Why I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year

Greetings all,

I do hope this year is treating you well and you all had a fantastic Halloween. As any fellow writers out there would know, November is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. It’s a time where authors everywhere try to write 50,000 words in a single month towards one book or project. The exercise is not designed to churn out bestsellers but to get writers into the habit of writing every single day, something that’s very hard to do.

I won’t be competing in NaNoWriMo this year purely because I am still 100% focused on reviewing and editing Blessed Cursed. I do not want to put it aside for a month to write on another project. I want it done!! I made a promise that it would be completed this year and I still have a full third of the manuscript to finish. (AAAHHHH!!)

This novel is driving me to distraction. When I ‘finished’ it in February, it was only about 100k words and about 24 chapters. Since my reviews and edits have started, it’s now 160k words, over 35 chapters and I’m not even done yet!!! Maybe it was premature to call it ‘finished’ in February. My edits have been extensive and I’ll admit a great deal of the book is totally different from the original, but I think, much better. Sooo much better. It may be taking me a long time and I may be practically re-writing the majority of the novel but overall I think Blessed Cursed will be stronger and better than ever when I can finally throw down my keyboard and declare it officially done. Then it’s onto Beta Readers and potentially more changes but I’m not thinking about that right now 🙂

I’m making this promise to you too, dear reader, so you can hold me to it and keep me on track. The reviews and edits will be finished by the New Year. Beta Readers will start in January 2017. Please let me know if you are interested in becoming a Beta Reader for Blessed Cursed.

Till next time,

Ashleigh

P.s. The image above is the view from the Bunya Mountains in Queensland, Australia where I was recently for a beautiful wedding. Amazing place with wild birds who eat seed straight out your hand and more wallabies than I’ve never seen in one place before.

September Update

Hey guys,

Just a quick update to let you know I’m still around. I’ve really been working hard on Blessed Cursed which is why I haven’t posted up in a few months. Its word count is up to 160k and rising. I’ve finished re-writing the middle chapters and I’m up to reviewing the last third of the manuscript. A lot of work still to be done but I really hope to finish before the end of the year.

The picture above is my cat Kuro when he was a kitten ‘helping’ me type. Such a little cutie.

Till next time,

Ashleigh

 

My First Bow

Well my first proper Composite bow. I don’t count the Nerf bows sitting around the house.

Greetings All!

Kittens
Little cuties, Kuro and Harley

What a May! Blink and you’ll miss it. Earlier in the month, it was my birthday. I’d like to thank everyone once more for your kind wishes. Then, just a few days ago, it was my beautiful husband and I’s first year wedding anniversary. A lot has changed in a year. We’ve moved houses and adopted two gorgeous little kittens, Kuro and Harley. It has been an extremely productive year for both of us. I’ve written the vast majority of Blessed Cursed since then.

Last weekend we attended the Medieval Market and Fantasy Faire in Ipswich, QLD. It was fantastic to see so many interesting stalls and people. My eye was caught by the Archery stall and I didn’t go home empty handed. Once home, we set up a little practise range in the garage and boy, were my shoulders sore the next day! I think I need to start some strength training for my arms.

What I’m Writing:
I’m still working away at Blessed Cursed. In reviewing, I’ve discovered I’m no longer happy with two of my chapters and I’m completely re-writing them. I’ve also decided to flesh out the last quarter of the book more so my novel is now looking like it’s going to be 150k words instead of the 100k goal I set when I started. I’m hoping to have those chapters re-written by next month then the review can start again where I left off. At this stage, I can’t give an estimate as to when the review will be finished but I just really hope it’s before August.

What I’m Reading:
I’ve finished the last three books I have in the Dragons of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. They were First Fall, Dolphins of Pern, and Red Star Rising. I enjoyed them thoroughly although not as much as some other books in the series. I liked First Fall and Red Star Rising because they are set earlier in Pern’s history. It was nice to read about the first Dragon riders in First Fall and the problems faced by them in Red Star Rising to convince the Holders Thread was real when it hasn’t been seen in centuries years.

GotrekSince finishing that series, I started a new one which is somewhat different to what I normally read. Gotrek and Felix is a Gothic Fantasy series set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe. Gotrek is a dwarf slayer who is pledged to meet his doom in epic combat. Felix is a human who, after getting very drunk, agreed to accompany Gotrek on his travels and write an epic tale of Gotrek’s death once he’s achieved the glorious end in battle he seeks. The problem is Gotrek just can’t seem to find anyone (or anything) strong enough to best him in battle so he keeps looking. I’ve finished the first four books being Trollslayer, Skavernslayer, Deamonslayer and Dragonslayer. I’m currently halfway through Beastslayer. All written by William King. Are you picking up a theme with the titles? I’m reading them in the two omnibus collections which I’m very happy for. Apart from the first two novels, the last three have read like one long story. The first book, Trollslayer is probably the worse. It reads to me like a collection of short stories which became a novel. Each chapter is a story and there isn’t really an over-arcing plot. I found the writing repetitive. However the second book onwards has been really good and I am enjoying the story. Set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe, it’s much darker and more gruesome than I am used to but not to a fault. That is simply how that universe is. If considering to read these books, I suggest doing a little bit of research into the Warhammer Fantasy universe as it will help you understand the races and attitudes. I myself only had a very limited knowledge to start with but it certainly helped.

