A special early snowflake

Sharon Ashwood
November 6, 2017  •  No Comments

Kiss at the AltarThe first snows of winter passed through town this week. The shift in temperature seems sudden, as if the weather gods checked the calendar and turned the dial to “November.” As if that wasn’t enough, posters for holiday craft fairs are multiplying on lampposts and shop windows. Shops are putting up decorations. Even the grocery store seems crammed with extra party food. Christmas is lurking on the horizon.

I am, of course, barely procrastinating about procrastinating when it comes to holiday preparations. I like the season, but I don’t go full Rudolph until much closer to the actual date. I like to ease up on it. Mind you, I got an early start this year courtesy of a writing project.

Did you notice Kiss at the Altar is actually a Christmas story? A Christmas wedding story? Yup. If you’re looking for a first step along the frosty white road to the seasonal spirit, this is as merry as it gets! Here’s a link to find out more about it!

 

 


Guest spot – Sigils and Spells


September 24, 2017  •  No Comments

Carmen Fox, a fellow author, got in touch and asked if I could help spread the word about the Sigils and Spells box set. When she explained that the theme of the collection was diversity, I agreed at once. It’s a topic that rightly inspires a great deal of discussion, and there can be no argument that the book world will always be richer with more voices and greater representation than without. So, here’s my plug for this fantasy collection!

A dangerously beautiful vision of unique worlds that’s sure to leave its mark.

Cross through the looking glass into Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Dystopian realms where you’ll meet valiant heroes, kick-ass heroines, and dangerous creatures waiting to unveil the hidden corners of the universe.

SIGILS & SPELLS includes more than twenty exclusive novels that roam the sands of Egypt, slip into the shadows of 1940s Los Angeles, voyage to the mystical land of Mabi, and dare to traverse the stars.

From the deserts of Africa to the streets of San Antonio, mythological adventurers strike out to discover brand new worlds and unravel the mysteries of Earth in a limited edition boxed set offering the diversity and originality you haven’t been able to find before now.

Dare to enter forbidden realms of unexpected beauty and peril? Secure your copy of SIGILS & SPELLS today – before it disappears forever!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | BN | iTunes | Kobo

 


Work in Progress Wednesday – September 6

Sharon Ashwood
September 5, 2017  •  No Comments

I do these (almost) weekly updates to let readers know where all my various works in progress are at and how soon they will be available. I also do them to make myself accountable because it’s far too easy to get scattered.

This week’s progress:

Enchanter Redeemed (Camelot Reborn book 4): Did two rounds of edits in very short order, which was exhausting but the book is in the can now. Release date Feb 2018

Fragile Magic: Is up for sale! My first solo indie release!

Kiss in the Dark: Is also locked and loaded and on preorder. Release date is September 30.

Kiss at the Altar: My contribution in progress, with about 2,000 words to go.

The Demon Lord of Kitty Badness scoffs at stress

The Demon Lord of Kitty Badness scoffs at stress

New projects were bumped by Enchanter Redeemed’s editing process.

Since my long weekend was all about copyedits, I took today off to get other things done. This included a wrangle with Audible and Amazon Author Central, since I had to sort out some longstanding issues with my account. And then there was updating Goodreads, my website, copyright forms, cleaning out the inbox, blah blah. I mention this because it’s the reality of the working author just as much as the writing part. The good news is clearing all that away reduces stress. We can’t all be like the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness, who mocks the stressed-out human slaves.

 

 


State of the Workbench

Emma Jane HollowaySharon Ashwood
August 17, 2017  •  No Comments

It’s almost September and I’m evaluating my monthly progress. There are plenty of projects on the workbench, so here is the state of the lineup:

Coming Soon:

Enchanter Redeemed (Camelot Reborn book 4). This is the last of the series and the last book I will do for Nocturne since the line is closing. This is currently with the copyeditor and will be released in February of 2018. It’s up for preorder HERE.

Kiss in the Dark (Corsair’s Cove Chocolate Shop book 4). My first indie book and a novella. Is also with the copyeditor and will be released September 30. If you want a glimpse of this universe, check out the web site HERE.  If you sign up for the newsletter, you get a free prequel short story I just finished, The Brotherhood of the Rose.

Fragile Magic re-release (short story from the Dark Forgotten universe). I hope to get this up and available for sale in August. The cover is done. This is a personal favorite of mine.

Looking ahead:

Sharon’s projects have been coming thick and fast, in part because I’ve been participating in a project that will educate me about indie publishing. So far, so good. I want to be a hybrid author, so that’s one of this year’s goals achieved! In addition, there are plans for a new trad series on the drawing board. More to come on that.

