What Writers Really Do
By Ashley Ladd
Before I sat down to write daily, before I published my first book, I imagined that writers wrote – every day, all day long, at least five days a week and I usually imagined them writing in lovely offices, or better yet, on The Riviera or some equally breath-takingly beautiful location.
Remember the movie “Jewel of the Nile” featuring romance writer Joan Wilder? In the opening scene, Joan’s writing on her boyfriend’s yacht which is anchored at a gorgeous port in the south of France. That’s where I imagined, at least hoped, I’d be writing. And if not there, I’d be writing in a beautiful garden oasis as I sipped champagne and nibbled on caviar as my Cordon-Bleu trained chef made my family’s meals, my housekeeper beautified my house, and my dog walkers took care of my puppies.
Oh! And don’t forget, I’d have a world-class publicist on my payroll promoting my books so I could write full-time. I would only interrupt my writing to attend glitzy writers’ conventions to accept my many book awards or to travel to beautiful world-class resorts to research my upcoming stories.
Everything looked so glamorous and exciting I couldn’t wait to earn my first million bucks and quit my day job.
Oh, I’m sure some authors are really this successful and get to do just this. I also imagine they’re in the minority.
I don’t fit this mold (yet) nor do most of the authors I know personally.
So what is my reality?
First and foremost, I still work at a full-time job that has nothing to do with writing or my books. My day job supports my family. My writing royalties merely allows us to have a few extras. By the time I get home at the end of a long work day, I’m usually exhausted. Then I still have to cook dinner for my large clan, clean up after dinner, and sometimes run errands or clean house. And of course I have to walk the dogs.
By the time I finish my normal after-work routine, I’m beat and ready to chill out watching an hour of The Big Bang Theory or some other show that will make me smile.
But of course my books won’t write themselves, so I force myself to start writing. Fortunately, once I start I get involved in my current story and immerse myself into my characters’ lives and I start to enjoy myself. If I’m lucky, I get to write two-three hours before night’s end. I’m usually a fast writer and even quicker typist, so I’ll get one to two-thousand words written in that time. Sometimes more.
My writing area isn’t glamorous at all. I used to write at Borders before they closed. They were close by, let me use their electricity to keep my laptop powered up, and had an awesome café. Now, I write in my bedroom. I don’t even have a porch. My husband usually has the TV on LOUD, my children come in and out wanting attention, my dogs lay at my feet, and my cats jump onto my lap. Instead of champagne and caviar, I drink a never-ending supply of Diet Cola. It’s usually pretty cozy until the kids start fighting or the dogs demand to go outside in the middle of a thunderstorm.
Of course, there’s the lure of the Internet and AOL. At least once an hour, usually many more times than that, I’m compelled to check my email to see what gems (usually promotion-related) are in my inbox.
Lately, I’ve not been so lucky. With four books releasing close together this year, I haven’t been able to write much and many days, not at all. Instead, my writing time has been taken over by promotion as unfortunately, I don’t have one of those wonderful, magical publicists.
On the surface, writing doesn’t seem glamorous at all, does it?
Once I become involved in a story and wrapped up in my characters lives, I’m transported into their world. I often become my characters, wondering how life will unfold and what surprises will come next.
Champagne or not, The Riviera or not, I’m obsessed with writing, with creating wonderful worlds and exciting heroes and heroines. There’s no other job that I could ever love so much.
Guy Rogers is extremely attracted to his new realtor, Tom Beaudreaux. As a passionate vegetarian and animal activist, he’s ecstatic that Tom is a kindred soul. He could never be with a carnivore. Unfortunately, Tommy isn’t really a vegetarian or animal activist. He never said he was either, he just didn’t eat meat when he was with Guy. And maybe he emptied his house of all meat and dairy products before inviting Guy over. In fact, Tommy’s family owns the most popular barbecue restaurant in town and if his family has their way, he’ll manage the new location.
When Guy finds out that Tommy eats meat and his family owns a restaurant that is a monument to eating meat, he’s livid and doesn’t know if he wants anything else to do with Tommy.
But then Guy’s life gets crazy –his dad’s paranoia blossoms into violent dementia, he gets arrested for picketing a doggy mill, and then he winds up in even more legal trouble. When Tommy sticks by him through all his trouble and does everything he can to help him, Guy wonders if he’s been too militant and narrow-minded. Perhaps he can learn to live with people who have opposite views.
Gunshots rang out as they turned onto Guy’s street.
Tommy looked at him and mouthed, “Shit! You don’t think…?”
“I hope not. I don’t know.” Guy pressed the gas pedal to the floor and the car shot forward, fish-tailing.
Tommy fisted the door, hanging on tight. “I hope we’re wrong.”
Guy’s intuition told him he wasn’t. His knuckles turned white they held the steering wheel so tightly. Unafraid for himself but scared for his dad, he pulled into his driveway and jumped out of the car, with Tommy close on his heels.
The woman next door ran outside screaming, tearing out her already tattered hair. She pointed at her front door. “Your father’s shooting up my house and is holding a gun at my dad’s head. He’s going to kill him. You’ve got to do something.”
Tommy yelled as he began dialing on his phone, “I’m calling the police.” As if on cue, police sirens blared in the distance and grew louder by the second.
“I’m going in. I have to stop him.”
“Wait for the police. Don’t put yourself in danger,” Tommy ordered forcefully.
“I have to take the chance. He could kill someone before the police get here. I can’t let that happen.” He put himself in harm’s way for animals, so certainly he could risk his life for his own father and other fellow human beings. He had no choice. It would be his fault if someone got hurt.
So he ran through the open door flailing his arms, hoping he would be in time. “Dad! It’s Guy. Don’t do anything. I’m here. You’ll be okay.”
“He’ll be okay? What about me? He’s got a shotgun pointed at my head threatening to blow it off,” the elderly neighbor cried.
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Ashley Ladd lives in South Florida with her husband, five children, and beloved pets. She loves the water, animals (especially cats), and playing on the computer.
She's been told she has a wicked sense of humor and often incorporates humor and adventure into her books. She also adores very spicy romance, which she weaves into her stories.
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