Monday, February 26, 2024

More questions from my recent interview

This Week's Newsletter

This week's newsletter contains the following features:
(Feel free to skip ahead to what you want to read)


What's new with Ashleigh?

This week, I am posting the remaining questions from an interview I did in one of my writing servers last month. (You can read the earlier interview questions here and here.

Arctic Druid
You have some really cool names for your locations!
Which one is your favorite?
And do you have any other favorite world builds?

While I made up some of my character and place names, I used ancient Manx for a few of them. I think my favorite is Etoid Waefkysm. It means "Fair Winds" and is the name of the port city on the arctic side the the sea.

I also really loved building each location. For the smaller villages, I wanted it to be primitive, similar to a Native American village before the arrival of the Europeans. The cities are more like what I imagine port cities to be during colonial American times. And the druid's home? Its how I imagine a well-learned hermit would live if he secluded himself in the arctic.

It's cool that you had a general idea, then figured it out as you went.
Are you usually a Plantser?
Or was this trying something new?

I am totally a plantser. My first finished novel, I developed a detailed outline. But my characters had different ideas. So I gave up outlining as a general rule. This book was a more detailed outline (and was still pretty minimum compared to some plotters I know) than I have used in quite some time.

I'm curious what made you outline this one!
Was there something about the story that made you think outlining was needed?
Or was it the fact that it was a series?

This book was a derby project. When I was looking at all the covers, I wanted to make sure I could write a story for each cover I selected. Just because the cover was pretty didn't mean I knew what would happen. I meant to just scribble out a few lines, but the story just spewed out, including the sequel.

Now that I'm thinking about this, I went into the derby knowing I wanted to do a book for younger readers and something told me to do a hero's quest outline. I forgot if the book inspired the outline or the rough draft of the outline inspired the hero's quest. But i do remember sitting down and seeing how that one page rough sketch could fit into the hero's quest formula. And it was surprisingly easy, which is probably why the book was easier to write. It was as if the story was calling to me.

How did the cliffhanger thing work out for you?
Did you succeed? Were there places where it was hard to get a cliffhanger to work?
And do you have a favorite among the ones you came up with?

I have done cliffhangers once before, so I thought it would be easy. In fact, I'm finding it very difficult on the sequel. But for Arctic Druid, I think most of the scenes were cliffhangers.

Some worked out well, like the one where Eamon is freezing and closes his eyes at night uncertain if he will ever open them again. Or where he is confronted by a band of theives and looks to a friend, only to find the friend has joined the bad guys.

Other chapters, the cliffhangers aren't as exciting. There is one chapter that is different from the rest; it is more a journal entry describing how the darkness was formed and how to get rid of it. That one doesn't really end in a cliffhanger. And there are others that are just like (I'm paraphrasing because I don't have the book in front of me) "He set off into the unknown." Not exactly stopping in the middle of the action or anything but just enough to add some mystery.

As for a favorite? Thats tough. I think I'm a little too close to the story because I like almost all of them. There's the chapter that ends with the friend turning sides. And the one that ends with the druid telling Eamon...something important, but I don't want to ruin the story for you. I also like the one near the beginning where the village elder nominates Eamon for the quest. Or the one where Eamon runs away.

Do you have a question you would like me to answer?
Reply to this email and I will answer it in a future email.


Free Books


Wilhelmina Quigley:


Wilhelmina Quigley:
Monkey See, Monkey Do

A witch with unpredictable magic. A tricky transformation spell. What could go wrong?

Following a magical mishap, Wilhelmina Quigley accidentally transforms her classmate, Fynn, into a monkey. With a frightened Fynn running from those who could help him, Wilhelmina sets off on an extraordinary adventure to recapture and transform the monkey back to a boy. From incantation blunders to misfired spells, each step along the way brings laughter, surprises, and valuable lessons about self-discovery.


Would you like some free books in exchange for an honest review?

Wanted! Your Cozy Review! - Ends 3/02 - MG,YA,Mystery,

Want more free books? Check out these giveaways!

Magical Beginnings - Ends 2/26 - MG,YA,

Other Books on Sale


Journey of Soul


Journey of Soul
The Search for Power

His brothers can control fire.
His sisters can manipulate water.
His best friend can speak to bears.
And all he has, is his dream.

Phillip Jones' one dream is to become the world's greatest soldier but in a world where everyone can do supernatural things, it's tough being one of those who cannot. However, when he finds out about an ancient tree that can grant him his very own ability, he goes AWOL in Search for Power. Now he must escape the team that has been sent to bring him back and battle the enemy that desires the very same thing he does otherwise he will never grow to become the greatest.

If you enjoy epic fantasy maps, military soldiers, deep plots with multiple contenders, dragons and other mythical creatures, then click the BUY button and follow Phillip's Journey of Soul!


You may also be interested in these books

Mid-month book fair - Ends 3/21 - MG,YA,Romance,Mystery,

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Arctic Lynx Arctic Druid

Saturday, February 17, 2024

A day late, but not a dollar short

This Week's Newsletter

This week's newsletter contains the following features:
(Feel free to skip ahead to what you want to read)


What's new with Ashleigh?

