Friday, July 7, 2023

Family Vacations

This Week's Newsletter
YA Romance Whodunit
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This week's newsletter contains the following features:
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What's new with Ashleigh?

This week was our annual family vacation to Maine. In years past, the fourth of July was a time for my husband, his parents, his brothers, and their families to gather at the lake house. Over the past few years, however, scheduling conflicts have resulted in the brothers and their families unable to join us. That means my kids don’t get to play with their cousins, but they have plenty of fun nevertheless.

We have many traditions when we go to Maine. We have to take a family kayak trip up the river. It was this trip that inspired Kisses, Kayaks & Monsters. This year, due to the rains, the water was very high, making for a lovely paddle. Unfortunately, every time I saw movement on the water (either from water striders or the wind), I couldn’t help but wonder if something was lurking in the murky depths.

Another tradition is to visit the lighthouse that inspired P.S.: It Was Murder. Like Lisa, I like to sit on the rocks and watch the waves crashing below. It is very hypnotic and mesmerizing. It can also be very therapeutic.

We plan our vacation around the ice cream social. You may remember back in February when I mentioned we were visiting Maine for the ice harvest. Well, the volunteers who run the ice house use that ice to make hand-cranked ice cream for the social. This year, the rain was horrible, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying one of our favorite family traditions.

Another tradition is to go shopping in a specific village, stop in specific stores, and buy popcorn while we are there. This year, the specific stores included buying cheap some cheap t-shirts for me.

We have two indoor traditions as well. The first is to go old school. We have a huge collection of VCR tapes in Maine. Many of these movies, while available to stream, my children look forward to watching while we are in Maine. We also have my grandfather’s original 8-bit Nintendo system. He bought it new and hardly used it. (He bought us one at the same time, but my brother eventually traded it for a newer system in high school.) Years ago, I brought this system up to Maine. My 5-year-old’s favorite part of our Maine vacation is playing Duck Hunt. This year, my mother-in-law got a new television. We redesigned the entire family room so we could keep the cathode-ray television for Duck Hunt. It means that much to my children.

Our final family tradition is to play board games. While we do this at home, it is growing increasingly more difficult to find time to do so due to everyone’s busy schedules. In Maine, we have the time to play some of our favorite games, as well as some new ones. As I write this, the 5-year-old is playing chess with Daddy (and winning).

What about you?
What are some of your “must dos” on your family vacations?
(Or maybe on your family staycations?)

Hartfield Chronicles

Hartford Chronicles

Hartfield Chronicles is taking a break!

Hartfield Chronicles is taking a break. But stay tuned! New episodes are coming in August!

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.

Season 6 coming in August!

Spend Spring Break in Hollywood with Pat and Melinda.

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As a thank you, you will receive access to bonus chapters from the Hartfield Chronicles.

Announcing the New Hammerhead Club

Hammerhead Club

Membership benefits:

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  • Access to new bonus chapters every season
  • Each month you are a member, $1 is added to your club credit. This credit can be used to purchase e-books and signed paperbacks at the Ashleigh Stevens Bookstore. Credits never expire.

Free Books

Hidden Magicals

The Hidden Magicals
An Enemies to Lovers Fantasy Romance

I never expected to save an entire mission and fall in love with my broody instructor.

It was bad enough that I felt forced to join the Collectors like my parents, and theirs before them, as it always has been since the Apocalypse left the world a desert wasteland.

But then my hot AF instructor walks in. Maybe being a Collector won’t be so bad. Until he decides to follow me around, pointing out my every flaw.

I save an entire mission using my wits instead of brute strength, and his admiration becomes clear - and his tough exterior softens.

As we venture further into the unknown ruins of this post-apocalyptic world, our skills intertwine: my mind supporting his brawn, and somehow our hearts become intertwined as well.

Handpicked for an elite team to capture powerful magicals that have fled to the mysterious Hidden Kingdom, we set off on our greatest adventure yet.

An adventure fraught with danger that could mean the end of the world as we know it and the end of the only love I’ve ever known.

