Sequel

All posts tagged Sequel

Chasing Shadows Turns 2 … AND I MISS IT???

Published October 6, 2016 by Ashley Townsend

There comes a time in every writer’s life where they become “that” writer—the one who forgets to put on shoes before going out or wears pajamas to church, who doesn’t remember to pick up Grandma from the airport and forgets that The Flash is returning. *face palm* And then the common, Did I brush my teeth today? We don’t like to admit it, because those writers should have a better grasp on things, but all these semi-disasters can and do happen because our heads sometimes get a teensy bit jumbled with all the crazy thoughts and plotting going on up there. Between author signings, my birthday, a coworker quitting and taking on extra shifts at the office, and trying to reach a deadline for my WIP Jungle Princess, I may or may not have forgotten that my beloved middle child, Chasing Shadows, turned TWO this past Tuesday. Excuse me while I hide in shame….

oops

It was a hard-fought battle to get Chasing Shadows out there in the world because of time constraints, publishing issues, and trying to find a marketing plan that worked for a busy student/office manager. So it was a gift worth squealing over when the second book in the Rising Shadows Trilogy released on October 4th, just a day after my own birthday. Raise a glass to help me celebrate a story that made me accidentally fall in love with a character who wasn’t Will Taylor (Damien … *le sigh*) and that caused me to realize caffeine addiction isn’t “technically” an addiction if you don’t drink after 4pm. 

chasing-shadows

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All Our Yesterdays

Published November 7, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

13514612

 

I finished “All Our Yesterdays” by Cristin Terrill a few weeks ago and forgot to post my review on here (you can find it on my Goodreads, as well). But when a book is THIS awesome, I have to spread the word about it, however delayed it may be. 

THIS BOOK BLEW MY MIND! It was the most gripping story I have read in a long time, and I felt a bond with each character. From the very first page to the last, the story is non-stop action and intrigue. I promise not to spoil the story for you, because there are plenty of plot twists, but every single character–past, present, and future–pull you in as a reader; you cannot help but feel drawn to them, and their actions and the reasons behind who they are make them seem incredibly real. I will admit that Marina and her friends bothered me a little at first, but her character growth was so incredible and realistic for who she was that I ended up truly caring for her.

As a fellow time travel author, I really appreciated–and loved!–Terrill’s take on the subject. It wasn’t too far-fetched or complicated for the reader to follow, but she still managed to throw in loopholes and scientific elements that added complexity to the story and forced you to pay attention, while also making the entire notion seem very real and possible. A few times I caught myself nodding and thinking, “Whoah, this could have already happened!”

There was nothing I didn’t like about the book!

The relationships are so different and have so many layers (Marina and James, Em and Finn), and Finn stole my heart in twelve different lifetimes! I also loved the younger characters, and Em, though rough around the edges, felt so real to me in her actions and thoughts, her fears and desires. I was in tears the last thirty pages, and my heart was literally clenched in dread. I bawled over the last chapter, but in such a good, sad way. Then I went into my sister’s room clutching the book to my chest with my red eyes, and she just nodded sympathetically, because she knew. BUT DO NOT LET THAT KEEP YOU FROM THIS STORY! It ends beautifully and perfectly, but I had to allow myself time to mourn the loss of someone’s future. The fact that this author forced me to love so many characters, even those who thrived in this life and those who might cease to exist, makes her an A in my book! I was a little surprised when I discovered that a sequel to “All Our Yesterdays” will be coming out soon, but I trust Terrill with my book-loving heart. Bring it on, girl!

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.

Creative Control.

Published January 15, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

I don’t know about you, but I have always loved creative writing—thus why I became an author!—especially since it was the one thing that I had total control over as a kid. Even as I grew older, the biggest draw to writing was being able to create without any outside influence, which was also part of the reason why I kept most of my work a secret for so long. Then when Kirkdale Press picked up “Rising Shadows,” I knew I would need a lot of outside help—this was no longer something that I could just do on my own. However, it was actually very encouraging and insightful to bring others into the mix, getting their opinions as readers to help edit and shape the book into something more than what my eighteen-year-old hands could manage. But it was still mine. Hate to make a Lord of the Rings reference, but I was a little like Gollum (if that’s even how you spell it), all “My precious! My precious!” Maybe not that creepy, and I have more hair on my head, and I don’t have a hump, but I see now that that’s where my head was at.

