#inspiration #amwriting #RealLife Once Again Creates an Idea for Another Book

Like many authors, I use real life experiences in my writing. Sometimes bits and pieces of people in my life work their way into the composites of my characters. Okay, more often than not this happens, but can I help it that I’ve met more than my fair share of impressionable people? The impressions aren’t always good ones, but they do make for some great villains in my stories. Hey, there has to be a bad guy or two in order for the story to go forward otherwise you just got a big book of Hello Kitty happy times and that’s just BORING! 🙂

Ideas for story lines can come from just about anywhere including something on the local news. The latest one for me is from my own life and my “evil day job” as a veterinarian. The situation isn’t a unique one. I know many others who have had to deal with “office politics” and end up hating their jobs because of it. I’ve dealt with this sort of thing a lot over the last 20 years, but more so in the last decade. No longer does it mean a damn if you have seniority over the young whippersnappers that came after you—the ones you trained in the job hoping they would become partners and allies in creating a fabulous work environment. What is does mean is that you make less base pay then the “newbies” but are still expected to do all the work and take up the slack for the coworkers who can’t keep up with the pace, even five years later.

So after a decade of switching schedules to help out the same coworkers, covering them when they called off sick repeatedly, coming off lunch breaks early because the same coworkers are “overwhelmed” and need help, covering holidays so the others could be with their families, it’s time that this old broad take a step or two back. The pace is actually killing my health. I have multiple injuries sustained over the years, constant back and knee pain and now a rotator cuff injury. I suffer from debilitating migraines as well. I don’t plan on getting sick, nor do I know when I will wake up one morning unable to walk. It happens and more often when I have to do more than my share for months at a time. Years of conditioning to keep going until the job is done, has left my spirit and my body very broken.

Why stick around in an environment like that? Well, this was my dream profession (besides being a published author of course!). I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was six years old. When you put all that you have into achieving your career goals, you tend to not want to give it up without a fight. There were still more good days than bad and I enjoyed my patients and their owners up until the last few years. Not only has the economy taken it’s toll on everyone, it’s made it very difficult for my clients to take care of their pets the way they want to and harder and harder for me to accept I can’t save everything that walks through the doors. Above all else, I can’t keep seeing 2/3 of what walks in the doors while a few of my coworkers sit back and let me do it.

Why should I have to ask people I’ve worked with for five or more years to get up off their butts and exert a little effort instead of perusing the Internet? Why should I juggle three patients at once and still be willing to say yes to one more because another doctor doesn’t want “to start on another case that may be too long to handle this close” to her lunch break? Why should I see the next client who had been waiting over an hour because the rest of the doctors were mysteriously unavailable or “too busy” with Goddess knows what to put the client first? I have no problem seeing more patients than the rest of them, but when it’s EXPECTED of me to do it every single shift, it tends to wear me down. When I do ask for help or say I’m overwhelmed, I am made to feel like I’m imposing on them.

Here’s where the ideas for a nemesis or two for the books I’m working on now. My heroines tend to be just like me. They work their fingers to the bone to make their dreams come true. If that means long hours and little time off, that’s what they do. Of course, they too work with a choice few who do as little as possible to get by and then reap all the rewards in the end. Two of my heroines will be faced with career and life changes because of gut-wrenching betrayals in their lives. I can write about these betrayals with ease since I’ve been dealt a few horrific ones over the last few days.

Yesterday I found out that some coworkers who I thought were my friends, have been bad-mouthing me and telling my bosses that they don’t feel I have their backs.

Huh.

I haven’t felt they have had my back for the last five years, but I still kept going with it and kept silent. Since I’m considered “a core” member of the work place, I’m held to a higher standard than the rest of them. I can’t get sick because then it would mean the others actually have to do the job they’re being paid MORE THAN me to do. I don’t have the right to request a different schedule now that my life has changed with marrying a man in the military. I don’t have the right to request they honor their promises to me that I would be able to have the schedule I want once we have more doctors.  We now have TOO MANY veterinarians on staff and that’s a whole other can of worms I don’t want to go into here.

My characters and I have all kept quiet and taken one for the team for far too long. No more. The shit is going to hit the fan and lucky for my current coworkers, it’s only going to be played out in my books for now. My ultimate “revenge” is the day I walk out that door forever. That is when all of them will realize they will actually have to work for their paychecks. At this point the retirement date is Summer 2014, but that could change at any moment.  Just like with my characters, we won’t know what happens until we turn the page…

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Introducing the Characters of The Do Over

Hello all! I’m excited to share with you my cast of characters for my most current WIP and one I hope to have out before the end of the summer. This character description also serves as a basic story outline for me to follow. Of course the characters will take over and change things up here and there…especially the Goddess Rhiannon. Can’t you just see her meddling a bit more with Claire and her men? Let me know what you think of the characters and the basic story so far. I found pictures of the actors, models and singers who gave inspiration for the characters. They are who I see in my mind while I write, not necessarily who you will see so just go with it! 

