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Plugging Along—NaNo Update

Published November 17, 2017 by Ashley Townsend

It’s time for an update on NaNo!!

Don’t you love how, in my last post, I was just talking about how NaNoWriMo was coming and that it’s important to be prepared and that you should have a bunch of posts scheduled and that you shouldn’t have run-on sentences and should definitely use commas. *takes a breath* But then you’re halfway through the month of chaos and emerge from your walking-slumber to find that WordPress hates you and didn’t publish the aforementioned posts.

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Oh, well, at least you’ll see them at some point! In the meantime, let me give you a quick update on the goings-on so far this month.

We’re over the hump and are moving into the home stretch. Can you believe it? For me, the past two weeks have been spent prepping for Thanksgiving and CHRISTMAS, getting ready for upcoming signing events I have scheduled (one this weekend! Details below), planning for out of state friends to stay for Thanksgiving, preparing for holiday parties at the office I work at, and also balancing travel for several conferences next year. Phew! How is writing going for you this NaNo in the midst of the holidays? For me, you ask? Wellllllllllll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Stefan happy face

Do all those periods count as words? Then I have 18. ^_~ Okay, okay, it’s not that bad. All things considered, I’ve had a pretty good November for writing. If you check out my Instagram here, you can find a bunch of images for my current work in progress for NaNo scattered about my feed, and creating those word-images was seriously fun. My favorite and most productive writing times were with my friend Kara Swanson, who is just a machine, guys! Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays—whenever we had the chance—she and I would hop online together and write for hours, sprinting and sharing snippets and writing our hearts out until the night turned into a new day. It was so inspiring and fun, and I highly recommend grabbing a friend and motivating each other to keep going. Everything is more fun with a buddy!

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT:

Now that we’re on the topic of buddies—and partly because I had, like, three cups of coffee today and can’t keep on one topic for long—how would you like to join me this Saturday, November 18th, at 2 p.m.? I’ll be joining a few writers at the Mira Mesa Barnes and Noble in the Westview Parkway shopping center this Saturday for their local author event. For those of you who live in SoCal, come join me for free Rising Shadows goodies, to pick up a copy of your favorite book in the series and have it signed by me, or just to chat. I’ll be getting there early, so stop by and say “hi.” I hope to see you there!

 

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September Wrap-Up: October, Take Me Away

Published October 1, 2017 by Ashley Townsend

october

(Thank you, WordPress, for eating my scheduled post that I stayed up working on until midnight. I appreciate the challenge! *cries softly*)

October has arrived!! That means fall weather for those of us not in Southern California, my birthday in two days *cough, cough*, watching the leaves change, NaNoWriMo prep (I’m not sure whether to feel excited or terrified…), and getting one month closer to CHRISTMAS! I’m not excited about that at all. ^_~

The first half of September was . . . shall we say, a mite stressful? My sisters and I spent all of August apartment hunting and had at last settled on a place. Between the four of us, we were preparing to move, experiencing job changes, going to classes, working full time, and I was trying to find a spare minute to work on Jungle Princess.

not simple

I seriously considered dedicating my sparse free-time to enlisting the professor’s assistance from Rising Shadows or that of the Eleventh Doctor to help me find more hours in the day, or to simply travel back in time so I could learn how to be more efficient. I am soooo ready to dedicate October to writing and to mentally preparing myself (and 1,345 cups of coffee) for NaNo this November. 50,000 words, anyone? Anyone? Maybe this is the year! . . . I said “maybe.”

I honestly cannot remember a single thing that I did this month before the move. Although, random side note, no one needs a gym when you have to walk ¼ mile for your mail everyday. Calves of steel, baby! Anywho, my baby sis, Katie, turned the big 2-1 just after we moved in. I. KNOW! A part of me will always see the spunky toddler with white-blond pigtails and too-big sunglasses entertaining us all with loads of maturity and personality. Then again, she’s always acted like more of an adult than me, so maybe it isn’t too shocking that she’s all growed-up. Haha. 

My phone decided to commit suicide right before an event at Barnes and Noble, tragically taking with it to the phone grave all of my photos, contacts, and promotional posts for the event that I had stored on the phone. I scrambled that morning to try and recover what I could, but alas, Toto was no more. I’m really okay with it, though. 

cry face

The BFest event at the Mira Mesa B&N was fantastic and so much fun! There are few pictures because, you know, NO PHONE. But I jacked a couple from other people that are on my Instagram feed. There was a large turnout for the panel me and Nikki Katz (I already pre-ordered The Midnight Dance!), where we answered fan questions, shared about our writing journeys, and laughed over how many drafts we rewrote and our mutual distaste of editing. My Instagram friend Olivia surprised me by showing up at the signing, and we spent the afternoon chatting about life and getting to know one another. This lovely friend is a writer to look out for!

author pic

Picture courtesy of Jade—thanks, girl!

