Late to the Party.

I’m currently writing Cosplay Killer an MM Cosy Mystery featuring two men who are into video games, music, and musical theatre.

In doing research, I had to brush up on some Broadway stuff. I’m not massively into plays. It’s never been my thing, though I have a lot of friends who are. I knew a little about Hamilton from friends and also because I think Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius of a wordsmith.

So, I found this video of him performing Alexander Hamilton at the White House.

I watched it twenty times. I was mesmerized. History has always been an obsession of mine and I was entranced by his performance.

Now, I’m autistic. I frequently fall down rabbit holes into new obsessions. And I haven’t had a new ‘special interest’ in a good while.

And I certainly didn’t intend to find one while researching a new cosy mystery series.

But there I was, going from one video to quite literally watching every Hamilton thing I could find on Youtube. Now I’ve listened to the soundtrack of the original cast a hundred times at this point.

Christopher Jackson and Lin-Manuel Miranda performing One Last Time are particularly brilliant.

The things I do for book research.

 

 

 

I love my publisher.

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I do.

Genuinely.

I’ve worked with Hot Tree Publishing (and now Tangled Tree Publishing) for several years. I adore them. They’ve taken good care of me.

And then some days, I want to drop kick them across the ocean.

Kidding, mostly.

We announced my upcoming release a week or so ago.  Primrose Poison. The first in a new cosy mystery series–The Motts Cold Case Mystery Series.

As we were discussing the ongoing series, we realized the first book stood out amongst the titles. While I haven’t written anything but the first, I know what the titles will be. And they were a bit jarring when you lined up the titles with cover ideas.

So we had two options, first, change all the other books.  That would seem to be the better option. Except it wasn’t.

The other option was to change Primrose Poison to Poisoned Primrose.

Have you ever debated something so much you completely lose interest in the subject?

That was me.

The good news is…I still love my publisher. I love the cover (I can’t wait for everyone to see it.) And the titles are all aesthetically pleasing when side by side.

Crisis averted.

(Love you, Becky.)

 

 

Why I now use an outline.

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Sort of.

I hate outlining. Always have. I hated it when I was in school. Still hate it. It, to my autistic mind, is unnecessary and illogical. I don’t like the pattern of standard outlines. They irritate me.

And I am a proud pantser.

Except.

I’m not–not entirely a pantser anymore.

I now use a bastardized version of the beat sheet.  Plus, a cozy mystery outline I found online that is basically just a series of questions to allow an author to keep track of the details of the victim, the killer, and the main suspects.

These are new additions to what I usually keep in my book bible.

As I’m now working on what will hopefully be two lengthy book series, keeping outlines and additional information will save me from losing my mind when I write book 2.

I hope.

I don’t think I’ll ever be a full planner. I doubt I’ll work with a traditional outline. They annoy me too much.

But, a little bit of planning has definitely kept my last two WIPs from going off the rails.

What do I do when I’m not writing?

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Do you have hobbies?
It’s one of the questions authors get asked. What do you do when you’re not writing? And sometimes it’s a hard one to answer.
Writing, technically, started as my hobby.
I’ve turned one of my hobbies into my passion and career.
The boring answer is my hobbies are mostly writing, reading, and playing video games. I’m the perfect combination of Gen X and Gen Z. =)
But, I’m also autistic, and I have a tendency to throw myself headlong into trying new hobbies.
When I was younger and not really aware of this habit, I used to buy EVERYTHING required to try a new hobby. And frequently, I’d wind up abandoning it after a few months.
A lot of autistics I know struggle with this as well.
We go all into an interest/hobby. And when we’re done, we’re 100% finished. No looking back at all.
So, what have I tried and abandoned?
Making soap: The fragrance stared making me sneeze.
Knitting: The yarn bothered my fingers. Damned hyper-sensitivity.
Chainmail: Fun, but my fingers also began to struggle with it.
Painting: I can’t even draw a straight line. I don’t know what I was thinking. Seriously.
Scrapbooking: Just. No.
 
What about hobbies that have stuck around?
Photography: I adore photography. I really want in 2020 to get back into doing macro photography. Maybe I’ll do one of those 365 challenges again.
Video Games: It counts.
Reading: Lifelong hobby that I’ll never give up.
Planning: A more useful version of scrap-booking, in my humble opinion.
 
What about you?
Do you have any hobbies?
 

Fear is the mind killer.

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Fear can talk you out of doing just about anything. Fear is a lying bastard. It plays on any insecurity and anxiety that you might have.

I distinctly remember publishing my very first novel, Ivy. I also remember getting a copy for myself because I was suddenly hit with the fear no one would buy it. And I wanted at least one sale.

Fear almost kept me from putting it out. Ivy was my first NaNoWriMo success several years ago. I didn’t think I could finish a novel. But I kept telling myself to stop doubting. I could do it.

Fear does that. It paralyzes you into not trying. If I don’t try, I can’t fail.

And it’s all a mental game.

I think in so many aspects of my life. Combating fear has often been the hardest part. I have definitely talked myself out of even attempting things.

It’s something I want to do better at in 2020.

How about you?

NaNoWriMo 2019

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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?

Walking to the Beat of Your Own Drum

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I thought it would be fun to think about the theme songs for some of the main characters in my various books. I picked out a few favourites. And, in some cases, songs jumped out at me for those particular characters.

In completely random order.

– Woody (Pure Dumb Luck) – A tie between ‘Humble and Kind’ and ‘Real Good Man’ by Tim McGraw

– Francis (After the Scrum) – ‘All I Want’ by Kodaline

– Elaine (Misguided Confession) – ‘This Is Me’ from The Greatest Showman

– Mac (One Last Heist) – ‘Let Your Heart Hold Fast’ by Fort Atlantic

– Bishan (The Grasmere Trilogy) – ‘Ode to Joy’

– Iggy (Here Come The Son) – ‘Sympathy for The Devil’ by Guns & Roses

– Fie (At War With A Broken Heart) ‘Ring of Fire’ by Johnny Cash

– Ivan (Forged in Flood) – ‘Killing in the Name’ by Rage Against The Machine

– Ivy (Ivy/Blackbird Anthology) – 93 Million Miles’ by Jason Mraz

– Dusk (Found You) – ‘Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude’ by Jimmy Buffett

This was fun.

I might have to do it for other characters.