literature

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DEFYING SHADOWS IS OUT!!!

Published July 20, 2016 by Ashley Townsend

Defying Shadows has officially been released into the wild!!! 😃

http://amzn.to/2acv3rhhttp://amzn.to/2acv3rh

Hallelujah! It’s been a long time in coming, but I am so ecstatic that it’s out. Follow the link to the paperback of Defying Shadows here, and find me wandering San Diego Comic-Con tomorrow through Saturday. I’ll be the blond shamelessly promoting my own books. 😋 Follow the crazy person with the Defying Shadows tee and tote for a bookmark! 

And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter each day to be entered to win a paperback copy of Defying Shadows and an Amazon gift card. End this Sunday!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/efc81f6e2/?

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New Interviews!!!

Published October 23, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Here are the current stops in the Chasing Shadows Blog Tour!

Please check them out, like to give the bloggers some love, and share around to spread the word about Chasing Shadows. Who doesn’t love handsome blacksmiths, humor, and time travel intertwined with fantasy-science fiction in YA literature? I thought as much. 😉

http://citylifereader.blogspot.com/2014/10/townsendtales-book-tour-chasing-shadows.html

http://spillingwordskck.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/chasing-shadows-blog-tour/

http://inkspellreviews.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/chasing-shadows-townsendtales-blog-tour/

http://postcardreader.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/chasing-shadows-blog-tour/

http://wonderstruck-kcks.blogspot.com/2014/10/author-ashley-townsend-chashing-shadows.html

Revision Derision

Published September 17, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

reclining

Editing and revising can sometimes be my least favorite part of being an author. You write something that, in the moment, you feel is so inspired. That is, until you read back over it and wonder how much sugar and coffee you had at the time to make you type such nonsensical gibberish in so hurried a fashion. Then comes the fantastic task of trying to make sense of what you were working on. And don’t even get me started on summarizing! Yes, I would love to describe 900 pages of my blood, sweat, tears, and emotional turmoil in 200 words or less. YES! You’ve heard me share my agony over writing a synopsis before, and it hasn’t changed.

But, there are also some days where revising feels like reimagining the entire story, seeing it from a new angle where the ideas you originally put down on paper can fit so seamlessly into a new and more complex plot that you’re devising—those are the days that just make you smile and remind you that you don’t want to be doing anything else, the days that give you the courage to keep pressing on.

courage ralphu  

Every spare second I have between work and school (halfway there for one of my classes, so huzzah!) is spent on my laptop, pouring over the “Chasing Shadows” manuscript at the same time that I plot out the series’ conclusion on my note cards. I introduced an entirely new character and renamed another to subtly throw in some Robin Hood elements for my own enjoyment, and then I had a “Holy mackerel!” moment when I realized that it would beautifully complicate time travel for Sarah; it makes everything so much more disastrous because they fear her presence is corrupting the past. My favorite “Rising Shadows” fan and fellow writer, who is actually named Sarah—you are the absolute best, girl!—enjoys tormenting her characters as much as I do. I think it must be an author thing, because the farther our characters fall, the higher we have to lift them up, and watching them rise from the mire is a beautiful thing. Anyway, after I let God take the reins on this story, he completely opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for the final book, and I’m adding some minor and major elements to “Chasing Shadows” that are totally setting the stage for a bunch of disaster and perfection in the next installment, which is coming along rather nicely. Even my fellow writer and blogger-friend, Sarah (who is 100% Team Will Taylor), fell for Damien Lisandro against her will. Honestly, he is one of my favorite characters, and I’ve never written someone into a story who controls what I write as much as Damien—every time he entered a scene or opened his mouth, he owned the scene, and I found myself grinning like a giggly school girl or grimacing because I wanted to fix him. I have never been so happy to change an older, moderately interesting character named Bormeo into a handsome, cheeky Spaniard who is caught up with the wrong people, but you love him nonetheless. I can’t wait for you to get acquainted with him, but he’s mine, so don’t get any ideas. 😉   

love fairytales best of all end

God has been so faithful throughout this process, and I love you guys for sticking by my side! I’d appreciate some prayer, though, because I have to make a few big decisions soon—kind of a huge career jump that I’m looking for the Lord’s guidance on. Wish me faith! (sounds way better than luck!)

