Ashley Townsend

All posts tagged Ashley Townsend

Fins, Spins, & Mermaids—Oh my!

Published February 12, 2017 by Ashley Townsend

 

As most of you know, I love chatting with other writers and hearing about their stories. I also love doing interviews with fantastic people and adore all-things mermaid (stay tuned for my WIP and you’ll see why!). So when I heard that Lisa M. of The Elegant Stylus was writing a short story about mermaids (!!!), you could say I jumped at the opportunity to interview the incredible artist who designed the covers for Rising Shadows and Defying Shadows

Lisa typically dwells under the sea, which I imagine is a fantastic place for writing inspiration, but she was kind enough to don her land-legs and answer my questions today. *awaits drum roll crescendo* All right, let’s get to some mermaid action! 

img_20161015_113245

(Also, please note that this interview was written in sea foam-green to keep with the theme. *slow clap for cleverness*)

Lisa, where does your creative inspiration come from?

First, I’m going to give the totally uninteresting “mom” answer and say my children—but it’s true!  Portraiture is something I enjoy, and my first portrait was of my daughter when she was two years old.  Children today are photographed more than any generation in history, yet I’ve found that the simplicity of a line-drawing can sometimes capture the essence of a child even more precisely than a photograph. 

art-sketch-copy

20150904_132612-01-01-01

(The portrait of my daughter which started it all; silhouette portraits of my daughter and son. Commission your own at www.etsy.com/people/TheElegantStylus )

Thematically, I have a particular love of folklore, weird fiction, and fantasy. I was fascinated by the stories by Edgar Allen Poe as a kid, and my first short story (titled “The Skull Upon the Roof”. . . because what else could it have been called?) was based on his house style.  World building has always been a particular passion of mine; anything that hints at belonging to an eerie alternative reality which exists just beyond the fraying edges of our peripheral vision jumpstarts my imagination. Creative inspiration for those types of stories can strike anywhere, any time. Case in point: last summer, my kids and I were stuck in a completely unnecessary traffic jam while trying to leave a Sprout’s parking lot (I’m not going to point fingers, but the driver of a Subaru *may* have been responsible).  It was nap time, it was hot, and my beloved children begin to loudly voice their displeasure with the current situation. 

In an attempt to distract the kiddos, I made the executive decision to YouTube-up a minor-key, EDM/Dubstep cover of The Little Mermaid’s “Kiss the Girl,” which a Facebook friend (a German-raised Opera singer, to be precise) had recently posted on my wall. You know how it goes….

chase-you-tube

(See the video here: https://youtu.be/HncGtWcqyV0 )

Now’s your moment
Floating in a blue lagoon
Boy, you better do it soon
No time will be better.

The song is playing, the kids have quieted down, and I’m successfully navigating a “left-turn yields on green” maneuver through the intersection when suddenly, BOOM! The scene unrolls before my mind’s eye like luminous scroll: the singer in this goth dubstepping number is no friendly crab-buddy, narrating the flatteringly-lit rowing scene of romantic tension between our charming protagonists!! No! Indeed, there is an unholy sea sprite lurking in the dark waters, and he has his own Screwtape-esque agenda! The malicious sprite telepathically whispers, taunts, and downright mocks the young man in the boat:

Look at that boy: too shy.
Ain’t gonna kiss the girl.
It’s a shame, too bad.
He’s going to miss the girl.

My physical body may have successfully steered us home, pulled my SUV into our garage and begun unbuckling the kids, but my mind was still in that haunted lagoon, and oh baby, I had a lot of questions. Questions like:

“What deep, dark creature does this taunting voice belong to?”

“Why does he care that the eponymous girl be kissed before the sun sets?  (The girl in question being, of course, a zombie-mermaid glamoured to look like a fresh-faced human girl. I know this intuitively.)

“Why is this Disney song very clearly advocating non-consensual culture? Just look at this:  

Yes, you want her.

Look at her, you know you do.

It’s possible she wants you too;

there’s one way to ask her.

It don’t take a word, not a single word.

Go on and kiss the girl, kiss the girl!

