Category Archives: Updates

A New Chapter

Friends . . . It has been a while since I’ve blogged! I’ve missed you. We have some catching up to do!

A WISH MADE OF GLASS – AUDIOBOOK

First things first: A Wish Made of Glass has been made into an audio book!! If any of you follow my Facebook page, you will have seen my occasional posts on the exciting progress of the audiobook – what a fun process! I auditioned several narrators, and was absolutely thrilled with Keely, the lady I ended up choosing. Keely’s voice is mesmerizing and whimsical and just perfect for my little tale. I couldn’t be happier with her lovely rendition of it, and I think you’ll love it too.

I have several FREE audio books to give away, too (of course! You knew I would!). In order to receive one, you only have to do two little things for me: Write a review of it to post on Amazon, and share either your review or the link to the audio book on as many of your social media as you’re comfortable doing so. See . . . not so bad!

If you’d like to be considered for receiving a free code for the audio book, email me at ashleew@zoho.com and let me know why you’re interested, and what social media you’d plan on sharing the book through (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.). Preference will be given to those who also have blogs they plan to share on. If you’ve already read A Wish Made of Glass – no worries! You still qualify for receiving a free copy!

NEW CHAPTERS

Life has thrown some huge changes at me this past year or so. Some good and some bad, including two big moves, a change in schools for my almost-10-year-old son, and a brand new job for me. Needless to say, amidst all these changes, my writing has had to sit on the back burner. That doesn’t mean that everything that has been happening to me hasn’t been grist for the mill . . . when life gets complicated and sad and stressful and unexpectedly joyful, that’s where the real stories come from! So, story ideas abound, and you’ll often find me scribbling away on the back of a receipt or church bulletin, to capture the next idea or snippet of an idea before it floats away.

About 3 or 4 months ago, when my son was having a hard night, I lay in bed with him and told him a bedtime story (something I haven’t done in ages!). That story, which was for his own courage and comfort, sparked something in me, and I couldn’t let it go. A few weeks after telling it to him, I began writing it. And just a couple weeks ago, I finished the rough draft of what is now a 14,000-word children’s book. Yes, it’s different from what I’m used to writing. But still fantasy, still full of fun and whimsy and even some heartbreak. I’m so excited to be able to do my preliminary revisions and then gather a few beta readers to help me on the next step to publishing this story.

Tell me what this near year has been like for you so far . . .?

A Release Date at Last!

A Wish Made of Glass will be releasing Friday, August 14th, 2015. Yes. As in NINE DAYS FROM NOW!

Here are the things that will be happening at this point:

Launch day. Where happy, interesting, launch-ish things happen here on my blog. If you’d like to help when the time comes, feel free to do a spotlight post on your own blog sometime during launch week, or perhaps just share the AWishMadeofGlassFinalAmazon link to my book on one (or all!) of your social media.

Blog tour. This is set for the last week of August. The guest posts are written up and I’m ready to start answering interview questions. It should be fun. Also, FYI, there’s going to be a pretty cool giveaway package during the week of the blog tour. So you should definitely check in for that, if nothing else 😉 I’ll be posting more info about the blog tour, dates, and stops in the near future.

Special price on Amazon. For the first 3 or so weeks after release, BOTH the Kindle and the paperback versions of A Wish Made of Glass will have a special sale price. If you’re already certain you’d like to read this novella, that will definitely be the time to purchase it! Also, the book will be enrolled in some sort of Amazon program (forgive me for having no clue what it’s actually called . . .) in which everyone who purchases a paperback will receive the Kindle version for free. Awesome, yes?!

Also, thanks so very much to all of you who agreed to pre-read and review the novella. I’m seeing a few reviews pop up on Goodreads and I’m so humbled and honored at your sweet and thoughtful words!

 

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

 

Cinderella, Edits and Assassins

So what do Cinderella, edits and assassins have in common? It’s not a riddle, I promise 🙂 They’re all the things that have been driving me bonkers lately, that’s what! (Don’t worry – the assassin isn’t after me…)

CINDERELLA

I have been working on several things. First and foremost has been the Cinderella retelling I’ve been chattering on about glass-slipperfor the past several weeks. Yes, I realize I promised a cover reveal quite soon for this story (the cover is finished and absolutely beautiful!!) – and I’m still planning on that. I’ll be putting out a request for anyone wanting to be involved with the reveal through my newsletter, probably within the next week or so. So be on the lookout!

EDITS

At the behest of my agent, I officially hired a professional editor who will be giving my story the finishing polish it needs. This was a first for me, and rather exciting. Can’t wait (i.e. panicked/scared) to see what she’s got to say. I am confident she’ll help me make this story the best it can be.