I did the same BFest event at another Barnes and Noble in San Diego yesterday, and my favorite part of these things is getting to know young readers and aspiring writers. Laila and Jade just made the entire event so memorable, and I loved every one of their questions. Seeing their excitement, talking fandom things, and hearing about their future writing aspirations reminded me of why I picked up a pen in the first place. Ladies, you made me want to come home and immediately sit down and write!

Random Ramblings:

Elizabeth Gaskell turned . . . well, a lady never reveals her age. But her birthday was on september 29th, and one must always cheers the fabulous author who created John Thornton with a cup of tea and by reading a favorite chapter of North and South. I found fabulous music inspiration from Katie Grace’s September Highlights and have listened to “Dreamers” by Oh Gravity nonstop, as well as The Oh Hellos. I love new music obsessions! I’m also joining several October challenges on Instagram (follow me here to see which challenges I’m posting about each day), as well as reading through the Old Testament (#OTOctober) with Nadine Brandes. She has set up a read-through of the Old Testament with no rules—you can join in and take your time reading along with the group. I’ve been reading through the New Testament as well, and going through the Old and New side by side has helped me see so many parallels that I have grazed over before. Shoot me a message with what you discover this month!

What I Read:

I tragically read THREE books in September, but I shan’t cry about it (too much) because the month was insanely busy, and I’m praying that the extra day in October means more reading time.

The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee ***

sheba

I had this book on last month’s list because I had just started it and finished it a few days into September. I enjoyed it for the historical element, and it’s an interesting story, but it just wasn’t one I would get excited to read again. I know Tosca and have read some of her other books. She is such an incredible writer and puts an insane amount of research into her books, and I appreciate that more than I did the characters in this particular story. But don’t let my opinion stop you if you’re interested in Biblical fiction or historical novels set in the Middle East.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell ************************ x infinity

north and south

If you’re wondering what my favorite classic lit novel is, please reference my million star rating (it has to be implied on Goodreads because 5 stars is their max). I can’t praise this story enough! My sisters and I have all read the book and watched the BBC miniseries with Richard Armitage *swoon. Swoon, swoon* too many times to count, and we recommended it for book club last month. It has so much depth and emotion and character development for a novel of its era, and the heart of the story is just lovely. You won’t regret reading this!

Hunted by Megan Spooner ****

hunted

A Beauty and the Beast retelling? Uhh, yes, please! If you saw my August Wrap-Up (and my Instagram the last week), you would have seen that this was on my TBR pile, and I actually got around to reading it. It’s a miracle!! *checks one off, seven take its place* This story was really enjoyable. I liked the twist on the classic fairytale and thought the Beast was a fabulous and layered character. The only reason I gave it 4 stars and not 5 was because Yeva (Beauty) bugged me a bit with her stubbornness and personality in the beginning, and the pacing was a little slow at first. But I liked her much more the second half and will definitely be reading this one again.

My TBR Pile:

Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather

haunting the deep

I saw a Goodreads trailer for this book and almost went right out and bought it because of the Titanic and fantasy vibes, but I held off because of the paranormal element to it. The concept sounds fascinating, but I’m reading cautiously before I buy.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

outlander

I WILL read this . . . someday, and I’m a little noncommittal about it.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

six of crows

I’m in the midst of a buddy read on Instagram hosted by Captain Valour (follow him here) so feel free to read along with us.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

our dark duet

Although I should probably read This Savage Song first, and that’s still on my TBR pile *hangs head*

The Fangirl’s Guide to Navigating Life: COMIC CON!!

Published July 17, 2017 by Ashley Townsend
The Fangirl’s Guide to Navigating Life:
Surviving Comic Con
In case you haven’t noticed all the social media hoopla or cosplay pics galore accosting your social media feed, Comic Con is just around the corner. Let the nerds and fangirls unite!! I did a LOT of research and prep work for my first venture into the Greatest Geekfest in America, but I had no idea what to expect or what I was getting myself into.
Heads up: If you’re wearing an incredibly elaborate Alice in Zombieland dress, make sure the hem won’t be too long so the crowds don’t step on it every five seconds . . . or so you don’t trip on it going up the stairs (true story). As Edna Mode says, “NO CAPES!”
 