Anyway, as I write the sequel, I’ve been looking for that same inspiration and encouragement. But about halfway through the story, I kind of got stumped. I mean, I knew exactly how I wanted it to end and a few scenes in between that would fill in the gaps. But I was stuck at one point in the writing process, trapped in this boring hole of filler I had dug myself into. I honestly wasn’t used to getting creatively stuck, since I had written “Rising Shadows” on a whim and managed never to write myself into a total dead-end. Hoping for the best and knowing I had to try, I attempted to force myself out of the pit of a storyline that was going nowhere, having no way to get to this fantastically dramatic and fascinating ending that I had envisioned for several months. But it felt forced, and I knew I was getting nowhere.

Maybe this is just me, but have you ever tried to get God on your terms and fit him into your schedule? Guilty! So I kind of told God, “Hey, I’ll ‘give’ this story up to you.” Months later, I realized that under the guise of letting God inspire me, what I was really thinking was, “I’m going to let you touch the corner of this page, but I still want to hold it, and if you could inspire me and give me the perfect segue between scenes while still maintaining the guidelines I’ve already established and taken the time to plot out, that would be super.” I honestly was not aware of how hard I was still clinging to and relying on my own mind to get me through, because if God took total control, then I would no longer be in the one holding the reins—what if He completely messed it up? (I know, I know. Silly thought) I plucked along for a few more weeks, waiting for God’s “inspiration” that would get this sequel on the best-seller list, earn me international fame in the literary community, get me the rights to the movies they want to turn the trilogy into, etc. Because I was going to make it on my terms. . . . Wow. Reading that makes me realize how ridiculous my assumptions were, and, well, “me, me, me.”

Epiphany time! After writing and rewriting the same scene over and over and still managing to get absolutely nowhere, I paused in my writing and suddenly thought of a verse I hadn’t considered in a while: “It is better to trust in God than to put your confidence in man.” I actually remember sighing and rolling my eyes at myself as I thought of verse eight of Psalm 118, knowing that God was very gently giving me a hint (thank goodness He does it gently and repeatedly, because I can be a little oblivious and headstrong sometimes). Though I sort of begrudgingly told God in that moment that I could no longer do this on my own and really needed His inspiration, my heart was in the right place, and I was finally ready to let go. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who has trouble letting go and letting God take control, even when we know He’ll be gentle. But I took a deep breath, walked away from my laptop, made a cup of Joe, and returned to the writing board more clear-headed than I had been in weeks. As hard as it was for me, I chose to scrap that scene and start afresh, suddenly inspired with a totally new idea for the next two, four, and then twelve scenes. I wasn’t inspired all at once; some came on pretty gradually or built upon the others, and sometimes I had to exercise faith and walk away for a few days to clear my head. But I am ridiculously excited to tell you that the sequel to “Rising Shadows” has been completely plotted out and is nearly twice as large and inspired as Book 1! I’ve been trying not to jump ahead, but there have been some scenes that have come up so suddenly that I had to write a little something in the moment of inspiration. My Word doc kind of looks like a completed story that ends in a bunch of bold, italics, highlights, arrows, notes, and random scenes that I’ve arranged in a timeline. Haha. But to me it’s beautiful and makes total sense. Even though I loved working on “Rising Shadows,” I have been blown away with entertainment and excitement while writing the sequel. And now that I’ve let go, I have a much clearer picture of the special plan that God had in mind all along for this story, and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I am LOVING writing it, which is also part of the reason why I’ve been a little neglectful to this blog. *grins sheepishly*  

