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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Spotlight: Ashlyn Chase

The Joy of Reading
Ashlyn Chase

There have been a few times in my life when I was able to devote several days in a row to nothing but the joy of reading. 

The first memory I have of this was one summer between my junior and senior year of high school. I was suffering from a broken heart and with no dates to go on, I just sat in my dad’s leather recliner and read The Godfather. I still remember the relief of being able to forget what’s-his-name for a few hours at a time.

The next time I remember needing this kind of diversion was when both of my parents were dying at the same time. I know. Really crappy timing, right? Oh well, you get what you get. And one of the only reprieves I had then was in books, specifically Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. A fellow nurse and friend gave me the first one, knowing I’d need a good healthy escape during the stressful months ahead. Those stolen hours of reading saved my sanity.

Fast forward a few more years and voila, I’m writing books from my own imagination. Yet, sometimes I still need to let someone else entertain the time I had spinal surgery and spent a month flat on my back, staring at the ceiling fan. I couldn’t hold a book over my head for very long, so I discovered audiobooks. They were pricey back then, but I found my state library had a decent selection of romance novels and listened to a good many of them. I also discovered some terrific narrators. I specifically liked the ones with British accents. I still love audiobooks. I enjoy resting my eyes as well as my whirling mind at the end of a long day. 

Recently I hit a dark place in my writing career. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say a particular book wasn’t going well, pirates were stealing my backlist, and I felt so discouraged I was thinking of giving up. Someone suggested I was burning out and needed a breather from writing. They were right. I received a Nook Color for Christmas and loaded it up with books the very next day. I read about a novel a day over the following week. It did the trick. I replenished the well and reattacked that troublesome book with gusto. I still want to read more than write some days, but hey, that’s the wonderful thing about’s always there for you when you need it.   

I sometimes wonder if one of my books is helping a reader through a trying time, or simply filling some long, quiet hours in an enjoyable way. I hope so. It only seems fair since reading has done so much for me.

Excerpt: The Werewolf Upstairs

“What aren’t you telling me?” Roz demanded, standing opposite Konrad in the hallway outside his door.

He pulled on his jacket and wondered who had told her. “It’s nothing, Roz. Well, let me amend that. Yes, there’s something I have to tell you. It’s just that now’s not the time.”

“Are you married?”


“Do you have any illegitimate kids?”


“Insanity in the family?”

“Not per se, but some might argue that point.”

“Why can’t you tell me? I don’t have to go to work for another hour, and you’re not working at all right now.”

“An hour isn’t enough time. That is, unless we do something else and save the talk for later.” He grinned and hoped she’d catch his drift without his having to wiggle his eyebrows.

“Oh, no, you don’t. No sleazing out of it with sex.”

“Sex isn’t sleazy between consenting adults who care for each other.”

“That’s something we need to talk about. It’s fine if you care about me, but you don’t have to take care of me. It’s very sweet of you to want to, but I’m a grown woman, and I can take care of myself.”

Konrad cupped her cheek. “I wasn’t talking about taking care of you. I was talking about loving you.”

Roz’s eyes rounded, and Konrad watched as she experienced a suspended moment in stunned silence. At
last she was able to respond. “Oh!”

He expected her to say something more, and he waited and waited. “Roz? Did you hear what I said?”

“Yeah,” she murmured, seeming completely distracted.

Maybe she needed it spelled out a little more. He cupped both her cheeks and waited until she was gazing
into his eyes. “I’m telling you I love you, Roz.”

“I…I love you too. I think.”

“You think?” Konrad dropped his hands and took a step back.

“It’s just that I know there’s something you’re not telling me. I need to know what it is, or at least why you
can’t tell me right now.” She stepped forward and rested her hands against his chest. His arms automatically extended to her waist while she continued. “Before, we hadn’t known each other very long at all, but we’ve been on several dates now, and…I should know what the big secret is before we go any further.”

He heaved a heavy sigh. “Trust me, there’s a right time and place to talk about this, and I’ll do my best to
find them.”

She narrowed her eyes and scrutinized him. “Soon?”

“As soon as I can.”

Eventually she sighed. “Okay.” She stepped into his space and raised her face to his for a kiss.

Thank God. He kissed her tenderly at first and then the inevitable fire sprang up and so did part of his anatomy.
After kissing her thoroughly, he asked, “Are you sure you’re not in the mood for a quickie?”

She rested her head against his chest and mumbled, “You’re incorrigible.”

“But you love me.”

“I think…”

Konrad gazed at the ceiling and asked for strength. Now wasn’t the time to push for a commitment, either.
He kissed the top of her head. “At least you know I love you. I’m glad I said it.”

She tipped her face up, and her eyes sparkled. “I’m glad you did too.”

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NOTE: In addition to being included in the weekly drawing, one lucky commenter on today's post will receive a copy of The Werewolf Upstairs.


traveler said...

I am captivated with this post and your novel sounds compelling. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

I enjoyed your post today greatly. Lovely. The excerpt caught my interest. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

Ashlyn Chase said...

Thank you both!

Good luck in the drawings.


booklover0226 said...

Hi, Ashlyn.

I read Stranger Neighbors in November and loved it. I loved the characters, each one unique and a bit quirky...I felt right at home!

Then I read the excerpt for The Werewolf Upstairs and got really excited and then I looked at the publication date. FEBRUARY 2011?!?!? In November, February seemed so far away...sheesh, it's February, already!!!

I look forward in continuing this series.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Ashlyn Chase said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed SN, Tracey! I hope you like TWU just as much.



wanda f said...

Wonderful post I have always loved reading We had a bookmobile that came through our area twice a week I had just learned to read and my grandmother would take me out and we would both come back to the house with a large stack each of books to read .I read Strange Neighbors and absolutely loved it .I canot wait to read The Werewolf Upstairs .Your books definately help me fill some long, quiet hours in one of the most enjoyable ways.Hve a great day

Maureen said...

Books have always been something that would make me feel better too when times were tough.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Ashlyn Chase said...

Thanks, Wanda!

I love to hear that I've kept someone entertained. When I was in Jenny Crusie's critique group, she had only one rule. Never bore the reader!

Christine H said...

Wow Ash awesome post! I loved learning more about you! You've had some hard times it sounds like. I wish I had found a love for reading much younger than I did. But when I did start read in Aug 09, I hadn't felt better in over 5 yrs! I was so addicted I gave up all but 2 tv shows and just read and I found I had a skip in my step when I just walk down the hallway for a refill on my coffee. So I understanbd what great things reading can do too. :)

Thanks for sharing all that!

Love, Christine