Till next time,

Ashleigh

April Update

Greetings!

That’s another month done and dusted for the year 2016. It’s now April. Am I the only one who’s a little freaked out with how fast this year is going? My sister is currently preggers with my first little niece and we are all pretty certain we’ll be welcoming her into the world before May. I’m sitting by the phone just waiting for the call. It’s going to be a busy month!

What I’m Writing:
I was hoping I would be finished the reviews for Blessed Cursed by the end of March. Safe to say I was over confident. I’ve completed about half the manuscript so it may just take another month before I’ve finished. I’m still on the look out for Beta Readers so if you are interested please drop me a message and I’ll let you know the details. Blessed Cursed is currently sitting at roughly 120k words so I can safely say it’s the longest novel I’ve ever written so far.

What I’m Reading:
I’m still on the Dragons of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. Since my last update I’ve finished Moreta’s Story. A good book but probably not the best in this series. I feel the ending is too forced. Without giving much away, the tale of Moreta is known to anyone who has read the early books in the Dragons series including the end. I can’t help but feel McCaffrey really wanted to write this story about Moreta but, because she had already set the ending in earlier books, couldn’t change it. Therefore the ending feels forced, sudden and to be completely honest, a bit disappointing.
In March, I also read Nerilka’s Story,  Dragonsdawn, The Renegades of Pern and All the Weyrs of Pern.untitled
Of these, I have to take a moment to talk about Dragonsdawn. To put it bluntly, I. Love. This. Book. I do. I really do. Dragonsdawn would take a spot on my all time favourite books list. My copy at home is falling apart from too much reading. Dragonsdawn is set in a different time period to the rest of the series and tells the tale of the very first dragons and their riders. It’s the thickest book in the series (and for good reason because it covered a lot!)
I’ve only three more books in this series before I finish it and start on the next one. Does any one have any suggestions?

Have an awesome April!!

Ashleigh

Beta Readers for Blessed Cursed

Greetings!

It’s time for a new month and a new season! Here in Australia, we are moving from Summer into Autumn. I can’t wait for the days to start to cool. This summer has been particularly hot with the naughty El Nino driving temperatures up. For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, Happy Spring 🙂

What I’m Writing:
In February I was able to finish writing Blessed Cursed! Yay! Happy times. I’ve already started the reviewing process and hope for that to be completed by the end of March. I’m making great progress this year. Here is a brief synopsis.

Blessed Cursed

When the Gates of Hell are opened
And darkness walks the land
Everything will crumble
Rock returns to sand

For four hundred years, Demons have slaughtered the innocent and destroyed the cities of man. Those who managed to escape were often infected by the Demon’s Curse. A poisoning of the blood, it granted them speed and strength but as the infection takes hold, it also drives them insane. The Church of Light sent its best warriors to take down the fell beasts but still they multiply and no one knows why. When Arden’s best friend is tainted by the Demon’s Curse, she puts her own life aside to find a cure before her friend looses her mind forever.

I’m starting to look for Beta Readers to read Blessed Cursed and give me feedback. Would you like to help? I’d like people who read regularly and who like Fantasy. I’m looking for completely honest feedback with as much detail as possible. If you would like to be a Beta Reader, please CLICK THIS LINK and fill in the contact form. Please include some of your favourite books so I can get an idea of what you like.

What I’m Reading:
In this last month, I’ve been reading the Dragons of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. As I said in my Feb post, I just love it. I read the followingdragonsong instalments last month: Dragon Flight, Dragon Quest, Dragon Song, Dragon Singer, The White Dragon and Dragon Drums. Of all these books, I think my favourite would have to be Dragon Flight followed by Dragon Song and Dragon Singer. The Dragon Song/Singer duo is about Menolly, a girl who loves music and writes the most beautiful songs. But girls can’t be Harpers and the Sea Hold which is her home has no time for such things.

The book I’m currently reading from the Pern series is Moreta, Dragonlady of Pern. I am hesitant to read this novel again. Its ending is incredibly sad and I don’t really like books that make me cry. But it’s been years since I’ve read it and I figured I’d give it another go. Maybe it won’t be as bad the second time around.

Have a great March guys, and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to be a Beta Reader for Blessed Cursed.

Ashleigh