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NaNo Prep Time

Published October 21, 2017 by Ashley Townsend

 

writer

Can you believe it’s almost November? o.0 That means NaNoWriMo is coming up in less than two weeks. It also happens to begin the same day I consider to be the start of the Christmas season, and I don’t even mind dodging the angry fruit you pre-Christmas haters want to throw at me. I’ll make Christmas fruitcake from it. ^_~

A lot of prep-work goes into the month of October to make sure that I stay focused on my project. It isn’t always easy, so aside from the usual tactics—like limiting social media, upping caffeine abuse, etc.—I’ve introduced several other helpful tricks into my October planning. They help to maintain my sanity and allow me to be prepared for NaNo so I’m not scrambling at the eleventh hour to accomplish last minute tasks.

The Hobbit Hole

I try to cram as many social engagements and catch-up phone calls with friends into October because I will basically be a hermit starting November 1st. Social calls may resume on December 1st, and please bring coffee to the creature with the blood-shot eyes and the hands that phantom-type words onto an invisible keyboard.

tom and jerry sleepy

Writing Inspiration Playlist

Whatever is on this playlist basically becomes the only music I listen to during November. Although it keeps you in the write mindset *laughs hysterically at vague joke*, listening to the same music nonstop for 30 days can make you want to turn on all the fans, have the popcorn maker going, and crank a blow-dryer on high to drown out the same loop of songs. Since these noisy distractions can be counter-productive—and send your energy bill skyrocketing—I make sure to have variation on my playlist and create it before November begins. Don’t waste time scrambling to design a playlist late in the game; save yourself the trouble and do it beforehand so you can dive into your story Nov. 1st with the perfect background inspiration guiding your fingers.

old piano

Goodies on my playlist:

~ “Meet Me in the Woods” by Lord Huron

~ “Running if You Call My Name” by Haim

~ “All We Ever Knew” by The Head and the Heart

~ “Dreamers” by Oh Gravity (thanks to Katie Grace leading me onto it!)

~ Pride and Prejudice soundtrack

Limit Your Social Media

It’s a given, but as much as I love chatting with friends online or sharing photos of books on Instagram (see what I’m reading here), I can’t let myself fall into the social media rabbit hole during NaNo. I’ve made the mistake of spending more time chatting about my manuscript progress than actually writing it, or adding to my novel board on Pinterest.

Ways to stave off the decent into the rabbit hole:

~Prepare blog posts beforehand. It’s a lot of work, but you don’t want to stress blogging deadlines while trying to nail your word count. You can always fine-tune them later!

~Plot, plot, plot. Now, you know I’m a plotting-pantser and can’t stand to box myself in, but having a good idea of sequencing and character development for your 50,000 words gives you a goal to hit and helps to keep your focus to stave off the call of the web.

~Have a cache of photos on your phone to post on Instagram the days when there just isn’t time to stage a book tower.

~Create templates for social media posts on FB and Twitter, and consider having pics selected on Pinterest to add text from your MS to as you go along (use a formatter like PicMonkey). I have a few that I’m considering using next month that you can check out on my Jungle Princess Pinterest board

Creative Detox

Although it’s incredibly important to stay on-task and in the writing mindset during November, you can’t spend every single moment at your computer. Instead of losing your head, try to find activities that allow you to take a mental break while still encouraging your creativity.

reading

Ways to keep your sanity while maintaining your creative mindset:

~Go on a walk to clear your head and think about your story. Your brain will get a cramp if you don’t give it some fresh air!

~Take a nap listening to your writing playlist, or paste a chapter of your work in progress into a text-audio reader (like AlReader or NaturalReader). You can rest those tired eyes and get in some extra editing by hearing your writing out loud.

~If you want to escape into a book or film, do it! Treat yourself after a hard-fought day of writing to a mental getaway, but consider entertainment that is about writers or books, or even ones that just generally put you in a happy mental place so you can return to your manuscript creatively recharged and inspired. I’ll have a post up soon with some recommendations for my favorite writing-centered entertainment.

Now that the prep-work is set and the playlists have been created, it’s time for the most important part of NaNo: Go write that novel!

writing

 

 

 

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Only 3 Days Left to Enter!

Published October 13, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

There are only 3 days left to enter the Chasing Shadows Rafflecopter Giveaway and earn entries for the social media prizes! (enter here) I’ve never done a Rafflecopter before, and so I was amazed at how many of you entered. I was also seriously flummoxed (word of the day that I’m pretty sure I’m using improperly–thanks, Dictionary app! ^_^) and excited over how much attention #TeamHood and #ChasingShadowsBook are getting on Pinterest and Twitter. You guys are seriously the best!  Mwah! Keep entering the Rafflecopter to win the Grand Prize and share the link around for your friends to enter, too.

