NaNoWriMo 2019

Primrose Poison

Post National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I’m often drained and exhausted. And while, I found myself tire and definitely in need of a break in December. It wasn’t the same.

I didn’t feel defeated or emotionally wrung out like I did in 2017 or 2018.

This NaNo, I reveled in writing for the first time in over twelve months.

Between November 2018 and November 2019, only two things  changed. I wrote a story I’d wanted to write for over a year and a half. But more importantly, I had more of an outline than I’d ever used before.

I read (well, skimmed) Save the Cat! Writes a Novel. I used a bastardized version of the beat sheet to time my chapters out. And I found it helped a great deal with pacing and not writing too quickly (one of my greatest sins as an author.)

I also outlined the who, what, where, why and when. I didn’t actually have an outline so much as putting down the details for the victim, several suspects, and the killer. It helped keep track of them all, which is important in a cosy mystery.

What I also enjoyed was writing an autistic, asexual main character who happened to have an asexual love interest. I’m going to enjoy exploring their connection more as the series continues.

I had the most enjoyable experience with NaNo ever.

And I definitely believe it showed on the page.

Did you take part in NaNo?

Book Excerpt: Dead in the Shop

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“If you put naked gnomes in your garden….” Reggie trailed off, seeming completely at a loss for how to finish his sentence. “Can you not antagonise the woman?”

“I could.” Valor had no intentions of stopping their gnome wars. He thought it a perfectly passive-aggressive punishment for their nosy and bigoted neighbour. She disliked them because of their relationship and Bishan’s ethnicity. “But I won’t. Not going to apologise either.”

“Fine.” Reggie shook his head and chuckled. “I’ve already spoken to her about it. I did point out the gnomes are in your garden.”

Valor reached down to grab a stray frog, tossing it over the fence. “Unlike her amphibians.”

“What are you doing?”

“Making it rain?” Valor snickered with the detective. “Sorry.”

“Don’t lie to the police.” Reggie laughed. “She’ll send another complaint, and I have better things to do than write reports about flying frogs.”

“Really?” Valor wondered if he could get a copy of one of those reports to frame and put on the wall. “Could I—”

“No, I’m not making copies for you.” Reggie glared at him, proving how well he’d gotten to know them. “Why don’t we have tea inside? Prevent Mrs Harris from pelting you with frogs.”

“Will rivers of blood be next?” Valor wandered into the cottage with Staccato and Reggie following close behind. “Bish?”

“Made tea.” Bishan waved at Reggie and plucked Staccato off the floor. “Did you chuck another frog over the fence?”

“Who, me?”

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Gifts.

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I thought it might be fun to share the best gifts my characters have received–whether within a story or off the page.

  1. Woody (Pure Dumb Luck) – a signed football from his favourite professional player.
  2. BC (The Wanderer) – the news that Graham was cancer free.
  3. Bishan (The Grasmere Trilogy) – a piano, Valor had to do something with his inheritance.
  4. Ridge (By The Fire) – a 1936 Ford Roadster that needed work.
  5. Kaito (By The Fire) – a photo album filled with family photos.
  6. Ivan (Forged in Flood) – his grandfather’s motorcycle.
  7. Fie (At War With A Broken Heart) – Haggard.
  8. Gray (The Lion Tamer) – His restaurant.
  9. Francis (After The Scrum) – a signed first edition of A Study in Scarlet.
  10. Valor (The Grasmere Trilogy) – a Bishan gnome.

(Image by Yvette Fang from Pixabay)

Book Excerpt: At War With A Broken Heart

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Excerpt

Would you stop ignoring me?”

“No.”

“Morrie.”

“How about you quit butchering my name? If you insist on using my first one that no one else uses, stop making me sound like a five-year-old schoolboy. It’s Morogh, though you know I prefer Fie.” Morogh Fie Russell scowled at the former love of his life over the top of his reading glasses. He hadn’t seen Edmund in close to eight years, not since Fie’s return from Afghanistan. War hadn’t been kind to him, leaving him a changed man in many ways. “I’ll ignore you if I want, as I didn’t invite you inside.”

“I refuse to call you by a name that sounds like it belongs in Jack and the Beanstalk. What were your parents thinking?” Edmund took a few steps towards Fie, grimacing when he stepped into a stray bit of wet clay. “I wanted to talk. How do you stand it out here in Bideford? I’m surprised you didn’t move back to your family’s farm in Scotland. Devon doesn’t seem your sort of place.”

“You refused to call me anything at all for years. And how is where I live any of your business?” Fie honestly didn’t want to revisit their failed relationship. “What’s changed? Did your latest fling kick you out?”

“I missed you. Us, even.” Edmund gestured towards Haggard, Fie’s blue merle border collie service dog, stretched out across a blanket in his corner of the pottery shed. “I can help. What can your old mutt do that I can’t?”

“Help? You broke me. You lost the right to put me back together.” Fie wiped absently at the sheen of sweat on his brow; he hadn’t even gotten close to his kiln yet. Why am I suddenly overheating? “Sod off with you back to your posh London penthouse.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Hell.” Fie dragged a hand roughly through his greying hair. His dark brown eyes examined Edmund and found him relatively unchanged. Still as selfish as ever. He’d missed seeing the fault in his ex-lover’s personality until far too late. “Well, I hope the apology made it all better for you. I still feel like shite.”


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