And can I get a smattering of applause or a “woot, woot!” for a new record of absence to this blog on my part. Four weeks, baby! But, seriously, sorry about that, and don’t be shy about sending me scathing reminder emails to get me back on here. Haha. Time has flown these past few weeks. In that time, “Deception” by CJ Redwine came out, “Thornhill” by Ms. Peacock was released, I had my teeth cleaned at the dentist, and my baby sister, Katie, turned the big 1-7 yesterday. Can’t believe the little girl I used to finger paint with outback (actually, that was just a few weeks ago, but we’ve matured in that time!) is all grown up with her own blog and the title of official Zondervan Book Reviewer under her belt. So proud of you, Kiddo!

www.booksandwonderfulthings.wordpress.com

Oh! I almost forgot. Friday, October 18th, I will be at the Casa de Oro Library Branch for a few hours to talk about my books and the publishing process, and I’m especially looking forward to getting to know a lot of you at the party that day. A few of the San Diego branches are getting started with teen and college age groups one Friday of the month to get kids back into reading, but there is no age limit. Everyone is welcome! It will just be a fun afternoon of getting to know one another and getting involved. If you know anyone in the area, encourage them to come and bring a friend, or if you want me tell kids about the publishing process at your school or library, just shoot me an email. You have no idea how much I love meeting you guys!  

I’m super jazzed and honored to kick off the first Friday of Teen Week and hope to see some of you there! ^__^

 

 

Splintered Review

Published May 29, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

splintered pic

You know how much I love retellings of classic stories and fairytales, so I was pretty excited when I got “Splintered” from the library. It’s a very funky take on the original “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, with some crazy-wild twists thrown in that make “Splintered” very much the author’s own.

Inventiveness/Creativity: 9 (her admirable ability to wholly re-craft the story was what kept me pushing through to the end)

Overall Storyline: 7

Execution: 7 (this is a non-biased view of her actual ability, not my opinion of the story)

My Overall Interest: 5. I have to break it down into sub categories because I was a little    torn.

            Okay, first 200 pages: 8 for blow my mind creativity and a 6 for feeling detached from the actual story.

            Once Morpheous was introduced (next 100 pages): 9 for increased interest—I hate to say I kind of loved him—though the story had its ups and downs quite a bit after that (I know; I am completely dissecting the book).

            Ending: 4 Though it was technically a “happy” end where everything was tied up nicely, I was a little disappointed with how things were finalized. Call me a predictable sap, but I love perfect, even sometimes unrealistic endings.                It’s fantasy for a reason, people!

            Recommend: A one-time read, in my opinion.If you have other books to read, this one can definitely wait, unless you’re bored and just want some unique filler, then give it a go if you like funky and strange YA fantasy. But if you’re on a dystopian kick like I am, then maybe save this one for another time or read at your own discretion. (And now I remember why I usually steer clear of YA fantasy: What’s with the tongue kissing? Grodie!)