Emma Jane’s projects have been ongoing, but there have been delays due to other deadlines, industry hiccups, and time spent learning how to navigate the DIY universe of indie pub. Also, anything historical takes more fact-checking. However, I feel pretty bouncy about what’s lined up here and this is my priority for new material right now.


Cover reveal! KISS IN THE DARK

Sharon Ashwood
June 22, 2017  •  No Comments

Cover reveal! Corsair’s Cove alert! I’ll have Kiss in the Dark up on the site soon, but for now here’s a peek at the cover!

KISS IN THE DARK

The last thing he wants is to rest in peace.

Captain Daniel Blackthorne, the swashbuckling pirate they called the Wolf of the West, was cursed to death by a jealous witch. Since that day long ago, he’s haunted the attic rooms of Red Gem’s Chocolates in sleepy Corsair’s Cove. The rules of the curse are clear: He has until Hallowe’en night to help the women of Blackthorne blood find true love, or his soul is doomed forever.

When Eloise Wilson moves in above the chocolate shop, she’s unprepared for a spectral roommate. Sadly for Blackthorne, she’s terrified of ghosts—and with good reason. Gifted with the Sight since childhood, she’s seen hauntings end in gruesome tragedy. Worse, family and friends think she’s just a pretty young college grad with an overactive imagination. When she finds out her new home is haunted, the last thing she expects is a ghostly captain who rewrote the book on seduction.

But Eloise can’t save his soul until he heals her heart, and Hallowe’en is only days away. Blackthorne is the darkness she fears, even if his touch is as sweet as anything from the shop below. He’s delicious, but he’s dangerous, and Eloise knows better than to taste what she can’t have.

And yet lovers are like chocolate—for some, only the dark will do.

Book 4 of the Corsair’s Cove series is up at iTunes on an exclusive preorder: http://corsairscove.com/?page_id=76


New beginnings in Corsair’s Cove


June 21, 2017  •  No Comments

Here’s my work-in-progress Wednesday update:

A while back, my friend Lee McKenzie invited me and Rachel Goldsworthy to a restaurant and one hot afternoon over glasses of wine. As we kicked around writing ideas, we came up with the group project eventually named Corsair’s Cove. The incomparable Shelley Adina joined us, and we were away. Each of us was to contribute a novella around a small town setting, but this wasn’t your average romance collection. We wanted pirates and ghosts and curses and a chocolate shop and family drama. And a parrot. Why not?

And so we did it. We ordered the stories from the least to most paranormal content. It’s no surprise that Kiss in the Dark, my story, is the last and the longest and features a supernatural hero. These are sweet romances, which is a little different from the Nocturnes I’ve been writing, but I honestly don’t think the story needs the bedroom door open. Some heroes don’t need to read the recipe aloud in order to serve dessert.

This project is wonderfully fun because the group itself is solid. The voices of these books are all unique and yet the place, the characters, and the spirit of it all is consistent throughout. Not only are my co-writers professionals, but they’re excellent human beings. I want to return to the Cove again and again just to hang out.

The other key piece for me is that these novellas are self-published. I’ve never done indie publishing before, but I’m learning alongside friends, celebrating each step, and seeing possibilities for the future. I can’t think of a better way to go through the learning process and get the first whiff of empowerment independence offers. Oh yes, and the enormous amount of work and responsibility.  To do a good job means taking on a lot of diverse roles. At least I have some business skills to bring to the table!

Talk about new beginnings all around!  Best of all, now I have some fresh tools to work with. Who knows what plans and ideas might hatch?


Author Activity Roundup Spring 2017


March 30, 2017  •  No Comments

What do authors actually do with their time? Some of it involves staring at the ceiling and some playing fetch with the cat (I do most of the fetching) but there are occasions when words actually get written. I’m trying to get into the habit of giving readers a regular project roundup, so here goes:

  1. Award news—for anyone who missed my squeals of delight, ENCHANTED WARRIOR (Camelot, Book 1) received a RITA nomination for paranormal romance. The RITA contest has thousands of entries and is like the Oscars for romance fiction, so I am VERY pleased, especially since this is the second year in a row for one of my Nocturnes. Maybe this time I’ll win a friend for my golden lady!
  2. ROYAL ENCHANTMENT (Camelot, Book 3) starring Arthur and Guinevere will be available this July.
  3. ENCHANTER REDEEMED (Camelot, Book 4) is under construction. This is Merlin’s adventure.
  4. KISS IN THE DARK (Corsair’s Cove series) is part of a continuity series of indie novellas. I’m in the first round editing phase. The cover is scrumptious. Pub date October.
  5. Self-pubbing project – have covers, waiting for time to perform final edit pass. Targeting autumn.
  6. Sekrit Projects – these are Holloway products. One with agent, one awaiting revisions. These are FUN FUN FUN so I am anxious for these to move up the to-do list.

