“Chasing Shadows” Has A Cousin!

Or maybe it’s sister/brother (I haven’t decided a gender for Book III yet).

Brace youselves

After having the Shadow Trilogy rattling around in my brain for nearly a decade, I set out this past weekend to tie up loose ends. That’s right, guys: Book III is officially underway! Most of you know how I like to make a big deal out of everything and turn it into a memorable event, so I just sat there for a full five minutes, watching that little line blink on and off on the clean slate that was the brand new Word doc. And I just let it sink in that the next word I wrote would be the last first word I would ever write in this series.

The beginning of the end.

Okay, okay, it sounds super dramatic that way, but it’s the truth. While I have a caravan full of other stories plotted out and half-written, and also random ideas that I want to bring to life, it’s still hard to accept that after this series, I’ll never really get to hang out with these characters again.

Start writing

For an author, starting the final installment in a trilogy is like having your kid graduate from high school—they haven’t gone off to college yet, but it’s only a matter of time—or setting your feet on the moon for the first time. OR like tasting your one and only first bite of Talenti ice cream. You’ll never be able to go back and experience the tantalizing flavors of Mediterranean Mint, Sea Salt Caramel, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, or Cappuccino (trust me, you’re missing out). Unless, of course, I’m successful in creating a time machine and can travel back simply for the purpose of eating and experiencing history. You’re welcome for that. ;-)

So going back to what I was actually talking about before (writing, remember?). It’s either extremely exciting or totally terrifying to begin a new story, but for me it’s always a little bit of both. I’m not sure if it’s fear that I won’t be able to do the story justice, but all I know is that it feels a little like going on a first date, or so I’ve heard (all the single ladies, woot-woot!): Is the opener/introduction good enough to keep them interested? Haha. I know, I’m full of weird analogies today, but they’re all totally appropriate.

I did it anyway, though. I typed those first two lines, and then another four . . . then a page, and by the time I was done—and only because I had to go to work and get real pants on—I had the entire prologue finished, another scene typed up, and several chapters plotted out. EEE! I can’t tell you how good it felt to once again have new ideas pouring from my fingertips, my mind working faster than they could type. I don’t think I’ve ever had totally new and unexpected ideas and scenes come to me so quickly. In that hour before work, I explained Cadius’ motives for—well, I guess you’ll find that out in “Chasing Shadows” ;-P—why Ridlan, the surrounding province, will play such a significant part in the series, how time travel is really going to mess things up, why the professor was betrayed, and also how Karen’s parents were murdered. It was like an onslaught of awesome!

Soon, I’ll be releasing quotes/excerpts from “Chasing Shadows,” doing a final, final cover reveal once it’s sized, and also releasing the official map of Serimone, thanks to the amazing Roan Carter, who illustrated the cover. But you guys are just as important to the success of this series as my writing is, even more so because you guys help to get the word out about “Chasing Shadows.” I have some signing events, activities, meet and greets, and the like over the next few months, and I would love for you all to help spread the word when I post event info. You can Tweet, Pin, like/share on Facebook, follow, become a fan on Goodreads via the link on the sidebar, blog, or use word of mouth to share anything pertaining to the series. Or if you have any creative ideas for promotions that I can add to my bag of tricks, let me know!

I have a few ideas for a title that I have up my sleeve, but I can’t reveal them quite yet. If you’re interested in contributing your input, though, please send me an email with possible titles (containing the word “Shadows”) for the final installment in the Shadow Trilogy. And I’m still accepting review and interview submissions. If you want to host me on your blog and review “Chasing Shadows,” or if you’re an author who would like for me to interview them, let me know at ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com

My good friend and fellow rockin’ author, Nadine Brandes, needs more recruits for her Launch Team. Basically, what she’s looking for is readers who are interested in reviewing and promoting the release of her first dystopian novel “A Time to Die” in September. Of course, there are awesome freebies as incentives to join the Team, like free autographed copies of “A Time to Die” and free editing services from Nadine herself (a professional editor) on your own work in progress manuscript. It’s so important to help spread the word and get people excited for this absolutely spectacular work. I was lucky enough to read “A Time to Die” when Nadine was first editing the book and needed pre-reviewers, and I cannot express how much I love this story! Nadine is a master-storyteller, and we first connected by discussing our favorite books and the process of getting published (we were picked up about the same time). The most personable gal and author you will ever meet (and also the coolest dance partner a group of ladies could ever ask for *wink wink, Nadine*), she also has a heart for teaching people through the written word and connecting with everyone she meets. Please read her original post below regarding joining her Launch Team, and don’t forget to follow Nadine and enter to win the final few ARC copies of “A Time to Die.” And as always, my friends, when you like something you read, be sure to let the author know; it means the world!