After the edit is finished, I estimate that it will be approximately 6-8 weeks until I release the novella. That will put the release date somewhere in July. We’ll see. Again, as a first-timer I’m very unsure of an exact date at this point, so I’m making no promises! I’ll keep updating you with my progress, of course 🙂

ASSASSINS

When I get moments between preparing for publication of my Cinderella story, I’ve been working on my novel (the one with daggerdragons and assassins and mysterious identities, among other things). After hearing from my beta readers, I’ve decided this story needs a couple of scene rewrites. A simple thing – that is, if these scenes were simple scenes…which they’re decidedly not. Try climax scene and ending scene. Yikes. Daunting. Lots of prayer will be happening, let’s put it that way.

SUMMERTIME

My son will be out of school in 6 days. Mini-vacations and friend play-dates and lots of tree-climbing and swimming are planned for this summer, too. We’ve already caught a dozen toads and two turtles – talk about starting the summer right! Having my Bug’s sweet little face to look at every day and spending time playing with him will help make the writing and editing less intense and stressful – at least, that’s my hope! Either way, I’m looking forward to summertime.

What does your summer look like?

Tidings of New Stories

2 + 2 = 4

For those of you who follow my Facebook page, you’ll have seen that I’ve finished revisions (at last!) on book 1 of my new fantasy series, and have passed it on to my first round of beta readers. This is the first time I’ve used betas, so I’m naturally a bit nervous. It’s one thing to finish a book and hand it to your husband or sister or mom, knowing they will gush with praise. It’s quite another to hand it to someone and say, “Please tear it apart.”

*Gulp*

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I originally planned for this book to be one of two. The first draft of the sequel has been written already, in fact, although it is awaiting much work! However, something has happened along the way. Rather inevitably, I suppose …

The characters … have come alive.

One or two of them are asking for their own stories. A couple others are wishing for more of their stories to be told. It’s all I can do to keep up with the ideas that are being flung at me, and in the process … two additional book outlines have taken shape. So it looks like this book duo has now become, officially, a series. A family of four books … two of which are only ideas thus far, yes, but rather strong and insistent ideas.

*Another gulp*

A bit scary. Quite challenging for someone who has never even considered writing a series. But what a delicious challenge! I think I’m willing to tackle it 🙂

BETA READERS

As I’ve said, the first round of my beta readers have copies of the book already. However, I will be announcing, at a future date, my need for a second round of 2-4 readers. Those who follow my newsletter will be the first to hear about this opportunity, and if the need is filled by them, I may not be announcing it again on my blog.

NEW FAIRY TALE

freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

Before I launch into revisions for book 2 of the fantasy series, I am working on a novella of a fairy tale retelling that I plan on indie-publishing sometime soon (eek!). As it was written a couple of years ago, I’ve got a lot of work to do on it yet. I began revisions on it today, and I must say they are going swimmingly so far! I basically read through it and marked down all the “homework” I’ll need to do. Several hefty changes, but I’m excited to get started on them.

My wonderful newsletter followers will also be the first to hear about beta reading opportunities for this book, plus fun things like participation in the cover reveal, etc., when the time comes. (Ooh, helping design another cover … I’m definitely looking forward to that part!)

READING

On a rather random note, I just finished the amazing His Dark Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers, and am in a bit of withdrawal. None of the books I pick up seem to be appealing to me, but I’m ready to dive into something. Any great suggestions?!

WANTED: Newsletter Signer-Uppers!

Yep, I finally got a newsletter. See the button for signup, over in my sidebar? Yeah, that’s it!

For those of you wondering: What’s the difference between signing up for a newsletter and following a blog? Well, there are several things that set newsletters apart.

My newsletters won’t be as … ahem, random … as my blog posts. Neither will they be as frequent. You can expect them something like once every other month. They will be focused on specifics, a few of which are:

1.) Book news. Release dates, exclusive content like as-yet-unseen chapters or excerpts, and any other important announcements regarding my books and stories.

2.) Opportunities. Newsletter followers will get first dibs on things like beta reading and reviewing opportunities.

3.) Condensed blog info. If you don’t fancy getting an email every single time I publish a blog post, my newsletter will give you a rundown of the most popular posts I’ve published recently (with links), and you can pick and choose (or not!) which ones you’d like to read. No clutter in your inbox … always a good thing!

4.) Fun Stuff. Even if you don’t follow my blog, my newsletter will keep you up to date on things like giveaways and promos. Also any other fun tidbits from elsewhere on my various social media that you may have missed.

Click here to sign up for my newsletter, or click on the lovely green sidebar button!

First Drafts and Dragons

first draft 2

Well, my friends, I am feeling a strange mixture of utter relief and tension right now. It’s the feeling that comes when a first draft is finished (relief), and edits loom large (tension) ….

