Today I’m thrilled to welcome romantic suspense author, Trish McCallan!
Filling the Creative Well
A big THANK YOU to Elisabeth for hosting me today!
I’ve always loved to read.
If I’m waiting somewhere and I’ve forgotten a book, I’ve been known to read the back of a match stick booklet, or every single item on the menu. In high school, college and early in my working life, I’d often read a book a day. I was voracious, devouring authors across almost every genre—romance, suspense, mystery, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction—I’d read it all. There was always a book in my hand and two or three in my backpack. When I started to drive they were tucked in the glove box, tossed in the back of the car, or sitting on the passenger seat beside me.
Back then, I couldn’t imagine a time when reading would get lost in the shuffle of a busy life. I couldn’t imagine a life without reading.
This obsession with reading is what compelled me to write, to dwell in my own imagination, and bring my own worlds and characters to life. But as I sank deeper and deeper into writing, I stopped reading.
It happened so slowly I didn’t even notice.
I was working full time, with an hour commute each way. Plus, I was writing on the side. Writing brings with it a host of other time consuming activities, like critiquing, and beta reading. So I guess you could say I was reading, sometimes I even enjoyed what I read. But reading a critique partner’s work, chapter by chapter, isn’t the same as getting lost in a book. It doesn’t fill your creative well. Or at least it didn’t fill mine.
Since there are only so many hours in a day, and those hours were spent working, commuting, sleeping, writing and critiquing—reading evaporated. I literally didn’t have time to read.
I didn’t notice the affect at first. I was riding high on the drug of writing my first book and involved in several critique groups both online and local. When I realized it had been months since I’d read a book for pure enjoyment, I shrugged the realization aside. Serious writing, required serious sacrifices, I told myself. I couldn’t afford to cut back on the time I spent writing and critiquing, not if I wanted to get published. The reading, however, wasn’t necessary. I could do without the reading.
I was so naïve.
The months turned into a year. And then two and then three. I went from reading a book a day, to reading maybe a book a year. As that third year without reading bled into a fourth, my creativity dulled. Everything I read from critique partners sounded vacant, and dull. Everything I wrote felt stagnant and boring. All those exciting premises churning through my mind, tarnished. Like wisps of smoke on the wind, they blew away. All the sudden I was left with no interest and no energy for writing. There were no images, no stories, and no characters in my mind. No words demanding their time on the page. My mind felt empty. My creativity gone.
I struggled for months with this strange apathy, forcing myself to write even though the enthusiasm was gone, forcing myself to critique even though every thing about every story irritated me. Because my critique partners’ work couldn’t pierce this mental fatigue, I didn’t think other fiction could either. Instead I turned to television and dulled my mind even further.
The only reason I started reading again was because I lost electricity one day. With no television, I had no way to occupy myself, so I picked up a book for the first time in years. The book was Vanished by T. J. McGregor and it revitalized me. I got lost in that book—lost in an imaginary world, with imaginary people. And when that ride was over, I reached for another book and took another imaginary ride. And then another. What followed was a reading glut like I hadn’t enjoyed in years. Not since I started writing.
And wonder of wonders my creativity surged. Suddenly new ideas and new characters started spinning through my mind. The words that streamed from my fingers onto the computer screen were vibrant and thrilling. My critique partners’ chapters were brilliant.
My creative well was full again.
Since then I’ve made time for reading—allowing myself a major reading glut every couple of months. And with each reading glut my creativity has soared. It was the Black Dagger Brotherhood that inspired Forged in Fire, my paranormal romantic suspense. Without that reading glut, without that inspiration, I would never have written Forged, which means I wouldn’t have been able to quit my day job in order to write full time.
So it’s fitting that my first resolution this year is to read more. At least a book a week. I have a brand new Nook Tablet and I’m filling it with books: Christy Reece’s Last Chance series, the fourth book in Maya Bank’s KGI series, and the first two books in Elisabeth’s Eternal Guardians. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Linda Howard, Lara Adrian, Caris Roane, they are all either downloaded into my Nook or about to be downloaded.
What do you have on your Kindle or Nook or sitting on your bedside table? Comment for a chance to win a free e-file of Forged in Fire, my paranormal romantic suspense!
