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Beth Harrison | Unemployment – Blessing or Curse?

As a first-time romance novelist and a newbie blogger, I apologize in advance for not quite knowing how to approach my blog on Fresh Fiction. But I'll start by thanking my Red Sage, my wonderful publisher, for taking a chance on CURSED.

As I sat down to prepare my blog, I suffered the opposite of writer's block. I had so many ideas jostling each other in my mind that I couldn't seem to focus on just one. But then it hit me—with the force of a runaway train.

Three years ago, I lost my job. I got laid off when a large hospital system acquired the hospital where I'd worked for 15 years. I became part of the huge pool of American workers pushing the unemployment rate into double digits for the first time since the dark days of the 1982 recession.

I was without a job for about a year. And while it was terrifying to watch expenses pile up with nothing coming in, my twelve months of unemployment were the most liberating months of my life. I'll never forget the day that my sister dared me to make good use of my enforced time off by doing something I'd always dreamed about—writing a book.

I knew I wanted to write a romance novel, so I spent a month refreshing my familiarity with the genre. And was I surprised at how diverse and how sexy romance fiction had become! It seemed there was a line to appeal to everyone. As a long-time reader of horror and mystery novels and psychological thrillers, I was immediately drawn to the paranormal lines.

But what would I write about? Vampires were hot, but I found myself thinking about witches. An idea popped into my mind that I decided to run with. My original title was The Witches' Covenant, and the book centered on three witches determined to save the young woman they all loved from being burned at the stake. The witches' covenant did make it into the final book, but it's only a small part of the tangled, mysterious, agonizing journey of two souls eternally bound by love.

So there I was, with a kernel of a plot and my new, beloved Lenovo Thinkpad. I sat down to write and experienced true magic. Suddenly, there weren't enough hours in the day for my characters to reveal themselves to me. My fingers flew over the keyboard as Kate and Aidan and their past-life incarnations demanded that I tell their stories. And at the end of my year of unemployment, I could point to a real accomplishment that was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I had written a book!

I realize how fortunate I am—both to have found a new job and to have succeeded in publishing my book. And I'd be very interested in hearing from you how you or loved ones have coped with being unemployed. Was losing your job the best thing that ever happened to you? Was it the worst? What did you learn about life? About yourself?

Thanks for taking the time to join me on my very first blog. And whatever your employment status was in the past, I hope you're currently working at your dream job, and that you'll take a weekend like this to explore CURSED, the story of shy, scholarly Kate Casterbridge and Aidan More, a desperate man with a deadly secret.

Kate is swept off her feet by her drop-dead gorgeous new colleague, but she also begins to experience eerie premonitions, strange dreams and inexplicable sensations of déjà vu. After she meets Aidan, she see witches and death everywhere she looks, but she also discovers a wild, wanton inner vixen she never knew existed. CURSED chronicles a centuries-long journey of jealousy, loss, betrayal and, ultimately, love. I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

CURSED is available at Red Sage Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

After many years of being inspired by the big sky and regal mountains of Montana, Beth Harrison has fallen in love with her adopted city, Chicago. She lives in an enchanted high-rise where she reads, writes, cooks and enjoys the beauty of Lake Michigan and the eclectic energy of her urban neighborhood.




16 comments posted.

Re: Beth Harrison | Unemployment – Blessing or Curse?

Congrats on your new book! :) So glad that you have a happy ending for your own unemployment story.
(May Pau 10:12am April 13, 2012)

Thanks for your good wishes, Mary!
(Beth Harrison 10:34am April 13, 2012)

Congratulations on turning a negative into a positive and
giving us a new author to follow in the process.
(Ilona Fenton 1:18pm April 13, 2012)

My hubby lost his job with a company that he had been with for almost 25 year---he was just devastated. It changed our entire lives and our life plans--he never did find another job so he "retired" early, but I'm still working and don't know if I will ever quit. It takes a lot of work to keep our relationship good because now after 20 years of his not working our interests have grown apart.
(Sue Farrell 2:57pm April 13, 2012)