Yes, you heard me. Mere minutes ago I typed the last sentence of my book. It is the second of a series I am working on (I finished the first draft of the first book earlier this year). It’s a thrilling feeling, to say the least! Especially as this is a bigger undertaking than I’ve ever tackled before. From a girl who has written only standalones, a series is a daunting task. As of now I have written the first two books, and have many plans and ideas for the third book, although it may be a while before I begin officially working on it.

What, you ask, are these books about? Well, I’m always a bit reluctant to say much about my WIPs while they are still in first-draft form – even to my own family! But I will give you a few clues.

Firstly, there are dragons. And anyone who knows me knows how much I adore dragons. I’ve longed to put them in a book for many years, but dragon1hadn’t found the right story for them until now. And I’m so excited about them, although to be honest, a little nervous about how I’ve pulled it off …!

Secondly, and probably obviously, these books are of the Christian fantasy genre, just as The Word Changers was. There is an element of allegory, an element of mystery, a great deal of adventure and intrigue and danger, and a bit of romance.

Thirdly, these books are told from multiple points of view. There are two protagonists – one is a male and one is a female. The story is told alternately from their viewpoints, something else I’ve wanted to do for a long time but didn’t quite have the courage for. The male viewpoint was a difficult one, and when I’m editing I’m sure I will have to sharpen his voice and think many manly thoughts in order to get it just right …! Perhaps some of the men in my life will be willing to read the book and offer their wisdom! 😉 😉

I am giving myself a week or two off before I begin edits. And by “off,” I mean that I will probably just tackle another writing project while I wait.  A short story, perhaps … or maybe a brand new book. I’ve got ideas for both of those things rattling around in my brain right now, so we’ll see.

So thanks to those who prayed for me and encouraged me as I struggled through the ending of this book (you know who you are!), and to those of you who I pray get to read these labors sometime in the distant future. I truly couldn’t do it without you, or without God, the true Author of all our stories.

Have a blessed weekend!

The Word Changers is 99 Cents, Plus a Great Giveaway!

THE DEAL

My publisher is reducing the cost of The Word Changers eBook for two weeks, beginning today. It will be just 99 cents (marked down from $3.99), from August 8th – 22nd.

Here are the links where you can find this special deal for The Word Changers:

Amazon        Barnes and Noble

If you’re new to my site, and unfamiliar with The Word Changers, you can click here to read the back-cover blurb.

THE GIVEAWAY

In honor of this promotional price, and to help spread the word, I’m hosting a giveaway!  It’s super easy to enter your name, and you can come back every day it’s going on and enter again.  So, lots of chances to put your name in the hat!

All you’ve got to do to enter is share about the promo price of The Word Changers on one (or several!) of your social media.

Below are a couple of pictures that may come in helpful when sharing.  Feel free to use either of them, or both.

99 cent promoB

99 cent promoA

A word about Rafflecopter … my site won’t allow the actual giveaway widget to show up here on this page, but you can click on the link at the foot of this post and it will take you directly to where you can enter your name. No problem.

THE PRIZES

And without further ado, here are the super fun items I’m giving away to one lucky winner!

ONE BRASS MERMAID BOOKMARK

Mermaid Bookmark (Giveaway)

I’m giving away one of these because they bring to mind the mermaid sisters from The Word Changers: Seraphine, Limnoreia and Adamaris.

  ONE “LIBRARY CARD” NOTEPAD

Library Card Notepad (Giveaway)

Some retro inspiration for when you want to jot down story ideas of your own!

 

**CLICK HERE TO ENTER YOUR NAME IN THE GIVEAWAY**

In advance, thanks so much for your support, my friends! I couldn’t do it without you!  

The giveaway doesn’t end until August 22, at the same time the promo ends. So until then, keep coming back to enter your name daily for more chances to win!

Happy sharing!!

 

Summer of Ups and Downs

Death …

The past weeks have included a lot of ups and downs around our house. For those of you who remember when we got our puppy, Pilot, a few months back, it pains me to say that we lost him just a couple of weeks ago. He died, we believe, of a disease young dogs sometimes get. Fine one day … horribly sick the next. My 7-year-old, my husband, and myself were (and are) heartbroken, to say the least. It’s a sad thing to lose your dog … and it’s a sadder thing to watch your child’s little heart break because of that loss. God certainly put a special place in people’s hearts for their pets, and Pilot will always be in ours.

Pilot and my little Bug were rarely apart.

Birth …

Several days after Pilot’s death, our cat, Princess Peach, had a kitten. Yes … just a single kitten! And this was, in fact, perfect. If there had been any more, we would have had to find homes for them. This way we get to keep our precious little kitty (named Toad). While the pain of Pilot’s death won’t end anytime soon, this new fluffy addition to our household has helped a small bit.

