In the world of Ashlee

Things have been happening, despite my relative silence. Of course, that should be a given. No matter how many blog posts I do or don’t write, or how many days go in between my Facebook or Twitter updates, life goes on and the world keeps spinning. Isn’t it funny how we might measure our personal existence by our presence on social media? If you can’t see me, I’m not entirely real.

Nonetheless, there were a couple of big ups and downs in the interim. No, no, nothing so big as the release of my novel. That’s still yet to come, though I have been dispensing ARCs to some very lovely people, and hearing wonderful things back. We’re looking at another month or two before I can pin down the release date. It’s hard to have delay after delay; I am not patient, but I’m forced to acknowledge this comes in part due to what has transpired through the early months of 2013. So let’s go over some of those things.

I had an author interview over at This Is Horror. If you haven’t seen it already, you can read my Meet The Writer on their website. I’ll note, it’s both fun and weird talking about yourself in the interview format.

Family and friends have gone through a number of personal trials. As a bystander for the most part, you try to support them. Show love. Remind them each of their importance in your life. Broken bones in accidents, severe illness and ongoing aftercare, a death. Little things, big things, unavoidable throughout life. Then the worldwide tragedies which have been occurring, with heart-warming tales of heroism amidst the chaos. One of these days, I’m going to stop reading the news.

I have spent the better part of two months designing and building an updated version of The Damning Moths website. It hasn’t gone live as I am still trying to muscle my way through some of the more finicky coding. I never thought myself as an especially talented web designer, but I think this will all work out rather nicely in the end. It’s just getting to the point where I am confident the site will function as best as possible.

Surviving the End received the Australian Shadows Award for Edited Publication. So far, my favourite part of being in an award winning anthology is the celebratory atmosphere with my co-contributors and the excitement our editor shared. And another hearty congratulations to us all.

I’m writing and plotting and editing all at once, which is hardly unusual, but takes a lot of attention away from other things. For the next week, I am burying my head in these stories for as many hours as anyone will let me. I’m talking very long days. See, I recently attended a course and gained accreditation for a new job. I will be starting in late May. I don’t exactly know how that will change my writing hours and energy levels, but I want to have some of this out of the way before then. What better timing than my week off work? If I manage to push hard enough, I know exactly what I can get accomplished. So here’s to a very productive week.

Lastly, I fill the gaps in between with the occasional important email, and reading. A lot of reading. Judging for the AHWA Short Story and Flash Fiction Competition, as an early reader (both requiring actual thought, assessment, and giving feedback where appropriate), and a whole pile of books being consumed unnaturally quick for pure enjoyment.

I know I’ve said it before, but I might be able to keep up with blogging again someday soon. Or you might hear from me again in a few months time. Either way, my love to you all, you’re not far from my thoughts.

~A

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Writers gonna write

I’m supposed to have an endless supply of things to talk about. Great ideas to muse over, or funny anecdotes to share. Pieces of my life and observations put into words and given freely to the world. I’m meant to connect with others, to find common ground, and to express my emotions regarding the state of existence.

But all I have are half-written blog posts about things which only serve to inspire me for a moment.

I’ve started–hold up, let me count them–sixteen entries which haven’t been finished recently. There are a couple which are fully written, but I’m not quite interested in posting them yet. It’s not that I’m worried about sharing these insights so much as I’m straddling the line between introvert and extrovert, and it just takes so much more effort to put things out there.

And to be perfectly honest, I almost feel like I have to hoard it all, store it up, to prepare for when I will absolutely need to push myself out into the spotlight when I launch The Damning Moths. That will require all of this enthusiasm and charisma. I can call the energy forth when I need to, but it makes everything else seem that much heavier. A little more strain on my reclusive half.

I’ve seen so many humourous comics or captioned images lately that reflect my state of being exactly: I don’t mind going out, but that means I need to put on pants and actually see people. I like being a writer, where I can sit at home and make things up about fictional people with outrageous abilities and entertaining quirks. I get true enjoyment out of putting together unlikely scenarios then figuring out how they make perfect sense.

Surely, I should have more thoughts to share with this corner of the world, right?

The proclivity to write does not translate to finding something worth saying. I can compose dozens of things, but deciding whether to put them into this specific platform is another thing altogether. I’m not interested in this blog being political, or adding this voice to the cries of social reform; at some stage I realised I don’t want to bring my opinionated side here. I have other places to get into debates (which I do often), and I suppose, I just don’t want to invite argument in yet another location I frequent.

