Archive | February 2009

Why do I Blog?

I was asked today at work – of all things – what is the purpose of a blog. That got me thinking… because–as you know–I love to blog. It’s my journal. It’s my way of keeping in contact with people who have similar likes and interests (such as you all!), and of course, it’s a way of sharing triumphs and tragedies, and contemplating this fast paced world we live in. Things change by the minute around here. Okay. Sometimes, even by the second.

Blogs are a great way to stay connected. Add a follower, or two, and you have people who are pinged when you post something new! If you have a contest, people can participate by the tens, twenties, and even hundreds! If you keep up with the latest technologies, it’s a great place to pool resources, and find out if other folks can rate a product (see e-reader posts), or e-book Applications to see what we’re all talking about. We keep up with predators and editors, and congratulate one another on a job well done.

Most of my readers are either small press authors, e-book authors, mothers, friends, family, or all of the above. Perhaps even a co-worker or two. I cherish each and every comment, and do my best to respond to every one. It’s how we roll. Blogging is just a natural part of my thought process, much as FaceBook has become part of my social life. (See my husband shake his head, in his inability to understand my need for online interaction).

I’m an odd case. I work remotely, for a company in New Jersey. I keep odd hours, as I’m a full time working mother, so my writing time comes in the late evening and early morning. When asked, I’m sure most don’t understand – but my husband can attest to my idiosincracies. He always knows when I’m deep in edits or writing, as the house descends into utter chaos!

So, why add blogging on top of all that? Because of you. So, thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment, and I’ll answer. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend.

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Love Story

Taylor Swift wrote the epitome of a love story in but a few minutes. I was wondering this morning what it is about the song that chokes me up so. Is it watching my 5 year old daughter clasp her hands under her chin, staring dreamy eyed at the prospect of a princess and prince finding each other? Is it watching their dad dance around the room, uninhibited and singing with his little girls? Is it hearing Ellie’s rich, little girl voice belting out “Romeo, Save me! I’ve been feeying so ayone!”

I think it must be all of the above. The romance novelist inside is in awe of such a succinct story – with the pitfalls, heartbreak, and ultimate unabashed joy at the h/h finding their true love. The mommy in me sees the girls as budding romantics. The wife in me only has eyes for her own Romeo, turned amazing dad.

If you haven’t seen it, you must. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wRkoGKQ8qQ

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Hearing Voices at MamaWriters.com – 2-17-2009

Happy President’s Day, everyone! I’m enjoying a day off from just about everything. Laundry. Dishes. Work. Parenting. (What?!) Yes, the girls are playing over with their best friends this week — delighted to leave the house! And, frankly, it’s been pretty peaceful. So, maybe that’s why I opened myself to the challenge at hand. What to blog about tomorrow.

Many of you know I’m blogging with www.mamawriters.com — a site of women, mothers of kids young and grown, who are making a living doing what they are called to do: Write fiction — romantic, inspirational, and *blush* other sorts.

I’m honored that tomorrow is my day (February 17, 2009) — so come on over and let’s chat about our favorite books, authors, and that elusive, ethereal concept of a Writer’s Voice.

What is that, you say? Come on over to mamawriters.com and we’ll talk about it!

Look forward to seeing you there!

~Ashley

The Most Romantic Husband Award…

A quick note to recognize my DH as the Most Romantic Husband in Temecula. (Feel free to nominate yours as a comment to this blog!)

Yesterday afternoon, the phone rang. Frazzled, I answered in what Perry calls my “business mode.”

I could almost hear him grinning. “What are you doing at 4:00 today?”

“Getting ready to get the kids.” I quipped back.

“Let me get the kids today. Why don’t you go on over to South Coast Winery, and have an hour-long massage.”

(This is where you hear dead silence from my end of the phone.) Was I dreaming? Did those words just come out of MY husband’s mouth? Mr. Penny Pincher? Mr. I Don’t Even Want To Discuss Buying Anything Right Now? Mr. Rolls His Eyes Every Time I Mention Things I Want To Do To The House?

The answer, dear readers, is yes. He sent me to South Coast Winery for a full body, rose petal massage, to be finished off with — get this — toes curl just thinking about it… Sparkling wine and chocolate dipped strawberries!

So, taking a few minutes to throw dinner in the crockpot (sure I’d return home to crying children and a hungry husband), I wrote a quick note not to expect me for dinner), I set off for Temecula Wine Country and an evening of decadence.

South Coast becons like a Disneyland for adults. It’s tall spire reaching to a SoCal blue sky, feathered with bright white clouds. Arbors reach their welcoming arms out, dripping with flowering geraniums. The low, stone wall seperates this from the rest of the wineries. Individual villas house lovers, away on private trysts in this wine-lover’s paradise.

The spa, set back from a crystal clear pool, waterfall, and bubbling jaccuzi, greets you in its warmth. Classical music wafts from hidden speakers. The staff speaks in low tones, gentle, inviting. And, once you find yourself wrapped in a delightful, ankle length, chennile robe–you have the option of dipping into a private spa, immersing yourself in a steam bath, or retreating to the lounge to await your appointment. I chose the latter, dragging my volume of Twilight along, for the bliss of an uninterrupted half-hour of reading.

Soon, I found a glass of Syrah in my hand, and joined Bella for some quality evaluation time of Edward and her other new classmates. Then, it was my turn for an hour of nothing but breathing. Inhaling rose peta aromatherapy while my masseuse worked out the kinks of five years of parenting from my shoulders, back, arms, legs, hands, and feet. *sigh*

When all was finished, and I lay like a pile of rosy goo, my masseuse informed me that there was a special treat waiting for me in the lounge. After redressing (that robe like silk on my warmed skin), she greeted me with my decadent snack. Thickly dipped strawberries, surrounded by raw sugar, and a lovely brut sparkling wine.

The sun painted Mt. Palomar’s snow covered slope with umbers, fuscia, and amethyst. The observatory gleamed brilliant white. I sighed into the sofa, not even with the slightest desire to see if Bella and Edward had exchanged words. Instead, I spoke softly with a lovely couple from Missouri–sharing tidbits about Temecula, the new home of my heart. When the sweet lady smiled and said, “Wow. You get to live here!”

I tilted my head in wonder. Yes. I do. I get to live HERE. With my fantastic husband — who gives me romance enough to keep wanting to write about it! two rambunctious daughters, and a circle of closely knit friends. I’m grateful. I’m happy. I love my life and thank the good Lord for His many blessings.

I won’t go on about the state of the house when I got home. Who cares! Or the strain on my husband’s face as he offered to take the girls to go visit friends for a bit. I smiled, kissed him deeply, and put the big kabosh on that idea. The massage was a lovely getaway, but I happily shuttled my girls upstairs and got them ready for bed. We curled up and watched American Idol as a family.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Kindle Part Deux – Kindle 2 Makes An Appearance

Well, Amazon has answered the criticism of its device… which might be the reason it’s been so difficult to find a Kindle in these parts. Kindle 2 is on the scene. It’s leaner, faster, pencil thin, and sleek. The advertisment shows a Kindle Savvy reader sitting with her $375 device on the beach.

Let me say that again. The advertisement shows a Kindle Reader SITTING ON THE BEACH, reading her Kindle quite happily.

Here’s what you don’t see. You don’t see her kids filling her beach bag with sand. You don’t see them pouring a bucket of sea water on her unsuspecting, romance reading head, and running off to merrily gather shells.

What I mean is simply this. The paperback novel is perfect in its design, but perhaps not perfect for our green-thinking. It’s highly portable, completely disposable (though I keep my favorite dog-eared, sun-stained, water-warped, sandy copies on my shelf). Okay. Read that again.

  1. Highly Portable. Pencil thin, light, with an available cover for $30.00. (I’m on my way to buying one with my Amazon One Click right now!)
  2. Dog eared. Kindle can bookmark pages and favorite passages. (That’s a good thing. A pre-order is still looking good.)
  3. Sun-stained. With the special e-ink or whatever they’re calling it now, reading in the sun shouldn’t pose a problem and might even be easier on the eyes than the white-hot sun reflecting off pages. Hmm. Can one read at night without an itty bitty booklight? Gotta go back and see.)
  4. Water-warped. Hmm. That’s where I freak out, and leave the poor thing in my shopping cart wish list. I wish I could break down and buy one. This gadget girl is DESPERATE to own an e-book reader. BUT, I don’t think I’d bring my Kindle to the pool. How can I swim around our community pool, wondering, worrying if my $300+ device is going to be swiped from my stuff?! But even if I can find the zen state I need to reach to free myself from that worry, what about water damage? Did any of you see the Michael Phelps commercials from ESPN last year? They were hysterical…I’ll find one for you to watch. Hang on. Just watch, and you’ll see my point.
  5. Finally, this. Sandy…I know I wouldn’t shove it in my sandy beach bag, the bottom littered with broken shells, fistfulls of sand, and last year’s unfinished Stephanie Plum novel.

I would travel with it in the car, on a plane, or to a waiting room. I would attach an itty bitty booklight to it and read into the night while my DH snores away. I do want one, just for the cool factor.

I still feel like Roger Rabbit, trying not to do the “Two Bits” part of “Shave and a haircut…”

The question remains. Is it the right thing to do, right now?! Please, help me out!

Congratulations to The Wild Rose Press!

I have to give a HUGE whoop & holler to my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.

There is a group that many of us writers know about. It’s called Predators and Editors – and is a wealth of information (of the “warts & all” variety) for anyone who is looking for an agent, publisher, and/or editor. And this week, it was announced that The Wild Rose Press WON a coveted P&E award as BEST PUBLISHER!!!

Let’s face it. Our books are our babies. We spend every waking moment thinking about them, planning for them, figuring out the traits of our characters, naming them (something that was described in detail last week on www.mamawriters.com) – and when it comes time to let them leave the nest & fly, this is one of the first places a new writer should look.

When I was looking for All or Nothing‘s home – I searched P&E looking for agents. Then I went through (okay, scoured) the Writer’s Market, Publisher’s Lunch, etc. in search of an agent. I had a few nibbles, but to be quite frank, the story was rough and needed some polish. It then sat on my desk, as I needed to find my hook. I wrote and rewrote the first few chapters again and again. Worked with the Temecula Writer’s Group (HUGS) until it sparkled. But the agent route had left me cold. I joined Query Tracker. I put together some lists and almost started searching for an agent, again. Found one close, but I didn’t have the proper initials in my name…(her current criteria for finding new authors?!)

But, at my “day job” I kept seeing new listings for titles of the same genre as All or Nothing. From, you guessed it! SO, I researched them on P&E and what did I find? “Predators & Editors is hearing good things about this publisher.” Hmm. Go straight to a publisher? So, I read their submissions criteria, wrote a fantastic (writer’s group approved) query letter, followed their guidelines to the LETTER, and submitted.

Within a week, they’d notified me my query was being sent to the Senior Editor of the Inspirational Romance line. Within a day or two, the Senior Editor requested the full MS. Within another week, I heard from my editor. If I was willing to roll up my sleeves and go to work, they were willing to send me a contract. WHAT!? A contract? Just like that? Suspicious and excited, I checked the circles. Searched message loops. Nothing I heard was negative, only positive. Could it be true?

I took the biggest leap of faith of my writing life, and agreed. I had a contract. All or Nothing had a home. I had an editor. My writer’s group cheered me on! And suddenly, I felt like I could do anything. My editor gave me some pointers, and I went back to work. All of her guidance was gentle, leading, and encouraging. My screw ups became our projects. And my words suddenly gleamed with her polish. My fledgling story soon had the beautiful cover you can see, by Kimberlee Mendoza, with my name emblazoned on the cover. All writers know this in itself is a dream come true.

Creative fervor had me entering one of their contests, and thus, By Another Name was born – a winner in The Easter Lilies contest. Now – I’m working on two other submissions requests. Could I seek homes for these titles elsewhere? perhaps. But I tell you what I know about The Wild Rose Press. Rhonda and RJ care. When someone says something negative about them, she rolls up her sleeves to defend her editors, her cover artists, and her authors. They are family – spread out in a virtual office across the globe. Saying I’m glad to be planted in this garden is a given. I’ve learned more about writing in the past year than I ever have before.

Congragulations, The Wild Rose Press authors, as well as Rhonda & RJ! You deserve this, and all the accolades that go along with it.

Coming Soon, from Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig

Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig is a romance novelist, a blogger with www.mamawriters.com, and a member of the San Diego Christian Writers Guild, and Romance Writers of America.

Stay tuned for more information on her forthcoming titles:

  • By Another Name, releasing April 11 ,2009
  • All or Nothing, releasing September 25, 2009

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