Things you didn’t learn in Cosplay Killer

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For me, and I’m sure most authors, there’s always details about your characters that don’t wind up on the page. Things that help you build their personalities or their worlds, yet readers might not see them. I thought it would be fun to share a few of those.

First, the biggest thing that happens off screen in Cosplay Killer actually occurs a year or so before the story even starts. Osian experiences the worst fear, I imagine, for any paramedic. It greatly affects both him, Dannel, and the story itself.

I wanted to start a year on because to me it was interesting to delve into the process of recovering from that.

Second, Dannel’s family history. It’s a tricky one because we see what happened from Dannel’s perspective and when you’re a kid, you see things different. I’m going to enjoy exploring that even more as the series progresses.

Third, theatre kids. This one is kind of on the page because we see a lot about musicals and plays. But both Dannel and Osian were massively into theatre throughout their childhood. I don’t really explore that much.

 

My Stages of Writing Preparation

As I’m in the process of writing Pickled Petunia, book 3 of my Motts Cold Case Mystery Series. I thought I’d share the stages of writing prep that I go through with most of my novels.

  1. Make a to-do list. Seems redundant, but I work best with lists. It’s a bit of a life-hack for me, as someone who is autistic and deals with executive dysfunction.
  2. Add a new section to my book series Pinterest Board.
  3. Create both a TV/Movie and music playlist. For my cosy mysteries, I watch a lot of shows like Rosemary & Thyme and Ms Fisher.
  4. Come up with a title.
  5. Read any prior books in the series.
  6. Outline + fill out my book bible.
  7. Do any research.
  8. Names for all the new characters being introduced.
  9. Update the corkboard over my desk with book inspiration. For Motts, it’s an image of Elliot Page and photo of a village in Cornwall similar to the one in the book.
  10. Pick the notebook I’m going to write in. I tend to write in a notebook then type up what I’ve written the following do. It’s almost like sneaking in an extra edit.

Those aren’t necessarily in order. Some of them happen concurrently, particularly when I’m on #6.

2020 in Review

In 2019, I decided my word for 2020 would be balance.

And about March 2020 went….

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I thought it might be fun to do a review of what I’d hoped to accomplish this year.

What did I hope to write/accomplish in 2020?

  • Motts book 2 and 3
  • Podcast book 1 and 2
  • Patreon

Where am I at in December 2020?

  • Said goodbye to Patreon
  • Finished three novels instead of four
  • Started a cozy mystery group

Over all? Given we dove headfirst into a global pandemic this year?

Not bad. Better than I imagined.

How about 2021? What do I hope to achieve next year?

  • Motts book 3 and 4
  • Podcast book 3 and maybe 4
  • Start book one of a super secret project

How about you? How did you manage in 2020? And what are you hoping to do next year?

Excerpt: Cosplay Killer

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Excerpt

“I’m Oz. He’s D. And we’ll be back for another rundown of murder and mayhem next week. Stay tuned for Osian and Danny’s London Crime Podcast.” He checked his watch, counting down a few seconds before signalling to Dannel to pause the recording. “Another one bites the dust.”

“Oz and D?”

Osian grinned over the top of his laptop at his boyfriend of fourteen years. They’d been best friends practically from infancy and started dating in their teens. “We’re hip with the kids.”

“I am not hip. I have two.” Dannel swivelled in his chair before pushing himself across their living room floor. “And thirty isn’t old age. Besides, how many teenagers are listening to true crime podcasts?”

“Let me have my dream.” Osian followed him down the hall into their bedroom. He stretched out on the bed to watch Dannel prepare for his shift. “Ready to go for twelve hours?”

Dannel glared over his shoulder; his dark brown eyes always seemed to pierce into Osian. “What do you think?”

Truthfully, Osian didn’t know for sure what Dannel thought about being a firefighter. Dannel had followed in his father’s footstep, yet he didn’t quite fit the mould. Osian worried it might come crashing down eventually.

Am I borrowing trouble from the future? Maybe it’ll all work out on its own. Although, when does it ever?

Watching Dannel comb his short black curls trimmed into a high fade before spritzing his hair with argan oil, Osian couldn’t help dragging his fingers through his own untidy brown mane. Though they had much in common, they were polar opposites in other ways. Their differences made their relationship stronger, in Osian’s opinion.

Dannel always made him think of a buffer version of Richard Ayoade. Osian had a striking resemblance to the actor Matt Ryan. He’d even cosplayed as John Constantine and Edward Kenway because of it.

“Meeting me after shift for an early breakfast?”

“Go on, then.” Osian leaned up on his elbows for a kiss. He smiled when Dannel brushed his lips quickly, then bolted from the room. “Bye.”

Since they’d grown up together, Osian knew the ins and outs of Dannel’s personality probably better than his own family did. They’d been inseparable from the time they could toddle across the hall to each other’s homes. He’d been the first one Dannel told about his autism diagnosis.

With Dannel gone for his shift, Osian faced the silence in their two-bedroom flat with a sense of dread. He hated the quiet. It allowed his thoughts to stray to things better left forgotten.