Our tiny Toad

 

First Drafts…

Having completed the first book of my new two-book project, I have been attempting to concentrate a bit more on finishing up the first draft of  Book 2. I’ve sent very, very rough synopses of both Book 1 and Book 2 to my agent, although I fear she may be a bit bewildered with the fractured and confusing way they were put together! These books are still in early stages, and they are the first books that aren’t stand-alones I have ever written – quite daunting! But the confusing synopses are only temporary … things will be ironed out during edits, as usual. It’s nothing some hard-core revisions and trusty beta readers won’t be able to handle!  My hope (fingers crossed!) is to have revisions completed, and finished drafts of both books in my agent’s hands, by the end of the year. Then I’ll be able to start talking a bit about them here on my blog! Can’t wait.

Introvert Overkill …

The past few weeks have been full of other things as well.

I got to visit for the day with a friend I hadn’t seen in more than four years.

One of my very close childhood friends got engaged!!

I spent a “girls” weekend with my cousins and sister (sans kiddos!), just shopping, watching movies, chatting, swimming and laughing ’til we cried.

And I am gearing up for my son to attend school. We home-schooled this past year, but decided a small local Christian school was the best choice this year. I’m sure my Bug will have no problems adapting … it’s Mom who will be the emotional mess during the first week of school!

So, yeah. A lot going on for this introverted girl 🙂  I’m just plain worn out.

How has your summer been going? What have you been up to? Relaxing in the sun … or something new and exciting?

A Shipment of Books, An Amazon Bestseller, and Obliging Trees

EXCITING ARRIVAL

First of all …. the shipment of books from my publisher arrived!!

books1

While I didn’t swim in them, as I had previously threatened to do … I was quite excited! My 7-year-old son, who is very nonchalant about my author status now, shuffled through a few of the books in the open box, then looked at me with concern and said, “But they’re all the exact same book!”

Yes. *sigh* I think he must have been under the impression that, with all the time I’ve spent on the computer preparing for launch the past few weeks, I’ve written at least another several books.

Most of these are promotional ones, which I’ll be using to give out in all the giveaways that have been running recently. So if you were one of the several winners – be on the lookout! They should be in the mail soon!

BESTSELLER … KIND OF

Secondly, The Word Changers made it to the Christian Fantasy Best Sellers list on Amazon this week! To my understanding, the top 100 of any category qualifies for the list. My book started at #94, then went from #47 to #30 just within the past 24 hours.

I realize Amazon’s algorithms are confusing, and oftentimes seem to make no sense (or is that just me?). I’ve watched my book jump back and forth numerous times over the past week or two on various (yet similar) lists. I’ve seen one ranking on Amazon, a completely different one on Author Central Amazon … yeah, confusing.

But I’ll take #30! I’m quite happy with that.

I know that sales, reviews and tags do much in the way of putting books on the radar for other Amazon buyers. So to those of you who are reviewing, tagging and buying … I’m very grateful!

TWO HOMES FOR GNOMES

And lastly, I just had to share a fun thing I did today. Such beautifully obliging trees, no? How (or why?) would I even try to resist whipping out my paints and brushes? And they are right next door to each other, so the little gnomes who can now live here will be able to have cookouts together and watch their little gnome children play together in the front lawn …… well, until the next rainfall, anyway.

Gnome door1

Gnome door2

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

 

Last Chance for Reviewers of Christian Fantasy

bookreviews

At the behest of my publisher, I will be looking for more reviewers of my book, The Word Changers, up until the time of its release in just a few days (June 23).

The Requirements

1.) Your review will need to be posted on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes and Noble (if you are a part of any other book review sites or if you have a blog, feel free to post it there as well!)

2.) The time frame to post your review should be within a few weeks – July would be great, but August works, too!

What You Should Know

You are not required to write a positive review! But it may help for you to know a few things about The Word Changers before you agree to review it. It will just make it more enjoyable for everyone involved 😉

1.) It is a Christian/allegorical fantasy.

2.) It does contain a bit of magic, although all magic is performed by the antagonistic characters.

3.) There is romance, including a couple of kisses – no more.

If you are not opposed to these things, and if you’ve got time in your reading schedule this summer, you may be just who I’m looking for 🙂

Contact Me

The book will be in electronic form. When you download it (at a link I will provide after you contact me), it will give you an option based on what type of e-format you prefer.

Email me at ashleew@zoho.com if you are interested! In your email, please let me know why you are interested in reading/reviewing The Word Changers, and the approximate time frame you think you’d be able to review it by. I look forward to hearing from you!!