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Updates from the Writing Cave

2017 is going to be an exciting year. I have lots on the go, and lots planned for you all. I know some of you are waiting for specific titles, and I wanted to update you all on where I’m at with each project.

But before I get into the status of each book, I’d like to take a moment to talk about release dates. In 2017 my release dates will mostly be surprises. As soon as a book is 100% complete, it will be uploaded, and I will tell you all when it goes live. I know a lot of you have been asking me for firm release dates, but life has been crazy over these last few months, and I’d prefer to surprise you all than disappoint with a delay. I hope you all understand.

With that said, here is the 2017 release list with status updates.

Jared (Dog Mountain Brothers, #1)
Jared is getting close. The first rounds of edits are finished, and I’ve been working on re-writes. I do love this story, and I hope, when it’s ready, you all will love it, too. But it’s not ready to be seen yet. Something is missing, so I’m still in the re-write phase, working hard to perfect it for you all.

Bear Instinct (Montana Shifters, #1)
Bear Instinct is currently in the second draft phase. Some major re-writes are happening, and a few extra chapters being added. More updates will come on this book as soon as they are available.

Just Like You (PRG Investigations, #3)
Wesley’s story is coming along. As of today, I’m working on the first draft and having a lot of fun with it. I’ve missed those PRG guys, and it’s been awesome working with them again.

Love Spell (Cupid’s Arrow, #1)
I haven’t spoken much about this story, and there isn’t much to tell right now, but what I can say is that it’s a fun story involving a witch, a bear shifter, and Cupid. I’m excited about this book, and I hope you all will love it.

Love Shot (Cupid’s Arrow, #2)
Currently in the plotting phase.

Love Bite (Cupid’s Arrow, #3)
Currently in the plotting phase.

Well, these are my updates for the stories that will be released in 2017. Please note that they are in no particular order and the order listed does not reflect which one will be released first. I do want to thank all of my readers for your patience and understanding while I work on these books. I love you all and couldn’t do this without your support.

Hugs,
Ashley

Surprise Release: Halloween in Hell

Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance
Publication Year: 2016
ASIN: B01M7VOO0T
ISBN: 9781927806203

Overview

Liv loves Jaxon, too bad he is nothing but a liar. She broke up with him because he hid things from her, like the fact that he’s the Prince of Hell.

In an effort to win her back (or at the very least, get her to see him again), Jaxon throws a Halloween party in Hell hoping she’ll show. He knows if he can get her to hear him out, she may give him another chance.

Will Jaxon get her to forgive him, or will Liv walk away from the man she loves?

Reader Note: This short story is a standalone with a happily ever after, and contains sexual material.

The Colors of Fall

I’m sitting in my writing cave staring out the window at all of the beautiful colors that are beginning to appear on the trees.  Ironically my thoughts aren’t on the oranges, yellows and greens that are appearing early this year because of the dryness of the summer but rather, on the fact that I miss being able to run outside and jump in a pile of leaves without people looking at me as if I’m crazy.

Fall is by far my favorite time of year, but I can’t help but remember how much more fun it used to be.  As kids, we’d go out and rake up big piles of leaves and jump in them.  Now I just groan at the thought of having to rake.  I used to spend hours and days planning the perfect Halloween costume.  This year, I have to wait until the last minute to buy candy for trick-or-treaters so that I don’t eat it all before ‘show time’ (like I did last year, and the year before, and the year before, and, well, you get the picture).

Fall was so much simpler as a child.  There was fun to be had around every corner.  I could take the time to stop and look at the beauty around me as Mother Nature prepares her forests for their winter’s nap.  So this fall (and the winter too) I’m challenging myself to take 5 minutes a day to actually enjoy the beautiful world around me.  I’ll simply enjoy the scenery or revisit an old childhood pass time that is perfect for this time of year.  I’m going to take the time to reconnect with my favorite time of year.  Will you take the time to enjoy life as well?

Release Days: The Nerves and the Excitement

Release day is quite possibly the most nerve wracking moment in any author’s career.  No matter how many times you go through it, the nerves are a buzzing as your novel starts to go live across the world.  As an author you’ve spent hours, days, months, possibly even years finalizing and tweaking your story, pouring your soul into the words on the page.  When it’s finally published and out of your hands, you’re sharing part of yourself with the world at large and waiting on their reaction and reception is one of the most gruelling moments of your life.  Sitting there, staring at your computer screen, waiting to see the initial sale numbers, watching the online rankings is almost a must.  Waiting for reviews to start coming in is even worse.  Not only are people buying your ‘baby’ but they’re telling you what they think of your work.

