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Prepare the Coffee! Camp NaNo Has Begun

Published April 1, 2017 by Ashley Townsend

 

 

If you are like 90% of Americans, you’ve probably never heard of Camp NaNo, even if you have heard of its terrifying counterpart and older sister, NaNoWriMo *shivers at the memories of sleep deprivation and caffeine abuse*

I’ll lay it out simply for you:

girl writing nature     -There are cabins that you can create or join on the site to “hang” with your buddies or get randomly assigned with new writing friends.

     -Forums allow you to share snippets of your story and offer up encouragement, advice, and fangirling during your cabin mates’ writing process.

     -And the best part is that YOU set your own goals for April!

 

That’s right. During the month-long fest of awesomeness that is Camp NaNo, you decide a realistic word count goal that works for you. Or if you’re better at managing chapters or pages, then use that as your motivational guide. You can work as hard as you want to, and instead of burning yourself out by reaching 50,000 words in 30 days, you can set a goal of 30,000 words (like me!). And the best part of April is the community of writers you get connected with, who are aspiring and struggling to meet goals or connect ideas just like you.

hugs sadness

This picture is so accurate, it hurts.

I have never been to camp and haven’t *cough* successfully participated in Camp NaNo before. I know, the horror! But knowing that my circle of amazing encouragers and beta-readers and writer-friends has grown so much makes me want to dive right in and tackle whatever goal I’ve set for myself. That’s my favorite part of Camp, just understanding a goal and having the support you need to reach it or the Oreos and coffee when you don’t. As cheesy as it sounds, it isn’t about the goals you set but the journey and the people along the way.

So here’s to the next 30 days, friends. I have a feeling it will be epic!

high five fist bump psych

And stay tuned this month for more Fangirl’s Survival Guide posts and Camp NaNo updates.

 

 

A Precious Bundle Has Arrived!

Published July 22, 2016 by Ashley Townsend

I returned from another fun-filled day at San Diego Comic Con (swag, books, panels, fun. Details to come!) to a surprise package on my doorstep. 

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Yes, my copies of Defying Shadows have arrived!!! I requested a few more copies of Chasing Shadows, and I’m so excited to bring these with me when I fly out to Pennsylvania for Realm Makers next week. And I’ll admit I had some fun staging little mock battles between Damien (Hook) and Will (Arrow).

20160722_154458

Also, a ton of people on Facebook are already posting pictures of their copies of the book that arrived on their doorsteps today, and I’m so excited that this is finally happening. I know you’ll laugh and cry and hate some of the characters while sobbing over others with all the love you have in your heart. But I hope, most of all, that these characters stay with you for a long time, as I know they’ll live in my heart forever.

Find your own copy of Defying Shadows, the final book in the Rising Shadows Trilogy, on Amazon today.  If you post your pics of your copy, use #TeamHood and tag @TownsendTales for a surprise!

http://amzn.to/2acv3rh

And don’t forget that the Rafflectoper giveaway only goes through 11:59pm this Sunday. So follow the link below to enter to win an Amazon gift card and your own paperback copy of Defying Shadows

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

Defying Shadows & Amazon Giveaway!

Published July 19, 2016 by Ashley Townsend

IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING!

Defying Shadows will release in paperback this week!

excitedAt the end of THIS week, both the final book and the first book in the Rising Shadows Trilogy will release in paperback for the first time. I am so flippin’ excited to have them on my shelf!!! Rising Shadows (Book I in the trilogy) got a cover makeover for its paperback release, so I’ll send updated Amazon links out soon when its beauteous self is re-released and Defying Shadows is up for purchase. *dreamy sigh*

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I feel like this has been a long time in coming, and I know you’re all dying to have your questions answered: Will Sarah go home? Do she and Will belong together? What is Damien’s end-game in all of this, and is he still working for some evil power? And is Sarah’s presence in the past changing history?

Well, you’ll just have to find out when Defying Shadows comes out. *cackles evilly* 

BUT, if you can’t wait until your paycheck arrives or until Defying Shadows releases, you can enter to be first on the list for a copy. That’s right, in celebration of this momentous occasion, I’m hosting a Rafflecopter for a paperback of Defying Shadows and an Amazon gift card. You can enter to win everyday by sharing, liking, tweeting, following, etc, so keep stopping by. And pay attention to social media for the link each day.

