All posts tagged Novel

Where Did the Time Go???

Published December 13, 2017 by Ashley Townsend

Let’s just pretend it hasn’t been nearly a month since my last post. *headdesk* In my defense, a lot has gone on the last few weeks: Lifelong friends came to stay, I traveled around to different bookstores for signing events (ahhhhhhhh), I’m making progress in Jungle Princess, holiday events occurred, and we’re helping my parents pack for their out-of-state move before Christmas. We’re having a little pre-Christmas celebration before they go and have been spending as much time as possible soaking up our days together. I come from a pretty close-knit family, so my sisters and I have been setting aside a lot of our busywork to just absorb life with them, which is one of the reasons why I’ve been a little absent lately. But fret not, friends, I’ll be back at it soon enough, though I’m going to take a break for a couple more weeks to be a spazz with my amazing fam.


Mom looks so angelic while Dad, Katie, and I are staging a Christmas tree assault. Bahaha

Just don’t ask me how many books my Goodreads says I read last month because, well . . . What makes the number 2 sound more impressive?

crying shameThe reviews for the two books are at the end of this post. I know it sounds like nothing, but although I couldn’t technically add them to Goodreads, I had the chance to help some author friends out by providing input on their manuscripts before they shot them off for final edits, so that was so incredibly exciting to see their stories before they get added to Goodreads. *flails* And speaking of flailing, have you seen the cover for Fawkes by Nadine Brandes? The book releases in July of next year, and I. Need. This. Now. TAKE MY MONEY!! You can and should add it to Goodreads and pre-order on Amazon (click here), or preferably both. *wink* When Nadine sent me the cover before the reveal, I literally shrieked and did an excited little giddy-up dance around my living room (#noshame). Look at the cover below and try not to drool.


It’s gorgeous and embossed. “And all the fangirls said, ‘Amen.’” grabby hands

Also, last month I was preparing for a signing event at the Barnes & Noble in Mira Mesa just hours before I was supposed to pick up my lifelong friends from the airport for Thanksgiving week. It was a bit hectic that day, to say the least. The author event was a lot of fun, and I had the chance to meet several local writers that I’ll definitely be keeping in touch with. But my favorite part of the afternoon was getting to hang with my friend Liv and grabbing a coffee afterward. She is just such a sweet, calming presence at these things, and it calms my giddy nerves whenever I see her familiar face in the crowd.

IMG_2496 (1)

It was definitely crazy getting ready for the event, Thanksgiving, and my friends coming to stay for the week, but we all had an absolute blast together hopping around San Diego—playing in the water on Coronado Island, taking ferry rides with the most hilarious tour guide possible, having a blast at Sea World (despite the fact that we nearly died from lack of coffee, but churros saved out lives), exploring the tide pools at Cabrillo, and just having a fabulous time catching up with old friends.

If you were following my Instagram during NaNo, you probably saw my word-pics for my work in progress, Jungle Princess. These were so much fun to make, and a few of the images actually inspired new scenes for my wip, so HUZZAH! I told you I would share a few of my favorites on my blog and hope they pique your interest in the story of mermaids and magical islands and monsters and . . . Tarzan. Hmm. I was really go for alliteration there, but I had to sneak his name in somehow. ^_~

And feeeeeeeeeeeeeels.


“The English Spy” by Daniel Silva ***


I enjoyed the book and think I would have liked it more if I’d had more time to dedicate to it, so maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for a slower-paced—and what I assumed was a—spy-thriller. Some of the characters were fun, but there was so much politics and unnecessary plot building that I think it became more of a distraction than an aid to the story. Overall, it was enjoyable, I just wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.

“The Afterlife of Holly Chase” by Cynthia Hand *****


Just in time for Christmas! This book was such a clever take on A Christmas Carol, and from the first page showcased Hand’s unsurprisingly fabulous sense of humor (any Lady Janies out there?). The story really begins after Holly fails her “Scrooge-test” and ends up being recruited by the company that puts the productions together to turn lives around. Usually the self-absorbed protagonist-who-is-guaranteed-to-change-her-ways plot bugs me because you have to drudge through so much of the character’s hideous personality, but Holly isn’t mean-spirited and ends up being really likeable, so kudos to Hand for nailing it. This story was full of heart and character development and quotable phrases and, of course, plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.