Beth Brown doesn’t believe in premonitions until she dreams a sexy stranger is gunned down during the brutal hijacking of a commercial airliner. When events in her dream start coming true, she heads to the flight’s departure gate. To her shock, she recognizes the man she’d watched die the night before.
Lieutenant Commander Zane Winters comes from a bloodline of elite warriors with psychic abilities. When Zane and two of his platoon buddies arrive at Sea-Tac Airport, he has a vision of his teammates’ corpses. Then she arrives—a leggy blonde who sets off a different kind of alarm.
As Beth teams up with Zane, they discover the hijacking is the first step in a secret cartel’s deadly global agenda and that key personnel within the FBI are compromised. To survive the forces mobilizing against them, Beth will need to open herself to a psychic connection with the sexy SEAL who claims to be her soul mate.
“Forged In Fire is a smoking hot adventure with an irresistible alpha hero. Danger, action, suspense, and a steamy romance make a story that’s impossible to put down!”
National Bestselling Author of Through a Crimson Veil
January 5th, 2012 at 8:03 am · Link
I have a Nook Color and a very large collection of books. I can’t walk into a book store without buying something. When the world gets me done, reading keeps me sane. I read mostly paranormal romance and urban fantasy and can certainly understand how the BDB could inspire a girl. I’d love to read Forged in Fire but it’s not available for Nook. *pouts* Winning a copy would be great. Thanks for the opportunity.
January 5th, 2012 at 8:25 am · Link
I have a Kindle that is loaded w/ books I haven’t gotten to yet. No matter where I am, there’s some way for me to read: Kindle app on my laptop in the dining room, paperbacks in the basement (need a new book shelf too), and the Kindle app on my tablet, which is always in my hand. Phew! Told ya….lol…
I’m a gal who likes series, the more in that series the better. And if a new book comes out in that series, I usually re-read the entire series…am I crazy? Yep, I’m a loon! *cheers*
I have a little of everything too. PNR, erotica, BDSM, thrillers…you name it, I’ve got it!
And thank you for the chance at snaggin a copy of Forged in Fire!
Sebrina_Cassity at yahoo dot com
January 5th, 2012 at 8:38 am · Link
I read mainly historical romance, fantasy romance & just started getting into PNR. I just love reading! I carry a book with me everywhere too & tho I don’t have an ebook reader; I read them on my PC. I’m currently reading A Dark & Brooding Gentleman by Margaret McPhee. I discovered her books (historical romances) just recently & really like them. I bought every 1 of her bks available from Fictionwise.
January 5th, 2012 at 9:05 am · Link
Not entering, just wanted to comment.
I have a lot of different stuff on my nook. I actually have forged in Fire and loved it. Can’t wait for the next book to come out. I have best sellers, Laurell K Hamilton, paranormal, historical, erotica, suspense, romance, and stuff my new authors. I love to read and have about 500 books on my nook. A lot of freebies on barnes & noble and smashwords.
Thanks for the great post Trish and can’t wait for the next book.
Elizabeth is a new author for me. I have Entwined on my TBR list, but have to read Marked first. Keep on writing the great books ladies and we will keep reading and buying them.
January 5th, 2012 at 9:07 am · Link
I have a lot of books that have been read and need to be read on my Nook and iPad. Many are paranormal romances which help me escape the everyday responsibilities and concerns of life. Reading of strong sexy men coming to the rescue or strong women taking on and defeating the evils of the world, gives you hope to make it though another day in the political arena of the everyday office! 🙂
January 5th, 2012 at 9:09 am · Link
It is such a difficult balance to maintain, isn’t it? 1 of my New Year’s Resolutions was to read a book a week. I did well last year until September. Hopefully I’ll be able to do more reading this year!
This week’s book is Rancher Under Cover by Carla Cassidy.
January 5th, 2012 at 9:25 am · Link
I, too, have lost the time to read. I rarely find time, and when I do, there’s always guilt. I should be writing, editing, critting or something along those lines.
Thanks for reminding me why I write!
