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Prepping for a Conference, The Chaos Theory

Published June 21, 2017 by Ashley Townsend

How to Prepare for a Conference, The Chaos Theory

You all know I have procrastinator tendencies and would rather pants an entire novel than plot it out detail-by-grueling-detail. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that I’m the same way when preparing for trips and conferences.

I have been getting excited over attending the First Annual SoCal Christian Writers Conference since Nadine Brandes (check out her blog and links here) and I planned on going together months ago. Seems like plenty of time to prepare, right? Well, the last 36 hours have been a tad chaotic, like The Hunt for Red October or that scene in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls when he wakes strapped to a raft that’s headed over a waterfall. Maybe a bit less dramatic and flashy, and with no A-List actors in sight, but here’s how I decided to prep for a writers’ conference the day before:

296a7e56819db4dd186addef102bf642

-caffeine . . . would I ever let you or myself down?

-plotted out the closest coffee shop to the train station in L.A. (priorities)

-went to a doctor’s appointment because, sure, I’ve had a year to do it and want to get that off my mind the day before leaving town. Seems smart.

-got sustenance for the trip

-packed my bag (finished about an hour ago)

-started/finished/edited one of the chapters that I will be presenting to publishers, friends, and agents.

-went to Staples to print out copies of the aforementioned chapter (I got back 20 minutes ago)

-realized that I’m running out of space in my bag due to snacks and books. Also, is there room for clothing?

-purchased my train ticket (success!!!)

-figured out what dorm Nadine and I are rooming in after they tried to separate us. You can never break up the team!!

-spent an hour debating if I should use paperclips or staples for my samples of my current work in progress.

-mailed packages

-penned a letter to self reminding self to stop procrastinating.

And did I mention that I’m working on a last-minute blog post about procrastinating everything before my train, which leaves in about an hour? I would like my award for best pantser delivered to my home, thank you very much.

But despite the craziness of the past two days, I am so excited to travel up to L.A., hang with Nadine, eat all the Oreos and drink all the coffee/chai in the cafeteria, and just meet other amazing writers. No matter if I’m up for all hours of the night and wide awake at the crack of dawn, conferences have this amazing way of rejuvenating me and putting that spark of excitement back into my writing. Here’s to the next week of adventuring!

Be sure to follow my Instagram and other accounts during the trip for updates!

Part 6: The Tricks of the Trade

Published April 7, 2016 by Ashley Townsend

Wow, has it really been so long since I last posted?! . . . . Oopsies! Got a little distracted there for a bit, but now I’m back on track and ready to get at it. Now, where were we? Ah, yes:

Writing is an Art, I Tell You!

Part 6: The Tricks of the Trade

typewriter

Things a writer should definitely be aware of:

Conferences:

In the modern age, it’s crazy simple to search “Writing conferences in your area” and get a ton of hits. Conferences are going on all the time and are a great way to expand your network and learn things about the industry that you never even imagined.

I’m attending Realm Makers at the end of July. It takes place in Pennsylvania and is an awesome conference for Christian spec-fic writers to share their stories and learn about the craft. I’ve had the pleasure of getting connected with authors and speakers who will be in attendance this year, and their encouragement and lively attitude is incredible. I hope you’ll join us there, and registration is open now!

Natural Reader:

This app saved my life while editing Chasing Shadows! (download the free version here) I was going bonkers reading the manuscript over and over, and then I discovered this bad boy. I would copy and paste a few chapters at a time into the app, and then while I’m cleaning the house or getting ready for work, I could audibly catch errors that my eyes had just skipped right over by the 32nd edit. When you read you manuscript so much, your brain just auto-fills, and although the monotone voice can be a little grating at first, this was such an invaluable tool! I’m also pretty positive it saved me from chucking Chasing Shadows right out the window.

PicMonkey:

I joined PicMonkey a little while ago, but never really took full advantage of its process until recently. It saves so much time and makes every announcement or advertisement look so much more Wow! when you can create your own graphics over an image and design it specifically for your event/announcement.  

http://www.grammarbook.com/

This website is fantastic! I have it bookmarked on my phone so whenever I have a quick grammar issue to check, and I can just look up the problem super quick and be done with it, rather than stare at the screen vacillating between whether I’m right or wrong.  

And a couple things my good friend and fellow author, Nadine Brandes (check her out here—she’s amazing!), introduced me to are https://evernote.com/?var=1 and https://clicktotweet.com/

Evernote—basically it links all of your devices and the work you do on them so you’re never without it! I’m still getting used to it, but it’s pretty fantastic and handy.

Click to Tweet—now this is awesome! I’ve seen Nadine and other bloggers use this little tool, and it. Is. Marvelous! It’s only free for the first month, but for a measly $7 a month, I can embed links for people to easily tweet about anything I post on or share. Just invest, okay?!

Well, that’s about it for today. I promise not to let so much time pass before I chat your eyes off next time. But until then, stay crazy, Shadows!

