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Kicking the Twilight out of Him…

This is another link that came from twitter… This time, pointed to me by @NicolAZ

As stated by the editor of this piece:

In this remixed narrative Edward Cullen from the Twilight Series meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s an example of transformative storytelling serving as a visual critique of Edward’s character and generally creepy behavior. Seen through Buffy’s eyes some of the more patriarchal gender roles and sexist Hollywood tropes embedded in the Twilight saga are exposed in hilarious ways.

– Jonathan McIntosh, from his commentary on Buffy vs Edward

I’m a HUGE Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan … and I enjoyed reading Twilight.  If by enjoyed, you can read that I browsed its many, many, many pages under duress, as everyone else was reading it so I had to know what all the hubbub was about.

I must say, I too wondered what Buffy would have thought of Edward. Well. Now we know. LOL – good work! and this sort of “transformative editing” — and corresponding copyright leeway — must leave the lawyers scrambling for their law books!


Inspiration vs. Perspiration

Inspirational authors teeter on a fine line in our craft. Authors are taught to “show, not tell” when it comes to story, scene, emotion, and plot.

Don’t say someone’s nervous. Show their fingers drumming a table. Sweat pooling in the back of their shirt. Don’t tell us how someone fell in love. Show the fluttering butterfly kiss, the quick-take of breath. The locking of gazes, and two hearts beating the same rhythm.

In the same vein, inspirational authors need to be able to show God’s overpowering love for mankind, without telling. We had a thread today in our White Rose Press yahoo group. Authors expounded their opinions on how to do this, and I suspect the conversation is not over.

The best part about the question – how do you show not tell when it comes to your character’s arc – and how they reach their happily ever after – which in an inspirational fiction story involves having God be the cornerstone of love. So, that can leave writers sweating.

I put that question out to you all – what do you want to see when it comes to sharing the word in fiction?

Christian Fiction Surging in Down Economy

I read this article this morning – thanks to one of my White Rose Publishing author friends. It’s a wonderful nod to how people turn to God in times of trouble… And this time, thanks to the wealth of amazing Christian and Inspirational authors out there, we have baskets overflowing with loaves and fishes for the masses!

Has anyone noticed how The Shack continues to teeter at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List? Whether or not you believe in its philosophy, you have to love the heart in which it was written.

If you want romance! it’s there. Check out White Rose Publishing and download titles today.  If your tastes run to the paranormal, there are even publishers tiptoeing around the vampire and shape shifting sub-genres. Action. Adventure. Historical. And let’s not forget the time honored non-fiction books to feed your spirit. And the common thread through it all – a message of hope. Of more than just flagging economies and crisis. A message of love, and promises that you are not alone.

Read on to find out how this rise in the popularity of the Christian Fiction Market helps everyone.

What is The One Flaw In Women?

This was an e-mail forward that bore repeating… to my friends – both near and far – remember how special you are.

By the time the Lord made woman,
He was into his sixth day of working overtime.
An angel appeared and said,
‘Why are you spending so much time on this one?’

And the Lord answered,
‘Have you seen my spec sheet on her?
She has to be completely washable, but not plastic,
have over 200 movable parts, all replaceable
and able to run on coffee and leftovers,
have a lap that can hold four children at one time,
have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart-and she will do everythingwith only two hands.’

The angel was astounded at the requirements.
‘Only two hands!? No way!
And that’s just on the standard model?
That’s too much work for one day.Wait until tomorrow to finish.

”But I won’t, ‘ the Lord protested. ‘I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart.
She already heals herself when she is sick
AND can work 18 hour days.’

The angel moved closer and touched the woman.
‘But you have made her so soft, Lord.’

‘She is soft,’ the Lord agreed,’
but I have also made her tough.You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish.’

‘Will she be able to think?’, asked the angel.

The Lord replied,’Not only will she be able to think,
she will be able to reason and negotiate.’

The angel then noticed something,
and reaching out, touched the woman’s cheek.
‘Oops, it looks like you have a leak in this model.
I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one.’

‘That’s not a leak,’the Lord corrected,’that’s a tear!’

‘What’s the tear for?’ the angel asked.

The Lord said, ‘The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her love,her loneliness, her grief and her pride.’

The angel was impressed.
‘You are a genius, Lord.You thought of everything!
Woman is truly amazing.’

And she is!
Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy;
and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don’t take ‘no’ for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear abouta birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss
can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They’ll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideals.
They give moral support to their family and friends.
Women have vital things to say and everything to give

PLEASE take a moment today to remind your women friends and relatives just how amazing they are.

Love, 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!

Thoughts on a Saturday

I’ve joined a new group of authors who are writers, mothers, fellow jugglers like myself – who are trying to do a bit of everything. We started as a support group, and after realizing how much we needed each other, we realized that we all blog- and by combining our efforts, we can share our experiences in the publishing world with all of you!

Case in point. This blog was just interrupted by serving breakfast, administering a dose of Claratin to fight an extremely runny nose and allergy cough, and breaking up a squabble that I think started because mommy was only loosely paying attention to the equal distribution of tinker toys!

