Thursday, May 27, 2010

Guest Blog and Giveaway with Ashlyn Chase


Reinventing myself

In some of my bios, I mention the idea of the writer’s theme. It’s not the theme of a book; it’s the theme of all that author’s books. Whether or not we writers realize it, an all-over pervasive theme usually emerges in every book by a particular author. I’ve come to realize my theme has to do with characters who reinvent themselves.

I’m well qualified to write it too. I’ve reinvented myself many times—both as a writer and a person. I worked as a registered nurse for twenty years. Before that, I attended Massachusetts College of Art, hoping to become a famous artist and travel the world showing in premier galleries. Then I got real.

Nursing doesn’t allow for a lot of creativity. In fact, it’s actively discouraged. You follow doctor’s orders, period. And if they get “too creative” it’s your job to reel them in. But as you might have guessed, I’m a creative person and that trait doesn’t stay buried easily. Most artists will tell you they become very uncomfortable—physically, emotionally or both—if they can’t create. I’m no different. To satisfy my creative urges, I took a course in screenwriting. It wasn’t as messy as painting and I had since married a neat-nick.

Breaking into Hollywood from New Hampshire isn’t the easiest thing to do, but I did manage to get a Hollywood agent to peddle one of my romantic comedies to the Indies. Unfortunately, there were no takers, so I tried authoring a book. I monitored my reading choices for a while and found I liked reading the ‘hot stuff.’ As soon as I made that admission and stopped blushing, I thought I might try writing it. After reading many hot novels, I had an idea. I’d turn one of my screenplays into a steam bath of a novel!

I was fortunate. The romance genre is 55 percent of the paperback market and women really want authors to turn up the heat these days. Three electronic publishers wanted my first completed novel—an erotic romantic suspense. And by the way, erotic romance is different from ‘pure erotica.’ Pardon the oxymoron. You’d never find these books in the stores with blacked-out windows. Erotic romance isn’t porn. Women demand higher standards. Plot, characterization and relationships must be as important as sexual content.

So—reinvention number one: From nurse to writer. I tried a couple of other things along the way. I trained as a hypnotherapist and an interior designer, but for some reason my clients eventually began smoking or gaining weight again, and it was discouraging. I never earned a dime with my Interior Design training. There were just too many pitfalls, so I used my knowledge to design my own home and offer opinions to friends—if asked. But it was writing that stuck.

Reinvention number two: From hot suspense to hot comedy. I was a published author. I had a few devoted followers and some great reviews, but something was missing. My joy and spontaneity. I wasn’t having as much fun as I would have liked. Writing these books had turned into work.

Then I had an experience that changed me again. I wrote my first erotic comedy. I let myself go buck wild, and it just poured out of me. What resulted was an off-the-wall novella that every reader and reviewer loved. It was nominated for a CAPA and an Eppie award. And I loved it too, plus I loved the experience of writing it.

Fast forward a few years and several erotic comedies later…my paychecks, which had been terrific, were suddenly drying up. A number of different factors beyond my control were responsible, but nevertheless, I had to do something about it!

Reinvention number three: From short to long: I had heard that what readers and publishers wanted was not one, but several related books in a series. So I tried to come up with an idea for a hot humorous series. Let’s see…write what you know…use your voice…and try to make it a long story that can go on and on and on…At first I’d thought of a series of ghost comedies that I’d call Naughty New England. I may still write that someday, but in the meantime, Strange Neighbors was conceived.

And now it’s about to be born! I’m so excited I can barely sleep. Oh, right. This blog was supposed to be about the journey from erotic romance to mainstream romance. Well, I hate to be anticlimactic, but that part wasn’t hard—I mean difficult. (Forgive me, I love double entendres.) My erotic romances tended to be on the mild side anyway. The kinkiest I got was a manage-a-trois and a little bondage. Yawn. I never did any gay or lesbian stuff and wouldn’t know how. So, transitioning from my usual to mainstream consisted of refraining from using one word…and it was a word I really didn’t like anyway.

