Character

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NaNo Prep Time

Published October 21, 2017 by Ashley Townsend

 

writer

Can you believe it’s almost November? o.0 That means NaNoWriMo is coming up in less than two weeks. It also happens to begin the same day I consider to be the start of the Christmas season, and I don’t even mind dodging the angry fruit you pre-Christmas haters want to throw at me. I’ll make Christmas fruitcake from it. ^_~

A lot of prep-work goes into the month of October to make sure that I stay focused on my project. It isn’t always easy, so aside from the usual tactics—like limiting social media, upping caffeine abuse, etc.—I’ve introduced several other helpful tricks into my October planning. They help to maintain my sanity and allow me to be prepared for NaNo so I’m not scrambling at the eleventh hour to accomplish last minute tasks.

The Hobbit Hole

I try to cram as many social engagements and catch-up phone calls with friends into October because I will basically be a hermit starting November 1st. Social calls may resume on December 1st, and please bring coffee to the creature with the blood-shot eyes and the hands that phantom-type words onto an invisible keyboard.

tom and jerry sleepy

Writing Inspiration Playlist

Whatever is on this playlist basically becomes the only music I listen to during November. Although it keeps you in the write mindset *laughs hysterically at vague joke*, listening to the same music nonstop for 30 days can make you want to turn on all the fans, have the popcorn maker going, and crank a blow-dryer on high to drown out the same loop of songs. Since these noisy distractions can be counter-productive—and send your energy bill skyrocketing—I make sure to have variation on my playlist and create it before November begins. Don’t waste time scrambling to design a playlist late in the game; save yourself the trouble and do it beforehand so you can dive into your story Nov. 1st with the perfect background inspiration guiding your fingers.

old piano

Goodies on my playlist:

~ “Meet Me in the Woods” by Lord Huron

~ “Running if You Call My Name” by Haim

~ “All We Ever Knew” by The Head and the Heart

~ “Dreamers” by Oh Gravity (thanks to Katie Grace leading me onto it!)

~ Pride and Prejudice soundtrack

Limit Your Social Media

It’s a given, but as much as I love chatting with friends online or sharing photos of books on Instagram (see what I’m reading here), I can’t let myself fall into the social media rabbit hole during NaNo. I’ve made the mistake of spending more time chatting about my manuscript progress than actually writing it, or adding to my novel board on Pinterest.

Ways to stave off the decent into the rabbit hole:

~Prepare blog posts beforehand. It’s a lot of work, but you don’t want to stress blogging deadlines while trying to nail your word count. You can always fine-tune them later!

~Plot, plot, plot. Now, you know I’m a plotting-pantser and can’t stand to box myself in, but having a good idea of sequencing and character development for your 50,000 words gives you a goal to hit and helps to keep your focus to stave off the call of the web.

~Have a cache of photos on your phone to post on Instagram the days when there just isn’t time to stage a book tower.

~Create templates for social media posts on FB and Twitter, and consider having pics selected on Pinterest to add text from your MS to as you go along (use a formatter like PicMonkey). I have a few that I’m considering using next month that you can check out on my Jungle Princess Pinterest board

Creative Detox

Although it’s incredibly important to stay on-task and in the writing mindset during November, you can’t spend every single moment at your computer. Instead of losing your head, try to find activities that allow you to take a mental break while still encouraging your creativity.

reading

Ways to keep your sanity while maintaining your creative mindset:

~Go on a walk to clear your head and think about your story. Your brain will get a cramp if you don’t give it some fresh air!

~Take a nap listening to your writing playlist, or paste a chapter of your work in progress into a text-audio reader (like AlReader or NaturalReader). You can rest those tired eyes and get in some extra editing by hearing your writing out loud.

~If you want to escape into a book or film, do it! Treat yourself after a hard-fought day of writing to a mental getaway, but consider entertainment that is about writers or books, or even ones that just generally put you in a happy mental place so you can return to your manuscript creatively recharged and inspired. I’ll have a post up soon with some recommendations for my favorite writing-centered entertainment.

Now that the prep-work is set and the playlists have been created, it’s time for the most important part of NaNo: Go write that novel!

writing

 

 

 

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At Last! A Comic Con Recap!!

Published August 25, 2017 by Ashley Townsend

If you followed my Instagram leading up to SDCC and my survival guide post beforehand, you can tell Comic Con pretty much consumed the weeks leading up to the event. Why, you ask? Because this year I attempted something I’ve never done: a different cosplay for every day. *pauses for ooohs* Also for the first time: forgetting that I had this post completed THREE weeks ago when it should have been posted. -_- *ahem* Moving on….

