In this third post to celebrate Escape Publishing’s 1st birthday, Ainslie Paton got the shock of her life when she recognised her most constant relationship…

I got a shock.

A little like when you fish toast out of the toaster with a knife.  I should’ve expected it, but it was a zap all the same.

It occurred to me recently that my closest, most constant and most powerful relationship has gone unrecognised, unheralded and unrequited.

And I’m a romance writer.  How did I let that happen?  How did I not see this coming?

Recognition occurred in a moment of hilarity when in jest I named my PC keyboard.

Now on the whole I have never been big on the naming of inanimate objects.  For example, none of my cars have ever had names.  Though we did once own a family car called not in the least affectionately, Leaping Lena.  But that was all to do with a phantom sticky clutch and was in no way designed to humanise.  Lena was a twelve-year-old Toyota and quite likely possessed.  The evidence of which was the occasion a very sick man climbed on her bonnet at a set of traffic lights and head-butted her windscreen till it shattered.

True story.  But I digress.

I named my keyboard Spencer and it was oh so funny in a roflmao way, which is to say at least I was amused.

And then I thought about it.  My most reliable relationship, the one that earns me a living, keeps me company in the dead of night and enlivens my days with fantasy is my—gulp—keyboard.

Oh Spencer!

Oh Ainslie!

Cue crisis of personal confidence.  What am I doing with my life if a plastic ramp with seventy moving parts is my soul mate?  How weird is it that I’m perfectly content to stroke his keys, play with his function button and shift his caps lock for hours on end?  What does it say about me that Spencer is a he in the first place, and his hard clickety keys provide my most stimulating and soothing music?

I briefly consider medication and fleeing to the wilderness.  I settle on couples counselling.

And then I have my epiphany.  Which is not anything at all the same as beating your head against a windscreen till it shatters, although it feels like it at the time.

Spencer is my mightier than.  He’s the pen that’s mightier than the sword.  My keyboard is my cape.

With Spencer I get to address issues that bug me, buck trends and take on stereotypes.  I’ve written about gender equality, women in the workplace, shifting values and the decline of traditional media.

I write heroines who live in the real world, take on current events and don’t need approval or a man to be complete.

I’ve written a wild child rock chick who is an economic powerhouse, (Getting Real), a crusading journalist who takes on a shadowy businessman (Detained), a talented colleague who steps out from the sidelines (White Balance), and a student torn between bra-burning and courtly love (Grease Monkey Jive).

All my female characters kick A, though they’re not always in the right.  Some of my male characters deserve a good kick, though it’s not always well aimed.  But it all colours gorgeous in the end because unlike the real world, I get to write narratives that square up the corners, smooth the sheets, and tuck them in tight.  I get to write surprising, satisfying conclusions with happy, heart skipping endings.

And I owe it all to Spencer.

I’m learning to be more appreciative of the unique powers he confers on me.  I dust him more regularly now.  I feed him higher quality batteries and I’ve promised not to slop coffee on him, or leave him with uncomfortable biscuit crumbs between his keys again.

It’s a start, but I know we’re going to be alright, because with Spencer under my fingers no wrong is too hard to re-write, no happy ending too hard to type.

9780857990778From one of Australia’s hottest new authors comes a story about an international scandal, a billionaire, and a fearless reporter who might just save the day…

Confined in a cold, dull room in the depths of a Shanghai airport, a journalist chasing a career break and a businessman with a shadowy past play a game of truth or dare — deliberately not exchanging names.

They tell each other their most painful secrets and burning desires. One dare leads to a kiss and a wild night of illicit passion, setting off a dangerous sequence of events, bringing exposure and disgrace.

Only the brutal truth can save them. But it will also rip them apart. And it will take more than daring before they can build a new truth together.

Ainslie Paton is a corporate storyteller working in marketing, public relations and advertising. She’s written about everything from the African refugee crisis and Toxic Shock Syndrome, to high-speed data networks and hamburgers, and for everyone from George Clooney to Barry Humphries – as Edna. She writes cracking, hyper-real romances about strong women and the exciting men who love them. And she dances when no one is looking.



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