But sometimes, that leaves me with little to say.

~A

On the Introvert Swing

When taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator/personality test, I usually come up right in the middle of the introvert/extrovert scale. This wouldn’t mean much to anyone, but I have distinctly noticed a back and forth swing of my personality traits; sometimes I am a perfectly satisfied extrovert, and other times I fall onto the introvert side completely.

Yes, now is an introvert period. A lengthy one, at that.

This still doesn’t mean much, other than finding it especially tiring to put myself out there and communicate. I’m feeling altogether quiet and introspective at the moment. It’s challenging to write blog posts about the things I’m thinking on, largely because I have used this blog as a means of communication and discussion, and I’m not in a very communicative state. I do love you all dearly, I just don’t need to say anything much.

Having known this about myself for a long time, now, I’ve frequently wondered over a “public” sort of career. In this day and age where authors are meant to be accessible and celebrities in their own right, how will I deal with that much attention in my introvert periods? Even when I’m experiencing my extrovert side, I’m already terrible at keeping track of things like time, dates, emails and private messages. Deadlines are more like guidelines. Social expectations are there, but don’t necessarily intersect with me personally.

There’s the option of reducing how “interactive” this is; I could close off comments on the blog, and that would be a kind of solution. I know and admire many wonderful people who blog without enabling comments for their own varied reasons. I understand their necessity for that choice, and find the notion just a little appealing, at least while I’m here on the quiet musing side of life. I wouldn’t be cut off from the world. There’s Facebook, Twitter, and of course, emails. Plus, I am a firm believer that friends can pick up where they left off having experienced such wonderful friendships personally.

So while I consider my options, weigh up the choices, I will likely remain an infrequent voice in the vast virtual world. There’s no harm in enjoying an extended “holiday” as an introvert. To bundle myself up in blankets and klackity away at stories. I haven’t disappeared, I’m just in my own head.

~A

Year One

Thursday was my first year blogging anniversary! I should have made a big deal out of it (more than just this update, I mean), but with only updating once a week and not commenting on other blogs lately, I almost feel like I’m not even part of the same thing I started with!

It’s been a full and enlightening year, though. Even if I’ve fallen off the face of the internet in recent times! I’ve made some of the best friends I’ve ever had through blogs, met too many brilliant folks, and learn so, so much.

In June of last year, I got properly started on working on The Damning Moths Anecdota. Not long after, in July, I got my first publication acceptance for the Surviving the End anthology and began meeting great editors, authors, and other fans of my co-authors. August was a month of difficulty with illness and the death of my cat Chichiri late in the month, which I still feel with a great sense of loss.

September and October I got right back into crochet and made an assortment of baby beanies, blankets, and started plenty of other pieces. To be honest, some of those still aren’t finished, primarily because I dislike stitching together squares into a whole blanket (and on that note, I only recently discovered a technique I actually enjoy, so expect a lot of finished crochet blanket photos soon!).

November saw my fifth wedding anniversary, preoders open for Surviving the End, my birthday, and yet another book signing with my favourite author, Matthew Reilly. Lots of editing. Lots of family interaction. With December, it’s always busy, and the absurd summer weather makes me sluggish and I kind of feel like I didn’t do anything significant through to February.

When March rolled around, I got right back into writing work and making big plans for my authorly future. I had my first ever photoshoot, which was so much fun and had brilliant results. Through April, and now into May, I’ve been working, learning, and trying to apply a whole lot of ideas to a whole lot of things all at once. Hence, becoming very quiet online.

My first year of blogging has been great, and I’m hoping there’s even more ahead for me in the coming year! Publishing, creating, sharing, and keeping in touch with wonderful people. Thanks for joining me! It wouldn’t be the same without you all.

~A

Look at me, I do stuff!

Wow, okay. Another week of forgetting to blog. I’m sorry! I don’t mean to get so caught up in irresponsibility!

I have been hard at work, several types of work no less. I had to submit final edits on “Harvest”, which went rather well (at least, in my mind!). The only thing I have to show for much of my time spent (aside from, you know, a pay check and food in my fridge, that sort of thing) is a great new bio and a very, very slick header for The Damning Moths. The Husband took my concept work and made it AWESOME. Yes!