Thanks for comments Ilona, Rosanna and Sue. Sue, I know exactly what you're experiencing. Three years ago my husband and I were layed off within weeks of each other.He is still actively looking, but it has definitely affected our relationship. There are days when I come home from work exhausted and he wants to talk because he's been home alone all day. I feel terrible for heading to the bedroom and shutting the door, but I need time to unwind. The main saving grace for us, however, is that my husband is an artist and he works at his art every day, as well as doing an occasional freelance job, so we still have active shared interests. It is sometimes overwhelming to think about not being adequately prepared for retirement - I definitely feel your pain.
(Beth Harrison 3:39pm April 13, 2012)

When my husband retired from the AF and we relocated to Florida, I decided to become a stay-at-home Mom. It was the right decision to make at the time. I did a lot of volunteering with BSA, my church, various sports teams my son's were on. Now that they are both out of the house, I am finding my skills are very rusty. With the economy what it is, finding a job tough.

Congrats on your first book. I think the cover is awesome.
(Robin McKay 5:15pm April 13, 2012)

I like how you stayed on your plan to be a writer and kept writing down scenes your characters played. Looks like a good read and I sure like Romance.
(Alyson Widen 7:09pm April 13, 2012)

Thanks, Robin and Alyson. Isn't the cover fantastic? I was thrilled when I first saw it, featuring Jimmy Thomas, who's appeared on more romance covers than any other model and who is absolutely hot!

Robin, good luck with your job hunt. It's great that you chose to be a stay-at-home Mom and volunteer while you're boys were growing up.

Alyson, I hope you enjoy Cursed. I loved writing it, and I appreciate your words of support.
(Beth Harrison 7:16pm April 13, 2012)

When my Husband lost his job, it started out as being the worst. We lost our house of 13 years, along with most of our furniture, our appliances, and most of our clothing and some other belongings. We packed up what we could in our pop-up camper and small pick-up truck when the day finally arrived, grabbed our dog, and headed for the nearest campground, which was to be our new home. We did this for a while until we found an ad in the paper for an apartment that we could afford. We are still in that complex now, and are currently the Caretakers!! It turned out to be a blessing, because we love living out in the country now. I also learned that I'm a stronger person than I realized, because it takes a strong person to start over again with practically nothing. I appreciate what I have. I adore the cover of your book, and I'm anxious to get my hands on it. I give you credit for going after your dream, since writing was always one of mine. Congratulations!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:46pm April 13, 2012)

I am not sure if unemployment is good, I have seen to meny families
loose homes, to meny men loose there selfworth and both of those
things are hard to see.
(Vickie Hightower 10:44pm April 13, 2012)

Peggy, Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so inspired by how you started over and made a good life for yourselves. You are a strong person and you still have time to start writing! Go for it, and may your life continue to get better and better!
(Beth Harrison 9:58am April 14, 2012)

Vickie, I agree with you that unemployment is often devestating and CAN be the worst thing that ever happens to an individual or a family. I was one of the lucky ones!
(Beth Harrison 9:59am April 14, 2012)

Great job learning how to reinvent yourself and push on to better things. Keep on writing, and God Bless!
(Ann Thaxton 2:40pm April 14, 2012)

Thanks, Ann!
(Beth Harrison 4:21pm April 14, 2012)

How wonderful that you had a "backup plan" to your regular job. It's marvelous that we sometimes are able to find something completely different to do when a door is closed to us. I'm not a writer at all, but I can proofread other people's writing; I used to be an English and French teacher--to students who were learning them as their second or third languages. But creative? I'm not.
(Sigrun Schulz 4:32am April 15, 2012)

Sigrun, I think that we're all creative, and that our creativity manifests itself in different arenas. I think that teaching is an extremely creative profession! Thanks for your comment!
(Beth Harrison 10:07am April 15, 2012)

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