Day 1 Recap:

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Cosplay for this day was Indiana Jones for me, and my sister and faithful SDCC companion, Liz, went at the Eleventh (and best) Doctor. The screwdriver lit up and made sounds, and I’ll admit I was geeking out over it.

Liz got to meet Leigh Bardugo, and we were surprised with ARC copies of her Wonder Woman novel, Warbringer! The precioussssssss.20170720_111454

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This guy ^ was dressed as Rick from The Mummy films, and I literally chased him down to get this pic. He was so nice and charming and shocked that I knew who he was, and I was just trying to be cool with “Alex” and not drool. His charisma matched the character so perfectly. *le sigh*

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Some major highlights were getting pics with the tallest Flynn Rider and Captain America we’d seen, meeting my video game hero, Tomb Raider, and was amazed by thegirl’s fabulous cosplay of the original game. We ate fabulous soft-pretzels, I received a high-five from Patrick Star for asking him if mayonnaise was an instrument (it’s a classic “Bang Geeks” reference, guys), we saw the Timeless fan tribute panel, and then shared a Lyft ride with one of the terribly engaging men from the group of kilt- but not shirt-clad handsomeness that wanders downtown during the Con. All in all, not a bad day!

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Day 2 Recap: My first “real” attempt at sewing was Cinderella’s pink dress after the evil stepsisters had torn it apart. Designing a torn dress sounds simple . . . It’s NOT! Anywho, we missed the Psych panel in the morning—much to our dismay, especially since we were close enough to hear the fans screaming—but we did see the iZombie panel in the morning and had stitches in our sides for the rest of the day from laughing.

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Liz and I also met BookTubers Jesse the Reader and Christine Riccio when we were preparing to leave (must. contain. fangirl!!), searched for fabulous flare, and got pics with Arrow—sort of. We don’t have many photos from this day because we spent it in panels, getting swag, and it was so crowded that it was difficult to move.

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Day 3 Recap: Okay, now to the juicy stuff! Liz and I attempted to go to the Once Upon a 

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Time and Riverdale panels in Ballroom 20. *cough* Yeah, that didn’t happen. We got there right as the doors opened and . . . were promptly led a ¼ mile from the convention center and down by the marina to line up, where we had to wind our way back up in the heat and humidity. We were 30 stinking people away from getting into Ballroom 20, and we spent hours on the floor hoping that people would leave. No dice! We thought it would be a crummy start to the day, but Saturday was AMAZING and held so many surprises, including our fabulous friend, Gabriela, hanging with us for the day and using her baby backpack to make space on the floor so I could run after fantastic cosplayers. One of my favorite parts of the adventure was taking pictures with the kids who thought I was the real 20170722_134857Cinderella, and seeing the joy on their faces made the whole experience magical. Guys, I want to be a Disney princess!

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This Kid Flash was adorable and hilarious. I told him to strike a running pose, and he immediately got into Barry Allen’s 

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running position. This kid deserves a medal!

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Attacking Derek Theler, which I’m now embarrassed about blurting out his name and following through by asking for a pic, but totally worth the memory! 

Liz and I discovered that hanging by one of the bathroom’s meant that the entire casts of Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl had to walk right past us. Brandon Routh is just as handsome in person, but Franz (who plays Jackson on Legends) was so sweet and stayed behind on the floor to take pictures with fans. Honestly, he was so genuine and immediately made us love him more.

And ending the night was the most hilarious surprise of all. The floor was crowded, and Liz and I were exhausted, so we leaned against the foam “room” that was the Outlander booth. People repeatedly asked us if we were in line, so we kept moving out of the way because there were lines everywhere and you never know what you’re getting into. Eventually, we wandered around the front so as to not confuse people and discovered, four feet away, the entire cast of Outlander at their signing. I’d nearly busted through that foam wall by accident and fallen right into Jamie’s lap (now I’m a little bummed I didn’t lean harder!).

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We had become pros by this time, so we waited at the edge of the gathering when the 20170722_154029bagpipes started to play. Yes, I said bagpipes. While everyone else tried to usher actors out as quickly as possible, they announced their departure like they were waltzing down the Red Carpet. Liz and I laughed at the fanfare as they walked right by, Sam Heughen smiling and working that crowd the entire time. I’ll admit that he definitely sells it, and these Sassenachs didn’t mind stumbling upon that fabulous memory one bit.

