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The Fangirl’s Guide to Navigating Life, Vol. 2

Published May 5, 2017 by Ashley Townsend

The Fangirl’s Guide to Navigating Life, Vol. 2:

Surviving a Series Ender

You’re incredibly excited about a new series, devour every book in the same week it releases, and proudly display every piece of book-swag you received for your dedication. And as you’re shedding joyous tears over the last page of the story and thinking about what new pins to add to your character boards, it suddenly hits you: That’s it, there are no more books left in the series. You’ve read them all like a manic without considering the fact that one day they would come to an end. Now all you’re left with is the memories of the story and a future that stretches out before you like a dark abyss.

shock horror.gif

brain is crying

We’ve all been there, although maybe your experience wasn’t quite as dramatic as this. But that’s neither here nor there.

It’s okay to hide in a dark hole for a short time and hope that the author decides to write another book in the series, but let’s be real: YOU NEED SUNLIGHT! And a shower, and food, and to give your cramping hands a break after holding a book for so long (most commonly obtained from books by Cassandra Claire and Sarah J. Maas). To help you overcome the tragedy that is the conclusion of a fabulous series—the pain, the agony, the tears!!—I’ve created a list of a few tried and true techniques to help you move past the crushing disappointment of the end of a book era. Because, seriously, you need emotional support after this.

feelings

-Feast on chocolate and/or (but especially “and”) ice cream

. . . . I’m sorry, is an explanation even necessary? I think not!!!!!

-Buy a shock blanket

shock blanket

Trust me, you’re going to need this

Drink all the coffee!!

For staying awake to search the online fandom pages and Pinterest boards to feel closer to the characters after it’s over. Better yet, just buy a plantation so you can grow your own beans. It’s a worthy investment.

Find a fandom candle

captain hook candle

In the Wick of Time and Flickering Fandoms make amazing candles inspired by so many different books and characters. You’ll fall in love and be reminded of your favorite characters every time you smell it!

-Music, baby

Accept the fact that “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. and Simon and Gafunkel’s “Sounds of Silence” are a part of life now. (Best paired along with the shock blanket and candle, also tested by me.)

-Create a Pinterest Board

 

napoleon dynamite typing

Strange as it seems, searching the web for images that inspire memories of the books-gone-by makes you feel like the characters haven’t left you entirely and helps with the healing process.

And the most important I’ve-lost-my-way technique:

-BUY A NEW BOOK!!!

richard excited face

Trust me, the best way to get over the end of an amazing series is to wash the tears from your face, swap out those Nutella-stained sweatpants for some jeans, and get back in the bookstore. You never know what magic awaits you! *hums the tune to “Back in the Saddle Again”*

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

Elf on the Shelf

Published December 9, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Yes, Elf on the Shelf is a toy designed for children, but let’s be honest–adults spend way more time with this magical doll than the kids they’re setting it up for, and I also think they get a strange kick out of arranging it in hilariously ridiculous poses and situations. Actually, I don’t think, I know, because Elizabeth, Katie, and I went to town setting up random scenarios for our Lady Elf on the Shelf.

If you’re unfamiliar with Elf on the Shelf, first of all, please call 911 to get yourself out from under that rock you’ve been hiding beneath. But if you really don’t know, it’s a supposedly magical red doll that comes with a book that parents are supposed to read to their kids that talks about how the elf comes alive at night. And then parents will spend hours hiding the creature in random places and setting it up so that it looks as though it has a secret life at night. Kids get a kick out of it, and adults have a ton of fun staging it. You can educate yourself on the process by checking it out on Pinterest; there are some seriously creative pictures out there (and definitely some that are not kid-appropriate, but oh-so hilarious).

Liz got a Lady Elf for herself, and the three of us decided to go to town the other night setting Eleanor (that’s right, she has a name) up for her photo shoot. We had a ton of fun and plan to do 25 different shots for the month of December. Probably even more than that! Anyway, since we’re starting this later on in the month, we’re throwing a couple shots at you all together today. Hope you enjoy the adorableness that is Elf on the Shelf, and stay tuned all this month for more pics, Christmas recipes, and all sorts of shenanigans. 

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Elf on the Shelf watching “Elf.” Yes, she has a habit of only watching Christmas films Jan-Dec.

What else would a magical creature watch? These elves have to stick together!

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Hangin’ with the ladies and enjoying an elf-sized Christmas blend from Starbucks.

