Red Pencil Thursday

Red Pencil Thursday

Click image for details on how YOU can be a Red Pencil Thursday Volunteer!

Next week we have an RPT volunteer, but this week on Red Pencil Thursday I’d like to welcome my very own critique partner, Ashlyn Chase. Though I like to think our online sessions here are helpful, it’s hard to overestimate the value of a flesh and blood critique partner. I encourage you to find one.

On paper, Ash and I really shouldn’t work well together. She’s a liberal Wiccan and I’m a conservative Christian. She loves beta heroes and I’m all about the alpha. She writes wickedly funny contemporary paranormals with a whole menagerie of vampires and werewolves and witches, oh my! I barely dabble my historical toes in the fantastical waters of metaphysics. But we respect the writing and sincerely want to see success for each other, which I think is key to any critique relationship.

We meet around my dining table over a cup of coffee, reading our work aloud and stopping each other to make suggestions. Sometimes, when a face to face is impossible, we email the manuscripts and critique by phone. We bat around ideas for new stories and I credit her with the premise for my current project (which my agent went into raptures over, I might add!). Ashlyn is wildly inventive and just plain fun to work with. I’m very blessed.

And so are you because she’s sharing her thoughts about how a book comes together and offering a terrific giveaway for everyone today! Take it away, Ashlyn.

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Birth of a Book

Ashlyn Chase

Have you ever noticed the similarities between childbirth and authoring a book? I have. For those of you who are readers and not authors, please bear with me.

We talk about conceiving an idea. All books begin with a mere kernel of an idea and grow. Some people call them plot bunnies. They sort of hop around in our heads and multiply.

Then you have to write the thing. It takes several months to come to fruition, and if you’re as lucky as I am, you have a support system to get you through the process. My terrific critique partner Mia Marlowe is that wonderful woman who has been through it all before and will answer my silly questions seriously, encourage me, and sometimes even hold my hand as I face this daunting task. Usually she’s going through the process too, so it’s like we’re both pregnant with books at the same time. I’m her cheering section too.

Okay, now we’re getting close. If it hasn’t already been arranged, it’s time to book the hospital and pick a birth coach. That would be my publisher and editor. Then, at last, the big day arrives. The baby is born! My publicist helps me deliver it into the world. I guess that makes Danielle my doctor. Actually, we have to credit the sales and marketing staff that get the book into bookstores too, so let’s say it takes a team of doctors and nurses to come into play when the baby is ready.

Vampire Next Door

Click image to order your own Vampire!

Every time I look at my baby’s adorable face, my beautiful cover, I fall in love all over again. How could I not? I just accomplished something big, but I didn’t do it alone. This article is to thank all those special people who helped me with the birth of my latest book in the Strange Neighbors series.

Oh, and thank you Tom Brady (who inspired the idea of an apartment building in Boston owned by a professional athlete.) Mia! Does that make him the baby daddy? LOL. Okay, I guess there’s such a thing as taking an analogy too far.

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Maybe if Tom played for the Red Sox instead of the Patriots, Ash. After all, your Strange Neighbors hero is a baseball player!

Now I have a wonderful treat for you. There will be no random drawing for a winner. You are all winners! YOU CAN DOWNLOAD STRANGE NEIGHBORS FREE! It’s available for Kindle, Nook, or as a PDF straight from Sourcebooks! Here’s a chance to try Ashlyn’s stories risk free. I think you’ll love them.

Improper Gentlemen

Click image to order!

Be sure to leave a comment or question for Ash! I’m sure she’ll be dropping by to respond.

Oh! and before I forget, the IMPROPER BLOG TOUR is making a stop at Lucy Monroe‘s place today. I’m sharing about the first time I heard this National bestseller speak shortly after she published her very first book. Now she’s over 50 books and counting! Come join me there for a chance to win a copy of Improper Gentlemen!

15 thoughts on “Red Pencil Thursday

  1. Ashlyn Chase says:

    HI Barbara!

    Yes, the process is painful, but most of us would never choose a different route.

    I still haven’t read the story you were kind enough to give me for free. There’s no excuse for that! I will get right on it ASAP!

  2. Barbara Britton says:

    Hi Ashlyn,

    I like your analogy. Both babies and books are a lot of work, but well worth it!

  3. Dani Harper says:

    Hi Ashley – thank you VERY much for the free story. As a dedicated fan of the paranormal, I’m looking forward to it. I’ve often thought that creating a novel is like pregnancy and childbirth too — complete with cravings! Great blog.

    1. Ashlyn Chase says:

      I hope you’ll be craving more after the free book, Dani! I’m sure that’s what my publisher had in mind.

  4. Tracey D says:

    Great post; I enjoyed reading it.

    I look forward in continuing this series.

    1. Ashlyn Chase says:

      Thanks, Tracey!

      And thank you for following my blog tour. I’m having a special prize later for those who do. (wink)

  5. Hi Ashlyn,
    I love your analogy. Although when I was pregnant, I felt wonderful,confident, healthy. During the gestation of a book, I’m exhausted, demoralized, and absolutely convinced I’ll NEVER go through this process again :)

    Your book sounds great. I’ll have to search for the actual hard copy, tho, until I break down and finally spring for a ‘reader.’

    1. Ashlyn Chase says:

      Oh, Barbara, I’m sorry you have hard book genstations. A lot of people feel that way about regular pregnancy!

      I don’t get morning sickness in the first third of a book either…most of the time.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Just FYI, Barb, you can download the Kindle programming to use on your computer free if you want. I read on my cellphone on the Kindle app–again a free download. I never thought I’d like it, but I love the convenience of always having a book to read no matter where I am.

  6. Virginia E says:

    Even elephants have shorter pregnancies than some of my favorite books!

    On the other hand, there is a certain appropriate truth to the imagery. Both books and babies are a labor of love, even through those moments of panic and self doubting.

    1. Ashlyn Chase says:

      You said it, Virginia!

      Another terrific reason to have a critique partner is for those times of self-doubt. I had a real moment of worry when The Werewolf Upstairs wasn’t flowing along as I would have liked. I needed Mia’s encouragement at that moment–and got it!

  7. Nynke says:

    Thank you, Ashlyn! I have to say, I’m very curious to see what Mia’s much-applauded critique partner actually writes. I also liked your book trailer (phone-sex witches? hilarious! and thanks for the visual of the appartment building, so I won’t fill in the drab thing that usually comes up in my head while reading…). I’ll be downloading Strange Neighbors shortly, adding it to my ever-growing digital TBR pile, which I Must Not Start On until my PhD Thesis is Finished…

    I very much agree with the bookwriting-pregnancy analogy. In fact, a friend recently sent me a postcard saying “puff, puff, puff… keep going a little while longer!” – which was obviously meant for pregnant women, not writers, but it still fit :).

    1. Nynke says:

      Although a pregnancy that can last several years is a bit of a scary thought, come to think of it!

      1. Mia says:

        In my experience, pregnancy only feels like years. I was a week late with my first daughter and the days dragged at the pace of giant sloths.

    2. Ashlyn Chase says:

      LOL, Nynke!

      Yes, I left out the whole labor pains thing, didn’t I? Well said by your friend!

      Good luck on your PhD!

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