Happiness is…

By Bette Lee Crosby / February 21, 2014

fairy-clip-art-7Different things mean happiness to different people. I’ve come t realize that for me it means being totally immersed in writing a novel.¬† Not a little bit involved and not simply putting words on paper, but totally immersed; living the lives of characters I truly care about.

For the past two weeks I’ve been in a grumpy mood. The slightest little thing annoyed me. The mailman came late, the computer was too slow, the dog chewed a sandal I loved, and my knee hurt. None of these are things that normally would have bothered me, but for they past two weeks they did.

Oh and did I mention that I was between books? I finished PREVIOUSLY LOVED TREASURES in early January and finished a novella called BLUEBERRY HILL, A STORY OF SISTERS two weeks ago. I was between stories. The inside of my head was devoid of characters. A much-needed break, right? Wrong!

Without my characters I was a woman without purpose, a mother without children. I was suffering from empty nest syndrome. I needed to write, but didn’t have a story¬† sizzling through my brain. Where was my muse when I needed her? No question, I had to find her and find her fast if I wanted to shake loose the fugue that was approaching.

I did what I have always done, turned off the computer, forgot about the e-mails to answer, the bills to pay, and the17884042 posts that should be done. I settled onto the lanai with a good book. This time it was Anna Quindlen’s “Still Life with Breadcrumbs.” I love Quindlen’s work because, like me, she goes to the heart of the character. She make you love them, hate them, and in the end cheer their triumph over life. I read straight through, stopping only for dinner and admittedly, reading even as I set the table. Before the evening I’d found my Muse. She was darting in and out between poignant thoughts and beautifully composed prose.

Last night as I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep, I had already begun the framework for the story I will now write. It’s nothing like Ms. Quindlen’s, not even a tad. But the depth of her characters inspired me to go in search of mine. In the darkened bedroom, with my husband sound asleep beside me, I realized why my muse had gone missing. For the past two weeks, I’d been searching for a story instead of searching for the characters.

girl-reading-a-bookI’ll spend the next few weeks getting to know Seth Porter’s daughter Melissa and her husband James. Then and only then will I start to tell their story. In the days to come, these people will be with me every waking moment and once I come to truly care about them, I will write about the events in their life. When I do it will be their story, not mine.

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About the author

Bette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby's books are "Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances." - Midwest Book Review The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby's writing is, "A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures." Samantha from Reader's Favorite raves, "Crosby writes the type of book you can't stop thinking about long after you put it down." "Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write." It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win nineteen awards for her work; these include: TheRoyal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal, Reader's Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer's Choice Award.

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