I’m really excited to visit the Playground today – the Instigator has lived up to her name by inviting me and letting me wreak havoc. I’ll try not to break anything!
I love the idea of a Writing Playground, even though I was always way more into books than monkey bars. I grew up on an eighty-acre farm in Iowa that was miles away from the nearest kids, so my play tended to be dress-up and make believe rather than basketball or soccer – it’s no wonder I still love making up stories.
Playground took on another meaning when I was twelve. My father accepted a year-long assignment with an agricultural nonprofit in Ukraine, just after the fall of the Soviety Union, and my mother, younger brother, and I moved there with him. My mom homeschooled us so that we would stay caught up with our classmates, but my dad took it upon himself to teach ‘playground’ – all the slang and bad behavior he thought we would have learned on the playground back home. Let’s just say that, between my father’s playground lessons and the Johanna Lindsey romances I started reading that year, it was pretty much inevitable that I would grow up to be a romance writer!
Nowadays, I still love to dress up, even though it’s more expensive to buy my own shoes rather than tottering around in my mom’s heels. And I still like to exchange dirty stories with my friends, although doing it over drinks is way more fun than passing notes in chemistry class. But I’ve found a couple of other kinds of play that I absolutely love, even though I couldn’t imagine liking them a few years ago.
The first is going to the gym. I’m the antithesis of an athlete, and at 5’ tall, I’m at a serious disadvantage when it comes to running, walking, reaching the machines, doing step-ups – basically, everything. But I started working out with a trainer last year, and it turns out that I love having a couple of hours a week where I think of nothing but breathing (and trying not to pass out). It’s probably the best kind of play I could recommend to other writers, since I think we all need some downtime in order to bring renewed energy back to our work.
The second is interacting with other romance readers and writers, particularly on Twitter. When I first started using Twitter, I thought it was just a stupid marketing tool. But as I’ve gotten to know people through it, it’s fun to connect to other writers when I’m struggling, excited, happy, sad, needing a distraction. Even though I work from home, I can still feel like there’s a water cooler conversation waiting for me to join in. I just have to be careful not to spend all day at the water cooler, since it’s easy to get sucked in!
Regardless of what your passions are, I think it’s really important for writers to play at something every day. If you don’t have some way to relax and blow off steam, how can you find enough quiet within yourself to let your stories and your voice come out?
What do you to do relax and play? I’ll give one lucky commenter a copy of my debut Regency romance, Heiress Without a Cause – it’s all about a proper heiress who indulges her very improper desire to play as an actress, so it seems fitting for the Playground.
Heiress Without a Cause – Muses of Mayfair, Book #1
One title to change his life...
A disgraced son with a dark reputation, William “Ferguson” Avenel is content to live in exile – until his father dies in the scandal of the Season. With rumors of insanity swirling around them, his sisters desperately need a chaperone. Ferguson thinks he’s found the most proper woman in England – and he won’t ruin her, even if he secretly desires the passionate woman trapped beneath a spinster’s cap.
One chance to break the rules...
Lady Madeleine Vaillant can’t face her blighted future without making one glorious memory for herself. In disguise, on a London stage, she finds all the adoration she never felt from the ton. But when she’s nearly recognized, she will do anything to hide her identity – even setting up her actress persona as Ferguson’s mistress. She’ll take the pleasure he offers, but Madeleine won’t lose her heart in the bargain.
One season to fall in love...
Every stolen kiss could lead to discovery, and Ferguson’s old enemies are determined to ruin them both. But as their dangerous passion ignites their hearts and threatens their futures, how can an heiress who dreams of freedom deny the duke who demands her love?
Sara’s website: http://www.sararamsey.com
Sara’s Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sara_Ramsey
P.S. Instigator's guest blogging at Okay Listen Here today. Stop by for a chance to win a signed backlist book.