Vision Writers Retreat 2018

Greetings all,

Hope 2018 is treating you well. Can you believe we are in the second half of the year already? My husband and I successfully moved into our new home in April. We are loving it (even though it’s still filled with boxes. Who knew two people could have so much stuff!). One of the first things we did was hang a picture that we’ve had for years on the wall (Something we could never do in rentals). It felt so good, a simple pleasure that re-enforced this was our home.

The view from my room at Vision Writers Retreat. Love that lake.

In June, I attended the Vision Writers Retreat for the second time. It was held in Montville, QLD in this huge absolutely gorgeous house which, by the end of the weekend, we were convinced was haunted. One of my fellow writers heard a knock on his door at 2am but when he opened it, there was no one there. Plus doors were opening and closing of their own accord. Spooky but very productive.

Same view but early in the morning when fog covers the lake. I love fog. I always thought of stepping into fog like stepping into another realm.

I managed to get a lot of work done on my latest project which I’m calling That Book at this stage. I’ll work out a proper title eventually. It’s a YA Fantasy that I’m really enjoying writing. It’s getting close to being half completed. Having said that, I have realised in the last few days that I started the book in the wrong place. Not writing wise, literally the wrong location. So my main character, Gwen, is packing up and moving with her family to the big city. This means that much of the first four chapters will be scrapped and re-written. But, as I am oft to repeat when major re-writes are needed, this is a good thing as it will make the book stronger.

I’m also taking the time to apply some more rigorous planning techniques than I usually use. Two of which were suggested by two talented writers from Vision. Already I can see these techniques are strengthening the story and helping me wrap my head around writing it.

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Featured Image: This is the view from Montville. It stretches across the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and to the ocean at the horizon.

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2018

A belated Happy 2018 to you all!
I can’t believe it’s March already. Where does the time go?
A lot of my time this year has been devoted to packing as my husband and I are building our first home. It’s very close to completion and we’re hoping to move in the next couple of weeks. It will be great once we’re settled in and I can get back to writing.

As for writing, I’m currently planning out the next novel I intend to write. At this stage, it is looking like a YA urban fantasy / magic realism. I’m having a great time planning it out. My first book was YA and I remember now how much fun I had writing it. I think YA fantasy is one of my most favorite genres to write in. It’s also one of my favorites to read.

So far on this new project I’ve profiled the main characters and have started setting the base storyline. Creating new characters is something I enjoy a lot. It’s amazing to see them come to life. I always try to get to know my characters very well because they are with me for so long during the writing process. Naming them is something I struggle with. A name is so important. I can spend hours trying to figure out the correct name for a character. Thankfully the ones in this latest project weren’t too bad.

Well I best get back to it.

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Featured Image: This month the featured image is my cutie of a kitty, Kuro, when he was only a few months old. He’s now about two and just as mischievous as he seems in the photo.

GenreCon 2017

Hi Guys,

For the last three days I have been at GenreCon held at the State library of Queensland at Southbank in Brisbane, Australia. This was the first GenreCon I’ve attended and wow, what an experience. It was three days jampacked full of workshops, seminars, panels and socialising with some writing greats. Everyone was fantastic and while I can’t thank everyone here, I would like to make particular mention to Zaide Bishop for her ‘Half A Million Words in Nine Months Workshop’, Belinda Pollard for her ‘Perfect Your Book’ workshop, Aiki Flinthart for her ‘How to Write Fight Scenes for Women’ workshop and Alex Adsett for her ‘Top 10 Tricks and Traps of Publishing Contracts’.

The panellists were also fantastic. They included such authors like Garth Nix, Angela Slatter, Nalini Singh, Delilah Dawson and Claire Coleman. The panels were both informative and hilarious with many laughs being had.

I met many new authors at this event and got to catch up with other author friends. My head is full to bursting with all the new information and I can’t wait to put the advice into practice. If you’ve considered going to a GenreCon, I heartily suggest it and know that I will not be missing it for many years to come.

I’d like to take a moment to thank Peter Ball and all the volunteers and organisations that helped to put it together. You guys have done an utterly fantastic job.

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Featured image: The above image is the panellists of the final panel on Sunday afternoon. They are from left Garth Nix, Angela Slatter, Nalini Singh, Emma Viskic, Delilah S. Dawson, Claire Coleman, Sean Williams, Daniel Findlay and Amy Andrews.

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