It might be a few weeks late, but there you have it! This year’s SDCD was full of great laughs, fabulous memories, and plenty of new adventures. And it never hurts to learn new secrets for next year!

Between the Pages: Meet Karen Ashmore

Published October 24, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Welcome to week three of the Between the Pages sneak peek at the inner workings of “Chasing Shadows.” Week four, an interview with a ridiculously cheeky and gorgeous Spanish lord, will be postponed for a week because I’ll be on vacation. I may or may not be able to post it next weekend after I get back, but no guarantees! I guess that means you’ll just have to imagine what a date with Damien Lisandro would be like. Heck, I think about it every day, myself. 😉

Check out today’s interview with Karen, the fiery-sweet redhead from “Chasing Shadows,” and keep up with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram via http://instagram.com/d_jeans86 during our trip (starting tomorrow!). We’re taking a copy of “Chasing Shadows” with us to do all sorts of nonsense and hilarity with the book. So follow all of these links to check out what sort of shenanigans we’ll be up to this week in Cali!

Meet your new book best-friend, Karen Ashmore from “Chasing Shadows”:

karen ashmore

So nice of you to pop by the future for this interview, Karen.

Whispers, “I appreciate you thinking of me.” Eyes dart uncertainly over the bright living room.

You look a little nervous.

“You never know who might have followed me to the future. It’s happened before, you know.”

I do remember. But you’re safe for now, and we’ll let you go back as soon as we’re finished here.

Relaxes. “Okay. I guess I have some time.”

Great! First question is if you have a special thinking place in Serimone?

“I spend a lot of time in the barn loft. It’s peaceful there.”

Aside from traveling through eras, what do you like to do in your spare time?

“I really enjoy reading. It’s not very easy to find books that are available to the lower classes in the twelfth century, so I have a bunch of modern books stashed away in the Joneses’ barn.”

Some people have compared the Jones family to the Weasleys from Harry Potter. I’ve never read the, but would you agree with this assessment?

Laughs. “That’s one of the series I brought with me, and every time I read a scene with them, I think of my ‘family.’ They took me in without a second thought and are sweet and hilarious in the way that they’re in each other’s business all the time. They’re also an incredibly loyal and tight-knit group.” Grins. “And Ruth Jones and Mrs. Weasley have a lot in common in the way that they both dote on guests. They’re the best thing about that era.”

Superpower of choice?

“Nope. No superpowers. I’ve realized that messing with nature as God intended gets sticky. I’ve dealt with the consequences of traveling through time, and I’d rather just be content with who I am and how God designed me.”

Wow. You truly are as wise as Sarah said. Okay, well then do you have a favorite color?

“Sunrise yellow. It always gives me hope for a new day, and Seth and I have enjoyed watching the sunrise together lately.” 

Speaking of which, what’s up with you and Seth?

Freezes for a split second before recovering. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Uh-huh. Right. Sure you don’t. Then what is your favorite pastime in Serimone?

“Making flower crowns.”

A-HA!

Slaps forehead.

It’s just that I understood that reference, folks, and you will too when you read Chasing Shadows. I just have to be honest, Karen, and say that you and Seth make such a cute couple.

Blushes. “What? You’re being ridiculous . . . Wait, did he say something about me?”

Getting back to the hard-hitting questions—

“Oh, come on—“

—What’s it like being a falsely accused witch on the lamb?

Sighs. “Okay, fine. Well, it can be a little stressful at times, and at first I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder. But I’ve taken a note from the Shadow and have learned to blend in. Plus, Gabriel Dunlivey was really the only one who took up that strange quest to find me, so with him gone, I don’t have much to worry about.”

… So, the Shadow. Do you know his identity? He did rescue you from being burned at the stake.

Smiles in admiration. “He’s a hero and one of the reasons why I’m alive today. The Shadow is also an inspiration to my cause against Cadius. But as to his true identity, no, I don’t know who he really is. And I’m not sure I want to; keeping his true name a secret seems important to him, and I wouldn’t want to burst his bubble of privacy.” Leans forward, grinning conspiratorially. “Besides, it’s kind of cool that a masked vigilante is protecting Serimone.”

*Sighs dreamily* Tell me about it.

“Well, I should probably get back. There’s no telling how much time has passed in Serimone while I’ve been here. And I’d hate to miss a very important upcoming event,” she sing-songs.