I think I’m where I belong now. I’m still writing plenty hot, but I don’t have to force myself past my comfort level. I don’t have to write Alpha heroes all the time, I can actually make my hero a nice guy. When I read my publisher’s criteria, I knew I’d be happy. She wanted four things. A hero the reader can fall in love with, a heroine we can relate to, a compelling story, and an interesting world. Did I mention my publisher is female? Do I have to? She obviously knows what women like, and I’m happy to give it to them. Please check out my website http://www.ashlynchase.com/ and Strange Neighbors.

I’m in love with this new series. It’s about an apartment building full of paranormal misfits in Boston’s Back Bay. As you might expect, it’s another one of my romantic paranormal comedies. The building is a typical nineteenth century brownstone mansion, converted to six apartments, plus a top floor penthouse.

The series includes some really fun characters. A were-raven with a morbid sense of humor, an Alpha werewolf who was kicked out of his pack for being too nice and now drums up business for his security-system business by moonlighting as a thief, two witches with an owl familiar who work as phone-sex actresses, a sarcastic ghost, and an “unofficial” resident in the basement—a vampire who fancies himself the neighborhood watchdog and vigilante crime fighter. The new landlord, occupying the penthouse, is a professional baseball pitcher with a secret of his own. But being only half-shapeshifter, he doesn’t have the greatest control over his shifts. He hired his busybody aunt and unemployed uncle to manage and maintain the building.

As they say, birds of a feather flock together, and with the exception of the latest tenant, a very human nurse on her own for the first time, all the hooting, howling, and hollering that goes on drives the busybody building manager a little nuts.

Book one is about the romance between the nurse and the landlord. As soon as she moves out of Apt 1B, her best friend, a lawyer, moves in. The human lawyer hooks up with the werewolf thief in book two. Book three involves a witch-war over the vampire. The witches are cousins from opposite sides of the Mason-Dixon Line, and for a while it’s a bit like the civil war all over again.

Where do I get my wild ideas? As with all my stories, I blame it on Thalia, the muse of comedy. She puts these ideas in my head, and I have to write or she bugs me until I do.

STRANGENEIGHBORS BY ASHLYN CHASE—IN STORES JUNE 2010

He’s looking for peace, quiet, and a little romance…

There’s never a dull moment when hunky all-star pitcher and shapeshifter Jason Falco invests in an old Boston brownstone apartment building full of supernatural creatures. But when Merry MacKenzie moves into the ground floor apartment, the playboy pitcher decides he might just be done playing the field…

A girl just wants to have fun…


Sexy Jason seems like the perfect fling, but newly independent nurse Merry’s not sure she’s ready to trust him with her heart…especially when the tabloids start trumpeting his playboy lifestyle.

Then pandemonium breaks loose and Merry and Jason will never get it together without a little help from the vampire who lives in the basement and the werewolf from upstairs…




About the Author


A multi-published, award-winning author, Ashlyn Chase specializes in characters who reinvent themselves, having reinvented herself numerous times. Among her many day jobs, she has worked as a psychiatric nurse, run blood drives for the Red Cross, and now uses her degree in behavioral sciences to avoid writing exhaustive character sketches. She lives with her true-life hero husband in beautiful New Hampshire.

For more information, please visit http://ashlynchase.com/.

I have 2 Copies of Strange Neighbors to give away

Who wants one?

If you'd like a chance to win leave a comment on this post with email contact info

Open to US and Canadian Shipping Only

Contest Ends 12:01 AM Tuesday June 1

Winner Announced Wednesday June 2

+5 entries for being a Fang-tastic Books Follower

+5 entries for blogging about this contest


+5 entries for including a link to this contest on your blog, twitter,or Facebook


+5 for being a @RoxanneRhoads twitter follower

28 comments:

Aik said...

I'd love to win this book!

