Summer

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Ahoy! Spoilers Ahead!

Published May 16, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

Okay, so this could definitely be considered cheating, but I am DYING to share a little snippet from Book III in the Rising Shadows trilogy!

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Yep, you heard right. I’ve been writing several pages each day, refining as I go, and spent basically all of yesterday working on an imperative, mystery-unraveling scene. I also had the opportunity—at last!—to pen the letters between Cadius and Alexis. . . . There aren’t any major spoilers within the actual letters (as long you’ve read Chasing Shadows), so don’t panic or get too excited.

The "Freaking Out Hard Core" (the BEST pin in history. I cant breathe. this is seriously amazing. Click on the link. NOW.)

… Or get excited—that’s okay, too! But if you are going into your second year of being cold turkey concerning spoilers, then you might want to back out now and wait for the book to release. I’d hate to be the one who set you back.

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That’s right, go ahead. I’ll wait a moment for you to leave…

Flash Cisco Ramon ♥♥♥

Ah, now that we’re all ready for some serious glimpses of the literary future, shall we continue on? 

Ned

Nonsense, poopy pants! (a little shout-out to Ace Ventura) Without further ado:

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!

Sarah ran a tentative finger over the rough, discolored parchment she had found in the hidden compartment. With careful fingers, she removed the uppermost letter from the pile and set the box on the desk. Pausing to listen for the sound of footsteps and hearing only her own rapid breathing, Sarah reverently opened the letter, fingers shaking as she unstuck the seal, broken years before now. The ancient parchment crackled as she unfolded it gently, praying it didn’t disintegrate in her hands. Instinctively, her eyes roved the small letter quickly, catching glimpses of words that led her to believe it was a love letter, but her mouth swung open when she saw Cadius’ signature at the bottom.

We are nearing the end. You expressed your concern of my plans, but I assure you that I shall employ great care as my design unfolds. It will take time as I gather men who are willing to unseat the current monarch, but be patient, dear heart; I swear to you we will be free of this gilded cage soon. I shall release our souls from the tyranny of my brother by releasing his soul from this life, as I promised you I would. Your time is near, and the pieces are falling into place as planned. Patience, love–do not be so hasty as to try and rush our plan, as you proposed. All in due course, recall? Everything shall go into motion once the child is born.
 Bill's daughter Victoire might have a bit of a crush on Teddy. | Here Is Everything We Learned From The New Harry Potter Short Story

Me:

#Arrow reaction gifs "What?"

Just a little taste of what’s to come later this year when the series comes to a close. You’re welcome.

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Arrow reaction gifs - "Boom! drop the mic!"

And So it Begins Again!

Published August 20, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

Ah, the first week of the fall semester. *gives a prolonged sniff* Can you smell it in the air? Smells like teen spirit! Actually, it really has more of an odor of desperation as everyone scrambles to get a perfect schedule, tie up their summer fun with a pretty bow, and try to navigate the swirling mass of students who are just as desperate as them to salvage what’s left of their summer. Let the games begin!

run

For some reason, watching that mass of students herding toward the library or through the quad reminds me of the wildebeest scene in The Lion King, only you’re Mufasa, and you just pray you don’t lose your balance and get trampled by the herd. Then, of course, there are always a few hecklers milling about on the grass, cackling like hyenas, and you’re just thinking you can’t wait to be king and graduate. Pretty much sums up the first week of class before you settle into the groove of things.

hye

Then there are those students who, before the first week of class is over, have their online postings and responses completed, extra credit in the making, and already love probing the instructor with “insightful” questions that launch the teacher into an excited diatribe on economics or the beauty of mathematical science in raising marmosets in some jungle, or whatever, that causes class to go way over. And then, if you’re like me and don’t mentally get into the groove until week two (when you map out and color-coordinate the rest of the semester), yet somehow manage to roll out of bed each morning, you most likely have toothpicks propping your eyelids open and a cup of dark Joe in your clenched fist. Seriously, the amount of coffee consumed by American college students during the first and last weeks of each semester is astounding.

asleep

So, basically, there are four types of students, fantastically speaking: The Dragons, Zombie Children, the ghosts, and the Unicorns.

dragon

Dragons are pretty self-explanatory; they’re the students who overachieve and stress themselves out by accomplishing every task with absolute perfection a week before anything is due. They won’t have to take the final, but they’ll be in therapy that day anyway. Oh, yeah, and sometimes they breathe fire. Awesome!

warm

The Zombies tend to stumble into their early morning class with a beanie smashed on their head and a strong espresso in hand. Their eyes are generally glazed over, but somehow they manage to complete the assignment that morning and get a pretty good grade. Come on, admit it; you’ve been a zombie at one point or another in your college careers.

invi

The Ghosts kind of just, well, vanish after the first week of class, only taking on a tangible human form to turn in large assignments and take tests. You’ve probably thought you’ve seen them around town, but when you look back, they’re gone. Whenever the teacher calls on someone to answer a question, she never quite seems to notice them, like they’re the Invisible Man, or something. Yet somehow they manage a passing grade.

univ

And then there are the Unicorns. Super-human, mystical creatures of beauty. They seem to flit in and out of class without a care, acing everything slapped onto their desk. They do the extra credit, though it’s unnecessary, and the instructor is instantly their best friend. Worse still; they never seem to need coffee. This type of personality is actively sought out by other students when it comes time to group-up, so snag ‘em first!

