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Ashley Barron's Blog

The Summer of Curveballs

The Summer of Curveballs


I keep looking at the calendar to confirm that the summer is really over. I guess the gentle fall of the first leaves, the shorter days, and the perfect weather (by D.C. standards) should be proof enough, but neither my eyes nor my mind wants to believe it. Where did summer go? I ask myself as I sit at my desk, my fingers aching from a lack of keyboard exercise.

The best analogy I can think of for the place in which I find myself is this: Have you ever carefully plotted a novel, analyzed the characters, the settings, the conflict and resolution, only to find, when your fingers hit the keys, that the characters had other ideas? And what had been a great idea for a new story had morphed – at lightning speed –  into something you had never considered as the right path to creating an engaging and thoughtful book?

By late spring, I had the entire summer of 2013 planned out, scheduled and structured to make the most of every work day. The creative energy was flowing, the pieces were fitting nicely together, the bumps in the road had been almost non-existent, and I was (mistakenly) counting my chickens before they hatched.

The Friday of Memorial Day weekend blasted my beautiful plans so far off the path I’d charted out, I found myself in the writer’s equivalent of orbit. The drawback of being in the gravity-free world of outer space is that it is impossible to plant one’s feet on the ground and regain a sense of direction.


I was in new territory; I had to ride it out, all the way to the end, prepared to create a whole new plan once I felt firm ground beneath my “feet.” I had no idea that it would take all the way to mid-September to re-establish balance in my life.

The curveball was a good one, if you’re wondering, and I’m grateful for the many heartfelt moments and the wonderful outcome of the strange “land” in which I ended up spending my entire summer.

Now that I’m back at my desk, with my calendar and my goals, notebooks, printed pages, and stickies spread out around me, I’m realizing that there is no way my original plans will fit the present; the landscape has changed.

I have changed.

Perhaps the biggest result, in writer terms, of being separated from my computer, my existing book outlines, and any measurable block of writing time is that my brain had a rare chance to float freely through an entire universe of plots, characters, and story ideas.  It was a delicious and rare occurrence in my life.

The result? My existing works-in-progress have been pushed to the back burner by an idea for a new novel that grew out the twists and turns of this past summer. Oh, and despite the fact that everything I’ve written, or contemplated writing, up until this summer has featured love as the central theme, this book will not.

In a twist that, perhaps, shocks only me, my next novel will be a paranormal. It has consumed my dreams, this developing plot, most every night since June.

With my original work schedule so firmly rooted in the Priya series, and in the launch and development of, I didn’t see this creative shift coming.

The characters, mystery, and events for the paranormal started unfolding so quickly, I worried I would lose them because, given the curveball, I couldn’t follow my usual process of instantly writing down every idea that floats through my head, even if I never develop it beyond notes on a page.

Somehow, despite being in writer’s orbit, everything stuck.

I suppose, in a certain way, I see that as evidence that this is the book I should be devoting all my writing time to until it is ready for publication.

Most of all, I’m excited to get back in the swing of social media, and of reading the blogs, books, and messages of my fellow authors and readers. As we all know, for an author, going the indie or self-published route is not for the weak of spirit. There really is nothing else quite like the excitement generated by the enthusiasm, new ideas, hard work, kindness, bravery (yes, bravery!), and successes of the ever-growing community so many dreamers and entrepreneurs and book lovers have formed in this curiously compelling space we call the Internet.

As for the new novel, as far as I can tell by the way the chapters have taken shape in mind, it is not a love story. This is uncharted territory for me, and I’m excited to share the origin of this paranormal plot with you. It’s pretty wild, and so are the pictures I unknowingly captured on my brand new camera, beginning back in June.

I’ll be writing more on this creative shift and its impact on my Priya series soon.

For now, I hope everyone has enjoyed a fun, stimulating, and productive summer! If you have a new blog, a new novel, or a great new review on your work, please share it below and I’ll tweet out the link.

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