Writing Is A Lonely Pursuit, Right?

IMG_1812Today I am trying to write and do some marketing but my desktop seems to be a bit crowded, more than normal.  Now aside from a lamp, monitor and keyboard, most people have an assortment of office implements: tape despenser, stapler, pen and pencil containers, maybe a photo and other, you know, stuff. Me? I have the lamp, the monitor and the keyboard and mouse.

And cats…

As usual, the two beds on my desk were quickly occupied by
first-come-first-serve opportunistic cats. And not unexpectedly, a third cat arrives to find all the prime beds taken. He was quite miffed so I put a knitted vest in front of the monitor and pulled the keyboard to the edge of the desk. Presto! Two cats has grown to three. But the third cat, Koko, isn’t quite happy with the vest today. Normally, it’s acceptable. So I pull down a small, narrow bed from elsewhere in my office and put it in front of the monitor. Okay, we’re good. Nap time commences and I’m back to working.

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Except I’m multitasking on the computer and I’m having trouble seeing the progr

ams on the task bar with the way he’s sleeping.

No problem. Book under monitor takes care of that. Beneath my desk, at my feet, there are two dogs in dog beds and a stool for my shot little legs.

Not long after, a fourth cat decided he was cold and lonely. No room for this big guy who is 25 lbs. So into the “cat drawer” he goes (last time he actually broke the drawer).

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This drawer holds my lap robes I keep there in case I get chilly.  Okay, I now have four cats, two dogs.  This is typical of my writing time at my desk.  I’m missing one cat and one very large dog.

No Lonely Writer Club for me.

After lunch, I went back to my desk and the fun began anew.  Fifi retained her pink bed, Molly decided she wanted front and center and Snowy, the  big cat, decided he wanted the big bed. Makes sense.  Then comes Koko, who  had the middle bed before lunch. He’s not happy. He’s not opposed to sharing but his sister Molly gives him a swat to the face. Hmm, not good.

cats

I show him the nice, warm drawer bed. Nope, he wants to be closer to me. So he finds a small bit of space between Molly and Snowy’s bed. I move Molly, bed and all, over a tad, spread the vest out a bit and Koko pours himself into this narrow space and we’re back in business, right?  Well, except for not much space to put my arms to type, anyway.

A week ago, I had all five cats. Four on the desk, and snowy insisting my lap was his perfect place. Let me tell you, there is no writing at the desk with a twenty-five pound cat on your lap. Oh, he’s a good thirty-plus inches long (not counting tail

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I’m shaking my head, wondering how come I’m not a mean cat owner who can just toss the lot of them out. I mean, I have a beautiful desk, and it’s huge. I bought it to put all my necessary office supplies there, and maybe my amethyst candle holder, a nice hunk of fluorite that I like to handle while writing or even my pretty, pastel kaleidoscope

<Sigh>. I’m a push-over. The cats want me, they got me.

What’s that you’re thinking?  SHUT THE DOOR!

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<Another sigh> My office is the family room. With no children at home to make use of both family and living rooms, we literally turned it into a shared office between myself and my husband.  It’s large and has a fireplace which is nice for ambience and warmth in the winter. Unfortunately, there is no door!

No door means my animals know where to find me and most of them are happiest when they are with me. And truthfully, I love my kitties and I’m never lonely when I write, though there are times when I’d love to give “lonely” a shot!

IMG_1801Oh, it’s not just cats on my desk I contend with. One of my pups has caught on to the cat tricks to be close to me. Abby loves to sleep in one of the cat beds. If they are taken, she’s game to curl up in front of the monitor.

Of course, this means that I can’t leave the desk for even a second in case she tries to jump down, and being a yappy, barker, she often has to go see what the other dogs are barking at.

How about you? Do you have writing companions? Do you put your foot down and tell everyone and thing to go away?

Susan Edwards Delivers Magic, Myth & Wonder
Historicals: Breathing Life into the Past with her White Series
Seasons of Love: Series: Paranormals with a Twist
Autumn Dreams Nov 2013 ***** White Christmas Dec 2013  ***** Autumn Dreams Trailer
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GRATITUDE

I know that this should probably have been posted closer to Thanksgiving when we really focus on thanks and gratitude but I believe we should practice gratitude daily.  Even hourly (something I am trying to do).  Their is so much in my life that I am thankful for but for this blog posting, I’m going to focus on just one:  my readers. November and December have been very exciting as I watched the rerelease of the first four books in my White Series in digital format by Carina Press

I am so pleased (and grateful) to have these books once again available to my readers:  new and old and those who missed some of the titles the first  time around.  This series is so close to my heart—each character became my brother, sister, best friend, etc. and to see them republished makes it seem like a long awaited family reunion!   And as I read each book myself, something I never did when the books came out in print format, I am eager to become reacquainted with each character! Even the villains, for there is nothing like seeing justice served! 