Seriously??? Another way you can inquire if she, indeed, does want you too kiss her, is to, um. . . oh, I don’t know, maybe ACTUALLY ASK HER if she would be receptive to such intimate contact? Gawd, Disney!

Suffice it to say I had MANY questions. It goes without saying that, at least in my case, inspiration will strike at the most unexpected, and honestly inopportune, moments.  I hurried to get my kids out of the car and into their beds so I could scribble a few lines in a notebook and not lose the sneak-peak I’d been given into this dark fairytale world. And then….

Wait….both kids have dirty diapers….SERIOUSLY?!!

Inopportune inspiration . . . Oh, too relatable! Like the shower, the sandy beach with no pen, when your hands are covered in paint, at 2 a.m., etcetera. -_- 

Okay, do you have a favorite spot to brainstorm creative concepts and designs? 

The majority of my creative work is done via computer, so I guess I’d have to say sitting at my kitchen bar with my laptop is my default go-to creative space. Pinterest is a great place to begin a design process, whether I’m giving a makeover to a piece of furniture, researching silhouette cameo-portrait styles, or designing the covers to your novel covers! When I paint, I always begin by creating a digital mock-up in Photoshop. That’s the origin story of the watercolor painting I did for you, based on your Rising Shadows trilogy.

(Serimone by Starlight, which you might recognize from Instagram; Rising Shadows, Defying Shadows)

During the hot summer months, I enjoyed sitting in the shade of my front porch in the evening, writing mermaid-zombie story ideas in a notebook, while keeping a vigilant eye on my kids playing in the yard; I’m trying to embrace the shaggy nature of good ol’ pen and paper writing. If I have to cross out a word, sentence, or, God-forbid, a paragraph … so be it. Writing a story by hand has been an epic triumph for my personal neuroplasticity, and I view it almost as a form of therapy for my super-uptight OCD proclivities. I cannot allow white-out in my vicinity when writing. As a Storm Trooper says in Episode IV: “Move along. Move along.” I’m trying to live according to his advice, and not get hung-up by over thinking things and imperfections.

My creative writing gurus are the brilliant people over at Storywonk.com, and through their podcast, I have been encouraged to keep plugging along. In particular the “Journeyman Writer” podcast has taught me the importance of curating a nest in which to write.

storywonk

the-journeyman-writer

(http://storywonk.com/podcasts/ )

Lately, I have begun writing before bed, nightcap at my side (it helps with the OCD). I feel particularly blessed to get to write my dark faerie tale in the master bedroom of a creepy gothic mansion; I feel the atmosphere adds to my creative process. (Joke.)

(“IRL” and Gothic Photoshop)

*wishes she had the ability to bring Photoshopped pictures into reality* So. Glorious!

I know I always have to have tone-setting music and a fun beverage when I’m writing (*cough* coffee *cough cough*). What are some things that you MUST have in your workspace while exercising you creativity?

As a mom of young kids, I’ve had to learn to be creative in non-ideal situations.  Oftentimes, I’m Photoshopping an image while simultaneously stepping in to prevent my two-year-old’s meltdown, and navigating Netflix to find “Octonauts” for my 4- and a half year-old.  BUT if I could design the perfect creative environment, it would definitely take place after my kids have gone to bed, with the ‘afore mentioned margarita by my side and a Storywonk podcast playing on my headphones. While I’ve been scribbling my mermaid story, I’ve lately enjoyed listening to ambient ocean wave noises via YouTube on my MPOW Shell Blue Tooth.

Now I’m wishing I had the gift of multitasking while in story-mode, but alas. *sighs* Okay, now for a strange question: I love Monet, Van Gogh, and Pissarro’s works and would love to have watched them create some of their most incredible paintings. If you could bring any artist back from the dead (and possibly put a Mermaid tail on them), who would it be and why?

Definitely weird fiction author H. P. Lovecraft. The contrast between his stuffy, uptight New England personality and the truly wild, disturbing, psychedelic worlds and creatures he created are endlessly fascinating to me. Despite the fact that he was an unrepentant sexist, racist jerk, and overall unpleasant guy, I’d love to have a conversation with him about his Cthulhu Mythos.