Happy (belated) Friday!

I know, I know. It's Saturday. I'm not even going to pretend I wrote this and forgot to send it. I simply have not had a chance to write before now. I have been busy doing something I haven't had to do in nearly 20 years.

I have been job hunting!

Although I have been writing forever, it has never been my primary occupation. While I consider it a vocation, I will be honest. It is not paying the bills.

So I have decided to reenter the workforce. I couldn't find time to send you this email because I was busy with job applications and interviews.

But it's been a while. My last interview was just after my middle daughter was born, a little over nine years ago. And that wasn't so much a job interview as a family interview for all of us to join a homeschool co-op. I just happened to learn about it because they needed more tutors. My last real job interview was in 2007 when I was looking for a teaching position.

A lot has changed since then and it makes me feel old. But, I'm looking forward to new challenges. And I'm excited about returning to the classroom.

Don't worry. I'll still be sending you these biweekly freebies and deals. And I'm never going to stop writing. You may just have to wait a little longer for my next book.

Until then, how about some freebies?


Free Books


Caught and Bowled


Caught and Bowled
A sports romance ready to take off to exotic places.

Cricket star and sports writer? What could go wrong?

Gina Elliot wasn't looking for romance when she attended a cricket match. After all, she plans to finish her studies before embarking on a brilliant writing career. Yet, star player Storm Jones is hard to ignore and resist.
Storm has time for a summer fling before taking up a lucrative professional contract in England. Gina fits the bill.
But, as the African summer draws to a close, both have tough choices to make. What will they choose?


Would you like some free books in exchange for an honest review?

Read & Review Romance - February - Ends 3/01 - Romance,

Want more free books? Check out these giveaways!

Blossoming Romance - Ends 2/15 - Romance, Snow Sweet - Ends 2/29 - YA,Romance,

Do you have Kindle Unlimited? These books are free for you!

Sweet romance - Feburary - Ends 2/28 - Romance,

Other Books on Sale


Duping Cupid


Duping Cupid
A Winter Short Story

Because sometimes, even Cupid needs a little help...

Vivi and Bass have built the perfect business together. Now Bass is about to destroy everything by telling his best friend he's in love with her.

While he suspects Vivi feels the same way about him, she’ll need a jolt to face the truth.

Will Bass's plan get Vivi to open her eyes, or will their worlds - and their dating service - fall apart in three short months?


You may also be interested in these books

Click here! And discover amazing books - Ends 3/02 - YA,Romance,Mystery, Love is in the Air - Ends 2/29 - YA,Romance,

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Mooncrossed Kayaks, Kisses & Monsters

A Gazillion Apologies

This Week's Newsletter

This week's newsletter contains the following features:
(Feel free to skip ahead to what you want to read)


What's new with Ashleigh?

Happy (belated) Thursday!

I know, I know. It's Saturday. I'm not even going to pretend I wrote this and forgot to send it. I simply have not had a chance to write before now. I have been busy doing something I haven't had to do in nearly 20 years.

I have been job hunting!

Although I have been writing forever, it has never been my primary occupation. While I consider it a vocation, I will be honest. It is not paying the bills.

So I have decided to reenter the workforce. I couldn't find time to send you this email because I was busy with job applications and interviews.

But it's been a while. My last interview was just after my middle daughter was born, a little over nine years ago. And that wasn't so much a job interview as a family interview for all of us to join a homeschool co-op. I just happened to learn about it because they needed more tutors. My last real job interview was in 2007 when I was looking for a teaching position.

A lot has changed since then and it makes me feel old. But, I'm looking forward to new challenges. And I'm excited about returning to the classroom.

Don't worry. I'll still be sending you these biweekly freebies and deals. And I'm never going to stop writing. You may just have to wait a little longer for my next book.

Until then, how about some freebies?


Free Books


Cold Woods Preview


Cold Woods Preview
A fast-paced, suspenseful and witty crime thriller

A serial killer is using Glacier National Park as their personal hunting grounds

Glacier National Park’s one million acres just became the hunting grounds of a serial killer.

To save her job, FBI Special Agent Kenzie Harper must go to the one place she fears more than any other—the woods. Banished to remote Glacier National Park and partnered with a park ranger with a past, Kenzie is one unhappy camper. But when young women start turning up dead in the park, Kenzie must figure out how to work in one of the most dangerous places in the world.

With the summer crowds looming, and her career on the line, Kenzie races to solve the case before the killer strikes again. But as the body count rises, she realizes the danger may be closer than she ever imagined.

With its stunning Montana backdrop and gripping plot twists, Cold Woods is a must-read for fans of crime thrillers and suspense novels. If you love books by bestselling authors like Lisa Regan and Craig Johnson, you won't want to miss Cold Woods. Grab your copy now!


Would you like some free books in exchange for an honest review?

Wanted! Your Cozy Review! - Ends 3/02 - MG,YA,Mystery,

Want more free books? Check out these giveaways!

Action, Adventure & Intrigue - Ends 2/25 - Mystery, Action, Adventure & Thrills - Ends 3/01 - Mystery,
Gone Missing - Ends 3/15 - Mystery, Warm Up February with Freebies - Ends 3/11 - Romance,Mystery,

Do you have Kindle Unlimited? These books are free for you!