The wedding that Sarah mentioned? Oooh, won’t you tell us a little about it, Karen? Who’s the bride?

Jumps up from her chair with a small grin and a wave of farewell. “Sorry, I have to go.”

Wait! The fangirls need to know. I need to know who—

A flash of light and Karen is gone.

Blast! Well, I guess I’ll just have to quiz Damien Lisandro next time. Umm, I guess that’s it for today, guys. *Mutters to self* Time travelers are just so odd.

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

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

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

Between the Pages: Meet Will Taylor

Published October 17, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Meet your next book crush (and my forever fictional crush), Will Taylor from “Chasing Shadows.”

Will Taylor—brunette

Will, so nice of you to—Oh, you can remove the blindfold now.

Yanks it off his head. “Where in blazes are we? And why did you cover my eyes?”

In my basement, and there are some things that would be … difficult to explain if you saw them, like my car and microwave. Now, we know that you’re 22, have super-human good looks–born with them!—and have a passion for saving people, but tell us a little something about yourself that we don’t already know.

“Where’s Sarah?”

*sighs* Will, honey, focus. You’re adorable when you’re being protective, but you’re fine, she’s fine, we’re all fine. I just need a few minutes of your time, and then I can return you to where you came from after we conclude our interview. Speaking of which, what do you like best about living in twelfth century Serimone?

Shifts uncomfortably. “Pardon?”

Too tough? Okay, then, what’s your favorite color?

“Green, I suppose.”

What is a fond childhood memory you’d like to share?

“Following my father through the castle and exploring the secret passages deep below. Every day was like an adventure, and my knowledge of every inch of Serimone Castle has helped in certain other ‘endeavors.’”

Like sneaking in to find evidence against the king’s assassin. Alright, now we’re getting somewhere. . . . Good Lord, you’re dreamy. Okay, stay focused, be professional.

“… Did I awake in a mental infirmary?”

What? *giggles nervously* No. Of course not! Anywho, moving on. Do you have any favorite hideouts?

“There is an enormous birch tree on the property near my cabin. I am very fond of watching the sunrise from there. Especially when the company is very fair.” 

That’s a secretive smile. Care to share with the rest of us?

“Forgive me, but no. That memory is very close to my heart.” 

You are just as private as Sarah. . . Ah, I get it now. Well, then if you could have any superpower, what would it be?

“To travel back in time.”

… Uh-huh, How interesting, and no hesitation. *clears throat* What would you see or change if you could?

“I would go to the past and stop my parents from being murdered.” Sighs. “Though Sarah would tell me that I can’t change the past, but should make the most of my present.” 

I’m sure your parents would be proud of you. You took over your father’s blacksmith business, right? Do you want to do that permanently, or do you have other interests?

“Um, no, I do not wish to be a blacksmith forever. And I do have other hobbies…”

You mean being the Shadow, Serimone’s vigilante?

“How did you—“

Long story. Plus, I’m also a huge fan of yours—you know, running around the forest in a cloak and fighting for justice with a bow is pretty awesome—so I’ve been keeping tabs on you.

“Thank you? I took on the persona of the Shadow so I could seek out my parents’ murderer, and then I continued on with my pursuit for justice when I realized that I could truly help people.” Mouth tips. “And I kept on with it to a help a certain young lady stop an assassination.”

That reminds me, do you think you’ll ever be able to prove that Cadius killed his brother, the king?

“The two of us are doing everything we can to bring him to justice, so I suppose we’ll see someday.”

Speaking of Sarah, do you have long-term aspirations for your relationship?

Smiles very slowly. “My goals involve forever.”

*heart melts* I’m trying really hard to not ship you guys right now.

“Ship? I’m sorry…?”

Oh, it’s not like an actual ship-ship. It’s when you root for a fictional couple and combine their names. Like you and Sarah could be … Swill? Willah? Umm, Maylor?

“You do realize that sounds horrible.”

Yes, I’ll definitely think up something else, but you get the idea for now. I just have to be careful that I don’t get more attached than I am if I have to kill one of you off.

Eyes widen. “Kill one of—Hey, let’s not be hasty.”

Well, that’s all we have time for today. Thanks, Will, for traveling all this way. If you’ll just put this blindfold back on, we can get you back to where you belong. A little quicker now, if you don’t mind.

“And what do you mean fictional?”

… Houston, we have a problem.