But release day count down is important on the reader’s side of the scale as well.  I may be an author, but I’m also an avid reader.  I stalk my favorite authors and know when their next releases are all coming out.  I pre-order many of them, or show up at my local bookstore on release day to be one of the first to get my hands on a physical copy.  I curse delays in release (even though I know that authors have lives too, and sometimes the unavoidable happens) and when I finally get my hands on that long awaited new novel, I binge read it that very same day.

Release days are exhilarating from both sides of the scale.  As an author I’m lucky to experience it all, but in the back of my mind, I always wonder, do people look at my work the same way that I do with the authors I enjoy?  What do you think?

New Release: If I Could Do It Again

I’m super excited to announce the release of If I Could Do It Again, a new stand alone, adult, contemporary romance!

IfICouldDoItAgain-ebook-2

On the outs with her abusive husband, a romance novelist seeks love and understanding from an unlikely source—a prison inmate serving time for murder

Romance novelist Victoria Clarke seems to have it all: adoring husband, successful career, beautiful home. At least that’s what outsiders think.

In reality, her husband is emotionally abusive, and their marriage is falling apart. Victoria is miserable but suffers in silence until she encounters the charming Joshua Larson while researching a new book.

She meets him in the most unconventional way—through a prisoner pen-pal website. Though Victoria is hesitant at first, she’s drawn to this intriguing, misunderstood man. He was charged with murder for his part in a bar fight, implicated for wearing the colors of his motorcycle club. She believes him when he says it was self-defense.

The two exchange letters and then talk on the phone. Joshua gives Victoria everything she’s been missing—support, confidence, affection, and passion.

Victoria can’t help but ponder a new life, leaving her awful husband and Canada behind for her new friend in the United States. After all, Joshua will be free in four years, and she’s beginning to believe that he’s the love of her life.

If she takes a leap of faith, will Joshua turn out to be her soul mate, or is he hiding something sinister?

buy-this-book-btn FIND IT AT YOUR FAVORITE STORE!

Come join the PARTY!

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Please join us on September 25th, to help celebrate my upcoming release, IF I COULD DO IT AGAIN, an adult, contemporary romance which I’m excited to share with you all. We’ll be celebrating with some fun games, giveaways, and teasers. Make sure to invite your friends! You don’t want to miss this!

Location: Facebook event page
Date: Sunday September 25th, 2016
Time: 12-9pm EST

Hope to see you all there!

All of the best ones are crazy

Mad Hatter: “Have I gone mad?”
Alice: “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”
―  Alice in Wonderland: Based on the motion picture directed by Tim Burton

This conversation between Alice & the Mad Hatter is comical yet also quite inspirational.  When you think about it, Alice is basically telling the Hatter to just be himself, and the best version of himself that he can be.  Ignore stereotypes and just be you.

“Crazy” is one of those words that historically has a bad undertone.  People use it to signify things that they don’t understand and people whose actions they don’t agree with.  But for many of us, it also symbolizes things that are fun or slightly outside the box.

We each have our own definition of what’s crazy.  Some people may say that reading a novel in a single afternoon is crazy.  Many of us would say that’s a normal occurrence with a good book.  I think that running a marathon is crazy (though admirable) yet at the moment my sister is training to do just that.  Heck, it wasn’t that long ago that flying across the country or speeding down a highway would have been considered crazy yet now it’s an everyday occurrence that we take for granted.

When you stop and think about it, crazy isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  We all have our own brand of crazy.  None of us can go through life without having at least a day or two when our ‘crazy’ shines through.  So what do I say to this?  Go with it!  Have fun!  Act a little crazy at times and get out of your box.  Life is so much more fun when you live it.

How do you sort your libraries?

main-e-readerI finally cleared myself some time in my schedule to read a book I’ve been dying to dive into. You know the one; that next in series, have to have it, bought it release day a year ago and somehow still haven’t dug into it yet. Yeah, that one. We’ve all got some of them and eventually we all make the time to read them (and if you’re like me, it’s because the book after it is about to be released, lol).

