Please excuse me. It’s #NaNoWriMo Season.

Published November 13, 2015 by Ashley Townsend


Ah, yes, NaNoWriMo. A time during the month of November when authors attempt to climb the tip of Everest in the form of reaching a *cough* small goal of 50,000 words in their WIP (work in progress). A time when writers gain 20 lbs from sitting around, act emotionally unstable and irritable, down more caffeine than is deemed medically safe, start crying at random after looking blissfully inspired a moment before, eat their weight in chocolate, and are finally committed (for crimes that our search engines inspired when we called it “research”). Basically, it’s like the Hunger Games for writers: Let the WriMo begin! And may the word count be ever in your favor. . . . (My sisters and I are going to see Mockingjay Part 2 next week at this incredible theater with recliner chairs, so it’s kind of on my mind. ^_^)

An update on my progress so far of 50,000 words: You can see on my Facebook page that I did a brief update on my word count (15,000), which I felt pretty awesome about, considering work and life have been crazy lately and I haven’t had nearly as much time to write as I’d like. But then my last math class from three years ago kept nudging me to use basic mathematics, which was a little depressing.

“If Susan’s goal is to reach 50,000 words in 30 days (apx. 1,667 words per day), and in 13 days Susan has only hit 15,000 words, then her average per-day word count is 1,100 per day. Susan is currently 500 words behind schedule x 13 days= 6,500, which means Susan is in trouble.”


Yeah, I don’t like math, either. o.0 Please excuse me while I hole myself up in my room and have food and water delivered by a mute to avoid distractions. But before I disappear from the land of the living and immerse myself in the fantasy world of Serimone/other realms, here is a series of pictures and gifs that explain NaNoWriMo process.

The beginning: Innocent excitement and total absorption by your WIP



Then you realize that keeping a regular schedule isn’t as easy as you thought and slack off a little


And then distractions come when you’ve been away from the world too long

coffee shop

haven't written

Suddenly, you realize November is almost over and pull out every last trick in the book (it doesn’t matter if your fantasy novel turned into a spy saga set in ancient times on the moon–just FINISH!!)


Towards November 28th as you start to lose it: KEEP IT TOGETHER!!!

hold it together

losing it

And at the end of it all, NaNoWriMo can be summed up in one gif


And you didn’t think that in all the craziness I forgot #FanArtFriday, did you? *maniacal cackle* Silly goose! I might forget to put on real pants or take my fuzzy slippers off when I go out in public during November, but I never forget anything associated with my stories. . . . Unless, of course, that brilliant inspiration comes at 4am and I don’t have paper, and I assure myself that it’s so earth-shaking and incredible that I’ll definitely remember–only to wake up the next morning with a vague inclination that I might have had an epiphany the night before. Anyway, this is probably one of my favorite pieces, because this scene just gives me the feels. Enjoy guys!

defying shadows 2

#FanArtFriday Continues!!!

Published November 6, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

I told you I couldn’t leave it at only four brief weeks of gorgeous fan art. Pshaw! I recently found a new saliva-inducing pic that I’ll be sharing with you all today, but first, a little bit of news and updates. 

My NaNoWriMo is going swimmingly well (4,000 words ahead of schedule–Yeah!), and you can find some of my updates on my Facebook page.

I just discovered that Defying Shadows made it onto Goodreads’ list of Most Anticipated Christian Fiction 2016. Holy strombonie! #1 on the list (and rightfully so) is Melanie Dickerson, one of my favorite Christian authors, along with Francine Rivers, so it was an absolute honor. It also reminded me that I never made a page for the final installment in the Rising Shadows trilogy. *gasps* EGAD! So I quickly remedied that by creating a new tab at the top of my feed for the last book, which you might have already noticed. (check out the page!). It isn’t much right now, but I’ll slowly be adding to it over time, so keep checking for more updates!

Shantelle, the winner of the Chasing Shadows Celebration, absolutely loves the Rising Shadows trilogy! I sent her Rising Shadows so she would have a bit of background before she dived into the paperback copy of Chasing Shadows she won in the giveaway, and I was so pleased to find that she enjoyed both books and is looking forward to the release of Defying Shadows (me too, Shantelle!). 

You can find her review of Rising Shadows here and her 5 star review (^_^) of Chasing Shadows here!

LASTLY, because so much fan art has been made over the past month and a half, I decided to create a Fan Art page with links to the books and images. It’s basically like a Pinterest board right here on my site! Okay, and because I know this is why you showed up today, I’ll make you wait no longer.

