Category Archives: #OutOfTheDesert

#ARoomofOne’sOwn

Let’s face it. We are spending more time in our homes than in offices or other places of work. We use our own space, our own toilet paper, our own food. We will be looking for new uses for the space we currently occupy. By that, I mean, we look for places we can set aside for work, for play, for quiet. And that’s perhaps new to most of us.

I work from home. Have for the past nearly fifteen years or so. I was a consultant for two large firms doing client-side work. I didn’t have office space at my corporate offices, because my work was done on site. When I was between assignments, I worked from my home. Once I retired and became a full-time writer, working from home became my norm. So, when we went COVID-19 lockdown, I continue to rise every morning, head down to my basement office, and begin writing. Oh, yes, and I do my hair and put on makeup first. And no, I don’t work in jammies or in my bunny slippers.

But, not all of us have the luxury of a room of our own. Many have children, who are now being taught remotely at home. Others work from home, those who can, and who need space. Most have had to put aside places in their homes to be school rooms, office spaces, and conference rooms.

Imagine the realtors who how have to recast a multi-bedroom home as having one or two home offices. Builders are designing better office space inside a new home with top-of-the-line electronics, wi-fi, and smart appliances. Space is not infinite. Quiet is not a norm. We work side by side with our kids and spouses.

One friend lives in a large city. She’s lucky to afford a two-bedroom apartment. With three children between first grade and ninth grade. Each has electronics in an older building where outlets are at a premium. In order to keep her sanity, she set aside three spaces, one in her living room where a card table serves as a desk, one at the kitchen table, and the last in her bedroom. Not optimal, but she’s thinking this is her new normal. Maybe the kids will go to school for a couple of days a week. Maybe not.

And now I have to go back to work sitting next to my husband who’s working at his own desk about six feet away.

Good luck. Stay strong.
Peace, out.

#AmWriting

I’m having way too much fun working on Betrayal, a suspense story with lots of explosions. I’m turning my anxiety about what’s going on around the world into emotional responses to events in my characters’ lives.

#NewReadersWanted

If you are looking for something a little different, these four books are all $0.99 each. Perhaps you’ll take a chance and see if you like what I write. And here’s the link to make it easier for you to find them.

Unintended Consequences https://amzn.to/2WWkONX
Uncharted Territory http://amzn.to/1T71q6D
Eyes Without A Face https://amzn.to/2xoP9ap
Out of the Desert http://bit.ly/outofthedesert

Please help out all of your favorite writers by dropping a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads. We appreciate it.
Thanks, and read on, right now.

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Filed under #AmWriting, #EyesWithoutAFace, #OutOfTheDesert, Uncategorized

From Memoir to Novel

#ICYMI, It Started With a Memory

What did? Out of the Desert.

That memory was triggered by an old black-and-white photograph of two kids hiding in a fort they’d dug in the desert. My cousin, Jerry, and I loved to play cowboys and Indians, or war, or anything else that required a hole in the sand. We’d lie outside, gazing up at the stars at night, and dream about what we were going to be when we grew up. Kinda like most kids at 10, 11, 12.

We had grand dreams. Jerry was going to be a spaceman. I was going to be a doctor. He was going to fly airplanes. I was going to be a champion barrel racer. He wanted to escape; I wanted to stay. Neither of us got what we dreamed about. I did race around barrels (What the heck what I thinking???). I didn’t become a doctor. Well, not a medical doctor. Jerry didn’t have chance. Fate took him too soon.

But, when I looked at that picture, I knew I had to write about us. I started with a short story about daydreaming on the high Mojave desert near Victorville, CA. I was 11; Jerry was 12. I remembered a lot about how we dreamed of being something other than kids in school. I published that short story in The Best of the Virginia Writers Club: Centennial Anthology, 1918-2018 as “Toad.” I was pretty satisfied with it.

Guess I wasn’t through, because Jerry kept returning in my dreams some sixty years after he died. He wasn’t satisfied. I wasn’t through with his story. I couldn’t write a memoir of our life together, because I didn’t have enough material. What I could, and did, do was imagine what he would have become had fate not stepped in. I gave Jerry a life. I gave him the future he never had. And now, looking back on Out of the Desert, who’s to say this isn’t the exact life my cousin would have enjoyed.