Oh! And my amazing friends completed the “Rising Shadows” book trailer. I just couldn’t wait to share it, so hopefully it comes through! Check out the trailer and the book, and always, always feel free to contact me with your thoughts on the series. This is as much yours as it is mine!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNIzJ5OTul8&feature=youtu.be

A Glimpse of Sequel Sounds …

Published September 11, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

So, you all know how much I love music and enjoy creating playlists. Well, ta-da! Here’s a sneak peak at the playlist for the sequel to Rising Shadows. This is just a little taste of the ridiculous number of songs that I’m sorting through until I find the perfect ones for the sequel. It has been so much fun writing the book while selecting music for the playlist, because most of these songs have actually inspired scenes and feelings that I hadn’t yet written in or imagined. These are my favorite songs so far that I listen to constantly, and I specially selected these to share because each one inspired something in the book. Music addicts like me honestly have to add these to their iPods or get them on YouTube, just so they can get a feel for the tone of the next book. I’ll also be listening to each song as I write about them, and I recommend that you pull them up and listen while you read to get the full effect. Enjoy!

“Heavy in Your Arms” – Florence and the Machine

            My first possible-scene-obsession-song of the summer. My magical music guru, Katie, led me onto this sweet little morsel. She was listening to it while I was working on the playlist for Rising Shadows and thought the lyric about “the one who creeps in corridors” would be perfect for the Shadow. Then we spent the better part of an hour shooting ideas for the scene back and forth, throwing out characters ideas, and playing with the symbolism for the scene versus the song literally directing it. Like the rest of the book, I already have it written out in my head, but even Katie has no idea what I’m actually going to do with it.

“Give Me Love” – Ed Sheeran

            Ohmysweetgoodness! It is going to be a very emotional and intense scene, and you’ll get what I mean when you reach about 3:45 in the song (You can stop after 5:30). My sister Liz turned me onto his “Small Bump” song, and we purchased the rest of the CD days later, where “Give Me Love” became our next blare-in-the-car tune. Like the rest of these songs, this one inspired a certain part of a scene that I already planned on writing, but it definitely added more emotional depth to this particular moment. I am so looking forward to writing this one! I love drama! … In books. Real life, not so much.

 

“World Spins Madly On” – The Weepies

            This song has a really great sound to it—I love the guitar—and it just puts me in one of my very thoughtful, I-must-write! type of moods. When a song inspires me to write or I think it would really fit well with a scene, I become obsessed with it and just leave it on repeat for hours as I play the scene out in my head, trying to match the lyrics or have them affect the tone of the scene. I drove my sister Katie nuts the other day because I listened to it fifteen times in a row, after which she begged me not to make it sixteen. ^__^ This song has a very melancholy sound, which for some reason, I am drawn to when writing. Little spoiler: This is from Sarah’s perspective just after someone close to her dies … And that’s all I can say. Sorry, it’s just a tormenting taste.    

“The Shadow Proves the Sunshine” – Switchfoot

             I have been a Switchfoot fan for years, and when I heard this song just before the release of Rising Shadows, I knew I had to write something into the second book where this was the “theme” song (it appears fairly quick after “World Spins Madly On”). Every time I listen to this song, I immediately think of Will (sigh) and have this really melancholy moment with him. Plus, this track has the word “shadow” in the title. I mean, come on; I had to add it. I have not typed out this scene yet, but trust me, it is completely written in my head—drafted, revised, and spell checked!—and I cannot wait to be able to finally get this scene down on paper.

“Awake My Soul” – Mumford and Sons

            My older sister Elizabeth introduced me to this one—thank you, thank you, thank you!—and I have added it to just about every playlist on my iPod so I’m never without it. “How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes, I struggle to find any truth in your lies … But my weakness I feel I must finally show.” When I heard these lyrics, I immediately pictured a moment between Will and Sarah; they have this fantastic draw to each other, but they also fight it constantly—Sarah, because she knows she can’t stay in the twelfth century, and Will, because he’s afraid to let anyone in. There’s also the fact that the song talks about truth and trust, which has always been a theme in their relationship, and then the line about weakness completely describes Will opening up to her. Ah. Don’t you just love it when a song can sum up your first book in three and a half minutes?    

