NaNoNot


November 25, 2018  •  No Comments

November is National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo. I signed up for it, but seem to be having a NaNoNot. Yes, I started out strong on my 50K word count but then I had to get on a plane and …

Of course I have excuses. I’ve been busy at work and getting home late. I’ve been doing research. I have a number of projects on the go. I’ve been learning new software. I had a book release. I’ve been out of town for the job.

Sadly, the page only cares whether there are words on it or not. That’s the bitter truth of being an author. No words, no cookie. I’m doing my best to make up for lost time, but I must be honest. The 50K goal is out of reach.

Disappointments occur when we’re juggling too many things. I get mad at myself for not rising above circumstances. Perhaps I’m lazy? I’ve lost the magic? I don’t have the right stuff? Ah, the Drama Queen moment!  That’s the kind of self-destructive wallowing that leads to actual writer’s block. My only real fault here is biting off more than I could chew.

What can I salvage from this month of chaos? I wasn’t lounging on the couch watching TV. I did do all those other things, many of which were necessary if I wished to continue being employed. Since I like regular paychecks, oh well. Plus, the book I’m working on is calling me in a way that only comes from NOT getting to a project (perverse but true). There’s a delicate balance of approach and denial that whets my imagination during the first few chapters, and maybe it’s working. What I have written to date hints that this book is going to be my best. Of course every new book is an author’s current darling, so make of that what you will.

I’m mad and sad, but whining won’t change anything. I’ll have to save the lace-edged hankies for another time.

 


All my favorite things


November 18, 2018  •  No Comments

I was recently listening to a podcast by the fabulous Joanna Penn, who mentioned that authors should embrace their idiosyncratic pleasures.  That is, those elements one loves and uses in art or writing again and again. These might be story elements such as secret babies or serial killers (hopefully not at the same time). They might also just be images or ideas that make us happy. I love her recommendation to use these gems as one pleases, and to be unapologetic while doing so!

 

What’s my list? It will probably take me a while to collect everything, but here’s a start:

  • Seaside towns/cities – I believe the sea adds untold romance and mystery, not to mention delicious fogs
  • Funky older neighborhoods
  • Cathedrals & bell towers
  • Catacombs and ossuaries
  • Tea and all the rituals that go with it
  • Fireplaces
  • Graveyards, the older the better (that’s Highgate in the picture above)
  • Trees, especially twisty ones
  • Magic of all sorts
  • Strong-willed grandmothers
  • Baroque and early music. The Brandenburg Concerti are my go-to mood tonic
  • Clocks
  • Velvet
  • Walled gardens and glass houses
  • Exotic strangers
  • Underground spaces, with or without dragons
  • Castles and ancient manors, complete with appropriate drafts
  • Moors and heaths
  • Fancy ankle boots
  • Standing stones
  • Talking animals
  • Swirling cloaks
  • Carnelian jewelry
  • Mad scientists
  • Possession by spirits
  • Snow, mostly in theory and not waiting to be shoveled

I don’t think you need to be a writer to have a list like this–and when to dip into it on a day when you need to lift your spirits! Yes, sometimes I do take a walk in the cemetery to cheer myself up. It’s the nicest green space imaginable on a bright fall day.


Fantasy Trilogies Full of Magic and Adventure

Emma Jane Holloway
November 5, 2018  •  No Comments

This rather cool.  I’ve been wikified here:

https://wiki.ezvid.com/m/gYrDvPDrysIVN

I think I’ll have to check out some of the other series!


SHIMMER


October 22, 2018  •  No Comments

Three wishes, two warriors, one chance at redemption

Fae martial artist Alana Beech makes a decent living until a rigged fight ends her career. When her best friend and teammate is killed during the same bad match, Alana’s demands for an investigation fall on deaf ears. Then a last-chance job offer lands her at Comfy Chair Books and Collectibles, where she finds a magic lamp in a box of junk. Inside is a smolderingly handsome genie who can help her get justice—as long as the bad guys hunting for the lamp don’t catch them first.

Ronan, Prince of Bright Wing, is the dragon general imprisoned during an invasion of the fae homeland. He’s the genie bound to the lamp and forced to grant three wishes to every comer. But then Alana finds the lamp, and she’s unlike any master he’s had before. She wants nothing from him he doesn’t want to give.

Alana’s search for answers stirs up powerful enemies, both in her world and in Ronan’s. She’s a brave warrior, but these are major players. And when her unusual partnership with Ronan turns passionate, they have even more to lose. The only weapons they can count on are their love and trust in one another—and there’s not much a girl can’t do when a dragon has her back.

 

Curious as to where and when this book is happening?  It’s releasing tomorrow in the Once Upon a Rebel Fairytale collection! Get it here: https://www.books2read.com/rebelfairytale.  Otherwise, it will be out on its on in 2019!  (Isn’t the cover completely amazing?)


Secret Seed’s cast

Sharon Ashwood
September 24, 2018  •  No Comments

So I had this notion of making character cards for the Orchard series release. In typical fashion, the idea got lost among the daily maelstrom of tasks and duties. However, Rachel Goldsworthy ran with the idea and did such a fabulous job that I had to buckle down and get busy, so here we go.  I give you Haley and Sam from Secret Seed. The fact that they’re looking away from the camera suits them–they’re both excellent at hiding until they’re forced to deal with each other (and themselves) thanks to a haunted car and a long road trip around Corsair’s Cove …


Coming or going?


July 9, 2018  •  No Comments

Do you love starting a project, with all the fresh, hopeful energy that entails? Or are you one of those who enjoys putting a bow on your efforts and sitting back in satisfaction?

There are different stages to any project, and books are no exception. And, while it’s true that most writers seem to have several things on the go at the same time, starts and finishes are still red-letter occasions.

This weekend, the Corsair’s Cove Orchard Series is reaching an important milestone—the editing phase is nearing completion. The vague “what ifs” we tossed around in the spring are finished stories now, with a new cast of characters (plus some favorites), new predicaments, and brand new romances.

While I enjoy the buoyant energy of beginning (and wow do we brainstorm!), right now I’m doing a happy dance and savoring the finished product like a fine vintage. And that, readers, is a very appropriate metaphor that will linger sweetly—until next time.


Planning in Corsair’s Cove


March 5, 2018  •  No Comments

This past weekend the authors of the Corsair’s Cove Collective met for our semi-annual retreat. This involved food, some wine, a lot of note-taking, planning, dreaming, food, and a mild sense of panic as we turned our wild ideas into actionCoffee cupable to-do lists. Did I mention food? Suffice to say that readers will hear more from the Cove in coming months.

As well as storytelling goals, there are many challenges relating to business and technology. This is one of the ways that I truly value this collaboration: I learn stuff. So much stuff about writing, working together, and my own strengths and areas of improvement. I’ve also learning that if I resist something, that’s usually a signal that I need to double down on whatever is making me twitchy. Therefore, I’m setting myself a task: getting conversant with advertising platforms like AMS, Bookbub and others. This is something I’ve deferred “for later” but it’s time to buckle down. I look at this as taking my author journey to the next level. It’s just another way to take control of what happens to my work in the wide universe and I’ve learned my lesson about leaving that up to outside forces.

And, we have many fabulous ideas about things to do with our shared blog, so look for a TON of value coming to our outreach channels. Corsair’s Cove has developed amazing new depths in the last 72 hours. However, if I go into all that here this will be a very long blog.

I can best summarize this whole experience by saying Rachel and I went directly from our meeting site to the stationery store and bought wall-sized erasable calendars to keep track of all our due dates. Then I heard from Shelley, who bought a new journal for just that purpose. Yup, we have plans!

 


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.