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

Romance is in the Air - Ends 7/30 - Romance
Hot Chocolate - Ends 7/16 - Mystery Romance and All its Parts - Ends 7/16 - Romance

Want more free books? Check out these giveaways!

Explosion of Free Short Stories - Ends 8/2 - All
Free Romance  - Ends 8/1 - Romance Free Short Stories - Ends 8/1 - All
Best Romance Book  - Ends 7/31 - Romance Sweet Summer Romance - Ends 7/27 - YA, Romance
Fun in the Sun - Ends 7/18 - All Summer Romance - Ends 7/15 - Romance

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

Summer Reading for KU - Ends 7/31 - All

Other Books on Sale

Crossroads Through Time

Crossroads Through Time
A Tale of Two Choices

What if She Had Made a Different Choice at a Pivotal Moment in Her Life?

Genevieve only wants a short respite as she slips away from a birthday party in her honor. Yet, once she’s alone in her quiet oasis she unexpectantly collapses.

Drawn into a dream-like state, Genevieve is transported through time and space where she relives the pivotal choices during her lifetime…her “crossroad moments.” With all her senses acutely aware, she is gifted with experiencing “the other choice” as well, revealing how different life would be.

Genevieve rides a torrent of emotional ups and downs as each choice now gives her a clear understanding of an altered life journey.

But why? What is the real purpose behind it all?

Helpless to stop the emotional roller-coaster, Genevieve finds both ecstasy and hell in the alternate realities she seems destined to experience.

Then, the phenomenal odyssey ends.

When she opens her eyes, nothing is the same. As objects and people come into focus, Genevieve’s world has disappeared, and in its place, something you can’t imagine!

Could a mere dream really change reality?

Crossroads Through Time is a compelling fictional tale that embraces emotions of love, fear, hope and loss. Author, Sheryl M. Frazer weaves one choice versus another into a dramatic telling of shifting realities and unexpected twists.

This book was re-edited and reformatted, July 2022.

Begin to submerge yourself in Genevieve's incredible journey today and discover why her reflections are not what you might assume!

Dark Secret Crimes

Dark Secret Crimes
A Completely Addictive, Fast-Paced Psychological Thriller

In an attempt to protect his family from his father's anger, Semjah's life takes a chilling twist.

Semjah struggles with his desire to be a good son and make his father proud.

But he knows the day will come when he has to confront his father.

As he tries to maintain peace, one fateful day, his father's actions cross the line forcing Semjah to go on the run.

Semjah finds refuge and a sense of belonging in the criminal underworld, Where he lives a life of crime, secrecy, and regret.

But trust is scarce, and loyalty comes at a deadly price.

He forms unlikely bonds hoping to build a better life.

But tragedy strikes each time, breaking his heart and damaging his fragile psychological state.

Consumed by rage and grief, Semjah descends into a spiral of addiction and vengeance.

Now he faces a hard decision; can he stop himself and choose right over wrong, or succumb to the very darkness he seeks to overcome?

You may also be interested in these books

Treat Yourself to these amazing books - Ends 8/4 - All Cozy Mystery Beach Reads - Ends 8/3 - Mystery
Relax in the Sun - Ends 8/2 - All Clean YA Romance - Ends 8/2 - YA, romance
July Readers - Ends 8/1 - Mystery SciFi & Alien Romance - Ends 8/1 - Romance
Women Authors Celebration - Ends 8/1 - All Fall in Love with a New Book - Ends 8/1 - Romance
Bestsellers with Strong Female Leads - Ends 8/1 - All Second Chance Romance - Ends 8/1 - Romance
All Genres Book Sale - Ends 7/31 - All July Cozy Mysteries - Ends 7/31 - Mystery
Smashwords - Ends 7/31 - All Contemporary Romance - Ends 7/10 - Romance

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Check out my books

Adjusting to a New Life A New Home Innocent Bystander Camp Piquaqua Elephant on My Chest Becoming Birgit
Mooncrossed Kayaks, Kisses & Monsters One Night in Sedona PS: It Was Murder

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