January 5th, 2012 at 9:36 am · Link
On my Nook, I have many different types of books such as PNR, Romance, Romantic Suspense, UF. I love to read and like you, I went from reading a lot in my younger years, then life got in the way and now I am back to reading daily and carry a book with me always.
I am excited to read your book.
Thanks for the chance
January 5th, 2012 at 10:43 am · Link
The exclusive with Amazon does leave Nook readers out in the cold. However, I’ve discovered a way around this and a way to get the book onto Nooks, so give me a holler at email@example.com and I can hook you up, whether you win the book or not! 👿
January 5th, 2012 at 10:47 am · Link
I’m the same way. I love series, but most of the books are spaced so far apart I’ve forgotten key elements in the earlier books by the time the new one comes out. So these days I schedule a block of time before the new release’s due date and I re-read from book one. It’s great to revisit favorite characters, and the re-reads gets me all revved up for the new release.
Good luck on winning Forged!
January 5th, 2012 at 10:52 am · Link
I used to read alot of historical romance. In fact, Julie Garwood was one of the first romance writers I discovered and she remained a favorite of mine for years. I’ve been hearing about A Dark and Brooding Gentleman on several of my reading loops, I’ll have to check the book out. Thanks for the recommend!
January 5th, 2012 at 10:57 am · Link
Chris, thanks for stopping by.
And thanks for loving Forged! 😛
Wow, 500 books on your nook. 😯
That’s, like, 493 more than I have on mine. 😆
That’s the great thing about ereaders though. You can download every type of book imaginable, which means there is always a book available to fit any given mood.
January 5th, 2012 at 12:10 pm · Link
This book looks great Trish! Glad to see that your enthusiasm for reading and writing has returned!
I have a NOOK easy reader that I literally take everywhere so if I have a spare moment anywhere, like at Starbucks or the gym I turn it on. I read mostly though at night to wind down although sometimes that is not a good thing when you find a book you just can’t put down and are up until 3 a.m. reading it. I read many genres but I especially love paranormal romance. I have many authors I love, everyone from J.R.Ward to Sherrilyn Kenyon to Joey Hill to Elisabeth Naughton and so on.
I look forward to reading Forged!
January 5th, 2012 at 12:16 pm · Link
I’m split between paranormal and romantic suspense when it comes to my favorite genre. My favorite elements are present in both. Sexy Alpha heroes, lots of action, sex-sex-and yeah, sex!
January 5th, 2012 at 12:20 pm · Link
One of my resolutions this year is to read a book a week too. I had the same resolution last year and failed at it miserably, although I did read some. At lot more, anyway, then I had done in the years previously. Right now I am about a quarter through the first book in the Guardians of Ascension series. I should be able to finish it over the weekend.
Which means I’ll make my reading goal for the first week of 2012! 🙂
January 5th, 2012 at 12:23 pm · Link
That’s exactly the boat I was in two years ago. So don’t make the same mistake I made. Make the time to read. When it comes to creative health, reading is as important as writing and critting. I didn’t realize that until I’d already found myself in trouble. Hopefully, you can rectify this before you get to that point!
January 5th, 2012 at 12:28 pm · Link
Thanks for stopping by. Wouldn’t it be nice to be young and carefree again. All the time to read. 🙂
I will say its alot easier to get books with my Nook. There are no bookstores where I live anymore, no used bookstores either and all the supermarkets have stopped carrying books. So I’d have to order from Amazon, but then I could never get to the post office to pick the book up. My post office is only open from 9-5 Monday through Friday. Which happened to be the hours I worked. By the time I’d get home, the P.O was closed.
Now I can just download directly into my Nook. It makes everything so much simpler. I really love the freedom it gives me!
January 5th, 2012 at 12:33 pm · Link
You have much more will power than me. I’ve come to realize I’m incapable of going to sleep at a decent hour if I start reading before bed. I’ve stayed up way too late, way too often to chance that anymore. 😆 😆
January 5th, 2012 at 1:41 pm · Link
I have a Kindle and a Nook. I also have 6 floor to ceiling bookcases that are overflowing with books TBR. If it wasn’t for ebooks I would be in serious trouble spacewise. I don’t know when I will have time to read them all. LOL
Many congrats, Trish, on your new release. I love romances with danger elements. I think it makes the emotions more intense.