Now, years later, I’ve got a few quick tools and tricks under my belt that take some of the guesswork out of SDCC. And if it does become a bit of a headache, there’s aspirin in my survival pack for that. ~_^
Screenshot_2017-07-16-11-53-26-1
 
The survival pack: 
Your CC badge, of course
Camera — no explanation necessary.
Phone and charger
Comfy kicks — anytime you can swap out those cosplay shoes for something comfortable to walk in, do it! Your tired feet will thank you.
Protein bars and water — you won’t always have time to stop for sustenance and need these on hand.
Cool shades/sunnies for waiting outside
Chapstick!!!!!
Gum
Business cards — you’d be surprised at the friends and potential readers you meet in line or on the floor.
Notebook, pen, and Sharpie (autographs and notes).
A watch — time WILL get away from you.
A few random items to bring are bandaids, lotion, aspirin, oil absorbing tissues for your face, safety pins, and double-sided tape for costume repair. Be prepared!
 
Planning your trip:
While most of you probably already have your schedule down, it’s definitely worth downloading the Comic Con app. You can save events to your schedule, signings, and exhibitors to know exactly who will be where, and there are even nifty notifications that let you know when an event is coming up. They also have extra details of the schedule on the Comic Con website that are worth checking out or downloading. And when you get your swag bag the first day, make sure to keep the gigantic events guide they give you. It seems cumbersome, but this shall be your guide for the next four days (or however long you decide to spend in the Fangirls’ Promised Land).
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For locals headed downtown, parking can get crazy expensive in some of the lots (if you can find a space, it’s around $40-$60 for each day), and they block off some of the underground parking during CC. Getting someone to drop you off near Market St. is ideal, but Ubering is awesome if you don’t want to bother with the traffic, and half the locals take the trolley down because it dumps you right in front of the con. If you’re flying in and staying in a hotel downtown, it’s worth the walk to the Convention Center, or you can Uber or take a Lyft. Traffic is usually worst Friday and Saturday, so if you can avoid it these days, it’s definitely worth having these backup plans in mind!
 
I’ll admit I’m no expert, but these small hacks make attending Comic Con a breeze. My biggest recommendation is to not overbook your week with activities and fill every minute. Allow some gaps in your schedule for discovering new things, wandering, shopping, and, of course, taking pics with amazing cosplayers. Speaking of costumes, I plan to have FOUR cosplay changes over the week, so stay tuned on Instagram for pics of the fun and adventures that await. Will I see you there?

Comic-Con Status: CONQUERED!

Published July 15, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

As quite a few of you know, I spent this past weekend at Comic-Con, reveling in my first experience with such a large number of fangirls (like me) and fandoms and freaks (also my people). It was … ah-mazing! I took great pleasure in flashing my “Professional Author” badge Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, fangirled the heck out of that weekend, and endured–with great relish–my sore muscles after carrying loads of free and signed books around the convention center for 3 days. “Pack light,” they said. “Carry nothing heavy,” they said.

Oliver can't show up at the lair 'cause Felicity has already changed the door lock so he won't be able to go in. Oops

Are you crazy? THEY’RE FREE BOOKS!!!! That’s countless hours of free entertainment for myself and whomever I decide to share these pretty morsels of fiction with. Some people just don’t understand the price of fantasy. I didn’t care how early it was (it’s book-time somewhere!) and ignored the fact that I’d been hefting these heavy items around all day. I literally spent three days in the book, novel, and comic area–everyone knew my name by Saturday–and I basically enjoyed three full days of hanging out with fangirls and writers and publishers. It was the best! I’ve never actually experienced that crazy hype over free things, but when Illuminae arcs came out, I was ready to kill, if need be.

This is great! Probably my favorite gif EVER! XD

no matter how sad I am this never fails to make me laugh

I received about 20 free books in all *heaves dreamy sigh* and actually ran into a fan of the Rising Shadows trilogy who recognized me (look, ma! I’m famous!). I got a pic with her, and it was awesome! So, to give you an idea of how amazing this past week was, here are some highlights from Comic-Con:

Meeting/stalking Marie Rutkoski and Renee Ahdieh and getting The Winnter’s Curse and The Wrath and the Dawn signed by the authors. #deadonthefloor And they were so gracious, too!  

Getting to meet Gena Showalter, author of Alice in Zombieland. My dress was inspired by the series’ covers, and Gena and her publicist loved it. I got several pictures with Gena, and her publicist contacted me afterward saying that if I ever wanted one of Gena’ books or a title that hadn’t been released yet, then I just had to let her know . . . Umm, okay!

gena

Getting an advanced reader’s copy of Illuminae by Amie Kauffman (These Broken Stars, with Meagan Spooner) and Jay Kristoff. I had been circling like a hawk all day long, just waiting for the moment they started releasing them because they’re in such limited supply. Score!