Will You Be On My Launch Team?

Calling all the brave and heroic adventurers! Don your armor, capes, and swords. Lace up those boots and tighten that belt because…

I need your help.

My book, A Time to Diereleases exactly six weeks from tomorrow and I can’t possibly announce it to the world with my own two feeble lungs. I’m trying something new. I’m building a launch team.

When you hear “launch” you may think of astronauts strapped into a space shuttle. Well, when I hear “launch” I think more of this:

Merp 4

Merp 5

Merp 3

Only instead of belly-flopping into a pool of paint afterward, I like to hope we’ll fly. (Please tell me you’ve seen the movie, Hook.)

Would you like to be one of the launchers? A lost boy (or girl) who pulls back the slingshot? I’m looking for people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get a little dirty (figuratively.) The launch team will be the brawn (and brains!) behind spreading the word about my book.

Team Member Benefits

As a member of the launch team, you will get:

  • An electronic review copy (PDF) of A Time to Die immediately upon acceptance.
  • Exclusive access to a Facebook group where we’ll brainstorm ideas.
  • A special THANK YOU after the launch with links to your blog or website on my blog.
  • Your choice of either a free 20-page edit on your work-in-progress OR a free paperback copy of A Time to Die when it releases.

Team Member RequirementsLaunch Team

  • Be willing to write an honest book review on Amazon, Goodreads and/or your blog.
  • Help spread the word any way you can — to your existing platform and beyond (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Interact with the rest of the team and try to come up with 2 or 3 creative ideas for the launch. I won’t use them all, but the more to sift through the better! (Don’t let this bullet point intimidate you.)
  • If you’re a blogger, consider an interview or guest post featuring me or the book.

That’s all! You can apply here. Think about it, pray about it, but keep in mind I can accept only a limited number of team members to keep the launch manageable. Don’t wait too long to apply!

Accepted applicants will be notified by August 19th.


Questions About the Book Launch Team

  • ATimetoDieCov“What in the world is your book even about?” A girl with one year left to her Clock feels like she’s wasted her life and wants to find purpose before she zeroes out. Read all about it here. (dystopian spec-fic)
  • “I don’t have a blog, Facebook, or a Twitter. Can I still join the Launch Team?” Since this is a virtual launch, having some sort of online presence — at least a Facebook — is crucial. Facebook will be used for the majority of communication between launch members. Other than that, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to help an idea or message spread. And, you can spread the news other ways — through e-mailing friends and family members or at your local bookstore or church.
  • “I don’t really know anything about marketing. Is my input still valuable?” Absolutely! If you’re a reader you are the exact person whose opinions I need to help make an impact.
  • “What is the time commitment to join the Launch Team?” I understand we’re all very busy and I want to make this process as easy for you as possible with pre-written author interview questions, Tweets, Facebook posts, images, etc. This won’t be super time-consuming, but I will expect members to put some time into reading the book, writing an honest review, and interacting in the private group. Give what you feel you can. :)
  • “I do not live in the United States. Can I still join the team?” Of course! But please keep in mind that I will not be able to send you a paperback copy of the book due to high shipping costs. I appreciate your input and participation!

“Chasing Shadows” Playlist is Here!!!


Did you notice a little addition to the sidebar on the left? Ahem. That’s right—there is now an official “Chasing Shadows” tab. That means that I’ve added the playlist, summary, and, soon to come, all the blog interviews I’ve been and will be doing.

Next to writing, music is the other half of my life; it speaks what sometimes cannot be spoken or conveyed through words. I always listen to themed music when I’m working hard on the ivory keys—actually, I can’t play piano, but it sounds cooler than “keyboard”—to really get me into a scene. The songs below are ones that I religiously listened to while writing one of my favorite stories (my sisters were fairly sick of these songs by the time I penned the last page). So, when you’re reading “Chasing Shadows,” be sure to give these songs a listen to put you in the moment.