My take on it: Completely wild and crazy and unique as the story kicks off. Like I said, funky is the operative word.  Most of the creatures the author imagined are a little more grotesque (?) than the original fluffy white rabbit and almost cuddly, albeit blubberous, walrus and other creatures in Lewis’ tale and the Disney film, though I kind of liked that about it. But the good creatures and fairylike characters were fascinating and very inventive, and even the sometimes grodie creatures the author presented in the story to block Alyssa’s path were interesting, though at times they were a bit much. However, I loved the fact that our bad boy/childhood friend and Wonderland guide, Morpheous, was the Caterpillar-turned butterfly. He. Was. AWESOME! In, like, a crazy way. And I mean, Kuh-razy! He was ultimately what pushed me to finish the story. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the tale, but mostly I stuck it through because I admired the author’s ability to completely spin the idea and create a 100% unique backstory for generations of Wonderland characters, while also—technically—staying true to Lewis’ original tale. “Splintered” is a little dark, though it’s almost a juxtaposition to the brightness of the story, which I did like, though I think sometimes it got a little too strange for my liking. I know I’m going back and forth on my opinion of it, but this is how I felt reading the book. I wasn’t sure whether to be grossed out, roll my eyes, keep reading, drool over Morpheous, or applaud the author’s aplomb and finesse with such a crazy—dare I say strangely awesome?—storyline. I think I liked it more because I honestly was amazed and sometimes took a moment to marvel at the author’s craftiness. Praise for her talent aside, I can’t necessarily recommend this book, since I had to force myself a little bit to finish it—and Morpheous completely stabbed me in the back!—but if it sounds like something you’re interested in, don’t let my entirely confused and fickle review stop you!   

 

Hand-Cramping Goodness!

Published May 15, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

Okay, so it’s only been–what?–two or three weeks since my last post. Can you tell I’ve been editing like a mad woman? But, hey! 854 pages edited in two weeks is fairly good, though I still want to do it all over again (chalk it up to the inner OCD in me). I scrounged up my notecards today and realized that being an author looks a LOT like being a college student. No, seriously; I even compared these cards to the ones I wrote for my geology class, and they were practically a  match for Unabomber-ness. I tried to keep out most of the “spoiler” cards for Chasing Shadows, but if you’re like me and don’t want to know a THING about to-be released books, then maybe steer clear. I wrote everything down, from what each person was wearing in every scene, the type of weather occurring, dates, timelines, crazed, scratched-out notes at two in the morning, characters’ appearances, things to reference in the next chapter, outlying lands, names of forests/towns, logistics (east versus west wings, what side Sarah’s windows face), etc. Yet still WAY more entertaining to create these little numbers than to work on notecards about upper, nor’easter winds, or whatever.

IMG_0001 IMG_0002 IMG_0004 IMG_0005 IMG_0006 IMG_0007

Everbound, Take Me Away!

Published March 25, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

Sorry I’ve been so absent, guys! Finishing up some stuff for spring break-HALLELUJAH!!!!—and having the best week ever with my friend Rebekah from Colorado. Our activities basically revolved around Coronado Beach, Starbucks, the San Diego Zoo, Starbucks, day trips up mountains, Starbucks, Sea Port Village, and some Starbucks runs thrown in, just in case you didn’t catch that before. BUT I couldn’t leave you hanging totally, and I’ve been dying to write something about the latest book I’ve read. You all know how much I loved “Everneath” by Brodi Ashton and that the sequel, “Everbound” was on my Most Anticipated of 2013 list. Yes, I was giddy, I was exultant and will always cherish that moment when Liz brought that sweet little parcel of goodness home to me—and the cover is just as incredible as the first, too! I think I devoured the book in two days and was almost late for work both days. It starts off slower like “Everneath,” but both books keep you constantly engaged and never really have a point where they lag.

Okay, so just a refresher, in case you didn’t read my review of “Everneath,” which you can find on my Goodreads page: Loved the first book! It was interesting, fairly well-paced, and for once—move aside, Bella!—the book centered on a NOT self-centered heroine, Nikki. I really liked Nikki’s character, her story, her back story, her disintegrating romance with Jack when she returns from being trapped in the Everneath for a hundred years. And that brings me to my next point: I was very concerned about the Everneath aspect of it and was a little hesitant to read the sequel, since this wasn’t quite so prevalent in the first book. But “Everneath” ended on such a cliff-hanger, almost literally, that I wanted to give “Everbound” a little try. I was so glad I did, though the ending forced me through a wading pool of tissues made out of tears of betrayal. Yeah, that good, and I mean that seriously! No character has ever broken my heart like that. Bring it on! Oh, and heads up that I gave the sequel five stars, especially for the fact that the author could make me so wounded and passionate over the ending.