So, do you have a memory? Or an idea of something that might have happened? Do you want to tell it? Well, darn it. Tell it. Shout it loud and clear. Let readers know how much you loved the person you’re writing about. Fictionalize the story when you run out of memories. It’s all right to do that. It’s your story. Own it. Tell it. Share it. You’ll be glad you did.

Out of the Desert is available on Amazon in print and ebook formats.

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Filed under #AmWriting, #OutOfTheDesert, #ToadtheDreamer, Burro

Back with a new book

It took longer than I thought, but I am proud to announce that OUT OF THE DESERT is now available in print and ebook versions on Amazon. To encourage followers of my website to try this novel, I’ve priced the print version at $10 and the ebook at $0.99. The ebook price will be live for the rest of August. http://bit.ly/outofthedesert 

Why? Because so many of you read the ARC earlier. If you liked the novel, I have a huge ask: please buy the ebook for a buck, write a review, and make me happy. Why buy the book you’ve already read? Because if you a post a review that is not “verified” as an Amazon sale, either the review can be rejected or taken down in the future. Just way the elephant in the room works. 

So, I’m shameless. I need reviews to get the book entered into contests. I think this book has different legs (even without any serial killers in the mix!) from the Mad Max series. I want to reach new readers, new book clubs, as well as loyal ones. Please help out. 

To remind you about the story, this novel focuses on Toad, his brother Cricket, his best friend Pollywog, and his cousin Phyl. 

Once upon a time a little boy named Toad the Dreamer lived in the Mojave Desert. He dreamed first of being a spaceman. Then, he dreamed about growing up and going to college. He dreamed his mother’s dream for him to become a writer.  

Todd, the grown-up version of Toad, neared his 50th birthday. He wondered what happened to the little boy who wanted to be a spaceman. Todd’s story, and those of his favorite cousin and best friend, bring him to this turning point. Will he go back to the desert he left behind and find Toad the Dreamer? Or will he continue as he has, living a good life but not being satisfied with what he’s doing? Will he reconnect with his best friend?. 
I’ve been absent, but now I’m back. Getting the book out was more time consuming that I’d anticipated. So was getting ready for a total knee replacement. Well, the book is out and the knee is in place. Healing begins. So does my brain, which is re-engaging with new ideas for the next story, for new promotions, for life. I hope you join me on the journey.

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Filed under #BookTeaser, #ICYMI, #NewRelease, #OutOfTheDesert, #ToadtheDreamer, Uncategorized

Announcing a New Book

My next novel is nearly done and I’m raring to get this puppy into your hands. I have an offer and an ask.

Here’s the offer:  If you want to be a beta reader, please raise your hand. Send me an email at betsy_ashton2005@yahoo.com. I’ll send you a copy of the manuscript in PDF format. All you’ll need to read it is a copy of Adobe Acrobat, which is free.

Read the book. 

Give me honest feedback. Loved it. Hated it. Fell asleep on page 3. Did the stories hold your attention? Did you find the characters credible/likeable/entertaining?

Here’s the ask: When I release the book, I’m going to put the ebook up for free for a weekend. I’ll send you an email asking you to go to Amazon and “buy” it. Even if you don’t read ebooks, please “buy” it.  And then I’ll ask you to wait a couple of days and post a review.

Why? Because Amazon tracks who buys books on its site. I’m trying to get some early reviews so that I can enter a series of contest later this year. Yeah, I’m trying to stack the deck in my favor.

I hope you can help me. Oh, one more thing. No serial killers in this one.

TO REMIND YOU OF THE STORY

Once upon a time a little boy named Toad the Dreamer lived in the Mojave Desert. He dreamed first of being a spaceman. Then, he dreamed about growing up and going to college. Next, he dreamed about having a big family. He dreamed his mother’s dream for him becoming a writer. 

One day, when Todd, the grown-up version of Toad, was closing in on his 50th birthday, he wondered what happened to the little boy who wanted to be a spaceman. Or a writer. Todd’s story, and those of his favorite cousin and best friend, bring him to this turning point.

Will he go back to the desert he left behind and find Toad the Dreamer? Or will he continue as he has, living a good life but not being satisfied with what he’s doing? Will he reconnect with his best friend?

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Filed under #AmWriting, #BookTeaser, #NewRelease, #OutOfTheDesert, #ToadtheDreamer