            Avicii — Wake Me Up


            Jason Reeves — The End


            Schuyler Fisk — Waking Life


            Ben Howard — The Fear


            Nico and Vinz — Am I Wrong


            The Script — The End Where I Begin


            Switchfoot — Slipping Away

            Penny and Sparrow — Brothers


            Josh Rosenthal — No More Lies


            The Workday Release — A Starlit Sky


            YPPAH — Never Mess with Sunday


            Levi Robin — Breathe Easy


            Bastille — Bad Blood


            Jason Walker — Down

            Keith Urban — Stupid Boy


            Hunter Hayes — You Think You Know Somebody


            Need to Breathe — Won’t Turn Back


            Danny Elfman — Oz, the Great and Powerful


            Brand X Music — Sorcerer’s Secret


            Hurts — Unspoken


            Kacey Musgraves — Back on the Map


            Lady Antebellum — Learning to Fly (cover)


            Augustana — Borrowed Time


            The Weepies — Can’t Go Back Now

            One Republic — Feel Again


            Hunter Hayes — All You Ever


            The Civil Wars — Dust to Dust


            Two Steps from Hell — Resistance is Fatal


            X Ambassadors — Unsteady


            Mads Langer — Fact-Fiction

            Jan Kaczmarek — Finding Neverland


            Gabrielle Aplin — Start of Time


            Jimmy Eat World — Hear You Me

            Florence and the Machine — Heavy in Your Arms


            Sean Fournier — Goodbye

            In the Nursery — Kryptka


            Switchfoot — When the World Caves In


            Parachute — Hurricane


            Brand X Music — Curious Developments


            Greg Laswell — Comes and Goes (in Waves)


            Ray LaMontagne —Be Here Now


            Ed Sheeran — Give Me Love

            Abel Korzeniowski — First Kiss


            Christina Perri — A Thousand Years


            Bastille — The Draw


            Two Steps from Hell — Black Blade


            One Republic — Burning Bridges


            Tom Petty — Square One


            Avicii — Heart Upon My Sleeve


            Husky – History’s Door


            Red Jumpsuit Apparatus — Cat and Mouse


            Adele — Skyfall

            Sons of Sylvia — John Wayne


            Brand X Music — All or Nothing


            Blackmill — Journey’s End


            Kodaline — All I Want


            Of Monsters and Men — Silhouettes


            Lord Huron — Ends of the Earth


            Radical Face — Welcome Home




Who DOESN’T love free stuff? Follow the link below for your chance to win a Kindle Fire or Amazon gift cards.


Aaaaaand it’s Off!

anna excited

If you watch Anna’s lips carefully, I believe she’s actually saying, “Here’s my book!” No, seriously. ;-)

“Chasing Shadows” is officially being shipped off to the presses as we speak!!!! I tied up the final revisions, literally five minutes before I ran off to work, so I didn’t have any time to process that it was done, finished, finito, fin, finale, 完成了. It was only after I got back from the office hours later that it hit me: I’m done with “Chasing Shadows.” I mean, yeah, I’ll keep a copy of the paperback in every room of the house for easy-access reading (obviously!), and I’ll be working on a bunch of promotions for the Shadow trilogy for a long time. But it took several hours for it to set in that, in a way, I’m past this installment and moving on. Now most of you know that I’m incredibly sentimental and like to make a big deal about/commemorate every event or milestone, so it was a lot to take in when I realized that I never again have to pull a 3 a.m.-writing palooza (which is actually very fun, with the right snacks), pour over and revise some of my favorite chapters, and I’ll never get to write the introduction for a few of the most impacting characters in the series. Don’t get me wrong; I am DYING to get cracking at Book III and can’t wait to hear all of your reactions to “Chasing Shadows,” but it has definitely been a roller coaster ride.

I decided that since those adorable minions are so darn expressive (and adorable), they’re probably the best tool for expressing my emotions over this final chapter of, well, the final chapter of “Chasing Shadows.”  

Oh, isn't that nice? I can move on to the final book...

Oh, isn’t that nice? I can move on to the final book…


... FINAL book? Wait, I'm done with this one? What just happened?!!!!!!! Where am I?!

… FINAL book? Wait, I’m done with this one? What just happened?!!!!!!! Where am I?!


Then began the emotional eating: an ice cream sandwich, kettle corn, chocolate chips, and a slice of salami, all after 10pm while watching Robin Hood. Yeah, I went there, and it was delicious.

Then began the emotional eating: an ice cream sandwich, kettle corn, chocolate chips, and a slice of salami, all after 10pm while watching Robin Hood with Katie. Yeah, I went there, and it was delicious.


And then after, you know, whatever stage this is.....