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She was so jazzed about her coffee that she started climbing on things, like inside the guitar…

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And inside my shoe. -_-

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Aaaaaaand up the tree. Her skirt caught on fire twice from the lights (she went up like a Roman candle). 

Needless to say, the fire department was not happy.

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Eleanor was so excited to be alive that she even came onto Flynn Rider…. Who was inside plastic.

And who is, consequently, not real. Don’t tell her, though. 

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But by the end of the night, she always returns to our favorite bookshelf,

with a bubble pipe and a snow globe to keep her company.  Hey, she is an Elf on the Shelf, after all. 

The Indispensable Author’s Arsenal

Published September 9, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Writer header

I’ve been writing like the dickens lately—school and fun related—so I apologize for my negligence, Sweet Readers! Good news for you loyal fans, though: I literally just received the final edited copy of “Chasing Shadows”!!!!!! Huzzah! I have until Friday to look over the final edits and give the okay for the book to be printed, so it’s a bit of a race against the clock right now. . . . Hmm, much like Sarah in “Chasing Shadows.” Although, if I fail, a medieval kingdom won’t fall into the hands of a bloodthirsty ruler or unravel the very fabric of time and history, so I think I got the better end of the deal. 😉

Because of this, I’m in crack-down mode again and have basically spent until 1am the past two nights poring over the manuscript and making sure everything is copacetic It’s a little scary to know that this will be the last time I get to make corrections to and improve the sequel, but I’m giving this one up to God, guys (don’t worry; I haven’t forgotten my post about letting God take control from a while back). It has also been incredibly exciting to be inspired to write or add things to Book III in the Shadow Trilogy because of something I read in “Chasing Shadows.”

You guessed it! I’m in “Author Mode” (adj: an intensely concentrative state where all things not directly pertaining to writing/reading/editing are ignored to make room for writing/reading/editing functions of the brain. Also includes functions necessary for coffee consumption). Over the past few weeks, I’ve devised a few key concepts that have become my mantra while writing, and also a few tricks of the trade necessary for those long hours spend with pen in hand. I call it:

The Indispensable Author’s Arsenal

(Say that five times fast!) I did a variation of this Arsenal a long time ago and have kept at it since, adding my own improvements. Feel free to use this code of awesomeness for yourself while you read and write, and don’t forget to add “Chasing Shadows” on Goodreads before it comes out in the next two months, become a fan on Goodreads, and keep coming back for the release date of “Chasing Shadows.” ^_^ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22545313-chasing-shadows?from_search=true

 Get creative

time to create

Set goals and ask questions: Is this necessary, does it add to the plot? 

goals

Caffeinate (it’s capitalized because it’s important)

coffee and writing

Find inspiration in other works

inspired by reading

Get rid of distractions

distractions

Drink more coffee

coffee

Stay crazy and honest in your passion for the craft

stay mad

Remain true to who you are as a writer

stay true

Never be afraid to dream big

dreamer

And for that, you need more Coffee!!!!

coffee, final

Surround yourself with good people–they’ll lift you up and inspire you

friend usefriends

Keep disciplined

deiscipline

Never, EVER give up!

don't give up

write for a living final

 

And So it Begins Again!

Published August 20, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

Ah, the first week of the fall semester. *gives a prolonged sniff* Can you smell it in the air? Smells like teen spirit! Actually, it really has more of an odor of desperation as everyone scrambles to get a perfect schedule, tie up their summer fun with a pretty bow, and try to navigate the swirling mass of students who are just as desperate as them to salvage what’s left of their summer. Let the games begin!

run

For some reason, watching that mass of students herding toward the library or through the quad reminds me of the wildebeest scene in The Lion King, only you’re Mufasa, and you just pray you don’t lose your balance and get trampled by the herd. Then, of course, there are always a few hecklers milling about on the grass, cackling like hyenas, and you’re just thinking you can’t wait to be king and graduate. Pretty much sums up the first week of class before you settle into the groove of things.

hye

Then there are those students who, before the first week of class is over, have their online postings and responses completed, extra credit in the making, and already love probing the instructor with “insightful” questions that launch the teacher into an excited diatribe on economics or the beauty of mathematical science in raising marmosets in some jungle, or whatever, that causes class to go way over. And then, if you’re like me and don’t mentally get into the groove until week two (when you map out and color-coordinate the rest of the semester), yet somehow manage to roll out of bed each morning, you most likely have toothpicks propping your eyelids open and a cup of dark Joe in your clenched fist. Seriously, the amount of coffee consumed by American college students during the first and last weeks of each semester is astounding.