I loved writing about this family just as my readers have loved reading about their lives.  Especially Jeremy Jones and White Dove.  Readers weren’t just asking for their story  but began demanding it!  And honestly, I was right there with each and every reader for that was one story that just called to me and I chomped at the bit until the books before White Dove were written.

So from two people Sarah & Golden Eagle, who met by chance (first in my mind), eleven books were born. Over the years, I have received so many reader letters and comments and emails and have been amazed at how these characters from my series have affected so many different people: from the mother who read the books to her dying daughter, to the lonely women who found companionship and to women who appreciated the guts, and the willingness of the heroine’s and hero’s to do whatever it took to overcome adversity and so many more reader stories.

In my writing, I’ve tried to create more than a satisfying story and read.  I wanted to add value to these books by addressing some of society’s problems like abuse and handicaps. My blind heroine, Mattie (a child in White Dreams and not blind until her story in was one of the hardest books to write yet one of the most satisfying. I was so afraid that I would receive letters protesting the fact that she does not regain her sight by a “miracle” but I didn’t receive a single complaint. Mattie was so comfortable and in tune to her world, that “fixing” her would have cheapened the story and her courage.  

I am grateful that my readers agreed. Each of the White Books is a story that means something to me. Jessie in White Wolf is a lot like I was in my youth. Just try and tell me no back then without a very good reason and I was all set to rebel. I could go on and one with each book but then I’d be writing a book instead of a blog! I will say that so many of the letters I received were stories in and of themselves but with one common theme: a love of reading, love and appreciation for characters who made a difference in their own lives.  Even after the print version of the books were no longer available, letters still poured in from readers asking for the books, and even for new stories.

Just writing this letter makes me all teary and homesick for the lives and characters of this series but just as these books are once again available to my readers, they are there for me as I plan to become re-acquainted with each book and each character.  A reunion of sorts! Speaking of reunions, (you knew this might be coming, right?), I am planning a twelfth White book.  So many characters to choose from though!

But right  now, as the title suggests, I am grateful to see the White series available once more.  And I am grateful to Carina Press and very thankful for my editor Angela James, for making this series available once again. How about you?  How do you view “gratitude”.  Do you think of it often?  Rarely?  Can you sit down and write out 100 things you are truly grateful for in your life?  Could you do that today?  And again tomorrow?  And the day after?  What would we be as a society if each and everyone of us practiced gratitude and consciously gave thanks 24/7? 

I’ll start now by saying I am thankful for each and every person who reads this blog.  Oh, I started my list of 100. 
Susan

ROMANCING THE — PAST

All historical writers in someway, and in various degrees do exactly that: we Romance the Past. You know what I’m talking about here. Take myself for example.

I write Native American Historical Romances. I have young, virile, handsome warriors who carry off (sometimes) helpless (well, how about victims of circumstance) women not of their culture and take them back to their tribes where the man and woman from two complete different worlds fall in love and overcome any and all barriers–including language!

Realistically, life for those women did not have a happily-ever-after. Sure, there were some who found happiness–maybe. I am hearing my husband snort of disbelief in my head as I write for he is a realistic person down to his engineering bones. I like to believe that not all were treated cruelly.

Okay, so why do we authors do this? Why take an era in time like the old frontier, the Civil War, any war, pirates, etc. and turn the ugly truth of what life was really like into stories of true love overcoming the impossible?

I can think of one reason: it is the era of that time period, the world long gone from us, that is somehow appealing. I’ll use my own expertise here. When readers of Native American stories, in the era where the white man and Native were dealing with territory issues, we aren’t seeing the spread of disease the white man brought to the Natives or the starvation during harsh winters or the savageness and slaughter that certainly was a big part of that time period. No, we see a freedom of living that we will never know in our lifetime no matter how many times we go camping or hiking.

The appeal is in living off the land, having no cumbersome possessions, no work demands, no bills in the mail box, no mortgage, no threat of foreclosure, no job layoffs, no mean, insensitive or jerk of a boss and–well you get the idea. When we look back, we don’t see people how they were. We see what we long for–if even for a few short hours. Sometimes, less is more?

Sure, there was work, hard work way back then. From sunrise to sunset and often long into the night but there was also plenty of time for celebration, for visiting the other women while working, the chatting and laughter, the bonding of males going off on hunts or a raiding party.

Then there is the appeal of never being alone, never wanting. Never having your children go hungry unless the entire tribe was hungry. For in those days, people shared. To own and collect and keep for the sake of owning was not a good thing. People shared what they had with those in need.