After, you know, whatever stage this is, it finally hit me:


OHMYSWEETGOODNESS!!! Chasing Shadows is coming out in SEPTEMBER!!! *insert a case of the giddy giggles*

OHMYSWEETGOODNESS!!! Chasing Shadows is coming out in SEPTEMBER!!! *insert a case of the giddy giggles*


Then I looked at the cover again and just went, "You're welcome, people with eyes everywhere."

Then I looked at the cover again and just went, “You’re welcome, people with eyes everywhere.”


Once I come into the Excited Fangirl Zone, I get everything-oriented-with-it swag.  I found a necklace online that is EXACTLY like the one that Will gives Sarah at the end of Rising Shadows. Gotta wear that for the fans!

Once I come into the Excited Fangirl Zone, I get everything-oriented-with-it swag. I found a necklace online that is EXACTLY like the one that Will gives Sarah at the end of Rising Shadows. Gotta wear that for the fans!


Lastly, there was acceptance. I love this series and the characters, and it has been such an incredible journey that I hate to leave it behind someday. But for two weeks, I will enjoy what free time I have, take a breath, and then pounce on Book III when I can stand the distance no longer. There are so many other stories I have in mind that I’m thrilled to dive into soon, so I know I can’t stay mentally hung-up on this series forever. . . Eh, who am I kidding? It will stay with me always. And there are a bunch  of writer’s conferences and signing events coming up that I plan to be a part of to keep it alive for all of us.

Will I see you there? I’ll be the smiling, blond-haired author with stars in her eyes and a tree pendant around her neck. 

a new day

Next Author Interview

We’ve got another author interview underway with Book Chatter Cath! I had an absolute blast working on this one, and Cath’s review blog is fantastic. Please be sure to follow the link below to my author interview with Cath, share it around, and subscribe to her blog. And, as always, don’t forget to check out “Chasing Shadows” by Ashley Townsend on http://www.ink-smith.com and Goodreads.com It’s nearly ready to be released! Can you smell the freshly pressed ink, see the unicorns dancing, and hear the sound of happy elves tapping out a little jig of excitement? ^_~



I could not be more ecstatic, excited, and flipping out in pure elation (lot of “e” words, there) to announce that “Chasing Shadows” officially has a cover!!! EEEEEPPPP! We’re just working on a few finishing details and deciding on text, and then it’s bada-bing–off to the presses! I’m freaking out here! Which I thought was a tad obvious with all of my exclamation points, but I thought I should clarify for your benefit. ~_^

Is it weird that I want to make out with you sweet, sweet cover?

Is it weird that I want to make out with you sweet, sweet cover?

We’re almost done with the final edits, as well, and I have been smiling and crying and laughing all over again as I read it for, what? The 50th time? It still gets to me! I cannot wait to hear all of your reactions to the newest additions to our cast of Serimone characters, including (be still my heart!) Damien Lisandro, the handsome, tortured, cheeky Spaniard I’ve mentioned before. I keep getting hung-up on his scenes, reading them over and over and smiling as I pick up new inflections in his tone. Ack! I just adore him and know you all will too.

Side note(s), because I have way too many updates to give you guys:

BA-BADA-BAAAA!!!!!!!!! The “Chasing Shadows” playlist is nearly there and, if I may say so myself, spectaculaaaaar. We might even be sneaking it into the backs of the paperback copies, so keep your eyes peeled at the end of the story.

Also, our amazing web designer and digital wizard at Ink Smith Publishing, Macy, is diligently working on getting a possible cast together (yes, a Shadow and bow and forest and REAL people) for the “Chasing Shadows” trailer. Be. Still. My. Heart. So for those of you on the “Tube,” please subscribe and share Ink Smith’s YouTube page, and keep your eyes peeled for my trailer. *giggles in sheer delight* I just love saying that. http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQEHbnEhJhMf1me8LPVJy9Q

Don’t forget to add “Chasing Shadows” to your Goodreads, become a fan, and post your reviews. You wouldn’t believe how helpful and encouraging your responses are. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22545313-chasing-shadows?from_search=true

And Can we all just give Roan Carter a round of slow-building applause? He has been so diligent to work with me and make this cover for the sequel absolutely everything that I envisioned, and so much more. He’s even taking the time to work up a map of Serimone and the countryside for the book. Bah! *flat-lines in joy* Be sure to check out his amazing website and illustrations. http://www.roancarter.com/

As always, stay awesome, my delightfully quirky readers!


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