Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Guest Blogger, Ashlyn Chase

It’s my pleasure to welcome award-winning author Ashlyn Chase as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.

Ashlyn’s latest book, STRANGE NEIGHBORS, was just released earlier this month. Thanks to Ashlyn and Danielle at Sourcebooks, I have two copies of this book to giveaway to 2 lucky visitors who comment on this post between today and 8 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, June 22. Be sure to include your e-mail address with your comment if it’s not included in your profile.

Ashlyn joins us today to talk about her writing and why she select to write the genre she does.

I was asked why, with my background as a psychiatric nurse, I decided to write light paranormal romances instead of something grittier, like murder mysteries…

Well, the easy answer is—because writers like to escape as much as readers do. I worked in the psychiatric field for fifteen years. When I left, I was jaded and burned out. It took a while to get back to my old self, but I finally did. Sure, I have stories to tell, but I don’t want to. Simple as that.

I’m not sure it wouldn’t violate the confidentiality aspect. I heard intimate secrets that would make your skin crawl…and I was told those things because my patients knew they could trust me. Sure, they might never read one of my books, but can you imagine doing so and recognizing your story? Patients want to forget about grim reality too—especially theirs!

However, all that experience contributed to my writing in one important way. With a degree in behavioral studies (a psychiatry-sociology combo) and having observed people for most of my life, I “just know” how my characters are going to behave. I can skip the exhaustive character sketches that some writers have to begin with.

Writing paranormal characters can be a challenge, because you have to put yourself in someone else’s paws, never mind shoes! Or you need to think like a vampire who’s technically dead, only comes out at night, and needs blood to survive. And ghosts! You don’t realize how much writers require body language and facial expressions to communicate until you can’t use it. But, I like a challenge.   

Fantasy can be great fun to write. You’re only limited by your imagination. If you need a motorcycle to fly, you simply have your motorcycle-riding witch cast a spell, and voila, the motorcycle leaves the ground and soars over traffic (like in Wonder Witch.) If you need a hero to disappear before the heroine’s eyes, you simply send a Greek God to zap him out of her life (as in Oh My God.)

And I love a good laugh—more than anything. I think this world needs more laughter and love. I’m fortunate. I have a wonderful marriage. My man makes me laugh regularly, challenges me intellectually, and still—even after sixteen years of marriage (twenty years of togetherness) turns me on. Who wouldn’t want that?

Sometimes I think of my writing as a public service. Seriously. I’ve worked hard to hone my craft and put a smile on your face. Since reading works for me when I need a lift, I imagine it works for others.

When both of my parents were terminally ill at the same time, the stress showed. A friend and fellow nurse shoved a book in my hands and said, “Here. Read this.” She didn’t tell me anything about it, and I didn’t recognize it as a romance novel from the cover. It’s a good thing or I might not have read it.

The book was the first in Diana Gabeldon’s Outlander time travel series. I ate it up. During those hours, I was transported to another world. I forgot my sorrows for a time and experienced a mini mental vacation. A desperately needed, healthy escape. 

When I turned to writing I realized that for me, it was more than a job. It was a privilege. And it still is. I’m grateful to have an audience with whom I can share my creative outlet. I hope my series Strange Neighbors transports readers into my wild imagination and allows them to have some fun there—whether they need it or not.

Ashlyn, thanks so much for stopping by and guest blogging. STRANGE NEIGHBORS does provide great laughs for the reader.

Here’s a brief blurb about STRANGE NEIGBORS: “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…

For a bit of background on Ashlyn, who is a multi-published author, she 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. Ashlyn lives with her true-life hero husband in beautiful New Hampshire. For more information, please visit her website at http://ashlynchase.com/.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this. It was great to see Ashlyn's thoughts on writing and the decisions she has made as a writer.
    Thanks for an excellent post.