But back to my point, I finally found the time to read this book. I was so excited, but then my difficulties started. I couldn’t find it anywhere. It wasn’t on any of my book shelves. I had the rest of the series in paperback so I assumed that this novel would follow suit. I searched and searched. Checked under the bed, looked everywhere to no avail. I was starting to panic. I called my sister and my mom, the only 2 people allowed to borrow books from my sanctuary. Nope. I hadn’t loaned it to either. Where oh where could I have put it? Where to search next? My Kindle? After searching through my entire ereader and the Kindle Cloud just in case it didn’t download properly I determined that it wasn’t there. Searching my Kobo library had similar results. I even checked Google Play Books on the off chance that I decided to put it on my phone. Finally, after 3 hours of searching I found my purchase! It was on iBooks. Apparently the book was released the same week that I was all excited about my new iPad. Or maybe it was on sale on that platform. Who knows why I chose to buy one book there.

So, after hours of searching (when I could have read half the novel) I finally found it and had to take a break from my ‘non-reading’ to calm down enough to be able to read this novel (that was fantastic by the way). The moral of this story is that with all of these technological advances I need to find a better way of ‘shelving’ my books. So how do you sort your libraries? Do you have different lists? Minimize the formats in which you purchase books? A special shelving code? Are you simply one of those readers who doesn’t have a huge TBR pile? Let me know!

Find your own fit

Diet and exerciseMany of us who spend our days behind our computers find it hard to get the recommended amount of daily activity.  When 8+ hours a day are spent staring at a screen, finding time to go for a walk or to the gym isn’t always easy.  Between lack of time and a wicked kink in the neck after a long day of editing, the last thing I want to do is run around and jump up and down.

If you’re anything like me then getting a personal trainer or joining a running group may be right up your alley.  Having something scheduled means you’re much more likely to do it.  But it can also lead to its own set of issues and interesting stories.

At one time I had a personal trainer who insisted that we meet at a busy gym during their peak time.  Not only was it next to impossible to get any gym equipment to work with, but it was also impossible to get my trainer’s attention.  He spent the entire time trying to show off his muscles for the other women at the gym.  That was the longest 6 weeks of my life.

Another time I had a trainer who repeatedly told me I was running too fast and too long, not eating enough junk food, and to simply stop trying.  Now, it may sound like I was overextending myself, and if you think 30 seconds of jogging is too much then maybe he was right, but I would have been in worse shape than when I started if I’d listened to him.  And frankly, when you’re supposed to be training to run distances, you’ve got to run, right?

What I’ve learned from all of this is simple:  FIND YOUR OWN FIT.  Fitness isn’t a number on a scale or a measurement around your waist. It’s not your BMI or your body fat percentage.  Fitness is a state of health and a state of mind.  Do what works for you.  Do what makes you feel more energetic.  And above all else, do what you enjoy so that it becomes part of your lifestyle rather than something you do when you think about it.

How’s your penmanship?

986158f8d2785a33bff769951ab9efc7Recently, I received a letter in the mail from an old friend.  After I got over the shock of a real letter in my mail box, rather than simply the standard bills and flyers, I tore open the envelope to find out what the latest news was and the shock continued.

The letter was hand written on gorgeous stationary.  Unfortunately, I could only read about every other word.  After deciphering the bulk of the letter I found myself thinking about the state of my friend’s handwriting, and then my own.  What I discovered had me both laughing and cringing.

When you think about it, when was the last time you wrote something other than your grocery list? In my case, even that is digital now. I type everything, from letters to quick texts to shopping lists.  When I have a question for my sister, I don’t leave her a note, I send her a message.  It’s become so easy to do all of our writing and communication digitally that many of us have forgotten the art of penmanship.

Picture the calligraphy of the Middle Ages.  Everything was so beautifully put to paper.  Even 10 years ago we put effort into writing to each other, creating tangible records of our interactions and the events in our lives.  Personally, I love the look of a well written letter on parchment.

I tried to create one after reading my friend’s letter and discovered that my cursive was just as bad, if not worse than his.  And my printing, well, it wasn’t much better.  I cite lack of practice for the disastrous outcome of my attempt.  But it did remind me of how much I love the feel of pen sliding across high quality paper.  Legible cursive writing is a gorgeous thing that we should all remember to use before it goes out of style forever.