Between the Pages: Meet Sarah Matthews

Published October 10, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Between the Pages: Interview with Sarah Matthews from “Chasing Shadows”

To really kick off the release of “Chasing Shadows,” I wanted to give you an idea of Serimone and the characters, aside from what you’ll read in the book. As a reader, I always wonder what it would be like to live in the fantasyland, and I’ll ask myself how my favorite characters would act outside of the pages on which they live. But for you “Chasing Shadows” fans, wonder no more! I’m going to take the next, well, however long I want to discuss the book, its characters, and the things that are closest to my heart as a writer. So keep checking back each Friday for these posts, and also during the week for whatever other crazy escapades I’m up to.

Today, meet Sarah Matthews, the heroine of “Chasing Shadows”!

Sarah

I appreciate you letting me steal you away from homework and for taking the time to join me today, Sarah! . . . Why the grin?

“Nothing. I’m just beginning to realize how much time matters right now.”

That brings me to my next question: Is traveling through time the most exciting thing that has ever happened to you?

Laughs. “Yeah, you could say that.”

Was getting sucked back a thousand years all pure adventure and fun, or did you have any doubts?

“To be honest, I was pretty freaked out. I was sitting in my room one minute, and the next my sister and I were in the forest, dumped right in the middle of a misguided witch-hunt a millennia before. I was also a little worried I’d grow an extra toe or lose a limb.” Chuckles. “Don’t look so surprised! Time travel isn’t as easy as you think—you know, being dissolved and reassembled, and all.”

Interesting. But you did meet your best friend, Karen, because of it.

Nods. “I don’t know if it was because she was my ‘ride home’ or if we bonded over having to rely on one another, but Karen is my best friend now. That’s part of the reason why I traveled back this last time—well, yeah, I wanted to stop a deranged killer from striking twice, but I also wanted to see her again.”

And Will Taylor, of course.

Sarah grins slowly. “Yes, and Will. I haven’t seen him in a long time, though.”

Why is that?

“… Um, I’d rather not say.”

But you are in love with him.

“I’d like to be the first to tell him that.” Eyes wide, she hurries to add, “I’m not saying that I am or that I’m not. I’m just … not saying right now.”

Not even a little hint whether you’re in love with him or not?

Grins. “You clearly are.” 

Touché. Okay, moving on. If you could live in any classic novel, what would it be?

“Quick change. Thanks. Well, I’d have to say Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. After meeting Cadius, I feel like I have a lot more experience with monsters.”

Interesting choice, also one I applaud. Favorite color?

“Blue, but lately I’m becoming fond of green, too…”

Favorite subject in school?

“My medieval history course at OSU seems to be a lot more valuable and . . . relatable these days. I think when I travel back to Serimone for a certain wedding, all I’ve learned will be helpful.”

A wedding?

“Yeah, the—“ Raises brow. “Nice try. It’s a bit of a secret right now, so you’ll just have to find out for yourself.”

Can’t blame a girl for trying. What do you like to do in your free time?

“Lately? Well, right now I’m slammed with schoolwork, so I don’t have a ton of free time. I guess reading crime novels and watching period pieces? I also like eating my mom’s cinnamon rolls and matchmaking.” Sighs. “Maybe I should find some hobbies that really interest me.”

Will seems to interest you quite a bit. Do you think that you two can work things out?

“You mean the whole ‘he’s been dead for a thousand years where I come from’ situation? Um, yeah, we’re still working on that. But Karen told me to fight for what I want, so I’m choosing to hope! It’s just going to be a teensy bit awkward to introduce him to my parents, if it comes to that.”

 Understandable! Though I’m sure they’ll appreciate his manners. Sarah, thank you so much for joining us today. I just have one final question before we let you go: As a time traveler, any advice for our readers?

“Never trust an informant or a guard. Believe me; I’ve had experience. Also, keep track of your time watch and don’t forget that messing with the past has consequences.”

 … Oddly specific and yet somehow entirely vague, but I’ll keep it in mind! I’ll let you get back to class with Professor Demetrius, now, before you have to enroll in summer school and miss the wedding. But feel free to stop by next week, where I’ll be pulling Will into the future to interview him. I promise not to steal him away from you, though. *wink wink*

Frowns. “Yeah, not even funny.”