~Steph


The Do Over

By
Stephanie Ryan

Cast of Characters

Claire Dunning   42 year old chef from Michigan who now lives in California with her husband of two years.  Claire has long raven black hair and eyes to die for in the shade of jade. Not the blue green variety that seem to change color with what the person is wearing, but true green eyes, with a dark emerald green ring around the edges. The effect  often startled people when they first meet her and everyone asks where she gets her contacts.  She stands 5’ 8” in bare feet with curves to die for.  Usually wears her waist length naturally wavy hair up in some form of braid or clip to keep it out of her way while in the restaurant.
She’s been married to Sean Maguire for just over two years at the start of the story. They met through a group function 5 years before at Epcot. He was starting out in a brewery contest and she was entered in a catering contest. Both won their categories and each other in the process.  For the first two years they were always burning white hot for each other, barely able to keep their hands off each other, until their restaurant opened up.  They started drifting apart sending Claire into a “what if” mode and reconnecting with a love from long ago.
After a third and very emotionally painful miscarriage, Claire turns to a very unlikely friend from her past. The teenaged love bubbling up to the surface each time she talked to him, wishing she could just wrap herself up in his arms and forget everything and everyone else.  She would prefer to have that reaction for her husband, but he was always too busy for her and avoided her and her grief. His family, although trying to make her feel better, kept telling her it wasn’t in God’s plan for her to have children now with all that was going on in her life. She just had to keep trying.  Unfortunately it was getting too painful to go through the disappointment each and every month when there was no baby. Just when her hopes would be raised and that magical three month marker approached, she would awaken to a pool of blood in their bed and no baby.
Sean Maguire  36 year old hot shot brew master of the pub The Blarney Stone he runs with Claire and the rest of the Maguire clan. As the middle son, he always had to work harder to get the recognition from his father that he craved growing up. Now with The Blarney Stone taking off and becoming the hottest spot in San Jose, CA frequented by many local celebrities, sports celebrities and even the Food Network, Sean finally has the approval from his Da. In fact all of his siblings are thrilled for him and all work with him and Claire to make the place shine each and every night.
He’s ripped,  6ft 2” former football player who lost his spot with the pros after a near-fatal car accident. He wasn’t driving, but one of his teammates was. They were hit by a drunk driver. The teammate died instantly and Sean woke up after a three month long coma in traction with a broken back. With his football career over, he turned to his studies of brewing beer and wine, entering in every competition he could in order to learn his craft from the best.
It was his shoulder length dark brown hair and hazel eyes that had the dark emerald ring around the edges that drew Claire in. His mother said the matching eye rings meant the fae had marked them as mates.  It felt right the moment he kissed her. He couldn’t see his life without her and yet he knew she was pulling away.
The joy of their life…The Blarney Stone…was slowly tearing them apart. Struggling with infertility, Claire turned inward and shut him out more than not.  If he didn’t do something fast, he was going to lose the only woman who ever completed him heart and soul.
Nicholas (Nick) Brendan 43 year old police officer back in the Michigan town he grew up in. The place he spent all of his teen years trying to escape, he now called home and the town called him Chief. Living in the small town again after doing his 20 in with the Corps, was the furthest from his mind, but the chance to be near his kids and new granddaughter made the case. His divorce from his second wife was brutal, but luckily his first wife was still at least cordial and helped him rebuild his battered relationship with his kids. He missed a lot of the years they were growing up, but he wanted to be there for his grandkids now that he had his head on straight.
Partying every night and jumping into bed with any bar fly was no longer his thing. In fact he gave that up as soon as he had his discharge papers from the Marines. His tours in the desert took their toll, leaving him with shrapnel in his shoulder and back, and nightmares that could still put him in the fetal position.  It was the memories of Claire and her jade eyes that could pull him through all that pain. Seeing her wedding announcement in the local paper damn near killed him. He had always hoped she would come back home after her first marriage failed and maybe they could pick up where they never started.
From the tenth grade on he had nursed a serious crush on the raven haired beauty, but she was just always out of his league. It’s not like she was dating anyone back then, but she kept more to herself and was considered a “good girl.”  Now that he had a great job and could actually be considered a good catch, he went looking for her online. Through Facebook he learned about her first wedding, divorce and now second wedding. She looked so happy to him in those photos of her wedding to Maguire. Her eyes drew him in as always and made him want to be the one to put that glorious smile on her face.
Lately something had changed though. She seemed sad in her posts, not willing to chat with their groups, begging off for one crisis or another with the restaurant. Then she confided in him that she miscarried once again. He wanted nothing more than to put his arms around her and take away all that pain, but she was so far away. Maybe if they could see each other in person for the 25th reunion they could see if there was still that spark? 
If he could go back in time and relive any part of his life, it would be to take a chance with her. Maybe they would still be married now, with children and a grandchild on the way, with Claire in his arms and bed every night. 
Rhiannon the honey skinned passenger next to Claire on her flight back to Michigan for her reunion. Rhiannon’s laugh is soft and melodic at one moment, loud and bawdy the next bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. Her silver eyes pierce you to your very soul when you stare into them, and you can’t help but surrender to her charms.  She dresses in flowing mid-calf length dresses,  that do very little to hide her voluptuous frame.
There’s a reason this beauty commands the attention of all around her. She is a Goddess, sent to grant Claire her wish to live part of her life over again. Rhiannon didn’t want to do it for she thought it was foolish to allow humans to be able to rewind part of their life cycle without learning all the lessons they were meant to learn, but her siblings felt this Do Over would be the greatest lesson of all for sweet Claire.
Rhiannon’s wild, long curly hair was streaked with blondes, reds and light browns. No one could tell what her original color was supposed to be and that was how Rhiannon liked it. Keep them guessing and you will always be the one they dream about!
Claire’s heartbreak of her last miscarriage tugged at her own emotions and Rhiannon wanted nothing more than to just tell her to hold on. Her child was waiting to come to her very soon, but first things first. The clock must be turned back 25 years, to Senior Prom when Claire had her chance to give her heart to the one boy she would have given anything to be with.
©Stephanie Ryan and Sassy Vixen Publishing 2013

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