Summertime, and the grass is greener
by Sharon Ashwood on June 16th, 2010

Summertime can be when I get my best writing done. I think this is a hangover from being in school—I expect to have more time and energy to spare, so I associate warm nights and hanging out in the garden with creative thought and, more specifically, experimental writing.


When I was in university, my focus was on late eighteenth and early nineteenth century English poets, aka the Byronic crowd. One of their buddies was a novelist named Matthew “Monk” Lewis, who wrote what we’d now call horror fiction. One summer I applied myself to his works. Mostly I was fascinated by the claim that he had locked himself up for a long weekend with a case of wine and deli take-out and written the first draft of The Monk. It’s a substantial pile o’ prose (and not a bad read, if you like gothic). Me, I would take a long weekend to write a synopsis, and only if I were stone cold sober.

Nonetheless, the result of my Monk-ish fascination resulted in a complete manuscript written that summer. Rereading it now, I wish I had the excuse of alcohol abuse for the sword-waving histrionics contained therein. One takes things far too seriously at that age.

Now, since what I write is mostly about brooding monster guys (thanks so much, Mr. Lewis), my summer escapes tend to be light and fluffy adventure stories. I actually started writing one, just to clear the dust and spiderwebs of the Castle out of my soul for a bit. I’ll bet you a quarter that if all I ever wrote was light and fluffy, I’d be looking for something dark and broody. That’s just the way holidays work—we want the opposite of our normal lives so that we can go back and appreciate what we have day to day.

On a parallel note, I’m leaving the chilly northern rainforest (okay, it’s sunny and gorgeous out, but go with me here) for the tropical steam of Orlando in July. If that’s not a reversal of my typical habitat, well, vampires don’t have coffin hair in the morning.

Okay, all you paranormal readers—what bookshelf do you visit to change things up?

3 comments to “Summertime, and the grass is greener”

  1. 1

    I like to mix it up with cozy mysteries. Caterers or grannies, or men with siamese cats who solve crimes are a delight to me. I even managed to find a paranormal cozy mystery writer. Score! But I do enjoy the regular ones as well. And police procedurals. Oh, and historical romances. And contemporary romances. Okay, how about this. I DON’T like to read westerns or civil war era stories. Yes, that’s a much shorter list. :lol:

  2. 2

    Well, let’s see. When I’m not reading paranormal romance, I can read urban fantasy romance, or straight fantasy romance, or science fiction romance, or — if I’m feeling really wild — straight contemporary romance or historical romance. Once I read an inspirational romance too. What, you mean there are other shelves in the bookstore?

  3. 3

    I read thrillers when I’m not reading romance. Any kind works. But I read non-fiction when I really want to change things up. Not biographies, but business books and research books. Sounds dry, huh? But for some reason, I love ‘em.

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