+5 entries for being a Fang-tastic Books Follower

+5 entries for including a link to this contest on twitter
http://twitter.com/aikchien/status/14829037004

+5 for being a @RoxanneRhoads twitter follower

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Carol L. said...

These books sound like a lot of interesting fun Ashlyn. Enter me also because I'd love to read about the building and its' tenants.
Carol L.
Lucky4750@aol.com

+5 for being a Fang-tastic Books follower

Deedles said...

I'd love to be entered.
+5 entries for being a Fang-tastic Books Follower
djeanq(at)gmail(dot)com

Robin K said...

Sounds great. Please enter me too.

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tetewa said...

Sounds like a fun read, count me in! +5 Fang-tastic follower tWarner419@aol.com

Ashlyn Chase said...

Thanks for your compliments, everyone! I love this one and I think (hope) you will too. (grins)

Ashlyn

Sandy Jay said...

This sounds like's it's going to be a great series. I'm really looking forward to reading it.

+5 Fang-tastic Books Follower

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jeanette8042 said...

I love the premise of this book and it sounds like a fabulous read!

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Christine H said...

Hi Ash!! How ya doing today?
Thanks for the reminder. Hope you have a good turn out today!!
I'd like to win a copy for my best friend. Since you know I already ordered mine. TTYS, Christine

+5 entries for being a Fang-tastic Books Follower
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Mai said...

Love Ash's work, so good! This book looks great!

Mai said...

Forgot all the good stuff..

I'm a blog follower Mai

I'm a twitter follower mai_w

I linked to my facebook

maishaw7@aol.com

throuthehaze said...

romantic paranormal comedy sounds good :)

+5 follower

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throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Ashlyn Chase said...

Waving to Christine and Mai!

And it's so nice to meet the rest of you!

Feel free to join us at my yahoo loop, Ashlyn's New Best Friends.

You can sign up from my home page.
http://www.ashlynchase.com

Ash

van_pham said...

would love to read this, thanks for the giveaway!

+5 Blog follower

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+5 twittered it: http://twitter.com/vanpham88/status/14855674180

Van
Littopandaxpress(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sherry said...

Sounds like a great book I would love to win it.


follower

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Rosie said...

This one sounds really cute. Can't wait to read it!! Thanks for the contest. :-)

+5 follower

rosie0512 @ hotmail . com

Riv Re said...

I'd love to win this!
+5 follower
rivkarno1(at)hotmail(dot)com

Estella said...

Sounds like this is going to e a fun series!

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kissinoak at verizon dot net

donnas said...

Sounds great. I would love to be included.

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Barbara E. said...

I enjoyed the post - I found it fascinating and inspiring reading how many times you've reinvented yourself. This new series sounds great, and I'm looking forward to reading Strange Neighbors.

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Marianna said...

I would love to win!

+5 GFC follower

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Bethie said...

Please count me in. Thanks for the giveaway.

+5 I am a follower.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

~*Jessica Rabbit*~ said...

I second what Carol L. said. These sound like a lot of interesting fun. I would love to read this. Sign me up please. :)

+5 for being a Fang-tastic Books Follower

+5 for blogging about this contest


+5 for including a link to this contest onto my blog

littleredride.nhood@yahoo.com

-- J. Rabbit

Martha Lawson said...

Sounds good, please count me in.

+5 I follow on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

s7anna said...

Congratulations on your new release Ashlyn!!!

*posted on facebook
*Fang-tastic Books follower


*hugs*
Anna
s7anna@yahoo.ca

Karen W. said...

Your book sounds like a fun read, Ashlyn! Good luck with it!

karenwitkowski AT aol(dot)com

mbreakfield said...

This one sounds like a great read, count me in.
+5 entries for being a Fang-tastic Books Follower

+5 tweeted. http://twitter.com/mbreakfield/status/14948103861

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JenM said...

This sounds like something I would read - paranormal plus comedy.

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jen at delux dot com

 
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