“Demons” – Imagine Dragons

            I already have one of their songs, but when I heard “Demons” on a movie trailer, I purchased their new CD without listening to the rest of it. Not recommended, but this time it actually turned out really well! I dedicate this entire song to Will, especially for the sequel. Once again, I got this song three days ago and have listened to it probably twenty or more times.  

More scene-inspiring music for the sequel!

“Winterlove” – Parachute

“Eyes Wide Open” – Gotye

“I Won’t Give Up” – Jason Mraz

“Twenty Years” – Augustana

“Hear You Me” – Jimmy Eat World

“Rivers and Road” – The Head and the Heart

“No One Ever Taught Us” – Jason Reeves

“Always” – Switchfoot

“John Wayne” – Sons of Sylvia

 

The Drama in Writing

Published August 17, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

Some people might think that being an author is one of those easy jobs—sit on your backside whilst fabricating stories to entertain your readers. But there are so many issues that come along with a career in writing that no one ever really thinks of. I decided that it’s my job to tell you just how “hard” my life is because I got to live my dream of being an author.

Okay, so first off, being an author makes my life very difficult at times. This trauma has nothing to do with deadlines or even writing the stories, but no one ever explained how awful it is write the sequel to a book and not be able to share it with my readers! I am simply dying to give you a little taste of what I’ve been working on after “Rising Shadows.” I want to ask your opinions about the plot, share the profiles of the new characters, spill the beans about where I want “The Shadow” trilogy to go, shock you with who’s going to end up dead in the sequel, explain the repercussions of time travel and how I’m introducing new legends, and maybe, possibly whisper about what will happen to Will and Sarah because of it. Every time a new idea or scene pops into my head or I spend hours writing plots and scenes that surprise even me, I immediately want to share it with my readers and friends to get their opinions. But, alas, I cannot spoil too much as of yet. I told you my life is difficult. *sighs*

Issue #2: Life is a story to me. Everything I see, touch, and experience are usually a little more dramatized in my head and always seem to come out in my stories. When I get excited over something, I wonder how a character might respond to it—would they share in my joy and want to join me? Sit in the background and long to experience life? Or if I can’t fix something or don’t have an answer to it, I want to see if my characters can figure it out, and sometimes we help each other along; I offer some advice and give a little push, and then see where they go and what they discover. Also, my writing-inclined mind keeps me from just falling asleep at night. Generally, that’s my “quiet time” where I finish out a scene in my head that I was writing earlier and develop new characters and ideas. Sometimes I even just make up a simple scene and characters that I play with until I have something. I would probably fall asleep much faster if I just closed my eyes and shut off my thinking machine, but what fun is that? I’ve done this ever since I was little, and though it hasn’t necessarily mellowed out in the passing years, it has led to some pretty entertaining stories and amazing new discoveries.    

……. Okay, so maybe these really aren’t even issues, per say, and they may, actually, be good things because it means I’m excited about these current projects and working on new ones for you guys … Oh. Then does that mean there aren’t any problems with being an author? Oh, my! What a revelation! I take back what I said—I love my life. ^__^ AND I did want to give you just a little taste of what I’ve been working on and get your opinions on a little something I’m doing with the sequel to “Rising Shadows.” Please, please, please take the poll below and share it with your friends, regardless of whether or not they’ve actually read “Rising Shadows.” I am so curious to see what readers are looking for, and I will make sure to add this newest poll to the “Polls” page on the top left of my site. Feel free to take it as many time as you like and leave a comment!

CURRENT GIVEAWAY!!!

Kirkdale Press and Vyrso are giving away a Nexus 7 tablet and 27 free ebooks (including mine!) Enter here: http://vyr.so/N0n9iI

 

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 www.kirkdalepress.com

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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