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Monday, February 21, 2011


Fear – A Deadly Emotion

Fear can freeze genius. It can render speechless, it can stop a heart. And it is the single deadliest emotion for anyone who has a dream.

All of us hold some dream close to our hearts. We nurture this, we tend it like an infant, and we will turn into she-bears if someone trods on, or even close, to our little seedlings that are just beginning to sprout.

But the one limitation, the single greatest factor that will prevent those seedlings from blossoming is fear. Fear of failure. Fear of mockery. Fear of becoming injured. Whatever the dream is, there’s a counterpart, a negative reason we will often embrace to protect ourselves. Often at the detriment of our dream, to the point many of us will forsake that dream. Or, we’ll keep it so buried it doesn’t have a hope of seeing the sunlight it needs to grow roots.

I’ve known talented equestrians who won’t move up to the next level because they are afraid they won’t succeed there. All kinds of excuses usually give them the room to avoid the possibility of failure: I need a better horse, I’m just not ready yet, maybe next year… All the while they’re riding at that upper level in lessons and there’s not a single glitch in their movements. They are ready. Fear holds them back.

I’ve met and talked with budding authors who have finished their book, but fear of rejection has kept them from sending it out. Again, the excuses run the gamut: I need to go through it one more time; I’m waiting on my friend to read it; I can’t write a synopsis… Again, this is fear speaking. Fear has rooted in and killed the dream before it could ever take root and grow.

No one wants to open their heart and possibly bleed. We’ve all had that happen, in some fashion or another, and it isn’t pretty. We’d rather live in our protective bubbles, safe from cuts and bruises and knowing that we can’t be wounded. Really, who wouldn’t choose security and comfort over the terrifying unknown?

Or maybe, that someone has tried the dream and already failed, or perceived the experience as a failure. When this happens in romance, we call it “Jaded”, or “Bitter”. Really, it’s the fear of opening ourselves to someone else and taking the chance we might bleed again.

My heroine in Timeless Valentine, Olivia, struggles with fear. She’s become so convinced of protecting herself from the mistakes of her past, the encounters that have told her romance can only end one way, she won’t take that risk and let the dream she harbors have a chance at wings. She hides all this, as many of us do, beneath sarcasm, wit, and keeps everyone at arms distance.

Until Lucas Benning, her childhood tormentor, forces her to open her eyes… as well as her heart.

Valentine’s is over with now, and we’ve all eaten our fill of chocolates and had our romantic adventure. But for any of you who can understand how it feels to hold a dream and how terrifying it can be to consider building that dream, you’ll relate to Olivia’s struggles. Like her, I hope you’ll learn sometimes the best thing you can do is embrace that fear and take the risk.

Childhood hatred fired their blood. Yet, a Valentine’s Day experiment inflames their hearts…

When Lucas Benning relocated to Kansas City, his best friend’s sister became his roommate. Problem is, they’ve despised each other since he cut off her hair when she was fifteen. But with Valentines Day looming, his sentimental side can’t accept Olivia’s jaded perspective the holiday’s for fools. He vows to prove romance doesn’t go hand-in-hand with sex. Except, a game he starts to prove a point awakens a frightening passion he can’t escape.

Eccentric artist, Olivia McDaniels, finds Lucas’ proposal laughable. Yet, when her brother commissions a portrait of Lucas, she sees a different side of the man--tender and selfless. To her horror, he chips away at the walls around her heart. Only, Lucas belongs to another woman, and the feelings he stirs can only lead to pain.

As the holiday arrives, will Cupid's arrows forge a timeless bridge between their differences, or will they eternally miss their mark?
Claire has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to the Wild Rose Press in 2008, and she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the Champagne line.

In 2010, she sold a paranormal romance to Tor Romance, involving the Knights Templar. This series will release sometime in 2011.

Writing, however, isn't her only passion. When she's not sitting at the computer ticking out plotlines, she raises and trains Oldenburg, Thoroughbred, and Arabian horses. Time allowing, she competes in the sports of Show Jumping, 3-Day Eventing, and Dressage. Many of her favorite barn friends make cameo appearances in her horse-themed novels.

Claire lives on a small farm in Missouri with her two toddler sons, fifteen horses, and five dogs. She credits her success to her family's constant support and endless patience.



Dawn said...

You are so correct. Fear stops many from doing what they want because of what someone else may say or think. I have taught my kids to never let fear interfer with their dreams....


Claire Ashgrove said...

That's a great lesson and one I hope my boys will understand too.

Thanks for dropping by, Dawn!

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Claire

Very true words and a motivating post. It is so easy to let fear or lack of self-confidence prevent one from achieving all that one could.

I'm also a horse lover, although sadly I've never owned my own land and have to keep my Welsh Cob and American Quarter horse about fifteen miles away from where I live. My dream is to have a small farm in my native Wales. Unlikely to happen, but I don't give up hope! I too give my horses cameo roles in some of my stories!

What is the title of your paranormal romance? It sounds just 'up my street'!