GrandsAnciens1C1C4NF.indd

(“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”

“In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”)

Though I am an “inferior” woman, I am sure that as soon as he realizes I have not only singlehandedly reanimated his corpse, but ALSO gifted him with a super awesome mer-tail, he will be so overcome by gratitude that he will gladly converse with me about his story-craft. I imagine sitting beside his custom, 600 gallon saltwater tank in a velvet wingback chair, sipping a margarita while chatting about the danger of seeking hidden knowledge and the nature of madness.

hp-merman

(Howard Phillips Lovecraft, formerly of Weird Fiction. Current status: Merman)

*tries to pull self together while still on the throes of laughter over the saltwater tank comment* *at last regains some semblance of composure*

Fascinating response, Lisa. Going with the saltwater theme . . . Now, you’re on a desert island and have a choice between enlisting the help of a mermaid, a sea witch, and a couple of sea turtles roped together (probably with hair from Jack Sparrow’s back). Which do you choose to help you survive? 

To paraphrase the late author David Foster Wallace, I have a marrow-level dread of the ocean; it is an endless, corrosive engine of death and chaos chockerblock full of snaggletoothed leviathans that rise from the depths at the rate which a feather falls.  Needless to say, I would want to return to the mainland ASAP, so it looks like the sea witch is my gal! Luckily, I just happen to have a nifty H. P. Lovecraft-shaped mer-toy to trade her in exchange for her magical teleporting services! Sorry, Howard! Don’t blame me; Kharma’s a b*ch!

So you’ve given us a little taste of the inspiration behind your current work in progress, but would you share with us a bit about your idea and some scene-inspiring art?

Yes! I’m primarily a visual artist, and have (alas!) finished very few of the stories I’ve attempted in the past. It’s been a bucket-list item to one day complete a short story novella, as well as illustrate it.

As I mentioned before, Chase Holfelder’s Minor Key cover of “Kiss The Girl” from The Little Mermaid planted the seeds for a new story in my mind.

I’ve always loved folktales, their dark origin stories in particular.

lore

(If you’re like me and enjoy learning about spooky folklore, check out the LORE podcast! http://www.lorepodcast.com/ )

Likewise, I’m intrigued by the concept of an unreliable narrator. Rippling out from that crucial moment of the kiss in the lagoon, I’ve created a whole framework of story! The Cliff’s Notes version is that there is a sea sprite who has been the familiar of an incredibly powerful Sea Witch for a millennia. He has loved his Mistress unconditionally (were his feelings reciprocated?….I think not, but don’t tell him that). The Sea Witch gives her life to reanimate the corpse of a drowned young woman, who is resurrected in the form of a voiceless, zombie mermaid.

(Digital paintings I’ve created as illustrations for my story.)

Now that his beloved Sea Witch is dead, the desolate sea sprite determines to win her life back by presenting the Elder Gods (a Lovecraftian shout-out) who live deep under the sea with the perfect gift: a human soul. And, of course, the formerly human mermaid is the perfect vessel to transport that soul to their underwater temple. The familiar devises a plan in which he glamours the mermaid to look like an irresistible maiden. Once on land, the sea sprite (glamoured in human form as well) sets up the meet-cute in the lagoon, gets an unsuspecting man to kiss her . . . aaaaand you’ll have to read the story to see how it all ends. As of this moment, I’m looking forward to seeing how it ends as well! 

It’s been amazing having you, Lisa, and thank you so much for stopping by to answer all of my questions! I think it’s safe to say that we’re all on the edge of our seats waiting to see how the rest of this fascinating story comes together. As for the rest of you, if you liked what you read and are interested in commissioning Lisa for a project, she’s always open to new, creative endeavors. Just make sure to message her before she ditches her land-legs and dons her fin once more! (I heard computers don’t work very well under da sea.)

Be sure to follow The Elegant Stylus: 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/theelegantstylus

https://www.instagram.com/elegantstylus/

https://www.facebook.com/TheElegantStylus

 

#FanArtFriday Has Begun!

Published October 9, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

It’s happening! #FanArtFriday has officially commenced! Stop by here every Friday during the month of October, where I’ll be celebrating Chasing Shadows’ birth month with new fan art released every week, especially images created for the to-be-released Defying Shadows *gasps* EGAD! ^_^ You guys have been amazing in creating such gorgeous artwork for the Rising Shadows trilogy, and you can find all of it on Pinterest.