Everyday A Blessing Day

Published June 28, 2013 by Ashley Townsend


I didn’t realize I had been so busy the past few weeks, but obviously I’ve been a little preoccupied since Rising Shadows’ 1st Birthday passed without me realizing it. I even had it on my calendar with little drawn balloons and confetti and everything! Haha. I guess I should pay more attention to my One Direction calendar, since obviously it’s hanging on my wall for a reason—well, two reasons. 😉

Anyway, thinking of the book being a year old—and writing up chapter summaries for its sequel, Chasing Shadows—reminded me of how blessed I am to be doing what I love. A year ago Wednesday, the amazing, dream-come-true opportunity that God dropped into my unexpecting lap became a reality that I am happy to live. It also made me think of how God loves to do the unexpected and give us our hearts’ desires. My family and I have been reading a lot of devotionals and listening to encouraging CD’s the past few weeks, and they all have a common theme: Expect Blessing.

So often we’re afraid to hope because we assume we’ll be let down, or we think that we can’t possibly give our dreams up to God in faith, because surely He’ll make us live as penniless missionaries in Uganda. If you have never thought this way, then good for you! I, however, am still working on giving everything up to God in faith—not just the little things that don’t matter, but the big dreams. And that’s what my writing career was: A dream that I wasn’t sure I could let Him take full control over, and I still struggle with it. Which is ridiculous, because God can do a far better job at making it a reality than I ever could, and I know it will be more magnificent than I imagine. I’ve written before about my fear of letting go of my dream, but the only time anything came of it was when I finally relinquished control.

We cling so hard to the things that are important to us, and God isn’t asking us to forget about and give them up; if it’s important to us, it’s important to Him, and I think this is something everyone needs to grasp hold of. It might not always be in the exact way we imagine it—keep in mind, God is very creative and imaginative—but if we have something that is our heart’s desire, then He wants to give it to us. We just have to have enough faith to give Him room to work, and don’t worry; He has very gentle hands. I’m still trying to grasp hold of this fully and am working on getting it from my head to my heart, but I’ve decided to start looking for the blessing in each day. Some days it’s harder than others, but there’s always a silver lining or a blessing in disguise if you’re willing to look.       

Novel Inspiration: Characters

Published February 27, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

Here are a few of my selections from my Novel Inspiration board on Pinterest for the cast of Rising Shadows. Later on I’ll create a Novel Inspiration page on here, so check back periodically, because I might change some of the cast and keep adding new photos for your pleasure. There are plenty more where these came from, so check out my Pinterest link on the left to see what else has been floating around in my head. 😉 One of the perks to being an author is that I get to spend hours looking through pictures of gorgeous scenery–and people–on Pinterest and get to call it research! Remember that I love to hear from you! If you like what you saw or have some opinions of your own, shoot me an email at

Sarah Matthews:

This overall look. Heart-shaped face, blue eyes, arched brows, just a little tanner.

novel inspiration, Sarah blond

This girl’s wavy hair and color.

novel inspiration, Sarah

William Taylor:

Derek Theler is exactly how I imagined Will: chiseled jaw, 6’5, wavy hair (though Jason Behr’s color, on right), and great blue eyes. Oh, yeah, and he’s bult like a truck. That doesn’t hurt my image of Will.

novel inspiration, Will novel inspiration, Will hair

Karen Ashmore:

I thought this girl was just gorgeous and totally reminded me of Karen with her hair and fair skin, though her face is a little more round and babydoll-ish in my head. And she could seriously pass for Sarah, as well, with her blue eyes and face shape.

novel inspiration, Karen 2

Lilly Matthews:

Totally Sarah’s little sister! This is pretty much exactly how I pictured Lilly.

novel inspiration, Lilly

Seth Jones:

I could definitely picture Armie Hammer playing Seth, literally the boy next door. Armie is really funny and charming and friendly, and he has this great, easy grin that is 100% our favorite farm boy. A little more red in his hair, and ta-da! Seth Jones, ladies and gentlemen!