(Enter the Rafflecopter here. Active 7-19-16 through 7-24-16 Details at the bottom of post for secondary prize)

The Rafflecopter is one way to enter, but if you don’t win the grand prize, don’t lose heart! There will be a HUGE release party on Friday, August 5th on Facebook/your living room. Join and invite others for the epic 2-hour event where I’ll be giving away even more prizes (books, swag, gift cards) and entertain you all with games, excerpts from the series, activities, quizzes, and plenty of fun goodness. Click the link below to join.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1758515104431491/

And there are ebooks of the series up for grabs during the term of the Rafflecopter. Each social media share and post/re-post earns you an entry toward the secondary prizes. From 7-19 through 7-24, tag @TownsendTales and use any of the following hashtags: #TeamHood #DefyingShadows #DefyingShadowsBook #TeamWill #TeamDamien #DSBook. You can post anywhere–Instagram (follow me here), Twitter, Facebook, on your blog, Pinterest–just make sure to use one or more of these hashtags and tag me in it. I’ll calculate total entries after the giveaway ends on the 25th, and there will be one random winner selected from–I’m very high-tech here–a hat. More shares equals more entries, which increase your odds of winning. So share away!

What are you waiting for?! Follow the link below and enter to win the Grand Prize each day until it ends at 11:59pm on Sunday, July 24th. And as always, don’t forget to share this link with your friends who enjoy free stuff…. What am I saying? Who doesn’t enjoy freebies?! Good luck, Hooders, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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

A Time to Speak is my New Patronus!

Published June 17, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

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

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

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

a time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And again, just because I love it so much!

And again, just because I love it so much!

Back Cover Blurb for “A Time to Speak”:

How do you live after you planned to die?

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

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

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

ABOUT NADINE:

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

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

Interview with Dystopian Author Nadine Brandes

Published October 26, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Just answer as many as you find applicable, or feel you want to answer
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself that we won’t find in your bio?

exploreHm..well, I’m an adventurer determined to experience as many sides of life as possible. Some odd facts about myself are: I was once a professional drummer, I’ve scuba dived in a sunken ship, and I tried to make it to the Olympics by snowboard racing. The Olympic thing was a dream much bigger than I understood when I started. In the process, I learned I’m not a competitive person. I was actually relieved when the journey ended at Nationals. 

I live in Idaho, my heart is in Missouri, but hubby and I hope to move to Russia someday. How’s that for “a little bit” about myself? [grin]

What inspired you to become an author?

Birth, really. I was born needing to write, needing to process via words. I turned everything into a story – both verbally and on paper. I created comic books as soon as I could draw with “paper pals” I’d sketch and send on adventures through little time machines.

It wasn’t until I was seventeen that I realized I wanted to do it for life and pursue writing as a career.

How did you come up with the idea for “A Time to Die”?

It came upon me, really. Quite forcefully. I was in the middle of grad school and an acquaintance of mine passed away. He was my age and it got me thinking about how short life could be. I wondered if I’d live differently if I knew I had a year left. That’s when the idea of A Time to Die hit me – what if a culture existed where everyone knew the day they would die? Would we live differently?

Tell us about your main characters. Do you have a favorite?

Parvin is my main character and easily my favorite. She asks a lot of questions I once asked in my lifetime so her journey feels very close to home. I like trying to delve into a teenager’s mind without supporting the common stereotypes we hold regarding teenages — angsty, irrational, selfish, etc. Just because that’s common with some teenagers doesn’t mean that’s how they all are. I wanted to capture the inner struggle. In doing so, I grew to love Parvin even more.

parvin

Reid is Parvin’s twin brother. He’s a traveler in love with adventures and always looking out for his family. Then there’s Jude – the mysterious inventor. He was a challenge to write. I went from not liking it at all to liking him too much (which made certain story elements harder.) Eventually I found a balance.

As for the other characters? I’ll just have to let you meet them on your own! 😉

What was your favorite scene(s) to write and why?

Strangely, the sad or intense scenes were the most fun to write. I thrive off of writing emotions, that’s when I’m at my best, I think. So whenever there needed to be a tragedy or a hard character decision, that’s when I got glued to my computer.

What do you do in your spare time when you aren’t writing?

readin 1Spare time? What’s that? [wink] Actually, I’m a freelance editor and all my spare time goes to editing. If I have true spare time – where I don’t have to edit or write – I’ll either read or spend time with family. Or do something artsy. 

If you could live inside the pages of any book (or series), what would it be and why?

My gut instinct is Harry Potter because that series inspired me and impacted my life in very positive ways. Not to mention that, I’m so nerdy about the whole series, I’d do quite well in a wand battle. But I’d have to be able to bring my hubby with me. 😀

You’re trapped on a desert island and can only save one book—using the rest for firewood (I just gagged at the thought)—to read until you’re saved months later, what would it be? Your answer must be a title other than the Bible—that’s a given.