When do we find time to write? Whenever we can. Now I have to go re-plan a backyard scheme to include my oldest daughter’s birthday present…

Back again. What was I saying? Oh, right. Finding time. It’s Saturday, at least. I overslept, otherwise I would have been writing at 5:00AM, like usual. Looks like I’ll be up long after everyone’s gone to bed editing my latest WIP (Work In Progress).

My New Year’s Resolution was to be better organized with my time. When you’re juggling family, work, writing, blogging, and now MARKETING (*argh!) something has to give. So, tomorrow I’ll be planning out my posts for the month of February. So, dear reader, please let me know what you want to know about…

  1. How to become a published author?
  2. Waxing rhapsodic on romance as a genre, a past-time, or a way of life?
  3. How to juggle a budding writing career?

Looking forward to hearing what you want to read…

Chasing Monsters

A scream pierced the darkness. 5:15 a.m.

I flew down the hall to the shaking, sitting up form of my oldest daughter. She sobbed into her hands, “The little man downstairs. He had a knife!”

Just a dream, I knew. I soothed. But the knowing of that, and the soothing of her didn’t take the terrors away. Her daddy tried to share his wisdom in the wee hours of the morning with little ears that only heard one thing. He didn’t believe her.

I shushed them both and picked her up. Carrying her back to my bed, I wrapped my hands around her, held her close. Not until this moment have I realized how much she’s grown. Long legs, slender arms, ocean blue eyes that see far more than we give her credit for.

When she was a baby (toddler) 5 a.m. was her time to relive incidents from the day before. I’d perk my ears as I stroked her back, and she talked in her sleep, wailing about unresolved daycare issues. 5 a.m. is her witching hour, the time that she shares her soul with me, and I stand on the sideline and watch her subconscious deal out the blows to the bad ones that my soft spoken little miss couldn’t perform while awake.

Now, she’s reliving a movie we watched last night: Arthur & The Incredibles. An innocent enough tale with fanciful creatures, good and bad. A secret universe, under our very noses, with a princess, a prince, and a happy ending. And of course, where there is good, so there is evil. A tiny, scary creature with a sword and a vengeance. The story is all about balance of good and evil. Yin and Yang. Light and dark. We laughed, we danced to the music, and we cheered when love conquers all.

But, in her dreamland, convinced that she truly crept downstairs in search of a secret snack only to find the little scary man with his knife.

Was it real? Real enough for a 4 year old on the edge of turning 5. Real enough to curl up with her mama under the covers and stare, wide eyed at the horizon and wait for the first fingers of dawn to unfold the blanket of dark. Real enough for me to hold on to her, stroke her back, and keep the nightmares at bay.

Out of the mouths of babes…

Okay, so I had to share this with you all – as the honesty of kids floors me on a regular basis. Take Ellie, who told me the other day she had Jesus in her heart, and was wondering how he could get out!

Anyway, here is a chain mail I got today… enjoy the read…

-You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
— Alan, age 10
-No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.
— Kristen, age 10

Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
— Camille, age 10

You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
— Derrick, age 8

Both don’t want any more kids.
— Lori, age 8

-Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
— Lynnette, age 8 (isn’t she a treasure)
-On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
— Martin, age 10

-When they’re rich.
— Pam, age 7
-The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.
– – Curt, age 7
-The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.
– – Howard , age 8

It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them. — Anita, age 9

There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?
— Kelvin, age 8

And the #1 Favorite is………
Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck . — Ricky, age 10

Notes before taking some leave…

Good morning – all. Friends, fans, and family… I had a few minutes with my morning coffee and almost picked up my journal – but decided here was as good a place as any. We’re about to go through some changes at our house. I’m off work for awhile, as many of you know… but before I go, we’re taking our little trailor down to the beach for a relaxing family weekend WITH FRIENDS this time.

This should be fun. For once, it’s Perry’s group of work friends we’re going with. I’m truly looking forward to meeting these people he spends time with. I’ve been promised many hands to help with the girls – which should be great – and I’m frankly looking forward to parking myself in a lounge chair and watching the waves, having a few glasses of wine, toasting marshmallows, and listening to laughter and great music… quality time with no computer. Ha! no phone (save for the cell to call my sis/bro in law when we have a trailor “emergency”) and just “roughing it” together.

Life is good. I’m set for surgery on Monday, and will be in recovery a bit after wards. Don’t expect much from me until middle of October – when my birthday extravaganza begins! 🙂 Mine and Ellie’s. This year will be cause for great celebration. We have our wonderful girls, our friends who have been coming out of the woodwork to lend their support and their good wishes. I’m genuinely blessed, and finally feel at home in this little town of Temecula, California.

Will I ever consider myself a non-Arizonan? I don’t think so. It’s the home of my heart. But, being able to take an easy trek to the beach for a few days is a joy that I always longed for. I’ve got a husband who loves us so well. And mom and dad are coming out to lend a hand. All is good. So, here’s to a quick recovery, time to work on “Castles by the Sea” — my WIP that’s in rewrite now. And some enjoyable time researching the 1930s – one of my favorite periods in history.

Love and blessings to you all… and I’ll catch up in a week or so… Meanwhile, good reading, and good writing to you, all!