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Archive for April 10th, 2008

We have a winner! The winner of Moira’s post is….

Colleen!

Congrats Colleen!

Please email Moira at moiramctark @ yahoo.com (without the spaces) and let her know what format you’d like the book in. Enjoy!

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Egan MacDonald was the one person Princess Zarabeth couldn’t read. Yet even without being able hear his thoughts, she knew he was the most honorable, infuriating, and deliciously handsome man she’d ever met. And now her life was in his hands. Chased out of her native country by bitter betrayal and a bevy of assassins, Zarabeth found refuge at the remote MacDonald castle and a haven in Egan’s embrace. She also found an ancient curse, a matchmaking nephew, a pair of debutants eager to drag her protector to the altar, and dark secrets in Egan’s past. But even amid all the danger raged a desire too powerful to be denied….

Writing through Thick and Thin

by Jennifer Ashley

I’ve been pretty blessed in my career so far (knock on wood), and I can’t complain about life in general. I write a lot of books, and I like it that way. What on earth would I do without deadlines—clean my house?? Nah.

But this year I’ve been hitting difficult, life-altering situations that leave little energy for creativity and writing. I discovered that for me to lose myself in my story world and write like the wind, I have to be at peace inside my head. And this year, I’ve had nothing resembling peace.

I know writers who write better through pain, and great things come out of their misery. I unfortunately, can only focus on my misery! Maybe it’s mild OCD—I have to fix the problem now, now, now and have it go away fast.

But sometimes life bites, and you have a problem, or a sadness, that isn’t going to go away with a quick fix. Loss is hard to get over, and you never really do get over it. And that’s all right–that person you lost is still part of you and your life, and you don’t need to “get over it.” Go on, yes; put them behind you forever, no.

Anyway, deadlines never stop, even if you want them to. A writer has several choices when she’s faced with urgent deadlines and bad life situations. She can buy her rights back from her publisher and not go forward with the books (and try to sell them elsewhere later). Or she can blow everything off (I don’t recommend this path!), or she can continue writing through thick and thin.

I opted for writing through thick and thin. My contracts this year are for books I really want to write (not that I didn’t want to write all the others!), but these are some new characters and situations I have been wanting to explore for a long time.

It’s been hard. There are days I sit and stare at the screen (I call them my “staring” days), and can’t focus on anything. Sometimes I deliberately immerse myself in distractions to keep from having to think about anything else, including my stories.

But thank heavens for sleepless nights. When I’m lying there in the dark, I can’t do anything. Even if I get up, it’s doubtful I can take care of problems that require business hours and phone calls. (And cleaning the house is out, of course.) I can’t un-do the tough decisions I’ve had to make or hard things I’ve had to live through; I can’t bring back the people I’ve lost.

What I can do is lie back and let go. I can let go of my anger and sadness and irritation. I can embrace the peace of the darkness and the quiet of the night (unless my neighbors are having yet another party, and then I turn on white noise to drown them out).

When I let go there in the darkness, the stories come. Characters I couldn’t get hold of while staring at the screen suddenly reach out and touch me. I know them, I watch them walk and talk and love and kiss and laugh and cry. I feel their sorrows and their joys, their frustrations and anger and triumphs.

My characters are there waiting for me, and if I’m lucky, the next day I can find the words to write down what I saw.

What life’s hardships have done for me is put things in perspective. The ups and downs of career and the publishing world, who’s hot and who’s not, whether my book makes the lists or gets the star reviews, or whatever, doesn’t really matter.

In the end, what matters most are the characters and the stories. I’m feeling like I did when I first started writing, savoring the joy of stepping out of myself and into the magical world in my head.

Bestseller lists, great reviews, awards, etc., are a lot of fun (who would say no?), but nothing beats the magic!

I’d love to hear what others have done to keep going during tough times. I find other people’s stories very inspiring!

I’ll be giving away any book from my backlist to a random name drawn from the comments, so feel free to post your thoughts.

**A note from Mad: Other books you’ll have seen Egan in were PENELOPE AND PRINCE CHARMING and then in THE MAD, BAD DUKE. For those who haven’t read this series, it’s a MUST READ! Go forth and buy! 😉

Because I was too impatient to wait for Egan to show up with my online order, I ended up buying another one from the local bookstore so in addition to what Jennifer is giving away, I’ll be giving away my copy of HIGHLANDER EVER AFTER. Make sure you take good care of Egan for me! Excerpt can be found here.

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