(And don’t forget that the Rafflecopter giveaway ends on October 16th, so you only have another week to enter here to win a copy of the book, gift cards, swag, and more!)

So without further ado, another glimpse at a never before excerpt of Defying Shadows!

.

.

.

.

.

Defying Shadows 1

Maybe I’m the only one who grins like an idiot when I look at it, but it’s just so perfect. *squeals* I immediately contacted the artist to ask her if she would be willing to design the cover for Defying Shadows after this piece of fan art, because I am so obsessed with it, and she agreed. I cannot WAIT to get started on that project! Don’t forget to stop by again next Friday for more fan art, and in the meantime, keep entering the Giveaway, Tweeting and sharing with #TeamHood and @TownsendTales to enter the social media prizes.

Also, I just discovered another recent review for Chasing Shadows. Check out Sarah’s blog–it’s fabulous!

http://sarah-plainandaverage.blogspot.com/2015/10/book-review-chasing-shadows.html

Are You Ready to Rumblllleeee?

Published October 4, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

The Chasing Shadows 1-Year Celebration giveaway and party will begin in just a few minutes!

Dean O'Gorman in The Almighty Johnsons |   His face is like, "Food you say?" Lolololololo! That's my face half the time. literally. Lolololol!

I know, it’s pretty exciting. Gift cards and free books and questions and excerpts and fan art and just–BAH! So grab a coffee, strap yourself in, and get your fingers ready for some serious giveaway/reading/not so spoily spoiler fun!

I’m guessing I’ll see you back here in a few minutes.

to make me feel better when i'm having a bad day. Eye of the Tiger, baby! haha! #BestGIFEver

Goodreads Event Created

Published October 1, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

I just created the Chasing Shadows 1-Year celebration on Goodreads for people to join! (I have no idea why I haven’t thought to add it for previous events) I sent out invites to all my Goodreads friends, but anyone can join by following the link below, and I think you should be able to invite your friends, as well, or at least share the link with them (if you share via a blog post, give me a pingback or email me the link at ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com). The celebration has been getting tons of attention on social media, especially Twitter and Pinterest. I think I have a feeling who the Most Social Hooder Grand Prize is going to be, but keep using #TeamHood and tagging @TownsendTales on social media to gain entries toward both prizes (re-blogging this post counts! Just leave the link and your name in the comments below). And stop by here on October 4th for the grand celebration kick-off and to enter the Rafflectoper, which you can enter every day until October 16th.

Until next time, Team Hood!

https://www.goodreads.com/event/show/973714-chasing-shadows-1-year-celebration-giveaway

This Week’s Schedule

Published October 14, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Books

The next 7 days are going to be an awesome immersion into the world of books and authoring. My schedule this week is actually pretty exciting and eventful, so don’t forget to put all these awesome shenanigans down on your calendars and leave clever little Post-It reminders everywhere, because there’s a lot to keep track of. And I hope you’ll all want to join me for each of these super cool extravaganzas! All of the links and the info to participate in these events are at the bottom of the page. Don’t forget to share these events and dates with anyone who loves book-y goodness as much as me!

October 15th-21st (Wednesday-the following Tuesday)

Double Decker Books Blog Tour with “Chasing Shadows”

Okay, so tomorrow we kick off the Chasing Shadows Blog Tour at Double Decker Books. I. Am. Excited! Although I’ve participated in blog hops and tours before, I’ve never been the featured author being HOSTED on someone else’s blog. *giddy dance of pure joy* Here’s how it works: Tomorrow, Wednesday the 15th, “Chasing Shadows” and my interview will be up on one of my favorite blogs of all time, Double Decker Books. The tour kicks off from there, and I’ll be hopping around a few other blogs during the book’s gallivanting escapades. DDB will tell you where to go from there, and so on. So be sure to follow their blog and the book as it travels Around the Web in 6 Days! ^_~

October 18th 1-3pm west coast time (Saturday)

Chasing Shadows Twitter Release Party

And THEN we have the “Chasing Shadows” Twitter Release Party going down this Saturday. Please join us for fun, discussions about “Chasing Shadows,” and my sure to be hilariously awkward Q&A time with DDB. Just follow and tag @TownsendTales and @Doubled_Books during the Twitter Release Party if you want to ask me your own questions. They can be serious, quirky, ridiculous, hilarious, about writing, life as a person with multiple voices in their head, my fascination with time travel, riddles, etc., and also my obsession with the word etcetera. 