You can use the tweets below during the week until this Friday, Oct 16th, at 11:59pm (PST) to spread word about the grand prize giveaway. Each tweet, share, and mention that leads back to me containing #TeamHood earns you one entry toward the 2 social media prizes (gift cards, books, ebooks, book swag, and more!). So keep sharing and entering the Rafflecopter until Friday, and stop by this weekend to see if your name is announced as one of 3 winners for the Chasing Shadows 1-Year Celebration!

RT! Enter to   &       

swag

RT! Ends 10-16. Enter below to win:       

RT to earn entries into the @TownsendTales

Ends Oct 16! Use & enter to win free @TownsendTales

Well, That was Fun!

Published October 7, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

Thanks to everyone who made the Chasing Shadows 1-Year Celebration my most successful day EVER! Huzzah!

success

We hit an all-time high for total views, you guys were blowing up social media with #TeamHood & #ChasingShadowsBook, and I could not believe how many entries we hit for the Rafflecopter (enter here every day through Oct 16!). You guys are amazing! 

"I love you," (wink) says Dean O'Gorman. (gif) REQUIRED DAILY VIEWING for shy people. Don't forget to hear his Kiwi accent in your head.

Yeah, Kates, this one is for you!

Also, the party and celebration spurred some of you to start creating fan art for the trilogy, and let me tell you, I am loving the gorgeous images that have been pouring in on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. I pinned everything to my Rising Shadows Trilogy board for you to check out, which is slowly being re-created with the help of fans. It still pains me that Pinterest deleted years of work and inspiration from the original board at random *barf face, then quickly recovers*, but your support has been awesome! #HugglesForMyHooders!!! 

huggle

Okay, so because my Hooders are just plain ol’ spectacular, I’ve decided to make Fridays #FanArtFriday. If you follow my Facebook page, you can find an entire album that I created for the fan art that started pouring in during the celebration (click here to see the album!), but a new piece—or two or three—will be released here every Friday during October in celebration of Chasing Shadows’ birth month. And who knows? Maybe there will be some fan art for Defying Shadows soon and another sneak-peak during the month.

gif

 

Word to the wise: Creating your own fan art for any of the books in the series is worth 2x the points toward the social media prizes, which will increase your odds of winning. Yippee! The images you create or alter can include direct quotes from Rising Shadows, Chasing Shadows, or the excerpt you saw from Defying Shadows, famous quotes that you feel are appropriate for the series, or just images that you splice and create inspired by the trilogy. Just tag me on Twitter or Pinterest @TownsendTales and use #TeamHood, and if you want, add #ChasingShadowsBook #CSBook. You can even include a link to the Rafflecopter to help people enter the Grand Prize! http://bit.ly/1Lizfzt

So be sure to keep visiting each day, sharing, and #TeamHood -ing it up on social media! And I’m sure I’ll see you back here this week for #FanArtFriday. While you’re here, you might as well just enter again to win some free stuff. Sound good? I thought so!

Only 9 days left to enter to win the Rafflectoper (click here to enter!). You can earn entries into the Grand Prize and social media prizes every day until Friday, October 16th. I’ll announce the winners here and on social media that weekend, so be sure to check back to see if you’ve won. Good luck, Hooders! And keep #TeamHood -ing it up! ^_^

 

Goodreads Event Created

Published October 1, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

I just created the Chasing Shadows 1-Year celebration on Goodreads for people to join! (I have no idea why I haven’t thought to add it for previous events) I sent out invites to all my Goodreads friends, but anyone can join by following the link below, and I think you should be able to invite your friends, as well, or at least share the link with them (if you share via a blog post, give me a pingback or email me the link at ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com). The celebration has been getting tons of attention on social media, especially Twitter and Pinterest. I think I have a feeling who the Most Social Hooder Grand Prize is going to be, but keep using #TeamHood and tagging @TownsendTales on social media to gain entries toward both prizes (re-blogging this post counts! Just leave the link and your name in the comments below). And stop by here on October 4th for the grand celebration kick-off and to enter the Rafflectoper, which you can enter every day until October 16th.