So . . . yes, I do have a few things on the go. Though it seems like a lot, this is actually fairly normal because in the writing cycle there are always four stages:

  • Ideas/research/proposal,
  • writing,
  • editing, and
  • release and publicity.

If you’re a working writer, chances are you’ll have something at each stage. I’m finding that, as I work toward being a hybrid author and have more than one author name anyway, I have multiple sets of works on the go. Scheduling has always been my friend, and now it’s my BFF!


Drawing breath


February 6, 2017  •  No Comments

It’s been snowing like crazy, which isn’t usual for February in Victoria. I don’t mind the weather shaking it up. The unexpected makes one look up and take notice of the world, even if it’s just the snow globe beauty of this morning, or the specter of shoveling my way around a corner lot.

tree in snow It’s a timely departure from my usual rut. I’m in that pause between writing books, if only for a few days. Last week I turned in the final edits on Royal Enchantment, and I have the next thing, a novella, already loaded and ready to hit the page. I need a breather to check the to-do list, shop groceries, make a few social calls, etcetera. More importantly, I need to erase my mental chalkboard and rearrange the furniture inside my head. One set of characters have left, and I need to vacuum before the next arrive.

But I can’t stay away from the keyboard long – I’m wired to work. February is dedicated to drafting the novella, which I expect to be around 25,000 words or basically 10 or 11 chapters. It’s part of a group project, the 4th of a set of 4 pieces. I don’t do these often, mostly because I’ve learned the hard way to look before I leap. This project is different and better, with hand-picked writers and a LOT of discussion and coordination. Which means, I suppose, that I should get started!


Author proposes what comes next.


January 22, 2017  •  4 Comments

Three – count ’em – three proposals are now out there in the universe. For me, that’s a bunch.  Since I rarely restrict myself to one series at a go, that doesn’t mean only one of these three proposals I just finished will go forward at the expense of everything else.  There’s the next Camelot Reborn book, which will happen one way or another. The other two are for brand new series more in the vein of the Baskerville Affair – adventure stories with a nod to romance rather than vice versa. I’ve been waiting for an A+ idea for the Emma Jane Holloway stable, and the muse finally delivered two. I have now sent them to my agentwoman writing. The second absorbed a chunk of my Christmas holidays, but I can’t think of a better way for a writer to celebrate than with a whole new universe to play in!

For those that don’t know, a book proposal is about the first three chapters plus an outline, plus some other supporting materials.  Mine generally run around fifty pages or so if it’s for a new series, mostly because I want to be sure to get my idea across. There’s an art to writing these things, and most of what people say about synopsis construction isn’t that helpful (at least to me). I struggle every time, and the events I talk about in the outline may well be lies. I’m a plotter, but quite happy to change course at the drop of a hat. What really matters is digging deep enough to come up with the core themes and conflicts and making them shine. I always imagine my future editor reading the proposal in some far-off place, maybe on a subway with no sleep and a squalling kid across the aisle. I ask myself if the ideas are good enough to overcome the background noise and make him/her keep listening and keep wanting more.

Anyway, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the spark I see in my mind’s eye translates to the page.


Review: Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell

Emma Jane Holloway
December 27, 2015  •  No Comments

One of the pleasures of Christmas holidays is a little bit more time to read. Book time is also one of the benefits of having a rotten cold since nobody wants to talk to me right now. So, I bring to you a taste of what I’ve been dipping into. This bon-bon fell into my TBR pile a month or so ago. I love historical fiction, I love books about musicians, and I love Mozart so this was a triple win.

goldlineVienna Nocturne

Vivien Shotwell’s Vienna Nocturne is the story of Anna Storace, a soprano whose career takes her across Europe and into the sphere of Mozart as well as other musical luminaries of the period. The book seemed to be positioned as something of a romance, but it wasn’t—at least not in the conventional way. Anna has a deeply felt affair with Mozart, but her art is just as much her true love.

 

Readers who know classical music will lap up the references to the theatres and composers of the period, singing techniques, and the highs and lows of an artist’s life. It’s no surprise to me that the author is also a singer. (see her website). Those less familiar will encounter some unfamiliar terminology and allusions connected with music practice and the history of the period. However, most of it should be understandable from the context.

 

The book is constructed out of many vignettes that give it almost an epistolary nature, which absolutely suits the eighteenth-century period. There is some gorgeous writing that had me stopping to savor a line here and there. The storyline is straightforward biography but it reads more like a literary than a genre novel, with less detail and a distilled quality of emotion. The form works wonderfully well, never drawing attention to itself and leaving Anna’s discovery of her personal strength a powerful narrative.

 

I recommend this for music and history lovers, and those who would like to be.