The book starts off a couple weeks after Jack takes Nikki’s place in the tunnels, and I am literally giddy over the fact that Cole and Nikki have to work together. Don’t ask me why I loved him so much in the first book, because I can’t really be sure. He wasn’t the guy you’re supposed to root for, and I didn’t really in “Everneath,” but I always looked forward to his cheeky attitude and killer grin to enter a scene. Anyway, I was REALLY looking forward to having him in most of the book. Jack, yes, is the hero of the story, and we all know that Nikki will end up with him. But to be totally honest, I didn’t really miss him in this story; the flashbacks and dreams that she has of him were enough for me, and then it was Cole Time.

cole and nikki are working together. Yippee

And then when Nikki finally convinces Cole to help her go to the Everneath to save Jack, I was pretty ecstatic.

giddy

I was expecting the Everneath to be kind of creepy, which is why I was so hesitant. But it actually reminded me more of one of those sandy Star Wars’ worlds with all the dunes and mud houses, for some reason, and it also had a “Pilgrim’s Progress” feel, since emotions affect a lot of the outcomes of the places they have to go. Like the mists in the caves draw out your negative emotions, other places confuse you, etc. And in every instance, I found myself falling totally for Cole. Jack was hardly in the story, only in her dreams—no pun intended—and so there was plenty of space for him in my heart. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen for a bad boy in a story like this before, so kudos to the author! He still had some of his cheeky, Cole tendencies, but the things he did seemed to always be for her benefit. *sigh, sigh, and dreamy SIGH* And then there is this beautiful moment when Cole wraps his arms around Nikki to protect her from this huge wave of rocks and water, and he nearly dies, and she has to do CPR–man, I wish I was her–and he’s all bruised and battered. Oh, come on, Brodi! Can you make me love him any more? Ah, the answer to that is a solid yes.

Which brings us to the Sirens. Awesomeness! These things turn into what you most desire and want at that moment, and the Siren trying to entice Cole is a Nikki doppelganger! Awww. Break my heart! Long story short, Nikki kiss Cole to save his life–don’t you love when that happens. And I was like, “Yes, yes, YES! Finally!” cole is hereSuccess! And then he grins because he knew that only the real Nikki would do something like that to save his life. AwwwwwwwwwWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!

i love him, I love him

Just as they’re about to release Jack, Cole kicks Nikki from the Everneath, and without his help, she can’t come back, to stop him, I was sure. I was honestly shocked and so upset, because I was sure Cole had done something stupid, like traded places with Jack, because I knew there was something he wasn’t telling her. My worst fears were confirmed when Jack suddenly appears in Nikki’s house, totally alive and released. No, Cole wouldn’t, he didn’t….

tear

Now I’m stuck wondering what happened to Cole, since this all occurred in the last six pages. I was so upset that I was even hoping that maybe Cole had tricked Nikki and came back pretending to be Jack so she would give up her search. I could deal with that betrayal—THAT betrayal. irritation and confusionBut then Cole appeared.

breathing in and out

Where has he been, why is he acting so strange, why is he so surprised and upset that Jack made it back? And then he says something like, “Let me just enjoy this moment, this final moment where in your eyes, I’m still a hero.”

coooooooleI already know it’s coming, but how bad, you ask? Well, the entire time Cole has been tricking Nikki, because he LOVES her–I still choose to believe–to get her to the Everneath so that she would kiss him three times, of her own free will, so that her heart will be his forever. Even his avoidance of her before they start off on their trek was planned.

what

no he di-ent

he did not lieThe LIES!

he wasn't actually bad, was he

He wouldn’t. No.

HOW COULD HE?!!!!

HOW COULD HE?!!!!

cooooooole

CURSE YOU, BRODI ASHTON!!!!

oh, colesadness

crying

so many feelings

book out window

Then I did this in a fit of emotion, immediately regretted it, ran to save the book, hugged it to my chest, and cried.