Clicky-click for full size!

So, this is used on the Facebook Page for The Damning Moths, found here: The Damning Moths | Facebook
And the official website, found here: The Damning Moths
The bio is also on the website, right there under “The Author”. Fancy.

Oh yeah. Did I mention at any point the books have an official website? Haha. See above. I’ve been gloriously lazy about getting the description finalised and put on the site, so you’ll have to forgive the lack of content.

Beside that, it’s all pretty slow going. Whenever I think I’m on a roll, I look at the overall progress and am hit with a “WHAAAAT?” moment. Because things like, I’ll have been editing for hours, and added over 2,000 words to the book, but only progressed through a third of the chapter I had intended on finishing. Don’t get me wrong, everything’s awesome, but the one thing I stuggle most with when editing is guaging progress.

There’s no definitive word count to judge yourself on. Editing isn’t all equal value. Working through a really tough scene might take twice as long as just whipping through a perfectly acceptable section of the manuscript. Man, final edits are trouble. Worth it, but trouble all the same.

~A

One Hundred

According to my WordPress statistics, this is my 100th post! Hooray, happy one hundred!

I’ll admit, I’m pretty impressed with myself. Blogging and journaling really never struck me as something to do, but that was before I met so many awesome blogging buddies. No, really. It’s people like YOU who have convinced me to go ahead with this all the way back in May 2011. Wow, that also means I’m only three months away from a full year at this.

Thinking back over these hundred posts, I’ve shared with you my first publication acceptance, the death of my cat, Chichiri. Insights into writing and the industry surrounding it, as well as my own take on being an author. I’ve met amazing people and participated in their own blogs, sharing the ups and downs of their life-path. I’ve shown you my yarn crafts and new books from other writers. I’ve written a couple of guest blog posts for others, and followed links to fantastic new places around the internets. Truly, I wouldn’t take back my time blogging; I recognise all too clearly the amazing opportunities it’s presented and the people I’ve come into contact with who mean so much to me.

I know plenty of people blog solely for themselves; as some kind of expression or outlet. For me, this wouldn’t be the same without having people to share it with. I talk to myself enough over the course of writing books (they are character conversations! Honest!), so the part which makes this special is knowing that you’re here, you’re taking part in the journey.

Which is to say, of course, we’re moving forward! And what better blog to announce this than my 100th?

My debut novel, The Damning Moths will be published soon! Oh, yes. It’s happening. My giddiness is barely contained.

I’ve still got a ways to go with finalising the project, so I’m still on the journey. I don’t think you really get off this train unless you either quit writing or move onto the afterlife, so the statement is defeated by the sheer knowledge of work stretching ever onward. This book. Next book. The ones after. Nevertheless, you might recognise the title acronym, TDM, as something I’ve been working on (slaving over!) kind of obsessively. For this single project, there’s the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel to lure me through the final stretch. I’m on the right track. We’re coming up to the next stop. Other such railroad-related metaphors!

Thank you for sharing everything to this point. Thanks for reading, and commenting, and lurking. More than anything, thank you for your friendship and support.

~A

I had a moment

Sometimes it’s the most obvious things which make a sudden, weird impact on me.

People will be reading my work.

Like I said, obvious. That’s kind of the point to writing and publishing and releasing stories out into the world. So they will be read, and hopefully enjoyed. I had a chance to check in with my publisher for the Surviving the End post-apocalyptic horror anthology, Dark Prints Press. They’re full speed ahead for the release of the crime anthology, The One That Got Away, later this month, and they have some great novellas coming out in the near future which I am really looking forward to reading. We talked preorders a little, which was the point where my odd revelation happened.

People have ordered the book which my story is in. People will, in all likelihood, read that story. People I don’t know! Ooh.

Of course, how is any of that different than this blog? Anyone, any person at all with an internet connection, could come here and read the text I am typing right now. Months of my rambling is a available. Ah, but of course, this isn’t my fiction. I give blog posts a quick look-over before I add them. I don’t spend months or years crafting them.

It’s a nervous situation for no legitimate reason. I want you all to read my stories, I really do! I wonder if experienced novelists still feel things like this, or if they get used to the oddities of being an author. Just wait until I have fiction living entirely in its own book. At least with an anthology, I can sooth myself with, “Other, much bigger name writers are in this.” There’s no hiding if it’s all me.

~A