October 19th at 2pm (Sunday)

2014 Gold Rush YA Author Event at Barnes&Noble

There’s also an event I will be attending that I am super jazzed about. Barnes&Noble is hosting Livia Blackburne, Bethany Crandell, Stephanie Diaz, Maria Andreu and Tracy Holczer this Sunday for giveaways, fun stuff, and interviews with the authors themselves. I won’t be one of the authors speaking at this meet-and-greet, but I’m excited to just be a part of it! If you’re going to be in San Diego this weekend and decide to drop by, I’ll be the curly-haired blond with the pocket watch and starry-eyed gaze.

Barnes and Noble on 5500 Grossmont Ctr Dr Suite 331 La Mesa, CA 91942

So, there it is. Quite the week, isn’t it? I hope that you’ll be able to join us for everything, and don’t forget to keep checking back here for my Serimone update of the week, Between the Pages. Hint: This week might have to do with a certain gorgeous, enigmatic, endearing blacksmith from “Chasing Shadows.” Which means you WANT to be here this Friday. Trust me on this one.

th

Follow and tag @TownsendTales and @Doubled_Books when you throw your questions at me during the Chasing Shadows Twitter Release Party on Saturday. You can also use #ChasingShadowsBook when tweeting.

https://twitter.com/doubled_books

https://twitter.com/TownsendTales

Visit Double Decker Books tomorrow, Wednesday, October 15th, for the premiere of the blog tour!

http://doubledeckerbooks.blogspot.com/

You can also become more than just a passive reader and participate in the tour by following the link below to host me or other authors on your own blog. 

http://doubledeckerbooks.blogspot.com/2014/10/bloggers-needed-small-double-decker.html

The 2014 Gold Rush at Barnes&Noble Sunday, October 19th, 2pm, with author Livia Blackburne. And me! 🙂

http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/4742022

Buy the paperback or ebook!

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chasing-shadows-ashley-townsend/1120440724?ean=9781939156570

http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Shadows-Ashley-Townsend/dp/1939156572/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1413322522&sr=1-1

Add, rate, and review “Chasing Shadows” on Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22545313-chasing-shadows

And if you’re interested in having me or “Chasing Shadows” on your blog, however popular, or just have a general question for me, please send an email to ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com. I love sharing my story, personal and otherwise! ^_^

CHASING SHADOWS IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!!!

Published October 5, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

You heard it here first: “Chasing Shadows” EXISTS! That’s right, my second novel in the Rising Shadows Trilogy is now available for purchase. I got on Amazon today, and it had just popped up. My exact reaction:

15 Reasons We Wish We Had Minions

Minions II

15 Stages Every Bride Goes Through | The Knot Blog – Wedding Dresses, Shoes, & Hairstyle News & Ideas

Can I just say that getting this out 2 days after my 23rd birthday is pretty much the best gift in the history of the universe? Yippee!

This is my most favorite story I’ve ever written, and I cannot even express how overjoyed, excited, and elated I am to be able to FINALLY share it with you all. Well, perhaps it can be expressed in minion gifs, but then again, what can’t? The ebook just became available today at 

http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Shadows-Ashley-Townsend-ebook/dp/B00O6VCZVQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412559762&sr=8-1&keywords=chasing+shadows+townsend

Be sure to share the links to the ebook and paperback on whatever social media you like or in person. Just use #ChasingShadowsBook when tweeting! The paperback will be out for sale on Amazon in the next week or ten days. Caaaaan’t. Breeeeaaaathe! Are you as excited to hold this story in your hands and sniff its ink (not in a creepy way) as I am? 