And then the tears of betrayal start:

Yeah, so that’s basically it. The entire book is a-mazing, then the ending rips your heart out. And I gave it a five? Yes, because the fact that I can fall totally in love with a character, deny that they’re evil and try to convince my sister Liz that Cole really does love her, and then mark all the pages for the beautiful scenes before he turned selfish again means that this was a good book. Yes, my heart was broken into a million pieces, and I curled up with my sock monkey, a blanket, and listened to “Everybody Hurts” on my bedroom floor in total darkness, and I STILL hurt thinking about it. And yet I’ll probably buy it anyway, just to feel the pain, because it means I’m alive!!!!! Okay, that was me being dramatic, but it’s seriously one of those painfully awesome books that you want to read on a rainy day to relive the pain. No idea why, it’s just that good.

Review of Sever: It’s as Painful as it Sounds

Published March 8, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

sever

When I first read Lauren DeStefano’s “Wither,” I was enthralled. It was intriguing, fantastic, crazy, confusing, mysterious, and an all-in-all well-rounded book and story idea. Plus, every single book cover in her trilogy is A-MAZING! Then “Wither” ended on a sort of cliffhanger, so you can imagine my excitement when “Fever” came out last year. . . . . . . . Umm, yeah. Don’t judge a book by its bubblegum pink and carnival-themed cover. Two words: “Blek” and “Huh?”

But that wasn’t going to stop me! I figured that “Sever”—one of my top anticipated books of 2013 if you refer to previous Book Extravaganza posts—would totally redeem the series, be extremely refreshing after the disappointment of “Fever,” while also answering all of my torturous questions. Again: Umm, yeahhhhhh. My older sisters DeAnna and Elizabeth read it first, and DeAnna actually threw her brand new hardback copy—*GASP*—across the room when she was done. So obviously I had to read it for myself and wouldn’t allow them to give any spoilers, though their utterly shocked and irate reactions should have caused me to steer clear.

Now beware! This review and general rant about a could-have-been-great story WILL contain spoilers, and also some possibly graphic death sequences that may or may not involve sporks and letter writing.

Right off the bat I was intrigued by the first sixty pages of the book. I was glad that Rhine didn’t make me want to throw up and was actually a good character, that she and Linden were “back together,” however frosty he may have been at first, and that it seemed they were going to take that crazy-head Vaughn down. But then it just kept dragging on, so let me give you a brief rundown of the book’s plotline as though we’re actually in the story; it’s much more “riveting” this way. ~__^

We’re at Uncle Reed’s, though I actually enjoyed those parts because he ended up being my favorite character. Vaughn is still a crazy and manipulative, so let’s escape—the logical thing to do, UNTIL……

Oopsies, we’re back at Madame’s carnival from “Fever.” Seriously? We couldn’t have taken the I-8 instead of the 15? Lauren threw in some interesting twists in this portion of the book, such as the fact that Madame is actually the mother of Rose, Linden’s first-first wife. At this point, we’re still intrigued. That will quickly pass, I assure you.

Finally, Rhine gets in touch with her long-lost twin brother, who is now a crazy warlord that blows stuff up. . . . . AT VAUGHN’S BIDDING!!!! Yes, I know—close your mouth. He, too, is a puppet of the crazed scientist. And this is the part that really bothered me: An unnecessary lack of communication, which always curls my toes in books. Rhine’s brother is so enamored with the genius Vaughn that she doesn’t have the heart to tell him that this evil man has killed people and experimented on her. But, hey, why get between a mad scientist and his protégé? Let’s move on. After that, it’s sixty pages of Vaughn talking and the three of them traveling. No, seriously, I counted the number of straight pages, and there was more evil plan-recounting for long stretches later on in the book. Boring and monotonous, but at this point—despite the fact that our eyes are glazing over while he rambles on—I’m still like, “Okay, this isn’t so bad. Why were the girls freaking out?”  