Until next time, Team Hood!

https://www.goodreads.com/event/show/973714-chasing-shadows-1-year-celebration-giveaway

1-Year Celebration Giveaway Details

Published September 24, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

After much deliberation and some serious use of the ol’ noggin (and also picking my sisters’ brains), I pulled together all of the prize details and entry rules for the Chasing Shadows 1-Year Celebration, which begins Sunday, October 4th, 2015. I extended the timeframe (the 4th to the 16th of Oct.) to give people more time to earn entries, but don’t forget to stop by on that Sunday when it begins, because I’ll be posting behind the scenes info about the series, sharing my favorite quotes from Chasing Shadows, and giving special glimpses Defying Shadows *squeal of delight*. I’m also adding a Rafflecopter for the Chasing Shadows Grand Prize and switching up the two social media prizes, as well—all of the details and conditions are below. And don’t forget that you will earn entries toward the Most Social Hooder Grand Prize by sharing about the celebration on social media. We want as many people as possible to have the chance to enter!

Tag @TownsendTales

Use #TeamHood

       #ChasingShadowsBook           

       #CSBook

All 3 winners will be announced on here, Twitter, and Facebook on Sunday, October 18th, 2015. If your name is announced, you must email me at ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com within 72 hours of announcement to claim your prize package, otherwise a different winner will be selected.

Rafflecopter Grand Prize:

1 (one) entrant will receive the Chasing Shadows Grand prize from the Rafflecopter giveaway.

Package details:

            —1 signed paperback copy of Chasing Shadows

            —1 $20 Amazon e-gift card

            —goodies & book swag

            —a never before seen sneak peak at Defying Shadows

            —a special message from me!

Rafflecopter goes live October 4th (Sunday). You can enter each day until it closes at 11:59pm (PST) on Friday, October 16th.

Most Social Hooder Grand Prize:

The Hooder who shares and has the most mentions of the giveaway celebration on social media will be selected. 1 (one) winner will be chosen for this prize after all entries are counted.

Package details:

            —1 signed paperback copy of Chasing Shadows

            —your choice of 1 (one) $10 Amazon OR $10 Barnes & Noble e-gift card

Begin earning entries now through October 16th (11:59pm PST)!

TeamHood Winner:

1 (one) winner will be randomly selected. Your odds increase the more you share/reblog and mention the giveaway using #TeamHood.

Package details:

            — 1 ebook copy of Chasing Shadows

            —your choice of 1 (one) $5 Amazon or Barnes & Noble e-gift card

Begin earning entries now through October 16th (11:59pm PST)!

Social media:

Let’s get this party started by letting people know about it before it begins Oct. 4th! You’ll earn one entry toward the social media prizes each time you mention the giveaway celebration online. To receive credit, tag @TownsendTales and use #TeamHood #ChasingShadowsBook and #CSBook.

Blogging:

You can also earn entries toward the social media prizes by creating posts about the giveaway celebration and reblogging posts from friends and myself that contain #TeamHood, starting now through the end of the celebration on October 16th at 11:59pm (PST). Each fresh or reblogged post earns one entry. Make sure that you leave you first name, last initial, and social media handle (if applicable) in the comments section on my blog, either on the post you reblogged or any of my posts that contain #TeamHood (when you create your own or reblog from somewhere else). If I don’t know who you are, I won’t know to combine your entries!

Note: Liking doesn’t count toward bonus entries—you must reblog directly from www.ashley-townsend.com or from someone else who blogged about it, or you can create your own eligible entry. Posts that contain #TeamHood anywhere in the text and link back to the giveaway are eligible.

Conditions: All entrants must live within the continental United States (no Alaska or Hawaii residents—sorry!). Social media prizes are open to all ages, but you must be 13 and older to participate in the Rafflecopter Grand Prize.

Giveaway? Why, yes, please!

Published September 22, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

The best part of my birthday being a week from Saturday is that I know the next day (Oct 4) Chasing Shadows turns 1-year-old!
wait

excited

Make sure to stop by here, Twitter, my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ashleytownsend.author) over the next week and a half for updates on the 1 Year Palooza Celebration I’ll be having that Sunday (again, Oct 4–PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDARS!!!), where you might just win free copies of Chasing Shadows and swag and ebooks and special glimpses Defying Shadows that NO ONE has seen yet and *sucks in a deep breath* a secret behind the scenes message from me and bonus goodies and so much more!

