Meow! I’m thrilled to welcome an old friend back to the blog…Ashlyn Chase! Ashlyn was one of our very first guests when the HUMAN and I started the blog back in 2011!
Ashlyn holds a degree in behavioral sciences, worked as a psychiatric RN for several years and spent a few more years working for the Red Cross. She credits her sense of humor to her former careers since comedy helped preserve whatever was left of her sanity. She is a multi-published, award-winning author with Ellora's Cave and Sourcebooks.
Recently Ashlyn entered the world of “indie” publishing. Her first novel, THE CUPCAKE COVEN, debuted earlier this month. Ashlyn lives in beautiful New Hampshire with her true-life hero husband, who looks like Hugh Jackman if you squint and they're owned by a spoiled brat cat! (of course!)
And now, guest blogging…Ashlyn Chase!
Writers be Crazy
Some people may not know that I was an RN in the psychiatric field for many years. I found it fascinating, mostly because we’re still learning so much about the mind, personality, and behavior of human beings. Now toss into the mix a creative brain and you have something really interesting.
Someone once told me, “You don’t think like other people.” She was a fellow writer and didn’t mean it as an insult. She meant it to help me…and it did.
Writer Juliet Bruce, PhD paraphrased creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi best when speaking of creative people. “Instead of being an individual, they are a multitude.
“Like the color white that includes all colors, they tend to bring together the entire range of human possibilities within themselves. Creativity allows for paradox, light, shadow, inconsistency, even chaos – and creative people experience both extremes with equal intensity.”
I think she meant to say the color ‘black’ since white is the absence of color and black is what you get when you mix all colors together. Oh well…I went to Mass College of Art, so you can blame it on them.
Here are a few qualities he lists, as Bruce summarizes and I identify:
1) A great deal of physical energy alternating with a great need for quiet and rest. (*Check)
2) Highly sexual, yet often celibate, especially when working. (*Check with husband.)
3) Smart and naïve at the same time. A mix of wisdom and childishness. Emotional immaturity along with the deepest insights. (*Yup. Double check.)
4) Convergent (rational, left brain, sound judgment) and divergent (intuitive, right brain, visionary) thinking. (*What left brain? The only sound judgment I demonstrate is letting other people take care of the rational stuff.)
5) Both extroverted and introverted, needing people and solitude equally. (*Check—especially at writers’ conferences.)
6) Humble and proud, both painfully self-doubting and wildly self-confident. (*More about this later.)
7) May defy gender stereotypes, and are likely to have not only the strengths of their own gender but those of the other as well. A kind of psychic androgyny. (*?)
For more, see Bruce’s post Understanding Creative People – and Csikszentmihalyi’s classic book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, plus his article The Creative Personality: Ten paradoxical traits of the creative personality.
It’s that intensity (passion) that can get us writers into trouble, in my opinion. Speaking of painful self-doubt…John Lennon had huge issues with self-esteem. Even during the height of Beetle Mania, he thought he was a fraud.
I vacillate wildly, just as mentioned—especially after reading a review. Horrible thoughts go through my mind if a review is a bit negative. Everything from “What’s the matter with that broad? Can’t she recognize my brilliance?” To, “Oh, God. I’ve been found out. I suck. I’m a hack, and now everyone knows it.” For self-preservation, I no longer read consumer reviews. They seem to be the harshest and my assistant would have to talk me off a ledge.
But when I receive a fan letter (okay, these days it’s an email) I realize I’m doing what I was meant to do. I’ve entertained someone. (Yay!) Even so, I have a hard time using the word ‘fan.’ I have readers. When someone calls themselves a fan of my work, I’m flattered and humbled. When they call themselves a fan of me, my mind goes a little numb. No—they can’t mean that. They don’t know me.
Or do they? How much of who we are goes into our books?
Thomas Wolfe said, “Every novel is an autobiography.” (*Gulp.)
Even though I’ve never met a vampire or werewolf, I have the type of creative imagination that makes them very real. They live in my head. They speak to me, and all I do is take dictation. (Talk about crazy!) If they are real to me, they become real to my readers—and apparently that is happening. I received an angry letter because my heroine was ‘selfish’ when she let her true love give up his immortality for her.
Something to note is that I had a different ending to that story—one that the reader would have loved. An editor made me change it, and all I can think now is, “Why did I let myself be pushed around like that? I suck.”
Well, dear reader, I apologize! I shall try to be true to myself and my characters in the future. I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘girly-girl,’ but I can fight like a man if I have to. (That must be where androgyny comes in.) If an editor again tries to force me to compromise part of my story that makes sense, I will drag said editor into the middle of Times Square and…
No. I really won’t. But I’ll be more assertive. I promise.
Here’s where a lot of creative writers (including romance authors) are showing their testosterone levels. We’re taking charge. We’re self-publishing our books. And we’re doing it our way.
Many are just dumping their agents and publishers and have decided to handle the business as well as the creative parts of publishing. The big benefit of this is keeping a much higher percentage of the profits. Even among these authors, the smart ones will hire artists and editing professionals to make a good product better—and then keep the rest.
Some authors (like me) are becoming ‘Hybrids.’ We continue to work with professional publishers and agents for some books, but we self-publish other projects on the side. The self-published books are called ‘Indies.’ My first Indie is The Cupcake Coven (release date May 5, 2014.) Here’s a quick promo:
Pretty Wiccan Rebecca Colby borrowed money from her father to start her bakery, and now he’s calling the loan due. When she learns he fell off the gambling wagon and owes big money to some scary people, she has to start making a profit—quickly—and hope the loan shark takes payment plans before anyone has an “accident.”
Hot cowboy Dru Tanner is looking for his missing sister who left Texas to explore their New England Wiccan roots. She’s the only family he has left and losing her is not an option. Dru has to hide the fact that he’s not Wiccan long enough to infiltrate a Portsmouth, NH coven, which is the only lead he has.
Dru needs a job and a place to stay. Rebecca needs cheap help, and he’s willing to work for nothing. Perhaps he can pick her brain about Wicca and she can learn how to run a business from a ranch foreman—if lust doesn’t drive them crazy first.
Here are the ISBNs:
I hope you’ll give my crazy brain a chance to entertain you.
The Cupcake Coven should be available in all e-formats for only $2.99. You should even be able to order a print copy or have your bookstore or library get one for you.
Here’s the link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=The%20Cupcake%20Coven
Every sale will help me continue on this insane path. I want to thank my blog host and thank you, dear reader, for your support and encouragement. -ASHLYN
Thank you, Ashlyn!
Folks, here's where you can find out about Ashlyn:
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Ask her to sign your ebook at www.authorgraph.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Ashlyn-Chase/e/B002BOJ4FK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1360590343&sr=1-2-ent
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