Then Vaughn brings her back to the mansion. Oh, and small side note: In “Fever,” Rhine had been drugged and kidnapped by Vaughn. She willingly left her and Gabriel’s safe haven in the middle of the night without telling Gabriel—again, lack of communication. So he didn’t know where she was. Oh, wait, yes he did! TWIST: He saw her leaving with Vaughn and sacrificed himself by going with her, unbeknownst to our unconscious heroine. Oh, yeah, and he’s been in the basement for the past couple months, which she finds out upon arriving back at the mansion in “Sever” and does nothing about it! This also bothered me, since the guy sacrificed himself for her and she can’t bring herself to take the elevator down two floors? Oy! Also another jump-ahead-side-note: You don’t see Gabriel, the love interest whom she ends up with, until the last six pages of the book, and even then she acts like he’s second best. Why, you may ask?

BECAUSE LINDEN WAS KILLED IN A RIDICULOUS ACCIDENT! Right after he and Rhine had this beautiful moment, and he told her he still loved her, and the sun was shining, and everything was going to be perfect. Then BAM! I knew by my Team Linden sisters’ reactions that he had to die or not end up with Rhine. But how ridiculous and unwarranted and awful could his death really be? Let me tell you: They go for a joy ride in a little plan, he pours out his heart to her, they smile (the kiss of death), experience some turbulence, he gets the teensiest bump on his head, and ends up bleeding out from his eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. Yes, literally every orifice on his head. I was reading it at dinner, because the girls saw where I was and kept nudging each other, so I knew I was close. But I was so shocked that I didn’t even know what to say. They were laughing at my reaction and said my mouth was open and that I was totally flushed. I kept waiting for him to come back to life. No such luck. And then about five minutes later, after just sitting in dumbfounded silence, I finally felt a spark of anger and was highly tempted to torch the book, literally, over an open flame, and you know how much I respect books.

I was so shocked and ticked that he dies without any warning that I, with Elizabeth’s inspiration, devised several other ridiculous and meaningless and horrible ways he could have died. These are about the same caliber as the stupid plane accident.

~Linden is writing Rhine a beautiful love letter, expressing all of his feelings and apologizes for being so frosty. He goes to put the letter in the mailbox, sees a cute squirrel, gets distracted, and accidentally gets a paper cut. Turns out he’s a hemophiliac. It wasn’t even the letter opener or wax seal that did him in. Yeah, that stupid.

Scenario #2: Linden is driving his convertible through a fast food drive-thru. He’s in a hurry to go meet Rhine because he’s finally going to tell her how he feels. He collects his food and plows through the drive thru when one of the attendants throws an unwrapped spork out the window to a waiting customer. The harmless plastic spork lodges in Linden’s eye, he swerves, and drives into one of those electrical donuts. Did I mention he drove his convertible despite the rain? You fill in the rest.

Scenario #3: I imagine this involves a sweet meet-and-greet with dolphins gone terribly awry at Sea World. Hint: He had packed a sack lunch of chips, an apple, and a mackerel sandwich in in his wetsuit pocket. (Kind of reminds me of the Lacramose Leeches scene, for those of you who’ve read the Series of Unfortunate Events)

Alas, my most anticipated book of the year made me want to shove a spork in my own eye. And they didn’t resolve anything until the last eight pages of the book, and even then it was almost like we were reading the author’s plot notes or special monologue. *Sighs dramatically* Here’s to hoping “Requiem” doesn’t disappoint! -__- (That is a very unfeeling emoticon, in case you were unsure of how high my hopes were that the other books I’m looking forward to will actually turn out well) 

The progression of my many reactions to “Sever”:

sever 7

When Sever arrived, this is what came at the mailman:        “It’s HEEEEEEEERE!!!!”

When they arrived back at Madame's: "Seriously?"

When they arrived back at Madame’s: “Seriously?”

I believe I developed narcolepsy from Vaughn's prolonged diatribe.

I believe I developed narcolepsy from Vaughn’s prolonged diatribe.

sever 3

This was me about halfway through the book.

This was me about halfway through the book.

Then Linden DIES!

Then Linden DIES!

It was a scratch! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

It was a scratch! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

sever 1sever 4

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