heart.

They aren’t *spoilers* necessarily, but I’m not giving context either. I’m just sharing. Once you read it, you’ll understand.

  1. Fox. Rabbit. Rabbit. Fox.
  2. Fie’s mum. She’s brilliant.
  3. Haggard.
  4. Bideford. It’s a lovely, lovely place. You should definitely visit if you ever have the chance.
  5. MacFluff.

Oh, and Coffee First.

Definitely, Coffee First.

 

Country Road Take Me Home

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In At War with a Broken Heart, Fie is obsessed with country music. I thought I’d share some of the songs from his playlist with you. Just a few.

  1. Fightin Side of Me by Merle Haggard
  2. Same Old Train by Merle Haggard
  3. Mama Tried by Merle Haggard
  4. A Lifetime to Regret by George Jones
  5. Highwayman by Waylon Jennings
  6. Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash
  7. Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
  8. Against the Wind by The Highwaymen
  9. To Beat the Devil by Kris Kristofferson
  10. Big River by Johnny Cash

Do you listen to country music at all? If so, what’s your favourite?

The Poisonous Influence of Perfection.

Me to my brain:
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Perfection is a toxic poison that strangles out my creativity.

And really, it’s less about perfection in the end product of my writing–and more about attempting to be expectations I’ve set up for myself of what I think others can do–or think I should do.

It’s a theme that has followed me throughout my adult life working first in restaurants, then as a teacher, and later in insurance.

A theme I didn’t truly understand before learning I’m autistic.

I’ve always needed to demonstrate my abilities at work. Striving to be the best. Not to overshadow others, but more to appear capable. I’ve had a fear of seeming unable to manage: work or life.

And as a result, I work myself to the point of exhaustion.

It’s a trend that followed me into writing.

Setting schedules and deadlines I can’t possibly manage.

Overachieving.

It’s not a bad thing, necessarily.

It is when you’re ignoring your health.

Autistics, at least from my personal experience as one, tend to battle inner ableism. This little voice that tells me I’ve not only got to be at the same level as non-autistic authors but better. It’s poison.

It really is.

The same inner voice that tells me I don’t need help or accommodation when I do.

It eats away at your accomplishments and makes missed goals or deadlines seem like monumentally massive failures.

This year, I managed to almost double my word count.

Brilliant, right? Except not, I didn’t take the breaks between projects that I usually do. I’ve ended up not enjoying writing as usual.

And the last two novels I’ve worked on have been a painful slog until the bitter end.

Next year, one of my biggest focuses will be to enjoy myself with writing.

Deadlines are important and so are word counts, but I can’t write myself into a serious health issue again.

 

 

Top Five Holiday Movies

Well, it’s December. Officially. That means I can watch holiday movies and listen to holiday music without getting side eyes from people.

So, here are my top five holiday-themed movies, in no particular order:

– Love Actually (Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson kill me every time.)

– A Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart version)

– A Christmas Carol (Animated version with Jim Carrey

– Last Holiday

– The Holiday

Bonus: A White Christmas

And honestly, you can add A Christmas Carol with George C Scott as well lol. Oh, and I always watch at least one of the Harry Potter movies in December.

Do you have a favourite holiday movie?

Remember to Breathe.

(Actual representation of me last week.)

I’ve reached the stage of NaNo where I hate words. I’m convinced I could happily burn my WIP. And I’m definitely questioning my sanity.

I’m tired.

In 2017, I wrote approximately 140k across several short stories and three novels.

This year, I’ve written a 90k novella trilogy, a 52k novel, and I’m on track to wrapping up another 65k – 70k novel. Plus a handful of flash fictions. So if all goes well, I’ll end 2018 having written over 200k words in total.

For me? That’s a lot.

In all honesty, this year, it was too much. I didn’t allow myself enough time to rest.  I didn’t set enough boundaries around my time.

Being a pantser (and not much of a plotter), my brain works best with breaks. I don’t really know where my ideas come from. I tend to just…sit and write, whatever comes out–comes out. Burning myself can be worse than writer’s block. More like writer’s too fucking tired to remember what words are.

I’ve promised myself to do better next year by taking breaks between my projects next year.

In part, my drive to do more and more comes from being autistic. I’ve an inner need to do and be more because of a less than healthy desire to make up for other areas where I can’t quite do what others do. (It’s hard to explain if you don’t experience it.)

On my list for December?

Relax, read through my massive TBR list, watch my favourite holidays movies, and wrap up this fun Urban Fantasy.

I’m not kicking myself if I don’t quite hit the NaNo deadline.

Writing should be fun, and if I add too much stress, I’m not doing myself any favours.

 

Find Your Joy.

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Can I be honest?

2018 has been a bit of a trash fire of a year, hasn’t it?

Stepping away from the chaotic whirlwind of bad news has been a struggle. Being creating in 2018 has been even more difficult. It’s important to write, even in the middle of the muck.

I think, more than any other time, it’s also important to find happy moments and pursue them.

For me?

This weekend, that meant baking, reading, and video games.

Baking? That went brilliantly. I made Mary Berry’s recipe for profiteroles, photo evidence above. They tasted AMAZING. They also didn’t last the weekend lol. Yum.

Reading? I finally got around to reading Alison Weir’s Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen, which I enjoyed immensely. I love a good historical fiction. And this one was definitely half fact and half fiction. Brilliantly done though.

Video games? I’ve gotten completely obsessed with the latest Assassin’s Creed game, Odyssey. Epic, brilliant, amazing. Love it so much.

Now, I’m back to writing on my new work in progress–an urban fantasy. Should be great fun.

How about you? What moments of joy are you finding for yourself this year?

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.