what

Also, there are prizes (and a grand prize) for my team of Hooders who help to promote the event on social media and their blogs (I can keep track when you share my blog posts, but if you do a fresh post yourself, be sure to email the link to me at ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com so you get credit). Starting today, earn brownie points by retweeting my posts about the event that have #TeamHood on them, tagging me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (@TownsendTales) and using #‎ChasingShadowsBook‬ ‪#‎CSBook‬ #TeamHood (especially this one, because it’s adorable) to spread the word about the giveaways and celebration on the 4th. Each time you share/retweet, tag me, and use these hashtags, it’ll earn you one more entry into the social media contest. There are 2 social media prizes (grand and a runner-up, both randomly selected, so having those extra entries helps) and also a prize for the giveaway I’ll be doing on Chasing Shadows’ birthday. You’ll have all the details, prize packages, and contest rules on Thursday, so stay tuned! Winners will be announce Friday, October 9, 2015.
Or if you’re an impatient book lover like me and just need it now, I also pasted the Amazon link to CS below. You’re welcome in advance. ^_~

CHASING SHADOWS IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!!!

Published October 5, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

You heard it here first: “Chasing Shadows” EXISTS! That’s right, my second novel in the Rising Shadows Trilogy is now available for purchase. I got on Amazon today, and it had just popped up. My exact reaction:

15 Reasons We Wish We Had Minions

Minions II

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Can I just say that getting this out 2 days after my 23rd birthday is pretty much the best gift in the history of the universe? Yippee!

This is my most favorite story I’ve ever written, and I cannot even express how overjoyed, excited, and elated I am to be able to FINALLY share it with you all. Well, perhaps it can be expressed in minion gifs, but then again, what can’t? The ebook just became available today at 

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

Be sure to share the links to the ebook and paperback on whatever social media you like or in person. Just use #ChasingShadowsBook when tweeting! The paperback will be out for sale on Amazon in the next week or ten days. Caaaaan’t. Breeeeaaaathe! Are you as excited to hold this story in your hands and sniff its ink (not in a creepy way) as I am? 

15 Reasons We Wish We Had Minions - #8 They are great with kids.

This week is a death crunch for time with a ridiculous amount of schoolwork, so time is of the essence. . . Hmm. Falls in line with the time travel theme of “Chasing Shadows,” so okay! 😉 But seriously. Once Friday arrives–that blessed, blessed day!–then I can bombard you with links and updates. Until, then, I have to make it a teensy bit shorter than I would like. Boo. Just know, I’m celebrating like this right now:

minions

15 Reasons We Wish We Had Minions

Despicable Mal

 Anyway, I have decided that each week I’ll post fun snippets for you guys about the book and the not-so-everyday life of an author–character profiles, hilarious and heart-warming character interviews, links for the book, interviews and reviews, what inspired it, the process behind it, fun pics. Everything! It’ll take several weeks to give you the inside scoop to the goopy goodness that is the inside of the mind that composed “Chasing Shadows,” but I’m so excited to get started (check out the bottom of today’s post)! And keep checking back every day this week, and forever, if you like, for the link to buy the paperback of “Chasing Shadows”! And be sure to check at your local bookstore and Barnes and Noble for it and a special “surprise” I’ve put inside; I have every intention of signing and putting a secret message in some copies….. that I may or may not find once they’ve reached the bookstore. But it’s not defacement if I technically created it, is it? ^_~

And I know that my Will Taylor is pretty much the dreamiest, most determined and honorable and protective and awesome guy in the fictional world and that he does THIS to everyone who reads about him

excited

But seriously, ladies, don’t be fighting over my Will Taylor; I created plenty of him to go around. And for those of you who aren’t attracted to fictional, tall, gorgeous livery-owning-do-gooders with a heart of gold who are strong and protective and tender and caring and a secret vigilante and …… Actually, now that I think about it, you should probably get something checked if you aren’t interested. BUT if you like a little competition, I also created a handsome Spaniard with you all in mind. Voila! Feel free to duke it out for Damien, ladies!  

Minions are skilled at conflict resolution. | 15 Reasons We Wish We Had Minions

Buy the book on Amazon

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

Add the book to your Goodreads shelves 

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

Become a fan on Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5839773.Ashley_Townsend

Follow my wacky woodles on Twitter (use #ChasingShadowsBook when tweeting!)

https://twitter.com/TownsendTales

Like me on Facebook (sounds so funny when I say it like that!)

https://www.facebook.com/ashleytownsend.author

Follow the inspiration board for the trilogy on Pinterest

http://www.pinterest.com/townsendtales

Okay, so today is the kickoff of the awesomeness and crazy escapades that will take place over the next several weeks to celebrate the release of “Chasing Shadows.” Today you get a peek at what Serimone is like. The illustrious illustrator Roan Carter took my haphazard doodles of the town of Serimone and the countryside and turned it into this gorgeous map of my little fantasy land. Enjoy!

Map-Final

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