I saw a little girl staring at me for five minutes, and so I asked her if she wanted to take a picture together. She was so darling! She said that she and her dad were getting ready to leave, but she hadn’t met a princess yet. I almost cried, she was so sweet, and this costume totally made her day and mine; I felt like a Disney princess!

girl

Befriending a fellow bibliophile, Lisa, in line for Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard. And she’s going to check out the Rising Shadows trilogy! Also, Sarah J. and Susan were hialrious and wacky–loved meeting them!

sarah j

Achieving my lifelong dream of meeting Captain America and Star Lord. Also, Star Lord was a riot and–ahem-very handsome and charming. Just sayin’. ^_~

star lord

captain

Also, having author Kate Elliott think my costume was so amazing that she had to take a picture of me with her book, which meant I got to give her my business card so she could tag me in it–eeeee!

I didn’t get to see Stephen Amell, but I did meet Arrow on Thursday. Just *sigh.* This picture was even posted on the official CW Comic-Con website. o.o Waaaaa?

arrow

Seeing Armie Hammer *sighs* and Henry Cavill *faints* and Garrett Hedlund (aaa-ooo-ga!) and Hugh Jackman (waaa?) and Matt Smith (WHO??) and Douglas Booth (Oh, Romeo) in Hall H for The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Batman Vs. Superman, Pan, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Give it to meeeee!

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys Expected publication: August 18th 2015

And did I mention free books?

books extra books

Aidan Turner with a sock over his business. (gif set.)

New Review for Rising!

Published June 23, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

New review up for “Rising Shadows”! Sarah is also currently reading “Chasing Shadows” right now and will have her review up soon. I’ll keep you posted on when it comes out!

http://sarah-plainandaverage.blogspot.com/2015/06/book-review-rising-shadows.html

And even more pressing news: Ed Sheeran is coming to town tonight, and guess who’s going? Oh, yeah, this gal! ^_^ Just, you know, thinking out loud. 

New Interviews Just Released

Published October 21, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

A couple new interviews have just been released, one with Double Decker Books and the other with Ink Spell Reviews. I loved answering the My Top 10 Fiction Crushes questions from Ink Spell. I’m a fangirl, so that’s one of the most complicated questions to answer, but I love a challenge! Check them out, like, and share around.

Also, my Between the Pages post will still be up Friday this week, but I’ll be on vacation all of next week and so I won’t have a regular post on Halloween night, the 31st. Because, you know, I’ll be on a vacation. I’m very happy about this fact. ^_^ 

SPEAKING of which. For those of you with an Instagram, or if you don’t have an account and have fingers for searching and scrolling, be sure to follow my sister’s Instagram before this weekend. We’ll be turning it into a promotional page for “Chasing Shadows.” My copies of the book are coming today! Gah! Suffering from excruciating joy!

Anyway, I’m taking a couple copies along with me on vacation for all sorts of nonsense. He might (yes, my books are male, like my future fiction husband Will Taylor from “Chasing Shadows”!) go hipster and sip local coffee in a cafe with a pipe and typewriter, use bathroom stalls for making cupcakes, take selfies with tourists, fly off into the sunset,etc. You never know what can happen in the fiction world! So, like I said, follow d_jeans86 on Instagram, and keep an eye out this weekend and all next week for the wacky wonders that we’ll be posting on there. 

Last order(s) of business. 

The 2014 Gold Rush author event at Barnes and Noble with Livia Blackburne, Stephanie Diaz, Bethany Crandell, Tracy Holczer, and Maria Andreu was, in a word: THE-MOST-SPECTACULAR-EVENT-IN-THE-HISTORY-OF-READING-AND-WRITING. Yes, just one word. There was a great turnout, and the authors were hilarious and amazing and took so much time to answer our questions (I asked several-haha). Afterwards, I picked up a copy of Stephanie’s book “Extraction” to have her sign it, and I’m super excited about it. It was also really exciting when Bethany Crandell, a San Diego local, recognized my name, and then the entire group of FIVE successful authors started asking me questions about “Chasing Shadows” and talking about how cool it sounded, and Bethany even wants to get together to discuss the book. *gasp* 80 Uh, okay? Um, YES! Liz, Katie, and I were all in heaven the entire time, and it was so cool for all of us to chat with ladies in the business. That will go down as a highlight of 2014.  

Oh! And for you San Diego natives, you might be seeing “Chasing Shadows” at your local library very soon. That’s right. I’m working right now (today, actually) on getting it into circulation. EEEE! I’d love all your prayers and support for this to work out, because it would be amazing to have it available to the general public and kids who can’t afford to purchase their own copies. Been there, and the library saved my life from becoming book-less. ^_^

Follow DeAnna on Instagram for hilarity and to see what all “Chasing Shadows” is up to:

http://instagram.com/d_jeans86

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

http://doubledeckerbooks.blogspot.com/2014/10/hot-coco-interview-with-author-ashley.html?spref=tw

http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Shadows-Ashley-Townsend-ebook/dp/B00O6VCZVQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1413922294

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