Balancing Life and Writing
This is an interesting topic for any writer, and for those of us who have to work or have families, it becomes a near daily battle to navigate. I will preface this subject by saying that I would have my life no other way … that’s not true—I’m already lying. Could I give up the day job, the benefits that go along with it, the hefty tuition reimbursement they offer, etc. and trade my professional life for writing writing writing, I would do it in a heartbeat. What I wouldn’t give up ever is the writing. So, here’s a sneak peak at my Monday, and no, I’m not looking for sympathy … perhaps a bit of commiseration—I know we’re all busy, and I’m hardly alone in this battle.
I rise at six to get my son and me out the door by seven; he gets dropped off with Grandma who is kind enough to get him to preschool while I rush to get to the office by seven-thirty. Come lunch-ish time, I run home, crank out as many words or edits as I can in a short amount of time while gobbling down some left-over that’s seen better days before rushing back off to work. By four-thirty, I’m ready for a nap, but instead, I drive thirty minutes to my college to sit through four hours of Statistics class while my man-half picks up our son and has “boy’s night” as we like to call it. Once my class is over, I drive thirty minutes back home to find my four year old little boy still very much awake—dad struggles to get the little booger to bed on boy’s night, and once I’ve wrestled him into bed, I plop down at about ten-thirty or so to write and/or edit. A very needed glass of wine later, and I usually can’t keep my eyes open. Staggering off to bed around midnight is usually how my day ends, just to start all over again six hours later.
A day or two ago, I was feeling sorry for myself and complaining to a friend of mine. The conversation went something like this.
Elizabeth: I don’t want to go to class. I think you should just go for me.
Friend: Fine. Then you can take my girls to dance lessons, followed by soccer practice, and then dinner with my mom for her birthday. Hopefully we’ll make it home by nine, so I can get the girls in bed at a good time.
Elizabeth: Never mind. I don’t like you anymore; leave my presence. (I wasn’t serious; that’s just how I talk to my friends who know my sarcasm well)
Sound familiar? I’m guessing it does. It may not be your exact day; yours might be filled with soccer practice, board meetings, dance lessons, your child’s homework, and any number of other activities that we somehow manage to cram into a time-slot fit for about half of what we accomplish. And yet, we do it day after day. Why? Because that’s our lives in a nutshell. They have us running for the hills, screaming in crazed exasperation, and maybe coping with a strong martini or four on occasion, but we love our lives, our children, our spouses, and even, dare I say it, our overburdened existence that often comes with little thanks.
If you’re a writer, you know this story well; if you’re a parent, spouse, professional of any sort whatsoever, or just a plain living breathing female, you know it as well. We love our friends as they share our exhaustion with a stiff drink in their hand right along with us—thank God for the occasional happy hour… It’s a team sport after all, ladies, welcome to it! Cheers.
Title: The Devil’s Pawn by Elizabeth Finn
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Intense Edgy Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
Word Count: 74,951
When Ashton is left orphaned after her parents are murdered, her life becomes a hell she could never have imagined. Left to fend for herself, and responsible for a debt she doesn’t owe, she is swept into a life as a gentleman’s escort at a private men’s gaming hall. Her new manager makes it abundantly clear he doesn’t appreciate her inexperience, innocence, and shyness. On the contrary, he despises everything about her.
Derek can be “difficult,” she’s been told. And however dark and handsome he may be, he terrifies her in a way that chills her to the bone, but leaves her begging to understand him. As they are pulled along together, more secrets and threats than either one could ever conceive are revealed, and a common enemy emerges. This enemy will stop at nothing to bring Derek to his knees while using Ashton as the greatest pawn in his torturous game.
Will Derek be able to let down his shield of cold, harsh emotion before it’s too late? Will he be able to sacrifice himself to save Ashton, or will they both be destroyed by the secrets of their pasts?
Once in the fitting room, Derek takes the chair again while I start to remove my clothes. I intentionally wore ugly, stretched-out, white cotton underwear that is entirely too big on me in the event he should be here. My mouth isn’t the only thing that can get me into trouble—my sarcasm knows no bounds when I’m unhappy.
As he sees the appalling excuse for an undergarment, his eyes move up to mine, narrowing darkly at my obvious defiance. I look coolly back at him before looking away dismissively. My anger and resentment of him from the humiliation he subjected me to the previous morning, not to mention his treatment of me over the past two weeks, have charged me into a bold, fiery bitch that no longer cares what retribution I might face. While my tongue usually gets me in trouble, today I decided to let my underwear do the talking.
Jacob enters with an armful of dresses for me to try on, and he cringes as he takes in my defiant granny panties, hated the world over by men, including, apparently, gay men.
He turns to Derek, and with a scrunched-up face, he worries out loud. “The dresses aren’t going to lay right over those…” He tosses a nod in my general direction.
Derek wastes no time at all reassuring Jacob and striking back at me. “No worries. Ashton was just taking them off. She won’t be wearing underwear anymore.”
I glare defiantly back at him as I drop the loose fabric to the floor. He returns the glare for a moment before letting his gaze travel down my body to my sex, and as it lands there, smoldering with heat, I turn abruptly from him, intentionally showing him my backside instead. I look to the mirror in front of me, and I catch his eyes flit away from me in annoyance. He worries his lip with his thumb and index finger as he contemplates, and the slightest of smirks crosses over his mouth. Jacob is standing by looking from one to the other of us, obviously wondering just exactly what he’s gotten himself in the middle of.
Derek finally looks back to Jacob. “Get on with it.”
I try on one after the other of the dresses. Some are perfect; Jacob pins in additional alterations in others. Derek sits by bored, only glancing up from his cell phone occasionally. One such occasion is when Jacob remarks that I’m “just not curvy enough for this one.”
Derek looks up to Jacob, but he shifts his eyes to mine before commenting, “Yes, well, if you can figure out some way of making her look female, you let me know.”
Jacob again lets his eyes pass between us, seeming to wonder all the while what he’s missing. As I hold Derek’s eyes with my own, my anger falters, and the pain that is behind my fury pushes through. I try to wrangle my tears into submission, but it’s no use. In defeat, first one, and then another spills from my eyes and slides down my cheeks. Jacob regards my state and excuses himself from the room.
I stand on the hemming block in the center of the room, refusing to look at Derek. But he’s looking at me, and as my hurt continues to work through my entire body, I let my tongue do what it does best. “Why do you hate me so much?”
He says nothing, but stands and moves to me. Reaching around behind me, he pulls the zipper of the dress down, and then, returning his hands to my shoulders, he pulls the straps down, exposing first my small breasts, and then the rest of my naked body as it falls to the floor.
He leans in to my ear and speaks. “You don’t know anything about me.” He then takes me by the hand and pulls me to stand in front of the mirror, and leaning to my ear once more as I watch him in the mirror, he speaks gently. “Lean forward and put your palms on the mirror.”
Elizabeth Finn is an Iowa native, where she lives with her husband and son. By day, Elizabeth is a Human Resources Specialist, but by night, she checks her professionalism at the door and immerses herself in the world of writing erotic romance. Look for more to come from Elizabeth Finn.