novel inspiration, Seth

Allan Miller:

Oh, yes, we love to hate him, people. Chris Pine has that same cocky edge that I imagined for Allan, Will’s not-so-faithful assistant.

novel inspiration, Allan

Thomas Greene:

He was probably one of my favorite back-story characters to write for Rising Shadows. After watching Tron:Legacy, I could definitely picture Bruce Boxleitner playing Thomas. He’s handsome, kind, has salt-and-pepper hair, and is a good enough actor to do Thomas justice.

novel inspiration, Thomas

Gabriel Dunlivey:

Blek, blek, and blek at that name! Not at all an insult to this guy, whose name I can’t recall at the moment, but he kind of reminds me of Gabriel, though this guy is less slovenly.

novel inspiration, Gabriel Dunlivey

And now for some characters you have yet to meet! Beware teensy spoilers!

Damien Lisandro:

Oh, you handsome devil, you! I saw this picture and actually changed Damien’s scruff so that it looked more like this. The Lord Lisandro completes my favorite type of triangle as old alliances fall away and new ones begin in the sequel to Rising Shadows. I had to throw in a Spaniard for my sister Katie, and I think you’ll really like him too!

novel inspiration, Damien


Yep. Just Jade, as of now; I can’t reveal too much yet! She and Will have a past that is a bit of a mystery, and the scene involving her was inspired by Florence and the Machine’s “Heavy in Your Arms” (you all know how obsessed I was with that one!). But this younger version of Penelope Cruz is totally how I envisioned Jade.

novel inspiration, Jade

Mr. Emerald:

Will’s newest assistant. I’m trying to decide if the name I have for him will work in the book or if it needs to be altered.

novel inspiration, Todd

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.


Summer Reading

Published June 22, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

The past few weeks my sisters, Katie and Elizabeth, and myself have been reading non-stop to kick off the start of summer. We have found some really fantastic new reads and authors that have led us to a whole other cache of new novels and authors. Bliss! Each new book we have discovered has been passed around between us, and I love our late night discussions on Elizabeth’s floor where we talked about the plot, characters, what we liked and disliked about the novel, our different views on the storyline, and who would get first dibs on the next book we were all waiting for (that usually doesn’t go so well).  

We’ve also been subject to some fantastic flops, as well—the kinds of books that you have to force yourself to finish because you are convinced that no novel could really be that awful, and maybe if you just push through to the end, it will get better. Then when it really is as bad as you originally thought, without improving in the slightest, you wonder why on earth you wasted all that time. Yes, we’ve had plenty of those this summer, but the brighter novels and series we’ve discovered have been devoured with relish and caused us to forget those dark, dark hours spent reading such disappointing material. However, much to our chagrin, most of these new series and trilogies are only on their second book. Awesome. And to make it even better, none of the final books in the trilogies are going to be released until next year. Fantastic.

I actually can’t remember ever having to wait for a book to be released. Either the library didn’t have it and I had to purchase it from a bookstore, or the series was a little older, so I didn’t have to wait for the next installment to be released. For those of you who have had to patiently wait for the next up-and-coming series or final book all your life, I feel your pain now. But, on the plus side, this newfound agony has also motivated me to work more enthusiastically on the sequel to “Rising Shadows.” I know that all six of my fans are jumping for joy right now! That’s the reason why this post is so late in the week; I’ve spent all my free time either writing the sequel or thinking about how I can connect certain things to the final book. It’s actually coming along really quickly, and I am so excited over where God is taking the story, mostly to places I never had in mind but am so enthusiastic to write. I can’t wait to share it with you all! I would also like to give my readers a list of great summer reading material of novels and series that are already out. No more agonizing wait!

Oh, and for your edification (which is just a fancy way of saying FYI), the next time you hear from me, I will officially be an author! “Rising Shadows” comes out next Tuesday, and I will be doing a special blog post about the entire development of the book and characters. Beforehand, you can check out the summary on Goodreads, see some reviews for the book on my Facebook and Twitter pages, and also check out my author interview on

I am so excited and feel so blessed to be able to do what I love. See you all Tuesday!        

“The person, be it gentemen or lady, who does not have pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid.” -Jane Austen

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