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

Half Agony, Half Hope

Published April 8, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

I breathe, I sleep, and I dream in story form. A carefully phrased string of words can create complex characters who find residence in my heart and are permanently etched into the walls of my soul.

books

This is a far more dramatic take on how stories and writing impact me, though the feelings are 100% true. I imagine that if I went to a BA (Bibliophiles Anonymous) meeting that my confession would sound a little something like this: “Hi, my name is Ashley, and I’m a bibliophilette.” (This is where you would all chime in with the slightly creepy, collective “Hi, fellow crazy person”) Yes, I dream in stories and find myself acting them out in my head during everyday life. I was the glassy-eyed kid staring out the window during class, imaging a fantasy world just beyond that cruel glass partition (I will probably dedicate a future post to the cruelties of allowing kids to see, but not touch, the outdoors during class). It’s actually quite entertaining—and distracting—to have a weightless book or multiple stories with you at all times, so no complaints. Move aside, 1 lb. Kindle!

victim of books

When people starting to ask me why I wanted to start my career with a Christian publisher—since I would have so much more reach with a secular house, I was told—I simply have them refer to the afore mentioned delusions. Then there’s the “middle ground” (a.k.a. moral compromise) question: Would you ever be able to alter your writing style so it has more appeal to secular markets? Able? Yes. Willing? That would be a resounding no. Why, you might ask?

Because my stories consume me. dream while awake

I can’t always pin down the exact moment when they come in and take over my life, because it can sometimes be slow going, but they do every time. I have lunch with the characters, spend the afternoon writing about their lives, and then go to bed envisioning what the next day might have in store for them. They occupy my waking and sleeping thoughts and resonate with me. If I hear a phrase or if I see something that reminds me of a character’s actions or what they might say, then I am immediately transported into the story. I smile when my characters—and other authors’ characters—are happy, grin like an idiot when they’re being cheeky, cry when they do, and hope for the same splendid ending that they wish for in their lives.

creative before sleep

The other day I was writing a very emotion scene for the sequel to “Rising Shadows” (currently “Chasing Shadows”) and sensation in readerwas honestly balling my eyes out—I could hardly see my laptop keys to type!—because I knew what it meant for Will. Sadly, I can’t give you the “nod” to let you know if it’s good or bad for him and those he cares for, because that would completely ruin the book for you. And then just before that, I had to kill off a character I had quickly grown to love, and when Sarah wept with loss and regret, I cried softly, matching my tears with hers. When I forced her into the arms of someone else for comfort, I was a distraught wreck, conflicted over what I had done to get her to this moment, but knowing it had to be done. Half agony and half hope—isn’t that Captain Wentworth’s line from “Persuasion”? I even took a moment to think over the lack of a future for this erased being as Sarah contemplated that same reality.

do something creative every day

So, clearly, I’m a crazy author who thinks her characters are absolutely, 100% real—they are, I tell you! But I like to think that it just means I’m passionate about designing relatable people that live and breathe on the page, as much for me as for those who read. But you can see why I don’t want to compromise: If I don’t have some moral base at the center of my stories, an encouraging conclusion to the hero’s journey, then what is it, exactly, that will be consuming me so fully? I want readers to pick up my novels and know that they aren’t simply “fluff,” but to be assured that they have a purpose and will impact them in some way, hopefully for the better.    

write the book you want to read

I started the sequel to “Rising Shadows” with the intent of making Sarah fall and lose her faith, to stumble into the darkness just a little to show that we can come out of it. But no matter how hard I pushed, how many precipices I forced endings we love to seeher to tread upon, and no matter what obstacles I sent to block her path, she has proven herself to be too strong to fall completely. It was actually kind of funny to have her fighting back at me when I tried to give her a gentle push downward, though sometimes it was frustrating to have her and others constantly thwarting my designs. But then I realized that I kind of like that about her—the fact that she’s a fighter even when, from her perspective, she thinks that she’s failing and seems to have as many fears as I do. At least she’s willing to try, sticking her neck out there for her friends, and is always prepared to fight for what she believes is right, though she isn’t always as secure as she would like to be. Sarah struggles with the same doubts and—usually—makes the right decision in the end. I suppose as far as “character” qualities go, those aren’t too bad to focus on. So if I’m going to be consumed by something, I want it to be unwavering, passionate faith and strength, even amidst the trials. The strength of a lion and the meekness of a lamb, right? Something to work towards and write about, I guess. So if you will excuse me, I think I’ll go map out my aspirations in story form.

writing

P.S. Something I realized this week: Success is not getting it right the first time. It’s kicking discouragement in the seat meat when the door slams in your face, and then you either bust the door in or attempt to scale to the window above it. I’m fairly certain Edison was anti-discouragement.      

living the life she imagined        

 

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