“Buy Me a Cup of Coffee, Get a Free Short Story” Price

Be one of the first to order my short story!

It’s short enough that you can actually read it before forgetting it’s on your phone.

This story is a prequel to my next series and sharing this will keep me motivated to publish book 1. 

Keep it Straightforward, Simpleton cover

Almost Smooch Time


My favorite part of editing is when it feels more like writing about history than deciding the future of the story. I no longer am deciding what will happen, just making sure the story that happened it told as it is meant to be.


That is where I am with the prequel. I can’t wait to share it with you.

Guest Blogger: Sherri Lupton-Hollister

When I first read about the Chairperson of Eastern North Carolina’s oldest writers group, she described herself as shy and using the medium of stories to gain courage. Yet in meetings she has a way of making members feel at ease and a confidence in her place as leader. It reminds me we’re all dealing with our internal struggles. Her bibliography is impressive and I feel lucky to have her guidance on a subject I have no experience in: cover reveals.

Promos/Cover Reveals

By: Sherri Lupton-Hollister

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One of the ways an author might gain interest in an upcoming book is to host a cover reveal party. There are several groups that will help you do this. I use Bed and Books. You can do this on your own with the help of writer and reader friends. Here’s a couple of tips.

First: plan the cover reveal just before launching your book or right before opening up pre-orders. You can use Canva or Bookbrush to help hide the cover eliciting excitement. 

Second: If you’re not using a promo group like Bed and Books, then ask your friends, beta readers, advanced ARC readers, etc. to help you promote the book. Give them a job to do but keep it easy. 

Example: for your ARC, advanced readers have them post their reviews on social media along with graphics you prepare ahead of time. Give them a date or set of dates in which to post. Remember to use hashtags especially on Instagram and Twitter.

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Third: Design graphics with your cover at different degrees of hidden like a stripper teasing the audience. Add blurbs, synopsis, and one-line quotes from your book. You could even do a character reveal. Some authors choose favorite actors to portray their characters and add this to their promo. Use something specific to your story to hide your cover, like books for a librarian heroine or baked goods for one who worked in a bakery. You could use a gift box or even just a bow. How about flames for a firefighter or a simple paper covering?

Fourth: if you have read a book that resonates with your own novel, say “If you loved J D Robb’s In Death series, you’ll enjoy The Leeward Files series.” 

Fifth: Reveal the cover and give the audience a command. Pre-orders are now available, don’t miss your chance to know what happens next in the town of Leeward. Or if your book is out, Go to your favorite eBook retailer and get Red Steel, the final book in The Leeward Files series. 

I hope these ideas helped. Canva and Bookbrush both have a free trial issue. I have been using both for several years. I love Bookbrush for my print book covers and Canva for easy to do ads.

more information about Sherri can be found on her website: https://sherrilhollister.com

The Next Chapter (of Availability)

Virtue Chasm on the Local Author shelf of The Next Chapter Books and Art

Nicholas Sparks fans will recognize the city of New Bern from our city’s famous author.

Now Ashley Crookham fans can get a copy of Virtue Chasm from the shelves of The Next Chapter Books and Art on Front Street. Stroll in on your next visit and enjoy!

Close up of Virtue Chasm on the shelf of The Next Chapter Books and Art


No, it’s not national.

No, we’re not writing a whole novel.

We are writing every day.

For the month of November.

My writing friend and I choose this month to get back into the daily habit of writing. Each of us prepared in October and checked in daily with each other to talk about how our commitment was going. Some things I learned:

  1. writing every day conflicts with exercising before work, using my lunch break to work on family matters, or going to bed on time. each day is a choice of which of those to sacrifice
  2. writing without a word goal makes me hesitate to write as much, and do too much editing as I am writing. this is benefit of NaNoWriMo where the goal is quantity over quality
  3. writing is difficult and requires continual improvement. it doesn’t happen by accident
  4. writing is the thing that makes me feel like my life is complete and I’m doing something for me

I now have 15000 words for book one of my series. Who knows what December could bring.

The Write Stuff

I’ve decided to take a hiatus from writing until after this baby is born.

Author Ashley Crookham baby belly






Writing while pregnant, with two small children, and a Monday-Friday job goes mostly like this:

  • waking up early on weekends and thinking of ways I can do things efficiently so that I “make sure” to not need to use their nap for non-writing related activities
  • feeling guilty for wanting to write instead of getting caught up around the house or perhaps resting as I should for the unborn baby
  • doing too much around the house and not enough just spending time with the kids so I can “earn” my writing time
  • using their nap (if they nap that day) to finish up other things or get ahead for dinner anyway, saying I will write when they wake up
  • not writing
  • not being able to sleep since I didn’t get enough done, rest enough, play enough, or write
  • repeat

This is our last baby and I want to take the time to appreciate the changes in our family.

If I do have unexpected time I will devote it to marketing and website improvements. I also want to read for enjoyment and perhaps to learn things I can use in future stories.

Author Ashley Crookham writing in the woods

Have you ever taken a writing hiatus? If so, was it a positive decision?


How to Sell Your Book on Amazon

As when I begin most research, in order to learn how to self-publish I went to my library and searched for books on the topic. Sell Your Book on Amazon came up, and I placed a hold. When I picked it up I was startled to find out this book was 13 years old, but read it anyway. Most of the tips I chose to believe are antiquated, but it sprung me in the direction of signing up as an Amazon author. For that I am grateful.

Learning to self-publish on KDP is not difficult. You can invest as much time as you like to become successful.

Seeing e-mails from Amazon referring to me as published never get old. That’s not the only reason I self-published. I spent a lot of time researching publishers and could not find one “perfect” for my book. By publishing through KDP I didn’t have to sacrifice anything. Some publishers asked for me to take out the adult content. Most wanted me to expand the book to 80K words. I didn’t look forward to negotiate contracts. Plus, I love to learn and the process of publishing and marketing my book keeps me challenged.

My biggest gains from this publishing adventure since April have been:

1. establishing a brand across your social medias

2. writing a book description that gives your reader everything they need

3. creating a meaningful book cover

4. keeping the marketing going. Something new I want to try are book mock ups thanks to this PlaceIt article


If you’ve written and considered publishing, what valuable answers have you sought or found?