We’ve all seen the pictures on the web – the perfect writing retreat. Not too small, looks spacious. Not too big, feels cozy. Like Goldilocks’ ultimate choices, it’s just right. There are shelves to the ceiling holding copies of the author’s many foreign editions, reference volumes, and books by friends. Writing awards and keepsakes are discreetly interspersed among them. A roomy desk overlooks an idyllic landscape, probably a garden or a forest vista. The work surface demonstrates the balance of order and chaos that sparks the creative process. The chair in front of it appears fit for long hours of productive work. Every detail is designed to support the busy writer. The photo – the ideal manifestation of Virginia Woolf’s “room of one’s own” – evokes a collective sigh of admiration, maybe envy.
I don’t have such a spot. I’m writing these words from a temporary abode, in a spare bedroom furnished with cast-offs. My view includes a laundry drying rack, several burned out bulbs in the overhead light fixture, and the gas meter. There is a door that closes, however, discouraging anyone from asking me where he left his glasses or his phone charger.
Over the years, I’ve had pieces of that ideal retreat, as I’ve written in many different places. There was an attic dormer in New England, with just enough space for a leaning set of shelves, a typing table with gooseneck lamp, and a straight wooden chair (seat cushion required for any long stretch of work). Stacks of boxes and unused furniture occupied the dimness behind me. Hot in the summer; cold in the winter. But treetops were visible outside, often full of entertaining crows.
There was a long desk, made from a door, in my bedroom in a city apartment. It faced a wall of bookshelves and had plenty of organizational surface and a good office chair. Two cat “assistants” offered input in that location, walking across my keyboard when they thought I needed a break.
There was a nineteenth century writing desk in California, just big enough for my laptop and elbows, a tad high for comfortable typing. That one had the gorgeous view.
Lately, though, I’ve been footloose, with no settled spot for writing. I’ve worked in a cavernous university library, on a bed propped up by the headboard, in a tent, and at Starbucks in a number of locations around the globe. Whatever you think of the corporation, you can count on Starbucks for strong tea, electrical outlets to keep the laptop alive, and a chair where you can linger for hours without being urged to move on.
Here’s the thing. If writing is your job, you may need to learn to do it just about anywhere. That kind of flexibility is a huge advantage when you need to turn out the pages to meet your deadlines. And what I’ve found? You can be carried away to another world, with a fascinating cast of characters, from almost anywhere. Just as reading can whisk you to a far off place or time with the magic of the imagination.
Life is predictable for a Duke’s first son
As eldest son of the Duke of Langford, Nathaniel Gresham sees his arranged marriage to Lady Violet Devere as just another obligation to fulfill—highly suitable, if unexciting. But as Violet sets out to transform herself from dowdy wallflower to dazzling young duchess-to-be, proper Nathaniel sets out to prove he’s a match for his new bride’s vivacity and daring.
Or so he once thought…
Oppressed by her family all her life, Lady Violet can’t wait to enjoy the freedom of being a married woman. But then Violet learns her family’s sordid secret, and she’s faced with an impossible choice—does she tell Nathaniel and risk losing him, or does she hide it and live a lie?
Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.
Title: Heir to the Duke
Author: Jane Ashford
Series: the Duke’s Sons, #1
Pubdate: January 5th, 2016