15 Reasons We Wish We Had Minions - #8 They are great with kids.

This week is a death crunch for time with a ridiculous amount of schoolwork, so time is of the essence. . . Hmm. Falls in line with the time travel theme of “Chasing Shadows,” so okay! 😉 But seriously. Once Friday arrives–that blessed, blessed day!–then I can bombard you with links and updates. Until, then, I have to make it a teensy bit shorter than I would like. Boo. Just know, I’m celebrating like this right now:

minions

15 Reasons We Wish We Had Minions

Despicable Mal

 Anyway, I have decided that each week I’ll post fun snippets for you guys about the book and the not-so-everyday life of an author–character profiles, hilarious and heart-warming character interviews, links for the book, interviews and reviews, what inspired it, the process behind it, fun pics. Everything! It’ll take several weeks to give you the inside scoop to the goopy goodness that is the inside of the mind that composed “Chasing Shadows,” but I’m so excited to get started (check out the bottom of today’s post)! And keep checking back every day this week, and forever, if you like, for the link to buy the paperback of “Chasing Shadows”! And be sure to check at your local bookstore and Barnes and Noble for it and a special “surprise” I’ve put inside; I have every intention of signing and putting a secret message in some copies….. that I may or may not find once they’ve reached the bookstore. But it’s not defacement if I technically created it, is it? ^_~

And I know that my Will Taylor is pretty much the dreamiest, most determined and honorable and protective and awesome guy in the fictional world and that he does THIS to everyone who reads about him

excited

But seriously, ladies, don’t be fighting over my Will Taylor; I created plenty of him to go around. And for those of you who aren’t attracted to fictional, tall, gorgeous livery-owning-do-gooders with a heart of gold who are strong and protective and tender and caring and a secret vigilante and …… Actually, now that I think about it, you should probably get something checked if you aren’t interested. BUT if you like a little competition, I also created a handsome Spaniard with you all in mind. Voila! Feel free to duke it out for Damien, ladies!  

Minions are skilled at conflict resolution. | 15 Reasons We Wish We Had Minions

Buy the book on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Shadows-Ashley-Townsend-ebook/dp/B00O6VCZVQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412559762&sr=8-1&keywords=chasing+shadows+townsend

Add the book to your Goodreads shelves 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22545313-chasing-shadows

Become a fan on Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5839773.Ashley_Townsend

Follow my wacky woodles on Twitter (use #ChasingShadowsBook when tweeting!)

https://twitter.com/TownsendTales

Like me on Facebook (sounds so funny when I say it like that!)

https://www.facebook.com/ashleytownsend.author

Follow the inspiration board for the trilogy on Pinterest

http://www.pinterest.com/townsendtales

Okay, so today is the kickoff of the awesomeness and crazy escapades that will take place over the next several weeks to celebrate the release of “Chasing Shadows.” Today you get a peek at what Serimone is like. The illustrious illustrator Roan Carter took my haphazard doodles of the town of Serimone and the countryside and turned it into this gorgeous map of my little fantasy land. Enjoy!

Map-Final

Tricia Mingerink

Action, Faith, & Adventure

Amy Brock McNew ~Author~

Fantastical tales of love & war, spanning the realms

Amy Brandes Speaker & Writer

DEW LIFE... And DO It Well.

Donna's BookShelf

Sharing my love of books...

Oh, the Stories You'll Know

A place devoted to books, movies and TV. Books are food for the soul.

Morgan L. Busse

In Darkness there is Light

It's Not Just Make Believe

Spinning Tales and Fighting Dragons in My Sleep

BooksAndBookmarks

You cant buy Happiness, but you can buy Books and that's kind of the same thing.

storylight

let your words shine

iwritemyheartdotcom

Writing Romance

Lisa Godfrees

because our God is supernatural

Lydia Thomas, Author

from poisoned to redeemed

Penprints

God. Life. Writing. Reading.

Nadine Brandes

Fusing authentic faith and bold imagination

familyrecipebooks

Preserving the family recipes of the past

私のスマホ節約術:通信費と通話料金の節約法

Spinning Tales and Fighting Dragons in My Sleep

Mustard Seed Budget

FINANCES FOR YOUR MINISTRY

%d bloggers like this: