Tag Archives: #writinglife

Breathing Life Back Into This Blog

After an absence longer that I thought it would be, I’m resurrecting this blog. During the pandemic last year, I wrote and never posted a series of essays about what was happening. I didn’t post them because I thought we had enough voices commenting on all things related to COVID.

I talked with a lot of people about what I want to say. Some thought I should write exclusively about my writing life: what I’m writing, where I am in the creative process, what I’ve learned about writing in the process. And I looked at how many blogs I read about these topics. For me to add my voice to this cacophony seemed like hubris. That’s not to say I’ll keep readers informed of what I’m working on. I will, but that won’t be the central emphasis of what I write in this space.

And then there are the advisors who insist that I stay away from anything controversial. “Don’t write about politics, because you’ll lose readers.” Really. I write about social issues in every one, repeat EVERY ONE, of my novels. Unintended Consequences? Abuse of women. Uncharted Territory? Pastoral abuse, child endangerment, immigration. Unsafe Haven? Pandemic. And it goes on. Telling a former activist not to write about controversial topics is a futile activity. This is a woman who still has buckshot in her butt from a deputy sheriff taking umbrage at legal protestors walking along a highway. Might as well tell me not to breathe.

So, what will this be about? Whatever’s on my mind when I sit down to write. It will have updates on my books. It will have announcements of upcoming special deals.

And it will have something new. I review a lot of books every year, both written by my friends and by top-selling authors. I’ll post some of those reviews here, mostly for books written by friends. They deserve another lift up in their writing journeys.

For now, I’m announcing specials on all of my books. Print versions of all six at $10/each. For a limited time, ebooks are $0.99/each.

All books are available on Amazon at https://bit.ly/BetsyAshton.

Until next time, be safe, be happy. Read on, right now.

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Filed under #NewReadersWanted, Uncategorized

Introducing BETRAYAL

It took longer than I thought, but at last I can announce that my latest thriller, BETRAYAL, is days away from publication. It’s nearly a year late, partly because of COVID (no, neither I nor my family have been ill), partly because of COVID malaise. I’d write and write, only to find I didn’t like much of what was on the screen. I found the delete key became my best friend. And then, one day, I woke up and began working in earnest. So, a year after what I’d hoped was my release date, I’m now closing in on it. For real.

My ARC team read the manuscript and gave me so many great suggestions for improvement. I read them all and took the majority. They were truly great catches, mostly of plot holes. My editor, who is also a pilot, edited not only with an eye for misplaced commas but also for bone-headed mistakes about flying. Thanks to her, I don’t sound like an idiot when I talk about following a flight path to a target. My cover designer fought through unanticipated school closures for her young son to come up with this cover.

“[When] a military jet [crashes] at an Army-Navy game, the danger has never been greater nor the investigation more personal.”—DIANE FANNING, NYT Best-Selling Crime Writer

“…a thriller with heart, and the human side of the drama…makes this book a winner.” AUSTIN S. CAMACHO, Author of the Hannibal Jones Mystery Series

Over 70,000 fans gather at the M&T Bank Stadium for the annual Army-Navy game. Three Navy fighters roar into the stadium air space. A fourth lags behind. The plane loses power. Cheers become screams when it crashes into the tailgating parking lot outside the stadium and explodes.

Was it pilot error? Suicide? Mechanical failure? Or worse?

Three couples in the Section Two Fan Club who knew the pilot—or thought they did—join a multi-departmental government task force to investigate.

Coincidentally, cameras capture a mysterious figure they call Fedora Man at a series of attacks on civilian and military targets. When he appears at the stadium, the Fan Club works to discover if the bombings and plane crash part of a larger pattern.

Amazon link coming soon..

What do you think? Is this something you’d be interested in reading? I’ll update with purchase links shortly.

Thanks again for joining me on my writing journey. See you in this space again soon.

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Filed under #AmWriting, #BookTeaser, #NewReadersWanted, #NewRelease, Uncategorized

Unwind

Mocha 005Such a simple word. Alas, not enough people truly unwind today.  Most of us are strung too tightly. We think we are unwinding when we stop for dinner, until we realize we are staring at a screen too much of the time. Many eat with the television on, which dampens conversation. Many more have to have phone surgically removed from their hands.

What does it take to truly unwind? Do we need to escape to a sunny beach someplace, where drinks are served with little umbrellas and the air is full of the scent of sunblock? Some unwind by hiking. Others like hanging out at home, lying on porch mats and generally enjoying life.

The first and third work for me. Years ago when I was younger, hiking was my greatest getaway. Just me and my dog, a German Shepherd/Malamute mix. We would take off on Fridays after classes ended or work was over for the day, exploring various trails in California. A couple of nights in the wilderness, disconnected from electricity and phones, sleeping under the stars where no city glow hid the Milky Way, set me back on my feet with a peaceful mind.

As I’ve gotten older and somewhat wiser, I lust more for a sunny beach or hanging around my own house, cutting myself off from screens. I find I can unwind just about anywhere. I can slip into mindfulness and savor the moment. Sometimes, it’s enough to shut down early, whether I’ve finished my writing or not, and move to the deck to sit in the sun and read. Or watch birds flit through the trees. Or boats move through the cove. Or all three.

The point is, you unwind where you can and how you can. You have to make time for it.

I have a dear friend who claims he’s wired not to unwind. He throws himself into everything and rarely takes a few hours off. Is he balanced? No way. He thinks being mindful is a waste of time, even as he occasionally walks on his green way. I’ve tried to work with him, but he’s adamant. He’s wound too tightly to relax. Probably. I know he’s wound too tightly for me to help him.

What do you do to unwind?

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A Day in the Life of This Writer

     I’m usually at my desk by 7am, butt planted firmly on my balance ball. I either write or edit for the next three to four hours before taking a break to look at e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. If there is anything I need to respond to, I do it in small increments in what is left of the morning. By small I mean 15-minute segments. And I use a timer. Otherwise, social media becomes a sinkhole I don’t 3-minute-sand-timer-egg-timeremerge from for hours.
     Lunch, usually a walk to clear my head, and back to work in the afternoon with an emphasis on social media. I respond to all Facebook posts directed to me. I spread my promotions for my books in up to 40 different groups throughout the week. Yes, I’m anal enough to have a schedule for which groups I post in when.
     Twitter follows. I use nearly 30 different #hashtags to raise awareness of my books. I set aside 18 minutes each day to set up a week’s worth of tweets in a  Twitter storm about my books, giveaways, special sales, etc.  Late in the day, when I’m nearly brain dead, I set one Twitter storm for a friend’s book. I try and promote books I’ve read or authors I like or members of my literary agency or publisher. I pay it forward.
     When I stop around 6pm, I turn off all electronic toys unless I’m reading on my tablet. I don’t look at Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or anything else. I do answer the phone and respond to texts. Other than that, I unplug.
     The next day, I wash, rinse and repeat. I do this at least six days a week.
     Now that I look at what I do, You’ll notice I don’t work late at night. I don’t sit with a cigarette clenched between my lips, head tilted to keep the smoke from my eyes. I don’t keep a bottle of Scotch on my desk. What I do is write.
     I don’t see that exciting “life of a writer.” I see a hard-working writer who works her butt off to put words on paper that you might like to read.
Care to join me??

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