And the children! They were valued. Treasured. You’ve all heard the saying: it takes a village to raise a child? It’s true. Parents did not have to pay outrageous daycare fees so that they could attend to their duties for the children were looked after by everyone. Children were never tossed away like garbage. And a child grew up knowing he was loved. He was treated with respect, and taught to respect. After all, if a child is never given respect (or love etc) how can he give it later. Okay, there was probably mistreated children back in the era I write about but from what I know, in the pre-white man days, with most tribes, children were treasures. Unlike today where many are forgotten and swept away.

Hmm, I seem to have stepped a bit onto my soapbox. But I think you can take all my points using the Native American culture and apply it to any popular historical time period that we romance authors romanticize.

Does that mean its harmful to do what we do? I don’t believe so. There were storytellers in every culture, and not so surprisingly, stories of the same type (creation myths, moral stories, advice stories, and I’m sure some just for fun). But no matter the story, there were lessons buried beneath the words.

Today, we don’t have a tribal storyteller to pass down all that was learned from one generation to another. Instead, we have books and those books have themes that touch on all walks of life.

We today have so many things vying for our attention. I’m not even going to try to list those activities and chores, etc. I joke to my husband that if I were to write down everything I NEED to do, WANT to do, SHOULD do, FORGOT to do, I’d have a list a mile long and no hope in this lifetime of completing it.

So to keep from going slightly mad, many of us look to a time we believe or at least pretend to believe was much simpler and maybe a bit more rewarding. Sure, those stories are fiction but the world is at least in some part real but best of all, those wonderful characters in those fictionalized places become real. For at least the time we spend with them. If I as an author can take a reader out of the stress of daily living and bring them back feeling good about themselves and their world, then I’m happy.

And maybe, there will be something to be learned that can apply to our lives today. Some moral lesson, a bit of advice, that can ease the passage of our own day-to-day experiences. Most of all, when we read true-to-life stories about people facing tough times just as we are facing tough times, we know we are not alone.

Check back at my website for excerpts, reviews, and contest information (pages being updated over the next week)
http://susanedwards.com

Preorder Susan’s White Series starting with the first four books. Available November 21st.

CHARACTERS ARE SUCH–CHARACTERS!

Recently, I’ve been going through all my notes and files on my White Series Books with the intent of gathering information in order to write a reunion book and perhaps spin off some more White Series stories. As I am doing this, I find myself amazed over all the wonderful characters in these books, including all the secondary characters!

I’ve forgotten about so many of these great characters who complimented my hero and heroine’s! Readingabout them after so many years is like meeting up with old friends! A few might even be ready to volunteer for their own book.
 
Then there are all the children. Anyone who knows me also knows (with much eye rolling) that I LOVE babies. So it’s not surprising that my characters have children. Lots of children. I am a grandmother-in-waiting. I think that says it all. I want grandchildren. Alas, I may have to settle for giving my characters lots of children for the time being. But back to my topic here. When I left off with the different books in the series, many of my hero/heroines had at least one child. Most were babies in epilogues and now as I plan out the timelines, I get to magically watch them grow up and even give them siblings (sorry children) and also, see who has the potential for the next generation of books.
 
It’s the creation process all over again. Adding 10-15 or more years to this series, not just adds to the series total, but it changes everything and makes it all new again as I map out character charts and contemplate new plots and stories.
 
For instances, there are two girls who were adopted into the tribe in White Dove, by the hero and heroine (Jeremy and White Dove). One embraces the new life. The other is torn. What can I plot for these two girls? Then there is the believed nasty grandfather who wants them found and returned. Is he a man who loves his granddaughters or is a future villain. I could wink and say wait and find out but as of yet, I am not totally sure myself! So you see, there are many hidden stories in this series just waiting to be dug out and brought to light or to paper!
 
In my own books, one favorite couple were an old man and woman, both feisty. Rook was a grumpy old man who found love in White Wolf with an equally strong-willed and no-nonsense woman. In books written by other authors, I love Lulu, Ranger and Morelli in Janet Evonovitch’s Stephanie plum books. Then there is Hermione and Ron in the Harry Potter books, and among my favorites, Peabody, Feeney and McNab in J.D. Robb’s In Death series.
 
So, for readers who’ve read my series, who would you like to see more of? Who were your favorite secondary characters and who should I write about next? What family of children intrigue you?
 
If you are a writer, what are your thoughts on secondary characters and their role in your books or other books. Who are some of your favorite secondary characters.
 
I love secondary characters and the depth they bring to stories. How about you?
(http://susanedwards.com White Dawn, White Dusk, White Shadows, White Wind due to be re-released November 21st in digital format by http://carinapress)

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