 

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

Comic-Con Status: CONQUERED!

Published July 15, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

As quite a few of you know, I spent this past weekend at Comic-Con, reveling in my first experience with such a large number of fangirls (like me) and fandoms and freaks (also my people). It was … ah-mazing! I took great pleasure in flashing my “Professional Author” badge Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, fangirled the heck out of that weekend, and endured–with great relish–my sore muscles after carrying loads of free and signed books around the convention center for 3 days. “Pack light,” they said. “Carry nothing heavy,” they said.

Oliver can't show up at the lair 'cause Felicity has already changed the door lock so he won't be able to go in. Oops

Are you crazy? THEY’RE FREE BOOKS!!!! That’s countless hours of free entertainment for myself and whomever I decide to share these pretty morsels of fiction with. Some people just don’t understand the price of fantasy. I didn’t care how early it was (it’s book-time somewhere!) and ignored the fact that I’d been hefting these heavy items around all day. I literally spent three days in the book, novel, and comic area–everyone knew my name by Saturday–and I basically enjoyed three full days of hanging out with fangirls and writers and publishers. It was the best! I’ve never actually experienced that crazy hype over free things, but when Illuminae arcs came out, I was ready to kill, if need be.

This is great! Probably my favorite gif EVER! XD

no matter how sad I am this never fails to make me laugh

I received about 20 free books in all *heaves dreamy sigh* and actually ran into a fan of the Rising Shadows trilogy who recognized me (look, ma! I’m famous!). I got a pic with her, and it was awesome! So, to give you an idea of how amazing this past week was, here are some highlights from Comic-Con:

Meeting/stalking Marie Rutkoski and Renee Ahdieh and getting The Winnter’s Curse and The Wrath and the Dawn signed by the authors. #deadonthefloor And they were so gracious, too!  

Getting to meet Gena Showalter, author of Alice in Zombieland. My dress was inspired by the series’ covers, and Gena and her publicist loved it. I got several pictures with Gena, and her publicist contacted me afterward saying that if I ever wanted one of Gena’ books or a title that hadn’t been released yet, then I just had to let her know . . . Umm, okay!

gena

Getting an advanced reader’s copy of Illuminae by Amie Kauffman (These Broken Stars, with Meagan Spooner) and Jay Kristoff. I had been circling like a hawk all day long, just waiting for the moment they started releasing them because they’re in such limited supply. Score!

I saw a little girl staring at me for five minutes, and so I asked her if she wanted to take a picture together. She was so darling! She said that she and her dad were getting ready to leave, but she hadn’t met a princess yet. I almost cried, she was so sweet, and this costume totally made her day and mine; I felt like a Disney princess!

girl

Befriending a fellow bibliophile, Lisa, in line for Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard. And she’s going to check out the Rising Shadows trilogy! Also, Sarah J. and Susan were hialrious and wacky–loved meeting them!

sarah j

Achieving my lifelong dream of meeting Captain America and Star Lord. Also, Star Lord was a riot and–ahem-very handsome and charming. Just sayin’. ^_~

star lord

captain

Also, having author Kate Elliott think my costume was so amazing that she had to take a picture of me with her book, which meant I got to give her my business card so she could tag me in it–eeeee!

I didn’t get to see Stephen Amell, but I did meet Arrow on Thursday. Just *sigh.* This picture was even posted on the official CW Comic-Con website. o.o Waaaaa?

arrow

Seeing Armie Hammer *sighs* and Henry Cavill *faints* and Garrett Hedlund (aaa-ooo-ga!) and Hugh Jackman (waaa?) and Matt Smith (WHO??) and Douglas Booth (Oh, Romeo) in Hall H for The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Batman Vs. Superman, Pan, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Give it to meeeee!

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys Expected publication: August 18th 2015

And did I mention free books?

books extra books

Aidan Turner with a sock over his business. (gif set.)

A Time to Speak is my New Patronus!

Published June 17, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

I was lucky enough to be a beta reader for “A Time to die,” Book I in the Out of Time series by dystopian author Nadine Brandes, and have been salivating for the sequel ever since! Nadine and I have only met a few times, but we’ve honestly bonded for life over fellow author struggles and fangirling/lamenting over the same books (“Mockingjay” can burn in the fiery pits of Mordor!!!) And when the cover came out for “A Time to Speak,” I was just #deadonthefloor #dyingoffeels #OhTheHumanity #MyPrecious #NewPatronus 

So when Nadine asked if I would like to be part of her team announcing the arrival of the cover of “A Time to Speak,” I was eee-lated! I love supporting fellow authors and friends, and let me tell you, knowing Nadine as a person and writer and inspiration, this book. Will. Not. Disappoint. . . . If I survive the emotional turmoil. 

Without further ado: BA-DA-DA-DAAAAAA!!!!

a time

The feeeeeels!!!! The cover is fantastic and intriguing, no? *wiggles eyebrows* Okay, now to the interview.