  2. Your book looks like a fun read can't wait to get my own.


  3. All star pitcher and shapeshifter - intriguing!

  4. Thanks for hosting Ashlyn, Mason!

    I think books can be an escape for the writer, as well as for the reader. I don't blame you for wanting to create something with the ability to transport you away from the things you've seen and heard. Writing paranormals would be a great way to do that!

  5. I've heard some very good things about this book and it just looks like it would be alot of fun to read.

    maria63303(at) gmail (dot) com

  6. Ashlyn, thanks so much for guest blogging here today. We all need a chance to laugh and take a mini vacation. STRANGE NEIGHBORS definitely makes you laugh and takes you away from stress.

    Hi all, thanks for stopping by. Off to work shortly. Hope everyone has a great day.

  7. My daughter is a nurse and I'm always interested in hearing about other nurse's experiences. I can understand about wanting to take the mind away from some of the experiences in the workplace, especially such a workplace. The book looks great, so drop my name in the hat. Thanks Ashlyn for stopping by and posting.

  8. I enjoyed the post. My cousin was a nurse and she told me that it was a very demanding profession. Reading has always been an escape for me and Strange Neighbors sounds like a great read.


  9. About nurses and escape

    Yes, they are some of the hardest working folks around...especially with a nursing shortage and low staffing.

    Get the nurse in your life a book for a belated Nurse's Day present. Didn't know there was a nurse's day? Yup. There is.

    National Nurses Day, also known as National RN Recognition Day, is always celebrated on May 6th and opens National Nurses Week. National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, the birth date of Florence Nightingale.


  10. Hi Ash!! :) Wow I loved what you wrote! I learned a lot about you that I didn't know before. So that's always great to get to know someone better. Of course Congrats on the Book release and to the whole series that I know will be a huge hit! With all the press and great 5 star reviews everywhere for Strange Neighbors, Everyone will know your name! :)
    Now I have a question, Now that you have this series ahead of you will you not be writing anymore Erotic Romances for EC? My favorite books are Erotic Contemporary so I hope you'll still write some of them. If you have time to juggle that many books, I'd imagine it would be tuff. But there's still lots of yours out there for me to read though, so soon as I get my ereader next month I'll get them all.

    Hagd Ash, Hugs, Christine

  11. A great interview, thanks for sharing it with us, Mason.

    I understand Ashlyn's need to escape. I am often asked why I don't write hospital based/nursing stories. I might one day, but for now, I want to leave that part of my life alone. Dealing with death and sickness for 30+ years takes its toll. Writing is freedom of mind for me.

    Enjoy flying free, Ashlyn.

  12. Ah, Glynis, you know first hand, don't you?

    I can't even watch hospital dramas on TV. At some point I usually wind up yelling at the screen "Oxygenate before you circulate, idiot!" LOL

    And to answer your question, Christine, I'll continue to write for Ellora's Cave. They've been very good to me and I'm a happy EC camper.

    I have a series I'd like to complete, actually. Vampire Vintage is the first book. The last book in the Strange neighbor series will refer to it.


  13. would LOVE to read this fabulous book...thanks for the chance :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  14. What a great interview. Thanks Mason, and Ashlyn. Love hearing how other writers approach their craft and how they decide what they want to write. This sounds like a fun read.

  15. I can see why you wrote something entirely different! I like to escape as a writer as well.

  16. I love the cover of this - and how cool is the fact that she used to be a psychiatric nurse!

    Thanks Mason.

  17. Thanks again, everyone!

    Talli--it's so great that you think being a psych nurse is "cool." That wasn't the reaction I usually received.

    It was more like, (Horrified expression,)"I could never do that!" Followed by a scrunched up face.

    And I adore the cover! You should see the next one. It's cute as can be!


  18. I am in total agreement with not bringing the job into the writing. As a teacher, I work with all kinds of kids - some of whom have lived through extraordinarily difficult circumstances. I read and write for happy endings, for good fun and for new experiences. I think I'll enjoy your books! Thanks :)

  19. Sounds like a book I would love to read. Thanks. annbest37@yahoo.com


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.