Rolling off the bed, he headed into the en suite to stare glumly into his own blue eyes in the mirror. He shook his head. I’m not old enough to feel so bloody tired all the time. His thoughts seemed to drain every ounce of energy out of him.

Tired and drained.

Drained and tired.

Guilt weighed him down, as though the entire Tottenham Hotspur team had climbed on his shoulders. Time heals all wounds is such bollocks. A year hadn’t brought him much relief.

 
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3cqaPET
All Links: https://books2read.com/cosplaykiller

What makes Osian tick?

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(Image by 俊哉 佐伯 from Pixabay)

  1. Cake. Seriously.
  2. Music, particularly musical cast albums and video game soundtracks. It gets him going in the mornings and helps him relax.
  3. Dannel.
  4. Helping  People.
  5. His family.
  6. Cold nights in London when everything is quiet.
  7. Pizza and a cold beer.
  8. Researching true crime mysteries.
  9. Creating the perfect cosplay outfit and being surrounded by other creative cosplayers.
  10. His friends.

Excerpt: Cosplay Killer

cosplay_forjpegsFRONTcover600

Excerpt

“I’m Oz. He’s D. And we’ll be back for another rundown of murder and mayhem next week. Stay tuned for Osian and Danny’s London Crime Podcast.” He checked his watch, counting down a few seconds before signalling to Dannel to pause the recording. “Another one bites the dust.”

“Oz and D?”

Osian grinned over the top of his laptop at his boyfriend of fourteen years. They’d been best friends practically from infancy and started dating in their teens. “We’re hip with the kids.”

“I am not hip. I have two.” Dannel swivelled in his chair before pushing himself across their living room floor. “And thirty isn’t old age. Besides, how many teenagers are listening to true crime podcasts?”

“Let me have my dream.” Osian followed him down the hall into their bedroom. He stretched out on the bed to watch Dannel prepare for his shift. “Ready to go for twelve hours?”

Dannel glared over his shoulder; his dark brown eyes always seemed to pierce into Osian. “What do you think?”

Truthfully, Osian didn’t know for sure what Dannel thought about being a firefighter. Dannel had followed in his father’s footstep, yet he didn’t quite fit the mould. Osian worried it might come crashing down eventually.

Am I borrowing trouble from the future? Maybe it’ll all work out on its own. Although, when does it ever?

Watching Dannel comb his short black curls trimmed into a high fade before spritzing his hair with argan oil, Osian couldn’t help dragging his fingers through his own untidy brown mane. Though they had much in common, they were polar opposites in other ways. Their differences made their relationship stronger, in Osian’s opinion.

Dannel always made him think of a buffer version of Richard Ayoade. Osian had a striking resemblance to the actor Matt Ryan. He’d even cosplayed as John Constantine and Edward Kenway because of it.

“Meeting me after shift for an early breakfast?”

“Go on, then.” Osian leaned up on his elbows for a kiss. He smiled when Dannel brushed his lips quickly, then bolted from the room. “Bye.”

Since they’d grown up together, Osian knew the ins and outs of Dannel’s personality probably better than his own family did. They’d been inseparable from the time they could toddle across the hall to each other’s homes. He’d been the first one Dannel told about his autism diagnosis.

With Dannel gone for his shift, Osian faced the silence in their two-bedroom flat with a sense of dread. He hated the quiet. It allowed his thoughts to stray to things better left forgotten.

Rolling off the bed, he headed into the en suite to stare glumly into his own blue eyes in the mirror. He shook his head. I’m not old enough to feel so bloody tired all the time. His thoughts seemed to drain every ounce of energy out of him.

Tired and drained.

Drained and tired.

Guilt weighed him down, as though the entire Tottenham Hotspur team had climbed on his shoulders. Time heals all wounds is such bollocks. A year hadn’t brought him much relief.

 
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3cqaPET
All Links: https://books2read.com/cosplaykiller

What inspires you?

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(Image by fiach from Pixabay)

The beginnings of the idea of Cosplay Killer started in the back of my brain ever since I wrote The Grasmere trilogy. I knew I wanted to write a full M/M cosy mystery series with an established couple. There were just other stories to write first, so I let this one percolate for a while.

Inspiration came from a number of places, and I thought it would be fun to share some of them for you.

– Hamilton and Six: The Musical.

I’m not sure which came first–Cosplay Killer or my new obsession with Hamilton and Six: The Musical. But they’re definitely intertwined.

– Cosplay

My vision for Dannel and Osian was of two men passionate about video games, the theatre, movies, and cosplaying their favourite characters. It’s something I hope to explore further as the series grows.

– Video Games

– Air Ambulance/Ambulance shows

There are a number of the shows out of the UK. My hubby and I watch them religiously. I’ve had friends who are paramedics who talk about burn out. I knew I wanted one of the MCs in the series to explore that concept.

– Covent Gardens

The image above is one I found while looking for something else. And it sparked something in me about where they lived.

If you’re an author, where do you find inspiration for your books?