Nadine, let’s kick things off by telling us a little bit about your upcoming release “A Time to Speak” *fangirl squeal*. 

Was there a defining moment that made you decide to become a writer?
Frankly, I was just born with a blank book for a brain. Thankfully God gave me a love for words, so I was able to scribble on that book and fill it up. 😛 But I really got serious about writing when I was in college – that’s when I decided to write for publication instead of just for myself.

I’ve noticed you prefer to write YA—a girl after my own heart—but is there a specific reason that you favor this genre and are there any subgenres that you connect to as a writer?
I like the YA genre for many reasons. 1) It’s what I read the most. 2) I think those readers are in a very transformative time of life, which I remember vividly from my own growing up. I want to reach in to that confusing time of life and help bring clarity and hope. 3) Um…it’s clearly the funnest genre. Just sayin’.

I tend to connect mostly to dystopian and fantasy. Science fiction gets a bit too techy for my brain. 😛

You’re experiencing the dreaded writer’s block *gasps* and need inspiration to keep going. You go/do…
I’ve yet to really have writer’s block. *knock on wood* BUT…when I have a tough time hashing out a scene, I’ll usually go take a walk, try to find a new adventure, and live life a bit. Life inspires me the most. That and the LOTR extended edition movie trilogy. [grin]
  
Of all of the characters you have written, which is your favorite and can you give me three key words to describe him or her?
Parvin is my favorite. I’d describe her with these words: Impulsive. Passionate. Searching.
 
Favorite place/environment to write?
Near a window…preferably in a chic old-townish coffee shop.
 
Plotter or pantser?
Mostly pantser, but I tend to have a rough plot in my head of where the whole thing is going.

As a reader, choose your favorite 5 drool-worthy book covers of all time.
Siren’s Fury (Mary Weber), Plenilune (Jennifer Freitag), Defiance (C. J. Redwine), Dreamtreaders (Wayne Thomas Batson), and Curio (Evangeline Denmark – not released yet)

Let’s say I give you an airplane ticket to any fantasyland from books/film. You would go to…
HOGWARTS! Sorry, but I wasn’t meant to be a muggle. I’d go there with a snap of my fingers, even if I had to be a Squib. (Literally, my favorite answer of Nadine’s!!! Muggles gonna hate…)

We’ve all experienced it—that incredibly disappointing book ending/series finale that spoils a brilliant trilogy (for me: Requiem by Lauren Oliver, Sever by Lauren DeStefano—blek!). Name one of the worst endings to a series or stand-alone that sticks out to you and why. I know, sorry to dredge up painful memories, but the people need to know!
Mockingjay. Still bitter. Still angry. Still throw the book against the wall every time. Not just because of the “last line ending” or anything, but because of the digression of Katniss’s entire character, the depressing plot…just…. *hides under soapbox*

What is the biggest draw to you as a reader picking up a new series (cover, blurb, relatable characters, plot)? Does being an author give you a bigger appreciation for other works?
The cover and title usually catch me. And then if the blurb shows an awesome storyworld I’m usually hooked – flat characters or not. And yes, being an author gives me a much bigger appreciation for other works! I frequently find myself moaning, “Why can’t I write like this?!” In a backwards way, it’s inspiring.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Nadine! And be sure to add “A Time to Speak” on Goodreads, check out “A Time to Die,” and follow this soon to be best-seller wherever she goes. Trust me on this, guys! I’m a professional reader. 😉

And again, just because I love it so much!

And again, just because I love it so much!

Back Cover Blurb for “A Time to Speak”:

How do you live after you planned to die?

Parvin Blackwater should have died in her brother’s place. She didn’t. Now she’s the only one who can protect her village, but no one wants to listen. When the Council starts forcing “new and improved” Clocks on the public, those who refuse are declared Radicals and exiled.

Having been across the Wall once, Parvin is the only one who can save them. But instead of going through the Wall, she’s packed into a boxcar, loaded on a cargo ship, and forced out to sea.  How will she lead when facing the unknown? 

Worse yet, why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out? 

ABOUT NADINE:

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. Her dystopian trilogy, the Out of Time Series, challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by ‘bumbershoot’.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai, editing fantasy novels, or being a Harry Potter super-nerd, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out chasing adventures.

Rafflecopter
Places you can find Nadine:
Website
Facebook
Newsletter
Amazon
Goodreads
Twitter

Vote for Ink Smith Publishing!

Published June 2, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

My publisher just shared a link on our group page to vote for Ink Smith Publishing in the Mission Main St. Grants competition. This is an amazing opportunity for our company to expand and grow, and it will be an invaluable tool in the lives of the Ink Smith authors, providing us with a wider range of sharing opportunities and publishing options. We’re doing great so far, but we still need a few more votes to get us to the next level. All you have to do is take 20 seconds out of your day, click the link below, and vote. It’s that simple! And please feel free to share around, as well, because extra votes never hurts. ^_~

Thanks, guys, for your support. Now let’s go and win this sucker!

https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/b/59905

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