asleep

So, basically, there are four types of students, fantastically speaking: The Dragons, Zombie Children, the ghosts, and the Unicorns.

dragon

Dragons are pretty self-explanatory; they’re the students who overachieve and stress themselves out by accomplishing every task with absolute perfection a week before anything is due. They won’t have to take the final, but they’ll be in therapy that day anyway. Oh, yeah, and sometimes they breathe fire. Awesome!

warm

The Zombies tend to stumble into their early morning class with a beanie smashed on their head and a strong espresso in hand. Their eyes are generally glazed over, but somehow they manage to complete the assignment that morning and get a pretty good grade. Come on, admit it; you’ve been a zombie at one point or another in your college careers.

invi

The Ghosts kind of just, well, vanish after the first week of class, only taking on a tangible human form to turn in large assignments and take tests. You’ve probably thought you’ve seen them around town, but when you look back, they’re gone. Whenever the teacher calls on someone to answer a question, she never quite seems to notice them, like they’re the Invisible Man, or something. Yet somehow they manage a passing grade.

univ

And then there are the Unicorns. Super-human, mystical creatures of beauty. They seem to flit in and out of class without a care, acing everything slapped onto their desk. They do the extra credit, though it’s unnecessary, and the instructor is instantly their best friend. Worse still; they never seem to need coffee. This type of personality is actively sought out by other students when it comes time to group-up, so snag ‘em first!

So, what category do you fit into? Most of us probably have a smattering of each, though we can’t seem to disappear as easily as the Ghosts do. May the fittest survive! And the rest of you, sit back and enjoy the show!

Favorite Summer Things

Published August 1, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

Happy summer! This year, I finally decided to do something with my free time and thought I should share some of my favorite summer things with you all. Here’s a list of the things and activities that really made me smile this season, and I’ll be adding to it in the future as the summer progresses. Print this list out and check things off as you go to make your summer a little more interesting, and especially don’t be afraid to try something new. I’m having a blast doing just that!

-Find a view you cannot live without

-Facetime with a CCBFA (Crazy Cool Best Friend Always) and spend hours chatting and laughing over absolutely nothing.

-Bowl with some of your favorite people, where hanging out is more important than a perfect score … Thank goodness!

-Watch a summer sunset

-Get a caffeine buzz from Joe Macchiato’s caramel macchiato. Ah, dearest Joe (whose real name shall remain a secret!), your macchiatos are the carameliest. *Sigh*

-Write in a journal for hours with a trusty feather quill and purple ink. You make life more beautiful, Mr. Quill.

-Try a new summer food

-Iced coffee in the afternoon on the veranda … or backyard.-Discover a new book series.

-Go to the movie theater with your favorite people.

It’s a girl’s prerogotive.

-Eat gobs of chocolate dishes—chocolate chip cookies, cold chocolate silk pie, chocolate peanut butter frosting. Yummm.

-Evening strolls with trusty companion—dog or iguana, whichever behaves on a leash.

-Stalk newly-discovered authors on Goodreads and read every book and novel of theirs.

-Brainstorm. Doesn’t matter for what.

-Read non-stop

-Write a blog ~__^

-Read at Starbucks over a delicious latte or macchiato.

                                     -Wander used bookstore

-Discover new favorite cupcake shop next to said bookstore, and try the mint chocolate cupcake from the Cupcake in Santee. A-mazing!

-Search the Internet for pictures of the “cast” of favorite new book (yesterday I selected the cast for “Rising Shadows” and have them on my Pinterest, townsendideas. So fun!)

-Listen to music and create playlists for your favorite books

-Clean out your closest. It feels so good, and you might also discover forgotten cash.

-Classic movie night with the girls (Emma was last night)

-Master the art of wax sealing to add a “special” touch to hand-written letters.

-Give an old childhood activity a try—hula-hooping, hopscotch, freeze tag, etc.

-Watch a Jane Austen flick at night on a laptop with your sister/friend. Eat a bowl of cherries and popcorn, drink tea from china teacups, light a delicious smelling candle, and enjoy the show. (Developing English accents for the entire evening is optional.)

-Belt out a very popular new tune on the radio with the car windows rolled down at a STOP sign. Ignore strange looks you receive. Proceed.

-Don’t sweat the little things

-Spin in circles and dance in the rain, regardless of whether or not people can see you. Just enjoy the moment.

-Stop, Breathe, Relax, Smile, Move Along.

-Repeat

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