Cruel! You are so cruel! Well, providing that I had food and provisions to keep me alive (without needing a survival book), I’d probably pick the dictionary…or a giant book of Systematic Theology. Or a huge encyclopedia.

I know, that is so boring. A million fiction books ran through my mind, but I can’t in good conscience devote several months to only entertainment. Must. Expand. Vocabulary!

(Side note: After I read Nadine’s response–bahahahahaha! And this is why I love this author, people! She’s got her priorities straight)

imaginationWhere do you get your ideas? Is anything in your book based on your own experiences, or is it purely from your imagination?

Mostly from imagination, dreams, or Scripture. A lot of times, my stories draw from a “what if” question. “What if” everyone knew the day they’d die? “What if” every wish came true? “What if”…

 Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Nope. There are scenes that are harder to write than others, but I rarely go into a story without knowing where it’s supposed to go. I don’t have time for writer’s block. 😉 In this, I count myself very lucky because I know a lot of writers who struggle with it.

Can you tell us about your challenges (if any) in getting your first book published?

Frankly, I had my “publishing story” handed to me on a silver platter. The only rejection letter I received came the same day I received the offer of a contract from my top publisher.

The hardest challenge was continuing to write and better my craft, really. It’s crucial that we apply what we learn as we receive edits or read craft books. Writing is hard! But worth it. [grin]

What stories are you currently working on?

I’m writing book two in the Out of Time Series and the first rough draft is done! After this series, I have some pretty cool ideas (I think.) A portal fantasy, another dystopian, an apocalyptic-type of idea. I need to learn to write faster.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Go to a writer’s conference! This is the biggest piece of advice I could give anyone who wants to grow in his or her writing craft. I know a lot of writers are introverts and that writing conferences can seem expensive or intimidating, but it’s the next step. Take it. Be brave!

How can we discover more about your book?

Read it! Oh, I mean, you can find read about it on my website or Amazon. Most of my updates go through Facebook and my newsletter. I’m also on Goodreads for all you Goodreads fans out there.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for reading. I hope that, instead of escapism, my books inspire you to live more fully. Remember, life demands pursuit, and God’s given us the perfect amount of time with which to catch it.

Thanks, Nadine, for sharing your amazing journey with us and for giving the literary world such a gem as “A Time to Die.” And if Nadine were still here, I imagine she’d give a resounding “Welks!” ^_^ You’ll understand when you read the book. 

Catch up with Nadine and buy “A Time to Die” in paperback and ebook today. You will NOT be sorry!

http://www.amazon.com/Time-Die-Out-Book/dp/1621840298/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414010106&sr=8-1&keywords=a+time+to+die+nadine 

 

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

A GIF from Me to You…

Published October 19, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Get it? Because they’re gifs, but close to gifts. . . Never mind. 

Anywho, the Chasing Shadows Twitter Release Party yesterday went so quickly (I barely kept up with my replies!) that I didn’t get to use all the fun and emotional gifs that I had planned. So I figured I’d share them with you and tell you what sort of question I was anticipating to use them for. And you can check out my replies and answers on my Twitter page @TownsendTales. Enjoy!

How do you prep for an afternoon of writing: 

I get myself psyched for “Author Mode”

The 40 Greatest Dog GIFs Of All Time

Yay!

Audrey

So Relatable - Funny GIFs, Relatable GIFs & Quotes

this gif. hahahaha.

Do you regret killing off any of your characters in “Chasing Shadows”?

Short answer: No. They had it coming or it served a purpose.

WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS IN YOUR FANDOM

[gif]

Although there IS one character that I want to be in Book III that is, at the present time, deceased in some fashion. I can fix that!

gif

Explain your reaction when your fictional couple gets together:

GIF.

What about when your favorite character dies?

Thanks for bringing up that difficult memory.

Zach Roerig

What are your feelings towards people who don’t enjoy reading:

If only I could send this gif to someone when they get on my nerves. Loki is 1000000‰done

MINION!!! Gif

Favorite snacking and brain food for inspiration when writing?

Coffee and chocolate.

coffee

Have you ever tried sushi for brain food? People say it’s–

No. -_- I’ve tried it and, well:

Best gif in the worllddddd

Explain your reaction each time you finish writing a story:

minions gif

tom

Use one gif or picture to describe yourself:

cookies

Add “Chasing Shadows” and review on Goodreads:

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

Buy the paperback or ebook at B&N and Amazon:

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

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