January 5th, 2012 at 1:58 pm · Link
I have an ipad2, so I get my books from several places….I’ve downloaded these Apps…..Nook, Kindle, Overdrive ( for library books) , and iBooks. I’ve only had my iPad a few months, so before that my collection of books were paperbacks and hardcovers. I received several gift cards for Christmas and have already bought many books on my TBR list. I always appreciate a free one though!
January 5th, 2012 at 3:48 pm · Link
I bought my Kindle last March and haven’t been able to put it down! I have many different books and authors on mine (including Elisabeth). Mostly different types of romance, some suspense (romance of course), some YA, etc. I will read pretty much anything if it sounds interesting. Your book sounds very interesting! I love SEALS! Congrats on your new release and thanks for the giveaway! 😉
January 5th, 2012 at 6:26 pm · Link
Mmm, I have a lot of freebes that I snatched off of Amazon. But I have a tote beneath my computer filled with TBR books. I have historical, some YA that will go to a friend, paranormal
January 5th, 2012 at 6:31 pm · Link
Mmm, I have a lot of freebes that I snatched off of Amazon on my kindle. But I have a tote beneath my computer filled with TBR books that I have. I have historical, some YA that will go to a friend, paranormal. I’m actually saving some gift cards that I’m accumulating from Swagbucks to save to buy this one particular book that Naughton knows.
January 5th, 2012 at 7:51 pm · Link
I have the kindle and I also have books on it that I haven’t been able to read yet. I, also, have some paperbacks that I want to start reading too. I love reading paranormal romance and recently got into contemporary romances. This book sounds cool. Can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the chance.
January 5th, 2012 at 9:12 pm · Link
It amazes me how many people have both Nooks and Kindles. I’m probably going to get a Kindle myself now, though. I hear you on the towering bookshelf, I’ve got one myself. 🙄 I may even have three of them…although I am not admitting to anything. 😀
Romance and danger are my favorite combinations too- add a little paranormal spice, mix good and you have the perfect cake…er book. 🙂
January 5th, 2012 at 9:15 pm · Link
Thanks for stopping by. I’m looking into downloading a kindle app for my Nook, that way I can read anything that’s exclusive to Kindle too.
Alot of people seem to have gotten gift cards this Christmas, which is great for both readers and writers alike!
Good luck in the drawing.
January 5th, 2012 at 9:17 pm · Link
I am a big SEAL fan too. But you could probably tell that. 😆
I’m just getting started filling my Nook up, but I can see how downloading these books can be addictive.
Good luck in the giveaway!
January 5th, 2012 at 9:23 pm · Link
I’ve got three shelves stuffed to the brink on one of my bookshelves. All books I still want to read. I wonder if I’ll ever get around to those now, since I have the nook. Maybe I should make a point of alternating books until they are all read. One paperback, one digital. Eventually, like in seventy years, I should be able to get through them all. 😆
January 5th, 2012 at 9:42 pm · Link
Sounds like you read across the board like I do. I don’t read historical as much as I used too, but still love paranormal and romantic suspense.
Good luck in the drawing!
January 5th, 2012 at 9:52 pm · Link
I don’t have an e-reader, but I do have an old-fashioned pile of TBR books next to my bed! I think I’ll start on an older Shana Abe book tonight. 😀
January 6th, 2012 at 10:33 am · Link
I’ve always been a big reader, and was one of those that always had a book with me whenever I left the house. So much easier now that I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas. I just loaded Christy Reece’s series, the latest Joey W Hill, Bound by a Vampire Queen, and Francesca Hawley’s, Alpha vs Alpha.
caity_mack at yahoo dot com
January 6th, 2012 at 1:51 pm · Link
I have that old fashion pile of books beside my bed too. As well as on three shelves in my office. Having the ereader has made sure those piles don’t get bigger, but it sure hasn’t made those piles go away. 🙄
January 6th, 2012 at 1:53 pm · Link
It’s sounds like we’ll be discovering Christy Reece together. Everyone I know raves about her Last Chance series. I can’t wait to get started on it!