Mystery with a dash of Romance - Ends 2/29 - Mystery, Tough Situations, Tougher Women - Ends 3/01 - MG,YA,Mystery,

Other Books on Sale


Don't Forget Me


Don't Forget Me
A Ghost Story

Three years after Ethan watched Elle go into the light, he thought he'd settled into life as a doctor in a small country hospital, but now he's back in the city for a conference and apparently back to trying to help ghosts move on in between networking, reconnecting with his ex, Amelia, and keeping his nephew, Levi, in check.

When Levi's first day of high school sees him reunite with his old best friend and his ghostly sister, he needs his uncle's assistance to help her move on to the other side. But first, he must work out while she's still here.

As for Amelia, she has her own troubles and they may, or may not include another ghost.

With all this ghost whispering going on, will Ethan actually be able to attend his conference? And, perhaps more importantly, rekindle the spark with the one who got away?

Don't Forget Me is a touching second-chance romance and ghostly mystery full of heart.


You may also be interested in these books

Click here! And discover amazing books - Ends 3/02 - MG,YA,Romance,Mystery, Deadly Hearts - Ends 3/02 - Mystery,
Detect a Great Mystery - February - Ends 2/29 - Mystery, February Cozy Mysteries you'll love - Ends 3/01 - Mystery,
Spells, Swords & Secrecy - Ends 3/02 - YA,Mystery,

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Kayaks, Kisses & Monsters One Night in Sedona PS: It Was Murder

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

It's Snowing!

This Week's Newsletter

This week's newsletter contains the following features:
(Feel free to skip ahead to what you want to read)


What's new with Ashleigh?

It's snowing!

I just wanted to throw that out there. It feels good to have a real snow day. We've gotten a good couple of inches and are expecting about half a foot by the time the storm ends this afternoon.

Unfortunately, that means Mr. Stevens is working from home. With the kids all on their electronic devices, my bandwidth is crying. I've lost track of how many times my internet froze while trying to write this email.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I am enjoying this snow day. My plan? Curling up on the couch with my coffee and a book.

I know I've asked this before, but

How do you celebrate a snow day?

Hartfield Chronicles

Hartford Chronicles

Hartfield Chronicles follows the lives of Melinda, Pat, and their friends as they navigate their way through boarding school life.

Each episode features two stories, one from Melinda's point of view and one from Pat's, along with an excerpt from Melinda's writing journal.

New episodes are published every Wednesday.


Free Books


The Stolen Shifter


The Stolen Shifter
A prequel to Ghost Academy

If I don't do what they say, they'll kill my sister...

My little sister Paige has always been strong, but even in fox form neither of us is a match for a pack of wolf shifters. When they kidnap us, they make me swear to help them in their plans for Acadiana Blakemore, or they'll kill Paige.

This is a short story tied to Blakemore Academy and its spin-off, Ghost Academy.


Would you like some free books in exchange for an honest review?

Wanted! Your Cozy Review! - Ends 3/02 - MG,YA,Mystery, YA Scifi/Fantasy Reviews - Ends 3/02 - YA,

Want more free books? Check out these giveaways!

Abundant Wooniverse Giveaways - Ends 3/01 - YA, Magical Beginnings - Ends 2/26 - MG,YA,
Midwinter All-Fantasy Subgenre Mega Giveaway - Ends 2/14 - YA, Pledge This Sword - Ends 2/15 - MG,YA,
Snow Sweet - Ends 2/29 - YA,Romance,

Do you have Kindle Unlimited? These books are free for you!

Sweet Romance - Feburary - Ends 2/28 - YA,Romance, Tough Situations, Tougher Women - Ends 3/01 - MG,YA,Mystery,

Other Books on Sale


Magical Matchmaker


Magical Matchmaker
A Young Adult Romantasy Novella

In the forgotten magical city of Moonhaven, Madame Seraphina, the town’s most renowned magical matchmaker, is known for her uncanny ability to pair witches and wizards with their perfect matches. As the Valentine period approaches, Celeste, a floral shop owner, finds herself on the receiving end of an elegantly adorned envelope, an invitation to Madame Seraphina's exclusive Valentine's Day matchmaking event.

Celeste attends the event held in a hidden secret garden filled with enchanted roses that each carry a unique curse or blessing. Among the flickering fairy lights and the fragrance of otherworldly flowers, attendees meet their mysterious blind date, a fellow witch or wizard whose identity is concealed by a glamour.

As the night unfolds, Celeste discovers that her date harbors a secret agenda beyond the search for love. After exchanging one of the magical roses, a forbidden love starts blooming. Celeste will have to find out if her rose was blessed or cursed.


You may also be interested in these books

Click here! And discover amazing books - Ends 3/02 - MG,YA,Romance,Mystery, Love is in the Air - Ends 2/29 - YA,Romance,
Spells, Swords & Secrecy - Ends 3/02 - YA,Mystery,

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Adjusting to a New Life A New Home Innocent Bystander Camp Piquaqua Elephant on My Chest Becoming Birgit