Anyone recognize this romantic scene from Chasing Shadows

chasing shadows


Fangirl Friday #14…Cover Reveal: The Crown by Kiera Cass

Published November 6, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

Originally posted on Books and Wonderful Things:

I am super excited today because the final book in Kiera Cass’s “The Selection” series has a cover!!! A couple of weeks ago the title of book #5 was put onto goodreads, but I didn’t think a cover would be posted so soon after the title reveal, and I was SO surprised to see the gorgeous cover for “The Crown” just pop up on twitter! Alright, here it is…






the crown by kiera cass

The designer and crew who make the covers for Kiera’s series know how to make a gorgeous, eye-catching piece of art! Bravo, cover designer(s), bravo!beauty and the beast

The HarperTeen crew kinda blew my mind with how stunningly beautiful their cover is, and all the sparkly lights completely sold me on this cover. Here’s to hoping the final installment of this series wraps up the story of Illéa and its people well, and that Eadlyn learns to lead…

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows #1)

Published October 30, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

Originally posted on Books and Wonderful Things:

book Leigh Bardugo Six of Crows

“Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads summary:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Wow, I am really surprised by how much I enjoyed “Six of Crows” by…

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Fangirl Friday #11…Yes, I Am a Kiera Cass Fan

Published October 30, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

Originally posted on Books and Wonderful Things:

I’m sure you already know this, but I’m here today to tell you that I’m kind of a Kiera Cass addict. I don’t know what it is, but ever since reading “The Selection,” Kiera has become one of my most favorite “fluff” authors. There must have been something about that time in my life and the story and characters of “The Selection,” because I cannot seem to get this series out of my heart, and despite how much I have changed as a person since this series began and my sister shared “The Selection” with me, I still find solace and a little slice of perfection within the first book’s pages. I am also still in love with the Maxon from “The Selection” despite the torment and betrayal he caused me during “The Elite” era (dang you bachelor syndrome!!!). Though quite a few years have passed, I still greatly enjoy…

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#FanArtFriday Round 4!

Published October 30, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

What’s this? Fan Art Friday on a Friday?!!!! Imagine that. ^_~ So this is the last Friday of Chasing Shadows‘ birth month, where we celebrated a year of reading by giving away copies of Chasing Shadows, swag, gift cards, plenty of fan art, and also new pieces of art created for Defying Shadows that I released every week. This next piece of art was designed specifically to torture you guys, but I have a couple things to cover before I get into the gorgeousness that has been created for the final “official” Fan Art Friday. But fret not, dear Hooders! There will be more agony and tempting teasers to come, especially since four Fridays of fan art is certainly not enough for my liking. ;-)

The winners of the Chasing Shadows 1-Year Celebration all received their packages–yay!–and posted pics of their prizes on Twitter. I hope you enjoy the series, ladies! #TeamHood

fan 1 fan 2Also, my good friend and award-winning author (and dancer!) Nadine Brandes recently released her second book in her Out of Time series, a Christian dystopian trilogy that is absolutely incredible. A Time to Speak is amazing, moving, and all around a fantastic ride. You can order your copy on Amazon here, and if you haven’t yet read A Time to Die, you can find it here. Keep an eye out for my name in the acknowledgements page on Book I; yes, I did get to read these books before anyone else, and let me tell you, they were just as powerful and entertaining the second and third time around. You won’t want to miss them!

And some of you know that I got to work directly with Roan Carter on the cover of Chasing Shadows, which was amazing to be able to have total creative control of a project that meant so much to me. But yesterday, I had the pleasure of literally getting hands-on training in the creative process of cover designing by Lisa M., also known as the Elegant Stylus on Facebook and Etsy. I always imagined that artists spent all their time immersed in creative projects in little elvish caves far below ground, with candles for mood lighting and dramatic music echoing through their little hovel of creativity. Not so. We spent the afternoon with our feet propped up on the ottoman, munching on snacks while we researched fonts and played around with images and lighting and fangirled over our little project. It was the best crash-course in designing ever! Lisa is currently in the process of making me drool and giggle and squeal every five minutes with her designs for the cover of Defying Shadows. You’re going to be blown away!

And, finally, today’s Fan Art Friday reveal:

Timeless loveCare for another little teaser? How about a quote between booooop and booooop that shortly follows this scene (I can’t tell you who’s involved in the conversation–that would be cheating!). 

“No, not goodbye. It will never be goodbye between us.”

“What then?” she asked, voice catching. “How are we supposed to do this?”

He smiled softly, though his eyes filled with tears. She felt the band tighten painfully around her heart at the thought that this would be the last time she ever looked into those eyes or felt his hand on her cheek. Inhaling a shuddering breath, he whispered, “I shall see you in my dreams.”

#FanArtFriday … Well, Sort Of

Published October 24, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

So because I live in a fantasy world Monday-Sunday during all of my waking and sleeping hours, I may or may not have forgotten that yesterday was Friday—hence, Fan Art Friday on a Saturday. Umm, yeah. I spent all day writing/rewriting/perpetually adding extra lines to an intense, time travel-heavy scene and got a teensy bit caught up in the awesomeness of it all. 


So, now that the distraction has passed—that is, until I start writing again as soon as we’re finished here—brace yourselves for some slightly spoily fan art that is, let’s face it, drool worthy. 

Quite Some Time

I know, right?!!! 0.0 And I’m working with this artist on the cover design concept for Defying Shadows next week, so I am ridiculously excited to get started on that. *excited clapping*

And in case you’re wondering, the winners of the Chasing Shadows Celebration were all notified via social media last weekend, and their packages mailed out to them. I felt like Santa Claus wrapping up swag and signing copies of Chasing Shadows with special messages inside. For those of you who didn’t win this time, fret not, dear Hooders! There will be plenty more opportunities to win Chasing Shadows and goodies again soon. 

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