So, what category do you fit into? Most of us probably have a smattering of each, though we can’t seem to disappear as easily as the Ghosts do. May the fittest survive! And the rest of you, sit back and enjoy the show!

What’s a Kid to Do?

Published September 19, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

I found this name game the other day in my “Funny Folder”, which is just a binder I have in my closet that contains a ton of paper memorabilia from my childhood, and started updating it for fun. It gave me a good laugh that I had kept the torn piece of paper with the game on it for so long, and then I thought maybe some of you might even like to do it. It makes me feel young again … Okay, so that may be a little bit dramatic, since I’m not yet twenty-one, but  it’s pretty entertaining to see how a thirteen-year-old spent her summer. Just scrub my answers out and fill it in for yourself. I guarantee some of your “names” will make you laugh.

Rock Star name: (first name and street name)

                Ashley Granada

Fly Girl name: (First initial and first three letters of middle name)

                Amic

Detective name: (favorite color and favorite animal)

                Violet Dolphin (okay, worst detective name EVER! I wouldn’t hire me.)

Soap Opera name: (middle name and city of birth)

                Michelle Diego

Star Wars name: (first 3 letters of last name, first 2 of first, and first 2 of father’s middle)

                TowAsLe (actually, not bad…)

Superhero name: (“The”, favorite color, and favorite drink)

                The Violet Pepper (Dr. Pepper)

Nascar name: (first of both grandfathers)

                Bill Don

Futuristic name: (favorite perfume and favorite shoe)

                Pleasures Converse

Witness Protection name: (mom and dad’s middle names)

                Erin Lee

Favorite Summer Things

Published August 1, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

Happy summer! This year, I finally decided to do something with my free time and thought I should share some of my favorite summer things with you all. Here’s a list of the things and activities that really made me smile this season, and I’ll be adding to it in the future as the summer progresses. Print this list out and check things off as you go to make your summer a little more interesting, and especially don’t be afraid to try something new. I’m having a blast doing just that!

-Find a view you cannot live without

-Facetime with a CCBFA (Crazy Cool Best Friend Always) and spend hours chatting and laughing over absolutely nothing.

-Bowl with some of your favorite people, where hanging out is more important than a perfect score … Thank goodness!

-Watch a summer sunset

-Get a caffeine buzz from Joe Macchiato’s caramel macchiato. Ah, dearest Joe (whose real name shall remain a secret!), your macchiatos are the carameliest. *Sigh*

-Write in a journal for hours with a trusty feather quill and purple ink. You make life more beautiful, Mr. Quill.

-Try a new summer food

-Iced coffee in the afternoon on the veranda … or backyard.-Discover a new book series.

-Go to the movie theater with your favorite people.

It’s a girl’s prerogotive.

-Eat gobs of chocolate dishes—chocolate chip cookies, cold chocolate silk pie, chocolate peanut butter frosting. Yummm.

-Evening strolls with trusty companion—dog or iguana, whichever behaves on a leash.

-Stalk newly-discovered authors on Goodreads and read every book and novel of theirs.

-Brainstorm. Doesn’t matter for what.

-Read non-stop

-Write a blog ~__^

-Read at Starbucks over a delicious latte or macchiato.

                                     -Wander used bookstore

-Discover new favorite cupcake shop next to said bookstore, and try the mint chocolate cupcake from the Cupcake in Santee. A-mazing!

-Search the Internet for pictures of the “cast” of favorite new book (yesterday I selected the cast for “Rising Shadows” and have them on my Pinterest, townsendideas. So fun!)

-Listen to music and create playlists for your favorite books

-Clean out your closest. It feels so good, and you might also discover forgotten cash.

-Classic movie night with the girls (Emma was last night)

-Master the art of wax sealing to add a “special” touch to hand-written letters.

-Give an old childhood activity a try—hula-hooping, hopscotch, freeze tag, etc.

-Watch a Jane Austen flick at night on a laptop with your sister/friend. Eat a bowl of cherries and popcorn, drink tea from china teacups, light a delicious smelling candle, and enjoy the show. (Developing English accents for the entire evening is optional.)

-Belt out a very popular new tune on the radio with the car windows rolled down at a STOP sign. Ignore strange looks you receive. Proceed.

-Don’t sweat the little things

-Spin in circles and dance in the rain, regardless of whether or not people can see you. Just enjoy the moment.

-Stop, Breathe, Relax, Smile, Move Along.

-Repeat

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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